Mob Psycho 100 by ONE

mob5If you are a fan of the incredibly witty, extraordinarily funny, and still amazingly deep story that is One Punch Man, then you will most likely enjoy ONE’s second series Mob Psycho 100. TheBetterCup and I have seen every episode up to date, and even started the manga, and we have to say Mob is a cute baby angel you can’t help but cheer for. Unlike Saitama, who is an adult and has his own mind made up as to how he should live his life, Mob is only a kid struggling to find balance with inner struggles.

mob3-Plot

Mob Psycho 100 is about Shigeo Kageyama, or Mob (which apparently means background character). Mob is a simple young student in middle school who is average (or a little below average) in his grades, athletic abilities, social life, and just about everything. He dreams to be normal and even a little popular at school. He also seems to lack emotions when he interacts with others and often cannot read the atmosphere. Through the story, you learn that Mob actually has esper abilities (which he has had since a very young age) and that he is also incredibly strong. Because of his esper powers though, (which are connected to emotion, and when overwhelmed emotionally can spill out in dangerous ways), Mob keeps a blank stare and emotionless exterior, which also lends to his inability to socialize. More trouble than just his own personal struggles come his way though as he meets other espers and gains friends he needs to protect.

-Characters

mobkkMob: Shigeo Kageyama is the main protagonist of the story. He is a quiet and average looking 8th grader with incredible esper powers and absolutely little to no other talents or skills (other than empathy, the ability to refuse to harm even the bad guys with his powers, altruism,  and the wonderful talent of hard work and willingness to change himself instead of bitching *cough*Ritsu*cough*). He has lived most of his life suppressing his emotions because when overwhelmed his powers leak out in incredibly dangerous ways, often unknowingly harming those around him (others have described him of having some dark and dangerous monster within). Mob is also very perceptive. He works part time at a spirit consultation office with Reigen (his master/teacher). His biggest goal in life is to live normally, and he feels that esper powers aren’t necessary for day to day life.
mob2Reigen: Arataka Reigen is a spirit counselor, and demon exorcist, and scam artist that uses Mob’s powers to keep up his business. He is Mob’s teacher and a self proclaimed psychic (con artist). Though he seems like scum at first, he actually really cares about Mob and is able to help him through many of his own personal demons. He is very clever and quick on his feet, excelling in persuasion and understanding situations on the fly. He truly is Mob’s mentor, viewing Mob’s inner conflicts and taking them seriously, often giving Mob advice that truly helps him find himself morally.

ristuRitsu: Ritsu Kageyama is Mob’s younger brother (by a year and in the seventh grade). He is smart, athletic, popular, handsome, a student counsel member, praised by his parents and colleagues alike, and everything that Mob strives to be. Though sweet and perfect on the outside, just like Mob, he has a complex, where he wishes he was as talented as his brother (Mob). The only difference is that Ritsu lets this eat away at himself instead of trying to change for the better. His obsession for power leads him down a terrible path that causes him a lot of strife and guilt later, but thankfully, he loves his brother and Mob loves him back so they always have each other by their side’s.

Mob-Thoughts

The art is adorable, bizarre, and simple yet colorful. The animation flows very well with exagerated perspectives and it reminds me greatly of the weird, very Japanese, colorful surrealistic style that can be found in animations such as Mind Games (great movie by the way) or Tatami Galaxy (also good check out my post on it: https://espressocomsaudade.wordpress.com/2014/07/27/tatami-galaxy-by-tomihiko-morimi/). Side Note: Both Mind Games and Tatami Galaxy (by the way) where directed by Masaaki Yuasa, who also directed an episode in Adventure Time (the Food Chain), Space Dandy, and worked on some of the animations of Samurai Champloo. We really love his style.

mob4Anyways, the animation is really top notch and gives it that strange quality to the world that underscores Mob’s strange place in it. We really loved the characters, especially the Body Improvement Club (who are all super strong and scary, but prove to represent the ‘good’ choices that Mob can make such as refusing to be violent and choosing to better one’s self for personal reasons other than shallow ones and accepting others readily). Mob is truly a sweet baby angel who like other Shounen heroes, fights to stick to his moral code even as the world tries to trample over it. He has his own issues concerning his powers, which others would love to have, but he would rather not. We also really loved his relationship with Reigen, who at first seems like a bad con-artist, but whose advice helps Mob try to find his own way to come to terms with both living a normal life and having powers (Arataka is the shit!). The contrast with his own brother (who serves as a foil to Mob) really emphasizes his character. It is by comparing his ability to be considerate and gallant even though he views himself as dangerous and others see him as a loser, to that of others (who also share similar views about themselves but have better lives) that we see how empathetic he is, how perceptive he can be and how heroic he truly is. Also this shit is funny as fuck, but it’s the little details that you watch throughout that add up and emphasize thematically all the inner turmoil and moral struggles that characters face (both normal characters and espers alike).
-Blog Barista and TheBetterCup

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Cool guys don’t look at explosions

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91 Days by Shuka Studios

AngeloTheBetterCup and I have to commute to our respective schools (since we still both live at home). So, we both wake up pretty early every morning (like 6 am) to get to our 10 am classes every day. It isn’t really that great, but at least everyday we make time to watch one anime episode together while eating breakfast or on the commute or any time we are both free. On Thursdays we started 91 Days, because the art looked so good and the plot seemed interesting.

-What is the story?

angelo4So the story is set in Illinios, USA during the Prohibition. 1920’s USA is one of my absolute favorite settings for books, especially if gangs are involved (and of course this is one of them!!).  In the town of Lawless, Italian American Angelo Lagusa witnesses his family’s murder at the hands of the Vanetti family, a mafia gang. After seven years on the lamb (since the family would kill him if they knew he survived), Angelo returns under the alias Avilio Bruno after receiving a letter addressed to him prompting him to exact revenge.

angelo3Avilio returns and infiltrates the Vanitti family under the guise of brewing and selling moon shine (with a childhood friend of his). He befriends Nero, the don’s son and the man who years earlier hesitated to kill Avilio when he had the chance. The story follows Avilio through his 91 days of revenge and the dramatic story that unfolds. angelo1

-How do we feel?

I really loved this anime. It comes off like a giant movie that was broken into segments. The art is beautiful, the story is dramatic, and the authors put in a lot of effort into recreating the world of Prohibition era USA. I love the character designs, and the fluidity of the animation seems high quality. The story can seem to move slowly at times, but every episode leaves you wanting more (literally, since it almost always ends on a cliff hanger). I am excited to see how Angelo exacts revenge (and to see if he can keep his sanity through all of this). I loved his personality and his story, and really want him to have a happy ending (I hope he kills everyone, well almost everyone). Nero is also a main character, and I feel like there may be a chance that they truly befriend each other in the end. So if anything, I hope he can reconcile with him while getting revenge on everyone else. Either way, I can’t wait to see how this revenge ends.

-Blog Barista

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Sekko Boys written by Michiko Yokote

It has been a really long day, and I feel so exhausted. I have been awake for 13 hours and the day is no where near done (plus I slept maybe 3 hours last night). Anyways, I want to post a quick short post on an anime that I really enjoyed watching lately. All summer I have been watching One Piece (like all 754 or so of the current episodes), so I didn’t get a chance to watch new anime. So, TheBetterCup and I decided to watch this anime, Sekko Boys, for no reason other then it looked extra weird (which it is).

thhEc-What is the cartoon about?

The story starts with a young girl named Miki Ishimoto. After graduating art school, she finds herself getting a job as a manager for an idol group. This new rookie group, called Sekko Boys, is comprised of four statue busts: Saint Giorgio, Medici, Mars, and Hermes. And the series follows them as they try to rise through stardom.

-Who are the central characters?

GOODS-00056053_01St. Giorgio: Saint George of Lydda (the guy who slayed a dragon which I wrote a post on that myth) is the leader of the Sekko Boys. He is reliable and mature, but he makes horrible puns and isn’t the most popular between the boys.

GOODS-00056053_04Medici: Guiliano de’ Medici, duke and Italian nobleman, is the cute and extraordinarily popular one of the group. He is very rich and very selfish, but even so, the rest of the group still care for him. He is the only Sekko boy who gets to debut as an actor, in a drama, during the series.

GOODS-00056053_02Hermes: Hermes (the Greek God of thieves, travelers, athletes, and a psycho pomp) is the ‘smart’ one of the group. He is the only bust to be shown to also own the rest of his sculpture. Behind the back of the group, he is shown to be scamming people into buying useless items. He is the rational one in the group.

