Rank57's blog

8:57 PM on 09.26.2015

This needs to stop: schoolgirls for sale in Japan

We, Japanator visitors, users and even the staff members I assume, are fans of manga, anime and japanese videogames. Some of us envision Japan as being a land full of those things that make us happy, and thus a kind of "promised land for otaku". Although Japan is a great country, placing comfortably near the top of the world at various points that make a good place to live, such as economy, education and the low crime rate, the land of the rising sun is still a real place, with real problems. Serious, dark problems.

The above video by VICE does an excellent job at investigating one of those problems that plagues Japan. First, before people get ahead of themselves, I would like to point out that they made it very clear that there is an innocent, healthy, non-perverted side in this whole industry around schoolgirls. With that out of the way, it's saddening to know something like that exists, and that it's the product of a series of factors. The whole society with no space for women, the culture based on shame, the lack of support for young people or for depressed people in general, the government who has no interest in solving this kind of problem.

For once, it's great to see there are good people taking matters in their hands and helping as many schoolgirls as they can, but really, one of Japan's biggest problems is exactly how the population as a whole is getting old, because day by day there's less children being born and less young people. Well, it's a known case that there are a lot of depressed students, not only girls but boys too, who get lost in life and end getting involved with that kind of dark business, or even commiting suicide. It's puzzling how the japanese government and society as a whole don't take any big actions to actually support their young population, only ever demanding from them their mindless obedience and absolute dedication to their superiors.


9:23 AM on 09.02.2015

The most japanese of all japanese bands

It happened little by little through the years, thanks to anime, manga, games, movies, music, food, the internet. Japanese culture is spread all over the world, gathering more fans every day. They even came up with a specific term to describe this rise in japanese culture's popularity: Cool Japan. Even people who know nothing about the country itself or doesn't take interest in anything japanese in particular at least know about ninjas and samurais. Yes, Japan is known for its technology, but it's equally known for its rich history and traditional culture.

So, what happens when this blend of modern and traditional japanese culture takes physical form? Or even better, musical form? What if we took everything that's cool about Japan and put it in a band? Eight extremely talented individuals made it look like that's exactly what happened when they created Wagakki Band. If you don't want to read the long and boring text I wrote, just think this band is as awesome as a rock band made by ninjas and samurais, and go with it. Wait, no, they are way better than that.

Wagakki Band has been rocking Japan for 2 years now, and they became a huge success with their perfect combination of traditional japanese instruments and a rock band. One interesting fact about the band is that, for their first album, they chose to take famous Vocaloid songs and cover them with their own arranges. This revisit to already existing songs created Vocalo Zanmai, an album full of treasures, with this new rendition of Senbonzakura being one of them, and in my opinion, this song should be Japan's new national anthem. Seriously, it's that good.

Polemic opinions aside, Wagakki Band just released their second album, Yasouemaki. Packing 15 tracks, it's like this second album expands everything that was awesome with its predecessor. Songs like Hoshi Tsuki Yo (Starry Night) and Hanafurumai (Flower Behavior) fill the air with the joy and energy of those traditional japanese festivals, while Ikusa (War) and Hangeki no Yaiba (Rebellion's Blade) sound a little more rockier. Those following Attack on Titan's live action version may be familiar with Hangeki no Yaiba, since it's the series theme.

One of the many impressive points about Yasouemaki is how varied it is, while retaining Wagakki Band's unique style. Every member, every instrument has its time to shine. At times, even Suzuhana Yuuko's voice gives its place to the guitarist Machiya's vocals, increasing even more the diversity of this album and this band as a whole. At one point, you are rocking with a song like HAGANE (Steel), then something epic and fantastic like Hanabi (Fireworks) comes along, and next a soothing melody like Tsuioku (Reminiscence) relax your soul. It's impossible to get bored while hearing Wagakki Band, and it really shows with this album.

I may be exaggerating when I say this, but here I go anyway. Wagakki Band is the coolest sounding and looking anything I came across in a really, really long time. Maybe ever. It's impossible to not be enthusiastic when you see people represent so well everything that's great about Japan. It's like Wagakki Band is as cool and beautiful as Japan should and deserve to be.


6:34 PM on 08.17.2015

Impressions - BAND-MAID® 2nd Anniversary at Shibuya Eggman

Before you stop what you are doing and listen to them, their look and name may be either a trump card to attract people into paying attention, or backfire entirely and draw people away. It all depend on your view on the entire culture around maids. In my case, I'm not a big fan of girls in frilly costumes trying to act overly cute, but I decided to click the play button in the video above anyway. And my mind was blown away.

