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Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 2-4

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

Weekend Japanatainment - Nintendo Anime Edition

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

Strong Style: Main Event time!

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

Review: Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy

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

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

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

Weekend Japanatainment - Fall 2016 OP Edition

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

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

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

Strong Style: Gold and Grudge match

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

Weekend Japanatainment - Anime ENGRISH Edition

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

Annotated Anime: Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School - Despair Arc episodes 9-10

Oct 07 // Salvador G Rodiles
From day one, I always had a feeling that Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc was going to do something big with the real Chiaki (a.k.a. one of Danganronpa 2's best girls). The second game always made us assume that she was just nothing but an AI that was made to guide Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair’s cast through the Neo World Program that came with the system from the get-go; thus making it obvious that the actual Ultimate Gamer was going to have a huge role in the story. While I came into the series with this thought, it didn’t prevent me from feeling the sadness that came from her fate. Just like her AI counterpart, the real Chiaki was the symbol of hope for her classmates since she did her best to keep everyone together. Perhaps the sad part about this outcome was that the very person who encouraged her to undertake this role ended up being the tool in turning everyone into Junko’s followers. All in all, the whole thing did justice to the Danganronpa game’s tendency to use its major moments to hit the audience really hard. While the whole point of this show was to see how the Danganronpa 2 gang fell into despair, we never really knew about the event that drove them down this path. It was this one little hole that gave the series’ team the ammunition to fill it with the elements that would drive the audience into a state of sadness. The brilliant part about it too was how most of these aspects were able to link back to Danganronpa 3 – Future Arc as a means to set up the truth behind the killing game in the Future Foundation’s headquarters. The unfortunate thing about this moment was that no one was able to save Chiaki while she was a victim of the first punishment segment. In fact, the whole thing gave off a feeling that threw you into a state of denial that some sort of miracle could happen that could save her from her misfortune; however, this is Danganronpa that we’re talking about, so we knew that there was no way that this would end well. Surprisingly, the staff’s decision to use the 8-bit version of “Homicide” from Danganronpa 2, which went well with the depressing scene; thus changing the way how we view this song. Honestly, the team deserves some mad props for doing this since the tune was originally used in the part of the game where we prepare for the title's last ordeal. Because of Chiaki’s scene, this song will continue to make me think of the despair that happened during her final moments. The thing that made this all work was that the show's team took every ounce of hope that the gang had and threw it in a blender. It was a fine example of how you can give the viewers something to grab on to and then crush it before their very eyes. This was also done with Yukizome’s transition to becoming one of Junko’s followers, a twist that also complemented the game series’ surprising aspects. While Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School – Despair Arc left us in a state of sadness, Lerche continues to show us that they’re capable of delivering a sequel to the Danganronpa games that’ll please fans of the series. Even if they don’t manage to top the sad feeling that came from Junko’s recent accomplishments, they have shown us that they could handle this brand well when the proper conditions are set in stone. Since it was a nice ride to go from feeling joy to facing misery each week, it’s safe for me to say that it was one of the great moments of the Summer 2016 Anime Season. [Let Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc brainwash you on FUNimation]
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Goodbye Hope
There’s something wonderful about having a segment that one saw from a mile away surprise them greatly. In fact, this is one of the joyous feelings that the Danganronpa series offers to its audience. We may have known t...

Japanator Unboxing: Loot Anime - Demi-Human

Oct 06 // Red Veron
The anime and manga featured in this month's "Demi-Human" Loot Anime box are One Punch Man, Tokyo Ghoul, Twin Star Exorcists, and Bleach. Check the video above for a guide to the items in the latest Loot Anime and check out the gallery below for some close up pictures of the items! Loot Anime is a monthly mystery subscription box featuring items related to your favorite anime and manga. There will be 4-6 items with each box, about $60+ in retail value, licensed, and most are exclusive to Loot Anime. If you are interested in signing up for next month's "Delicious" themed box for next month, use the code "JAPANATOR" for $3 off first your order at Loot Anime!
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Less than Human, More than a Monster
The latest box of anime goodies from Loot Anime just smashed its way to my mailbox and it is all about "those part human, part something else entirely". Loot Anime's latest theme comes to us just at the right time of the yea...

First Impressions: Tiger Mask W

Oct 02 // Soul Tsukino
The story starts off, to no surprise in a wrestling match. Wrestler Daisuke Fujii is getting his clock cleaned by a masked wrestler named Yellow Devil. As poor Daisuke is bleeding and in pain, outside the ring we are introduced to his two young boys, Daisuke's son  Takuma and his friend Naoto Azuma. They are cheering on Daisuke when another wrestler, Odin, comes over and smacks Takuma right in the face. Daisuke gets cut and is bleeding as Yellow Devil slams him down right on the back of his neck and cripples him. Putting him in the hospital and destroying his wrestling gym in the process. This episode does a great job of introducing some of the key players and concepts. We are shown both Takuma and Naoto's methods of training for the last 3 years, and also introduced to the concept. The man who crippled Daisuke and destroyed his gym worked for the Global Wrestling Monopoly, or GWN, and are out for revenge. We are shown the shows first real villain, Miss X, and the wrestlers working for her (including Takuma as Tiger Dark), and the grand entrance of Naoto as Tiger Mask. The animation is a bit of a mixed bag. It features both 2D and 3D animation, but the 2D is a bit uneven at times as it can look like a Flash animation show from the CW or Cartoon Network more than an anime show at times. It tries very hard to match the style of the original show and for the most part, it works, but every so often it slips and misses the mark a bit. As I mentioned before, the story is laid out in a simple way. Nothing to over think here. It comes across as a bit cliché with things like Naoto's coach having a pesky niece who follows him around and Miss X seems to be ... gifted... enough to raise the Titanic, but I think that is the charm of the series. This isn't trying to cash in on the latest fads in what people think anime is supposed to be but is harkening back to a classic series without trying to be something it's not. Of course with NJPW being involved in this show (Kazuchika Okada appears in this ep with more to be featured in future episodes) they got their product placement in as well, even if it only barely fit in the story at this point. But all that was contained in a single short scene so it doesn't linger. Overall, I am digging the first episode. It has a pronounced old school vibe. New fans may not get it as much as us old farts as it doesn't blow you away with its story or animation, but it is just plain fun. You don't need to be an expert on the original series to get it (I have never seen the original) so it can bring in old and new fans alike. So for some old school fun anime, I'd give this one a go!
Tiger Mask W photo
The spirit is born again!
A number of months ago, it was announced during a New Japan Pro Wrestling show that the company was working with animators to bring a new Tiger Mask series to the airwaves of Japan. The day has finally come with the debut of ...

Strong Style: Power struggle in WrestleKingom!

Oct 01 // Soul Tsukino
We get no introduction this wee and get right to the action! The Tokyo Dome is set up with a massive entrance stage that really makes this card feel like a big deal. Really awesome setup.     IWGP Intercontinental Title: "The King of Strong Style" Shinsuke Nakamura vs. "The Phenomenal One"A.J. Styles Oddly we are opening with this match, which was the second to last match on the show. The background here is that Nakamura retained the title after defeating Karl Anderson. A.J. got in the ring and gave Nakamura some static and made the challenge for himself. However, Styles was fighting a back injury during the month of December and it was dicey if he would even make this match. He's here but how much is that going to take out of him. Despite being the "leader" of The Bullet Club, Styles comes out by himself wearing one of those skull biker face coverings. Nakamura comes out and is actually a little understated as he is just wearing a red vest instead of his Michael Jackson or Freddie Mercury type entrance gear. JR mentions that word was both guys were leaving NJPW for the WWE. Jeez, wonder where he got that idea from? After a break, the bell rings and we get it on! They circle around before locking up with Styles getting the advantage with a headlock. Nakamura shoots him off but Styles get the headlock again. Styles spins around and goes for the clash early, Nakamura counters out and throws a few empty knees. They lock up again and go into the ropes and Nakamura does the belly rub thing and poses a bit. Styles does the finger gunshot motion, but Nakamura grabs the air bullet and eats it. Nice.  Nakamura hits the ropes and gets drilled with a dropkick to the face. Styles drives some elbows into the head. Nakamura counters with some forearm strikes. Styles goes for a slam but Nakamura reverses it into a sleeper. Styles tries to get out of it but Nakamura grabs him and drives him down with a backbreaker! Styles rolls to the outside in pain and Nakamura follows him out. Nakamura drives Styles into the barrier back first. Nakamura rolls him into the ring Nakamura starts in with some kicks to the back but Styles catches one, only to get an enziguri right to the head that knocks him down and into the corner. Nakamura teases the good vibrations but drags Styles out instead and locks in a front facelock. Nakamura lifts him up and hits him with a driving facebuster that will ruin his good looks! Nakamura tries to charge in with a knee, but Styles dodges, but Nakamura hits him with a knee to the gut. He lifts Styles up on the top rope face up and drives the knee right to the back. Styles flops down in pain and Nakamura goes for a few covers but only gets one on each of them. Styles gets up and Nakamura lays in some more elbows to the back. He puts Styles on the top rope again looking for another knee attack but Styles slips onto the apron as Nakamura crashes n the corner. Styles launches himself from the apron driving the forearm right to Shinsuke's face. We get a replay of that as we come back with both guys trading forearms back and forth before Styles hits a facebuster and nearly gets a pinfall. Styles picks Nakamura up but Nakamura fires off a forearm shot. They start exchanging blows again before Styles goes into super hyper combo mode. Nakamura answers back with a knee to the gut but Styles fires off a Pele kick. Nakamura rebounds off the ropes and hits the booma ye! He goes for the pin but gets two. Back from break Nakamura lifts Styles up in a fireman's carry but A.J. rolls it into a crucifix that gets a two and a half count! Nakamura scrambles forward and Styles nails him in the face with a knee. Styles scrambles up and hi9ts a 540 splash that gets a two and a wow from the audience. Styles locks in a half hatch. Nakamura breaks it and gets a back palm strike, but when Styles goes for it again Nakamura leaps up with Styles' arm and locks in an armlock! Styles is fighting it. Nakamura turns it into a triangle but Styles picks him up and hits him with a modified styles clash! Pin attempt gets two! Styles hits the bloody Sunday DDT. Styles doesn't go for the pin instead landing a few kicks. Styles brings Nakamura to the corner. Oh boy! Styles climbs up and brings Nakamura with him. He's looking for a super Styles clash. Nakamura lands a kick to the head and counter. Nakamura picks him up in a fireman's carry on the ropes and hits the avalanche landside!  Nakamura goes for the pin and doesn't get it. Nakamura gets to the corner and lands the booma ya to Styles's head. He hits a second one! Nakamura covers and gets the 3! After the bell rings Nakamura holds out his fist and Styles reciprocates. A bit of a swan song for both of course, as they put in their notices on this show, but considering one is WWE Champion and one is NXT Champion, things turned out pretty well for both. In the back, Nakamura talks about how awesome the timing was for this match and that his goal is to take down the world. God goal to have! We get some words from Kushida. He talks about the importance of the Tokyo Dome matches from when he was a kid. Omega is more powerful and he is close to the perfect wrestler He wants the Jr. title to be the top belt and doesn't like Omega or anyone else cheating or interfering in the Jr.s matches anymore. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Kenny "The Cleaner" Omega vs. Kushida Omega has been on a tear since joining the Bullet Club and dominating the Jr.s division. These two have had matches and run-ins before. Let's see what they can do this time around. I've been waiting 9 months for this entrance. As Kushida comes out in his Marty McFly best, an awesome video package plays of the dashboard of the famous Delorean. In the ring rolls in the only time you'll see Doc Brown in a wrestling ring. Taguchi you wonderful bastard. Best entrance EVAH! The Funky Weapon looks like he's had a few too many vending machine coffees as he is into the role way too much. After that Kenny comes out looking good in his sweet Cleaner duster jacket, and oh yeah, he brought the Bucks with him. Damn. After the break  The Bucks and Omega superkick Taguchi to the floor and then starting on Kushida. The Bucks bail and the bell rings. Omega hits a sliding dropkick and some elbows to beat him down in the corner. Omega lands a few chops and tries to whip into the corner but misses. Omega tries to hit an axhandle but Kushida ducks and hits a low dropkick to the leg. As Omega is down Kushida hits a cartwheel right into a dropkick to Kenny's face, sending him to the floor. One of the Bucks jump up and distract the ref as Kushida goes for Omega, but Kenny pops up with some spray imminent right in Kushida's face! Omega then struts a bit spraying the stuff under his arms and then down the front of his tights, which he quickly realizes is a bad idea. Kushida doesn't care as he gives Omega a dropkick through the ropes. He dives to the apron and goes for a running something, but Nick Jackson throws a trash can right at him. Omega takes the advantages and hits a moonsault off the steel barrier with a trashcan right onto Kushida. Omega gets in the ring and Matt Jackson throws Kushida in. Kenny picks him up and drives him down into a backbreaker. Kushida rolls outside the ring as Omega poses for a before he gets a running start into a SWEET swam dive over the ropes. He tosses Kushida back into the ring and follows him in. He gets a running facebuster, that he overshoots a bit, and gets a 2 count. Omega chokes him out with his wrist tape. He hits a forearm but Kushida tries to fight back. Omega goes for a suplex bit they both sit out on it. Omega gets the lift but Kushida hits a knee to the head. He hits a Pele kick and a few more kicks and a chop from the apron into a springboard back elbow. Kushida goes for another dive but spins it around and locks in the hoverboard lock! Omega escapes but as they get up Kushida lands some strikes to Omega's arm. Kushida goes into the ropes and Kenny tries to counter it but gets a double heel; strike for that attempt. Omega goes outside and Kushida goes up and lands a swan dive of his own off the top rope. As Kenny comes in he gets hit with a dropkick. Kushida hits a moonsault and as Kenny kicks out of the pin, Kushida hooks in the arm lock. Kenny goes for the suplex again but Kushida hits the sore arm to counter. Back from another break. Both guys struggle to get up. Omega picks Kushida up on the top turnbuckle but Kushida locks in the wrist lock and drops off the buckle! Kenny's in pain now! Kick to the injured arm. Omega tries for a suplex but Kushida counters out. Omega hits a superkick. Omega goes for a strike but Kushida straight hits him in the face with the baseball punch. Kushida goes up for a moonsault but misses. He recovers quickly and lands a few strikes. Kushida goes for a springboard elbow but Omega catches him in the electric chair position but Omega hits a German suplex instead. Kushida turns around and locks in the hoverboard lock but the Bucks interfere. Taguchi finally gets off his ass and smacks both Bucks with a Trashcan at ringside. Kenny gets out of the hold and gets Kushida up in the electric chair again and goes for the one winged angel, but can't get it. Kushida slips out and hits a back elbow. He tries for a second one but Omega connects with a jumping knee to the face that damn near knocks him out. Omega somehow picks Kushida up and gets him up and into a sit-out powerbomb, but only gets the two count. Kushida gets up and Omega hits him with a jumping knee! He hits another one against the ropes! He's going in for the kill as he picks Kushida up for the one winged angel but Kushida rolls through! He gets the pinfall! We have a new champion! Kushida celebrates with the belt and his buddy as the Club scurry away in defeat. Backstage Kushida says that there will be no more cheating and outside interference in the juniors matches anymore. No one will sit out the Super Juniors tournament either. In the studio, he talks about the Tokyo Dome being too big. He owes Taguchi after his help during the match and that this is the stating line to eventual fight with people like Tanahashi or Okada. He says he will never lose to Omega ever again. What a show! A good way to kick things off, even if it is way out of the order of the card. There wasn't much, if anything, cut from these matches and the call was at least better than Matt Striker and Yoshi Tatsu. Starting off things with a bang and we have a lot more to go, Next Time we will see if Tomoaki Honma can finally put some gold around his waist as he and the Unchained Gorilla go after the Bullet Club. See you then!  
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The big one under the Dome!
Hello, readers and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. The time has come as this week we are taking our first look at WrestleKingdom 10 from the Tokyo Dome! We are in front of 29.00...

Weekend Japanatainment - Summer 2016 ED Edition

Oct 01 // Red Veron
[embed]35304:5868:0[/embed] "Refrain Boy" Anime: Mob Psycho 100 A pretty rad ending with some hand drawn rotoscope-style ending that reminds me of the Aha's Take on Me music video.   [embed]35304:5869:0[/embed] "Yume Kataru yori Yume Utaou" Anime: Love Live!! Sunshine More school girl idol action with this new season and you've got some of the girl's love goodness that many fans just love about this franchise.   [embed]35304:5870:0[/embed] "Lotus Pain" Anime: D.GRAY-MAN HALLOW It's been ages since the last time this manga had an anime, many fans who loved the manga got pretty excited after almost a decade since the last anime adaptation was on television.   [embed]35304:5871:0[/embed] "Snow Drop" Anime: Shokugeki No Souma Ni No Sara A rockin' ending that has some nice production value as always and it's not just the food that looks good in this show.   [embed]35304:5872:0[/embed] "Recall THE END" Anime: Danganronpa 3 - Future Arc Here is an interesting setup they have with the Danganronpa series where they have to concurrent series running at the same time. This Future arc takes place in the future and is a sequel to the first Danganronpa anime and game. The events in both series this season are connected from what I hear, I need to play some of Danganronpa 2 to get a better idea of the series.   [embed]35304:5873:0[/embed] "Zettai Kibou Birthday" Anime: Danganronpa 3 - Despair Arc This Arc is a prequel to Danganronpa 2 and takes place before the first game. It's all confusing but they all tie in to the end. Pretty cool concept.   Is there an anime from last season that you love? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
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Ending the Season with Endings!
The Fall anime season starts soon and as the weather gets cooler for places north of the equator, the summer anime are ending/ended so it should be perfect to say farewell to the ending season by watching some endings! I won'...

