All posts filed under: Anime/Manga Impressions

Frightening Resolve – My Hero Academia Episode 38 – Season’s Writings

Two sides. To every argument, to every coin, to every argument about coins. The problem is, that idiom fails to factor in that there are plenty of actions that involve far more than two…except the tango. And as the number of participants increases, so too does the number of opinions, the amount of voices calling out into the night…some other third thing. Realism aside, this has a tendency to tilt fiction towards the confusing, unless every character is in a particularly talkative mood. Just going to throw this out there, Tomura Shigaraki is one creepy dude. Disembodied hand suit aside, he is so focused on wanton destruction that he has never taken the time to wonder why he does what he does, or where what he does is leading to. Until now, of course. With two new recruits ready to call the League of Villains home, ol’ Shigaraki is given somewhat of a wake-up call and comes to the conclusion that he must come to a conclusion. This grants us the lovely opportunity to see …

Compromising Ideals – My Hero Academia Episode 37 – Season’s Writings

They say you should never meet your heroes. Something about expectations and the improbability of meeting them. Still, I doubt the people who spout such rhetoric ever took into account actual heroes. Like, superheroes. Although, if you ever did meet a superhero, chances are you are either in life threatening peril or are a bad guy…so the whole never meeting thing may still apply. You know what, ignore me. I no longer remember the point I was trying to make and am 90% sure I just confused myself…All Might is pretty cool though, right? Since time began turning in the world of My Hero Academia, Bakugo and Midoriya have been on shaky ground. And by shaky ground, I mean a minefield where every mine is actually ten mines and also the mines hate you. Despite multiple attempts from Midoriya to repair their shattered relationship, Bakugo is a perpetual source of ire and rage, culminating in the duo being paired off in this exam. One of those sink or swim manoeuvres. To nobody’s surprise, the former …

Grip of the Grape – My Hero Academia Episode 36 – Season’s Writings

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: Exams would be so much more interesting if they just gave students superpowers. Who needs logical thinking and problem solving skills when you can just fly under your own power? Or bend water to your whim? Well…it turns out those things are actually vitally important to surviving in the big wide world, so everybody. But I do not rescind my comment about the powers…as long as I can get in on that evolutionary action. Also, My Hero is still going strong…so that’s neat and far more relevant. With Yaoyorozu coming into her own last episode, there is a whole lot of catch up needed if we ever want to get to Midoriya vs Bakugo vs All Might (and yes I meant to include all of those versi). So we find ourselves in somewhat of a lightning round situation as the remainder of Class 1-A blast through their practical exams. Definite care was given to some students over others, but the overall result provides a …

Vote of Confidence – My Hero Academia Episode 35 – Season’s Writings

As a great educator once said, “Exam arcs in anime are the ground on which new foundations are built and old ones crumble.” Now, don’t ask me the name of this esteemed teacher, for their identity has been lost to the waves of time and I totally didn’t just make them up to use as a paper thin veil for barely passable rhetoric. Speaking of passable, those exams sure do look tough… Picking up from the odd scene that capped off last episode and could best be described as a nature photographers fever dream, Tsuyu and Tokoyami take centre stage in this knock down, drag out, run away for the ages. Though not the longest bout to grace the lineage of My Hero Academia test scenarios, this round provides a nice amount of development for some strong supporting members of Class 1-A. Following the logic established by the U.A. faculty, teacher student match-ups are based on the worst possible mixes. Thus, ranged and single point attacker Tokoyami is pitted against Ectoplasm, a creepy cool looking …

Faculty Beating – My Hero Academia Episode 34 – Season’s Writings

With the truth of One For All and All For One still (relatively) fresh in our minds, there is only one thing that can lift our spirits back to acceptable Shonen levels: Exams. Wait…exams are awful. Getting away from them is one of the major reasons people watch anime (don’t bother fact checking that, I’ve already done the research and am a trustworthy source). I mean, such an inclusion could only be forgiven if, say, the series blazed past the boring written segment and dropped us smack bang in the middle of another cool combat scenario…and also if Yaoyorozu got some more screentime and was absolutely adorable. So check your fears at the door, my friends, because that is exactly what happens. Reminding us once more that our cast of heroes are still very much at school, a new batch of tests loom over 1-A, a far greater threat to some than even the Hero Killer. Not literally, of course, on account of pieces of paper holding no ideological views and a single minded desire …

Two Sides – My Hero Academia Episode 33 – Season’s Writings

With the wonders of a frog girl centred series fresh on our minds, and in our hearts, My Hero Academia leaves filler territory behind and performs a 180 degree roundhouse kick that gives us all both mood whiplash and a greater appreciation for the horrible past this fictional world left behind. No hyber buff hero smiling his way towards a brighter future, hair antenna billowing in the wind, just the emaciated form of All Might grimly explaining the truth behind the power to change the world. It’s a rough one this week. With their internships behind them, Class 1-A returns to dole out all the gossip, stories and jokes their bodies can handle. Tales of modelling careers, combat training and preventing a family of octopi from smuggling drugs onto the shores of Japan abound and are resoundingly overshadowed by the three students who came face to face with a man prepared to kill the entire part of the world this series focuses on. Although Mineta’s sudden opinion shift on women leaves a lot of questions …

Sea Frog – My Hero Academia Episode 32 – Season’s Writings

If there is one complaint about My Hero Academia that the internet has made abundantly clear, it’s that there is nowhere near as much Froppy as the world desires. With the proportional speed and strength of a frog (maybe), this UA student has captured the heart and minds of viewers everywhere and almost single-handedly brought the series into a territory it has never been before: Filler. I know, I know, the most dreaded word in anime. Six simple letters (or five, depending on your viewpoint on the double l situation) that send us on a wayward path that may last for months at a time. Luckily, this heroic breakaway is exactly one week long and simply exists to showcase a few future heroes whose names aren’t Midoriya, Todoroki or Iida. But let’s face it, it’s the Froppy show this week. Stationed on a boat and surrounded by burly sailors, one of whom is an anthropomorphic seal-man, our little frog appears even more out of her element than usual. Which is ironic…because water. Although the salinity …

Viral Marketing – My Hero Academia Episode 31 – Season’s Writings

If there is one thing that fiction has ill prepared the world for, it is the aftermath to climactic conflict. The bad guy falls, the good guy stands, the movie ends and that’s all she wrote. Sure the hero may get a kiss in before the credits roll and people rush off entirely too fast to leave the cinema, but the rest, more or less, is silence. But let us say, for the sake of argument, that the world upon the screen did not end when Johnny McEvil was bested, that another evil perhaps sought to fill the proverbial void and reign chaos down upon the temporarily jubilant populace? Well, you get a sequel…but what if they didn’t wait that long? With Stain captured and taking a little time off to heal from his burns and shattered bones (before being transported to whatever maximum security prison can hold a guy who can paralyse via blood and wears enough blades to make a cutlery drawer blush), the world at large is in a bit of a …

Stain Remover – My Hero Academia Episode 30 – Season’s Writings

It has been said that every villain believes themselves the hero of their own story. The just, the correct, the one who stands against an antagonistic world and cannot be faulted for doing so. Then there’s Stain. A villain by his own design. A force to combat heroes, to kill them, cleanse the world of those who do not meet his standards. The necessary evil. The blinding irony of this all is that he still believes himself to exist as a force of justice. He’s also fairly insane too, so that probably helps with the contradiction. With Iida and Midoriya paralysed by blood magic and Todoroki on the defensive, the situation for our heroes-in-training was not looking so hot coming into this episode. However, as the flow of Shonen combat dictates, this low exists to make the highs higher and the victories all the sweeter…though not without another helping of internal introspection. With the Sports Festival providing an evolutionary moment for Todoroki and Midoriya’s recent training propelling him to new heights, Iida is understandably feeling …

Impotent Rage – My Hero Academia Episode 29 – Season’s Writings

According to some vindictive chefs, revenge is a dish best served cold. However, since nobody whose mind is bent on vengeance is inclined to wait that long, revenge is usually served at temperatures reaching that of Earth’s sun. A common side dish for something of such blood boiling impossibility, is unprecedented screaming. and not just the loud kind, the kind of screaming that says, “I don’t care if my throat aches like nobody’s business after this, because I honestly am not thinking that far ahead and, in fact, am not even really planning to be alive long enough for that to matter.” You know, the mentality of a hero… …okay, so it’s definitely not the mentality of a hero and that is entirely the point of Iida’s recent subplot. Consumed by rage for his fallen brother, our engine-legged friend sought out the villain responsible and promised to bring him down once and for all. Only it wasn’t for all, it was for him. An intensely personal desire that cannot be blamed for existing and one …

Anti-Hero – My Hero Academia Episode 28 – Season’s Writings

Since a man first leaped a tall building in a single bound, people the world over have pondered what it means to be a superhero. Is it strength? Skill? Speed? A conscience that cannot be quieted? Or the simple desire to help? Is it all these things? None of them? Some of them? The true irony is the answer is known and still a mystery. It is all of these and none of these. A mix that is specific to a person and what it all means to them. But what happens when ideologies clash? When one stands up and stands against what it means to be a hero? The answer is again a simple one: Chaos. Though he has not graced our screens for long, Stain is already becoming quite the interesting stutter in My Hero’s flow. After critically injuring Iida’s brother, the Hero Killer was given an introduction to paint him as a malicious and intrinsically evil force. Which he is. However, the past two episodes have provided a glimpse into the mentality …