Yes, BAND-MAID is exactly what their name say... but not so much. For starters, just listen to them. It's a hard hitting rock at its finest, with great vocals by both vocalists and impressive skills behind the instruments. Needless to say, I was hooked and hitting the replay button like a madman all day, every day. I needed to check them out playing live. And luckily, they were going to celebrate their 2nd anniversary performing an one-man live in Shibuya, so there was my chance.

It was my first time visiting Shibuya Eggman, and for some reason, I already found the live house's name awesome before I even got to the actual venue. It's located in a really nice place, somewhere between the world's biggest scramble in front of Shibuya Station and the entrance to Yoyogi Park, but you may not see the live house if you don't play close attention. Actually, the entrance to Eggman is just a short stairs that go underground, where the actual venue is. It's a small but really nice place, with that mythical indie rock atmosphere. One point I find important to note, it was really hot that day, but Eggman's air conditioning dealt with the heat extremely well, despite the hyped crowd and all the rock'n roll that was going on.

The girls already started the live at maximum energy with one of their greatest songs, Thrill. What followed next was nothing short of amazing, with the full version of Don't Let Me Down being showed to the fans for the very first time. In front of the stage, the wildest fans were going crazy, lifting people above their heads, running around, screaming and doing what you would expect a hyped crowd would do in a hard rock live. A little further away, there were some tables closer to the bar, so people could relax and enjoy the music as much as their drinks, with yet a clear view of the stage.

I was amazed by how hard those girls rock, even if they do dress like maids. Even in their attitude when they are talking, one can see that, despite the visuals, they don't try to act cute at all. Well, not all of them, not all of the time, at least. Saiki, the vocalist, and even more so Misa, the bassist, are the badass type of girls, with the guitarist and vocalist Miku even stating that Misa actually drinks whisky instead of water during their lives. One song after another, they rocked the night away, with a special awesome performance for Ai to Jounetsu no Matador, their only single to date, in which they go for a more latin feel in addition to their hard rock. A good number of new songs were presented for the first time that night, and then, Miku announced that their second album is going to be released in november.

Like I said before, I was already hooked by the time I watched a couple of their videos in Youtube, but man, after that live, BAND-MAID became instantly one of my favorite bands in this moment. They got the raw energy of a live presentation right, they got the charisma, the badass attitude and, most of all, they rock really hard. What's not to like about them?


3:21 PM on 07.13.2015

Mary's Blood screams their way into greatness with their newest song

The japanese music industry has rocked the world with a superb 2014, filled to the brim with awesome releases. Lots of new faces rising to the fame, and hidden stars finally shinning on the spotlight. Mary's Blood released their first major album, Countdown to Evolution, after making the metal gods proud during their indies times, and well... in my opinion, it's one of the best albums of an incredible year for japanese music. All the girls rock, but I would like you to give special attention to Eye, the vocalist. Honestly, she is what makes Mary's Blood one of my favorite bands to follow in this very moment. Her voice is really powerful, and can reach a multitude of ranges that it just becomes awe inspiring. And her glazing stare can pierce your soul even through the internet. She is awesome, that's what I'm trying to say.

The only bad thing about all of this is that Mary's Blood new album doesn't have a release date yet, it only says "this autumn" in the video description. In the meantime, check out Countdown to Evolution if you haven't yet, or if you never heard anything from the band, here's Marionette, one of the many great songs from Mary's Blood first major album. Particularly, though, my favorite song is the track number 8, I, Lament. Epic guitar solo ensues.


1:33 AM on 04.08.2014

Rejected to the end: Final Impressions on Hajime no Ippo: Rising

There was no possible way to end any anime season in a higher gear than what Rising did. A few weeks ago, I would easily say that Rising got one of the slowest phases in the 25+ years of Hajime no Ippo stories, from what we got in anime form so far. And this third season commited some of its own share of sins against such a great work of art that is Ippo, but more of that later. Anyway, it ended in such a perfect tone, that all is forgotten, and everyone should remember Kamogawa's life story forever and be inspired.

Japan post World War II. A land of rebuilding from zero and hope for a bright future. Pride, love and friendship. Two men, two boxers, two rivals, one legend. After terrorizing all japanese fighters, Anderson's being overpowered by Nekota. On the other hand, Nekota has a time bomb inside his head, the symptoms of his punch-drunk becoming worse as time passes.

Desperated, Anderson hits Nekota with an illegal move, the rabbit-punch, which hits the opponent on the back of his head. This punch already causes great damage to the brain, and Nekota's head is already crumbling. Heavily injured, Nekota collapses, and Kamogawa swears in front of the crowd that he will defeat Anderson and avenge his best friend.

