‘I think it’s time we blow this scene. Get everybody and the stuff together. OK. 3 2 1. Let’s jam.’
I’m going to make this bold ass statement: If series such as Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Pokemon jump started the Western anime craze of the 1990s, then Cowboy Bebop snatched that craze and carried it to unimaginable heights during the early 2000s – thus shaping how anime is viewed in the eyes of mainstream America today. If Cowboy Bebop never made it to the States or became such an overnight hit, then (maybe) mainstream interest in anime here in would had die out. Don’t get me wrong: those shows did well here in the States, but Cowboy Bebop was a game changer. I (personally) believed that the show helped changed the stereotype that anime is childish in America.
Putting my major (and fact-less) bias aside, Cowboy Bebop is Sunrise Studio’s 1998 legendary anime series produced by the equally legendary team up of director Shinchiro Watanabe, writer Keiko Nobumoto, character designer Toshiro Kawamoto, and composer Yoko Kanno. The series revolves around the adventures of a ragtag crew of bounty hunters attempting to make ends meet day-by-day.
The crew consist of the zen, free-spirited Spike, his best friend; the wise and mature Jet, the provocative opportunist; Faye, and finally, the quirky teenage super-genius; Ed. What’s unique about these characters is their connection to their (tragic) pasts, and how it crafts their present-day lives and personalities.
Spike declares himself “dead”, due to his past with the Red Dragons crime family, as well as feeling guilt towards Julia – the only person he truly cared for. This results in his “Whatever happens, happens” mantra in combination of his carefree spirit. Jet’s struggles with his past is rooted in the betray of his friend; whom ambushed and shot him – resulting the loss of his arm. Faye perhaps has the most unstable, complex connection to the past (next to Spike) of the main cast. She lacks knowledge of her own past due 50+ years of deep cryogenic sleep. Further in the series, she learns about it through an old, homemade Betamax recording of her younger self. It’s revealed that she was an once a hopeful, shy, kindhearted, innocent kid full of wild dreams. Those dreams were ruined after her family were slaughtered by space pirates, leaving her the lone survivor. The injuries she suffered from the attack forced doctors to put her in deep sleep, which resulted in her memory lost and personality change.
Oh well, whatever happens, happens.
What makes Cowboy Bebop my highest rated series is how it was such a game changer for me as a teenager. Prior to my encounter with it, I was used to shows such as Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, and Outlaw Star to name a few. Great shows mind you with good stories, but they weren’t really deep or thought provoking (Outlaw Star and Sailor Moon S did made me think a little bit with their themes, but it wasn’t like Cowboy Bebop level deep). Cowboy Bebop had this more adult branding to it; it made me feel in love with the series. You had jazz music playing in some of the major fights, characters drinking, smoking (both weed and tobacco on screens), poppin’ pills and trippin’ off shrooms. There were beautiful, kickass female characters who were treated not just as eye-candy, but humans. Cow or Bebop showcased characters that had legit issues that you could relate to such as debt, struggling with the past, burdens etc. No longer was I limited to anime that had your typical fuckin’ bullshit “defeat the monster-of-the-day” or “I wanna be the strongest in the world” fantasy shit.
Cowboy Bebop was the real shit because it was real.
‘Once upon a time, in New York City in 1941… at this club open to all comers to play, night after night, at a club named “Minston’s Play House” in Harlem, they play jazz sessions competing with each other. Young jazz men with a new sense are gathering. At last they created a new genre itself.
They are sick and tired of the conventional fixed style jazz.
They’re eager to play jazz more freely as they wish then… in 2071 in the universe… The bounty hunters, who are gathering in the spaceship “BEBOP”, will play freely without fear of risky things. They must create new dreams and films by breaking traditional styles. The work, which becomes a new genre itself, will be called… COWBOY BEBOP’
-Cowboy Bebop’s tagline pitch
29 days down, just one more. Day 30 – Your Favorite Anime.
This…will be fun.
While you’re waiting for that, please check out these amazing video by Digibro on Cowboy Bebop:
With episodes four and five’s plot of Mary and Yumeko teaming up to regain their humanity and lives, I figured that now is a great time to drop a theory I have on two possible narrative theme elements of Kaegurui; The theme of power and freedom. Both episodes (including manga spoilers) and the ED provided me with more than enough evidence and clues to support these claims. Hell, I’ll throw in some theories I have about Yumeko’s personality because why not.
The first phase of the ED opens with separate, close focus shots of Yumeko’s ass and bouncing breasts; branding Kakegurui as a series of near hyper sexuality. Next, we see Yumeko walking in the rain unprotected. She doesn’t appear to mind the rain, or the problems it brings. This tells us that Yumeko is carefree: She loves taking risks and finds comfort in being reckless. In short, she marches to the rhythm of her own beat.
Sakaya reflecting on Yumeko’s carefree spirit.
Sakaya reflecting on Yumeko’s carefree spirit.
Sakaya reflecting on Yumeko’s carefree spirit.
In the background, there is a peony flower – the Japanese symbol of daring bravery and wealth. People with bravery and wealth are powerful. Yumeko is a brave girl; she’s not bothered by high risk stakes or manipulation by outside sources. In fact, she enjoys it. To say she gains pleasure from it is a statement not far from the truth. Hyakkaou itself is rich in wealth, bravery, and power. Seeing the peony flowers in various Kakegurui manga covers and promotional materials is no coincidence in that sense.
The peony cycles through four colors: red, green, yellow-green, and purple.
In color theory, red is use for power. Now, what are the Hyakkaou students gambling for? Status and power above all. But, before you get the power, you must get the money. This leads us to the next color – green.
Green – most associated with money – and greed. Money makes the world go round. Money never sleeps like Wall Street. If gambling is the backbone of the school than money is the lifeblood. The student body is made up of the children of some of the richest and most powerful connected families of Japan.
Power is everything. Money rules all.
‘You gotta get the money first. Then when get the money, you get the power.’ -Tony Monata, Scarface (1983 American film)
‘All my life I want money and power.’ -Kendrick Lamar, Backseat (2012 American hip-hop single)
Next is yellow-green. We already analyze green, so let’s focus on yellow. Yellow represents logic, analysis, and brain stimulation. Gambling itself is a mental game; As you much analyze and read your opponent’s moves. Logic can greatly dictate the flow of a gambling match (if you’re extremely smart and/or know how to play the system that is). Yellow can also represent joy and happiness – something Yumeko tend to indulge herself in a lot through gambling.
