bloggers wanted

Bloggers Wanted: Liar Liar!

Apr 04 // Chris Walden
Bloggers Wanted: April! photo
Pantsu on fire!
I hope you lovely folks have been checking out the C-Blogs of late, as we've been getting lots of interesting posts from people just like yourself (unless, of course, it's you posting them...well done!). As ever, we'll promot...

Bloggers Wanted: Progression

Mar 01 // Chris Walden
Bloggers Wanted: March! photo
I think that Phi Brain should become good.
Having a discussion topic like 'Top 5' is pretty fun for me, as it means I get a decent split of serious to not-so-serious articles over in the community blogs. Hopefully we can enjoy the best of both worlds once again with t...

Top 5 Best Eyepatch Gals

Mar 01 // Marlin Clock
Honorary Mention: Mirai (Senran Kagura)  Yes, I did say I would name five, but this girl has been recently brought to my attention, and I simply could not ignore her vim! While my introduction to this gothic loli has been brief, it has been quite an eye-opening experience. Not only does she have impeccable fashion sense, but an arsenal of adorable and hilarious implements under what can only be considered a hyperskirt. She can summon tiny F-16s that fly her away at a moment's notice. I'd like to see you even try and say that's not awesome. It's just not possible.  5. Minene Uryu (Mirai Nikki)  The story of her eyepatch is about as brutal as it can get.  In a fight to become the next Supreme Being in the universe, she sacrificed her eye in order to save her life as it was cruelly pierced by an artfully thrown dart. She would later on to become one of the most noble of the anti-heroes that inhabited her macabre tale, ultimately being the most important character in the entire story.  4. Asuka Langley Shikinami (Rebuild of Evangelion)  She's a troubled redhead who's also a pirate. What more do you need to know? Alright I'll give some more. Jeez you people are so picky.  You see, in another life this girl went about her days the way most children in this world do. She would destroy God's messengers, relive childhood trauma, get throttled violently by a wimpy teenager, all without knowing the sweet feeling of black velvet upon one's eyelashes. Thankfully, through the power of exploiting media franchises, we got to see this young lass born anew! Clad in the most traditional of eyewear, she now fights for the glory of all her kin. Now Marlin, you may be saying, have you even watched the new Rebuild? No. No I haven't, but that doesn't mean I can tell an awesome eyepatch when I see it.  3. Rikka Takanashi (Chuunibyo demo Koi ga Shitai!)  Showing us that eyepatches do not need to be the exclusive territory of badasses, Rikka brings a soft touch to our list. She is also unique as the only member to retain her eye despite it. In a tale of coping, her eyepatch was perhaps the most meaningful, representative of the trouble she has in letting her father go. While it is a pity that the removal of her eyepatch is what activates her most powerful delusions, the fact that she still uses it keeps her among the greatest to ever wear the article.   2. Mei Misaki (Another) Mei was really the standout performance of Another. While the show was clearly in the point of view of Kouichi, the main focus of every new revelation always came back to Mei. She was as mysterious as she was likeable. While much of the characters tried to get Kouichi, and subsequently us, to shy away from her, it only made us want to know more. She even became quite adorable after getting to know her and seeing her interact with him as a normal person. Plus, she definitely has the most plot relevant eyepatch, concealing Another's own version of Death Perception.  1. Nice Holystone (Baccano!) Any who don't know the story of this blonde bombshell should hold their manhoods cheap! This is a fair soul so dedicated in her passion that at the ripe age of 14 she blew herself to high heavens, and, despite losing her eye and retaining scars, held the fortitude to go back and continue to practice her precious art. She is no mere ordinary eyepatch wielder; she understands its tactical importance! Many will not take advantage of the space created when their sundered eye is relieved. Not Nice Holystone. Ever aware of the necessity of backup plans, she even keeps a bomb hidden beneath the patch, hidden cleverly in that empty socket!   Despite her fiery soul, she has the tenderest of hearts.  She is always looking out in the best interest of her love, the equally ridiculously named Jacuzzi Splot, and quick to protect the innocent with him when they come into danger. When the Flying Pussyfoot found itself becoming a shootout, she and Jacuzzi quickly made a plan that saved many lives. Truly her fire and heroics show that she is the most deserving of this number one spot.
Promo: Top 5 Eyepatches photo
A promoted article from Marlin Clock!
[How about another promoted article for this month's Bloggers Wanted? Marlin Clock is on hand to give us the low down on the best eyepatches available on the market, as well as the lovely ladies they are attached to. Hit the ...

Promoted Story: Top Five Mecha

Feb 24 // SeonArikale
5. Junchoon (The Five Star Stories) Ask any of my friends, and they'll tell you that The Five Star Stories is probably my favorite manga ever, hands down. I can go for hours on the intricate plot lines, the art, the characters, and just the setting. Everything about this series oozes how much effort Mamorou Nagano puts into crafting this epic piece of story telling. It's an amazing mix of fantasy and sci-fi, if only it weren't so rare to acquire any volumes. That said, Junchoon, with a silent 'ch', was one of the central plot points for the early volumes. A mech designed by the king of a small planet as a test bed to replace the ageing and out of date machines it was fielding against much more technologically advanced invaders. And this is where the themes of destiny, magic, and duty that so often come to the fore in FSS gets embodied in this unit. Not only does our main hero of the series end up working on Junchoon and making it a force to be reckoned with, but his wife's sister takes her place as the Junchoon's partner before both fall into hibernation until they're needed to free the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of an evil emperor. All the mecha in Five Star Stories look like giant suits of armor, but the Junchoon not only looks different enough to stand out, but the pay off we get for the plot line this very unit kicks off cements it as a cornerstone of the series. 4. YF-21 Sturmvogel (Macross Plus) Long ago, in the distant past of the 90s I, for the first time saw, a small series by the name of Macross Plus. Everything about it was awesome, the music, the characters, the plot, and of course, the mecha. But while the star of Macross Plus is undoubtedly Isamu Dyson and the experimental YF-19, which would go on to be the signature unit of the larger TV series Macross 7, my favorite has always been its co-star and rival unit. The YF-21 piloted by Guld Goa Bowman. The 21's unorthodox piloting mechanism, and more zentraedi inspired design set it apart from the usual slew of Valkyrie fighters in Macross canon, and in the end serves as an awesome counterpart to its sister unit. Like most of the other fighters in the larger franchise we get to see the YF-21 unleash a hellstorm of missiles, changing between a fighter, a humanoid form, and its hybrid gerwalk, and also some of the most beautifully detailed dogfights I've yet to see rivalled in a number of later series. If it weren't for the 21 and its pilot proving to be a comparable match to our hero, we'd never even get to see how truly awesome Isamu was. Cheers for the underdog says I. 3. ARX-7 Arbalest (Full Metal Panic!) So here we've got an awesome example of a mech that has a nice mix of real world feasibility, with the extra bit of sci-fi to make it intriguing. The Arbalest is the prototype for a new generation of Arm Slaves with an unstable 'Lambda Driver' system that can give the unit super powers...when it works. So I won't get into too many spoilers here on just how they get it working, but I'll say this, the Arbalest moves like a soldier, and the reliance on more conventional weapons and tactics that soldiers use, just scaled up, leaves room for some interesting battles throughout the franchise... when its pilot isn't getting into crazy hi-jinx pretending to be a normal high school student. 2. Jehuty (Zone of the Enders) Let me make one thing clear, unlike what I hear from many other people, who say they only got Zone of The Enders because of the Metal Gear Solid 2 demo and nothing else, I shake my head. I saw the initial ideas that went into the game and at a time when the internet was still growing into what it is today, got as much information as I could from magazines on this project. At a time when I was looking for a game where I could take control of a mech and experience the battles I had seen in anime, this folks, this was the game I had been waiting for. The demo was the sweet bonus. And with a sleek design like Jehuty at the fore of the series it clearly influenced the way many designers thought about animating combat robots, especially those meant to operate in space. Infused with the powerful element known as Metatron, Jehuty is capable of bending space to store equipment, using an arm mounted blade that can sheer through almost anything, to eventually moving faster than the eye can see. Also, yes, its cockpit is a bit literal, but I guess that just adds to the charm of the design. So, what could I put as my favorite mecha? what could possibly top everything else? Well... 1. RX-124 Gundam TR-6 Woundwort Ex (Advance of Zeta: Flag of the Titans) We start with obscure, and end with obscure, somehow I should have seen this coming. Gundam has always been one of my favorite franchises, but over the years I find myself drawn to the side stories, the novels, the manga, and the alternate universes that populate its extensive library. Advance of Zeta followed the exploits of a team of test pilots under the Titans. The Woundwort ends up being the culmination of experiments at Mobile Suit technologies and can be outfitted for a number of different mission profiles. Honestly this Mobile Suit in particular is just one of the many gorgeous designs in this little set of side stories, and I only feel more in love with it thanks to the release of last years SD Gundam G Generation Overworld, in which the Woundwort Ex finally appeared as an unlockable unit. Featuring some of the best animations in the game to go along with an appearance that can be beautiful and fearsome all at the same time. Is it too much for me to wish this thing gets a proper anime appearance? Maybe a movie? Ah well...guess I'll keep wishing. So there you have it, my Top Five Mecha, I'm sure there'll be those naysayers, but I'm curious to know what some of you out there think.
Promo: Top 5 Mecha photo
A promoted article from SeonArikale!
[The first promoted article for this month's Bloggers Wanted! SeonArikale gives us the all of the juicy details about his top five mechs, from both anime and video games. Hit the jump to see if your own favourite has made his...


Bloggers Wanted: Top five!

Feb 02 // Chris Walden
Bloggers Wanted photo
Top five top fives?
You! I saw you! You took one look at the title for this months Bloggers Wanted and groaned, didn't you? You see, I want to have a month where we all just roll back a little bit. Chill. Relax. Eat a really unhealthy burger and...

Check This Out! Surprise of the Season Kotoura-san

Feb 02 // Lifesong
Never say never. This season the number one show I've come to anticipate each week is Kotoura-san, an anime made by the not so prestigious AIC Classic. Kotoura-san is an adaptation of a 4-koma that I nearly didn't watch. The story follows a young mind-reader who has given up on having normal human interactions. It starts with her childhood and gives a very convincing testimony to how difficult such a power would be for a child and the people around her. She has been ostracized and bullied for as long as she can remember, but when she transfers to a new school she meets a boy who is unashamedly honest with himself. This boy befriends her and promises to stay by her side. If you are going to pick on his girl, you better remember the heart. Should you read this and think that Kotoura-san sounds awful.. well I can't really blame you for that. I read the premise and thought the same thing. Romantic comedy 4-koma? Pffft not worth the time of a single episode. Those were my exact thoughts. What the premise doesn't convey is just how touching this story actually is. Soul crushing drama is not something I would have ever expected from 4-koma. While it is true that Kotoura-san is funny to say that it is a comedy is only half of the truth. Kotoura-san manages to pull at the emotions in a way that every drama hopes to achieve. It does it in a way that feels both human and distinctly original. Sure there are plenty of action oriented shows with mind-readers. Playing cops and robbers with mind-readers is common place. Even in comedy you can find them easily enough. How often have we taken a serious look at just how difficult it would be to be born capable of reading the thoughts of everyone around you as if they were words? It's a refreshingly different take for this to be taken seriously without giving the girl a super villain to prove her worth against.  You know that feeling when your doing your thing, fortune-telling, when someone has thoughts about you that are so vile you throw up? I don't but I still felt sick watching this. Manabe is the second surprise of this story. He is a young high school student who accepts Kotoura-sans abilities, befriending her without hesitation. It takes two great characters to make a good romance and that is exactly what he provides. He is a bit of a pervert and most of his running gags involve Kotoura seeing his fantasies, as well as the many other odd things that go on in his head; however, that is put to good use in a way you will need to experience for yourself to really believe. He is not ashamed of his fantasies which is what allows him to get close to Kotoura-san. He is constantly saying and doing things that make him both surprising as an anime character and endearing for the way he defends Kotoura-san. It is a cute dynamic the two have going. This is one show I hope to convince a few people to check out. Everything about this anime works better than it looks or sounds like it will. Three episodes in and my emotions have been pulled on more skilfully than Little Busters has managed in sixteen episodes. The jokes feel original enough that they won't grow old any time soon. Perhaps the drama is not quite on the level of Sakurasou just yet, but it pulls at the heartstrings effectively. Most importantly this anime comes with a real human side. It stings in a way that I would never expect from a show about a mind-reader. It may not be the prettiest anime of the season but it is doing so much with what it has. This is one that all anime fans on the lookout for hidden gems should check out. Even if your not so inclined, Kotoura-san is likely worthy of your time. Give it a shot, I do not think you will be disappointed with what you see.
Check This Out! photo
A promoted article from Lifesong!
[What is this? Even promoted blogs are getting the spread treatment? Goodness! Lifesong is back to tell us about an anime you may have been missing, so why not read up a little bit and see if it tickles your fancy! With Febru...

