(April Fools) Japan is Enabling Single White Males and Must be Stopped

In recent days I’ve been spending some time on the internet and watching mainstream cable news, and I’ve come to realize that I’ve been living my life incorrectly.  I’ve lost my way.  My greatest error in life?  My love of anime and Japanese video games.  Japan’s otaku culture is a terrible abomination that encourages oppression, misogyny, and rape.

Japan has weaponized child pornography to include gun fetishism, another pleasure of cis white devils.

The BBC (whom is always right about everything, and made an excellent call in regard to Top Gear) has spoken about this issue in depth, in this well written, thoroughly researched article:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30698640

We all know that drawings are the same exact thing as child porn.  But the real issue here is the fact that anime is enjoyed by the most terrible, most racist, most rapey-ist race on earth, the white male.  White males, especially the nerdy ones, are 100% prone to rape and misogyny according to MSNBC and some random people on Twitter, so my facts check out.  DO NOT QUESTION MY FACTS, I WILL REPORT YOU FOR HARASSMENT.

Japan is encouraging men to like breasts, furthering the enlistment of more cis white men into the patriarchy.

Anime is full of sexually attractive women of all ages, and even the men are not only good looking, but fat people are few and far between.  This discourages fat acceptance, racial inclusivity, and breeds sexism and misogyny.  Trust me, I’ve read a tumblr blog or two, I practically have a degree in identifying sexism.  Japan hides behind their so-called “Asian” heritage, but it is clear that they can only be white if they are this evil.  It’s time to call them out for their bigotry before they create any more tools for the patriarchy.

That’s why I’m calling for a global ban on all Japanese entertainment.  Yes, even their live action stuff.  Everything I’ve enjoyed from there now triggers me and the three foxkin headmates I have.  Clearly that is more than enough reason to bash and uproot a foreign culture.  Better yet, let’s show them social justice is serious about equality for everyone by nuking them again.  Once they are gone I won’t be triggered by their sexist garbage and I can finally go back to blogging about what gender I think I should be.

Just terrible humans

Please don’t forget to donate to my patreon, that will somehow make the world more equal and stuff.  Don’t do it for me, do it to stop the patriarchy.  DEATH TO CAPITALISM!!!!!!

Supah Anime Fun Taimu! Spring 2014

After a bitter-cold winder with a fairly middling season of anime, spring came to the rescue with lots of awesome shows to watch.  This season was exceptional, delivering a wide variety of great shows.  There is something for everyone this time around, no matter how picky one’s tastes are.

I took on a lot of shows this season, ranging from very awesome to forms of torture I’m certain have broken international law.  However, even with such a big pile of anime chances are I missed out on something worthwhile.  If you have a favorite of the season or a hidden gem I may have missed, leave them in the comments!

Akuma no Riddle
(The Devil’s Riddle)
Protip: Do not date girls with shark teeth.

Akuma no Riddle was one of my “guilty pleasures” of this season.  As a yuri fan, obviously it would be hard for me to resist an anime about lesbian assassins.   Was it worth it?  Let’s find out.

This anime takes place in near future, in a world where powerful politicians and corporations are kept in check through dirty deeds.  This world has a need for a fresh supply of professional assassins, and the “Black Class” of Myojou Academy is one of the places they are trained.  The entire Black Class consists of aspiring female assassins, and the objective of the class is to successfully kill their target:  fellow classmate Haru Ichinose.  Success will allow the “winner” to have any wish they want granted.  Failure means being kicked out of the class… or worse.  When one of the members of the Black Class, Tokaku Azuma, decides she would rather protect Haru instead of targeting her, our story begins.

In the end, Akuma no Riddle isn’t the greatest show of the season, but it is far from terrible.  The show has some very cool fights and strange, but fun characters, each with their own background.  The ending will likely leave viewers scratching their heads, as the last couple episodes become very convoluted.  This show is hard to recommend overall, but the cast of odd characters and intense fight scenes are sure to draw a few fans here and there.

Black Bullet
Yandere lolis are deadly, yet somehow still adorable.

Black Bullet is a show that seems to gather a lot of criticism, but for some reason it turned out to be one of my favorite shows of the season.  Black Bullet takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting where mankind has nearly been wiped out by a mutagenic virus called Gastrea, which turns humans into deadly beasts.  The last survivors of mankind gather in cities protected by Varanium Monoliths, giant metallic pillars made of an alloy that repels the Gastrea.   Within the Cities, Civil Security Agents protect the citizens from Gastrea that slip past the monoliths.  Agents are usually paired with “cursed children”, young girls that are infected with the Gastrea virus, yet maintain human form and possess superhuman abilities.  The story is centered around and agent named Rentarou, and his partner, Enju.

What this all adds up to is a sci-fi/action show about badass fighters paired up with badass lolis.  Cheesy as this may sound, it ends up being very fun to watch.  Think something like “Gunslinger Girl” meets “A Certain Scientific Railgun.”  Black Bullet takes lots of typical anime tropes and mish-mashes them together, but it does so with excellent execution.  This show is packed with awesome action, cool characters, great villains, and some really interesting lore.  A lot of the negative criticism around this show seems to stem from the fact that even the cutest of characters can, and do, die.  If this bothers you, (and apparently it bothers a lot of people or at least a very vocal minority) you many want to pass on Black Bullet.  Not everyone will like this show as much as I did, but it is still worth checking out.

Blade and Soul
And this is why no one cares about studio Gonzo anymore.

Gonzo animation was once one of the biggest names in anime.  They brought about many modern favorites, and they were one of the few studios to flirt with western anime fans, most notably with “Afro Samurai.”  Unfortunately, ever since they dropped the Strike Witches franchise and let another studio have it, they have not been a relevant name in anime for years.  Will Blade and Soul be their triumphant return to the spotlight?  Spoiler alert:  Hell no.