Kamogawa isn't as fast and as sharp as Nekota, so he can't dodge Anderson's punches and easily get hits in, so his only choice is to end the fight with a few, powerful strikes. His fists must be able to destroy whatever he touches, so he goes through a hellish training to make his fists as hard as iron. But even with the strongest weapon, Kamogawa can't get close to Anderson, and is easily hit with lefts and rights, almost being knocked out several times.

That's when Kamogawa sees his still recovering friend Nekota and Yuki, people who are fighting life itself, and never gave up. With an incentive from his friends, Kamogawa puts to use his greatest weapons: his spirit and his courage. It's possible to hit Anderson's body, but to be able to do so, Kamogawa must trade hits with a man from several weigh classes above himself.

Now, Hajime no Ippo does not have superpowers. It's not about Supersayans destroying planets, world-ending ninjas or stretchy pirates. It's just boxing. But even so, I dare to say that Kamogawa's punches looked like the strongest punches I ever saw in any anime. The image of Anderson's organs being crushed, the long and loud sound of ribs turning to dust like a lightning bolt setting a tree apart, the trembling screen, the screams, the epic context. Yes, I have no doubt, those were the strongest punches to ever grace any screens worldwide.

Hopes and dreams were destroyed by those couple of matches that ended with those two punches. Kamogawa's career as a boxer ended right there, as his fists would never recover from that kind of damage. Nekota would never fight again either. Even Anderson may have even died from a severe case of ribs piercing his insides, but who cares? Those two punches also gave hopes and dreams to everyone who watched Kamogawa reestablish the japanese pride.

Retired from his days as a boxer, Nekota returns to the montains. Kamogawa puts his friendship above his own heart and send off Yuki to live with Nekota, so they can comfort each other through their difficulties. Kamogawa himself decides to devote all his life and love for boxing. And that was the seed that would become another legend of a shy boy who would grow to become a respectable champion. Maybe a world champion, some day, when Kamogawa will finally be able to make a full report to Yuki.

So, Rising started cutting off some big chunks of Ippo vs Shimabukuro. While the fight itself isn't one of the best of the series, Shimabukuro exposed the Dempsey Roll's biggest flaw, and the guy was pretty charismatic in the manga. Ippo vs Sawamura gave us a villain to hate on, and that feeling of justice done right when Ippo delivers a leveled up version of his most deadly move right to Sawamura's face. Takamura's fight was kind of boring, but Kamogawa's past is one of the best arcs of the series and could easily be made in a separated movie.

It's been 25 years since Hajime no Ippo started as a manga. Of course there are highs and lows, but far more highs than lows, what is impressive considering the long run of this work by George Morikawa. Rising could have been done better, but when an anime ends being this awesome, there's no room to complain. You just sit there and pray for another season.   read

10:22 PM on 04.02.2014

Rejected to the end: Final Impressions on Magi: The Kingdom of Magic

What an adventure! Magi may not be a shonen battle anime, but it sure reserved huge chunks of action and overall badassery for the end of this second season. Well, it's well deserved, because Ren Gyokuen and Al-Thamen were manipulating Mogamett all this time, just so he would make use of the Black Rukh and be the key to bring the end of the world.

Alibaba and Kouen combined their Extreme Magics, but all they did was to crack the Medium's borg. It then assumes a humanoid form and starts to absorb magoi from literally everything it touches with its hands, killing plants, animals and people. Alibaba and Kouen try to attack the Medium, but get their magoi absorbed and Djinn Equips taken out of them by force. That's when Kougyoku snaps and attacks the Medium, succeeding in injuring it. Aladdin then informs everyone that the Medium can only make borgs and absorb magoi with its hands.

Kouen heals Alibaba and himself, and orders Koumei to organize a combined attack against the Medium, which has the Metal Vessel users using their Extreme Magics one after another, and finally dragging their enemy to the ocean, where Kougyoku can strike with her most powerful move. This only makes the Medium even bigger and stronger, because it can absorb magoi from anything, including the ocean.

It's revealed that Gyokuen is a former Magi from Alma Torran, while all Metal Vessel users are defeated. When everything seems lost, Sinbad arrives from the skies and strikes the Medium with a powerful attack. With him are several country leaders from the Seven Seas Alliance, his generals, Yunan and Morgiana. Muu Alexius and the Metal Vessel users from Reim also join the battle. Sheherazade, then, sacrifices her remaining life to restore everyone's magoi, and all Metal Vessel users combine their Extreme Magic in one final attack.

It's a powerful strike, but the Medium is still alive. Gyokuen laughs, saying it took the combined effort of 72 warriors in Alma Torran to defeat the Medium, while now they only have 13 Metal Vessel users. It was looking like Sheherazade's sacrifice was in vain, but the Medium is weakened enough to Mogamett's will to corrupt it, making a small White Rukh shine and disturb their enemy.

