Saturday, August 25, 2012

"Sword Art Online" (anime) episode 8 thoughts

Episode eight marks the return to the original content of volume one of Sword Art Online (the light novel). In case you did not know, episodes two through seven were biased off of the side stories of SAO featured in volume two of the light novel series. This episode if traced back to the light novel takes place directly after Kirito leaves Klein in the beginning. This is a welcoming grace for me because even though the previous episodes were enjoying to watch, I really wanted the show to get back on track with the first volume of the light novel series.

So the episode starts and ends very faithful to the source material. Kirito finds a rare ingredient and has Asuna cook it for him in exchange for sharing half of the meal. We also get to meet Kuradeel (Asuna's personal bodyguard appointed by her guild leader) who plays a big role very soon in the story. During the episode, Asuna brings up why Kirito chooses not to join a guild and how it defines him as a person. To him, a solo player, he does not deserve to take part in such activities because he views himself as self-centered. He also brings up that everyone would hold him back which he eventually takes back when Asuna almost gets a surprise attack off. One thing leads to another and Asuna and Kirito start partying up for future events. This pisses Kuradeel off because he views Kirito as an unworthy person to look after Asuna. They have a duel and Kirito obliterates Kuradeel. He wines and runs away while Kirito and Asuna find the floor's boss room.

This episode really got me excited because like I have stated before, is the return to the main story line. Whether or not you have picked up on this yet, this is an action adventure story with ROMANCE being the catalyst for any future problems to root from. From this point on you will see Kirito and Asuna become closer and closer to the point where awesomeness occurs. The animation of this show is still quite amazing as well as the voice actors both for new and returning characters. The only nitpicking issue I had with the episode was at the end when Kirito breaks Kuradeel's sword, he does not explain how and why he knew it would break (in the light novel he explains how more decorative weapons are more prone to breaking). Other than that however, an amazing episode. I cannot wait for the new episode to air because we will get to see Kirito and Asuna get even more close to each other and maybe see an epic battle.

Friday, August 24, 2012

"MxO" Manga Review

Every once in a while, works of art get released but are overlooked by other mainstream articles. MxO starts out great, keeps on rolling, then is a victim in a head on collision with Mahou Sensei Negima!. Thus enters MxO, a magic school manga that in my honest opinion could of been as good if not better than others in its genera.

Story: 7/10
It's plot is centered around the generic magic school setting; kids go to a magic school kept away from normal society. However, the twist is that the story develops into an original epic that has many memorable moments. It may seem boring from the first chapter but as you read on you notice how well the story develops due to the supporting cast and uniqueness it brings to the magic school genera. The story starts out with Taiga Kuzumi who thinks he is being interviewed to join a well known private high school. Things don't go very well and he somehow finds his way into a fight with teacher Kenjirou Hiiragi who has a strange card that can produce magic. He then realizes that the school might be different from ones he had attended in the past. From here he is admitted to the school and enjoys his life as he meets new friends and confronts antagonists. The problem I have with the school life/ magic school genera is at first I am overwhelmed with intrigue for the story and its characters, but I soon begin to loose interest as the arcs cycle threw. When reading Lucky Star I felt this way about 6 volumes through and found myself reading it in very short bursts. In MxO the author found a way to evenly balance out every arc so that when the interest starts to slither away, something happens that puts you back in the action. Another thing the story does well is the implementation of new characters sparingly. Having a lot of characters can either make or break a story. It works great in Mahou Sensei Negima!; not so great in Naruto. MxO by the end of the story does have a pretty hefty amount of characters but they are added in very small chunks. They are also not added unnecessarily as every time someone new comes along, they serve a purpose whether it being to start a conflict or save the day. I can say that every arc was very interesting except the unfortunately short last one which I will talk about at the end.

Art: 7.5/10
The art in MxO does have a style of its own...sometimes in a good way and other times in a detached manor. Facial expressions start out with over exaggerated features and overly proportioned drawings to help show you who is important and in situational moments where the momentum is being shifted. The artwork is clean in about 85% of the's just some stuff in the beginning and half way through the story it's seems to change, then revert back. In a way think of it like what is going on in Bleach. When it first started, Bleach's Ichigo had very definitive facial expressions but has the story progressed, all of the character models started to have the same look and even more the very recent chapters have a completely different art style. Some say having the artwork change with the story helps show progression, however it does not work for me here. The last volume however has some of the cleanest and well defined character models I have ever seen. Each character has a definitive look and body language.

Characters: 8.3/10
Where the art somewhat lets down the overall manga, the characters somewhat make up some of the slack. Each character whether they were important or extraneous, had a very strong impact on my reading experience. Taiga unfortunately has that wimpy gene that a lot of male leads start out with but the surrounding casts help break him out of his shell. Aika Hiiragi, a girl Taiga has feelings for right at the start, can be overly emotional and a klutz, but her back and forth arguments that happen between herself, Taiga, and her father Kenjirou Hiiragi are hilarious as situational humor occurs all the time. She is also a strong female lead when the story needs her to be. Other characters such as Takahiko Daimon and Lucy completely make the story flow the way it needs to.

Overall: 7.6/10
So what did MxO do correctly? A lot of things which include a very well done supporting cast, exciting and orginal story arcs that did not drag, and a good frame work for a sequel. Now I mentioned a sequel...this leads into one thing the story did horribly, horribly, wrong. If you go any blog relating to this manga you will most likely run into people talking about the ending. Remember how the story got into a wreck with other mainstream manga? Well unfortunately the manga was doing fairly poor in weekly popularity tests so fairly early in the final volume, there is a abrupt; more like a halt in the story. It is painfully obvious the ending was hashed together at the very last second while another arc was going on. The ending does however leave it wide open to be continued if that would ever happen. The story had the premise to be a 200+ chapter epic such as Bleach and Fairy Tail but was cut short. It is still worth a read as it is very original, full of epic moments, and a pretty well rounded cast.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Real Talk: "Sword Art Online" Light Novel Vol. 5-6

After some more late night reading, I have made my way to volume nine of Sword Art Online. While I am still enjoying the light novel, the volumes I am about to talk about seem to be told in a much different way and for the most part it isn't all good -___-.

