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Gems of Japan: Handmade Onigiri or Onigiri From a Convenience Store?

Jan 23 // Lindo Korchi
After some time, I saw an onigiri in Kyoto. But this was no ordinary onigiri from the convenient store. Instead, it was a handmade onigiri that was prepared on the same day. Time itself had paused and there was only one thing to do: purchase the handmade onigiri, as well as the convenient store onigiri, and have them battle it out to determine which is the supreme onigiri. The battle would be done by a taste test. [embed]35504:6030:0[/embed] Handmade onigiri: It was huge. It seemed like 1 1/2 convenient store onigiri's put together. I was quite glad about that, until I took my first bite -- it was only rice. The ratio between rice and salmon was disproportional. Now, the salmon was great and tasted super fresh, but the amount was so miniscule. The seaweed was moist, which I didn't enjoy. A moist seaweed is chewy and tough to eat. The reason it's moist is because the onigiri is warm rather than cold or cooled down. It's a battle and I don't like to battle with my food. (Konbu onigiri) Convenient store onigiri: It was small and had a cool temperature. Opening it felt like a work of art, as you need to pull the wrapped down, then up, which tears the plastic in half. Then you pull right and left to free the onigiri of plastic. After, the corners of the seaweed sheet blossom a bit, in which you need to lay it across the onigiri in order for it to stick. Finally, the rice ball nearly becomes covered with seaweed. The first bite is full of crunch (since the seaweed isn't moist) and cooled down rice, along with a taste of salmon. Now the ratio between rice and salmon is also disproportional, in my opinion, but not nearly as much as the home-made onigiri. It's as if the homemade onigiri contained the same amount of salmon, but had an increase of rice. Japan Full Course Menu: Before tasting them both, I secretly rooted for the homemade onigiri, as I love homemade food. I also cook, thus I appreciate it as well. But with such a noticeably unbalanced rice-salmon ratio along with moist seaweed, I couldn't add it to the menu. The convenient store onigiri has made it instead. It taste delicious, fresh, crunchy, and cool. It's awesome. But I do hope to find a home-made onigiri that is supreme. (Yes, it's true: I purchased this manga simply because of the onigiri.) I asked a Japanese friend and tourist about their opinion. The Japanese person said they prefer the homemade onigiri, but it's a little more expensive and not as convenient to get as the one in the store. The tourist said he likes the home-made onigiri for its moist seaweed and warm rice, rather than the cool and crunchy one at convenient stores. That, I found interesting. What about you?
Gems of Japan photo
Which will be in your Full Course Menu?
My first encounter with an onigiri was at a convenient store located in Tokyo, Japan (huh, why does that sound so drastic? It's as if a showdown is about to occur). I looked directly at the well packaged rice ball, and saw...

Weekend Japanatainment - DragonBall Z + Linkin Park Edition

Jan 22 // Red Veron
[embed]35505:6031:0[/embed] "What I've Done" For what I've doneI start againAnd whatever pain may comeToday this endsI'm forgiving what I've done   [embed]35505:6032:0[/embed] "Numb" I've become so numb, I can't feel you thereI'm tired of being what you want me to beI've become so numb, I can't feel you thereI'm tired of being what you want me to be   [embed]35505:6033:0[/embed] "Faint" You hear me out nowYou're gonna listen to me like it or notRight now, hear me out nowYou're gonna listen to me like it or notRight now   [embed]35505:6034:0[/embed] "In the end" I had to fallTo lose it allBut in the endIt doesn't even matter   [embed]35505:6035:0[/embed] "Breaking the habit" I don't know how I got this wayI'll never be alrightSo I'm breaking the habitI'm breaking the habit tonight   What's your favorite AMV? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
I PUT MY TRUST IN YOU
If you were on the anime internet around the turn of the century, there was a prevalence of anime music videos that combined clips of the hit anime Dragon Ball Z with the music of the "nu-metal" band Linkin Park. It was ...

New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
New Japan Pro Wrestling

Strong Style: Thy WrestleKingdom come!


More WrestleKingdom action!
Jan 22
// Soul Tsukino
Welcome once again to another week of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we are once again back at the Tokyo Dome and WrestleKingdom 11. AXS is doing a special early presentation of the big card from January 4th, 2017 and this week we look at the semi-main event as well as the tag titles are on the line! Let's jump right into it!

Review: Diary of a Tokyo Teen

Jan 22 // Nick Valdez
Inzer's Diary of a Tokyo Teen: A Japanese-American Girl Travels to the Land of Trendy Fashion, High-Tech Toilets and Maid Cafes has quite a bit packed into its humble package. That humbleness oozes through each page as you learn more about the author little by little. It's non-abrasive approach also eases the reader into the text. Coming especially handy when Inzer's text eventually drops bits of info about Japan's culture and customs. Thanks to her writing style and art, much of the general Japan-related facts aren't as plain as you would see them in a conventional travel guide and thus more memorable. Because each factoid is tied to one of Inzer's memories (thus filling the "Diary" part of title), it makes each fact a little more tangible. For example, one of my favorite parts of the book is when Inzer discusses Tokyo fashions. She fawns over how well the teens are dressed while highlighting how awkward she felt around them. This bit of self-depreciating humor is utterly charming as it's still oddly positive and heart warming. There's so much emotion packed into these vignettes I was taken aback by how much I had learned about the author's journey throughout.  You can't discuss the bulk of the text without gushing over Inzer's art. Her comics are like the gravy on the already meaty content. It's the extra flare of personality helping hammer her personal story home. Adorable imagery coupled with her adorable perspective just gave me a warm feeling in general. I wish I had other adjectives to use, but I really can't think of a better word to describe the art than "adorable." With each of her self-portraits containing a level of awkwardness, you can almost imagine how small she felt at times in an admittedly big place. This comes through especially during a vignette in which she traveled alone for the first time and was met with confusion. Sure it's not the deepest or the most emotional at times, but it's greatly appreciated these sorts of stories are included in the first place.  I guess my only issue with Diary of a Tokyo Teen overall is that there isn't enough of it. Regardless of how long you spend reading the text and admiring Inzer's comic art, it's still a brief experience. But in that loss, Diary gains an even greater amount of accessibility than even its art and content provide. Diary of a Tokyo Teen is for everyone. If you're slightly interested in Japan and its culture, there are no better eyes to see it through than Christine Mari Inzer's. 
Tokyo Teen Review photo
Cuteeeee
To be completely blunt, I didn't expect much going into Christine Mari Inzer's Diary of a Tokyo Teen. When I was approached for a review of the book, I accepted because I really dug the art and figured it'd be a nice, light l...


Japanator LIVE photo
Japanator LIVE

Japanator LIVE: Let's have one last dance with Shantae: Half-Genie Hero


The performance is almost over
Jan 21
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here.] As we start to get into the rhythm of Shantae: Half-Genie Hero's dance, it seems that the performance will come to an end soon. All that's left for us is to thwart Risk...

Review: One Piece Film Gold

Jan 21 // Christian Chiok
One Piece Film Gold Studio: Toei Animation Licensed by: FUNimation Release Date: July 23rd, 2016 (Japan), January 10, 2017 (North America) Naturally, like most Anime movies based on a long running series, like Naruto and Dragon Ball (for the exception of the latest ones), they are non-canon. It’s been a while since we have seen all nine members present in a story that's implied to take place after the Dressrosa arc since Gold mentions the Straw Hats defeating Doflamingo for him, not to mention, if you keep up with the manga, the crew is once again separated, so it makes it difficult to fit it in a canon setting. The movie starts with the introduction of the movie’s antagonist — Gild Tesoro, the owner of the massive ship with a large entertainment city built on it, and known for having 20% of the world's money in it. This place is known as Gran Tesoro — the setting of the entire movie. Just from this opening sequences, you can witness the quality of the animation, these being Gild Tesoro and his partner Carina dancing and singing while the Straw Hats are fighting off a pirate crew of disposable while introducing each of the crew members, their personalities, unique abilities, and bounties. [embed]35497:6027:0[/embed] Personally, while the Vegas-like setting certainly made the movie quite interesting, story-wise, this was probably the weakest out of the three. I really enjoyed the back story between Nami and Carina — back when they were working together as thieves. As for the rest of the Straw Hats, they didn’t get much development, but they were still the great characters we’ve grown to care and love. While not really a bad antagonist, Gild Tesoro wasn’t too interesting in my opinion albeit he isn’t too generic either. During the movie, it is shown that he went through a rough childhood of poverty. The premise of the movie is that Gild Tesoro tricks people into getting into debt, and because they victims can’t afford to pay back their debt, they become his slaves for an eternity. With the help of his underling, Baccarat, who can steal the luck of anyone by simply touching them, making them extremely unlucky, she was able to trick the Straw Hats into a debt – initiating the main conflict of the movie.   The comedy in the movie was just as you would expect from One Piece — Luffy being the goofy captain and messing up things, Sanji always falling beautiful women, even if they are in the opposing side and thus falling for their trap, Usopp and Chopper alongside Luffy and their shenanigans and much more that had the entire theater laughing throughout the movie. Being disconnected from One Piece’s English Dub for over ten years, since I watched most of the movies with the original Japanese voices and most recent One Piece games only offer Japanese voices, being presented with the English dub once again was refreshing. The cast outdid themselves and hearing the talented Vic Mignogna portray Luffy's older brother Sabo was great. Keith Silverstein’s portrayal of Gild Tesoro was great as well — being able to sound as smooth and confident as the character is supposed to be. Overall, I am glad that I got to experience One Piece Film Gold in theaters. While the movie is certainly the weakest out of the latest three, Film Gold delivered with its great fight scenes, animation, soundtrack, and character interaction. While it’s not something that might captivate newcomers of the series, it’s certainly a ride that all One Piece fans will enjoy. 
One Piece Film Gold photo
Welcome to Grand Tesoro!
If there’s something we can all agree on, it’s that the recent One Piece movies has been epicuticular — Strong World, Film Z and now Film Gold. It’s no wonder that these films have been great since Eii...