GOODS-00056053_03Mars: Mars (Roman God of War) is the bad boy of the group. He is tough, ‘muscle brained’ one that had a history of getting into fights and being with many women. He is the one that gets caught in a scandal by mistake. Mars is my personal favorite (with his horrible catchphrase: I’m not needy, just passionate), and TheBetterCup’s favorite is St. Giorgio.

SCa3BXqMiki is a recent graduate from art school who ends up working as a manager for the Sekko Boys. She is hardworking and willing to go with the flow (even though the whole thing seems to ridiculous at first). I love her personality, which is super funny at points.

-How do I feel?

I loved the anime. It is funny, interesting, and pretty unique. I loved the characters and the jokes thrown in. Lots of the jokes allude to mythology and sometimes its so ridiculous. I loved that Miki has a sculpture complex at the beginning (took me by surprise). I also really like how the actual sculptures are done in a different media and look like 3d objects in an anime world. The anime has mostly famous voice actors, and (even though so many people seem to be complaining online about this anime) I feel like the creators purposefully made this anime weird and mixed in witty jokes and different story so that it can be funny. I liked it, and am grateful to have watched it. Also the end theme is great!

-Blog Barista

S.E.K.K.O B.O.Y.S. Sekko!

S.E.K.K.O B.O.Y.S. Sekko!

Magical Girls (who are not quite magical girls)

The post for today is one on a bunch of anime I watched recently that seem to fit that magical genre with out being exactly like magical girls. Some have magical boys involved, and most have really unique twists to the basic story line. I didn’t like most of them to be honest, but they were fun to watch.

When Supernatural Battles Became Common Place by Kota Nozomi

screenFor this anime, I watched about four of the episodes. I really liked the art and concept, and I loved the characters (even if they were a little bit on the basic side). For most people, this anime is great in the first half and the second half tends to be either hit or miss. I really liked it though, and felt that it really was a unique story.

The anime is about the five members of the Senko High School’s Literature Club and the class president; each of which have superpowers that awaken in the first episode. Their superpowers become a part of their day to day menial lives until they get mixed into battling others with similar powers.

The main protagonist is Jurai Ando, the only young man in the literature club and a big ‘chuunibyou’ (which means eighth grader syndrome and is someone who still acts like a child, so basically a big nerd). He is the most excited for the powers that he and his friends get. Because of his nerdiness, he is a great leader and strategist. The only problem is: he got the worst magical power. The “Dark and Dark” is a cold and useless black flame that he can light in his hands and that does about nothing. The other five main characters are all females with much more useful powers such as creating and destroying existence, stopping/speeding up/slowing down time, controlling five elements, and so much more.
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Show by Rock by Geechs

73674lThis anime was a completely different kind of magic. I really went ham with this one and watched almost all of the episodes with out stopping. Its not that this is the best anime on this list, but I enjoyed how ridiculously funny this anime was. The art is extra adorable and I love the characters (for the most part), especially the males from Shingam Crimsonz who are the comic relief for the whole story. The concept was also pretty unique. This was based off of a rhythm video game that had these little three dimensional animal creatures playing the instruments. The anime did a great job incorporating this aspect, making the game story line and the anime story mesh well, and even found away to make something so ridiculous kind of good.

The story is about Cyan Hijirikawa. She is a freshman in high school who loves music and wishes to join the music club (but is way to shy to do so). One night, while playing a rhythm game (*wink wink*), she gets sucked into her smart phone. She ends up in this world called Midi City, where music is almost everyone’s passion. She learns that she is meant to help protect that world from dark monsters and then through a series of events joins a lower (moslty unknown) agency. As a part of the Plasmagica band, she and her new found friends perform together in the music scene while discovering the secrets surrounding the world’s problems and how to get Cyan home.

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The Rolling Girls by Yosuke Miyagi

Rolling☆Girls_Haruhichan.com-Visual-02I saw the concept art for this anime about a year ago and was super excited to check it out, but sadly it was my least favorite. Its an interesting idea, but I felt that the first episode kind of struggled to get my attention and make me want to continue. Weirdly enough, I honestly felt put off by the color scheme too.

This anime is set 10 years after the “Great Tokyo War” in Japan. The country is now split up into city-states and constantly fight each other. The vigilantes who fought in the war became hired as ‘warriors’ that representing their city-states in territorial disputes. The main character Nozomi decides to travel around Japan fulfilling requests and searching for heart-shaped jewels, that can make a person possesses unlimited power.

I think the only thing I can say about this anime is that out of all of the ones listed here, it has the BEST fight scenes! I mean, they are really well made and extra bad-ass and still very girly.

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Gatchaman Crowds by Toshiya Ono

a32d4b90c43b863b2c25c72febea11e1The final series has to be the coolest one on here. The art is cute and pretty basic (like a shoujo) but with bad-ass cg robots mixed in. It felt like a good mix of kawaii and awesome. I really liked the story line as well. It has the basics needed for a magical girl, but also really sci-fi like at the same time. The characters were so so though. the main character is overly optimistic and basic, but her weird quirk with stationary and never being very surprised with how life works makes her likable. And then the other characters are mixed with some weirdos (that I loved) and some that I didn’t (that little panda -_-).

The series is about a group of teens (and some aliens) who have been recruited as Gatchamen (warriors who fight other aliens with special robot suits powered by their souls).

The newest member is the main character, Hajime Ichinose, a 16 year old, quirky, high school girl. She usually disobeys orders and despite seeming irresponsible, her unique point of view helps her be successful.

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Well guys, that is about it!

-Blog Barista

 

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Kira Kira PUNCH

 

Three Anime Review: Day 5

This is the last day for anime reviews. Sadly tomorrow will be the last day of my winter break, so I am not sure if I will have a lot of time to do much other then pack and prepare to return to school. I actually feel real down about it, and I am not too sure why. School may suck, but it is not horrible. Anyways here we go, today has way more positive and fun anime to watch:

World Conquest Zvezda Plot by Tensai Okamura

3b05f84036bb5560005acd7d5fa392571389110928_fullI picked this anime, because I knew TheBetterCup would like it. I really did enjoy it too, but i feel like the fan service is a bit much. The females tend to be over sexualized and many look like children. Heck the main female character may be hundreds of years old, but she has the body of a seven year older (she uses a tricycle for goodness sake).

Kate Hoshimiya is a little girl and leader of an organization called Zvezda. Their goal is to conquer the world (an extreme act where they are basically trying to create a place where they all can fit in since none of them could be defined as a normal and functional part of society). Kate, or Lady Venera, have many people in her organization that plan on helping her with her dream. Soon, a normal middle school boy named Asuta Jimon (who ran away from home) mistakenly gets involved with the group and ends up joining them as well. Together they fight against the White Light and Japanese government as they attempt world conquest.

Anyways, the art is cute. Though the outfits are a bit ridiculous, it is totally acceptable since we are talking about superheros and villains. I thought it was a great idea and definitely one that I have yet to see in anime. It feels a little weird to cheer for the protagonists that you know are technically the ‘bad guys’ and soon to be ‘over lords’.

Noragami by Adachitoka

NoragamiThis anime was a very nice surprise. I did not expect to like it as much as I did (mostly after browsing and watching through so many bad anime). I was actively searching for an anime that had more religious allusions. and this one was highly recommended. I felt like it was really original, very entertaining and funny, and it did allude to some aspects of Shintoism.

The music in this anime is great. I am not sure what to call it, but there is this one weird song that plays in the background that has some rap in it. I just really liked the music which helped make the fight scenes feel more epic. The art is also really nice. It is not super different, but the characters are well drawn. I really liked how their designs were minimal and their clothing very realistic.

Yato God of War

Yato God of War

Yato is a god of calamity (sometimes called a war god, not sure if their is a defined difference in the anime) who has no home and must wander the streets doing small time jobs as a delivery god till he can buy himself a shrine. After his current Regalia (weapons that come from pure souls) quits on him, he takes on a small scale job of finding a cat. One day, he runs out into the street to catch the cat (as a bus is coming towards him), and a girl named Hiyori Iki (middle school student) pushes him out of the way and gets hit instead. The incident causes her soul to be stuck between the living and the dead and becoming a half phantom. The story focuses on Yato and his new regalia, Yukine, and their attempt to build a suitable shrine, as well as Hiyori’s attempt to become human again.

You end up really liking the characters, and none of them feel annoying or overwhelmingly two dimensional. Yato is really funny, but you can also feel some sympathy for the guy. I mean he is a god struggling to get by in this modern society where the youth does not worship as piously to small time gods like they would have 100 years ago in the country-side. So I think the story was one of a kind.

Orenchi no Furo Jijou by Itokichi

I put the manga picture instead of the anime one because this was super cute.

I put the manga picture instead of the anime one because this was super cute.

