Author Archives: Goldy
Stop; take a breath. We’re just past the halfway mark of the winter anime season. I can feel the warm breezes of spring coming (along with Jojo part 3! \o.o/).
With the crazy snowstorms behind us and the feeling a bit of a chilly winter still nipping at our noses (or not, if you’re living someplace warm; if you do, please send me your sunshine.), let’s review on some of the titles this season had to offer.
I started out the season watching at least one episode of everything airing, aside from a few selected ones, but soon whittled it down to a somewhat manageable list. In my choices, I’ve noticed that we have a lot of romantic comedies this season as well as a bunch of the supernatural genre. PLUS, supernatural romcoms! What more could you want?
I remember picking up a copy of JUMP and being confused by seeing a romantic comedy looking manga on the cover. This was Nisekoi (“fake love”) and I soon found out that while it does have its share of love story drama, it has strong characterization and well, violence as well. >_> Thus, when I found out there was going to be an anime made by SHAFT no less of this series, I definitely had to jump on board. So far, I have not been disappointed. And while the love triangle drama can seem a bit overwhelming (especially as we farther in the story), it’s a story where you can’t really decide what the OTP should be, and I like things that way.
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren
This one had me nervous, to be honest. I enjoyed the first season of Chuu2, but I was skeptical on how Kyoto Animation would be able to handle the story now that Rikka and Yuuta were together, but it turns out KyoAni has not lost their ability to tell any story well. The show thus far earns a solid “adorable” from me and shows that not all relationships are made alike.
Tonari no Seki-kun
As a break from the romcom (or perhaps not!), there’s the short series of Tonari no Seki-kun to give us 7 minutes to kill time, like Seki does each class period much to the dismay (and sometimes enjoyment) of his classmate who sits by him, Rumi.
The more I watch of this, the more I really like it. While I still share in Rumi’s frustration over Seki not paying attention in class, I also find myself enjoying his creative imagination like Rumi eventually does. Their relationship with one another started with one annoying the other, but it’s slowly turning into partners in crime.
Now, onto the supernatural. Noragami (loosely translated to “stray god”) is probably the most interesting and blogging worthy show of the season, I think. Depending how it ends up and if I can beat my dreadful procrastination, I’d love to write a post about it.
But, what makes this show interesting? While heavily influenced with Shinto, I’m finding some Christian elements springing up, especially when it comes to the effects of sin on a person and how it can affect the people around you. If you’ll grant me a bit more musing on this, there’s a concept called a “spiral of sin” that came to my mind when seeing the phantom storms brew in Noragami and many phantoms use temptations towards humans to corrupt their hearts by “easy” ways out of their troubles.
Basically, it’s a cool show about deep stuff that’s interesting. After this most recent episode, I’m both excited and scared to see where this show is going.
Neither a romcom nor supernatural, the light sci-fi of Space Dandy is probably one the best and more questionable choices in anime I’ve made (second only to Medaka Box, Kill la Kill, and Revolutionary Girl Utena).
I don’t like high sci-fi (aka: massive world building sci-fi), but I do enjoy some nonsensical sci-fi that gives you some fun social commentary with a side of aliens, zombies, and exploding planets. Think Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy, mix in a bit of the jazzy-ness of Cowboy Bebop and the flare of Redline and you may have something close to Space Dandy.
As a far warning and probably the reason that, last I checked, none of the rest of the Tangles’ writers were watching Space Dandy was because of a rather blatant and reoccurring fanservice joke.
The main restaurant that Space Dandy likes to go to is called “Boobies” (parody of Hooters, I imagine), which speaks far too much for itself, sadly. And while not an overwhelming element of the show, it’s there enough to be noticeable.