Finally the color purple. Purple represents royalty, power, luxury, and nobility – four things in which the upper-class students either have obtained or inherited. The lower-class/livestock yearns for these four things they lack. Purple is also a mysterious, yet beautiful color. This works with Yumeko, as we do not know neither her origins, nor background. She’s also rather beautiful as her male peers were captivated by her beauty at first sight (and it’s implied Ryota has a crush on her based on her beauty).
This phase of the ED continues for a few bars of music, which builds up as the vocalist and instruments are layered in the melody.
There are quick, close focus shots of Yumeko’s chest, skirt, opened shirt, and finally, her lips. The animation of her lips sync with the vocalist singing “tagitte shimau wa!, or, “I’m overflowing!” in English.
Now, we’ve heard Yumeko say this line before in episode 2; as she gets aroused through gambling. Gambling excites Yumeko profoundly. Perhaps a bit too much however.
The ED transitions into phase two. The peony flower has exploded into red pedals. The pedals start to rotate around Yumeko. Now, remember that red means power. Who has the power in Hyakkaou? The student government has the power of course. Now, could that possibly mean that Yumeko will break up the student council’s power game, and have them wrapped around her fingers as the series progress?
These lyrics of the ending theme seem to suggest so:
‘So have your way with their souls.
Make them dance in the palm of your hand!’
Then again, this could also be a reference to how the student council control the lower class; removing their humanity, treating them as livestock, and dictating their lives through the Life Schedule Plan (more on that later).
After that, Yumeko tosses her blazer aside carelessly; her dress shirt open, revealing her cleavage and pink bra. Her arms are spread slightly. She walks with fluidity as she sways her hips back and forth, still soaked by the rain. Liberated from her “restrains” (the blazer and buttoned shirts), she wears a wide smile; As if she’s happy that she can be free. Perhaps this symbolize that in the future, she’ll finally be happy that she can be her true self – a fearless, limitless gambler.
There’s a bar of rest in the music, followed by an upskirt shot from the ground up. The downbeat directs us to the final phase. Yumeko’s arms and hair are raised high above her head. She walks with more confidence in each step. Multiple lights sync with the percussion, alternating between blue and pink at each bar. Five or six peony flowers appear in the background, each rotating like roulette wheels while the pedals of the original peony still dance around Yumeko.
The imagery increases with intensity, working in synergy with the music’s crescendo. The animation transitions to a set of poker chips ascending; This might hint that Yumeko will raise above the ranks of Hyakkou and the student government.
Finally, the ED ends with a focus shot of the Yumeko’s face. It’s blushed, her lips are parted, and her hair a mess. She appears she just been pleasured sexually for some odd reason (sex sells I guess). Also, note how her hair are red – just like the peony pedals. Perhaps she gains power and triumph over the student government overtime. Maybe I’m thinking way too deep into the shot, but whatever.
By analyzing the ED, I’ve theorized two the possible themes of Kakegurui are freedom and power.
Freedom plays a large role in the series. Students yearning to free themselves from their “pet” and “livestock” statues, as well as debts they owe to others. We first see this through Ryota and Mary’s game from the first episode. Of course, Ryota lost to Mary and became her pet as a result.
Later, after her defeat against Yumeko, Mary is force to surrender her life, and live the life that the student council crafted for her: the Life Schedule Plan (getting married to a senator, baring his children, etc.).
She enters a debt forgiveness gambling match with Yumeko (also suffering the same fate as Mary). The two join forces to lower their debt, thus one step closer in retaining their humanity and freedom. During this match, we’re introduced to Nanami, a young girl reduced to livestock status. She’s forced to partner up with minor villain Kiwatari. After realizing that she was coerced (as well as emotionally and mentally abused) into working for Kiwatari, Yumeko convinces Nanami to grow a backbone, fight for herself, and free herself from Kiwatari. Despite losing the match (coming in second place) and still having debt, Nanami gains a sense of freedom and confidence for herself.
As for the theme of power, it’s quite obvious. From episode 1 to the recent episode 5 (and the manga of course), power and status is played heavily in the series. Mary has power over Ryota for a time. Yumeko displays her power through extreme wit and intelligence. Students with status and money have power over the pets. The student government (made up of high ranking gamblers and students with political and financial connections) rule the school through their power. We see the fincinal status and connection with Itsuki (as her dad is the CEO of a toy company) and the political pull and ruling of the current ruthless Kirari Momobami.
Power is everything in Hyakkaou.
‘No one man should have all that power.’
–Kanye West, Power (2010 hip-hop single)
How did you like my analysis and theories? Think I’m spot on or am I’m just overthinking an ED and the music? I’m excited how things will play out in both the manga nad anime, as things are starting to get wild in episode 5. I’ve yet to read the manga but I heard from a friend that it’s nuts. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Mother’s Basement analysis of the OP of Kakegurui. Although this further inspired me to do this ED analysis, I wasn’t initially inspired by the video. I was more inspired by Anime Live Reaction analysis of Dragon Ball Super ED 7 to analyze anime lyrics and ED.
NOTE: If you’re wondering why I haven’t done days 29 and 30 of the “30 Day of Anime Challenge”, it’s because I’ve been too heavily focus on other major projects right now. They will return soon.
Now, that’s something I’d say back in 2007. Today, both shows are back on the air: with Dragon Ball with Dragon Ball Super and Sailor Moon with Sailor Moon Crystal.
Go me and reliving my carefree childhood!
To be real with you guys;there aren’t any anime that I wished never ended. Yea I mean, it suck that some shows ended abruptly(say Elfen Lied) or due to studio carelessness and lack of interest (think Studio DEEN with their terrible adaption of Umineko no Naku Koro ni). If an anime ended, it just means that. Just gotta deal with it. Move on and watch new shows to enjoy.
If the finished (or canceled) anime you enjoy has an currently running manga, or other form of media (gaming, visual novel, etc.), then give the different media a try. Join an online forum full with fans of the series you enjoy and talk to them about how much joy it brought you.