First off at no point during my reading have I been bored. Each volume is told in a different way and play out much more different than the previous volumes. The first four volumes were written in a way that expressed urgency. This provided non-stop action and suspense for the flow of the plot. Volumes five through six however seem to be more laid back and without the characters we have grown to love can be a little painful to read through.

To clarify something real quick, volumes five and six are part of one story that takes place in Gun Gale Online (GGO). The transition from volume five to six is seamless and instant. So what to talk about; unlike in SAO and ALO, the weapons used in GGO are guns that are biased off of their real life counterparts and some fictional ones as well. The story is once again biased around Kirito who is asked by one of the officers that helped out in the first story (SAO) to go into GGO to find a character who supposedly can kill someone both in-game and in real life. Within the game he meets Sinon who teaches and helps Kirito become accustomed to the game fairly quickly. Now there were a lot of things that I liked about volumes five and six but lets start with the negatives.

First off the pacing seems much, MUCH slower than the previous installments of Sword Art Online. For one thing even though the timeline for this story arc is only a week or so, the story takes way too much time explaining Sinon's back story and also ramping up to the climax. Another negative thing is that other than Kirito, there is no returning characters that play a huge role in the story. You have Kirito and Sinon...that's it. We invest ourselves into saving Asuna and once we achieve this goal...she sits on the sidelines...? It's strange why the author would do this because in this volume(s) he pulls an Ash Ketchum and totally makes Kirito powerless in this new world (well at least in the beginning chapters). His overall personality in this story has changed from a person whiling to risk his life to a very passive and shy person. His overall intensity from SAO and ALO is completely gone. The last overall negative for me was how much that I didn't care for Sinon. They dedicate a whole long chapter to explaining her situation and life and I ended up caring this much (--) for her. I didn't like her personality or her way of doing things.

So positives; I really like the world of GGO (not as much as SAO but a hell of a lot more than ALO). A whole MMO world biased around guns? Freaking awesome if you ask me. The barren desert setting that the author described really made me wish that such an MMO existed in today's world. The tournament they hold in the game is another thing I really liked about this story. Something lacking in the previous volumes was the inclusion of a lot of PVP (player vs player) battles. There were a couple in SAO and almost none in ALO so it was nice to have such a PVP focused game as the setting for this story. Other than that however ends the positives.

Overall I still like the story surrounding the mysterious gunman that could kill someone in real life through the game. The story's pacing was much slower than I would usually like and it had characters that I didn't particularly like but hey it was still enjoyable.

Real Talk "The Legend of Korra"

A couple years ago a show on Nickelodeon called Avatar: The Last Airbender caught my attention when accidentally channel surfing. It's target audience was set below my age but grabbed my attention. It was witty, full of character development and action, and had amazing sound and visuals (for a show of it's time). What made me so surprised was that it had this level of awesomeness for three straight seasons. Wanting more of the same thing, my wish was granted when The Legend of Korra started airing last year.

The new show promised and delivered everything I wanted. The target audience was for teens (myself and many other adults still thought it was age appropriate), the visuals had improved immensely, and the humor was not as childish but still had the same quirky charm. Set in the future where Aang died, the central character and focus of the story is Korra. Unlike Aang who had troubles learning to master the different types of bending, everything except air bending came natural to her. To learn air bending, she goes to the booming Republic City to learn from one of Aang's children.

Another great thing about The Legend of Korra is the setting. Republic City is set in an industrial revelation type economy. The city uses bending as a source of income with the pro bending matches. It is a great addition because these fights are very well animated and a blast to watch. We have cars that looked like they were modeled after the Model T, big skyscraper type buildings, and steel everywhere. There is also the overwhelming presence of people in the city. One thing that the first Avatar show lacked was the feeling that Aang and his friends were a part of a big and living world. Every scene that takes place in Republic City has many people in the background that really make you feel like the characters are part of the city. With so many people comes the conflict of the story; a group called the Equalist want to end bending because benders "apparently" suppress the non benders. The leader of this group Amon is a really well written villain because you actually feel for the guy. He has a realistic goal that makes this show more about one person's view vs. another and not the typical "Good vs. Evil" that is overused.

This show is the rare case where I think this sequel surpassed everything the original had to offer. If you haven't seen the first Avatar or this one, I STRONGLY encourage you sit down and re-watch them. You can at this present time watch every episode of the original Avatar on Nickelodeon's website.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"Humanity Has Declined" (anime) episodes 1-4 thoughts

I came across Humanity Has Declined (known as Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita in Japan) when one of my friends showed me this video:

I was...taken back at how random it was thus was the beginning of my quest to watch one of the funniest anime I have experienced so far in my life.

The show apparently takes place where human society is on a downward fall. The show seems lighthearted and joyful but there are many hints at very depressing facts that are present. Mediator, our main character has a unique way at looking at life and her interactions with Assistant are quite funny. Assistant is a mute who apparently is understood by Mediator with out the use of talking to one another. He has a very dark humor shown in the video below:

The characters in this anime are very well done and all of their interactions are enjoyable. The animation is very unique looking because all the character models are not eye candy but the way the backgrounds look in each scene are pretty awesome. It is overall a great looking anime in my honest opinion. Sound wise the opening theme is way too addictive and the voice actors are pretty good.

So episode one is mostly an introduction to the characters and it starts off a two episode story arc on how the town will produce more food for everyone. There are so many parts that are very morbid but like I stated before it is masked by very crude but funny jokes. Episode two puts our characters in a factory that seemed to have been made overnight. Mediator's thoughts are that the fairies (they haven't really explained them but they seem to be hanging out everywhere and they help Mediator when she provides sweets) made the factory and are running it. The episode ends with a very fun chase with some epic orchestral music. Episode three and four deal with the fallen human art of manga being revitalised by an acquaintance of Mediator named Y. Episode five takes place inside a manga panel and Y, Mediator, and Assistant must make story in order to be able to leave.

