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Review: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven

Jul 11 // Nick Valdez
[embed]35131:5738:0[/embed] JoJo's Bizzare Adventure: Eyes of Heaven (PS4 [reviewed] and PS3) Developer: CyberConnect2Publisher: Bandai Namco EntertainmentReleased: December 17, 2015 (JP), June 28, 2016 (NA), July 1, 2016 (EU)MSRP: $59.99 With a story overseen by series creator Hirohiko Araki, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven takes place after the events of the manga's arguably most recognizable arc, Stardust Crusaders. After Jotaro Kujo and crew defeat the evil vampire Dio, Jotaro is suddenly caught up in a new adventure. As deceased friends come back to life and start attacking thanks to the effects of a purple fog, Jotaro and the gang realize they have to collect pieces of a mystical item called the Holy Corpse across different periods of time and space. Then time shenanigans lead to an overpowered villain who can alter reality and every iteration of the eight generation strong JoJo family must band together to stop them.  Eyes of Heaven is created with fans in mind, so unfortunately, they are the only ones who can truly appreciate what the game has to offer. Other than a brief summary detailing the final events of each arc before story chapters, there is no real introduction to the game's 50+ characters (all unlocked from the jump). Assuming you already know every member of the cast, the game's central plot moves at a breakneck pace with characters constantly being introduced through its six to seven hour run time. The only problem with this being that even while you end up fighting some characters multiple times (as the game continues to pad its short plot with repetitive battles), you never learn anything new about them even when there is plenty opportunity to do so. But in that same breath, the plot itself is just a huge excuse to give into "fandemonium" and give fans situations that would not normally occur otherwise. For example, seeing 17-year-old Jotaro interact with his 20-something-year-old future daughter from Part 6 lead to some cute exchanges between the two. I know JoJo is not a show known for its plot, but the property's charm stems from it essentially making mountains out of molehills. Eyes of Heaven had the potential for a great, hilariously dramatic JoJo story but lacks the follow through of a traditional manga arc. That seems to be the problem with the title overall. Lots of Heaven's problems are rooted in poor follow through. So many interesting ideas are crushed under the weight of its poor systems. Beyond Eyes of Heaven's story mode, the core of the game is focused on its battle system. Each fight is a two vs. two affair (which can involve four players online if at least four people have the game, which I have yet to see myself or even connect to on Heaven's piss poor netcode) on a 3D map littered with pitfalls and hazards a la games like Power Stone. Unlike most arena fighters, however, each attack has cooldown times meaning you cannot spam skills as you wish. To counter these skills, each character also comes equipped with a rechargeable "Flash" gauge with allows them to either break out of a characters combo or cancel their skills mid-attack. Coupled with the team based Dual Combo system (which builds up a meter with you and your computer controlled partner's hits before a super finish) and Dual Heat Attacks (which unite both characters in a flashy super skill) and you could potentially do a lot of damage. The problem is the game is incredibly stiff and it's got quite the adjustment curve. It does not take time to learn the game's systems, but it is going to take some time to get used to how often the attacks miss.  Rather than sparking strategy, the cooldown system instead breeds frustration. To put it bluntly, battles are ugly. Each battle comes with a cluttered HUD, including giant controller symbols signifying when each skill is available. On top of that is the wonky lock-on system which leads to some terrible camera angles that caused far too many losses than they should. Which means a lot of the time, Heaven is unfair. Often times I found myself missing my opponent directly in front of me, and since each skill locks you in a single animation for some time, it gave them plenty of opportunity to do damage to me. And despite the game's attempts to balance this by incorporating RPG like skill trees, none of the skills have enough of an effect to warrant utilizing them. No matter how much you level up a character, they'll still do the same amount of damage per hit. And the computer opponent will always do more damage than you. recover their gauges faster, and you will always constantly struggle against the game's ugliness and poor design to completely catch up.  Playing through JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven is a purgatory from which I could not escape. With no attention paid to non-single player modes, it is also a battle fought alone. With no support in sight, and with no reward for the struggle other than occasionally seeing your favorite character do something you like, there is little reason to stick through Eyes of Heaven even with its occasional bursts of personality.  JoJo's Bizarre Adventure may have had its eyes on heaven, but its soul is trapped in hell. [This review is based on a copy of the game provided by the publisher.]
Eyes of Heaven Review photo
Sighs of heaven
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is the only property with such, well, bizarre characters, insanely disproportional art, backbreaking victory poses, operatic plot, and enough bravado to carry all of this on machismo alone. Thanks to ...

Ghost in the Shell photo
Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell live-action gets Rila Fukushima


But who will she be?
May 27
// Josh Tolentino
The seemingly unending saga of Hollywood's adaptation of Ghost in Shell continues, as hubbub about the long-in-making film has morphed from justified concerns over the quality of the adaptation (which haven't gone away, ...

