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Tag: weeaboo

anime 0

First Impressions: Love is Like a Cocktail

You only get one shot.  If the first episode of an anime doesn’t impress me, it’s getting dropped.

So, did Love is Like a Cocktail impressed me on its first episode?  As an alcoholic anime fan, yes.  Yes it did.

(Warning: I was drunk when I wrote this)

Let me start out by saying that I feel personally attacked by this anime. I swear, this  anime was created for somebody like me: a hardworking 9-to-5 employee  with an addiction  appreciation for liquor and spirits.  I can relate to Chisato Mizusawa –the main female lead of this show.  When somebody suggests  going out to drinks or invites me over to their house for a fine cocktail or some beers, I get excited.  Like Chisato, my lips parts as if I am about to sip on some Hennessy on the rocks.  Mention alcohol and hanging out and I’m down for whatever.  I match you a bottle or a case of beer.

 

Honestly, which hard working adult doesn’t enjoy an after work drink?  May it be at a bar with a few friends, at the homeboy’s crib, or coming home to see your husband or wife treating you to a cocktail that they created themselves?  Sora (Chisato’s husband) knows what he’s doing.  This dude is a real husband.  He treats his wife to a fine cocktail and dinner each time she comes home.  Fellow men: this is the type of husband or boyfriend ya need to be, especially if your mate is a hard working woman.  Real talk, if I ever get married, I want to be like Sora, man.  Helping my wife feel better after a long day of chaos at the office or the gig.

Sora, you’re a real man.

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Anyway, remember how I say I feel attacked by this anime?  Well, like Chisato, I’m not really good with alcohol myself.  Despite my love for booze, my alcohol tolerance is shit. A single cocktail can get me drunk?  Yeah.  That’s me.  I can respect a tasty drink like Chisato. I mean, just look how happy she looks when she drank her husband’s cocktail, the Plum Splet.
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Man, I gotta give props to this sho.  They even go the extra mile by showing the  viewers how to make the drinks so you can make them at home.  That’s awesome  to me,  given  I have a hobby for mixology.  My only complaint is that they don’t tell you if you need to shake the shit in a cocktail or go into details on how to make it.

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I also like how they show Chisato’s true personality show when she drunk with her “I get weird when I drink” line.  And like Sora said, there are some people who can’t be themselves unless they’re drunk.

Kinda strange how alcohol work that way.

To conclude, I’m looking forward to this show.  Chisato’s a cute female lead character whom I can relate to and I love her interaction with her husband so far.  The mixlogy information is a nice ad that I did not expect and personally, its gonna help me out with my hobby with that.   If you love a sweet romantic comedy and alcohol, then I recommend you watch this series.

I have high hopes for this show.

Kakegurui 0

FREEWRITE: Kakegurui: It Shouldn’t Inspire You to Gamble

(Lewd Midari for dem clickbait views)

Oh Kakegurui! You were an amazing and fun series!  In fact, you were maybe like, one of  four shows of the past Summer season that didn’t disappoint me (unlike say Hajimete no Gal).  In four months, you created a cult following of dedicated fans with superior quality episodes and entertainment. Expect for that atrocious episode 9 with that pointless Idol show (I give that trash a 2.5/10).  Anyways, fans from all over  the globe  illegally streamed tuned in to watch 24 minutes of deranged, spoiled rich kids gamble their money and lives away.  All in the sake for power and…money I guess.

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They also gambled for body parts as well.

The support and love towards Kakegurui was felt online. The flashy fans showcased their cosplays – dressing up as their favorite character. The artsy ones use their visual talents to produced fanart of their favorite girl. The musically included  fans  gifted the fandom with the sound of music – remixes and piano covers of the OP were poppin’ up on YouTube.   There was even an ero doujin  staring Yumeko  having sex with some guy whom she poked holes in his condom (because Yumeko loves her thrills and risks)!   Hell, some fans were even inspired to gamble or challenge others to gambling matches because of this show.

Yea, you heard me right.  There are some fans out there whom believes that they should gamble because of this show.

Earlier today while I was doing my usual shit posting on Facebook, I shared a post from the Kakegurui fanpage to my own page for this blog.  The post was simply news about the new Kakegurui cell phone game coming out in Japan soon. Within a few minutes of me posting it, someone commented.

“Care to gamble?” This fan said.  I started to laugh.  Maybe its’ an idiot fanboy who thinks they know how to gamble because they watched a few episodes of Kakegurui.    At first I ignored this nerd, but then I figured I should entertain this just for more laughs.

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“1v1 me in blackjack at Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA) if you’re going! Back that internet talk up IRL.”  I replied, calling his ass out.  I went through his profile and discovered that he was going to Anime Weekend Atlanta (which I too am also attending). I assumed that he was just some weeaboo nerd talking mad shit online.  He is probably a giant pussy outside the internet.   He even had an anime profile picture; people with anime profile picture tend to  talk the most shit on the internet.  Based on my findings,  I concluded that he wasn’t about neither about gambling life, nor was he going to meet me up at the convention.

Or so I thought.

“Bet.”  He responded back, posting a  photo comment of him flashing several hundred dollar bills.

‘Well shit…He IS about that life.’ I said to myself.  I was dumb struck.  Not only did this dude back that internet talk up, he was also totally one of those rich (or well off) weeaboos who could buy the special edition of  every Summer 2017 shows on Blu-Ray and not even be hurt about it.  Me?  I can barely buy a $10 bootleg waifu figurine after paying the bills and investing into my brand (this blog, the FB page, etc.).  I mean shit, I was just trolling; trying to get a reaction out of the dude.  Well, I got my wish.

Boy I got my wish.

That aside, this made me wonder: will Kakegurui inspire fans to gamble against one another?  Perhaps this guy flashing his cash and challenging me to a gambling match at a nerd convention is simply an outlier (and an idiot for posting his money on the Book). But still, it doesn’t hurt to be a little concern. It’s possible that ignorant fans  will make a trend of gambling within the fandom.  It’s not uncommon for fans to create trends and tributes to their favorite series.

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Back in the mid-2000s, Haruhi fans were doing that Hare Hare Yukai dance at anime conventions and for YouTube videos. Recently, fans of the Dragon Ball series have gather at public landmarks, parks, and colleges to scream like Goku for the hell of it.  It wouldn’t be a shock to see Kakegurui fans gamble against one another at anime conventions. Shit, people already gamble at room parties when they play card games or money match in Street Fighter or Smash Bros..  With a popular gambling series like Kakegurui, it won’t be too long until weebs think they can gamble for cash.