Cons photo
Cons

Deculture: MacrossWorld Con transforms into Super Dimension Convention


The Macross-themed con gets a new form
Jan 20
// Salvador G Rodiles
Whenever an event changes its name, there's a good chance that folks can expect to see some new things around the corner. Speaking of which, the one-day long Macross-themed convention, MacrossWorld Convention, is now off...
Manga Sale photo
Manga Sale

Pick up digital manga based on this season's anime on sale!


Musical Girls and Monster Girls
Jan 20
// Red Veron
If you're into traveling light but want to have some manga with you on-the-go, check out a few digital manga on sale from Kodansha Comics. Among these manga on sale are adapted into shows currently airing this Winter season: ...
Public Charging photo
Public Charging

Japanese Bus tries out free USB charging for passengers


Free USBiribiri Power!
Jan 20
// Red Veron
Don't you hate it when your portable entertainment device just dies in the middle of your viewing of homoerotic ice skating anime? Or when you're reading the latest volume of your Monster Girl manga? Carrying USB power banks ...
Digimon Adventure tri. photo
Digimon Adventure tri.

Licensing GET: Shout! Factory grabs Digimon Adventure tri.


Greymon digivolves into Blu-raymon!
Jan 17
// Salvador G Rodiles
It's been a good while since Digimon Adventure tri.'s theatrical event occurred in North America. Luckily, this won't be the last that we'll hear from the original series' new sequel as Shout! Factory digivolves the film's fi...

Strong Style: Best Match Ever

Jan 15 // Soul Tsukino
[embed]35489:6017:0[/embed] The Tokyo Dome is ready for some action and the setup is amazing! We get a much different opening with an announcer telling us what to expect tonight and a different opening sequence telling us that this is WrestleKingdom 11. So if I were to guess, this is an American exclusive, instead of a re-edit of the Japanese clip show this is based from. Sweet IWGP Title: "Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada vs. "The Cleaner" Kenny Omega The set up here really starts one year ago. After losing the Jr. heavyweight title at WK10, Kenny turned on A.J. Styles and took over the Bullet Club, declaring he was moving up to heavyweight. He had runs with the IC Title and the NEVER 6 man belts but his eyes were on the prize. He declared he was going to win the G1 tournament MONTHS in advance and win the belt at Tokyo Dome, since, as he said, New Japan was protecting their guys and that would be the only way to have a chance to fight for the belt. Lo, and behold he wins the damn thing earning the shot. Right before this show Omega and the Club got to Okada by driving him through a table with the One-winged-angel to bang up the champ a bit but really just pissed him off. We start right off with Kenny coming to the ring with his Terminator entrance. A video plays of him reenacting the "clothes" scene from Terminator1, only with him speaking Japanese. No trash cans or brooms, he comes out in a leather jacket, half mask, and a prop shotgun. Won't see that in WWE. Okada comes out with belt and Gedo. Okadabucks galore! JR mentions Omega was the first foreigner to win the G1 Climax tournament and first Canadian to headline in the Tokyo Dome. Back from commercial as Omega crumples a fake Okadabuck. Bell rings and there is a stare down before they tepidly circle. Lock up and Okada gets the headlock and Omega turns it into a waistlock that is turned into a series of armlocks. Okada goes for the leg for an anklelock. He slides up into a headlock. Omega goes for the pin but it doesn't even get one. They get up and Omega gets in an elbow to break the hold. Kenny gets in some forearms and kicks but as he gets to their feet Okada counters. Kenny then turns around and gets the headlock back on and really grinds it in. Okada counters into the back suplex but Kenny holds on to the headlock. They get back up and Okada starts elbowing out of the headlock. Okada whips Kenny into the corner and goes for the elbow but Kenny counters and gets a sunset flip into a pin attempt that Okada breaks out of. Kenny goes for another pin but Okada gets out. They get back up and go for a lock up where Okada pushes him back to the ropes and gives a nice little pat to Kenny for the clean break. They whip and reverse back at forth before Okada gets Kenny on the top rope and goes for the dropkick but Kenny kicks him. Okada goes in but Kenny slides over him and tries for the one-winged- angel but Okada slips out. Okada goes for the Rainmaker but Kenny counters and then spits in Okada's face. He poses for a bit before rolling outside the ring. He walks around and kills time. he teases coming into the ring but Okada keeps going forward and the ref stops hm. Finally, Okada's had enough and goes out after him. He chases Kenny right back in the ring and Kenny goes for the ropes but that only serves him to run right into Okada's boot. That's what you get for stalling jerk. Okada sets him up and lands the short dropkick right to Kenny's face! Kenny rolls to the floor in a splat. Okada sends Kenny right into the barricade right in front of Steve Corino and Kevin Kelly. Okada goes for the boot but Kenny catches it. Kenny goes for the suplex but Okada counters it and drapes on the barrier and hits the DDT. Okada grabs a table for revenge from last month but Omega gets a cheap shot to end that. Okada pushes Omega over the barrier again and comes FLYING over the barrier with a body splash to the ground. They get back inside with Okada on the advantage with a slam and a reverse chinlock.  Omega elbows out and tries the offense but Okada gets a neckbreaker into a pin attempt for two. Kenny gets up only to get whipped in, but Kenny ducks the big boot and gets in a low dropkick on Okada's leg. He rakes Okada's eyes with the boots and gets in knife-edge chop on Okada. JR mentions that Japan is the only place someone can fire off a knife-edge and the crowd doesn't go "Woo!". Kenny fires off a forearm into the back that sends Okada down. Omega tries a few elbows but they all miss. Kenny hits another strike to send Okada back down. Kenny goes for the pin and Okada kicks out. Okada gets whipped in but counters with strikes, only to get kneed in the gut. Okada gets a shoot in on the pick up, but Kenny comes off the ropes with a rana to send Okada outside. Kenny gets his Terminator on and does an AMAZING swan dive over the top rope! Flying Canuck! Back from commercial with Kenny driving Okada's back against the apron. He chucks Okada back into the ring and climbs up and hits a flying dropkick to the back of Okada's head! Kenny goes for the pin but Okada gets to the ropes. How is he conscious? Whiplash that bad should have put him in a wheelchair. Kenny locks in an Arabian clutch but Okada gets to the ropes again. Kenny goes to finish it off with a powerbomb position but Okada's blocking. Kenny hits a forearm and an elbow to the back of the head again. Okada counters as he scoops Kenny up and hits a fireman's carry drop. Both guys are hurt but getting up as Okada gets in some solid and quick elbow strikes and finally a double stomp and a DDT. Okada tries the pin but only gets two. Kenny counters the pick up with some elbows but when Kenny goes to the ropes Okada counters into a flapjack. Okada locks in his deep in debt submission hold and Kenny looks about to pass out but he gets to the ropes. Okada gets up and drags Omega over. He goes for the elbow but Kenny kips up and Okada goes right over him. They tussle in the corner but Okada picks up Kenny into the Alabama slam position and drops Omega into the neckbreaker. Okada goes up and nails the elbow to the stomach but Kenny gets outside. As Okada goes for the change, Kenny ducks and Okada goes over the barrier. The Bucks start yelling at the broadcasters to move their tables back as Okada can barely get up and Omega flies with a HIGH altitude flying moonsault over the ropes and over the barrier to nail Okada! Serious air! Just as Okada gets back at ringside Kenny nails him, drops a table on him, and hits a double stomp from the apron! Kenny tosses Okada back in the ring. He picks Okada up and hits a powerbomb but Okada kicks out! Kenny picks him up and hits a doctor bomb! Okada kicks out again! The Bucks have set a table up at ringside. That can't be good. Kenny goes to the apron and drags Okada on out. The ref pulls Kenny back and Okada rolls back in the ring to save himself. Kenny just starts drilling elbows and strikes into Okada's back. Okada whipped into the buckle. Kenny goes for the shot but runs right into a boot, and then a double boot. Kenny counters and picks Okada up for a Finlay roll into a moonsault. Kenny goes for a full nelson but Okada strikes out. Kenny goes for the charge but Okada reverses to set Omega on the top buckle and hits his high dropkick to send Kenny over the ropes to the floor. Okada goes to pick Kenny up on the apron and they fight over the ringside table on the apron. Kenny goes for the One-winged-angel through the table but Okada slides back into the ring. They exchange shots and Okada is knocked into the ropes. Kenny charges but Okada tosses him over the top rope and through the table! We come back from commercial as the Bucks and the ringside doctors are looking over Kenny. Okada says the hell with it and throws Omega back in. Okada scales the ropes and nails an amazing dropkick with Kenny in his knees. Okada goes for the pin but only gets two. He scales the ropes again and nails the elbow drop! He calls for the rainmaker but he can't Omega to stand. Okada nearly gets it but Kenny gets into the ropes. Okada lands a kick to the back. Okada goes for a DDT but Kenny pushes forward into a tackle in the buckle. Okada answers with an elbow but Omega counters with a heel strike. He sits Okada on the top and goes up but Okada elbows him off. Kenny goes back up again with a full nelson and hits the dragon suplex with Okada landing right on his head! Kenny goes for the pin but Okada kicks out! Kenny scoops him up and drives Okada down neck first on his knee! Kenny goes for a running knee but misses and Okada gets the German suplex! Okada goes for the rainmaker but Kenny ducks and lands the knee. He then hits the step up knee! He goes for a third but Okada hits the dropkick! Okada goes for the rainmaker but Kenny counters, he tries the high knee but Okada counters. Kenny then nails the reverse rana! Kenny goes for the angel but Okada counters out! Okada blocks the strike and when Kenny goes for a rana Okada gets him into the tombstone and drops him on his head! He hits the rainmaker but Omega kicks out! DAMN!  Okada goes to pick Kenny up but Omega keeps elbowing Okada in the gut. Okada backs up and hits a low dropkick that makes Kenny shoot back like a chicken from an air cannon. Okada picks Kenny up for another tombstone but Kenny counters into a package piledriver! Okada somehow kicks out! JR announces at this point this is the longest match in the Tokyo Dome's history as we are over 40 something minutes in. They stagger back up and exchange forearms back and forth faster and faster before Omega gets the quick dragon suplex and a knee but when he goes for the pin Okada kicks out! Kenny hits another knee! He goes for the angel but Okada blocks it and turns it around into the rainmaker! Okada can't make the cover! He gets up and goes for it again but Omega nails him in the face with knees and boots but Okada nails the rainmaker anyway.  Okada goes for another rainmaker but Kenny counters and tries one for his own but Okada slips under into the ropes but is met with a dropkick. Kenny nails a knee strike! He goes for the angel but Okada slips out into a tombstone! He hits the 4rth rainmaker! Okada goes for the pin and gets the three count! He defended the title! Holy crap! Spoiler warnings for the 2017 awards, this is match of the year. As Kenny is carried away by the Bucks, Okada gets on the mic. He actually praises Kenny as the strongest foreigner he ever faced. He mentions that there is a lot of new faces for this year's event and thanks the fans for coming out to see the show. It is a heavy burden to carry NJPW on his shoulders but he is doing it. As long as he is carrying NJPW, he will make it rain. As the show ends, they run a memorial graphic to AXS TV executive Darrell Ewalt, who amongst many other jobs, was the executive producer of NJPW on AXS TV. Without him, this kind of action wouldn't have happened on American airwaves. So cheers to you Mr. Ewalt and thank you.   THIS match is one of, if not the best match I've seen on this show EVER. There is a reason both hardcore and casual wrestling fans are talking about this match. It went damn close to an hour and stands over anything in a country known for its amazing wrestling. If you are reading this, FIND THIS MATCH!!! While I'd prefer the Kelly/Corino commentary version, this one was just fine. JR didn't really have time for his usual follies and was right into it as we were. It was the perfect match, and this presentation didn't hold it back. Be sure to check out next week as we take a look at some more of this amazing show! See ya!  
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
WrestleKingdom 11 time!
Hello Japan wrestling fans and welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV! We are back after a break and we start off the first show of the year with WrestleKingdom 11's MAIN EVENT! It...

