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Final Impressions: Thunderbolt Fantasy

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

Fujiyama Ichiban Ultimate photo
Fujiyama Ichiban Ultimate

Fujiyama Ichiban Ultimate brings us a new take on Los Angeles' local hero

The sun rises again
Oct 27
// Salvador G Rodiles
It's been a year since the Indie Los Angeles Tokusatsu Show Fujiyama Ichiban's first season came to a close, and the team is ready to take their creation to the next level. This time, Michi Yamato (Chodenshi Bioman's Sui...
Full Metal Panic! IV photo
Full Metal Panic! IV

Huzzah: Full Metal Panic!'s new series to air next Fall

Fall 2017 is going to be spectacular
Oct 23
// Salvador G Rodiles
Ever since I watched all of Full Metal Panic!, my desire to see a new series was one of my biggest wishes of all time. While this project was revealed last year, new details about the upcoming anime were revealed at the Fanta...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 2-4

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

Weekend Japanatainment - Nintendo Anime Edition

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

PinocchioP photo

Vocaloid Artist PinocchioP's third album launches next month

This is not a lie
Oct 22
// Salvador G Rodiles
It looks like November might be a good month for fans of Vocaloid music, as PinocchioP's upcoming album, HUMAN, comes out during that period. From the looks of it, it might be a good way to start the holiday season. Among the...
Japanator LIVE photo
Japanator LIVE

Japanator LIVE: Let's shoot down magical girls in RosenkreuzStilette

We're about to go Megaman on people
Oct 22
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here.] With October being the month that Halloween takes place in, I felt that it was time to play something that fits with the season. The Doujin Game RosenkreuzStilette...

Strong Style: Main Event time!

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

Tokusatsu Film School photo
Tokusatsu Film School

Tokusatsu Film School hits us with some useful tips

Teamwork is important
Oct 21
// Salvador G Rodiles
It's time to hit the book again, people. Garage Hero's Tokusatsu Film School series is back with a new episode that focuses on giving us some advice on the filming scene. Of course, it talks about the importance of keeping tr...
Manga Contest photo
Manga Contest

Do you have what it takes to get published in Weekly Shonen Magazine?

Sounds like a rad opportunity
Oct 18
// Salvador G Rodiles
For a good while, I've always been behind the idea of contests that let people get the chance to get their stories published if they win. Speaking of which, the Comic Website MediBang is teaming up with the folks at Weekly Sh...
Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator LIVE - World of Final Fantasy

World of Zippers and Buttons
Oct 17
// Red Veron
[Stream will begin at 10PM US Central Time over at the Japanator YouTube page and the video of the stream will also be posted here during and after the stream, so check it out!] The demo of World of Final...
Fuzichoco photo

Japanese artist Fuzichoco wants to bring her art to puzzle form

Artist looking for backing for puzzle
Oct 17
// Soul Tsukino
The company Playing Ground Puzzles has joined with the artist Fuzichoco to bring the deep and colorful anime-inspired illustrations to puzzle fans with a Kickstarter program. The anime inspired illustrator has partnered with the puzzle company to bring a fun way to pass some time and bring together a wonder picture to take you away to a far off land.

Review: Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy

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

Light novels photo
Light novels

New website publishes Japanese Light novels in English

The J-Novel Club has arrived
Oct 16
// Soul Tsukino
A new Website has been launched that will bring Japanese light novels in English to eager fans all over the world. J-Novel Club is partnering with publishers Hobby Japan and OVERLAP, with hopefully more to come in t...

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

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

Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator Live: Alter people's fates with This Starry Midnight We Make

Horoscopes are no joke
Oct 15
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here.] So I was able to progress further in This Starry Midnight We Make, but I hit a couple walls while I was trying to complete the last set of character stories to complete...

Weekend Japanatainment - Fall 2016 OP Edition

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

Tiger Mask W photo
Tiger Mask W

Tiger Mask W makes his real-life wrestling ring debut!

We kinda saw this coming
Oct 14
// Soul Tsukino
In a crossover that many fans of Japanese wrestling knew would probably happen, the title character from the new anime Tiger Mask W made his debut in a real-life wrestling ring on October 10th. During the pre-show for N...
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Brave man sings Dragonball Z theme for The Voice Thailand

Oct 14
// Nick Valdez
If you're unfamiliar with The Voice, it's a show where a singers attempt to grab the attention of four famous singers with nothing but their voice. But it's never been that interesting to us until now. 35 year old Dittha...
JoJo's Bizarre Toonami photo
JoJo's Bizarre Toonami

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure hitting Toonami this weekend

How many loaves of bread have you eaten?
Oct 13
// Nick Valdez
Announced earlier this year, this English dub release of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure's first season, Phantom Blood, is releasing on Toonami this Saturday! Airing after Dragonball Z Kai, let's hope JoJo will get the wider audienc...