I saw this on Crunchyroll and thought ‘this looks so cute’. When I found out it was an all male cast, I worried it was yaoi. After watching a few episodes (each only being four minutes long), we quickly realized it was just a very simple, silly, and straight out weird/unique anime in general. I definitely plan on starting the manga now. The story is just so funny, but in a way that is childlike. I loved the characters, who are all so adorable. None of them are overly annoying, but each of them are cute in different ways and different levels (Agari senpai and Tatsumi are so far battling for cutest character for me).

tumblr_inline_nd1bvulE8i1qdffo3The opening sequence is pretty surprising. It is very dark and hardcore, giving off a completely different feel to what the show was going to be like. The music is rock based, and at one point, the main character seems to be drowning. Yet the actual story is far from dark. It is super charming and cute, and the contrast to the opening was very nicely done. The art is cute. All the characters are well drawn (and they look like the creatures that they are meant to be). They look really bright, not shiny, but bright so the anime seems very colorful and pleasant. They have really nice eyes. Also, the art switches to chibi characters constantly, which lends to the sweetness of the story and comedy.

Tatsumi is a busybody high school boy (whoops I swore he was like 23 or something. I think I have officially reached that age where the anime characters are always younger then me 😦 ). He finds a somewhat self-centered but goodhearted merman named Wakasa stuck on land who ends up moving into his bathtub (because the river is heavily polluted). Later on, Tatsumi meets many of Wakasa’s other sea friends including  an octopus, a jellyfish, a sea snail, and a very shy shark.

Actually, we watched a fourth anime called Shounen Hollywood. It was interesting because the art style was more masculine (akin to shounen anime), but the plot was about male idols. It was just really not that good so I did not talk about it. The story was not bad, but over all it was not that good either.

-Blog Barista

*sparkle*

*sparkle*

Three Anime Review: Day 4

These reviews have been really hard for me to write to be honest. I don’t know it may be because I feel anxious and stressed lately, or maybe because I have not been enjoying the anime we picked, I just don’t have much to say about them. Today, TheBetterCup was to busy to watch anime with me, so I picked them on my own. I like them, and you can tell that they move back toward the anime that usually is seen on this blog (sorry).

Gingitsune by Sayori Ochiai

jbkbjkThis was a very refreshing anime that could be described as a breath of fresh air. It is a supernatural slice-of-life that focuses on a simple small town, a shrine, and the inhabitants near that area. Makoto Saeki is the next heir to a Shinto Shrine in a small town. As the next shrine priest, she can see the messenger god of Inari, Gintaro. Though he seems a little rude and uncaring, he loves Saeki and uses is powers of foresight to help her aid the town’s people.

The art is very nice. The scenery is extremely well made and looks like a painting most of the time. This alone makes the world they live in feel magical. Though I did not feel very drawn into the story (mostly because the characters were just ok to me), I still very much enjoyed the how visually pleasing the art work was.

Locodol by Kotaro Kosugi

futsuu_no_joshikousei_ga_locodol_yatte_mita_pv1This anime is really cute, especially the characters. It has a little bit of fan service (which I am never a fan of), but it is still ok.

The town of Nagarekawa is slowly losing its youth population (who go to more exciting places like Tokyo). Nanako Usami and Yukari Kohinata are ordinary high school residents who are asked to become local idols (locodols) to help garner attention to the town. Later on Yui Mikoze joins as the local mascot, and Mirai Nazukari joins as Yui’s substitute. It is a simple and sweet show that will leave you feeling happy and refreshed. I suggest you try it if you have a little free time. It was my second favorite of the three on this list.

Galilei Donna by Yasuomi Umetsu

GalileiDonna_zps4d28df64I really liked this so far. It reminds m of those awesome RPG games that have some futuristic aspects and some older European themes. It looks so cool. I feel it may try to hard when it comes to the machinery in the show, but I do not mind. The female leads are strong and real cool (love Hazuki the most). I am not too sure what the plot is by just watching episode one, but there seems to be a mystery afoot and I want to continue watching. The music that plays during the show is also very good and so is the character designs (nothing that looks overly ridiculous).

The art is great, but the best part here is the architecture. It is a new level of beautiful attention to detail. I think the characters are also really cute and match well with the environment. I love the character designs where they are still different enough to be noticeable, but are not extremely different either. I really love how the people are drawn in general.

The story opens up with each of the girls almost being kidnapped for some unknown reason. Later after meeting with the police, the family goes to pick up their things from their homes. There they meet Cicinho a captain of an air pirate ship who had been the one attempting to get them (for Galileo’s treasure). The girls end up being accused of terrorism (this some how has to do with a conspiracy that is after Galileo’s inheritance) since they are his descendants. To clear their names, the Ferrari sisters embark in a journey around the world to find the treasure before the others do.

These girls are boss! The youngest is thirteen and her name is Hozuki. She is extremely gifted in science and does a lot of tinkering. She is able to fix cars and bikes. The second youngest is Kazuki and is seventeen. She may seem colder, but she is actually really just timid. She is physically talented and strong. She is a capable fighter and knows Shorinji Kempo. Lastly, the eldest is twenty years old and named Hazuki. She dreams to become a lawyer and she is skilled intelligent and strong willed.

Sorry if this seemed short. This time around I did not get to include some of TheBetterCup’s opinions. I hope you guys enjoy these animes.

-Blog Barista

Doesn't this sort of scene make you feel a little happier?

Doesn’t this sort of scene make you feel a little happier?

Three Anime Review: Day 3

For today’s anime, TheBetterCup picked one, I picked one, and we both picked one that we knew would not be very good at all. I am not very sure why we picked that last one, still right now when I think about it I would like to bang my head against the computer screen. Anyways here the anime we picked for today.

Nagi Asu: A Lull in the Sea by Project-118

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I found this one by mistake, and decided to watch it cause it sounded magical. This was a beautiful anime (visually that is). Everything about the it was gorgeous, and extraordinary. The story focuses on four 14 year old students (Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki, and Kaname)who come from the ocean floor. After their school closes down, they have to start going to school on land, and they must attempt to adjust to their new environment (both the land and ocean people are full of prejudice, mistrust, and judgment). By slowly creating a relationship with a son of a fisherman (Tsumugu), they are able to go past their prejudice and accept each other. While growing together and facing personal feelings (that come with this age), they also have to worry with the keeping the Sea God pleased as the Land People move away from the ancient traditions.

I really liked the art of this anime, but the characters did not win me over in the first episode (so I will not continue watching), except I really liked Tsumugu. Anyways, it was not bad. I think if this went more down a ‘Ghibli’ path like more innocence and growing and less interest in love (like adults), then this would be great. Like I loved the ideas of Manaka getting that fish on her knee type curse, or getting caught in a fishing net. It was all so cute. And I know I said this before, but the art was AMAZING!

Bonjour Sweet Love Patisserie written by Ryo Aoki

horriblesubs-bonjour-sweet-love-patisserie-01-480p15-12-27Bonjururu everyone!

This was the one that was bad. I hated it (at least that is my initial reaction, I admit the parts with out the teachers as love interests are not that bad). It was only five minutes for each episode, but I felt like those were bad five minutes spent. The story is really cliche to the point that the pastry chef teacher were glittery and spinning when they ‘baked’ goods. They looked like magical girls. The opening sequence had the men flying in space riding giant desserts for goodness sake. It wasn’t even meant to be a comedy (if it was this would not be so bad). This anime was made as hype for an otome game, but it may have been a better idea to release the game first. Then it would do what Diabolik Lovers did and become successful through the fan base (cause in a game this would not feel ridiculous).

The art can be cute sometimes, but you can tell there are times were it just looks bad. Also the side profiles are not very good. The scenery is nothing special (even the pastries are nothing special). The characters seem poorly designed (look better for the games to be honest) with unrealistic colors for hair and really tacky clothing (personally).

Sayuri Haruno begins to attend an elite confectionery school that looks like a castle called Fleurir (cliche French word as name) on a scholarship. She dreams to open a pastry shop. While at school she meets several ‘charming’ young men including three teachers, one student, and two other men who are the brothers one of the teachers. One of the teachers has a fiance he is being forced to marry too. Just add that to the number of really random and unnecessary parts to this. All of these men have very basic personalities, and so do all the class mates. Sayuri is your typical Otome game heroine (anyone who plays knows what I mean), so none of the characters stand out in any way. Not a lot of time is given for these characters to form deep relationships and talk about their dark pasts, it is just so fast. Should I also mention that the head teacher is so out to get the main character girl, that every male she is seen with is accused of being in a ‘illicit sexual relationship’ with her (even when they made that dog a birthday gift). Even their voices are typically what you would expect. And oh god! How could I forget, the male characters SING the intro and ending themes. As TheBetterCup puts it, ‘they sing badly’ on top of all of it too. But you know, I can kind of see how the anime would be a fun way of killing a little time.