And they will get utterly destroyed and lose all of their money.

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A Mary cosplayer losing her money at a room party.

In my personal opinion, Kakegurui glories gambling.   To start, Yumeko makes gambling seems like a fun time (which I confess it is).  The consequences of losing a match aren’t  too extreme (sans having your life mapped out through the Life Schedule Plan).  We do not see the harsh realities of having a gambling addiction either.   Yumeko, who calls herself a gambling addict, thinks nothing of it.  She seems well off mentally.  Gambling addicts in real life have ruined their relationship with love ones and  annihilated their bank accounts.

Gambling isn’t really that great when you break down the horrors of it.

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If this show inspires you to gamble and you never gambled before, well, good luck to you and everything.  Just know that you’re an idiot and it’s your fault if you lose.   Go watch/read Kaiji or something so you can learn that gambling ain’t really all that amazing.

Anime Industry 7

Pirating Does NOT Hurt the Anime Industry

On August 11th, 2017, YouTube anime vlogger Digibro uploaded Where Should We Watch Anime?, a video where he explores four seperate anime streaming services: Crunchyroll, Amazon Strike, Netflix, and the infamous illegal site “KissAnime”. Digibro states that while he does use Crunchhyroll to view anime and  support the industry, he  also uses KissAnime, but only as a last resort (if there’s no legal alternate to view an anime, if the legal services offers a worse product than the illegal websites, etc.)

Despite his statement (and because anime fans lack comprehension skills), the anime community misinterpreted his words; believing he was  promoting the illegal sites. This resulted in his his follow up video Utter Morons ForneverWorld & Half of Anitwitter Totally Miss the Point Of My Streaming Video where he states once again, that he only uses the illegal streaming services if the legal ones are offering a worse product than the legal websites or if he can not find a legal alternate to view an anime.

Both backlash and support for Digibro’s views followed.  Many were furious at him for “suggesting” the usage of illegal websites.  Others praised and understood Digibro’s stance.  Those who supported his views brought up that the anime industry doesn’t make enough money off Blu-Ray and DVDs sales, that the industry’s main profits come from secondary sources of income (which he also states in the follow up video) as well as bringing brought up how major studios take most of the profits from the different income sources and not paying their artists a fair, livable wage. The  anime fans opposing piracy rebuttal; to them,  every dollar counts in supporting the the industry.

These videos breathed new life into an age old controversial topic within the community: Does pirating anime hurt the industry?

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As someone who keeps it real, it’s my duty to tell you how I feel about this subject it is without holding back. From researching the topic, reading  articles, and watching anime vloggers of both sides of the argument,  I don’t think pirating hurts the industry.   I do  get where opposing fans are coming from with their anti-piracy stance, but again, I don’t feel that piracy does harm to the industry.

From my research, I discovered how the anime industry create captial in the modern era outside of Blu-Ray and DVD sales. Aninews’ video The Data Behind Digibro’s Stance on Anime Streaming: Legal vs. Illegal, breaks down how legal streaming services fund the industry through bidding for the rights to stream an anime on their services (the link to the video is listed in the cited source section).

When a streaming company wins the rights to a show, they’ll have to pay the licensing company (such as Aniplex)  the cost of each episode, royalties, and licensing fees.  Once paid, the licensing company takes their cut of the the money and split the rest up with everyone involved in the production of the anime.  This meansthat regardless if you use an illegal  streaming services or not, the animation companies have already received their money for the shows the provided to the streaming services.

At worst, the streaming companies will operate on a lost from ad revenue due to not breaking even or beyond from piracy.  Therefore, the company will have to operate at a loss – forcing them to reduce the number of series to buy off the licensing company for the upcoming season.

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Another way anime studios make money is through product placement. Some industries in Japan (such as the automotive and food  industries) will reach out to animation studios and offer to pay thousands or millions of dollars for the show to promote their product or brand.  For example: Sunrise 2006’s anime Code Geass, famously promoted the pizza brand Pizza Hut in many episodes due to a deal between both companies.  This provided Sunrise extra capital for their pockets. Misty Chroenexia’s video Piracy is NOT Killing The Anime Industry explains this further in depth (the URL to the video is listed below in the source section).

Finally, companies make extra capital from merchandising such as toys, video games, figurines, body pillows, drama CDs, and  music soundtracks.  Bigger companies such, as A-1 Pictures, are linked to major companies: giving them access to extra funds. Miki Sim’s article How The Anime Industry Earns Money further explains this:

      ‘A few larger anime studios, such as A-1 Picture, actually sits within a larger entertainment ecosystem. They are linked to record companies, such as Sony Music Entertainment Japan. With the popularity of anime OPs drive the sales of anisong singles and albums. That is another reason why the anisong industry is becoming larger than J-Pop too.’

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In short: Some studios are large enough to use high amounts of capital thanks to a connection with a thanks in part of another major company or brand.

What does all of this means for me?  Well, if companies are making profits through other sources of income, have already received money from  streaming websites such as Netflix and Amazon ,  and have connections to larger companies such as Sony (who have diverse income thanks to their products and investments) for extra cash, then me pirating their shows does not hurt them at all.

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Admittedly, I do have an active Crunchy Roll subscription to support the industry. Crunchy Roll is wonderful and they provided me with good services.  If Crunchy Roll has a show I want to watch then  I will view it on there as oppose to say KissAnime.  Now, if they do not have a show I want to see and there is no legal alternate available (that I like), then I’ll use an illegal streaming site.

This brings me to my next point.

I’m going to keep this all the way real: It’s the fault of the Japanese animation studios for not releasing their new shows outside of Japan (where there is a market for those show, niche or otherwise) to a legal service in North America (or any other international regions). Consequently, this forces fans to pirate shows that they cannot access legally because the Japanese businesses do not want to adapt to the current trend of anime viewership globally.  In my opinion, this is bad business.  Anime is a global market.  You have to carter to fans around the world.

You have fans who’re willing to watch new shows legally.  They want to show their support with the money, but these companies  aren’t listening.  If they do release a show, it’s usually a season or two later.

Example: Netflix recently acquired the rights to Kakegurui, one of the most popular anime series of the Summer 2017 season.  Netflix will air Kakegurui in Winter 2018 – two seasons after its original Japanese broadcast run. This means if you want to watch it legally, you will have to wait five months (at the time of this writing) to support it legall.  The only way to watch Kakegurui  and stay current with it  is through an illegal streaming service.