Microwave Beginner – My Hero Academia Episode 27 – Season’s Writings

If anime has taught me one thing, it’s that you can never truly be considered a master of anything until you enter the tutelage of a seemingly insane old man…who is probably actually insane. For it is only they who can think outside of the box enough to unlock a whole new level of power and skill within a budding warrior. Extra points if they’re super old and have a whole Yoda vibe going. As somebody who frightens the bejesus out of All Might, a man who can literally change the weather with a single punch, Gran Torino makes quite the impact before his introduction…then he was introduced. Beginning as dead and upgrading to senile, the legendary trainer of All Might seems to be far less than advertised, long passed his prime and long, long passed his wits. But, since darn near everybody has seen Star Wars, or Dragon Ball, it is immediately obvious that Gran Torino fills a role left surprisingly empty in the series thus far. With every mentor figure being a well …

What’s in a Name – My Hero Academia Episode 26 – Season’s Writings

If I were to ask what the most recognisable feature of a hero is, what would you say? Their costume? Their powers? Their stance on killing and its correlation with becoming that which they fight against? Well, if any of those were your answer, you wouldn’t be wrong. Each is an undeniable quality of what makes a hero a hero and yet, there is an even more crucial factor that is ironically one of the most overlooked: Their name. Though it eventually fades into the collective unconscious when speaking of your favourite hero, a name is what marks them, what defines them, what showcases their personality and makes them unique. Though slapping “man” onto the end of an animal doesn’t score too highly on the creativity spectrum… In case the bombastic finale of the Sports Festival caused you to forget, the students of UA are far from the realm of professional heroism. Though their costumes made their debut some time ago, we are reminded this episode that our heroes-to-be are yet to name themselves, legally …

Resolution – Attack on Titan Episode 37 – Season’s Writings

What else could go wrong? The arc words of catastrophe, spoken only by the unaware the second before something else goes wrong. In an attempt to break this cliche convention, Attack on Titan throws a curveball and simply makes the situation worse, without anybody having to say those classic words. With Reiner and Bertholdt still holding focus, I was honestly not expecting the series to throw another ingredient into the clusterfudge it has been baking over these past few episodes, let alone an ingredient that was so…smiling. Yes, friends, the Smiling Titan is back, the very same Titan who devoured Eren’s mother and ignited the fire that burns out of control within his soul. Though it may seem coincidental that this one particular Titan would appear at such a crucial moment, feelings of contrivance were washed away by the sheer shock of it all. Existing as a horde, connections to a particular Titan are few and far between within the series. The verbage of Eren’s outbursts and the scope of his hatred following his mother’s …

A Bitter Pill – My Hero Academia Episode 25 – Season’s Writings

It has been said that barking dogs seldom bite. It has also been said that Katsuki Bakugo does both frequently and has attempted multiple times to literally blow up said phrase, due to its inaccuracy in regards to his personal motivations. With the Sports Festival nearing its climax, this week sees Bakugo vs Todoroki in the match we’ve all been waiting for…at least since the spectacle of Midoriya vs Todoroki wrapped up. With a speed round of battles that lacked the inherent gravitas of said fight, fans both in universe and out are longing for the next big clash, perhaps none more so than Bakugo. With zero internal monologue, Bakugo reminds us all that he desires victory above all else. Moreover, he wants an indisputable victory, a triumph that cannot be ignored and other synonymous phrases. Combined with the knowledge that Todoroki saw fit to utilise his left side on Midoriya, Bakugo spends much of his screentime demanding Todoroki show him the same respect. Though his loud and abrasive manner fails to coax Todoroki into …

Hath No Fury – Attack on Titan Episode 36 – Season’s Writings

Humanity is not the strongest species in the world. We do not have claws, we do not have fangs, we cannot fly, breath underwater burrow into the Earth itself. And yet, we can. Through intelligence and ingenuity, humanity carved a path through history as a dominant species on a planet of creatures more suited to this role. It is this very same mentality that has seen our characters through their toughest trials, plagued by Titans as they are. Reiner and Bertholdt themselves have been assuring their survival in their own betraying way, longing to live on past a time of war. So why, oh why, did they get between Eren and Mikasa? Literally anybody anywhere could have told them how boneheaded that move was. Very. The answer is very. Holy crap. Mikasa Ackerman is terrifying. Sure we’ve seen her slice up Titans like they were a tomatoes an infomercial about knives, but she take the fear factor up to eleven this week. We saw her click when Eren was in danger, we saw her slash …

Mark of a Hero – My Hero Academia Episode 24 – Season’s Writings

When a fire consumes its fuel in one glorious spectacle, a truly memorable flash is seared into the memories of those there to witness it. However, with its power source depleted, it is only a matter of time before it burns itself away. Now, Todoroki’s situation is not that metaphorically morbid, but the analogy is still a pretty sound one. Especially when applied to this episode as a whole. With the explosive clash we have been waiting to see already over, this weeks affairs are of a much lower key. The cruel sadness of this being that the matches we see this week are the quarter and semi finals. Thus, despite their best efforts, Iida, Tokoyami, Bakugo, Kirishima and even Todoroki are not able to elicit the sheer thrill of last weeks fight. Not that I really expected anything else. After all, Midoriya vs Todoroki was the climax of the plot laid out before us. Though the Tournament Arc provided a solid backdrop, it was that clash we longed to see. And we have seen …

Wounds of the Past – Attack on Titan Episode 35 – Season’s Writings

They say that home is where the heart is and, as is made painfully clear, our poor Ymir has been homeless for quite some time. From a traumatic past, to a terrifying adolescence, this 104th cadet has the makings of a protagonist in her backstory. However, as always, Eren is on the scene to scream and remind us that he is the core of our story…at least until he gets knocked unconscious and tied to somebody’s back. Continuing from where we left off, newly revealed traitors of humanity Reiner and Bertholdt discuss their options as a troop runs ever closer to rescue Ymir and Eren. Their obvious panic aside, this was the first time I actually felt as if the two secret Shifters were actually characters of their own. With a quick check that Reiner was still a warrior, Bertholdt showed a more apparent sense of concern and reservation, rather than the quiet terror stares he has subsisted on in the past few episodes. Reiner’s assessment of the situation, and clarification that the true him …

Up in Flames – My Hero Academia Episode 23 – Season’s Writings

Here’s a philosophical question for you all: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object…but also that immovable object has the ability to produce frightening quantities of ice and fire? Action. Action is what happens, my friends. And I’m not talking about that surface level stuff, no, I’m talking about the kind of action that strikes your very core and leaves you shaking long after. I’m talking about that tried and true, learn from your mistakes, make yourself a better person Shonen Jump magic. With all of the lead up to the grand showdown between Midoriya and Todoroki, this weeks clash was already set up to be a memorable one. With two competitors who simply refused to back down, regardless of the circumstances, there was also no doubt that we would witness two powerhouses of the series show us what they had…but maybe not all they had. Despite his remarkable strength, their was still always a side of Todoroki we never saw: His left. Now, whilst a touch more literal than most uses …

Questionable Intent – Attack on Titan Episode 34 – Season’s Writings

As with any plan, there are two key features which must be present: Conception and execution. Without both of these aspects, a plan is either an idea or a whim. However, should both features be performed flawlessly, there still remains an important question that must be answered: What happens next? For Reiner and Bertholdt, the answer is a resolute: Who knows? Having stolen both Eren and Ymir away from the friends they have who aren’t traitorous Titan Shifters, Reiner and Bertholdt are seemingly lost, with no real handle on their situation. Given Reiner’s spontaneous decision to simply tell people that they were the monsters who began one of the worst tragedies in recent history, this is more than expected. And so we find ourselves returning to a particular forest, wherein captors and the captured try and wrap their heads around just what the hell is going on. Spoiler Alert: A consensus is not met. As he is want to do, Eren spends most of this episode screaming about the injustice of the world and focusing much …

Defiant Gravity – My Hero Academia Episode 22 – Season’s Writings

Since the bombastic Bakugo first blasted his way through Midoriya’s life (and notebooks), we have all longed for the moment when the bullied would rise and take a stand. And we got that. So now let’s get wacky with things and see what happens when Bakugo fights Uraraka. Aren’t tournament arcs magic? So yeah, Uraraka vs Bakugo. Who saw that one coming? Not I, for one. Not I. And yet I find that this is one of those situations where you don’t know what you want until you get it. Because Uraraka vs Bakugo is awesome and so totally worth every second of this episode. For more than the reasons you’d expect. But let’s start with the reasons you’d expect: Explosions. Say what you will about his personality, attitude, the way he treats people, his overall willingness to work with others, his insurmountable pride, his anger, his disrespect, his violent tendencies, that thing he does where he makes explosions in his hand when he has a dangerous idea and…what was the point of this again? …

Auld Lang Syne – Attack on Titan Episode 33 – Season’s Writings

When action reaches its fever pitch, that which follows is a wind down. An eerie calmness. An aftermath. Unfortunately for our intrepid soldiers, their recent clash with forces mostly unexpected did not end in the victory they were all but assured and they instead find themselves battered, bruised and fewer in number. So Eren just can’t win a fight, can he? Like, ever. And that’s not just me being mean to the guy, it’s actually a plot point. In a stunning return to relevance, Hannes reminds us all that he too was once important in the life of Eren and shares the collective emotional range of Mikasa and Armin, which essentially amounts to concern and blind, unyielding fury. He also serves as a rare example of human compassion that is not surrounded by promises, salutes and vendettas. Though rescuing Eren will require combating Titans, Hannes speech is simply about Eren’s personality, his flaws and strengths, his relationship with Mikasa and Armin and the hope he holds for the future, along with his fondness for the past. …

