Monthly Archives: February 2015

100 Followers: Let’s Break Kayfabe

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Hello! This is GentlemanOtoku, and I’m super exited to reveal that the blog has achieved 100 follower! Yes, I understand that some people just follow to be cool and don’t read the articles, but whatever! A W is a W no matter how you get it. For this special post, I’ll finally explain what the exact deal is with my posting layout and review system. Trust me, I’m as exited to find out as you are. Continue reading

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Hajime No Ippo: The Fighting!

Type: The Sweet Science

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Synopsis:  Ippo was nobody. But that don’t matter, you know? ‘Cause Ippo was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if he lost a fight. It really didn’t matter if that anime guy opens his head, either. ‘Cause all Ippo wanted do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever went the distance with a boxing show, and if Ippo could go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and Ippo’s still standin’, we’re all gonna know for the first time in our lives, see, that his show weren’t just another bum sport anime from the neighborhood.

Pros: I hate sports anime, but I didn’t hate Hajime No Ippo. I actually really enjoyed it. Ippo’s drive to be the best, the sacrifice he and other boxers make to follow their dreams, the psychology behind each fight in and out of the ring, the clearly corrupt calls, all of it. In a weird way, Hajime No Ippo both glamorizes and bluntly presented the sport of professional boxing. I think why this anime worked better for me than say The Prince of Tennis, is that boxing as a sport is very easy to romanticize. This is why movies like Rocky are more popular than Friday Night Lights and Coach Carter. Baseball stories are a close second, but probably only in America. You can really relate to the effort put into boxing because it mainly deals with one individual vs. another. Each of Ippo’s opponents have a backstory, even if it eventually boils down to trying to be the best. Ippo himself is very charming, as his meek persona outside the ring works well to balance his all-business attitude inside (he also appearently has huge genatelia that everyone makes fun of!). He kinda reminded me of Kenichi, Histories Strongest Desciple to be honest.

Cons: The story is fairly simple. Ippo has to learn a specific lesson or technique before a fight, he fights, then he wins and moves on to the next guy. Rise and repeat. The only variants are the character involved. Some of the fights also starts getting repetitive. Don’t get me wrong, this is probably the most intense cinematic boxing you’ll ever see, but that doesn’t mean they’re all masterpieces. What’s interesting about Ippo is that you get a shorthand introduction to the world of boxing, including the business side and economic and health reality for fighters. It’s actually pretty realistic at times, and Ippo himself ages from about 17 to 20, so it was neat to notice the subtle changes in him. I would have liked more scenes with his eventual love interest Kumi, but eh. To be honest, outside of the this being a boxing anime with repetitive story arcs, I can’t thing of any bad things about it (except maybe that his initial rivalry with Miyata goes nowhere).

Watch it?: If you like boxing stories, you’ll love Ippo (4/5)

MVP: Ippo Makunouchi

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Him vs Tomorrow Joe, who would win?

Best Episode: Ep. 66 “My Takamura’s Tears” (he fights a bear!)

 

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Say “I Love You”

Type: Make me a Sandwich first

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Synopsis: In a tales as old as time, but song not as old as rhyme (because that’s logically impossible), a unpopular girl grabs the attention of the most popular boy in school. Now get THIS, not only is the boy tall and handsome, he’s caring, affectionate, and knows when to get aggressive if you know what I mean *wink* He also has a trouble past…oh, if only someone would understand him!

Pros: Sexist jokes aside, Say “I Love You” is pretty good. Not the best shojo show I’ve ever seen, but still enjoyable. It follows the same basic shojo formula of shy girl meets pretty boy who fall in love with her realness and helps her get more friends. To the show’s credit, Mei and Yamato start dating by the third episode, so the show is mainly about them being in a relationship and falling in love (like in real life, not anime life). The first four episodes are them getting together, then a filler episode, then seven episodes with love rival Megumi. What makes this anime a little different from its brethren is the amount of physical affection depicted in the show. Now, “physical affection” isn’t the same as “sexual affections,” and that’s key here. The characters in this show (mainly Mei and Yamato) tend to hug each other in a manner that comes off as very intimate. Even I had to turn on the fan a few times. There’s also a fair amount of kissing, which I appreciated in the context of a high school romance anime.