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Now, if you can’t afford to pay Netflix that $10/month plus tax because you have other paid streaming services you’re subscribed, to and you want to support it legally, well, you’re out of luck.   This is another case of bad business practice.  You have three streaming services fighting each other to win the rights for a show.   And if the winning company is Netflix, you may have to wait a few months to view the show.

Now that I think about it, this is goofy.

Once a company wins the rights for a show, they have that show exclusively. No other streaming company can have it, just that one company.   Let’s say Amazon Strike wins the rights to the show The Misadventures of an Alcoholic Magical Girl (this is not a real show). Since Amazon is the only North American company to stream that show, you cannot get it off your Crunchy Roll and/or Netflix account(s). You really want to watch and support the show, but can you afford an Amazon Prime account along with the cost of $4.99/month with Strike and $6.95/month with your CR account?

So, what you’re going to do?  Spend that extra cash?  Cancel your CR account to save some money?  You can do that,  but  now you have to wait a week  to watch the newest episodes of a currently airring show.  If you really  want to watch it, then you have to pirate it.  Which is not that bad if you bare in mind the animation studio has already earn the money from Amazon.

Let’s take this a step further.

Netflix and Amazon are notorious for not understanding their anime fanbase demographic. Netflix has been under fire for uploading anime shows with false “HD” and horrible subs quality. Amazon Strike requires you to have an Amazon Prime account along with paying $4.99/month for Strike.  Doing the math $8.99+$4.99 = $13.98/month.  Then you have your Crunchy Roll account, which is $6.95/month.  So $13.98+$6.95=$20.93/month.  THEN, if you want to watch an anime that’s only on Netflix, you’ll going to wind up dropping $10/month plus tax.  So $20.93+$10.00=$30.93/month plus tax. Finally, if there is a show that you desperately want to see that is not available legally on all three legal platforms, you’re out of luck.

Unless you pirate of course.

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Pirate sites host anime with true 1080p or 720 HD (both native and upscale). They have fansubs in excellent quality.  They offer a massive selection of anime that you can stream and download for free without worrying about hundreds of dollars on.  There are shows on these websites that may never get a re-release.  Viewing them on these sites is the only way to experience those shows.  If you want to explore the history of anime at its fullest, you may have to use KissAnime or 9anime.

This begs the question: Why pay and support a service to companies that doesn’t care about their anime demographic, rip them off by offering them “HD” quality that is not HD at all, and provide low quality subtitles?  At least  CrunchyRoll understands their given that company is fun by anime fans. They need our money and support.  But Netflix and Amazon?  Screw them. Screw them and their bad business practices If Amazon Strike and Netflix’s anime streaming services belly-up due to piracy, oh well.   They’re large companies with other sources of income to keep them afloat.  I doubt Amazon and Netflix would suffer that much.

The whole business model is stupid.  Japan not expanding further and adapting to the current trend for their anime demographic is ass backwards. I honestly don’t feel bad for pirating their stuff.  They’re providing poor-to-bad services because of it.  If you’re giving the customer a bad experience due to your shitty practices and you can’t help with their needs, you don’t desire to make money.

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At this point, you may be asking “Ben! So what about the little guys?  Yeah, cooperate assholes may make a lot of money, but the artists and creative team only make little to no money a month!  They need your support!”  Well, that brings me to my next point – a good point Digibro brought up in his video that I like: A donation button.

Artists put in countless hours of hard work into their craft; providing us with amazing shows that we all love and enjoy.  Because they work hard and passionately, they deserve our money.   However, while  there is a lot of capital flowing in the industry, the top people will get the largest payout while the smaller ranking dudes will get less.  Way less.  The average animator in japan makes about $300-$500 a month.  The “lucky” ones make $1000 month.  Still, that’s criminally wrong. Even if I do view anime legally through Crunchyroll, the animators are being screwed by their employees regardless.

This is why I like the idea of studios of exploring alternate ways to make money through donation service websites such as Pateron or Go Fund Me.  Let’s say at the end of an episode or season, you can click on the donation button and give whatever amount you feel that episode or series was worth. If you feel a series was excellent, then you can drop $80-$100 on it. If the series was horrible, then you give it little-to-no money.  This allows fans and the studios to cut out the middle man and have a direct connection with one another payment wise.   Most anime fans stream anime nowdays and Blu-Rays and DVDs are pricy (although not as pricy as they were ten years ago), and enjoy the convenience of watching a show on-demand, so this could work out in the future.

Studio TRIGGER is rumored to have experiment with the idea of using Pateron to crowd fund future projects, but efforts have been slow to pick up due to Japan’s conservative, old-school ways of performing business.   Animator Jun Sugawara has opened an animator dormitory in Japan funded by Generosity.  This dormitory is open for animators across Japan who don’t want deal with the bullshit of the current industry standard, as well as work in a fair, almost stress-free environment I think these are great ideas and I hope it catches on within the industry.

I would rather pay the creative staff behind my favorite shows my money to support them, rather to give them to Crunchy Roll.  As much as I respect Crunchy Roll and support them, the money I give to them supports shows and studios I don’t like – not just the ones I enjoy.

This means that shows I hate such as In Another World With My Smartphone and Sword Art Online are being funded.  I don’t want those horrible shows being supported off my hard earn money.  A1 Studios is also getting a cut of my money.  I can’t support that company after the fact their strict, brutal practices caused an animator to commit suicide in 2014 due to being overworked. I can not support that company ethically.  I don’t feel right about that.

Let’s hope that  more teams and studios get on board with this new donation and crowd funding model.  Japan really needs to adapt to the new era and stop being stuck in traditional about their old-school way of handling business within the anime industry.

It’s clearly taking a toll.

While I am not bothered by piracy, I do understand why people are against it.  Pirating shows take away extra profits off Blu-ray and DVDs sales.  Mother’s Basement’s video How Much Money do the Biggest Anime Pirates Make states that the pirates of  KissAnime earn an estimated $18,000,000 USD a year from ad revenue – much more money than the animators in the industry.   KissAnime also has a history of stealing subs from official streaming services and fansub groups and reuploading the files to their website.

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According to  GoBoiano’s  article How Much Money You Cost the Anime Industry When You Illegally Stream illegal streaming services and torrents  has cost the anime industry an estimated $33,009,636 to $132,038,554 in 2016.  In 2015, animation studio Manglobe (famous for Gangsta and Samurai Champloo) filed for bankruptcy due to an estimated debt of $4.43 million USD.  Fans have theorized that the lost profits from piracy resulted in the company’s demise, but this is just a theory without any solid proof backing these claims.