Mikakunin de Shinkoukei
(Engaged to the Unidentified)
“Yonomi Kobeni, an ordinary girl, finds out on her 16th birthday that she is betrothed to Mitsumine Hakuya, a boy the same age as her. Hakuya moves in from the countryside and starts living with her, bringing his younger sister who is still a primary school student with him. Also added is her older sister who is already living with Kobeni and is two years older.” – myanimelist description
Somehow, it has turned out to be a series I look forward to each week. At this point though, I don’t know what to expect from this series since it keeps me guessing each week. But beyond the creepy sister loving tendencies of the elder sister, all the characters are interesting and great in their own way. And, again with the romantic comedy, this one has a different take on a relationship between two people who don’t know each other very well, but both make an effort to understand one another despite the crazy circumstances.
Inari Konkon Koi Iroha
I’m on the fence about this one, I really am. In fact, I may be ready to drop it because it’s not living up to whatever expectations I put on it(which was not much) and because the anime doesn’t seem like it knows what kind of story it wants to be. But while it does seem to be slipping into boring story land, it does have a few things going for it.
First off, this is a less extreme take on a magical girl story. The main girl, Inari, by making a wish to the gods to become a girl she admires, actually turns into that girl and thus gets herself into a whole bunch of trouble and can’t change back. Luckily, the god of the shrine (Uka) grants Inari some of her powers in order to change back to the way Inari was. The catch? Inari becomes somewhat of a mini-god with these newly found powers of being able to change into anyone.
This part of the plot is curious since it seems like this is not a good thing overall, for Inari to have these powers, that is. And the affects are mainly on the god Uka, but it is uncertain how bad this is.
Secondly, this story shows a very important lesson about life. While Inari gets into the habit of solving her problems with just changing into someone else, she starts learning this is not the answer and that, in fact, she has power to help others by just being herself.
Only time will tell if this series will shape into anything meaningful, though.
Kill la Kill
Not to say the past 17 episodes weren’t great, but finally we know where they were leading. Many jaws were dropped when episode 18 rolled along.
So, we’ve gotten to the final stretch and it’s all uphill from here to the final battle against the clothing apocalypse.
Yes, I do wish I was joking.
But all things considered, the show has been a awkward, strange, and thought provoking ride so far. I can’t wait to see where this ends up.
And there’s still some other series that I haven’t been watching (if only I had that kind of time XD). What all have you been watching? What’s good, what’s bad, and are we far enough to determine the best anime of the season yet, or is it still too early?
Goodness, remember all the anime I recommended for the beginning of the year (Spring Anime 2013)? I didn’t end up following any of them. One or two episodes was as far as I got on most of them.
I didn’t even watch the now popular Attack on Titan.
So what did I watch?
For the spring season, as mentioned, a lot of one episode hit and runs from “the Hentai Prince and Stony Cat” (blow up doll sacrifice to a tree….yeeeeah) to “Uta-Pri 2000%” (doki doki 4ever) to “Dansei Bunri no Crime Edge” (scissors!) and Valvrave the Liberator (vampire mechs). Somehow, none of them were holding my interest. Maybe I’m getting too picky in my old age, but even the first episode of Attack on Titan was too much for my nerves. I have watched some rather graphic and violent stuff in the past, but somehow seeing a human eaten was too disturbing for a poor college kid trying to stay upbeat and happy during her last semester.
So I watched happy things, like Hataraku Maou-sama! and My Teen Romantic Comedy Is Wrong as I Expected (aka: SNAFU).
Hataraku Maou-sama! ended up being better than many of us expected. The idea of a great dark demon lord becoming a part timer at a fast food place seems more absurd than interesting, but the show turns into something heartwarming and fun for all the characters. It makes heroes and villain rethink their motivation and be able to, for once, make their own decisions in life.
SNAFU was appealing not because it was an outstanding anime, but because it had great characters, a great plot, and a solid drive to keep it going. The show was clever and fun, yet it also addressed relationships, mainly friendships, and how to make them work in a setting where perfect friendships are impossible.
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet was another series I checked out, but it was a mixed bag for me. The characters were interesting, the story was good, but it didn’t strike a chord with me until the ending episodes. The end was great, but I somehow wished we had gotten there somewhat earlier. XD
For summer, there were quite a few unexpectedly good series. And no, I’m not talking about that swimming anime (I mean, it was good to, but er…). The summer of 2013 brought us Uchouten Kazoku, Servant X Service, and Kitaku-bu Katsudou Kiroku.