Tales Worth Telling: On Manga, Anime, and how they changed Japanese storytelling

May 16 // Yussif Osman
Japan has a long and vibrant tradition of storytelling. Of course, there is the current massive industries of anime, manga, light novels and video games, but long before television and anime there was kamishibai, a practice where a street performer would narrate a tale whilst flipping through illustrations on a mobile stage; or rakugo, where the comic or storyteller would perform multiple characters in dialogue with one another with nothing but a fan with which to gesture, meaning characters had to be well developed and distinct. And then there is kodan, the heroic tale and predecessor to modern Shounen series. Stories told in these ways, for the Japanese people became news and sensation, novel and theatre for people of all classes. A culture so drenched in the art of storytelling has a great deal to teach the world about how to build worlds, create characters and set plots in motion. In contrast to much of Western media, the bestbetter anime and manga do not patronize the viewer or reader. One Piece for example, is not about what someone thinks people want to see, it is about the story the author and artists want to tell. Hayao Miyazaki was once asked about the creative process for a creator in Japan, in contrast to a creator in the West. In the West, films are often made by committee. I am not saying there is anything wrong with writers' rooms, on the contrary, collaboration can be a wonderful thing, the problems arise when a studio, which has ultimate creative control over a property, makes assumptions about what people want to see. A number of films come to mind, Fox's interference on Josh Trank's Fantastic Four or the X-men movie universe as a whole, where executives felt the need to simplify characters for an audience who just 'won't get'. I also think of the 4Kids dub of One Piece, where it was assumed that orchestrated music would not appeal to young viewers and certain themes would be inaccessible. I'm not saying that this never happens in Japan, in fact it's probably happening now more than before, but for the most part, Japan with its massive storytelling industry has put emphasis on the importance of story and not just delivery. This is evident in a passion for characters in and of themselves and in a will to drive story and touch readers and viewers, to say something true about the human condition, more than just attempting to entertain. This is storytelling for storytelling's own sake. When composing each new story, Hayao Miyazaki was concerned with just that, the story, something he has said himself. Japanese animation has confronted the world with rich and deep stories with both real and bizarre characters that speak about what's real in us, in the human condition. One Piece, which is the manga and anime I will use as my primary case study comes to mind here. Overwhelming enemies who engage in fantastic and brutal battles with the rubbery Luffy says a lot about life and the need to overcome moments of adversity by literally bouncing-back and meeting life head on, thus the head-strong, if not simple character of many Shounen heroes. Even these stories, in all their whimsical adventure, do more than just entertain, they resonate, like I've said before in my article on Digimon, high stakes make for high hopes and therein I believe lies the appeal of epics like Attack on Titan and why it became so popular. And outside the Shounen genre and the work of Hayao Miyazaki we have a plethora of incredibly moving stories, from Makoto Shinkai's 5cm per Second to works such as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and The Boy And The Beast, you have a compelling and grounded premises with fantastical characters and circumstances which only enrich and make more vivid the narrative as the characters themselves remain very human, full of awkward subtleties and quirks which make it possible to empathise with them. At this point, I would like to bring up the tradition of drawing on manga to create anime. There are huge benefits to doing this, not simply because you can simply copy a story on to the screen because it often doesn't work that way, often anime take a concept and re-interpret or build upon an idea, but the benefit of manga is the vast worlds that the characters have emerged from and that has been built around them. Something I find that Japanese media has done very well, whether that's anime, manga or video games, is build tremendous and beautiful worlds and I don't just mean that on an aesthetic level, I refer to histories and politics, nations and ideologies all built from scratch from which incredible stories can spiral. More developed worlds, mean longer runs for readers and viewers to become invested, people grow-up with the characters and see them through their journeys and become committed to the worlds they live in. Worlds you can invest in are richer, richer worlds help make more interesting characters with more interesting histories and good characters with a great world to interact in, makes for a great plot. These three components: world, character and plot when executed well, I believe are responsible for producing a great story. Recently in Western media, this has also been evidenced with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But I will illustrate this now with an anime/ manga which I believe does this best in One Piece. In One Piece, we're faced with the setting of a number of oceans and seas in their own hierarchy of fury and adversity, inhabited by a complex hierarchy of pirates and forces, such as the Marines and the Seven Warlords of the Sea, the revelation of each one being something we always look forward to. Hierarchies and structures within which characters explore their given world, create a framework in which viewers and readers can actually look forward to things, to more of the Wizard Saints in Fairy Tail or more Dragon Slayers. Then there is the notion that the most expansive sea in the series, the New World is largely unexplored and home to range of bizarre islands, from lightning countries to flaming tundras. But perhaps the most thrilling part of reading or viewing a great world is discovering it from scratch as characters do and One Piece, like many anime and manga does this artfully, leaving us thirsting for more. One could also turn to the slow revelation of the plethora of villages in Naruto or the wider cosmos in the Dragonball series'. And of course one of the most compelling parts of One Piece, is the world's history itself, the missing century and lost civilization which left behind ponelyphs describing its history, secrets that revolutionaries and pirates are trying to unearth and the World Government is trying to keep hidden. I hope what I've illustrated here is a network of circumstances and characters which interact in complex and far-reaching ways to create what is a compelling plot. Whether they were exploring a new country, liberating one or unearthing new secrets, the Straw Hat Pirates have never bored me and when it has been less thrilling, it is only because of the drastic scale that the series can often rise to. And even away from the high-stakes of One Piece story arcs, the characters and the themes they represent are warm and intimate, such as friendship and how it should be cherished, Usopp's wish to be brave or Robin's wish to live. I'm not saying great things don't come out of the West, when it comes to animation, I would in particular like to highlight such work as the Batman and X-men animated series' or Transformers which were all incredible, but I'm not trying to make a point about Western media, I'm trying to make a point about anime and manga.  But while we're on the topic of Western media, this is a good opportunity to bring up a handful of ground-breaking series' which have been heavily influenced by anime and manga and in doing so, illustrate how the world's love of Japanese media has created a demand for better storytelling. An obvious series that comes to mind is the Avatar animated saga and its sequel the Legend of Korra. In the tradition of long-running manga, Avatar brought us a vast world to explore and high-stakes politics to understand alongside enchanting and compelling characters heavily influenced by Eastern culture and civilization. Less obvious is Steven Universe, which I have said in a past article, is heavily influenced by such anime as Revolutionary Girl Utena in its style and themes of fluid sexuality and gender roles. There are many others, such as the French conceived Sav! The World Productions and their creation the award-winning Oban Star Racers, or the more recent Miraculous Ladybug. I go as far to make the case that the popularity of anime and manga in the West, made it more acceptable to tell more serious stories for younger audiences and so helped to mainstream the now massive comic book phenomenon. Like you, I love the Japanese format of storytelling, the amazing characters and stories it produces set across interesting and diverse worlds. So I took it upon myself to try it, to take inspiration drawn from anime and manga to produce stories in the same vain. Hei Stories, a youtube channel which uses audio and illustrations in the kamishibai style is a platform for original stories in the fantasy genre which aim to stretch the imagination and compel listeners to invest in complex characters. The first story that is being uploaded is Seeking Scarlet At The End of The World, which takes influence from Middle-Eastern and Asian culture to tell the story of a young woman with phenomenal abilities set in a world under siege. As the Raindance movement is hijacked by the Great Secret Keeper, his acolyte, Iconoclast, assaults Polis Earth, with the Orion Alliance long gone, not even the mythical Guardian seems anywhere in sight to stop her. Despite the crisis, the displaced people of the Deepa Wali culture celebrate life into the night and continue to pray. In a universe where material beings are not the only life forms and where the cosmos is ruled by an Eclipse King, I wanted to create a story of hope and cover contemporary political and social issues we're currently faced with such as the refugee crisis. I hope you will enjoy it and join the conversation here and on youtube about storytelling and what kinds of stories engage, inspire you and humanize other human beings, whether they are in your city or across oceans. So what does make a good story? Sincere, warm characters full of agency in a developed world, from Shakespeare's turbulent Scotland to Tolstoy's revolutionary Russia, a good world and characters people can be passionate about go a long way in creating a story that can resonates with readers. With Japanese media so aware of this, I look forward to every season, knowing it is bound to bring something entertaining, inspiring and compelling and above all, shedding light on the human condition and the world we live in.  
Japanator Original photo
Stay A While, and Listen
I won't hazard a guess as to how many of you have read my previous articles, but something that may have come across is the emphasis I place on the importance of good storytelling. Whether it was Digimon or GAT...

AnimeNEXT '16 photo
AnimeNEXT '16

Aw, snap: Rei Hiroe and ZAQ are heading to AnimeNEXT


Bullets and delusions make a great combo
Apr 28
// Salvador GRodiles
With almost a month left until June, it turns out that the man behind the original Black Lagoon manga, Rei Hiroe, and the singer of Love, Chunibiyo & Other Delusions' opening, ZAQ, are making an appearance at AnimeNE...

