Citrus, a Fruity Splash of Delight

 

It’s just about that time of the year again where all of the shorter anime, usually around twelve episodes, of the winter season come to a conclusion. Today Citrus did just that. As it was a bit of an anticipated anime by manga fans and newcomers alike, I’d like to take a moment to review my final thoughts on the show, and some of the interesting ideas and themes it played with.

For the record, I will be adding a TLDR to the bottom for those who may not have as much time on their hands. Do not worry though there will be no spoilers in this review. I will be talking about the main cast and a general synopsis only.

First I’d like to say that Citrus caught my eye thanks to a promotional trailer Crunchyroll shared onto their Facebook well before it aired. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect going into it and never checked out the manga prematurely. It’s worth mentioning that I still have not read the manga yet, so I will only be focusing on the anime adaptation.

Citrus to be blunt is a Shoujo Ai high school romcom that revolves around teenage drama and family themes such as parental/child relationships, sibling relationships and adapting to a new environment.
The story centers around two recently introduced stepsisters who are complete opposites in every way. One is a delinquent Gyaru while the other is a rule-abiding student council president. Right from the start Aihara Yuzu, our Gyaru protagonist, realizes she’s becoming infatuated with her sister and has no clue how to respond to these new feelings as she’s never been in love before. Yuzu must learn how to adjust to her new situation and truly understand what it means to love someone.

Image result for Citrus Yuzu

Yuzu as a character is a lot of fun. At the start, she comes off as an abrasive, modern, stylistic Gyaru teen who values her appearance and belongings more than being studious and well mannered. At the same time, she has a loving supportive relationship with her mother and shows she actually cherishes her family above all else.
Yuzu is excited that her mom remarried and that they’re moving to a new home where she can start a new life. She’s eager to meet her new father and attend a new high school where she can finally experience romance. Till she realized she was attending a strict all-girl academy and her new dad likes to travel a lot so he’s not even there either.
While as a protagonist, Yuzu is a bit… dense. It’s still fun to cheer her on, and it’s rewarding to watch her grow as a person. Most of her problems are genuine, (Yeah even the sister crushing. I’m not judging) and her responses are fair, they certainly resemble how overdramatic a freshman in high school can be when experiencing unorthodox circumstances. She’s very outgoing, spunky, and immensely shameless often willing to make a scene regardless of where she is.
(It’s worth noting Yuzu’s previous last name is Okogi. I don’t remember if it’s ever mentioned in the anime though I got it from the wiki)

Image result for Citrus Mei

Aihara Mei is Yuzu’s stepsister. Mei is the COMPLETE opposite of Yuzu. Very calm and composed, intelligent, and hardworking. Mei has a mysterious allure to her as she speaks seldom, usually only to scold Yuzu, and never spells out her intentions for anything. She is a valued member of the student council and is well respected by the entire school. Despite all this, she never comes off as remotely happy. She never comes off as anything really. In fact, sometimes she just acts like a cold bitch. Her actions are puzzling but usually have some unseen meaning. The more you see of her the less perfect she might begin to appear. But the more you understand the more likable she gets.

Something I have to give Citrus is there are some GREAT supporting characters. Most notably is Yuzu’s best friend Taniguchi Harumi. She is the first friend Yuzu makes in her new school and shows her how to tolerate the rules and get away with breaking them. Like hiding your phone in your cleavage. Which Yuzu tries and… Well… Can’t. Harumi is more or less a “Closet Gyaru” and even calls herself something of the sort.
She is supportive, consultative, and an ideal best friend who’s always willing to help Yuzu any way she can. She’s just as outgoing and is almost always the brightest thing in the room. Often comforting Yuzu whenever she fails and encourages her to get up and try again. AND BY GOD DOES SHE KNOW HOW TO DRESS.

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Every outfit this girl puts on s flawless. I swear.
I definitely say the cast is a strong point for this show.

The romance is handled in 2 different ways. It’s either cute and wholesome, or it’s ecchi AF. While I prefer the cute parts because I think they’re handled very well and usually have meaning, the ecchi is more dominant sadly. This is one of the things I just was not as much of a fan of.

