Posts Tagged ‘Anime’

Media Update 3/15/18

March 15, 2018


Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

I love fairy tales, folktales, and mythology and I really should buckle down and read more of the 1001 Nights. I am not extremely familiar with Arabian/Muslim lore beyond Ali Baba, Aladdin, and djinn. Lucky for me, those three are what this anime is about. Basically, Ali Baba is a fruit peddler/shipping working who dreams of making his way into and through a legendary magic dungeon to get at the riches and magic items inside. Aladdin is a naive little boy who has made friends with a djinn who resides in a magic flute. Together, they set out to accomplish their dreams. I love media where different stories are reimagined and mashed together (see Once Upon a Time). This series is pretty zany and a little bit adult kind of like Kill la Kill. Similarly, all of the adult humor is in good fun and there is nothing malicious or too racy or the average viewer. I am excited to see where this leads as I like stories that have strong archetypes who are fleshed out into real characters (like American McGee’s Alice or various Oz adaptations). The animation is beautiful but also unexpected at times, kind of like FLCL. I have watched very little so far and I imagine that soon it will really pick up. I definitely recommend it. Besides, watching the trailer just now, I have to at least get to the part with Matt Mercer in it.


Sword Art Online

I had heard that many people did not like this anime but I did not want to research why because of possible spoilers. I decided to check it out for myself and I at least found a reason for myself. Without major spoilers, I did not like how there were huge time jumps going to episodes 2 and 3. I felt like I missed a lot of interesting adventures. However, from what I have seen so far, it is a fairly good anime. The premise is that a whole bunch of people sign up for a virtual reality MMORPG and the programmer traps them in it. If they die in the game, they die in real life and they cannot log out or be removed from the VR apparatus. The whole game operates in a fantasy setting that focuses on (wait for it) swords and the art of using them. The animation is very pretty and the character design is interesting. As expected, the anime is not light-hearted in the least as it deals with mostly young people dreading the next battle which might cause their death. I hope the series slows down a bit so I can really get into it. I guess I recommend it although it is a bit dark and there are plenty of other good anime series out there.


The Irregular at Magic High School

When I hear ‘magic school’, my interest is immediately piqued. I wish I could have gone to magic school and, somewhat related, I wish that magic was real. I guess I was expecting somewhat of a more grown-up version of Little Witch Academia (which was whimsical and dramatic) but instead I got something else. Something else that was not exactly bad once I started to settle in. In the world of the anime, magic is known to be real the world over and it is readily combined with technology to improve its use. This and other details make magic a very specialized thing where people almost have magical majors that they focus on. Families are known for certain techniques and magic is intimately connected with intellectual aptitude and studying. I definitely immediately got a Naruto vibe because of this but it is way slower and more drama-based. Still, I am very interested to find more about the seemingly complicated system of magic. I do have to drop a spoiler here because something really bothered me. The show centers on a brother and sister and the sister totally has the hots for her brother. I thought it was my imagination at first but yeah, it is made clear in the second episode. Based on Internet comments, it is one-sided and neither makes a move but it is fairly disturbing to me. Just a friendly warning. Because of that, I would not recommend it but also because it just did not grab me. There are plenty of high school dramas in English that I could watch.

Music of the Week:
Red Velvet – Stupid Cupid

The Regrettes – Come Through

Portugal. The Man – Feel It Still

Foo Fighters w/Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up

Attila – Bulletproof

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Anime Magic and Fantasy”
– I started watching Jessica Jones Season 2
– I continued watching iZombie Season 4
– I continued watching the Joel McHale Show
– I continued watching Fate/Apocrypha
– I continued watching Freaks and Geeks
– I watched a ton of Barry Kramer on YouTube
– As usual, I watched Game Grumps, GT Live, and Critical Role on YouTube
– I am so proud of those who participated in the National Student Walkout Day

Magical Earth Defenders Pt. 12

March 10, 2018

Magical Earth Defenders

Lennon, Natia, and Kelsey were already sitting at the lunch table when Margaret arrived. Kelsey and Lennon had brought their own lunches. Lennon had studied and planned what she should be eating and everything was just so. Kelsey had two sisters so she had what she managed to grab on her way out of the door. Natia was eating her fries from the cafeteria lunch line much like a great white or maybe a piranha. That is if piranhas could brood. Margaret walked up carrying a tray of cafeteria food. She looked a bit out of place with her clothes just so but the girls waved her over.