Manga and Recovery: Reopening a comic museum in Kamen Rider's hometown

Apr 12 // Yussif Osman
The people of Tohoku are unique in all of Japan, they have their own dialect, their own food and attitude, they're louder, more themselves than the rest of what is quite a conservative country. I found the people very brave and very proud, heroically living through and beyond what befell them in 2011, and so it doesn't surprise me that many of the most iconic and heroic manga characters originate from this amazing part of Japan. As I get off the bus at Ishinomaki, a town in Tohoku's Miyagi prefecture, severely affected by the tsunami, I have certain expectations, I basically expect devastation. But that's not what I find. Instead, I'm confronted by statues of Kamen Rider and his contemporaries. The members of Cyborg 009 are striking poses and Astroboy is with them. This way, people who arrive at Ishinomaki station by Robocon covered train or bus, get a flavour of the true character of this place instead of just associating it with tragedy, the way much of the world has. Instead, travellers are met with colour and hope. Among the heroes which adorn the city, there's also Robocon and Sea Jetter, plentiful in murals and wall art alongside posing statues. Amazingly, many of these statues actually survived the tsunami, defying tragedy itself and becoming symbols of hope. And there is sincerely something super heroic about this place, the way people continue to live and who they are. People laugh and gather, eat heartily and celebrate what they share at every opportunity, they work through dark hours, from 2am onwards, harvesting catches from the sea and come to one another's aid, to pull their lives out of the rubble and build something new. Miyagi is home to the world's largest temporary housing camp for displaced people in the world, in the form of the kasetsu units, but many of these kasetsu have been converted into entrepreneurial hubs, restaurants and bakeries; people make more than the most of what they have, in fact they redefined their entire situation. In the town of Funakoshi, a fisherman named Nakasato (in the absence of the town's traditional leadership) brings his community together to rebuild and aspire, they gather in the local school and celebrate their harvests of seaweed and fish whilst putting together plans to move their town uphill, away from the waters. In Ishinomaki, an amazing woman named Hashimoto cooks nightly a feast for volunteers and community members, bringing immense warmth to the oceanic cold. The town holds children's festivals and local organisations like It's Not Just Mud whom I worked with, build amazing playgrounds and return to the sea to swim and reclaim the community's heritage. Throughout my time there, I found people speak little about what befell them, instead they speak of the present and the future, making plans and moving forward. For some, that's opening a sake store or reopening a community antique shop, others are focused on their next harvest of clams or their next shipment of crafts, others are planning the reconstruction of their town and others looking forward to the next gathering, to the next community meal. I found the manga characters which adorn the city allegorical (and I believe the community does as well) to the state of the community itself. Sea Jetter defies the calamities of the sea themselves, Cyborg 009 are a family and team who through working together can achieve anything, Robocon and Astroboy are both gentle and mighty and Takeshi Hongo, the Kamen Rider, all in all represents every act of tenacity and heroism. So though as a manga fan, I may have been looking forward to the reopening of the UFO-shaped Ishinomaki Mangattan, or Manga Museum, I couldn't imagine how much it meant to the people who actually lived there and their children. The days following the re-opening ceremony are immensely moving, costumed characters await at the doors to greet children and they're all there, from the members of Cyborg 009 to Kamen Rider. The community has been making steps towards recovery gradually, but this is a milestone, this is to celebrate all that. Artwork adorns the second floor above the gift shop, including concept art and original manga pages, as well as a movie theatre where never before shown short adaptations of manga are seen. And on the third floor is something out of a dream, a manga library containing a boundless collection of ongoing and completed series from Dragonball to Sailor Moon and Prince of Tennis. Among the celebrated creators in town is Osamu Tezuka, manga pioneer and arguably the father of modern manga. But here, I'd like to place particular emphasis on Shotaro Ishinomori, creator of both one of the first superhero teams in Japan in the form of Cyborg 009 and the iconic tokusatsu series Kamen Rider. Ishinomori was a native of Tohoku's own Miyagi prefecture, making the region home of Kamen Rider, the Cyborg team and Ganbare!! Robocon, which Ishinomori also created. The result was that the Mangattan's official name would actually be the Ishinomori Manga Museum. In fact, Ishinomaki itself is often considered the home town of Kamen Rider. In my time in Ishinomaki, I would also be confronted with a high density of promotional art for the upcoming film 009 Re: Cyborg, a continuation of the Cyborg 009 series, based on an Ishinomori story, entrenching the characters' presence in Miyagi and presenting the community's children and people with yet something more to look forward to as they continue to pull their lives back together. Ishinomori's work may have brought joy to people across Japan for decades, but I believe most vitally it has helped lift the hearts of local people and augment the sentiment that there are things to look forward to, that life is worth living and that we should never give up. Remember every cheesy yet cool moment from a manga? Well in Ishinomaki they mattered, they and their characters still do. I once had a disagreement with a friend of mine shortly after the tsunami, he said that the last thing people would care about after the disaster was manga or anime, but after going there myself, I found that that was very, very far from the truth. I hope that in time, Tohoku will be known for what it's culture and what its people celebrate and have achieved, rather than for what befell them, for hope, pride and the Tohoku way.
Ishinomaki Manga Museum photo
The role of manga in post-tsunami Tohoku
Everyone knows what happened in March 2011, everyone has heard about the tsunami and the earthquake and Fukushima, that's why I went, but what I discovered when I arrived is something the world hasn't paid the same level of a...