Annotated Puppetry: Thunderbolt Fantasy episodes 7-12

Sep 29 // Salvador G Rodiles
It’s these real moments that complete the Butcher’s latest concoction as the main cast’s journey isn’t as straight forward as it seemed to be. The gang’s different backgrounds start to contribute to the show’s conflict and Gui Niao’s true colors start to blossom. While the change in the story didn’t result in any ridiculously shocking tragic moments, the constant air of doubt that entered the atmosphere acts as an alternate form entertainment that still stays true to the guy’s style. The unfortunate outcome from this change was dealing with the fact that we had to part ways with the show’s story about a band of characters that would usually not see each other eye to eye team up to go on a quest to stop a powerful person from releasing a powerful sword from its seal. In a way, it’s almost like Thunderbolt Fantasy was teaching us that all good things must come to an end. There was only so much that we could indulge from Huan tolerating most of the party while they reach Hai’s lair since the cast’s destination was meant to set up for the main turning point in the series. Even though the show started off like it could’ve become a series about a group that became closer during the adventure, the staff was likely aiming for a scenario where things don’t always go as planned. Huan ended up doing more of the work in the journey than Niao intended to and the wandering swordsman’s patience almost jeopardized the entire mission. Just like in real life, there’s always a chance that a well-thought out plan won’t go well. One has to learn to adapt and find a way to move forward while making modifications along the way. Sure, it almost made most of the gang’s roles in the trials a bit useless, but the treat was that it gave the Butcher the ammo that he needed to get the ball rolling. It’s this element that opened up the strings of betrayal that went on during the scenes in Hai’s lair. Characters that seemed like they could be heroes ended up showing a new side to them and Niao’s true identity starts to take things up a notch. All in all, this direction works better in piecing together a finale that’ll exceed many folk’s expectations. Hell, Urobuchi’s usual style of killing off a character before things got real was changed up as it ended up being someone who seemed like they could’ve been around until the main battle against the true final adversary. Of course, the show’s extravagant puppetry continues to be the star, with one of the highlights being the large golem. Compare to most of the fights, it was one of the few moments where we saw the puppeteers use the puppets to fight a large creature. Sure, it may have been a quick segment, but the fact that it seemed like Huan was scaling a stone monstrosity shows that the team's skills in moving the marionettes across the large stone creature were very effective. As a fan of practical effects, it’s still a treat to stare at the detail of the sets and creatures that Pili added to the scene. Since the show is nearing its finale, there’s no stopping this team from blowing everyone away. Speaking of breathtaking action scenes, Pili’s use of effects when they showed off Huan’s true skills resulted in various scenes where my jaw dropped from the way how he can manipulate his qi in battle. In a way, they made him seem like an even more ridiculous version of Twilight Suzuka from Outlaw Star, as we see another badass slaughtering people with a wooden weapon. While his backstory might continue to remain a mystery when the show ends, the idea that we don’t know much about Huan background is what makes him intriguing. Nonetheless, it’s his tendency to go with his instinct that made him a fun lead to follow since he does his best to adjust to situations that he’s been put through against his will— even if they make him upset or to follow someone who he sees as a shady individual. As Thunderbolt Fantasy went from being an adventure story to a tale of betrayal, the show has been quite the ride so far. Considering that the truth behind the Tian Xin Jian’s purpose has been revealed, the series might be setting up for the gang to fight a colossal being, which works well in the staff’s favor to end this show with a bang. No matter what happens, the end result might be a tale that teaches folks about accepting reality and using its harsh truth to grow into a stronger person. Someone is likely going to make one last major sacrifice, but that’ll just mean that the person involved has found his/her resolve. Of course, the high-speed lightning action will only make these moments even better.  [Experience Thunderbolt Fantasy’s changes on Crunchyroll]
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A Game of Marionettes
It was only a matter of time until Urobuchi would slice Thunderbolt Fantasy with his special knives. While it took a while for his blade to pierce through the show’s main story, the effect is still worthy of his us...

Impressions: Dragon Quest Builders Demo

Sep 28 // Red Veron
Dragon Quest Builders (PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita)Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixRelease Date: January 28, 2016 (JP), October 11. 2016 (NA), October 14, 2016 (EU)MSRP: $59.99 (PlayStation 4) You may have heard of Dragon Quest before, it's a role-playing game series that had its start in Japan in the late 80's on the Nintendo Family Computer (the Japanese Nintendo Entertainment System) and has become pretty much an institution in Japanese culture. Japan loves this series so much, you've probably seen references to Dragon Quest in different Japanese media and you probably might have not noticed. Dragon Quest also part of that popular urban legend of video game stores having to release the game on weekends so schoolkids wouldn't skip class to pick up the latest entry in the series. There have been many attempts to bring the series to the US, but the timing has always been not quite right. Now, we have a very unlikely Dragon Quest spinoff and it is borrowing elements from one of the biggest games in the last decade: Minecraft. While the series has had many spinoffs in other genres, this attempt of creating a sandbox exploration and creation adventure game actually does a really good job. Dragon Quest Builders is set in a world that is generations after the first Dragon Quest game, where the hero in original Dragon Quest chooses to rule half the world with the Dragonlord, the final boss in the game. Of course, the Dragonlord being the big bad, betrays the hero and plunges the world into darkness, along with it, robbing humanity the ability build things. So it is now generations later and players will take on the role of the "Builder", who must save the world from the Dragonlord by building stuff and using said stuff to defeat the Dragonlord. The game has a story, which is not really common in the sandbox-creation-exploration genre, progression is tied to the narrative that also tries to teach you how to do things and keeps you on a track with some freedom in between. This demo covers only very little of the game, so we don't get much of an idea as to how much freedom there is compared to the full game. The demo is the first hour and a half of the Dragon Quest Builders, teaching you the different mechanics of the game as your progress with the story. You are slowly given bits of the narrative while learning the basics such crafting, resource gathering, combat, and other parts from early in the game. Base building is also part of the game, players get to build a town (which is more like a base) and this demo shows a little bit of that mechanic. Building up the town attracts people to help build up the town as well as add more ways to item crafting. The other side to base building is also defending it against monsters aligned with the big bad Dragonlord who will attack your town from time to time. Defenses can be built to keep monsters from destroying your base and townsfolk will also help you fight.  Combat in the demo is basic, only two melee weapons are available, a stick and a club. They do fine against most of the enemies you encounter, except for the dragon which takes a while to fight with such weak weapons. Crafting is easy, all made in a menu at crafting stations, just gather the right items and you can make what is needed. Dragon Quest Builders just looks really good, the chibi-styled Dragon Quest characters look very faithful to the series, as well the much more recognized monsters such as the Slime monsters, the series' de facto mascot. Monsters act like they do in the recent games they are from, attacks and sound cues as well. The game shows off more of its Dragon Quest heritage with much of the iconography in the game are ripped straight from the series. Familiar items are abundant, from healing items to even chimera wings, which is a mainstay in the Dragon Quest games and function the same way. Another way this game shows off its Dragon Quest DNA is through the music. The lovely and soothing orchestral Dragon Quest music is present and just perfect for this new genre where hours fade away. This music is perfect since it was also made for Japanese RPGs that take dozens of hours to complete and it won't drive you crazy from hearing it over and over again. The game's camera can be finicky at times, it zooms in when you're in tight spaces. When you're running through a forest with plenty of trees, it can be hard to see items and enemies under the foliage and will require you to maneuver the camera low for the best view. There is a transparency effect that lets you see through it but it is only wide enough to see a little bit around your character and can make it hard to be able to see enemies near you. These problems with the camera are not a big deal and don't really pop up often. The minor problems are only in the cases I mentioned above, most of the environments are open and controlling the camera isn't difficult. Block placement can be imprecise at times, since the cursor isn't always present and defaults to where your character is facing (which isn't always clearly defined). Placing objects where you don't intend to place them does happen but you don't get penalized for breaking them down (unlike in Minecraft where crafted objects revert to the raw materials) and you only take a very small reduction to the durability of the tool used to break it down. (Update: You can hold L1 & R1 /L & R buttons to be able to precisely stack blocks in front of you.) The small slice of the world in the demo might seem large at first but once the demo is over, you may find it small and a bit empty. However, those who choose to explore the island in the demo will be in for a bit of a treat. Getting to the other side of the mountain will let you see a bit more of the game. There is a little bit more to see but it's not much, though it gives you a better idea of the scale of this world. The Dragon Quest Builders demo is short but it left me wanting more places to explore and build, which is what a demo should do. I played for more than two hours of the demo I enjoyed almost every single moment of it. There's a lot of the world to explore and many things to build, and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of the game. After looking at people playing the Japanese version, I realized just how little this demo is compared to the vast amount of content in the full game. [embed]35296:5867:0[/embed]
Dragon Quest Builders photo
Save the world one piece at a time
Last night, I streamed Dragon Quest Builders on Japanator Live, the latest spinoff of  Dragon Quest series that takes a lot of inspiration from the sandbox creation genre (made popular by Minecraft) and infuses...

JapanaSeven: The 7 best boys of Kuroko's Basketball

Sep 27 // Karishma Roy
Which Team Vorpal Swords member would you want to go on a date with?   The bad boy : Daiki Aomine [Image credit :]  THE ACE OF THE GENERATION OF MIRACLES. “The only one who can beat me, is me”. He’s cocky, rebellious and indifferent. Watching Aomine in THE ZONE, handling the ball as if it’s an extended part of his body, gave me the effing chills. Like, hell yeah he is unstoppable! The streetball he plays suits his aggressive and I-don’t-need-nobody attitude. Aomine reads a lot of porn and prefers girls with big boobs. Despite his overwhelming talent for basketball, he fits the good-looking but stupid stereotype in terms of academics and his friends call him "Ahomine". He would excel in bed but don’t expect anything more from him. However, you will probably end up catching the feels ‘cause he’s hot and will inevitably break your heart. That’s exactly why he is the bad boy. All you ladies out there, be wise!  Mr. Perfect: Seijuro Akashi [Image credit :] Alright, this dude is an overachiever. Top at academics, basketball, shogi, you name it… it’s his “duty to win”. He captained the Teiko basketball team – leading that bunch of prideful misfits to consecutive victories and earning them the title “Generation of Miracles” must require mad skills. He continues to be the captain in EXTRA GAME. I much prefer Akashi’s real, more level-headed personality when compared to the scary one where he orders everybody around. Although, it was pretty badass how he commanded Seirin players to get down on their knees when he was in THE ZONE. Unrealistic, but badass. And his heterochromatic eyes give him a dangerous but delicious look. Which Akashi do you guys prefer? His real self would be a caring, considerate and chill boyfriend. Bet you he would treat his girl like an empress!  The cool guy: Taiga Kagami [Image credit :] The fiercely ambitious and stubborn deuteragonist of the show. He has a short temper and is adorably scared of dogs and ghosts. All you dog lovers out there, will you sacrifice the chance to own a puppy for Kagami? Soz, not me. But for real, this guy easily rivals the GOM players. He is indeed the “The Miracle who did not become one of the Miracles” and is currently the best in Japan after having defeated all of the GOM players. Watching him fight for his team and entering THE ZONE is so damn inspiring. He is the face of determination, the cool guy that everyone loves and looks up to. Now he may be academically atrocious - "Bakagami"- but his family is rich and he makes a mean curry. He has a huge appetite though so he might eat it all himself. Also, look at that smokin' hot bod! For all his confidence on the court, I imagine he would be petrified on a first date.  The lazy foodie : Atsushi Murasakibara He’s 6’10 and loves to snack, especially on sweet stuff!  Ladies, the way to this guy's heart is through his stomach so sharpen up on those cooking skills. If Team Vorpal Swords had an eating contest, who would win it between Atsushi and Kagami? I want to say Kagami but would Atsushi lose to him again? Not sure... He’s childish and has a mean streak. It’s like he needs someone to look up to – in middle school he obeyed Akashi and in high school, Himuro seems to be filling up that role. I think an older woman who can offer wisdom and guidance in life would suit him best. As a player, he’s better at offense than defence as we found out. I’m looking forward to seeing him play at full strength in the EXTRA GAME. How hot was he when pulled his hair back into a ponytail in the match against Seirin!? Phew, more rage please Atsushi! And let’s not forget that crying scene after Yosen was defeated. It was mostly sad but kind of funny - he goes from daddy on the court to baby off of it. The womaniser: Ryouta Kise [Image credit :] To quote Britney Spears, "Oh you’re a womaniser, baby". Kise’s got a pretty face and he takes advantage of it through modelling and flirting with chicks. I find his carefree personality quite charming. He’s the kind of guy who’d act all cute to make out with multiple girls in a club. But when he finds the right lady, I don't think he'll have a problem in committing and settling down with her. As a player, his “copy-cat” ability is quite interesting. The fact that he was able to copy Aomine’s moves shows that he is just as capable of being an awesome player. He can actually copy every GOM member's signature move and although he can’t sustain it for more than 2 minutes, it’s still freakin’ amazing! He’s got so much potential to tap into. The serious guy: Shintarou Midorima [Image credit :] Okay, he’s kind of weird. He fervently believes in horoscopes and carries around lucky items from a stuffed bear to a toy frog named Mr. Ribbit. He meticulously files his nails and tapes his fingers. All of this, according to him, is to ensure he does everything within his power to win at basketball games. I guess there is something admirable about this obsession. He's also very smart and his alternate career choice to basketball would be medicine. But I can’t deal with the fact that he believes in blood type compatibility. It’s curious to note that while the blood type personality theory is not backed up by concrete scientific evidence, Japanese people are very big on it. A number of East Asian online dating websites ask for your blood type (Of course, I only know this through a friend). So ladies, if you’re type B or AB, rejoice for you are most compatible with Midorima’s B blood type. The nice but boring one: Tetsuya Kuroko [Image credit :] Ah, the protagonist of the show. “The Gatekeeper”. I’m sorry if some of you are offended by the boring tag but he kind of is, okay. You might miss him on the first date even though he is standing right in front of you because of his “lack of presence”. But Kuroko is a nice guy. He’ll be the one to bring you flowers, write you songs, rescue a cat stuck on a tree, try to cheer you up by being surprisingly funny… typical boyfriend material. As a player, his supernatural ability to pull off misdirection, ignite pass, vanishing drive, cyclone pass etc… is impressive to watch. Kuroko is a symbol teamwork and friendship in this anime and I admire that.  Which player is your favourite? Who would you want as your bae? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Kuroko's Basketball photo
Which player are you crushing on?
Time to face it: we all have an anime boyfriend or two that we fantasise about. Have you seen a beautiful main character eating lunch by himself at a cafeteria and thought to yourself, “Senpai, I’d have made you a...

Strong Style: Last Stop on the road to WrestleKingdom (I swear!)