I didn't want to spoil anything in the episodes because I really want everyone to go give this anime a shot. It is seriously the funniest show I have seen in my life; the very depressing and morbid themes in this anime are just covered up by situational humor that will make you think, " just happened?". I am on episode five and I cannot wait to get home from work tomorrow to watch it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Yuru Yuri (season 2)" episodes 2-7 thoughts

So out of all the currently airing anime, Yuru Yuri is the one that I have been the laziest one keeping up with. Maybe it is because I am so in love with Kokoro Connect and Sword Art Online (more of a love hate relationship) or because you have to be in a certain mood to really appreciate Yuru Yuri. It is one of those shows that you just have to understand that literally nothing will be accomplished plot wise during the episode you are about to watch. It is most definitely a show that you go to watch because you want to laugh and turn your brain off and compared to the first season, Yuru Yuri (season 2) is putting up a decent fight in terms of overall enjoyment.

All the episodes I have seen so far has had everything that made Yuru Yuri's first season so fun to watch. There is slapstick comedy, good animation, great voice acting, and very likable characters. Each character is so unique compared to any other one in the show. My favorite character is and always will be Kyouko because her personality always sets up confrontations between the other characters in the show. Another reason why Yuru Yuri works so well is because it has a decent amount of characters and there is no real main character to focus on. Each one gets a pretty good amount of screen time so you have the chance to get to know each one. You easily pick up on what each character's personality is, who they like, and best of all who they cannot stand. The back and forth issues between Kyouko and Chinatsu almost make the entire show for me.

This season of Yuru Yuri does not have a main plot line just like its previous season. Each episode is just a series of random events and we are just to sit back and watch everything unfold. Each episode has been very entertaining and I actually like that I have been able to watch the show at my own pace and not shotgun the episodes. The anticipation IMO make each episode even more funny and enjoyable. Even though I put this show lower on my priority list to watch each week, I still look forward to it.

"Sword Art Online" (anime) episodes 6-7 thoughts

It seems that after finishing episode seven, episode eight will finally return back to the first volume of the light novel. Episodes two (maybe it started with three) through seven have all taken place within the extra side stories found in volume two of the light novel series. At the end of episode seven however, we see that Asuna and Kirito have finally started to show signs of their likeness for each other. In the light novel series, after Kirito leaves Klein in the beginning, the story jumps pretty far forward to a point where Kirito and Asuna are very close. My hopes are that episode eight will pick up here and stay faithful to the rest of the original source material.

So episode six was the conclusion to the whole assassin killing peeps in town thingy. The real culprit behind everything was no real surprise and the ending seemed to be achieved too easily. It was however still enjoying to watch. The animation is still very well done as well as the sound of the anime. I am really starting to enjoy the voice actors much more especially Asuna's.

Episode seven revolved around the blacksmith Lizbeth which like so many characters we have met the last couple episodes, plays no major part what-so-ever in what happens in the main story. I did not like her personality and overall I felt like she was robbing screen time from the characters that we are supposed to be investing feelings for. The episode was pretty boring and will be one that I forget pretty quickly. Great animation and sound though plus we get to see Kirito do some fancy sword fighting stuff.

So like I stated before this is the point where the show should start to get really interesting because if memory serves me right I believe all the side/extra content is out of the way. All that is left is the main story found in volume one of the light novel. I am really looking forward to the rest of the season.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

"Kono Naka ni Hitori" (anime) episode 5 thoughts

With episode five finally being released, I felt that the show would somehow start to lose my interest. the first couple episodes showed a little bit of tension because of the whole "I could be your sister" thing between the two main girls. I had thought that this plot device would be over since they found out who was pulling the prank but now it seems to be back...The idea now is that since he revealed the story to the other three girls in the student counsel room, it could be one of them or just some random person that was listening in. Episode five focuses on Mei the witch dressing shop keeper.

The episode opens up with a call from Shougo dear little sister. He is dumbfounded that someone else he knows could be his sister and with that the beginning credits show. At this point I kind of *facepalm* myself because I was hoping that this whole sister thing would pass. But hey the source material apparently has this going on for awhile so I'll get over it. After some time Shougo is countlessly getting tired at school so after running into Mei in the hallway she offers Shougo a bed to sleep in during lunch hour. They fall asleep but Shougo apparently cannot once in his life not get turned on by a sleeping girl. He gets up and finds the same type/model phone that the little sister apparently uses to modulate her voice.

That's the gist of the episode, another person added to the list of possible sisters (beginning to think that they all might be his sisters lol). This episode while somewhat entertaining did not really strike me the same way the previous four. It could possibly be because I do not particularly like Mei's personality or that because we do not see Miyabi or Konoe very much. If I could praise one thing about this episode it would be the animation. I haven't seen a decrease of quality which for some anime becomes a problem the longer it airs. The scene inside the sister cafe was actually quite well done.

Overall a meh episode; hopefully we get to some of the other characters soon because I am looking forward to seeing how Rinka's personality plays out.

Real Talk: "Sword Art Online" Light Novel Vol. 1-4


After watching the first couple of episodes of Sword Art Online, I felt the drive to have more of it. While the show has some flaws, I heard from numerous people that the light novel it is biased off of is an amazing piece of work. New to reading light novels, I decided to give it a shot since all the anime I have been focusing on are all currently airing.

My first impression of the novel is that the pacing is much more radical in the beginning than the anime. The anime (episodes 1-7 at the moment) is actually based off of volume two of the light novel series which is focused on some extra side stories and not the main focus of the story. What the first novel covers is everything from first entering Sword Art Online to the last boss battle. The first thing that stuck out to me was the pacing of the first couple of chapters. After leaving Klien in the first chapter, the story flies through everything you have seen in the anime so far to a point where Kirito and Asuna are quite close in their relationship. With some flashbacks, within the first two chapters you have the understanding that Asuna likes Kirito while Kirito is a little aloof with his feelings. So essentially it is impossible to compare this to the anime adaptation so far. I do like however how things play out between the two characters. The main thing going on this early on is the developing romance between the two and how they deal with carrying it out. There are many parts where Kirito must prove his worth in order to have the right to be around Asuna. Asuna's position in her guild also plays a huge roll in how the story progresses.Towards the end of the first volume we see who the real threat is and how Kirito deals with the enemy. By the end of the volume, we seem to get a sort of rushed finish because (not trying to spoil anything) the final boss reveals himself on the 75th floor instead of the 100th. The encounter does not take very long and it just feels as if I got cheated out of another couple of chapters of story. The twist however I was not expecting and thought was pretty clever. The volume ends with everyone supposedly being released from the game.

Volume two as I explained are just side stories that take place in Sword Art Online.