Check This Out: Type-Moon / The Nasuverse

Jan 08 // Irothtin
Tsukihime Tsukihime was more or less the first Type-Moon work to receive critical acclaim; the original eroge visual novel was released in 2000, and you could argue the company hasn't looked back since. It focuses on Shiki, son of the high-class Tohno family, who gets into a nearly fatal accident as a child. He miraculously survives, though when he wakes up he has no memories of the incident and can see strange lines over everything: his hospital bed, the doctors, even himself. Shiki discovers that if he cuts along these lines, then objects simply fall apart, no matter how sturdy they were before. Confronted with the fragility of the world, Shiki only manages to keep sane thanks to the efforts of one Aoko Aozaki, a strange woman he meets in a park near the hospital. She claims to be a Magician, despite her bohemian demeanour, and gives Shiki a pair of seemingly magic glasses that hide the "lines of death" he is forced to see. She tells him to be responsible with his abilities - his "Mystic Eyes of Death Perception" - and then vanishes just as quickly as she appeared. Ten years later, Shiki is a high school student, returning to the Tohno estate for the first time since the accident. Walking home, he sees a beautiful foreign woman, and is suddenly overcome with intense bloodlust. Using his powers, he kills her in an instant, cutting her into seventeen pieces. Shiki is understandably a bit shaken up about this, even more so when she's waiting for him on the way to school the very next day. Her name is Arcueid Brunestud, vampire, and she expects Shiki to take full responsibility for killing her. Things only get more complicated from there on, really. For one, the original Tsukihime has five separate routes, as you might expect from an eroge visual novel. Arcueid has her own route, as does Ciel (Shiki's schoolmate), Akiha (his younger sister), as well as one each for Hisui and Kohaku, the two young maids who serve Shiki and Akiha in the Tohno mansion. Infamously, there was another route planned for Shiki's other classmate, Satsuki, but it was cut from the final release. Isn't it sad, Sacchin? Related to Tsukihime are also Kagetsu Tohya, which is a sequel of sorts with a bunch of short stories, and Melty Blood, a fighting game that takes place a year after the original story, involving Sion Eltnam Atlasia, a mysterious magus and alchemist from the Atlas Association in Egypt. She's searching for a cure to vampirism, hoping Arcueid will be able to help, and otherwise hunting a very dangerous vampire known as Tatari, whom she may have ties with... In the wider Nasuverse canon, Tsukihime makes a good starting point. Unlike, say, Fate/Stay Night, which introduces multiple concepts rapid-fire (and which we'll get to, I promise), Tsukihime is comparatively simple for the most part: it introduces the concept of vampires, which are split into two categories: True Ancestors and Dead Apostles. That's about all you really have to remember, and even that much is arguably unnecessary for getting enjoyment out of this series. Tsukihime has both an anime and manga adaptation, and if you've been around a while, you may have heard of the anime's absolutely terrible reputation. Let me assure you that this is completely true, and you should avoid the Tsukihime anime at all costs. The manga, on the other hand, is an excellent adaptation of the VN's first route, while also folding in pertinent information from the other routes. I recommend any newcomers to the series to read the manga, since it's the most easily accessible of the three versions and captures the main bits perfectly. Also notable is the remake of the original VN, which is in the works, though there's no set release date. Don't expect it for another few years yet; go for the original VN if you're interested. Kara no Kyoukai Also known as Garden of Sinners, Kara no Kyoukai is the story of Shiki. Shiki Ryougi, that is: a woman, and entirely unrelated to Shiki Tohno of a couple paragraphs above. This was originally a series of novels, but in the late 2000s, studio UFOtable made a series of animated films based on them. Also notable is that the novels were written prior to Tsukihime, and this is more or less considered the prototype for it, sharing many concepts and character archetypes. That said, vampires are uninvolved and it is way more confusing, even for an initiate like me. Bear with me here. Shiki Ryougi seems to be the odd girl out in school. She's part of an old, prestigious family, one with strange traditions where they train children from birth to possess multiple personalities: one male and one female. Despite Shiki's general weirdness and her penchant for knives, all-around nice guy Mikiya Kokutou still wants to get to know her better. They get closer and closer, until... well, I won't spoil it. Shiki wakes up from a coma some time later, with bandages around her eyes. She feels disconnected from her own memories, like they're from somebody else. In her mind, where the male personality she's had since birth once was, there is now nothing. Not just normal nothing, but complete void. Emptiness. Shiki tries to gouge out her own eyes, eyes that somehow now see the Death of things, but a mysterious woman stops her. She claims to be a magician named Touko Aozaki, and tells Shiki that it would be too wasteful to get rid of the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception. Shiki and Mikiya eventually end up joining Touko's freelance detective agency, and deal with all sorts of strange happenstance around the city: rogue mages, psychics, ghosts, serial murderers... and all the while, we come to understand a bit more about Shiki's circumstances and about the strange world she lives in. And if that sounds boring, I suppose there's a lot of killing involved too, so don't worry. As I mentioned above, Garden of Sinners is pretty darn complex. A lot of the concepts that are important in a wider context - such as Akasha and the Counter Force, which frankly play huge roles behind the scenes of the verse - are introduced and explored in here, but it's hard to grasp them unless you have the understanding from other works. Hell, even if you have the understanding from other works, it's still hard to grasp. Expect to be utterly lost during your first viewing of the movies; don't worry, a bunch of us still are too. Mahoutsukai no Yoru Alright, I admit I'm cheating here. This is Type-Moon's latest visual novel, and there isn't any English translation patch out for it yet, so all of the info (and by "info" I mean "half-assed plot summary") that I'm listing here is second-hand. But it's relevant! I swear! We just won't be spending very much time on this one. Mahoutsukai no Yoru is the story of Aoko Aozaki's high school days. If you've been paying attention like a good little reader, then you should recognize that name as the woman who gave Shiki Tohno his magical glasses back up in Tsukihime. Here, though, she's just an amateur magus, training under her far more experienced friend, Alice Kuonji. Things get a bit complicated when a naive country bumpkin named Soujuurou Shizuki arrives in town, shacking up with Aoko and Alice. Although, that's nothing compared to Touko Aozaki showing up with magical familiar in tow, looking for her little sister... I believe the original print novel for this was the first thing Nasu wrote way back when, and it never really got published. The visual novel (not an eroge this time) was infamously in development hell for years before being released, and apparently there are a couple sequels planned. Commie Subs are working on a translation patch, as is Cokesakto, the one-man translation team who did most of the Garden of Sinners novels. Fate/Stay Night Alright, here's the big one. Fate/Stay Night is by far the most famous Type-Moon / Nasu work, originally released in 2004 to overwhelmingly positive response. If you're heard of anything Type-Moon related, Fate/Stay Night is probably what you've heard of. I first got into the whole universe via the anime adaptation, which is... not great, but passable. The manga adaptation is unfortunately pretty bad, and I have to warn against checking it out. Also notable is that F/SN has all manner of spinoffs, from light novel to video game to anime. We'll be getting into most of them, but we have to start it all off with the original story here. Fate/Stay Night focuses around Shirou Emiya, an amateur magus. His adoptive father and magic teacher died a few years ago, but Shirou still practices his (frankly shoddy) magecraft every day. One night while returning from school, he witnesses two strange men fighting, having unwittingly stumbled upon what is known as the Holy Grail War, or "Heaven's Feel": an ancient magic ritual where seven souls of legendary heroes ("Servants" in the forms of seven different classes: Saber, Archer, Lancer, Rider, Caster, Assassin, and Berserker) are summoned to battle in the modern day over the Holy Grail, which can grant any wish. The War is supposed to be carried out in secret, however, and so all witnesses must be killed, including our hero. Shirou's about to get a spear through his chest for his trouble, but he somehow manages to summon a beautiful young woman; specifically, a Saber class Servant, considered to be the most powerful of the seven classes. Shortly afterwards, he finds out that his classmate and the school idol Rin Tohsaka is also a participant in the Holy Grail War, as the Master of Servant Archer, and she informs him of the situation: Shirou is now a Master, and that means he and Saber have to fight the other six teams for possession of the Holy Grail. Unlike Tsukihime, the F/SN visual novel only has three routes: "Fate", focusing on Shirou's relationship with Saber (also providing the source material for the anime adaptation), "Unlimited Blade Works", which concerns itself with Shirou's own past and his relationship with quintessential tsundere Rin, and "Heaven's Feel", which is about the history of the Holy Grail War itself and involves Shirou's mysterious underclassmen and friend, Sakura Matou. I could go on and on about Fate/Stay Night but I'm cutting it short here for brevity, since we have a whole laundry list of spinoffs and other material to cover, and that's not even including pseudo-sequel Fate/Hollow Ataraxia, which centers around the supposedly-dead Bazett Fraga McRemitz and her mysterious Servant Avenger, or Fate/Unlimited Codes, a fighting game for the PSP. Suffice to say that if you're at all interested by what I've outlined above (and come on, with legendary heroes fighting it out, who wouldn't be?), you owe it to yourself to check out F/SN, whether it be the original visual novel or the anime adaptation. And first on our Fate spin-off list is... Fate/Zero If you've been following anime at all over the past year, you've probably heard of this one. Fate/Zero is a prequel, taking place ten years before Fate/Stay Night and focusing around the Fourth Holy Grail War (the Fifth taking place during F/SN). It centers around Kiritsugu Emiya - the man who adopted Shirou - as the Master of the very same Saber-class Servant we all know and love, and his journey to claim the Holy Grail to save the world. It started out as a multi-volume light novel by Gen Urobuchi of Saya no Uta and Puella Magi Madoka Magica fame, and was adapted as an excellent 25 episode TV anime by Studio UFOtable in 2011-2012. Keep wary of this one, though. Yes, it's a prequel, but it was written after F/SN and thus kind of expects that you're already familiar with what's going on. Spoilers for the first work are all over the place in Fate/Zero, other concepts from the verse (like the Mage's Association) are expanded upon in ways that only a fan can appreciate, and certain plot elements make no sense unless you already know they're coming. Even so, it's filled with awesome action and great characters, and Fate/Zero is absolutely worth your time. Fate/Extra Fate/Extra is a PSP game released in 2010, and it takes place in an alternate universe from the normal continuity, where the power of mana has drained from the earth. So, instead of having a Holy Grail War between seven Masters and Servants in Fuyuki City, the war takes place in an enclosed area of cyberspace called the Moon Cell, waged tournament-style between 128 Masters and Servants. You play as an amnesiac, male or female and named by you, and can select to use either a Saber, Archer, or Caster class Servant at the start of the game, changing the way you fight your battles drastically. For example, while it's fine to just bash your way through the game as Saber, Caster is much weaker physically, and thus requires careful management of skills and MP. Battles are fought via a simplistic Rock-Paper-Scissors system, where getting three correct shots in a row leads to extra damage and where memorizing enemy patterns is the key to victory. At the start of each in-game week, you meet your next opponent, and you have the rest of the time to grind your way up in the dungeons of the Moon Cell and try to discover the true identity of your opponent's Servant. Since all Servants are figures from story and legend, knowing their true name also means you know their strengths and weaknesses, which translates into seeing which attacks they're going to use when. This might sound a bit lame, but there's a good story going on here too. While trying to piece together information about your enemies is top priority to avoid dying miserably in the Arena, you have to do the same for yourself. Who are you? Why are you participating in the Holy Grail War? For that matter, who exactly is your Servant? And, as you may expect from anything set up as an elimination tournament, you have to deal with fighting the same people who were your friends and allies. Aksys licensed the game and brought it over to America in late 2011, and you can find it rather easily on Playstation Network. Coming out later this year (in Japan) is Fate/Extra CCC, which is a sequel of sorts (are you sensing a theme here with Type-Moon stuff getting odd pseudo-sequels?), presumably starring some new enemy Servants and with a new plot involving this universe's version of Sakura Matou. Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILYA I don't really want to talk about this one. Suffice to say that it's a spinoff manga about the character Ilyasviel von Einzbern (aka Ilya) becoming a magical girl who uses powers themed off of the different Servant classes. It's slated to get an anime adaptation later this year by studio Silverlink. MOVING ON! Fate/Apocrypha Fate/Apocrypha was first revealed in 2011, along with a whole bevy of new Servant designs, stated to be plans for a cancelled online game of some sort. But, apparently it ended up becoming pretty popular, since it was announced only a few months afterwards that Fate/Apocrypha would be revived as a series of light novels penned by Yuichiro Higashide. Apocrypha takes place in yet another alternate universe, one where the Holy Grail in Fuyuki was stolen after the Third Holy Grail War and taken to Romania, where the Yggdramillennia family (yeah, I know it's dumb) plans to summon it for their own purposes. The Mage's Association sends their own group of Masters to stop them and the Holy Grail War begins again, this time as a battle of seven "Red" Servants versus seven "Black" Servants, with a special Ruler-class Servant overseeing the battle. As of this writing, only the first volume of the novel has been released, and new information is still trickling out as fans are scrambling to translate it. I believe Commie Subs is currently planning on doing so, and a separate translation of a preview chapter released last year is floating around the internet somewhere as well. And, lastly, we have a very special spin-off, one that involves Tsukihime as well... Carnival Phantasm This is a highly-enjoyable comedy OVA by Studio Lerche released over the tail end of 2011, based partly off an official doujin called "Take-Moon". As you may expect from comedy anime, it takes all the characters from their super serious normal settings, turns all of their silly character quirks up to eleven, and plays it all for as many laughs as it can get away with. Carnival Phantasm is funny if you're familiar with Fate/Stay Night and/or Tsukihime, but I particularly like it because it rewards the more hardcore fans of the universe. A lot of the jokes refer to obscure trivia or little-known characters, and it does it all without missing a beat. You get the feeling it was made by real fans of these works, and Carnival Phantasm is all the better for it. Also included as a bonus feature of the last volume was Fate/Prototype, which is a fake trailer based on Nasu's original notes for Fate/Stay Night that he wrote in high school. This includes Saber as a man with a female Master, and several other differences in the plot. It's worth checking out, if only to see what could have been. Whew. That's sure a lot, isn't it? I could get into other stuff like Decoration Disorder Disconnection (which I haven't even read yet) or Angel Notes (which involves The Ultimate Ones from other planets such as Type-Saturn, Type-Venus, and yes, Type-Moon, invading Earth), but I'll leave those for the more curious of you lot. I don't want to scare you off, after all, though I imagine listing everything like this may have done that already. Any one of these works is worth checking out on their own, but together they form a crazy web of amazing; a fascinating, comprehensive universe that deserves to be watched, read, and experienced. I hope that by writing this I've convinced at least one person to check out at least one of the works I've listed. and I sincerely hope you enjoy it if you do.
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A promoted article from Irothin!
[Hot on the heels of the last promoted story, here we have the first of many in 2013! Our good friend Irothin has stepped up to the challenge of this months blogging topic, and wants to introduce you guys to Type-Moon. If you...

Bloggers Wanted: Check this out!

Jan 02 // Chris Walden
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Check, mate.
January is all about starting afresh. We look back at 2012, gasp in horror about all the dumb things we've done, then pledge to avoid doing so again. Us humans are pretty good at this trial and error lifestyle, and what bette...

Votes are in: Readers Choice Anime of 2012!

Dec 31 // Chris Walden
1. Fate/Zero Season 2 - 33 votes2. Sword Art Online -  16 votes3. Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken - 12 votes4. Nisemonogatari - 9 votes5. Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! - 8 votes6. Ano Natsu De Matteru - 6 votes7. Psycho-pass - 5 votes7. Sakamichi no Apollon - 5 votes9. Girls und Panzer - 4 votes10. Accel World - 3 votes10. Hyouka - 3 votes10. Jormungand - 3 votes10. Shin Sekai Yori - 3 votes10. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun - 3 votes15. Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita - 2 votes15. Kokoro Connect - 2 votes15. Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna - 2 votes15. Medaka Box - 2 votes15. Nazo no Kanojo X - 2 votes15. Robotics;Notes - 2 votes15. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo - 2 votes15. Suki-tte Ii na yo - 2 votes 15. Uchuu Kyoudai - 2 votes 24. Bakuman. 3 - 1 vote24. Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou - 1 vote24. Haiyore! Nyaruko-san - 1 vote24. K - 1 vote24. Kamisama Hajimemashita - 1 vote24. Kingdom - 1 vote24. Natsuiro Kiseki - 1 vote24. Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai! - 1 vote24. Seitokai no Ichizon - 1 vote24. Shakugan no Shana III - 1 vote24. Shirokuma Cafe - 1 vote24. Tari Tari - 1 vote24. Tsuritama - 1 vote24. Yuru Yuri S2 - 1 vote24. Zetsuen no Tempest - 1 vote  Congratulations to Fate/Zero! It seems that your second season/half has managed to beat down some strong competition. Both Sword Art Online and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure have held the lead over the course of the voting period, so it wasn't as open a contest as it seems. Whether you voted for the winner or not, why not check out some of the shows on this list? I'd say that anything with three votes or above must have something good going for it, but hey, why not take a chance with a one-voter? Voting for something that has no showing instead of the big F/Z versus SAO war must mean something, right?
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Oh, what a tease!
Well, here we are! We're at the very end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, depending on exactly where you are in the world. Before we wave away the year for good, we have some unfinished business to attend to! I asked you al...