Sep 25 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Tanahashi, looking somewhat normal. CMLL Welterweight Title: Mascara Dorada vs. Bushi Dorada may look familiar as Gran Metalik in the recent WWE Cruiserweight Classic. Bushi debuted on this show a few weeks ago as the newest member of Los Ingobernables with Naito and EVIL. The story here is that Dorada was recruited to join Los Ingobernables, but refused, so Bushi attacked him. A little background on Bushi. He started with All Japan Pro Wrestling in the mid-2000s (before they lost half their roster when Great Muta split with the company). He went on his excursion to Mexico for a few years before coming back to AJPW. He ended up being sent to New Japan on loan for a year but ended up getting injured with a bad neck injury from a diving headbutt. In his debut back he was supposed to be the curtain jerker, but canceled the match and came back with Naito and EVIL instead. Bushi enters the arena by himself. Instead of the black suit, he is just wearing his gear and a T-shirt. He takes off his mask to reveal an all black mask instead. Mascara Dorada enters the ring and suddenly Naito appears in Bushi's corner. Hirooki Goto comes out and now he's in Dorada's corner. A real good spot here as since this is for a Mexican championship, it's a tradition that they get a picture of the ref holding the belt with the two wrestlers and their corner men together. As they pose Naito reaches his hand behind Dorada's head. He turns around and Goto goes after Naito. Bushi takes advantage and starts whaling on Dorada as the ref is getting Goto out of the ring. Bushi beats down Dorada and chokes him with his boot in the corner. Bushi gets him up and sends him into the corner. Bushi tries to whip him into the opposite corner but Dorada reverses. Bushi goes in but when Dorada tries a splash, Bushi lifts him over the ropes and down to the floor. Bushi then springs over the ropes and catches Dorada with a hurracanrana on the floor! We skip ahead as both guys are back in the ring and Dorada is throwing punches. Bushi rakes Dorada's eyes and backs him up into the ropes. Dorada springs off and tries a back elbow but Bushi dodges. Bushi goes for the dropkick and misses as Dorada goes to the second ropes and lands an armdrag to send Bushi from the ring. He goes up to the top turnbuckle and walks the top rope before hitting a splash! We get a weird Lucha Underground mention from Jim Ross as he explains how having two masked men is unusual for Japan. Bushi is rolled back in the ring as Dorada springboards in with a body press into a two count. Dorada sends Bushi into the ropes and plants him right on his black-lipsticked face. We come back from the commercial as Dorada goes in for a charge but Bushi kicks him right in the face. Bushi scales up the ropes and hits a hurracanrana to send Dorada to the outside where Bushi gets a running start and hits the diving headbutt! Bushi gets back in the ring and when Dorada gets through the ropes, Bushi nails him with a high dropkick. For some reason Bushi just kind of walks around for a bit in an awkward point in the match. Bushi tries to whip Dorada in but Dorada reverses. Bushi goes up into the powerbomb position but Bushi goes over the top into a sunset flip for a two count. He goes to the middle rope and tries for an axehandle but Dorada gives him a dropkick in mid-air. Bushi gets to the corner but Dorada hits a running clothesline to send Bushi back to the mat where Dorada hits a VERY weak looking dropkick. He goes up top and walks to the middle of the top rope before hitting a splash. The count gets two. Dorada goes to get Bushi, but Bushi throws a kick that Dorada catches. Bushi spins around and tries for an enziguri but Dorada ducks, only to get kicked from a second try. Dorada goes to the corner but when Bushi charges Dorada kicks him with both feet. Bushi charges again and Dorada gets the sunset flip, but Bushi reverses it and grabs onto Naito's hands! Goto runs over and nails Naito. We have a fight! Both guys are chased to the back while Dorada rolls to the apron. Bushi comes in and gets kicks right in the head, Dorada goes up and hits a HIGH moonsault, but only gets two. He picks Bushi up and sets him on the top rope. Just then EVIL shows up on the apron and distracts the ref as Bushi sprays the green mist in Dorada's eyes! Bushi hits the low blow and scores the reverse roll up to get the three count! Bushi is the new champion! Backstage Bushi talks about being out of action for exactly one year. He saw a lot of confusing things, but everything he worked for has lead to winning this belt. We come back from commercial to get some studio words from Tanahashi. He lists off all the guys he fought during 2015. It's exhausting but he never gets tired and wants to end the year right. Hiroshi Tanahashi/Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kazuchika Okada/Tomohiro Ishii One last little teaser before Wrestlekingdom. Since both feuds here are pretty deep, this should be a total mess of a match. Let's see how this goes. Shibata enters first in his no-nonsense style. In a break from tradition, Ishii enters next. Okay. Tanahashi is the next out and Okada comes out with Gedo behind him. Tanahashi and Okada have a brief face off, but nothing comes of that. We come back from commercial with Okada starting with Tanahashi. Big Okada chant. We lock up, trade waist locks before Tanahashi goes for a full nelson. Tanahashi goes for the arm but Okada takes the leg and they grapple back and forth before breaking in the ropes. Knuckle lock into a wristlock by Tanahashi. They go into the rope and clean break. Knuckle lock again into a wristlock by Okada. They back into the ropes and Okada feigns going for the clean break, but screw that and he hits Hiroshi. Okada turns around and tags in Ishii and Hiroshi goes over and tags Shibata. The immediately collide in the center of the ring. Shibata with a headlock is shot off and the pitbull runs him over with a shoulderblock. Ishii gives a few kicks and forearms but Shibata gets right back up. Shibata gives him a kick to send Ishii down. Shibata lands some teasing kicks. Ishii jumps right up and trades a few forearms into the corner, Shibata lands chops and some strikes. Ishii takes it and gives it back by shoving Shibata into the corner and doing the same thing. They exchange chops in the throat! Geez! "Shibata's gonna sound like Honma."- JR. Okada tags in and hits a low dropkick. Swinging neckbreaker on Shibata. Count gets one. Ishii tags back in hits a snapmare and a kick to the back. Headbutt sends Shibata backward but he comes right back with chops and they go at it again before Ishii lands a headbutt into the temple. Okada tags back in and gets the whip and splash into the corner. Okada hits a senton, a bit of a shot to Tanahashi I'm sure. Shibata lands a chop and gets up. They start exchanging blows before Okada is knocked down! We come back from break with both guys down. Okada gets a strike in but Shibata gets the knee to the gut. Tanahashi comes in and fires off elbows to the face. He slams Okada down and hits the middle rope senton. Count only gets two. He tries to whip Okada, but Okada reverses only to get a dropkick in the knee. Tanahashi gets the cloverleaf but Okada gets to the ropes. Ref breaks the hold and Okada gets to his feet. Tanahashi goes for a running attack but Okada lands the flapjack. He then turns around and tags Ishii back in. Ishii starts in with the chops in the corner. Tanahashi tries headbutts on Ishii which is insane! Ishii floors Tanahashi and then starts chopping him on the corner. Tanahashi reverses with some European forearms but that doesn't work. Ishii locks in a sleeperhold but Tanahashi pushes him back into the corner. Tanahashi reverses and locks in a dragon sleeper but Ishii gets out of it. Shibata tags in and nails Okada off the apron before he starts in on Ishii with forearms before hitting his hanging dropkick. He gets the half hatch suplex into a cover then goes right into an armlock into a triangle lock. Ishii tries lifting him up but Shibata extends the lock on the arm even more. He gets Ishii down to the canvas but Ishii is still fighting Tanahashi holds Okada from interference. Ishii finally gets to the ropes but Shibata lays in some kicks. Shibata tries a hold but Okada comes in and breaks it up. Ishii gets up and tags Shibata right in the face and flattens him. Both guys tag and here we go. Okada lands a boot the Tanahashi's face. Tanahashi pops up and starts in with a forearm. Okada reverses a flapjack and they roll right into an Okada neckbreaker. Okada scales the ropes and gets the elbow. He signals for the rainmaker but Tanahashi counters out, Okada goes for a dropkick but Tanahashi counters into a grounded leg whip and into a cloverleaf. Shibata and Ishii come into with an octopus. Both holds are broken up. Tanahashi goes for the slingblade, but Okada counters into the rainmaker, but Tanahashi counters into BACK a slingblade. Tanahashi goes up but Ishii stops him and hits the middle rope suplex. Shibata comes in and lands a big dropkick on Ishii. We come back from break with everyone down. Tanahashi and Okada struggle to stand but can't get there. They start exchanging forearms and heave themselves to a standing position. Okada tries for the tombstone but Tanahashi counters out and hits a punch to Okada's face. Okada tags Ishii and Shibata also gets the tag. They immediately start trading clothesline then exchange back suplexes, Seriously, dueling back suplexes. They get up to their feet and start trading forearms. Shibata lands a dropkick and a kick to the chest and a cover, but nope. He gets a chinlock but Okada breaks it up. Tanahashi comes in and out goes Okada. Ishii ends up in the corner but he nails Tanahashi and tags Shibata with a clothesline. He doesn't get the pin. Ishii goes for the brainbuster but Shibata counters and locks in the choke. Ishii is going down, but powers back up. Okada comes in a dropkick Shibata in the back of the head. Shibata kicks Okada outside the ring. he goes for the PK on Ishii but he counters. Shibata lands a dropkick and Tanahashi comes off the top with the flow and then Shibata lands the PK kick and Tanahashi gets the pin! Shibata grabs the mic and thanks the crowd for their support. He hands the mic to Tanahashi. Tanahashi tells Okada that it's too early to leave. Okada turns around and comes back in the ring. Tanahashi tells  him that he doesn't care about his crying or the money, but he wants to take NJPW to the next level and he will be the champion. Okada fakes going out of the ring but turns right around. He says, "NJPW is already at the next level and he won't embarrass himself." Tanahashi says that they will settle it on January 4. It then starts snowing in the arena as Tanahashi poses a bit. In the studio, Tanahashi asks which rivalry was more exciting in this match. He says, "He who wears the belt needs to share his vision with the crowd, no matter what it is." As these two fought each other in the months leading up to this, he felt things reset. No heel or babyface anymore. And with that, we finish this week. Welp, this show did blow me away. Granted, the tag match was good, but the opening match was a dud. It seemed like it was going at half speed and it seemed like the crowd was dead for the whole thing. Next time we FINALLY get to the coverage of Wrestlekingdom 10 card! As a preview of what to expect, here is the preview for the show I did back in January. See you next time from the Tokyo Dome!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
One last show before the big one!
Hello and welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we look at a couple of matches from the last show before the Big WrestleKingdom 10 show with "Road To Tokyo Dome." This show takes place on December 19, 2015, at Korakuen Hall and was the last one for the year for New Japan. Let's get to the action!

Weekend Japanatainment - Live Action Anime Edition

Sep 24 // Red Veron
[embed]35283:5858:0[/embed] Rurouni Kenshin: Origins Here's an adaptation from Japan that did a great job with bringing the soul of the source material. While this adaptation truncates the manga's story (in three movies), it does a fine job in presentation and is an overall enjoyable experience. The first movie is definitely something you can show to those unfamiliar to the series.   [embed]35283:5859:0[/embed] Gatchaman (2013) I haven't seen this movie yet but I didn't hear good stuff about it. The costumes and the trailer looks cool though. I'll give it a watch soon.   [embed]35283:5860:0[/embed] Speed Racer (2008) This trailer looks like a lot of fun and I've heard from people that it is a fun time and I think it looks like a good way to modernize the source material. I'll watch it soon too.   [embed]35283:5861:0[/embed] Fist of the North Star (1995) I remember seeing little bits of this movie on different cable movie channels over the years, and looking at the trailer, it looks like they did their best to bring it to the big screen. I think Hollywood should try again, especially with the recent success of Mad Max: Fury Road as a reference.   [embed]35283:5863:0[/embed] Gantz Part 1 (2010) & Gantz Part 2: Perfect Answer (2011) I've seen only the first movie and the loosely adapted anime version of Gantz and the 2010 film was a good time. While not as brutal as the anime or the manga, it still provided that gritty feeling close to the source material.   [embed]35283:5862:0[/embed] Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!) I loved what I saw of the anime adaptation of this show and this trailer seems like my cup of tea. While the lead male actor doesn't quite have the same large proportions of the character he's portraying, he still pulls off a believable look that does justice to the source material.   [embed]35283:5857:0[/embed] Ghost in the Shell (2017) Here is one of the short clips that recently came out of the new Ghost in the Shell adaptation. Check out the rest here for more of the clips.   Is there a live action adaptation of an anime or manga that you love and/or hate? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Anime IRL
Clips of the controversial Hollywood live action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell recently came out and the short clips just give us almost a minute of footage of the upcoming movie. Whatever your opinion of the cas...

Here's what to look forward to in AJIN Season 2

Sep 22 // Karishma Roy
IBM and black ghosts Black ghosts are made from invisible black matter (IBM) and can't be seen by the human eye unless they are in a heightened emotional state. We are aware that water disrupts the connection between Ajins and their black ghosts, and we also know about the “Flood” Phenomena. But there is SO much more we need to find out! Why are only a limited number of Ajin able to produce them? What is the deal with memories colliding when these ghosts head-butt each other? Why is Kei’s black ghost so childish and does the exact opposite of what he commands it? Is it hard to control because Kei had produced it as a child and was unaware of it up until he dies in that truck accident? Or could this mean he died as a child first? Is there a limit to how many black ghosts an Ajin can produce? Finally, is it really true that decapitation and the growth of a new head can result in a different personality? That could solve Kei’s antisocial personality disorder. Dr. Ogura Ikuya, please share your knowledge with us. I’ll give you as many cigarettes as you want! P.S. : There is going to be a black ghost with wings! How cool is that? Kei and Kaito's friendship Kaito deserves a standing ovation for being a loyal bro despite the fact that Kei basically ignored him since they were children. When Kei realised he lacked real friends and needed help running away from the police after the Ajin discovery, he seeks Kai out. It was selfish but I’m impressed he remembered Kai’s number since he deleted it years ago. Kai risks his ONLY LIFE without a second thought and we’ll forgive Kei for being a jerk on grounds of his sociopathic nature. But is it just me who thinks Kai may have a place in Kei’s proverbial heart? After the motorcycle crash, remember how Kei begs Tanaka to call an ambulance? There was no rational thinking or detachment, it was purely worry and fear. And Kei also tearfully says that Kai is the only one he “can’t betray” during that torture scene. We can expect Kai to reappear in season 2 to help his friend defeat Satou. He’ll make us humans proud and be a real hero. Also, is anyone hoping for a bit of bromance or romance between Kei and Kaito? #TeamKeito anyone? Or could Eriko have feelings for Kai? She seems to miss him! How does #TeamErito sound? Shinya Nakamura If you watched the OVA then you’ll know that this dude who is responsible for the “Flood” incident is MIA. We can expect to see him back to help #TeamKei defeat Satou. Or…this is much less likely but will he surprise us and join #TeamSatou instead? We don’t know where he has been or what kind of person he has become.Government officials killed his best friend and drastically changed his life so we can be sure that he’ll be involved in the action somehow.  Izumi Shimomura I have a love/hate relationship with her. Hate because she is selfish for saving her own skin while watching other Ajins be tortured. Love because her IBM “Kuro- chan” slays. Kuro single-handedly destroyed all four of Kei’s black ghosts and also defeated Tanaka’s one in the hospital. We can expect to find out why and if she is the only female Ajin in the country? Why are they so rare? Are female IBM properties different from male ones? Hopefully Izumi will woman up a bit more in season 2 and stop being at Tosaka’s beck and call. I want her to join the real fight and stop being scared. Or could it be she is in love with Tosaki!? Gurl, do not go there. Keep kicking ass and be fierce!  P.S. She is very cute at times. Team Satou   It has been a rule from the beginning of time that evil must be defeated. I admit there are no clear good versus bad in this series and there are more than fifty shades of grey. Everyone has their own agenda. Except perhaps Kou. He is one of those simple minded yet very determined guy. But Satou, dude, you can’t be allowed to rule the country. It will be interesting to see if and how he unleashes the second wave of disaster upon Japan. And I am curious about these 15 people conspiring against the Ajin. Who are the Ajin Control Commission and how much do they really know? Will we see them use the supposedly illegal Anti-Ajin force? They may have to! Do you guys think #TeamSatou will accomplish killing all these people? Or will #TeamKei succeed in stopping them? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
AJIN Season 2 photo
Questions and Expectations
It's official, Ajin Season 2 will be returning to our screens on October 7th, 2016. It will continue to air on Netflix so YAY! The third movie titled Ajin : Shogeki will be released on September 23rd 2016....

Weekend Japanatainment - Summer OP 2016 Edition

Sep 17 // Red Veron
[embed]35273:5846:0[/embed] "The LiBERTY" Anime: Handa-kun This is actually one show I've been keeping up with since it's a spinoff of one of my favorite anime, Barakamon. While this show is NOTHING like the original show it spunoff from, its still a good comedy about everyone having misunderstandings about everything and general craziness in a school where everyone is kind of an idiot.   [embed]35273:5847:0[/embed] "Hikari no Hahen" Anime: Orange Here is a show I've seen a little bit of that I will binge soon. It's a shoujo drama with a science fiction twist. The heroine gets a note from the future telling her not to screw up things with a guy and I think she screws up a lot anyway, according to people on twitter.   [embed]35273:5848:0[/embed] "STARTING NOW" Anime: Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! (This Art Club has a problem!) I have read the manga a long while ago, and I enjoyed it a lot. Now it is an anime and looks like totally my jam. Just watch the opening.   [embed]35273:5849:0[/embed] "SAKURA Skip" Anime: New Game! This show is about a complete newbie at a video game development company and according to real developers, much of the things in this show are wildly inaccurate. It's still got funny moments and plenty of waifu material.   [embed]35273:5850:0[/embed] "99" Anime: Mob Psycho 100 The shining star of the season, this is from the same author of the insanely popular One Punch Man, and it is a blast with its crazy whirlwind of colors and animation. I confess I have only seen the first episode but this is top priority for me this season. You should check it out too.   What's your favorite anime from this season? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Summer Season Sendoff
The summer anime season is coming to a close and the hot weather is finally letting up (except in weird places like Australia where it's winter time and dangerous creatures lurk at every corner). So it is the perfect time to ...