Blade and Soul is an adaptation of a Korean MMORPG, and while game adaptations are seldom promising, it starts off with some decent potential.  The first few episodes gave me the impression this was going to be an action-packed oriental fantasy, with a feeling similar to the Ninja Scroll TV series.  Shortly thereafter I was treated to a disaster of terrible animation, a main character that spends almost half the season in miserable self-pity, and Saturday morning cartoon-tier villains.  The strong start this anime brings is both misleading and insulting, and the rapid downward spiral this show enters is a shameful display from a once prestigious anime studio.   It all that wasn’t bad enough, after the main story ends they still bothered to pump out of a final, out of place, poorly executed ecchi/comedy episode with animation quality so bad you will want to stab your eyes out.  I honestly don’t have an excuse for sticking with this show.  I should have dropped it as soon as it began falling apart.  Don’t repeat my mistake.  Avoid this show at all costs.

Break Blade (TV version)
Quartz robots are surprisingly awesome.

Break Blade is the TV version of a series of movies of the same name from 2010, broken up into individual episodes with some bits of new footage.  This story takes place on the continent of Cruzon, a place where most people are born with the ability to manipulate quartz crystals by will, or what they call “sorcery.”  Because of this, technology in this world is surrounded by machinery made of quartz.  The main character of this story is a young man named Rygart, an “unsorcerer”, someone born without the ability to manipulate crystals like most people.

Break Blade is a mecha anime about old friends drawn into warfare, fighting in crystal mecha called “golems.”  If you haven’t seen the original set of movies from 2010, this show features awesome action, nice designs, interesting characters, and amazing animation.  This show is sort of hard to find online, but is more than worth checking out if you are new to the franchise.  If you have already seen the movies, the new footage doesn’t quite justify another visit, and the “rushed” ending is still there as well.

Captain Earth
Don’t get too used to the Earth Engine, you won’t see much of it.

Captain Earth is a much hyped show that has left me and many other viewers with mixed feelings.  This show won’t finish up until the end of the summer season, so we will have to wait until then to form a final opinion of it.  The show came onto the scene boasting to be one of the few remaining mecha anime to feature fully hand-drawn mecha.  Most of the industry has moved onto CG, so this is an interesting concept for modern anime.

Captain Earth still holds lots of promise.  It has a fairly interesting story and some very cool designs.  The problem is this show has some bland characters that are derivative of much more interesting characters in other anime, and much of the promised mecha action just isn’t there most of the time.  The very cool, yet very overused “Earth Engine Expand” sequence has had more screen time than the Earth Engine actually fighting, and considering this show is halfway finished, that isn’t really a great sign.  This show is still just interesting enough to keep me watching through the summer up to the end, so hopefully I have better news by then.

Date a Live: Season 2
That was QUALITY, my dear.

This is probably the saddest show I have to speak of in this article, especially considering how good the first season was.  The first season of Date a Live was great.  I held it in such high regard it ended up in last year’s anime of the year feature.  Date a Live 2 is nothing more than a spit in the face to fans of the original show.

Red flags were already up because of a change in studio, only 10 proposed episodes, and episode one officially being stated as a filler episode.  From this point on, it only goes downhill.  The first major issue viewers will notice is the dramatic drop in production quality.  I’m not going to candy coat it, this anime is downright UGLY.  Tsunako’s amazing designs are butchered by inconsistent, off-model art, and that is norm for this show.  Couple this with the fact that most of the story is focused on some of the weaker story arcs from the light novels (I’m not going to lie, I really, really HATE Miku and her story arc is half the season), and you have a recipe for disaster.  Even if you loved the first season of this, or if you are a fan of the light novels, I strongly advise you avoid this, you will only find sadness here.   As a bright spot in all this, the upcoming movie should be pretty good so long as it isn’t a dreaded TV recap.

Escha & Logy no Atelier: Tasogare no Sora no Renkinjutsushi
(Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky)
Spoiler Alert: Logy never hooks up with her.  Stop asking.

For those not in the know, this is an adaptation of one of many games in the long running Atelier games, a JRPG series known for its item crafting and cute characters.  The fact that this game was adapted into an anime is a bit of a mystery in itself, especially considering that it is over a year old in Japan and doesn’t really need much in the way of promotion from TV anime.  Nonetheless, here we are.

Like most video game adaptations, Escha & Logy is very low budget, and it won’t take long for viewers to figure that out.  However, if you are willing to overlook that, you will be treated to the magic that keeps this game series going:  cute, fun characters doing cute, fun alchemy.  This show (and the games for the most part) is basically a slice of life with some fantasy and adventure elements.  Obviously this won’t appeal to every fan, but for those it will appeal to, you will have lots of fun watching this.  I’ve only played a few games in this series, and I have not played this one, so I can’t really say how faithful this is to the source material.  I can, however, say I still enjoyed watching this despite the low production values.

Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?
(Is this Order a Rabbit?)
This is my secret to working nights.

Gochuumon is the kind of anime that drives most casual, western anime fans into a frenzy of anger.  It’s cute, silly, and a slice of life show.  For the rest of us, this is the kind of anime some fans call “comfy as fuck.”  Gochuumon is a slice of life/comedy about a group of cute girls working at a coffee shop, and their assorted misadventures in daily life.

This anime has everything that makes for a great slice of life: cute characters, detailed background settings, character-specific humor, and a relaxing pace that warms the heart.  Things are spiced up with some fun referential humor (strangely enough, tons of Metal Gear jokes) and tidbits of fanservice.  This was a simple, yet delightful anime, and a great way to come down after a hard day at work.  A must watch for slice of life fans or anyone that can’t resist a heavy dose of moe.

Happiness Charge Precure
Phantom doesn’t have time for bullshit like friendship.

Yup, I’m still watching this.