50 Most Memorable Anime Moments of 2012

Dec 31 // Lifesong
50. Ixion Saga DT: Old Georg fishing and scaring off the village kids. This evil looking orc named Georg was released from some deep dark dungeon, and asked to hunt down and kill a princess in return for his freedom. He agreed of course, and set out to hunt her down. As it would turn out the princess had periods of time where her hair would stick up in cow lick, or an ahoge as we hear them called in Japanese. Legend had it that disaster would strike when three of them stood up at once. Well to make a long story short, poor Georg wound up on the wrong side of a 3 ahoge princess, the hunter became the hunted and poor Georg became the real victim of this story. We cut to sometime far into the future after the narrator told us that no one has seen or heard of Georg since. Well it turns out that old Georg spent his time fishing by a lake where he would tell stories of the nasty 3 ahoge princess to scare the nearby village children. The amount of irony of all this easily earns it a spot on this list. 49. AnoNatsu: Remon Saves the day with her mech car. Remon spent the entire anime playing match maker with the rest of the cast, never revealing much about herself. Well that changed near the end when robots find their alien friend and attempt to bring her home. As it turned out Remon really was more than she seemed as the moment she gets corned she pressed a few buttons and the overturned getaway vehicle she had been driving moments before turned into a mech and fired off several missiles. The scene itself was fairly brief, but memorable none the less. 48. Ixion Saga DT: The ball-less man talking with his girlfriend about their future children. ED as he was called has had both of his testicles smashed by the protagonist in previous episodes. Well, after he returned home to his loving fiancée he found himself pressured to reveal exactly what his awful injuries actually were. His loving fiancée having no clue what kind of injuries ED had sustained brought up their future children while talking to him. Yeah, I actually felt pretty bad for the guy, enough so that it earned him a spot on this list. 47. Magi: Morgiana versus the tigers. Morgiana is the type of character that isn't instantly likeable. In fact, she was a villain at first. Under orders of her slave masters she attacked Alibaba and Aladdin before they ultimately beat her master and set her free. But some bonds were so not easily broken. Morgiana was captured again and put in a cell with a sick girl. When Morgiana cried out for help the slavers tied the younger girl up on a pole as food for some wolves. In a moment of desperation Morgiana managed to free herself from the bonds on her own this time and save the girl. The slavers released their strongest pets against Morgiana to put her down, Saber Tooth Tigers. Unarmed Morgiana kicked them all to death and demanded the slavers free the rest of the prisoners. This is one fight scene that won't be forgotten any time soon. 46. Sengoku: Yoshimoto rides a flaming fish across the universe while in an orgasmic state. Yes, this happened. It seems that not many people watched this anime, but for those of us that did this moment was literately burned into our memory.. for better or worse. To be honest I don't really remember why she was finishing, just that this happened as a result. Best enlightenment scene of the year? Or "best" enlightenment scene of the year? You decide, I'm still not sure. 45. The Ambition of Oda Nobuna: Yoshiharu invents fried food and mayonnaise. Nobuna needed to raise money to put a new puppet ruler on the throne. In order to do this she wound up making a deal with two merchants who were to compete for exclusive rights to sell Takoyaki in Kyoto. Either way Nobuna would win, but one of the merchants was her friend. In order to help him achieve victory the protagonist; Yoshiharu who came from the future, invented mayo, and after burning his Takoyaki he deep fried it in oil to hoping to salvage it. Ultimately the judges all loved Yoshiharu's food, but the event was rigged so the other merchant group won anyway. Nobuna's merchant friend was quite alright with handing over those rights however, as he now had the exclusive rights for selling mayo and fried Takoyaki. Who really won in the end? The people of Kyoto I guess. 44. Guilty Crown: Shu kills Segai. Segai was this crazy agent who worked for the government, but really he just kind of did whatever he pleased in this anime. Well early in the series he found Shu and developed this kind of creepy I-want-to-kill-you-crush on him. Toward the end of the series Segai was going nuts just wiping everyone out. Shu who had lost all of his power returned at a critical moment after finally finding the resolve necessary to see things through to the end. After a dramatic fight scene Shu killed Segai by using a void that can cut life. Segai died, entirely ecstatic about the situation actually. 43. Sword Art Online: Kirito transforms into Gleameyes. What MMO player hasn't dreamed of playing the role of the boss themselves? I know I have. When Kirito cast his "illusion magic" racial spell, and transformed into Gleameyes from Aincrad I pretty much jumped out of my seat in excitement. Yeah, I know a lot people hated this bit, something about it not making sense or some nonsense like that, but for me this was one of the better surprising moments in anime this past year. 42. Sankarea: Rea is caught screaming into the well. Back before this series heroine got turned into a zombie, she was caught relieving her stress by screaming into a well about her life's problems. Well, the protagonist noticed her and was just kind of listening in while he attempted to turn his dead cat into a zombie, you know normal high school kid stuff... Anyway, Rea, this stories heroine, screamed into the well that she wished her father would stop taking naked measurements of her on her birthday each year. The protagonist was surprised enough that Rea noticed him, and well, the rest is history. 41. Sword Art Online: Kirito and Asuna spend time with Yui as newly weds. Kirito and Asuna were enjoying their in game marriage when they found a young girl with amnesia. Turned out that she was some kind of super AI counselling program that got locked away when the game launched, but before she ever regained her memories she spent time with Kirito and Asuna and they become like adoptive parents for her. Perhaps I am being a bit sappy, but the fondest memory that I got out of all this was the moment when they all sat to down and enjoy a meal together as a family. This painted a beautiful picture of life inside a virtual environment. Hearing Yui call Kirito and Asuna Mama and Papa certainly helped to set the mood as well. 40. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia: The prank name on the cursed stone. Yuko, this stories heroine, was a ghost who did not need to sleep. One night she was bored and woke the protagonist, forcing him to follow her out to an area of the school that had been hidden away by years of construction. Inside this area you could only reach by going outside through a window there was a cursed stone. The legend was that whoever had their name etched on this stone would be cursed and die. When the protagonist looked at the stone he found that his name was written on it and panicked, much to the amusement of Yuko who revealed that she had a Sharpie on hand. So much for taking that curse seriously! 39. Another: Bonding at the beach. There really wasn't much room for relaxation during this anime at all so when the protagonist talked with Mei at beach there was this sort of safety in the atmosphere that let the characters open up a bit. Mei said something about how her family really isn't connected at all, and Kouichi, the protagonist, followed that up by touching her hand, and asking if the two of them are connected. It managed to be one of the cutest and most subtle anime confessions this past year in a series where it was not expected, but fit really well. 38. Little Busters: Komari and Riki watching the meteor shower. Riki and Komari watched a meteor shower together on top of their school's roof. Toward the end Komari recalled the story of The Little Match Girl. Just about everything else with Komari's story in this adaptation of the Little Busters story was a complete mess, but this was one scene that J.C. Staff managed to get right. For those of you who do not know it, Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl is basically the original sad girl in snow story. In the visual novel A Dog of Flanders gets mentioned as well, the two are very similar things. Perhaps pulling out a classic sad story like this was a cheap literary technique to tug at emotions, but it was one that worked and fit the situation very well. 37. AnoNatsu: Tetsurou asking Mio out on a date. When I talk about AnoNatsu I often joke around and call it People Who Are Entirely Too Picky About Love The Anime. Nearly everyone in this anime was in love with someone who was not in love with them. As a result this anime had quite a few memorable confession scenes toward the end of the series, but the one that stuck with the most wasn't found in the way any of the characters got their confession out, but rather in the moment where one of the character who got confessed to asks that girl out on a date. The fact that they were running away from an alien robot at the same time didn't hurt in making this moment a memorable one. 36. Campione!: The kiss with Liliana. Campione! made a name for itself with it's ridiculously epic make-out scenes. Magic will not work on the protagonist if used outside his own body, so the heroines of this story had to kiss him in order to use magic on him, which in turn was used to infuse him with knowledge, which he would then use to make a giant golden sword of god slaying. This same basic formula played out with the entire cast of heroines, but Liliana managed to make her scene a bit more memorable than the rest. When Kusanagi kissed her she completely forgot to use her magic on him. Cool Liliana was completely panicked and her gap moe readings went through the roof! Perhaps I am a bit biased as Liliana was easily my favorite character from this story, but this scene was entirely too cute. 35. Sengoku Collection: The conquest of the sandbox is completed, the castle built, then Nobunaga ruins it. Sengoku Collection pulled out some wonderfully bizarre gender-bent warlords in modern Japan stories, but this one took the cake. This Sengoku Period figure was not only gender-bent, but also placed in kindergarten. After a hard fought battle of the wits between children she had united them all of one accord and they built the most impressive sandcastle that the world had even had. Then Nobunaga showed up and knocked it over. The irony of this whole twisted situation was hard to miss, easily making it one of the more memorable moments from this anime. 34. Amagami SS+ Rihoko Sakurai's confession scene. In the original Amagami SS Rihoko Sakurai was the one girl who never did get a happily ever after. At the start of her route she was just the chubby childhood friend and by the end nothing had changed. Well this time around things went a bit differently for her, and the protagonist finally realized his feelings for her, leaving us with a sweet confession that was long overdue. 33. Nisemonogatari: Shinobu takes a bath with the protagonist and gets caught by the sister. Shinobu spent more or less an entire episode bathing with Araragi. After an episode full of awesome dialogue and naked loli one of the protagonist's sisters opened the door and caught Shinobu in the bath with Araragi, moments later she returned with a large kitchen knife. Luckily for all parties involved Shinobo vanished back into Araragi's shadow before the sister made it back, leaving us with one of the most hilariously awkward moments of 2012. We can all thank Shinobu for this one. 32. Kokoro Connect: Inaba's breakdown before her confession. Heartseed was kind of a bastard, always playing with the emotions of this cast. Ironically the character who was most concerned about the whole ordeal was the normally cool and collected Inaba. She managed to hold herself together most of the show, but after successfully hooking up her friend with the protagonist she realized she has feelings for him as well. It all came out when Heartseed popped into Inori's body to tell Inaba that the protagonist had fallen. Thinking he had been hurt far worse than he actually had, Inaba is reduced to a crying mess when she finds him. Of course, the protagonist has no idea what is going on. One scene later and Inaba confessed to Tachi in way that seemed more appropriate for a conquering army than a school girl in love. Instead of being crushed by the situation she rises to the occasion. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, or something like that. 31. Sengoku Collection: Tea party down the rabbit hole in wonderland. At first I just thought that Brains Base were on drugs, but when they all sat down for tea I realized this whole scene was a parody of Alice In Wonderland, only with Hideyoshi and lots of rice-men-things. I am still not entirely sure what was going on, but it proved to be wonderfully bizarre if also entirely nonsensical. 30. Robotics;Notes: That robot moving just isn't cool anymore. Sometimes hard work and guts are just not quite enough to make dreams come true. This was a painful lesson that our series heroine Akiho had to learn the hard way. After all the hard work she put into this robot it was barely capable of movement. Moments after firing the robot up the engine burned out. Sure it moved, but no one was excited about that. I think I speak for most fans of the series when I say that we are looking forward to seeing Aki make a come back in 2013, assuming that she does anyway. 29. Sakurasou: Jin and Sorata talk about art and talent in the rain. Art can bring out the worst in people. There is always someone more talented and the competition is intense. Putting yourself out there can be really hard when you have peers who are far more talented than you are. In this scene Sorata is forced to come to terms with his own feelings of jealousy toward Mashiro and Jin gives him some advice to get through it. What's wrong with being Jealous and caring about Mashiro at the same time? If that is how you really feel, maybe that is how it really is. 28. Campione!: Kusanagi's magical injection powers. The other thing Campione! is remembered for. Erica was dying in this hell like dimension and Kusangi wasn't going to stand for it. He "injected" her with magic in one of the most rigorous make-out moments of the entire anime. Honestly I don't think many fans look back on this moment fondly, but we certainly do remember it. If nothing else it does fit in with the themes of this anime incredibly well. 27. Future Diary: The ending scene where world 1 Yuno dies. Yuno, to put it bluntly, was one crazy bitch. All the things she puts Yukki through contained enough crazy for an entire mental home. Yuno even became god in order to cross timelines, kill her past self and fall in love with Yukki again. Yup, hard to top that. What really sets her apart is how much she genuinely did love Yukki despite all of her deadly antics. This all culminated into one final moment when Yukki finally mans up and told Yuno to kill him. She tried to kill him several times in the past, but this time she couldn't do it. Yuno stabbed herself instead and died in Yukki's arms making him a god and bringing about a deus ex machina ending that actually wasn't a deus ex machina at all. 26. Guilty Crown: Last moments with Inori. There is something beautiful about the way Inori gives her life to Shu at the end taking his eyesight with her. Also, their is romance in the way the world moves on, but Shu only has eyes for Inori. It was a scene that didn't make much sense, but it didn't conflict with the magic of the world either. Was symbolism enough to carry the ending of Guilty Crown home to the hearts of it's fans? Or was reason needed? Personally I think there is a certain art from that only comes with abandoning reason, but regardless of how you look at it, this was one anime moment that for me, will not be easily forgotten. 25. Sengoku Collection: Four leaves bitter-sweet ending. The tragic nature of the samurai who's story was being told just fit into place perfectly here. This girl who had a miserable life found an escape from her misery in the form of a pen-pall. Yoshitsugu writes another girl and as a result learned to finds all sorts of little luck in her unlucky life. At one point she found a 4 leaf clover and mailed it to the girl she had been writing. For a long period of time she did not receive any letters from her friend. When she finally got another one it contained a plane ticket to come out and visit the friend. When Yoshitsugu arrived she found out that her friend was no longer alive. When she inspected the girls apartment she found one final letter from her friend on the desk, It was a letter of thanks. As it turns out Yoshitsugu's first letter to the girl had given that girl a source of hope in her own life. In the end she found the 4 leaf clover framed on the desk of her deceased friend. Yup, so much for moe moe warlords! This episode had teeth. 24. The Ambition of Oda Nobuna: Nobukatsu's hot-spring moment with Nagamasa. Nagamasa and Nobuna's brother Nobukatsu, who was also gender-bent by the way, become betrothed. The ironic thing here was that Nagamasa thinks that Nobuna had sent a sister. The audience knew better, the real Nobunaga had a sister but Nobuna had a very feminine brother. Well the two met up at a hot-spring and the cat was out of the bag, Nagamasa was also gender-bent. What followed was a touching scene where Nobukatsu tells Nagamasa that she will be his wife and that she can act like a woman around him. This incredibly bizarre set-up managed to inspire feelings of wait wut? and d'aww all in one breath. 23. Psycho-Pass: The disturbing reunion in the basement. The most interesting thing about what we have seen of Psycho-Pass has been way the villains are used to teach philosophy. All the interesting concepts came out of the mouths of people society had deemed dangerous. In this particular scene a killer had reunited a one friend with another friend who had already been murdered, all the while she was talking about how she had been moved to tears by this situation and wanted to share this touching feeling of reunion with more people. Just to make it all a little more twisted it seemed like the killer was really telling the truth. 22. Chuuni: Saying goodbye to Rikka's father. "Banishmento... This Worldo!" Rikka never was able to say goodbye to her father when he passed away at a young age. In fact his entire illness had been hidden from Rikka, so when he died she wasn't able to feel like he had really died. It was far too sudden for her to believe that her father was gone as she had believed until just before he died that he was going to get better soon. Because it didn't feel real she wasn't able to believe it, so she began looking for another reason. Unable to let her father pass away without it feeling real she created the Ethereal Horizon as a way to hold on to her father. At the end of this story she does find the Ethereal Horizon she had been looking for, but it isn't what she had made it out to be. Instead of finally finding her father she found the strength she needed to properly say goodbye. 21. Sakurasou: Changing the ending. Who doesn't dream of a happy ending? Mashiro was a brilliant artist, but she was not a very good writer. To make up for this she based the story for her manga around the people at Sakurasou. Her ability to make the story of these people proved that Mashiro was incredibly observant, but there was one problem with her storytelling. Her heroine, who she had based off the real protagonist of the anime, was leaving Sakurasou. Because her story does not have a happy ending it would not be serialized. When Sorata learns all this from Mashiro's editor he rushed back to Sakurasou to tell Mashiro that he was going to stay and follow his own dreams. In the end it turned out that Mashiro had already fixed her story and she flashed him a smile that was worth a thousand words. Before this was all over the rest of the cast came storming into her room where they troll Sorata into repeating what he had said a moment ago about staying. 20. Sankarea: The final fight with Rea's father. The protagonist of this anime, Chihiro, was kidnapped by the heroine's wealthy father and forced into a fencing duel. The protagonist had never fenced in his life so instead he relied on his wit to attack Rea's father. Ultimately Rea's father wound up getting mad and impaled the protagonist though the chest with his sword. You would think this would be the end of the story, but apparently Chihiro was quite alright despite having a sword impaled in his center. He blamed it on Rae's poison getting into his blood and gave himself the title of half zombie in an incredibly silly over the top fashion. Now as we all know, if you want to kill a zombie you aim for it's head, which was exactly what Rea's father did. This time it was Rea who stepped in. She pulled the sword from Chihiro's chest, hitting it against her fathers blade. Thanks to her zombie strength the blade in her fathers hand was broken. In the end the one who won the fight was neither Chihiro nor her father, it was Rea herself. 19. Accel World/Sword Art Online: Beating Seiji Noumi/Sugo. This is a dual award because both scenes are so incredibly similar I see no reason to list them twice. In the second half of both Accel World and Sword Art Online we are introduced to an incredibly vile villain. Scum of the earth who enjoyed taking things from others and defiling them for no greater reason than because they could. In both cases watching them burn was such a satisfying experience. No punches were pulled. Sugo gets his upper torso thrown into the air before having his head impaled on a sword. Seiji was beaten and lying on the ground when he received the final blow. For all that people seem to hate these villains for one reason or another I think they served their purpose pretty well. I can think of few other villains I've hated quite as much as these two. 18. Nisemonogatari: Brushing your sisters teeth. What could be more awkward than spending an entire episode bathing a loli? Easy! Having brushed your sisters teeth for her until she reached a nearly orgasmic state! I never knew that brushing someone's teeth was a fetish, but now I do. For better or worse this is the number one thing that Nisemonogatari is remembered for. The moral of the story? Don't try out your friend's kinky fetishes on your sister, it's just not cool. 17. Sakurasou: Staying at a love hotel with Mashiro. With Mashiro you were never really sure if she fully understood what she was doing. When Sorata called her out on it after entering a love hotel, she managed to reverse the situation on him. This is necessary for art she said. Then she asked him what he was doing there himself. He should have been out looking for people to take his cats, which was what kept him bound to Sakurasou. In the end it was Sorata who didn't understand what he was doing or why. This scene managed to establish a ton about the cast and direction of the anime with a very brief moment. Mashiro's view on the world as strange as it was also appeared profound, which added a lot of depth to her character. I think the biggest reason this moment was so memorable for me was the statement that Mashiro made about her art in the process. 16. Future Diary: The lovey dovey diary characters dying moments. Yukki and Yuno had a relationship that was held together entirely by the insane game they had found themselves caught up in. What better way to test their love for each other than by throwing a dedicated loving couple at them? In the end it was the lovey dovey diary owners own fault they lost. Before they died they were in the Tokyo Tower which was crumbling all around them. The man put his last bit of strength into rescuing Yukki and Yuno who also had his injured girlfriend held hostage. He was impaled with a support beam from the building, but that was not enough to stop him from pulling his girl out. In the end he found that he was too late and that his girlfriend had already died. He tossed the parachute he had planed to use for his escape to Yukki and died with his woman in his arms as the tower collapsed on top of them. Somewhat Ironically these characters which served to contrast Yukki and Yuno's own relationship quickly became more memorable than the main characters themselves. 15. The Ambition of Oda Nobuna: Gifu Castle. In this anime the story made a father figure out of one of Nobunaga's enemies. The castle which was previously under the control of this old man's son had been captured and renamed. His son's life was spared by Nobuna which left the older man in a fit thinking she was being entirely too naive. Outside on a balcony he talked with Yoshiharu about why his son was spared. Yoshiharu told the old man that he was is the only father Nobuna had left and points into the distances where fires were being lit in the shape of a serpent. The serpent was a symbol which represented the old man. Manly tears were had. 14. SnS III: Yuuji and Shana's final fight. Out of all the crazy plot twists this final season had in store the most memorable was still the final moment between Yuuji and Shana. After all they have been through Shana would not let Yuuji go off and seek redemption on his own. There were a lot of unjustifiable things that had been done. In the end love may not have the power to justify all the wrong that had been done, but it did redeem it. After over half a decade of being a Shana fan it was a bit sad to see it all end, but It couldn't have done so with a more powerful message than the one it had. 13. Dusk Maiden of Amnesia: Yuuko's final moments. To be honest I have a hard time explaining this one. This scene was filled with clichés and was something I expected would happen at the end of this series from day one, but somehow it still managed to be incredibly potent. I've re-watched this scene several times since the anime finished and again before writing this. I find myself moved by this scene every time I watch it. Perhaps this is a testament to the power of storytelling techniques that have become clichés? I hate to write it off like that. I would like to put it like this instead: The resolve that these characters showed in the face of sadness was what made this scene so powerful. I never really believed that Yuuko would vanish for good, but I did not need to believe that. The power of resolve in watching these two characters say goodbye was more than powerful enough to carry this anime through to a happy ending. 12. Kokoro Connect: Saying goodbye to Iori. I could just site this entire episode as a memorable moment. Instead I want to focus in on what I think was the most memorable moment in an incredibly memorable episode. Up to this point the five primary members of this cast had been swapping bodies at random. As a final test Heartseed, this stories villain or sorts, possessed Iori and made her jump off a bridge. Iori's body was in critical condition while the cast was faced with a question, who should die? Heartseed said it could be any one of them that would die with Iori's body, he would let them chose. In the end Iori herself decided that she should be the one to die since it was her body. Using Inaba's body she gave Taichi, the protagonist, a goodbye kiss. Heartseed being the "gentleman" that he was later told the cast that he would never harm an innocent person, in fact he was even so nice as to give Iori's cell phone to Taichi before making Iori jump off the so that it would not be damaged by the water. So yeah, In the end Iori is quite fine, and the story continues on. 11. Fate/Zero: Riders Death and Waver's obedience. This is the end of a dream. Rider never stood a chance against Gilgamesh even at full power. What really makes this last scene so powerful is the way that Waver swears allegiance to Rider before Rider goes off on his charge. He promised Rider that he would live on to share the story of the king of conquerors. In the final moments after Rider had been destroyed Waver was saved by his obedience to Rider. Gilgamesh for all his bullshit respected this decision and let Waver live. Pretty much everything about this scene was powerful. The way Waver stands up to Gilgamesh at the end really shows how he grew during the course of the story, and Riders death was pretty powerful on it's own. Manly tears were cried for the end of this King of Bros. 10. Horizon: The revelation of the true Spanish Armada. This was probably the most surprising moment of the year as it blind sided me entirely. Out of all the crazy things in Horizon the most memorable was a sub-plot involving the self-sacrifice of a commanding officer. He did this out of what he felt was a duty to redeem himself for failing to save his family in a past war. One of his subordinates was an elf woman who was secretly a half elf girl that he rescued as a child during a previous war. Half elves were discriminated against for maturing slowly and were often used as front line fighters in wars and not allowed important positions. The commander had been writing this girl ever since she was a child, but he had no idea she was working for him. When the majority of the fleet pulled back and left the commander to go off and do his thing Juana the elf girl calls out to him using the name she had used for him as a child. When the commander learned that Juana was really that same half elf he saved many years ago he maintained the lie that she was a full elf. Before he closed the com he told Juana that she had become quite the lady. Now it doesn't actually end there, and maybe I am just a big sap, but I really loved this scene. Even now I can't re-watch this scene without tearing up a bit. 9. Humanity has declined: Loaf-Kun killed himself. And look not all of my memorable moments are tragedy! Or uh, maybe this still counts. This moment deserves a special mention for getting the best reaction out of my friends. A sentient piece of bread talked about how he was made out of garbage before begging to be eaten, ripping himself open and spewing red juice all over the place. Yup, not forgetting that one any time soon. 8. Psycho-Pass: Talking to Shogo and the murder of a friend. Psycho-Pass is really good at making memories people would rather not have. This time, Shogo, the mastermind himself, appeared before Akane our protagonist. He had one of her close friends cuffed to a rail and tossed Akane a shotgun. Akane tried to shoot him with her science gun, but it read his crime level as too low for punishment. Shogo told Akane that the law can't reach him and that she needed to do it herself. Akane picked up the shotgun and fired it at Shogo but her unsteady aim caused her to miss him. Shogo claimed that he was disappointed in her and that she must be punished. He then sliced her friends throat in front of her before making his escape. Part of the twisted thing here was that it was pretty easy to blame Akane for failing to shoot Shogo and save her friend. Thank you Urobuchi, my nightmares now have something to ponder for awhile. 7. Blast of Tempest: Shakespeare, debunking logic and time travel. The thing that really impressed me is the way all the little details had come together toward what seemed to be an ending or conclusion of sorts. No details were wasted. All the little interesting things that were explained throughout the show were then used wonderfully to tie things together. Basically the protagonist and his friend were searching for the killer of his friends sister. Well, his friend was ready to blow up the entire world if he couldn't get what he wanted and he had a weapon capable of doing exactly that, forcing the villain to play by his rules. What followed was a four episode mind game that involved solving a time paradox. It was one of the most brilliant things I've seen executed in storytelling in some time. Also, the protagonist was totally a parallel for the friend from Hamlet who never really did anything and was just kind of always there. I probably find that a lot more interesting than it really is. 6. Kokoro Connect: Inaba tells Taichi that she has masturbated to him as well. Yes, this happened and yes, this deserves number six. I will make no attempt to hide my affection for this character or for her voice actress. Honestly if you were to ask me at random for the most memorable events in anime this past year this would really be one of the first things that would pop into my head, and I know I am not alone in that. Inaba had trust issues so Tachi decided to share a dirty little secret of his with her to help solidify their bond. He told her that he had masturbated to her before. Yeah, he thought that one through. Inaba had an appropriate reaction which was basically along the lines of why would ever say that? But that is not what made the memorable moment. Toward the end of the same episode Inaba leaned in towards Taich and whispered into his ear that she had masturbated to him as well. This whole set-up amused me far more than it probably should have, but what can I say. It is what it is. 5. Sakurasou: Airport confession. This anime loves to trick Sorata into believing things that are not true. Point in case, Rita an artist from overseas who used to take care of Mashiro, had come to Japan in order to bring Mashiro back home with her. Well, as events unfolded Mashiro headed to the airport with her, but only to say goodbye. Sorata didn't know that though and chased her down to give her a panicked lovers plea asking her to stay. At this point Mashiro revealed that she was never actually going anywhere and that Sorata is really just a big fool. That said this made for a great dramatic moment, and a few other confessions followed suit making the moment that much better. 4. Another: Final reveal and bringing the tragedy to an end. Basically the way I see it a good mystery has to pretty much reinvent the wheel in order to fool anyone aware of the clichés of the genre. Another managed to weave a mystery that was both hidden in plain sight and completely out of view, which is exactly what I want out of a mystery. If we look for a reason why this mystery worked so well I supposed it would be because the heroine had all the pieces from the start, she just didn't think they were useful until the end. In the end this all climaxes when the heroine finally does reveal who the extra person is. It all made perfect sense and made for a nice bitter sweet ending. Also, there were some crazy pyrotechnics and a psycho woman with a knife. Most of the protagonist's classmates died brutally to one of the above or each other, but really, who cares about that stuff? 3. Sword Art Online: The end of Aincrad. Of all the moments in Sword Art Online I found the end of Aincrad to be the most moving. Sure some crazy thing happened to get us there, but I was okay with that. There was a certain romance about the way it all went down. The way Kayaba Akihiko could no longer remember his original motivation for all the things he had done had a sort of poetic sting to it. It would be impossible to try and justify his character, and the awful things he had could never be undone, but his desire to become a god in his own fantasy realm was not entirely beyond understanding. The thing that really stuck with me the most wasn't the way Asuna lived, or even the way Kayaba played by his own rules and went down with his ship. It was watching the home that Kirito and Asuna shared crumble that really got me. 2. Guilty Crown: Hare's death. Sometimes an appropriately placed character death can give that character immortality in the memories of the fans. That proved to be true with Hare. Her naive affection toward Shu had her die in his arms after saving his life. It was one of those moments where something precious had been trampled on and was permanently lost. Something in the way this scene is execute is beautifully painful. Maybe it can be found in the strength and purity of Hare's love for Shu who by nearly all accounts was not deserving of it at all. 1. Chuunibyo: Yuuta yells at Dekomori. Perhaps it is cheating to pick something so recent as number one, but personally I feel the entire story of Chuunibyo cultivated this one scene into something that deserves it. Even the earliest moments of this story left fans wondering if these kids understood that they were making up disillusion or if they really believe them. When Dekomori confronted Yuuta for telling Rikka to grow up he finally boiled over and lets Dekomori have it with a truth bomb. "If something is not real, it's not real." What hits home the most is when Dekomori acknowledges that she knew it wasn't real all along.
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A promoted article from Lifesong!
[And here it is, the final promoted Bloggers Wanted article of 2012 (at least, it's still 2012 where I am!). Lifesong is at hand to walk us through some of the best anime moments we had this year, so why not come see if your ...