Uchouten Kazoku was translated by Crunchyroll to “Eccentric Family”, and while not an accurate translation of “uchouten” (which means literally “ecstasy”), I think it captures the show rather well. The kanji for uchouten (有頂天) literally breaks down to “possessing the heavens on your head”. Thus it could be said that a family who possess something like that will probably be a bit eccentric or even idiots (as they do call themselves) that take pride in able to living to their fullest potential, even as tanuki. I would even go so far as to rank this the top anime of 2013 for me.
Servant X Service had a slow and rocky start, even as a light romantic comedy. Granted, it had a tough act to follow from the fans who are still wishing for a Working! Season 3. I actually dropped it for a while because the behaviors of one of the characters in particular irked me too much. But, after hearing it did improve, I picked it up again and found the show develop into a charming and sweet story about people learning about what’s really important in life. Though the stuffed bunny manager may still need some time to sort his own issues out, at least the main characters find some resolution.
Now, for an anime I’m sure I’m the only one who watched, Kitaku-bu Katsudou Kiroku (known as “The Chronicles of the Going Home Club”). This was a fun comedy that referenced everything from “Star Wars” to “Saw” to various other anime, including Giant Robo at one time. The plot was simple, a group of high school girls who formed a “going home club” (a term used in Japanese for someone who is not part of a club), where they address the important issues of life like feeding pigeons, playing video games, and figuring out how to make their anime not canceled.
It was a fun ride and something to follow the fun times that the GJ-bu anime gave me last year.
The summer season would not be complete without KyoAni’s swimming anime Free! that left anime fans everywhere in tears of joy (or sadness). And that’s before we even knew what the anime was about! Free! was like a fun summer; full of pools and swimming kids, sunshine and barbeques. But like every season, summer has to end. It’s sad to see it go, but you know it will be back next year. Or so the rumors say…
And finally, here we are, at the tail end of the chilly fall season, where I’ve actually fallen a bit behind in my watching because of the big months of November and December are always busy for me. But don’t worry, I’ll catch up in January when I have nothing else to do (besides the new winter anime!). XD
But here’s a preview of what I have been trying to keep up with.
Kyoukai no Kanata: KyoAni revives after a long summer of boys in swimsuits to bring us a fantasy series with a blood wielding girl in glasses. One thing I will give KyoAni, no matter the setting, they can still make great story full of friendship, happiness, sadness, love and really pretty animation. While not the best KyoAni show by far, it made me happy to see a supernatural setting again (see: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) as well as a hopeful and happy ending.
I’m a sucker for happy endings.
Yozakura Quartet ~Hana no Uta~: According to some friends, I really need to catch up on this one. I believe this is a reboot of sorts to an older series of the same name, but I’m finding this one much more exciting and thrilling. It has action, drama, and just enough mystery to keep the plot interesting and moving forward at a steady, quick pace. It’s about a town where humans and youkai (spirit monsters) exist in peace. Our main characters have the job of helping to maintain this peace, but there are currently unknown forces trying to disrupt this peace. Our heroes must find out who’s behind it and quickly.
Gingitsune: I’m watching this more for the calm feel and interesting characters. While not as lovely as Natsume Yuujinchou, the day to day adventures that a girl and a shrine herald come across are heartwarming in a way.
Kill la Kill: I feel like my morals are questioned every time I watch a new episode of this show. Undoubtedly created by a studio containing Gainax members that worked on shows like Gurren Lagann, Trigger debuts a full length series that is much different than their kick-starter, Little Witch Academia.
Once this show is over, I hope I’ll be able to put all the pieces together and find some deep meaning in this show. It feels like it’s trying to tell me something, but all the fanservice seems to be burying any important meaning. Granted, Medaka Box still somehow shined even through it’s fanservice.
But overall, Kill la Kill is about breaking out of a mold, living your own life, never giving up and of course, the power of friendship.
Or it could all a conflict of whether clothes are important in life or not. Only time will tell.