JAM Project photo
JAM Project

Catch JAM Project at Anisong World Matsuri at Otakon '17


August is about to get really hot
Jan 15
// Salvador G Rodiles
With 2017 marking the Otakon anime convention's debut in Washington, D.C., an interesting bit of news drops our way as the event's group join forces with the Anisong World Matsuri to bring us the con's musical performances. T...

Weekend Japanatainment - Winter Anime OP 2017 Edition

Jan 15 // Red Veron
[embed]35492:6021:0[/embed] "Kagerou (カゲロウ)" by ЯeaL Anime: Gintama. (2017) A new season this soon? Fans of the crazy comedy (sometimes great action) show Gintama will be happy to know that the new season is finally here and last year marked 10 years since the anime's debut in 2006. How did it keep getting adapted for the last decade? Well, because it is good.Mostly a gag show and get really good with its "serious" story mini arcs that pack the same amount great action and story in 4-6 episodes that shounen action shows stretch out to dozens of episodes over years. If you must start watching the show from the beginning, skip the first two filler episodes which are just horrible.   [embed]35492:6022:0[/embed] "TOMORROW" by Machico  Anime: KonoSuba: God's Blessing on This Wonderful World! 2 One of the best comedies from last year gets a new season! If you haven't seen this one, it's about Kazuma, a highschool kid who happens to get killed on the way home from buying a video game. He wakes up in the afterlife and given a chance to be resurrected in a medieval fantasy world. Kazuma takes the offer hoping for fame and fortune and finds out soon that things aren't exactly what he expected because he is an idiot.   [embed]35492:6023:0[/embed] "Kimi no Hana (キミの花)" by Hanako Oku Anime: Seiren From the same people behind the Amagami SS romance shows based off dating sims, this shows takes the same style with giving each heroine her own time to shine with mini arcs. A cheesy as hell romance show but it sets up a satisfying end for each arc that doesn't leave you hanging in the end. Great for those wanting some romance and/or waifus.   [embed]35492:6024:0[/embed] "Wagamama MIRROR HEART (ワガママMIRROR HEART)" by Ayaka Ohashi Anime: Masamune-kun's Revenge Teen who got rejected by a girl when he was a fat kid tries to get his revenge now that he is hot. How is he going to get his revenge? By trying to make her fall for her and he will dump her. Not really as mean as it sounds since it's a comedy.   [embed]35492:6025:0[/embed] "Shiny Ray" by YURiKA Anime: Little Witch Academia (TV) A TV series adaptation of the OVA releases of the same name by the anime studio TRIGGER, the same folks behind Kill La Kill (who also worked on the popular anime Gurren Lagann). Wonderfully animated as expected, this show set in a magic school is just so good. Check it out for yourself! The OVAs are available on YouTube for free!   [embed]35492:6026:0[/embed] "Itteki no Eikyou (一滴の影響)" by UVERworld Anime: Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga - Season 2 The second season of this show is finally here after almost 5 years since the first season aired, this show was quite popular. It's about Rin Okumura, a teen who finds out that he is the son of Satan and that he possesses the blue flame which can only be used by Satan. Of course, Rin rebels against his father having lived in the human world and trains to be an exorcist, those who fight against the forces of Satan's ream.   Is there an anime from this new season that you love? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
New Animu!
The new winter anime season has just begun and we have a lot of great new shows for everyone to watch while you cuddle up indoors, whether it is freezing or warm out or whatever crazy weather it is where you live. We've got b...