While this isn’t my first romp with a precure anime, I won’t deny that this sort of thing is an acquired taste.  You won’t find amazing writing and production values here, but there is still plenty of fun and action in these shows.  This season things heat up with the appearance of Phantom, the Precure hunter.  Phantom is the first “serious” villain of the show to appear, and the fights that come with each episode he appears in are lots of fun.  By now we are just shy of the halfway mark for this show.

Hitsugi no Chaika
(Chaika the Coffin Princess)
Won’t you help her have her father’s funeral?

Before we even get started, I’m going to say if you watch currently airing anime and you still haven’t watched Chaika, you need to stop reading this shit and go watch Chaika.   Chaika was one of the best shows of the season, and it already has a second season on the way this fall.

Chaika is the story of a pair of “Saboteurs”, Toru and his sister Akari, who are hired by a seemingly innocent young girl to gather the remains of the magic emperor Gaz, the villain behind a recent war that ravaged the continent.  Chaika is a very unique fantasy anime, with its own lore and worldbuilding, the sort of thing one would expect from a great JRPG.  This anime has a fascinating story, great characters, interesting lore, and everything else that reminds us as to why we started watching anime in the first place.  If you haven’t seen this yet, check it out.  If you already have, see you this fall for season 2!

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
Don’t fuck with Dio.

Okay “manime” fans.  This is it, this is what you have been waiting for.  And yes, don’t get me wrong, I love my cute girls, but I also love a good dose of badass mother fuckers in my anime.  Stardust Crusaders is the next installment in the amazing anime adaptation of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, a crowd-pleaser of both fans of the original manga and anime fans looking for something a little… tougher than the average anime.

If you aren’t familiar with the manga or you haven’t watched the first two parts in the 2012 adaptation, you need to do that right now to get a grasp on what is going on.  Don’t worry, it will be awesome.  JoJo is absurd, strange, and violent.  It is battle shonen anime at its finest, a must see if that is your thing.  Rumor has it this is expected to go on for up to four cours.  I am perfectly okay with that, because this is one of the most fun shows to watch of this season, and I can’t get enough.  If you haven’t been watching JoJo and you like a good, fun, bloody battle shonen, you need to get on this.

Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara
(What if her flag were toppled?)
Fact: Real life is garbage because harems don’t happen in high school.

This show is about a student named Souta that has the ability to see “flags.”  Flags above the heads of people can indicate if they will become friends, lovers, or even if they will die.  (“Flags” is a term used by Japanese gamers to describe the mark of certain events set by choices made in visual novel games and rpgs.)  Souta can also “break” these flags, allowing him to change the fate of others.  While Souta typically uses this ability to keep to himself as a loner, he eventually ends up living in a dorm known as “Quest Hall”, which soon becomes filled with cute girls.

While this appears to be just another harem with some references to visual novel games, there is actually a very interesting sci-fi story that begins to unfold as the show progresses.  Yes, this is very much a harem anime, and if you have an issue with that you should move on.  For those that are still interested, however, you will be pleasantly surprised.  I came into this with minimal expectations, but this turned out to be one of my favorites this season.

Kenzen Robo Daimidaler
(Daimidaler the Sound Robot)
All men should have the super-power of breast grabbing.

Do you like giant robots?  Do you like to laugh?  Do you like boobs?  If you answered yes to all three questions, you should be watching this.  Daimidaler is a robot powered by “Hi-ERO” particles, an energy source that comes from perversion and the pilot powers up the robot’s special attacks by fondling his female co-pilot.  I’m not making this up, I’m not that creative.  They fight the “Penguin Empire”, a ridiculous army of faceless men with phallic “front tails.”  Yup, I’m still being serious here.

Daimidaler is an ecchi anime loaded with the lowest of low brow humor, and if you can enjoy that sort of stuff this show will have you laughing your ass off.  Also, strangely enough this show somehow has more mecha action than Captain Earth, so I’m not really sure what that says about Captain Earth.  This show is loads of fun, so if ecchi is your thing check this out.

Knights of Sidonia
Seriously man, she’s disgusting.

Even though this show is based on a fairly popular manga, early in its run it came under a lot of criticism for being a full CG anime, and tv-anime budget CG tends to be a bit off-putting to some.  Nonetheless, Sidonia’s excellent art and designs, thrilling action, and fascinating sci-fi storyline eventually silenced critics and put this anime up as one of the biggest shows of the season.  Sidonia takes place on a massive starship that goes by the same name, one of the last holdouts for the human race, which has been on the run from an alien race known as that Gauna.

At first glance, the CG animation seems to have a bit of a slow frame rate and somewhat “artificial” looking movement in its characters.  However, just as I learned when passing up on other CG shows like Ars Nova, this sort of animation will grow on you, and the story alone makes it all worth it.  The benefits of using this animation are displayed during the shows many, blazing-fast mecha fights.  Once you give this show a chance, you’ll be hooked, and the only bad thing most people have to say about this anime is that it ends.  Even then, a second season has already been officially announced due to the swelling popularity of the show.

Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei
(The Irregular at Magic High School)
Seriously man, she’s disgusting.

Mahouka is one of the most popular, and most infamous, shows of the season.  This takes place in a post-World War 3 future, in an alternate world where magic and science are one and the same.  The main protagonist is Tatsuya Shiba, a talented and reserved young man with hidden ties to military, now undercover as a lower-ranking student at a National Magic School.  This show receives equal heaps of adoration and pure hate for its overly-perfect main character, obsessive-compulsive exposition, and some odd bits of right-wing politics here and there.