Vote for your favourite anime of 2012!

Dec 23 // Chris Walden
Accel World Acchi Kocchi AKB0048 Amagami SS+ Ano Natsu de Matteru Another Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de Aquarion Evol Aruvu Rezuru: Kikai Jikake no Yousei-tachi Bakuman. 3 Binbou-gami ga! Black Rock Shooter Brave10 Btooom! Busou Shinki Campione! Chitose Get You!! Chouyaku Hyakunin Isshu: Uta Koi Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Code:Breaker Dakara Boku wa, H ga Dekinai Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou Dog Days' Ebiten: Kouritsu Ebisugawa Koukou Tenmon-Bu Eureka Seven Ao Fate/Zero S2 Fushigi no Umi no Nadia Remastered Gakkatsu! Ginga e Kickoff!! Girls und Panzer Gokujyo-. Gon Hagure Yuusha no Estetica Haiyore! Nyaruko-san Hakuouki: Reimei-roku Hayate no Gotoku! Can't take my eyes off you Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb High School DxD Hiiro no Kakera Hyouka Initial D Fifth Stage Inu x Boku SS Ixion Saga DT Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken Jormungand Joshiraku K Kamisama Hajimemashita Kill Me Baby Kimi to Boku. S2 Kingdom Koi-ken! Watashi etc. Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate Kokoro Connect Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? OF THE DEAD Kuroko no Basuke Kuromajyo-san ga Touru!! Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II Kyousogiga La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia Litchi DE Hikari Club Little Busters! Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna Magi Medaka Box Mobile Suit Gundam SEED HD Mouretsu Pirates Moyashimon Returns Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse Naruto SD: Rock Lee etc. Natsuiro Kiseki Natsume Yuujinchou Shi Natsuyuki Rendezvous Nazo no Kanojo X Nisemonogatari Oda Nobuna no Yabou Onii-chan Dekedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai yo ne Ozuma Papa no Iu Koto o Kikinasai! Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle S2 Pokemon: Best Wishes S2 Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki Pretty Rhythm Dear My Future Psycho-pass Queen's Blade: Rebellion Recorder to Randoseru Rinne no Lagrange Robotics;Notes Saint Seiya Omega Sakamichi no Apollon Saki: Achiga-hen episode of side-A Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo Sankarea Seitokai no Ichizon Sengoku Collection Senhime Zesshou Symphogear Shiba Inuko-san Shin Tennis no Ouji-sama Shining Hearts ~Shiawase no Pan~ Shin Sekai Yori Shirokuma Cafe Suki-tte Ii na yo Sword Art Online Tantei Opera Milky Holmes 2 Tari Tari Tasogare OtomexAmnesia To Love-Ru: Darkness Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun Tsuritama Uchuu Kyoudai Upotte!! Yuru Yuri S2 Zero no Tsukaima F Zetman Zetsuen no Tempest
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It's all up to you guys!
[Just a week left to vote! It seems we have a heated battle between Fate/Zero S2 and Sword Art Online, so if you want to make your favourite show stand out, be sure to leave us your number #1 in the comments!] It's mid-Decemb...