Volume three and four consist of Kirito fighting his way through a new game, ALfheim Online which unlike Sword Art Online is more about achieving a more simple goal rather than trying to reach a one hundred level area. After the events of Sword Art Online had passed, it is discovered that 300 people including Asuna never woke up from the game and have been trapped inside a new game, ALO. Kirito learns this and enters the game in hopes of rescuing his beloved Asuna.
Unlike in the first volume, the pace of this story is much more contained and steady. There are no real huge leaps in time; you see everything from Kirito logging in for the first time all the way up to him seeing Asuna wake up in her hospital bed. The characters include his sister (errr cousin?), friend from school, and Yui who is a character in one of the side stories of SAO (is actually an AI program). The world of ALO is much different in the sense that there is no level for each character and that each race has the ability to fly. The main purpose of the game is to climb to the top of a tree and meet the king who will do certain things. The overall feel of this game and the two volumes are still exciting and full of tension but in my honest opinion not even close to the level of the first volume (SAO). Where as SAO was a quest to free everyone and reach the top, ALO's purpose is to rescue a damsel in distress. It actually reminded me of A Princess of Mars (Disney's movie John Carter is a crude and poorly done adaptation of A Princess of Mars) because it seems to follow the book to a T. Hero drops into a world he does not understand, is taken in by a group of people that seem bizarre, goes on a quest to save a princess, enlists the help of said bizarre people, saves princess, happy ending. While the story seems a little on the predictable side, it is still an exciting story to behold. Basically after logging in for the first time he runs into Lyfa who is actually his sister (cousin) in real life. One way or another she helps him travel to the tree that Asuna is locked up in. He goes in, saves her, and defeats the mean ol' bad guy both in game and in real life. The story is mostly ehhh at best this time around but how it progresses and folds out is pretty entertaining.

Volume 5 marks the start of a new game that Kirito finds his way into called Gun Gale Online (GGO). I have just started reading this volume so an up to date post will reveal my thoughts of it.

Overall the Light Novel series in my honest opinion blows the anime out of the water. Even though the novels have very limited illustrations, I feel more attached to the characters and more connected with what is going on than with the anime. While the anime is still very enjoyable due to great animation, sound, and fight scenes, I just do not see how it will live up to its great source material. If you have the time to sit down and read an amazing story, I strongly encourage you take this up on your reading list. You can find it here translated into many different languages. By far one of the best forms of literature I have read to date.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

"Sword Art Online" (anime) episodes 1-5 thoughts

So while on Crunchyroll yesterday I saw something for a show called Sword Art Online. My first impressions of a video on Youtube made it out to look like 1/2 Prince which peaked my interest. The show in case you do not know is set in a kind of futuristic Japan where an MMO called Sword Art Online is just about to launch. The players use virtual reality helmets to simulate a full immersion into the game. They play in a rested state and do not move. When logging in however, all the players realize that the game is about to become far more than a typical MMO.

In the first episode, the players log in and realize that they cannot log out until they clear all 100 levels in the game. Kirito (our main protagonist) meets Klein who does not know very much about the game this early on. At the end of the episode Kirito splits up to quest on his own so he can get a head start on everyone else. The next episode is slated months later...why? The episode after that is given even more of a time gap because he has somehow ended up on level 30ish. By the 5th episode he is on the 50th level and we are only shown a very small amount of what he has gone through -___-.

First off I have to say that even though I have some issues with the show already, I enjoy every episode because it does such a great job emerging you into the show/game. Anyone that has MMO experience will feel right at home because there is a lot of MMO terminology used in the show. People that have no idea what an MMO will also feel welcome because there are many times where the main character Kirito will encounter newbies to the game and will explain everything. Another great thing about the show is the animation. The backgrounds of the different levels are amazing and all the characters look amazing. The sound is also top notch and seem to fit in well. These positive remarks however do not hide what is wrong with the show at the moment.

One major issue with the show is the pacing. Each episode seems to leap very far into the future so it seems as if each episode is it's own contained story. Once that episode is over, the characters Kirito met seem to fade away. Because of this I really don't sense a plot guiding the show other than people need to clear all the levels to get back to the real world. I just really wish that on the first episode Kirito just stayed with Klein and quested with him all the way until level 100.

Anyways other than the piss poor plot structure and random skips in the timeline, this show is still very enjoyable to watch. I will be looking forward to more episodes of this anime.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Tari Tari" episodes 1-5 thoughts

After finishing Fate/Stay Night, I started looking for a new show to pick up on since everything I had been watching before was currently airing. I wanted to find a completed show so that I wouldn't be limited on what pace I had to take but while on Crunchyroll I stumbled upon Tari Tari. The thing that drew me in at first was the animation because the main character Konatsu looked very similar to Ohana from Hana-saku Iroha. Then I started to realize that they acted very similar as well...and all the character interactions in both shows follow a very similar style...and that they were made by the same animation studio (P.A. Works). After episode three I could already tell that this show is just Hana-saku Iroha but about singing, horseback riding, and badminton. It has that same feel of Hana-saku Iroha; heck even the scenes and character interactions are a direct mirror to Hana-saku Iroha style. Now this by no means a bad thing its just the show did not try very hard to not show the similarities.

So the first couple episodes set up the characters quite well; Konatsu is part of the choir but is benched because she really f$#^ed it up in the previous year's recital. To fulfill her desire to sing, she gathers friends Sawa, Taichi, Wakana, and Wien to form a new choir club. The show is essentially a slice-of-life set in their high school years (never seen that before -___-). In all honesty it should feel generic...but it doesn't. The characters feel real and stand out of the crowed when compared to other anime in the same genera. Konatsu is strong willed and will do anything to achieve her goals. Taichi's desire to become the best badminton (lol) is actually fun to watch because he isn't half a$$ed on his effort. My favorite character Wien is a transfer student and although he does not know the customs very well, he is always there to help out everyone with everything he has. The show has such a well written cast that pretty much every episode is enjoyable no matter what is going on. As far as the story, the show is moving towards a main goal but it is sure taking its time to do so. Most of the episodes do feel fillerish but that is just the nature of slice-of-life shows. The animation so far is really nice. It's crisp, clear, vibrant, and beautiful. Scenery and character models have great colors and clarity.

