japanator original

OP Up! BONES Edition

Oct 08 // Red Veron
[embed]34352:5087:0[/embed] "Rewrite" Anime: Fullmetal Alchemist One of my favorite openings of all time, this awesome action-packed opening has great fluid animation with a rockin' song by on of my favorite band Asian Kung-fu Generation.    [embed]34352:5088:0[/embed] "Gravity" Anime: Star Driver A crazy anime that people keep recommending me to watch, this visually pleasing opening doesn't even begin to scratch the ridiculousness of the show.   [embed]34352:5089:0[/embed] "Papermoon" Anime: Soul Eater Another great opening by BONES, this second opening is a bit more action-packed and still really stylish that embodies the show's cool look.   [embed]34352:5090:0[/embed] "Days" Anime: Eureka Seven The studio's original show that made the studio even more popular with it's recognizable giant robot on a giant hoverboard.     Is your favorite BONES anime opening not on here? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. I wanna know!
OP Up! photo
Giant Hoverboards
If you took a look at all the shows that the anime studio BONES' body of work, you're gonna notice that they make stuff that looks a bit 'different' compared to the rest. By that, I mean they look stylish to varying degrees o...

Final Impressions: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma

Oct 07 // Nick Valdez
Leading into the finale, the Autumn Election preliminaries were nearly over. Group B finished their turn and Alice Nakiri, Arato Hisako, Takumi Aldini, and Megumi Tadakoro are the first four to advance to the actual competition. When we last left Group A, Ryo Kurokiba made his mark by taking first place with 93 points and the rest of the Polar Star dorm, while good, struggled to reach that height. At episode's end Akira Hayama stepped up to serve his dish,  weird curry souffle looking thing that spewed all sorts of tantalizing scents when punctured (that he called a "fragrance bomb"). And with the finale, we learn why it's so effective. Thanks to a mix of holy basil and yogurt (to balance out its pungent nature) his curry throws the judges for a loop. After some reaction shenanigans, they give his dish 94 points, with two of the judges giving a max score of 20 (it's important to note the spread was 18/20/18/20/18). But right as Akira was celebrating his win, Soma revealed that he too worked on a "fragrance bomb" type of meal.  Learning from his past losses and mistakes (such as losing to his Dad a few episodes back and nearly failing the buffet task with his omelets during the boot camp), Soma slyly combines the two efforts as a way to get back at his past self. Serving curry rice inside of an omelette pocket, he's managed to learn all about spice from the few days he learned about curry from Akira. Like how Akira balanced his spice with yogurt, Soma made a mango chutney in order to give it a bit of sweetness. Unfortunately, the dish wasn't enough to earn the top spot and Soma nets 93 points. But three of the judges rated his dish higher than Akira's, however (so it's 19/18/19/18/19) thus deepening their rivalry. That brings Group A to a close, and seven students are confirmed for the finals. Then the kids all celebrate, though Soma vows to work harder in order to claim victory. There's an eighth student to be revealed later (though the episode doesn't say this), and he's such a huge part of the semifinals, I'm sure they're saving his reveal for the next season. If there is one.  Although I had a lot of fun with the series overall, I'm pretty worried about the future of the show. Community members MSJ and RoboYuji pointed out that my complaint of cutting everything short was unfounded, and I'll admit that I didn't consider that the show would need filler in order to give the manga time to get further ahead. I'd hate to see what a filler arc would like since the official filler here (whatever the heck the "Karaage Wars" was) was pretty garbage. But since the manga has gone far past the Autumn Elections already (and has a more natural endpoint) it feels like we've been shafted since we're cut off before the actual fun of the show starts. But then again, that's just me being greedy. I just like the premise so much, I wanted more of it. I mean, what's the point of having two completely different title sequences if you're going to cut it off now?  There are bigger elements at play here since the show most likely didn't have the biggest audience (and a sequel season rests entirely with secondary sales), it's been rife with budget problems from the get go (as lots of shortcuts were taken with the animation and sound design was particularly spotty early on), but the property's so much fun. It just feels like Food Wars is ending right when it hit its groove.  But given my biggest problem with Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma was there wasn't enough of it, I guess it wasn't so bad after all. 
Final Food Wars  photo
"Happy to serve!"
I first found Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma through manga. Although I fell out of touch with the anime for several years, I've been periodically reading manga through that time. One of my favorites turned out to be Food W...

Final Impressions: MY Love STORY!!

Oct 06 // Nick Valdez
Leading into the finale, Yamato got herself a part time job at a bakery over spring break, hoping that she'd be able to pick up some tricks of the trade. But much to Takeo's chagrin, the head patisserie Ichinose (who, as the show likes to point out, has all the qualities of a traditional shoujo protagonist) has a crush on her and vows to Takeo that he'll tell her after taking first place at his big baking competition. So Takeo spends the first half of the final episode dejected, and this is entirely a new feeling for Takeo. As he questions whether or not he should actually be with Yamato, he gets steady reassurance from all of their friends that Yamato chose to date him because he's so great. And it's not like the audience needed reassurance as we've seen his greatness throughout the entire series. It completely makes sense for the kind hearted (but not completely pure hearted, as I'll discuss later) Yamato to fall in love with Takeo, a guy who'd happily sacrifice his own well being to help someone else find happiness. And that's put to the test here in the finale, as well.  When Ichinose realizes he's forgotten his baking tools, Yamato asks Takeo for help. Being the big goof that he is, he runs all the way to the bakery and to the contest without a second thought (only reflecting on helping Ichinose win after all the craziness settles), catching Ichinose by surprise. After Ichinose wins, he confesses to Yamato (right in front of Takeo like a damn goob) but Yamato rightfully turns him down. She explains that she's never really felt the same way (thus clearing up the only major problem with this beat as we never really know what she's thinking during all of this) and genuinely loves Takeo. After some loving awkwardness, Takeo calls Yamato by her first name, Rinko, and the two clumsily shuffle off into the future.  I didn't enjoy this final arc since it was the first time it was about Takeo alone, rather than the two working out relationship stuff, but I won't really let it hinder my enjoyment of the overall package. As community member John Seiler helped point out, this show is one of the few available that reveals different types of love. My Love Story!! is technically everyone's love story as I'm sure there's any type of relationship you can cling to. There's the fast developing Kurihara and Nanako, the already established of Takeo's parents, the teacher student dynamic between Saijou and Takeo, the crippling shyness leading to idolization between Yukika and Sunakawa, the unrequited love of Suna's sister and her admirer, and the nearly asexual Sunakawa who just wants to avoid all of that together. While the focus is given to Takeo and Yamato's central relationship, we're always given little peeks into these outside loves so no one feels left out. And it's all just so it hammers the main message home, that there's never one right way to love.  My Love Story!! felt more personal than not, because for the first time, I legitimately felt that a show was trying to tell my story. As a towering man of 6'3 and 300 pounds, any girl I've ever been interested in has been smaller than me so I know all too well what Takeo went through. His awkwardness that made him stand out from his friends, his inability to believe that someone would actually have feelings for him, and being so hilariously inept at relationships that he couldn't figure out how much Yamato wanted to take their relationship further. That's also a great part of this series too. Although Yamato's meek demeanor would perceive otherwise, she's always been the more active one. You'd expect her to be fall into the shoujo traps of the "pure hearted maiden," but that hilariously went to Takeo. Neither character ever acted the way they were expected to, and that's what makes a great watch.  Couple that with the show's use of color, outrageous reactions to things (as Takeo's many faces and forms led to quite a few laughs), and its ability to hit that sweet spot of romance and comedy on more than on occasion, My Love Story!! was the best anime of the Spring and Summer seasons. It's a love story everyone'll love. 
Final Love STORY photo
"Suki da"
Forgive me for sounding like a broken record, as I'm sure I've said this in the past, but I'm a sucker for good romantic comedies. While there isn't exactly a big list of films I could point to, there are definitely a boatloa...

Final Impressions: School-Live!

Oct 05 // Nick Valdez
When we last left the School Living Club, they were caught in quite a predicament. As zombies flooded the school, the four were separated and feeling pretty hopeless. Yuri was dealing with an infected Kurumi and whether or not she had to kill her, Miki was trapped in the basement after tracking down a possible vaccine, and Yuki was trying to fight her way through the school after finally breaking out of her delusion and coming to grips with losing her teacher, Megu-nee. When Yuki reaches the school's broadcasting room, she's nearly attacking by zombies herself before zombie Taroumaru comes to her rescue. When she realizes the zombies still retain some of their memories (and as evident from the last episode when zombie Megu-nee is seen writing the girls' names), she broadcasts that school is out of session and all the students are to return home. And this surprisingly works! As the zombies clear out, Miki is able to vaccinate both Kurumi and Taroumaru. Unfortunately, Taroumaru's been sick for too long so he loses his life in his weakened state (but after giving Miki some closure). I've never been good with dog death in media, so this hit me pretty hard. I know it's a cartoon and all, but he was such a cute puppy!  When the girls realize the school's no longer habitable after the attack (as the generators have been fried and most of the building has been damaged by fire), they decide to leave the school toward either a university or corporate building. Either way, the girls know that the people they deal with may not be friendly. But before all of that, to bring closure to this chapter in their lives, the girls hold a makeshift graduation ceremony and it's the most heartfelt scene of the series. I guess it's because I fell so hard for the premise (and it admittedly won't appeal to everyone in the same way since I'm so fond of cutesy things), but it as great seeing the girls finally grow up. Just like a real graduation into the real world, these girls have finally accepted that their lives have changed. There's no longer a lingering grief over the past, and each of the girls have accepted their own flaws. That's a major part of growing up, and the show absolutely nailed it. The greatest thing is the show didn't have to directly say all of this. Through silent moments and great art effects that truly show how much these girls' optimism clashes with the world's darkness, the finale brings a sense of closure to the viewer as well.  But looking at the episode's ending tag, there's more planned for these girls. I'm just not sure if I want more of this. This graduation episode brought everything full circle and tied up most of the loose ends (including the fate of Miki's lost friend, Kei), but I'm not sure I care about the rest of the stuff still open. For example, one of the bigger things is probably going to be investigating how much their high school knew about the pandemic beforehand and potentially finding a cure, but that's like so much generic stuff out there already. At this point, I'm content with what we've gotten. From the opening episode, this show's been building up to a end with its tight, twelve episode arc. The girls got a happy-ish ending with one of those "driving into the future" closers, the opening theme was reused for the final scene (as is expected from an anime finale), and lots of the tricks it employed here (like the surprising clash between its bright colors and dark monsters or its slowly changing opening credits sequence) won't hit as well the second time.  School-Live! was compelling, interesting, and most importantly unique. If it ever does get that second season, it'll be ruining what makes it so special. There's nothing else out there like it right now, and it should stay that way. 
Final School-Live! photo
I hope you had the time of your life
School-Live! (or Gakkou Gurashi!) nearly slipped under the radar. If you had no idea of the more sinister plot afoot, you'd probably skip the series thinking it's yet another show about four young girls doing young girl thing...

