Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Seasonal Anime Reviews: Fall 2013

Not sure if this is just a coincidence that this girl looks like Tsukiko from Henneko.

OK, so since it's the end of the year (And the first year of me stop being everybody's best friend anime fan) this is where it all closes off. First, my thoughts on this season, then we close off 2013 with my Top and Bottom of the year. So let me start off with this Fall season. This lame-ass Fall season!

(Philippines) Most Notable Anime in the 90's

Akazukin Cha Cha (ABS-CBN)The Little Red Riding Hood-inspired anime. Cha Cha was I think the funniest anime broadcasted by ABS-CBN in the 90 s. All of the characters has their own comedic persona, and you won't get tired watching them again and again. The common debate me and my friends had in this show was: "Who will Cha Cha going to end up with - Riiya or Shiine?"I also have a friend who's very addicted to this, and wellI can't forget her insane laugh when we watched the OAV in our school auditorium when we had an Anime Film Showing in our school foundation day.Ang Mahiwagang Kuwintas (ABS-CBN)Nadia - Secret of Blue Water, its original title, was Gainax's Ghibli-like adventure anime. I remember regretting not being able to watch the last episode of this anime (just like when I missed the last episode of Slayers). This show was a worldwide hit, not only in the Philippines.BT'X / B'tX (ABS-CBN)"Messiah Fist" - the cybernetic gauntlet weapon by the main character - Teppei - and the least character I like. The coolest for me is Fou Lafine, he plays his violin when he attacksthough I don't have any idea where he hides it. On the other hand, I prefer Hokuto's B'T - B'T Max (a turtle mecha) over the rest. It's just so gigantic, almost looks indestructible. About the anime, this was pretty much popular, especially its Tagalog opening song.Cedie, Ang Munting Prinsipe (ABS-CBN)Based on the novel "The Little Lord Fauntleroy", this anime was broadcasted at the same time with Peter Pan and Princess Sarah, around 1992-1993 (I was about 4-5 years old at that time). This World Masterpiece Theatre member was such a hit that ABS-CBN's Star Cinema made a live action version in 1996 starring Tom Taus.Gundam Wing (GMA)The only mecha-anime hit by GMA in the 90 s. Its successor Gundam G didn't come up to the level like Wing did, in short it flopped. About the anime, Wing's pilot and main character - Heero Yuy is a typical-snob guy. Though most of the girls I know like the fact that he's a snob, 'cause they like it everytime he ignores Relena. Moving onthe two characters I like the most were Quatre and Trowa - I mimicked his hairstyle back when I was in 5th grade (I didn't think my classmates would notice it, but they did. Just shows that this Gundam series was really popular.) And the two coolest mobile suits for me were Gundam Deathscythe Hell Custom (Duo's Gundam) and Gundam Nataku (Wufei's Gundam). Obviously, I'm not a fan of the main character, like in B'tX.