“Hey new kid!” Natia yelled out, loud enough that even Lennon gave her a look. “You might have made a mistake.”

“What?” Margaret asked. The usually poised young girl suddenly looked worried and an even paler shade of white. People never talked to her at her old school and now she was blowing it with the few people she knew at her new school. “What do you mean?”

“She means we usually avoid the cafeteria food if we can help it,” Kelsey said helpfully.

“Except the french fries,” Natia said, her mouth half full. The other girls rolled their eyes which made Margaret smile and calm down a bit.

“Sit down, Margaret,” Kelsey said. “I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

“At the very least, you won’t die,” Lennon said with a smile. “Most of us pack our lunches to guarantee edibility and nutrition.”

“And because it’s cheaper,” Kelsey said.

Margaret smiled and sat down. “Thank you, ladies. I’ll take that under advisement.”

“How are things going on your first day?” Kelsey asked.

“Things here are less complicated than the academy,” Margaret said. She smiled. “and more welcoming. The academics are comparable. I’ll do fine here as soon as people stop staring.”

“We’re happy to have you, Mar,” Natia said.

“So how was your talk with the Principal?” Margaret asked. “They whisked you away from us for quite some time.”

“What’s the damage, Natia?” Kelsey asked. By now, they all knew how often Natia had been skipping school and they knew the school would be displeased at the very least.

“I somehow got away without detention but I have a ton of work I have to catch up on. I have to get a tutor,” Natia said. She punctuated that last bit by grumpily dipping two fries into the ketchup before shoving them in her mouth.

“You’re lucky that you got off with just a tutor,” Lennon said. “Principal Evers can be strict. By the way -“

“I need a tutor too,” Maya said, interrupting. Nobody had noticed her walking up to the table. She sat down carefully, purposefully ignoring all of the stares she was getting. Margaret was briefly thankful not to be the center of attention before her empathy kicked in and she felt bad for Maya. She wondered how much worse the attention might be if Maya had not bespelled her tattoos away. Maya was thinking about that as well.

“Where did you come from?!” Natia cried out before Kelsey put a hand over her mouth.

“I came from the castle,” Maya said with a shrug. She had a brass plate in front of her that she was eating salad from.

“And grabbed a salad from the castle’s fridge?” Lennon asked.

“From the garden,” Maya said.

“Wow,” Kelsey said. “Good for you for eating healthy.”

Maya smiled. “Thank you. It’s the only way I survived so long on the run. At some point, I just became a vegetarian which was cheaper but hard on the run. Anyway, I don’t think I should invite a tutor over to the castle. Can I borrow space from one of you?”

“You can invite the tutor there if I’m the tutor,” Lennon said. “I can tutor both you both.”

“Don’t you already have special projects for independent study?” Kelsey asked.

“How did you know about that?” Lennon asked. She did not think taht a popular girl like Kelsey would know about that.

“I’m nosy,” Kelsey said. “I know things about people.” She shrugged with a smile.

“Well, I can still tutor them,” Lennon said with a smile. “You guys can be my new special project.”

“I’m not sure I enjoy being referred to as a special project,” Maya said.

“Yeah, watch your phrasing, Red,” Natia said.

Once again, Kelsey covered Natia’s mouth with her hand.

“Please don’t use codenames when we are in civilian gear,” Margaret said.

“I was just kidding,” Natia said. “Are those really our codenames? They’re only kind of cool.”