JapanaHow: How to unite with your waifu

Apr 01 // Salvador GRodiles
The most important thing to take into account during this process is that your waifu only exists in the second dimension. Since we fall into the category of disgusting 3D beings, the first step is to create a version of ourselves that could live in the anime and/or manga world. But wait, how does a real person accomplish this task? Well, the easiest way is to have yourself immortalized into a doujin manga where you and the lucky 2D girl end up hooking up in a glorious relationship that transcends all life in the entire freaking universe. If you lack the talent to create this scenario, then you can always hire a skilled artist to cover this step. To those who lack the money to pay someone to do this, you can always hold the person hostage and force them to create the award-winning romantic tale about you and your waifu. Sure, this option is illegal, but it's very important for someone to do what they can for the sake of true love. Another option is that you can believe in the you who believes in you until your hand subconsciously draws the scene in the style that’s similar to your waifu’s creator/parent. However, this might make it hard for you to capture the right lines and forms that give your girl the beautiful appearance that you adore. Since my art skills are a bit below average, I won’t be able to provide you all with the proper steps to create the right illustrations that’ll do justice to your waifu's best assets. If your comic speaks out your true feelings, then your waifu will materialize in front of you, as she gives you a huge kiss for your hard work. This will result in the two of you embracing each other so hard that she shall be immortalized on your body. Luckily, this form is temporary so your 2D beloved shall get her privacy when she needs it. If you want to summon her again, then you can activate this mode with a special figure that captures her true beauty. Best of all, it’ll come with a mecha musume feature that lets her become a weapon. That way, you can defend yourself before you call her to your side. For those who aren’t happy with this process, the next segment involves jumping into the nearest rocket or spaceship you can find, so you can head into space. Once you’re there, you’ll likely encounter a mysterious destructive alien force that’ll kill you while it’s on its course to Earth. Depending on how close you are to your waifu, there’s a chance that she’ll unite with you, which will result in your resurrection— as long as you have faith in her. Of course, the catch in this method is that you have to transform into your beloved so that you can save the Earth from large monsters and giant space invaders. On top of that, your waifu's soul will reside in your body, which might make most folks sad since they won't get to embrace her physically. For the last method, I guess you could always open up a detective agency with your waifu. When the time to apprehend the culprit arrives, you two could use your matching belts to merge into a hero that has the two of you controlling both halves. Before I forget, the only place where you can get these belts is in a suspicious building that's located in any city that resembles Chicago. Like with the first step, you’ll have to get her to join the physical plane; otherwise, you won’t be able to turn her into your special partner. With all said and done, I bet all of you're wondering why my methods involve teaming up with your waifu to become a single entity. Well, the truth of the matter is that both parties need a strong motive to strengthen the bond between a 3D person and a 2D individual. One of the biggest factors that can push someone to achieve this goal is to battle a group of evildoers who intend to ruin the world that blesses us with the privilege to interact with our one true love (a.k.a. our beloved waifu). [image by makacoon]
JapanaHow photo
Never doubt the power of 2D
Whenever things get rough, you can always count on your waifu to help you out of any rough situation. Whether you’re trying to escape from a large ruin or about to face defeat against a powerful opponent, these 2D ladie...

Reflecting on Women in Anime and Manga

Mar 15 // Yussif Osman
Like everywhere else in the world, pressures surrounding gender roles in Japan are great and these pressures are disproportionately great on women. Women in Japan are expected to stop working after they get married and are then expected to perform the typical duties of a wife and a mother. But like most places in the world, I argue it is getting better, at least in the way people see and treat one another, if not structurally. Hayao Miyazaki, who is notable for creating great, leading female characters, remarked facetiously that he has so many strong female animators, that he may need to make more films with male protagonists to encourage men. He's joking and life is still very difficult for women around the world, but in certain spheres we see strides being made, whether that's a female presidential candidate in the US or increasingly inspiring and strong female protagonists in anime and manga. With regards to Studio Ghibli, we can point to the powerful and driven San from Princess Mononoke or the resourceful and resilient Chihiro from Spirited Away, but I would like to in particular flag up the lesser known Only Yesterday which though released in Japan in 1991, would not be released in North America until over two decades later in 2016. This is a mature and therapeutic film which deals with memory and growing up from the perspective of the twenty-seven-year-old Taeko. The positive outcome of the film being released so late is that we millennials were able to see it as we become Taeko's age and wrestle with the same issues she does, like love, career and working out where we belong. Taeko recalls her childhood whilst seeking to escape her life in the city by doing seasonal work in the countryside. Taeko leads viewers in the same stage of life as her by example, encouraging us to reflect and discover what truly makes us happy as she decides to ultimate to stay in the countryside. Taeko might not be Hokage or a pirate captain, but she is still a leader, in a very meaningful and important sense. Another character who strikes me personally is Mari from Tokyo Magnitude 8. Mirai and Yuki are separated from their from their family when a devastating earthquake hits Tokyo and Mari, a complete stranger takes it upon herself to make sure they reach home. What strikes me here, in particular, is how their coming together was written. Often, something binds characters, meaning they have to come together, often by chance or fate, but this isn't the case here. Mari simply chooses to take responsibility for the children, it's a choice she freely makes to undertake this heavy mission and that says a great deal about her character. Through the course of the story, she becomes more than the typical older sister often found in older young women in anime. She is a protector and a guardian, a teacher, a guide and a parent. She helps them hope and in doing so becomes pivotal for their survival. Not just that, but through her they learn about each other and grow as brother and sister. Another reason this character is so compelling is that it's easy to present a heroine who is strong because she is just written as fighting strong enemies like Ryuko from Kill la Kill, instead, the enemy here is an earthquake and cannot simply be fought and must instead be navigated through, not with strength or attacks, but with character, with optimism and audacity, will and hope, human characteristics which inspire us and should. That said, I believe there are still 'fighting' female protagonists who bring a-lot to anime and manga, more so than their male counterparts. I would like to use the example of the two Nonos from Gunbuster and Diebuster. Both characters are dreamers who discover themselves in their dreams of becoming space pilots and grow as people. But even as shounen-like characters, their fights are spectacular and outshine the battles found in One Piece, Naruto and Dragonball Z. Why do I say this? Whereas in most shounen anime and manga, the protagonist fights by showing off attacks, skills or new techniques, with the Nonos instead what we get is a display of sheer willpower and fury. Where Naruto relied on ascending to his various fox and frog forms to fight progressively stronger foes and Goku has to go super saiyan, the Nonos had to learn, grow and display impossible willpower, resulting in an awesome displays of human perseverance. In short, it's awesome. There remain issues, it is assumed that shounen anime and manga in the mainstream require male protagonists, depriving young boys of strong female role models which I believe are necessary to foster a healthy and fair society. Instead, for most shounen anime and manga, the female characters either need protecting or are a love interest, feeding into existing stereotypes and perpetuating them. As I have described here, strides are being made, but there is still a long way to go. There's one series in particular that I would like to place emphasis on which turns this issue on its head. Revolutionary Girl Utena is about a young woman who seeks to become a prince; i.e. someone who is brave, proud and strong, rather than a princess. The result is a protagonist who plays much of the roles taken by male protagonists in shounen anime, including combat, but with a feminine perspective that brings something new to the table. Rather than simply defeating her foes, Utena empathises with them, understands where they're coming from and in doing so, brings the conflict to resolution, rather than simply beating them into submission. The result is far more compelling and interesting episodes than the average anime. The way the show explored gender and sexuality would also go on to inspire the American cartoon Steven Universe where female alien gems fight, protect and fall in love. Utena empathising with her enemies is akin to Allen Walker liberating the spirits of his akuma foes in D. Gray-man and this brings us to Katsura Hoshino. Hoshino has fought waves of illness and continued to bring D. Gray-man to the world, a story filled with mystery, stunning art and a complex, detailed world with even more complex characters. Hoshino brought us a world of very troubled and traumatised characters, who deal and work through their trauma throughout the story, creating vibrant journeys of self-discovery and startling revelations. D. Gray-man is one of the few shounen manga to have truly empathetic villains, who suffer and have complex lives behind their actions. This is in contrast to even Naruto, which though seeks to portray some of its villains such as Pain and Obito as having reasons for the terrible thing they've done, they're not 'alive' or 'real' in the same way that D. Gray-man villains are who are complicated in virtue of more than just motivations, but quirks and behaviour, personalities that are more than just bitter, rather they are filled with humour and bonds of their own. This may be a trait that female authors and creators bring to their work in a more effective way than their male counterparts, that their characters are simply more complex, multi-layered and interesting. The Millenium Earl and the Noah family are more than just evil, they are a family and genuinely likeable. Likewise, Hoshino's heroes are more than just good, they're odd and bizarre with a billion flaws and detailed likes and dislikes and personalities. Compare multiple Naruto side characters like Tenten or Shino who are given special abilities, but who are basically two dimensional, compared to a single D. Gray-man side character like Lavi, who has a complex personality and backstory of his own. Whereas Lavi is a reluctant Bookman, seeking to record the history of the world, we never learnt a thing about Tenten or Shino which could make us care more about them. I don't know, it might be unfair of me to say that female authors create more compelling characters and stories, but I know that these female authors most certainly did, and so did Hiromu Arakawa, who is responsible for arguably the perfect anime and manga in Full Metal Alchemist and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Arakawa built an incredible world and went as far as to create a science from scratch for the sake of the story in the form of Armestrisian alchemy. The hero-villain axis is fluid as people's motivations bring them dynamically in and out of line with one another, Scar and Greed being primary examples. The story covers issues such as race relations and military occupation, family and international relations, the ethics of science, religion and humanism. The sheer originality of the series is amazing as entire ontologies, countries and philosophies flow into existence before our eyes. Not just that, but the series itself becomes incredibly complex with a range of characters doing multiple things across multiple locations, whilst events still coalesce and work together seamlessly regardless. The story is enjoyable, interesting and moving and I think I speak for all of us when I say I hope we all see more of Arakawa's original work in the future. Having lived and work in East Asia and in Japan in particular, I can say that gender is an issue that still has a long way to go. Stereotypes, societal pressures and expectations make life incredibly difficult for girls and women, but I believe that through the medium of storytelling, we have opportunities to make strides in gender equality and the perception of women. Japan is blessed with a massive storytelling industry in anime, manga, light novels and video games and so, I believe ample opportunity to make a difference.
International photo
Celebrating women characters and authors
This article comes a week late, but I think better late than never and better a little late than very late. I wanted to do something for International Women's day and thought why not reflect on a couple of female characters and creators who have made the world of anime and manga a better, more compelling place.