Aladdin uses Solomon's Wisdom so he and Yamraiha can reach Mogamett inside the Medium. There, they find the old man trapped inside his own sins, with the remaining Titus' spirit trying to comfort him. Aladdin convinces Mogamett that his deeds resulted in good people trying to live peacefully and protect Magnostadt, so Mogamett finally can rest in peace, destroying the Medium. And Titus revives as Sheherazade's new incarnation.

This second season of Magi was even better than the first one, even if it commited the sin of leaving Morgiana out of most episodes. Above all, it felt like a time-skip done properly. It first showed the characters traveling, doing some training, and learning about how the world, its governants and politics work. It was obviously more focused in Aladdin, but it felt the three main characters not only grew stronger in terms of combat, but also in terms of wisdom and knowledge, meeting new people and making alliances.

It's hard to imagine a battle more epic than the one we just saw, but Gyokuen is still alive and well, with Hakuryuu and Judar plotting something evil, too. There's still tension between countries, and Magnostadt to rebuild. We may not see Magi in anime form for a while, because there's not much of the manga to catch up, but I'm sure there's plenty of stories to be told yet, and since its first anime airing, Magi became one of my favorite series.   read

10:52 PM on 03.30.2014

Rejected to the end: Final Impressions on Noragami

I just gave my Final Impressions on Witch Craft Works the other day, and I feel that show shares some similarities with Noragami: both had huge potential, quality animation and interesting characters, but failed to deliver in their endings. I had problems with WCW's attempt at having a plot, and while Noragami also failed at telling an interesting story, it was for different reasons.

This show didn't promise much at the beginning. It was about a regular girl who is exposed to supernatural conditions, almost dies and becomes friend of a inoffensive-looking boy, who in truth is a powerful being. It sounds simple enough, and we could probably make a list of animes that would fit in that description. What this basic summary lacks in creativity, Noragami more than made for by introducing its main characters.

Yato, the urban god who does all sorts of odd jobs, dreaming of becoming famous and worshiped by millions one day. But Noragami's best surprise was Hiyori. She could easily fit in the common role of the "regular girl who assists the male protagonist". Hiyori is that and much more. She has personality and hobbies, she has a strong will and "fights" the problems on her own way, without gaining magical abilities or becoming a female version of a male character. And she never falls in that aways done-to-death "love interest" role, too.

The main problem with Noragami is in which characters the story focuses in its 12 episodes spam. Aside from Hiyori and Yato, other interesting characters are presented, such as the wise Tenjin, the badass Bishamon and the energetic Kofuku. But the arcs shown in this first Noragami run tells us the story of how Yukine is a whiny teenager, and the tired tale of how Rabo is a killer god who wants to bring back Yato's past as an assassin. We already saw this on Rurouni Kenshin, done in a much better way.

It may be the case of the manga doesn't having enough material to cover until there, but a Noragami anime adaptation would be thousands times better if it focused on telling more interesting stories, such as solving Hiyori's ghost condition or Bishamon's grudge against Yato. I can understand the need to focus on Yukine before telling those stories, but Rabo was completely filler. He appeared, didn't do anything note-worthy, and went away. Nora was presented earlier as some kind of skeleton in Yato's closet, but even her was badly used, as in the end, Nora was nothing more than Rabo's sword.

Although I liked the characters enough to want a second season, I'm not sure if the author is capable of using them to create good stories. I was sure that, after the boring Yukine arc was gone, we could get more dept on how Regalias and gods powers work, or how ghosts affect living people's lives, or anything. With Rabo's arc closing this first season so poorly, I fear that Noragami may have endless filler characters popping out of nowhere and adding close to nothing to the show, just like Rabo did.   read

1:42 AM on 03.29.2014

Rejected to the end: Final Impressions on Witch Craft Works

Insanely awesome. That's how I would describe Witch Craft Works a month ago. Speaking the truth here, I was lost on the majority of the journey through the 12 episodes of this show. It sure had a plot since its beginning, but it felt the humor was above all until the last couple episodes. And I was more than ok with that, a show must play by its strong points after all. There was even a moment when Witch Craft Works was my favorite show airing in its season, including my favorite series ever, Hajime no Ippo. But that was before Ippo decided to finish its third season strongest than ever, and before Witch Craft Works tried to have a plot.

I will not lie, I will be brief describing the end of this show because I understood close to nothing about it. Am I that stupid? I may be, but contrary to movies like Akira or The Matrix, both of which I didn't grasp their meaning fully until at least my third view through them, I didn't care about the real plot behind Witch Craft Works.