2012: The Year I Rediscovered My Love For JRPGs

Dec 17 // AdzPearson
Simply put, my old Xbox 360 died. As the 360 is pretty much my primary system for games, a huge chunk of my library was suddenly unavailable for me to play. While I also own a PS3, I only really buy exclusives for it, so there wasn't a great deal of choice for me from there. What I didn't have any shortage of was PS1 and PS2 games. Luckily for me, my PS3 is a launch unit, so both sets of games were available to me. Seeing as time was no longer an issue and I had nothing else to play, I decided to take the plunge and dive into...  I decided on FFV due to my past experience with Final Fantasy games. It's also one I didn't play a great deal of when I first bought it back in 2002 (as part of the EU edition of the FF Anthology). It proved to be the perfect choice, as the fun job system made it very easy to get into the idea of grinding. While I was going into primarily to learn new skills from a job, my characters were also levelling, which was very satisfying. I feel that my grinding ethic has improved a lot since I played through it. When I completed it, I also hit a personal milestone. It was the first Final Fantasy game I had ever completed. Yep, I hadn't even completed FFVII, which is one of my favourite games. Never expected my first completed FF to be 5, but I guess life surprises you like that sometimes. From that point on, I wanted to play more RPGs. Next up was Radiant Historia. Anything that combines time travel with a JRPG sounds like a good idea to me. While it was initially the time travel aspect that grabbed my interest (I love the concept of time travel), I also ended up liking the battle system. It's a system that rewards those who knock enemies into the same space, as you have the opportunity to cause damage to all of them in one turn. It even encourages chaining attacks together, as it builds up your special abilities. Much to my delight, I managed to complete it. It was already my joint most-successful year with RPGs (the other being 2006, when I completed both Suikoden and Chrono Cross). Hot on the success from FFV and Radiant Historia, I decided to go back another game from back in the day... Shadow Hearts really stood out for me because of the unique 'Judgement Ring' system. Basically, you must stop the spinning hand in the lit up areas to perform an action. You can also aim for the edge of these areas to make your attacks or spells more powerful. It really encourages a 'risk and reward' style of play. It can result in victory from the jaws of defeat or vice versa. Another thing I like about Shadow Hearts is the dark setting it has. Its visuals are akin to a survival-horror game. It also doesn't shy away from gore, which is always welcome in my book. I kind of wish the voice acting was better, though (especially due to their accents not matching their nationalities). The next RPG I tackled was Wild Arms 3, another PS2 game I bought a while back. Going into it, I was expecting much...but what I got was when one the best games I've played this year. The story went into directions I didn't expect and all the characters complimented each other very well. It felt like a bounty hunter anime in parts (such as Outlaw Star or Cowboy Bebop). The characters didn't always agree with each other, but they worked together regardless. It wasn't without its problems. The style of the dungeon crawling system meant that it was pretty tiring, so I only played it around 1-2 hours each day. It took me a while to complete. Overall, it was definitely worth it. If you're looking for something a bit different, it might be worth giving it a shot. Grandia was my next port of call. I had played a good chunk of it in the early 00s, but I didn't quite finish it off. This time, I was determined to finish it. It didn't take long to remind myself why I enjoyed so much the first time around. The whole game felt like an epic journey. I also found the battle system satisfying, as it allows for a lot of strategy. For example, there were moments where I had to decide whether to go for a powerful attack or block an incoming move from the enemies. It could be really tense at times. Sure enough, I managed to complete it. All in all, it was a great game. The voice acting was very unfortunate (pretty sure they just went out onto the street and found some random people), but it doesn't really mar it too much. My final completed RPG of the year was FFIV. Much like FFV, I hadn't played a lot of it before. I'd certainly heard it was regarded as one of the best FFs. Is it deserving of such praise? I'd say so. For a game of that era, the characters shined through very well (better than FFV did, which was a bit odd). The story, while clichéd, was also very interesting. The gameplay wasn't anything special, but it was certainly a lot easier without any additional levelling systems going on. Despite all my successes, it wasn't all good news. I had the unfortunate experience of playing... Yep. Dark Cloud. Never again. If the horrible taste of Lemsip became physical and could be played in a games console, it would result in that game. I gave it a fair crack (it actually had some things going for it), but it still turned around and bit me. Would I recommend the game? Sure...for masochists and a way of torturing your worst enemies. Otherwise, stay away from that game. Stay away. STAY AWAY, HEAR ME?! JUST STAY THE HELL AWAY! STAYYYYYYY AWAYYYYYYYYYYYYY! STAAAAAAA... *Many apologies, but it appears that we're having some technical difficulties. For now, here is the test card and some music...* ...ahem, sorry about that. It's still a very raw subject for me. I'm all better now... That brings my blog entry to a close. I've actually just started Persona 3 Portable, but it's pretty obvious I'm not going to complete it before the end of the year (unless I have some kind of crazy caffeine-fuelled marathon...hmmm...*ponders*). It's been a very successful year as far as RPGs are concerned. I'll definitely be playing more JRPGs next year. There's still so many I want to play...oh, so many... ...oh, and feel free to ask if you want more details about what I liked in the games I've mentioned. You can even ask about the infernal piece of crap I mentioned, but...just be gentle, okay? Thanks for reading. :D
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A promoted article from AdzPearson!
[A wild Bloggers Wanted promotion has appeared! Fellow Britannian AdzPearson shows us that we have nothing on his ability to KO a JRPG without relying on back attacks! Hit the jump to see if the games he felled this year are ...

Best OPs and EDs of 2012

Dec 12 // jel x
The Best Anime Openings of 2012 5. "Try Unite!" - Megumi Nakajima (Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne) If you want to mix some pop music into your space mecha, you can't do much better than Ms. Ranka Lee herself. A collaboration with Swedish DJ and producer Rasmus Faber, "Try Unite's" smooth, lilting verses and playful, joyful chorus are a great fit for Lagrange's "Save the World and Have Fun Doing It" attitude. 4. "Platinum Disco" - Yuka Iguchi (Nisemonogatari) I really could have chosen any of the Nisemonogatari OPs for this list, but "Platinum Disco" is the one everyone is still going to remember by this time next year. As with all the -monogatari opening themes, Shaft does a great job crafting visuals that fit the character and songwriter Meg Rock finds a way to use the actress' vocal range in the most palatable, ridiculously catchy way. There is also a silly dance, and who doesn't love silly dances? 3. "To the Beginning" - Kalafina (Fate/Zero) At the opposite end of the spectrum, the talented ladies of Kalafina storm in to separate the women from the girls with "To the Beginning". Their modern brand of medieval/gothic harmonies are the perfect call to action for the Fate/Zero's historical cast. Add in UFOtable's cinema quality animation and visual cues chronicling our main man Kiritsugu's past and I am now wanting to rewatch this series. 2. "Tsurezure Monochrome" - Fujifabric (Tsuritama) AND NOW BACK TO SILLY DANCING. I absolutely adore the art of Uki Atsuya and Tsuritama just oozes his unique style. But beyond the cool art and surprisingly plot relevant Enoshima Dance, it's really the song that wins me over. Sounding something like the Pillows if they picked up a full time electric organ player, "Tsurezure Monochrome" is the kind of music I would actually listen to whether it was anime related or not. 1. "The Everlasting Guilty Crown" - supercell Egoist (Guilty Crown) "The Everlasting Guilty Crown" is an OP so good it actually got me to watch a few more episodes of Guilty Crown (zing!). Seriously though, it's one of the best classic style anime OPs I've seen in a good long while, delivering gorgeous renderings of the cast over a huge, driving pop rock anthem. There's no way former vocaloid legend ryo can hide behind his in-universe pseudonym: the relentless piano riffs and massive, massive chorus are unmistakably supercell, and that is a very good thing. The Best Anime Endings of 2012 5. "My Dream Within A Dream" - Masumi Itou (Humanity Has Declined) There's a certain creepy fairy tale vibe to "My Dream Within A Dream", appropriate considering "creepy fairy tale vibe" is exactly the feeling you get watching Humanity Has Declined. The off-kilter vocals and images of flowers, candy, blood, tears and death make this song the good kind of unsettling, again, right in line with the show. 4. "Vidro Moyou" - Nagi Yanagi (Waiting In Summer) The first solo single from former supercell songstress Nagi, "Viro Moyou" is a much more subdued, mellow song than her work with her former group. It's still a lovely showcase for her crystal pure voice however, and the note she hits at the end give me chills every time I hear it. The monchromatic art of the cast makes a nice visual backdrop, and the song's wistful tone works well for a series told as a flashback. 3. "Mystery Surrounding You" - Satomi Satou and Ai Kayano (Hyouka) Kyoto Animation historically puts special emphasis on their OPs and EDs (see header image), and the second ending for Hyouka is one of their best. In judging this list I put a much higher value on the music over the animation, but let's be honest, this is about the striking visuals. The song itself is a fun, catchy number, but this ending really grabs you with its bold yellow backdrop, swirling typography and adorable Sherlock Holmes outfits. It's almost like a mini stage play, portraying the relationships between the characters and emphasizing that they are the real mystery behind Hyouka. 2. "Above Your Hand" - Annabel (Sankarea) I must admit I couldn't get into Sankarea, but even without much context the ending song is gorgeous. I can confidently say it's the prettiest depiction of Cosmic Bowling I've ever seen, creating an intriguing, unique visual setting. The song itself begins with simple acoustic guitar and drifts off into a haunting, eerily beautiful mix of drum machine, mellotron, and vocal coos that I just want to hear again and again. 1."Wareta Ringo" - Risa Taneda (From the New World) I've been finding From the New World to be a bit of a mixed bag, but the ending song is a standalone work of art. The minimalist art style and vague Buddhist imagery is pretty but foreboding, exploding with a flash of fireworks and white light that time perfectly with the flow of the song. I was rather impressed that "Wareta Ringo" is performed by the series' lead voice actress and not an imported professional singer. Her voice soars through the dramatic call and response vocals of the chorus before the song crashes back down into reality. It's a very impressive work, and by far my favorite entry on this list.  
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A promoted article from jel x!
[The first promoted article for this month's Bloggers Wanted! The wonderful jel x has given us what he believes to be the best opening and ending music from 2012! Hit the jump and see if they match your own, but if they don't...

Bloggers Wanted: Best of 2012

Dec 01 // Chris Walden
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Definitely Phi Brain. Great for sorting my sleeping patterns.
It's finally December, so now you can go ahead and put up your decorations and play Christmas music in public. What, people have been doing this since late October? Way to spoil the fun! The start of the new month means we ha...

Ecchi with plot: The Ambition of Oda Nobuna

Nov 20 // Rank57
Japanese history always drew my attention, not to the point of making me study it more seriously, but at least making me check anime or games were based on it. What kept me away from The Ambition of Oda Nobuna were the images I saw from it and some quick reviews. "Cute girls as historical warlords. Yeah right, this is another harem hentai trying to attract the otaku crowd". That's what I thought, yet I decided to check a few episodes.  Man, was I wrong. Yes, Oda Nobuna hangs around with her bras showing, most of the main historical figures are represented as moe girls or big breasted babes, and the main protagonist is a teenage boy who came from the future. Even so, with this ridiculous premise, The Ambition of Oda Nobuna is a fine example of ecchi and moe used with intelligence, with a great plot as a background. Or perhaps it is cute girls as a background to an accurate historical tale?  Time for a strategy meeting. Yes, the generals are hot girls, but whatever Anyway, the show still portrays feudal Japan with a surprising amount of detail, without ever, EVER giving priority to show breasts. Oda Nobuna(ga) is still a warlord trying to conquer and unite the country, there is intrigue, war strategies well applied, drama and everything just works, although the 12 episodes made the plot seem rushed, especially towards the end.  Sagara Yoshiharu, the male protagonist, is the teenage student who came from the future, and one of the greatest things about this show. He is an avid gamer who knows everything about The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, a game that portrays the life and conquests of the one responsible for uniting Japan. The thing is that Saru, as he ends up being called by everyone, actually uses the fact he came from the future to his advantage. First, he saves Nobuna's life with the help of his cellphone. From there, he displays impressive amounts of knowledge, to economics to modern architecture techniques to war strategies. He just implemented what he learned from the game or copied what we use in modern days, but still, to the eyes of the feudal Japanese, it's impressive, and it's great to see how this advantage is used and portrayed. Using this kind of knowledge, Saru becomes one of the most reliable generals under Oda Nobuna.  Our intrepid hero The other characters follow the lead. There's a reason why Oda Nobuna is a tsundere, as she is a warlord and must keep her behaviour as such. Inuchiyo and Goemon would be the main source of moeness, but both help Saru with his plans and both are incredibly useful. Katsuie Shibata is the main big breasted girl, but her role as the strongest warrior in Oda's army is more accentuated (no pun intended). Every character fulfils their role, and no one feels forced or put there just for the sake of fan service. My only complaint is the usage of magic: Hanbe Takenaka's brilliancy as a strategist is outplayed by her magic powers, as she can overpower an army and put down a fire alone. This takes some of the "realism" the show could have had. To put it short: this is not a harem anime. Nor an action one, as there is no "PUT YA GUNS ON!" and people mowing an entire army with lightning (except for a quick Hanbe intervention). The battles and even minor conflicts are resolved with intelligence and strategy. The numbers make a difference in battle. All in all, The Ambition of Oda Nobuna is the most accurate historical anime I have ever seen, even if most of the important figures are replaced with cute girls. An example to the anime industry, as yes, it is possible for ecchi and moe to coexist with a good plot.
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A promoted article from Rank57!
[How about another promoted article? Rank57 shows us that there is more to The Ambition of Oda Nobuna than just a gender-bending harem! Hit the jump and give it a read to see if he can persuade you to check it out! For the ch...

An Open Letter to the Manga and Anime Industry

Nov 13 // CharismaJustice
The idea of cute girls and fanservice has existed in manga and anime since the conception of their respective media, and yet recent trends in media show a massive increase in the number of these various techniques being used, a trend which I find alarming. While many dedicated fans enjoy tastes of ecchi in their anime, and the use of moe characters, studios and artists seem to be basing works upon these things as opposed to creating something original and story based. It's incredibly worrisome in my opinion, and if not corrected soon could cause permanent damage to the medium. [embed]27172:1837[/embed] If this problem isn't stopped soon, every series will be K-On!, and that is not anything I'd want What do Soul Eater, Haruhi Suzumiya, Berserk, Gantz, and Slam Dunk all have in common? They're all regarded as masterworks in their respective media, and all feature ecchi scenes, or even full blown nudity. Ecchi, when used in moderation, is a perfectly fine thing to add to a manga or anime. However when a series is based around that, you end up with something that's almost softcore porn, series like To Love-Ru, Rosario Vampire, Kaichou Wa Maid Sama!, etc. The issue with manga like the ones I just mentioned is that they're all massively popular, and thus more people are creating series such as these, and it is the duty of the people who release these things to stand up to imitators and allow more original media to come about. It's a more financially responsible strategy, and its the right thing to do for everyone's psyche. The most financially successful manga have always been the series that innovate, because innovative and well told stories sell for much longer than books and DVDs bought for cute girls. This is because there will never be another Akira, but there will always be cuter girls, and thus ecchi and moe manga will typically lack the longevity of a successful manga built around other strategies. Sadly, I don't see any major changes in the mass media market for a long time, because until the publishers decide to take more risks with what is released, I imagine we'll come to see a 10:1 ratio of To Love-Ru's for every quality story based work. That's not something I, as a huge fan of manga and anime, would be a part of, and I certainly wouldn't want my children (your primary audience) to be a part of it either. Not only that, but by using ecchi and moe techniques you cut out the middle ground of your audience. The middle group of consumers consists of people reading manga for the stories, and doesn't consist of people who will buy no matter what (otaku and children), and it will alienate some otaku, as not all people like moe and ecchi in their manga and anime. [embed]27172:1838[/embed] This is To Love-Ru The same could be said for moe, as I see an increasing amount of big eyed girls at school in my anime, and that wouldn't be an issue if not for the fact that the majority of them are god-awful. I call into example Hikaru no Go; a semi successful manga drawn by Death Note author Takeshi Obata about a boy named Hikaru who meets a ghost that makes him good at go (a Japanese chess type thing). The series was fairly well written and the plot was pretty interesting at times, and yet Hikaru no Go is somewhat forgotten now. An eerily similar premise is found in the ridiculously popular Saki, in which a cute girl plays mahjong, and that's about it. The difference between the two series is moe, the way the characters look rocketed Saki to fame far past Hikaru ever dreamed of. [embed]27172:1839[/embed] This is Saki's opening theme, notice all the moe, the actual series is a mess. But appearance isn't the issue with the idea of moe and moe characters, the issue is the lack of originality this passion for moe has spawned. An average manga about high school students doing funny things wouldn't get serialized normally, but tack a few moe characters on there and you have K-On!. That's the issue, that publishers are more willing to publish the K-Ons of the world, and thus mangaka and anime studios are more likely to create unoriginal moe series. [embed]27172:1840[/embed] Haruhi and Madoka are examples of plot over moe, and yet the moe is still there Finally, publishers are responsible for the media they create, and the social effects that this moe and ecchi movement could have are massive. Children growing up seeing all of this could be hooked on moe and ecchi, but that's unlikely compared to the utter social exploitation of otaku that these two ideas create. The stereotypical otaku isn't exactly rolling in the ladies and exploiting this through media that they obsess over has risen to an almost criminal level, as many otaku cannot be fully to blame for their actions. While I am a strong believer that personal responsibility is the primary factor in media exposure, the manga and anime industries have reached a point where not encountering ecchi and moe just isn't possible, and I think a lot of them can't resist. As the second largest consumer base for manga and anime, these people have been and could possibly continue the moe wave as long as publishers keep riding it, and thus, the children could be suckered into the two due to the exposure in the mass market, which just isn't fair. [embed]27172:1841[/embed] Beelzebub contains quite a bit of oversexualized characters, and moe characters, and it's serialized in a magazine for boys (meaning 18 and under.....)(I still like Beelzebub) In closing, abuse of ecchi and moe techniques is damaging socially, critically, and economically to the manga and anime industries, and while not currently apparent, if these issues are not addressed then these two industries could be in danger. I like Azumanga Daioh, its brilliantly written and really well done, and original in its own right To anyone who plans on commenting; I would love to encourage intelligent discussion on this matter, however if all you plan on doing is hating or flaming, and not giving intelligent criticism or praise (preferably praise) please don't bother commenting, also I wouldn't mind seeing other blogs with a different point of view, get writing guys! Also, I am not gay (we all know how the internet can be, and I just don't like gratuitous use of ecchi), and I am not trying to portray otaku in a negative light, however the primary consumers of ecchi and moe are the otaku of the world, otaku do very positive things for media, in supporting quality anime, manga, and video games, and I call myself an otaku of sorts as well. Finally, ecchi, moe, and the school life genre are not necessarily bad things themselves, I want to emphasize this.
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A promoted article from CharismaJustice!
[The first promoted article for this month's Bloggers Wanted! Charisma and Justice combine for a letter to none other than both anime and manga industries. Follow the jump and give it a read to see if you share the same thoug...