Cons: So while the show has a fair amount of good characters and scenes, it is very by the numbers structure wise, almost to a surprising degree. Apart from the above mentioned premise, the classic cliche’s all show up. A love rival shows up to steal Yamato, a love rival shows up to steal Mei, it turns out Yamato has a clingy younger sister, it turns out Mei was taking care of a stray cat in a cardboard box, etc. The show is also notable in its neglect of its supporting characters. Most shojo stories tend to explore the love lives of multiple couples, but in Say “I Love You,” couples are established and then put off to the side (ex: Asami and Kenji). Of course, if the show had 24 episodes instead of 12, this may have not been the case. Finally, I found Mei a bit too shy. I feel she should have shed some of that as the show went on, and I found Yamato a little bland. He was a bit too ideal and the only real character trait of note was his occasional selfishness, or maybe coldness? apathy? distance? A tendency to help others but sometimes overlook the feelings of those closest to him. God, if he would just let me in…

Watch it: “I fell in love with that roundhouse kick” (4/5)

MVP: Kei Takemura

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Man, I want that mohawk

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “Fried Chicken Flavored” (not ganna lie, that last scenes gave me the vapors)

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Haganai NEXT

Type: Protagonist with Selective Deftness

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Synopsis: After a group of lonely people gradually gravitated towards one another to form a “friends club,” they noticed that this was an anime and there was only one boy in the group. So they pretend to play erotic games and film independent student films, while each girl secretly falls in love with their male member. Of course, its only secret because the dude doesn’t want to risk breaking up his group of friends. No one wants to be Yoko.

Pros: Man, I really missed this show. It’s just so damn funny. Once again, Rika gets the best dirty lines, but the rest of the cast still contributes the occasional “bitch” and “fuck” here and there. The show has progressed from the introductory first season, so a slow burn story arc is introduced, involving Sena, and funny enough, Rika. The group dynamic is still the strongest point of the series, as are the hilarious situations they get into (ex: BL Gaming). Part of this is because each character has more depth than your typical harem cast. This stems from the fact the the characters joined the “Good Neighbor Club” to make friends, not because they all fell in love with a random boy. The does happen, because anime, but it felt a lot less forced than in other shows. I could actually imagine any one of the girls ending up with Kodaka.

Cons: Maybe it’s because I haven’t watched the first season in a while, but did they ramp up the fan service or what!? I also feel that Yozora was a bit underwritten this time around. Throughout the season, she is clearly in love with Kodaka, but can’t express it, making her very jealous and angry when he get female attention. This is her only storyline throughout the season. It makes it easy to forget that she was the one that started the club in the first place. The characters of Kobato and Maria are still pretty annoying as well. There was also a slight twist involving Yukimura that irked me a first, but didn’t really change much overall. The season ends of a cliff hanger, and I really, really, really hope the show gets another season to tie up loose ends.

Watch it?: Dude, I still think you have to (4/5)

MVP: Rika Shiguma

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A perv, but hey, still has a heart of gold.

Best Episode: Ep. 2 “Homo Game Club” (exactly what it sounds like)

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The SoulTaker

Type: I DON’T KNOW WHATS GOING ON

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Synopsis: Well, that’s a fib. I do have some idea of what’s going on. It’s not like I just use these things as background noise, ha,ha,ha….So, a long time ago, an alien from an extinct race arrives on the moon. He makes a deal with a doctor there to save his dying daughter in exchange for releasing a deadly virus that will create another alien by mutating the populous. This results in the doctor’s own grandchildren becoming aliens. Flash forwards 17 years later, where the doctor is desperately trying to kill the aliens he helped make, while his grandson tries to save the life of his twin sister who’s soul was split into fragments to protect her/stop her from killing all of humanity. Yeah, I don’t believe me either about the lying thing.

Pros: This show was very ambitious. Once you get to the end, you get a clear picture of what it was trying to do. Without spoiling much (except for the core twist up above), let just say it gets very Evangeliony. The plot involving searching for different aspects of a person’s identiy was pretty cool, and it’s got very stylized animation, something along the lines of Monogatari and Zetsubou Sensei. Angled framing, heavy shadows, liberal use of color, etc. I also liked the fact that most of the main characters’ motivation was trying to save someone they loved (which is kinda another spoiler when you think about it).

Cons: I’m still not sure what exactly happened in this anime. Something about aliens for sure, and mutants, and…ninjas? Ninjas showed up for some reason. I’m still not sure why. The thing about SoulTaker is that it’s kinda sloppy. It throws you into this weird world without properly establishing what it is. Are we in the future? Another world? The post apocalypse? Is everything science or magic, or both? We know that Kyosuke is looking for his twin sister Runa, and that her soul has been fragmented and is being hunted down. Ok, cool. A little creepy when the fragments hit on Kyosuke, but I can work around that. But then we add mutants, and aliens, and evil doctors, feuding organizations, and a bunch of other stuff that doesn’t make sense because I turned by head for two seconds. It was frankly a little exhausting to watch.

Watch it?: This does spin-off into a magical girl show (3/5)

MVP: Runa Tokisaka

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A pretty interesting villain, until she go too handsey with Kyosuke that is.

Best Episode: Ep. 11 “Demon on a Deserted Island” (the plot appears!)

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