Lightning Round – My Hero Academia Episode 21 – Season’s Writings

With our Shonen protagonist sitting back until round two begins, it’s time to take a look at the other characters who fill out this quirky cast and watch them beat the tar out of each other. Come on, it’ll be fun. We don’t even have to listen to Todoroki talk about how terrible his father is. I promise. So here we have it, the best of the rest. Is it a touch on the mean side to call these powerful students who are fighting with all they have to achieve their dreams “the rest”? Yes. Yes it is. But the series did it first. After all, they’re the ones who crammed five final matches into one episode. Last week had two and one of those was supposed to be frighteningly short. These fights are short, don’t get me wrong, however they are most certainly so to move the plot back to Midoriya and Todoroki. Or at least to Uraraka and Bakugo, oddly enough. Still, this is simply how series of this nature work and I am …

Grudge Match – Attack on Titan Episode 32 – Season’s Writings

Sometimes, when the world grows ever more complicated, when those around you change and truths find themselves transforming into lies, the best solution is the simplest one. And what could be simpler than standing resolute in your beliefs and punching a bad guy really, really hard in the face? Well, isn’t this a fine kettle of fish we find ourselves in this week? Except by fine, I mean terrible and by kettle of fish, I mean world of monsters. With Reiner and Bertholdt dropping all sense of care and subtlety, a Colossal Titan now stands half formed on a wall and an Armoured comrade plunges to the ground below, Eren in hand. At least until our furious protagonist reminds us all that he too is a Shifter and kicks off one of the most action packed episodes Attack on Titan has produced. However, it is a little more than simply explosive violence and screams. It’s choreographed…and also has explosive violence and screams. For those who don’t know, Hajime Isayama (the creator of Attack on Titan) based certain …

I Put A Spell On You – My Hero Academia Episode 20 – Season’s Writings

As loner heroes the world over have taught us, in a world of heroism, villainy and all that lies between, you can only truly trust yourself. Unfortunately, this particular belief flies completely out the proverbial window when somebody who has the ability to control minds saunters into the plot. Say, a blue haired boy who looks a little on the tired side. So Midoriya done goofed. Two seconds into the finals and our hero-to-be finds himself mind controlled by his opponent. Now, you might be thinking it a little harsh of me to blame our protagonist for this and you’d be right…had Midoriya not received a specific warning regarding the mechanics of Shinso’s power immediately before the fight. Which he did. Anyway, no use crying over spilt milk, especially considering the fight it brought forth. Although, I guess it wasn’t technically a fight at first, considering it was mainly Midoriya walking slowly towards the edge of the battlefield. Maintaining his low key existence, as consistently noted by Present Mic, Shinso’s plan for victory is simply to …

Secrets and Truths – Attack on Titan Episode 31 – Season’s Writings

As with most storms, there lay a calm before it. A moment of respite to collect one’s thoughts, batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst. Unfortunately for the members of the 104th, no amount of preparations could prepare them for the storm that is forming around them. Metaphors withstanding, this begins as a fairly tame episode in the catalogue of Attack on Titan. The fractured groups that have comprised the past few adventures have finally come together and a majority of the 104th is back together. Except Jean. Those who were trapped in Utgard Catsle inform their rescuers about Ymir, about the newly revealed Historia Reiss and the lack of any hole in the wall. Real important stuff. However, it is a little overshadowed by a hunched over Reiner, who spends a majority of this episode breaking down emotionally and mentally. Which is sad…or at least it is before the big, and oddly quiet, reveal. Since we can’t go two weeks without discovering that a character we somewhat know is actually a Titan Shifter, …

Daddy Issues – My Hero Academia Episode 19 – Season’s Writings

Though by its very definition the protagonist of a story is meant to carry our fullest attention, My Hero Academia loves to remind us all that there is so much more to this world than the trials and tribulations of one Izuku Midoriya. Unfortunately however, this weeks lesson came at the revelation that not all is well in the world of heroes and that even the right side of justice can be wrong. Since the beginning of this season, Todoroki has been leaving far more of an impact than he ever did in season one. Sure he was an immensely powerful student who was recommended for the Hero Course, but he was always just sort of in the background. Heck, half of his body was covered in ice for a while. Not too sure what happened to that particular aesthetic, but I image Horikoshi simply wanted to show the full face of this particularly conflicted individual. And boy is he conflicted. With confirmation that his father is indeed Endeavour, the number two hero in the …

History Repeating – Attack on Titan Episode 30 – Season’s Writings

If there’s one thing to be said about perilous mountain expeditions, it’s that characters will either perish on them, or come to understand themselves, and others, on an entirely new and intrinsically true level. Yes, technically that is more than one thing, but that probably doesn’t make it any less insightful and cool sounding. Jumping back to a time and place unknown, though assumedly during the 104th’s training and somewhere on a mountain, we are given yet another glimpse into the life and times of Ymir and Krista. Left wandering during a powerful blizzard, Ymir comes to a realisation chronologically that we have already had explained by her…in the future. It is also the one thing we know about Krista and kinda makes this whole perilous flashback a whole lot less expositionally interesting. Despite her sweetness and overall cute demeanour, Krista wants to kill herself. Not in an obviously suicidal way, but in a heroic way that would see her remembered fondly. To that end, she opts to drag the half-dead body of another trainee …

Ignition – My Hero Academia Episode 18 – Season’s Writings

Heavy is the head that wears the 10,000,000 point headband, a lesson that poor Midoriya is now all too aware of. Still, if there’s one thing that anime has taught us all: It’s not over until the acoustically superpowered commentator screams. Combine this with the burning hearts of teenagers with a dream and you’ve got yourself one heck of a Round Two. With the icy stare of Todoroki promising us a continuation of his suddenly spawned rivalry with Midoriya, we are quickly reminded why this is not the best situation for our green haired protagonist. Utilising his teammates for a little offensive and defensive boost, Todoroki is able to freeze a majority of the cavalry battlefield, and the opponents who stand upon it, in a split second. Not only that, he is also able to completely separate Team Midoriya from the rest of the competition, granting him the only chance to steal the coveted 10,000,000. Thus, in one move, we see Todoroki for the tactical, nigh unstoppable powerhouse he truly is. Sure we’ve seen his power before, …

Self-Sacrifice – Attack on Titan Episode 29 – Season’s Writings

Well, that was certainly something. Titans on the left, Titans on the right, Titans from goddamn beneath. It is really not a good time to be this series second tier…or third tier. I won’t mention the tiers under that because, well, it’s not pretty. Still, the 104th aren’t doing too poorly for themselves, all things considered. Some of them have backstory now and, whether they make it past this castle siege or not, people will remember their names. Think about it, when was the last time anyone even said Ymir? Heck if I know. Season one was pretty much the Eren show from dash to dot, with a sprinkling of Mikasa for good measure. Also Armin was there. And everyone kind of lost their tops for Levi in a neckerchief. But mostly Eren. Look, what I’m getting at here is that I like the variation…I just wish it was under slightly less dire circumstances. Following up before where we left off last week (because of totally necessary two hour flashbacks), we are given the answer …

The Cavalry’s Here – My Hero Academia Episode 17 – Season’s Writings

To partially quote a man of great wisdom and import, “It’s dangerous to go alone.” Though a technically incomplete statement, it is one that will serve the students of UA well in this latest of challenges. With their success now riding (for some literally) on the shoulders of others, our heroes-in-training are sure to learn the benefits of allies and the simple fact that teamwork makes the dream work. Which rhymes, so you know it’s true. With his recent come-from-behind victory placing all attention on his fuzzy green head, Midoriya has found himself at the mercy of a heroes greatest foe: Popularity. Through the intense pressure that arises from having all eyes focused on him, Midoriya comes to understand the true weight of All Might’s presence. Though his smile sparked a joy and fire in his heart, these series has never really stopped to make you realise that Midoriya, in that regard, is one of many. Hundreds, upon thousands of intense citizens who admire All Might with an unfaltering reverence. That alone is enough to …

Welcome Home – Attack on Titan Episode 28 – Season’s Writings

They say that home is where the heart is. Unfortunately, the darker side of that saying is that should a home be destroyed, a heart is too. And though a house may be rebuilt and, in turn, made a home anew, there is still something undeniably sad about the simple fact that it was broken in the first place. Poor Connie. After Sasha’s reunion with her family last week, a small glimmer of hope and happiness had found its way into the world of Attack on Titan. But alas, it was not to last, as almost immediately we were hit with the harsh reality of what Connie found waiting for him in his hometown. Nobody. Not a single soul left in the village and only a single creature remaining: A Titan. And yet there is something curious about this in and of itself. As is so noted by a rather pragmatic soldier, though no people remain in Connie’s village, there are also no remains of people. From everything we’ve seen so far, Titans are not fastidious …

Enemy Mine – My Hero Academia Episode 16 – Season’s Writings

Though the old adage/children’s song that once referenced the ability, or lack thereof, to go over, under or through something most certainly never intended to reference gigantic killer robots, you can’t deny that they add a certain flare. They also undermine said adage/children’s song, as it would seem you can indeed go every which way when confronting such an obstacle, provided that you are able to generate titanic amounts of ice, pull a cannon from your stomach, or make yourself really, really hard. Speaking of, how about that Kirishima, huh? Tearing his way through the remnants of a robot that landed on his head after Todoroki’s latest ice-capade, he stands to remind us that even the lesser shown members of Class 1-A are still in the top percentage of contenders at UA. Unfortunately, as this episode goes  on to show, it is a tad hard to stand out when your classmates are the secret heir to All Might, the son of the second strongest hero Endeavour and Bakugo, who is really, really loud. Times are also even …