“We’ll have to discuss it at some point,” Maya said

“We have a lot of things to discuss,” Kelsey said. The girls all nodded in agreement. “Speaking of tutoring, we also need magic tutoring.”

“And superhero tutoring,” Natia said.

“We can do all the tutoring at the castle,” Lennon said. “It’s safer there and we won’t get interrupted.”

“Making a castle our hangout? Yes please!” Natia said with a smile.

“Just as long as you all stay out of my room,” Maya said. Natia stuck her tongue out at her which made Maya smile and almost laugh.

“We also have to keep all of this a secret,” Margaret said.

“Exactly,” Kelsey said.

“Duh,” Natia said. “Of course, that’ll be hard.”

“I have to agree,” Lennon said. “My parents seeing me walk again would make their year.”

“We’ll have to make sacrifices for this,” Kelsey said. “We’re trying to save the world.”

“You’re right,” Lennon said. “It’s definitely worth it. If we lose, extradimensional aliens take over the world. We can’t let our parents or the government interfere with that.”

“Wow,” Maya said. “I never thought that would be my life and I ran from the things for years.”

“Well you have real friends now, Maya,” Kelsey said. She looked out at the table full of former loners. “You all do.”

“I never thought that would be my life either,” Maya said.

“Me either,” Lennon said. “I was always too shy.”

“I’m too loud!” Natia said with a big grin.

“Too rich,” Margaret said.

“Well, none of you are too much for me,” Kelsey said. “We’re a team.”

“Aw, that’s so sweet blue!” Natia said and they all laughed.

Media Update 11/30/17

November 30, 2017


Fate/Apocrypha

I am a huge history nerd, especially when it comes to myths and legends. I know a lot about the various heroes and heroines who have allegedly walked the Earth and left the world a better place. So when I started watching this new show, I was immediately jazzed. It is set in a world where magic and technology coexist. There is a magical, wish-granting MacGuffin which is basically the Holy Grail of legend. Whenever the grail is sighted, a special war breaks down called a Grail War. In that war, each side summons seven heroic souls from the past to fight the war as proxies. In this show, one side is comprised of Siegfried, Vlad Tepes III, Chiron, Astolfo, Frankenstein’s Monster, Solomon ibn Gabirol, and Jack the Ripper. The other side has Mordred, William Shakespeare, Spartacus, Semiramis, Achilles, Atalanta, and Karna. Joan of Arc acts as the arbiter of the contest. I am still freaking out over how good this show is and how they anime-fied all these great characters (including gender-bending several of the males). Gods, monsters, and heroes mingle and compete against each other and some of their stories are altered or ‘clarified’ so that they are in a more heroic light. I definitely recommend it if you are a fellow myth enthusiast or if you just like solid anime action with a bit of comedy thrown in.


Blue Exorcist

I have seen quite a few things where a character is the son (or daughter) of Satan before but this one really takes the cake. What happens when a demon is raised as a man and instilled with all the values of a good person. What happens when you are raised by your family’s enemies? What happens when you discover this in your teenage years? These are all questions posed by this show. The show, as the title suggests, is about John Constantine style exorcists who are just as likely to use magic weapons as they are to use magic spells (prayers). I really love the characters in this one as they really resonated and felt like people I know or might know in my life. There were slight twists to the story that I did not see coming and the whole show is grounded in a tough but real reality. Even the jerkier characters are people I would love to meet and talk to. I am just getting started on this show and I am intensely interested in where it goes next. I especially love that Sam Riegel voices a character on the show who I have seen in two episodes so far. I definitely recommend it.