But by far the best thing the show has been doing is exploring each character. Each person in this show has something motivating and/or holding them back. You learn early on that Wakana misses her mother very much and that although she thinks getting rid of important things that remind her of her mother, she begins to mourn. Taichi strives to be the best badminton player but is constantly having to face obstacles to even play because the school won't even allow him to have a club unless there are 4 other members.

Overall the show is great and I really hope it continues to explore the characters more and more. Even though I was looking for a completed anime, I am glad to have found another great, sit back and relax type anime to enjoy. I will be following this one till the very end.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Anime Currently Watching (August 2012)

After finishing Kannagi, Fate/Zero, and Fate/Stay Night, I feel pretty drained out but there are still some great airing and completed anime that I am watching which are:
  1. Kaze no Stigma Ep. 15 of 24 Stalled
  2. Shakugan no Shana Ep. 1 of 24 Dropped
  3. Kokoro Connect Ep. 7 of ?
  4. Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! Ep. 7 of ?
  5. Yuru Yuri (season 2) Ep. 6 of ?
  6. Tari Tari Ep. 7 of ? 
  7. Sword Art Online Ep. 8 of ?
  8. Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Ep. 6 of ?
Personally I am close to stalling on Kaze no Stigma due to the fact that I just haven't had the urge to sit down and watch it. I am so ready for the new episode of Kono Naka ni Hitori and also looking forward to watching Shakugan no Shana which I have heard from many people is a pretty well done anime. I also picked up Tari Tari (which is currently airing) because after watching the first episode, the characters and flow of the anime remind me so much of Hana-Saku Iroha (which was a decent anime IMO).

Saw a promotion for Sword Art Online while on Crunchyroll and thought about giving it a try. Ended up watching all the available episodes and now I'm hooked :D

Edit 2:
Holy crap watched one episode of Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita and was completely hooked.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

"Kokoro Connect" episode 6 thoughts

So a new week means a new episode of Kokoro Connect for all of us to hopefully enjoy. The whole body switch-o-roe seems to have passed and the main cast seem to have finally returned to normal. What they do not realize is that a whole new situation is about to take control of their lives once again.

At this point of the season there is still no clear cut reason why these things are happening to our cast other than someone/something controls the teacher informs the cast when certain things might happen to them. I'm getting a Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya sorta vibe from this show. What I mean is that I think that the show will be split up into five episode arcs revolving around some sort of phenomenon. This week's episode brings up the new issue they have to deal with; having their true emotions and feels come out no matter what. The beginning of episode 6 shows Himeko making a move on Taichi in the club room. The others barge in and Yui completely destroys a wooden table in the room. Also Yui gets arrested for fighting some boys that were causing trouble for some girls. Confused on the situation, they struggle to find a way to deal with it for the time being. The episode ends with Iori ending a phone conversation with Taichi and stating that she cannot mess things up this time. Thinking this a foreshadowing of something pretty awful (and hopefully exciting) development/downfall of her character's mental stability.

This week's episode seems to still have that amazing energy and excitement in the first couple episodes so I really do hope it keeps it up. I will be looking forward to next week's (or this week; idk when they air) episode.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Top 25 anime (IMO)

Here is a list of my current favorite anime:
  1. Fate/Zero
  2. Aria the Animation
  3. Steins;Gate
  4. Usagi Drop
  5. Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo
  6. Dragon Ball
  7. Spice and Wolf
  8. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  9. Bakemonogatari
  10. Aria the Natural
  11. Nodame Cantabile
  12. Amagami SS
  13. Major Season 1
  14. Rec
  15. Yuru Yuri
  16. Prince of Tennis
  17. Aria the Origination
  18. Ouran High School Host Club
  19. Nisemonogatari
  20. Amagami SS+
  21. Saiunkoku Monogatari
  22. Working!!
  23. Oh! Edo Rocket
  24. Fate/stay night
  25. Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko

    "Fate/Zero" Anime Review

    ***This is a spoiler free review***
    Fate/Zero was an anime like many others I put off watching due to some preconceived notions that it wasn’t worth my time. The first reason being that most people say that Fate/Stay Night (its successor) was a poorly done show. After recently seeing a review for Fate/Zero, my interest was piqued so I thought what the hell one episode won’t hurt. What I learned thirteen episodes later was that it would secure a spot at the top of my all-time favorite anime list.

    Story (7/10):
    I’m not going to lie, the flow of the plot and the plot in general are one of the few issues with this anime. Essentially the story revolves around finding and obtaining the Holy Grail. The Grail itself chooses seven mages and those seven mages summon a servant (usually a historical figure) that will fight for them in order to receive the grail. The issues are that the first episode (a forty-five minute episode) is entirely a, “Hey here is this guy oh and don’t forget about this women” type of thing. You are bombarded with backstory for the main characters in the anime. Second issue is that for this first season the plot doesn’t move very much after the initial episodes. After a while it just seems like filler content until around episode ten. Last issue is that from my perspective it was painfully obvious that this whole season was meant only to set up for the following season. Like my previous point stated, the show doesn’t move on very much and as soon as it’s over it seems like it has just started ramping up. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoyed the story I just wished they cut out some content.

    Animation (9.5/10):
    The show’s overall animation is quite astounding to behold. The things that struck out to me the most were the very unique lighting during the fight scenes as well as how detailed the character models were. Each character model was stunning to see over and over again throughout the entire anime. Also even though each of the servants were from different time periods, they all had a unique way of presenting themselves that I felt was pretty awesome. Overall I think this is one of the best looking anime I have seen (second to Nisemonogatari).
    Sound (9.5/10):
    Another great aspect of this anime was the sound that accompanied all the episodes. Voice acting was astounding as well as the background music. Each character’s emotions had a pretty well matched arrangement of music that seemed to fit in every situation. In the fight scenes you hear some pretty awesome choir arrangements that seem to be present in every action fighting anime. So yeah thumbs up to the staff on creating such a great sounding anime.