Back to Her Roots – Attack on Titan Episode 27 – Season’s Writings

In a world where humanity has been pushed to the brink of extinction, bad news is a pretty common occurrence. Still, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck to get it. And this isn’t, “I accidentally broke your favourite cup,” kind of bad news, we’re talking, “Your horse ran away and left you stranded in the middle of nowhere and I also think it kicked your dog,” kind of bad news. Which is really bad news. Especially since you don’t own a dog. Following up from last week’s uplifting re-introduction to the crapsack world of wherever the heck this series takes place, Sasha has made her way back to the area in which she was raised; a forest. Of course, we really don’t know anything about Sasha, other than she likes potatoes and the audience is nuts about her for it, so we find ourselves flashing back a couple of years for a little exposition. Apparently, good ol’ Sasha used to be quite the selfish one, seeing little benefit in other people and despising when their …

A Sporting Chance – My Hero Academia Episode 15 – Season’s Writings

Who doesn’t love a good competition that pits students against one another in a no-holds-barred fight to the finish line that will ultimately guide their path to the careers of their dreams? Probably those who don’t do too well honestly, but let’s not get bogged down in sombre semantics. Instead, why don’t we see what a bunch of superpowered adolescents can do when you group them all together, wind them up and let them go nuts. Sparing us from having to sit through weeks of preparatory exposition, this episode opts to express the two week period before the UA Sports Festival as a brief montage, cutting between the faces of Class 1-A and giving us an idea of their unique development. Though nothing too major on that front, it’s nice every now and again to see what unique powers the other students bring to the series. Though expected, given Midoriya’s prominence and the bombastic nature of Bakugo, the other students do not receive as much time to shine as they could. Heck, the simple fact …

The Beast Within – Attack on Titan Episode 26 – Season’s Writings

Once again, the day is saved thanks to the people of the Survey Corps. Well, not exactly “saved” per say and the classification of “people” is certainly blurred when it comes to Eren, given his true nature and all. Okay, so one major threat was stopped…and a lot of people died…also their houses broke…and the walls have seen better days. Man, even when humanity pulls out a win in this series it sucks. Hooray for Pyrrhic victories. With Eren still resting up from his clash with Annie and the emotional turmoil brought on by such, we are given an opportunity to focus on the other characters that stand under the Wings of Freedom…and boy are they bored. Refined to quarters/some building, the 104th muse over their lives and escape into a few fantasies that would honestly be fun to watch. Connie for example, wishes to steal away into the night, breaking free of lock-up and visiting his village. A somewhat normal thought for a series revolving around giant monsters that eat people for literally no …

Tell the World – My Hero Academia Episode 14 – Season’s Writings

After witnessing your personal hero (who also happens to be the world’s hero) beat the absolute tar out of a mostly invincible, partly human monstrosity, going back to school may seem a little…mundane. Or at least it might, were said school not one that specialises in teaching those imbued with superhuman abilities how to fight other imbued with the like, or the teachers weren’t certifiable, or one of the required classes wasn’t an almost-no-holds-barred beatdown. You know, because education. And just like that, we’re right back at UA. The League of Villains has been turned away, at least momentarily, and the students of Class 1-A are settling back into the daily swing of things. Or so they would be, were it not for the UA Sports Festival just around the corner. Just another school event, you say? Not so, my misinformed friend. As so courteously explained to us in episode, the UA Sports Festival just so happens to be the most popular sporting event in all of Japan, with the Olympics having lost some of …

Look Alike: Sonic the Hedgehog OVA retrospective

Between 1994’s excellent Sonic 3 & Knuckles on the SEGA Mega Drive and 1998’s Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast (which marked the Blue Blur’s resurgence in glorious 128 bit 3D), the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise was basically stuck in purgatory for nearly 5 years. The SEGA Saturn almost had a major Sonic title in the infamous Sonic Xtreme, which went through a literal development hell before it got cancelled. The lore on Sonic Xtreme would need its own article honestly. Originally planned for 1996, the cancellation of the title left SEGA and developer Sonic Team literally scrambling. So to fill the years between 1994 and 1998, SEGA gave Sonic fans a series of… consolation prizes if you will. There was Project Sonic on the Saturn comprising of three games: Sonic 3D Flickies’ Island, Sonic R, and finally Sonic Jam. The topic of Project Sonic would need its own article, but let me enlighten you with this in the meantime: you know the developer that makes all those LEGO video games year after year? That very same …

Exploring the Works of Osamu Tezuka

Now when it comes to manga there is a ton of great choices in the modern age, whether it’s a near endless Shonen series or a range of other genres to really sink into. There is no shortage of quality manga in the modern age, which is why digging through the trenches of the past can be an overwhelming task. After all, who has the time to dig through quality manga from every era? It’s hard enough to collect and read through the likes of 90s classic Rurouni Kenshin or the wealth of volumes that make up the Dragon Ball/Z manga. I mean, that’s just going as far back as the 80s… but manga goes all the way back to the 1950s! Is it worth going that far back? Oh absolutely. It’s a remarkable journey to experience the beginnings of manga firsthand, and to realize it wasn’t just good “back in the old days” or “better now than the outdated stuff”, but that manga always has and will be amazing. The god and creator of …

First Thoughts: Akiba’s Trip The Animation – Showin’ A Little Skin

The Winter Anime season of 2017 has yet to interest me too greatly. Usually, by this point in time, I’m inundated by a high volume of new Anime to sink my teeth into, but judging by the list of series’ set to begin airing over the next week or so…this season’s going to be a slow one for me. Having played the video games too many times to admit, it’s Akiba’s Trip: The Animation that has my full focus this time around. Akiba’s Trip: Undead And Undressed, originally released for the PlayStation Vita, has seen some three re-releases at this point in time, meaning that the game is more than just a fluke success. That’s why it makes sense that an animation studio like Gonzo would pick up the rights for an Anime adaptation. Strangely enough, this mostly unheard of Anime, and by extension video game series, is also receiving the simuldub treatment, with the English Dub being released shortly after that of the original Japanese. We saw this with Space Dandy quite some time …

Was It All Worth It? – 91 Days Episode Eleven and Twelve – Season’s Writings

This week-to-week rollercoaster ride has finally come to an end. Just on time, as well. Some series’ tend to stretch on for longer than they should, ruining the experience as a result, 91 Days ended when it should have, though perhaps five minutes longer than necessary, but in the grand scheme of things…that’s a blessing. It’s been quite a while since the ending to an Anime has sent me into a whirlwind of confusion and doubt, but the culprit seems to only ever be an ending as vague as 91 Days. For the most part, the final two episodes of this heart-pounding series played out exactly as you would have imagined: After Corteo’s death at the hands of Angelo, our “hero” begins his descent into madness and chaos as he throws away all humanity in a last-ditch effort to complete what had become his life-long mission. This all goes…wonderfully, actually. Making it out of what can only be called a “slaughter” with nothing more than a stab wound to the right shoulder and a voice …

Sins Of The Brother – 91 Days Episode Ten – Season’s Writings

The search for Corteo continues as the Vanetti’s ship Avilio off to Chicago to meet with Galassia representatives and to continue promoting Lawless Heaven. Little do they know that this mission will double as witness protection with Ganzo and Avilio now working together for the same cause; to kill the Vanetti’s. Sporting a new haircut, Corteo escapes alongside Avilio so as to lay low until this all blows over. Too bad it never will. Barbero, the single Vanetti to still be doubting Avilio’s allegiance, does everything in his power to prove that Corteo and Avilio are in cahoots, which he almost does…that is until Corteo makes a grand entrance declaring that it was he alone who fed information to Fango and that it is he alone who should be punished for it. “Kill him yourself” says Nero, handing Avilio a hot piece and leaving the room. The rest follow, but not before Barbero shoots Avilio one last judging glance. All parties know the unsavoury nature of this exchange, but at this point in time…nothing can be …

Yours Truly, A Regretful Old Man – 91 Days Episode Nine – Season’s Writings

What’s done has been done, and at the very epicentre of what is looking to become a great tragedy is mild-mannered Corteo. Though I would still consider him a mild and gentle man, descriptive words of that nature would have befit him more about two episodes ago. After killing Fango running on nothing but primal rage alone, Corteo is captured by the Vanetti family who have recently discovered that it was he who was working as Fango’s informant, albeit for only a short period of time. Episode Nine focuses on the “discipline” of Corteo for his action which, if not for some sort of miracle, would have been a swift death. Escaping from the Vanetti’s and now in the hands of another, more mysterious, third party; Corteo is forced to contact Angelo delivering to him only a verbal ultimatum; “Kill Nero, or they kill me“. The episode ends on quite the cliffhanger with [Insert Character Name Here] revealed to be the sender of that, metaphorically, bloodstained letter. Once again, 91 Days has undergone another huge …

Talk Is Cheap, Like Your Loyalty – 91 Days Episode Eight – Season’s Writings

Last week disappointed audiences with an episode dedicated to recapping the series’ story events, but this week’s episode more than made up for the last’s lake of new content. Lawless is in grave trouble; this is something both the audience and the characters that make up 91 Days’ cast know is nothing less than an undeniable fact. While, before the beginning of the series, it was still a town filled with the utmost vile gangsters, it is now in a state of almost-war, perhaps being referred to as something along the lines of “the calm before the storm“. Episode Eight centres itself around the true beginning of a mafia war, with Corteo at the very centre. Having had enough of being pulled from left to right, time and time again, Corteo digs deep and gives in to his primal instincts to do something neither Nero nor Avilio could, setting into motion a series of events far more powerful than he has the ability to control. Corteo, despite being a pivotal player in the story of 91 …