So, Takamiya has an immense power inside him, and final boss Weekend wants it for her. I admit attacking the city instead of going against Kazane herself was pretty smart, and Weekend employs some good strategies to deal with powerhouses such as Kagari and her mother. It helps that she is immortal for some reason.

With Ayaka and Kazane defeated, Weekend is close to victory, so it's Takamiya's job to protect the people of the city from being exploded. To accomplish this, he offers his life to White Princess Evermillion, so she can lend him the power to save everyone. Before Takamiya dies, however, Ayaka calls shenanigans and trades her life instead. In the end, everyone is saved, they skip probably the most epic battle of the series and Witch Craft Works would be a better show if it starred only the 5 Tower Witches.

Now, it's not like this is a bad show. At first, I was expecting nothing from Witch Craft Works, and even considered to drop it right after the first episode, because Takamiya gave me the impression of being an Evangelion's Shinji clone, and Kagari's role made me think this would be a regular spineless otaku's dream. Well, I was wrong.

First of all, the humor in Witch Craft Works is top notch. It's crazy, it's random, and it's awesome. It also can be unique and not so visible, like when there's people being funny in the background, or quick remarks made right after a big happening. There's also a lot, A LOT of characters in this show, and few of them get their deserved screentime, but most, if not all of them, display a personality of their own, making you want to know more of characters that you don't even remember their names.

The character designs, the color palette, the music, the animation, everything is great in Witch Craft Works, and the studio deserves serious praises. What brought the show down, in my opinion, was the "serious" plot, like I said before. It's never explained why Takamiya has the powerful entity Evermillion sealed inside him. With her being a trick up the protagonist's sleeve, and Kazane being all powerful, there's never a real "threat".

The whole pacing in which things happen is too confusing,too. In one scene, you see Rinon attacking Kagari and Takamiya, and in the next, Rinon and her friends are Workshop Witches trying to save the city. This, added to the fact that it's nearly impossible to know all the witches' names or level of importance in this show, makes for a hard experience if you try to understand the whole thing. I didn't have a problem with that when all the show told me to do was to sit and laugh with the randomness, but when the story became serious and I had to know what was happening, it just wasn't as entertaining.

It is a shame. Witch Craft Works was doing everything right, from the laugh-out-loud humor to not going the easy way and relying on fanservice, but it lost itself when it tried to throw its strong point, the comedy, out of the window. Now that this ended, give me a show about Tanpopo and the Tower Witches, and I will forget about this ending.   read

1:27 PM on 03.26.2014

Rejected to the end: Final Impressions on Log Horizon

Players trapped in the game world. This premise is older than Tibia. Ok, maybe not that old, but it has been done countless times, and with the biggest recent success in this genre being Sword Art Online, comparisons are inevitable. But be a fan of one or another, it's a given that Log Horizon is completely different from previous entries in the "trapped in a MMORPG" genre. Well, before we get to conclusions, let's see what happened in the end of this first season.

Lenessia became some sort of idol in Akihabara, and part of the Libra Festival is a party including a dinner with the princess. Of course, this being Log Horizon, there's political fares to be made, and noble-evil-clown Marves crashes the party, being an ass to pretty much everyone, but targeting princess Lenessia in special. Comes to her rescue Shiroe and the other leaders of the Round Table Alliance. Of course, Shiroe isn't a knight in white armor, and rescue the princess in the typical fashion that earned him the name of The Villain in Glasses.

Nothing against Lenessia, but to me, Maryelle is the light of Akihabara in this show

Regardless of methods used, Shiroe exposes Marves' lies made only to attack the relations between the Round Table Alliance and Eastal. The second part of the episode shows probably next season's main villain, Nureha, a fox-lady with giant, disproportional breasts that may or may not have crushed her heart. It's told that she dominated the Minami region, to the point of buying the Cathedral where the Adventurers revive, and controlling the Guard system. Nureha tries to recruit Shiroe to Plant Hwayden, the only guild that now exist in Minami, but Shiroe refuses.

Libra festival done and gone, the members of Log Horizon wonder what to do next. Nyanta suggests if they should try to figure a way to go back to their world, but Shiroe says this is their reality now, and they will change this world. Shiroe's final words pretty much sum what Log Horizon is about, but we will get to that.

Cat-like ears and giant breasts: Log Horizon trying to appeal to the common otaku?

First of all, if you know Maoyuu Maou no Yuusha, also known as Archenemy and Hero in english, you know what to expect from Log Horizon. The author, Mamare Touno, really likes to develop his worlds, so Log Horizon is way more about building a new world than crazy action scenes, which in no way is a bad thing.

The greatest point in Log Horizon is how the series set its rules early on, and never play outside of them. Everything has a logical reason to be the way it's showed. Another great point I really enjoyed about this show, is that even if it's about people trapped inside a game, most of characters are and behave like reasonable adults. The plot revolves a lot around establishing a working society in this chaotic world, and forming alliances with the NPCs.