Strong Style: Seriously, this is the finals

Sep 16 // Soul Tsukino
The show starts with a greeting from Honma! Croaking like a frog the whole time. Seriously, this guy is like dragging a bass drum over a gravel road. Hiroshi Tanahashi,Michael Elgin, Hirooki Goto, Katsuyori Shibata vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii, Kazucha Sakuraba) Yeah, this match is going to be a mess. The story here is, of course, Tanahashi and Okada are going to meet in the main event of WrestleKingdom and they needed to face off just one more time. Everyone else is there to cause havoc. Tanahashi's team is already in the ring as CHAOS marches out with Gedo following them all. Okada and Tanahashi face off immediately in the ring. They pause, take off their gear, and go right back to staring each other down. The bell rings and surprisingly they start the match! Lock-up to start and back into the ropes but Okada gives a clean break with a light tap on the chest. Hiroshi doesn't care for that and forearms Okada twice in the face. Okada recovers enough to send Tanahashi into the ropes and boot him in the face. He immediately goes for the tombstone but Hiroshi blocks it. Okada Goes for the tombstone again and Tanahashi blocks it. Tanahashi goes for a dragon suplex but Okada blocks that. He gets Tanahashi over in an armdrag and locks in a leg scissors. Tanahashi gets out but Okada gets in a wristlock. They get up and Ishii tags in. The Stone Pitbull then ignore Tanahashi and says he wants Shibata. Fair enough. Shibata comes in and they ram shoulder to shoulder before Ishii starts in with some nasty forearms. Shibata responds in kind. They dare each other for a hit and just start going back and forth with forearms for what seems like forever before Ishii falters. Shibata bounces off the ropes and hits a big boot, Ishii responds with a forearm off the ropes. Another boot and more forearms. They finally ram into each other and Shibata falls back and tags Goto. Goto tries for a forearm strike but Ishii ducks it and goes over and nails Shibata off the apron then decks Goto too before he goes and tags Yoshi. Yoshi comes in but so does Shibata. Funny moment as Yoshi thinks Shibata is going to hit him and blocks, but Shibata runs right by him and hits Ishii off the apron instead while Yoshi just looks around for a few seconds. Ishii and Shibata are fighting on the floor now as Yoshi goes for a suplex, but Goto slips out. He goes for a clothesline but Yoshi blocks it. Yoshi goes for the ropes but gets caught by Goto who scoops him up and hits an ushigoroshi, which JR calls an airplane spin and slam. Goto then crawls over and tags Elgin. Oh shit. Yoshi, for the love of all that your ancestors have done, tag out. Big Mike immediately goes up and hits a BIG flying shoulderblock. Hashi stumbles to his feet and Mike hits him with a bunch of forearms before landing a big running forearm to the jaw. He slams Yoshi down and goes to the apron and hits the slingshot bodypress. Yoshi rolls to the corner where Elgin calls for the clothesline. Yoshi dodges out of the way but Mike tries to kick him. Yoshi catches the foot but gets drilled with the enziguri from some mighty beefy legs! He grabs Yoshi from behind and nails a German suplex. He keeps hold and hits another one. As he is trying for a third Okada comes in to stop it but Mike just suplexes him. Ishii gets a suplex and then Sakuraba gets one. And you get a suplex, and you get a suplex! The crowd is loving this. He presses Yoshi above his head and brings him down in a powerslam. The count only gets two. We come back from the commercial as Elgin tries to get Yoshi in a powerbomb, but Yoshi slips over the top into a sunset flip. Mike says no to that and picks Yoshi up into another powerbomb, but Yoshi turns it into a codebreaker. Yoshi scrambles over to tag Okada. The Rainmaker runs over and nails Tanahashi and Shibata off the apron. He and Yoshi grab Mike and run him into the turnbuckles, but when Okada comes in for the splash Elgin gives him a boot. Yoshi comes flying in but mike dodges him. Mike picks him up for the suplex when Okada kicks him in the gut and Mike keeps the suplex. Okada comes over and pulls Yoshi down but Mike just hits him. Mike scoops up Okada and then Yoshi and slams them both. Elgin rolls over and tags Tanahashi. Hiroshi is angry as he comes in and unloads on Okada with forearms before Okada has had enough and he starts firing off forearms. They duel back and forth before Tanahashi starts firing off European uppercuts. Okada fires Tanahashi in and tries for a boot but Hiroshi catches him and snaps off a dragon screw leg whip. Okada goes to the corner and Tanahashi comes flying in, but Okada catches him and scoops him in an emerald fusion position and drops him right on his knee. CHAOS comes in now as here we go! As everyone else is fighting outside Okada slams Tanahashi down and climbs up. He lands the Randy Savage elbow and does the Rainmaker pose! Tanahashi STANDS UP! He's right in Okada's face! Okada tries for a punch but Tanahashi grabs him and tries for the rainmaker clothesline. Okada ducks and tries the rainmaker himself. Tanahashi then SLAPS Okada! Ooooooh. Hiroshi goes bouncing off the ropes right into an Okada dropkick., but Tanahashi pops right back up and nails the slingblade! Ishii and Shibata tag in and Ishii runs right into a boot. He goes to the corner where Shibata just lays into him with elbows and forearm strikes before landing his sweet hanging dropkick. Ishii rolls out of the corner as Shibata goes to the ropes and right into a Sakuraba choke! Yoshi comes in and knocks Goto off the apron before he whips Shibata in the corner and nails him with a clothesline. Mind you Yoshi nor Sakuraba are legal. Sakuraba lands a kick and Ishii gets a Saito suplex and goes for the cover. Goto scoots in to break that up. Ishii goes for the piledriver and Goto nails him with a clothesline. Shibata sets Ishii up but Goto accidently nails Shibata with a clothesline! Everyone comes in and nails each other before Elgin presses Tanahashi up and down onto Okada and Yoshi. Ishii sneaks in and nails Elgin with a back suplex. We are back down to Ishii and Shibata as Shibata lands the boot. Ishii lands a big clothesline and goes for a pin but only gets two. Both guys scramble up and Shibata locks in a rear choke. Got runs in and tries something but Ishii kicks him. He tries to fend off both Meiyu but Shibata gets him locked up and he and Goto take Ishii down. Ishii and Shibata stumble up and hit each other before conking heads and messing them both up. Shibata locks in the choke but Ishii flips him over to counter and Shibata kicks Ishii down. He goes for the kick but Ishii grabs his foot. He tries for a clothesline but Shibata ducks under and locks in the choke again! He gets Ishii down, and nails him with a PK and gets the pin! Holy crap! Shibata grabs the NEVER belt and just drapes it over a fallen Ishii. Backstage Ishii is pissed! We come back to the studio with Honma. He ended up getting a technique award right before this and even he doesn't think it is technique as much as he just loves wrestling. This match is happening in his home area. It is a divine message and he has to be the one to decide it, not Makabe. 2015 World Tag League Finals: Global Bash Heel (Togi Makabe/Tomoaki Honma) vs. Los Igobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito/EVIL) Winner gets to fight Gallows and Anderson for the tag team titles at WK. Probably not the cream of the crop in tag team wrestling, but what the hell right? The Goobers enter as JR butchers Togi's name for the umpteenth time. The announcers say that GBH won their tag matches with all King Kong knee drops from Makabe, so that explains it. JR then mistakes King Kong Bundy with Bruiser (King Kong) Brody. *sigh*. A weird close-up of Jay White, the young boy as he opens the ropes for Naito. GBH comes out with Honma leading the way. These two will never be mistaken for the Beuty Pair that's for sure.  We actually get the full introductions here, so we are stretching for time a bit. Honma gets a big reaction from the fans. We come from the commercial and the bell rings. Togi and Naito start out Togi wants to go, but Naito, of course, doesn't. He turns around and tags EVIL. As they go to lock up Naito hits Makabe from behind and EVIL hits Honma. They try to double team on Togi, but he runs right over the both of them. Honma tags in and lays in the kicks on EVIL. Whip into the corner with an elbow and then a clothesline. He tries for the headbutt and misses. Naito comes in and chucks Honma right out. EVIL goes right after Makabe outside with some chairs and Honma gets whipped into the barrier. Naito grabs the table from the broadcasters. That can't be good. He puts Honma on the apron but Honma hits the boot. Honma goes for the slam but Bushi jumps on the apron and kicks Honma. Naito gets a reverse headlock and right down on the table!  The ref checking in on Honma, including checking his pulse! Naito rolls him into the ring as Naito stomps on the fallen Honma as the crowd starts in a chant. Naito tags in EVIL and he goes right for Makabe again, knocking him off the apron. He hits a spinning side slam on Honma. EVIL tags in Naito as he chokes Honma a bit and hits an elbow before getting a baseball slide dropkick. EVIL rakes at Honma eyes as Naito hits Makabe off the apron. EVIL starts biting Honma on the shoulder! He gets an arm lock and then a surfboard on Honma  and then he hits a senton, but gets a two count. RVIL gives the death sign and goes for a suplex but Honma counters and then gets him up and muscles him over! Honma finally tags Makabe in and he runs right over EVIL. Naito comes in and is clotheslined to the apron.  He runs to the other corner and flattens EVIL with 10 punches and a northern lights suplex for a two count. Makabe goes for the clothesline, but EVIL gets a neckbreaker. It doesn't last as Makabe again runs over EVIL and then hits a release German suplex. Makabe rolls over and gets the tag. Honma comes over and gets rid of EVIL and starts in on Naito before hitting the headbutt. He tries for a blockbuster but doesn't get any rotation and actually comes down on his head, but he pops right back up. Naito gets up and counters into a neckbreaker and then a missile dropkick. He gets Honma in the corner and gets in his three-part dropkick. He tries for a German but Honma stops it. Makabe comes in and Honma hits a missile headbutt right to EVIL. GBH hits a double clothesline on Naito. Honma goes up but EVIL trips him up. Makabe goes for Naito but Bushi gives him the green mist, so he is down. EVIL hits the STO on Honma and Naito gets the neckbreaker for two. Back from break Naito grabs Honma and tries for a weird suplex, but Naito lands an enziguri. He puts on a gogoplata on Honma and Honma fights it because he will not quit. Honma tries for the ropes but he is barely moving. Honma finally gets to the ropes and Naito releases. EVIL tags in and kinda stares for a bit before he tries to pick up Honma. Naito comes in and decks Honma. Both guys work over Honma with an atomic drop into a big clothesline for two. EVIL gets a fisherman's buster but Honma kicks out at two. Crowd is insane for Honma and hit a double press for a cover Makabe runs in and breaks it up. They double whips Makabe in but he runs over them with clotheslines. All four guys are down now. EVIL and Honma struggle up and hit clotheslines on each other. Again and again, before Honma hits a forearm. He goes for something but EVIL runs with him and nails him. Honma counters with a shoulder breaker. He goes for the pin but Naito HITS the REF!. Makabe hits Naito and lifts him on his shoulders and Honma hits a doomsday headbutt! Bushi comes in and gets hammered. Honma hits the headbutt on EVIL and the ref counts. Only two! Makabe goes up and lands the King Kong kneedrop. Honma goes up and hits the big headbutt from the ropes and he goes for the cover. 3 counts! Honma got the win! GBH is going for the tag titles! Makabe grabs the mic and says that haven't been able to win this tournament before but now they did because of Honma. Honma's in tears as the crowd cheers for him. This is a big moment. He asks "Who'd have thought I'd score the win?" He has a really strong heart He apologizes for not knowing what to say since he hit his head so much. He says he's happy and the crowd applauds. He knows following Makabe was not wrong. They will have the belts. He gets the crowd into a big cheer of "let's be happy!" This is actually a really touching moment and I'm tearing up a bit. In the studio, Honma says that Naito was all new to him. He found EVIL to be unexpectedly good. He got what he aimed for and he is really grateful to Mr. Makabe for that. What a show! Both matches were not cut (I'm surprised) and really good match. The moment of Honma getting his big win was touching, especially if you've followed his road of loserdom. The commentary was okay, JR just spends too much time acting like a WWE commentator and it just does not work with NJPW action. He STILL can't get Togi's name right and even openly gets mad when fans have corrected him. Really starting to drag down the show, but if you ignore him, this show was amazing. With WrestleKingdom 10 around the corner, see you all next time!  
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Not who you'd expect
Greetings to another week of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we are at the finals of the 2015 World Tag league tournament on December 9th, 2015, and the Sendai Sunplaza. The last stop before we get to WrestleKingdom 10.

Japanator Unboxing: Persona 5 20th Anniversary Edition

Sep 15 // Christian Chiok
Persona 5 photo
Take Your Heart
Persona 5, one of the most anticipated games of the year, has finally hit Japanese shelves as well as the PlayStation Network. We were blessed with the opportunity to obtain the Persona 5 20th Anniversary Edition which i...

Here, have some Starter Crate DLC for Ghost in the Shell: First Assault Online

Sep 15 // Christian Chiok
EDIT: The giveaway has ended. Winners should expect an email from us soon.  [embed]35260:5840:0[/embed]
Ghost in the Shell photo
Dive Beyond Humanity
Back in December, I had the chance to play Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex First Assault Online when it first launched as closed beta and Early Access via Steam. A few months after that, the game went into open b...

JapanaFive: The best moments from AJIN's first season

Sep 14 // Karishma Roy
The Showdown between Izumi’ and Tanaka’s Black Ghost (IBM) Okay, my eyes were just as wide as Izumi’s when she gets impaled by these massive black claws. I screamed along with Erito because I thought she was a goner. But, DUN DUN DUN, she is an Ajin as well. Our cute, seemingly timid and often blushing Izumi goes all fierce revealing her very own Black Ghost Kuro-Chan #GirlPower. The fight was kickass and we learn that a black ghost can destroy another by delivering a deadly blow to the head. Was Tanaka covering his eyes because it helped him concentrate better when controlling his IBM? Not sure. I was worried for Erito 'cause I was sure Satou would've killed her but I'm glad she's sticking around.  This Torture Scene I put my Oreos aside and tried not to be sick as I watched this. Kei was brutally tortured as part of the experimental process on Ajins. Clinical equipment including a frickin' drill and a surgical saw was used as a machine measured his brain activity in reaction to the excruciating pain being inflicted upon him. Clearly these surgeons need ethics 101: don't cut off someone's arm for no legit reason. The xenophobic nature within this society is obvious in the face of fear driven atrocities such as this. Kei’s muffled screams made me wish I had my own black ghost and could barge in there and save him. Despite everything, he decided not to kill the surgeons because he was afraid to lose his friendship with Kaito. That moved my heart. Bring me more Kaito and Kei please! Do you guys think these experiments have valid reasoning? Who are the real monsters in this situation: humans or Ajins? Satou's rescue mission Satou is a misanthropic badass. His one man show where he destroys all the armed security guards in the lab to save Kei is so much fun to watch. The dude cuts off his own arm and shoots himself before the tranquilising darts take effect. Killing people is a game to him and he is winning. It was interesting to note that memories can be exchanged between IBM's during Kei and Satou’s showdown on the rooftop. The performance that Satou gave in front of the media following this was remarkable – he can cry on cue! Plus it was an incredibly smart move to announce a protest against the Government so publicly to gather more Ajins in the country. Love him or hate him, you got to be impressed with him. Team Satou demolishing Grant Pharmaceuticals This was the most EPIC scene in the whole of season 1. I laughed when I noticed the name “Clean Fox Company”. You are indeed as cunning as a fox, hat man. Satou arranges an explosion in a nearby skyscraper so it falls on the pharmaceutical building and crushes it. His manic laughs as he rode the falling building gave me chills. And it was kind of cool how he loses his hat when going down, but then a drone delivers another one to him as soon as he is ready to move. Kei watches this whole incident on TV while enjoying a chocolate- chip cookie. Remind me, who is meant to be the hero again? Props to the humans for deploying some smart tactics but despite their numbers and combat experience were defeated by the evil genius. Kei and Kou's escape Firstly, a huge shoutout to the Obasan that protected Kei in the village and was ace at pretending to be a hostage. Most old ladies would've had a heart attack. Heck, I would've peed myself! I was surprised that Kei went through the trouble of saving Kou but it makes sense for two people to take on Satou. Or perhaps Kei was just in the mood for a benevolent act. There was yet another cool action scene between IBM’s. Kuro- Chan has got some mad skills to defeat four of Kei’s IBM’s. Is she just incredibly strong or are Kei’s black ghosts weak since he produces so many? The end of this struggle was almost romantic. Sunset painted the sky with brilliant hues of orange and red as both boys tied each other together to avoid separation before jumping off a cliff into the deep waters *Cue "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion* Although that means drowning time and over before washing up somewhere.  I've got more to say about Ajin's second season coming up, but it's safe to say: Do not judge this anime by your first look at it. Yes, the CGI did initially hurt my eyes as well but the show is thrilling, fast-paced, and before too long, you're too invested in the plot to even notice it.
Ajin photo
Let's break down the highlights
Would you want to live forever? Even if it meant that practically the entire human race wanted you imprisoned? I’m talking secret government agencies who want to torture experiment on you, bounty hunters and national pr...

