Category Archives: anime

No Game No Life – Episode 1

I’m super excited for Sword Art Online II, like many other fans, but I’m holding back from watching that show because I don’t know if I can stand just 20 minutes of visual joy a week?!?  I loved the first season, both halves, and am totally going to watch season 2.  But, maybe not today because I think I might have found the perfect visuals in animated form…

No Game No Life.

The show just ended last week and had a three month run.   That means it should be a quick little marathon of 12 epidodes.  Those tend to be my favorite shows, quick and satisfying.   I love saturated color.  Bright, vibrant and varied color just turns me on.  If I could live in a Lisa Frank poster from 1995 I’d be eternally happy.  That is just about what the world in No Game No Life looks like.   A Lisa Frank poster.  Heaven.  Visually, I dug this show.

The story caught my interest right away as well.  There is a group of legendary MMORPG players who never lose.  They’re better than the best of the best.  Their skill is unrivaled and unparalleled. The four of them have defeated 1200 other players in a single fight.  Amazing right?  Ha!  Amazingly, this team called Blank is made up of for characters, but only two players.   Siblings Sora and Shira control multiple characters simultaneously.  Totally unrealistic,  but who needs that in Anime?  They look at life as a game…one that can’t be beat because it lacks clearly defined rules.  Therefore, life is actually boring.  Which is where things get interesting.

Tet, a seemingly omniscient diety from some other universe/reality brings the duo to his/her realm where everything operates on six basic game principles.  All of a sudden Sora (the older male sibling) seems to awaken at the possibilities that await him in a game world where he can exploit the rules to his advantage.   I really liked that twist on the Anime set in an MMORPG environment.  I don’t know if they’re actually in a game or not, but the environment they’re in operated with gaming principles.  The show had me wondering if I would leave the reality we live and die in to go to a realm like those in the video games I love.  I’d have to say workout a doubt Diablo is out,  but how cool would it be to travel in Tamriel?  I’d so pick up where my Khajit necromancer vampire left off in Morrowind and head straight for Skyrim.  How about exploring the universe with Master Chief and Cortana.  Oh, that is my cup of tea.

Pretty sure No Game No Life is going to be a fun ride and probably make a nice companion work Sword Art Online once a few episodes have gone by.  Did any of you or there watch this show and more importantly…

Which of your favorite video game world would you want to live in?

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Avengers Chronicles: Black Widow and Punisher

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Marvel and Madhouse have teamed up once again this time with an Avengers themed project featuring the Black Widow and Punisher. The title was released on March 11th, 2014 and if you don’t know Madhouse is a Japanese animation company that’s put out some decent anime in recent years featuring Marvel’s pantheon of heroes.

If you’re a fan of anime and Marvel, you’ll dig this film. The same can be said if you’re a Punisher or Black Widow fan. If you’re not a fan of anime this would be a hard sell, or if you’re expecting the Avengers as a whole you might be disappointed. 98% of the film I’d say is devoted to just the two title characters.

Black Widow is a bad ass. I like bad ass female characters and it’s one of the reasons I tend to enjoy anime. The Japanese aren’t afraid to put a strong leading female who kicks ass in their content and Madhouse doesn’t fail here. Natasha is at the forefront of the film throughout and they even nailed her uncanny interrogation ability. It’s something I didn’t think would transfer well into anime, but about halfway through the movie Natasha gets down to business and as usual gets all the intel she needs.

I’m not a fan of the Punisher and didn’t care too much about his presence. In fact, I would have preferred him to not be in the movie at all. He’s not unwatchable or badly written…I just don’t like the guy. The Avengers are a team and Frank Castle is not a team player…he just didn’t fit much like Ryan Reynolds Deadpool was not the bees knees in _Wolverine: Origins_.

Visually, I liked the art direction. It felt and sounded like Marvel which was great. The animation is crisp and fluid allowing for Widow to use everything in her path to beat up on Punisher and some other folks. Madhouse isn’t known for utilizing repeating frames and they didn’t disappoint here. There is a lot of action and a little downtime.

Once again, if you’re expecting the Avengers: the Anime, this isn’t it. I’d suggest the film, but maybe after watching every other title Madhouse has touched on in the Marvel universe. It’s good, but not great. Definitely watchable.

6/10

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Anime Monday – Kill la Kill – Episode 8 – 10

Episode 8

With every hit, the more my hardness towers mighty and strong.”

Gamagoori 

Well, isn’t that an interesting analogy for this fantastic anime.  The more I watch, which i’m not watching nearly enough, this show gets better and better.  Tonight I tuned in for Episode 8 of Kill la Kill which has been a tour de force of action, amazing animation and very interesting fan service.  