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

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

First Impressions: Keijo!!!!!!!!

Oct 11 // Nick Valdez
Keijo!!!!!!!! (from here on out, I'm going to refer to it without eight exclamation points) follows Nozomi, an eighteen year old girl (which the episode hilariously points out before the fan service begins in full) who dreams of being a pro Keijo player because they make a lot of money. Keijo is a sport where girls try to knock each other off of floating platforms without using their hands and feet. Which means, of course, each girl's butt is the weapon of choice in this sport. When Nozomi is accepted into an academy for budding Keijo athletes, she meets several rivals who are out of her skill level. Including her best friend, Sayaka, who has a habit of giving herself a swimsuit wedgie before she competes.  At first glance, Keijo doesn't have much to offer beyond your standard "look at these girls bounce around." Once it gets passed its abrasive opening theme and credits (as it feeds almost too much audiovisual information at once), you'll find that it's basically that. The story and characters don't really have any interesting or new characteristics that'll separate them from other offerings. That'll most likely come out the longer the show runs, but at least there are interesting quirks in the dialogue. For one, Nozomi and another main character speak with an accent and Nozomi pointing it out is a cute moment. When Nozomi says something like "Her butt muscles are incredible!" or one girl declaring "Is that a butt that looks like giant boobs?" the story's serious tone wonderfully clashes with the inanity of its visuals as the animation works with the funky dialogue. But thankfully for everyone involved, the dialogue is not the focal point of the series.  The first episode runs us through a typical Keijo match as it flashes back to the mock trial in the academy's entrance exam. And boy does it pop off. Impressively, Keijo shocks with how competently it animates its movements. If you're unaware of its production company, Xebec, just know they're pretty good when it comes to stuff like this. As seen in shows like Shaman King, Tokyo ESP, or its more fan service fare like To Love-Ru, Love Hina, and Maken-Ki!, Xebec is very good at highlighting a character's movements with stuff like squalls (basically when a character moves really fast and wind is shown flowing around them to accent it) and action lines. So as weird as it is to see these techniques utilized on peaches, it's never truly disorienting. In fact, the surprise of seeing it all in such smooth animation put a giant smile on my face. It's a matter of wondering how far the show will go or how intense these girls' techniques are.  For example, when one girl spins her hip around so fast she knocks others unconscious it's sort of the best idea ever. Then Keijo goes and tops itself when Nozomi counters that move with faceplanting right into her bottom because she realized that girl attacks jaws with her butt power. And then it tops itself once more with the booty guillotine! It's one surprise after another as the "sports" part of this anime begins to reveal itself and becomes as entertaining as say, a good match in Prince of Tennis. But the harsh matter is whether or not Keijo will be entertaining beyond these moments. Because when the dust finally settles and we go back into the story proper, it falls back into the same types of archetypes we've seen before.  In the end, I'm not sure if my ironic love has gotten quite to un-ironic level quite yet. This is one of the better first impressions I've gotten from a series this season, however. On concept alone, Keijo!!!!!!!! earns all eight of its exclamation points. But like all surprises, it's impossible to capture that feeling again once you're aware of what's going on. Whether or not Keijo!!!!!!!!! is a fleeting joy will reveal itself over the next few weeks. But at least there is a joy.  [Keijo!!!!!!!! gives new meaning to "headbutt" on Crunchyroll.]
Keijo First Impressions photo
I found you, Ms. New Booty
Keijo!!!!!!!! has both the best and worst first episode I have ever seen in anime. It's most likely one of the biggest surprises of the Fall season merely for its audacity to exist. In a wonderful maelstrom of fan service, sl...

Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator LIVE - Dragon Quest Builders

Oct 11
// Red Veron
[Stream will begin at 9PM US Central Time over at the Japanator YouTube page and the video of the stream will also be posted here during and after the stream, so check it out!] Dragon Quest Builders is finally...