What Would You Do? If you could time travel like in Erased

Sep 11 // Lindo Korchi
If it were me, due to the complex nature of Revival, I'd likely write down everything that happened throughout all the times I experienced Revival. I can then analyze my findings and see if there's a pattern that consistently occurs during each phase. I'd be able to know what to look for and have a higher chance of changing the future for the better when given the chance. But what if most anime's contained this unique ability? If we really look at it, Revival is just another type of time travel -- an ability or tool that can definitely be useful to influence positive outcomes. If the ability was applied to the anime realm as a whole, it'd be real interesting. Imagine these scenarios actually occurring, or having occurred, in each series: Eren of AOT returning back to the day the Titans broke through Wall Maria; he'll finally be able to face the Titan who killed his mother (an intense battle it would be) and have a chance to save his mother. Furthermore, he'll likely engage in a one-on-one showdown with the Armored Titan. Krillin of DBZ receiving yet another chance at life and declining his death rate. Luffy of One Piece having the ultimate showdown with Akainu, right before he killed Ace. If that would happen in the actually series, I can only imagine the feels and tears we'll all have -- and I'm definitely included in that one. Cooler of DBZ getting rid of Goku when he actually had the chance -- would fate intervene to prevent Cooler, again, from doing such? And that poor student from Kill la Kill who stole the Goku One-Star Uniform in episode 1. He'd have the chance to prevent getting a beating from Gamagori. As you can see, the outcomes and possibilities are literally endless and exciting to ponder. It opens up a path to infinite paths. And the beauty of the Revival ability, or any time travel ability, is the fact that the stories wouldn't change. We'll still be familiar with the hardships that all the characters face, except that we'll see what they would do if given the chance to go back. And DBZ delivered on this.DBZ wouldn't be the same if the story never included Goku's death during the Android/Cell saga, the horrific outcome it had, and Trunks being able to go back in time and alter the future. The DBZ we know today is one that was altered due to time-travel. It's not the original outcome; yet we saw the original outcome, which allowed us to truly appreciate the altered version. We experienced two paths within one story and it was great. What if it were like this for all series?The Revival/time travel ability is great for the anime realm and fiction, as it pushes the creative mind. But if it were to ever be applied in the real world, it'll be all over. What do you think?Here's an interesting question, if the majority of on-going anime series decided to include a Revival feature later on in the series, would you opt for it?
What Would You Do? photo
Revival: A Form of Time Travel
[Editor's Note: What Would You Do? Is an ongoing article series examining some of the strange and not-so-strange situations, powers, and scenarios in anime and manga and how they might apply or be applied elsewhere.] Time tra...

Weekend Japanatainment - Konbini Edition

Sep 10 // Red Veron
[embed]35249:5830:0[/embed] SharlaInJapan and Mimei shows us their favorites from the konbini and just how different what they offer over in Japan. Each country will have their own "on-the-go" version of their staple foods which is quire interesting.   [embed]35249:5831:0[/embed] TheJapanGuy takes us on a tour of a FamilyMart and just take a look at that variety. This store is abit bigger than most stores and has a pretty decent selection.    [embed]35249:5832:0[/embed] TabiEats shows us how they put a dinner together from items from the convenience store, these aren't the most premium of items but the variety is pretty good.   [embed]35249:5833:0[/embed] Texan in Tokyo show us her lunch from the convenience store, where she got a fried cutlet with egg and rice. Just check out how they adapted the dish into a on-the-go version.   [embed]35249:5834:0[/embed] Ericsurf6 serves up my favorite video where he basically just longboards to and from a konbini to assemble a crispy chicken sandwich.   [embed]35249:5835:0[/embed] Mimei Land shows a bigger konbini that is essentially a mini-super market.    [embed]35249:5836:0[/embed] Dale North, Musician and former Japanator Editor, made an awesome remix of a convenience store jingle of the fictional Tomato convenience store from the video game Shenmue.
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Not an overpriced gas station store
You've probably been to a convenient store before, they have drinks and snacks and other stuff you might need if you're pressed for time and they are useful in a pinch. I worked at one over a summer when I was young and I kin...

Gems of Japan: Short History of Japan's bullet trains

Sep 10 // Lindo Korchi
After the war, the idea of the high-speed rail was pursued and the development of the Shinkansen began to take place. In 1959, the construction of the Tokaido Shinkansen line between Tokyo and Osaka was under development. And shockingly enough, the construction of the Shinkansen cost nearly 400 billion JPY, or 3.4 billion US. By 1964, the Tokaido Shinkansen was ready for public use. With a connected line between Tokyo and Osaka, the two biggest cities in Japan, the style of business and traffic demand quickly rose. Within three years (1967), the Shinkansen reached its 100 million passenger mark, and one billion mark in 1976 -- all within twelve years. The Tokaido Shinkansen instantly became a success. The first Shinkansen train set was called the 0 series, which was built on the Tokaido Shinkansen line, connecting Tokyo to Osaka. It originally ran at a speed of 210 kmh, or 130 mph, and eventually increased through time. The series was also recognized for its "bullet nose" appearance. However, in 2008, the 0 series was discontinued. Now, one of the driving cars can be found in the National Railway Museum in York, England -- donated by JR West in 2001.Today, there are many series trains. The most recent is the N700 series on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen, introduced in 2007 with a speed of 300 kmph, or 185 mph.Due to the Tokaido Shinkansen's success, it's no surprise that another line was made, the Sanyo Shinkansen in 1975, which connects Osaka all the way to Fukuoka (South of Japan). Though, it didn't stop there. The Tohoku Shinkansen was launched in 1982, which connects Tokyo to Aomori (North of Japan, which is right below Hokkaido, Japan's northern island). With a route length of 674 km, or 419 miles, it is Japan's longest Shinkansen line. The Joetsu Shinkansen was also launched in 1982 and is a railway that connects Tokyo to Niigata (Northwest of Japan) via the Tohoku Shinkansen line.The Shinkansen rose in popularity during its first launch and still continues to do so today. As proof for such, development of the Hokkaido Shinkansen has been in construction since 2005 and will connect Aomori and Hokkaido via the undersea Seikan Tunnel. The first section of Aomori to Hokodate (in Hokkaido), which is 4 hours south of Sapporo, is scheduled to open on March 26, 2016. As for Sapporo, that line is scheduled to open in 2030. There are also more in the works. Interestingly enough, the Tokaido Shinkansen began operation in 1964, which made it in the nick of time for the first Tokyo Olympics. Now, I wonder, what will Japan have in store for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics? [Credit for photos in this post: Yuya & Fletcher.]
The Bullet Train Cometh photo
The Beginning of the Shinkansen
[Editor's Note: Gems of Japan is an ongoing article series by Lindo Korchi highlighting cool things, facts, and brief asides in Japan.] Let's be honest. When most of us think about traveling Japan as a whole (from Tokyo ...

Strong Style: Tag Team Time!

Sep 10 // Soul Tsukino
We open with Tanahashi, who has his hair down in this and doesn't look like a little girl did his hair. Los Ingobernales (Naito/EVIL) vs. The Bullet Club (Gallows/Anderson) Now THIS is an interesting match! Both teams are well versed in breaking the rules and no giving a damn about the ref. Will Naito just screw around while EVIL does all the work? I'm sure the Club doesn't care. Evil comes out in his reaper gear and then Naito comes out in his Skeletor in a suit look. He doesn't screw around and goes right to the ring, but pulls his mask off and reveals to be Bushi, a masked wrestler who is making his return after a year off from a neck injury. Los Ingobernables has a new member! Naito makes his entrance then as all three stand in the ring, The Bullet Club come out by themselves, which is a surprise. Anderson and Gallows are the champions, but the titles are not on the line, though a victory by Los Ingobernables would go a long way. We come back from a commercial and thankfully they skip over Naito slowly taking off his gear. He just gets his pants off when he and Evil attack the Club! All four guys in the ring and it's a fight. The ref rings the bell, because why not? It is chaos as The Club hit a double shoulderblock on Evil before picking him up in a double Flapjack and then Gallows puts Evil on his shoulder and sets him up for a kick to the head by Anderson. uhh, Naito? Wanna help your compadre any? Evil rolls to the floor but he isn't safe there as both Club Members go outside. Gallows grabs Evil and sends hit right into the barricade before grabbing a chair and whacking him with it. Gallows whips him into the other side of the barrier and then grabs another chair and whacks him with that too. We see that Naito and Anderson and now up in the stands battling it out in the crowd and things are really out of hand. Anderson goes for a powerbomb in the crowd on Naito, but Naito wiggles out. Karl hits him with a stiff chop to the chest and they both go from one side of the arena to the other before Karl grabs him and literally throws him out a side door to the arena. With Naito gone Karl walks back down to help Gallows. They both ram Evil's head into the steel barrier before they roll him in the ring. So now Gallows and Evil are legal. We see Naito enter back into the crowd but guess what, he's in no hurry to get back to the ring. No wonder Evil is always in a bad mood!  Gallows clubs Evil in the face before he tags in Anderson. Meanwhile, in the crowd, Naito is sitting on someone's lap catching his breath. In the ring, Evil tries to stand up but Karl lands a clothesline, a kick to the gut, and then an uppercut. Karl gets ready for another clothesline but Evil counters into a neckbreaker. Evil snaps up and punches Gallows off the apron. He turns around and for some reason tosses Anderson out before following him to the floor. Even Josh questions this idea. Evil beats on Karl a little bit as Naito finally comes to the ring. Evil grabs a chair and puts it around Karl's neck and then drives him right into the ringpost! We skip ahead as Evil and Karl are back in the ring/ Evil has a double armlock, but then sinks in and bites Karl right on the shoulder! The ref breaks it up as Karl Collapses in pain, but Evil drops the senton on him. he looks to be covering him but the ref realizes at the two count that Evil is actually choking the hell out of Anderson and tries to break it up. Evil gives the Ref a glare for his trouble. Back from the break, Evil tries to grab Karl but Anderson elbows evil in the gut. He lands another strike but Evil just knees him in the stomach to end that. He makes the cut throat sign on Karl before rebounding off the ropes, but he gets caught in the Anderson spinebuster! Gallows is tagged in and he flattens everyone with clotheslines before landing a big boot on Evil. He sends Evil into the buckle and squashes him with a big splash before running him over with a clothesline. He runs the ropes and hits a big splash for a 3 count. He picks Evil up and tells him to do something I will not repeat here before running to the ropes. Evil, however, follows him and lands a deep need to Gallows' gut. Evil tags in Naito who strolls into the ring for a bit before landing his combination corner dropkick on Gallows before running over and clobbering Anderson off the apron. Evil comes back in the ring and they whip Gallows into the corner and Evil follows up with a running clothesline. Gallows falls to the mat where Naito hits a low dropkick to Anderson's face. Count only gets two and Naito goes off on the ref. Evil grabs Gallows from behind and Naito smacks him a few times before running for the ropes. Anderson trips him from the outside. Gallows turns around and flattens Evil to the mat. Now with the advantage, the Club send Naito into the corner hard and Anderson hits a flying kick to Naito's face! Tranquilo that asshole! Gallows hits the Baldo bomb on Naito but Evil jumps in and breaks up the count. Anderson throws Evil back out and The Club hits the double reverse neck breaker, but only gets two. They go for the magic killer, but Evil breaks it up and nails Anderson with the STO. Evil then grabs the ref as Gallows goes for another powerbomb. Naito slips out and nails a kick to Gallows head. He stumbles over where Bushi jumps up and spits green mist in his eyes! Gallows can't see. He walks right into destino and Naito and Evil get the pin! Big upset! Backstage Evil is all "Everything is EVIL!" so Naito steps in. He reminds people he has been out for a month and a half with his earlobe injury along with the debut of Bushi to the team. Bushi says that he likes this version of New Japan Pro Wrestling, the world of tranquillo. A word from Tanahashi now in the studio. He talks about Michael Elgin being young, but that he loves to train. As you can expect from Michael Elgin, he has a damn good bench press lift. They've becoming training partners whenever they are together and decided to team up. Originally Tanahashi thought teams should be the same, like The Young bucks, who even have matching gear, but in teaming with Elgin, Tanahashi found they had a chemistry together despite being so different. Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi/Michael Elgin vs. Kazuchika Okada/YOSHI-HASHI Naturally, this would be on the first night of the tournament to make sure the crowd gets another taste of the WK10 main event. Yoshi and Okada are representing CHAOS while the Elgin/Tanahashi team is a strange one. Elgin and Tanahashi come out together surprisingly. CHAOS comes out together with Gedo in their corner. We get the full entrances of both teams so we are stretching for time a bit. Looking for all four guys, you kinda have a feeling of who is going to do the job on this one. As Okada enters the ring Tanahashi makes sure to hold up the briefcase. Okada gives it a kick and we are instantly nose to nose! After a commercial, we start. Yoshi is starting against Mike. Oh boy. Yoshi immediately gets flung across the ring. Yoshi says a hair pull but no way. Yoshi starts hammering on Mike's neck but it does nothing. Criss cross has Mike catching Yoshi and drilling him down. He shoots Yoshi in with ad gets a high press slam and a clothesline in the corner. He picks Yoshi up for a suplex, doing squats with Yoshi in the air. Okada sneaks in and kicks Mike in the stomach but it does nothing. He does it again and nothing. Mike finally brings Yoshi down. He tags Tanahashi who just whips Yoshi into the corner and calls for Yoshi to tag. Okada comes in and Tanahashi starts firing kicks and punches immediately. Okada tries for a wiastlock but nope, Tanahashi just hits him more. Tanahashi backs off and Okada gets a dragon screw leg whip. Tanahashi rolls outside. Okada follows him and whips him into the barrier. They fight into the crowd and Okada drops Hiroshi in the crowd and then goes back for more. The count gets to 15 before Okada rolls him in. Okada lands a baseball slide dropkick before he finally tires of beating on Hiroshi and tags Yoshi in. Hiroshi hits Yoshi but then runs over and knocks Okada off the apron. Yoshi hits Tanahashi as Okada gets back up and holds out the boot and Yoshi rams Hiroshi's face into it. Okada tags right back in as he drops Hiroshi with a slam and then poses with his foot on his near future challenger. Okada picks Hiroshi up and tries to whip him into the ropes and go for the body drop, but Okada kicks him. Okada comes charging in and gets body dropped anyway. Smartly he rolls over and gets the tag. Yoshi comes in as Hiroshi tres to clothesline him but Yoshi ducks and gets a chop into Tanahashi's chest.Yoshi misses a strike and Hiroshi tags in big Mike! Mike slingshots himself over the rope right onto the prone Yoshi. Thank couldn't have felt good. He hits a sideslam on Yoshi but only gets two. He calls for a buckle bomb but Yoshi slips out and counters with a codebreaker, Yoshi rolls over and tags Okada who comes in, but Elgin meets him with some nasty looking elbows. Mike hts the ropes but Okada scoops him up into a flapjack. Okada picks Mike up for an Alabama slam, but Mike goes over the shoulders into a sunset flip, only to try for the scorpion deathlock, but Okada counters out with a few kicks. Mike gets in the corner but Okada goes for him, he catches the foot but Elgin hauls off with a big enziguri that staggers Okada. Elgin flattens him with a big forearm before making the tag to Tanahashi. Tanahashi hits the low dropkick to the knee and goes in and hooks in a cloverleaf but Yoshi comes in a breaks it up. Tanahashi tosses Yoshi out and charges back at Okada who throws a big boot. He whips Tanahashi into the corner and hits him with a charging back splash before drilling Hiroshi with a big DDT. Okada goes for a pin but Elgin breaks it up. Okada goes for the gut-wrench but drops that to punch Elgin, only to turn around and gets hit in the gut by Tanahashi  Tanahashi then turns around and hits the slingblade. Back from commercial with both guys down in the ring. Both roll over and tag their partner as Yoshi tries to whip Elgin in but Mike won't move. Mike whips Yoshi into the ropes and he ducks a clothesline before taking down the big guy with a blockbuster. Mike gets up and Yoshi sends him into the corner where he hits a big chop. He picks Mike up and drapes him on the ropes before hitting a running dropkick right to Mike's back. Okada comes in and they both hit Mike in the corner with elbows before Okada sets up Mike for a Yoshi top rope blockbuster. Count only gets two. Yoshi calls Okada back in the ring and they try the double whip into the corner. Mike kicks Okada in the face and then ducks out of a Yoshi charge. he scoops up Yoshi and then scoops up Okada at the same time! He throws both of them down. Yoshi is down on the apron and Elgin climbs the middle rope and pulls Yoshi up from the apron. He turns the suplex into a falcon arrow! Mike tries for a cover but Okada saves it. Tanahashi drags Okada to the floor as in the ring Elgin picks up Yoshi and tries for a buckle bomb but Yoshi reverses it into a sunset flip for a two count. Elgin goes for a dive into the corner but Yoshi moves out of the way. He tries a suplex on big Mike (good luck with that) but Mike reverses it to pick him up for a powerslam, But Yoshi reverses that into an inverted DDT! He goes up top for a swan dive but completely misses. "Elgin, with that beard, his face looks like it should be on a can of beef stew"- JR. Both guys stagger to their feet and Yoshi is really stupid in trying to trade elbows with Michael Elgin! Somehow he ends up getting the advatage and actually drops mike with a big clothesline but Tanahashi breaks up the count. Okada gets in the ring but Hiroshi hits a dragon screw leg whip and sends him right back out. Yoshi comes after Tanahashi. He tries for a suplex but it in reversed into a neckbreaker. Elhin takes his buddy and picks him up before dropping him on Okada outside the ring! The end is near as Elgin hits an awesome spping backfist on Yoshi before hitting the bucklebomb into a baldobomb and scoring the win! Okada comes back and has a staredown with Tanahashi but decides not to throw, especially with Elgin standing right there. Tanahashi grabs the mic and that tonight isn't bout him but his partner. The crowd chants Elgin. He thanks the crowd and Elgin even says I love you guys in Japanese. In the back Tanahashi thanks Mike. In the studio, Tanahashi says Mike really belongs in Jpan and that it "will be fun to have Mike swing me around". Ooookay. This show was entertaining! The matches were really good and very different. Even if the second match was really predictable it was still a good show. Next week is the finals of the tournament, so stay tuned!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
World Tag League 2015 action!
Hello again Gang! We had a week off last week but here we are once again with Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. Things are getting heated now as this is the last stop before the Big WrestleK...