To end, are there any shows that I wish never ended? Nah. Not really. Sometimes, some series get rebooted or continued through a new entry. Some might end forever. Others may continue on through other media, or the source material is still active. And finally, you just simply have to move on to other anime.
(…okay so I kinda wish The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya kept going.)
You only get one shot. If the first episode of an anime doesn’t impress me, it’s getting dropped.
So, did Hajimete no Gal impressed me on its first episode? Absolutely not!
I had to straight dropped this disrespectful-to-the-source-material trash in under eight minutes. It’s that horrible. However, I figure I’d watch the episode in full. I wanted to thoroughly explain why I don’t like this anime. Plus, I need to confirm my theory that it’ll be garbage overtime.
First off, the opening scene is a panty shot. No warnings, explanations, or buildup leading us to why we’re seeing Yukana’s crotch on the screen. Nope. Just straight up panty shot. To me, that’s just NAZ saying that they’re lacking confidence in the success of their adaption. If using a panty shot as the opening scene is a way to hook the viewers in, then your anime is going to suck.
The manga didn’t open up with a panty shot. The first pages were just Junichi groveling on the ground at the feet of Yukana, with his head lowered in shame. There was a panty shot towards the end of the chapter, but it was directed so that it made sense that. Junichi caught a peep of her panties from the angle of his position. The opening shot of the anime didn’t give that information or sense of direction. That’s why it was off putting.
The opening page.
Notice the lack of panty shots?
Next is the gosh darn annoying opening animation song and animation. The song, “The First Season”, sounds like some generic, entry level weeaboo J-Pop music that you’d normally hear on some weird Japanese-only rhythm game. For example, that Project Diva game that lonely spaz ass weebs play at anime cons. It’s easily forgettable, and could be passed off as a theme song for any other generic romantic-comedy anime.
The OP animation gives off the impression that series might be directed as a harem, as three others girls are introduced: A bubbly, cute, yet graceless chubby girl, a tanned gyaru (who may be the Yukana’s best friend or something), and a graceful, modest girl (whom we can assume is either popular, or has high status, given she’s surrounded by many peers).
Excellent. Not only did that unnecessary panty shot didn’t help anyone who may be skeptical about Hajimete no Gal, the OP is an extra strike for anyone (myself included) who hates harem, or overly perverted material in anime with no substance or reason.
(Admittedly, I’m on chapter 5 of the manga, and I’ve yet to encountered the other girls besides Yukana. Junichi and Yukana are already dating, and Yukana likes him. I don’t know what’s with other girls; if they’re further in the manga or what, but I digress.)
While I’m on the subject, the girl’s design looks plain and lazy. Uninspiring even – lacking depth and clues about their personalities. Also, why does each girl (sans the modest looking chick) have large breasts? Not every female character needs large tits my dude. Sigh. The opening animation pisses me off. The opening shot pisses me off. This episode pisses me off. If I were to watch this entire anime, I’ll lose my temper.
With that said, lets examine the rest of episode.
The anime begins similar to the manga; Junichi frets entering the new school year as a kiss-less virgin. His friends, a group of outcast nerds (Shinpei, Keigo, and Minoru) are in the same boat. Together, they make a pact to lose their virginity. Or at the least obtain new girlfriends before the end of the school year.
While Jun will achieve in getting a girlfriend (he’s the main character, he gets the girl first), his crew talks that good game about getting with a chick to smash and date. Mostly smash. Heck any chick is great for them. White chicks. Black chicks. Asian Chicks. Tsundere Chicks. Dandere. Yandere chicks. They’re all free game – even if the chick looks clearly like a loli.
And here is where things goes from bad to just utterly wrong.
I respect the fact that animators and writers must create filler scenes for manga-to-anime adaption. If you directly apadate the manga panel-by-panel without filler, you’re going to have a very short anime. With that said; when did Jun’s crew became a bunch of pedophiles, trying to smash a girl who’s clearly in middle or grade school? In the manga, they were some petty haters; mad at Jun because he got with Yukana. Cool. They’re still assholes in the anime. That ain’t changed.
But lusting after a little girl? Fam, what the hell? Like, after Nene is introduced (way too early mind you), Minoru starts asking and making some rather suspect questions and statements about Nene. I’ll let these screenshots speak for themselves:
Moving forward, The Virgin Brigade (sans Jun) make an unanimous decision to look at porn magazines in class. They drool over the models’ physical attributes, making rather lewd comments about them. Jun is pressured into reading one. He refuses, but gives up and reluctantly accepts one. While reading it, Junichi is startled by Yukana’s disgust towards the group. Junichi clumsily throws the book behind his back, landing at her feet. Jun hurries to recover it, stumbles, and falls near her. She glares downwards towards him and calls him disgusting. Needless to say, Junichi is utterly embarrassed at what has just transpired.
After school, Junichi confronts his friends about the incident. They tell him to chill and to take advantage of the recent situation. Next, they explain to him how easy(going) gyaru are; suggesting to him that he should pursue Yukana. Once again, he is pressured by his friends into another unwanted situation. In fact, his crew wrote a confession letter addressed to Yukana from Junichi’s point of view. He’s understandably pissed but he catches himself and calms down. He fantasizes about smashing Yukana, inspired after gaining a peep at her panties earlier. He figures that if he confesses and luck out, he’ll get to see more than just her panties, and loses his virginity. They slip the letter into Yukana’s locker and wait.
Later, Yukana receives the letter and meets with Junichi after reading it. They two meet up , and Junichi “confesses” – by getting on his knees, lowering his head, and begs her for a date. Yukana is disgusted once again, but starts to laugh and tease him, questions him if the only reason why he wants to date her is so that he could to lose his virginity. Dude starts to (over)think that he screwed up, but regains his confidence as Yukana tells him that she finds him cute and wants to get him know him better. She decides that she wants to go out with him, much to his disbelief.
The episode ends with Junichi shouting in victory at his success. Same as the manga.