Week Ender - Macross Edition

Oct 03 // Red Veron
[embed]34334:5080:0[/embed] "Deja Vu (Soba ni ite)" Anime: Macross 2 OVA This one is from the black sheep of the Macross franchise that is not considered as part of the series when the studio behind the original, Studio Nue, didn't want to work on the franchise anymore. Big Studio West, the sponsor of the original Macross,wanted to continue the series and we got this OVA series. I would say this ending's song still makes it worthy to be in a show with the Macross name, I get the same vibe that I got from the original show with this song.   [embed]34334:5081:0[/embed] "My Friends" Anime: Macross 7 A solid ending with a song that leans more to pop than rock while still going with the J-Rock theme of the show. The ending also features the heroine Mylene, WHO IS 14 YEARS OLD SO STOP BEING  CREEPER.   [embed]34334:5082:0[/embed] "Northern Cross" Anime: Macross Frontier A really good pop song from an era where a lot of pop songs are so generic, this one stands strong and really captures the sound that the Macross Fronier heroine pop diva Sheryl Nome performs in the show. I also dig the minimal silhouette and art sketch visuals in this ending that's really done well.    [embed]34334:5083:0[/embed] "Runner (Duet Version)" Anime: Super Dimensional Fortress Macross Those who saw Macross in its original form will recognize this one, I only got to watch Macross much later when the internet enabled me to watch it in its unadulterated form. A really beautiful song that is just perfect to end each episode.   Was there a Macross ending that you like that wasn't on here? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! Tell me!!
Macross photo
Minmay Attack!
Macross is one of those recognizable anime properties around the world, though it may be in due to Robotech, the US cartoon franchise that combined Macross with two other unrelated robot anime to be able to syndicated on...

OP Up! Macross Edition

Sep 30 // Red Veron
[embed]34325:5077:0[/embed] "Seventh Moon" Anime: Macross 7 A crazy 90's J-rock infused opening that let's you know of the crazy over-the-top show you're into where a guy controls a transforming jet robot with an electric guitar.   [embed]34325:5078:0[/embed] "Macross" Anime: SDF Macross The original that started it all, this opening combines a great song with a grounded feel with the plane launch sequence that transitions into full science fiction robots and aliens with space ships.   [embed]34325:5079:0[/embed] "Macross" Anime: Fever Macross Pachinko A nice remake of the original opening of the first Macross from the most surprising of places, a pachinko machine. A nice update to the opening but not as good as the visuals from Frontier.   [embed]34325:5076:0[/embed] "Lion" Anime: Macross Frontier My favorite opening from the series, this one has a high energy song with all the good pop star and space combat action rolled into one nice minute and a half package to get you ready for more.   Is there a Macross opening that you love that I didn't feature on here? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!!!
Macross photo
So who's excited over the news of a new Macross show on the horizon with Macross Delta? I've always loved the series' mix of future science fiction transforming jet robots with pop music idols. I'm so looking forward to ...

Annotated Anime: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma episodes 21-23

Sep 29 // Nick Valdez
Episode 21 After waking up from his brief nap teased at the end of last episode, Souma reveals he's been cooking some kind of rice and spice dish, but that's all we really see before the episode cuts to Group B and Tadakoro. As the crowd begins to turn on her due to her nervous demeanor, she pulls out her cout de grace, a difficult monkfish she showfully butchers. She learned how to cut it back home in order to help her family, and seeing them here in support has given her the confidence to nail it. But the brunt of this episode was devoted to the fierce rivalry between Erina Nakiri's aide, Arato, and her creepy stalker introduced two episodes ago, Nao. The judges in Group B have been especially tough as no chef has gotten over 20 points, but Nao and her super smelly laksa and kusaya curry manages to get 84 points (resulting in the header image). But Arato, with her focus in medicinal herbs and spices, manages a healthy curry which cleanses the judges of all previous flavors and basically got the taste of Nao's curry out of their mouths. She scores 92 points as the episode's close draws attention to the Aldini brothers.  It's a shame the show's going to end soon because I'm loving the anime's adaptation of the reactions. They're the best thing from the manga, but seeing them play out on screen adds an entirely new level.  Episode 22 As we join Group A's proceedings, Miyoko Hojo (the character who hates Tadakoro for relying on men and feels she needs to be stronger than all the men in order to succeed in the field) has started things off with a strong Chinese and pineapple infused curry and nets 87 points, Polar Star Dorm resident Yuki nets 86 points for her wild game curry, but then the Aldini brothers take the stage. Both present Italian inspired dishes with the younger Aldini, Isami serving a curry calzone scoring 87 and the older Aldini, Takumi serves a pasta curry and gets 90 points thanks to his putting cheese inside the pasta noodles. then Alica Nakiri blows the judges away (and shows her chops) with her science cooking as her deconstructed curry gets a hefty 95 points. Then, finally, we have the best girl Tadakoro. After everyone hilariously forgot about her, she serves the result of her hard work and love of her town, monkfish dobu-jiru curry.  Tadakoro manages to score 88 points (earning her new rival Hojo's respect) and earns her place in the top eight along with Alice Nakiri, Hisako Arato, and Takumi Aldini. Yay Tadakoro! Episode 23 We're back in Group A as the judges continue giving low scores (with some giving no score at all). But Ryo Kurokiba, Alice's aide with his shifting personality, manages to break that rhythm with a lobster and cognac curry (which he tells the main judge to slurp like a savage, hilariously) and 96 points. But none of the other chefs let that get to them as Polar Star residents Ryoko, Marui, and Ibusaki all net 86 and 88 points respectively with their dishes as Nikumi gets 86 with her meat don (which she's crafted thanks to her early shokugeki with Souma). But as the episode draws to a close, the arguably strongest student (since we really haven't seen his skills yet) Akira heads up to serve his dish and directly challenges Souma with his taste. As Souma begins to eat, he realizes there's a delicious scent pouring out.  Well, that's it. The final episode is up next and this is what I mean about terrible sequel series. Now we're stuck here until Food Wars 2 or something like that comes out. Hopefully it's gotten enough support overseas to warrant a second season. But until then, I totally recommend the manga. It's pretty good. But this show's been pretty entertaining in its own right (and I'll get into that with the final impressions after I see the last episode), and I can't help but love the exaggerated world. I hope there's more. 
Annotated Food Wars! photo
Sexy curry
I hate how some shonen series are handled. If a shonen manga doesn't have the audience or allotted budget of a big Shonen Jump property like One Piece or Gintama, then its anime adaptation is doomed to "seasons." Instead of c...

Annotated Anime: School-Live! episodes 7-11

Sep 25 // Nick Valdez
Episode 7 After a few episodes of flashback, we're back in the series proper. When Yuki brings up their mall outing, Miki briefly forgets she's supposed to lie about Megu-nee and Yuki nearly cracks her delusion as brief images of a grisly scene flashback. Miki thinks it's time to stop lying to Yuki since it's not really healthy, but Yuri simply states that she'll tell her soon. After Yuki stumbles on some stationary, the girls decide to take their mind off things for a bit and write some letters to folks on the outside. During all of this, Miki stumbles on a key leading to some place in the staff room but hides it from the other girls. After some shenanigans involving carrier pigeons, the girls send their letters through the sky and we find that Miki's written one for her lost best friend, Kei (the one who abandoned Miki at the mall in search of a better kind of survival).  Kei's probably a zombie, folks. It's usually how these things turn out.  Episode 8 Miki gives the key she found to Yuri as the two start searching the staff room for clues as to what it leads to. But before all of that, the girls start talking about the future. Naturally since Yuki is still stuck in her weird state of mind, all she can think about is graduation and potentially getting a job in the adult world. It's a sad conversation as the girls try and look positively toward their futures (Kurumi wants to be wife, Yuri wants to do something I forgot about already, sorry), but this all feels like it's leading up to something big. In fact, that's one of the most impressive parts of this show. Every episode feels like we're inching closer and closer to some kind of terrible end. Starting with the opening credits (which have been slowly getting more and more violent as the show progresses), helped along by the heavy amount of foreshadowing (each episode someone notes how more and more zombies are gathering outside of the school), and with happier moments like this, I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  And it does. The girls discover that Megu-nee's key led to a lockbox containing an emergency manual for the school when a biological weapon is released.  Episode 9 As the girls fret over the manual, which details why the school has multi-tired facilities and stuff like solar panels and gardens, Yuki takes their minds off of it with a suggestion: to turn the ugly water tank into a pool area for a pool day. Then it's a super happy, fan service heavy episode. I wouldn't think we'd get an episode like this in the series, but it sort of makes sense. It's something Shakespeare made famous. You see, back when Shakespeare was a big hit, people used to sit and watch plays for several hours. Naturally people would get bored if you kept the entirety of the play the same tone, so he'd add bits of levity every few acts in order to accomplish two things. First, it's to keep interest. If a program remained a flat, dreary tone throughout its duration, people wouldn't pay attention. Secondly, it's to make the coming bits of drama hit that much harder. And I think that's what's going on here. This episode is our last breath of fresh air before everything starts coming down. And if the episode's tag is anything to go by (as Taroumaru escapes downstairs to the basement and sees something tragic), it's going to be a doozy.  Episode 10 So here's a little trick as to how I write these annotations: I write these blurbs as I watch each episode rather than try to summarize them all at once. I only open with this because I want you to know that I was not ready for all of this chaos. At the end of last episode, we saw Taroumaru escape from his leash and run through the school so the girls wake up and go looking for him. As Kurumi follows his tracks downstairs into the basement, she finds an infected Taroumaru trying to bite her face off. After managing to lock him up in a room, she stumbles on the truly messed up thing: Megu-nee's zombie. Failing to stop Monster-nee's advance, Kurumi's bitten. As the girls try and figure out what to do now, Kurumi's condition worsens (and leads to an awful amount of screaming as the infection spreads) and the girls are split up as zombies break their way into the school. Yuki is locked in a room after zombies attack, Yuri's sitting with Kurumi and slowly breaking, and Miki is in search of the medicine (and possible antidote) the manual claims the school has but breaks down at the thought of losing Taroumaru. As the episode closes, and everything is traumatic for everyone, Yuki starts remembering the tragedy that sparked her mental breakdown.  Episode 11 Ugh, I need a breather. Deep - breath -, okay. As Yuki runs to Miki and gives her strength to go and search for the antidote, lightning strikes the school's generators and cuts off the power while starting a fire. So there's yet another thing to worry about as Yuri comes to grips with possibly losing Kurumi to the infection. We've seen Yuri as the slightly older girl who's acted as a rock, so this is the first time she's truly shown emotion. It's quite interesting watching her slowly break as she decides whether or not to kill her friend before she turns into a zombie. Then we shift back to Miki, who's fought her way down to the school's basement. As she comes face to face with Megu-nee's zombie (who still retained her memories of the other girls and evidenced by her zombie writings), she assures her they're doing fine before giving her peace. But Miki is soon cornered by zombies when she finds the medicine. Then we cut back to Yuki, who's slowly breaking free of her delusion. After some emotional resolution (and Megu-nee guiding her to the broadcasting room), she finally accepts Megu-nee's death and says goodbye. It's too much.  What started out as a cute series became far more emotional than I would've guessed. Looking at the premise of the show should've given it away, but I never thought it'd hit that hard. Maybe it's because it's so sudden. It's not a revolutionary story or anything like that, but there's so much care put into the buildup, the payoff is fantastic. The final episode's sure going to be something. 
Annotated School-Live! photo
I've got a complicated relationship with zombambos. I've gotten tired with the genre, but I can't help but stay invested in how different characters are effected in different medias. Each media provides unusual takes, and ani...