K

Speaking of Sam Riegel, he is the star of this show and does such a good job of playing a slightly weird but mostly normal high school kid. The kid in question is caught up in a war between two rival gangs who both use magical powers to combat each other. The forces of the Red King and the Blue King freely fight on the streets and Shiro is clueless as to how he ended up in the middle of it. Throw a magical catgirl into the mix and this show is pretty crazy. So far I love the quirky sense of humor the show has and the devil-may-care attitude most of the characters have. I really have no idea where this one is heading and I am not a hundred percent sure what has actually happened so far. I just know that I have enjoyed the ride so far and I will eventually finish watching this series. The show is holding its cards close to its chest and has yet to really explain much which is both frustrating and enticing. I will be watching the rest of this with interest. I recommend this one as well.

Music of the Week:
Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats – I’ll Cut You Down

Kim Tillman & Silent Films – Evelyn

Duran Duran – Come Undone

Ghost Mice – Critical Hit

Awkwafina – NYC Bitche$

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “Anime Youths in Battle”
– I watched more Punisher Season 1
– I watched more Blindspot Season 1
– I rewatched Sing Street with my mom
– Thanksgiving weekend was not filled with watching

 

 

Media Update 5/4/2017

May 4, 2017


Little Witch Academia
(and Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade)

This was a, pardon the pun, completely enchanting experience. I basically look at these two short films as two pilots (an intro and a two-parter) for the television show that has not been released in America yet. The series follows a young witch named Akko living and learning at a all-female boarding school for practitioners of the magical arts aka witches. Unlike many of her fellow students, she grew up in a more human world and is behind everybody in her skills. Luckily, she is aided by her friends Sucy and Lotte (and others later). Sucy might just be my favorite part of what I have seen so far as she is creepy and funny and loves to brew bizarre potions and poisons but is still a good guy. Lotte summons faeries to aid her. Akko is basically a witch version of a magical girl, so basically a double magical girl. The animation is so fluid and it is so fun to watch everybody move. The American voice cast is sweet and endearing and I could not help but fall in love with the three misfits. I cannot wait for Netflix to finally start bringing the show to the States because they have done such a good job so far producing quality dubs. I definitely recommend what is on there so far.


Kill la Kill

I remember hearing a little about this show when it first got popular but I never got around to watching it for some reason or another. I probably did not have cable while it was on Toonami. I have heard the dub is very high quality but I watched the subtitled version on Netflix which was fine. (Seriously, give me an advertising deal Netflix). Anyway, the show is about a young schoolgirl who travels to a famous academy to discover who killed her father sho she can avenge him. Along the way, she becomes a bizarre magical girl through some magic clothes. Most magical girls fight for love and justice selflessly but this one just wants to beat the crap out of almost everyone she sees. It is basically a heavy metal version of the magical girl story. She has few friends at the academy and usually has her back against the wall in almost every fight. The one big thing I wanted to address with this one is the fanservice. There is a lot of male and female nudity and suggestive sexual language so far (4 episodes in). Some of it is funny, most of it is bizarre. I thought it was really sexist at first but over time I think it is just a bizarre sidenote that is neither sexist nor feminist. The animation and fight scenes are pretty cool and creative and I look forward to what happens next. I will recommend it but do not come knocking on my door if it offends you (there’s also a lot of blood).


Fairy Tail

With a name like that, I should have checked it out ages ago. It is set in a world that is full of mages trying to ply their trade by helping people for money through the use of bounty boards and quests. The series mostly follows Lucy who is a young, idealistic mage whose magic is devoted to summoning creatures and making contracts with them. It is a concept I love especially since she is very excited but also very nice about it. She is out to join the number one mage guild which is called Fairy Tail. Along the way, she befriends a fire mage named Natsu and a cast of kooky but awesome characters. It has some dungeons and dragons elements to it but it also has some fun One Piece and Seven Deadly Sins elements. The mix of comedy and action is really good. The two heroes are not the most experienced or competent so we get to see them fail until they succeed a lot early on. The humor comes from genuinely funny characters but also some absurdist humor thrown in as well. I am only a few episodes in but I like what I see so far and I cannot wait for more characters to be introduced to the story. I definitely recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Eric B. & Rakim – I Ain’t No Joke