Mahouka is an unusual and interesting show, at least at first.  Word-building seems to be much of the focus for this show, and it is packed with heavy handed explanations of how this world works and the “science” behind the magic used in the show.  Unfortunately, this is done so exhaustively it feels like some episodes are lessons in fictional physics with some cute girls tossed about here and there.  Along with this, the main character is the type that can do anything and everything perfectly, to a point of absurdity.  This is no exaggeration, just when you think Tetsuya is already a bit too perfect at all things magic and fighting bad guys, there is a scene where a girl is seriously injured and it is later explained she was saved  when Tetsuya jumped in and told the paramedics how to do their jobs.  Tetsuya is so perfect he’s better than everyone at everything, even though a major plot point is Tetsuya is “holding back” so people don’t discover his true abilities.  And his sister is really, really, hot.  And she wants to fuck.

The real knock against this show, however, is that despite everything going on, Mahouka still manages to be very bland.  The combination of very average character designs, long-winded “magical science” lessons, and a literal guarantee that Tetsuya is going to make everything better, all the time, can make this show a chore to watch.  I’m still curious to see how this turns out during the second half this summer, but as of now I’d say you can ignore the hype and pass on this.

No Game No Life
In the end, NEETs are the last saviors of humanity.

NGNL was one of the bigger shows of the season, based on a popular light novel series.  The story is about a pair of NEET siblings, Sora and Shiro, an unbeatable team at online games going by the name “Blank.”  One day a mysterious god draws them into a magical realm where all conflict is replaced by games and wagers.  Sora and Shiro then decide to put their gaming skills to the test and set out to conquer this realm, one step at a time.

This show is beautifully (and very colorfully) animated, and features a fun cast of characters in an interesting setting.  This anime has a bit of everything that makes anime fun to watch, and it was thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end.  Also, unlike Mahouka, this show takes the idea of strong main characters and executes it properly.  Each game is full of thrills and suspense, leaving viewers wondering if Shiro and Sora can pull through even though they seem to “know what they are doing.”  This was my number one favorite of the season, and definitely worth checking out.

Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin
(Nanana’s Buried Treasure)
And they are all total dicks to each other.

Nanana is based on an award winning light novel series, and the animated adaptation came out with much fanfare this season.  Nanana is about a group of genius students led by a girl named Nanana that started a project to challenge modern students, building an artificial island where students can hunt for treasures with mysterious powers.  Years later, the island took on a sizeable student population and a small handful of ambitious students search for treasures from the “Nanana Collection.”

Nanana has a fairly unique and intriguing storyline and a cast of odd, yet amusing characters.  For the first half I fell in love with this show, but towards the end some elements of it began to bother me.  A lot of the interactions between the characters change quickly and then revert back to normal with little explanation, but the worst thing about Nanana is how it finishes.  This show is full of mystery and intrigue, and it will leave viewers asking many questions.  By the time it is all said and done, nothing is answered, and nothing is resolved.  While many adaptations of ongoing works leave loose threads, they almost always conclude a major conflict or finish out an important story arc.  Nanana just… ends.  While I’d like to say Nanana is at least worth a look, I personally fell out of love with the show as fast I fell into it.  Unless you are planning on hunting down and translating the LN series, you should pass on this, because the anime will just leave you high and dry.

Seikoku no Dragonar
(Dragonar Academy)
You’ll know it’s anime when she starts groping the blonde’s tits.

Not content with allowing “Game of Thrones” to be the only fantasy show with dragons and lewd acts, Japan brings us the lovely ecchi/fantasy, Sekoku no Dragonar.  Dragonar is the story of Ash Blake, a student at an academy for dragon riders.  Unlike the rest of his classmates, however, Ash has yet to be paired with his “Pal”, the dragon that riders will be bound to through a lifelong spiritual link.  Despite this, he also has the gift of being able to tame and ride almost any dragon.  His luck continues when his Pal finally appears, and she takes the form of an adorable tsundere girl with rounded horns.

Like any good ecchi anime, Dragonar is packed with all of the nudity and sexy situations one could want.  If that wasn’t enough to keep you watching, Dragonar also has a pretty good fantasy storyline to tie all the lewdness together, making for a very entertaining total package.  If you were to somehow pull out all the ecchi bits you would actually be left with one of the better fantasy anime in recent times, though this still wouldn’t hold a candle to Chaika.  As far as ecchi shows go, I liked this more than Daimidaler, even though the comedy in Daimidaler was fantastic.  The only bummer about the TV version is that even the “uncut” broadcast is sans nipples in many scenes, because nipples are for BD buyers.  (Yes, that was important enough to mention)  Other than that, this is worth watching for anyone that has a thing for fantasy and ecchi.

Selector Infected WIXOSS
It’s just a card game, it’s not like anyone can get hurt… right?

Early in the season I passed on Wixoss, since the anime is intended to promote the real life card game of the same name.  I just assumed this was another Yu Gi Oh-type show.  Wow, I was really, really wrong.  I couldn’t help but notice mid-season that this show was getting lots of acclaim from fans, so when it wrapped up with a second season announced for fall, I decided to check it out.  I was treated to the biggest surprise of the season, and of the best shows of the spring.

Wixoss starts off seeming very innocent.  A girl named Ruuko is given a Wixoss card set from her brother, in hopes that playing the popular game will get her to meet new friends.  Ruuko notices one of her cards can speak to her, and discovers she is a “Selector,” a girl who can play Wixoss against other Selectors.  Continued victories against other selectors gives the victor the possibility of having her wish granted when she becomes an “eternal girl.”  However, a loss of three games against other selectors will result in the loser losing her selector abilities.  Sounds simple enough, right?

Unfortunately for Ruuko and the other selectors she meets, there is much more than meets the eye to this seemingly cute card game and its promise of magical wishes.  Nothing is quite what it seems to be, and the game comes with hidden, dangerous consequences.  That is where this show takes a surprisingly dark turn, and that is what makes Wixoss so good.  Many views say this show has a similar vibe to “Madoka Magica”, and in some ways they aren’t far off the mark.   In the end Wixoss doesn’t really seem like a glorified ad for the game at all, but instead tells a story about a twisted game that lures in and manipulates innocent people; and that in itself is a remarkable accomplishment.    Don’t let the card game theme turn you off; if you do you will be missing out on a very unique and awesome show.  Another one of my picks for the best shows of the season, Wixoss is totally worth a watch.

