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First Impressions: Love Live School Idol Project Season 2 photo
First Impressions: Love Live School Idol Project Season 2
by LB Bryant

It's been around a year since the last time we saw the girls from Otonokizaka High School and a lot has changed in that time. The nine girls are still school idols, but now Honoka has stepped up to become the new student council president. More importantly though, it seems that after a successful first event there will be a second Love Live competition for school idol groups to participate in and everyone wants to enter...except Honoka that is. For the entire first episode, the girls try to figure out why Honoka doesn't want to enter the competition and how they can change her mind.

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First Impressions: Black Bullet photo
First Impressions: Black Bullet
by LB Bryant

Taking place in the not too distant future, humanity has been infected with giant bugs called Gastrea. These bugs attack humans and infect them with a virus which then turns the victims into giant bugs themselves. There is no cure. The only defense that humans have against these attacks are cursed children: young girls who were infected with the virus while still in the womb. These girls are born with superhuman physical capabilities and are able to fight off the Gastrea, with the help of their 'promoters,' or normal humans who keep them in check. This series is about one such pairing: a loli is named Enju and her promoter Satomi Rentaro, who lost his parents ten years earlier in a great war. 

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First Impressions: Soul Eater NOT photo
First Impressions: Soul Eater NOT
by Jeff Chuang

When Soul Eater first rushed on to the screens and shelves of North America years ago, it brought along a fun story about Meisters with special powers who team up with Weapons who are also people with special powers. Its stylish visuals and shounen battle formula made for easy watching with some attractive characters. Soul Eater NOT, a spin-off manga-turned-anime, picks up the main thing Soul Eater left on the table: its setting.

In that sense, Soul Eater NOT is everything like Soul Eater: you have this crazy school full of people with super powers, people fight, and it's hardly what you'd expect of an everyday life sort of existence. In Soul Eater NOT, people still turn into weapons and students study to better hone their powers at school. Soul Eater NOT is, however, everything Soul Eater is not about: a few school kids getting along and growing up together, without the pressure of having to save the world.

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Annotated Anime Roundup: Spring 2014 Week 2 photo
Annotated Anime Roundup: Spring 2014 Week 2
by Josh Tolentino

Oh man, there's too many anime out! We can't handle it! This is the Annotated Anime Roundup!

In case you've gleaned your first impressions from our top men and women of Spring's latest sensations in our Annotated Anime solo recaps, this is where you'll find the latest from Yowapeda, Tonari no Seki-kun, Riddle Story of the Devil, Baby Steps, Daimidaler, Keroro, The World is Still Beautiful, and One Week Friends!

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First Impressions: Mekakucity Actors photo
First Impressions: Mekakucity Actors
by Chris Walden

"Oh hey, a Shaft show! I didn't end up watching Nisekoi, so I'll be sure to watch this."

This was the only reason I decided to pick up Mekakucity Actors. I had no idea that I was diving into what seems like a reasonably well-established fandom, involving a bunch of Vocaloid songs and the stories that they may or may not be telling. 

I still haven't listened to any of these songs, or attempted to figure out what the deal is with this fandom, as I figured it'd be better to just go in blind. Or at least, as blind as the people I follow on Twitter would allow me to be. 

The hype reached a fever pitch when it aired on Saturday, and while screenshots of Vocaloid-y looking characters began to trickle onto my timeline, I was busy wondering whether this was going to be another Black Rock Shooter

Nah, I think we're okay. Shaft is handling it, after all!

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First Impressions: Baby Steps photo
First Impressions: Baby Steps
by Karen Mead

I really wish I was good at tennis. It's really the only professional sport that I have a lot of familiarity with, since my Mom often watched professional tournaments on TV dating back to when I was very young. I remember seeing Michael Chang score his famous, around-the-net Match Point in...what was it? 1995? Wow, I feel old, let's move on.

I've tried playing, but I just don't seem to be cut out for it. There's something wonky with my depth perception or something, so I always stick out my racket to where I think the ball is, only to be wrong and miss entirely. I don't know, maybe this is a correctable problem and I'm just too lazy to put in the requisite practice, but I've pretty much given up on ever playing seriously at this point. Now, with Baby Steps, I can explore the possibility of a world where I was not too lazy to learn how to hit that darn ball properly, and it's pretty neat.

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Annotated Anime: The Irregular at Magic High School Ep 2 photo
Annotated Anime: The Irregular at Magic High School Ep 2
by LB Bryant

When I wrote my First Impressions for the first episode for Irregular at Magic High School, I said that I was sure that the series would be building toward something and I was very curious to know what it was. Now, after watching the second episode, I'm not so sure that I'm that curious anymore if it means that we're going to be spending the next twenty-something weeks listening to Tatsuya and Miyuki casually flirting with each other. 

The story behind this week's episode is that Miyuki has been invited to join the student council. Before she accepts however, she implores all of the present members to also invite her brother, Tatsuya, to join as well because... well, I'm not not really sure why. She just wants him there. Unfortunately there's a rule in place which doesn't allow members of the reserve class to join. You'd think that this would be the end of the discussion, but a member of the disciplinary committee thinks up a loophole which would allow Tatsuya to join. This goes over well with everyone except for the vice presiden,t whose full name includes Hattori Hanzo. Yes, seriously. 