To conclude, let me explain why I’m dropping this trash adaption. The extra scenes with Yui (the popular and modest girl) and Nene felt unnecessary. It made me assumed that the series was going to stray far from its manga roots; with Junichi attempting to get with every girl (as opposed to the manga where Junichi only had eyes for Yukana). If I had lacked prior knowledge of the manga. and watched the anime fully blind, seeing that possible harem set-up would had made me drop the show off the OP alone.
I’m that strict.
Then, we have Junichi’s crew. His friends are haters in both the manga and anime. They’re a group of young dudes interested in girls and sex, which is normal. What’s not normal is these dudes wanting to have sex with Nene just because she’s a loli.
Despite my overal harsh criticism, I will say that I appreciate that the animation team accurately animated panels from the manga shot-by-shot such as the guys looking at porn in the classroom, Junichi’s sexual fantasies, and his confession to Yukana.
As for the animation itself, it’s not too terrible. However, it’s not amazing either. There doesn’t seem to be any inconsistent, off models shots (from what I’ve noticed) or anything that would be jarring. Yet, there’s much more to be desired from the visuals, as many shots lack details, as many parts weren’t “animated” (example – the scene were the students are being lovely-dovely should have had arm moves, kissing, etc like Jun’s fantasy with Yukana were she’s slowly undresses herself, lick her lips, teases Jun, etc.)
Overall, Hajimete no Gal isn’t a completely terrible anime, but it’s not great either. Hell, it’s not even good. It feels like an sub-par romantic-comedy anime that could had have a lot going for it; given how amazing the source material is.
Sadly, the adaption falls flat on its ass due to its overused of fanservice, lack of detailed animation, and uninteresting premises that sway far from its source material. Maybe things will get better as the series carries along in the summer season, but from what I’ve been infromed by die hards fans who’ve read further into the manga than I and watched episodes 2 and 3, I shouldn’t have any hopes that the anime will do the manga justice.
On the bright side at least this review and score isn’t as brutal as on my Facebook page:
EDIT: Strong language removed so I can run this post as an ad for Facebook lol
NOTE:This is the text version of the audio discussion between my friend DJ Killzown and myself on the same topic. The link to the YouTube will be provide below.
Conventions are a wonderful place to have fun and let loose with fellow nerds. However, conventions can also be overwhelming for newcomers, lacking knowledge on what to do. So, out of the kindness of my heart (and because I need to clean my public image), here are a few things to do at conventions!
Wanna learn interesting tidbits and facts about your favorite series, gain knowledge that’ll set you apart from your peers, or learn more about your favorite voice actor or creator? Go to a panel! Usually, conventions will have four types of panels: Fan, Interactive Industry, and Guest.
Fan panels are run by passionate and all-knowing fans of a series, sharing their expert knowledge to others fans and newcomers alike.
Interactive panels are panels in which you can partake in the action and/or have an hands on experience in relation to the subject. Examples include sake tasting, sewing tutorials, murder-mystery solving, cooking anime inspired foods, and hypnotism panels.
Industry panels are run by industry guests such as Funimation or Viz Media. Industry panels will host series reveals, news on upcoming projects, and the industry hosts will answer your questions about what’s currently going on in the industry. Sometimes, industry guests will reveal get exclusive news andcontent about a project first at their panels before the rest of the world get the information.
Finally, guest panels. Guest panels are of course hosted by the guests of honor. It’s worth your time going to one as you can learn about your favorite voice actor on a more personal, learn how they got their start, and even learn how they feel about their co-workers that they normally wouldn’t say in front of their face (did you know that a lot of America voice actors hate Vic Mignogna?).
One of the best experiences of a convention is meeting your idol and having them autograph their materials for you! To start, learn when and where the guest(s) that you want to see are hosting panels and autograph sessions and attend them. Did they make your favorite manga? Get that shit sign. Are they a voice actor you really love? Get your DVD signed by them! Do you want to know how your favorite voice actor got their start? Go to their panel! Be aware that popular gusests tend to have a long waiting period for autographs sessions. Be sure to have fully charged cell phone or a book to read on standby while you wait!
Higurashi and Umineko cosplay meet
Met new friends within you fandom and show off your cool (or trash) cosplay!! You can find information on meet ups in the program booklet or on the convention social media and website. Showcase your cosplay or just chill and kick with fellow fans and make new connections.
The dealers room is a hall or room full of offical merchandise, fanmade items, wigs, cosplay materials, etc. They’re open all weekend but it’s best to wait until Sunday for the best deals and discounts on products, as merchants want to reduce the amount of items they have to take back home Sunday or Monday.
Play video games here with other cons goers (or be that one asshole who hog ups the console all day because you couldn’t even make friends at an convention) Setups can range from the old school, current games, arcades, or a mixture of all three. Tournaments (such as Street Fighter, Project Diva, Mario Kart. etc.) are often held here, so you should try to join in a tournament if you’re confident in your skills.
Relax! You’re with like-minded people! Cons are a great place to make new friends and networks that can last for life (or a few years until some petty drama comes up and ruin your friendship)! You are all here for a common passion and love. By networking and befriending fellow comic book nerds, weeaboos and otaku alike, you will build a network that can help you find and learn about more conventions in the area and other cool nerd shit outside of cons. Who know what new connections can lead you in the world of convetions.
For you bloggers, vloggers, etc – make sure that you have a business card if you’re networking with others in your field (thanks for that DJ Kill Zone)
Dress up as your favorite character and join the cosplay gatherings and meet. Take pics taken of you in your cosplay, never to find them online! Cosplay is a wonderful hobby that will bring joy and new people into your life! At least do one cosplay in your life if your curious about it!
That wraps up my “What do do at cons” post! I’ll hope our tips will help you enjoy the con!
Well, this challenge well be easy as hell, given I do not have a solid favorite anime movie. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a lie. Genius Party by Studio 4°C is a favorite of mines, but I don’t wanna break down seven films, especially if I don’t have access to the movie right now (plus I’m working on some other projects today, so I gotta focus my time and energy on that). They’re great short films by the same team behind Cowboy Bebop. You should check them out if you like art house like short films.
Since I’m lacking knowledge in anime movies, I need ya help! What anime movies do you guys recommend me watching? I’ve watched Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Broly: The Legendary Super Saiyan and enjoyed all three (although the Broly movie’s story is garbage). I wanna see Kizumonogatari and Sailor Moon R: The Movie in the future.