Soul Eater NOT!
I watch Soul Eater for the plot.

Soul Eater NOT, as the name seems to imply, is not quite the same thing as Soul Eater.  Not is essentially a slice of life story that takes place at the DWMA, and serves as a side story to Soul Eater.  While this has battle shonen oriented fans of Soul Eater raging with anger, this is actually a very worthwhile show.  If you are the kind of anime fan that can enjoy a wide variety of shows, you are in for a treat.  Not is about a girl named Tsugumi that goes to DWMA upon discovering she is a weapon, and the story of both her misadventures AND actual adventures at DWMA.

Not starts off like most slice of life shows, with the exception of its setting and the occasional appearance of characters from the main Soul Eater story.  However, don’t let the easygoing pace of the show fool you, this still takes place in the Soul Eater universe, so the “peace” won’t last for too long.  Soul Eater NOT is fairly average as far as slice of life shows go, but it is spiced up a lot thanks to its setting.  If you happen to be a fan of Soul Eater that also enjoys slice of life, you will likely enjoy this show.

The Spoony Bard Podcast: Episode 73: I Not. Really. Am. Think?

You know, anime

So Stark and I sit down and decide to go over what we have been doing in our lives over the last bit of time, because it has been long enough that that might as well be retro.  Also I force him to talk about anime because I have ingested an unholy amount of that substance recently as well, and I honestly think that is something that we can all have a good old time talking about.  We oddly talk about our growing love of Nintendo and our growing hatred of Cracked.com.  Stark also mentions that he backed a kickstarter (the website can be found here), which just goes to show that if you make something perverted enough you can get anyone behind it.

[powerpress]

Supah Anime Fun Taimu: Winter Season

There are plenty of places on the internet that discuss currently airing anime, especially now that it is much easier to watch than it was years ago thanks to legal streams and avid fansub communities.  Unfortunately, too many writers and websites have a closed-minded approach towards anime, and tend to skew the discussion towards bashing the medium for not catering to western tastes and griping about offensive content.  Almost two years ago, I had hoped to create an alternative to such prudish anime discussion when I started writing the “Weekly Anime Round-up.”

Unfortunately I discovered discussing shows on a weekly basis wasn’t a great idea, especially if you didn’t want to spoil the show for people still catching up.  I kept writing the article for nearly two years until I finally realized readers don’t really want to have to “keep up” with an article talking about something they just watched.  The format itself had also begun to stray from my original idea of introducing a greater variety of anime to newer fans.  So now I’m going to try something with a similar idea, but on a seasonal basis.  For this article I’ll be talking about all the shows I kept up with for the season, explain a little of what they are about, what kind of fans may (or may not) enjoy them, and a bit of my opinion on the show.

I don’t really consider myself a critic by any means, so try not to take my opinions too seriously, your mileage may vary.  If you don’t find a show from the season in the article, and you thought it was great, don’t get upset, post them in the comments!  I’ve come across some great recommendations from readers in the past for shows I glanced over, so suggestions are always welcome.   And as always, never forget, fun things are fun.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren
(Love, Chuunibyou, & Other Delusions!  Heart Throb)
Dark Flame Mastah returns!

This is the second season of Kyoto Animation’s hit romantic comedy, and my anime of the year in 2012.  Things pick up just about where they left off last season, and the story deals with the complications Yuuta faces by dating a girl with “8th grade syndrome”.  The entire gang returns, along with a couple new faces, and the antics of delusional teens are all there.

I honestly didn’t feel this show needed a second season, so I went in with mixed feelings.  In the end however, this show delivered everything that made the first season so much fun to watch with just a touch of new drama.  If you enjoyed the first season, you will very likely enjoy the second, even though some fans tend to have mixed feelings about this one.

Happiness Charge Precure
Anime fact:  No one can stop the power of friendship.

This is my first venture into a Precure anime.  For those not in the know, Precure is a magical girl anime franchise that is both famous and infamous for having “dual” audiences.  Precure is aimed at young girls, but over the years it has gathered a cult following amongst anime otaku.  This year is the 10th anniversary of the franchise, so I decided to jump in and check one of these shows out to see what all the buzz was about.  Precure seasons share some overall themes, but they are not directly connected, so viewers can pretty much jump into any particular show.  It should also be noted you won’t find this on the numerous anime streaming sites; this one is only available in English due to the efforts of the fansub community.

If you have seen shows like Sailor Moon or Cardcaptor Sakura, you should have a bit of an idea of what you are getting into here.  This is a magical girl show where girls in pretty dresses fight the “monster of the week” while keeping up with life at home and at school.  In other words, this is a typical magical girl show, which is also designed to sell toys.  That being said, this show is not only surprisingly watchable, it is really fun.  The characters are cute, quirky, and rather silly at times, including the villains.  Watching Precure you will certainly know you are watching a show aimed at little girl, and yet at the same time it maintains that familiar feeling you get from shonen anime and sentai (think Power Rangers) shows.

I’m not going to recommend something like this for everyone; in fact you have to be a pretty hardcore anime fan to even think about trying Precure.  I will say that I’ve stumbled upon the reasons why this show has picked up a cult following amongst older audiences, and that I am certainly enjoying it.  Precure shows typically run through most of the year, so stay tuned for further updates as I explore the realm of magical girls!

Kill la Kill
Don’t lose your way!

Kill la Kill is the first TV anime done by studio Trigger, a studio formed by staff that left Gainax behind.  Kill la Kill was touted by western anime fans as the show that would “save anime.”  Now that Kill la Kill is said and done with I can say it did indeed save anime… from the kind of self-entitled anime fans that insisted anime needs saving in the first place.