A Death In The Family – 91 Days Episode Seven – Season’s Writings

Fango, now reigning over the Orco crime family, sits Nero down for a quick bit as he explains that the Vanetti’s are the next to receive a hostile takeover. Nero, after taking another of Fango’s jobs and meeting with his uncle, agrees to meet with Frate in an attempt to restore the, now broken, bonds that there family once held so dear. This…does not turn out well. Prior to this, Avilio and Volpe spearhead a hit on Ronald. Though a failure, Avilio continues to spin his webs of deceit by taking out Volpe and blaming it on the Vanettis. After three key deaths, the Vanetti family is in absolute ruin, and thanks to Fio’s assassination of her own husband there is now no point of contact between them and the Galassias. An extinction is on the horizon, and Avilio Bruno, or so he calls himself, is at the epicentre…just as he wanted. The first thing I’m compelled to mention regarding this episode is the visual representation of Fango’s shift from, essentially, hired goon to complete …

Live By The Sauce, Die By The Sauce – 91 Days Episode Six – Season’s Writings

The plan to kidnap Orco is now underway. Fango, being as lazy as he is greedy, leaves the runaway Vanetti crew to execute their plan in any which way they see fit, and as it turns out…the success of their plan relies solely on the acting chops of each individual. Spearheaded by Nero and Avilio, the crew confront Don Orco at his very own restaurant in disguise as two mafioso ready to defect from their family and join another. The promise they make; full control of the production of Lawless Heaven. Booze is a huge blackmarket industry, and Don Orco wants to monopolise it, but he can’t without first owning the Vanetti’s own distillery. Taking he and his men to “The Lodge”, the boys plan to fake a death, earn a trust, and overpower their enemy in one fell swoop. Thankfully, this is executed by one Avilio Bruno; perhaps the most tactically-minded mafioso to grace Lawless with his two-sided presence, and it all goes swimmingly. Orco’s men are fooled and swiftly put to death, and …

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend – 91 Days Episode Five – Season’s Writings

Just as tension between the boys and this hideaway holiday grew to a boiling point, Nero received a call from his trusted ally Barbero who explains that the Orcos have had enough of Fango’s ridiculous nature and, much like the Vanetti’s, have attempted to assassinate him without success. As a cause of this, Fango has escaped to “The Island” alongside twenty or so of his closest men, transforming it into his base of operation until the heat dies down and he can strike back at those who’ve attempted to end his life. Barbero continues to explain that there’s a high chance Nero will be allowed back into Lawless thanks to Orco’s failed attempt at killing Fango which has now forced them into a ceasefire with both the Vannetti’s and the Galassias, not wanting to dig themselves any deeper. After meeting up with Barbero at “The Lodge”; a hidden moonshine production setup, both Nero and Avilio head towards the Vanetti mansion so as to join a meeting to be held between the heads of the three …

Of Mice And Murderers – 91 Days Episode Four – Season’s Writings

Episode four marks the beginning of Avilio and Nero’s countryside “sabbatical” which, in true gangster fashion, is not without it’s fair share of illegality. The duo leave Lawless and head outwards, stopping over at roadside towns whenever they can, heading towards…wherever. With no real goal in mind, apart from keeping Nero safe, they keep on their feet, never staying in one place for longer than they have to, but that doesn’t mean they’re in the clear. Orco has sent a hitman their way; “a regular Goliath”, as he is described by Frate. With the nose of a tracker dog, and an actual tracker dog, at his disposal, moving from place to place is not what’s going to keep them out of harms way. The boys must pull together all their wits and weaponry, and take this guy out before he puts their vacation to rest for good, but with no money, no weapons, and nowhere to run, it’s going to take more than a slingshot to stop the rampage of this warrior…or will it? While I …

Where In The World Is Serpente’s Body? – 91 Days Episode Three – Season’s Writings

Episode two left us on quite a cliffhanger, but the start of episode three revealed that it was nothing more than a red herring. After confronting Nero about the death of his best friend Vanno at the hands of Serpente, or so Avilio says, it looked as though our “hero” wasn’t going to be put to rest somewhat prematurely. As it turns out, pointed a gun at someone’s head is just the Italian way of expressing anger, the grieving Nero was never going to fill Avilio with lead, but he did almost send him to his death at the hands of Fango after “requesting” that he finds Serpente’s body. Why is that so important? Well, the rest of the organised crime world doesn’t necessarily care about the details of this double murder, all they know is that a member of the Vanetti crime family killed one of the Orcos, which is more than enough to ignite the flames of war, turning Lawless from a simple corrupt town full of bootleggers and thieves into a battlefield…come to think …

On This, The Day Of My Daughter’s Wedding? – 91 Days Episode Two – Season’s Writings

There are few things synonymous with mobster movies, and they conform to this across the board: Guns, Suits, Italian Sweets, and Weddings. The Godfather featured each of these four, and that is a film seen as the pinnacle of the sub-genre, so it only makes sense that an Anime series based upon films of this kind would also feature those same components. In episode two of 91 Days, “Phantom Of Falsehood“, the audience is taken on a wild ride as we follow the short-lived story of Vanetti mafioso Vanno Clemente who, at first introduction, quickly became my favorite character of the series. It’s just too bad that he, well…I really shouldn’t say. Opening up with a job gone wrong, episode two of 91 Days gives audiences a front-row seat to the inner-workings of the Vanetti family told in a way reminiscent of The Godfather, as mentioned above. It’s the wedding day of Nero’s little sister, and in true Italian matrimonial festivity a fight breaks out between our “hero” Avilio and the groom which, if it’s …

To the Bittersweet End – Ushio and Tora Episode 39 (Finale) – Season’s Writings

So here we are, the end. It’s been a wild ride hasn’t it? We’ve seen an inexperienced child come to terms with his duty, an obnoxious yokai slowly transform into an upstanding hero and the world around them forgo grudges born thousands of years ago. We’ve seen a monster of the week story shift into a single cohesive plot, characters return well after we forgot who they were and an impossible amount of stubbornness vanquish evil time and time again. But whether you’ve been concious of thisi or not, the simple fact remains, through every challenge, through every moment of strife and elation, we have seen Ushio and Tora. Judgement Day. Hakumen no Mono is on its final legs and is now more dangerous than ever. Having openly admitted that Ushio and Tora’s verbal beatdown is accurate and it is in fact jealous of the world, Hakumen lets loose and becomes a ballistic bundle of unbridled fury. Apart from showing how tenacious this villain is, I was rather interested in Hakumen’s willingness to accept its faults. …

Night and Day – Ushio and Tora Episode 38 – Season’s Writings

We’re really speeding towards the end aren’t we? I mean, this is the second last episode of Ushio and Tora, one more and we’re done. That’s it, finished. But let’s worry about that next week shall we? This week we have bigger fish to fry, well, it’s the same fish, but you get the idea. Having been driven into four magically empowered corners, Hakumen no Mono is on the defensive this time around…not that it’d let you know that. Rather, we must witness a spiteful and pompous villain until the bitter end, in all its fox-bird-horse glory, as it proclaims to bring eternal darkness unto the light of the world. Which is really mean. With the collective forces of the yokai and humans bearing down on it, Hakumen no Mono decides to enlist an annoyingly logical course of action and separates said forces from their leaders. Their leaders, of course, are Ushio and Tora, whom Hakumen just figured out are the cause of Japan’s receding fear levels. A surprising blind spot for a being so hellbent on …

Getting the Band Back Together – Ushio and Tora Episode 37 – Season’s Writings

Don’t you just hate a smug villain? You know the ones, they’re always talking about how they’re the best and will never be defeated by the likes of you. They suck. Yet, there is one glaring benefit to witnessing a character/creature who fills this role; watching them fail. Is it vindictive? A little, yes, but they’re evil so it’s okay…I think. Regardless, we’ve all been watching Hakumen be an arrogant, selfish monster for all this time, so I think it’s about darn time that we get to see this fox-bird-horse get some just desserts. Or at least, the prequel to dessert, since the show’s not done yet. Would that be dinner then? The prequel to just desserts…I hope Hakumen gets its just dinners. When we last left half of our protagonisitic duo, Tora was floating somewhere in the ocean with three giant holes in his body. Which I assume would hurt. Of course, this is not the end for our tiger striped companion and we spend some time this episode delving into the complex mind …

Where the Heart Is – Ushio and Tora Episode 36 – Season’s Writings

Well we’re certainly turning onto the home stretch now aren’t we folks. With Hakumen no Mono locked in a battle against every character who has ever bore it ill will, our ending draws ever closer. Now, how that ending plays out is yet to be determined but, in the mean time, it sure is nice to see the bird-fox-horse we all hate go on the defensive for once. Of course this is due to the fact that its destruction will mean the safety of every sentient creature on the planet, but you have to admit, it’s also mostly because Hakumen is a jerk and you want to see it get punched in the face, like, really, really hard. I know I do. Following last weeks heroic charge into dramatic still frame animation, Ushio and the yokai crew are interrupted on their journey to Hakumen by the appearance of Hakumen. Needless to say, everyone is startled and panic ensues. Hakumen, being the loveable scamp it is, couldn’t care less about them for the moment, as it …