    Characters (9/10):
    It’s tough to put a number grade on the characters because while there are a couple great and memorial characters, there were a few that either did not have thought provoking motives or were just not enjoyable to see. Rider, Saber, Lancer, and Waver were all very well written characters that when on screen, stole your attention whether you wanted to or not. Rider (biased off of Alexander the Great) was by far my favorite character because he not only assessed each situation for the audience, but also because he was always cheerful and upbeat. The characters that really dragged the show down however, were Kirei, Kiritsugu, Assassin, and Ryuunosuke for various reasons. Some had no real motive that made me want to like or hate them (Kirei and Ryuunosuke) while others just turned out to really ruin my expectations (Kiritsugu and Assassin). Overall however, this anime’s characters will grow on you and will more than likely stick with you to remember later on.

    Overall (8.8/10)
    This anime really surprised me; after watching the first couple episodes I just could not stop watching it. It consumed me so much that I ended up watching all of it in one sitting (something I haven’t done since the first three arcs of Bleach). The idea surrounding the grail, the amazing visuals and fight scenes, the great sounding arrangements and voice overs, and above all rememberable characters made this anime one of the best that I have seen in my entire life. If you are looking for an epic adventure anime that won’t take up too much of your time, look no further because here it is.

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    "Kokoro Connect" episodes 1-5 thoughts

    You will not believe the dialogue in this scene lol

    Kokoro Connect is slowly but surly becoming one of my favorite anime made in the past couple years. While the premise at first seemed completely ludicrous (the ability to instantly be transferred into another person's body), it is providing this show with some very well done and interesting scenes that revolve around touch subjects.

    So: characters. All the main characters so far have at least one issue that makes them unique to everyone else in the show.

    Himeko has trust issues, Iori is going through an identity crisis, and Yui has androphobia (fear of men).

    All these issues are confronted due to the whole body switching thing-a-ro. Taichi, our main male character, so far in most of the episodes has helped each female with their problem. What makes the show interesting is that while Taichi might be talking to Yui about her androphobia issues, she might be in Iori's body. A very interesting issue popped up in episode 5 when after the gang was told Iori was going to die from the bridge fall, she kisses Taichi while in Himeko's body. After they find out from the doctors that Iori will actually live, Himeko approaches Taichi about stealing her first kiss when she wasn't even there to experience it. This body switching has helped insue some very interesting scenes that are both comedic and/or dramatic.

    The biggest thing going for Kokoro Connect so far is just how interesting each episode has been. It just seems as if each episode escalates in excitement and tension. I really hope that this level of awesomeness keeps going throughout the rest of the season. It has been a very long time since a anime has had me wanting more and more after each release.

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    Real Talk: "Kannagi"

    So I unexpectedly finished Kannagi today and decided to quickly jot down my thoughts while they are fresh on my mind. While I enjoyed the first half of the show I cannot help but feel as if the final few episodes...sucked.

    Sucked may be too harsh of a word...maybe unfaithful to the mood of the first eight episodes is a better way of putting it. In the beginning, the show is pretty much your normal high school slice of life style anime. The main characters (Jin and Nagi) work really well with each other. One is somewhat a realist while the other is aloof. Every interaction between these two character was very enjoyable to watch (minus a scene or two). Even the supporting cast was scripted and used brilliantly throughout the entire show. They didn't steal the spotlight but introduced new ideas into the plot. Each side character is interesting and not generic. Everything was going so well until we reached the final obstacle for Jin. Without trying to spoil anything important, basically there was a fight between Jin and Nagi and she runs off. Now the part about her running away is fine, its the reason why she does that is just so ridiculous. The reason is...stupid, insignificant, and petty. A similar event happens in the middle of the show where Jin accidentally does something that offends Nagi and she locks herself in the closet. Once again a very stupid thing and she overreacts but due to the comedy that followed that particular fight, the scene was acceptable. The ending of the show however has way too many emotions flying and was overly dramatic (just like the ending to The Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya). There is much crying and bla-bla-bla at the end that in my honest opinion is completely ludicrous. All in all though, after all the bulls#!$ emotions are done and dealt with, the anime finishes off on a pretty good note.

    Ugh I rant too much; even with the shortcomings of the ending, it is still a very good good anime.Its visuals are pretty good and the sound is also very decent. Its a good anime; go watch it the next time you are in the mood for a slice of life story.

    "Negima! Magister Negi Magi" Manga Review

    ***This is a spoiler free review***
    After a run of over five years, Negima! Magister Negi Magi has finally come to a close. With thirty eight volumes and 355 chapters, the series is a very long and drawn out story that at first strikes as a normal high school harem but it suddenly transforms into a magical epic.

    Story: 8.5/10
    As I stated in my intro, the manga is very, very long and is split up into many different arcs. Within the first 250 chapters I never felt bored with the story. Unlike many other manga and anime, the plot actually gets better as the story progresses. It does not pull a Bleach and start to slow down after an amazing first arc. There is always a bigger picture in the future that makes the main cast get into deeper and deeper conflicts. Each arc was unique and interesting from start to finish. The final chapters suggest that the creator was semi-rushed to make an ending, causing a huge build up to be ended so abruptly. Despite this, the creator still pulls of a somewhat decent ending that will satisfy most people. The plot starts out as a normal school type harem but soon develops into a tourney style plot structure. From there it goes into a more adventure type story while still keeping the comedy and character development. Oh yeah the characters; there are more than thirty plus characters that are in the story at a given time and not a single one seems unnecessarily put into the story. The overall aesthetics of the plot are very appealing and from start to finish I felt very immersed into the manga. The only issue I had with the manga was the amount of ecchi related content. There are many scenes of almost completely nude characters but most of the scenes lead into a very humorous moment which in the end made it worth dealing with.

    Art: 8.5/10
    The artwork starts out a little on the plain side but it is very obvious that the artist improved over the years the manga was being sterilized. By the end of its running, Negima! and it’s characters are stunning to look at and every battle scene is very well drawn.

    Characters: 9.3/10
    Now characters are very important to any type of story; whether there are two or twenty. Negima! has over thirty characters at a given time and to be honest I remember each and every one of them. Each character is unique and has their own personality that I can say is not a total cliché (although there is your typical bookworm and bi-curious teen). Each character gets massive amounts of character development time with and without the main character. I was pretty much attached to each one by the end of the series.