Review: Orange

Oct 11 // Karishma Roy
Orange Studio: TMS Entertainment Viewed on: Crunchyroll  Premiere Date: July 4, 2016 Orange is a character driven story and as such every single action and interaction matters. Naho, as the female protagonist, is a vexing character. She is a massive introvert verging on social ineptness. Despite knowing exactly what to do, thanks to the letter, she lacks the confidence to step out of her comfort zone and can often be found crying or running away. I felt that Naho’s growth as a character should’ve been made more evident to avoid audience frustration. Several times, I found myself saying, “Get an effing grip, gurl”, and this was especially true when she unnecessarily wastes time being indecisive or worrying about things like why her love interest might stretch out his hand with a longing look in his eyes. Thankfully her friends enlighten her on the age-old concept of hand-holding in romance. In some ways Naho’s weak personality is an advantage because it creates both internal and external conflicts that make the story eventful. She eventually gets her shizz together and towards the end appears much less timid. Kakeru, the male protagonist, may come across as playing into the trope of an angsty teenager but he suffers from depression and suicidal ideation. Episode 12, in particular, pulled at my heartstrings as it gave a gravely accurate picture of the severity of mental health issues. Research shows that Japanese people have very little understanding of depression, and suicide rates (especially among young men) are rather high, so I applaud this series for raising awareness about this serious condition. It was easy to understand Kakeru’s guilt and self-hatred and I found myself ruining my mascara as I ugly cried for him more than once. The romance between Naho and Kakeru was a bit clumsy and I’m just glad that Suwa existed - hats off to the best wingman ever! He was the most likeable character and is basically a saint. The determination with which he supports Naho and Kakeru, despite his own feelings for her, is truly remarkable. Our two main lovebirds would’ve been lost without him. The friendship is strong in this story – Hagita, Azu and Takako, along with Suwa, all come together to help Naho and attempt to save Kakeru. I appreciated that his friends noticed his depression, took it seriously and were actively doing something about it. The whole squad naturally complemented each other and I enjoyed their mundanely comical banter. Their different personalities were evident as the story played out, thankfully avoiding the need for character summations. The character design and aesthetics were visually pleasing except in episode 9 where the drop in animation quality made me gasp in shock. But, that is forgivable. Aside from that, the beautiful scenery and calm background music conveyed well the slow and steady slice-of-life feel to the story. Even though the mood is mellow on the surface, we are made aware that disaster is brewing underneath and the audience can’t quite relax. I liked the ending song, but I felt the opening was too upbeat whereas a slower and more emotional song would suit the melodramatic feel of Orange. So, should you watch it? I think yes. The overarching theme of Orange is about not wanting to carry regrets which I believe everyone can relate to. Most people tend to regret the things they didn’t do and this story encourages us all to become braver individuals who take risks. In that sense, Orange is inspiring. While I was dissatisfied with the romance mainly due to Naho’s initial characterisation, I accept that it was necessary to push the plot forward and allow the story to be told over 13 episodes. In every other way, this tale left my heart feeling full and fragile. The narrative about depression is accurate and it was refreshing to see a very prevalent mental health issue laced in with this anime. Orange is a good blend of romance, friendship, and slice-of-life with a sci-fi twist. If you find those genres appealing, then I believe it will be more than worth your time. [This review is based on a streaming copy of the series viewed on a premium account paid for by Japanator]
Orange Review photo
Would you change your past?
I was very excited for Orange, an anime adaptation of the manga, since it did incredibly well as a live-action film and there was generally a positive buzz surrounding this series. Did it meet my expectations? I enjoyed it an...

Gun Caliber photo
Gun Caliber

Aw, yeah: Gun Caliber's first episode is now locked and loaded

Let's start off our week with a bang
Oct 10
// Salvador G Rodiles
Alright, people. It's time to shoot evil where it hurts because the first episode of the Gun Caliber web series is now on Garage Hero's YouTube channel. Of course, this is the original movie split up into various parts. ...
Garo photo

Licensing GET: Kraken Releasing nabs the original Garo series

The golden light shines strong
Oct 10
// Salvador G Rodiles
Ladies and gentlemen: It appears that hell's temperatures have reached a subzero level since another miracle has happened. During Atlanta's Monsterama Convention that happened last weekend, Section 23's division known as Krak...
Children of Ether photo
Children of Ether

Rejoice: LeSean Thomas and Crunchyroll team up for Children of Ether

This is going to be sweet
Oct 09
// Salvador G Rodiles
Whenever I hear about a bunch of cool groups collaborating on a production, I tend to rejoice over this wonderful news. Speaking of team-up projects, Crunchyroll revealed at New York Comic-Con '16 on Oct. 6 that they're worki...

Strong Style: Gold and Grudge match

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

Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator Live: Creating This Starry Midnight We Make's stars is an important matter

The cosmos can change people's lives
Oct 08
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is over but you can watch it here.] Well, folks. Tonight, I attempt to complete my task of mastering the ways of making stars again, as the folks of This Starry Midnight We Make's world are in need of some...

Weekend Japanatainment - Anime ENGRISH Edition

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

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