Kyousougiga by Miho Maruo

bAvjZFeThis one feels harder to talk about. The plot is a little confusing, and it is hard to tell just from initial impression whether it will be good or not. I feel like it has so many things I adore, but two simple things make it hard for me to jump on the train.

Myoe, a priest with the ability to give life to his drawings, was treated as an outcast by the villagers in his town. One of his drawings, a black rabbit called Koto, falls in love with him and makes a deal with Bodhisattva to take human form (Lady Koto). Together they start a family by taking in a war orphan named Yakushimaru, and drawing two others, Yase and Kurama. Because of circumstances, they chose to live in a different plane in one of the cities Myoe drew. But Lady Koto has to keep her promise and must leave. Myoe and Lady Koto leave the children in hopes of discovering a way to stay together, and the children wait for centuries in hopes that their parents keep their promise of return (I love the kids who each end up being a little messed up since their parents left, and I love the parents who always tried their best). After all that time waiting, a girl named Koto (protagonist) appears. The story of her attempt to go home, to discover her past, and of the children bringing back their parents becomes complex and interesting fast. But most of all, I have a feeling it may not end perfectly (maybe its still happy, but I have this feeling it has a bitter sweet end). It may be the fact that the dad says ‘I will come back with the beginning and the end one day’ while the mom’s presences threatens the stability of the universe.

The art is gorgeous and the idea is unique. I felt drawn to it by the story of the parents, while I think TheBetterCup was first interested in the solar system opening scene. I love the fact that this has some mythological/religious allusions. Also, it gives off a very surrealistic and tragic vibe. What makes it hard for me to love right away is that I feel like it won’t end very happily. I would not mind if was with out me knowing, but since I have this feeling in the beginning its hard to continue. The story is just Wow. I cried so much, and I love all the characters. The sound track is amazing, and it is all so well thought out. I know I have the feeling something bad will happen, but still really want to watch this, I probably will.

These were enjoyable and 2 of the 3 were definitely very beautiful. I am not sure if I would continue any of them (probably would continue Kyousougiga if it was not so sad). I feel maybe if they were more slice-of-life and simplistic in plot it would be more enjoyable, but I could be wrong in that assumption. Trust me though, I really do like sh***y baking animes. Yumeiro Patissiere was my jam in like 11 grade!

-Blog Barista

I wanna live here!

I wanna live here!

Three Anime Review: Day 2

I think I may need a break from all the love stories soon. So many of the manga I read lately have to do with love. I really need a change of pace soon. Anyways, today’s anime had love in it, but two of the three were definitely a change in pace. Was this a ‘good’ change? Probably no, but still. Today’s review is not as positive as the first day’s.

Daibolik lovers by Shinobu Tagashira

Diabolik-Lovers-OP-1-1

Oh God. This piece of ‘art’ is something I have known about before. Both TheBetterCup and I like otome games, so of course we have stumbled over this before. When I saw that this was an anime, I just had to watch it. Now to get serious, and I am sorry but this is just my opinion, this is a piece of garbage. The game is something that I cannot stomach very much (you need to have specific taste to be able to enjoy it) and the anime is somehow even worse. The art is nothing special, the characters are as basic as an anime can get, and the creepiness of the entire thing just does not help it. I hate yanderes. I understand that some people love them, but I personally just find the idea scary and unappealing.

The story line goes like this: When Yui’s father moves abroad, she is sent to live in a new town. She soon discovers that the six Sakamaki brothers (yeah send your teen age daughter to live in a home alone with six men who are some what abusive, great) are vampires. They abuse her psychologically and physically, often feeding off her. Some how this girl optimistically accepts her situation. I honestly could care less ‘why’ or ‘how’ she is connected to them. This stinks of trash to me. Neither of us could sit through the first episode comfortably, and half way through (since it was obvious that this twisted reverse harem was poorly written) you won’t even care about the actual plot. I regret ever seeing the game, and I really regret the anime. I really should have known better. But, there are many who do like this. So if this seems to be interesting to you then please try it. It was not for us, but you never know if you like it with out trying, right?

DRAMAtical Murders by Nitro+chiral

drBoth TheBetterCup and I had mixed feelings about this one. We picked it cause the name was just so intising. The art was for the most part very well done (excluding a few of the characters that is), and the setting was also great. This was also a game before being an anime. It was really well drawn, mostly the scenery. The characters were over all good, except the main characters stuck out a little to much. Their entire beings were shiny (like plastic) and colorful, and they did not match well with the distopian, cyberpunk background. Even before the story began, or the characters were introduced, you could tell who was a main character only because their clothing were more noticeable to ridiculous levels. The grandmother of the main character also had stupid looking, unnatural looking hair (worse then usual). It is a rule of ours that anime with characters that have brightly colored, unrealistic hair and ridiculous clothing are usually what we ignore (think the most recent Pokemon). Crazy weird looking anime characters, with eye brows or eyes that show through hair, and characters that use cards or animals to battle each other make the hall mark  of anime in the eyes of western society. Those are usually not good anime. This one had some hints of that, but if it had kept a creepier and darker plot line it would have been fine.

Aoba Seragaki lives in the poorer portion of town called Old Residential District and works in a store called Junk Shop Mediocrity. He hopes to live a peaceful life, but is soon dragged into the popular cyber game Rhyme. Here they use Allmates (mobile devices disguised as robot animals) to battle in a virtual world. The story is full of disappearing people, gang turf wars, and a struggle between the gangs in Old Residential district against the owner of Platinum Jail (the rich resort area, why was ‘jail’ a good idea for the name?). This is actually a BL game (boys love), so the male main character falls in love with one of the other guys.

Ao Haru Ride by Io Sakisaka

tumblr_static_tumblr_static_43pxoi8ni680g0kcokw40gc00_1280Ao Haru Ride is one my of my all time favorite manga. It follows the typical love story with a girl meeting her childhood love and rekindling those feelings, but there is so much more to love. Yes there is a lot of drama, but all of that is not the simple love story problems. It focuses more on the hardships of disease and familial death. I found the drama to be of deeper kind, and all of the characters are actually quite complex and wise. I ended up loving all the characters, and actually cheer for both the male love interests (both are so wonderfully cute!). I am getting ahead of myself let me tell you what the anime is about first. It is a great way to introduce yourself to the manga.

140Futaba Yoshioka is a very cute and feminine girl who tries her hardest to act in an unattractive way (no longer feminine) in an attempt to keep from being ostracized like she was when she was in middle school. Some time in the second semester of freshman year in high school, she meets Kou Mabuchi (a boy from middle school who she loved and never got the chance to be with). 148Kou went from being a sweet, shy, and calm person in middle school to a much colder man in high school. the story revolves around her recreating herself, reliving the love she felt for Kou, and learning what he went through to make him so different. They make many friends along the way, and all the characters are really wonderful.

The art work is very great, though the manga is even better. The characters are long limbed and the girls have these really nice and round eyes. I also love how the artist includes the details of lips (many manga/anime just never define the lips). I love the story, I think it is cute how they progress through there relationship. It’s not just ‘oh I hate you’ and then ‘no really I love you’. In this, I felt there was a slow progress. Best part is, at one point you could actually see the two main characters not getting together in the end. It made it seem a little more natural and realistic knowing that it may not work well. Usually I am all for a main male who teases and is a little mean to the girl, but I really liked Kou the way he was before. I wanted him to stay sweet, soft spoken, and shy. And Toma is so wonderful, I love how he blushes so hard all the time (so cute…..). The story also does not focus on only the girl understanding herself and feelings, and connecting with friends. Much of the time also focuses on Kou reaching out to his friends and understanding himself more.

So I know these were not as positive, but we went out of the general genre that we do here on this blog so that is good. Anyways tell me what you think about these anime in the comments below. 🙂

-Blog Barista

I think this image captures the feeling of the manga very well.

I think this image captures the feeling of the manga very well.

Three Anime Review: Day 1

So I only have one week of freedom left, and TheBetterCup has already begun her school for this second semester. We decided that we would watch three anime each day this week until my school begins. Our choices ranged from randomly picking based on name to picking based only on the cover art to hunting down those we promised to watch but forgot. Some are pretty bad, some huge disappointments, and some fantastic. Now lets get started.

Edo Nekoe Jubei Otogizoshi by Maru Nagao

jubeiThis was picked because of the art style. It looks old fashioned, with some traditional aspects mixed with anime and that goes well with the plot line. The story is about this young man and a mythical two tailed beast (basically a talking cat). Jubei, the young man, is a cat painter in Edo and each episode tells of the different encounters he has with the cats in the city, usually with some little magical elements.