‘Real niggas do what they wanna do, bitch niggas do what they can.’ -Tupac
Ken Kubo of Gainax’s 1991 animated/live-action comedy-documentary “Otaku no Video” is someone who otaku can relate to. He’s otaku and proud – and wants the world to know. He’s passionate about otaku culture. So passionate in fact, he winds up quitting tennis, drops out of college, and becomes a full pledge, full time otaku with best friend Tanaka. After being dumped by his girlfriend Yoshiko, being belittled by normies for his passion, and unsuccessful job hunts, he declares that he’ll become a total otaku. He yearns to be not just a total otaku, but the ultimate otaku – The Otaking. Inspired by Ken’s declaration, Tanaka too quits job hunting and joins him on the quest to achieving their dreams.
The two start a figurine production company from Tanaka’s house. Day and night non-stop, the two stay on their grind, selling garage kits to fellow otaku. Overtime, their small two-man company grew from a small business into a giant multi-million company, becoming the leading company for figurine production. Not happy with just owning a big business, Ken envisions a theme park for otaku, by otaku – Otakuland.
Ken thinks and dreams big. He wins big, no matter what. Even after losin his company to greedy bankers, Ken doens’t give up and thinks of winning again. He bounces back from rock bottom, and starts grind the all over again. he builds himself up agian and obtain massive success beyond his initial success off his figurine company. After finding an animation studio and creating an anime series that took the world by storm, Ken not only brought back his old company, but becomes the most richest and successful man in history – thanks to his passion.
Ken’s journey to the top as an otkau and businessman inspires me greatly. As otakus, we are often criticized and ridicule for our passion. We’re told to grow up, stop watching cartoons, or whatever bullshit people pull out their ass who don’t understand our love for anime. But we don’t let that shit get to us. We don’t change just to be accepted by those who don’t get us. Instead, we keep and stay to our otaku roots and raise above the naysayers, like Ken himself.
It was the Fall of 2009. Current, but lessen known (by the mainstream) anime series were appearing on YouTube. Suddenly, I had access to shows that I otherwise couldn’t. Browsing YouTube, a peculiar anime caught my attention : The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (THMOS). I was previously hipped to the series thanks to 4chan’s /a/ and various anime message boards. Otaku communities everywhere were praising it, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong watching it.
The titular character, Haruhi, is interesting. She’s egoistical – nobody couldn’t compare to her (in her mind at least). The normal and average bores her. Haruhi’s only interested in the extraordinary. Haruhi wants the world to revolve around her. She believes the world is her stage. In fact, the world belongs to Haruhi – literally.
If you ever watched TMOHS then can you really fault Haruhi for her views? I mean, if you had a realization at age nine that you’re just one in the world of billions, you start questioning your reason of existence as well. You’d want the world to notice that you’re not just a nobody, but a somebody. You would want to stand out from everyone.
‘Have you ever realized just how insignificant your existence on this planet really is’
The moment that I realized that Haruhi would become one of my favorite female character came at episode 13 of the first season.
Walking home from school, Haruhi tells Kyon a story from her childhood. The event of her and her family attending baseball game catalyzed her need for notability. Haruhi was amazed by the sight of the overflowing, sold out stadium. She perceived that the entire population of Japan was gathered there. In reality, as revealed by her father, the attendance was 200,000 people – only a small fraction Japan’s population.
This shocked Haruhi, causing her to break the population numbers down deeper. After arriving home from the game, she starts breaking down the numbers driving her into fractions. She discovered that the attendance was merely two-thousandth of Japan’s total population at the time (128 million in 2006). Haruhi thus concluded that she was merely one person in a world of endless billions. She was just like everyone else – nothing more. Upon this realization, Haruhi understood that in order to stand out, she must do it herself.
Sitting around waiting for change wasn’t a choice.
So, in her first year of high school, Haruhi made every effort to stand out and leave her mark. Even if people were bother by her actions, thought if she was weird or crazy, she wouldn’t stop. In fact the thoughts of others didn’t bother her. Haruhi is doing her without holding back. That what makes her stand out – her self- expression.
Her want of notability.
Watching Haruhi drive herself towards her goals without fear inspired me to do the same. I wanted to stand out and let the world know I here. That I will drive myself to make my mark upon the world. The drive to stand out. That’s what I want from life.
That is why Haruhi Suzumiya is my favorite female protagonist.
‘ I’d let the world know I wasn’t a girl who was happy sitting around waiting. And I’ve done my best to become that person. ‘
Let me tell you something; I love villains who’re the catalysis of their series, like Lord Frieza of Dragon Ball Z. Frieza man, he was the direct cause Goku’s grand expanding adventure. If it wasn’t for Frieza aligning and betraying the Saiyans, Goku would had never been sent to Earth to conquer it (which of course he never did). To say that the Dragon Ball series would had been different would be an unbelievable understatement.
There wouldn’t be anyone to stop the Red Ribbion Army’s ambition of world domination. Goku and Piccolo Jr. wouldn’t had their epic match at the Tenkaichi Budokai. Cell wouldn’t had been created (as Cell had both Goku and Frieza’s DNA). Beerus would had never gone to Earth to search for the Super Saiyan God. The list can keep going on how much things would had been different if Frieza wasn’t around.
Frieza is the key of the almost everything that went down in the series.
Besides his domino effect on the series, what makes Frieza perhaps one of the best anieme antagonist, or at the very least the best villain in the DB series, is his psychotic, sadistic nature and his pure evilness.
I mean, Frieza does not give a literal fuck. He has no conscious about his ill, brutal actions. Torturing helpless children to death or blowing them up. Killing surrendering men as they beg for their life while in tears. Laughing in joy in the destruction he causes throughout the universe. He has no care about anything he does. He simply loves what he does best – killing and causing pain.
In fact, using pain, as well as fear, torture, murder, and destruction is how he build his empire. There (for the most part) are no negotiations or win-win with him; It’s either you work for him, reign over your planet, or he’s gonna kill you, the planet’s entire population, and reign over it.
Regardless, he’s getting what he desires.
Frieza – you’re truly the worst.