In July 2014, the Japanese government founded the “Manga-Anime Guardians Project” to combat against online piracy of anime and manga, monitoring illegal websites for uploads, and  as well as help fans find legal alternates to stream and watch anime.

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With pirates making multi-million dollar profits from stealing official subs, the industry losing millions from it, the Japanese government having to step in and protect the work of artists, and a company bankrupted due to possible piracy, I can see  why opponents of piracy want to end it.   Animators are losing jobs and money from illegal activities.  You can easily assume the reason why animators are underpaid is because of piracy and the companies have to operate at a loss.  A loss of money means less pay and fewer jobs on the market.

To conclude, I do not see the big issue about pirating, but I still want to support the industry.  With companies making money through other sources of capital such as promotion, legal streaming, and maketing,  I don’t feel that pirating doesn’t hurt the industry at all. Even if stream anime legally, the major players of a company will take the majority of the profits, leaving the creative forces with less than livable wages. The industry and businesses need a new model to operate on. People aren’t buying blurays or DVDs anymore. Fans would rather stream their shows.

The idea of studios and animators using crowd funding for anime is a fantastic idea which we as a community need to get behind. Animators deserve a living wage for the hard work they put into their craft.  While this won’t completely stop piracy overall, it does give fans a chance to support their favorite companies without a middle man.

I am just one person who believes piracy isn’t harmful but there are many who believe it is and they have good reasons to think as such.  Illegal streaming services cost the industry millions is lost capital. That’s not right.  The animators earned that money – not the pirates.

And finally, if you believe that these legal streaming services are giving you a worse product and service, stop using them! Don’t give them your money because it’s the moral and right thing to do.  You know what’s not moral and right?  Ripping off people with a shit product.

Vote with your wallet you weeaboos.

YOUTUBE VIDEOS:

Where Should We Watch Anime by Digibro
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSZDkF0YTRo

The Data Behind Digibro’s Stance on Anime Streaming: Legal vs. Illegal by Aninews
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYmKCRRbTIM

Piracy is NOT Killing the Anime Industry by Misty Chronexia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5nxyV0Jrvg&t=406s

Frost Bite: Anime Piracy and Illegal Streaming by Glass Reflection
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxMQ6ROoB00

How Much Money do the Biggest Anime Pirates Make by Mother’s Basement
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TAg4gIhdfg

 

MONEY IN THE ANIME INDUSTRY:


http://www.digihara.net/anime-industry-earns-money/

http://kotaku.com/average-anime-industry-salaries-get-depressing-1774852881

http://goboiano.com/heres-money-actually-made-anime/

http://kotaku.com/the-average-anime-salary-in-japan-is-shockingly-low-1700892325

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/062515/how-netflix-pays-movie-and-tv-show-licensing.asp

https://www.otakujournalist.com/where-your-crunchyroll-dollars-really-go-an-interview-with-the-ceo/

 

PRO-PIRACY ARTICLES:

http://www.japanator.com/does-piracy-help-anime-sales-in-japan-study-says-yes-18459.phtml

https://torrentfreak.com/internet-piracy-boosts-anime-sales-study-concludes-110203/

Alison’s Hawkins’s Piracy as a Catalysis for Anime Evoultion essay
https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/102759/allihawk.pdf;sequence=1

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/402969/when-piracy-becomes-promotion/

 

 

ANTI-PIRACY ARTICLES:

 

http://aminomailer.com/page/anime/5240302/the-dangers-of-anime-piracy
http://goboiano.com/much-money-cost-anime-industry-illegally-stream/

http://www.animeherald.com/2015/11/12/manglobe-begins-bankruptcy-proceedings-reports-544-million-yen-debt/

http://www.animeanime.biz/archives/21786

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/jpgjj4/japan-protects-its-anime-with-anti-piracy-hires-

http://manga-anime-here.com/guardians

 

MISC. SOURCES:

Jun Sugawara’s Animator Dormitory Project
https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/2017-animator-dormitory-project

http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2014/05/07/suicide-of-anime-worker-recognized-as-job-related

http://www.capsulecomputers.com.au/2014/05/a1-pictures-animator-suicide-caused-by-overwork/

http://manga-anime-here.com/guardians

IMAGE CREDITS

Featured Image:
Erika Furudo from Umineko: Ougon Musou Kyoku CROSS (Golden Fantasia CROSS)
©2007-2017, 2012-2012 07th Expasion, Ryukishi07

Ruby Heart from Marvel Vs. Capcom 2
©2000-2017 Capcom

Nami from One Piece
©1997-2017 Eiichiro Oda, Toei Animation

Marika Katou from Bodacious/Miniskit Space Pirates
©2008-2017 Yuuichi Sasamoto and Satelight

umineko no naku koro ni 0

Umineko no Naku Koro Ni – Raw Thoughts Pt. 1

August 17th, 2017 marked the 10th anniversary of the hit visual novel series “Umineko no Naku Koro ni”.  Umineko no Naku Koro ni was adapted into a terrible, low rating animated series by Studio Deen in 2009. The manga adaption and the fighting game spin off are better. Seriously, don’t watch the anime.  In reflection and celebration of the series 10th anniversary, I will be providing my raw, unedited thoughts of the anime throughout the month of August.  I hope you’ll enjoy! 

WARNING:
Violent, gory images below.   Umineko spoilers below.  If you do not like gory imagery  or want to be spoiled, then please turn back now.  Check out my other Umineko related content on my website such as my utter hatred for Kinzo Ushiromiya  and my shame for enjoying the anime adaption of Umineko.

If you’re still here then that means you’re okay with being spoiled and you’re comfortable with viewing  gory imagery.

How I got into Umineko is funny.  Weird, but funny.  I had just powered through Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai and Rei around mid November 2009.  I was addicted.  I needed more When They Cry and Higurashi in my life.  A manga.  A new anime series. A torrent link (don’t pirate kids) to the VN so I could experience this beautiful and deep story  in it’s original,  ham fisted characters design and terrible free licence music form.

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I don’t know how anyone can play the VNs with the original sprites and music.

 

I just needed a new When They Cry in my life!

Desperate,  I searched through /jp/ (4chan’s otaku board) for any information on  new and upcoming When They Cry material.  The degenerate weebs of /jp/ were discussing a new entry to the series: Umineko no Naku koro ni (lit. When Seagulls Cry) and its anime adaption by Studio Deen.  They had some rather…not-so-nice opinions on the anime, and were encouraging everyone to stay far away from it.