Kill la Kill is rife with action, fanservice, and cartoonish goofiness, and runs at a breakneck pace completely to the end.  This show is extreme in just about everything it does, and it is completely unapologetic for being like that.  This show has gained a huge following around the world, and is widely distributed through legal streams.  Chances are if you enjoyed Gurren Lagann, you will very likely enjoy this show.  Kill la Kill is an over-the-top, wild ride to the bitter end, and lots of fun.   Some people are offended by the show’s heavy doses of skimpy outfits, but as long as you aren’t some kind of puritan maniac or “social justice” idiot, you should certainly check this show out.

Log Horizon
LIVING IN THE DATABASE WOW WOW

When I first heard about Log Horizon, I thought it was going to be a shallow rip-off trying to ride on the popularity of the beloved but terrible Sword Art Online.  That is because Log Horizon is also about people becoming trapped in an MMORPG.  However, that is where the similarities end.

In Log Horizon, an event known as the “Apocalypse” has trapped players of the MMORPG Elder Tale within the world of the game.   The players don’t know how or why they became trapped in the game, and there doesn’t seem to be any escape.  You may think that Log Horizon is focused on players making a mad dash to escape with their lives like SAO, and that would be where you are dead wrong.

Log Horizon is about a group of players that decide to live within the world of Elder Tale and use the rules of the world to make a new reality for themselves.  The show is centered on a solo player and genius tactician, Shiroe, that unites players within one of the main cities in the game world.  The interesting thing about Log Horizon is that it is a story that dabbles with fantasy, world building, action, politics, and character development, and does it all very well.  The show never quite follows any particular formula for very long, keeping things fresh and interesting no matter what is going on.

While Log Horizon wasn’t a huge hit like Kill la Kill, it still managed to build a respectable fan-base around the world and earned enough interest to get green-lit for a second season this fall.  This was an honorable mention for my 2013 anime of the year, and this is one of my favorite shows to come around in recent years.

Nagi no Asukara
(A Lull in the Sea)
Still makes more sense than Eva 3.0.

While many western anime fans, and even a few disgruntled members of the anime industry itself often prattle on about how anime should be nothing but an endless series of action shows; Nagi no Asukara is the kind of show that proves why that argument is ridiculous.  Nagi no Asukara is a fantasy/drama that takes place in a world that is slowly dying, forsaken by a sea god the people have forgotten over time.  In this world there are two kinds of people, the people of the land, and the people of sea, humans who possess “Ena”, a special skin that allows them to live and breathe underwater.  The story begins with a group of students from the sea that must attend school on the surface, and the troubles they face because of their differences.

The art used to illustrate the world of this show is unique, colorful, and beautiful, heavily laden with little details that you don’t see in most anime.  Aside from the occasional “hiccups” from production, this is a very nice looking show, with wonderful, warm towns and cities on the surface and below the sea.  But Nagi no Asukara isn’t about the scenery, it is about the relationships between the characters and the hardships they endure because of them.  This show is a seemingly endless emotional roller coaster right up to the very end, which wraps things up wonderfully.

This was an amazing show, and while it won’t be for everyone, it is one of the most noteworthy shows of its kind in recent years.  Nagi no Asukara is a very unique, emotionally-charged show that you can only find within the medium of anime.  If you have a thing for romance or drama anime, this is a must see, and if it piques your curiosity you should give this show a chance.

Pupa
Censorship:  The anime.

Pupa is an adaptation of a gory horror manga, cut up (no pun intended) into 4 minute long episodes.  Horror is a genre many feel anime doesn’t do very well, and if you are one of those people, Pupa will only make you more certain on that stance.  Pupa is a series of bad mistakes crammed into tiny episodes of black censorship bars.

The first mistake they made with Pupa is putting it on television.  Japan doesn’t take well to graphic violence on TV, and that is most of what Pupa is.  Pupa is full of blood and guts, leaving viewers with scenes so heavily censored you only can see the corners of the screen.  I’m not even exaggerating.  The short episodes and almost random storytelling makes things even worse, and by the time it is all said and done with you very likely will be thinking “why even bother making this show?”  The only good thing about Pupa is it won’t take up much of your time.  Even if you really need to see a horror anime, skip this one, or at least hunt down the BD version so you can actually see something.

Robot Girls Z
This gif sold me on the show.

Robot Girls Z is a comedy/tribute to the Mazinger Z franchise that was huge during the “super robot” era of anime.  As anime can make just about anything become represented by cute girls; the cast of Robot Girls Z consists of cute girls dressed in intentionally corny costumes that reference to the robots and villains in Toei Animations “super robot” shows.  What is great about this show is even if you aren’t familiar with the source material in this show, it is fun and silly enough to enjoy all by itself.

This show aired in three episodes, each consisting of three “mini-episodes”, and is some of the most fun you can have watching anime.  Some fans of the Mazinger franchise were upset that they got this instead of a new Mazinger show, but if you are a fan of all things Mazinger you should swallow your pride and watch this, you won’t regret it.

Saki: Zenkoku-hen
(Saki: The Nationals)
I-it’s just a game… right?

This is the third Saki anime, the latest in an anime franchise that almost seems too bizarre to exist, and yet is one of the most fun shows out there.  Saki takes place in an alternate world where the game of Riichi Mahjong (a game of skill and chance played with tiles, think of something like a complex version of Poker with tiles instead of cards) has massive national popularity and is treated like a professional sport.  Mahjong tournaments are held on a national basis, gathering people of all ages.    Every now and then anime and manga will do a strange, ridiculous story about the game of Mahjong.  Saki is one of them, and oh boy, is it strange and ridiculous.