Huckleberry Finn (ABS-CBN)This adventure novel-based anime is a remake of the 1976 Huckleberry no Bouken. There's one episode that I couldn't forget, it's when Huck and his father were only eating (hot) sweet potatoes for days. I imagined myself being in that situation, and I realized it's really a huge challenge (OK, now I'm hungry).This anime was broadcasted in 1997, at the same time its somehow related anime - (The) Adventures of Tom Sawyer was released.Let's & Go (GMA)A Sports genre anime about kids (and some adults) and their mini Four-wheel drives. The proof that this show was a hit, was when the competition came to life. Actual toy cars from the anime were sold in stores, and different tournaments were held around the country (even in our school). At first I thought the toys were 100% similar to the anime, like there's some booster or spinning blades on the wheels - but no, what you can see in the anime stays in the anime (except for the thrill, enjoyment, friendshipshould I continue?).Lupin III (GMA)If not the highest, its one of the high-rated anime show broadcasted by GMA. Simply because it's appealing to different kinds of people, young or young at heart. Lupin and his gang's tricks were the climax of each episode. Add it with some fan service by Fujiko and you got a show that can beat soap operas. Oh and Inspector Zenigata's effort is worth crediting, even though Lupin can always find a way to get himself out of his hands.Mga Munting Pangarap ni Romeo (ABS-CBN)Originally known as Romeo no Aoi Sora. Another great World Masterpiece Theatre from ABS. I think the most unforgettable episode for everyone was when Alfredo, Romeo's best friend, died. Another was the turning point of the show, when Romeo and the rest of the "Black Brothers" were proven innocent against their rival "Wolf Pack". And if you've forgotten the endingRomeo and Bianca got married, and had a son name Alfred. Though honestly, I thought it would be Romeo and Angeletta.Mojacko (GMA)One thing I noticed was that GMA never showed the other opening and ending credits of this anime. Anyway, this is a very funny show, and there was one episode where Mojacko and some characters has mumps. I won't forget it cause at the same time, me and our maid were in the same situation. So that day wasvery funny, painful, and awkward.About the other characters, Mojaru and Dono were the ones I found amusing. Everytime Mojaru cried, there'll be like an earthquake. And when Dono has eaten a lot of sweets, he'll go berserk and do unexpected things.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (ABS-CBN)A groundbreaking mecha anime, besides Macross. This anime was the most popular at its era (and I guess the most controversial until now). ABS-CBN cut a lot of scenes, and pronounced the name "Asuka" - "A-su-ka", when it should be just "As-ka". What's great about this anime, was that there were a lot of memorable episodes, even though there's only 26 all in all. The most popular I can think of was when Shinji came to Rei's apartment to give her new ID, his timing was off (but not to other teenage boys) 'cause Rei has just finished taking a bath. Cut the story short, both of them slipped and Shinji was on top of Rei with his left hand on Rei's right breast. Phew~ This was also the first anime where I witnessed a slashy yaoi - it was on episode 24, just before the two unforgettable ending episodes in the history of anime.Pokemon (GMA)The first english opening version of this hit anime was sung by Billy Crawford, a worldwide-known Filipino singer. I'll admit that I'm addicted to this show when I was kid, even memorizing the 150 (151 if you include Togepi) Red and Blue version Pokemons. And joining GMA's promo, I sent like 5 letters each week (and never won). One of my classmates brought his Pokemon guide book, and the Pokemon that got my attention was Charmander (at that time I don't have any idea that he's one of Ash's main pokemon). Another classmate of mine memorized the famous quote of Team Rocket, and he was hailed by most of us.A memorable tagline of the show was "Poke-Friday"! ABS-CBN got its attention, and broadcasted a similar anime called Digimon in the year 2000.Remi (Nobody's Boy) (ABS-CBN)There were actually two Remi's that was broadcasted in the Philippines. First was this one, and the other was Remi: Nobody's Girl. From the two, I chose the original, 'cause I think it was more successful hit than the remake. Actually, the remake was a flop (according to AnimeNewsNetwork) that's why it has only 23 episodes, compared to the original which had 51.About Remi: Nobody's GirlWas pulled off the air after 23 episodes due to disastrous ratings. It was considered the worst of the World Masterpiece Theater due to drastic changes in the story (including changing the gender of the main character.)Ie Naki Ko Remi was the last series of the World Masterpiece Theater.The episode I can remember the most was when a pack of wild wolves attacked Remi and his friends (the animals), and I think some of his dogs saved him, and unfortunately they died.Samurai X (ABS-CBN)Rurouni Kenshin was quite popular in Studio 23 that's why ABS-CBN, it's sister company decided to make a tagalized version. The samurai action and comedy-drama formula was a great combination that's why the show garnered a lot of audience in the 90 s around the world.

Neon Genesis Evangelion, 3-in-1 edition vol. 1

Story -

Shinji Ikari is a reclusive and withdrawn boy who was left by his father at a young age. At the beginning of the story, his dad has contacted him after an absence of more than ten years. It's after this that Shinji gets involved in his dad's work and is forced by him to pilot a giant robot, also known as the Eva, to fight aliens known as 'Angels' and save the world.The Eva is part of a larger project by Shinji's father, who is the lead in a secret organization known as NERV. Shinji doesn't want to pilot the Eva because he doesn't want to have the responsibility of doing so. He's only doing it because of his longing to get his father's approval.

August 2013 The Triple header: Kaiju hits Killara

Hey everyone, back again with the latest Club Moofie post. It was held for the first time at Renny's and my place in Sydney's north (held on dry land for the first time for me!). It's been a busy year for me so my apologies for the screwy order of my publishing this year. This one was for the August 2013 meeting and it is posted on New Years Eve! - I'm just glad that it is at least out within the calendar year when the meeting actually took place.

We reviewed three moofies this time around. The awesome PACIFIC RIM (2013), Richard Linklater's third in the series, BEFORE MIDNIGHT (2013), and the animated docu-drama, WALTZ WITH BASHIR (2008).PACIFIC RIM (2013)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Neon Genesis Evangelion by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto


The title comes from the first Gospel written, transliterates evangelion from Mark 1.1, meaning good news: "The beginning [genesis] of the euangelion, thus genesis evangelion. This implicates the author of the anime version Hideaki Anno created by Gainax in a serious theological statement, but it is left to us to understand how far it should be taken. Although the anime version was conceived first, the "manga series by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto and published by Kadokawa Shoten began in the February issue of Sh nen Ace in December 1994.[1] It consists of 13 volumes, each composed of several "stages" or chapters. Twelve of these volumes have been released before the TV series.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2012: O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The author is a life-long fan of anime. The author first acquired a taste for anime at the tender young age of five and has never looked back. The author spends far too much time treading back and forth between Japan their homeland and the United States, where they currently reside. (Apologies for the anonymity, but it was requested by the author. - Ed.)On December 31st, 2012, I walked out of the Mandarake in Akihabara into the chilly Tokyo night. After three days at Comiket, I was beat, but not beat enough to forgo the chance to pick up some last-minute goods before retiring for the night. On my way out, I saw a sign on the shop's door:

"The word of the year is 'imouto'."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Overlong Discussion of the Filler-Free Dragon Ball Kai

I'm not even done with the first season yet, I *should* wait to write a review. But history tells me, if I wait until I'm actually finished, I'll never get around to writing a review at all.

A lot of the anime I watched as a kid has actually gotten better with age. Evangelion and Gundam Wing seem smarter than they did when I was 12 years old because I can understand more of what they're going for. Even Hellsing seems a litle more en pointe now that I've become a horror fan.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Forty-two

I try and give every anime that shows up on Netflix a chance.

If you've been following Couchbound for a while, you've probably noticed that there are precious few titles of any quality. I've covered a few, but most of them are stinkers and they're pretty much all courtesy of Funimation. I think I could count on my hands the ones that are actually worth it.

Freezing: the complete series

In 1975, Aaron Spelling produced a little television show called CHARLIE'S ANGELS featuring three beautiful women solving crimes and running about without, er, proper upper body support. This dose of daytime televised sexuality grew popular and before long shows like THREE'S COMPANY, BIONIC WOMAN, and WONDER WOMAN would make up a new genre called "the jiggle show." The shows themselves may have been funny or interesting, but the real hook lay in seeing the ladies jumping around and acting in an animated fashion, making their, er, assets exponentially more noticeable.

What's the point of bringing up this thirty-eight-year-old television tidbit? Because FREEZING, a series about women trained to fight extra-dimensional monsters, is the anime equivalent of a jiggle show. The show's cadre of busty females with semi-ridiculous names run, jump, and fight, often exposing their underwear or undergoing suit transformations that expose their bare bodies. They also lose their shirts more often than James T. Kirk. FREEZING's obsession with the female form is certainly not an anomaly, SEKEREI was pretty similar, but the nudity and panty shots go far beyond cheeky fanservice. FREEZING pushes the boundaries as much as it can, stopping just short of being porn.

Recent Viewing: Pacific Rim

I have had several friends tell me since the Pacific Rim hit theaters that I needed to go and see it. They said that if anime was ever made into a movie, it was going to be this flick. It was some big statement to make, but I finally gave in and decided to check it out.

If you watched the trailer, it basically summed up the premise of the movie. The giant monsters called Kaiju are wreaking havoc on cities and it is up to man to pilot giant robots called Jaegers to take them on. Each Jaeger is composed of 2 pilots that need to merge minds in order to operate the robot. So the plot follows some of you standard mecha series/films plot points.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

367. Neon Genesis Evangelion, Vol. 13 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto

NEON GENESIS EVANGELION, VOL. 13 by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.

, Vol. 13

Shinji Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

SHINJI IKARI (Neon Genesis Evangelion)

Costume no: 051.


Sometimes in life I come across things I feel like I was destined to see, hear, feel or be a part of. Neon Genesis Evangelion is no exception. While I was completely blown away by this series I have to say one thing bothered me and it is again my own fault. I had too many expectations of this show to be something it wasn't. Now, let me tell you that the way Evangelion turned out was as close to perfect as one can imagine. Obviously that is just my "perspective" on things, but at the same time I am sad. I am sad that it didn't end even remotely how I imagined. I am sad that it ended in general actually. The pacing, story, characters, visuals and voice work were all fantastic. This show seriously had it all. The way I saw it end was actually really silly compared to what really happened and I am very glad it all played out the way it did. In some ways it was a good thing that I wasn't correct in all my assumptions about Evangelion. It gave me a super fresh show to enjoy with unexpected twist cropping up that made me feel on the edge of my seat. I wanted to watch the next episode. I usually start an anime and then feel obligated to finish it, or try to finish it because I feel bad Anyway, Evangelion turned everything I thought I knew about anime upside down and then threw it out the window like a frisbee made of roaches. I never really adapted the model of "learned helplessness" though. I still tried to predict the next bump in the path and I was rarely correct. It denied me my expectations and instead handed me something I couldn't have begun to fathom

Much like Paranoia Agent, this has earned itself another watch and a whole lot of investigating. There were so many themes, some pronounced and some hidden. All the character interaction seemed to have meaning and I haven't figured it all out yet. So much symbolism I found myself re-watching parts because I needed to know if I could find anything in that particular scene, but it was of no use because you're flooded with more every god damn second! I have a lot of ideas, but I can only speculate really.