So what about you? What were the hit and misses of 2013? What anime did you enjoy this year? Did you have any anime that surprised you?
The most well known and common struggle humanity faces; Good versus Evil. We see it in fiction, non-fiction, fan fiction and beyond.
Cutting through all the choices we make in our lives, it can boil down to this choice; our very human nature reflects this.
This is a pretty deep topic that millions of blog posts couldn’t even cover, I think. So, why am I talking about it? Due to the recent announcement of Part 3 of the Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure anime in the works (no date yet, though. ;o; ), I found myself pondering the first two parts, which were animated excellently this past year.
For various reasons, Jojo is not terribly popular in the US yet (because of licensing trouble, which has to do with 80s bands’ names as villains. No, I’m not kidding), but because of its long running manga and the apparent immortality, both in his work and his age, Hirohiko Araki is well known in Japan as well as places all over the world (even France, where much of his manga was translated due to him having an exhibition one year at the Louvre).
But back to human nature, I recall being told that this was the main theme of the epic and still ongoing manga Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure by one of my friends, who is an avid fan.
Despite being a devoted One Piece fan myself, Jojo seemed a tad long for me to just start on. So ignoring the prodding of my friends who were Jojo fans, I kept putting off starting the manga.
Long story short and 9 episodes later (the end of Part 1), I can safely say this series is one of the best I’ve seen. Granted, it had great source material (I started reading the manga shortly after watching the anime). But since trying to cover the whole first season, which has part 1 and part 2, would be way too long, I’ll devote this post to the grand Introduction of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure in Part 1; where it all starts and where the pieces are set into a wheel of fate for two brothers.
Truthfully, the two main leads in part 1 are not really brothers by blood, Jonathan Joestar (known fondly as Jojo) and Dio Brando come from very different walks of life. The former raised as a rich man’s son on a grand estate and in some ways, he was spoiled, while the latter had a deadbeat father and had to live his life in a world of poverty, trickery, lies, and selfishness just to survive.
Of all the places I expected to find some interesting thoughts about life and my relationship with God, Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3, aka: the cute girls playing airsoft anime, was not one of them.
But while my eyes are still sparkling too much over Free! and my mind is still trying to sort out all the symbolism in Uchouten Kazoku (The Eccentric Family), Stella C3 offered an unexpected and interesting outlook on someone trying to change, but realizing that there’s more to changing yourself than just getting into the right circumstances and hoping for the best; it was something I could relate to pretty easily, actually (as with most of my blog posts, it seems. They do tell you to write what you know!).
The main character of Stella C3 is Yura Yamato, an introverted girl who hopes that her debut at the high school of her dreams will be one full of social circles and fun high school life things.
Problem is, she’s not very good at talking to people nor is she very confident in herself. Thus, as expected, she fails within the first few minutes of arriving at her new, palace-like school as she sees everyone around her making friends instantly, but she remains left in the background and ignored.
Already in the first episode, my high school life was flashing before my eyes, it was horrifying. But that aside, even in her mopey-ness, Yura seemed more lost than reluctant to change. She wanted to change herself and be within the social crowd (cue Cinderella parallels), but she had no idea how to start. Thus, I wanted to root for her since she didn’t seem like a total lost cause yet.
Then she finds a gun under her room mate’s pillow and it all goes from there.
Long story short, due to a series of events that include cake, Rambo, and using an anatomical model as a decoy, Yura joins the C3 club (girls who play airsoft survival games!) and starts to feel as if she is changing already from her shy self.
Though when under pressure, true natures are revealed. Soon after Yura joining the C3 club, they all participate in a high school airsoft tournament. While things go great for a while, Yura resorts back to her lack of confidence in her abilities and ends up surrendering to a rival team instead of going down fighting like the rest of her team mates.
Being scolded by her teammates leads her to mull over her actions and finally realize she needs to take bigger steps in changing herself.
But this still seems off the mark from the ultimate goal.
I had been pondering over this post for a while now, but hit a speed bump when the most recent episode came out just a few days ago. The recent episode dives into a spiritual realm of some classic Shintoism that, while interesting, left me pondering if the show was still worth as much to me as it had been previously. It threw a wrench in my thoughts of the show up until then and left me dazed.