Week Ender - Universal Century Edition

Sep 19 // Red Veron
[embed]34282:5061:0[/embed] "Winners Forever" Anime: Gundam Victory Continuing with the 90's J-rock of its time, this ending song is quite good and catchy.   [embed]34282:5062:0[/embed] "Believe in the Starry Sky" Anime: Zeta Gundam The Gundam series loves using current pop music for its soundtrack and the song confirms that this one is very much form the 80's.   [embed]34282:5063:0[/embed] "10 Years After" Anime: Mobile Suit Gundam 8th MS Team A fun ending that stays true to the real "boots on the ground" angle of the show. The song compliments the ending well being about looking to the future with someone after everything currently going through the present.   .[embed]34282:5064:0[/embed] "Forever Amuro" Anime: Mobile Suit Gundam A pretty emotional ending while pretty solemn, it's captures the show's theme about being "real robot" show and leaning more on realism than fantasy like other robot shows of the time.   Is there an ending from the Universal Century that you like that isn't on here? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna see!
Week Ender photo
Real Robots
Many people remember opening songs from the Universal Century Gundam series fondly but not many remember the endings songs as much. I admit that I am one of those many since a lot of the UC series aired before I was born or I...

OP Up! Universal Century Edition

Sep 16 // Red Veron
[embed]34276:5052:0[/embed] "Stand up to the Victory" Anime: Victory Gundam A really good song that reflects the time it was made in the early 90's with the very J-Rock song of its era. Nicely animated opening as well.   [embed]34276:5053:0[/embed] "Shine in the storm" Anime: Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team A different take on the series, focusing on the boots on the ground, this entry takes a good look at the war from the perspective of a military unit of the Earth Federation. Adds more 'real' to the 'Real Robot' genre that Gundam started.   [embed]34276:5054:0[/embed] "It's not Anime" Anime: Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ I have not seen much of this entry but I remember it fondly because of the song in the opening with the lyric saying that this "is not Anime".   [embed]34276:5055:0[/embed] "Fly! Gundam" Anime: Mobile Suit Gundam The opening of what started it all, this one has a very 70's song. Though it may look similar to all the other robot anime shows of that era, Gundam differentiated itself by not having super powered weapons that bordered the fantasy and that the robots themselves only felt like tools used as weapons along with the realities of war.   Is there a Universal Century opening that I didn't include here that you love? SHOW ME IN THE COMMENTS! I would love to see it!
OP Up! photo
This is Gundam
The Mobile Suit Gundam has been around for generations and is a household name in many Japanese homes. It is no wonder, since there have been many entries in the series in TV, movies, and in print form. Collectively know...

Annotated School-Live! photo
Annotated School-Live!

Annotated Anime: School-Live! episodes 4-6

Zombeh -eh -eh -eh -oh -oh -eh -yaaaa
Sep 14
// Nick Valdez
Last time I talked about School-Live! (which was a bit ago, sorry), I noted how much I loved how its cutesy art clashed with its dark world. Despite how seemingly annoyingly cute it is, it grabbed my attention and never let g...

Week Ender - Cyberpunk Edition

Sep 12 // Red Veron
[embed]34264:5043:0[/embed] "Distant Scream" Anime: Serial Experiments Lain A show that has complex themes about humanity and technology sure has a nice and chill ending. Not quite light, but it offers a bit of a nice breather after each episode. It also implies a lot of things but I don't want to spoil anything. Also, there is this totally creepy french-made website about this show out there that totally freaks me out with its weirdness.   [embed]34264:5045:0[/embed] "In Time" Anime: A.D. Police This ending features a very 90's J-Rock song that goes pretty great the sexy (yet tasteful) women in sleepwear. No surprising that this show has some fanservice being a prequel spinoff to the very fanservice-y Bubblegum Crisis series. I could totally listen to this ending's song for ages being that it gives me all the warm fuzzies from being a 90's J-rock song.   [embed]34264:5046:0[/embed] "All Alone With You" Anime: PSYCHO-PASS A pretty nice ending, offering simple visuals with a nice (literally visual) twist. Great song by EGOIST to accompany the focus on Akane, the main character. Good balance with the light and dark in this ending for the show.   [embed]34264:5047:0[/embed] "Lithium Flower" Anime: Ghost in the Shell: STAND ALONE COMPLEX I am rather fond of this ending, I was exposed to it constantly on Adult Swim when I was getting back into anime around 10 years ago. A great song to contrast the opening electronic song in Russian. That static stills in the ending also offer a bit of a bit of a different glimpse into the show's characters in other settings.     Is there an ending from a cyberpunk anime that I didn't include here? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
Week Ender photo
Light in a Dark Dystopia
The science fiction subgenre of Cyberpunk can be dark and depressing but it doesn't mean that it is always in that depressing state. Humans simply cannot live in that manner constantly and there will breaks, and it also not e...

OP Up! Cyberpunk Edition

Sep 09 // Red Veron
[embed]34253:5037:0[/embed] "Guardian Angel" Anime: Texhnolyze So, does anyone know anything going on with this show? Besides the summary on wikipedia, everyone I've asked about this show has said "nobody ever knows".     [embed]34253:5036:0[/embed] "Abnormalize" Anime: PSYCHO-PASS A newer show that explores a high tech dystopia that deals with the psychological state of people. Quite terrifying.     [embed]34253:5038:0[/embed] "Y'know" Anime: Bubblegum Crisis 2040  A remake of a classic from the late 80's this one was one of the first to explore the robots gone rogue.     [embed]34253:5039:0[/embed] "Rise" Anime: Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG I love this opening. It's in mostly Russian and uses a bit of english. Quite a unique song with great visual style that has been copied a lot to this day.     Is there a Cyberpunk anime opening that I missed on here? SHOW ME IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I want to know! 
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High tech, Low Life
Cyberpunk is a great science fiction subgenre that many manga and anime have explored in the past. Summed up as "High Tech, Low Life", the genre mixes tech far more advanced than our own in a broken down world. Often having d...

Annotated Anime: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma episodes 17-20

Sep 09 // Nick Valdez
Episode 17 When Souma goes back home to the Yukihira Diner for Summer break, he finds out his hometown has been struggling a bit thanks to a super shopping center, Mozuya, opening close by.  After re-reuniting with his childhood friend Mayumi (who has a crush on him, of course), Souma learns a little bit more about the Mozuya shopping center. Thanks to its specialty karaage (a type of meat chunk covered in different spices and sauces) recipe and ability to cater to tons of different people by the train station, Mozuya has been stealing his hometown's business. Mozuya's manager, Kinu, realized they were scoping the competition and completely revealed the recipe to Souma since she was so confident that they'd never be able to beat out her karaage. Seeing her so cocky, Souma directly challenges Kinu and states that not only will Yukihira make better karaage, but his hometown's shopping district will take back all the business.  Souma enlists the help of Ikumi Mito since she's the meat master, and must figure out a recipe that not only grabs traveler's attention but represents his shopping district as a whole.  Episode 18 After going through several types of karaage types and delivery systems, the trio devise a way to wrap the karaage into some kind of mobile burrito. The shopping district beats Mozuya and gets all the business. That's really all there is to the episode. The "Karaage Wars" arc is short, lame, and only serves to introduce a new key player, Eizan Etsuya, the ninth seat of Totsuki's Elite Ten and his mastery of the business world. It also serves to completely introduce the Autumn Elections as Souma's told he was one of the sixty chefs selected.  As you can probably tell by how brief this is, I really don't like this arc. It felt unnecessary then, and it's unnecessary now. Makes even less sense in an anime adaptation since there's very little progress involved. Characters don't move forward, the ninth seat isn't at all interesting, and Souma's just being Souma so he succeeds with little challenge. Let's just move on.  Episode 19 The Autumn Elections finally begin! Totsuki's Elite Ten sat down and handpicked sixty students, separated into two groups of thirty, to compete in front of the culinary world's elite. All of the main characters are obviously selected along with a few new rivals: Miyoko Hojo (who forms a rivalry with Tadakoro based on the news of her Shokugeki and disappointment that she was helped by Souma), Nao Sadasutka (a creepy girl who stalks Erina), Kurokiba Ryo (Alice Nakirki's right hand), and Akira Hayama (a chef with a specialty nose who can cook just be scent alone). Only the best eight dishes will make it to the next round, and with the task of making a curry dish, Souma and Tadakoro seek out the help of someone his dad recommended, Professor Shiomi, since she's good with spices. After some hilarious introductions and posturing, Hayama pretty much becomes Souma's biggest rival to date.  I love how Food Wars! pokes fun at the genre. It constantly interrupts big posturing (and has made ridiculing Takumi Aldini's rivalry a running gag) and undercuts a lot of the show's serious tone. You never forget how ridiculous all of this is, and I'm glad the anime has embraced all of this. Sure the constant chibi reactions reek of a smaller budget, but it's still good.  Episode 20 After taking a month studying different spices and curry techniques, the Autumn Elections finally, finally start up. Students are separated into two groups of thirty and only four from each group will advance. Group A includes hopefuls like Souma, Hayama, and Kurokiba, while Group B has the Aldini brothers, Alice Nakiri, and best girl Tadakoro. Nothing much else happens since this is also pretty much filler, but we at least get introduced to the judges, the Sendawara sisters, who're huge in the curry business, and there are some spots of notable prep work that'll come into play later on (like Nao's super toxic brew and Kurokiba's personality shift). It also pushes Hayama into the spotlight again since he's labeled as the strongest contender. It's a bit of a lark considering we haven't met him until now, and all this pushing rings false but whatever. It's such a shonen trope I just can't stand it sometimes.  Finally, finally, the good stuff is picking up. Next chunk of episodes we'll find out why Souma was asleep, see some crazy dishes (and their reactions), and the tone of the entire series is about to shift to something a bit quicker in pace. Can't wait. 
Annotated Food Wars! photo
Spice of life
In the last annotated recap, I couldn't stop talking about how great the next arc, the Autumn Elections, was going to be. It's the manga's best to date, and if the anime plays its cards correctly, it's going to be the show's ...