‘Unresisting, the people run and hide
Even those who bow to him are burnt to cinders
Genocide, armed oppression
The dictator laughs as he tramples them’
Kinzo Ushiromiya; the patriarch of the (in)famous multi-billion dollar Ushiromiya family. He’s a superior demon summoner and black magic user, owner of the private island of gold: Rokkenjima, diligent businessman, and an abusive, psychotic piece of shit. This man, boy. Let me tell you why I hate this how horrible dude.
Prior to the Umineko series, he lost his lover, Beatrice Castiglioni (who died during childbirth) and was grief stricken. Honoring her, he named their (illegitimate) daughter “Beatrice”, after the mother. Cool. Whatever helps you overcome grief . What’s not fucking cool was Kinzo raping and impregnating his teenage daughter – because she resembled his lover.
That’s fucking sick.
Oh, it gets worse. This wouldn’t be the last time he abused his children. Yes. Children. I did say Beatrice was his love child. So, what about his real children? Well, to “toughen up” the others (Kruass, Eva, Rudolf, and Rosa) for the real and business world, he physically, emotionally and psychologically abused them. Naturally, his abusive ways caused his children to disdain him. Worse, his children would pass down the cycle of abusive towards their own, and in many causes, the siblings would abuse each other – Kruass (the eldest) being the worst offender.
Due to Kinzo’s abusive parenting and teachings, Krauss emulated his dad’s abuse. He would emotionally bullying his little sister, Eva (as well as being sexist towards her). This created much disdain in and anger in her heart, which she passes down to her husband, the kind-hearted Hideyoshi (who loves Eva to death), and her only child, George. Further in the future, Eva passes the abuse down to her niece, Ange, but more on her later. Let’s focus on Eva’s sister, Rosa.
Rosa (just like her only sister Eva), was too abused by not only Kinzo and Krauss, but her other siblings as well (due to her status as the youngest). Lacking someone to hurt in their family to soothe her rage, she had nobody to further the chain of abuse, until she had her daughter, Maria. Rosa (never recovered or attacking her pain in a healthy matter) starts to abuse Maria, verbally and physically beating her.
See how Kinzo’s chain of abuse goes further? Kinzo abuses Krauss, whom abuses Rosa, who in turn abuses her daughter, Maria. Now his grandchildren are affected by the abuse her created. Speaking of his grandchildren, let’s go back to series best girl Ange.
So Ange. Her entire family (sans Eva) was massacred on Rokkenjima (due to Kinzo’s bullshit), leaving her orphaned. Eva, being the “good” aunt that she is, adopts Ange. The two somewhat got along, until the stress of her family’s deaths (as well as the media accusing her for their murders) took its toll on her. Eva in turn, took her anger out on Ange, putting her through the same abusive treatment as her father did her. This ruined Ange’s already troubling mental state. Due to Eva’s abuse (among other things), Ange would grow to hate herself, becoming suicidal. In one scene, Ange is seen lashing out on her best friend, Mammon and her sisters. She calls them “useless” and wish that they all die.
Even after his death, Kinzo’s abusive cycle continues.
Remember how I said that the massacre of Rokkenjima was due to Kinzo’s bullsht in the last paragraph? Well, Kinzo is not above having his own family members killed for his own desires.
As mentioned earlier, Kinzo dedicated his life to learning summoning and black magic, and studying occult spells. His plan was to master black magic in order to revive Beatrice. Not his lover Beatrice, but their daughter. The same daughter that he raped. He wants to see her once more So, he successfully revives Beatrice, right? However, as exchange for her revival, Kinzo must sacrifice a few people.
Kinzo selects his own family members as sacrifices. He seems them as vultures after his riches. He believes his nether children nor his grandchildren gives a damn about him (as they rightfully should not), and wants them all dead. Beatrice kills them for him, nad in turns – kills her abuser Kinzo.
Kinzo if you think about it, is the main source of his entire family’s pain and suffering, from him raping his daughter, abusing his children. The same abuse in which was passed on to his kids down to their own. By direct and indirection action, he ruined his family.
Fuck you Kinzo.
Whew. I didn’t expect this post to go on that long, but I figure I would provide details and proof to show how much I despise this dude. This would had been much longer if I would had gotten drunk to write about how much I hate Kinzo as I originally planned lmfao (all the liquor stores in my area were closed at the time of writing the first draft.. You know those 3 o’ clock A.M. alcohol laws can be.
Ahh late 90s/early 2000s English anime dubbing. Cloverway way cool with a nine year old girl trying to hook up with a horse, but two lesbians Sailor Scouts dating and loving each other was wrong. So rather just censor them just a little bit as say best friends (who were a tad wee too close to be just best friends), let’s make them cousins. In fact, let’s not just make them cousins, but also keep their original Japanese never incestuous-in-the-first-place lesbian relationship intact – thus creating two cousins who were fucking each other like they’re from Alabama, USA.
Great job Cloverway!
Ya younger Sailor Moon fans best be happy ya didn’t have to deal with such awful (and homophobic) censorship. These niggas just could had called them best friends (who were a wee bit too close to be just friends) but cousins? Sigh.
“My first kiss was with was Brad, the cutest guy in school” lmfao get that bullshit out my face.
But yea, Haruka and Michiru, they’re my favorite anime couple because of how well written they are as a same sex couple. I love how they were treated like a normal everyday couple, and not like some freak show just because they were homosexuals. (Remember kids, this was the 90s when homosexual and minority characters were written as jokes or “magical”.)
Haruka and Michiru’s relationship also felt legit, like what you see any other couple do in real life – holding hands, teasing each other, natural chemistry off each other, etc. It didn’t felt force at all – like a real relationship.
Hope you enjoy this quick post. Tell me in the comments section below who are some of your favorite anime couples!
You only get one shot. If the first episode of an anime doesn’t impress me – it’s getting dropped.
Did Kakegurui’s first episode impressed me, or did I have to drop it? Let’s find out! Summary
In Hyakkau Private Academy, status is everything. Gambling is law. Money rules all.
‘Cash rules everything around me.
C.R.E.A.M. get the money
Dollar dollar bill ya’ll’
-Wu Tang Clan
Students with high status are royally treated and rewarded. The low aren’t considered human – treated as pets and furniture. To obtain the high status, you must gamble. Money. Power. Respect. Anything and everything you want in Hyakkau can be obtained – but only if you gamble.