Total Recall – Ushio and Tora Episode 35 – Season’s Writings

As per the standard in shonen series, as well as any series that isn’t trying to make you leave with an overall feeling of dread and depression, a hero’s darkest moment always comes before their brightest. With Ushio having fallen in battle and the Beast Spear shattering into a whole bunch of tiny, sparkly pieces, things were not looking up for the forces of good. However, because of magic, emotions and all that fun stuff that makes the good guys good, Ushio and the spear that could, would and did persist through the ages are ready to take another swing at the horrifying amalgamation of evil that is currently razing Japan to the ground. Which is good…because of the whole razing Japan to the ground thing, that should really be stopped. Catching the tail end of Kirio’s tale of the Beast Spear, we are made aware that Mayuko, Mama Ushio, Jie Mei and that split in half mirror guy are up to speed with Tora’s past, saving Ushio a whole lot of time in the …

Heart of Darkness – Ushio and Tora Episode 34 – Season’s Writings

Mystery is an alluring concept. If somethings exists in a form not entirely understood, people will endeavour to know the truth. Finally, after thirty four weeks, give or take a seasonal break, we have definitive answers as to the secrets that lie within our tiger striped deuteragonist. From Azafuse, to Nagatobimaru, we now know that our lovable tsundere yokai began life bearing neither of those names, rather, he was known as the Cursed Child and his name was Shagakusha. Okay, we’re finally here. The answer train has pulled into the station and we now know the horrible past that Tora was forced to endure. Having been born in what I assume is ancient Egypt, Shagakusha lived as a street urchin, scraping by through acts of thievery and violence. You see, on the day of his birth, a violent ball of energy feel to Earth and resulted in the deaths of all but baby Shagakusha. Naturally, it was the town’s consensus to shun him as a Cursed Child and turn their heads in the hope that he …

Hatred – Ushio and Tora Episode 33 – Season’s Writings

There is only so much something can bend before it breaks. Generally a statement used to refer to any number of inanimate objects, the phrase holds just as much truth when referring to people. Sure there are varying types of people, all with their own strengths and weaknesses, but there exists a breaking point for all. That one step too far. This week, we find Ushio’s. Pushed just that little bit extra, we come to see just what kind of torment and stress has been bubbling under the surface of our rash hero, what kind of pain lurks within a child forced to bear the weight of the world on his shoulders. It isn’t pretty… It was bound to happen. It had to happen. Given what we’ve seen during Ushio’s previous encounter with Hakumen no Mono, there is no way this fight could’ve begun without some strife. Personal strife I mean, I think we all expected some external negativity, what with Hakumen’s appetite for death and all. Jumping back into Mama Ushio’s protective sphere, we …

Surface Tension – Ushio and Tora Episode 32 – Season’s Writings

Since the name Hakumen no Mono first passed ominously through our ears, a storm has been brewing, the likes of which the world has seen only in a forgotten history. Nevertheless, doom seeps ever closer as the forces of good lie in chaos, consumed by fear and infighting whilst evil plots. It will not be fun. However, as we are all too aware, there is a calm before any storm. Sure it won’t lessen the impact of what is to follow, but respite must be taken wherever it is available, lest it be too late. With the deep sea a callin’ and an overall lack of viable options, we begin our journey this week with Ushio and the faux-hostage crew of the Undine making a bee line straight for the most evil creature in all of existence. Laying eyes on the demonic fox-bird that plagues all our nightmares once more, Ushio is made all too aware that Hakumen no Mono is, like, really, really big…and scary…also evil. Though this has all been obvious since the get …

Deep Wounds – Ushio and Tora Episode 31 – Season’s Writings

No matter what you do, there is always someone who will take it the wrong way. Be it because of a misinterpretation or a simple clash of ideals, it is impossible to convey your intentions to all. Unfortunately, in the world of Ushio and Tora, such ideology is usually the precursor to some kind of fight, probably one involving lightning. This being the case, former ally, turned minion of Hakumen, Nagare decides to bring all of his opinions and pent up rage crashing down right on the back of Ushio’s skull. Now Ushio is okay, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that Nagare probably won’t be leaving unscathed…if he leaves at all. So, remember that whole thing where the military got tricked by Hakumen no Mono and are planning to straight up bomb the ocean? Yeah, that’s still happening. Of course, when Ushio decides to visit their battleship and inform them of how dumb their plan is, they immediately believe him to be a minion of Hakumen and throw him…into a break room. …

Armoured and Dangerous – Ushio and Tora Episode 30 – Season’s Writings

People really need to vett their sources before they authorise a complete tactical bombardment of a stone pillar. Okay fine, it isn’t easy to perform a background check on a spirit that has lived for aeons, but still, an attempt should be made. In this particular case, we find Hakumen no Mono pulling a fast one on the JASDF by convincing them that attacking is the only course of action to save the future. Obviously this is wrong. Even ignoring the Hakumen part, these guys aren’t even close to being main characters, there’s no way they’re going to end this fight. Geez, anime life would be so much easier if people just realised that only the primary cast has any true impact on events, especially if their names are in the title. In addition to the aforementioned trickery, this episode crams a whole lot of moving gears into the Ushio and Tora machine. Starting with the simplest first, Asako has finally regained conciousness despite what were once horrific burns covering her body. Thanks to a little kappa …

Tora, Tora Everywhere – Ushio and Tora Episode 29 – Season’s Writings

It was bound to happen eventually. Since the get go of this series, one mystery has remained ever present; Who the heck is Tora anyway? We’ve met yokai who know him, the various names he has taken on throughout history and what he has done to earn his reputation. Yet we still know nothing about the guy himself. Okay, so maybe this episode didn’t give us all the answers, but it certainly gave us some pieces of the puzzle…the violent, tiger striped, tsundere puzzle. In addition to his most hated nom de guerre, Nagatobimaru, Tora has been referred to by another in the past; Azafuse. Though originally assumed to be as inconsequential as his, somewhat forced, change to Tora, we know now better. Rather than a name, Azafuse is a term, one that refers to a very unique bunch of yokai. As we remember from Ushio’s brief foray into the animalistic, the Beast Spear possesses the danger of being able to swallow the soul of its wielder, which is kinda really bad. Ushio, of course, …

What Is Love? – Ushio and Tora Episode 28 – Season’s Writings

Well, that didn’t go as expected. With the onslaught of drama and melancholy that last week brought us, I was expecting a little of that ol’ shonen charm to bust in and save us all from contemplating the complexities of a problem you can’t just hit with a mystical, magical weapon. Okay, I suppose we kind of got a little of that, but damn Ushio and Tora, way to bring the mood down…not that I don’t love you for it. Kicking off right where we left last week, we open on the crowkai (patent pending) guard informing Mayuko that she is to be burned alive for the sake of making a pointy stick that will be used to kill a big fox-bird that has been asleep under the sea for thousands of years…okay, maybe they don’t quite phrase it like that, but that’s pretty much the gist of what’s happening. Asako of course denies this reality and lunges at the birdman, who deftly dodges (real show of skill), leaving Asako flying helplessly past him…directly into …

Don’t You Forget About Me – Ushio and Tora Episode 27 – Season’s Writings

Ushio and Tora, that takes me back. Not to the original manga run mind you, but Season One, the part where I jumped into the fray and decided to see just how a kid with a spear and a not-tiger spirit could tear up some truly demonic forces. And boy did they. In their original run, the vitriolic pair of best buds saw to the destruction of their fair share of yokai attackers, which was pretty sweet. However, the most important aspect of the series, at the stalwart behest of Ushio, has been the yokai that they did not kill, but instead befriended. More often than not, this attitude has seen the redemption of foes and the forging of unlikely friendships. But, as the morose saying goes; All good things must come to an end. Season Two, we’re enjoying ourselves, we’re ready to get back into the swing of Ushio’s adventures and everything seems situation normal. Actually, things seem better than normal. Right out of the gate, the episode provides us with yet another aggressively coy interaction …

First Thoughts: My Hero Academia – You Can Be A Hero

Having followed the My Hero Academia manga since it first began in Weekly Shonen Jump, I have spent months waiting with bated breath for this anime adaptation to finally air. So it goes without saying that my expectations for BONES’ adaptation were high. Fortunately for me and everyone else, the My Hero Academia anime series looks to be in good hands after this fantastic first outing into Kohei Horikoshi’s wonderful world of heroes and villains. For those who have been living under a rock, My Hero Academia is the hottest new manga in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine, with many famed mangaka giving it the seal of approval and fans touting it as the next big thing in shonen manga. Even Masashi Kishimoto of Naruto fame, has been vocal in his support of the series. It has all the right tools to be the next shonen mega hit in the same vein as Naruto, One Piece, Yu Yu Hakusho or Dragon Ball Z and with this anime series that destiny is sure to be fulfilled. The …

First Thoughts: “JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable” – Shine On, You Crazy Diamond!

Here we go, the part we’ve all been waiting for! DIO is dead, the Tarrot Cards have been ripped to shreds, Old Man Joseph is off having affairs, and Jotaro Kujo is now a Marine Biologist. Everything you thought was insane about the previous installments of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure can be tossed out the proverbial window, because what’s coming up is crazier than anything we’ve ever seen before. Things are changing, baby! No longer will Stands be named after Tarrot Cards, so if you thought Tower Of Grey was too odd of a name, then you better prepare yourself for the incredibly original Red Hot Chilli Pepper; a name only one letter away from a copyright lawsuit. We’re no longer following the Juvenile Delinquent Jotaro Kujo, instead this part will focus on a character the likes of which we’ve never seen before; a Juvenile Delinquent…with a heart of gold. This new Anime will not feature a mangey mutt, nor a senile old man, but instead it will play host to some of the more interesting characters you’ve ever …

First Thoughts: Dagashi Kashi Makes Snack Time Fun Again

Snack time just isn’t what it used to be, with the world so obsessed with calorie count, artificial sugary goods and and high sodium savoury treats have been demonised as being worse than cigarettes. Even kids these days have become too health concious for their own good. Still, many of us still love to partake in cheap delicacies that intend to give you fun flavour and next to no nutrition. Snack culture may be fading away in the West just like arcade gaming is, but Japan still loves to go crazy with progressive snack ideas. Enter any Asian supermarket or Japanese speciality store and you’ll find the most delicious, but at the same time very strange, assortment of confectioneries. No flavour is too unorthodox in the Japanese food market. Simulcasting on AnimeLab, Dagashi Kashi is based on a manga that focuses on the wonderful and bizarre world of Nippon munchies. It’s a uniquely fun and charming anime, qualities that are hard to achieve in the very saturated anime market, but Dagashi Kashi steps out from …

First Thoughts: Girls Beyond the Wasteland – WHAT A LOVELY DAY!