Ecchi scenes in Citrus, while they don’t take up an overbearing amount of screen time, are still in abundance and sometimes seem out of place or just kind of thrown in. Some might argue they’re there to convey the more confusing parts of teenage relationships, as they tend to be awkward and befuddling. I just think they kill momentum in some scenes.
The cute side of Citrus though is heartwarming and pleasant. Scenes that convey honest affection, are relatable, and well placed. While they’re not quite as frequent as the ecchi counterpart, they’re rewarding and redeem other aspects you might not find as compelling.

The comedy in Citrus is pretty light-hearted. Often self-aware and mocking some generic anime tropes like over the top character design, unrealistic situations, and reactions.

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It can pretty funny at times. I wouldn’t say the show had me dying at any point particularly, but the comedy is there.

Honestly Citrus handles its Yuri themes very smoothly. Aside from the ecchi aspects, there isn’t a feeling of stress on the same-sex relations. There’s the occasional question of “Is it okay though? We’re both girls after all.” But that’s not super frequent. It’s just a romance between two people first and foremost. If anything is pushed under the “questionable” spotlight it’s the sister aspect of their relationship. It’s never outright shamed, but it’s discussed. It’s nice to see media where despite the fact that LGBTQ themes are part of the main idea, they’re not forced down your throat or made to made a big deal of. It’s just there because it is and that’s all it needs to be.

As far as story pacing goes, Citrus does tend to jump from one arc to the next in a matter of 2 to 3 episodes, which makes me think maybe manga fans might not be huge on the anime because it’s possible they trim it up and maybe skipped some parts. But I also appreciate the pacing as it kind of resembles high school drama. Something that seemed like a big deal can just blow over the next day and people act like it was never an issue to begin with. Lessons are still learned, and you may still have some left over feelings towards whatever happened, but you may not make a big deal over it. Despite the length, the arcs never really seem rushed or anything anyway. It feels very day by day, and arcs transition into each other pretty smoothly. There’s never really a point where you feel like too much or too little time has passed between events.
There’s plenty of emotion in these scenes and I have to say I appreciate the struggles of Yuzu. It’s easy to get invested in the show.

To conclude, I’d give Citrus a 7.5/10 as a cute, short, time-killing anime that that has made me laugh at a few jokes, and shed a tear for a tender moment. I wish the ecchi parts of it were less overwhelming and misplaced, but at the same time, they’re not so much so that they ruin the experience. They might just make you turn down the volume if you live with people.

TLDR:
Citrus, 7.5/10
Great when it’s cute,
Not so much when it’s ecchi,
Can be funny, not super funny but it’s enough
Good cast especially the supporting roles (Mama Harumi is best girl),
Quick in pacing but never abrupt. Arcs get their point across just fine.
Show is short, sweet, and too the point.

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Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name) Movie Review (Subbed and Dubbed)

Well, it’s finally here. Makoto Shinkai’s latest hit film that stormed into Japanese theaters and broke Japanese box office records as the highest grossing anime film of all time. At long last it has reached US theaters and, oh boy, it did not disappoint.

Now before getting straight into it, I wanted to take a second to discuss the common question for those who haven’t seen this and plan to. Yes that’s right, the classic “Subbed or dubbed?” fiasco. Let it be known I saw both this weekend in theaters for a proper side-by-side comparison.

For starters, I would like to just say that the next time I watch this film I would prefer to watch again dubbed. Now I know this is all a matter of preference and I’m sure many will disagree. However, I’m not saying the original Japanese dialogue is sub-par, nor am I calling the subtitled experience any less enjoyable than the English voice over. It’s a close call, and seeing both is worth it to decide for yourself which you prefer.

I would recommend the dub mostly to people who don’t usually watch a lot of anime, and obviously also to those who prefer dubs in general. The reason being this movie is something I felt has to be watched and not read. By this I mean there’s so much going on visually from pastel backgrounds to character expressions and the details of everything in the general scenery, that it feels like a waste to spend so much time looking down at text. Look I know there are people out there who probably have seen all of Monogatari and can scan the subs the very frame they hit the screen and basically download the script into their mind as its happening. But that’s just not everyone.

Another reason I would recommend the dub to the more casual and newer fans is because a fair bit of the humor is very Japanese, and if you just aren’t used to that you may not find yourself enjoying the quaint comedic gems this film has to offer. Luckily, the dub does a fantastic job translating this humor into something more relatable to western comedy. There are plenty of scenes that are just funny all around but I feel the dub does a great job in keeping the pace and helping the viewers relate to the story through laughter.