Episode 8 finally got into the backstory of more of the characters.  We learned how Matoi became an orphan and living on the streets.  We learned how Kiryuin and Gamagoori became entangled and all hell breaks loose at Honnouji Academy.  Kriyuin reveals its seven days of no holds barred, student vs. student, fighting until those left standing take their new place in the social ranks.   

“The moment I reach my climax, the power that has building up inside me will burst out…all at once”

Gamagoori 

I’m beginning to like this guy.  This 20 year old pervert with an old man’s face.  He’s got a certain style.  I wonder though…will he switch sides and fight with Matoi?  Time will tell as it looks like Episode 9 will have Matoi fighting the Elite 4.  

Auto play…on

Episode 9  

“I punish and punish and punish myself till I bring myself to climax.”

Gamagoori  

Anyyone who calls Anime a cartoon for kids needs to watch this because this show is just not for kids.  Maybe, you can watch it with your kids and laugh at the ridiculous innuendo, but its so ridiculously over the top.  I can’t stop laughing.

Then we have this blonde behemoth Gamagoori facing off against Matoi only to chastise her for wearing a slutty sailor uniform when his beloved Kiryuin wears a nearly identical uniform.  So whats he to do…Pull a Han Solo and carbon freeze matoi into a perfect school girl mold.  

No…this Baka fails and lets Senketsu own him in two easy steps.  

Next up, two of four in the Finals of the Naturals Election!

Episode 10

I didn’t really like Episode 10 after Matoi defeated the Second of the Elite Four. The fight seemed rushed and underwhelming. Are we to believe that Matoi now has such control over her uniform that she can transform at will? I also did not like the entire third fight. I found it overwhelming visually, and not in a good way. it was too much and too much was going on.

Thats all for this week’s thoughts on Anime. Next Week, I’m going to finish up Arpeggio of the Blue Steel. Kinda excited about that!

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Anime Monday – Samurai Flamenco Episode 14

Episode 14 – Superheroes Are Cool

I grew up thinking super heroes are cool, I grew up to be a superhero.

Super Hero is he. Hazama did what he thought was right and informed the Japanese people that an invasion was imminent and while initially this appeared to be a mistake he rectified any possible trouble caused to the people he protects by giving the most emotional and heartfelt speech I’ve ever heard in an Anime. It wasn’t over the top or too sappy. It was realistic and exactly what the people needed to hear. Hazama has grown into his own as a man and a superhero.

The episode was one of the best. Did you peep all those insane From Beyond villains? I was laughing so hard at how ridiculous they were. The worst though was Episode 13’s Domestic Violence No.1. I know that Japan has a very different sense of humor than the rest of the world, but I don’t think domestic violence is anything to poke fun at. It’s just not funny. Despite that, this was by far the best hour of content I’ve watched since starting this Anime Mondays series.

Have you checked out Samurai Flamenco? What do you think of the show? Let me know in the comments down below!

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Anime Monday – Samurai Flamenco Episode 13

Episode 13 – Something different

Episode 13 was a very very different show from those that we had seen previously since episode seven. Hazama is back to being a normal every day celebrity male model only now he is also a super hero and must deal with the moral ramifications of being the good person he is and keeping the Japanese elite safe from harm. He has a moral dilemma that I think I know how he will resolve. I liked this episode because it brought the show back down from the stratosphere and to a more realistic portrayal of Hazama and his team.

The hero will never give. Never hide. Never be defeated. Never accept evil!

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Anime Monday – Samurai Flamenco Episode 12

For my last posts on Samurai Flamenco click on this link https://sifuhallyu.wordpress.com/tag/samurai-flamenco/

From beyond launches an elemental monster…a fire Heatnoid which is dispatched easily. Then frost bobble heads from team MMM34. The pop culture references in this show never cease to amaze. There are literally 34 of of these bobble head frost demons who can’t be anything but a reference to AKB48, the world’s largest girl group. For those who know pip culture these types of references give the show a charm and wit that’s both funny and eye rollingly cheesy.wpid-Screenshot_2014-02-16-04-10-53.png

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Poking fun at pop culture is what this show does best. Nothing seems safe as the Power Rangers, The Avengers, and even Voltron are all spoofed and paid homage to. I really enjoy this aspect of the show. The humor doesn’t end there nor are tropes of the anime world such as fan service. The show handles fan service in such a way that fans will eat it up, but a novice would probably walk away. Hazama-san is the focus of most of the sexual fan service shown. Close ups of his face and tightly fitting uniform show off his physique and model beauty. No other character on the Flamengers squad gets this type of treatment.
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They artists also use ridiculously phallic weapons often of Priapic proportion. While hilarious, this is also very intelligent. They’re playing on the idea of compensating for a man’s lack of endowed manhood representing the squads lack of teamwork. When I saw the below screenshot I was laughing out loud.
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Then there was this…
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Yeah… That happened. Still laughing out loud. Bobblehead Frost Giant Barbie transforming into a nightmare Gojira might have. You have to see this to believe it.