After Hattori goes on and on about how a Weed shouldn't be allowed to join, Tatsuya challenges him to a magic battle in order to prove that his sister wasn't just being a raving, brother-crushing loon when she said that Tatsuya could hold his own on the disciplinary committee if he had to.

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Shonen Showdown 4-12-2014 photo
Shonen Showdown 4-12-2014
by Josh Tolentino

Alright everyone, it's time for Shonen Showdown, the weekly fighting manga and anime recap that gets it, OK, we know about the whole duality thing in Naruto's themes. Gaawhhhd

Anyway, we've got it all for you this fine evening, including the latest from Naruto, Hunter x Hunter, One Piece and Bleach! Catch it all below after you read the latest round of First Impressions from all the new Spring anime series!

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Impressions: Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace photo
Impressions: Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace
by Elliot Gay

I firmly believe that Satelight's scifi space opera, Bodacious Space Pirates, is a series that deserves a better name. Even the original novel's title (Miniskirt Space Pirates) betrays the actual content of the show. Hell, I was more than ready to write this franchise off entirely because the title screamed raunchy. The only reason I gave it a shot was because Tatsuo Sato's involvement. Many of you are probably most familiar with him from his work on the fantastic Martian Successor Nadesico series and film.

I'm glad I gave Bodacious Space Pirates a fair shot, because it ended up being one of my favorite TV anime from 2012. Just the right mix of great characters and scifi edge, BSP was a show that played its subject matter completely straight. It took the time to flesh out its world and cast rather than focus on action, resulting in a wonderfully epic coming of age tale.

While it's not the sequel TV series I find myself craving, Bodacious Space Pirates: Abyss of Hyperspace does give fans yet another chance to dive back into the strange universe of legal pirating. 

Does this new film soar through the depths of space, or sink into the deep dark void?

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Jtor AM 26: All those horrible shows you love photo
Jtor AM 26: All those horrible shows you love
by Karen Mead

This week's show is longer than usual because we discuss pretty much every show that exists. Join Tim "I think this show is stupid and you're stupid for liking it," Sheehy, Ben "I'm too nice to say you're stupid but I'll just judge you silently," Huber, L. "I think I maybe liked it? Kind of? A little?" B., and your host, Karen "So maybe I am stupid, DEAL WITH IT!" Mead as they navigate the best and worst of the spring 2014 anime season. We're also joined by Jeff "Who even cares about anime, I just got back from Japan BITCHES!" Chuang.

Still, despite all the anime on our plates, we still make time to ask the insightful questions that we know the anime community depends on, like: Would Nisekoi be improved if there was an actual dead girl buried in the cellar? Was Captain Earth written with a Magnetic Poetry Set, Mecha Edition? Does Irregular at Magic High School get any points for being interesting if all the cool stuff was stuffed in the first 30 seconds, never to be seen again? Does one teenaged assassin throwing three sticks of Pocky at another teenaged assassin count as an "action scene"? And does Ben only enjoy Soul Eater NOT! due to an unusual and mysterious absence of groping? All this, and more, in a jam-packed episode 26!

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First Impressions: The Comic Artist and His Assistants photo
First Impressions: The Comic Artist and His Assistants
by Karen Mead

I wanted to like this. Maybe it's just due to super-fond memories of Doujin Work, but I have a bias towards any anime that happens to be about making comic books. So even though I knew this was going to be a series about a pervy comic artist that was going to be all pervy jokes about boobs and panties, I was hoping there would be a little more to it; that the humor might somehow be universal enough that I could still enjoy it, even though I get nothing out of the fanservice. Well, the short answer is, there's nothing more to it; it's just fanservice and jokes that aren't very funny.

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The Bestsellers List: Top music, movies, and manga for April 11 photo
The Bestsellers List: Top music, movies, and manga for April 11
by Brad Rice

Welcome to The Bestsellers List, where we highlight the bestselling music and movies in Japan, along with the best of the American manga sales each week.

This week, Mobile Suit Gundam proves just how dominant of a force it can be, supplanting the perennial favorite Attack on Titan. It's taken people a while, but they're finally realizing just how great of a series Gundam: The Origin is. If you've never gotten into the Gundam franchise, this is the perfect way to get in. Plus, Vertical's gorgeous volumes make it a must-have.

On the film side, an interesting flick caught my eye: The Snow White Murder Case. Take a look at the trailer and see for yourself. It's about a murder at a cosmetics company, and a TV show starts investigating one the victim's co-workers to see if she was the wicked person to kill the poor office lady. I'd love to see how it turns out. 

Let's take a look at the top titles from each list:

Oricon's Top Three Songs

1. Kidsuitara Kataomoi by Nogizaka46
2. No Mercy by BAP
3. High Five by Yuma Nakayama

New York Times' Top Three Manga

1. Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin Vol. 5
2. Soul Eater Vol. 19
3. Attack on Titan Vol. 1

Japan's Top Three Box Office Films

1. Frozen
2. Doraemon: Shin Nobita no Daimakyo
3. Heisei Rider vs. Showa Rider

Check out the full lists after the jump!

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