What we did not know till we watched the first episode is that this is actually more of a moving manga. Everything is drawn as manga panels with only some parts actually moving (like blinking eyes or cat’s tail swishing). You hear them talk, and you hear the sound effects (like of a person walking), but there is not all the movement to go with it.I really liked the idea, and I felt the simplicity of that style suited the era of story line very well. Everything is drawn great, especially the cats, and the story just panels in and out as the episode progresses. It is very whimsical. The main character is very likable with his understanding and calm personality. The cat demon is very sarcastic and crude sense of humor. He also has a very deep voice. The first episode was very sad, but it was a wonderful way of introducing the plot and anime.

Denki Gai no Honya-san by Asato Mizu

i90SQ91uiMXNyThis is a much stranger anime that focuses on the workers in a manga store. Each of the coworkers are unique and a little strange (some very strange), all become very close friends. It is a typical slice of life but with the characters being more ‘moe’ than sometimes natural. It was a good watch though. despite the cute art style, this is more for adults with concepts of yaoi and erotic manga being commonly mentioned (whole plot of episode 1).

The art is super cute, and more a style that TheBetterCup liked verses my own taste. It is very chibi-like and moe, but it works well with the story type. It is youthful and matches with the innocent feel. It is overall very funny and sweet, but more for adults. Only one thing really stuck out to me in a way that was a little ridiculous. I just cannot understand how the female main characters are about two feet shorter then all the other people (male and female).

Wolf Girl and Black Prince by Ayuko Hatta


vkss_ookami_shoujo_to_kuro_ouji_ch_005_img001I picked this one off of a whim, I thought it would match the anime I usually liked. To be honest, I wanted more from this anime. I feel like the plot has so many possibilities that were not taken. The opening sequence had so many scenes that were never actually shown. The story is about a wolf girl (young girl that lies about most all things) who needs the most popular boy to help her by pretending to be her boyfriend. He accepts readily, but only in the condition that she becomes his dog (he is super twisted). In the anime, I hated how desperate she was and how cruel he was. At one point, it felt hard to continue. This sort of thing was a little less extreme in the manga (at least to me). I really wished that the part where they keep up the charade lasted longer. I feel like this girl fell in love very quickly, by like episode three, and it was to a guy who is not very nice to begin with. But some where in the middle of the anime, he just gives a complete turn around.

I really like the art style. It is the typical shoujo art, but the author is really great at ikemen (handsome men). So most of the best parts was how well drawn the cute guys were. I was really surprised by how much I ended up liking the manga. I say try it if you got the time.

-Blog Barista

7

Space Dandy- by Masafumi Harada

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So, I seem to be posting about once a week, and it will probably stay that way for a while. It is only the end of week three and I already feel overwhelmed in university. Honestly, I had so many posts planned, but between classes, studying, and tutoring/working, I find it hard to get in time for sleeping let alone writing awesome posts on anime and mythology. Anyways, my sister and two friends stayed up real late Saturday night, and decided to watch Space Dandy.  TheBetterCup had mentioned that this reminded her of Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, and all four of us knew how messed up that show was (none of us recommend it). So we looked this up and saw the plot preview; then we watched episode one. We all fell in LOVE with this anime and the characters. I definitely recommend it!

Plot:

Space Dandy follows the story of an alien hunter named Space Dandy as he and his robot assistant search the universe for unknown alien races. They are (and I am quoting this from another site) “dimwitted and next to useless.” That is actually really apparent from the beginning and it is just so funny! I am not sure there is much else for the plot. Each episode something new happens, and there are discontinuities between them. For instance they may die in one and be back for the next episode. It is a lot of heroic stupidity which is extremely amusing and interesting.

Character:

tumblr_myzko34v9o1qzqnxxo1_500Dandy is the main protagonist and titular character. He is an idiot basically. He does as he pleases and tends to be forgetful sometimes. I feel like he must have gone through an existential crisis at one point where he questioned the point of doing things he did not want to, and it lead him to be easy going. Dandy is captain of Aloha Oe (their ship). He is super exaggerated, ridiculous, and comes off as a greaser from the 50s. Though he is super heroic person, he comes off as a total goofball and super uncool. Basically, he is an antihero.
24063QT is the robot member of Dandy’s space crew. He is the most intelligent and competent of the three characters, but also the one that easily gets sucked into doing stupid stuff with Dandy and Meow. He is a pretty old model though, so no matter how great or smart he is, the old software causes him lots of trouble.
tumblr_n8a05zh7wi1rsfepao1_500Meow is the very slow cat-like alien that joins the Aloha-Oe crew. His real name is hard to pronounce. His job on the ship is to lead Dandy to rare aliens. Meow is a big ole’ pervert too, but in a shy and embarrassed sort of way.
Art:
The art style is fantastic. I just adore everything about it. The characters are extremely expressive and the movements are lanky and exaggerated. The series keeps the unique flare like Bo-bobo, but also includes some very beautiful graphics. When you see the space, you just fall in love with how gorgeous it is and how colorful it is too.
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Final Thoughts:

I definitely loved this anime. I am too excited to continue watching more episodes and utterly delighted to have found it. It is hilarious with how extremely ridiculous Dandy and his buddies are, and I adore how they frequently break the fourth wall. Space Dandy is random, fun, well written, and fantastically drawn. I recommend this one hundred percent.

-Blog Barista

With the pressure this semester feeling almost suffocating, this is what I am like before most classes.

With the pressure this semester feeling almost suffocating, this is what I am like before most classes.

Love Lab- by Ruri Miyahara

Untitled

TheBetterCup and I stumbled on this anime about 3 months ago. It is so promising. From its characters to the plot, the cartoon is just likable. I highly recommend it.

-What is the cartoon about?

Love Lab follows the story of the Fujisaki Girls Academy’s student government body. The school is especially pretigious with students who are extremely proper. They all admire the most demure and perfect student, the school president Natsuo Maki. The main character though, Riko Kurahashi, is very a forward tomboy that is also highly regarded for her strength and courage. One day Riko acciddently sees Maki kissing a body pillow and learns the president’s secret that she is not as composed as people believe. She promises to protect the secret and to help Maki learn how to behave during romantic activities. Slowly the others of student government body also get involved.

-Who are the central characters?

love-lab-cast

Eno (top left), Maki (bottom left), Riko (center), Suzune (right), Sayo (farthest right)

Riko Kurahashi is the main character of the series. Very popular among females because of her bold personality, she joins the student council so as to help Maki with love advice. She acts as if she knows a lot about love (though since she is more practical, she really does understand more than Maki), but lied about her previous romantic experiences.

Maki Natsuo is the president of Fujisaki Girls Academy. She is polite, calm, and perfect to the point that most every student and teacher loves her. She is extremely capable and talented, but oddly enough, she fails at anything to do with love. She really wants to learn more about romance, and owns a body pillow called Huggy that she uses to practice with. It is with Riko’s help that she learns about romance, and learns to be able to rely on others for help.

Suzune Tanahashi is the student council secretary. She is small, shy, and easily frightened. At first she tries to avoid and hide from Riko and Maki, but soon joins in their antics. She makes all the paper fans that are used to slap each other with (these slap sticks are a recurring joke, where one character, usually Riko, will hit Maki with the paper when she is being ridiculous like slap stick comedy).

Yuiko Enomoto (Eno) is the former student council president. Eno is a tsundere that holds a small grudge against Maki at first because of Maki’s inability to rely on others. After some time she and her best friend Sayo rejoin the student council. Eno joins as new vice president.

Sayori Mizushima (Sayo) is the former and rejoined student council treasurer. She has a strange and almost wicked personality, but is really very caring. She loves money and becomes greedy with the student council money (which is why she was kicked out of the student council), but joins again later. She is the only girl with a boy friend at the start of the anime.

-How is the Artwork?

The art is super cute with very few flaws or laziness occurring through out the series. They also switch into chibis and exaggerated expressions very easily making it even cuter. I just love how it is drawn.

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-What makes the cartoon awesome?

The story is ridiculous, but cute. The characters are more than 2D. They are extremely likable with very prominent personalities, but they are not predictable at all. The way they interact with each other are so enjoyable.Best of all this anime, though focused on girls and love, has male characters. I have seen some anime where girls struggle to fall in love with boys with out any appearing in the anime, but this one does not do that.

-Blog Barista

Could you imagine a Disney princess like Maki. Now that I think about it Charlotte was pretty close.

Could you imagine a Disney princess like Maki. Now that I think about it Charlotte was pretty close.

Tatami Galaxy- by Tomihiko Morimi

ep3titleI am ready to introduce to you the strangest possible anime I have ever encountered. I have no idea how TheBetterCup stumbled over this jewel, but you know this is one that I am so excited to have found and get to watch. It is wonderful, unique, bizarre, and beautiful. There are few anime that people out side of Japan can see that escapes from the basic molds in plot and characters, but Tatami Galaxy is one of those.