Japanator Unboxing: Loot Anime - Back To School

Sep 08 // Red Veron
Next month's "Demi-Human" Loot Anime box will feature goodies from One Punch Man, Bleach, Tokyo Ghoul, and Twin Star Exorcists. If you are interested in signing up for next month's "Demi-Human" themed box for next month, use the code "JAPANATOR" for $3 off first your order at Loot Anime!
Loot Anime photo
Don't be late!
The latest Loot Anime box just burst through my front door with a piece of toast in its mouth while wearing a sailor-styled school uniform (just kidding, boxes don't have mouths) and this month's theme is "Back to School"! T...

Annotated Anime: Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School - Despair Arc episodes 3-8

Sep 07 // Salvador G Rodiles
If there’s one thing that I wasn’t expecting, it was the show taking us down a trip through memory lane as it revisits one of the key aspects of Danganronpa 2’s second trial. In the game, I assumed this was an incident that happened before Fuyuhiko, Mahiru, Hiyoko, Ibuki and Mikan attended Hope’s Peak High School since none of the other cast members were in incident’s setting. Nonetheless, the beauty about this segment was witnessing the major elements that lead to the unfortunate fate of the Ultimate Little Sister. All in all, the strength of this scene was how well the outcome hit everyone. The happy school times were diminishing and the show's real tone was creeping in on us. Even though we’re aware that things were going to take a turn for the worse, Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc’s current strengths lie in how it pieces everything together, along with continuing its trend of placing the main cast in a couple priceless silly moments. Perhaps one of the most priceless moments that occurred recently was how they exaggerate Nagito’s luck. Not only did this guy get a couple people expelled to the point where it resulted in a deadly conflict during Danganronpa 3 – Future Arc, the guy somehow ends up in the most convenient spot during situations where many folks wouldn’t survive. Sure, he pulled off some ridiculous maneuvers in Danganronpa 2, but the timing behind how Lerche animated the scenes brings out a wonderful side of his talent. Other than that, the other thing was getting the chance to learn more about the Ultimate Imposter. Out of all the characters in the cast, he was the only one who we didn’t get to know more about. His connection to Ryota Mitarai the Ultimate Animator shows us his caring side that he exhibited when he wanted to protect everyone during the first chapter of Danganronpa 2. The relationship between the two characters is an example of one of the possible hopes that’ll likely be crushed down the road. One person wants an identity to maintain their great talent and the other wants to create an anime that’ll change the world; thus setting up the foundation for the mastermind to crush their dreams. While Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc was doing its best to maintain its humor when things were starting to get real, the staff’s efforts are finally paying off as the two major Ultimate Despairs make their debut at Hope’s Peak. The wonderful thing about this outcome was that the elements for them to create absolute despair were made before they even attended the school. Hajime already lost his emotions to the Ultimate Hope/Kamakura Project and the school’s trustees have already covered up a tragic event. Even though Junko had a couple things planned, her trump card was exploiting the situations that already unfolded before she came into the scene. It's thanks to this setup that the show's transition to its real tone has been a fun ride so far. Throughout the show’s recent batch of episodes, I was thinking that the best point for Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc to end the series would be after the event that made way for the Danganronpa Zero light novel since the team was likely aiming to tell a story that fans of the franchise haven’t heard yet. Instead, we witnessed the major events that gave birth to the first major incident that put Hope Peak’s High School’s reputation on the line. The fact that we got to see Junko’s manipulation and analytical skills at work well in getting us excited for when she brings the whole world down. Since she paid attention to Ryota’s animation, I have a feeling that she’ll utilize the art of subliminal message to convert everyone towards the path of despair. Honestly, the ridiculousness behind her schemes is what makes this whole series entertaining. At the same time, it reminds us why every game segment that involves her leaves the audience entertained. The catch is that we have to experience the unfortunate feeling from witnessing the seeds that’ll lead to our favorite Danganronpa 2 characters succumb to despair. If Mikan’s situation is anything to go by, Junko might use the same method she learned from Ryota to win everyone over to the despair side. While this was an inevitable situation, it doesn’t change that the fact that it’s going to be sad seeing most of these characters to become an entirely different person. Nonetheless, the staff still found some ways to turn this sad moment into something worthwhile, such as Nagito getting out-lucked by the Ultimate Hope. Honestly, it’s impressive that the team can still throw in some humor when the situation at Hope’s Peak Academy is taking a turn for the worst. Since there are still a few loose ends around, Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc still has some secrets that we have yet to see. With this segment and Future Arc passing their halfway point, there’s a ton of open content that’ll be worthwhile when we learn about the other major mastermind. So far, the show continues to be a great addition to the franchise with its story containing the right elements to please those who kept up with every Danganronpa installment. As the program’s despair levels begin to rise, I’m certain that things will only continue to get even better later on. Of course, I’m waiting to see what the show will do with Chiaki, since it’ll likely be something that’ll hit us very hard. [You can give on hope with Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy – Despair Arc at FUNimation.]
Danganronpa 3 photo
What is hope?
For a second I was expecting Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc to mostly focus on its comedic elements until the saga was halfway done. Lo and behold, things have started leaning towards the grimmer side of things as the seri...

Weekend Japanatainment - School Lunch Edition

Sep 03 // Red Veron
[embed]35225:5814:0[/embed] Japanese Elementary School Lunch Time! Here's a video by CafCu Media showing assigned students' serve their own lunch to their classmates during lunch. This lets kids learn about responsibility and proper sanitary techniques in food prep and service. Good learning experience.   [embed]35225:5815:0[/embed] Junior High Lunches A video slideshow by Noel Curry about the lunches served at a Tokyo Junior High School. Students still serve their classmates when it's their turn much like in elementary school. I love that variety.   [embed]35225:5816:0[/embed] Japanese High School Lunch time! In high school in Japan, students are responsible for their own lunches and they either bring their own food or buy it at their cafeteria. This video by orangetummy has some high school girls just eating their home made bento lunches. The simple but varied lunches are pretty impressive compared to the previously frozen fried stuff that they serve in many US high schools that I just abhorred when I was in school.   [embed]35225:5817:0[/embed] Another High School Lunch Video! Here's another video of high school lunch hanging out by Euodias, who did an exchange student program in Japan. The video also includes the students doing the end of the day cleanup where the students are responsible for cleaning their own classroom. Teaching personal responsibility? CRAZY THING TO TEACH WOW.   .[embed]35225:5818:0[/embed] Japanese Bento Lunch Making We've seen the bento packed lunches in the videos above, but how are they put together? This video by cook cafemaru is about making a delicious and appetizing looking lunch. Though a lot of bento school lunches are leftovers from the dinner from the night before which is also yummy!   Have you ever tried a bento or packed anything like it for lunch? If you made a bento, what would you put in into one? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Not like your usual brown food for lunch
If there is one thing I can point to that I love about Japanese culture that the US can learn is the way they have meals in lunch at school. You gotta fuel yourself properly to absorb all that knowledge and frozen fried stuff...

Review: Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force

Sep 03 // Red Veron
Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS Force (PlayStation Vita)Developer: Bandai Namco EntertainmentPublisher: Banday Namco EntertainmentReleased: July 12, 2016MSRP: $39.99 Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is the first time that the long running Gundam VS game series from Japan has ever hit the overseas markets. First thing to make clear, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is not a one of the many third person shooter games that litter the gaming landscape these days nor just a simple action game at first glance. Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is more that of a competitive fighting game, and can get technical with each Gundam unit acting as its own unique playable character with its own moves and style of play. Another thing that makes this game different is that the controls are more arcade action game which is no surprise since this game first started out as an arcade game then came to home consoles. This may turn off those wanting to pick up a Gundam game expecting to be a bad ass and start blowing stuff up like in the many previous games in the franchise. The game is split between two types of play: "Versus" type, where you and a partner fight two other opponents at a time in small arenas; and "Force" type, a MOBA-like mode that focuses on different objectives to win the mission. Versus type is a head-to-head duel with an AI partner against one or two opponents, sometimes even more. This mode focuses on solely trying to defeat the enemy force until their bar depletes to zero and they cannot respawn anymore. Force type is a tactical mode wherein two sides fight to take over different points on a battlefield. Captured turret points spawn minions that provide a little bit of resistance to the enemy side but can help contribute to winning missions. Win conditions can vary from destroying all enemies to capturing all the points in the map to escorting allies to points. This mode gets even more tactical with capturing points yields force points that allow power ups that can increase your side's attack power or defense to even using your ally spaceship's large gun to attack the enemy ship. The main campaign mode new to the series in this game, Extreme Force mode, will let you go through a series of Force mode scenario missions with some Versus mode duels sprinkled in the game. The missions in the game can be replayed with mini-goals that increase replay value, these vary from finishing it under a certain time, taking no damage, not losing any units, etc.  This single player mode has a very lean story used as framing device as a way to allow you to replay various story segments primarily from the main Gundam universe, with a few from the alternate Gundam universes, and some original "remix" missions unique to the game. Each mobile suit has a unique style and weapons with most mobile suits handling differently from each other such as certain mobile suits focusing on melee combat while others excel in projectile and ranged combat. The controls do take getting used to and learning each one does take a little bit of time but sometimes new missions will drop you into the cockpit of a new suit that completely controls differently than the last and will not let you switch to any familiar suits until you beat that mission. Though this seems counterproductive to player progression, it does let the player try out the different suits and helps out in finding one that suits your style (no pun intended). The degree of learning and involvement that required to progress with the game may slow down some players, but the option to somewhat brute force your way into the game by trying different tactics or even spending extra points on some a temporary boost can help quite a bit, which I did while trying to learn the different Mobile Suits. One gameplay mechanic that is integral in surviving in the game is dodging enemy fire by using your mobile suit's boosters to dash quickly, which takes some practice to get down and can be a challenge, sometimes it seems like you need to be psychic (or a newtype) to be able to dodge the barrage of enemy fire. The lack of right stick aiming might turn off players but the auto-targeting makes all about timing your shots carefully. I'm not a fighting game fan and I somewhat steer clear of fighting games because of the sheer technicality and depth found in the genre that impresses and intimidates me at the same time because I don't think I will be ever good enough. However, this game has me hooked and has me coming back for more. The aforementioned control system is very much designed for fighting in an open field with one or two enemies, this is perfect for versus mode where this system was designed in mind whereas it might trip you up in Force mode when enemies aren't focusing on just fighting you. The lock-on also becomes a bit of problem when disengaging a lock-on with an enemy that flies past you while you still want to move forward. The whole control system reminds me of those old Gundam games on PlayStation 2, but much more refined and surprisingly works well for establishing a uniform control system for all the mobile suits despite the uniqueness of the suits. Gundam fans will enjoy this game with the lineup of mobile suits from the original series all the way to the latest entry, Iron Bloded Orphans. Gundam fans will enjoy it more than non-fans, knowing the characters and settings adds to the experience but is not really necessary for those wanting some robot action. Visually, the game looks good on the PlayStation Vita's screen while in motion (as well as PlayStation TV), the screenshots in this review do not give it justice. I don't recall any slowdown while playing this game and does keep up well with the intense twitchy action. One thing that the game does lack is an online enabled multiplayer mode with only an ad-hoc mode available for multiplayer. Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is not for everyone, but do not let this scare off anyone interested in wanting a game that rewards those willing to learn all the ins and outs without much hand-holding. Nowadays, more and more games are leaning towards that direction and this game came at the right time for those looking for a bit of depth in their giant robot action game.  [embed]35190:5810:0[/embed]
Gundam EXVS Force photo
This is not an anime
The Mobile Suit Gundam franchise is a franchise known worldwide and is often dubbed as Japan's equivalent to Star Wars, this long enduring saga since its debut in 1979 has spawned a multimedia empire with thousands of TV...

Review: Japanese Tattoos: History * Culture * Design

Aug 30 // Josh Tolentino
Japanese Tattoos: History * Culture * Design Published by: Tuttle Publishing Written by: Brian Ashcraft and Hori Benny Release date: July 12, 2016 MSRP: $9.99 (Kindle [Reviewed]), $17.95 (Print) ISBN: 978-4805313510 The value of Japanese Tattoos is immediately apparent given the relative absence of substantial English-language work about the art and design of Japanese tattooing, or "irezumi" (刺青). Generally speaking, irezumi literature in English tends towards overly dry, scholarly analyses, or superficial, aesthetically-occupied picture books and feeds. Ashcraft and Benny position their book between the two extremes, delivering a breezy, easy-to-read explainer that isn't afraid to dive below the surface and uncover hidden nuggets of cultural knowledge and history amid the striking design work being etched right into the human body.Honed by years of writing as an editor for the game website Kotaku, and by previous books like Japanese Schoolgirl Confidential and Arcade Mania!, Ashcraft mixes his light, accessible style with deeply researched cultural references and engaging profiles of famous Japanese tattooists and their clients. Japanese Tattoos isn't to be taken as a piece of academic writing, but instead as an FAQ of sorts, answering key questions and providing interesting insights and background, to help those who aren't yet sure about their interest in irezumi become interested. And in this respect, Ashcraft and Benny have succeeded in spades. Part of this is thanks to the way the book is laid out. As befitting its role as a cultural primer, Japanese Tattoos starts with a general overview of irezumi, its history, and importantly, what distinguishes it from the tattooing practiced elsewhere. Historical notes link irezumi with older practices of tattooing as a form of punishment for criminals, or as protective symbols "worn" by laborers and tradesmen. The section also traces the longstanding Japanese stigma against tattoos to the 19th and 20th centuries, as the country raced to modernize after centuries in isolation. Ironically for a stigma born of attempts to "align with western morals", it turned out to be those same westerners  - particularly the occupying U.S. military following World War II - that played a part in keeping tattooing alive despite the attempts to ban it. [From Japanese Tattoos by Brian Ashcraft and Hori Benny] That leads into another important aspect of Japanese Tattoos: It's aware enough that culture isn't a monolithic, static thing, and that even "traditional" irezumi has changed over time. In rejecting the notion that irezumi is tied solely to any one thing (such as tebori, the classical method of inserting the ink into the skin with bamboo needles), the book reaffirms irezumi's uniqueness as an expression of Japanese culture, encompassing more than a specific technique but "an entire history and catalogue of iconography". Interviews with people like Horiyoshi III, Japan's most famous tattooist, reveal this progressive insight. Despite his mastery of tebori and his inspiration in classical woodblock prints, Horiyoshi III regards his work as less "traditional" than "traditionalist" thanks to his use of safer, modern ink, of mechanical tattooing machines, and the new, friendlier (and legal) conditions under which he works. It's an acknowledgement that even the most classical, "timeless" aspects of culture are subject to change and interpretation over time. That sentiment might seem in opposition to the permanence of the tattoo, but it's worth pointing out that tattoos change as their wearers do, by the virtue of being embedded on their ever-changing physiques. It's an embrace of mutability and the transitive nature of life that speaks to Japan's Buddhist influences. A tattoo may last one's whole life, but even that life ends. These reflections are woven into the other sections of the book, which cover popular and common motifs and elements in irezumi, with frequent asides and sidebars to deliver factoids that readers will want to recite back to their friends. The asides can sometimes feel a bit distracting from the chronological coherence of the book, but they're too good not to include, and so their somewhat scattershot arrangement is easily forgiven. [From Japanese Tattoos by Brian Ashcraft and Hori Benny] From classic kanji script tattoos to the natural images, mythic beasts and figures, and even avante-garde and anime- or manga-themed designs, Ashcraft and Benny look in on the iconography, symbolism, and meaning behind the many classical elements of irezumi in Japan. Other chapters, particularly one covering various examples of the full "bodysuit" design, also focus on the form irezumi can take. Bodysuits and sleeves are the most visible archetypes of Japanese tattooing, and their placement in the book highlights that association. Never again will readers see the awesome back pieces on display in the Yakuza games in the same way. The book is also chock-full of great pictures of tattoos. Even in my relatively low-resolution review copy, the quality of the art shone through, and keeps the flow feeling as brisk as the prose. It's one thing to read about the peony's place in floral language as used in irezumi, but another to see it incorporated on people's bodies as a form of art and expression. Japanese Tattoos is a must-read for anyone interested in tattoos and Japanese culture, but its greatest strength is in how easily it can engage readers like yours truly, who have no plans to get a tattoo at all. Being able to engage with all that material despite its near-total irrelevance to my personal experience is the sign of a good book, and this one will serve as an effective crash course in irezumi for many a reader to come.   [This review is based on a copy of the book provided by the publisher.]  
Japanese Tattoos Review photo
Tattoo, not Taboo
What comes to mind when one thinks of "tattoos"? Some might imagine the anchor on Popeye's forearm, the pointy tribal band encircling a local gym fiend's bicep, or the crude inkings associated with prison art.Thinking of "Jap...