ANOTHER ROMCOM!? So we’re going to start this off with me being completely honest about how I felt prior to the 2016 winter season of anime starting: originally I didn’t much care for it. Besides fangirling over another new anime release from KyoAni with Myriad Colours Phantom World, “KyoAni finds a way!”, nothing else stood out too much to me. Erased sounded alright, but I was going to wait until the show had finished just in case this seasons “saviour of anime” turned out to be ANOTHER flop, I didn’t even give BBK/BRNK a second look until Frank said I should go check it out, Dagashi Kashi was in the same boat until the internet went into an uproar about it and I haven’t even seen GATE yet, so checking out season 2 was pointless. Here come the torches and pitchforks Of course, now that the season has actually started my opinion has changed drastically to what was previously mentioned. However there is one show that has seemed to have gone mostly under the radar that, personally, …

First Thoughts: ERASED – Sometimes Goodbye is a Second Chance

It’s not often an anime like ERASED comes along. A series that blows all expectations one could reasonably have for an episode of television out of the window, one that so thoroughly reshapes the entire landscape of the medium so much so that it is immediately the benchmark of excellence that everything else is to be held up against. ERASED does that in its all too brief yet utterly breathtaking 23 minute pilot episode, an episode I believe will be held in high regard in years to come as one of the all time best first episodes in anime. ERASED follows Satoru Fujinuma, a down on his luck manga artist who has become disillusioned with the world around him and struggles to explore the heart of his own mind for fear of what may be waiting for him. He has the burden of being subjected to a phenomenon he calls ‘Revival’ which forces him to relive an event until he alters fate in one way or another. How this happened to occur to him is …

First Thoughts: Charlotte – Tissue Boxes to the Left, Pizza Sauce to the Right

Baz is comin’ to get’cha, boy! I’m not exactly sure what kind of driving force pushes me onto the school-based anime hypetrain, but ever since late 2012 I’ve loved watching these kinds of shows. Of course as a kid I started with the entry anime big guns, Dragonball, Sailor Moon, One Piece and Naruto, along with Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! among other shows, however it was school-based anime, K-On! to be exact, that got me so into this wonderful, lively world and even now, 3-4 years later, I love watching them just as much as I did back then. So, to continue on from my recent trend of ‘big anime that we missed from 2015’ I decided to move onto a show that the community had mixed feelings for and a show that I’ve been holding onto in my back catalogue ever since it was announced, Charlotte. Now let me start off by saying I have never seen or played Angel Beats!, Kanon, or Air and I’ve never seen all of and never fully completed the …

First Thoughts: Bubuki Buranki (BBK/BRNK) – Confusing But Intriguing

Often, I can follow a fairly complex Anime storyline. I don’t find it too hard, and so long as you let your imagination run wild while watching it, chances are you’re going to pick up what a series is laying down fairly quickly. Bubuki Buranki, oddly shortened to “BBK/BRNK“, is a series about, well…I kind of have no freaking idea. It has something to do with magic, or magic items, or magic monsters, or robots, or monsters, or robot monsters, or even magical robot monsters…I literally have no idea. A majority of the first episode takes place in the past, set as somewhat of a prequel to the events of the series as future episodes come out. In this “flashback” we follow a small family living, I don’t know…in the past? Kind of. They have modern clothing, but not modern commodities, apart from the gargantuan mech that is revealed, spoiler, by the end of the episode to belong to the magically-powered mother of the twins who I’m lead to believe will serve as the protagonists of …

First Thoughts: “Myriad Colours Phantom World” – How Low Can You Go?

I have no idea what to say about this Anime. It has confused me, as well as many others, not because of it’s complex story or challenging character archetypes, but because it has left me feeling somewhat in a state of, let’s say…limbo. Why? Well Myriad Colours Phantom World is a new Anime series that plays host to some wonderfully vibrant, masterfully-animated visuals, a story that piques the imagination which can be expanded on in coming episodes…and a scene wherein which the heroin of the story must use breast physics simply to prove how low she can go. I’m talking limbo, baby! Myriad Colours Phantom World follows the story of a group of young men and women with fantastical powers that allow them to combat supernatural forces known as Phantoms. As the story goes; these Phantoms have always existed, but thanks to a freak accident a poisonous gas clouded the globe, not killing people, but allowing them to now see these once-mysterious creatures. Now, as that stands…this story is fairly interesting. We’ve seen stuff like …

First Thoughts: KanColle – World of Warships The Animation

It begins I’m just going to start off by saying that I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into when I started watching Kantai Collection. I have obviously seen images of the show flying around the internet, seen the now infamous “Poi” quote and I’ve seen that if you search up a majority of the real ships names on Google you’ll get images of the girls…and not the original warships. But for the story itself I honestly knew nothing about it. So, I went into this world completely blind and watched the first 3 episodes in this 13 episode series, and in all honesty… It was worth it. Kinda. For people who have been either living under a rock or haven’t seen the show for themselves yet but have seen these ‘boatgirls’ everywhere, Kantai Collection, often abbreviated to KanColle, is based off of the Japanese internet game of the same name. The show features anthropomorphism, try saying THAT really, really fast, girls that do battle with the ‘abyssal fleet’, some form of …

First Thoughts: Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid – Beautiful Girl Sexy Battle Action

Marvelous has made quite a name for itself lately with the Senran Kagura franchise, and whether you’re in love with the gratuitous fan service or are offended by it because of reasons, Senran Kagura is here to stay and localisations have become more timely and frequent for the pleasure of Western fans. In an attempt to further their Ecchi escapades, Marvelous has launched a new franchise called Valkyrie Drive, a project that consists of an anime series followed by a few games, and not surprisingly, the first game is headed to the PlayStation Vita. To set the scene the anime, Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid, has started airing and is two episodes in, with AnimeLab doing the simulcast honours. Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid takes place in a world where women born with abnormalities are taken out of normal society and placed into a mysterious island populated by women alone. Within the island is a fighting academy sorts, and each abnormal mutant woman falls into one of two classes: Exters and Liberators. Exters have the ability to transform into weapons that …

First Thoughts: Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans – THIS IS GUNDAM!

Now that is what I’m talking about! This is Gundam, pure unadulterated Mobile Suit Gundam and it is about damn time. After a bit of a drought, the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise returns to good form with an uproar and a fist rebellious pumping into the air. Iron-Blooded Orphans is the Gundam series we have been dying for since Gundam 00. This is the series we had wished Reconguista in G could have been. This is Gundam at its finest. Right out of the gate Iron-Blooded Orphans sets the stage and over the course of a glorious 23 minutes builds up to a climactic conflict boiling over all of the political and personal drama in grand fashion. The series takes place in the distant future in which Mars has become colonized and serves as essentially a mining planet for Earth. One of the Martian royals feels that Mars should become an autonomous state separate from Earth’s control and as it often goes in typical Gundam fashion, you know what hits the fan.   Iron-Blooded Orphans …

First Thoughts: ‘The Perfect Insider’ – Thinking About Thinking

Who are you? Where did you come from? Where are you going? These are the three questions that The Perfect Insider poses throughout its talky yet thought provoking premiere. And while those are questions still to be pondered in the context of The Perfect Insider one thing is for certain; this series is challenging its viewers to think, something that is becoming unfortunately a scarcity in the modern anime landscape. Based upon the 1996 mystery novel by Hiroshi Mori and with designs by acclaimed mangaka Inio Asano, The Perfect Insider has barely set the stage for what is to come yet has me utterly compelled to watch more. This first episode played out somewhat like an opening prologue to a novel, introducing some of the components of the story and building intrigue all the while never showing its hand too soon, choosing instead to keep its cards close to its chest. What stood out to me so strongly about The Perfect Insider is that way in which it felt like reading a novel all the …

First Thoughts: One-Punch Man – Saving Anime, One Punch At A Time

I’m literally lost for words. A terrifying way to start an opinion piece, but a reality that I simply cannot avoid for any longer. I’ve sat at my work desk and I’ve pondered the first episode of One-Punch Man for longer than I care to admit, yet here I am still stuck, unable to express the intense emotion that this Anime has built up inside of me with just one episode. I feel as though I may burst if I do not express to the world just how much I truly love this Anime, and just how necessary it is to the evolution of the industry. I feel like I have to start from the very beginning by asking; what makes an Anime good? What’s funny is that the answer to that question is essentially…One-Punch Man, simply because it has all the traits of an Anime you can enjoy on almost every single level. One-Punch Man, for some background knowledge, is a brand-new Anime series based upon a Manga series that was, let’s say, “inspired” …

First Thoughts: Haikyu!! Season 2 – One More Set

Ah Haikyu!!, the sports anime that really came out of nowhere for me and has stuck with me ever since, mainly due to the fact it’s a sports anime, a subset of which I am new to. But that’s all in the past-ish, this is season two. Back in Karasuno High, we find our intrepid volleyball club training their proverbial butts off following their defeat at the end of the previous season. This, as one might expect, serves as a pretty powerful motivator for a team of competitive highschoolers and kicks off this season with a much faster pace than the first. With this in mind, and knowing the characters who make up the Karasuno team, it isn’t to surprising that this episode is comprised mainly of screaming, running, more screaming and playfully explosive team building. As a direct continuation of the first season, this episode has the benefit of pre-established characters, allowing for development rather than introduction. This is most obvious through the opening training match of the Karasuno boys. Within a few points, we …

First Thoughts: Attack On Titan: Junior High – School’s Out!