A true gentle-cat

While watching Log Horizon, one thought may come to mind: for people trapped inside a game, they are pretty relaxed about going back to the real world. Well, there's two reasons for that. First, contrary to shows like SAO, it's not given a goal for the players to go back to their world, so no one has any idea of how to do that. Second, it's pretty much established that Elder Tales is now a full working real world, with food tasting properly and machines working like they should, if made with your own hands rather than relying on menus. And third, not everyone know about this, but it seems people were trapped in the game thanks to a new type of magic in the Elder Tales world, not because of "real" world technology, so they have no choice other than discovering more stuff about their new reality.

In an anime industry full of shows made for children and teenagers, Log Horizon is a rational, adult show set in a fantastical world. It doesn't have those epic moments where you are on the edge of your chair cheering for the protagonist, but also doesn't have moments of stupidness. Everything is done is a smart way, the characters are enjoyable, and the few action scenes are incredible, with the episode 4 being completely made of Player vs Player deserving special attention in that matter.   read

6:00 PM on 03.23.2014

jTunes - Miss Stereopony? Check out Shiho and Nohana in Draft King's Abracadabra

I don't quite know what happens with japanese girlbands, but they tend to not last long, with SHOW-YA reuniting and surpassing their 30th year being an (awesome) exception. ZONE was the first japanese girlband to break my heart when they disbanded, with short-lived acts such as THE PINK PANDA and EU PHORIA going the same route. Stereopony became famous among the otaku crowd after Hitohira no Hanabira was chosen as one of Bleach's endings, and a few years later, they also disbanded.

Well, do you miss Stereopony? Then, rejoice, as drummer Shiho and bassist Nohana are back with their new band, Draft King. This time, they are joined by Erica on vocals, and guitarists hiddy and Mao. Draft King's Youtube channel already has some videos, with Abracadabra being their first PV.

The song gives a good sign of that garage rock at the beginning, but soon becomes something leaning more to a pop rock tune. Good stuff nonetheless, and great news for Stereopony fans all over the world. And now, why not, Draft King fans, too.   read

11:19 PM on 03.18.2014

Staff's Rejects! Week 24 on Ippo, Magi, Log Horizon and more!

It's a time of memories and final bosses. Be it shows that started last season, be it shows from this current season, all of them are coming to an end, and there's not a better way to finish things off than facing a final boss, right? And powerful enemies may appear in an infinite number of forms! From blond american boxers to giant spheres of evil energy floating up in the sky! And let's not forget swordsmen gods and terrorist witches! Or even literally bad clowns trying to ruin your party!

Yes, we have it all this week, and prepare yourself to say goodbye to some of your favorite shows next week. Normally, this would be a sad thing, but hey, this season ending also means we will get to watch Jojo soon, so no need to be in despair yet!

Hajime no Ippo Rising episode 23

Punch drunk, or dementia pugilistica, if you want to talk fancy. That's the name of the disease you can get if your job involves being punched in the head too often. Despite suffering with his hands trembling, lapses of memory, headaches and dizzyness, Nekota gets a job carrying people on his rickshaw to buy gifts to Yuki and to help Kamogawa out, so he can stop calling Nekota a leech.

Nekota's punch drunk symptoms come and go, but are becoming more and more frequent. Without knowing about this, Kamogawa and Dankichi talk about how Nekota would have the best chance against Anderson, the american soldier and boxer who is defeating every japanese fighter that stands in the ring with him. Kamogawa recognizes Anderson's skills, and the fact that he is from some categories above theirs put him on another level, so Kamogawa refuses to challenge him, or letting his friend do the same.

The aways smiling Yuki also is suffering. Being originally from Hiroshima, her body is sick from the radiation. Even so, she went to Tokyo to live the rest of her days surrounded by the energy of the people who are rebuilding Japan after all the losses of the war. Nekota heard about Yuki's condition, and invites her to live in his hometown over the montains, where the air is clean and she can rest her body. That, after deciding he will have a last fight against Anderson, promising he will win to make Yuki smile one more time.

Watching these last two episodes of Kamogawa's past, I can forgive Rising for the poor animation on earlier episodes. It look like the studio was saving its budget for this arc, and I'm glad they did that. It's impressive how these episodes are looking a bit like those old, post-war movies, showing a completely different Japan than what the country is nowadays.

Magi season 2 episode 23

To convince Kouen that the end of the world is near, Aladdin summons all of his three Djinns, plus Amon and Leraje. They tell that the Dark Spot must be closed, or it's game over. Kouen hears that Aladdin is Solomon's proxy, and demands him to tell everything about Solomon's world. Aladdin then says he will tell if Kouen helps to close the Dark Spot.