Yet, I could care less for their opinions! It was a new entry to this excellent saga!

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Umineko’s anime promotional art.  One of only three good things about the anime.

I hit up YouTube to see if any episodes of Umineko were uploaded.  To my excitement, there were some episodes up! Just that they were only in Japanese, as the subs weren’t up on YouTube at the time.  I was never smart enough to download a torrent for the subs, so I gave up. (again kids don’t pirate).

Disappointed, I turned to the image-board Danbooru.  I figured that I could get some minor information on the characters through fanart and fan comics.  A quick search of the title lead me to some interesting fanart and 4koma four panel by the artist Rifyu.

I randomly selected one of his artwork; a crossover of the Umineko and Higurashi cast.  The art was crude and simple,  but it wasn’t too bad (and it was a hella better than Ryukishi’s art for the Higurashi visual novel).  Based on this art, I assumed that that the characters of Higurashi might appear  in Umineko, or at the very least Umineko was an expansion to Higurashi’s story.

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I continue to scroll through his comics when I came across a 4koma of a gothic lolita cat-like girl who I presumed was Higurashi’s Rika, and a redhead schoolgirl at a bowling alley.  The redhead made a successful strike and is at all cheers.  Interesting, the word “strike” was in red.   The gothic lolita doesn’t seem too  impressed.  Not by the efforts of her “friend” (ha ha ha), but by her usage of “red text”.

“Why is ‘strike’ is in red and why is Rika upset about her using this ‘red text’?” I questioned.   I was confused by this “red text”.  Was it something special for those two or anything?

Oh well.

The third panel focused on Gothic Lolita Rika throwing her ball in what I guessed was an attempt to one-up the redhead girl.  Gothic Lolita Rika not only earned herself a strike, she also destroyed the bowling alley, and possibly killed a few people in panel 4.

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Ange: “Yes!  STRIKE!” Bernkastel:”Didn’t I tell you not to use the red text?”

“So I guess Rika is a jealous bitch in Umineko who feels the need to outshine people.” I assumed.  I went on to read another 4koma, this time featuring  a blue hair girl name Erika – a girl with bad fashion taste.

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Erika Furudo

“Erika, huh?  Is she like another Rika because of their names?”  I questioned, thinking there were a connection between the two.

 

From reading the Erika centered 4koma, I took a wild guess that she had a hardcore crush on Ange’s brother, Battler.  I mean yea, having a cute little crush is cool, but Erika was taking her crush way too far.   Creepy-stalker-with-a-crush levels of too far.  She will sexually harass you too far.  Erika is totally the type of girl you put a restraining order on because she doesn’t know what personal space means. And she might kill you in your sleep.

 

“Ya know, maybe this is why Ange is overprotected and super close with Battler in some of the 4komas. The women who are attracted to him are crazy.”

Not only was she a bit too protective of Battler in these comics, she might have been like him a bit wee too close as siblings. There were two other 4komas of Battler chilling with different women: Beatrice and Gertrude.  In these comics, Battle is on a date with either woman but suddenly Ange burst in and blocks any attempt of the Beatrice/Gerrude growing close with Battler.

“So, does Ange has a brother complex like she Lachesis off Fire Emblem 4?  Is she one of them fujoshi wotaku nerds that take their otaku hobbies and fantasies too far and want to get with her brother like some weird anime character?  Ange got some issues.”

(Man, she has issues indeed but I won’t go over them in this post.)

I spent the entire night reading through Riyfu’s comics of Umineko.  They were funny as fuck and gave me a nice insight of the series and characters.

“Man, Umineko is nothing like Higurashi! I hope the anime is light-heart and funny as these comics!” I foolishly told myself.

Man.

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My.

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Black.

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Ass.

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Was.

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Wrong.

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AFTERWORD:
My bad for waiting until two days after the anniversary to post this work was kicking my ass and I didn’t have the energy or drive to work on this freewrite Thursday.   I am working on Part 3 of my Higurashi raw thoughts if you’re looking forward to that!

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30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 29: Your Highest Rated Anime (Cowboy Bebop)

‘I think it’s time we blow this scene. Get everybody and the stuff together. OK. 3 2 1. Let’s jam.’

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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.

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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.

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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

AFTERWORD

 

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:

 

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Kakegurui – Power and Freedom (THEORY)

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.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

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From episode 2. Yumeko has issues.  Not Midari level issues.  But issues.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES:

http://www.ncpgambling.org/help-treatment/national-helpline-1-800-522-4700/
The National Council of Problem Gambling.  Just because a fictional character makes having a gambling addiction fun doesn’t mean it is in real life.
http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/meaning-of-colors.html

http://www.color-wheel-pro.com/color-meaning.html

http://www.thelanguagejournal.com/2012/10/hanakotoba-japanese-secret-language_18.html

http://peonypaintings.blogspot.com/2013/07/japanese-peony-flowers-meaning.html

http://www.lyrical-nonsense.com/lyrics/d-selections/layon-theline/
English and Japanese lyrics for the ED.

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.

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First Episode. First Impressions. One Shot: Hajimete no Gal

You only get one shot.  If the first episode of an anime doesn’t impress me, it’s getting dropped.

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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.

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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.

 

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.)

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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.

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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.

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How I feel about this adaptation.

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.

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Hey, dude’s thinking positive with both heads.

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.

That’s creepy.

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.

Score 5.5/10.

On the bright side at least this review and score isn’t as brutal as on my Facebook page:

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Please note this was written out of pure rage and disappointment.

 

EDIT: Strong language removed so I can run this post as an ad for Facebook lol

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What TO Do At Cons DJkillzone Feat. Yuki The Snowman (Collab Video)

Audio collab between my boy DJ Killzown Jones and myself.  With the convention season well into the summer, DJkillzown and I figure we will be nice and give nice audio guide on TO do at cons.

This is the follow up to our previous video, “What NOT To Do At Conventions”

TOPICS INCLUDE:
Attending Panels
Meet Guests
Cosplay/Fandom Meets
Dealers Room
Networking
Cosplaying

DJ Killzown Jones’s social media accounts:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwO0lojnveRjDrVyJyl167A
https://www.facebook.com/Killzown314/?ref=br_rs

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30 Day Anime Challenge Day 25 – Favorite Female Protagonist: Haruhi Suzumiya

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.

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Haruhi and Kyon. In the background: Yuki and Mikiru

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.

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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’

-Haruhi

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.

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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. ‘

 

 

 

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First Episode. First Impressions. One Shot: Kakegurui

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.

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‘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.