Monday, December 23, 2013

So tomorrow is...

...Christmas Day Eve. Then come the day after next, Christmas will be officially welcomed. Thinking about this, I suddenly have a surreal feeling because it seems that Jesus has been my only friend for the past 10+ years. Maybe that's why I enjoy commenting/liking/sharing FB posts on Christianity? Well, guess this will continue for the next 5-6 years, at least it's heartening to know that your only faith is the only reason why you only ended up with cracks rather than absolutely shattered.

ERM, SO WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY?No, I'm not going to evangelise anyone. Rather, I suddenly have the urge to do something on anime/manga. Okay, I'm talking about a particular title, not something too generic. I can't really remember when, but for sure I was in my early twenties when I came across this manga series. Let's just say that it's not just about vampires or even your typical Stoker-esque archetype.

Drama Digest (Dec 16) Deja Vu & Lady Luck

MIZUKI ARISA'S NEW DRAMA DRAWS FLAK BEFORE BROADCASTYoru no Sensei, which will air on TBS in January, marks the 23rd consecutive year that Mizuki is the lead actress in a drama production. However, there have been rumblings of discontent from netizens who point out that it is a rehash of NTV's 2011 drama . The main character Tennoji Misaki was a Roppongi club hostess who became a high school teacher. She was also the passionate sort. Not a coincidence? The internet is rife with criticisms calling Yoru no Sensei a sequel to Misaki Number One, something they have already seen before, and a certain candidate for single digit TV ratings. Even so, an industry insider says it is hard to imagine that Mizuki would disappear from the entertainment scene at present because she has a big backer who is called the don of the entertainment world.

UETO AYA'S HANZAWA NAOKI CONFESSIONIn an upcoming interview with the magazine CREA about life-changing productions, Ueto Aya confesses that she had intended to reject the role of Hana in . Talking about her insecurities, she reveals at that time she kept thinking about unnecessary things such as whether she and Sakai Masato would look like a married couple. But when she looks back on the drama now that it is over, she says she dislikes herself for even having a moment's hesitation about working with the director, and had a very happy time on the set. As we all know, Hanzawa Naoki went on to hit an all-time high of 42.2% in viewership ratings for this century and Ueto got to bask in the success of the drama despite being a very weak link. While the character Hana was given too much screen time, it was ultimately Ueto's portrayal that failed to connect and to resonate. All I can remember of Hana's interactions with Hanzawa right now are her smacks at him each time she wanted to make a point.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

12 Days of Anime (2013)

Have you ever wondered what an anime would be like if it were shown through the eyes of another character?How might things be perceived or depicted if we heard it through someone else's voice?Would their priorities and preference impact the story differently?How would their observations or presence affect the story, too?Say, for example, if we saw NEON GENESIS EVANGELION through the eyes of Asuka or CODE GEASS from Suzaku's point-of-viewhow would these shows be affected?

If you've ever wondered about this or if you've ever wanted to see this in an anime, then you and I share similar thoughts.I always wonder about these irrelevant details and how an anime would be different if it were told through another character's perspective.Besides comedy episodes or OVAs or specials, anime rarely ever break their perspectives (and no, I'm not counting scenes where another character is doing something that is relevant to the story, those don't count), and I'm left with only my thoughts on how things would go if the perspectives were switched.Fortunately for me, MONOGATARI SERIES SECOND SEASON has blessed me with three arcs - that's right, three! - narrated from the perspective of characters other than Araragi: Tsubasa Hanekawa in Tsubasa Tiger (Nekomonogatari: Shiro), Nadeko Sengoku in Nadeko Medusa (Otorimonogatari) and Deishuu Kaiki in Hitagi End (Koimonogatari).This sudden and welcomed change in the series offered an outstanding experience for the viewers, providing us with opportunities to see and understand the world of Monogatari differently than if we were riding alongside Araragi again.

Code Geass is Back to Mezmorizing us Once Again

The poster for Code Geass: Akito The Exiled.