Week Ender - Big Sword Edition

Sep 05 // Red Veron
[embed]33794:4704:0[/embed] "Mask" By Aqua TimezAnime: BLEACH  This show has plenty of swords of all sizes, and it just so happens that the main characters has a big one as well. Pretty unique looking weapon that looks like an gigantic kitchen knife without the handle. [embed]34242:5032:0[/embed] "Waiting so Long"Anime: Berserk  A weird but pretty rad song that has its charm with the engrish singing and lyrics. It's got that 90's grunge rock going on that suits the dark mood of the show.   [embed]34242:5031:0[/embed] "Fukai Mori"Anime: Inuyasha  I never really got to watch much of this show but I do remember the big sword of the main character. I am also fond of this song because I always caught it at the end of Adult Swim and it sounded really good.   [embed]34242:5030:0[/embed] "Ruined Land"Anime: God Eater This season's newest show based on a game that has been long overdue for an anime adaptation for a long time now has some huge swords. These swords aren't just swords but are also big guns that also turn into large monster mouths that take a bite out of the enemy.   Did I miss any anime that features big swords? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!
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It's how you use it
Oversized weaponry is a common sight in action anime and manga, it's always fun to see large and unwieldly swords or guns be used in a manner that would be impossible in real life. Who doesn't want to feel all strong and powe...

OP Up! Big Sword Edition

Sep 03 // Red Veron
[embed]34230:5025:0[/embed] "FEED A"Anime: God Eater TV I am really happy that an anime adaptation of this game finally hit airwaves. The game has been out forever and I always loved the visual style and the designs of the game. While this opening isn't as stylish as the video game openings, this one is still catchy. I don't know, it might grow on me. I'm just super excited that I'll be able to see cosplay from this show now. [embed]34230:5026:0[/embed] "BLUE BLAZE"Anime: BlazBlue Alter Memory I love the visual style of the games this anime is based on and the characters are just really good. Well, the main character of the show has a big sword as a weapon and is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita, who is my favorite voice actor. But yeah, those are the only two reasons I put this on here. [embed]34230:5027:0[/embed] "Black Rock Shooter"Anime: Black Rock Shooter TV An anime based on a popular fan art based on a vocaloid computer program mascot that is featured on a song based on the aforementioned fan art that is used as the song in the opening. Did you understand that sentence? Yeah, it's confusing but all you need to know is that the character has a big sword gun and a long katana. [embed]34230:5028:0[/embed] "TELL ME WHY"Anime: BerserkOf course a selection of anime about characters with huge swords is not complete without Berserk. Just go read the manga. It's hella dark.Did I not feature an opening from your favorite anime with HUGE SWORDS?! SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND TELL ME ABOUT IT. 
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Totally not compensating
Yeah, I know what they say about characters with big swords and how people make that joke ALL THE TIME, and how it's totally not tired at all. Totally. But think about how exciting big weapons look on the page of a manga or a...

OP Up! Mobster Edition

Aug 26 // Red Veron
[embed]34207:5006:0[/embed]   "Gun's & Roses"Anime: Baccano! I haven't seen much of this show but this show links it up with Durarara!, another work by the same author Ryogo Narita. Set in the 1930s New York, this one features some characters in the mafia with some fantasy elements thrown in for a different twist. Totally diggin' that jazz song in the opening, totally matches the show.   [embed]34207:5007:0[/embed] "Magenta Another Sky"Anime: La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia Cool character designs, love the suits and that rockin' song to get pumped up to. Based on an otome game, I didn't really watch beyond the first episode but like the visuals of the show a lot.   [embed]34207:5008:0[/embed] "Romantic Summer"Anime: My Bride is a Mermaid An over the top comedy about a teen boy who has to marry a teen mermaid girl just so he won't be killed for knowing the existence of mermaids. Did I also mention that the teen mermaid girl's family happens to be an underwater Yakuza family? Crazy setting for a crazy show and the opening shows the craziness of this ridiculous romantic comedy.   [embed]34207:5005:0[/embed] "Renegade"Anime: Gangsta.This show just premiered this season and I haven't gotten around to see it but that opening is one super stylish one. Using minimal black in white with one color is a favorite visual style of mine. I might have stayed away from this one thinking it might be a reverse harem type of show like Arcana Familigia above but seeing this opening has changed my mind and I will check it out.   Did I not post about your favorite mobster-related anime opening? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!  BONUS VIDEO: [embed]34207:5009:0[/embed] SO EXCITED FOR THIS GAAAAAAME 
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Organized Crime
Japanese mobsters, whom we call in the west as "The Yakuza" is referred to in Japan as 'violence groups' by normal people and are not seen in a favorable manner. Though that hasn't stopped Japanese entertainment in portraying...

OP Up! Urobuchi Edition

Aug 20 // Red Veron
[embed]34182:4993:0[/embed] "Heavenly Blue"Anime: Aldnoah.Zero I love the grand epic feeling that Kalafina brings to anime openings, they've had their songs featured on previous works by Urobuchi prior to this anime and they are a great match. I work out to this song because it really gets you pumped up for action, which you probably wouldn't expect something from a group like Kalafina.   [embed]34182:4994:0[/embed] "Karma"Anime: Phantom: Requiem for the PhantomAnother show on my anime backlog or 'Pile of Shame', this one got added to my ever growing list after I found out that Urobuchi had something to do with it. I am not really into super-serious anime but have enjoyed some of Urobuchi's works so I'll be watching this one soon.   [embed]34182:4995:0[/embed] "To the beginning"Anime: Fate ZeroAnother one I need to get to watching. Performed again by Kalafina, this one still brings in that grand epic feeling that washes over you unlike no other. Having Kalafina do the opening just bumped this up on my watch list. [embed]34182:4996:0[/embed] "Enigmatic Feeling"Anime: PSYCHO-PASS 2Pretty cool opening but nothing can really top the opening song "Abnormalize" from the first season even though this one is from the same artist, but it isn't just the same. Though the stylish as hell visuals in this opening makes up for it.Did I forget your favorite anime written by Urobuchi? Don't kill me out of nowhere! SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! BONUS:Kamen Rider Gaim (Yes, Urobuchi wrote the main story. WTF [embed]34182:4997:0[/embed]
OP Up! photo
If you look at a few popular shows in the last few years, you're gonna notice that one name pops up a lot when it comes to anime that feature heavily dark tones. That name is Gen Urobuchi, whose body of work will consist of f...

Week Ender - Vampires Edition

Aug 15 // Red Veron
[embed]34158:4983:0[/embed] "Walk no Yakusoku"Anime: ShikiHere's an anime I've been wanting to watch but keep forgetting. I finally looked up the synopsis and found out it's set in the 90's so I'm definitely checking it out soon. I totally dig this song.   [embed]34158:4984:0[/embed] "Strike My Soul"Anime: Strike The BloodI often refer to the studio behind this anime as "poor man's SHAFT" (but in the best way possible) and this ending shows that well. It's simple and still has creative ways to give it some visual flair even with minimal animation.   [embed]34158:4985:0[/embed] "Shine"Anime: Hellsing  This song is so 90's. I love it. Pretty great to unwind to after an intense episode.   [embed]34158:4986:0[/embed] "scaPEGoat"Anime: Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign  Cool rockin' song that starts out slow and builds up suits the post-apocalyptic along with characters doing cool poses in the rubble. What dumb song title.   [embed]34158:4987:0[/embed] "Still Doll"Anime: Vampire Knight I kinda liked the manga but never really liked the low budget anime adaptation. I did like this ending, nicely drawn and very minimal (in keeping with the budget). I like that eerie feeling song matches the visuals.   So what's your favorite anime that features vampires? IF I MISSED ANY, FEEL FREE TO SHAME ME AND SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND TELL ME I SUCK. 
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They Suck
For this weekend's Week Ender, we continue to look at some Vampire-themed anime endings. Vampires have this appeal to people, with power and strength with a side of mystique So what's your favorite anime that features vampire...

OP Up! Vampires Edition

Aug 12 // Red Veron
[embed]34148:4974:0[/embed] "X.U."Anime: Seraph of the End Let's start off with one of the newest shows about the vampires and post-post apocalypse setting. A standard shounen action show with an interesting setting, this one is set after a virus kills all humans over the age of 12 and vampires have taken all the young survivors as a source of food. As these young survivors get older, many of them organize to fight back against vampires using forbidden magic. Oh and adopted brothers find themselves on opposing sides for drama reasons.   [embed]34148:4975:0[/embed] "SPIRAL"Anime: Blood-CA favorite opening of mine from a show that didn't turn out so well, this opening and its song was the best part of the show since it showed off the good stuff. We get to see the heroine Saya, show off her gentle side to contrast her bloody red monster slayer side in this opening. Couple that with the awesome song, we get a song that gets your blood pumping for some bloody action that is plentiful in this show.   [embed]34148:4976:0[/embed] "Strike the Blood"Anime: Strike the Blood   A guilty pleasure of mine, this show is a supernatural action show with light harem comedy. Also them lolis. There's some elements that I like about these supernatural action shows, organizations using magic in modern day settings along with modern technology. This show has a lot of what I like.   [embed]34148:4977:0[/embed] "Logos Naki World"Anime: Hellsing   Here's one from the early 2000's US anime boom that a lot of older anime fans remember and love. This opening has that late 90's/early 2000's serious anime opening feel with the almost minimal music video feel to it. That song is pretty great too. I totally need to rewatch this one and the new adaptation.   So what's your favorite anime that features vampires? IF I MISSED ANY, FEEL FREE TO SHAME ME AND SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND TELL ME I SUCK.
OP Up! photo
No Sparkling Allowed
What is it with Vampires? Whether they're the hero or villian (or both), the creature of the night has always had great appeal in all forms of fiction. Is it the eternal life? Is it the romanticized portrayal of these creatur...