-What is the cartoon about?

How do I explain the plot? The story is about this third year university student that is never named. He went into uni thinking he would have the most idealistic and magical time being super social and doing lots of cool activities, but in freshman year he met a bad egg named Ozu. He ends up having the exact opposite of the social life he imagined, doing crazy almost immoral things that make people hate him. His only other friend is this first year girl named Akashi who he made a promise to (but the promise changes each episode).

-Who are the central characters?

nkdsThe Unnamed Protagonist is a young college student who feels he has wasted about half of his wonderful college years because of bad company. I feel like he is an anti-hero with a tendency to blame others for his bad choices (just stop listening to the demon child and life will be great). He is super straight faced, almost unemotional at times. He comes off as super logical, but proves to be the opposite of how he seems. He is easily manipulated by Ozu to do immoral things that destroy his idealistic college social life, usually Ozu pokes at his emotions to do this, inciting great anger from the protagonist. He is super shy which obviously does not help him in the whole making friends department. The Unnamed Protagonist is the most realistic and ‘normal’ character, but also the most powerless and easily pushed around (like he has no idea what is going on).

hfdbjldOzu is the weird pointy eared, pointy teeth, bad egg that The Unnamed Protagonist ‘befriends’. He seems to represent evil, and actually comes off like a demon that is haunting the protagonist. He is a third year student that is very mischievous messing with everyone’s lives by acting like he is helping but actually making it all worse. Sometimes, Ozu helps the antagonist just to mess with the main character and cause him distress. He is great at manipulating people, mostly our protagonist (first time I saw him I was weirded out by the fact that he blinked and his eyes closed horizontally). He seems all knowing at times and acts as a foil to the protagonist.

djkAkashi is the main love interest and what seems like the sole ‘friend’ to the protagonist. She is very stoic (breaking out of that very rarely), and she comes off as apathetic, but really she is sweet and likes the main character. She is a freshman who has an extreme fear of moths and needs to touch one of her key chains to calm down when feeling anxious (she lost one and the narrator found it, but he does not have the balls to give it back to her). She disagrees with all the bad stuff he and Ozu do, but she always helps him out of a bind. The narrator makes a different promise to her every episode, usually he does not keep it by the end of the episode, but the original promise is to take her out for ramen (which he also struggles to do till the end).

-How is the Artwork?

The art is super weird as far as anime is concerned. It is in a traditional animation style mixed with modern anime style. It is very vibrant with very realistic backgrounds, but it is always colored in a very monochromatic type of way. Only the characters are left white with black outlines, as if they were unfinished. The actual movement is very exaggerated and cartoony.

tumblr_lxrp3lreOR1qc0iibo1_500 tumblr_lkekcma2Um1qgpkhro1_500 giphy tumblr_lws8ob0Jyt1qeumowo1_500 tumblr_lgxwzzr6rG1qzypfko1_500 tumblr_mv9hz4agrH1r922azo1_500 tumblr_lrtvt5loXx1qdc388o1_400 tumblr_mhkz79olgg1rxa6lco1_r3_500 tumblr_m4lkdxHcNb1qju1iho1_500

-What makes the cartoon awesome? 

There are so many reasons to why this is a good anime. I personally loved the concept and how it was set up. The episodes have a strange deja vu quality. It is very repetitive, changing the social group and promise but always revolving around the same ideas of the protagonist being mad that he was manipulated to be bad, have an non-ideal college life, and having some sort of feelings for Akashi that end in a promise that he fails to keep (until the end that is). Some times the narrator becomes self aware and notices the time loop, breaking the fourth wall. There is a Tatami Galaxy (a universe with many unending halls and rooms type thing) that is a recurring theme, and so lots of weird happenings that make no sense in one episode will be explained in another as if each episode was a different universe, and they connected through those little details. This is full of adult themes like drinking, lust, fetishes, and just being an asshole (but no like explicit scenes so no worries). I also enjoyed how they depicted the characters, who are far from cookie cutter and so very flawed/strange. The protagonist speaks so very fast it makes it all dizzying adding to just how bizarre it all feels. Just try it out, it is so worth a try.

-Blog Barista

Don't you wish you knew what the heck was going on here?

Don’t you wish you knew what the heck was going on here?

Top 8 Epic Anime Battles

1souleater

AS A FAIR WARNING, THIS POST INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING BEHAVIOR IN THE GIFS AND/OR VIDEOS: foul language, mention of sex as compensation for help, blood and gore, and obviously violence. 

1random

I felt like lately I have been doing so many posts that were slightly effeminate. So, today’s post will be filled with testosterone (even though many of the fighters are women), blood, and some mention of questionable behavior (one of them hints at sex so if you don’t want to hear it skip this post). I will explain were the scenes come from, who are fighting, and why we picked it, but the videos will speak for them selves. I also hope you like the battle gifs, these were contenders that did not make the cut.

TheBetterCup and I picked these fight scenes because (by our opinions only) 1sworadartthey were the most memorable and badass. Of course there were many to choose from. We have not seen all the anime out there so we probably missed out on some gems, but from what we have seen these struck us as memorable, enjoyable to watch, full of intensity, and not at all boring. I also kept it down to eight because it was not very easy to find the scenes, with good music, and were all the talking (that is only relevant to the plot) was cut out or at least not dubbed (sorry for all those in favor for dubs, some are just real bad).

I tried to be fair and did a lot of searching for more obscure anime and ones whose battle scenes are probably not as well known. 1maidThat being said a couple of these are from really ‘famous’ anime. It was really hard not to pick Attack on Titan or to have more than two Naruto battles (lets be honest they are really intense and epic). In the end I really focused on the ones I really liked. So many of my posts have been focused on anime about love, friendship, and kindness were everything was solved with magic and talking. Here I present to you the most wondrous array of ass kicking from anime. Enjoy.

8. Makoto Kikuchi VS Security Guard- IdolM@aster

This is what happens when idols get over worked XD. No but seriously. In this episode, we see a sweet idol kick butt. This may be the shortest battle scene, but its really attention grabbing seeing as how the entire series has almost no indication of violence. I really loved this because of four reasons. One: Idolm@ster is really drawn well. I loved the art style. It is nothing overly special or different, but it is really cute. Two: I liked the way the battle itself was made. There is not a lot of unrealistic feats, yet it was intense and done on a ladder above a food market. Makoto really looked cool, mostly in a suit, showing off amazing combat ability. It does not come off as a forced conflict, or as ridiculous. It is a lighthearted battle scene, and yet, one that has you at the edge of your seat hoping a young girl kicks that man’s butt.

TheBetterCup: Makoto kicks buns in this scene. I love how the fight scene is smooth, actually showing movement unlike other animes (like Dragonball Z).

7. Yata Misaki VS Fushimi Saruhiko- K Project

Not only was it difficult for me to find out what the name of this anime was (I have never seen the show. I found the battle from a gif actually), but it was also hard to get the url to work on this post. Finally it has been fixed and we can talk about the awesome. I liked this battle because Yata fights with a skateboard. He fights a swordsman using his skate board, and looks awesome while doing so. It is also surprisingly colorful, adding to the how energetic the battle is. The strange pink and blue flames that follow the fighters really draw you into their movements and not so much the overall scene. Did I also mention that this is well drawn? I loved the art style, and the way Yata moves is super cool (he is fighting with a skateboard, so his movement will be strange and different). And the way the video pans as they talk, turning upside down or shaking, keeps even the more boring parts interesting. I know I will probably look up this anime after this.

TheBetterCup: I have never heard nor seen this anime, but it definately wins points for being unique. Where else are you gonna see someone fight with a skateboard?

6. Mugen and Yatsuha VS The Tengu Crew- Samurai Champloo

I already talked about this anime in another post. Basically I mentioned there (in more detail) how I love the style and art of the battle scenes. They are very languid and smooth movements, and Mugen is an unconventional fighter, so his battles are very entertaining. I love how he mainly does kicking moves, and that girl was pretty awesome on her end too.

5. Naruto Uzumaki VS Hiruko- Naruto Shippuden Movie #3

I love Naruto, and I know for the longest time it was one of the top shonen anime (now I am not sure where it stands). Anyways, I feel like Kishimoto always out does himself during the movies. They are always drawn to perfection, with the attention to detail being higher than usual. This movie, The Will of Fire, is no exception. The fight scene at the end is mind blowing. I saw it before actually watching the movie some time ago, and I could not forget it. This is the first bad guy to be this creepy in his abilities (seriously look at his mouth). The way he moves has gotta be the best part.