On the surface, Saki appears to be a simple show about cute girls playing mahjong.  And while many fans of the franchise are lured in by the cute girls and bits of fanservice, it is the absurd mahjong insanity that keeps them watching.   Saki isn’t just about Mahjong; Saki is the Dragon Ball Z of Mahjong.  Most of the characters have superhuman and/or supernatural abilities, ranging from being able to accurately calculate probabilities and seeing a few turns into the future, to using spiritual forces that give them affinity for certain phases of the game.  On top of that the gameplay is frantic, over-the-top, and sometimes it is even, dare I say it, action-packed.  As the characters play their expressions of the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat resemble that of hardened warriors locked in brutal warfare instead of cute girls playing a game.

The gameplay is presented in such a crazy manner there are times you could swear you are watching an intense battle anime, and that is the true magic of the Saki franchise.  I’ll be honest, I’ve watched three seasons of this, and I still only have a vague grasp of how this game is played.  That being said, I can’t get enough of this show.  If you are familiar with the game this show can only possibly be that much more enjoyable, and I’ve seen quite a few forums where fans of the show picked up the game out of curiosity and found themselves a new hobby.  Saki is an oddity that only anime and manga can make happen, something you have to actually see to believe.

Sakura Trick
What you see is what you get.

Sakura trick isn’t the first anime to do “slice of life and comedy with yuri overtones.”  What makes Sakura Trick different is they decided to throw out “overtones” and crank up the yuri levels to 11.  The first few seconds of the show’s opening sequence has enough lesbian killing to melt the face off of an evangelical conservative republican like the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders.  This show is entirely built upon the concept of pandering to the girl love crowd, which means if that isn’t your thing, there is absolutely nothing here for you.

Sakura Trick is a slice of life/romcom, and its claim to fame is the intense kissing scenes.  At least once or twice an episode there is a rather hot and heavy make out scene between the two main characters, Haruka and Yuu.  This show also adds in some bits of light fanservice for good measure.  Aside from the borderline-lewd kissing sessions, this show has a cute, cheery, sometimes silly atmosphere and is very relaxing to watch.  I shouldn’t have to say this, but this one is for yuri fans only.  I’m not gonna lie, I love me some lesbians.

Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku no Zvezda
(World Conquest:  The Zvezda Plot)
Consider your heart conquered.

Zvezda is about a little girl named Kate Hoshimiya, whom also happens to be the leader of Zvezda, an organization devoted to world conquest.  Some fans have nicknamed this the anime version of “Pinky and the Brain” as it is a goofy comedy about absurd attempts at trying to conquer the world.  Zvezda is full of wacky, yet appealing characters and that charming cuteness that only anime can deliver.

While this show has a few “serious” moments here and there (more so towards the end), this is a comedy, through and through.  At least once per episode there is something so ridiculous that you won’t be able to help yourself from laughing.  This was by far one of my favorite shows of the season, and the only thing I didn’t like is the fact that it came to an end.  A second season is teased at the end, but so-so BD sales in a season with heavy competition for otaku dollars may leave that to be an unfulfilled dream.  Despite this, Zvezda is a strange, cute, and hilarious show that I think almost anyone should at least give a chance.

Space Dandy
 It’s kinda like Cowboy Bebop, except not at all.

Space Dandy is one of the most experimental shows to come around in a long time.  To begin with, Space Dandy airs on Cartoon Network, dubbed in English, in the same week it airs in Japan.  It isn’t very often that anime studios reach out to western fans, or even acknowledge them, so this is quite the event.   The only problem with this is we have yet another show people use as a spearhead in the insane and beyond annoying “manime” vs. “moe” argument that has grown just short of turning into a holy war.  Seriously people, calm the fuck down, these are cartoons.  Have fun and stop worrying what other people like and don’t like, this is what makes anime fans look like assholes.

Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.  Moving along…

Space Dandy is an episodic sci-fi comedy about the misadventures of an alien hunter named Dandy, his robot QT, and an alien named Meow that tags along for the ride.  Dandy hunts rare alien species for money to visit his favorite restaurant chain, Boobies (think of Hooters, in space.)  In his endless quest for more fast food and T&A, Dandy is pursued by the Golgol Empire, for an unknown reason.  That is the only consistency you will see in this show, as each episode has almost an entirely different feel to it.  This is because different directors switch in to work their magic, creating strange new adventures for Dandy and his crew each week.  While this gives the show a very “hit and miss” kind of feel, Space Dandy is still a very entertaining show.

Space Dandy is very unique and lots of fun, it is one of the few shows I would even suggest someone not interested in anime gives a look.  Space Dandy is taking a break during the spring, but will return this summer with the final half of the show.  Ignore the noise about what is and isn’t “killing” anime (Protip:  This argument about anime “dying” is now several decades old) and have yourself some fun, baby.

Super Sonico:  The Animation
And this is what we all came to see.

Super Sonico is a mascot character for a music festival held by Nitro+, a company that makes visual novel games, including the very popular Steins;Gate.  This busty character is usually only found in the form of sexy figures, artbooks, and other assorted merchandise, but someone decided she deserves the anime treatment.  What kind of anime could we possibly get based on a character that is just a heavily merchandised mascot?

Well, the good news is Sonico is in some ways better than I expected, but it is also not what I expected at all either.  Sonico is a slice of life show about “Super Sonico” (yes, that is her actual name) a college student, model, and aspiring rock star with one hell of a great rack and a set of headphones that seem to be permanently attached to her head.  As a Character, Sonico is the “clumsy yet cute girl that can do anything and is loved by everyone.”  This means you will either love her or hate her, depending on how you may feel about that.  When the show sticks to its own formula, it is a very decent slice of life with bits of comedy and very light fanservice.  The problem with Sonico is that every now and then it goes off track and flirts with other genres of anime, making the show very hit and miss, with more miss than I would like.

Personally, I wanted this show to be ecchi, considering the sort of artwork found in the books, but by no means should anyone take that as a reasonable criticism of the show.   Sonico has delivered mixed feelings amongst fans, but at my most harsh critique of the show I would call it “average.”  I think one noteworthy element of the show is the end of each episode has a CG-animated “music video”, and that was one of my favorite parts of the show.