Review: Naruto Gaiden: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring

Jan 16 // Christian Chiok
Although meant as a prologue for the movie, and just a side story, this Gaiden wasn’t really enjoyable for many reasons. To address the elephant in the room, I feel like Cho-cho’s role felt rather forced and added no substance to story. While I understand that she was added for comedic relief, sometimes it was just executed at the wrong times and it just felt rather annoying more than anything. Another big issue was the main antagonist of this Gaiden—Shin Uchiha, who easily is one of the most forgettable villains in the series with a lackluster motive, probably a lot worse than Obito Uchiha.  His goal is to erase peace as he thinks it’s detrimental to human evolution.  The only memorable things about the character are some of his attacks, like his Kamui-like jutsu and his Weapon Manipulation Technique, which I thought it was cool.   I always thought that Kishimoto was great when it came to delivering fights, especially near the end of the series, as well as other fights such as Sasuke vs. Itachi.  Aside from seeing Shin’s Weapon Manipulation Technique, Sakura in action, and some Naruto and Sasuke Teamwork, just like the antagonist, this fight was hardly enjoyable as well. However, this Gaiden does have its highlights that made reading this tolerable, such as seeing Orochimaru, and the jokes that revolve his new body, the early interactions between Boruto and Naruto, the new generation and of course, Sarada reuniting with Sasuke and learning the truth about her family. Like I stated, in my Boruto: Naruto The Movie review, I really like that Sarada wants to follow the path of Hokage, as opposed to Boruto who wants to be more like Sasuke. While I wasn’t expecting too much out of this Gaiden, it was still overall disappointing. I felt like I was reading it for the sake of reading it every time a new chapter came up. I really thought that reading the entire Gaiden in one sitting would make it more enjoyable, but I was wrong.  I was really hoping to see something feature the new generation but maybe next time.
Naruto Gaiden Review photo
A Story of Father and Daugther
It’s been a few months since I published my review for Boruto: Naruto The Movie, so make sure to check that out as well.  It is important to note that Naruto Gaiden: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring is the...

Ultraman photo
Ultraman

Prepare to unite with Gecco's glorious Ultraman statue


Giant monsters and invaders beware!
Jan 08
// Salvador GRodiles
I haven't gotten the chance to pick up Viz's release of the Ultraman manga by Linebarrels of Iron's creators yet, but it's hard not to notice the amazing detail that was placed into collectibles company Gecco's ...
Yo-Kai Watch photo
Yo-Kai Watch

Impressions: Yo-kai Watch Manga Vol. 1 and 2


A Spooky Adventure
Dec 24
// Christian Chiok
Ever since the first game released in Japan back in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS, the Yo-kai Watch franchise has captivated the entire Japanese population. While the manga was published a few months before the game officially re...