TheBetterCup: Naruto is my favorite anime/manga. It has been seen the 5th grade, and it will forever be my favorite no matter what happens. This movie in particular was my favorite movie, and I cannot express how much I LOVE the fight scene. Its just so badass.

4. Kotoha Isone VS Zakuro Kurumaki- Yozakura Quartet

This one is crazy. To see a sweet, simple school girl nonchalantly fight a giant monster is amazing. On top of it all, she is constantly moving, even when she fell she rolled back into a run. And the nurse! She was so cheery about it. I loved the art style in general, it seems different somehow (not sure how though). I adored how she calmly used a huge hammer and did it with so much skill too. Over all the way she fought it, the unorthodox choice of weapons was super boss.

3. Homura VS Mami- Puella Magi Madoka Magica

I also explained my love for the style of Madoka Magica in another post. I adore how colorful yet bleak it looks, and the fact that the enviorment seems twisted and skewed. The battle is also amazing in that way. It is full of motion (even when time is stopped) and the fact that they are magical girls fighting with guns as weaponry is really cool. It still has a hint of magical girl cuteness with the ribbons and decorative bullets, but over all it is extremely severe. The use of multiple weapons, the ricocheting bullets to create fireworks, and the flashes of color in very grey landscape makes the battle hold the attention well.

2. Archer Illya VS Saber Alter- Fate Kaleid Liner

Hyouka- by Honobu Yonezawa

Hyouka is an anime that I have been looking for extensively ever since I found all these adorable gif with a purple eyed girl. It was cute, I could not stop looking for it. Ironically enough, I found the name today by mistake. As soon as that happened, TheBetterCup and I watched the first episode without a second thought.

-What is the cartoon about?

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This is the basic representation of the group dynamic.

The story begins with the main character, Hotaro Oreki, joining a school club on his sister’s request. He then meets a fellow member named Eru who intrigues him, somehow getting him to do things he usually would not (this usually occurs when she looks at him and her eyes begin to glisten. Then a surreal image occurs in his mind, and he ends up doing what she wanted without thinking). His best friend later joins as well, followed by a girl who went to middle school with him. Together they make up the Literature/Classics Club. But they solve mysteries together, little simple ones that occur logically and are not all that fantastical as you would think (most of the time).

-Who are the central characters?

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Hotaro Oreki is the main character who joined the Classics Club because it had no members, and his sister wanted him to join. He is extremely calm, passive, and apathetic. His life motto is “If I don’t have to do something, I won’t, but if I have to, I’ll do it quickly.” His goal is to conserve energy, but it makes him seem lazy (which he is not, because he does what is necessary only). He stays in the club and gets out of his comfort zone because of Eru. Even though she is energetic and her curiosity requires that he does not fall in line with his energy saving ideas, he follows her whims because he finds he is unable to ever ignore them. She has a strange affect on him that at first he finds troublesome (turns out he just liked her). Oreki is extremely logical and is skilled at solving mysteries in minutes.

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Eru Chitanda is the ditzy and extremely curious young girl that joins the Classics Club. She is usually very lady-like, polite, and sensible girl, but when she becomes excited over a mystery she acts almost child-like. She becomes energetic, persistent, stubborn, and a little nosy. She will not stop thinking about the mystery until its solved (but not in an overly done annoying type of way. Do not worry she is likable and realistic character). She has a very romanticized view on the world and her motto is “I’m curious!” She also earns top grades, and comes from a wealthy farming family. The way Oreki solves mysteries is really amazing to Eru, and she admires him greatly for it.

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Satoshi Fukube is Oreki’s best friend who also joins the club. He is a complex character. He comes off as cheery, and eccentric, often being sarcastic and making lots of jokes. His motto is “If the joke is not in the moment, it is nothing but a common lie.” He sees that jokes can lead to misunderstandings, and so he is always aware of how it may be taken. Fukube has a perpetual grin, but he is actually self-deprecating. Distancing himself once he begins to get close to others, he is obsessed with not becoming obsessive (over people). He has an impressive memory, and refers to himself as a human “database”. He and Mayaka have known each other since middle school, and they end up liking each other.

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Mayaka Ibara is nitpicky, almost perfectionist type of girl (a personality I tend to like in characters because I find them easy to connect to ). She is very strict, rudely straightforward, and impulsive person. She does not always see eye to eye with Oreki (whose energy saving ways baffle her), but they slowly warm up to each other. On the other hand, she and Eru become very close friends fairly easily. She loves manga and is an artist  herself (but she is embarrassed to admit that she is into reading manga). Mayaka gives her friends cute nicknames showing that she cares about them very much.

-How is the Artwork?

The artwork is extremely beautiful (it is the reason why I was so desperate to watch), and very colorful in a way that is subdued, like pastels, not viciously bright and rainbow like. Though the scenery is very detailed, its so simple and soft seeming. It does not bogg down the veiwer’s eyes. It reminded me of water colors, to be honest, and this lent well to the simple mysteries (of the mundane and every day variety) and surrealistic nature. The animation is extremely fluid, and the atmosphere is very lighthearted.

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It is so amazing and magical.

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-What makes the cartoon awesome? 

aaaaaThe entire story is full of comedic moments that are not very forced. The apathetic character, Oreki, and sarcastic joker, Fukube, dynamic makes a very funny pair. The characters and situations are not to over the top which makes them easy to relate to and keeps them from falling into the ‘basic anime’ plot. Yet even though it is funny and easy going, their is still enough complexity (thanks to Fukube) giveing it enough drama so that the plot is not to boring.

aaAlso to add to how amazing this is, the anime has some magic going for it. It is not magic of the wizarding kind, or of the alien type, nor even of the mystical. The magic here is surrealistic, and usually occur in Oreki’s mind. Instead of using dialogue to show how it is he feels, the creators rely on this method of magical perspective to show Oreki’s feelings. He has strange moments were he imagines things happening. The first scene like this has Eru’s hair almost growing like a tree and it gets you completely off guard. But the softness and simplicity just give it this dream like effect. I really like it.

Lastly the entire story, though categorized as a mystery, focus’s on character development. Much depth is reached through the simple, and mundane activities (which is pretty impressive), and the characters grow well into becoming likable and unique. If this is something you have yet to see, I definitely suggest at least checking out the first episode.

-Blog Barista

 

Mystery's that baffle even Sherlock: the janitor did it!

Mysteries that baffle even Sherlock: the janitor did it!

One Week Friends- by Matcha Hazuki

One Week Friends

One Week Friends

-What is the cartoon about?

The story centers around Yuki Hase, a sweet high schooler who notices a female classmate who is constantly alone, and his attempt to befriend a friendless girl. At first, he interested in her because he finds she aaahas a cute face, but slowly he learns that she is a kind, sweet, young girl who desperately yearns for companionship. He finds that she pushes all her classmates away, because each Monday her happy memories spent with friends are erased. So every week, he re-friends her and helps her experience all the things she missed out in her past with out friends. He also introduces her to others, helps her to stop pushing her classmates away, and even suggest she keep a diary to preserve her happy memories.

-Who are the central characters?

Yuki Hase

Yuki Hase

Yuki Hase is a second year high school student that fails in math. He is the main character who notices Kaori and her constant loneliness. At first, he was interested in her because she had a cute face, but after spending an entire week trying to befriend her, he begins to like her for her kindness and good personality. Even though she constantly tells him they cannot be friends, Yuki goes out of his way to win her over. At the end of their first week as friends, she shares her secret that her memories of her friends reset each Monday. Even though he knows he will be forgotten, he still befriends her each week. He introduces her to new friends, and helps her regain some memories. He still has a big crush on her, and his biggest goal is to make her happy.

Kaori Fujimiya

Kaori Fujimiya

Kaori Fujimiya is a second year high school student that exceeds in mathematics. In the begining she is very cold and distant toward most of her classmates. She refuses to make friends because she knows that she will forget them each Monday and she does not wish to go through that anymore. The other students see her very negatively because of how  well she does in math and how distant she is. She does not gain friends till Yuki starts making the attempt to befriend her, and through his help, she gains back tidbits of her memory. She used to be very likable in school, but when she was younger she was in a car accident that caused her to lose her memory. Afterwards she was bullied a lot for her forgetfulness.

Shogo Kiryu

Shogo Kiryu

Shogo Kiryu is a second year high school student with very good grades. He is also Yūki’s best friend. Shogo likes to sleep a lot, even during class. He also has what seems to be a cold demeanor. He says exactly what is on his mind with out fear of how it might hurt others. Shogo is actually a bank of wisdom for Yuki and his attempts at helping Kaori. Though at first, he doubts her situation, he realizes it is the truth. He treats most situations as bothersome, and he is quite lazy, but he cares about his friends very deeply.