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HEY, ODA-SENSEI!
Can you smell that? It's the smell of a fresh, new month! That means it is time to change the Bloggers Wanted topic, so get those caffeinated drinks and start thinking of something cool to write! Oh yes, better explain what I...

Coming Back Again and Again: Cowboy Bebop

Oct 29 // Satisfaction
 Get ready! For the uninformed, Cowboy Bebop is an anime directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, about a crew of bounty hunters travelling throughout the galaxy, and running into trouble. Things never go well for the crew of the Bebop (their ship), as they typically encounter waaaaay more then they planned. The show is stylistically based around western movies, along with jazz music, and if you haven't seen Cowboy Bebop, make a new tab, watch the show, then comment your thanks to me on this blog.  And now, opinions! One of the reasons I think the show has such long-time success, is that its episodic in nature, and so it feels like a bunch of different shows, with only Spike and friends being there every time (or even more than once usually). Eco terrorists, casino hustles, insane killers on the loose, or even virtual reality religious killers, every episode feels fleshed out, stylistically different and yet the same. For instance, the episode where Jet is recovering a religious artefact with a girl from his past is oddly resemblant of an Indiana Jones movie, whereas the episode where Spike is tracking down a VR killer reminds me of Ghost in the Shell; two completely different series, styles, and yet the same vibe and that classic Cowboy Bebop style.  Cigarettes are pretty stylish. Bebop reminds me of a crime epic, mixed with a noir film, mixed with a science fiction epic, mixed with anime, and all of this adds up to a winning formula. There's a scene locked in my memory, where Spike is on Neptune (I think), and apparently Neptune is the physical embodiment of the blues; because rain is pouring down, and run down bars line the streets, and here's Spike listening to a man play a beautiful tune on the sax. Little did I know that the saxman is the fugitive he's after, cue climaxes, lulls, and a downfall, as if the episode is a music video to a jazz song. Incredibly, that's how most of the episodes feel, almost like listening to music, the plot just flows so well. The episodic nature makes no two episodes alike.  [embed]27105:1789[/embed] It was snowing, and Faye was in the bar, at least I was close.... The final piece of my memory puzzle, lies in Bebop's soundtrack, which, as hinted by the show's title, is a jazz epic. It is nearly always in sync with the show, which is absolutely incredible. Yoko Kanno deserves endless amounts of credit for her compositions for this show, as there's the perfect song for every moment. Whether it's a lonely saxophone playing in a seedy bar, or a western whistling tracks accompanying chaos from a wannabe cowboy, the soundtrack is 95% hits, 5% misses. When the action is in sync, it gets incredible, just mind blowing.  [embed]27105:1788[/embed] I don't know why I thought of this.  Now for the real answer, Cowboy Bebop keeps me coming back because of a little bit of all these things; there are episodes of Bebop I'm frantic to watch at times, because I love the plot so much, and these stand-outs blur my memories of other episodes, making those fun to watch too! Also the soundtrack paces the show perfectly, making so many memorable moments that I just want to see again, and the show's stylistic decisions suited a younger, more western oriented me perfectly. Perhaps that's the real reason why I adore Bebop, as the show really got an older me hooked on serious anime. Before I saw Bebop, I read what I've seen in Jump, and watched what I've seen on Adult Swim and Toonami, and that was it. Until I saw Cowboy Bebop, and then I wanted to know what others thought, then I saw recommendations, and now I'm a glorified otaku. Thanks Spike.  And I haven't looked back since.  Drop me a comment! What do you think about Cowboy Bebop, jazz, or maybe I just suck! Tell me how to suck less! And until next time..... 
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A promoted article from Satisfaction!
[Yet another promoted article for the current Bloggers Wanted! Satisfaction is guaranteed as we learn just why Cowboy Bebop and his computer are so darn good. Seriously guys, this show is worth watching just to observe Spike'...

Promoted Blog: How to fix Capcom

Oct 26 // The-Excel
It makes me churn a little when I see people not caring about the quality of a cancelled game because they just want to play it. They're the ones who enable Capcom to make sequels that do not need to be. But I'm getting off point. This isn't about sequels, it's about what led to this pitiful milestone release. This has been a long time coming, because for all the wrongdoing Capcom has been pulling the last few years, they got off relatively scot-free, if not a little worse for wear in reviews. Now that the big name developers and directors have bailed, maybe this is all they're capable of doing with Mega Man anymore. Predictably, early impressions for Rockman Xover are not looking good. Despite this, for the last few years, Capcom has gotten the idea that they can act with impunity because 1. The people who are boycotting or otherwise taking a stand against them aren't doing it right 2. There aren't enough people doing so 3. Sales figures are still counterbalancing any boycotting efforts This is what happens when people don't properly punish a company that acts out of line. To this day, Capcom is getting money it should not be getting. Now everyone pays the price. By not completely starving Capcom of all profit, they are doing whatever they please and you all swallow it up (or so it seems to them anyway). When I say "you", I mean the gaming community as a whole, because the minority that knows what's what is being drowned out by the people who only talk in dollar signs. For all the people who complain, a few months later, Capcom announces some kind of remake or sequel of a series everyone used to like just to appease to the people calling them out. A shadow of their lofty greatness as opposed to the genuine article will restore their image, just like they did with Jojo's Bizarre Adventure and Darkstalkers and Marvel vs. Capcom recently, and no one learns a thing. Capcom will profit with this title (because Mega Man is still a big name franchise and "social RPGs" almost always make money) and the change that desperately needs to happen never will, because gamers are too short-sighted and selfish to effect any real change in the industry. If you don't like this, then buckle up because I'm going to tell you how to cause that change. And you have a lot of work to do. I've observed something during this console generation which applies to every major gaming company that missteps more than a few times. No matter what happens, Capcom has enough diehard fans and casual fans who don't know any better to survive the worst beatings that those in the know have to offer. I recall the Wii version of Okami as a particular sticking point with the community at the time over failure to properly credit those involved in that port and even those who worked on the original game. Gamers took offense and a number of them vowed to boycott Capcom for their flagrant disrespect for the hard work of the individuals who worked on this game, but in the end, nothing happened. Okami on the Wii sold well enough and everyone forgot about it by the time the sequels came out. (Funny how Capcom's scramble to fix the infamous cover watermark was viewed as a token of respect before word of this got out.) Earlier this year, there was a case regarding Dragon's Dogma where a junior developer was nearly driven to suicide, and people still bought the game even after the story broke. Whatever horrid working conditions caused that case live on because there's no incentive to change it -- that is, poor sales as a result of people boycotting Capcom out of principle, just like they didn't with Okami. Granted, this has more to do with Japanese business culture than Capcom and is on the same level as the people who refuse to shop at Walmart. I bet it happens all the time and this is a case that managed to make headlines. But since Capcom was outed for it, why not make an example of them? After those missed opportunities to make a change, the failing I'm seeing is that gamers are sayingCapcom should pay, but no one is doing anything to make them. People tell me that Capcom learned their lesson with Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken in regard to mishandling gamers' trust with their money (free 2013 update to the latter notwithstanding), and they also tell me I'm silly for thinking Capcom needs even more punishment. Yeah, Capcom has learned its lesson, which is why they're still going at it with these half-hearted cash grabs and suboptimal working conditions. Isn't that right, Yoshinori Ono? How is anyone going to learn anything with that kind of attitude? Actions speak louder than words, and for years I've been seeing a whole lot of words and barely any action. Forgive the hypocrisy on my part, but I can't do it alone. You can't do it. One person cannot do it. Nor can a hundred. Nor can a thousand. Nor can a hundred thousand, no matter how strong they all think they are as a group. VGChartz shows that Capcom-published games routinely push millions of copies, even the "bad" ones like Resident Evil 6 that still broke the one million barrier. That's how many people we need to do it. Capcom is big, and we need to be bigger. Gamers need to all stand up at once and give them the biggest middle finger a Japanese gaming company has ever seen for any change to happen, because we've been taking it in the rear for far too long. Unfortunately, with the way the industry is set up now, no one can communicate to the most important game companies and tell them off directly, never mind foreign companies. Community websites and Facebook pages are only for advertising, not for feedback. Yeah, bad feedback on social media has pressed Capcom to say they are reconsidering how they'll handle DLC in the future, but that's just more words. (Update about Resident Evil 6: I don't want to have to bring up the fact that it has on-disc DLC because development on it started long before Capcom made the claim that they'll rethink that policy. I don't care that the DLC is free; this should never have happened in the first place. That said, it was going to happen eventually, like all potential ways to abuse monetization schemes, so it just sucks that it had to be a company with such a fine pedigree as Capcom.) Speaking of words, petitions mean squat. They imply support for a cause other than the surgical extraction of everything wrong with a company, which in Capcom's case is probably no longer feasible. Let me digress here for a moment: Suppose a petition does work. We get one game, maybe a handful, the signers wanted. Then what? Does the company change in any meaningful way as a result of listening to the fans? Are more games in their vein promised immediately regardless of sales and the company's current direction just because the fans made their voices known when they should not have needed to in the first place? Or do the fans wait and write up another petition for the next game they decide is worth more than the company decides it's worth? Given how long the petition process takes, I just don't think it's worth the effort and I'd rather see that effort bettering the industry rather than racing toward short-term gains. That tangent aside, we need unprecedented backlash to make Capcom turn over a new leaf, because like everyone else, I desperately want this bad Capcom to go away forever and a good Capcom, or even theold Capcom that did cool things in the last console generation and before, to appear in its place. But Exy, you're being too hard on them! Why kill the whole company off? Capcom still does good stuff once in a while. I know. Capcom was very good just a few years ago. I know this because of the lengths they went to to spread Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars around the planet. No one saw it coming, and Capcom did everything they could to make it work, and it totally did. They fixed the original up and even threw in new characters just because. They listened, even though it wasn't the most anticipated game of its season, and now few people play it anymore. (I believe it's due to poor timing, but I'm told that it was because it was on the one console most of the target audience didn't have, but that's for another article.) I can't emphasize enough just how much of a miracle Ultimate All-Stars is, and I feel it's been wasted. Who knows how long it'll be before we see such a defiance of region boundaries again? Then something happened and Capcom got greedy. I don't know what that something was or how long it took, but here we are. Whatever trace of good is left in the current Capcom is being overshadowed far too heavily by the bad. The way the industry is set up, we can't help them differentiate. If we buy only what we want and not what we don't want, we will get more of the good. "Voting with your wallet," as gamers like to say, regardless of how fundamentally broken that concept is. (Gotta write that rant sometime.) Unfortunately, too many people buy everything regardless if it's good or bad. Since the undiscerning gamers who make up a majority of the paying customer base aren't being reached, this ideal has no chance of success. The people who don't know any better are voting with their wallets as well, and their votes outnumber yours. I don't care about what the reports say about games held up by DLC and/or gems, games farmed out to subpar contractors, and ill-advised cell phone remakes not selling well. That they're being developed at all means something is wrong higher up. Kenji Inafune and Shinji Mikami and now Seth Killian all jumped ship just before and even during this all went down, and people still held hope. That's all gone now. Speaking of regions, I need to go back to something that's very personal to me: Voting with your wallet. Sure, it works fine for the usual domestic competitions of highly-rated games versus not-so-highly rated mediocrity, but how do you vote for a game that's not even in the ballot? But first, how do democracies work? Correct me if I'm wrong, but a big part of it is being able to vote out the people who run a state badly and then vote in good people, yes? When was the last time that happened with a game company? Who's going to tell the CEOs who keep companies from being supportive of their customers to go away just because a few hundred thousand people on the internet think they're Jerky McJerkfaces? Does anyone even know what the names of those Capcom executives are? Are they as bad as Bobby Kotick or even worse? Let's ignore the fact that we non-Japanese gamers shouldn't even have any votes in a Japanese ballot, so to speak, or even the fact that I have yet to suggest giving this article to the Japanese since they matter more to Japanese companies like I usually do. The only thing that ousts bad executives is major scandal, and below-average sales is not an example of it. Super bad sales, sure, but there needs to be a string of those, or something really, really bad. I'm talking Virtual Boy bad. You're not going to be able to just vote the problematic executives out, the people who actually make development decisions--not with your wallet, not with Facebook petitions, and certainly not with your internet posts. If there is actually a way to vote executives out, by all means go do it right now. But get all the shareholders to vote with you while you're at it. I'm assuming the reader of this article is not a Capcom shareholder, so to go back to my previous point, the next best thing is to coordinate a number of people comparable to Capcom's VGChartz numbers to make a difference. The best example I can think of that many gamers working together to remove a problematic individual from gaming is Jack Thompson, and he's never even worked for a gaming company! Countless people contributed to his demise, exposing his misinformed attitudes on gaming, wearing away at his reputation and possibly his mental state, and culminating in disbarment. Why can't we use that synergy to fix a gaming company? Probably because unlike Jack Thompson, gaming companies can distract gamers from their cause with a game. It works every single time, as the biggest American game companies can attest. But that's a whole different battle. There's hope, however, assuming the problems with Capcom are really all about the money as opposed to any respect for the Mega Man name. A comment on the Destructoid post from Tubatic gave me an idea: "I propose a year long Game Jam in which people make tons of Mega Man sidescrollers. It's the only way to revive and reclaim it, I think. Capcom just isn't going there." To which I replied, why not go all the way? Not only do we stand up all together and tell Capcom off, we should blatantly tread all over their copyright and sell such games en masse to send the message that people are willing to pay for them, even if they don't come from Capcom. Capcom doesn't get to see a cent of that money for something that belongs to them. (They don't care about it, right? Is that what you're trying to say, Exy?) Gamers think they vote with their wallets, so I further propose that those people who are still deluded into thinking that gaming is a democracy vote for write-in candidates. Disgruntled fans with talent and a drive to see this franchise retake its place in the top game series of all time should steal the franchise and hold it for ransom. Then we'll see just how much Capcom cares about Mega Man. The fans would essentially be detaining Mega Man against his will, but better for fans to do that than Capcom. This will only work if: 1. A lot of developers participate in selling Mega Man "tributes" for profit 2. None of those developers give any proceeds to Capcom for any reason, be it respect, hope for a new good game, or anything else 3. A balance between such projects made out of spite to Capcom and out of tough love to them is made 4. At least one of them sells big and the developer openly brags about all the money he's making from aMega Man fan product That last point is the most important. A handful of the best Mega Man fan works needs to make bank and have everyone know it. After seeing Rockman 4 Minus Infinity, I have faith in the indie and hacker communities to make games good enough for this to work. As an even more compelling proof of concept, fans decided to make a playable mock-up of Rockman Xover in Flash based on currently available media and assets just to spite Capcom. This is exactly what I envisioned: People taking the fight straight to Capcom and not to the online forums where anything of consequence rarely occurs. It's like what the old Japanese proverb says--and I'm paraphrasing here so correct me if I'm off--if a whole lot of people all illegally cross the street, none of them can get in trouble because there's too many of them. The same mindset needs to be applied to this Game Jam idea to have any effect. It will end in either a lot of lawsuits, a lot of buyouts, or desperation on Capcom's part, but if it's construed as a mass rebellion, it's my best idea to get Capcom to panic and rethink their strategy. Some people suggest that Capcom should sell the rights to Mega Man to a company that cares more about it. If they take Mega Mangames to the heights seen in the best ROM hacks and fan games, then I would be for it. But the problem of Capcom being Capcom would still exist. It would be a half-fix: Mega Man gets a chance at redemption, while Capcom just has one less franchise to work with. I would rather all of it be fixed at once. Mega Man needs to be taken by force if it's to get any better. Of course, this is a horrible idea--mostly because Capcom always has their other departments to make up the slack, not just because it's stupidly illegal--but Capcom is clearly hurting for cash whether they actually need it or not, so let's hit them where it counts. The title of this post is about fixing Capcom, but I really think we need to tear them down. There are just too many issues with this Capcom to expect a few fixes to make everything right. If this Capcom falls, the shock will be felt throughout the entire industry, like when Sega stopped making consoles. Again, Capcom is big, but we are bigger. The best legal way to do this, of course, is to boycott. Let me tell you how. Three steps. A lot of customers have claimed over the years on news posts that they are through with Capcom for some mistake they made. To me, this means cutting off all financial support completely. It's simple, really. If they get any money, they win. They interpret that statement as meaning that their current strategy is profitable, so there's no incentive to change. What you need to do is say no. No more appeasements. No more second chances. No buying anything of theirs on Virtual Console or whatever. No buying incremental upgrades for fighting games just to stay competitive. Nothing. This step is the easiest, but it is by no means easy or even the most important, as I'll explain below. The next step is the most overlooked: Don't just stop buying anything Mega Man or anything Capcom, make sure everyone else stops too. Urge random civilians everywhere, in game shops, online, at gaming meetups, not to support Capcom. Educate them. Maybe we'll get a fraction of the millions of people needed to change Capcom this way. It's our best chance. I would predict a great many of them won't listen or won't help, but if you really want Capcom to change, you won't let that slow you down. This is what I took issue with most with Operation Rainfall. Their primary goal wasn't about convincing the gaming community at large that there needs to be significant change to the localization process, but rather about getting three games that appeal to JRPG and Wii owners. Now that they have them, they're resting on their laurels. And now people are questioning if the effort was worth it. Like I said in my spiel about petitions above, they should be focusing their efforts on fixing the industry, ideally from the inside out, not begging to it. Don't make their mistake -- Remember, this isn't about Mega Man, it's about the industry. Get everyone you can to join your cause. There is a lot more at stake here than a bunch of cancelled games and a hideous iOS "anniversary celebration." Why should we still have to expect mediocrity at this point? How can any of you get excited for Ace Attorney 5 when we're missing an entire game of investigating? Maybe it wasn't that great, but on principle we still should have seen a glimpse of it anyway. Now here's the hardest--and most important--part: Stand strong and don't buy anything from Capcom, no matter how good the games are. It sounds like I'm repeating myself at this point, but this is where a great majority of boycotts fail: The boycotters let themselves be won over by announcements of new games. A lot of would-be boycotters don't seem to understand that getting excited for a new release is the opposite of a boycott. Still others hold the "Damn you Capcom, I want to boycott you so stop releasing games I'm going to buy" mentality. Even if tongue-in-cheek, that mentality is pushing us two steps back for every step forward. Then the whole process starts anew. Enough is enough. Say you're going to boycott Capcom, then stick to your guns. Resist the temptation to give them a dime. Give that money to talented fans instead, just as long as that money doesn't end up in Capcom's bank account. This isn't a vote, it's a protest. When a boycott is done right, it hurts the executives and the other people poisoning the company from within, but it also hurts the programmers, it hurts the artists, it hurts the musicians, and most of all, it hurts you. It's sad and unfair to the hard-working employees and maybe even to you, the Capcom fan or ex-fan, but it's the only way -- after all, this is what boycotts do. There's going to be a lot of collateral damage, but it's that or allow Capcom to destroy themselves. This Capcom needs to know the suffering everyone involved had to put up with for years. Think about what they've gotten away with, all the people they hurt, all the disappointments and the times they cheated you, because they are not. No matter how painful it is for you, hurt them hard. Show no mercy, for they have none. If they announce a new game, hurt them by not caring. When the new game is released, hurt them by stifling week one sales. When DLC is announced, hurt them by not buying it. Every time this happens, hurt them again and again. Once they're on their knees begging for another chance, hurt them more. Hurt them because you love them. If you really care about Mega Man, then hurt Capcom for all the times they hurt Mega Man. If you loveStreet Fighter or Resident Evil or Devil May Cry or what have you, hurt them for what they did to those series. Hurt them for every old Capcom series you love that has not been given a chance this generation. If you care about Capcom, hurt them for all the times they hurt their customers and their employees. Hurt them nonstop until their bad influences are completely driven out, and then we can rebuild with whatever's left. Hopefully, the affected programmers and artists and musicians will take Kenji Inafune and Shinji Mikami's lead and find better companies that are more than willing to take them in, and then they can hurt Capcom as well. For all I know, maybe that's what a lot of them want. If you're a Capcom employee or ex-employee and you're reading this, I'm sorry if it made you feel bad. Most likely, this isn't your fault. But I'm not one for third chances. If it sounds like I'm saying Capcom is beyond hope, notice how I've been using the term "this Capcom" throughout this post. I believe this Capcom has been corrupted from the one I grew up with, the old one I mentioned earlier. I don't like this Capcom and it pains me to see Capcom fans supporting them. This Capcom is not Capcom. This Capcom is the enemy. This Capcom did not give the world Mega Man X,Street Fighter IV, Resident Evil 4, or Mega Man Legends. Instead, this Capcom gave us Mega Man X on iOS, Street Fighter X Tekken, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, and now Rockman Xover. This Capcom would never have given us Ultimate All-Stars. The only thing that will stop it is a mercy killing, not just a mild prolonged sting. If Capcom dies tomorrow, then we can start talking recovery tomorrow. Clearly, no one at Capcom is listening now. If alarmingly low sales is what they need to reconsider anything they're doing, then so be it. Something is seriously wrong with Capcom and it's not going away without a fight. We can only claim victory once the people who made Capcom what it is now leave Capcom forever, or ideally, retire from the game industry forever. Once they're gone, only then will Capcom be able to find new direction, pick up the pieces, and win any fans back for good. It will be a slow, grueling process, but it can happen. It can happen when everyone in the world wants it to happen. I want it to happen. Let's make it happen. And if you don't want to shoulder that responsibility, don't interfere with the people who want this Capcom to perish. [Original artwork by Darka22] But of course, none of this is going to work. I'm just as ineffectual at getting millions of people around the world to listen as the best games writers are, and that's to say nothing of speaking to Japanese gamers,even if some of them do agree already that this game is the beginning of the end. And for that, I am truly sorry. I'm sorry for wasting your time with bitter rambling and dangerous ideas. I'm just as naive as everyone else involved. I've asked too many questions and the few answers I gave are not very encouraging, but I felt they had to be said. I don't know if any of this has a chance of reaching out to the people who can fix Capcom or can get enough people to get the process started. All I know is this: Capcom used to be good. Now they are not. I refuse to accept that this Capcom is Capcom. They are an evil that must be slain by any means necessary. Boycotting is so hip these days, but no one knows how to do it anymore. Until they learn, everything is for naught. All things considered, this is probably not the last straw for the fraction of the fanbase that can make this plan go, which is truly tragic since this means that this sad story will only continue. But once you've decided that enough is enough, this article will be here for you. I've said it too many times already, but things will get worse before they get better, and they need to. If you don't think so, if you want to show me that not everyone has to suffer to make things right, if you want to be the change, then prove me wrong. I beg you. But at the end of the day, the real question is this: What is it going to take for gamers to snap and take an actual stand? How much lower can Capcom go? What will Capcom at its most pathetic look like? Are they really getting close to hitting rock bottom? I don't want to think about the answers to these questions. I want them solved before we ever get there. But then again, I am naive. Note 1: For the record, I just want to say that I'm not the sort who cares very much for milestones and anniversaries. They're great when a game released on an anniversary happens to be very good because we humans like assigning sentimental importance to nice, round numbers, but the pressure to not miss anniversaries for frankly unimportant things is like a big arbitrary deadline. I bet Nintendo did nothing forMetroid's big one this year because they didn't have anything good to offer in time. Better that than, say,Other M part 2. Note 2: I don't want to suggest that you bomb Amazon and Metacritic reviews with unfairly low scores for legitimately good games because I think that's extremely petty and unproductive, but if that actually hurts them, don't let me stop you.
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A feature by The-Excel
[Community member The-Excel's got quite a lot to say about fixing up Japanese gaming giant Capcom, and a mind to share his thoughts with everyone. If you've got some awesome insights of your own to share that beg to be shared...