JI YEON – Never Ever

John Carpenter – Night

Windhand – Libusen

JoJo – FAB

Weekly Update:
– I watched more MST3K: The Return and it just gets better as it goes
– I watched more Don’t Trust the B in Apt 23
– I finished Iron Fist and I thought it was pretty good
– I started Legends of Tomorrow Season 2
– I watched more of The Crown
– I picked up The Get Down Part 2
– This week’s theme is “Magical Anime Series”

Top 11 Favorite Anime Series

April 24, 2017

Top 11

I have read a few top lists for anime series (and movies) and there are some of the usual suspects and some that I have not seen yet. My top list may not be the most thoughtfully crafted, profound creations but I enjoyed them. A lot of these were also my gateway into the genre of anime and will be fondly remembered forever for that reason.


11 Record of Lodoss War

I did not see this one on any of the lists. I add this here because it combined anime with high fantasy. It is something that is Dungeons and Dragons-inspired. It is based on a bunch of Japanese fantasy novels but the look of it was definitely Western fantasy. It follows the hero Parn, the son of a dishonored knight who is trying to bring honor back to his family’s name. He is accompanied by his love, the high elf Deedlit, his mentor Slayn, Ghim, Etoh, and Woodchuck. The series eventually shifts to cover characters related to the first cast. It is basically a D&D party adventuring. The characters were always interesting and the adventure was fun to follow.


10 Lupin the 3rd

I love heist movies or heist shows (see Italian Job, Oceans 11, Leverage, The Sting, etc.). The twists and turns of the plans of legitimately skilled criminals are fun to watch. That is what Lupin the 3rd is about. Lupin is an infamous master thief who is descended from a family of master thieves. He pursues thievery with great joy and a flair for the dramatic. Of course, nothing goes right a hundred percent of the time so he is backed up by his crew of Goemon, Jigen, and Zenigata. All of them provide specialized skills to win the day. The art style was also really smooth and just had this international style. The show is mostly madcap capers with plenty of action and comedy.


9 Trigun

Cowboys. Who doesn’t love cowboys? Trigun was a great series about Vash the Stampede, also known as the Humanoid Typhoon. Wanted posters across the land bear the face of this more human than human gunfighter but he is actually a really nice guy. He constantly tries to protect people without blowing his cover. He is pursued by two agents named Millie and Meryl who are partners tasked with documenting the damage Vash inadvertently causes by combatting the bad guys. They and others get sucked into the combat, helping Vash save the day. The show has great artwork and stylistic, well-animated gun fights and combat in general. There is a lot of classic Wild West imagery thrown in with great science fiction technology. This show can get very dramatic but it has a lot of comic moments to lighten the mood.


8 Gurren Lagann

This was a later find for me thanks to a tip from Ross O’Donovan. I like this show because of the unbridled sense of optimism you get from it. No matter what the obstacles are, the characters find some crazy way to overcome it. It is famous for the line “Don’t believe in yourself. Believe in me! Believe in the Kamina that believes in you!” A line used to instill confidence in a character who constantly suffers from anxiety and low self-esteem. The show is full of all sorts of craziness with action, drama, and plenty of wacky comedy. It is about two young guys who emerge from an underground city in a post-apocalyptic land and recover two battle mechs. They team up with a rebellious faction to fight off the monsters and villains that plague the dangerous terrain around them. While things often look hopeless, they are a shining light in the darkness. It is pretty inspiring and sometimes very funny.


7 Naruto

This is kind of the anime I hear people refer to the most. Naruto follows a ninja student who is trying his hardest to be the best person he can be. Naruto was cursed to contain a demon beast inside of himself and he battles that with the help of his friends. The show also follows Naruto’s graduating class at the academy who are all interesting characters. The supporting cast is huge and there are so many characters I identify with and cheer on. Each ninja has their own signature set of powers and abilities that they use to fight with like manipulating the elements, cloning themselves, mind merging with a dog and changing shape among many, many powers. The show constantly surprises me with how dramatic it can be considering half of the characters are happy go lucky goofballs. The thing is, most of the characters are young and they act like you would expect young people to act. The animation is generally super bright and fluid which makes for excellent action scenes.