 

Saki Yamagishi

Saki Yamagishi

Saki Yamagisha is a second year high school student. She transfers into the classroom and becomes quick friends with the gang. She is the first person, other than Hase, to befriend Kaori. She is a little clingy to her, and this causes Hase jealousy (since he wanted to be Kaori’s only friend). Saki is Shogo’s primary school classmate, and she used to be bullied for her small size. She is a clumsy and forgetful girl, and she tends to depend heavily on others.

 

 

Hajime Kujo

Hajime Kujo

 

Hajime Kujo is a second year high school student who transfers during second semester. He was a primary school classmate to Kaori. He has a very strict parents that dictate many things in his life. They promised each other they would meet one day in the park, but the next day she had her car accident. She never met him like she promised.

 

 

 

 

 

-How is the Artwork?

The art is pretty simplistic. It is like most shojo manga and animes, the background are not very detailed usually. And this particular anime, though its characters are drawn in a way unique to them, is not my very favorite style (it is really cute though). But every now and again, the background has an extra attempt at detail that makes it gorgeous. So look at these pictures to decide if you like the artwork.

One Week Friends

One Week Friends

One Week Friends

One Week Friends (This is one of my favorites)

One Week Friends

One Week Friends

One Week Friends

One Week Friends (And this one)

One Week Friends

One Week Friends

 

-What makes the cartoon awesome?

This is basically the type of anime I like. Even though it is not my very favorite shojo (Say I love You is the winner there), it is still a fun anime to watch. I know I am interested to see if Kaori ever fixes her memory problem. It is considered a drama genre, so I am very worried something might go really wrong before they can have their happy ending. I just hope it ends well, and I know I will continue watching this anime to find out.

-Blog Barista

 

Don't you just wonder what they are yelling about?

Don’t you just wonder what they are yelling about?

Samurai Champloo- by Shinichiro Watanabe

Samurai

Once again, my sister has proven to be a great source of finding anime that fits my tastes. This one in particular is spectacular, I only feel shame that in my 15 years of watching anime I had not heard of this before. The show Samurai Champloo was created in 2004 and ran until 2005, having 26 episodes total. The story line is amazing, the artwork is thrilling, and the characters are instantly likable. SPOILER ALERT

Samurai Battle

-What is the anime about?

The story is about a trio who travels in search for a ‘samurai that smells of sunflowers.’ The first episode introduces the three characters and sets up the plot. A young girl, working in a tea shop, is saved by a vagabond. In another part of town a samurai stands up to a dishonorable lord before going to the tea shop where he and the vagabond begin to fight each other (a misunderstanding occurs). They are equally matched and the tea shop burns down. The samurai and the vagabond are captured and tortured by the dirty lord and they are sentenced for execution in the morning. The young girl helps them to escape, on the condition that they help her find the sunflower samurai. The entire episode was extremely funny, with strange little tidbits catching the audience off guard (like when the samurai is seen in a large pot bathing during the tea shop fire or when the girl puts the fireworks in her shirt and they look like boobs). Just as a forewarning to those who do not like this, the anime is bloody and does have foul language.

-Who are the central characters?

Fuu

Fuu is the main female character from the trio. She is the young lady that worked in the tea shop as a waitress, and the one that saved the other two from execution. She has no family, the tea shop owners suggested she go with them since she is alone, and she is the one in search of the sunflower samurai. Through out the show, she keeps the vagabond and the samurai from fighting and attempting to kill each other. It is later revealed that the sunflower samurai is her father, who left her and her mother when she was a child. Fuu is 15 years old and her name comes from the word for small, brightly colored birds.

Mugen

Mugen is the vagabond of the trio. He is the one who helps Fuu in the tea shop as samurais of the corrupt lord where harassing her. He loves to get into fights and has an unconventional fighting style. He is very much similar to the gangster yanki characters completely violent and buck wild. Mugen sports blue tattoos around his wrist that signify he has been in prison prior to meeting Fuu and Jin. He wears geta shoes with metal plating that he uses during battle, adding to the strangeness of his fighting style. He is rude, vulgar, and a womanizer (all traits that get him into trouble). Mugen is an antihero, who may seem like a lowlife at first, but is so much more complex then that. (Mugen is my personal favorite. I love antiheroes, they are usually my brand of awesome, and this includes chicken boy Mugen.) Mugen is 19 years old and his name means limitless or infinity.

Jun

Jin is the final member of the trio. He is a ronin (samurai with no lord or master) with very stoic personality. His fighting style is very much by the book making him a foil to Mugen. He and Mugen wish to fight each other through out the entire anime, and in the end, accepting that they are friends, neither wishes to kill the other anymore. When Jin was younger, his own sensei attempted to kill him and died by Jin’s hands. Jin is disciplined and always cool and collected during battles. (He was not in the slightest freaked out when an old man hit on him, suggesting male love, in the second episode). Jin is 20 years old and his name means justice or benevolence one of the codes by which a samurai must live.

-How is the Artwork?

Another amazing attribute of this anime is the art style. I am not even one hundred percent sure how to describe it. The director is the same as that of Cowboy Bebop and the art style is quite similar to that. The characters are lanky and move in strange languid ways (mostly when they fight). They can get really ugly at times but it just adds to the beauty of the art. The entire show is dramatic and full of cinematic visual style. The landscape is rendered in lush watercolors that contrasts the darkness that feels to creep into most of the scenes. If not a darkness the cities tend to be shown with mostly grey, brown, and tan color scheme (not at all vibrant in colors).

Mugen FightFight Style

-What makes the anime awesome?

The anime is based in feudal japan and is chock full of allusions to real life people and happenings. It is a hybrid of a feudal Japan, urban street flavor, and off-beat comedy. The sound track is brimmed with hip-hop music and Mugen’s fighting style borrows frequently from break dancing. Seeing inconsistencies in the time period by references of modernity is hilarious and adds to the viewing experience.

-Blog Barista

 

 

 

But seriously though, that smile…

But seriously though, that smile…

 

Hoozuki no Reitetsu- by Natsumi Eguchi

Hoozuki-no-Reitetsu

My sister called me up one day while I was at school. I had been under a lot of stress, and I gave myself absolutely no time to do anything of enjoyment, only study. She called and told me that a new anime came out that would be right up my alley. So I decided I would exercise that day for 30 minutes and watch an episode. I fell desperately in love, and each day as I exercised i would watch one episode, giving me motivation to stay fit and having 30 minutes a day to myself.

-What is the anime about?

It is about Hell and the daily situations that occur. Basically Hell is run as a business, and the story revolves around the daily problems occurring and how they are dealt with.

Hozuki

-Who are the central characters?

The main character, and the one from whom the name of the anime is taken, is Hozuki. He is the deputy that runs hell like a strict business. He is a sadistic demon, cold blooded and a little cruel. Though on the other hand, he enjoys cute things, fluffy things, and gardening. He is very intimidating and good at almost everything. Another central character is Enma the Great King of Hell. He judges all that die and come to Hell. He is kind of a dunder-head and gets pushed around a lot by his ‘underling’, Hozuki. He is also Hozuki’s godfather. The next character is Hakutaku, a Chinese Celestial Beast. He is a pharmacist that lives and works in Heaven. He is also a notorious womanizer and rival of Hozuki. The cast also includes many other colorful characters that are all unique and interesting.

Hoozuki

-How is the Artwork?

The animation style is purely breath taking. It is done to look like the sumi-e ink style artistry. It gives a very oriental aesthetic distinctively antique. Seeing as how a lot of anime are very ‘western-enthused’ with Victorian era styles and such, this attempt at traditional art is super wonderful. The monsters and other mythological creatures are kept ugly, not made to look ‘kawaii’ or extremely handsome (except for Hozuki). It is nice to be able to see a diversity in character design, culturally and in looks. Hozuki Cooking

-What makes the anime awesome?

It alludes to many religions and mythologies around the world. Many episodes speak of Japanese myths, some mention Greek myths, Egyptian deities, and even Christianity is connected to this. Having so many references to other culture’s religions is a dream come true for myself. You learn so much, and the dark humor makes it even better. It is a comedy slice of life that focuses at a part of culture that is usually over looked as boring or old. The fact that this anime holds almost a magical realism (type of genre google it) is what attracted me. Some may not be able to find it funny, and much of the jokes need prior knowledge of legends or even bdsm to get (they make lots of sadism joke in this).Hoozuki

It is bizarre and lovely, but sadly for many it will be hard to appreciate because of the dry dead-pan humor and the fact that prior knowledge in cultures need to be known to enjoy it.

-Blog Barista

 

 

I wish I could grow such a garden.

I wish I could grow such a garden.