Weekend Japanatainment - Japanese Sports Edition

Aug 27 // Red Veron
[embed]35218:5801:0[/embed] Japanese Synchronized Swimming to Frozen Synchronized swimming is popular in Japan and even male High School students engage in this sport. There have been movies and TV shows about Synchronized Swimming and it works since it is a team sport that very much emphasizes teamwork and timing. So splash (pun intended) in some drama to a story about a group of people trying to work toward a single goal, and you're gold!   [embed]35218:5802:0[/embed] Japanese Pole Vaulter's Pole gets in the way Read title.   [embed]35218:5803:0[/embed] Slam Dunk anime Opening One of the best sports anime and manga and was once rated as number one manga in the 2006 Japan Media Arts festival. The manga needs a new adaptation, I don't care if they make them all pretty boys just gimme the anime in modern day animation.   [embed]35218:5804:0[/embed] How to make a Sports anime Sports in anime/manga has been a staple genre that has been around for ages and authors have pretty much figured out the formula (or in this video, the MODERN day formula).   [embed]35218:5805:0[/embed] Japanese High School Sports Festival YouTuber SakuraKisetsu, who went to Japan as an exchange student, made a video about her Japanese school's Sports Festival and it looks very similar to what we see in anime, just no hijinks or anything supernatural or would get anyone in trouble in real life.   [embed]35218:5807:0[/embed] Great Baseball Catch Baseball is very popular in Japan for something referred to as America's pasttime.   [embed]35218:5806:0[/embed] Mario at the 2016 Rio Olympics Because NBC in the US is run by clueless executives who don't know how to maximize views and discovery for their Olympic coverage, I am unable to properly embed the Olympic handoff to Japan. Just please click the video to be linked to YouTube so you can watch the very amusing video where Japan's Prime Minister is secretly an Italian plumber who like mushrooms.   What is your favorite Japanese related Sports thing? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
The 2016 Olympics are done and the next summer Olympics are in Japan, so every weeb out there will be excited to see the next set of games taking place in the land of the Rising Sun. So this week, I thought it appropriate for...

Strong Style: Still (Power) Struggling

Aug 27 // Soul Tsukino
We start the show off with Ishii sitting in his chair silently. Real talkative guy. IWGP Intercontinental Title: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. "Machine Gun" Karl Anderson Back at the Destruction of Kobe event, Nakamura won the title back from Hirooki Goto. After he was given the belt Anderson came to the ring saying he beat both those guys in the G1, so he wants a title match. And there we go. Karl comes out with Cody Hall and the other heavyweight Bullet Club members. I'm already surprised as I would think this match would be on last. The bell rings and we start with a lock up going right into the ropes where Nakamura does his face rub thing. Anderson actually walks to the middle of the ring with Nakamura still hanging there before Karl take him by the chin and pulls his face up in the "my eyes are right here" kind of vein. Nakamura hits an elbow and Anderson hits a knee in response. Shinsuke and Karl trade quick hold and counter hold with some knees to the guts before Shinsuke goes into the ropes and Anderson fires off some arm drags. Nakamura counters and gets in a leg lock before floating over into a front facelock. Interesting to not here JR and Josh discuss the difference between a front facelock, that is used mostly for control, as apposed to a chancery lock that puts pressure on your opponent. It's stuff like this that give more believability and credibility to a wrestling show. Nakamura lands a few knee strikes before picking Anderson up into a cravat and snaps him over. He goes for a kneedrop but Karl rolls out of the way. He snaps off the rope and lands a straight kick to Nakamura's face! Nakamura rolls to the apron in pain, but Anderson just walks around for a bit. He finally goes after Shinsuke but Nakamura gives him a quick kick to shrug him off. The other club guys get on the apron and distract the ref as Gallows runs over and starts whaling on Shinsuke. Nakamura goes down to the apron and barely makes it to the apron at 18. Anderson comes in and lands a gun stun right on the ropes. Shinsuke goes down again and Anderson follows up with a dropkick to send him back down to the floor. Anderson ain't done yet as he goes outside and powerbombs Shinsuke right on the apron. We come back from break as Anderson has the advantage in the corner. He whips Nakamura in and kicks him in the face. Karl then scores a running powerbomb but only gets a 2 count. Karl tries another whip but Nakamura reverses. Karl tries a kick but Shinsuke gets a sleeper on Karl and brings him to the mat. They get up just as Nakamura gets a reverse powerslam. Nakamura tries running off the ropes but Karl catches him in a spinebuster. Karl goofs off for a bit and both guys stand up and trade heavy shots back and forth before trading forearms Nakamura catches his arm and lands an elbow and a reverse kick before a running knee. Count gets 2. Nakamura goes for the booma ye but Karl dodges it and then lands a gun stun! Nakamura is out on the corner and Karl picks him up and drags him up the buckle. Anderson gets him up in a fireman's carry before slamming him to the mat. Anderson goes for a pin but Nakamura kicks out. Anderson tries for a clothesline but Nakamura hits his arm and scoops him up before hitting a falcon arrow. Back from another break  as both guys struggle to get back up. Karl gets to the apron and flips over the top rope and nails Nakamura with a clothesline. He scoops him up for the rikishi driver but again doesn't get a pin. Karl goes in for another gun stun but Nakamura catches him in an armbar. He locks it in but Karl rolls him up. He breaks the hold to avoid the pin but as they get up Nakamura nails the boome ya! Karl lands a counter uppercut but Nakamura scores with the booma ye again and scores the pin! As Nakamura is laying on the mat, A.J. Styles walks over and gets in his face. Nakamura isn't backing down. Challenge accepted. Styles grabs the belt from the ref and hands it to Nakamura telling him he is going to take the belt from him.Nakamura says on the mic he was waiting for this. He says that is exciting for them to meet for the first time at the Tokyo Dome. Talk about an understatement. Backstage CHAOS gives Nakamura kempai over beer. This match was special for him since he and Anderson both trained at the LA dojo for New Japan. He says he's seen a lot of Styles up close whenever he went overseas. Styles has something he lacks, but he will get it at the Tokyo Dome (what is it?... IT!) NEVER Openweight title: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma This match was spurred on a few weeks ago when Ishii won the belt from Makabe. Honma came into the ring and challenged him, based off Honma beating Ishii during the G1 and Honma and Makabe being buddies. Ishii said he'd give him one shot and would destroy him in the process. Let's see how that goes. Honma comes out first as Barnett talks about vampire chickens (a Honma nickname) and what one would look like since he owns chickens. Ishii comes out looking like he's gonna kill a dude. Ishii's knee is wrapped up but that's nothing new. JR already breaks out the "Bowling shoe ugly" analogy. We return from break with the bell ringing. Strong lock up to start. Honma with a headlock gets shot in the ropes and stalemate into a shoulder block. They start just whaling on each other before Ishii goes down. Honma immediately goes for the falling headbutt and he misses. Ishii chops him up a few times to make him regret it. Ishii backs him in the corner and alternates chops and strikes. Ishii bad mouths Honma and Honma strikes back with a weak hit but lands a stronger chop. Ishii drops him for that before locking in a half crab but Honma gets to the ropes. Kick to the back on Honma, but he pops up and lands more chops on the pitbull. Ishii chops him back. Honma shakes it off and hits the double sledgehammer, but goes for and misses the headbutt again. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Ishii goes for the brainbuster but Honma counters and lifts Ishii up for a suplex! He lands a strike and then a bulldog out of the corner before finally landing the headbutt. Honma climbs up and lands a blockbuster! Honma goes for a crab of his own but Ishii kicks him right in the face to counter out. Ishii lands some strikes but Honma is firing back! Ishii ends that with an elbow right to the neck. Ishii gets Honma on the ropes and then picks him up for a big suplex. Cover only gets two. Ishii goes for a clothesline but Honma doesn't budge. Ishii lands a counter strike and goes for the ropes but Honma follows him with a strike and then a DDT! Ishii goes to the apron and Honma goes for a clothesline but Ishii blocks it. Honma then counters with a straight headbutt that sends Ishii down. Honma scrambles up the ropes and lands a super diving headbutt to Ishii on the floor! Honma struggles up and tosses him back in, which JR gives him some flack for since he'd win the title on a count out. He goes to pick Ishii up but Ishii strikes him for it. Honma SMACKS him down and Ishii barely gets up just in time for Honma to run him over with a clothesline for two. Ishii lands a back suplex but he pops right up and lands two battering ram headbutts but cover gets only two. Honma picks Ishii up and lands the brainbuster! He goes for a clothesline but Ishii counters and lands his own headbutt! We come back from break with both guys down. They get to their knees and smack each other with headbutts. They then duel headbutts! Both guys and knocked loopy. Ishii runs to the corner to meet a Honma boot. He counters with a strike to Honma's chest and he goes down. Ishii lands a powerbomb on Honma and then lands a sliding clothesline but only gets two. They struggle over a suplex but Honma lets him go and lands a ram headbutt again. He lands the headbutt to the shoulder and goes up for the big one. He lands it but Ishii kicks out! Honma goes for a tombstone but Ishii counters but Honma slides out and lands the big headbutt. He goes up and lands the big headbutt again. He can't make the cover.  Both guys get up and Honma lands a clothesline and another one but Ishii lands a spinning heel kick and then a big clothesline but can't get the pinQ! Ishii tries for the brainbuster and then a clothesline but Honma counters into a backslide but Ishii gets out. Ishii whips Honma in and goes for the headbutt but Ishii counters with a nasty clothesline. He then hits another one but can't finish it. Ishii then hits the brainbuster and he finally gets the pin! Ishii gets his belt as Honma is not moving. Ishii gives hm a look as he leaves the ring The crowd gives a big round of applause as Honma is helped from the ring. Backstage Honma says he tried hard and did well. He says he wants to fight him again. Ishii says that Honma will never win since he has no confidence. Studio words and Ishii says it was the natural outcome, He laments that even though he won the belt, he feels he never seems to be going forward. Interesting. This was a good one. All four guys put on a great show but Honma especially deserves credit. He came out and really looked good here, not like the bumbling goof, but like a legit contender and it made for a great match. Fun show all around. We are getting closer now to Wrestlekingdom. So what else can happen between now and then? We will have to see!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
More from Osaka
Hello and welcome back to another action packed week of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we go back to Osaka for Power Struggle 2015. We are a little over a month away from WretleKingdom at this point as this card takes place on November 7, 2015. We have two big title matches tonight so let's get to the action.

Review: The King of Fighters XIV

Aug 22 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35211:5799:0[/embed] The King of Fighters XIV (PlayStation 4)Developer: SNKPublisher: Atlus USAReleased: August 23, 2016 (US), August 26, 2016 (EU), August 25, 2016 (JP)MSRP: $59.99 Regardless, I decided to be open-minded and not completely trash the game, so I was still looking forward to it, but with less excitement compared to XII, however. I definitely made the right decision of still giving the game the chance since as the months went by, and as information came in, the game was shaping up to be good, and definitely a lot more robust than one of its competitors when it came to content.   King of Fighters XIV marks the beginning of a new canonical saga for the series. Compared to previous entries, I don’t think the story is that exciting this time around since the story is more streamlined compared to other King of Fighters.  The story revolves around a billionaire known as Antonov, who claimed to be the “first champion” of the KOF tournament and bought out all of the rights for the KOF Tournament. His announcement of a new KOF Tournament created unprecedented enthusiasm around the world. From there, this excitement reached many of the veteran participants of the legendary tournament directly in the form of an official invitation. After finishing up Story Mode, which should be fairly quick, there are other modes you can try out like Versus Mode, Training, Online, Mission and Tutorial. Naturally, Versus Mode is just like previous King of Fighters where it gives you the option to do both Single and Team VS matches. After selecting your character, you got a handful of handicaps you can choose from, such as 50% health, 75% health, an extra bar of power gauge and lastly your power gauge completely filled. After that, you choose your stage and the rest is history. Practice Mode offers a variety of options that will help you on your training such as changing the position of you and your opponent, change whether they are standing, crouching, jumping, as well as have the AI completely take over. You can also set up so the training dummy guards, counters and recovers.  All of this is definitely good if you want to have great training sessions. Additionally, there’s also Tutorial Mode which shows you the ropes. It helps if you’re new to the series or fighting games in general. Mission Mode consists of Trial, Time Attack, and Survival. In Trial, you will attempt a set of challenges for each character. They usually consist of pulling off combos.  Time Attack and Survival both are self-explanatory. I personally liked playing through Trial since it helped me out practice some combos for some of the characters that I used. Now to address the elephant in the room—Online mode. The previous game, King of Fighters XIII, was known for its awful netcode on consoles. While the Steam version heavily improved this, it still wasn’t perfect.  It’s really noticeable that they actually worked hard to improve the netcode in this game. I played around 10 matches or so without any lag—I had a smooth experience all around. Additionally, the game offers some features that make the online better as well. Ranked Match takes you straight into a 3-Man Team Battle, which affects your rank depending whether you win or lose. For advanced players, it gives you the option to play 10 battles and depending in your wins, it sets you into a Rank much faster.  Free Match is most robust as it gives you more modes to play such as Team VS, Single VS and Party VS. The first two work just as if you were playing offline with another player in the same room. What I really love is the addition of Party VS, which lets six players instead in a 3-on-3 fight. If you got a group of friends, it’s definitely a lot of fun. Room settings are the same as any fighting game in general, such as making the room public or private, the number of players, the round time, and the number of rounds. Inside a room, you’re allowed to play multiple set ups, such as Tourney, Elimination and Series. Tourney removes the losing player after the fight, Elimination removes the winning player after the fight while Series allows you to face the same opponent continuously. There’s also Online Training, which allows you to train with a friend online. This is definitely helpful for those who lack a training partner outside of the Internet. Naturally, there’s also Online Replay, which you can view all the replays submitted by players, whether it’s Team VS or Single VS matches. Spectators can join to watch the match up with an integrated voice and text chat. Additionally, a "Crowd SE" option is available for spectators, which allows them to root, applaud, and boo the match current players.There's also a Live feature, but that's just a shortcut to game's Live from PlayStation menu. While the game resembles the Maximum Impact series graphically, it still remains on a strictly two-dimensional plane and keeps the same basic mechanics as its predecessors. New features have been added such as a new Max mode system, allowing players to access the EX moves, which can be activated by using one bar of the power gauge. Additionally, using three bars of the power gauge can allow players to unleash Climax supers. With the game catering to newcomers as well, the added a feature called Rush Mode, which is similar to games like Dengeki Bunko and Persona 4 Arena. Just like those games, it can be activated by repeatedly hitting the light punch button, however, will do lower damage compared to normal combo attacks. While I’m certainly not a fan of these types of things, it doesn’t really hurt the game either. Overall, I am definitely pleased with King of Fighters XIV. While the story was kind of bland compared to the previous games, and the graphics are a bit disappointing, it still offers a great experience that both King of Fighters fans and fighting game fans can appreciate. There’s just so much content from the get-go, like a game should, that can keep you occupied for a while. It definitely makes up for the game's flaws. You can bet I'll be playing this for months. 
The King of Fighters XIV photo
Burn To Fight
Since I’ve been writing for Japanator for almost a year now, some of you may already know I’m a big King of Fighters fan and it’s one of the first series I ever played as a child. Even since then I haven&rsq...