Going back to it: Summer Vacation

Oct 24 // Chris Walden
The start of summer vacation, August 17th, is still very vivid. I met a group of my friends at a local café to organise a plan of activities. While it looked like a lot of hassle and hard work was involved, it did mean I'd be with my friends for the whole holiday period. I live alone, but I'm usually fine with the simple company of a good book. I'm not sure how I felt about spending all of my time with them, but I'd assume it was something positive.   To kick off the long awaited summer, we made a trip to the swimming pool. It was pretty busy, but it wasn't so bad overall. I remember admiring the swimming costume the leader of our group was wearing, as it was a nice orange colour that really stood out. Actually, it was a bright pink costume with darker pink highlights. Or was it a multicolour swimsuit with hearts on it? I can't remember, but she does seem to have a large swimwear collection, so it's hard to keep track of these things. Whichever it was, it certainly suited her. I'm not one for swimming, but I enjoyed drifting around in my inner tube.  We also made sure to attend the Obon festival, where the rest of the group got up to their usual antics. I think I spent too much time figuring out which mask I wanted to buy from one of the vendors, but I was a little bit distracted. I know there was something I was trying to remember. Something really important that I needed to let everyone know. If I hadn't been sneaking sips of sake when their backs were turned, I might have remembered.  There was also a day where we all got temporary jobs. We all dressed up in silly costumes like those girls from K-On!, except we were paid to do it. I'm not really sure how we managed to get the jobs considering the lack of opportunities and local demand, but I get the feeling it had something to do with the unbearable heat at the time. I'm not bothered by heat (or much else, to be honest), but it seems the others weren't doing so good.  There were also the little things that helped make the whole experience that much more memorable. We went hunting for cicadas, played a little baseball and even went fishing! It was great to finally experience these things for myself, rather than read them from a book. I don't remember too much about the end of the summer vacation, but I do remember that one of the guys had some homework to do. It's a shame it was cut short for him, but homework is important! Really important! That concludes my blog post about my summer vacation. All of these activities made me really appreciate the close group of friends I have, and in some respects I didn't want the summer to end. It did feel a little bit longer than the school breaks usually are, but we had so much going on that I didn't mind at all. All I hope is that we have even bigger plans for the next holidays!
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It's my favourite time of the year.
[Another promoted article for you guys! This one was sent to me by an anonymous lady, so check it out and leave a comment for her! Remember folks, the month is yet to end, so check out the guidelines for this months...

Coming Back Again and Again: Sket Dance

Oct 21 // Rank57
That's how it begins Comedy gold, charismatic characters, parodies, hidden plot, drama and laughter. Sket Dance has all of this, used with perfect timing. The story is about a school club that helps other students and even teachers to solve their problems. The SKET dan stands for Support Kindness Encouragement Troubleshoot. Given this summary, at first I thought the anime was about friendship, touching moments and helping other people. Well, it still is about that stuff, and some episodes are about the Sket dan helping people with serious problems, but the main focus is the comedy, and laugh you will. There are many anime that have characters who steal the show when they appear. Now, imagine when you combine a bunch of these show-stealing characters and put them inside the same school. What you get is something like Sket Dance. Let's start with the main 3 protagonists. Sketo dansu! Fujisaki Yusuke, or Bossun, is the leader of the Sket dan. His main "power" is concentrating, as he can gather all information and come up with a solution to most problems. He is one of the most versatile characters ever, as he can be the tsukkomi, the clever one who makes fun of the stupid situation, or the boke, the one who makes the weird situation. He can be a badass by delivering an inspirational speech, or a total child by getting all excited about a car toy. Onizuka Hime, or Himeko, serves as Sket dan's muscles. She is a ex-delinquent who can be gentle or a hothead depending on circumstances, and Shiraishi Ryoko's kansai dialect portraying Himeko is a total charm! Usui Kazuyoshi, or Switch, completes the team. He speaks through his computer. Normally he's calm and serious, but also like Bossun, he makes jokes all the time and gets easily excited, especially with his otaku hobbies. That censor All 3 main characters are loveable, and they are not the only ones. All characters in Sket Dance have an "automatic joke", like Saotome Roman's ability to transform everything into a shoujo manga, or Dante's (dubbed by Gackt!) difficult way of speech, or the "modern samurai" Takemitsu Shinzo and many, many others, including the lazy Chuma-sensei and his crazy experiments or Kunio-sensei's weird games. Each of them appear at the right timing to be funny and don't overuse a recycled joke; each appearance is as hilarious as the previous one. And then, we have the student council. At first, they appear as Sket dan's counterparts, even opponents. But as one would expect, each member is awesome with a unique personality trait. I just love every time Asahina displays her utter and total disrespect with people, sending them to die with her abbreviations! These guys deserve their own anime The parodies are constant, be it mocking battle anime, be it exploring clichéd scenes. Even the "otaku world" is portrayed in an awesome way, like when Switch presents absurd mahou shoujo anime like "The Angel of Extortion" or "Maternity Blue". The fourth wall is consistently broken, especially by Roman, and every now and then Sket Dance takes a break to develop the story, characters and relationships with some more serious episodes, especially when it shows the past of the 3 protagonists. And to top it off, the soundtrack. The show starts off with AKB48's subgroup French Kiss and The Pillows, have a go with Gackt and Evertset, but musically the main attraction is the band who was born with Sket Dance. There is an episode where there is a concert with various bands in school, and Bossun, Himeko and Switch end up forming "The Sketchbook". Well, the band actually exists and performs most of Sket Dance's openings and endings. There are many factors that make me love an anime, but the main one is charisma. Characters need to feel alive, inspire and be funny, and Sket Dance delivers those generously.
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Promoted article!
[The first promoted article for the current Bloggers Wanted is here! Rank57 tells us all about Sket Dance, and why it's impossible to quit! I haven't seen the show myself, but doesn't it get you curious to try it out? Re...

