Monthly Archives: October 2013

Street Fighter IV: The Ties That Bind

Type: OVA that’s really Mini-Movie

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Synopsis: Here comes a new challenger, oh wait, no. Instead we get a sixty minute thing about everyone talking to Ken about looking for Ryu.  You see, Ryu’s wanted by this evil organization run by a nudist, who want to use his “hidden power” for some reason. I’m assuming they mean his ability to only ever wear one outfit. As a B-story, Ken learns the importance of communication in a marriage.

Pros: It’s always a treat when popular characters you know get the anime treatment. If I had my way, all my favorites would have at least one OVA. Sadly, my Superman Harem: The Animation is still a few years away.

Cons: You know, for an anime based on a fighting game, you’d thing there be, you know, fighting in it. But no. There’s only about 3 fights, and their not very good. Why couldn’t they just do something as stylistic as the game trailer? Its an anime. Just go nuts! Or if they just wanted to focus on backstory, I would have loved to see smaller segments about different street fighters. Where is Dan and what is he doing? Yeah, Ryu, Ken, Sakura, Cammie, Chun-Li, and Guile are cool, but did you really need to explains what they’re deal is at this point? Couldn’t the franchise have used this opportunity to better introduce some of the new characters of SFIV. I should also mention that I may only have a working knowledge about Street Fighter’s main story, but I had some troubles following some of the details here.

Watch it?: Skip it. Go to Youtube, type in Street Fighter, and spend your hour surfing videos instead.

MVP: Ken

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Because the universe already revolves around him and Ryu anyways

Best Moment: Ryu and Ken touching foreheads. (just kiss bros, you know you want to)

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Attack on Titan

Type: I Kill Giants, the Anime

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Synopsis: Humanity is on the brink of extinction. Hundreds of years ago, giant humanoid creatures called Titans appeared out of no where and nearly eviscerated the human species. Humanity managed to enjoy 100 years of peace by building a multi-walled city for protection.  Everything ended, however, when a gigantic Titan and armored Titan breached the walls, forcing humanity to once again fight for their survival against the Titan menace. Three youths that witnessed the attack, Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert, are the focus of the series.

Pros: In a lot of way, Attack of Titan shouldn’t have been as popular as it became in 2013. On the surface, its just an action drama about fighting giant monsters. But the thing is, its a really well made action drama about fighting giant monsters. The show really sells the Titans as incredibly dangerous, making you appreciate the fact that fighting giant things is not as easy as it appears when all you have are cannons and glorified grappling guns. It kinda reminded me of a Mecha anime without Mecha. The mental affect of being in constant fear is one of the strongest elements used in the show. The show also does amazing high-flying action scenes that would put Spider-Man to shame. While not the most unique anime, it is nevertheless of very high quality. I cannot wait for the second season.

Cons: O.k., this is going to sound nitpicky, but the thick outlines used for each character really bugged me. I mean, you get used to them, but the fact that I noticed them right away was bothersome. I also found Eren Yeager a mixed bag. His “last angry man” shitck made sense in context, except that flashbacks to his childhood establish that he’s always been angry. I just felt that this made him too one-dimensional. (P.S. This isn’t a negative, but who else thinks that the Titans are probably artificial creations?)

Watch it: It’s 2013’s Anime Darling (5/5)

MVP: Mikasa Ackerman

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She is all kinds of Bad-Ass

Best Episode: Ep 5-13 “Battle for Trost District” (humanity’s first victory)

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Tsuritama

Type: Fishin’

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Synopsis: Yuki Sanada is a complete spaz who goes crazy whenever he’s in a socially awkward situation. He then befriends Haru, a weirdo whose way too energetic for his own good. The two eventually wiggle their way into the life of Natsuki Usami, a complete and utter jerk who just happens to be good a fishing. Together the three, along with this 25 year old Indian secret agent, spend long weekends together on a small boat for hours at a time. They call it “fishing.”

Pros: The first thing you’ll notice about Tsuritama is its animation. The style it uses is incredibly vibrant and bright, almost to the point of carrying the anime by itself. A notable example is the use of drowning to convey Yuki’s social anxiety. I thought this was a clever and accurate depiction of the feeling. In terms of story, the two arcs that stood out were Nastuki’s family troubles, and Haru’s mission. Though one was more intimate while the other was larger in scope, they both proved to be very interesting. There was also a surprising amount of character growth for a 12-episode anime.

Cons: Tsuritama is slow. The show goes for a more subtle approach in terms of humor. This is more of a coming-of-age story than a summer comedy. I almost feel that this would have been better as a movie than tv show. The main characters of the show become friends through fishing, so expect a lot of fishing tutorials. I personally found this boring, but that’s just me. I also found the characters Haru and Nastuki to be grating at times, ironic since I found their story arcs the most interesting. Haru’s whole cheerful and immature thing bordered on the annoying, while Nastuki’s treatment of his family bugged the hell out of me. All in all, a lot of the elements were there, but it never quite gelled for me.

Watch it?: This won’t be for everyone, but maybe you’ll like it (3/5)

MVP: Yuki Sanada

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Don’t drown!