Salty Thoughts: What a One Piece superfan thinks of Pirate Warriors 3

Dec 01 // Anthony Redgrave
As a quick background before diving into the game, I'm a massive One Piece fan. I do a weekly recap on the site, I've watched close to all seven hundred summit episodes of the anime including half the released movies. I spend hours on the Wikia to brush up on the lore while tip-toeing around manga spoilers and won't shut up about it whenever it's brought up in conversation. On the other hand, Dynasty Warriors and musou games are completely alien to me. My history with the gameplay style can only be described as a lazy afternoon keeping my nephew entertained at a family affair. Flashy action on a split screen with little interest in Japanese military history or strategy. Diving into One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 was an interesting affair for a guy with a mixed background such as I.  Looks like the show, sounds like an elevator lobby Presentation wise the game looks great. Like a high definition moving coloured manga, the looks and feels stunning. This is supported by having the seiyu reprise their role from the show making it feel like playing through an episode. The game captures all major set piece events from the story and animates them wonderfully. Unlike Toei's ever fluctuating animation budget for the show, this animation is crisp and detailed. The cutscenes recreate the key visuals featured in the story helping fans reminisce on the many adventures they have embarked on with the Straw Hat crew. For me, it felt like a trip down memory lane taking Luffy from his humble beginnings in Shells town to becoming a major enemy of the world government for the sake of his crew. I'm really glad they spent the time to keep as accurately as possible to the original story and try to cram as many references to the arc as possible into the 30-minute missions. A really nice touch was having the 'To be continued' end cards at the end of each mission hammering home the fact you are playing through the anime.  But it's not all there. Although the game feels like a One Piece title from the visuals, the vocals can only take the game so far. There are no familiar tracks in this game. Having the unique themes of each Straw Hat as you play as them would've really made me connect with the game on a much deeper level. After 700+ episodes, you really grow attached to the tracks. I was expecting to hear; Mother Sea for the tragic cutscenes, character eye-catch motifs for the results screen and Overtaken for the finale of each stage. They would've tied the knot on this incredibly immersive experience. Instead, the music that is provided is forgettable.  It's in the little details...and the big ones, too The game gets very bipolar about the amount of detail it would like to have with the franchise. To date, it's the most accurate One Piece video game title. It's a game that doesn't allow players to purposefully retcon the story mode. You can only play as certain Straw Hats on certain levels as long as they were participating in the bulk of the fighting in the arc. For example, you cannot play as Robin in the CP9/World Government Arc as she was being held hostage and you cannot take Franky back to Syrup Village to Strong Right Kuro in his smug face. Only the characters that fight in the show, fight in the game. That also means unlocking Nami can only be done at the Alabasta arc since she is fairly useless without her Clima-tact arts even though she was recruited in the Arlong Arc.  I really like how the game incorporates the different devil fruit abilities into the gameplay rather than just being a purely cosmetic addition. Logia Devil Fruits are considered the most powerful since the user embodies the element it possesses. This means typical sword swings and gun shots should not be able to affect them and it's shown in game by having many attacks being useless when pitted against a Logia user. It's not completely foolproof as spamming attack (like you're doing every 2 seconds) will cause the armour to break but I appreciate the extra effort they went with incorporating it into the gameplay.  All devil fruit were not made equally regardless of Oda's weird way of power boosting some of the most inane powers I've seen in fiction. There are some gameplay issues that just go against the lore of One Piece and there is two that stand out the most to me. The first is Luffy's Gum Gum Fruit. It's supposed to make him immune to gunfire and it's shown off a lot in the show from him ricocheting back bullets and cannon balls. Playing through the first level, you can still get hurt by bullets albeit really minor chip damage. But it just doesn't make sense especially when the cutscene he is shown saving Zoro by bouncing bullets back at the attackers. My second gripe is the second level that features Buggy the clown, a clown pirate that ate the chop chop fruit. By definition, this guy cannot be cut up. Not slashed or stabbed, completely immune to sharp objects. In the show, the world's best swordsman Dracule Mihawk couldn't damage this East Blue Rookie in the battle of the best. In the second level, you are allowed to take the role of Zoro, the Straw Hat's first mate and resident swordsman. As always at the end of the level you have to fight the main pirate and, in this case, it was Buggy. I was expecting a difficult fight due to my poor choice of fighter or even an option to switch back to Luffy. The game ended up letting me fight Buggy as Zoro and winning without any resistances to any of my attacks. This just shouldn't happen. His body can be sliced in any way and survive so by theory he shouldn't have been able to lose. You could apply this logic to when Luffy fought Enel but even in the manga and anime Luffy got fried a few times despite the natural advantage. Enel was able to power himself up into a electric god compared to Buggy not changing anything about himself.  And other nerdy nitpicks Like Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, Pirate Warriors 3 follows the story up until the current arc and just like the Naruto, provides an alternative ending to the incomplete arc. In this case, the Dressrosa arc is heading towards its end in the manga and finally coming to the showdown between Luffy and the big bad Doflamingo. Unfortunately, the ending in this game has a lot to be desired. Just like Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, the game plays it incredibly safe and has the bad guy escape just after defeat.....It really leaves a sour taste in my mouth especially when Law and Luffy are backed by the entire Straw Hat crew and Aokiji (yeah he's there too). Doflamingo is still able to run away into the sky without any of them giving chase. This is wrong for so many reasons. Doflamingo had so much stake in Dressrosa not only as his Kingdom but also for business purposes. Would he really run away from a factory producing artificial devil fruits to supply to one of the four emperors of the sea? Or even abandon his head scientist Caesar after bargaining and scheming to get him back from Law. Doflamingo doesn't even attempt his signature move Bird Cage trapping the Straw Hats and their allies on the island! Despite my old man ramblings about the smallest detail (the default costumes aren't even canon!) I still really enjoyed the game. Every character feels unique and unlike most games I've played recently, I still want to jump back on and mindlessly attack drones with my favourite One Piece character. A current favourite is post time skip Tashigi but it just feels wrong attacking Marines as her. It is definitely the best One Piece game I've played so far and has the most comprehensive retelling of the story outside of the anime. Any One Piece fan should try to check this out as the reviews are indicating it's better than the previous two. Just try to take everything with a pinch of salt otherwise you'll end up as a salty sailor like me. ricochet To be continued
One Piece photo
Setting sail for the virtual seas!
It's been nearly 8 years since I've started watching One Piece and it seems to be one of the only constants I have kept when transitioning from adolescence to adulthood. So you can bet your bottom beli I jumped at t...

Impressions: Kuroko's Basketball Extra Game

Nov 12 // Christian Chiok
A couple of months after the main series has ended, Tadatoshi Fujimaki released its continuation called Kuroko’s Basketball: Extra Game which features Kuroko and Kagami alongside the Generation of Miracles working together as Team Vorpal Swords aiming to beat Team Jabberwock, a street American Basketball team composed of  Nash Gold and Jason Silver, who have extraordinary talents that surpasses the Generation of Miracles, as well as other three nameless players who are on the same level as the former Teiko players. The arc starts off with Jabberwock playing against Team Strky, a team composed of recently graduated third years from Shutoku, Too, Rakuzan, Kaijo and Yosen. After Jabberwock defeated Strky by a landslide, Jabberwock insulted Strky and as well as the entire country of Japan by stating that they are monkeys and they have no right playing Basketball. As that kind of person that really gets involved and engaged with stories, seeing Team Strky get humiliated made me feel a bit hopeless, as if I was part of that setting. I can't say that their arrogance and their need to insult Japanese players really affected me, but it made me dislike the characters from the start. While it may sound contradicting, in cases like Kuroko's Basketball, I consider giving me a good reason to dislike the antagonist a good way to get myself engaged in a story.  Kagetora offended (as well as the rest of Japan, of course), it drove him to form Team Vorpal Swords and scheduled a game against Jabberwock for the following week. As a result, Kagetora had to pay for their expenses as well. Ever since the original series started, I always wondered how well can the Generation of Miracles fare with American players, especially a team that has beaten some professional NBA players. As soon as I read that, I was already expecting them to get crushed, of course, to a much lesser extend compared to Team Strky. Overall, this first chapter was a good introduction on the new set of antagonists. While I think addressing Japan as “monkeys” went too far, and it gave me enough reason to immediately despise the characters, it was still a good way on showing their personalities and more reason to root for Team Vorpal Swords once the game started. Whether its a battle series, sports series or any series that features competition, I consider it important that the antagonists are shown destroying the protagonists' comrades as a way to tease their abilities and power. It may be cliche, but Fujimaki pulled it off right. With Team Strky being annihilated by Jabberwock despite Strky being composed of highly skilled players, plus the insults, it made the anticipation of the main match even harder.  The best part of the chapter was the ending, where all seven players, being Kuroko, Kagami and the rest of the Generation of Miracles met up in the gymnasium to train, as it felt like it was a throwback to their former Teiko days—before they turned arrogant and showed comradery. It was definitely one my favorite arcs in the series. While Kagami wasn’t part of Teiko of course, seeing him with the Generation of Miracles was good fan service.  If you're a fan of the original series and was left with the need of more content, I would definitely recommend that you read Extra Game. The first chapter so far starts off well featuring the Dream Team we wanted to see since the series ended.  Naturally, as stated above, before reading Extra Game, it is imperative that you watch or read the original Kuroko's Basketball series. 
Kuroko photo
Make It Flashy!
Ever since emerging myself into the wonderful world of Anime and Manga, I’ve being a fan of many sports series such as Hajime no Ippo, Captain Tsubasa, Slam Dunk, and Prince of Tennis. One of my rece...

Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Tie the knot with Sailor Moon Marriage Certificates


Perfect for the cosplay wedding
Oct 24
// Anthony Redgrave
Boring old marriage certificate forms can now be made a lot prettier with the Sailor Moon inspired designs. Konin Todoke is an online certificate service that provides legislated documents for marriage and family registration...
Himouto! Umaru-chan photo
Himouto! Umaru-chan

Popular Himouto! Umaru-chan character gets spin off manga


Akita girl in Tokyo city
Oct 20
// Anthony Redgrave
Creator of Himouto! Umaru-chan had recently announced the publication of a spinoff manga to his popular series about the perfect high school girl turned slacker whenever she is at home. The main star of this new ser...
Nichijou photo
Nichijou

Nichijou's HUGE announcement is pretty normal


Oh Mai-chan that was a good joke~
Jun 24
// Anthony Redgrave
Nichijou (My Ordinary Life) is a lot like Cartoon Network's Regular Show, it's anything but. It takes the tried and true school girl slice of life comedy formula and treats every punch line as a road down to ludicrous-ville. ...
Costco Manga photo
Costco Manga

Shopping at Costco becomes a manga


Costco meets Manga
Jun 17
// Anthony Redgrave
There's still so much going on at E3 it's hard to escape the gravitational pull towards writing about video games. But outside of the hot Los Angeles convention centre news is still happening, specifically doujin news regardi...
Memoirs of Amorous Gents  photo
Memoirs of Amorous Gents

Animator Expo's 23rd short adapts another Moyoco Anno manga


Gentlemen can be perverts too
May 23
// Salvador GRodiles
We're getting close to the Japan Animator Expo project's final stretch, and the latest piece ends up being another adaptation (slightly NSFW) of a manga by Moyoco Anno. Just like the previous piece that adapted her work, "Mem...
Crunchyroll manga photo
Crunchyroll manga

Crunchyroll adds PARK Harajuku: Crisis Team! original comic


Original manga to debut in end of May
May 21
// Soul Tsukino
Crunchyroll has announced the latest offering from their “Crunchyroll Originals” manga/comic line with PARK Harajuku: Crisis Team!, an all-new, full color digital webco...
SCANDAL photo
SCANDAL

SCANDAL manga recommendations


Even rockstars like manga
May 21
// Anthony Redgrave
J Rock Girl Group SCANDAL have just finished performing in Mexico with their next stop being on the other side of the world, Hong Kong. But despite this busy lifestyle they still have time for Japanator's favourite literature...
Bakuman photo
Bakuman

Live action screens from Bakuman movie


Manga on the big screen
May 18
// Anthony Redgrave
Movies based off anime/manga have faired much better than their geeky partner video games. The Death Note movie may have faltered a little due to the massive change in story but all the characters looked great and i...
Your Lie in April photo
Your Lie in April

Feel emotions again with Your Lie in April OVA


Get Rekt, Emotions. AGAIN
May 15
// Red Veron
I know many of you are still trying to get over the ending Your Lie in April and the wound still fresh in your hearts, why don't take a look at a more simpler time? News of a 23rd anime episode just hit and instead of an epil...
Attack on Avengers photo
Attack on Avengers

Behold, the Attack on Titan and Marvel crossover nobody asked for


Titans Assemble?
May 12
// Josh Tolentino
I've been getting back into reading comic books of late, the fabled "ame-comi" from across the Pacific, and one fun part of American comic book culture is the practice of "Free Comic Book Day", when comic stores and publisher...
Himouto-Umaru-chan photo
Himouto-Umaru-chan

Himouto! Umaru-chan Anime Details Revealed


Coming July 2015
May 07
// Nicole Helmeid
Gag manga Himouto! Umaru-chan is receiving an anime adaptation set to air during the Summer 2015 season.  The series, produced by by Sankaku Head centers around a high school girl named Umaru and her older brot...
One Punch Man photo
One Punch Man

Studio MADHOUSE winds up for One Punch Man anime


Fingers crossed!
Mar 21
// Josh Tolentino
[Update: Check out a hot cam promo for the show below, straight from the AnimeJapan 2015 show floor!] I must say that as hyped-up as I am about the prospect of a hot new anime adaptation of One Punch Man, the skeptic in ...
Araki Hirohiko photo
Araki Hirohiko

Learn the secrets of the trade with Jojo author


Joestar's Secret Manga Technique!
Mar 17
// Anthony Redgrave
From years of watching high school slice-of-life anime, there should always be a friend wanting to get into the manga/anime industry. Usually they would be the megane character; if it's a female she may be shy about...
Viz Media photo
Viz Media

Start off your Spring Break with Viz's upcoming digital manga titles


March is about to get crazy
Mar 04
// Salvador GRodiles
I may be more of a fan of reading things physically than digitally, but Viz's March digital manga roster contains some interesting titles, since they resurrected a few Tokyopop titles. On top of that, Tokyo Ghoul and Spell of...
My Hero Academia photo
My Hero Academia

Rejoice: My Hero Academia to be released physically


It's time for us to don our capes and cowls
Feb 22
// Salvador GRodiles
I don't know about you, but it seems that Viz Media is in a super good mood this week. Aside from their unexpected acquisition of the 2011 Ultraman manga, the company has plans to release My Hero Academia, the latest manga by...
Ultraman photo
Ultraman