Impressions: Fate/Grand Order: First Order

Jan 15 // Josh Tolentino
To get to the core of that assessment, we’ll have to drill down into why Type-MOON, and more specifically Fate and other associated works by lead writer Kinoko Nasu work as well as they do. At a distance, the so-called “Nasuverse” isn’t all that different from the many game- or light-novel worlds that have popped up over the years. Type-MOON’s various efforts may chronologically predate the light novel boom by a bit, but in many ways they’re the paragon of chuunibyou success, with their intricately constructed settings – always dense with obscure Kanji and idiosyncratic readings -  forming the foundation for a number of engaging, rich stories. In Nasu-verse stories, it’s comparatively easy to see the thematic bones at the core of each story. High-level concepts like Nasu’s notions of eternal, metaphysical conflict between humanity and the world itself lurk in the background of Fate and Tsukihime, there to be discovered by fans who read between the lines or fall deep enough down the wiki hole. In short, the absurd quantities of lore, trivia points, and little rules feel like they exist for a reason, rather than for their own sake, something that's not always as clear when viewing shows like  While flashes of that brilliance can be found in Fate/Grand Order: First Order, the special can’t help but feel far less necessary to the greater Fate canon than even the dopiest Carnival Phantasm skit. Its biggest problem is that it does very little to make the world of Fate/Grand Order – the game – feel like it’s a place worth visiting. That is a huge issue for a show ostensibly made to promote the game. Problems arise at the very beginning. The episode opens with our hero, Ritsuka Fujimura, lying on the floor for no clear reason. Was he sleeping there? Was he kidnapped and dropped in the corridor? Why is he on the floor? We’ll never know, because the story doesn’t bother to go into that detail, or perhaps because they wanted to copy Saber and Shirou's first meeting, but couldn't find a good enough reason for, well, anything to happen in  away that made sense. This isn’t just nitpicking, mind you. It shows how little care First Order has for anything beyond being something tied to the game. If it did genuinely feel the story was worth paying attention to, It’d try to make that connection, taking the game’s vagueness as a sign to fill that gap, or to deviate from the source. The hero then meets up with Mash Kyrielight and the game’s mascot, a Carbuncle knock-off named Fou. Mash is one of the few Fate heroines with about as little personality as your average male light/visual novel lead. She’s as much a cipher as the hero is, and beyond a vaguely deferential personality (like Sakura without the tragic edge), she’s a nonentity. The hero is soon enlightened as a member of Chaldeas, an organization dedicated to preserving humanity’s future. There’s one problem, though: The future seems to have disappeared. Their fancy simulation/time machine can’t see past a dark spot situated in the year 2004, right around the time of the Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City that backgrounds the events of Fate/stay night. A bunch of mooks with “Master Potential” - Ritsuka among them - are to accompany Olga Animusphere, Chaldea's Rin Tohsaka-esque administrator,   on a trip into the past to see what gives.  Ritsuka - again for no apparent reason - falls asleep during this briefing, and is subsequently ejected from the meeting by Olga. But rather than take this as a prompt to have something interesting happen, the show takes this as a signal to kick off another long briefing, this time at the behest of the company doctor. The drama that follows to set up the main thrust of First Order arrives with all the impact of a raindrop. A series of unfortunate events later, Mash gains a bit of prominence. She gets outed as "Shielder" the Grand Order equivalent of a Starter Pokemon. But rather than being a Fire-, Leaf-, or Water-type, she's "Shielder",  Just how much the show and game owe to Fate itself is quickly reaffirmed when its most compelling presence comes in the form of Caster. Or rather, it’s Fate/stay night’s Lancer, reimagined as a Caster-class Servant. He carries the rest of the episode, until the pair, rejoined with Animusphere, go off to defeat a corrupted version of the Saber we all know and love. Followed by a rather obvious heel turn, the hero and Shielder are left with one task: Save the world by hopping across time and space to participate in big ol’ grail wars against heavily anime-fied versions of history’s greatest heroes and villains. Gotta catch ‘em all! And that’s it. Look, it’s one thing for a free-to-play mobile game not to have much of a story. That's usually a given, all things considered, and there’s only so much one can expect from a transparent tie-in designed to spur downloads on the app store. But it’s hard to see the show as anything more than a damp squib. It adds virtually nothing to the larger canon of Fate lore, and doesn’t even make a very good case for the game itself. The story scenes in the game itself are far more compelling, and focus not on the absurd contrivances of Fate but on the franchise’s greatest gimmick, namely its superbly exaggerated takes on well-known figures of myth and history. That's why all the absurd terminology and trite rules work, ultimately, but First Order doesn't capitalize on that strength, thinking the people are watching to see a wiki entry come to life.  Of course, expectations must once again come into play, and it's not as if promotional tie-ins to mobile games are held to an especially high standard, but in the ways that matter most, Fate/Grand Order: First Order is a letdown.
Fate/Grand Order photo
Nothing happens in phone games, it seems
I have to admit that I was initially rather disappointed to learn that Fate/Grand Order: First Order was being planned as a one-off TV special, rather than a full-season TV series, as the rumors had originally state...

Japanator LIVE photo
Japanator LIVE

Japanator LIVE: Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is about to take us on a magic carpet ride


We're about to see a whole new world
Jan 14
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here.] It's time for us to go back to our time with Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, and we might be going through a segment where we ride on magic carpets. My guess is that it has t...
Rock-Paper-Scissors photo
Rock-Paper-Scissors

What if rock-paper-scissors and shonen anime collide?


The game to end all games
Jan 14
// Salvador G Rodiles
If there's one debate that is serious business, it's the one to decide on which place to get food at. When you have two people set on two different cuisines, it's important to settle the whole thing in a civil matter; otherwi...

Final Impressions: Keijo!!!!!!!!

Jan 11 // Nick Valdez
One of the things I noted back when I first covered the series was how impressed I was by its smooth action animation. Luckily that indeed continued as the season rolled on to its end. As the girls' attacks became more ridiculous, so did the animation. Unlike other sports anime, which only bent physics, Keijo!!!!!!!! often incorporates many flashing lights and colors not unlike ones you'd see in traditionally shonen anime. In the last mini-arc, as sort of a graduation exam from their time at the Keijo Academy (which was only a year long, for some reason), the girls found themselves facing off against a rival academy from the East. This meant the series suddenly found itself in even wackier circumstances than before. This mini-arc presented the best episodes in the series as girls suddenly started using spiritual qi attacks, harnessed wind, and, of course, the absolutely nuts "Gate of Bootylon."  But ridiculous as the visuals were, I found myself not caring about any of it. As was indicated in the first episode, these girls have no character beyond what techniques they use. Nozomi had an interesting motive for joining the sport (wanting fame and fortune, which is pretty atypical for the sports genre) but that was dropped after the premiere. Even when the series slowed down for its brief training intermissions, these episodes felt like filler. Just as how it became a shonen series in animation, it took on some of the worst characteristics of shonen storytelling. The filler training episodes were more about developing certain techniques rather than use the development of those techniques for character growth. For example, Nozomi training to use her signature Vacuum Butt Cannon only resulted in her learning the move rather than have the move be a resolution to a personal problem. It wasn't to overcome any weakness, or something a bit more worthwhile character wise, it was just because. While that's characterization in itself, it's still not strong enough to warrant following this character through the series.  But as you've probably guessed, strong character work isn't exactly Keijo's top priority. That's totally fine, but it doesn't save the show from being hollow. At least it does a few different things toward season end that actually might be interesting additions if/when the show continues. Along with the flashier moves and kookier characters, a bit of characterization is introduced in the final mini-arc. The top keijo player in the rival East school is a girl named Maya. We're given a bit of her background in which she's teased for her inhuman strength until her mother introduces her to keijo (by having Maya break a hole in a bed with her butt), but her anxiety over the sport created a second, more antagonistic personality, Kaya (complete with new eyes and hair color). Her inner conflict (solved within two episodes, on par with the series' rapid pace) ends up an outer conflict against Nozomi and it's a bit interesting. Nothing to write home about, but better than the zero character work than I expected. It's just a shame Nozomi doesn't develop herself as a result. All she gets is a 'Super Saiyan' like mode which helps her win the day. I suppose there's an argument for having a blank slate main character as Keijo becomes more of a shonen-action series, but the best shonen anime give their main characters personalities, if small ones. Yu Yu Hakusho's Yusuke was a brash punk, One Piece's Luffy is blindly optimistic and selfish, and even Dragon Ball's Goku more often fights for himself than others. Then again, those series had time to flesh out their characters. Keijo's hugest flaw is how much it wants to cram into its short, 12 episode run. The series just has too many characters doing things at one time to really focus on anyone. Apparently the season took place over the course of a year, and that year was Nozomi's entire time at the Keijo Academy. That's insane. Because at the end of the season the girls start talking about their love for one another, but there's not enough evidence of this before it's all just dumped on the viewer. Much like taking a hip whip to the face, the series blindsides you with how fast it goes.  It's like butt whiplash.  I may not be interested in Keijo!!!!!!!! anymore, but I'm glad it has its fan base. There are already quite a bit of anime productions littered with fan service, so viewers might as well enjoy the competent one. If you're going to look at boobs and butts, then I fully support looking at ones used as tools and weapons.  I mean, when nipples are hardened to the point where they're used as acupuncture to achieve a "Super Saiyan" transformation, I can see the appeal.  [You can stream Keijo!!!!!!!! on Crunchyroll and Funimation Now] 
Keijo Final Impressions photo
Zoom-a zoom-zoom-zoom and a poom poom
At the start of the Fall 2016 season, as the Japanator staff chose anime to cover, Managing Editor Josh Tolentino warned me about selecting Keijo!!!!!!!!. He told me to be sure about covering this show because I'd have to kee...