So how did I come to a connection between this spiritual journey Yura was taken on (and she was…through an airsoft gun, no less) and my own relationship with God?
Both are quests to “find oneself”, I think. Now, that sounds really new age-y, but don’t run away yet because there’s a pretty big contrast between the two as well. Shintoism and Christianity are two very different sets of beliefs at their cores, least we be confused.
A interesting quote mentioned to Yura in episode 4 by Sonora (the captain of the airsoft club, as well as Yura’s room mate and someone she looks up to) is making airsoft “your own airsoft” in your life. Find your reason for enjoying it, grasp that as a support, and move forward.
So Yura goes through this spiritual journey, saves a 15 year old warrior, changes history, and ends up being able to hit the dead center of a 5 yen coin. All very fantastical.
In the end, instead of trying to change herself completely, she learns to accept herself and not be self conscious about what she can and cannot do, but just keep advancing with something driving her forward (in this case, a special airsoft gun).
Even Christians feel lost sometimes, though. Just because you are in the “correct” circumstances doesn’t mean you will change magically and know your purpose in life and never stumble. A relationship with God is not as easy as joining an airsoft club, though.
In the show, Yura finds a guiding light in the Škorpion vz. 61, but in the end, it’s only a gun.
Yet having Christ as a support in your life and finding yourself through Him requires much more trust. But since it’s a relationship of grace and love, having Him as your support has a lot more power to drive you forward in life without fear.
As a recent college graduate, I’ve had a lot on my mind; about the future, about finally being down with this part of my life and ready to move onto the next adventure, and about the uncertainties of where to go from here. One might even venture to say that I’m heading off to a New World.
Waiting is something we all do in our lives and to some (like me), it can be quite insufferable at times. In fact, many Christians find themselves in a constant struggle with God over wanting to do things now instead of having to wait. Or rather, we don’t see why we have to wait.
As someone who has been reading/watching One Piece since I was 10 years old, I find that a lot of elements in the series will come back and relate to my life somehow or teach me some lesson (as a lot of anime will). Despite its Shounen genre feel of “Never give up and achieve your dreams, yeah!” which is greatly uplifting, things are not always great for the StrawHat crew in the series and like in life, there are painful loses.
There is a point about 500 episodes into the series that One Piece fans refer to as the Time Skip. It’s a period of two years where the main character, Luffy, confident in his abilities to always win, finds himself out of options; his crew separated across the ocean, someone dear to him dead, and a battle and many other lives lost. He cannot move forward the way he is now, as much as he wants to. Therefore, he is offered a proposition by Silvers Rayleigh (former first mate to Gol D. Roger and really the old mentor type of character) to pause his adventure and train for two years; become stronger, and then meet up with the rest of his crew to continue on to the next leg of their journey; a sea appropriately called “The New World”.
Spring is a season of new beginnings! As an upcoming college graduate this spring, a new beginning is definitely coming for me as I become an functional member of society (I hope). It’s also the time of year when everyone is coming out of their caves to taste the sunshine and hear the birds sing and see the flowers bloom in glorious colors! And also time for some new anime!
In anime, the Spring season is not always one of the strongest, but we, the anime viewers, always hope there will be a series or two to help us through the pesky spring fever.
I don’t go over all the upcoming series for this coming season, just the ones that look hopeful. To see the full chart, head over to @animucharts on twitter.
While I tend to check out at least the first episode of mostly all the new anime each season, these are a few of the titles that have me more interested:
This was the first series to catch my eye, though the jury is still out whether this series will develop into something worth watching, even after I watched the pre-air of the first episode over at Nico-Nico Douga.
The set up does present a few opportunities for success, though. The main girl seems to possess some sort of weird powers (that eventually causes her to shut down all the school’s computers on accident during a simple school assignment), and by living in a shrine almost all her life and being sheltered for most of it, really has little understanding of life outside of what has been dictated to her. Her friends try to encourage her to be more “normal” and others ridicule her for being weird.