Also most importantly the quality of voice acting, voice directing, and the translation is all spectacular. The cast did a phenomenal job putting this dub together. Even the music sounded great in English.

The sub will benefit people who watch anime much more frequently and have gone out of their way to understand some social elements in modern Japanese culture such as Japanese pronouns and their gender dependency, honorifics in how people address one another, and generalized lifestyles of modern Japanese teenagers in high school dramas.

That being said, I still say it is worth giving both a chance and seeing for yourself which you prefer. Trust me, the movie’s worth watching a few times and you really want the best experience out of it that you can get.

So let’s get onto the film’s review!

<—-Review starts here (Spoilers ahead)

 

Aesthetically speaking this film is a masterpiece. Shinkai is known for the gorgeous scenery in all of his filmography (Garden of Words, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, etc..) and this time is no different. The Tokyo skylines, the mountainous regions, the shrine, the small town vibes compared to city living visually is absolutely stunning. Lord knows I can not wait for this Bluray. The characters themselves have simple designs yet the minor details about their personalities and the one unique detail about them make them really pop out despite that.

The animation is just as high quality as everything flows so fluidly and natural. Nothing ever feels forced or awkwardly placed. Every scene just feels normal.

The soundtrack of the movie is very fitting with music composed by Yojiro Noda the lead vocalist of Radwimps. Overall the score was soft and relaxing when it should be but also becoming suspenseful and thrilling on the dime. The opening performed by Radwimps, as well as a couple of other songs in the film, suits the film just fine and seeing it again after watching the movie once makes you love it even more.

The dialogue was written and performed immensely well in both English and Japanese as I mentioned. Conversation flow and comedic timing were all very natural.

Now, what really drives this film? Sure all the fundamentals are there but what really brings this home is the story itself, but most importantly, the two high schoolers that it’s about. Our two protagonists, Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana, are high schoolers in unspecified grades living in very different sides of the country. Mitsuha lives in a small the Boonies and Taki lives in the middle of Tokyo. Essentially, multiple random times during their usual week the two will switch bodies and have to figure out how to get by without ruining each other’s lives. They start communicating by writing things down in their smartphones keeping logs of what their days were in each other’s skin. They do a pretty good job at it for the most part and as the film progresses you see that their dynamic differences begin making a positive impact on their lives. Taki stands up for Mitsuha and resolves her school bullying issue, and Mitsuha’s feminine side grabs the attention of the woman Taki likes at his job. Everything seems to be going well.

So this is the part where the rest of this movie changes pace and atmosphere as in the beginning, the perspective focuses mostly on Mitsuha and we get more of her side than Taki’s, but now that all changes as for some reason, they’re no longer switching with each other. For a while, the film focuses entirely on Taki and it’s unclear why the switching stopped, and what happened to Mitsuha.

To be honest I don’t want to go more into the plot even with a spoiler-filled review. I can’t write it as well as the story actually is from here on out.

What this film succeeded in is creating two characters who are both lovable and relatable to almost anyone, it then uses those two characters to tell a story with twists and turns that will make you weep with joy and tear your heart out in melancholy. Whenever the characters are switched into the opposite’s body, there’s no gimmick to show you that it happened. You just know by the outstanding voice actors who adapt their speech habits and dialect accordingly, and the sudden differences in their personalities and body language which accompanied by the clean animation makes for a film that goes above and beyond my expectations as I watched a tale of two strangers changes each other’s lives as well as their own in an outstanding and unique way to express such a simple idea. The movie is perfect. I have no gripes or complaints. I mean that honestly, I find no flaws in this film and I think it has earned its spot as the Number 1 Anime Film of All Time.

Kimi No Na Wa (Your Name) is a 10/10 and has easily won over my heart.

Thank you for your time.

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SPOILER ALERT: Madoka Movie III Analysis

puella-magi-madoka-magica-movie-3-rebellion

So, I went and saw Rebellion last night in theaters. On the train ride home I took out my notebook and just started going on this. If you haven’t seen the movie yet I would recommend not reading this till after you do. All I hope to achieve with this is to explain to others my thoughts and feelings toward the film.

Okay, where to start…..
The movie was not quite what was expected I think. To anyone who is just salty about the end or hated it well fine that’s how you feel. So! let’s take it from the top!