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“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.

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Or so did he believe, until a girl named Yumeko Jabami arrived.

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Yumeko Jabami: a seemingly sweet and modest girl.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?’

-Yumeko Jabemi

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(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).

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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.

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Yumeko, with her sweet and friendly smile, reveals her winning card: Scissors.

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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.

IMPRESSIONS

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!

 

 

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30 Day Anime Challenge Day 20: Favorite Supporting Character (Reigen, Mob Pyscho 100)

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.

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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).

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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.

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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!

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‘Why do you have to be like them?  You’re the protagonist of your own life, aren’t you?’

-Reigan to Mob.

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30 Day Anime Challenge Day 17: Favorite Comedy Anime (Cromartie High School)

If an anime has to warn you to not copy anything you see from it, you know it’s going to be great!

 

 

Cromartie High School  is a 2003 nonsense comedy anime from studio Production I.G.’s 2003, based off Eiji Nonaka’s comedy manga of the same name.  The series centers around Takashi Kamiyama (a well manner mommy’s boy student) and Cromartie High’s  colorful slew of teenage delinquents and their everyday life (characters includes: the “mute” singer Freedie, [parody of the  Queen’s frontman Freedie Mercury], Mechazawa; an android whom everyone sans Takashi thinks he’s a  normal human student, and a giant unnamed ape who cooks sushi.

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Freedie

 

Admittedly, it’s has been quiet a while since I last saw this series, and I can not recall most of the episodes due to I was under the influence of a few substance watching it at a friend’s studio apartment years back.   While you do not need alcohol or pot to enjoy this show, I will say it makes for a great stoner anime show with its nonsense humor.

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30 Day Anime Challenge: Day 15 – Favorite Slice of Life Anime (Watamote)

Watashi ga Motenai no wa fuck this long ass  title (lit. No Matter How I Look at It, It’s Your Fault I’m Not Popular) is Studio Silver Link’s 2013 animated adaption of the same long ass titled manga by mangka Nico Tanigawa.  It stars Tomoko Kuroki; a socially awkward, unpopular fujoshi (female otaku [lit. rotten girl]) loner who loves spending time browsing (and shitposting) on the internet , playing  eroge visual novels, hating her life, and hating on people doing better than her.

You see, Tomoko hates people.  Well, popular people. This is ironic, given her drive to become popular.

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No you won’t.

Tomoko considers herself to be superior compared to her normies peers, thus  she believes that  she’s entitled to have popularity.  She demands it…but she applies minimal effort towards gaining it.  She  blames others for her failures and lack of popularity.  Throughout the series, Tomoko tries different (cringe worthy) methods to become popular.  She tries to act like the cool silent character in fiction. Doesn’t work. She thinks  playing hentai games will make her look cute.  It only makes her a pervert. She even uses a vacuum cleaner to to give herself hickeys to impress her little cousin.  That only results in her mom slapping her across her face.

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If you mom ever gave you this look you knew  what was going to happen next.

All her attempts of popularity end in failure.  The only thing it does for her is increase her depression.  Speaking of mental health disorders, Tomoko clearly suffers from anxiety, which hinders her quest for popularity.

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Now, I don’t have social anxiety myself.  I can’t imagine how crippling such a disorder is. However, you can tell that Tomoko suffers from it.  Simple things ,such as ordering food or buying a book, is an ordeal for the young girl.  Even muttering a simple “goodbye” to a teacher takes a lot for Tomoko.  Maybe her yearning to become popular is a way to overcome her social anxiety, but her mental health is blocks her from holding even the simplest conversation.

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Even saying a simple “goodbye” is a milestone for her

Perhaps, it’s anxiety’s fault that she isn’t popular.

‘I’m the best at playing alone, playing alone, playing alone
Who, who, who, who, who is at fault? (Who is at fault?)
Lonely, lonely, I laugh alone
What… it’s not my fault!’

-No Matter How I Look at It, It’s not My Fault (Watamote ED 1)

 

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30 Day Anime Challenge Day 14: Favorite Drama/Romance Anime: Hitagi and Araragi’s Date (Bakemonogatari Ep. 12)

Eh.  I’m a man who doesn’t get himself in drama (although I sure love watching and knowing about it cause I’m nosy), so I don’t watch drama anime.  I’m also not big on romantic anime; I find them to be boring.  So instead, I’m going to focus on my favorite romantic episode: Hitagi and Araragi’s date (Bakemonogatari Ep. 12)

Despite my dislike for romantic scenes, Hitagi and Araragi’s romance feels real.  They’ve grown as not only characters, but as close friends. Romantic partners even.  This episode provides us with an insight on the more softer, delicate side of Hitagi.  She learns to opening herself and trusting others – things that she has difficulty with due to her rape trauma and her mother’s betrayal.  In this episode, we  do not just see Hitagi  as the harsh, blunt tsundere, but rather, a young girl,  finally happy with her life.

 

Happy to fall in love with someone whom she can open her heart to.

 

The episode starts with Hitagi and Araragi joyfully having lunch.  Hitagi declares that they’ll go on a date after, to the surprise of Araragi.  Confused, Araragi doesn’t know how to process this unexpected event.  Rather than to respond, he stuffs his face with food.  Hitagi sees this as that she may have been forceful, so she rephrases her date request as a question.

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She tries various methods of the question, but  Araragi continues eating, ignoring her.  Confused by the silence, Hitagi asks him if he doesn’t want to go on a date. He replies with that he wants to.  Pleased,  Hitagi crafts up the plan for their date.  Araragi seems pleased too, as he was just “ignoring” her initial request to see how she would react.

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Later that night, the two are picked up by Hitagi’s pops (who drives them to their date spot).  During the ride, Araragi appears nervous (naturally, he’s in the same with  his girlfriend’s father).  Hitagi gets on his case, asking why he’s nervous, if he loves her and why.   Mind you, she’s doing this in front of her dad, so She’s  putting  him on the spot –  but it works.  Her interrogation turns into a lovely, lively chat between herself and Arargi.

After a few minutes, they arrive at a natural park – the location of their date. Hitagi gets out and walks towards an unseen spot, but not before suggesting Araragi to talk with her dad.  Araargi gets nervous at the idea.

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Her father decides to break the ice with gentle teasing; jokingly asking Araargi to take care of his daughter.  After that, he states that it’s been so long since he saw Hitagi so happy and carefree. He expresses his regrets for not being there for Hitagi after her sexual assault (due to his workaholic nature).  He reveals that Hitagi has been more active with him and his life stating that she requested his help for their date.  He also states that Hitagi has started opening her once closed heart – all thanks to Araragi.