There's nothing like the anorexic character designs of the writing duo CLAMP, especially those for the Code Geass franchise.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Shinji Ikari Detective Diary: Evangelion Poking Fun at Itself via Shojo

Like any franchise that's a mega-hit, Neon Genesis Evangelion has a lot of officially-licensed derivative works. The Shinji Ikari Detective Diary is one of them, and it's pretty darn good. Shinji Ikari is your average high school student who spends most of his day trying not to be noticed. His crew consists of himself, cool-kid-wannabe Toji, and geeky Kensuke (remember him, the short nerd with freckles and glasses who was always into conspiracy theories in the TV series, and whose name hardly any viewer knew?). The latter two are a pair of stooges that get Shinji forced into servitude with the Kaji Detective Agency. Misato and Kaji staff the agency along with Pen Pen, the penguin we all know and love, and ... surprise! Not Asuka and Rei, but Kaworu. So does this mean BL? This means BL, but, unlike the most recent Eva movie, Detective hosts the most mild BL known to womankind -- the entirely sub-textual, overly long gazes of musing interest Kaworu is so famous for. And in the first book, it doesn't make any moves ... yet. (Sadly.) When I picked up this book, I expected some sort of Sherlock and Watson (of which I seem to have found a lot this past month, if you are an avid reader here on Suvudu), given Shinji and Kaworu's gentle bromance that permeates their relationship throughout the Eva franchise. However, what I got was slapstick hijinks and witty wordplay, followed by the Eva being incorporated as pok mon-like kami as Kaworu and Shinji go up against the team of Rei and Asuka while solving mundane cases. That's right -- the Eva look like people, and they battle for you out in the real world, something like Yu-Gi-Oh!. With the money-making aspect of Misato and the Detective agency, Shinji and Kaworu's experiences almost feel a little Tigerall the fan-favorite characters are there, and amusingly utilized. However, when Eva Unit 01 showed up looking like Dark Mousey, I gave up on it being anything but crack and fluff. (If you want dark AU, you can go through other titles in the Eva manga franchise.) The artwork is of high quality, if a little on the shojo side -- the art tone is light and airy; faces have shojo roundness; there aren't many backgrounds, and what few there are, are stiff and bland. Also following-through on the shojo feel, most of the narrative action comes through conversation, rather than action. So it's crack-fluff AU shojo Eva. Interesting! Detective Diary is put forth by Darkhorse, which is known traditionally for mature-audience works. But the company also publishes other works in the Eva franchise, thus explaining how such fluff got into its lineup (especially that rare thing, Eva fluff). For a company that produces less than five manga a month, the lettering of both sound effects and bubbles is surprisingly without flaw, and even more importantly, done with artistry. Make no mistake, work has been put into this book, and it is quite fun, if you're willing to not take yourself too seriously. The translation was done by Michael Gombos and edited by Carl Gustav Horn, and it is a special thing -- they went all out on Toji's Kansai accent. I'll leave you with a moment from pages three and four to understand just what this book is about: Shinji: Toji ... Kensuke. Are you planning some wacky hijinks for me today? What can I expect out of this? A little nudity...? Koji: Naw, man... Ya can expect some violence! [...] Shinji: Huh? Koji: On da for rilla tilla, my brilla.
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Battle Of The Planets Vs. Gatchaman

"ALWAYS FIVE ACTING AS ONE. DEDICATED! INSEPARABLE! INVINCIBLE!"We sure could use a little more collective, inseparable thinking in this country today.

Like most, my best moments to write seem to come when the spirit moves me.In this case perhaps The Great Spirit moves me.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Battle Of The Planets: The Characters


Our colorful primer to BATTLE OF THE PLANETS (1978) here at MUSINGS OF A SCI-FI FANATIC continues. If you weren't able to tell, we (me, myself and I along with a legion of others) loved the series here in the United States.Of course, it had everything to do with the animation.It was like nothing we had seen before, but beyond those gorgeous 2D surface penciled aesthetics the series also delivered the stories, characterizations, mech designs and weapons in glorious fashion.Based on GATCHAMAN (1972), BATTLE OF THE PLANETS was anime that had it all for children of all ages - even the big kids. It looks as hip and cool as it did forty years ago.Can you believe it has been forty years? Now that is staying power.