The beginning, HOLY SHIT the beginning. The idea was to basically just feed you all of the feel good moments you wanted out of the series. The team ups, the synergy, the Sailor Moon transformations, Madoka being there as a Mahou Shoujo. It butters you up really well. But of course, this couldn’t last. I mean this IS a Madoka movie after all. When you start to see the setting, the backgrounds, the background characters, everything feels off. Not even slightly, blatantly off. The art that Madoka is known for, pastels, scribbles, and weird magazine clippings. No one seems to notice, but Homura. Homura asks Kyoko to show her to her old town. Once they try to reach it they realize they simply can’t. Reminded me of that scene from Coraline. Homura turns back into the Homura we all know after being her frail and shy self in the beginning. Thus she decides to do some snooping around.

Homura discovers all the familiar feelings about where they all are. She deduces that this is a Witch’s Labyrinth. So she confronts the only thing resembling a witch in the movie so far. Bebe, the thing that bit Mami’s head off during the show that became her little pet somehow. This next scene…. Oh my god.
So Homura stops time and takes Bebe for interrogation. Violently tossing it around asking why they’re there. Then she’s snagged by a ribbon wrapped around her leg, and god damn. The moment I’ve been wanting for a long time. Homura vs. Mami. Best fight scene I’ve seen in a long time. This part was out of its mind. The choreography was outstanding, I was at the edge of my seat the whole time. At the end, my only words were “Holy shit! I guess that answers that question!” Homura tries to trick Mami by putting a pistol to her own head, Mami pulls on the ribbon he had attached to her so she couldn’t stop her in time. The bullet comes out of the pistol, skims Homura’s head and breaks through Mami’s ribbon, then Homura stops time. She shoots at Mami’s leg. Mami only needed that one millisecond though to replace herself with a ribbon clone which bursted into a bunch of stray ribbons and chained up Homura. Scene was Godlike.

Homura is saved by Sayaka, however. During their discussion about events it’s revealed that this IS Sayaka. The one who became a Witch. Sayaka begins to explain the Witch causing this was trying to use the labyrinth to keep everyone inside. Sayaka disappears and Homura is left to figure things out. Oh fuck… Next scene….
Madoka finds Homura and begins to comfort her. She and Homura begin talking and this scene killed me. It also does a lot of foreshadowing, but when I think about everything, the movie did that a lot in most of the scenes. Homura understands the Madoka here IS the real Madoka. In their moment, Homura explains in her “dream” that Madoka had vanished. Madoka tells her she doesn’t think she’d be capable of doing something like that. Homura says something along the lines of “I never should have let you do that.” Then they part ways.

Homura leaves behind her Soul Gem and tests the space limits between her and it. She does not shut down after reaching the maximum distance between her and her Gem. Thus showing she isn’t a Mahou Shoujo anymore. Homura is the Witch…
So this is where it get’s a bit different.
Kyubey and the other Incubators had taken Homura’s Soul Gem which had become corrupted with the grief energy. They then isolated it in a field that was virtually impenetrable. By doing this, Madoka was unable to reach her. Thus turning her Soul Gem into a Grief Seed. Her labyrinth was unable to take victims as it was isolated entirely. Unless she would subconsciously bring in someone she knew. This was the only way Madoka was able to enter, but she was taken over by the effect of Homura’s labyrinth which was altering everyone’s memories. Madoka was only as strong as she was when Homura met her. But, the Madoka Cycle had a plan B. Sayaka, and Nagisa (Who really wasn’t important at all. LIKE AT ALL)
When Kyubey explains all this Homura realizes he’s trying to capture and control Madoka so that the universe can revert to what it was and they can obtain the energy from Witches. Homura falls into the Witch’s power and starts using it to attack Kyubey. Kyubey explains she will fall into the grief of being a Witch forever if she does this but she is willing to do it to save Madoka.

Sayaka being the only person who couldn’t be saved from Madoka’s wish, became Madoka’s back up. As for Nagisa, well I guess she was the Mahou Shoujo who became Charlotte, the Witch that killed Mami, but they never quite say. So Sayaka brings the rest of the Mahou Shoujo crew and they’re here to save Homura.
Shit gets so fucking real here.
Sayaka can call her Witch form like it’s basically a Persona. Her witch form starts duking it out with Homura’s as the rest of the girls are fighting off the monsters Homura created. This scene has a really touching Syaka/Kyoko moment. Madoka busts through the barrier, remembers who she is, and finds Homura. Together with both their bows they fire a barrage of arrows that take out every last Kyubey in the place where Homura was being kept.