Arargi is surprised by this. He tells him that it was Hitagi  who helped herself.  The dad replies with rebuttal, telling the kid that he indeed had influenced her change, that he was with her when she needed somebody the most.

‘The most important thing is just being there when you’re needed.’

-Hitagi’s dad.

Time passes as the two continue to talk.  Hitagi returns and tells Araragi that she’s ready.  She escorts him through the woods (while forcing his head down).  After the short trek, the duo stops at the middle of a field with a blanket on the ground.  Hitagi asks Araaragi to close his eyes and lay down on the blanket.  Next, she ask him to open his eyes.  Upon opening his eyes he is greeted with an alluring sight – a boundless starry sky.

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Following a series of questions and requests (such as her offering her body to him), Hitagi explains how she’s afraid that Araragi  may do something similar to her rapist (possibly triggering a flashback we can assume). She’s afraid that an innocent physical action from him might result in her hating him.

She’s afraid of losing him. She fears losing a valued friend – a friend she grew to trust and love.  A friend that she can open up to. Hitagi tells Araragi that she’s happy that she was able to meet him during her days of misfortune.  How he never left her side despite her personal issues in life.

Then, she reveals that the section of the park is  the same spot where her family spent many times with each other during the happier days of their lives.  This spot, she holds close to her heart – a treasured spot. Finally, she asks Araragi to be her first kiss.   The two stare at one another, happy to be in each one’s presence holding hands.

Hitagi has finally opened her heart.  She has finally find happiness after years of a betrayal, misfortunes, physical sickness, and anger.

‘The sting in my words that shut you up
Ended up stabbing my heart
Before I knew it…it hurts
This is your fault.’

-From Staple Stable (Bakemonogatari OP 1)

 

 

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30 Day Anime Challenge Day 13 – Favorite Single Episode: Sailor Moon S EP. 125

Of course my black ass would write a Sailor Saturn centered post.

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So, “A Bright Shooting Star!  Saturn, and the Messiah.”  This is one of my favorite episodes in my personal anime viewership history. There’s just so much  build up in this episode leading up to epic debut of Sailor Saturn – solider of destruction.  There’s the drama  the Outer Scouts wanting Sailor Moon to kill Hotaru (as Mistress 9) to save the world, as well as  the two  gettin’ on her case for being  optimistic and idealistic. Next, you have the pain of Souichi, Hotaru father, and his desperate struggle to restore her.  Finally, there’s Hotaru  herself (as Saturn) sacrificing herself  to save not only the world itself, but her father and best (and only) friend Chibi-Usa.   The episode is one of the most emotional of the series as well as one of the highest quality ranging from voice acting, animation, music, story, and direction.

Let me break this episode down for you as I’ll focus more on the story.

Instead of  Usagi’s normal narration before the episode’s start, it’s Hotaru who takes up the role.  Everybody’s favorite depressing emo goth kid talks about how anyone can be a messiah.  That anyone can be a savoir if they love and care about people. She ends her monologue with “I’ll make sure to save you!!”  Keep this in mind: Sailor Moon S’s key narration theme is messiah and saviors. Messiahs tend to die for a cause.

Hotaru is going to die.

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It’s not a spoiler if their evil counterpart confirms it! 

Afterwards, the episode starts. We see Sailor Moon attempting to reach out to Hotaru (whose body has been taken over by Mistress 9).  However, Mistress 9 tells her that she’s dead.  Moon doesn’t believe this, but Sailor Neptune and Uranus take Mistress 9’s statement as fact. The two decide to kill Mistress 9 with a combined World Shaking/Deep Submerged attack.  Sailor Moon jumps in front of Mistress 9 (optimistic that Hotaru is still alive), and the blonde idiot takes the blast for her.

Even Mistress 9 was impressed by her heroic actions and thanks her for it.   She’s such a polite woman.

Fasting forward, Mistress 9 captures Uranus and Neptune with her overflowing,  living hair and starts  to violently choke them, demanding Moon to hand over the Holy Grail or she’ll kill them both. Moon whips out the Holy Grail (much to the Outer Scouts’ protest) and starts to walk over to the Daimon.  As she walks over to her, Souichi appears behind Sailor Moon.

Mistress 9 sees a chance.

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Neptune is used to being choked by Uranus in the bedroom, so she’s rather unaffected by this.  Irritated even.

She collapse in pain, clutching her chest and her breath labored. Using Hotaru’s voice, Mistress 9 pleads with Souichi and Usagi to give her the Holy Grail. In between breaths, she explains that she needs the Holy Grail to restore herself as “Hotaru”.  Usagi, a paragon of common sense, doesn’t realize this is merely a bait and switch, and agrees to “Hotaru”’s wishes.  She  gives Souichi the Grail to give to his “daughter”.  With a cold smile, Mistress 9 snatches the Grail away from him, gains a power boast from it, and blows everyone away.  All hope seems lost as Mistress 9 holds the Holy Grail in her hands.

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‘Good warriors make others come to them, and do not go to others.’

-Zhang Yu, 8th Century scholar

Next,  Mistress 9 starts talking that good shit  on how she has the Holy Grail, and that Sailor Moon can’t do anything to stop her or Pharaoh 90.   Mistress 9 then places the Grail inside a machine and summons forth Pharaoh 90. The immerse force of his summoning not only destroy most of the Mugen District, but the Holy Grail itself.

Usagi Tsukino, you’re a stupid idiot.

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This is the same girl who gets poor grades as often as we breath.  We shouldn’t be shock for her to fall for obvious bait.

Everyone’s morale drops. The Outers Scouts berates Moon for her stupidity, and the Inner Scouts (fighting other Daimons outside) are getting bodied by other Daimons.   Usagi (still not losing hope) whips out her staff, firing an energy beam towards the appoaraching Pharaoh 90.  Pharaoh 90 is unaffected, fires an energy beam  back, knocking Usagi out.  Mistress 9 talks more shit, poppin’ off at their success.  Pharaoh 90 gives Mistress 9 his thanks by blasting her with an energy beam as thanks for her services.

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When you find out you were just the side piece.

Once more, Sailor Moon jumps in front of Mistress 9, taking the full force of Pharaoh 90’s blast to protect Hotaru and Souichi (whom too was protecting her) Hotaru, (who regained control of her “body”) and Souchi share a tender father-daughter moment.  Hotaru tells her dad that she forgives him for fucking up her life (despite that it wans’t his fault) .  We then get a sappy flashback of the two in happier times.  Ya know, to make us feel sorry for Souichi being an idiot for playing God and messing around with the law of physics, which got them in this situation in the first place.

