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9:00 AM on 10.31.2014

Happy Halloween from Japanator!

Happy Halloween to all of our awesome readers. I know things have been a bit unstable around the site as we make some changes, but you can definitely look forward to some great treats in the upcoming few weeks. No tricks, I ...

Hiroko Yamamura


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Mistwalker Announces Upcoming Terra Battle Concert

Terra Battle concert planning is now underway as the popular mobile-RPG surpasses 1 million downloads in less than a month. For more information on upcoming milestones and recently unlocked milestones, please visit Terra Battle's Download Starter.






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

"What would you do if you had superpowers?"

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

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

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Annotated Manga: Bleach 609 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach 609
by Josh Tolentino

This week seems to be one for short recaps, but where one recap this week was short because very little needed to be said that wasn't conveyed in a single panel, this week's installment of Bleach left me desperately wishing that the chapter title, "What The Hell" were a more apt descriptor of what actually went on in the pages.

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Annotated Manga: Naruto chapter 698 photo
Annotated Manga: Naruto chapter 698
by Josh Tolentino

Oof. That's gonna leave a mark.

At least it's over, though! Almost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Get your Crime Coefficient checked over at Hulu]

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Annotated Anime: Unlimited Blade Works episodes 2-3 photo
Annotated Anime: Unlimited Blade Works episodes 2-3
by Josh Tolentino

The more I watch of Unlimited Blade Works, the more I'm convinced that everyone would've been better off if each episode were an hour long rather than the standard length. It'd work, even if the show became bi-weekly because of it. 

If nothing else, Ufotable seem to be making their own episodes seemingly with that in mind, as the last two weeks have felt like the front and back halves of a single longer production. The unintended result is a week that comes across as very quiet, and possibly boring, followed up with delicious excitement lacking in real narrative progress. 

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Annotated Anime: Terra Formars episodes 4-5 photo
Annotated Anime: Terra Formars episodes 4-5
by Josh Tolentino

When last I wrote about Terra Formars I noted its tonal and structural similarities to another of the year's darlings, Attack on Titan. That got some folks riled up for some reason, but I'm standing by those words, especially now that the show has been revealed to take a particular kind of glee in twisting the knife.

Like its spiritual sibling following a "no one is safe" ethos when it comes to character death and then savoring the righteous anger that follows every escalation of mankind's war against the roach menace. Attack on Titan is hardly the first bleak anime ever, but it and Terra Formars definitely live in the same neighboorhood, shopping for groceries at the same grimy convenience stores and wearing the same intimidating scowls on their faces.

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Japanator Interviews: Morning Musume '14 photo
Japanator Interviews: Morning Musume '14
by Hiroko Yamamura

After eleven amazing years, current Morning Musume '14 leader, Sayumi Michishige is graduating after their current tour. The super group known to fans as Momusu have been lighting up Japan's pop charts since 1997, and have absolutely no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. Michishige leaves the always revolving line-up to the other 13 girls, with new girls being added to the gorgeous line-up.

Morning Musume saw a big spike in popularity last year, after a few years of a lull. Many contribute the group's success to Michishige's unique presence and grace, as well as god given amazing looks. Before their show in New York earlier this month, Sayumi took a few moments to speak to me about her thoughts on leaving the mega-pop machine.

Japanator -  Michishige-san, thank you for taking the time to speak to your fans in the United States. What are your expectations for your upcoming show in New York? What do you think of U.S. fans?

Sayumi Michishige - U.S. fans always show such strong feelings, and it's been a long time since I've seen them face to face. They're going to see a new side of Morning Musume。with a lot more dancing.

Japanator - Morning Musume has had non-stop success since their first single, "Morning Coffee". What is the secret to the group's success and popularity?

Sayumi Michishige - Four new members were announced recently, and it's our biggest group in a long time. Morning Musume is constantly developing by adding unique and colorful members. I think that this style of group which never loses freshness grabs the heart of the fans.

Japanator - We are all very sad to hear you are graduating this year, and feel you have really been the face of the group for so long. Can you tell us about any immediate acting or singing projects you would like to announce?

Sayumi Michishige - It seems like it's coming up fast, but at the same time there's a lot of work to do until that day. I'm thinking about what I can do for MorningMusume right up until the end.

Japanator - What has been the hardest part of being the leader of Morning Musume? Are you a little relieved to be graduating?

Sayumi Michishige - The challenge is about how to treat and teach the junior members. I wanted to be in the position of a leader, but I had never actually been in that position before. So, at the beginning I agonized a lot.

Japanator - While visiting New York, is there anything you are hoping to do in your free time?

Sayumi Michishige - There are so many great places to see! New York is a place for fashion, so I'm thinking about that.

Japanator - Please give a message for your fans in the United States and the readers of Japanator.

Sayumi Michishige - It seems like a long time, but now we're coming to the U.S. and the moment has come to perform live in New York. We will perform with all we've got, so please follow us!

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Annotated Manga: Bleach chapters 601-602 photo
Annotated Manga: Bleach chapters 601-602
by Josh Tolentino

After a couple of chapters spent seemingly breaking down Royal Guards' invincible mystique, it all gets built back up again, with the arrival of one guy: Oetsu Nimaiya.

And while the precedent Bleach has established for itself threatens to quickly undermine all of the puffy-vested blacksmith's actions, it's about the journey, rather than the destination at this point. That's what I tell myself, anyway.

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Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 3 photo
Annotated Anime: Shirobako episode 3
by Jeff Chuang

Shirobako episode 3 brings us to Aoi's primary tasks to the finish. We first see the innocuous name sake--the white jewel case that hosts the final cut of the TV episode, thus "shirobako." The joy ride continues all the way to the end.

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Annotated Manga: Naruto chapters 695-697 photo
Annotated Manga: Naruto chapters 695-697
by Josh Tolentino

At this point, we're not even three chapters from THE END OF NARUTO, and yet I'm left with little to comment on.

That's not to say that these last few chapters have been bad, or the ending especially shallow, but simply that as far as "endings" go, there's simply not that much "happening" in a narrative sense.

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First Impressions: Log Horizon 2 photo
First Impressions: Log Horizon 2
by Josh Tolentino

We neglected to cover Log Horizon back when it debuted, beyond first look by Karen, who came away distinctly unimpressed. That was a missed opportunity, because, like many a good show, Log Horizon was very much a slow, thoughtful burn in ways that its other peers in the burgeoning "Trapped In A Videogame" anime subgenres were not.

In fact, for many a longtime online RPG player, myself included, Log Horizon was the show they were hoping to see when Sword Art Online and its ilk opened the floodgates: An anime that knew and cared about how MMORPGs work, and more importantly, used that knowledge to enhance the story it told.

Now that we're into the second season, I'm happy to report that that's still the case.

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