Homura’s Soul Gem is freed, Madoka comes to take her away. This is not the ending. This isn’t what Homura wanted. So Homura does something that I honestly feel she was the only person who could. Homura accepts the sadness and tragedy she’s gone through. Her sadness no longer becomes a curse to her, since everything she’s ever went through, she did for Madoka. Her Gem does not become a grief seed, it changes. She takes all of her Grief energy and becomes something else entirely. Her sadness becomes her will, and her pain only reminds her of Madoka. As she put it in the movie, it’s her love. Homura has an enormous amount of power. So much so that she actually pulls Madoka out of her Goddess state. Homura takes in all of the sadness and grief from the universe, if Madoka was a God, Homura became a Demon. She takes Kyubey as well. She tells him from now on you’re all a part of me. She decides to become the evil of the world so that Madoka doesn’t have to be bearer of the burden. But Homura’s way is significantly different. Which I’ll get into after I explain the rest. Homura rewrites the universe just as Madoka did except she became the evil of it from Incubators to Witches. So Sayaka calls her out on it.  But Homura wipes her memory of being a part of Madoka. This scene shows Homura’s hate for the world, like that scene when her and Madoka were dying together in the show after they fought the Walpurgisnacht. Homura even mentions the possibility of her destroying the world eventually.  Then Madoka shows up as a transfer student, yellow ribbons in her hair. Homura takes her around the school, just like that scene we all know, but with the places swapped. Madoka almost breaks and becomes a Goddess again but Homura stops her. She can’t let her do that to herself again. As she decided when they met up earlier in the movie. Homura gives her the ribbons back. She created a world where Madoka can live peacefully. On that note the film ends. BUT AFTER THE CREDITS YOU SEE KYUBEY BEATEN THE FUCK DOWN THE MOST SATISFYING FEELING OF ALL TIME.

Okay. This is where I discuss how I felt about the film.
So I’ll start by pointing something out. In the show, Homura spends a long time trying to save Madoka, but in the end it’s Madoka who saves Homura and everyone in the process. In this film, Madoka spends a long time trying to save Homura, but in the end it’s Homura who saves Madoka and rejects everyone in the process. This film strives to reverse the roles of Homura and Madoka, and I feel like it worked. It was the polar opposite of the show. It showed how significant the differences between Madoka and Homura are.
Madoka is very selfless, brave, and strong willed. Even during the show she never gives up. Despite her seeming somewhat frail and weak at moments in episode 10 you really get a grasp of what she’s capable of especially at the end.
Homura appears as a very apathetic and even selfish person. Though she seems to be that calm and collected person, we see she was actually the one who was the frail and weak girl we thought Madoka to be. The difference in them is how they overcame their weakness. Madoka is willing to give herself up for the universe, she leaves her faith in everyone. Homura just isn’t able to do that. The only thing she ever wanted was to save her one true friend. The person she loved and cherished.
It’s really because Homura was unable to save everyone that she couldn’t save Madoka. Homura was selfish, and so long as she was her goal was unobtainable. This movie really went so far as to say “What if Homura was in Madoka’s position? How would she handle it?” and it did a fine job of that to me. Because Homura and Madoka are very similar yet very different. Where Madoka wanted to take everyone’s sorrows from them, Homura just cared about Madoka’s. Both wanted to create a paradise without worry but Homura’s was exclusive to Madoka. Which to me, made for a good turn of events.
The movie was able to give the ending where Madoka was free, but still keep it in a dark and eerie way which is what this series is to me. Though I do want to rewatch the movie and catch some more things I probably missed. This is my analysis of it all. I felt it was the ending it deserved despite it not being what everyone wanted. You have how Madoka ended it, and you have how Homura ended it. Honestly in the entirety of the show, those were the only two characters that really mattered to the end. So I rate this movie a 9/10. What I wish they did in the movie was explain more of what led up to Homura being stuck in the Incubators trap and how her Soul Gem got so corrupted. I mean I can sit here and assume, but a little confirmation would have been nice.