    Overall: 8.8/10
    What can I say about this manga? It evolves from a typical school harem into an epic magical adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire way through. The only flaw with the plot is the anti-climatic ending that was still excuted well. Also, there was an unnecessarily high amount of ecchi scenes in the manga but the way they pan out and are used were very clever.  Never have I been so attached to an ongoing manga as much as Negima!. This series will go down in my book as one of the best manga of this generation.


    Such a great read, it really is a shame that both anime adaptations are no where near as entertaining -__-

    Saturday, August 4, 2012

    "Kannagi" episodes 1-7 thoughts

    One anime that caught my attention awhile ago was Kannagi due to its premise and artwork. I kept putting off watching it due to other commitments (school, music, SWTOR, ext.) but now that I have plenty of time I am around half way through the first season (assuming that it will continue later on).

    The first thing I noticed when watching this show is that for high schoolers (they are high schoolers correct...?) these characters look too...young. It's the same issue I had when reading and watching Mahoraba where the characters just do not appear to be as mature looking as they should be but hey every artist has their way of drawing so I cannot really complain. Besides the character models, the show looks pretty good. The backgrounds look fairly developed, there are no generic looking backdrops, and the sunset scenes are pretty well done. In the sound department, so far I like all the voice actors and the music fits well enough (for J-pop that is). I especially like Nagi' voice (just personal preference). The characters unfortunately fit in the generic, cookie cutter personalities (tsundere, yuri, ext.) but its not necessarily a bad thing. I enjoy the character interactions so far because every convo has moved the story forward in some sense. Nothing has felt unnecessarily added in just for laughs.

    So far I would have to say that I am enjoying the anime for what it has offered so far. A lot of plot elements are starting to come together and I just hope that the ending works well. I only hope it doesn't begin to stale out (much like many slice of life anime before it).

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Anime Currently Watching

    This is actually the first time that I have bothered to watch currently airing anime in a long time so the weekly wait for new episodes is just KILLING ME -___-
    Currently on episode:
    1. Kannagi Ep. 7 of 13 Done!
    2. Kaze no Stigma Ep. 15 of 24
    3. Kokoro Connect Ep. 6 of ?
    4. Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! Ep. 5 of ?
    5. Yuru Yuri (season 2) Ep. 6 of ?
    6. Tari Tari Ep. 1 of ?
    Favorites at the moment are Kokoro Connect and Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru! because even though they are simply school life/harem stuff, they both have interesting twists and plot devices that set them apart from other slice of life shows revolving in a high school setting.

    Real Talk: WTF happened to "Bleach"?

    I'm not afraid to admit that the beginning of Bleach (pretty much everything up to the conclusion of rescuing Rukia) was in my honest opinion one of the best forms of entertainment I had ever experienced. There was so much energy, great plot devices, characters and visual elements that had me so glued to the series. I remember when I first started watching it I just couldn't let myself get away. In my first sitting, I think I watched at least twenty episodes with out skipping any parts. I was just so engrossed in what was going on that I even convinced my friend (who had no desires to watch anime) to watch a good chunk of the show with me. I had never been so attracted to a series with so much promise. started going downhill (in my opinion). The next arcs (both fillers and faithful content) just seemed to keep dragging on and on. Yes there were some epic moments such as Ichigo going Bankai a couple times but that was really it. All the excitement of taking on the entire Soul Society to save Rukia just diminished. The saving grace that almost brought me back to an acceptable amount of interest was the Arrancar and Hueco Mundo arcs which, once again had so much promise that eventually led to an anti-climatic conclusion. It just felt like there were so many unanswered questions and plot holes left behind every arc.

    I'm complaining a lot; the show is decent but it should of been amazing. I haven't really read the manga so I cannot say it also follows suit but there is just way too much dragging down this anime for me to say its a masterpiece. If you want to watch something really amazing, watch the first 63 episodes of Bleach then STOP.

    "Onani Master Kurosawa" Manga Review


    A quick Google search of what Onani Master might translate to might veer you away from this manga but I strongly encourage you first read my review. What this manga has in store for you is a short but amazing story of redemption.

    Story: 9/10
    What the title will not tell you is that this manga is a story about redemption for social outcast Kakeru Kurosawa. He (in the beginning) spends his free time taking a “load” off in the women’s restrooms because he feels like it. Weird right? In his head he is in complete control and he doesn’t think he needs any true friends to survive. To be honest Kurosawa is a pretty shitty person at first glance which is exactly why this redemption story is the best I have ever witnessed. As the plot progresses, he little by little begins forming true friendships with classmates Keiji Nagaoka, Magister Takigawa, and many more people while being brought down by Kitahara (another social outcast character). Kitahara who also feels detatched from society more or less makes Kurosawa do certian actions that once he atones for changes and matures him into a very respectable male lead. While the path to redemption only takes 4 volumes (30 chapters), I find it fitting to what it is trying to accomplish. It goes from his daily life to revenge to redemption in such a flowing manner that you will want more once you finish. You start out with shitty Kurosawa, see him get better as a person, falls back to shitty person, then has an epiphany that changes himself completely. It is very hard to describe how well the story is without giving important plot points away so just know that this manga is a lot more than some guy who gets off in the women’s bathroom.

    Art: 6.5/10
    The artwork for the manga is very much rough sketches with over exaggerated boldness on Kurosawa to show how dark he is in the beginning of the manga. It’s not drawn poorly; it’s just a very original looking style that doesn’t try to “wow” you with amazing vistas. Cheerful characters are drawn lightly and have their surroundings match their moods. The other characters in the manga that are of ill-intent have their facial expressions match their moods quite well. Overall I have been spoiled by great looking manga such as Fairy Tail and Skip Beat so when comparing to this one it just doesn’t leave a lasting impression.

    Characters: 9/10
    The characters of this manga are a collection of lighthearted and generally good people while also including some who think they are misguided and lost causes. The interactions between the social outcasts (Kurosawa and Kitahara) and the “good” guys (Nagaoka and the rest of his gang) really make the redemption story very enjoyable to watch. You see Nagaoka trying to his heart’s content to include Kurosawa in every event even though he gets the same response every time. I never felt like any of the main characters were generic or not needed to progress the story.

    Overall 8.2/10
    No matter what my scoring may stray you towards I want you to try this manga out. It starts off with a Death Note vibe but changes and gets better and more interesting as it progresses. It is by far the best story about a social outcast maturing into a fine adult that I have ever experienced. It is very short and can be enjoyed in a day or a week.
     A very good manga that shows true character development over time. Do not stray away due to the title; if you are bored one afternoon sit down and read this.