Year End Manga and Anime thoughts 2013

2013 was a year in which the Manga "fandom". For me became less of a part of my life not in giving up or burn out but simply that I don't bother to interact with others online or in real life out of a simple choice to want to be left alone or avoid the more toxic aspects of fandom (trolls, crazy super fans, and creepy perverts). I also buy less part of this is cold hard economics and it's partially I simply don't want to be "locked in" to buying a series I'm only mildly interested in or ambivalent about. Thankfully with the growth of legal online streaming I'm able to watch more Anime for free. As far as thoughts on Anime in general with a few major exceptions (Kill La Kill and Gallie Dona come to mind), Anime releases are very much part of a franchise either being adaptations of a light novel, Manga, or Visual Novel or a continuation of a previous season. Some of these aren't bad but it speaks to the lack of original content and most of them feel like generic re-treads of the same tired concepts except instead of being heavily based around Moe it's mostly Fan Service (this was especially true of The Fall season). As far as what was good in Anime it's debatable as is any kind of art sure there are shows I'm watching that are entertaining but ultimately inconsequential, or leave no impact like Infinite Straitos 2 which is simply a generic harem series with some okay mecha design and action. All the girls simply end up being one note stereotypes or archetypes, while Outbreak Company which from how it was being marketed sounded awful ended up being a pleasant surprise able to juggle real emotion and the some times pander heavy fan service that seems to be what is thought to make money these days. I also have to say that Gingitsune goes down as one of the better series I've seen this year although I watched very little during the summer and spring was depressing due to having to slog through a number of creepy fetishistic harem and light novel derivative titles. As Gingitsune, takes a very Japanese concept a young girl whois the heir to her family's shrine and can see the spirit guardian of the shrine a large grumpy fox named Gin with a fondness for Tangerines and makes it a sweet relateble series about growing up and coming to terms with life while also running a winsome thread of spirituality through it punctuated with slapstick comedy and honest morals to various episodes. Also Non Non No Biyori the spiritual successor to Barasui's Strawberry Marshmallow (in my opinion) holds a special place in my heart for capturing the feel of a real Moe series instead of the multiplicity of series that feel like they where done by committee or made specially just to sell merchandising. Also being produced by Studio Silver Link helps as they are one of my favorite Anime production companies and the only reason I even finished Oniai. As far as thing that where bad or "worst of's" most of the things that where truly bad or uninteresting I dropped the long stalled Blaz Blue Anime was indecipherable after three episodes and did nothing to counter the almost universally low opinion Anime adaptations of fighting games have in Anime fandom. It looked nice but the story seemed to be only a mishmash of references to a series of games I doubt most of the western audience has played while also having parts of it feel like fan service to the fans of the games as several characters seemed to appear just to do their "special move" than disappear. Other low lights include the Madoka Magica Spinoff Manga series which made me think that the reason we haven't seen a lot of really bad "Madoka clone" series the way we did with Neon Genesis Evangelion is because Madoka Partners is doing a fine enough job destroying their own brand with inferior spin offs that have none of the deep philosophical concepts or well written characterization of the original TV series while I have no interest in the movies even if the third movie is completely original the TV ending works just fine for me. Also I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Oreimo in my worst of as this is the best recent example of a series's ending ruining what could have been a interesting concept along with a turgid second season of the Anime that left a lot of people feeling as if they'd been tricked. The second season of Genshiken could also be added to my worst of simply because it goes nowhere and replaces the original cast with a almost completely new cast of characters who all seem the same while the Mangaka becomes progressively more obsessed with one new character to expense of everyone else. My three picks for best New Manga meanwhile are idiosyncratic and obviously not going to be what everyone considers the best but it's my list so their and it's in no particular order from best to worst or anything. #1 Monster Musume by Okayado: This title is simply put a harem series with Monster Girls I think it's one of the best new series out because it's just a harem title it's not trying to be an action series and a harem series or any kind of harem plus anything it's simply the story of a put upon guy who ends up with a bunch of cute monster girls living in his house it's a simple concept but it works and never feels as if it's trying to be more than what it is. #2. Watamote: This is the manga for anyone who hated High School or is tired of series like Kimi No Todeki that paint an unrealistic saccharine picture of High School or alternatively make it like this epic angst riddled struggle like Devil and Her Love Song. Focused around the failures and self deluded antics of Tomoko Kuroki a girl who thinks that everyone else is the problem to her becoming popular. It's alternatively one of the funniest series currently in print and one of the most depressing due to the presentation of Tomoko being so honest and unafraid to present her as an often vindictive and judgmental but ultimately extremely lonely and teenager which I'm sure more than accounts for her extreme popularity online as the ultimate "Anti-Moe" character while also hitting too close to home for some having to drop the series because of that. #3 Helter Skelter Fashion Unfriendly: I did an entire review explaining why I liked this, simply put it's not something you see released much it's a dark jaundiced view of humanity and most Manga that get released is simply escapist entertainment this is a work that goes deep into the ugliest parts of human nature for being that against the current grain of cutesy consumerism that Japan tries to palm off as "Cool Japan." I can't praise this series enough. 2014: Titles I'm looking forward to and trends I want to see die #1. Title: Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Originally serialized in Young King Ours (home to Trigun and Hellsing at one time) is a post apocalyptic Sci-Fi story based around the crew of a Submarine who battles the invading alien forces known as the Fleet of Fog the secret to their victory being that their sub is a former fleet of fog ship. Also all the Fleet of Fog ships have AI called Mental Models that take the form cute girls. When I first heard about this series I was instantly intrigued having watched the Anime now I really can't wait until June as this series seems to have an engrossing Sci-Fi plot mixed with epic military battles and a smattering of cute girl fan service in short it's got something for everyone along with an art style that looks all it's own. #2. Title: Strike Witches: Strike Witches is one of my favorite series the Anime's first season was near perfect and the second season despite some filler and an over abundance of fan service in some parts carried the story on while also feeling like a good way to end it. The manga had never really been on my radar until Seven Seas announced they had licensed the first series. Than subsequently several other