First Impressions: School-Live!

Aug 11 // Nick Valdez
School-Live! follows the School Life Club, four girls who are living within school grounds named Yuki, Yuri, Kurumi, and Miki. The show opens with Yuki, a bright and optimistic young girl who's the typical anime protagonist. She's a bit airheaded, lazy, but genuinely enjoys school. But there's also something very special about Yuki, and that's what sets the show in motion. You see, the girls are victims of a zombie apocalypse. After an outbreak, the girls were forced to live in the school in order to survive. Within the first couple of episodes, we don't know the extent of the outbreak other than its damaged the entire school and the four girls (and their teacher, which Yuki refers to as "Megu-nee") are the only survivors. The awesome thing is that you wouldn't know all of this from the outset.  As the first episode follows Yuki, everything seems fine. There are other students, the school is pristine, and like as mentioned before, everything about Yuki screams "typical." But that image shatters fast when you realize Yuki's just living in a huge daydream. When the apocalypse is revealed halfway through the first episode (so I'm not spoiling it for you), it's actually shocking. This show's pretty good about hiding things. Although some of the hints are heavy handed (like how Miki refuses to acknowledge anyone other than Yuki during the classroom scenes), there's an attempt to save most of it for an emotionally charged finale. Seeing the delusional Yuki talking to herself in a bloodstained classroom makes for a terrifyingly gripping image. The series also adds a bit of darkness into its opening CV from episode two on. You'll have to see it just to absorb how truly jarring it is.  Like the better zombie media out there, Live! is more about the survivors dealing with a changing world rather than the zombies. It's just in place of adults, it's little anime girls. I thought the art would push me away at first (since I'm still not used to the sexualization of young girls in these shows), but the use of bright color awesomely clashes with the gritty material. It's entirely unique to the series, and I don't think I can find that aesthetic anywhere else. That's most likely why Yuki's world looked so inviting at first. There's a sense of displacement seeing these girls interact with the zombies. For the first time in a while, the zombies feel more disturbing than not because they clash so much with the character design. Seeing the cutesy frames of these characters twisted in a dark fashion is an accost to the viewer. Live! is just full of great little design choices like that.  As for the story itself, the setting is at least groundbreaking if nothing else. I'll give a lot of credit for skewing the age of these survivors (it's been a long time since I've seen zombie media focus on a child's perspective), but it runs the risk of growing stale. Yuki's delusional state is definitely the anchor of series, and the first three episodes explore this, but I want to learn more about why she ended up that way. I'm waiting for the inevitable fallout where Yuki's forced to accept that zombies are real, and that'll either be thanks to an attack or someone close to her finally breaking the news to her. I'm also curious as to how far her delusions extend. Is Megu-nee real? Does no one listen to her as a joke or is she made up in Yuki's mind as well?  I guess the overall darkness of the show took me by surprise. Although I knew it was going to be a heavier type of show going in, seeing it in action is something else all together. I got to hand it the production team, Sentai Filmworks, on this. Since this is adapted from a manga I'm sure the story's pretty much the same, but I've been taken aback by the visual choices here. It's changing opening CV, the girl's designs, the zombies highlighted by shading rather than blood, it's all so wonderful to take in.  School-Live! looks so good, it's got me interested in the story. That's never happened to me before. This is all new territory for me. 
School-Live Impressions photo
Life with the afterlife
Zombies are played out at this point. Numerous movies, television shows, comics, manga, and anime have been churned out each tackling the genre but failing to do anything interesting for a long time. Each piece of zombie medi...

Annotated Anime: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma episodes 13-16

Aug 03 // Nick Valdez
Episode 13 For the final day of Totsuki's survival camp, students are challenged to serve some kind of egg dish to 200 people within 2 hours at an all you can eat buffet. The major push of this episode goes toward introducing two new rivals, Alice Nakiri and her henchman Ryo Kurokiba. Since Alice is related to Erina, they have quite a fierce family rivalry (which leads to some funny introductions between the two and Souma), but Souma pays them no mind and ends up developing an egg souffle. But Erina quickly looks down the idea and notes Souma is making a huge mistake, When Souma gets placed next to Erina in the serving area, he's quickly dominated by Erina's eggs benedict dish covered in dry fish egg powder. The other students seem to be faring well, but Alice's egg dishes are completely ignored since they look like plain eggs served different ways. But Souma's dish is also struggling. No one seems to be choosing his souffle and they're collapsing fast.  Episode 14 Finally realizing what Erina was talking about the episode prior, Souma stumbles when he sees his egg souffles crumbling and ignored (since buffet goers usually don't eat every food when they're prepared, a souffle was a bad idea since they don't hold form for long). After taking a brief pause, Souma decides to draw in 190 customers within the final 30 minutes of the task. Jumping into this impossible task, Souma decides to live cook each of the dishes in order to draw attention. This episode had the slickest cooking animation I'd seen yet. To reflect his massive task, and how fast he was going, Souma was accent with speed lines, quick edits, and it was the right kind of flashy. This show has trouble at times since it wants everything to look slick (since cooking isn't exactly full of action), but thanks to this sequence we get all the action we need. Souma was able to complete his servings barely before the buzzer sounds. As we check in with the rest of the students, we learn Erina served something like 400 dishes, Alice (whose egg dish actually was meticulously calculated through science cooking) served 300, and everyone else managed to make it through the task. After some celebration of the final task of camp, about 2/3 of the students who first attended camp made it through the week. Souma then realizes he's glad he came to Totsuki Academy in the first place.  Episode 15 With the Totsuki survival camp over, it's time to head into the next arc, The Autumn Elections. After Souma and Erina miss the bus home, they have a chat about the Autumn Elections which will serve to get their name known to restaurant owners and chefs. That's also why the survival camp exists as sort of a preliminary exam for the Elections. But as the gang returns to the Polar Star dorm, an unexpected guest shows up, Souma's dad Joichiro. Souma then learns some interesting things about his dad: he travels worldwide and cooks, he was a former Elite Ten member at Totsuki (the ten best cooks in the school), and he and Dojima were once members of the Polar Star dorm and their Shokugekis helped expand the dorm to what it is today. At the end of the episode, Joichiro challenges Souma to a Shokugeki in order to see how much Souma has/hasn't grown.  And with a new direction for the series, we also get a new opening sequence. Highlighting some folks we haven't met yet, and playing around with how wacky its visuals get, this opening is fun and intense at the same time. But I think I prefer the first opening's song. Also, maybe because the show's spent a huge chunk of its budget, there were plenty of shortcuts here. The animation surely taken a hit, but that's okay given that it's not necessary until we get to bigger scenes.  Episode 16 As Souma and his dad enter a new super early morning Shokugeki, they get the household caretaker Fumio, the nudist Isshiki, and a poor sleepy Tadakoro to be the judges. To reflect how early it was, Fumio decides the challenge will be a breakfast dish that invigorates the three for the day ahead. Souma creates an apple risotto, an interesting choice given that apples would be hard to cook within a risotto. But thanks to some apple juice, the risotto is filled with the right kind of flavor and ultimately leads to the image above. But Joichiro unleashes his worldly strength and produces an all vegetable ramen (one he perfected working with a vegan monk), and resoundingly wins the challenge. Which makes that 0/490 for Souma, and it also explains why Souma's never nervous for anything since he's been trying to overcome his dad's strength all these years.  Remember when I mentioned how action lines can be used weirdly two episodes above, that happens a ton here. Have fast moving backgrounds clash with the static characters in an attempt to make them feel like they're being adequately animated is a cheap ploy. And it's certainly a lack of budget seeping through. I hope it's being saved for the Elections themselves. If it's anything like it is in the manga, it's gonna be sooooooooooo good.  I'll try to keep these closer together once the Elections start, so hope you'll keep reading! 
Annotated Food Wars! photo
Shokugeki no Soma is quickly turning into the highlight of my week. The only problem with covering a Shonen-type series like this is that each episode isn't very substantial on its own, but the overall package is compelling e...

New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
New Japan Pro Wrestling

Do New Japan pro wrestlers kick out in their sleep?

Jushin Liger looks to find out!
Jul 29
// Soul Tsukino
A television show in Japan recently tackled a question of just how much fighting spirit runs through the being of your average New Japan pro wrestlers.

Week Ender - Virtual Reality Edition

Jul 25 // Red Veron
[embed]34080:4952:0[/embed] "Yasashii Yoake"Anime: .hack//SIGNMuch like the opening for this show, this ending is just sets itself apart with some abstract and minimal visuals featuring the characters.   [embed]34080:4955:0[/embed] "Sora no Kakera"Anime: Dennou Coil  I implore you to find Dennou Coil on the internet if you consider yourself an anime fan. This show summed up is a show that is a part Ghibli, part Ghost in the Shell with a splash of Satoshi Kon other-worldliness. So good. This is one of those gentle endings where we get to see a character just going through a changing landscape with plenty of varying sights and events unfolding in the background. I love the song with a soothing vocals and nice guitar playing. That doggy looks so derpy.   [embed]34080:4954:0[/embed] "L.L.L."Anime: Overlord Pardon me while I haven't had the chance to check out this show yet but I have heard of cool things about this show. I am totally digging this ending with that rockin' song and those pretty character art with that digital painting that looks really good.   [embed]34080:4951:0[/embed] "Your Song"Anime: Log Horizon  One of my fave ending songs, this one just fills you up with the warm fuzzies and makes you feel all happy even though the episode ends in something that is nothing like the feeling that the ending evokes in the viewer.   Is there an ending from a VR themed anime that I didn't include? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know!     
Week Ender photo
This week's Week Ender is all about the Virtual Reality and the great worlds beyond that VR brings us that are great settings for fantasy action anime. There's always something interesting with characters from a world similar...