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“Daddy, when I grow up, I want you to not have played God and killed me in a freak accident, also a pony.” (joke made by Pretty Solider Project)

Disgusted by their sappy cheesy moment, Mistress 9 gets pissed and attempts to regain control of Hotaru’s body.  The two starts struggling for control until Hotaru overpowers Mistress 9.  She declares that she must protect her dad and Chibi-Usa, awakens the spirit of Sailor Saturn and kills Mistress 9, destroying the body of the alien…which was also her body as well.

Whoops.

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Following that, Sailor Saturn visits a dying Chibi-Usa at her dad’s house (Hotaru had a crush on Mamoru and was stalking him for a minute, that’s how she knew his address) and return her Pure Heart, telling her “My bad about stealing your pure heart and killing you.”, and thanks  her for not being creep out by her weird powers.  Oh, and making the final days of her short life enjoyable with her presence and kindness.  That too.

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“My bad about  almost killing your kid I hope this weird jewel thing makes up for it.”

Sailor Saturn then returns to the Mugen District (completely destroyed by Pharaoh 90).  The Outer Scouts starts freaking out, assuming that Saturn will destroy the world, and they lose hope.   Saturn greets Sailor Moon with a warm, but sorrowful smile.  She thanks her for protecting her  and informs her that she’s no longer Hotaru, but the soldier of destruction.  She proceeds to jump into the core of Pharaoh 90 and tells Moon that in order to kill him, she must use her powers to its fullest and sacrifice her life.

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Sailor Moon tries to stop her, but Saturn shoves her Glaive in her face.  She doesn’t say anything, but her threatening posture and silence is enough to convince Moon to back off.  Saturn simple tells Moon “farewell” and jump into the core of Pharoh 90.   Moon tries to enter Pharoh 90’s  but is pushed back by its power.  Out of desperation, she attempts to transform into Super Sailor Moon without the Holy Grail,  but she can’t.  She attempts again, but nothing happens.  She tries once more, out of pure frustration, sadness, and desperation.  She is in tears, begging for the transformation, slamming her fist on the ground.

She wants to save Hotaru.  She doesn’t want her young life to be  cut so short.

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Sensing the pleads of their leader, the Sailor Scouts  (including the Outer Scouts) lend their power to Sailor Moon.  Sailor Moon attempts to transform, this time, with success.  Super Sailor Moon enters the core of Pharaoh 90 as a final effort save Hotaru.  The massive combined power of Saturn and Moon proved too much for Pharoh 90, killing him.

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The episode ends with everything restored to normal.  The Sailor Scouts begin to regain conscious.  Uranus and Neptune look around in silence, still stunned at what has transpired.  Finally, Super Sailor Moon appears, blank, and  emotionless.  In her arms rest a young baby.  That baby – a reincarted Hotaru.  Usagi was successful in saving not only just her friend, but her daughter’s best friend as well.

 

Episode 125 of Sailor Moon S is one of my favorite anime episodes due to the emotional build up.  Usagi still held on to the hope that she could save her friend despite the Outer Scouts tellin her to give it up.    Even when at her lowest point of the battle with her losing the Holy Grail and the world being slowly destroyed, Usagi still held to that hope. Usagi’s  Hope that would pay off in large with Hotaru overpowering and destorying Mistress 9, transforming as Sailor Saturn, and saving the world.    I could go further by explaining how the flawless animation, the excellent voice acting, and amazing soundtrack worked in synergy for such a masterpiece, but that would take a great while for me to break down,  and I believe provided more than enough  reasons to explain my love for this episode.

‘If you have a bit of courage, people can really be soldiers.
If you have feelings for other people….anyone can be a messiah.
No matter how much  you changed, please don’t forget that there are people who care for you.’

Hotaru Tomoe, Sailor Moon S

 

Image and Gif sources:
3:36 – A Bright Shooting Star! Saturn, and the Messiah

 

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30 Day Anime Challenge Day 12: Best Ending to an Anime: The End of Dragon Ball GT

(NOTE: Written on 7/7/2017)
Ayy what’s up ya!  Since I’m about do some  light partying tonight at Anime Midwest, I’m going to leave you guys  with a quick,  simple, but emotional ending to an anime series – Dragon Ball GT’s ending montage.

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The ending montage showcase the series iconic and memorable events from the entire Dragon Ball series prior to Super.  The montage starts with Goku’s first encounter with the teen genius, Bulma. This marks  the start of Goku’s grand (animated) adventure ehich would span for over 10 years.  Next, we see his training with the legendary martial arts master,  Muten Rosh, his epic battle against the Demon King Piccolo and defeating his son, Piccolo Junior.

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The montage transitions into the moments of Dragon Ball Z  with Goku supporting Gohan against Cell with the Father-Son Kamehameha,  him destroying Kid Buu with the Spirit Bomb, his rivalry with Vegeta, and of course – the debut of his legendary Super Saiyan transformation, and using the form to defeat Lord Frieza.

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Finally, scenes of GT are featured such as the death of Baby and the battle against Omega Sheron.  The montage also features a credit scroll of everyone who’ve worked the series production – from voice actors, animation staff, writers, etc., thanking them for their hard work and effort they put towards the series.

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The montage is set to GT’s Japanese theme song “Dan Dan Kokoro Hikareteku (lit. “Bit by Bit My Heart Is Charmed.  Despite being a love ballad, the nostalgic and emotional tone  of the lyrics and music fits it.   We were charmed the story of Goku  – an innocent, small, yet powerful child of everlasting superhuman strength and feats who grew up into a paragon of raw power and fighting; combating against terrifying foes and villains such as the Red Ribbion Army, King Piccolo, Mercenary Tao Pai Pai,  Vegeta, Frieza, Cell, Baby, and the Shadow Dragons.

To this day,  fan opinions of Dragon Ball GT are split. Some fans love the cool ideas presented, the Super Saiyan 4 transformation, bringing back classic characters and powers. Others despise it. However, most, if not all Dragon Ball fans agree that GT’s ending montage was a perfect moving sendoff for Dragon Ball. Fans have even cried while watching the Montage and I can’t even lie, I found myself teary eye  as well.  We believed that tribute and ending would be the last time we saw Goku and company in animation form.

Dragon Ball had that much of an impact on its fans.

‘Til we meet again guys!’

Son Goku

THE - END