We’re presented with the risk/reward premises of Kakegurui early on through an intense game of Poker between two students: the sadistic gambling queen Mary Saotome, and the lowly Ryota Suzui. The two are to their last cards, breathing heavily, and sweating hard, fatigued from the game. Ryota reveals his hand in confidence: full house. Upon seeing his hand, Mary starts giggling, her face inhumanly twisted.
She reveals her winning hand – Royal Straight Flush.
“Too bad!” she shouts in victory.
Coldly, Mary encourages Ryota to keep his spirit up, despite the hardships he has been through the day. Then, she calls him “Pochi” – his new name. Ryota is no longer human. He is a “dog”. A house pet. His hope, faith, and humanity: gone. Retaining it all is a fool’s game.
Or so did he believe, until a girl named Yumeko Jabami arrived.
The scene transition to Yumeko introducing herself to her new classmates, wishing to befriend them all. Immediately, she becomes popular. Her male peers are captivated by her cuteness and friendliness. Even Ryota himself is charmed by her sweet presence and beautiful appearance. As a new student, Yumeko needs somebody to show her around. Ryota, due to his class rep status, is selected by his teacher to help her around. He happily accepts his new duty. Yumeko tells him that it’s nice to meet him, with him agreeing likewise. Despite his new status as Mary’s house pet, Ryota’s luck is starting to change.
Speaking of Mary, she jealous of Yumeko’s instant popularity. She doesn’t like the new transfer student. She stares her with disdain.
So far, three characters have been introduced and established. Ryota, the main male character and house pet of the callous supporting character, Mary, and finally, the new student and main female character, Yumeko, who has her first hater in the form of Mary. It’s fairly obvious that Ryota and Yumeko will have the most interactions and their relationship will evolve into friendly terms. We can assume through Mary’s anger towards Yumeko that they’ll have a rivalry. First episode in and we’re already got some good bits served to us and even a possible hook for us to go past the fist episode rather than dropping it.
Let’s move forward.
After class, Ryota gives Yumeko a tour of the school. She’s at awe at its beauty, expressing her happiness of her transfer to him. Next, she notices Ryota’s dog tag around his neck – the name “Pochi” engraved on it. She questions him why he’s wearing it, to which he doesn’t respond, turning his back towards her out of embarrassment. He doesn’t want to let her know about his status as a pet. After a few seconds of silence, he asks Yumeko if she ever gambled before. Yumeko replies innocently, telling him she knows the rules of gambling through Poker and Mahjong.
Ryota replies to her answer. He starts breaking down how gambling is not just the school’s tradition, but it’s the backbone of it. After school, the rich kids turn the school into a massive gambling hall. He tries to warn her that the rich kids will try to invite her to gamble, but is suddenly stopped by her. She finds the idea of gambling in school fun and starts to giggle madly. Ryota looks at her with shock.
There seems to be more about Yumeko than what she lets on.
Later, while socializing with her new peers, Yumeko is challenged by Mary to a gambling match: a game of rock-paper-scissors in card game form. Mary seeks to humiliate Yumeko for stealing her spotlight, and sets her up as her latest sucker. Yumeko, unaware of Mary’s plan, accepts her challenge. Everyone is at abuzz about the challenge, and prep the classroom, transforming it into a gambling den. After the room is set up, Mary explains the rules of voting-rock-paper-scissors to Yumeko.
Both girls play their first card. Mary draws scissors and Yumeko draws rock, winning the first round. Mary congrats Yumeko on her first win and allows her to place the next bet. Yumeko boldly bets 50 chips (valued at 50,000 yen); a move that surprises and socks everyone. Yumeko is chill about her bold move, thinking nothing of it. Both girls draw rock from their hands, resulting in a tie. They continue, Mary playing rock once more and Yumeko with scissors. Obviously, Mary wins. Following that, Yumeko wins the next round, betting 50 chips once again. After that, Yumeko starts to lose each hand, losing all her chips in the process, but again, she’s still in her calm and chill state.
Mary starts celebrating her apparent victory, She asks Yumeko if she want to continue her losing streak. Yumeko doesn’t reply, which prompts Mary to start laughing at and taunting her opponent, asking her if she has cold feet. Mary’s an incredibly arrogant and prideful player. She enjoys taunting her opponent and thinks herself as a paragon of superiority.
I like that. Mary, you’re the second best girl so far.
Yumeko, still stoic and calm, informs Mary that the game has just truly started. She requests one final match, which Mary (cockily) agrees to. Mary believes she’s can force her into an unpayable debt, thus forcing Yumeko to become her new pet. Mary starts praising herself and calls Yumeko foolish. She can’t believe Yumeko wants to play against her once more. She then questions the “foolish” Yumeko how could she possibly continue the game if she doesn’t have any chips left.
Yumeko may not have any chips left, but she has something much more exciting to offer – money.
Yumeko bets real cash – 10,000,000 yen (USD $88,760 as of July 20th 2017) in stacks to be exact. Mary is shocked – offended even. She starts to lose her mind, demanding Yumeko to explain why she carries so much cash on her. She assumes that Yumeko can’t afford to gamble such an outlandish amount of money away on a simple game. She didn’t expect her seemingly naïve and innocent opponent to take the game to a serious route.
She calls Yumeko crazy, but the girl doesn’t seem to be mind being called crazy. In fact, she loves it. She becomes enthusiastic about the new risks. Her eyes start to glow red, demonic like even. She explains how the lifeblood of money rules the world. She gets excited explaining to Mary how the risk and craziness of gambling makes the game even more fun. Yumeko loves money. Yumeko loves high risks. Yumeko loves insanity.
Yumeko loves gambling.
‘Maddness is the essence of gambling, isn’t it?’
(Alright. So Yumeko’s true personality [or at least parts of it] is revealed. She ins’t this modest and humble girl that she originally lead everyone to believe (althrough the OP animation foreshadow that, but whatever). Like a seasoned gambler, she conceals her hard earned knowledge of the game. Yumeko (obviously) is a different person when she takes a game seriously, taking a simple friendly game to high risk and rewards levels – because she loves it.