Gekisou Sentai Carranger photo
Gekisou Sentai Carranger

Safety First: Carranger is up for pre-order on Shout! Factory's Website


Who wants to learn about traffic safety?
Jan 10
// Salvador G Rodiles
Now this comes as a surprise. It turns out that Shout! Factory plans to launch Gekisou Sentai Carranger, the show where Power Rangers Turbo got its footage from, on April 25. Just like their previous releases, if you pre...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 11-13

Jan 09 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 11 If you love training videos then this is the episode for you! This episode takes place just after last week's show has ended. Tiger has a week until his next round match against Tiger the Dark and he needs to come up with a new killer move. Wakamatsu and Tanahashi invite him to train at the NJPW dojo, which Tiger agrees too. This pisses off Takaoka who is so old school he talks about a bodyslam or keylock being a killer move once. Anyway, most of the episode is literally a commercial for New Japan as both Tanahashi and Okada (where has he been this whole time?) take turns beating the crap out of Tiger Mask at the New Japan Dojo. I have to admit the animators must have made a trip to the Tokyo building because they get the inside of the training hall scary accurate! Kudos to them for that. Another interesting point in all this is a random appearance of Tetsuya Naito. He doesn't play a part in the story and is only on for a few minutes, telling Tiger Mask to chill out and Tranquillo and that's it. That was... useless. What the hell was the point of that? Unless Los Ingobernalbes show up to help Tiger Mask beat Tiger the Dark there was no point to this cameo at all. It literally would have made more sense to have Nagata, Fukuwara Mask or hell, even Gorilla Jeet Sign show up here more than that! After his time at the gym, Tanahashi and Wakamatsu take Tiger to a waterfall to stand under, with Tanahashi saying it was something Hirooki Goto did to find his finisher, to which Wakamatsu said that it was to collect himself when he lost to Okada. Either way, Hirooki Goto hasn't even appeared on this show so unless you are a fan of New Japan wrestling, it will just fly over your head. Outside of watching Tiger get his clock cleaned a number of times and pointless mentions and cameos, We see what the GWM guys are doing with their training! It's all atmosphere and pressure chamber space age technology with them as it's just like the training montage from Rocky IV. Tiger the Dark wants to be just as strong as Yellow Devil. We also see Takuma go to the hospital where his father is, but he still can't face him so he leaves some pudding with the nurse and leaves. His father figures out where the pudding from his hometown came from and tries to go after Takuma but he is still wheelchair bound. This episode flat out was not very good. It seemed more like an advertisement from NJPW and its top wrestlers more than anything that really advanced the plot. Nothing here couldn't have been accomplished in a 2-minute flashback and didn't need to be played out like this. Total skippable episode. Episode 12 It's time for the next match as the semifinals of the masked world tournament are tonight. However Tiger is still training with Tanahashi to try and get his new finishing move down at the NJPW gym. I can't say this is a good idea, but this is anime and that changes things. We even get a little bit of Haruna training at the home gym a little bit as she is toying with the idea of becoming a wrestler. The training bag ends up hitting her and knocking her down to the floor. The big show starts promptly at 3 pm and Tiger Mask, Dragon Young, and It's-The-Ace are not there. Tonight's matches are an opener of a couple of jobbers, Ken Anderson and Mike take on Poseidon and Dragon Young, and the two semifinals. Tiger and his buddies don't show up until the opening match is just ending so poor Poseidon is standing there just as his partner shows up (in a cab no less) and they run to the ring and promptly lose because they keep hitting each other. They then start fighting. Umm, okay. Yellow Devil and It's-The-Ace are up next and no surprise that Tanahashi does more damage to Yellow Devil than anyone else. Were you expecting any different? But since NJPW is producing this, Tanahashi loses without actually being pinned or submitted because screw you that's why! When your main villain of the season can't be bothered to pin a dude, that doesn't really look all that great when the final happens does it? Tiger Mask and Tiger the Dark finally go at it. It is actually really disappointing as the match really isn't much to talk about. Tiger the Dark unveils his own new special move, a modified Octopus hold, and Tiger nearly passes out. But Haruna had invited Daisuke and the nurse to watch the show! They arrive just in time and not only does this revive Tiger, but Tiger the Dark freaks out, as you could imagine. It doesn't help that Daisuke is cheering for Tiger Mask and not him. Well, stupid, if you'd actually face you father and tell him what you are doing this wouldn't have happened now would it? Anyway, Tiger Mask unveils his new move, which is a flying knee to the face. Seriously, he got his ass kicked by NJPW's guys, stood in a waterfall, and got jabbed at with sticks on fire just to come up with a flying cartwheel knee to the face. This doesn't put Tiger the Dark down, it just splits open his old scar from Yellow Devil and pisses him off. Dark goes to retaliate but just passes out from the blood loss and Tiger Mask wins. This episode was disappointing. It still was able to hit some plot points but man it was like the match with the two tigers was just an afterthought. That match should have taken WAY more of the episode instead of messing around with all the extra crap. This episode wasn't a total disaster, but I would have done this one a whole lot differently. Episode 13 It's now time for the finals of the Masked World Tournament. But first, it's time for a women's match for no particular reason! Yup. GWM puts on a women's match right before the finals, proving that even in an anime, women matches get the death spot on a card. It's kind of weird as the subtitles refer to it as a "divas" match while you clearly hear them say "Joshi". Both describe a women's wrestling match but have much different connotations. Divas was the term the WWE used for women wrestlers but did away with at Wrestlemania last year as many of the women found it demeaning. Joshi conjures up images of the AJPW women's dojo and beating the tar out of 15-year-old girls before throwing them in the ring. Seriously, look up some vids online of that place. Scary. The only point for this is that originally they were supposed to go 30 minutes, letting Yellow Devil and Tiger Mask rest before the fight, but Miss X shortens it to 10 minutes. They don't actually explain it, but the idea is that Tiger Mask just got done a fight while Yellow Devil is sitting back relaxing. As this match is going on Tiger Mask is PISSED. He yells at Hikari going to his dressing room when she tries to get some questions. Turns out that in the match with Tiger the Dark, he actually screwed up his new big move and that kneeing him in the skull was an accident. Botchamania time for Tiger Mask! Meanwhile, Yellow Devil brings up a good point to Miss X, saying a fighter's top fear is the unknown. He then shows that he is not known for his headbutt but will use it against Tiger. The women's match ends with both unconscious on the mat, with them only going 5 minutes meaning not only does Tiger have to turn around and go back out there, but that the GWM needs to stick their women fighters to some endurance training. Tiger Mask and Yellow Devil start the match and Tiger is ready to kill right out of the bell. He tries for big moves like a tombstone but nothing is working. Yellow Devil is just tossing Tiger around before tossing him out of the ring. Tiger gets so furious he dents the metal barrier outside. Daisuke, Takaoka, Haruna, and Fukuwara Mask all notice Tiger is mad and tells him to calm down (THIS would have been a good Naito reference with Tranquillo). Tiger finally calms down and gets back in. It's around this point that Tiger The Dark wakes up and staggers out to watch the fight too. The match sequence is actually pretty good. Much better than the Tiger the Dark fight. Tiger counters Devil's moves but Devil has had enough of that and strangles Tiger with a choke and then headbutts him so hard Tiger starts bleeding. Daisuke freaks out saying that this isn't the Yellow Devil he knows. Everyone else freaks out as Yellow Mask damn near killed Tiger. Devil picks Tiger back up and goes for the choke and headbutt again but Tiger has a mental episode and counters it. He gets Devil back in the corner and finally hits his move correctly to knock Devil out and win the match. It's a corner cartwheel into a lung blower and monkey flip. I'd stick to the knee to the face. He grabs Yellow Devil and we find out that the masked man wasn't who everyone thought it was, pissing tiger off immensely. As he walks to the back in disgust, Tiger the Dark realizes that Tiger Mask is after Yellow Devil as well. After a couple of duds, this was a good episode. The women's match part of it wasn't the greatest, but they delivered in the actual meat of the episode. Since this was the finale of Season 1 (of 3) I wondered what this show would do. They had a climax with plenty of reason to keep watching (as good wrestling should). Not only does Tiger keep fighting, but a seed has been planted between Tiger and Tiger the dark now that they have a common goal.
Tiger Mask W photo
The climax of the tournament
We are back at it with the further adventures of Tiger Mask W after a holiday break. We are at the end of the first season and the GWM's Masked World tournament is in it's second round so let's get started with the action!

Uchu Sentai Kyuranger photo
Uchu Sentai Kyuranger

Watch Kyuranger's heroes strike a cosmic pose


It's Space Time!
Jan 08
// Salvador G Rodiles
At long last, we get to see Uchu Sentai Kyuranger's constellation-themed heroes in action. Thanks to TV Asahi, the first teaser for the show gives us a better look at the team's costumes. While we only get to see the tea...
Snow Miku photo
Snow Miku

Snow Miku's 2017 music video will take you to a winter wonderland


Cuteness triumphs over frostbite
Jan 08
// Salvador G Rodiles
No matter how cold the winter season can get, but that isn't stopping Hatsune Miku from warming people's hearts. Speaking of Vocaloids, AO FUJIMORI and yuiti hinata team up to bring us an animated music video of n-buna and Or...