6 Mobile Fighter G Gundam

When I grew up playing a lot of video games, one of the biggest things in the arcades was fighting games. One of the most iconic fighting games of all time would have to be Street Fighter II where all the fighters represented their countries of origin. That is the feeling I got from watching G Gundam. The show is about a world where futuristic societies in orbit around Earth hold giant robot battles to settle political differences instead of fighting wars. The main protagonist is the representative from Neo-Japan but there are other main protagonists from Neo-America, Neo-France, Neo-China and Neo-Russia. Most episodes are about matches between the giant Gundam mechs who each have their own style of fighting and weaponry which often represent their country somehow. While I like earlier and later Gundam series, this one was so optimistic and energetic and was such a breath of fresh air.


5 One Piece

This one has the potential to be controversial not because this series is not popular but because I first fell in love with it during the 4Kids dub days. Luckily, they kept the same voice cast when the even better Funimation dub started up. Anyway, this is is a story about a young man with magical stretchy Mr. Fantastic powers who has a dream to be King of the Pirates. His goal is to recover a treasure in the most dangerous part of the ocean that will allow him to inherit the power and wealth of the famous Jolly Roger. Along the way, he forms a crew of misfits and underdogs who become a formidable team together. The action scenes are so fun as there are super-powered fistfights, sword fights, gun fights and so much more. The show is also pretty surreal with all kinds of animal people, altered humans and so many other creatures and all of it adds to the action and comedy of the show.


4 Fullmetal Alchemist

This show came when I was just about ready to get back into anime during college. It really resonated with me because it is about two brothers hanging together no matter what and that is how I feel about my brothers. The show is about a world where humans have discovered real workable alchemy and use it as a system of magic in combat. The animation is fluid and beautiful, especially during action sequences where the characters are using alchemy to battle one another. The show is about the conflict between the military, the people and the monsters somewhere in between the two. The Elric brothers stick together through thick and thin as dogs of the military, investigating threats to the nation and eventually uncovering something much bigger. The show is probably the darkest one on this list as the brothers deal with death, resurrection, atrocities, genocide and other grotesque things done by heroes and villains alike.


3 Cowboy Bebop

From the first notes of the show’s theme song, the show has a great jazz feel to it. The animation has mostly muted, softer colors and deep beautiful shadows. The show takes place in a science fiction world but it definitely has both a film noir and a wild west feel to it. The show is about three bounty hunters who do not always get along or work together and yet they share a ship together. Spike is a well-dressed, slick adventurer. Jet is a muscle-bound, older tracker. Faye is a charmer and a con artist. Along the way, they are joined by a girl genius named Ed and her hyper-intelligent dog Ein. The show is inspired by Lupin the 3rd but they took it even farther in feel and execution. There is a great central plot thread but they approached each episode as if it was a movie and it shows. Each episode is pretty much a self-contained story about these characters with a clear story arc. The show has a lot of light, funny moments but it also has a lot of poetic, darker moments.


Sailor Moon

I talked about this show yesterday but it bears repeating that this was such a great show. After I wrote yesterday’s post (which is actually more about me than the show), I watched the show again. Serena is told by a talking cat that she is the legendary Sailor Moon, guardian of love and justice. She is joined by a whole team of Sailor Scouts mostly made up of her school friends. Together, they battle against the evil denizens of the Negaverse who want to hurt the citizens of Earth. The characters are so memorable to me and remind me of a lot of people I have known over the years. I have worked in a lot of female-dominated work environments in the past. It was also the first television show I watched that had gay characters in it which is amazing. Also, there is a male character who aids the female protagonist not by fighting her battles for her but by helping her remember who she is and how powerful she can be.