Thirsty for knowledge, Kouen calls all of Kou's Metal Vessel users just like the Thundercats, but even with this huge amount of power gathered, they can't get through the Dark Spot's borg. To makes things worse, there's countless Black Djinns coming out of it. Aladdin states that the Dark Spot is a living being, and it will eventually run out of magoi, but to achieve that, they need to kill approximately 10,000 Black Djinns.

The fight seems easy at first, but the Metal Vessel users are also running out of magoi. That's when Kouen uses Agares' Djinn Equip to summon a volcano, and then re-equips Astaroth to use the fire's energy as fuel, dragging Alibaba along to combine their Extreme Magics and strike the Dark Spot's borg, finally breaking it.

Now, if Kouen and Alibaba can get magoi from a volcano, shouldn't Hakuryuu or even Kougyoku be nearly invincible? There's a lot more ground and water on Earth than, say, volcanoes after all...

Log Horizon episode 24

That's the kind of "attack" we only see in Log Horizon. Or in Maoyuu, I guess, and that makes sense, because both series share the same author. Anyway, it's revealed that the "evil looking clown" is actually a noble called Marves, who is arrogant and just want to disturb the relations between the Round Table Alliance and Eastal.

To do that, there's a lot of People of the Land making trouble at the Libra Festival, from bothersome customers to people blocking the way with broken carts, and even couples fighting. The random nature of this "enemy" gives Shiroe major headaches, as he can't handle with something he can't understand and predict. The solution is to fight chaos with chaos, so Soujiro Seta's harem is sent to deal with the troubles, and this proves to be the right decision, because... a girl's smile is the solution to everything?

Noragami episode 11

Nora's spell removed any memories of Yato from Hiyori's head, but it seems she still remembers Yukine. Yato tries to talk about past events to make her remember, but it doesn't work. Meanwhile, Rabo, the god of calamity, is still killing people out there, and now it's time for Yato to be attacked. Yato and Rabo were partness in the past, so Rabo wants to bring back the old killer that Yato once was, much like Jin-e or Saito tried to do with Kenshin. Almost killing both Yato and Yukine in this first encounter, Rabo leaves, but only after Nora says she will give Hiyori's memories back if they can defeat Rabo.

Tenjin tells Yato that it's better if Hiyori forgets about them, so she can return to being a normal girl. First, Yato agrees with that, but then Nora appears again and tells him that Hiyori will eventually lose all her memories, becoming an empty shell. That apparently is true, as she forgets about Yukine later. Seeing that, Yato decides to risk his life in a second fight against Rabo. And nothing against tattoos, but those symbols in Nora's arms still creep me out.

Witch Craft Works episode 11

What I'm about to say may sound weird, but I think Witch Craft Works has too much personality for its own good. I mean, there's too much interesting characters that we barely see onscreen or get to know, from Takamiya's mother to the girl that appears in this episode whose puppet talks more than herself.

Anyway, this is the second-to-last episode and things are wrapping up. After a flashback, Takamiya is presented to the world where the people from the city are stored until everything is back to normal. Meanwhile, Kagari goes to face the final boss while Atori takes care of Takamiya. Weekend proves to be the first opponent to give Kagari any trouble, but in the end she is defeated. But it seems there's one more bomb to explode here.   read

4:52 PM on 03.12.2014

Staff's Rejects! Week 23 on Ippo, Magi, Log Horizon and more!

I don't even know what to write here, as Hajime no Ippo totally stole the show this week, and will be the brightest star in anime until the end of this season. If you read the manga, you know what I'm talking about. And if you don't know why I'm so hyped about this, you should just watch this week's episode and the next ones. It feels like a little less sad Grave of Fireflies with a lot more punching in it.

No, wait, it doesn't feel like Grave of Fireflies at all. Sorry, I'm so excited to see this arc being adapted to anime that I don't even know what I'm saying anymore. Well, it's a post-WWII story set in Japan about manly tears. Holy mother of anime, ending a season with Ippo and starting the next one with Jojo must be one of the best periods in japanese animation.

Hajime no Ippo Rising episode 22

Finally! After a rather lackluster title match between Takamura and Eagle, we finally see the quality that makes Hajime no Ippo so epic coming back to our screens. The timing is different from what happens in the original manga, but now we get to know Coach Kamogawa's past, his days of youth with his rival and friend Nekota, during times when Japan was rebuilding right after World War II.

Japan, and boxing itself, were completely different from what they are nowadays. Boxers could fight several times in a short few days, and the sport was called "prize fighting" rather than boxing. There were almost no rules, with every match ending only when one or both fighters couldn't stand anymore. And there were no weight divisions, so everyone could fight anyone. This, in Japan, as boxing was already closer to what we know in the US.