titles, it's a great way for me to become reacquainted with the girls of the 401st while also getting a chance to have more stories on this great Mecha Musume series also, I'll be particularly interested in seeing the art style and character design. #3. Title: Say "I Love You": Licensed by Kodansha from their older teen Shojo/Josei magazine Dessert and due out in Spring of 2014, I came across it from watching the Anime adaptation which had wildly different opinions on it some thinking it was great others thinking it was terrible. I came away from it convinced that I had to read the Manga of it as it felt like a Manga for young women or older teens who had a brain and could actually think instead of simply regurgitating tired plot ideas and tired character archetypes. I think this could be the first Shojo title outside of Sailor Moon that I've actually liked putout by Kodansha as Missions of Love became too squicky after four volumes and Tokyo Mew Mew felt like Cash Grab: The Manga. Trends I want To See Die: #1. "Rapey" Romance and Supernatural Romance Titles: I know in a objective sense titles like this won't go away because they continue to sell as the Manga equivalent to bad bodice ripper fiction and it wouldn't bother me that much except all that seems to come out or sell briskly now as far as Shojo Manga is this type of stuff. In which a heroine has a guy pressuring her to have sex with him for whatever contrived reason. Or she's forced into some kind of "pact" or sham marriage with him for an equally contrived reason, and it ultimately feels like the audience is supposed to find the heroine either a ridiculous cipher they can feel superior to or is supposed to find the prospect of potential ravishment "Exciting" only further testifying to how sexually broken we are as a society this side of The Fall. Again it's more the amount of this kind thing instead of the fact that any of it gets put out at all that bothers me and at least with the release of titles Voice Over Academy it seems to at least be slowing down a little. #2. Moral Crusader Syndrome: This is the trend of people feeling that in the need to protect other people's children or in over reaction to their own child getting a hold of a Manga title that might be age inappropriate or something they wouldn't want them to read. They than try and ban all Manga or Graphic Novels this seems to happen every six month to a year like clock work from the woman in Florida who claimed her son was traumatized by a copy of Gantz and had to go into therapy because of it. Or the mother who wanted to ban Death Note because she felt it was wrong for middle school aged children to read. Thankfully groups like The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund exist to stem the tide of ridiculous parentaly motivated book banning and we can chuckle a little at these examples . But there's also the much more serious problem of governmental censorship in Canada (a country where you can not only be prosecuted for having Manga but also for speaking out against Homosexuality so at least their equal opportunity tyrants). Along with movements in Japan to have Lolicon declared hate speech by certain sectors of the Feminist movement or child pornography by traditionalist conservatives. Along with recent prosecutions such as the Brandon X case and the Handly case from 2009, I can only hope that in time people with "cooler heads" will realize that reading Manga won't turn you into a sexual predator and that a drawing of child is not a child. Best Reissue: Dance In The Vampire Bund Omnibus: Dance In The Vampire Bund is a series I love it's a mixture of solid action sometimes insightful character writing and a alternatively lush and epic, and hard boiled writing style. With the omnibus reissues the series get an oversized edition collecting three volumes per omnibus fixing the cramped style that detracted from the detail in the original individual volumes. Making for a much more satisfying reading when the epic battles of the latter half start, while also giving more for your money with three volumes per omnibus so it's also economical as well. I'm still a little amazed this sells and has sold as well as it does. Given the content I've even gone so far as saying this is the title I'm 90% sure would send me to prison if it fell in the wrong hands. I still can't help but sing the praises of this series for all the good in it and the omnibus only show why it's such a big seller for Seven Seas. Honorable and Dishonorable Mentions: Dishonorable Mentions: K-On! High school and College: These where the sort of sequels that continued on from the original four volume series from the beginning they where fraught with controversy, from angry Otaku worrying about their Wifu haveing her "purity" sullied in the College series to the uninteresting bland antics in the high school series and the degraded art. In the end both series ended at one collected volume each and except for completeists was promptly forgotten by almost every one it was a cynical cash grab and had none of the charm of the original which it's self is quickly heading into obscurity. Dragon Ball Z Ocean Dub DVD re release: Simply this is a repackaging of an old dub for the chance to get the money of old DBZ fans with more money than common sense. Of course Funimation is going to put it out because it's a guaranteed way to make money but it's still kind of an insult to the intelligence of fans I feel. Attack On Titan: After I read the first two Twilight novels I made a solemn vow to myself that I wouldn't get sucked into something because of the hype for this reason I've not watched the Anime adaptation of Attack on Titan and having read the first two volumes of the Manga I found it the equivalent of a series like Death Note where it conflates violence and shock value with maturity. I honestly don't have much to say except this is a series I passed on and my reasons for passing on it still stand Honorable Mentions: Silver Spoon Season One: The latest work by Fullmetal Alchemist Mangaka Hiromu Arakawa is a simple story of a city boy who transfers to a High School in Hokkaido only to find out it's a agricultural school and that he'll be forced to do hard labor on top of having to deal with the ethical implications of farming as well as animal slaughter for food. The Manga has been extremely successful in Japan (I don't know why Viz still hasn't licensed it), the Anime captures a story full of heart, courage, and an overall sunny Shonen vibe that's odd for a series serialized in the often more cerebral Shonen Sunday. Chronicles of the Going Home Club: Yes it's a "cute girls doing cute things" series but it captures a more off kilter Otaku feel to the genre as opposed to the "forced Moe" of series like Good Job Club with the girls feeling like actual characters while also making over the top beyond the impossible physical comedy some found it shrill I found it hilarious in the over the top nature of it and skewering of tropes and conventions along with the winking self awareness of it.
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PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA/ is one of those rare, beautiful times where popular culture has found a way to transcend itself; it took something unique to its medium, and managed to give its usual audience exactly what they asked for while simultaneously undercutting the very idea of it all. Originally a 12 episode TV series that aired in 2011, written by noted nihilist Gen UROBUCHI, and directed by Studio Shaft's most valuable madman, Akiyuki SHINBOU. The final result was a stunning, even shocking reminder that you can deliver a near-perfect piece of entertainment that finds a way to give audiences exactly what they want, despite also never giving them what they expect, and even reveling in how absurd their taste really might be.