Witch Craft Works
Witches, natural enemy of Magical Girls.

Witch Craft Works is the story of a student named Honoka that finds himself being hunted down by witches for a hidden power inside of him.  He gains the protection of Ayaka, the most popular girl in school… and an incredibly powerful fire witch.  While this may seem like a somewhat “generic” anime storyline, Witch Craft Works is anything but that.

Witch Craft Works is loaded with amusing characters and colorful, unique designs, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.  This cast of cute and whimsical characters brings along some interesting world-building, a very cool story full of fantasy, and awesome, high-impact action, all of which is brought to life with great animation.  Even amongst the huge hits of this season, this was my biggest favorite of the season, and I hope to see more of it in the future.  Also, the ending credit song, “Witch Activity” is insanely catchy.  This is one of this season’s “must see” shows.

Wizard Barristers:  Benmashi Cecil
Cecil was the only good thing about this show.

Wizard Barristers takes place in the near future, in a world where magic is a thing and there is an entire legal system put into place to deal with magic-related crimes.  The story is centered on a girl named Sudou Cecil, a young legal defender of wizard criminals.  This show first gave me the impression that it was an over-the-top anime version of law and order, complete with magic and giant robot summons.  But in the end, disappointment is all I got.

At first glance, and within the first few episodes, viewers are treated to adrenaline-fueled action, an interesting setting, and some 90’s-era character designs with a modern touch.  About halfway through the season, however, this show begins a long, painful downward spiral and falls flat on its face.  Obvious plot holes begin cropping up left and right, episodes dedicated to fairly boring characters start becoming the norm, and eventually the show collapses under some severe production issues.  The most important fight of the entire show takes place in episode 11, and it consists of poorly-drawn stills with the vocal cast yelling out their lines.  I’m not even joking, it is laughably bad.  This sort of thing has happened in the past to amazing shows like Gargantia, Psycho Pass, and Attack on Titan, but never to this extent.

I’m not going to candy-coat things, Wizard Barristers is pure shit.  When I started watching it, I thought it had some great potential, but I don’t think I’ve seen a show fall apart this badly since the early 2000’s.  The only reason I kept watching it was because it was so terrible towards the end it became both hilarious and sad to see all at once, and I was curious if they were actually going to keep going along with it.  They did.  Do yourself a favor and avoid this show at all costs.  I’m not saying this to act like a critic, I’m saying this as my duty as a fellow human being.

Weekly Anime Round-Up: December 23rd – December 29th

This season is over, and with New Year’s in Japan popping up, this is also a slow week.  The last handful of show’s in the round up take their final bow and those that don’t won’t be back until the next season starts up.  This is a good time to catch up on those backlogs I suppose.

Coppelion:  Episode 13
Why does anyone care about the Ozu sisters?  They are horrible, horrible people.

Coppelion is finally over, and while this story arc comes to a close, this show is intended to draw people to the manga, so that means if you want more of this, you better get reading.  I really enjoyed this show, and I think its overall popularity unfairly suffered because it aired during a season of overhyped shows.  That being said, if there was one thing that bothered me about this show was its terrible tendency for every single evil character to turn “good” after a couple acts of kindness, no matter how vile they were.  This makes for poorly written characters on both sides of the spectrum, with the only “bad” entity of the show being future-Japan politics.  Despite a few flaws, however, Coppelion presents an interesting universe that in itself is more than enough reason to give this show a watch.

Kakumeiki Valvrave:  Episode 24
(Valvrave the Liberator)
 Shoko continues to prove herself as the most selfish slut in all of anime, right to the bitter end.

The insanity of Valvrave is finally over!  Now, to be perfectly fair, in terms of judging a final episode, this was actually pretty decent in many ways.  We are treated to some very cool, very well animated fight scenes, and everything is drawn to a complete conclusion.  Sunrise exceeded my expectations on this one, but be warned, the final scene is as irritatingly dumb as the rest of this show.  Valvrave has been scooping up nominations for “worst anime of the year” along several blogs, yet still seems to maintain a loyal fanbase.  That being said, this show is frighteningly entertaining, even when you know it is terrible.

Little Busters!  Refrain:  Episode 13
Are you tough enough to be a REAL Little Buster?

Key manages to play with our hearts just enough to make for yet another great anime under their brand of emotional roller coasters.  Everything in this heart-wrenching tale comes together in a wonderful finale that touches on our emotions, and it’s great that there is anime that can do this.  If you enjoyed Clannad and Angel Beats, you should certainly give this show a shot, it is an amazing anime that is more than worth your time.

Machine-Doll wa Kizutsukanai:  Episode 12
(Unbreakable Machine-Doll)
Even Mega-Butler is no match for Level 2 Super-Yayain

The guilty-pleasure of the season has finally ended, for better or worse.  While I didn’t expect a conclusive ending for a show intended to promote its light novel series, I still consider this to be a rather weak ending for the show.  There is no real conclusion to the story arc or any decent presentation of a major element of the overall storyline, this just sort of “ends.”  Yaya is still the only reason you should be watching this, and even then I would say to just wait until the BD version pops up in a few months.  Oh yeah, I guess the ending song was pretty great, too.

    Monogatari Series: Second Season:  Episode 26
Even gods try to hide their powerlevel.

Nadeko isn’t happy that Kaiki has been messing with her, so now Kaiki must defeat her in a battle of wits in order to save himself.  This story arc ended well, but with a shocking twist right at the end.  SHAFT has the bold ambition to animate every bit of this, so this won’t be the last we see of the Monogatari franchise for a long time.  I found myself disappointed with this entry in the series, and I personally think it tends to get a bit more praise than it really deserves, but there are many out there that would say that sort of talk is pure blasphemy.