Though, even in her small attempt to change (by cutting her bangs, which, actually is a really big deal in her situation. Hair is srs bsns in Shintoism.), it’s revealed that her life and the life of a boy she knew when she was younger are being controlled in order for to fulfill some grand and rather idealistic destiny woven together by people who are not very present in the lives of these two kids.
But neither the main girl or the guy want anything to do with it and in all honesty, the story is already taking an eerie tone concerning this (it’s hard to explain unless you see it, though).
As a side note, I did some searching and the only connection with the title and real life Japan is that a Red Data Book is a record made of endangered species, animals, usually, in Japan.
It’s no secret that the Christmas season brings out the best and worst in people. I tend to focus on the former since I’m a big believer in the “holiday spirit” for an excuse to put differences and disagreements aside and just be nice to people. Like not getting upset and honking that the car that just cut in front of you, or giving an extra tip amount to your waiter.
Kindness can spread like wild fire as well, but you have to light the first match.
Taiga from Toradora! thinks in a similar way. Normally a fiery and sometimes violent young woman, around Christmas she suddenly transforms into a sweet “angel” that Ryuuji can hardly believe it. In fact, through a span of 3 episodes about Christmas in Toradora!, Taiga stays in her “good self”, which Ryuuji discovers may actually be part of her true self (or so we hope).
I still haven’t finished the series of K-On!, but the Christmas episode will always hold a very special place in my heart. Episode 7 of K-On! is the first Christmas themed episode that I saw around Christmas time. Not only was it based around the holiday season of cheer and happiness, but it also gave me quite a lot of food for thought.
Have you ever had an anime or an episode just hit you pretty close to your own life? I tend to like anime that I can relate back to my own life, but this one came so close in a way I never expected; it really shocked me.
Truthfully, I find it hard to write about a series like Medaka Box. From even before it aired, one could already tell this anime was going to cater to fanservice. Yet, this series first caught my eye with its sharp and flamboyant art style, as well as the fact the manga was written, though not drawn, by light novel author Nisio Isin (Bakemonogatari, Nisemonogatari), so I decided to give it at least a first episode watch; maybe it would have an okay story.
Now, I avoid excessive sexual fanservice like the plague. I’ve never seen any worth in it at all, nor in any of the series that use it to attract fans. Yet, Medaka Box didn’t annoy me, despite having more than a little sexual fanservice (that was caused by the main character, as you can probably judge from her picture). In fact, even in spite of this, I found the main character quite interesting and rather noble.
Medaka Kurokami, of course, is our main character. She definitely has a enough huge presence to be a main character, as well as the fact she’s….well, she’s made out to be perfect. I recall reading a blog post about halfway through the series airing, complaining about Medaka being such a perfect Mary Sue character. And in truth, she is painted in that light.
Not only is she the student council president, but she is talented in EVERYTHING it seems, from martial arts to swimming, to having the perfect body and perfect personality.
Actually, her personality is what is the most interesting. It’s seemingly impenertrable. Nothing can phase her with her through the roof self esteem and she’s outgoing towards everyone.
Yet, while the show does appear to be all about her, it’s really about how everyone is affected/changed by her. Read the rest of this entry
Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita (translated: “Humanity has Declined”) is about fairies. And chickens, factories, sweets, processed foods, and the desires of humans for power, food, manga, and longer hair.
And that’s only three episodes in.
In spite of the title, I jumped right into watching Jinrui because of the lovely looking animation style and the mention of fairies gets me a bit excited.
The anime is somewhat presented like a children’s book; it’s covered with pastel colors and set in a cozy little village with its bright and happy inhabitants. But unfortunately, the villagers don’t have much to be happy about; they have a food shortage. So, while the men have been sent out into the forest to hunt, the UN representative (who has not been named, but she’s our representative for relations between humans and fairies) is sent to help the women and girls of the village create meat from chickens.
Though, this proves to be a rather daunting task since no one really knows how to get delicious chicken from a live one with feathers that screeches at you. Read the rest of this entry