Seven Deadly Sins

This is a show I discovered last year and I am desperately waiting for Season 3. Season 2 was only four episodes long and the cliffhanger was awesome. Anyway, this show is about a group of seven legendary knights who were the best squad in the military service of a country called Leonis. They are the titular Seven Deadly Sins and they have been framed for crimes of treason and are actively being hunted. At the same time, they catch wind of a great danger to the nation and ride off to the rescue. There is so much to explore with this show and the best part is that I get to explore it with characters I would love to hang out with. The action scenes are some of the best I have seen, animated or not. The show just sparks my imagination in ways that few shows do. The show is not for children as there is plenty of gore and risque behavior but nothing feels gratuitous and, so far, there is always a happy ending right around the corner. The finale of the first season was also the first time I teared up in a while and also the first time I cheered at the screen at moments. It probably makes number one on this list because it is still ongoing and I desperately want more so badly.

Sailor Earth

April 22, 2017

In 1998, I was sixteen years old and I had fully embraced being a huge geek. Part of that was learning to love things that I had previously dismissed, something that drives me crazy these days. I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons but anime eluded me largely because I found it hard to connect to something in a different language. That is not to say that I do not enjoy watching things in their original language with subtitles, but when I was younger I needed anime dubbed in English to emotionally connect. One of my friends was a superfan of Dragonball Z and I made fun of him for it because it is fun to bust your friend’s chops. Then the show debuted on Cartoon Network and I fell in love with the art style and the drama of the early episodes. However, of all things shown on Cartoon Network’s Toonami, it was Sailor Moon that captivated my attention.

Sure, the animation on Sailor Moon was a little repetitive but I loved the characters and the light humor and dramatic touches resonated with me somehow. As a child of the eighties, I was exposed to the usual toxic masculinity that would have forbidden me from falling in love with a show like Sailor Moon. However, I always loved the characters on the show and I excitedly taped and watched every episode Toonami showed. I also liked the repetition of the show. Hearing phrases like “In the Name of the Moon, I will punish you!” over and over sounded badass. I loved watching the Sailor Scouts become more and more confident as they fought bigger and badder monsters each episode. The themes of friendship, teamwork, and love conquering hate were good to hear for a kid who had few but strong friendships. Those themes are even more important now.

I had a separate post on the backburner of my mind for ages now about something that is kind of specific to anime. Well, I guess it’s also used on shows like Power Rangers too. I am talking about calling out your attacks and magic spells as they are used. I have yet to come up with an explanation of why I love this trope of fiction. Maybe it is the familiar cadence of their voices accompanied by the satisfying destruction of a monster. Maybe it was the voice actors doing such a good job at showing the confidence that those attacks would solve everything. As an awkward teen, I was drawn to confidence.

I started to write what I now know is fanfiction. I loved the show but I started tweaking it on paper and in my head to have the same heart and soul but better animation. I started specializing the scouts just a little more to show off their individual strengths a bit. I think a lot of us who love fictional worlds so much find ourselves wanting to improve them not out of hate but out of pure love. Of course, a few seasons in and I became fascinated with the one male ally of the protagonists, Tuxedo Mask. As much as I liked the Tuxedo Mask imagery, I wanted him to eventually evolve a bit (he did but not in the way I expected). I wanted Darian to be granted his own symbol. The scouts (inner and outer) had the planets, Darian was basically Sailor Earth.

Out of tape and a Halloween safety light, I created a transformation charm with the Earth symbol that Tuxedo Mask might have used. I carried it around all the time but secretly in my pocket or in my backpack. I hid it at the time but it really was not unlike cosplay prop products that makers around the country work on these days. I imagined using that charm to transform to fight crime much like a lot of the heroes of shows like Sailor Moon, Power Rangers, Digimon, Megaman.EXE and Ronin Warriors. I have been thinking about it lately and I know I daydreamed of being Tuxedo Mask at the time. Not because I wanted to date Sailor Moon but because I wanted to fight alongside the Sailor Scouts while still being a guy.