Licensing GET: Viz grabs the 2011 Ultraman manga


It's time to witness Viz's special transformation!
Feb 19
// Salvador GRodiles
It looks like Viz Media's tapping into their toku side, as they've licensed the Ultraman manga that's written and drawn by Linebarrels of Iron's Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi. Honestly, I'm still very surprised ...
Gundam: The Origin photo
Gundam: The Origin

Watch 7 minutes of the Red Comet in Gundam: The Origin


Watch the veritable Red Comet in action!
Feb 17
// Red Veron
Fans of the Red Comet, rejoice! We finally get to see Char Aznable in action in this new trailer for the upcoming first part of the OVA adaptation of Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin. The trailer features Char Aznable laying w...
Urasawa photo
Urasawa

Naoki Urasawa joins the 21st Century and gets a Twitter account


Wrong century?
Feb 17
// Hiroko Yamamura
Acclaimed mangaka and all around cool dude, Naoki Urasawa has finally made a Twitter account! The news might not be all that exciting for everyone, but being that he's pretty much my favorite, it's huge news for me! The man i...
Golgo 13 photo
Golgo 13

Golgo 13 is officially Too Old For This Sh*t


The OG hitman retires soon
Feb 09
// Josh Tolentino
Indeed, like a certain police officer, the legendary assassin Golgo 13 is just a few weeks from retirement...literally! After nearly forty-seven years in serialization, the longest-running currently published manga is set to ...
Twin Tail Day photo
Twin Tail Day

Twin Tails day is upon us again and let us celebrate!


Twin Tail Day is Best Holiday
Feb 02
// Red Veron
Today is February 2nd in Japan, which is the officially designated day to celebrate the iconic hairstyle: The Twin Tails. The day "2-2" was chosen because of how the 2's look like two bunches of hair on both sides much like t...
One Punch Man photo
One Punch Man

It takes just one man to make a One Punch Man anime


Well, a prototype of one, anyway
Feb 02
// Josh Tolentino
If there's anything I've learned over the years of writing about the things I enjoy, it's that making those things - in this case, anime - is very hard work, often done by large numbers of very talented people. That makes th...

Annotated Manga: Bleach chapters 610-613

Feb 01 // Josh Tolentino
Of course, "movement" and "things happening" doesn't always have to equate to people getting punched or cut, and in these chapters, we not only see what passes as an explanation of big boss Ywach's powers (but no explanation of his Mutton Chops, sadly), but also the death and rebirth of Ichibei, leader of the Royal Guard. Oh, and the Soul King gets stabbed, too. But first things first: Ichibei, namer of names in Soul Societ and a guy who gets to define what's what when it comes to powers, gets himself blown the hell up. Why? Even six weeks on, I'm not entirely sure. Ywach's power as the "Almighty" Quincy seems to be some kind of omniscience, an ability to know pretty much everything with his eyes "closed", and even more than everything now that they're "open". In this case "open" eyes mean revealing that they're really really weird. Like, with four pupils, each poking their way into the whites like he's The Undertaker. He's a literal "four-eyes" (or rather, with two sets, an "eight-eyes"), though not nearly as nerdy as the moniker might imply. I'm not sure how knowing all that would necessarily equate to the monk getting blown up, but with references to "raw power" being made, I'll just assume it's because he's too much for it. That fits the Bleach pattern, in any case. Interestingly, the Soul King also seems to have himself a set of extra pupils as well. Months ago, when his eyes were first shown, I had thought the extra pupils were just dark, and that he had the "star-shaped eyes" thing going that Nia from Gurren Lagann had. I was wrong, and the implications of that seem to be that, alongside Ywach addressing the King as "Father", Quincy and Soul Reapers are far more closely related than anyone suspected. Remember back when they just used to be the guys that used bows? Ah, youth. Speaking of youth, all our favorite protagonists, the humans (hah!) finally come face to face with Ywach, after getting a quick briefing from the suddenly resurrected Ichibei. As for how he got back to the land of the sorta-not-dead (I just now remembered that Soul Society is technically the afterlife), just calling his name does the job. It's like he's a Kamen Rider or something! And reinforcements are on the way. The remaining Captains, as well as Rukia and Renji, are gathering with Urahara to make their way up to the Royal Palace, now that the fight's over on the ground. Hopefully the humans will be able to put up a credible fight before they arrive to steal the show again.
Bleach photo
A Long Time Coming
While it's been at least six weeks since the last time we checked in with Bleach, various publishing breaks and delays have given us just four-odd chapters to work with, and given the pace Bleach tends to move at, it fee...

Crunchyroll photo
Crunchyroll

Level Up: Crunchyroll's Premium Members now have unlimited manga access


Magma for Everyone!
Jan 18
// Salvador GRodiles
I may be late to the party again, but I thought that it was worth noting that Crunchyroll has granted their Premium Members the ability to access their magma... um, I mean manga library. In other words, the anime subscribers ...
Yen Press photo
Yen Press

Licensing GET: Yen Press grabs Durarara!! light novels and more


It's time to rejoice to the max!
Jan 10
// Salvador GRodiles
Alright, people! I might need someone to wake me up from my eternal slumber, because Yen Press' latest announcement is too freaking good to be true. In other words, the company has licensed the original Durarara!! light novel...
Spider-Man photo
Spider-Man

Japanese Spider-Man always saves the day!


Best Spider-Man ever
Jan 09
// Josh Tolentino
All us normal everyday folks know to call their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man when they get into a jam, but what happens when Spider-Man gets into a jam? If Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott is to be believed, ...
Finder photo
Finder

Digital Manga Inc. forms a Kickstarter to restock Finder


It looks like DMI is trying something new
Jan 09
// Salvador GRodiles
It looks like Digital Manga Inc. has made an interesting move recently. Instead of starting a Kickstarter to fund a license a manga series, the company is starting a campaign to restock Finder's first six volumes. While ...
Prophecy photo
Prophecy

Prophecy unveils a creepy new live-action trailer


Creepy!
Dec 22
// Hiroko Yamamura
The uber popular manga Prophecy, written by Testuya Tsutsui is getting an adaptation on the big screen in Japan. The tale of unfulfilled justice and judgment makes its debut in theaters on June 6th, adding to the already solid summer movie line-up. I hope the film can give the slow burning crime thriller a bit of justice, as the shots look pretty good so far!
J-Stars Victory VS+ photo
J-Stars Victory VS+

Shonen Jump J-Stars Victory VS+ answers all the big questions


Everyone comes out to party
Dec 22
// Josh Tolentino
The biggest question of them all being "When the hell is Bandai Namco releasing Jump Stars Victory VS?" in English. The answer to that is "Next summer, on the PS3, PS4, PS Vita, and all under the somehow even more nonsensica...

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