Weekend Japanatainment - Cartoons Made in Japan Edition

Jan 08 // Red Veron
[embed]35482:6008:0[/embed] The Real Ghostbusters (1986) Yes, this show was animated mostly in Japan by a company called KK C&D (while the last two seasons were done by a Korean studio). There are many scenes in the series that just suddenly get very anime and it just looks pretty cool looking at it from today knowing who worked on it.   [embed]35482:6009:0[/embed] ThunderCats (1985) This intro is probably the most anime of all the intros in this selection, not to mention the most 1980's as well. It's got that super high energy that just doesn't stop with the animation and the music. I never really saw the show, but that remake was a straight-up anime.   [embed]35482:6010:0[/embed] SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron (1993) I couldn't verify much of the information on this show but I can confirm that the intro was worked on by Itsuki Imazaki, who has worked many roles on different anime. The intros definitely give off very strong anime influences and eventually the show started to look more and more like anime. Don't believe me? Go watch some episodes in the second season.   [embed]35482:6011:0[/embed] Batman: The Animated Series (1992) Animated by another Japanese studio, TMS, this show does not look like anime at all with its very distinct character designs by Bruce Timm. Though there are moments where we get that occasional flash of anime influence.   [embed]35482:6012:0[/embed] G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987) A show about with the subtitle "Real American Hero" is made in Japan? Yep, Toei animation, the folks behind many of your favorite anime such as Dragon Ball, was made in Japan (also with some help from Toei subsidiaries around Asia). This sequence from the movie is just pretty crazy and just feels like something from an insane action anime with everything going on.   Are there cartoons that were secretly made in Japan that you loved? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
American Anime?!
Wait, what? Yes, I just blasphemously compared your beloved Japanese anime with American cartoons. Now, before you all start grabbing your imitation 'Made in China' Katanas and ninja run over to the Japanator building intendi...

Japanator LIVE photo
Japanator LIVE

Japanator LIVE: Dance through the darkness with Shantae: Half-Genie Hero


You can't go wrong with surprises
Jan 07
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: The stream is over, but you can watch it here and here.] With this weekend being the first that's not on a major holiday, it's time for me to enter the scene again. Thanks to a close friend of mine, I was able to nab...
Fafner: The Beyond photo
Fafner: The Beyond

Are you there? Fafner's next project gets a trailer


The story continues
Jan 07
// Salvador G Rodiles
To this day, Fafner is one of the shows that I never expected to get a continuation. With a prequel OVA, a sequel film and a second TV series, the anime is an example of a situation where the team is willing to do what they c...

Review: Kaiju Girls

Jan 05 // Salvador G Rodiles
Kaiju GirlsStudio: Studio PuyukaiViewed On: CrunchyrollPremiere Date: September 27, 2016 As a person who’s still new to the Ultra franchise, I found the anime staff’s depiction of some of the giant monsters to be faithful to the original creatures. For example, the anime manage to capture Pigmon’s cute characteristics that make it one of the series’ friendliest beasts. This acts as a neat reward for viewers who’re familiar these monstrosities. At the same time, it contributes to the idea that many of these life forms have their own set of instincts. While Kaiju Girls’ depiction of the monsters as cute ladies is one of its strengths, the show doesn’t do much to take advantage of its ideas. Even though the show’s premise involves a group of called GIRLS that trains women with the souls of large monsters to protect people, the program fails to do anything grand with this concept. Instead, the title focuses on the everyday lives of three heroines who’re based on the Capsule Monsters from Ultra Seven, the third show in the Ultra franchise and the second Ultraman installment. For the most part, the staff’s decision to focus on the daily life of girls with giant monster souls worked decently. The idea of Windom being a closet fujoshi who envies Eleking, another otaku Kaiju Girl, lead to some cute moments that brought a smile to my face, and Pigmon’s tendency to be a cute person while giving off a serious authoritative presence was enough to make me giggle. Even though this format was entertaining at times, most of the skits were hit or miss. The episodes that featured fight scenes fell flat since the show’s three-minute episode timeframe didn’t give Kaiju Girl’s conflicts the chance to shine, such as the Shadow Monsters and the ladies with monster souls who went berserk. Since the series’ strengths lied in its skits between the girls, the story outside of the Capsule Monsters’ training and everyday life segments were weak at times, as they didn’t appear until the show was nearing its end. In any other Ultra show, these sorts of moments might’ve worked, but in a series of small shorts, you need more time to flesh things out. Of course, the cast’s hard work in making the girls sound like cuter versions of their original monster counterparts was one of the primary elements that helped make a few of Kaiju Girls’ segments entertaining. Sora Tokui (Milky Holmes series’ Nero, Is the order a rabbit? series’ Maya) gave off the right tone to make Pigmon sound adorable while showing her authority as one of GIRLS’ leaders, and Yurika Endo (Ace of Diamond series’ Haruno, Sakura Trick’s Rina) contributed to making Windom’s closet otaku personality seem funny. Since Kaiju Girl’s main focus is on the dialogue and the cast’s characteristics, the show doesn’t take advantage of the gang’s powers. The only elaborate part is the magical girl-like transformation sequence where each character is shown in a full-body design when they tap into their monster souls. For the most part, it’s a simple show that aims to bring amusement with the chibi girls’ expressions and the voice actress’ performances. Even though Kaiju Girls doesn’t complement the Ultra franchise’s tendency to feature ridiculous wrestling moves between a Giant of Light and a huge monster, Studio Puyukai uses the show’s simplicity to bring us something that could bring a smile to many folks. Each character almost showcases the right personality that complements their specific monster soul, and it works as a neat spinoff where the Ultra Warriors aren’t the star of the show. Unfortunately, some of the skits can be hit or miss, and the series’ major conflicts are a bit of a letdown; however, the title’s small episode timeframe might be enough for some folks who’re in the mood for some cuteness in short bursts— especially if they’re familiar with the Ultra franchise’s giant monsters and aliens. [This review is based on a streamed version of the series viewed by the reviewer at personal expense.]
Kaiju Girls photo
Unleash your inner Monster Soul
When it comes to tokusatsu franchises branching out into other mediums, I’m always open for these types of ideas since they can pull off things that could be hard to pull off in a live-action series. In this case, Tsubu...

Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator LIVE - Nier Automata


Gravity Rush 2 Demo too!
Jan 04
// 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 new year is fin...