    "Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!!" Anime Review

     Note: I wrote this review before playing the Visual Novel that it was biased off of
    ***This is a spoiler free review***
    Never in my life would I expect myself to say, “Man I wish this anime would of stayed a typical stale harem story.” Well brace yourselves because Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!! biggest flaw is its attempt to combine harem, ecchi, and terrorist plot elements into a twelve episode season.

    Story: 2/10
    So the first two episodes of this anime actually lead the show on a promising path. Initially I thought this anime was going to be a school life/slice of life/harem type anime which even though as been done to death is sometimes good to go back to and just enjoy. The first episode showcased a class war while the second puts the characters on an odd job to find a lost dog. The flow between the characters seemed to be done very well but as soon as the third episode hits, they introduce a terrorist plot to the anime that completely…kills it (in a bad way). The anime tries to become super serious and add backstory to some of the characters but unfortunately it just fails. It’s a shame because I was really looking forward to a nice laid back anime.

    Animation: 8.2/10
    The animation on the other hand came out pretty good. I was lucky enough to get to watch this season on my friends BD copy in 1920x1080 resolution and I have to say…ecchi. There are a lot of scenes where there are some suggested sexual content but nothing that pushes the bar too much. In terms of overall quality of the scenes, it is kind of a mixed bag. The scenes where not a lot is going on is filled with some impressive visuals, however I noticed that the action scenes are filled with some artifacting (which shouldn't happen on a BD copy of the anime...) and some loss of quality. Overall it’s a great looking anime so props for that.

    Sound: 6/10
    The soundtrack leaves much to be desired but the voice acting is recorded fairly well and also has pretty good actors to back them up. Each character has a unique and well done vocal track. The only issue that really bothers me about the sound in this anime is that the overall soundtrack is just bland and uninspiring.

    Characters: 6.5/10
    In terms of my overall enjoyment with the characters of this anime I have to say that I did love some of the characters. The ones that stood out to me the most was the sex crazy Shina, the main character Naoe, and the shy Mayuzumi who uses a keychain to communicate with others (thinking that it is a god). Everyone else however comes off as generic and, “Oh I remember someone like her from like five other anime.” Generic doesn’t always mean “bad” but for this anime it just seems like they didn’t try to push the character development enough to get these said generic characters out of the typical cookie cutter descriptions.

    Overall: 5.7/10
    Overall I really, really, really wanted to enjoy this anime because the initial episode really gave me hope and had me hooked. It turns out however that a weird and unneeded plot device can and will run an anime with subpar character development and average sound. It’s hard to recommend this to anyone but hey if you need to kill some time at least it’s not horrible.

    Its a decent anime...but go play the VN instead :D

    Real Talk: "Maji de Watashi ni Koishinasai!" Visual Novel


    Throughout my life I have had a certain liking to the Japanese culture with the biggest and most prominent sources of this enjoyment coming from anime and manga. After watching the anime adaptation of Maji de Watashi ni Koishinasai!, I felt as if it was very lacking and not very fair to the female cast. I learned from some other people that the anime was biased loosely off of a critically acclaimed visual novel. I also found out that for the most part it had an English translation so I thought to myself I would give it a try.

    This being my first Visual Novel game, I honestly did not know what to expect. I thought the lack of animation would make it boring and unappealing in the long run but boy was I wrong. From what I can tell they have the same voice actors as the ones in the anime which was a big plus in the entertainment department. The animation was actually very well done even though most of it was still images of different facial expressions and...positions.

    Another thing that I really enjoyed was the ridiculous amount of content in the game. The first half of the game (which does not play a huge part on which route you take) took me at least 5+ hours to complete (even when skipping through most of the convos. When you finally get to choose who to chase after, there is still plenty of content for each character. After playing through almost all the routes, it is very hard to pick one character I enjoyed more than the others. Each character is unique and has very different personalities from the others of the cast. Wanko (the red head) is fun, energetic, and innocent ( while Chris (the blonde) is very uptight and gets embarrassed easily. The short and sweet is that no matter who you choose, you are most likely going to like the end result.
    One thing that I was not expecting was the large amount of hentai in the game...It seemed that once you made your confession to the character you choose, it was only a matter of time until the inner sex freak was awoken in all the girls. Yes all the girls eventually get super freaky :D. It's not a bad part of the game...just was very surprised when sweet innocent Wanko suggested some...positions.

    I could go on all day about this game but pretty much my base thoughts have already been laid out. Whether you are accustomed or new to Visual Novel games, I STRONGLY encourage encountering this one. Its full of pretty much everything you would want in a quality anime plus some...nice scenes.

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    Real Talk: "Sankarea"

    I am going to use these "Real Talk" posts as a discussion about some topic. It will not necessarily be a review but just my general thoughts about an anime, manga, whatever.


    So Sankarea in case you do not know is a manga and anime that revolves around our main protagonist Furuya who is just crazy for zombies and horror films. He eventually runs into Sanka (person in above picture) and she dies. He makes a potion and now she is a zombie.

    That's a rough summary of the first chapters/episodes in case you needed the background. I am going to mainly focus on the anime since that is the one I had the most beef with. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed the anime for many reasons (one being that it is actually very faithful to the source material). It's animation is very crisp and beautiful, the voice acting is very well done, and the characters (for the most part) match their counterparts in the manga. For me though (maybe I am just weird) it doesn't feel as impactful as the manga.

    When I first read the manga I was amazed at how original, interesting, and overall enjoying it was to read. I honestly could not leave it until I cached up with the releases. When I heard an anime would be releasing soon biased off of the manga, I went nuts. When the first couple episodes were released, I found myself liking it...A LOT. The characters seemed to fit perfectly and the animation was very well done. As the show progressed however I began to lose interest. Maybe it was because I already knew what was coming up or that the pace seemed a little too slow. I really do not know why I didn't enjoy it as much as I should of.

    Either way the show is very decent and if you haven't been keeping up with the manga I encourage you give this anime a try. You might enjoy it more if you do not read the manga yet because while it does follow the storyline well, the pace is very slow. Look for a review in the next couple weeks.