Best Episode: Ep. 1 “Panicked Fishing” (we’ve all been there)

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Neon Genesis Evangelion

Type: You know the one

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Synopsis: Giant robots. Whiny teenager. Dick Dad. Alien (?) Invaders. Complexes. Whacky ending.

Pros: It’s pretty good. I mean, what more can I say? It has good design, good music, worthwhile characters, a surprising amount of humor. It’s hard to write about Evangelion because so many people know about it, and so many anime have been influenced by it. As a late initiate, all I can say to any newcomers is that the show is not as intimidating as you may think it is. In fact, the show has quite a bit of traditional anime gags to balance out some of the more serious stuff. The action scenes are also amazing, as each invading “Angel” look and act in radically different ways. Every fight means somethings, for the narrative at large and individual characters.

Cons: The Ending. Whoa, did I not see that coming. I’ve seen a lot of sloppy and confusing anime endings, but this one took home the grand prize. The show used a pseudo clip-show to get all Freudian on the characters, seemingly forgetting that it had an actual plot to resolve. What’s up with Lilith? What was Gendo’s ultimate dickish plan? Why only 14 year olds? Did Asuka ever get out of her funk? Why were the angels attacking? I also thought that Shinji was a bit too much of a wuss, but considering his circumstances and horrible father (who never redeems himself), I gave him a pass. Seriously, what the FUCK was with that ending!?

Watch it?: A classic. Just pretend Ep. 25-26 don’t exist. (5/5)

MVP: Misato Katsuragi

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I’d follow her fine behind into battle any day.

Best Episode: Ep. 19 “Introjection” (Personally, I wouldn’t have come back)

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A Certain Scientific Railgun

Type: School Days vs. Science

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Synopsis: Mikoto Misaka lives in a world were super powered psychics called Espers really exist. As a cute electric girl, Mikoto is obviously one of the seven strongest Espers in Academy City, where she goes to school/beats up thugs. Most her time is spent either hanging out with her friends, consisting of a stalker, a kiddie cop, and a zero level loser, or epic fighting. It’s your average story of a typical teenage girl facing typical teenage girl problems.

Pros: What I liked about Railgun was how different it was from it’s predecessor,  Magical Index. Railgun establishes it’s own tone and style, using standard slice-of-life story telling and splicing it with the franchise’s trademark sci-fi action. It was funny and emotional, while never losing the A Certain series flair for action. The brilliant part is that it never felt out of place from the franchise universe. It was smart to focus on Esper characters instead of the original Magic vs Science conflict. It’s use of a small consistent cast and singular plot really accentuated Railgun’s status as a more intimate but totally optional spin-off show. It was a very fun way to reunite with everyone’s favorite railgun.

Cons: Everything I stated as a positive could be argued as a negative for some Magical Index fans. Railgun has nothing to add to the main series, it’s not particularly action packed, and the actual plot only shows up at the end of the seasons. The show itself largely consists of typical anime stories involving things like friendship, kindness, and love. There was even a bikini episode. This is a stark contrast to the story arc heavy Magical Index. While I liked it, I cannot say with confidence that fans of Magical Index with automatically be fans of Scientific Railgun. They are just too different.

Watch?: I say give it a try. It’s a stellar series in its own right. (4/5)

MVP: Mikoto Misaka

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She’s electric, yeah!

Best Episode: Ep. 24 “Dear My Friends” (awesome, if grammatically incorrect)

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Shuffle!

Type: Not a board game

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Synopsis: It starts off as a contest between the demon realm and land of angels, then it forgets about that after the third episode. Then it’s  turns into a show about a five-way love contest, where two of the participants just happen to be demon/god princesses. Then if forgets about the princesses and changes into a show about a love triangle involving a childhood friend and really, really sick girl. Then the girl gets sick. Then it ends.

Pros: The show really shines when its a drama, something I never thought I’d write about a harem anime. But its true. You see, the show starts out as a regular harem show, with the spice of demons and angels as the, seemingly, main love rivals. This goes on until episode 12, when the girls “dark pasts” are revealed. It takes an unexpected turn by going into demon world stuff, then really takes a left turn when you learn about Rin and Kaede’s origins. I particularly loved what the show did with Kaede. Chicka is disturbed. It’s messed-up, but at the same time really engrossing. I didn’t see the second part of Shuffle! coming, which made it all the more intriguing.

Cons: The first half of Shuffle! is really cookie-cutter. It’s not bad, but anyone whose ever seen a harem/high school anime will see the story beats a mile away. Still, its enjoyable enough. I should also point out that while I loved the second part of the show, it used the “multiple personalities” cliche on three of the girls! Plus the magic thing? Not that important. To be honest, my favorite story arc involved not magic whatsoever.

Watch it?: Ep. 1-11 for harem lovers, Ep. 12-24 for drama lovers (3/5)

MVP: Kaede Fuyou

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This chick is crazy. I love crazy!

Best Episode: Ep. 19-12 Kaede Arc (This shit just got real)

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