Check out this year's top-tier Sumo fashion crazes

Jul 23 // Soul Tsukino
The Kesho Mawashi is a special ornate sumo belt worn by the wrestlers at the start of the day's matches. These belts can be a design sent in by fan clubs, the wrestler's sponsors, or just something the wrestler came up with himself. I've got to say that Takayasu wins with the Charlie Chaplin reference. I have no idea why he uses that image and looking around I can't seem to find an answer. But go him for being different. So let's see what the trendy Sumo wrestler is wearing for the summer shall we?     I've got to say that Takayasu wins with the Charlie Chaplin reference
Sumo Wrestling photo
The latest in Ceremonial Sumo belts
Thanks to a YouTuber Kintamayama and his wonderful sumo coverage, we got a rare look at the ceremonial Kesho-Mawashi, or entrance ceremony belts that the sumo wrestlers are wearing in the current sumo wrestling tournament held in Nagoya. Japan.

OP Up! Virtual Reality Edition

Jul 22 // Red Veron
[embed]34079:4947:0[/embed] "database"Anime: Log Horizon 2A really great show about what would happen if people were trapped in a VR MMO game. No, this isn't about the main character being super strong and crushing everyone that faces him (Log Horizon features real character development). This one is more than that, it features politics and some social consequences of what might happen in such a setting.   [embed]34079:4948:0[/embed] "Prism"Anime: Dennou CoilA definite must watch for anyone who likes anything Ghibli and the works of Satoshi Kon with a light dash of Ghost in the Shell. This one is about a near future where kids have augmented reality glasses and it has been long enough where urban legends have sprung up about AR technology. Combining the imagination of children with the world that this new advanced technology offers creates an amazing setting that is almost magical but still heavily grounded with reality.A cannot recommend this one enough. Try to find this show.   [embed]34079:4949:0[/embed] "Obsession" Anime: .Hack//SignOne of the first and most popular anime dealing with virtual reality and being trapped in such a world (Or "The World" is the .Hack series. Part of what we would call a "multimedia experience" nowadays, the franchise spanned more than just anime with video games, manga, novels, card games, etc.   [embed]34079:4946:0[/embed] "Ignite"Anime: Sword Art Online 2The main character is strong. There are boobs. There is a guy called Death Gun and has a gun that causes death. A lot of people like this show. I like the opening songs.   Did I miss any anime about Virtual Reality? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS! I wanna know!  
OP Up! photo
Living in the Database
They weren't kidding when they said that the 90's is back, one promise of that decade was this exciting new technology called "Virtual Reality". This technology promised to take humans into new worlds beyond our imaginations ...

Week Ender - Fast Edition

Jul 18 // Red Veron
[embed]34073:4940:0[/embed] "Mi-Ra-I"Anime: Sonic XFor a show about going fast, this ending features Sonic just chillin' and watching TV before being reminded to watch TV in a well lit room far from the TV.   [embed]34073:4941:0[/embed] "Saihate no Parade"Anime: Over Drive  From an anime about bicycle racing, this ending pretty rockin' with its song. Of course it features skinny dudes in tight bicycle shorts for those who love that sort of thing. For those who aren't into that stuff, there's a cute girl in a school uniform with some nicely animate skirt gently flapping in the wind.   [embed]34073:4942:0[/embed] "Believe Yourself"Anime: IGPX   This an anime about giant robots racing in a 60 mile track while trying to shoot each other to disable the opposing team's mech.   [embed]34073:4943:0[/embed] "I'm Ready"Anime: Yowamushi Pedal A more recent anime about bicycle racing, this one is quite popular with the a female audience. Is it because of the tight shorts and pretty boys? Maybe. All I know is that the song is pretty good for pumping yourself up and  I will use this for working out.   Did I forget any anime about going fast on here? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know about it.  
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Pedal to the Metal
We're going fast this weekend for Week Ender! No, I am totally not making up an excuse to write the least amount as possible on here with the excuse that we are going fast and I have no time to write. No time to talk, LET'S GO FAST!Did I forget any anime about going fast on here? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know about it. 

OP Up! Fast Edition

Jul 15 // Red Veron
[embed]34065:4931:0[/embed] "Reclimb"Anime: Yowamushi PedalNow that I think about it, cycling isn't about going fast. It's also about endurance but hey you still need to get there first at the end. So enjoy this opening about bicycles and dudes in tight shorts.   [embed]34065:4932:0[/embed] "Sonic Drive"Anime: Sonic X Sonic was created in the early 1990's to appeal to kids who had outgrown Mario using Sonic's 'attitude' and this opening embodies all that spirit. Surprisingly it has more 'tude than the US adaptation's opening. I'll have that at the bottom of this post.   [embed]34065:4933:0[/embed] "Around the World"Anime: Initial DThis anime has become synonymous with eurobeat music, which suits the high-octane and blood pumping race drifting.   [embed]34065:4934:0[/embed] "Mach GO GO GO"Anime: Mach GO GO GO (Speed Racer) Nothing beats the grand daddy of all anime about going fast. The opening music sounds familiar since it was adapted into the Speed Racer recognizable theme song.BONUS VIDEO [embed]34065:4935:0[/embed] Sonic X   Are there openings that are about going fast that I didn't include? SHOW ME IN THE COMMENTS! I wanna know!
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This week's OP Up! is all about going fast! So less time reading nonsense preamble to all these openings and let's get to it! LET'S GO!Are there openings that are about going fast that I didn't include? SHOW ME IN THE COMMENTS! I wanna know!

Week Ender - One Piece Edition

Jul 11 // Red Veron
[embed]34051:4922:0[/embed] "Run Run Run"I like that this one shows off the cast as kids just running around like kids do,  then showing them sharing a meal and fighting over the last piece you think they would do before getting all their attention to their next big adventure.   [embed]34051:4923:0[/embed] "Eternal Pose"This is the only ending I really really like. Set to a cool chilled rap with a slide show of the Straw Hat pirates and what they wore during the major arcs. It's a blast from the past seeing Zoro bandaged in a Hawaiian Shirt or Nami's dancing girl outfit. My favourite moments from each arc flashback into my mind when I see them again and it's incredibly nostalgic to see how far the Straw Hats have come on their journey.   [embed]34051:4925:0[/embed] "Shining Ray"A simpler ending that doesn't feature much movement until the end, this one is more about a calm feel with characters waiting out a rain. Taking a moment to ponder about other things while out on an adventure. I like endings that show you characters from a show with constant action just take a moment to wait out a rain just like you and me.   [embed]34051:4926:0[/embed] "Before the dawn"This ending is pretty fun, I've got a soft spot for endings or openings that just feature the characters of a show just chill' or having fun. It makes me feel better for characters in shows that feel like they're locked in an endless cycle of fights and never ending plots. Pirates need a break too, you know.   Got a favorite ending that didn't make it on here? SHOW ME IN THE COMMENTS! I wanna see!!!
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700 episodes is a lot of Endings!
One Piece just reached its 700th episode and on this week's Week Ender, we're celebrating by giving you some One Piece endings for your viewing pleasure! When the first episode of One Piece aired, Clinton was still in the Whi...

OP Up! One Piece Edition

Jul 08 // Red Veron
[embed]34044:4913:0[/embed] "Bon Voyage"Although it may not be the most flashy openings One Piece has had, I think it nicely encompasses the themes explored throughout the show. This opening touches upon each Straw Hat's backstory, the camaraderie they find as part of the Straw Hats, and the freedom they have as pirates. The downside is that we don't get to see any butt-kicking action.   [embed]34044:4914:0[/embed] "Kokoro no Chizu"My mind jumps straight to this opening when thinking One Piece apart from the Engrish We Are! There is so much here that I love. The colours, the action, the upbeat song that is synched to the visuals, and being paired to one of the strongest arcs in the series.   [embed]34044:4915:0[/embed] "Jungle P"  From this intro onwards, One Piece started to extend their intros to two verses instead of the one+ chorus. I assume it was to pad out each episode so they didn't have to show as much per episode. Anyways this is another strong intro even if it's let down by the appearance of Brook and Luffy destroying a civil service boat.   [embed]34044:4916:0[/embed] "We Are Special"Yep, we had to have We Are somewhere on this post. I went for the latest as the visuals are easier on the eyes. It's a funky rendition with the visuals being updated to feature more of the Straw Hat's Rogue Gallery.   [embed]34044:4917:0[/embed] "Fight Together"After the darker turn of events that were occurring in the show and the previous sombre opening One Day, Fight Together was what we needed as fans. It contrasted the gloominess and depressive feeling of being separated from loved ones with the passion and determination to grow stronger to protect them. This intro is also better than the entire Post-War Arc episodes dedicated to each individual Straw Hat.   So which one is your favorite One Piece opening? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! Let us celebrate some One Piece love together!   BONUS VIDEO [embed]34044:4918:0[/embed]
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700 episodes is a lot of Openings
Having 700 episodes in 16 years, the One Piece anime has amassed quite a collection of openings and endings throughout its run. So this week's OP Up! and Week Ender selections are special, as we celebrate 700 episodes of One ...

Annotated Anime: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma episodes 9-12