Comparison to the West: A Tale of Two Monkeys

Oct 15 // Sideshow
Monkey VS Goku Monkey (Masaaki Sakai, voiced by David Collings) "Born from an egg on a mountain top. Funkiest monkey to ever pop. He knew every magic trick under the sun. To tease the gods and everyone and have some fun." Or so the opening suggests. There's not a lot I can say about Monkey that wasn't covered in the last post. He wants to fight, he hates being controlled and he has an extremely short temper. Despite that, he does have morals, a code of honour, etc. At one point he'll be expelled from the group for his violent behaviour and he'll go along with it, only to then come to his senses to "save the day". In episode 2, he starts wearing the Headache Sutra, which was explained in my last post. The difference however is there's an actual reason for Monkey to be wearing it. Tripitaka frees him and then he leaves, breaking his promise with Tripitaka. Makes sense. Goku (Shingo Katori) From episode one, I already know the differences here. Where Monkey is short tempered, Goku is lazy. Another thing I've noticed is Goku seems to be almost obsessed with pee. It became abundantly clear in episode two when he pees in a hot spring. Sure, this was to save Hoshi from being cooked in it but when you have one episode where 30% of his dialogue is fart related in addition to this scene, you tend to wonder whats going on an that little ape's head. There are good points to Goku, it just that it feels really plastic seeing them episode after episode. Goku makes a speech about friendship, Goku gets mad about the victim of the episode and flies off for "the final showdown". From a character perspective, he's the most noble of the four. Writing wise, on the other hand, he's just annoying and repetitive. (But I'll share my thoughts on that next week when we come to the 1/4 point.) The Edge: Monkey No, the nostalgia glasses are off. This choice was based on a personality level. The sheer randomness of his personality rather than the same thing episode after episode, is more appealing to me from where I'm sitting. Sandy VS Gojou Sandy (Shiro Kishibe, voiced by Gareth Armstrong) - Also known as the brains of the group. A fish spirit who banished from heaven for breaking the Jade Emperor's cup. Level headed and often speaking of philosophy. Sandy often states the obvious, things that the audience is certainly thinking. "What if this is a trap to capture you?", he asks Tripitaka, seconds away from an incoming ambush. He's such a well rounded character, there's not much else to say about him. His weapon of choice is hard for me to describe. Its a cross between a staff and an oar, in my opinion. Gojou (Teruyoshi Uchimura) - Upgraded to a pair of sai, Gojou is once again the brains of the group. Or at least that's what I would say. It seems that Gojou and Hakkai are either sharing or swapping personality traits. They both act as Hoshi's advisers, with Gojou being a little bit more aware of the obvious dangers.I said little. Hell, he's seen seducing or allowing seduction to happen from various women on the basis that he's simply told they fancy him. Its unexpected, is what I'm saying here. But its something that I'll accept with open arms as its feels like there's four main characters rather than three main characters and one wall flower. The Edge: Gojou Last week, I said that Saiyuuki's costumes are over detailed. This week, I'm making an exception with Gojou. His costume just looks so perfect for not only his character but his fighting style. Another thing that makes him stand out is the fact he is fighting with sais rather than a staff based weapon. His fight scenes are the most amazing to watch in Saiyuuki. Pigsy VS Hakkai Pigsy (Toshiyuki Nishida, voiced Peter Woodthorpe) - A womaniser and a glutton, hence the name. Also kicked out of heaven...but for feeling up the Lady Vega. And as you can probably guess, yes, this kind of thing does land him and the gang in a whole heap of trouble. In the third episode "The Great Journey Begins", Pisgy is woken up by a beautiful woman and follows her without question only to then be captured in by her spider-demon daughters and literally hung out over night. Its these scenes that make any non-fighting scene worth watching for it's comical value. On another note, I'd say that for a character whose suppose to be ugly, he certainly doesn't look that in the slightest. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that his costume is the most appealing out of the entire gang...nam style...ok, bad joke but you know what I mean. The simplicity of it. The only thing "piggy" about it, is his ears. I challenge anyone to say "he's hideous". Hilarious? Yes. Hideous? Not so much. Hakkai (Atsushi Ito) - Hakkai is the noble pig goblin. His behaviour can be somewhat compared to a young teen or child whose obviously getting picked on by the other kids. Wears his heart on his sleeve, etc. And before I go on about his personality, I'd like to take a minute and ask: "Does this look like a pig to you?". To me he just seems more like a cat than a pig. Getting back to base, for a pig character he certainly doesn't show these "pig" character traits as much as you'd think. Yes, he'll let any woman seduce him but rather than the Pigsy's: "Oooh! Beautiful lady!" tactic and pulls a Brock moment(Remember? From Pokemon?), Hakkai is more on par with the shy high school nerd who is asked by a pretty school girl if he wants to hang out with her. My other main problem I have with him is the lack of evolution from being expelled from heaven to now. We never see him overcome certain "pig" faults, lust, gluttony, etc. It feels like even if we've watched all 11 episodes and one movie, we've somehow missed Hakkai's personal character arc and this is the aftermath we're watching. The Edge: Pigsy Don't get me wrong, Hakkai's personality is great entertainment and certain scenes pull my heart strings like an elastic band. But lets face facts. In any Journey to the West retelling, the main characters are a Monkey, a Fish, a Pig and a Priest. So after 10 minutes of deciding, the question came down to: "Is this a 'Pig' character?" and if the answer for Hakkai is "no" then I'm sorry, the edge goes to Pigsy. Hands down. Out of the two characters, I'd rather watch the actual "pig" character. Tripitaka VS Sanzou Hoshi Tripitaka (Masako Natsume, voiced by Maria Warburg) - In all honesty, I've been dreading writing about Tripitaka and Hoshi. Simply because they're the exact same character. Word for word. So its hard to compare a character that's exactly the same (except for one thing we'll get to, don't worry). At least when comparing the likes of Monkey and Sandy, there's differences to point out. Anyway, Tripitaka was an orphan, adopted by a monastery. After finding his mother and "avenging" his father, he is told to go on a holy journey to India. The show maybe called Monkey but Tripitaka is the leader of the group. Now in most adaptations of Journey to the West, there's a common troupe with this character. The fact he's played by a female actor. I get that because the character is a boy priest and its easier for women to play younger men then grown men. (Fans of anime will know exactly what I'm talking about) But in this show they didn't really try hard enough to conceal that fact. An episode comes to mind "You Win Some, You Lose Some" where he's captured, again, and you start to realise that "Hey...Why are there lumps on his chest? Did the demons do that?" Sanzou Hoshi (Eri Fukatsu) - Same story as Tripitaka, a boy priest whose on a journey to India, leader of the gang, etc, etc. His kind heart and helping nature does become his undoing sometimes. Its also the reason why every episode they detour away from their Journey to India. The annoying fact about Hoshi specifically is something I've explained in the previous post. His "trust" in Goku is something that has got me shouting at my laptop, "Why rescue and travel with the one guy you obviously don't trust?". My plothole rantings aside, theres one point that is worth noting but its not on a character level. Its on an actor's. In keeping with tradition, Hoshi is played by a female actor. The reason for noting this? She shaved her head for the role. Now to some that doesn't say much however speaking as an actor myself, it takes a lot of confidence to be so committed to a production you would do something like that. And I certainly tip my hat to that. The Edge: Sanzou Hoshi Surprised? He may not be consistent with his trust for his fellow pilgram. His headache sutra prayer is enough is make me get my nostalgia glasses and shouting, "WROOOOOONNNNNNG!!!" but I'm going to stick my neck out here and give the edge to Hoshi on an actor level. I say this because both Hoshi and Tripitaka are the exact same character. It's hard to give an edge to two identical people. However I'll take this edge back the instant the show fails to cover up the fact that Hoshi is played by a woman. I.e. "Magical demon lumps" Wrapping up I present to you my personal choice of pilgrims for their journey to India. So what's you're thoughts? Given the information above, which four would you choose? When writing this, I've purposely left out certain facts like Pigsy's actor changes and the Horse becomes a main character in Monkey. Nor did I mention there are two reoccurring characters in Saiyuuki. These will take another post later down the line when we reach the halfway point. But for now enjoy today's post and look forward to next week's where we reach the 1/4 mark and the thoughts that surround my head about it.
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The continuing saga of one community member's journey through classic literature!
[Here now is the next entry in community member Sideshow's awesome series of C-blogs about Journey To The West. In case you haven't been following it (for shame!) here's the first and second parts. And don't forget,...

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What do you go back to? Get famous by telling us!
[Welcome to Bloggers Wanted, our way of asking you, our dear readers, questions, and checking out your insights, the ones too big for podcasts or mere comments. Deep thoughts like that deserve recognition, and this is where w...

Promoted Blog: Comparison to the West: The Journey Begins

Oct 08 // Sideshow
Monkey - Episode 1 (Monkey Goes Wild About Heaven) Now to be fair I've forced myself to watch Monkey without my nostalgia glasses. Why? I'm going to point at the common Sonic fanboy "arguments" and go "thats why". You'll see what I mean when we head over to Saiyuuki. First things first, 90% of the voice acting is fantastically offensive. The whole "oh! Daniel-san!"stereotypical asian accent reminds you of the kung-fu films of yesteryear which does fit with certain characters I guess. But I'll admit it does get offensive very fast. The narrator especially but I feel he is the only person in the show that justifies the accent simply because he is portraying an all knowing wiseman. Second thing is that the special effects are cheesy as all hell. Shots of Monkey cloud-flying comprise of a tiny figurine on a cotton ball. Summoning his monkey army can be recreated with still images of a single person, copied multiple times and animated on a moving plane in Adobe After Effects. Having said that, this IS a show made in the 1970's so I'm letting it slide. The opening to the show is by far one of the flashiest openings I've seen in ages. From the song alone, it gives the sense that this is the most epic story of all time. "Born from an egg on a mountain top. Funkiest Monkey to every pop." etc, etc. I highly recommend you track this song down just to see for yourself. (Its Monkey Magic by Godiego for those at the back of the class) Trying to recap all 43 minutes of Monkey in a single paragraph is extremely hard partly because its 43 minutes but mostly because I didn't do so well at english in high school. The entire episode is an origin story for Monkey, who made of stone and capable of magic, telling the tale of how he acquired the magic Wishing Staff and how heaven tried to control him as a precaution. So they hire him as the Heavenly Stableman. But he started fighting when he found out that's not a high status in heaven. And then they refer to him as "Great Sage, Equal of Heaven" in name only and make him a Gardener of the Heavenly Peach Garden. But then he ate all the peaches, thus making him immortal and then goes crazy and fights all of heaven. And this is from being told he's not invited to a heavenly party. All of these scenes are sown together with fight scenes. And it must be said that the "staff VS sword" fight scenes are decently choreographed to the tune of drums and bass guitar playing in the background making it almost addicting. They're no Mark Musashi (Kodama from Garo) but its close. Speaking of production, the visuals overall are something that warrant certain frames of the episode to be sent into an art exhibition with its beautiful costume and set designs. But getting back to the last bit of the plot... Desperate to stop Monkey, Budda appears in his female form, making a first in many gender reversals for characters in the series, and places Monkey under a mountain for five hundred years...harsh. Budda then turns to heaven and hints at a journey that must be taken to save man kind. If you're wondering why I haven't mentioned Sandy, Pigsy & Tripitaka yet, its because this episode isn't really about them. Hell, Tripitaka is seen in the last minute of the whole thing. I'll go into detail about them in my next post when I compare them to their Saiyuuki counterparts. Saiyuuki - Episode 1 (Land of Fire)  Monkey/Goku is blonde. (I just thought I'd start by saying that.) Saiyuuki gets right in the action with the Goku, Hakkai/Sandy, Gojou/Pigsy & Sanzou Hoshi/Tripitaka taking on a bird demon and an army of ninjas. Now if I said Monkey's fight scenes are close to Mark Musashi then Saiyuuki is Musashi's genetic clone. A battle royale of animal spirits and ninjas. I think the main reason they chose this as a way to start the show is because Monkey is a cult classic and assumes that Saiyuuki's audience already know how they came to be. And to be honest, if I was writing a remake, I would start like this to. The show's opening is something that I'm still confused about. It starts with a beautiful painting and has the traditional storytelling narrator. After that is a shot of the mountains with Goku spinning his staff and then the show's name and episode title are seen on the mountain side accompanied by modern-ish music. It gets confusing trying to pin point what tone they're going for. But one thing that doesn't get confusing is the comedic writing. You'll have a scene of Goku, Hakkai & Gojou fighting over who gets to drink their water supply when Hoshi empties his bottle on a plant and gets shouted at since that's the only water they had left in the middle of a desert. So Hoshi starts to cry while the rest of the gang try to calm him down by pretending to see a town in the distance. This is the only joke I'm choosing to ruin since it happens after the opening but there are better ones. After reaching a town they encounter Hoshi's former master whose faced with a problem. His daughter is marked as a sacrifice to keep a demon from causing more chaos in their town. Hoshi volunteers to help. Their plans immediately backfires as Goku discovers that Hoshi's former master offered Hoshi up to the demon so his daughter wouldn't be sacrificed. Resulting in Hoshi and the others to be kidnapped. Goku then saves them...by bringing Hoshi's former master and his daughter into the demon's lair and once again, things don't go as planned as the daughter is left behind. Afterwards Hoshi demands why Goku did that. And after a heated argument with Hoshi trusting his former master than his own pupil, Goku leaves, expelled from Hoshi's travelling party. And this is where I start having problems with the show. The next scene is a discussion between Goku and a cook called Rin-Rin which is basically to frame a flashback to when Goku was trapped under a mountain. From where I sat if they didn't include this scene I would think "Well Goku is reckless. He's a danger. It makes sense not to trust him.". But to include this scene something was rattling around in my brain. "Why go through all the trouble of getting someone out of a five hundred year prison, travel with them for god...budda knows how long and yet NOT trust him???" Up to this point the show has portrayed these four pilgrims as brothers, close friends, etc. What I'm saying is that if you're going to travel with someone on a journey that would take years to complete, how could you not trust that person? Hoshi is kidnapped, again, and discovers out Goku WAS right. Goku finally goes to rescue him, in the form of cloud-flying, after a pep talk. And while I say "cloud" I really mean leaf. A giant leaf. To be honest, I like this change. Its different but I think what makes it work is the scene itself. Quick scenes of Goku flying on the leaf created with CGI rather than a figurine. People with CGI knowledge, tell the others how hard it would be to do that? Nice, gentle flying music accompanying it. Its certainly one of the things that keeps audience members intrigued. And while its not as cheesy as Monkey's special effects, its on par with shows like Garo and Kamen Rider......and Super Sentai...you get the idea. Then, a final showdown which pretty much runs exactly like how the episode started, with everything returning normal. But I'll share my thoughts on that later. Trust me, it's going to take me another post to explain that. Oh yes. And after all this, Hoshi tricks Goku to put the headache sutra headband on. A headband that hurts Goku when Hoshi recites a prayer, which I'll remain silent about that prayer because I'll have to put on my Monkey nostalgia glasses on. But I will say that after this whole trust plot has finished and Hoshi has to trick Goku to wear this precaution, seems to scream out "Hoshi doesn't trust Goku as much as you think.". And its one of the biggest slaps to the face. What makes Saiyuuki work is it's comedy and fight choreography. Its visual aspects (costume & set design) however, aren't as impressive. It seems that they were going for a bright and colourful costume set but its overshadowed by the massive amounts of detail they give them and the dullness of most sets. An over detailed costume for the likes of Goku or Gojou seems impractical. And special mention should be given to Monkey Majik, the band who wrote and sung the ending theme forSaiyuuki, further illustrating how much nostalgia the producers are trying to generate. (Around The World - Monkey Majik) The Edge: Neither After seeing the first episodes of both I'm struggling to see who has the edge, the upper hand, etc,Monkey has amazing costumes and the special effects are something that SFX students should study up on. Saiyuuki, on the other hand, has a simplified script (for an 83 minute episode) and amazing fight scenes. So lets just see what the rest of the series (50 episodes of Monkey, 11 episodes and 1 movie forSaiyuuki) has to offer as we continue our  Comparison to the West! ....Didn't think I'd write this much...  
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Part two in an awesome community-written feature series!
[Community member Sideshow has been running a fascinating series of C-Blog posts on Journey To The West and its many influences on Japanese pop culture, and such amazing efforts deserve recognition - and promotion! If you've ...


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