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2:00 PM on 11.26.2014

Japanator Eats: Taste Japan video unboxing part I

There's few things that I love more than anime and video games. One of them is unfortunately my unhealthy obsession with chowing down on snacks, particularly Japanese snacks! I live in Chicago right now, and actually have a ...

Hiroko Yamamura


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Annotated Anime: Log Horizon 2 episodes 4-7 photo
Annotated Anime: Log Horizon 2 episodes 4-7
by Josh Tolentino

Christmas comes early to the world of Elder Tale, but the presents are far worse than any lump of coal, for the Santa Claus of this database is less a benevolent gift-giver than a violent death-bringer with a mad-on for Adventurers. What's to be done about this serial killer's depredations?! 

Call in the girls, that's what.

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Final Impressions: Kamen Rider Gaim photo
Final Impressions: Kamen Rider Gaim
by Salvador GRodiles

Back when it was announced that Urobuchi would become Kamen Rider Gaim’s Main Writer, it was certain that 2013’s Rider series was going to be an interesting tale. Despite Gaim being a children’s show, this restriction didn’t stop Gen the Butcher from using his knives to make the show's characters suffer. In fact, the aftermath resulted in a solid story that took us back to the early Heisei Rider shows where intense scenarios reigned supreme.

As Gaim’s final six episodes get ready to leave the stage, it time for us to bow down to the fruity performers before the curtains close for good.

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Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 6 photo
Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 6
by Josh Tolentino

Shirobako continues to be an important anime series for anyone that's interested in how their favorite Japanese cartoons are made. Not to say that it's some kind of primer for how the industry works, though it goes further deeper into the production  process than virtually any non-documentary work to date.

No, Shirobako's importance lies in using 2D, animated fictional characters to humanize the 3D, flesh-and-blood people that make anime.

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Annotated Anime: Your Lie in April episode 5 photo
Annotated Anime: Your Lie in April episode 5
by Hiroko Yamamura

This is really the kind of show you have to watch alone, due to the crazy emotions that tug at you during viewing. Everything is so subtle and delicate, you feel like any distraction might take away from the experience. The music, color pallets, and those eyes! Yes, I still love Your Lie in April.

It feels weird going so gaga for a show. I'm trying to remain as objective as possible, but it just feels like new love. After Kosei and Kaori gain the adoration of those in attendance for their insane show, we find Kaori is hospitalized, claiming that this is the first time that she's fainted. She says it in such a way, that we can't help but want to believe her. Too bad we find out later, that's just not true. Tsubaki is confronted by a long time crush, but is just not having the reaction she thought she would. Ryota is still pimping his goods and scoring goals.

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Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 5 photo
Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 5
by Jeff Chuang

The story this week on Shirobako is complicated otaku-level hand wringing. Again. It's not particularly engaging unless you have a stake in the overall evolution of animation styles and methods in Japan. As someone who has lived through the chemical paint to digital paint transition, I'm more inclined to find the whole 3DCG discussion tiresome and I would rather talk about something else: Rinko Kobayakawa on the 3DS.

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Annotated Manga: Naruto chapters 699-700 photo
Annotated Manga: Naruto chapters 699-700
by Josh Tolentino

....and that's that. 

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First Impressions: Your Lie in April photo
First Impressions: Your Lie in April
by Hiroko Yamamura

I have to admit, it's been a while since I've actually gasped while watching an anime. However, that's exactly what occurred after I processed the sheer beauty that was the first episode of A-1 Picture's Your Lie in April. I initially steered away from the show, writing it off as a bit of a comedy/cutesy version of Kids on the Slope, a show which I admired, but never really attached to, even though it is set in my home town of Sasebo. Luckily, I had some spare time this week, and crammed the first four episodes in a much needed anime escape.

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Morning Musume '14 in NYC photo
Morning Musume '14 in NYC
by Jeff Chuang

At their show in New York City's Best Buy Theater earlier this month, Morning Musume '14 brought not only their glamorous selves to the Big Apple, but droves of fans all across America. There are even travelers from up Canada and even from South America attending the show. The most glamorous of them all are the Japanese home crowd in NYC, transforming the pit area into a proper forest of King Blades--multi-color glowsticks powered by AAA batteries. It can probably land airplanes given the right conditions. 

Click on for a brief impression of their show and some pictures!

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Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 4 photo
Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 4
by Jeff Chuang

On her day off, Aoi the animation assistant meets up with her high school buddies and keep in touch. It sounds like just the thing a 20-something female working out in the big city would do on an off day. Except these people are anime otaku; and by that I don't even mean what passes for otaku in this part of the world: these are budding pros. Shirobako's take on girl talk is probably off the beaten track, just a little.

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Impressions: When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace photo
Impressions: When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace
by Josh Tolentino

"What would you do if you had superpowers?"

It's a question people love to ask each other, and the answers are usually quite mundane. They often involved finding ways to make lots of money using superpowers. Very few of us would volunteer to do what superheroes are supposed to do, namely fight crime and save the innocent.

That's OK! As virtually the entire history of popular fiction has taught us, power isn't what makes a hero heroic. And the stars of When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace are no heroes.

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Annotated Anime: Psycho Pass episode 1 photo
Annotated Anime: Psycho Pass episode 1
by Hiroko Yamamura

Psycho Pass season two is in full swing and as usual, your favorite Editor in Chief is late to the game. So, things kind of pick up right where season one left off, albeit a bit too casually. In fact, the whole episode plays off like another day at the office. The surviving members of the original team are still in tact, with Akane in the lead.

1

Most notably Ginoza is now in a role of enforcers, and has gotten way more emo, and of course, Shinya is not to be found. The team is brought in to deal with an explosives expert whose Crime Coefficient is not really effected by their action. They of course come packing their sexy Dominators, and chase ensues.

Basically, Akane finds that the culprit's Crime Coefficient is just under lethal range, and tries to talk the suspect down to the point that the Sybil Systems allows him to be stunned. There's a Reservoir Dogs-esque Mexican stand-off, and the suspect is brought in cleanly, much to Akane's new partner's dismay.

I was actually ready to call the new season a complete wash until the post credit scenes appeared, adding to a bit of the original season's mystery, gore, and conspiracy ideas. There's a rouge player in the midst and once again, the Dominator system doesn't allow an enforcer to do their job, costing them their lives. The last minute or so of the show was exactly what I was hoping for, but where on earth is Shinya Kogami? I guess we have a whole season to find out.

3

Production wise, the animation and designs just don't seem to be of the same quality, wether or not that remains an issue is yet to be seen. The opening and ending songs are top notch however, nicely adding book ends to the show. The same ominous, dark feeling though is present, and the feeling of the oppressive Sybil System's ever watching, flawed eye can be felt.

7

Given that fact that I loved the first season, I'm going to push through the show, there's so many unanswered questions I have, and things I'd really like to know about the universe. All hallmarks of the kind of show I enjoy. If they can keep up the gritty sci-fi atmosphere, and keep the science and tech well explained, I'm  sure I'll love this season.

[Get your Crime Coefficient checked over at Hulu]

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