Jul 06 // Nick Valdez
Episode 9 Since the Aldini Bros did so well in the test (and used duck as their main ingredient rather than fish like the rest of the students), this motivated Souma to try something completely off the wall. Exploiting the rule that they could use any ingredient in the area, Souma decides to use Chef Inui's bag of chips. After some ingredient rummaging, Souma and Tadakoro (the best) make up some fish using the chips as breading. But as Chef Inui proves to be slightly absent minded, the two never find out whose dish was better. After some levity, we find out everyone from the Polar Star Dorm made it through the first day but then a harsher challenge appeared. Each student was tasked with serving fifty bodybuilders within an hour or they'd be instantly expelled. Souma naturally finishes the task quickly (thanks to all the experience of serving in his family restaurant), and ends up colliding with Nakiri as they both were humming along with the anime's ending theme. I love when shows break the fourth wall like that. It was a good sequence all around.  Episode 10 The first half of the episode dealt with fallout from the first day's challenges. The entire Polar Star dorm survived the evening test, and everyone is trying to rest a bit. Tadakoro's (the best) not confident in herself, so she's always afraid she'll mess up the dishes. We also learned a bit more about God Tongue Nakiri from Chef Doujima (who Souma meets in the bath), as we learn her skill is setting her out to be the top of the school. The second half kicks off Day 2 with Chef Shinomiya, the harshest of the Totsuki alumni judges for the camp. He's already expelled 30 students, and even expelled a student for using a scented shampoo on the first day. He's assigned them a recipe they have to duplicate, a highly technical French dish called the Terrine of Nine Vegetables (with nine veggies stacked on top of each other in a little cube with the same kind of texture).  He also forces them to work alone (and think of each other as "enemies") which hurts Tadakoro even further since she's relied a bit of Souma to this point. So she's left with some cauliflower that's begun to oxidize and fixes it with wine vinegar. But because she's changed the recipe (even if it tasted great), Chef Shinomiya fails her. When Souma calls him out on the poor ingredients, Shinomiya admits that he purposefully added spoiled ones to limits the students that'd pass. Then Souma challenges Shinomiya to Shokugeki and it gets mad intense! Ugh, Tadakoro is so cute though.  Episode 11 Although Tadakoro will always be my number one, Chef Inui is strongly vying for that top spot. Essentially a more evolved Tadakoro, she adorably argues Shinomiya's decision. As Chef Doujima hears of the Shokugeki, he forces Shinomiya to accept and now Souma and Tadakoro have to cook for their lives in an unofficial cook off to keep Tadakoro in school. As per Doujima, the Shougeki is set at two hours using leftover ingredients from Day 2's challenges with the Totsuki alumni deciding the victor. And more importantly, Tadakoro is made head chef who will decide the recipe. After some panic, Souma was able to calm her down and Tadakoro decided on a recipe. Thanks to some much needed levity (as the other alumni pick on Shinomiya) we learn a bit more about him too. After graduation he went to France and opened several restaurants and earned the moniker "The Magician of Legumes" because of his good use of vegetables.  Shinomiya serves his dish first, and it's a basic cabbage roll with high end ingredients. It's so good it leads to this week's header image. The last few episodes have been tense, and this one follows suit, but there's a good balance of comedy here. I laughed much more thn I have in the past. It's this kind of episode that brings me back week to week (and keeps me writing these chunks of summaries, haha).  Episode 12 Tadakoro serves her dish, a rainbow terrine (in order to show off her terrine recipe) with seven different combinations of vegetables and flavors. The alumni all like her dish so much, they alike her to a household yokai that delivers vegetables (since Shinomiya is the "Magician of Legumes") but unfortunately vote in Shinomiya's favor. But Doujima convinced Shinomiya to try Tadakoro's dish in order to understand why they favor her so much. Because her cooking comes with heart, which is something Shinomiya lacked and caused him to stagnate in his growth. So basically, the Shokugeki was all crafted by Doujima in order to give Tadakoro some confidence and to show Shinomiya that he can't continue coldly ignoring others if he wants his cooking to improve. It was a nice, light hearted ending to the arc.  Although Souma really didn't appreciate the loss. He hasn't lost anything to this point and it got to him. But seeing as how Tadakoro was happy, he'll let it slide.  That's it for this chunk! Next heap of episodes continues the camp and the start of Day 3. You know how we always have a few screencaps of each episode for you? Funny thing was that since I like Tadakoro so much, and that these episodes had a heavy focus on her, these were almost all Tadakoro faces. She's so adorable and the team always gives her good reactions. As for the little things, I don't notice them as much anymore. Now that the show has settled into a nice arc, everything seems more focused. The background noise isn't as wily, the characters are more developed, and there's far less intrusive fan service bits. Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma has definitely come into its own. 
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Tadakoro now, Tadakoro forever
Last time we left off, Souma and the other chefs were taking part in an annual Totsuki Academy camp where they have to pass a few tests. We're currently in the middle of the first test as Chef Inui wants pairs of chefs to coo...

Week Ender - Love is Love Edition

Jul 04 // Red Veron
[embed]34027:4889:0[/embed] "Baby Romantica"Anime: Junjou RomanticaA fun and easy listening pop rock song to accompany some cute stuff with some men being all dramatic, all of which are targeted for the women (and men) who love the genre of boy's love.   [embed]34027:4890:0[/embed] "Territory"Anime: Yuri Kuma ArashiA cute ending with a nice and cheerful song featuring a cute little bear dancing on the corner.   [embed]34027:4891:0[/embed] "Click Your Heart"Anime: Love Stage!!Very adorbs ending with some pants confusing cuteness from the one of the MC and some boy's love teasing going on. Well done!   [embed]34027:4892:0[/embed] "Kiss (and) Love"Anime: Sakura Trick!!Pretty ample fanservice in this one with more sexy than the opening of this show.   Is there a boy's love and/or girl's love anime endings that you love that I didn't put up on here? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wants to know!
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Love has a Delicious Smell
Love is love! If two people want to love each other, then they should. I'm not in that relationship so it is none of my business. This weekend's selection of anime endings are all about girl's love and boy's love, and there a...

OP Up! Love is Love Edition

Jul 01 // Red Veron
[embed]34020:4880:0[/embed] "Kimi = Hana"Anime: Junjou RomanticaI know nothing about BL anime so I'll just comment on this opening. I like the song in this opening. Pretty minimal in the budget but you don't really need that much for an anime about pretty dudes holding hands and getting close.   [embed]34020:4881:0[/embed] "Hanaji"Anime: Maria HolicA pretty crazy opening and it's from SHAFT, the studio that makes crazy looking stuff. Visually striking with all the colors blending in with the minimalist style that studio employs, along with using painting as a theme (like painting stuff, not art). A fun and weird one to watch.   [embed]34020:4882:0[/embed] "LΦvest"Anime: Love Stage!!I must apologize that I am not familiar with BL and this show, so I will comment on the opening. I really like this opening; it's pretty, the character designs are great, and it shows off the show well. The show involves the main character, Isumi, who is a very androgynous guy who actually looks to cause some pants confusion, and Ryoma, a guy who fell for Izumi while Izumi was dressed up as  a girl ten years prior to them meeting again.   [embed]34020:4883:0[/embed] "I've been waiting in that forest"Anime: Yuri Kuma ArashiA crazy show that a need to finish watching, this one is about a bears gaining intelligence equal to humans and rising up against humanity. Somewhere along the line, lesbian bears happen. It's a crazy premise, but it is a visually beautiful show and is a never ending source of insanity.   Did I not post your favorite opening from a boy's and/or girl's love anime? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!!!
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Never back down on LOVE
Being able to love the one you love is great and here at Japanator, we support that. I mean, if you want to spend the rest of your life with someone you love, you should have that choice to do it. So this week's OP Up! is all...

Week Ender - Military Edition

Jun 27 // Red Veron
[embed]34003:4865:0[/embed] "Never Dying Flower"Anime: Full Metal Panic!A nice ending featuring some photos of the cast strewn around a table until you realize that these are probably recon pics. Very creative ending and most of the art featured are made for the ending and not just lazily taken from the show.   [embed]34003:4866:0[/embed] "In beyond dark"Anime: Gunparade MarchStarts out all solemn and sad but gradually changes to something better give you some hope in this rather dark show about humanity on the brink of extinction.   [embed]34003:4867:0[/embed] "Faith"Anime: Silver Will ArgevollenThis ending has some of cool imagery of mecha on the battlefield blowing stuff up while not forgetting about the boots on the ground that keep the mission going on. Something we rarely seen in these shows about operations involving complex machinery are the people keeping things running.   [embed]34003:4869:0[/embed] "Enter Enter MISSION"Anime: Girls Und PanzerDon't dismiss this one as just another 'moe' show or one about "cute girls doing cute things", this one is more about "cute girls doing cute things while awesome tank battles happen" kind of show. Conceived by an author who likes tanks more than cute girls, the cute girls in this show only serve as a medium to deliver cool tank stuff and tank battles. Try this show if you like tanks.   [embed]34003:4868:0[/embed] "Laterality"Anime: Jormungand: Perfect OrderHer name is Coco and she is loco. She is also an arms dealer.  Is there an ending to a military-related anime that I didn't put on here? SHARE IT ON THE COMMENTS BELOW! I wanna know.
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I don't know what you've been told
This weekend's Week Ender is all about military-related anime endings! Seems like I forgot a fan-favorite, Jormungand, which needs to be on here. So rejoice that your favorite loco arms dealer gets some loving this weekend.No...

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Let's party hard!
If you happen to be in Chicago this weekend, make sure you swing by Mitsuwa Marketplace at 1PM CST, as Japanator is hosting a cosplay party, in preparation for Japan Day Chicago next month! We are official sponsors of the eve...

OP Up! Military Edition

Jun 24 // Red Veron
[embed]33991:4853:0[/embed] "Tough Intention"Anime: Silver Will ArgevollenA more realistic military take on the mecha genre where the show follows a mechanized platoon that is right in the battlefield during a war between two fictional nations.   [embed]33991:4854:0[/embed] "Atashi no Machi, Ashita no Machi"Anime: Library WarThis one is set in an alternate history where a government group is formed to censor books in libraries and a local militias are formed to protect libraries. A very interesting setting that more people need to check out.   [embed]33991:4855:0[/embed] "The Door of Truth"Anime: Gunparade MarchOne of those "Humanity on the brink of extinction" stories, this one has militaries resorting to training small groups of young people to fight against an alien enemy. No overpowered robots or magical weapons in this one, prepare for the worst.   [embed]33991:4856:0[/embed] "Tomorrow"Anime: Full Metal PanicSet in a world where the Cold War isn't over and technology is available to create giant piloted robots for warfare, this show follows a young man who grows up in the battlefield and is then placed in a Japanese High School setting. Equal parts of comedy and action make this show a fun time.Did I not include your favorite military themed anime opening in this week's selection? Right that wrong and SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I want to know!
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You are voluntold to enjoy this list
This week's selection of anime openings for OP Up! is all about military themed anime. The military has been a theme ripe for action and anime has always found it to be a good source of great entertainment. From the military ...

Week Ender - Foodie Edition

Jun 20 // Red Veron
[embed]33970:4833:0[/embed] "Become a smile"Anime: Gourmet Girl GraffitiBy far one of the best food oriented anime in recent years, this one combines food with the insanity and beautiful detail by anime studio SHAFT. Cute girls eating appetizing anime food never gets any better than this show and this ending is a great way to show those aspects of the show. Highly recommended if you like: SHAFT, food, and cute girls.   [embed]33970:4834:0[/embed] "Sunday"Anime: Yakitate!! JapanA fun and educational ending with a live action cooking with making some delicious looking bread. I am starving as I write these little paragraphs.   [embed]33970:4835:0[/embed] "Spice"Anime: Food WarsDesigned to whet your appetite for food and "other things", this is an upbeat ending with a catchy tune alongside colorful visuals.   [embed]33970:4836:0[/embed] "Formula of Smiles"Anime: Ben-ToA more laid back and gentle ending to contrast the over-the-top action featured on the show. Nice way to wind down. I am hungry.Did I miss an anime ending about food that you like? SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I must knowowowowow!
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Delicious Smell
The weekend is here again and I'm sure y'all have been salivating since last wednesday's OP Up! Foodie openings. So here are some anime endings from anime about food and food products. So much like a hungry customer at a rest...