The word "Deconstruction" is a dangerous one to throw around these days, with TV Tropes being able to get all up in your grill about what does and doesn't technically qualify as such, but if Watchmen was a deconstruction of costumed comic book vigilantes, if A Song of Ice and Fire was a deconstruction of impervious heroism in a fictionalized version of Medieval Europe, and if Cabin in the Woods was a deconstruction of the insatiable need for an audience to watch young people die for their own amusement, I think it's safe to call Madoka Magica a deconstruction of the Magical Girl subgenre, one which - alongside piloting giant transforming robots, being surrounded by a harem of partially-clothed beautiful women, and adolescents traveling the world without parental supervision, homework, or part time jobs to partake in fully legal dog fights with total strangers - has remained mostly, if not quite exclusively, within the domain of Japanese animation. For once, comparisons tothe 90s equally popular and upsetting Neon Genesis Evangelion and its brutal, self loathing vivisection of its own anime-infused genre are completely valid, perhaps even unavoidable... but unlike Shinji Ikari's journey of grotesque and traumatic self-discovery, Madoka Kaname's adventure never gets quite so far up its own ass that it ever stops being a show about the thing it was going out of its way to tear down in the first place.

2011: The Year of the 'Dokes

Patrick George Jones (@) is just another guy on the planet Earth living in the Milky Way. He puts the "Pat" in "Psychopath" every time he spits hot truths into the microphone on his podcast called "Oh Great! Another Podcast" ( if you're feeling dangerous). He also runs a website called , so clearly he is qualified to write reviews.This photo describes 2011 as well as ALL OF ANIME.

As questionable as this phrase may sound, 2011 shook up the anime industry.

12 Days of Anime #9

This year I had watched the Rebuild of Evangelion: 3.33 You Can (Not) Redo film, which I've been eagerly awaiting since the 2nd film ended. Well, you know what they say about expectations and how the greater the expectations, the greater the disappointment (or the enjoyment, as the hype carries us through the work without being able to treat it critically)? I think in this case how disappointed I was couldn't be understated - my editorial-review of the movie is titled "" ;;

Jumping the Shark!

Battle Of The Planets Ep1: Attack Of The Space Terrapin

"TRANSMUTE!"Where does one begin when discussing a series as revered and adored as BATTLE OF THE PLANETS (1978-1985)? How about we begin by providing over one hundred images from the first episode. For this writer it remains on a pedestal of which the art work is second to none.

And why BATTLE OF THE PLANETS anyway? It's a glorious title to be sure. It's certainly meant to elicit a connection between it and the space-faring adventure tales akin to the likes of STAR WARS (1977). But when you really think about it those similarities are essentially superficial. BATTLE OF THE PLANETS, extracted from GATCHAMAN (1972-1974), was an entirely different animal altogether. And what about all of those battling planets? It was actually Earth Vs. Spectra. Mind you, many of the battles do take place on far away distant planets. But are planets really battling? It may not be the most logical title, but by God it was perfect as a kid. There were planets. There were battles. And that was good enough for me. So Sandy Frank got it right. But GATCHAMAN was essentially taking place on Earth. Frank mixed it up with a child-like imagination for BATTLE OF THE PLANETS.