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Fall 2013 Anime: Samurai Flamenco

Samurai-FlamencoI think from now on, I am going to make it a practice of mine that if a new anime doesn’t have a prior manga, game or, novel connected to it, I will make sure to view as little promotional material for it as possible. What you are looking at is the first and only bit of promotional material I saw prior to watching Samurai Flamenco and I have to say that I do not regret that decision one bit because learning about the show’s premise when I first sat down to watch it was just too good.

Analysis: Anyone who’s followed the Manly Tears Podcast since its inception will know about Tokusatsu. For those whop don’t, I’ll offer a quick explanation. Basically, they’re live action super hero shows that have garnered the attention of little kids all across the country of Japan. One of the most successful of which, the Super Sentai franchise, is the basis for the Power Rangers. Samurai Flamenco’s main character, male model Masayoshi Hazama, is a 19 year old who is still infatuated with the concept of costumed heroes like Kamen Rider or Kikaider but, not specifically them because, lawsuits are scary! Masayoshi is so obsessed that he decides that he’ll finally realize his dream of becoming a costumed hero and fighting against evil organizations and monsters. However, since evil organizations and ancient monsters aren’t around every corner he has to settle for what is around every corner; drunks and unruly teenagers. Aided by police officer, Hidenori Gotou and former tokusatsu actor Jouji Kaname, Masayoshi continues to fight for truth and justice as he slowly gains internet notoriety.

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“Oh God, why is this happening to me!”

 The basic premise of Samurai Flamenco is almost identical to the Mark Millar comic Kick Ass, although it is nowhere near as dark, disturbing or, brutal. Thankfully, Masayoshi hasn’t found himself caught up in any altercations with organized crime or anything truly dangerous however it seems like only a matter of time until he does. The supporting cast of Samurai Flamenco is simply amazing. Along with Gotou and Kaname is a group of concerned citizens, tv producers and, general crazies who find themselves involved with Masayoshi either through his life as a male model, his life as a masked crime fighter or, both. The show is of course full of delightful little nods to tokusatsu shows. Jouji Kaname in and of himself is an obvious reference to Hiroshi Fujioka, the actor who played the first Kamen Rider. One scene in an early episode features Gotou, Masayoshi and, Kaname sit down to some instant curry and discuss Super Sentai traditions. Slap in a solid voice cast formed of veterans and relative newcomers, as well as a plot twist that I would never have seen coming and Samurai Flamenco is easily my favorite show of the season.

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Verdict: Why are you still reading this? I just said this was my favorite show of the season! It’s a show about a crazy male model who dresses up like a budget superhero to stop litterers and loiterers! WATCH IT!

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Strike the Blood, Awful Title, Decent Show

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As we all understand, this show has an awful title. But it is interesting. I’m not gonna lie I found this in the beginning of the season bored on break skimming through Crunchyroll and decided “Meh why not I’ll watch the trailer. Maybe get a few laughs.” But that’s not quite what happened. By the end of the trailer I was surprised at how interested I was. The art is fresh, the fighting looked intense, and the characters were attention grabbing.

What’s this show have really?
Well the protagonist isn’t boring bitch surprisingly enough. As said before the action is fairly intense. The story is easy enough to understand but still fun to keep up on. The quality of animation is well kept. The cast is plentiful with well rounded screen time. Also there’s fan service for the people who just want to see some leg. But it doesn’t consume the entire show *cough cough* HOTD *cough cough*

A far as the plot I don’t want to get too into it because it’s better to experience it than read it but I will throw some key phrases at you to help you understand what’s what.
Akatsuki Kojo is a high school student who was turned into “The 4th Progenitor” which is essentially a Vampire Lord. After becoming this an organization known as the Lion-King sent an attack mage to observe his actions and, if necessary, kill him. Strangely enough however the mage sent was only an apprentice. A girl named Yukina Himeragi. She is given the most powerful spear for anti-progenitor use. Kojo is not quite what Himeragi expected as they meet and begin to be around each other casually. This leads to them getting intertwined with situations pertaining to terrorist organizations, and ancient enemies where the two must rely on each other and fight side by side.

Maybe not the best synopsis but as I said it’s something more to be experienced than read. This is another anime I recommend to action anime fans out as well as anyone looking to fill that empty space this season.