Strong Style: The Power Struggle is real

Aug 20 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Tetsuya Naito. Guess EVIL isn't much for words. Super Jr. Tag Tournament Finals: Roppongi Vice vs. Matt Sydel/Riccochet This is the final of an eight-team tournament. Presumably, the winners get a Jr. tag team title shout in Tokyo. The Vice got here by beating Kenny Omega and Chase Owens and the team of RedDRagon while Sydel/Ricochet defeated The Time Splitters and the Young Bucks. Looks like they are trying to add some variety to the Jr. Tag division. I commend them for that since it was getting stale. The Vice come out first and Josh talks about helping to train Rocky Romero in MMA way back when. The opposing team then come out and Ricochet does a nice one anded vault over the top rope. We immediately cut ahead in the match with Ricochet and Rocky diving into the ring. It is really obvious they cut out some action but JR and Josh act like the match just started. Who are you trying to fool? Anyway, Ricochet and Beretta trade whips into the corner. Rocky comes charging in with a spear that Ricochet leap frogs over and the Vice collide. Ricochet takes advantage by delivering a zigzag on Romero to send him down again. Rocky gets up and Ricochet goes for a waistlock but Rocky counters around, only to be hit with a northern lights suplex. Ricochet hangs on and hits a second! Pin attempt only gets two. Ricochet gets Romero up in a fireman's carry but Romero leaps out. He hits a strike and goes for the ropes but Ricochet catches him in a drop toehold as Sydal comes in with a leg drop. Both guys hit tandem moonsaults on Romero, but the pin only gets two. Ricochet drags him to the corner and goes up. He tries for a 450 splash but Rocky moves. Ricochet lands on his feet though and rolls through it. Rocky gets up and hits the ropes and Barretta comes in the ring and they hit Ricochet with a double jumping knee. Rocky goes up in the corner as Barretta hangs Ricochet out to dry on the top rope. Rocky comes off and nails the flying legdrop on the back of the head, sending Ricochet down where he is hit with the running knee from Baretta for a two count. Baretta tags in legally where he whips Ricochet into the corner and runs in with a flying elbow. Ricochet staggers in the ring with Barretta about to hit something off the ropes but Sydal pushes his partner out of the way and lands his patented double knees right on Barretta's head. Romero comes in and kicks Sydal right out of the ring. He turns around to hit a clothesline in the corner on Ricochet but gets a kick to the head for the effort. Ricochet rolls out of the corner and jumps up, landing a DDT on Romero and now everyone is down. Sydal tags in and he tries to get Baretta in a pump handle slam, but Trent squats down on it. Sydal hits him a few more times and tries the move again, but Trent blocks it again. Romero comes in and clobbers Sydal with a clothesline and then winds up for his freight train clotheslines in the corner. He hits Sydal with it three times before Sydal catches him and lifts him up to the corner where Ricochet hits him with a kick from the apron. Sydal climbs up and goes for the super huricanranna but Romero slips out. Sydal lands right in his ass on the top turnbuckle and bounces backwards to the mat. Talk about busting your ass! Romero bounces off the ropes and goes flying through the ropes to take out Ricochet with a suicide dive while it's still Sydal and Baretta are the legal men in the ring. Barretta hits a running knee that folds Sydal in half but only gets a two count. The Vice set up for the double team dudebomb or whatever they call it with Trent cradling Sydal in the ring, but when Romero tries to come off the ropes with a slingshot, Ricochet leaps in and spears him out of the air! Sydal turns Barretta around in a Canadian destroyer piledriver but he only gets the two count! Baretta staggers in the corner as the other teams goes for it. Sydal is launched into the corner first but Baretta sends him over the top to the apron. Sydal's leg gives out and he tumbles to the floor but Ricochet scores with the hit. He then runs towards the other corner and hits an amazing shoot star press to Romero outside the ring! Inside Sydal goes up and goes for a shooting star press of his own, but he meets Baretta's knees at the bottom. Baretta goes for the cover but only gets two. He picks up Sydal who goes for a kick but Trent ducks, he goes for another one with the same result. Baretta sets him up and hits the dudebomb but the pin is broken up by Ricochet. Ricochet and Romero trade punches back and forth. It turns into forearms and kicks. Romero hits a jumping knee and ricochet hits a superman punch. Ricochet gets Romero in a fireman's carry but Baretta pulls him off. Ricochet smacks Barretta with a kick to the face and then Sydal comes up and tries to get a reverse flying headscissors but it doesn't go quite right and ends up in a weird reverse victory roll instead. Romero comes back in and ricochet hits him with the benedryller in the corner. Both guys go up and hit simultaneous shooting star presses and get the pinfall! Sydal and ricochet have won the tournament! Hiroshi Tanahashi/Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kazuchika Okada/Kazushi Sakuraba Power Struggle is like the WWE's February pay-per-view. Everyone is gearing up for Wrestlemania and want to build up the main event, so we get a match like this to preview things with out having either main eventer look weak. It's a strange match as Tanahashi and Shibata had that rivalry not too far back but seem to get along now. Sakuraba usually teams with Yano, but I don't think he is a member of CHAOS, while the champ Okada is the leader. After both teams come out we cut right to Sakuraba and Shibata starting out with both men going immediately for armbars and counters before getting back up to their feet. Sakuraba grabs a headlock and Shibata reverses. Sakuraba counters into a leg scissors and clamps down. Shibata turns it around but Sakuraba turns it into a googoplata! Shibata is nearly out! He drags Sakuraba over and gets a foot on the rope. They get back up and Sakuraba hits a kick and sends Shibata to the corner were Okada gets a tag. Okada cuts the ring in half and keeps Shibata away from his corner. Okada gets him down in the corner and kicks him a few times before picking him up and hitting a few forearms. Shibata seems to have woken up and lands a few strikes. He goes to the ropes but Sakuraba catches him and locks in a choke. Okada comes up and boots Shibata right in the face. He rolls outside and Sakuraba follows him out. In the ring, Okada runs right up and knocks Tanahashi to the floor before going out after him.  Both Tanahashi and Shibata eat guardrail. Shibata makes it into the ring where Okada tags Sakuraba back in the match. The Gracie Killer starts landing some kicks on Shibata but he muscles up and strikes back. Sakuraba tags back out and then both guys drop elbows on Shibata. Okada whips him into the buckle and goes for the dropkick but Shibata kicks the champ right in the face. Shibata finally tags out and Tanahashi gets in with the champ. He hits a flying forearm on Okada and slams him in the ring. He tries for the second rope senton but the pool's empty. JR calls it a "seldom used move" by Tanahashi but he uses it in EVERY match, making me wonder if JR gives a damn. Okada picks him up and lands a few slaps before taking over with a clothesline and a whip in the corner into a DDT. Okada gets in an elbow and goes for the pin but Tanahashi kicks out. We come back from break as Okada trying for the tombstone but Tanahashi counters out and lands a leg whip. Tanahashi  goes off the ropes and Okada gets in that sweet dropkick. He then hits Shibata with one as well. Okada goes up and lands a long distance flying elbow! He picks Tanahashi up and goes for the rainmaker but Hiroshi counters into a waistlock before nailing the slingblade! Somehow Okada is able to get over to his corner for the tag. Sakuraba tags in and lands some kicks in but Tanahashi  counters and sends Sakuraba down. Shibata tags in and starts hammering Sakuraba down, but Sakuraba comes back and lands some kicks before going for the front choke! Shibata lands a strike to get out and then hits a cool kick on the seated Sakuraba. Shibata tries for the PK but misses. Sakuraba gets the rear choke while Tanahashi is being held outside the ring. Shibata lands a Saito suplex but Okada breaks up the pin. Tanahashi comes in and sends Okada out. Shibata hits his hang time kick on Sakuraba in the corner. He slams him down as Tanahashi hits the high fly flow. Shibata hits the GTS and scores the pin. We don't seem to be quite done here. Shibata leaves the ring in his usual "job's done" kind of way and Sakuraba is carried out. Okada and Gedo start to leave as well but Tanahashi grabs the mic and tells Okada to get back in the ring because he is going to teach the champ something. Okada obliges him and comes back in the ring. Hiroshi says that he will be the new champion and that IRGP is just around the corner. not quite sure what he means there. Okada grabs the mic right from Hiroshi's hands but before he can say anything Tanahashi just clobbers him! We have a fight! The young boys come in to break it up but it's not working. Tanahashi clobbers Okada with the case as they just keep going at it. Talk about out of character. They finally get separated as Gedo pulls Okada back. We cut to the back where Okada and Geo are talking and here comes Tanahashi! The fight's not over yet! Gedo is yelling for Tanahashi to hold it and stay right there as we got to commercial. We come back to Naito in the studio, ?he says that getting a partner would make spreading the word of Los Ingobernables twice as fast. He looked at all the wrestlers and found EVIL was going to be his partner. We cut to a clip from the last show where Goto says that EVIL was "a mediocre wrester who came back from the U.S. without having done anything." Naito disagrees. He also says that he took this show off due to an "earlobe injury" with a big smile on his face. Hirooki Goto vs. EVIL More of that weird match order thing again as this match was the third match into this show, while the tag match we just watched was the semi-main event. Odd. A bit of background on EVIL. He was a young boy who entered New Japan in 2011 and was used for opening matches for a few years while he trained, using his real name Tamaaki Watanabe. He had a brief cup of coffee in Ring of Honor here in the states, largely being in the roll of "that New Japan guy that everyone beats". As we saw last time he made his re-debut in the company, now as Naito's goon, EVIL. During that same he got into it with Goto during and after the match, so here we go with that. After all that fighting, this seems like a letdown. EVIL comes out dressed like the grim reaper, complete with scythe. Have I ever mentioned that EVIL is a really ugly dude? I mean look at that picture? Bug-eyed ugly mother fu- you get the picture. Goto comes out with his awesome warriorness. EVIL attacks as soon as he gets in the ring! EVIL gets some shots in before he forearms Goto right in the face. He hits Goto again but when he goes to the ropes Goto kicks him right in the chest. EVIL slide under the ring and when Goto goes to look for him he smacks Goto again. Hey, at least it's not that "tranquilo" horse crap Naito does. He runs right into Goto with a chair. He then puts the chair around Goto's neck and slams him into the post. EVIL gets into the ring as the count is on. Goto rolls in at 17. EVIL gets the front facelock but Goto rolls through it only to get a hit with a neckbreaker. EVIL chokes Goto on the mat. Goto gets up and is met by a chop to the chest by EVIL and another one. Stone faced EVIL sends Goto down and then locks in an arm wrench. He then sinks in and bites Goto right in the side of the neck! After a break, we come back to see EVIL pressing a foot on the back of Goto's neck. He gets a brief chinlock and runs the ropes but both guys smack together from clotheslines. EVIL tries a clothesline but Goto blocks. Goto goes to work with some kicks and a back suplex, but only gets two. Goto kicks EVIL right in the arm and tries for a suplex but EVIL counters into a fisherman's buster suplex. EVIL goes to grab Goto but Goto tries to lock in an armbar. EVIL gets out with a kick to the head. Goto gets up but EVIL hits a clothesline, Goto counters back with three of his own. EVIL hits a clothesline off the ropes but Goto counters back. EVIL goes for the STO but Goto counters. They reverse each other until Goto hits the reverse ushi-goroshi. He locks in a leglock submission but Naito strolls down to the ring and just flat out attacks Goto. He hits his destino move right in front of the ref before Tiger Hitori FINALLY calls for the DQ. Well, he's getting older. Reflexes aren't what they used to be. Shibata comes running out and the goobers flee, wanting no part of that guy. I smell a future tag team match. In the back, Naito talks about how awesome EVIL is and how perfect the match was. He rambles on for a bit before actually saying EVIL has to speak his thoughts. "This is Evil. Everything is Evil." Welp, that sums up the character rather well! In the studio, Naito talks about if Goto was happy after the match. He says the match was merely to unveil EVILl and no point in putting in 100 percent. Naito interfered to stop EVIL from beating a big name in his debut match. He did Goto a favor and he should be happy. Odd match order aside, this was a good show. The first match was fun without being a car wreck like the four-team jr tag matches usually are. The second match did its job, even if it was a little shirt. And the main event was different. I wouldn;t say this blew anyone away but it was alright. Next week we get Honma and Ishii beating the crap out of each other! See you then!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
It's time for Power Struggle!
Hey gang! It's time once again for Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we move into the month of November as we visit Osaka once again for Power Struggle. This show takes place on November 7, 2015 and it's narrowing in on the big WrestleKingdom show in January. Let's dive in!

Weekend Japanatainment - Vending Machine Edition

Aug 20 // Red Veron
[embed]35206:5791:0[/embed] YouTube Channel Only in Japan, gives us an informative video all about the Japanese machines.   [embed]35206:5792:0[/embed]  The very kawaii Venus Angelic tries out some vending machine fried chicken and shows us the available fast food items.   [embed]35206:5793:0[/embed] This video from Munchies is all about half-Japanese Ty Demura making a quick post drinking session meal from vending machines on the way home.   [embed]35206:5794:0[/embed] Here's another video from Only in Japan where they showcase a vending machine restaurant filled with retro vending machines and a place to sit down and enjoy all the different vending machine food.   NSFW Warning!  [embed]35206:5795:0[/embed] Here is a video by timtak1 and how he found a vending machine that claims to sell used women's underwear in a small building filled with vending machines selling adult items.   What do you love about these Japanese vending machines in the video? Which one would you love to have access to on a daily basis? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Weekend Japanatainment photo
Coin Operated Convenience
You've probably seen Japanese vending machines in various forms of Japanese media before, it's very much part of daily life in Japan with its highly mobile society that where a good chunk of the population use public transpor...

First Impressions: Thunderbolt Fantasy

Aug 18 // Salvador G Rodiles
If there’s one thing that hinted towards a big change in the story, it’s that the Main Character Shang Bu Huan was placed in an unfortunate situation that made him a part of the group that plans to stop the evil sword collector known as Mie Tian Hai from awakening the Tian Xing Jian, a powerful sacred sword, from its seal. The unfortunate thing about this was that Huan was just a swordsman who just wanted to wander, but he was placed in an unfortunate circumstance where he ended up becoming an enemy of Hai’s evil group, the Xuan Gui Zong. Since Urobuchi loves to make his characters suffer, the idea of the hero having to give up on his routine to fulfill a specific task works well in this favor. Hell, this format tends to lead to some interesting development with the main characters than one where the lead wants to do something good from the get-go, as it shows that an unexpected journey could help someone grow. In Thunderbolt Fantasy’s case, Huan's growth will likely be related to how he handles the ordeals when the group is close to Hai's castle. Even though the majority of the show’s story focused on the main cast formulating their party to stop Hai, the mysterious character known as Gui Niao holds the title of being the possible catalyst in changing the way how people view Pili and Urobuchi’s action-packed puppet show. He was the main reason why Huang is part of the campaign to fight the Xuan Gui Zon, and there are a few characters who have problems with the guy. Depending on how the story goes, I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes the spot as the show’s final villain. That, or we might have different factions and Niao will lead one of them. For now, his connection to the story is a factor that could elevate the series to a higher level and the suspicious vibe that he gives off contributes to the program’s entertaining aspects— especially with his persistent tendency to make sure that he has the prerequisites to overcome the trials that lead to Hai’s lair. While we’re on the topic of characters that could change groups at any time, the addition of a demon and a man who calls himself the Screaming Phoenix Killer contributes to the show’s idea of a group that’s united by a common motive. The idea that the party has their own toxic environment to deal with makes one wonder how things will change when the first major arc comes to a close. These aspects continue to push the audience towards being suspicious of Gui Niao; thus leaving people with the joy of trying to figure out where the story could go. For a team that could turn on each other, their teamwork somehow works out well, as a few of the show’s characters can give it their all when another comrade instigates them into doing something dangerously. Overall, this concept is what makes Thunderbolt Fantasy’s cast great since they’re all in it for a specific motive. Depending on how the direction the story will go later, I’m hoping that this aspect continues to be a recurring element since the team made these segments fun to listen to. Speaking of worthwhile things, the puppetry in Thunderbolt Fantasy gives off a breathtaking feeling. The actions scenes feel like an over-the-top Hong Kong film and the special effects (such as the magical flying weapons and powerful shockwaves) make every action scene a marvelous spectacle that never disappoints its audience. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this is that the show’s puppeteers are doing these segments in real time; thus resulting in a puppet show with one hell of a performance. Aside from the puppet’s impressive movements, the cast’s designs feature some highly detailed clothes and weapons. The craftsmanship in each puppet makes each of them look like a wonderful work of art. Not only that, the fact that the show’s staff uses weather and environmental damage is a solid feat, as the shots and lighting bring life to Thunderbolt Fantasy’s man-made sets. All in all, the team’s combined hard work with the puppetry, special effects and environments work hand-in-hand in creating a stage that grabs the audience's attention. Also, the idea that a majority of the show’s characters are left handed is a nice treat for lefties everywhere. As a person who never got to witness that many action puppet shows (such as The Thunderbirds) before, Thunderbolt Fantasy’s story and action left me blown away with the effort that went into the sets and action scenes. The violent puppets segments and Urobuchi’s writing serve as the true strings that’ll expose the nature of this series, which has started to unravel with Screaming Phoenix Killer’s actions and motives. With Hai entering the battlefield, it’ll be neat to see how everyone bypasses this trial. From the looks of it, this might be the opportunity that’ll allow for Huan to prove to everyone that he isn’t lying about his backstory. No matter what direction the series will take, Thunderbolt Fantasy will remain as a title that I never imagined as a medium that I needed in my life. [Get blown away by Thunderbolt Fantasy’s puppet action on Crunchyroll.]
Thunderbolt Fantasy photo
Lefties rule!
Ever since Urobuchi was involved with Kamen Rider Gaim, my desire to see him tackle other types of mediums outside of his usual things went up since it would be great to see how his writing style would cut up those stories. S...

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