Strong Style: The Landscape of Japanese Pro Wrestling

Jun 19 // Soul Tsukino
  Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance (JWA):  Puroresu starts here. While many tours of pro wrestling were held in the post-war era, this is the first pro wrestling company to establish itself in Japan, starting in 1953. The JWA was the creation of a former sumo wrestler named Rikidozan (pictured above), who started wrestling a few years earlier.  The promotion was an instant hit as it became the first program shown live on Japanese TV with 3 days of wrestling shown on NHK and NTV. Later in the year Rikidozan became its first champion after shooting (going off the planned outcome) on judoka Masahiko Kimura and legitimately knocking him out. The JWA established many of the traditions of puro that are seen today such as multiple singles and tag team titles, holding annual tournaments, and bringing in foreign (Gaijin) talent to use on their shows. Sadly Rikidozan died in 1963 after being stabbed by a yakuza. After his death, the promotion had several internal struggles, mostly focused on who should replace Rikidozan as the company's top star. The JWA wanted to promote former baseball player, the 6'10" Shohei "Giant" Baba while some thought the top spot belonged to the faster and more technically sound Kanji "Antonio" Inoki. The two coexisted in the late 60s, but in 1972 the politics got so bad that both men left the JWA to start their own companies. The JWA struggled but ended up closing down in 1973 with all of its remaining talent going to either Baba's or Inoki's companies.   New Pro Wrestling (NJPW):  Started by Antonio Inoki in 1972, with him being the top star of the company. NJPW is the second biggest wrestling company in the world, behind WWE. Originally recognized the American NWF title as its top championship, they switched to the International Wrestling Gran Prix as its governing body in the 80's for all its titles. The company, along with Puroresu as a whole, hit a downturn in popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000's thanks to the rise of mixed martial arts, something Inoki was a trailblazer for with his shoot fights with Muhammad Ali, Willie Williams, and others in the 70's and 80's. Inoki didn't help puro's cause as he routinely sent wrestlers into one sided shoot fights against MMA stars and putting the IWGP title on people like Bob Sapp, Brock Lesnar, and Akebono. Inoki eventually stepped aside as head of the company to let his son-in-law Simon take over. Inoki sold the promotion to video game company Yukes before they sold it to current owner Bushiroad in 2012. Spearheaded by young new talent like Hiroshi Tanahashi, Okada, and Shinsuke Nakamura, NJPW was able to reverse its fortunes in the mid-2000's and grew to bigger heights. It has dominated the landscape in Japan ever since.   All Pro Wrestling (AJPW):  The company "Giant" Baba created in 1972. Was seen as more traditional of the post JWA companies and inherited all of the JWA's titles and a good number of its wrestlers, along with its membership in the American National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) when the JWA closed. With the NWA backing, AJPW held several world title matches with champions like Jack Brisco, Harley Race, and Ric Flair routinely stopping by, adding to the prestige of the company. Baba himself held the NWA World title 3 times, although his title reigns were usually very short, due to scheduling of the NWA title defenses. When the NWA dried up, Baba unified the companies singles titles (The PWF title, the NWA International Title, and the NWA United National title) to form the Triple Crown Championship in 1989. After Baba's death in 1999 from cancer, the company has had a major fall from prominence. Thanks to major talent defections in 2000 (led by top star and president Mitsuharu Misawa), and in 2012 (led by former president Kenji Mutoh), AJPW is a shell of its former self with only about 12 regularly contracted wrestlers. Though it still holds shows, the crowds are much smaller than NJPW's and rely heavily on freelance wrestlers.   Pro Wrestling NOAH:  The result of AJPW's second massive migration of talent in 2000 when president Mitsuharu Misawa quit, leading all but two native Japanese wrestlers away from All Japan to form a new company. The name is a reference to Noah's Ark. After taking big name wrestlers and securing All Japan's tv deal with Nippon TV, shot up to become a top player in overnight. It recognized the Global Honor Championship (GHC) as its main title. Sadly Misawa died in a tragic in-ring accident in 2009, and after some rough patches here and there, the company is still going strong. Although they could be considered the number 2 in right now, they don't mind lending out their talent either as NJPW's Minoru Suzuki and his group, Suzuki's Army, are actually based out of NOAH, including the Killer Elite Squad. Wrestle-1 (W1):  The result of top star and former company president Kenji Mutoh leading the third migration of talent from All Japan in 2012.  Although this promotion has done some promotional work with TNA/Impact Wrestling (resulting in the disastrous Bound For Glory show in 2014), it is still a smaller company that doesn't draw nearly the big crowds that New Japan does and is filled with wrestlers loyal to Mutoh, or students he is training.   Dramatic Dream Team (DDT):  Founded in 1997, DDT is an independent promotion that produces some wild antics that are a parody of WWE storylines. The most (in)famous aspect of this company is its Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship, a joke hardcore title that has been won by such title holders as two different dogs, a blow-up love doll, 3 different ladders and even the belt itself have been crowned champion. Outside the over the top stuff, it has produced some fine wrestlers including NJPW's Kota Ibushi.   Dragon Gate:  Originally this company started as Toryumon, based off Ultimo Dragon's training gym, but he left in 2003 for the WWE and took the name with him. Although they feature some heavyweights and some comedy characters, Dragon Gate's main bread and butter are smaller and faster style wrestlers, based off Ultimo Dragon's training in Mexico in the country's Lucha libre style. Several wrestlers from this group have wrestled in the United States for such companies as TNA, ROH, and Chikara and even has an American leg of the promotion, Dragon Gate, the uses top unsigned American talent. They also at one time had just about the coolest television opening in the world.   Freelance:  A concept that has grown in Japan, more so than in the Unites States, is freelance wrestlers. These are guys who are not signed to long-term deals with any one promotion in Japan and are able to go to any company they want. These folks are often used on big shows for companies, especially tournaments, or used to fill out shorthanded rosters. Even big promotions like New Japan use freelancers on their shows from time to time. There are other promotions in Japan, both past and present, but these are the major ones, especially in dealing with coverage of New Japan here on Japanator. The puroresu landscape is a large one with many different styles and approaches. There is something for every wrestling fan in Japan, so it's worth checking out. http://www.japanator.com/ul/33952-strong-style-the-landscape-of-japanese-pro-wrestling/NOAH-noscale.jpg
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A broader look of Japanese Wrestling
Through the Strong Style coverage of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV, Japanator has given  a glimpse into the world of Japanese pro wrestling, or "puroresu", to its readers. Through the article, we've taken a look at s...

Japanator Interviews: Cristina Vee

Jun 17 // Anthony Redgrave
Japanator - How many times do your friends pester you for impersonations of their favourite character? Cristina - My immediate friends don't really ask me for impersonations, but I usually force them on them anyway! The worst is actually at conventions; I've been asked multiple times at panels to give a sample of Riven or Homura Akemi and their response after the fact is sometimes "....pretty close", or "....that was okay". It's hard to maintain a voice after air travel and speaking all weekend, haha! Japanator - Out of all the characters you have played from anime and video games; which one had been the most interesting to get into the mind set of? Cristina - If you take a look at my resume, you might notice a trend. Many of my characters are emotionally damaged or just completely broken. It's awesome. I really loved voicing Homura Akemi in Madoka because of everything she goes through. I don't think I've seen a character as well developed as her in the last ten years of anime. That being said, I really enjoy completely throwing myself off the deep end. I voiced Four in Drakengard 3 and I had such a blast because she is completely nuts. She is past the point of redemption. Japanator - Veecaloid Pop is a game that was made for you Cristina, is this a rarity, or do you get a lot of fan made games? Cristina - I don't know of any other voice actors who have their own video game-- correct me if I'm wrong! I feel so lucky to have the amazing, talented friends who put me in this unique position. Adam Tierney, James Montangna, Lindsay Collins, and Andrew Lim are as passionate about games, art, and music as they come. Japanator - Will we see a duet between Cristina Veecaloid and Milky in the near future? Cristina - I think a duet might be crossing the streams a little too much! Milky's next single is coming along beautifully though. I'll give you one hint: it's about corgis. Japanator - Which one would you rather be in real life: a cosmic idol or a magical girl (sans contract of course!)?  Cristina - I think it's very telling about my personality that I became a voice actor. I don't really enjoy being in the limelight, but I love being part of a team and making an impact. I'm going to go with magical girl! I'm thinking more along the lines of Sailor Moon and not Madoka Magica. I'd love to save the world without the mental anguish, thank you very much!   How many times do your friends pester you for impersonations of their favourite character?
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Voice Idol, Game Star
Cristina Vee is becoming one of the most prolific voice actresses in the English dub anime industry. Her sweet vocals can be heard in K-On giving life to the scaredy cat bassist, or as the hot-tempered shrine maiden Sail...

OP Up! Foodie Edition

Jun 17 // Red Veron
[embed]33964:4823:0[/embed] "LIVE for LIFE ~Ookamitachi no Yoru~"Anime: Ben-ToAn over-the-top show about fighting over discounted supermarket boxed lunches sounds as good as it's ridiculous premise. Think of a battle anime but people are fighting over cheap dinner but with martial arts moves and other techniques.   [embed]33964:4824:0[/embed] "Comet Cloud"Anime: Yakitate!! JapanAn anime about a boy out to make a national bread for Japan who also happens to have "solar hands", where he has hands warmer than that of a normal human's hands. A fun and educational show that happens to also be a competitive shounen action show but fighting is done through cooking.   [embed]33964:4825:0[/embed] "Dramatic"Anime: Honey and CloverNot exactly a show about food but this opening features some appetizing food as well as it is fun to watch.   [embed]33964:4826:0[/embed] "The Song of Hope"Anime: Food WarsThe latest of this season about cooking and competing in making food in a cutthroat cooking academy where the main character is a genius teen cook. The food is drawn very deliciously well, as well as the pervy depiction of women (and men).Did I not feature your favorite anime about food? PLEASE SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I want to know!
OP Up! photo
Who doesn't love food? Food is a universal thing that people love and anime has tackled the subject of food for a long time. From cooking food to appreciating food, anime has done it all, and even more when you check out this week's selection of openings. Enjoy!Did I not feature your favorite anime about food? PLEASE SHARE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! I want to know!

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