To really top things off in the fan service department we get a nice arming of the guard scene where Voltron the Flamengers get upgraded. Check that weapon…between his. I don’t even need to explain, do I?

All in all Episode 12 was a lot of fun from a more cerebral, read between the lines kind of way. A decent way to blow 25 minutes and I’m glad to be revisiting this show!

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Anime Monday – Arpeggio of the Blue Steel Episode Eight and Nine

Ok, so these two episodes did not leave me wanting more…In a good way!

They were so visually striking (take a look at those screenshots above) with bright vibrant color and weapons that look like a bad acid trip.  I was glued to the screen for every second.  The way this show looks, this is why I like anime. On that note, this was a perfect replacement for Gargantia of the Verduous Planet as far as visuals.  It’s not quite as beautifully rendered as Gargantia was, but it comes pretty darn close.

The story didn’t really develop in these two episodes, but it didn’t not develop either.  Basically, Chihaya is “corrupting” the mental models he comes in contact with and they develop what Kongou believes to be weaker than the Fog human feelings.  They meet up, which honestly is nothing more than one big fan service segment of the T&A variety (but, done right in my opinion).  Then, the real fan service kicks in…Kongou and her remaining fleet let loose on the beach where they had previously so peacefully wine and dined.

O…M…G.  The visuals here are breathtakingly beautiful.  Watch Episode Nine just for this, you will not be sorry.

The last time I checked in with Arpeggio of the Blue Steel I was hardly interested.  I found the hour or so of content I watched to be rather bland and not going anywhere.  Over the course of several weeks had I been watching the show live or slightly delayed I’m not sure I would have kept up with it.  In fact, I know I would not have.  The middle few episodes just didn’t capture my attention, so if you’re working your way through this show keep going.

It gets better.

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Anime Monday – Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova

14 - 1 (3)Tonight I checked back in with Arpeggio of Blue Steel (Episodes 5-7) which at the beginning of the season was not on my radar at all. I had seen reviews a saying that it made the action in Kill la Killseem like a nursery rhyme so I eagerly checked it out and was pleasantly surprised.

The show was indeed action packed, had “mental model” controlled robots and a crack team controlling one of these alien, maybe, invasion fleet. It reminded me a lot of Gargantia in visual style while lacking its lush and vibrant coloring and a whole lot like Star Trek. These are two things I see as major pluses in a show.

Episode five set up a connection between the mental models Haruna and Makie, a robot/clone…I really don’t know, and not much else…I was bored and it was full of fan service and not done in a good way. Skip it.

Episode six was a lot better with a ton of action…watch it.

Episode 7…um, what’s going on here. The storyline just converged into insane. I don’t understand this apparent alliance Kazuo and #401 have forged with the other mental models. They now seem like a joke.

I’m hoping the next time I check in with Arpeggio of the Blue SteelKaguo (?) knocks some sense into this superiorly equipped Fog Fleet. If not…I’m kinda scratching my head where this show is going to go for another 20 episodes.

For more awesome screenshots click the link below!

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/102624929701045112463/albums/5973838179571771265?authkey=CNT3sfCi5dm8_wE

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Free! Iwatobi Swim Club – Season 2

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Free! Was an anime I marathoned one weekend last fall that sucked me in from the first episode. Copious amounts of fan service (done right), beautiful animation and water effects abound. I’m super excited for season 2 and hope CrunchyRoll gets the rights to the show

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Anime Monday – Kill la Kill Eps. 5-7

Kill la Kill - Episode 5-7 - 7

Kiryuin! Humans aren’t as week as you say they are!After giving up on Log Horizon last week as a regular Anime Monday show I was excited tonight to get into a show that’s dazzled me visually and entertained me throughout its run… Kill la KillI only watched three episodes tonight, but was into each fight scene and the unique characters Ryuko faced off with. The villain’s character design is a major appeal of this show for me. They’re so freaking weird and highly stylized cretins I can’t help but root for them.

The other aspect of the show I find interesting is it’s excellent use of fan service. Now, fan service is not something I usually dig in my anime, but this show gets it right. It’s neither heteronormative or focusing on a single sex which is a plus. If were going to sleeze it up…go all the way. All the way it goes as I’m beginning to think this show is actually making fun fan service in a brilliantly subtle way.

I know I’m way behind on this show, but what do you think of the weekly villains Ryuko faces off with and the shows use of fan service?

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