This is the scenario to one of the best and most touching arcs in the 20+ years of Hajime no Ippo. This is where we see how Kamogawa and Nekota get to know Yuki, a woman who, contrary to the majority of the japanese population, wouldn't throw away her pride. Kamogawa and Nekota stand in sgt. Anderson's way and defend Yuki against him, but both get knocked down by Anderson's more refined boxing techniques. Being able to run away thanks to her new friends, Yuki, with nowhere to go, start to live together with them.

Seeing how well developed this episode is, I wonder how Kamogawa's past would fare as a separated movie. It's a beautiful tale of love, friendship and the renewal of a whole country and its population. It has everything to be a great movie. Regardless, this was an awesome episode, and I'm hyped to see the whole story closing Rising stronger than any other season of Hajime no Ippo.

Magi season 2 episode 22

Kouen's army showed up and stole Alibaba's spotlight right when he was about to unleash his Extreme Magic. Kouen's men quickly deal with all the Black Djinns, and Kouha's injuries are healed by one of his brother's Metal Vessels. Alibaba introduces himself to Kouen as one of Balbadd's princes, and states that he came to the battlefield to protect Kouha, making them allies. Sorta.

Sheherazade and Reim's army are being attacked by Mogamett's Black Djinns, and the still recovering fanali army has trouble fighting them off. Titus, encouraged by Marga's words, goes to confront Mogamett, trying to convince him to stop with his evil acts. To fend off the gathering of more Dark Rukh, Titus releases the magoi that was inside his body, but sacrifices his life in the proccess. Touched, Mogamett stops to produce Black Djinns, but the Dark Rukh is acting by itself now, draining all of Mogamett's magoi and killing him. And thus begins Gyokuen's and Al-Thamen's plans to bring the end of the world.

Log Horizon episode 23

Continuing from last week, most of this episode is filler, again. We see Minori recovering from her broken heart, Naotsugu wandering and eating everything he can, Henrietta playing dress-up with Akatsuki, Maryelle running away from her duties, Nyanta dealing with troublesome people, and some conspiracy in the background.

Helping with the paperwork, Minori notices that some numbers are off, and after stopping a bad customer, Shiroe uncovers an ongoing plan to attack Akihabara somehow. The episode ends with a creepy clown commanding his ship and probably heading over to start trouble in Akiba. Creepy clowns are the worst.

Noragami episode 10

Being exorcized in last episode, now Yukine is free of sins and became a good boy, helping Koufuku's store and Yato's odd jobs. Yato then goes to Tenjin's temple to thank him for lending one of his Regalias the other day, and also to ask for advice regarding Hiyori's problem. Mayu explains to Hiyori and Yukine that emoness is contagious, so one of Tenjin's Regalias got infected by Yukine's emoing and was then banned.

During New Year's first visit to the temple, Hiyori is unable to meet Yato, as he spends all night fighting ghosts. Instead, she encounters Nora, who somehow erases her memories about Yato, and Hiyori can't recognize him later. Oh, and there's an assassin god walking around and killing both people and gods, so take care about that.

Witch Craft Works episode 10

Kagari and Takamiya make their way out of the prison, only to find the city in ruins. The barrier protected every normal person from any harm, but now Kazane is out of the game, and without a barrier, no Workshop Witch can use their magic. They are safe inside their base, but Weekend captures some girls and attach bombs to them, demanding the Workshop Witches to give her Takamiya or else everyone will die.

Takamiya himself and Kagari go to the city's heart to make a contract and build another barrier. They are ambushed by a witch in their way, but even without using magic, Kagari defeats her stone golem with an old school knee to the face. Rinon is negotiating with Weekend, and exactly when the bombs are about to explode, Takamiya rebuilds the city's barrier and Rinon is able to disable the bombs and defeat Weekend.

Or so it seemed. Not every witch relies on their magic, and Weekend let herself to be captured just to explode regular bombs inside the Workshop Witches' base, knocking out Rinon and her friend. Takamiya uses his new acquired powers to heal them, and Kagari goes to confront Weekend.

Personally, I'm still enjoying Witch Craft Works, but I liked it better when it was 100% crazyness without much plot. There's still some funny moments, but when even Tanpopo is taking things seriously, you know this show isn't the same anymore. On the other hand, it was good to see that magic isn't everything in this world, and Weekend's trump card was using regular bombs, but shouldn't Weekend herself, Rinon and the other girl be in pieces after those explosions?

Also, Weekend is voiced by Aya Hirano. How is that even possible? Her voice is so different here...   read

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