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Going Beyond the Boundary with Kyoukai no Kanata

kyoukai

Of all the shows to come out this season, Kyoukai no Kanata was the first to catch my eye. I first came across the title during August after finding the trailer on Facebook. My thoughts were “Dat ass” and “Actually this looks rather fun.” So what is this show really about? Kanbara Akihito is a high school sophomore who is half human half youmu. In other words, Inyuyasha with out the furry and without the bad character design. Akihito is immortal, making him the perfect test dummy for love interest girl Kuriyama Mirai. Mirai is the last remaining member of a clan of demon hunters who’s power is to use blood as a weapon. It can solidify into a weapon or be used to acidify and burn through almost anything. However she has a very hard time killing youmu. Seeing her struggle Akihito does his best to assist her so she can slay youmu, get rare item drops (Which is awesome btw because it’s rpg as fuck) and make enough to pay for rent and food. There’s your basic raw plot outline. So why should you watch it?

Basically, from an entrancing art style that is very pleasing to observe, to well written humorous dialog, this show has lovable characters right from the start. The use of classic character archetypes in unique yet interesting ways adds to a colorful cast with much potential in character growth that becomes visible as it progresses. The action is very up to par, and character fighting styles are very different keeping interest in what they’re going to do next. Kyoukai’s story start’s simple, but further development add’s mysterious foreshadowing and hype for the climax. For a show that’s listed for 13 episodes it keeps a strong place in your mind to ponder what will happen next.

It’s too early to rate the show but based on what’s happened I will say I recommend it to anyone looking for a decent action anime.

The show updates on Wednesday’s and is streamed on Crunchyroll (listed as Beyond the Boundary)

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Fall 2013 Anime: Gingitsune

Gingitsune-anime-01I don’t know much of anything about the Japanese Shinto religion or its history. That’s mainly due to the fact that all of my experience with the Shinto faith comes from anime and manga. Here is what I do know about Shinto:

  • It’s a religion that has many different gods. Out of all of which, Amaterasu is the absolute best.
  • It’s a faith that encourages the youth to respect their elders and revere their ancestors.
  • There are hundreds of Shinto shrines around Japan where people go to offer prayers for good luck and prosperity.
  • Sailor Mars was my second favorite sailor scout after Sailor Jupiter.

Hopefully, I can learn a bit more by watching Gingitsune, a show about a young shrine maiden and her best friend, a grumpy fox spirit.

Analysis: Makoto Saeki is a young girl who lives in and maintains a Shinto shrine dedicated to the harvest go Uka-no-Mitama, with her father. Her mother died when she was four years old and ever since then, she’s been able to see, touch and, communicate with a large anthropomorphic fox spirit named Gintarou. Makoto discovers that now that her mother is dead, she’s inherited the ability to see Gintarou, something that only a handful of people are capable of. Now, Makoto is a high school girl who also helps her father manage the shrine under the watchful and sardonic eye of Gintarou. Occasionally, people around town will come to the shrine with their troubles and it’ll be up to Makoto and Gintarou to save the day.

[Vivid] Gingitsune - 01 [DE33AD44].mkv_snapshot_03.47_[2013.11.03_21.24.20]Now, I love my crazy, over the top, ridiculous shows like Kill la Kill and Valvrave, which I have had a decent amount of this past 6 months. However, sometimes I like to sit back and enjoy a more mild mannered show with a nice, relaxing tone. Gingitsune is that kind of show. I mean, come on, the show opens up with a song about being friends for eternity, how sweet is that!? There’s no deeper plot in Gingitsune to mention. Nothing about some conspiracy involving Shinto gods and the people who communicate with them. No corrupt demons that Makoto needs to exercise. None of that supernatural stuff that seems so commonplace in anime [Vivid] Gingitsune - 03 [22F5CB8E].mkv_snapshot_05.27_[2013.11.08_09.56.10]nowadays. Just a simple story of a young girl and her invisible companion. The problems that the pair face aren’t even that out there, ranging from helping find a lost cat, helping a lonely girl make friends and, helping a mystical turtle find a new home. The stories are so calm and sweet that I was surprised to learn that the manga this was based on runs in Ultra Jump, a manga serialization that also published My Two Wings, a manga about a hermaphrodite space alien.

[Vivid] Gingitsune - 01 [DE33AD44].mkv_snapshot_10.30_[2013.11.08_09.57.38]Verdict: Gingitsune is a show that is just so sweet, so dear and, so warm it’s impossible to find any fault with it. It’s a great show to cool down with after a stressful day. A show with so much heart that I can’t help but watch it whenever I can.

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