Japanator Awards 2016: Soul's picks for the best of the year

Jan 02 // Soul Tsukino
ANIME:   4) Haruchika: Haruta and Chika A series based on light novels, this series was like the scent coming from an air freshener. It wasn't heavy handed, over the top, but it still made you think. The adventures of two old childhood friends who are in a school's band club while solving puzzles is an interesting pitch and it worked well for the few episodes that it had. The series lacked any time to be able to expand on a lot of the characters, but the ones that were shown were funny and made the series really enjoyable. 3) Attack on Titan: Junior High I loved these little toe rags! Since the series finished in January I can include it here. A parody of Attack on titan, this series took what was VERY heavy and made it hilarious. The hardcore fans thought it was a waste of time but I thought it was a fun way to lighten up. A silly series that made me giggle and have a good time. 2) Sailor Moon Crystal I'm sorry but I loved this series! I waded through all the bitching and moaning people did complaining it's not the original series and really liked what was done here. Sure, the art had some issues, but I got into the story just as much with this series as I did when I first saw the original. I'll admit it had its faults but I took a lot more positive out of it than negative. It was a great series to watch and as an old school Sailor Moon fan I got into it. 1) Keijo!!!!!!!! This series should not have been good. This series should have been skewered to death and destroyed. But you know what? I enjoyed it. Other people enjoyed it. This show had me laughing literally every episode with just how insane it really was. This show took fan service and made it an art form with its creativity and not being afraid to be as silly as it could with a concept like this. Under any other circumstances, you'd think this show was have been buried and loathed, but I'll be damned if people aren't enjoying it for what it is. This not only was the biggest surprise for me but the most fun I've had with an anime series in a long time, so damn right I'm making it my top pick! WRESTLING: Match of the Year: Hiroshi Tanahashi v/s Kazuchika Okada WrestleKingdom 10 These guys had a major hill to climb. Not only did they have to the main event the biggest event of the year, but this was a rematch from the year before so they had to do something new. They delivered. The story of Okada never winning in the Tokyo Dome and facing the guy who not only beat him the year before but ALWAYS won in the Tokyo Dome made for a great stage for this contest. They gave it their all and made the match really exciting. Okada finally getting his big win made the story that much sweeter. Junior of the Year: Will Ospreay No one, and I mean NO ONE has made the splash in wrestling this year like Ospreay has. This 23-year-old Englishman shot to superstardom this year and is wanted around the world. He not only became an instant smash in New Japan but also in WCPW in England and Ring of Honor in the United States. Barring injury, this kid will only get bigger and better in 2017. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here. Dud of the Year: Yoshitatsu Poor Yoshi. Spent a year and a half on the sidelines with a broken neck and finally gets to make his comeback to see it go over like a fart in church. He went from teaming with Michael Elgin and Hiroshi Tanahashi to teaming with Captain New Japan and cosplaying as Triple H in record time. If there is someone in desperate need of a change in career trajectory, it's this guy. Tag Team of the Year: The Young Bucks/Jacksons I didn't want to do it. I REALLY wanted to find someone better. I hate these guys with a passion. But there just wasn't anyone else that had the year these guys have had. Multiple tag title reigns in New Japan with the Jr. tag titles as well as runs with the ROH tag belts here in the U.S., these annoying little snots put on some great matches with teams over the last 12 months. So, having to bite down and bear it, these guys are my top team this year. Wrestler of the Year: Tetsuya Naito I thought over this one a lot, with Kenny Omega and Shinsuke Nakamura being possible other choices, but Kenny's got a bigger 2017 ahead of him and Nakamura is in the U.S. full time. Naito was the guy who was never over like Tanahashi, Okada, or Nakamura as a face. He was just an over glorified junior who got main event shots when the champ needed someone to beat. He would get booed out of buildings and while he had great matches, he just couldn't get over that hump with the fans. A radical change in personality and approach later and he has the crowd eating out of the palms of his hands. As the leader of Los Ingobernables, he has become a real threat in New Japan having won both the IWGP World and Intercontinental belts in the last 12 months and while The Bullet Club is teetering on being a bloated parody of itself, Los Ingobernables is primed to take their place. With great matches, big wins, and a style on his own, I give the master of Tranquillo the top spot for the year. OTHER STUFF WTF story of the year: Parents leave kid alone on a mountain Seriously, was there a more f'ed up story than this during the year? Yamato Tanooka's parents try to teach their misbehaving child a lesson by kicking him out of a car on a lonely mountain road, only to find out when they went back for him that the kid has vanished into the bear-infested, cold forest at the base of a volcano? Yamato seemed to be a tough little guy surviving for five days alone before wondering onto a Self Defense Force training base just as it looked like he wouldn't make it. Hopefully, this is a lesson to all the parents out there to NOT DO THIS. Pop Culture fad of the year: PikoTaro I don't think anyone has made so much out of a blend of writing utensils and produce. Dressed like either a pimp or a used car salesman and with dance movies of a drunk uncle at a wedding, this guy arrived out of nowhere to show use what to do with pens and fruit. Now he's on TV,  has many spoofs, and even has a restraint in tribute to his ode to pineapples, apples, and pens.  Gotta love it.   So with that, I bid adeu to 2016. I hope everyone had a happy holiday and may we all find health and good fortune and luck in the next year. See you all in 2017!
Japanator awards photo
Anime,Wrestling, and other stuff
Hey, Gang! It's that time of the year where we look back at the last twelve months and decide what was the best of the best. Since I like to cover more than just animated adventures, I'm putting my stamp on other things Japan related I've been encountered in the last year. So hope on and here is what I think was the best of the best in 2016.

Japanator Awards 2016: Christian's Top 5 Anime of the Year

Jan 01 // Christian Chiok
[Editor's Note: As with last year's Japanator Awards, our lists are arranged in order, with our #1 pick being our favorite of the year. To qualify for inclusion in the Japanator awards, a candidate must have concluded a broadcast run or season ("cour") within the calendar year of 2016.] 5. Keijo!!!!!!!!! This series had to make it into the list somehow, right? Like many have said before, Keijo!!!!!!!!! Is definitely the gem of the season. Keijo offers the flashiness similar to Kuroko’s Basketball, where techniques are exaggerated and shown as attacks from your typical Shonen series. Additionally, it manages to combine both a wacky and serious tone quite well.  From the outside, it may look like a perverted series of clashing boobs and ass. From the inside, however, the series is about an intense sport called Keijo and the hardship of many of the students that work to be the best at it.  If you like sport series, I would definitely recommend it. Don’t let the wackiness fool you. Additionally, Aoba is definitely the best girl in the series. 4. Haikyuu (Season Two & Three) Aside Kuroko’s Basketball, Haikyuu is definitely one of my favorite sport series in recent anime history. While it doesn’t give out the same intense for “Dragon Ball in sports” feel, the series does a good job at keeping you at the edge of your seat. Coming from Production I.G, the animation is certainly phenomenal as well. Both seasons, the second one which started last year but ended this year and the third one which both aired and concluded this year were certainly enjoyable. Both protagonist, Shoyo Hinata, and deuteragonist, Tobio Kageyama, made tremendous development in both seasons. This isn’t saying that the rest of the Karasuno team didn’t make any development, but these two guys went through a lot which eventually made them better characters. I don’t think Volleyball is as interesting as Basketball, and not to mention, Haikyuu isn’t as unrealistic as Kuroko’s Basketball. Still, a lot of the plays were quite intense and watching them in anime form was enjoyable thanks to Production I.G. 3. Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara Just like last year, Shokugeki no Souma delivered once again with its craziness and delicious plates. Additionally, I also appreciated the references put in some of the matches, especially the one with Megumi and Ryo where both of them had Stands. The tournament arc was quite enjoyable to watch as well — from its delicious food to the same intensity that you get from watching a sport series. My thoughts haven’t changed from last year when I put the first season on my top as well. The series features a variety of characters with different personalities who are certainly memorable. 2. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable If you took your time to read my Top 5 from last year (which I’m thankful for if you did), then you saw this one coming, because I did say I was going to automatically make it my Top 5 of 2016. To me, Diamond is Unbreakable is the best Jojo arc for many reasons. First, it features one of the best villains ever featured in a Shounen series, if not the best. He isn’t your generic “I am evil just because” or “I turned evil because I got friendzoned (looking at you, Obito). Yoshikage Kira has a unique background compared to other villains, and his purpose of doing what he does is unique as well. To add, Killer Queen was great antagonistic stand. Just like it features a great villain, the series though has a great protagonist as well. Joseph and Jotaro are great, and while Giorno Giovanna is my favorite JoJo, Josuke Higashikata definitely comes in second. He’s a hilarious character with a great personality but when it comes to being serious, he’s not playing around. Just like his father, he’s certainly a smart fighter as well. The side characters such as Jotaro, Joseph, Okuyasu and especially Koichi add to the series as well. 1. Orange This is the series that a lot of people in my circle called “If Clannad and Erased had a baby,” including myself of course. However, Orange’s traveling concept isn’t the same as Erased’s. In Orange, the protagonist, Naho Takiyama received letters from her future self to save her classmate, Kakeru Naruse, from comitting suicide. Each letter details on the things present Naho must do to save present Kakeru. Similarly to Clannad, Orange will also take you through the feelings roller coaster, similarly to the former. You’ll find yourself easily attached to many of the characters and feel what they are going through, which is an accomplishment considering the length of the series. I’m no afraid to admit that I shed some tears here and there watching the series. My only gripe is that the series was a bit short but perhaps it’s better if it was “short and sweet.” Honorable Mentions: Mob Psycho 100, Yuri On Ice, Re:Zero, My Hero Academia, Erased, All-Out, and Drifters.
Japanator Awards 2016 photo
Emotional Coasters, Boobs, Food, & More!
With another batch of enjoyable anime released this year, another Top 5 article was certainly obligatory. Unfortunately, just like last year, I didn’t invest my time much in Anime and spent it a lot more video games ins...