I’m hooked. No need to drop this anime on episode 1.)
Mary is enraged. She believes Yumeko is mocking her with her reckless behavior, and refuses her offer. Unemotionally, Yumeko taunts her – asking Mary if she has cold as she did her. Pissed, Mary accepts and regains her confidence. She believes that she can still win; entrusting her victory in the fact her classmate are voting in her favor (of course, Mary does have them in her pockets, taking advantage of their needs and wants).
However, Yumeko is hip to Mary plans and exposes her.
Yumeko figures that Mary has about 10-20 people voting in her favor – a fact she hid poorly. Yumeko notices that Mary was playing the same cards twice, mixed her cards while she wasn’t betting, and their peers’ reacting to their plays, sending each other signals to inform Mary on which card to play. She finishes with telling her that she can’t fool anyone if she isn’t prepared to lose money. Mary becomes enraged once more. Her plans broken down and revealed! But, she believes that Yumeko is merely bluffing! She couldn’t be that clever! She has no proof that Mary’s trying to play the system! With her egotistical mindset, Mary believes she can still win. She plays her final card: Paper. She slams her card down with the highest of confidence – but it’s all for naught.
Yumeko, with her sweet and friendly smile, reveals her winning card: Scissors.
Everyone starts to freak out in shock. Mary, the gambling queen of Hyakkau , has been dethroned. She starts to blank out, withdrawn in her thoughts. She just lost 10,000,000 yen – which she lacks. Yumeko demands that she pay up ASAP In shame, Mary bows her head, grits her teeth, and confesses to the victor that she lacks the money. Yumeko (back to her normal innocent nature), tells Mary that the joy of the game and it stakes was payment enough. She cheerfully leaves the room, expressing her hopes that her new classmates will treat her as an equal.
For a first episode, Kakegurui is excellent, and right on the jump! I like how we’re treated to the premise right away: gambling is law and status. An example of the risk and reward of obtaining victory or losing are presented – with Suzui becoming a pet to Mary, and Mary owing debt to Yumeko after losing to her. Like gambling itself, matches are exciting and the excitement factor is increased when the stakes are higher, as we see with Yumeko betting cash rather than simple plastic chips.
One thing that I’ve noticed that makes me enjoy the anime is the facial expressions of each characters and how it’s link to their reaction. Yumeko with her eyes widing, twisted smile, and facial blushing as she explains how much gambling gives her pleasure, or with Mary’s anger towards defeat expressed through her gritting her teeth, body trembling, lips quivering, and eye twitching.
I am looking forward to how this anime will playout throughout the summer season as it looks promising and refreshing (by my taste). Once completed, I’ll give the series an in-depth review and possible analysis in the future!
So, to answer my question: Did Kakeugurui impressed me?
Yes! Yes it did!
If you have any anime I should watch this season, please let me know in the comment section below! I need to build up my anime game this year!
Ahh anime crushes. Yes crushes, as in more than one. I’m an expert when it comes to anime waifus. I believe, no, I know have a superior eagle eye when it comes to spotting a good series waifu. So, how many waifus do I have?
A lot (sadly). I won’t go over all of them, as I have to get ready for work soon, so I’m just going to focus on my first four anime crushes from my childhood: Sabrina from Pokemon, Hotaru Tomoe and Ami Mizuno from Sailor Moon, and Washu from Tenchi Muyo.
Sabrina is pretty damn interesting. As a kid, I loved that she has some cool ass psychic powers; a trait that set her apart from the rest of the gym leaders. There was also that stern, cruel, almost sadistic look she had on her face throughout her arc that I really like. She also had a whip and called herself the Mistress of Psychic Pokemon…alright so that may explain a few things about myself that I probably should not had posted here.
Also her laugh was cute:
Hotaru Tomoe/Sailor Saturn
Me having a fictional crush on Hotaru as a kid may had been the first sign that I low high-key would have a thing for quiet, “creepy” and “weird” girls.
Also as Saturn, I love her cold, serious look – incredibly opposite from her civilian personality.
Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury
Sailor Mercury may had been the first sign that I’d high-key have a thing for dorky, bookworm computer nerd girls.
While I’m on the subject of smart, nerdy girls, Washu is the best. My number one favorite thing about her besides her smarts, was how incredibly cocky and prideful she was towards herself. This woman even created two puppets modeled after her that would celebrate her genius each time she did something amazing (that some shit I would do).
There’s also this infamous scene from the OVA that solidifed her waifu status for me:
So fellow weeaboos, who’re your anime crushes? Feel free to comment in the comment sections below!
Reigen Arataka of Mob Pyscho 100 is truly a supportive character. Throughout the series, he offers and lends his advice and knowledge to Mob, helping him grow into a better person both in terms of his powers and overal life. He’s like a life coach. A life coach who scams people using his gift of the silver tongue, but a life coach regardless.
While he has no qualms or guilt about scamming others with his bullshit “psychic” business , he isn’t a terrible person. In fact, he’s rather a very caring and kind person, as we see with his interactions with Mob. Reigen helps the introvert Mob interact with people, lending an ear to his problems, and help him come to grips with his extraordinary ESP powers; suggesting that he uses his powers to help others and himself.
Reigan even risked his life for Mob; taking a “fatal” sword strike from Scar member Sakurai – but not before telling Mob not to give in to the murderous intent and vengeful feelings from watching his friends being hurt (he does not want Mob to live a life of regret).
As an adult who may have used my own silver tongue as a dirty method to get my way too use my knowledge and charm to help others, I like Reigen. I see parallels of his personality with my own: the willingness of helping others through solid advice, a caring heart, speaking the real, blunt truth, and somebody who wants to see people do better in their lives (and tricking stupid people and taking advantage of their oblivious nature). In addition, Reigen is the only adult supporting character in the series, so that’s a bonus. I would love to be a mentor to the next generation and guide them through life like he does with Mob and his friends.
Reigan is truly a supportive character. Yea, he might be a bit of a scam artist who swindles folks out of their cash with straight up lies, but he’s not a bad person. He legitimately wants to help people in need as well as seeing the best out of Mob.
Reigan, you’re an alright guy!
‘Why do you have to be like them? You’re the protagonist of your own life, aren’t you?’