Media Update 3/30/17

March 30, 2017


Akira

This movie is the legendary anime film that is pretty much solely responsible for anime reaching the mainstream culture in the United States. The movie was record-breaking in many ways. The two main ones were that it used more drawings and more colors than any previous animated film. Because much of it took place at night or in the dark, a larger and more complicated color palette was needed. Also, it merged action and science fiction in some ways that had not been seen as much in popular culture at the time but are very prevalent now. The movie itself is extremely compelling. It is the story of friendship, giving somebody more power than they can handle, evolution and the results of science reaching too far. It mostly follows two members of a biker gang in post-apocalyptic Japan. One of them gains immense psychic powers and their story spirals out of control, involving other super-powered beings, rebel forces and the government. It has really beautiful animation which obviously influenced most of what came after it. It also very clearly creates a world where there are not really any good guys but everybody is still very sympathetic. The story is also extremely interesting and it had enough twists and turns to keep me guessing at almost every moment. I definitely recommend it to the three anime fans who have not seen it yet.


Glitter Force

I saw this pop up as a “Netflix Original” a long while ago and I laughed and put it on my list to check out at some point. I mentioned before how much I love Magical Girl shows and if nothing else it would be fun to watch the first episode or two. I decided to watch it this week because it fit the week’s theme. However, I almost turned away when I saw the tag “Ages 2 to 6”. Then I googled the show and found a really bitter change.org petition to remove the show from Netflix. I had to watch it now. I am really glad I did. The show is a comedy action magical girl show. It is constructed very similarly to Sailor Moon with five young girls drawing on important values and magical powers to save the day. The comedy is sometimes wacky and sometimes actually pretty dry and, dare I say it, sophisticated. The action is a little formulaic but so is every other anime of its kind. The construction of the girls’ powers is mostly based on their personalities and their hobbies. At the same time, it may be the girliest thing that I have ever watched and that is coming from somebody who has seen multiple seasons of My Little Pony and half a season of Jem. They definitely lean into that and it ends up really working. I can see similarities to Sailor Moon and Madoka Magica but there are definitely some things they make their own. Particularly, all of the main villains are based on villains from fairy tales. I definitely recommend it but I understand if you do not.


One Punch Man

The Game Grumps have been hyping this show for ages now since it showed up on Crunchyroll. Now that it showed up on Netflix, it was time for me to check it out. The show is a anime superhero parody set in a fictional post-apocalyptic supercontinent. The ‘hero’ is a guy named Saitama who is so powerful that he kills every villain he opposes with one punch. The ease of his crimefighting has made him really bored with his life since the thrill of battle was something he really longed for. While the world goes crazy around him, he is very low key and nonchalant while everybody else is taking things way too seriously. The animation is really cool as we see opponents with ridiculously strong powers face off against each other. A lot of it is played for laughs even though there is plenty of gore either visually or through implication. I wish I liked this show more. The action is actually kind of similar to shows like Seven Deadly Sins but without the emotional stakes. All of the action is kind of boring when everybody is kind of a jerk and there is nobody to really root for. I do not think I will be continuing on with this one because I have shows that I actually really want to watch.

Music of the Week:
Teruko Akatsuki – Tokyo Shoe Shine Boy

Buckcherry – Lit Up

Chet Faker – Gold

Royal Blood – Out Of The Black

Babymetal – Megitsune

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is Animated Action
– I am almost done Blue Bloods Season 4
– I watched more Lucha Underground Season 1
– I am almost finished watching Haven
– I watched a lot more Iron Fist and it’s still good
– Getting ready for Wrestlemania weekend
– Working on the April A to Z Blogging Challenge
– Happy Media Update 100!


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