Japanator Awards 2016: Sal's Top 5 Anime of the Year

Jan 01 // Salvador G Rodiles
5. Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro If there are two things that I never imagine seeing in the same place, it’s preparing food being and becoming a DJ. Somehow, Tonkatsu DJ Agetaro drags us into a tale where a guy aims to be become a DJ through applying his experience of working at his family's tonkatsu (fried pork cutlets) restaurant to perfect his techniques. For the most part, the show made this whole thing seem ridiculous while making us root for this underdog who just wants to create a fun mix for people to enjoy. Even though the show’s looks wasn’t the best out there, the whole thing blended well with the series’ bizarre combination of themes. With each episode running at ten minutes, it was nice to see how well the tonkatsu theme played a huge role in Agetaro’s journey to become a great DJ. At the same time, I loved how this concept went well with the idea how one can apply their experience from a previous field in one that’s entirely different— in terms of understanding the new path better. Of course, it’s hard to deny a show where food and music go hand-in-hand to create a fun ride. To top it off, it deserves some props for giving a positive outlook on the word “chill out.”   4. Space Patrol Luluco While we’re on the topic of interesting shorts, Space Patrol Luluco served as an example of a series that reward me for sticking with it until the end. Even though the idea of Luluco being a series of shorts made me skeptical at first, the show ended up growing on me. We got to see a surprising origin story that’s relevant to Studio TRIGGER itself, along with a ridiculously over-the-top love story that took us through different worlds and galaxies. However, the big thing about this series was how much the series accomplished with its length. In 12 short episodes, we saw the show go from a tale of a girl following her dad’s footsteps to be a space officer so that she could use the money to free him from being frozen to story that took the idea of romance and used it in a scenario where everyone’s lives were on the line. At the same time, Luluco was a fine example of a project where the team at Studio TRIGGER just wants to have lots of fun while they mix a bunch of random off-the-wall ideas to create something wild. As a person who’s a fan of Hiroyuki Imaishi’s stuff, it was nice to see him make his over-the-top ideas work well in a series made up of seven-minute episodes. To top it off, the idea of seeing M.A.O./Mao Ichimichi (Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger’s Luka/Gokai Yellow) as Luluco and Tetsu Inada (Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger’s Doggie Kruger/Deka Master) as the show’s police chief, Chief Over Justice, felt like a dream come true since they both had solid roles in the Super Sentai franchise.   3. Konosuba – God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! When it comes to comedic fantasy titles, I do my best to catch them when I can. As a person who enjoys titles with a wacky gang of heroes who get into lots of trouble, such as Slayers and Louie the Rune Soldier, Konosuba quenched my thirst for this genre. The idea of having a NEET who was revived in a fantasy world after experiencing a humiliating death, a goddess who the main guy took with him, a delusional Arc Wizard who’s super obsessed with the explosion spell, and a masochistic Crusader who can’t hit her target joining forces worked well in creating a random cast that made each episode really amusing. This is thanks to series is placing this team in many situations where their quirks contribute to the show’s humor. With moments that range from the gang struggling to slay simple creatures to somehow taking out a powerful boss who works for the main villain that threatens the land, Konosuba made way for many surprises; thus making it one of the funniest trapped-in-another-world shows to grace 2016. Last but not least, Megumin the Crimson Demon might be the show’s best girl, which may nor may not be a factor into Konosuba’s placement on this list. In all seriousness, I had lots of fun with the show’s ten episodes and I hope that its sequel will continue to deliver in the humor department.   2. Mob Psycho 100 As a person who adored One Punch Man, there was zero chance that I would find Mob Psycho 100 to be a disappointment. Lo and behold, this ended up being the case since the series presented us with a powerful hero who only wishes to live life as a normal person that doesn’t rely on his special abilities. While the show focused on the whole “with great power comes responsibility” type of story, it also conveyed the idea of someone who wants to be a competent person outside of their forte. Even when people envy Mob for his powers, the guy only wants to live a normal life without having to worry about his abilities going out of control when he gets pushed to the edge. Because of his drawback, the show is a nice parallel to ONE's One Punch Man since they both present us with different takes on stories with overpowered characters. Of course, his relationship with the supporting characters was another thing that made the series worthwhile. One of the show's most noteworthy aspect was his relationship with his boss, Reigen, who happens to be a con artist that tricked Mob into thinking he’s stronger than him. Then there’s the show’s tendency to make people laugh through subverting signature tropes, such as the one where the lead might save a club from going under. Combined with Bones utilizing sketchy lines in the show’s action to complement ONE’s simplistic designs, we were left with another fine piece that did justice to its source material.   1. Re:ZERO  -Starting Life in Another World- If there’s one thing about life that’s harsh, it’s how things don’t always go your way. Re:Zero took this idea and had its main character Subaru suffer while he fought hard to achieve the best outcome when things went wrong. The idea of him being a shut-in sent to a fantasy world who can relive his life after death somehow was a nice take on the trapped-in-another-world genre of stories. It helps that our main hero is a normal person outside of his ability and that each arc pushes him to push towards discovering the right choice to save those he cares about. No matter how bad he suffered from his attempts to do well, the payoff was always exciting as the fruits of his labor lead to some wonderful confrontations. Hell, I found myself rooting for Subaru when he would find a way to save someone from an impossible situation. Because of the major steps Subaru had to go through, he easily became a great lead since he slowly went from being a shut-in to a person who can bring people together for a great cause. The idea of his ordeal being the fantasy version of reality slapping you in the face really hard was what got me hooked on the series. I wanted to see how his mistakes made things worse and how he would resolve them, which lead to my decision of making Re:Zero my top show of 2016. Honorable Mentions: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Keijo!!!!!!!!!, Kiznaiver, Durarara!! X2 Ketsu, Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak Academy, Erased, Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt
Japanator Awards 2016 photo
Never giving up is the name of the game
With 2016 coming to a close, it’s time for us to reminisce about the stuff that made our year worthwhile. Thanks to this tradition, this gives us the excuse to talk about our favorite anime shows that made our day. Even...

Japanator Awards 2016: Nick's Top 5 Anime of the Year

Dec 31 // Nick Valdez
5. Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School  The Danganronpa visual novels were one of my favorite video game series of the last few years. A dark series full of death, kooky characters, and mystery was naturally primed for an anime series. But unlike Spike Chunsoft's first attempt, which only summarized the events of the first game, Danganronpa 3 fleshed out the series' ever evolving story. This ambitious show laid out its story over two series: the Despair Arc, a prequel telling the events leading up to the games, and the Future Arc, a sequel bringing the narrative to a close. While it won't have much to offer for non-fans, this series was an absolute delight for those who've devoted their time to the series. Series characters got more development, especially fan favorite Chiaki, and the brutal death scenes are still some crazy stuff. I kind of prefer the story told in this matter, also, rather than reading through endless lines of text in games. If you're a Danganronpa fan, you should check it out if you haven't already.  4. My Hero Academia There just aren't enough anime shows with positivity, much less action oriented ones, so My Hero Academia was a welcome breath of fresh air. Mixing both Eastern and Western superhero tropes, the series follows the young Midoriya as he tries to be a superhero in a world full of heroes. Struggling with his lack of power, his bright, never give up attitude eventually grants him the opportunity to join the titular academy and it was fun throughout. The action is slick, with a color palette aping Western cartoons (complete with thick bold outlines), the character design is kooky (I love the invisible girl, haha), and I can't wait for season two. Also, the fact that his power is activated by yelling out "Smash!" is one of the most inspired things ever. More please.  3. Mob Psycho 100 Much like ONE's other prolific effort, One Punch Man, Mob Psycho 100 defies your expectation of what an "anime" truly is. With its crude, but highly expressive art style, this is series is just as bold and kooky as its narrative. A story about young psychic who bottles up his emotions until they explode in an awe-inspiring display of power and his con-man mentor, this series is one of the most unique projects to release in quite some time. Its fight scenes alone are the most gorgeous and slick scenes this year, and honestly, some of the best anime has to offer.  What's even better than its animation is its central hero, Mob. Much like the rest of the series on this list, Mob is a non-traditional character than prefers to chase self-improvement for his own sake rather than rely on his godly psychic talents to get ahead. Mob's just a simple guy who's just happy to have people in his life, and that's a good message you don't get anywhere else. And I still haven't mentioned Reigen, one of the best new characters of the year! This is definitely a must watch.  2. Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- Ever since I started reading as a kid, I've always been drawn to stories of growth. The monomyth (or hero's journey) is an outline many anime series follow, but Re:ZERO was the first time I had seen it used so effectively. What many stories fail to grasp properly is the "struggle" part of the hero's journey. Struggles and hardships are what spark character evolution, and no series excelled at struggle better than Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-. The series' main character, Natsuki Subaru, wakes up in a fantasy world (much like other anime shows sharing the same premise), but unlike other characters, he's forever trapped in a Groundhog Day-esque time loop that resets every time he dies.  Along with the pain of death, Subaru is constantly forced to confront his poor choices as he relives his bad days over and over again. At the start of the series he's a selfish loner, but after facing all kinds of heartbreak, mortality, and anguish, Subaru becomes less so. The greatest thing is that his changes aren't explicit, nor drastic. He's not some superpowered hero who grows in strength thanks to his bonds or something like that. He's just a normal guy who makes small changes to his personality, and it's awesome to see how his differing choices affect the characters around him. Re:ZERO is an intentional grind of a series, but it's so worth the trouble.  1. She and Her Cat: Everything Flows She and Her Cat is pure art. A short miniseries about a girl struggling to find work, told through the narration of her cat Daru, had quite the emotional effect on me. I'm still astounded at how a series that's twenty minutes in total could do so much. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles the rest of the anime on this list have, but it's not needed. It's just a short and sweet bundle of pure happiness.  Sometimes that's all you need.  Honorable Mentions: Digimon Adveture Tri. (because it's still not finished!), Gate, ERASED, KonoSuba
Nick's Top 5 Anime photo
Death, heroes, and cats
While 2016 has been kind of a bummer year all around, there have been some great anime releases. Series challenging typical action tropes, traditional animation, conventional character growth, and even redefined how long an a...


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