Attack On Titan is one of the most popular modern Anime adaptations of recent times, which is completely justified considering not only how well it was animated by also how interesting a story it features. Now that it has become as popular as it is now, the market has flooded and the over-saturation of Attack On Titan media has finally set in. That’s why things like Attack On Titan: Junior High exist; because people can’t seem to get enough, and they’ll take anything they can get. Fact is; there’s no reason Attack On Titan: Junior High should exist, by any means. AOT: Junior High is simply a comedic parody of the original series, but labelling it as such is already false considering it isn’t at all funny. The premise is simple; the main cast of the series are younger and they attend a school literally called Attack On Titan: Junior High that, I assume, teaches them how to kill Titans. I only assume because, even in the first episode, it’s not detailed whatsoever. The Titans, …

First Thoughts: Concrete Revolutio – It’s All In The Name

What does Anime and a majority of Fall Out Boy song titles have in common? Often their names don’t match their content, and for the new Anime series Concrete Revolutio, this is absolutely the case. Judging by the name alone, what exactly would you think this Anime is about? Construction, the booming concrete industry, something…gritty? Probably! If you did though…you’d be wrong, because Concrete Revolutio is a new Studio Bones production centred around a Hellboy-like government agency tasked with both protecting and sometimes destroying supernatural forces. The first episode specifically introduces the audience to the protagonist of the series as he sends an Ultraman-style entity back to the planet whence he came. Luckily, it’s sub-title “Choujin Gensou“, literally translates to “Superhuman Story“, so that’s where you can get an idea of just what this Anime is about. Almost too vibrant and colourful for an average human to watch comfortably, Concrete Revolutio featured some amazing visual qualities that paired well with it’s strange but interesting pop culture-heavy story that, in this episode, featured two Tokusatsu warriors, …

First Thoughts: Young Black Jack – The Doctor Is In

Without Osamu Tezuka’s influence on the world of Japanese pop culture, chances are it wouldn’t be the same as it is today. When people hear his name, their minds will link directly back to Astro Boy, but Osamu Tezuka’s Mighty Atom isn’t the only creation of sheer brilliance that he has brought into the world, simply the most popular. Princess Knight, Kimba The White Lion, Phoenix, Buddha, these are the works that lead Japan onto the creative path it currently walks today. That’s why an Osamu Tezuka is titled “The God Of Manga“. In 2011, one of his darker series, Black Jack, was used as direct inspiration for a new Manga revolving around the younger life of the titular character. Tezuka having passed away decades ago, had nothing to do with it but the spirit of his creation carried on into the Yoshiaki Tabata/Yugo Okuma collaboration. This Manga was called Young Black Jack, and now, in 2015, it has finally gotten an Anime adaptation. Not having read Tezuka’s Black Jack, nor having read the Young Black …

First Thoughts: Samon The Summoner – Devil In Disguise

Every so often, Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump decide that it may be time to kick off, or “Jump Start“, a brand-new Manga series. One that will delight audiences, one that may be the “next big thing“, and maybe even one that will surpass those who’ve come before it. It’s a great idea, especially considering the amount of people across the globe who’re trying to make it as creators of the medium. The latest Jump Start, the series that premiered in the September 21st issues of the English Weekly Shonen Jump is one by the name Samon The Summoner which, like many Jump Starts that came before it, has been lucky enough to be the main focus of the front cover…but is that focused deserved? The story is simple, very simple: A young girl by the name of Sakura Teshigawara runs into a strange young man named Shosuke Samon who happens to have quite an interesting hobby; he summons demons. A devil of a man, once learning that Sakura is one of the nicest human beings he’s ever …

First Thoughts: Prison School – Drop The Soap, You’ll Probably Like It!

Holy shit! You guys seriously have to check out Prison School! It’s like, wow, I never start articles in such unprofessional ways, especially not with a swear, but this Anime is absolutely freaking crazy, so much so that I honestly cannot write an article about it in any kind of professional manner. It simply would not fit this atrociously hilarious Anime! You know, it’s actually quite funny, I watched the first episode of this Summer Anime with the thought in mind that it was going to be utter trash and that I’d be watching it just so I could talk about it on the next episode of our very own SnapCast, making jokes and ripping it to shreds as Luke and Kane laugh along. Turns out that this hyper-sexual comedy is actually one of my more favoured Anime series’ from the lineup of new Summer titles. Why though? It plays host to a level of sexuality that can only be described as unnervingly aggressive. It is, at it’s very core, the softest version of dominatrix …

First Thoughts: ‘Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace’ – The Game Starts Now!

It has been 50 years since the passing of Japanese literary icon Edogawa Ranpo. To commemorate the time since his passing an anime series has been commissioned based upon his work. That anime series is Ranpo Kitan: The Game of Laplace and it is every bit as genius, forward thinking and utterly captivating as Ranpo’s original work. The game starts now! For these first thoughts I decided it was more appropriate to wait for both the first and second episode to air before I expressed my opinion on this series as the first two episodes cover one shared mystery; The Human Chair. Right from the get go we are introduced to the droll gray scale world of Kobayashi, a young boy who easily passes as a beautiful young girl in the eyes of many. While Kobayashi views the world in shades of gray, with the people around him appearing ingeniously as silhouettes until they pique his interest, he is stricken with a strong urge to fulfill an inexplicable emptiness inside of him. The world around …

First Thoughts: GATE – Ask Me About My Hobbies

They include watching Anime, reading Manga, playing Video Games, collection figurines and, oh yeah, I’m also a high-ranking military officer…but that’s more my job than it is my hobby so let’s not talk about that. In fact, please don’t bring it up ever again. If I ever had to choose between my job or my hobbies, of course my hobbies comes first! The only reason I work is so that I can fund my hobbies, and the work I just so happen to be a part of is…the freaking military. Within four sentences, I’ve been able to accurately portray GATE’s odd and highly unrealistic protagonist; Youji Itami. He’s a young man with incredible combat skills who’s also an officer in Japan’s national military that, while on his way to a once-a-year sale, must perform his duties as a man of arms and save civilians from warriors coming through a portal from a world more or less unknown. If you ask me, this dark army appearing seemingly from out of nowhere reminds me a lot of …

First Thoughts: ‘Classroom Crisis’ – The Ace of Space

Outer space – For centuries humanity has pondered what lies beyond the stars. But what if we were what lied beyond the stars? What if humanity populated the entire solar system? Classroom Crisis toys with the idea for a hot minute and then immediately becomes a fun space romp that doesn’t go all in from the get go, instead almost strategically keeping its cards close to its chest. Classroom Crisis has one hell of a hook in its galactic terraforming, there is no denying that. However despite such a killer hook, this first episde puts it aside in exchange for 23 minutes of fun hanging out with the titular classroom of colourful characters as they squabble over their class budget and things like who will get to fly the ship. It doesn’t sound like stuff that makes for thrilling anime yet Classroom Crisis manages to make every minute of its first episode engaging. What stands out immediately about Classroom Crisis is its quirky cast of characters. The cast feels well established by the time the …

First Thoughts: Gangsta – Sharp Eyes And A Silver Tongue

This is the Anime adaptation I’ve been waiting for…and within one episode it has reached my incredibly high expectations. There aren’t many Anime series’ out there that can do THAT! If you can’t quite tell what Anime I’m talking about, you’ve clearly not read the article title. We’re talking about Gangsta, dammit! The Anime adaptation of Kohske’s hit gangland Manga series by the same name. As a man who’s read and reviewed all the available Manga volumes to date, loving each and every one of them, my excitement for this Anime series was almost uncontrollable…but then so were my expectations which, funily enough, didn’t lead me astray. I was assured, by the series itself, that it would translate into Anime well, and…holy crap, it did! By now you really should know the story of Gangsta but for those of you who don’t; the series revolves around two men living in a city populated by criminals, scumbags, hitmen, gangsters, and everything else you could imagine from a town run entirely by four different mafia families. The …

First Thoughts: Ushio And Tora – Fear The Spear! 

The 90s were a simpler time, a better time, a time where all that mattered were Tamagotchis and Nirvana albums. It was a great time in the Manga industry too! The decade ended with the beginning of many hit Shonen series like Naruto, One Piece and Hunter X Hunter, but it was also kicked off by a few that have unfortunately been lost in time…until now. A young boy and a demon spirit, Ushio And Tora tells the tale of the coming together of two mighty souls for the greater good. Ushio is a young man living with his elderly father, a semi-retired priest, in a combined house and temple. Tora is an ageless tiger-like demon that has been trapped in the temple’s basement for 500 years. Despite the many times Ushio’s father tells him about the demon-slaying spear hidden away in the house, he tells him not of the demon it currently has pinned to a wall in the hidden basement…not that Ushio would believe him anyway. Ushio goes for a bit of a wander …

First Thoughts: “Blood Blockade Battlefront” – Get That Monkey!

Where the hell do I start with this Anime? You know, reader, I’ve been thinking about this article for a while now but I can’t seem to figure out just what it is that I should write about when it comes to the new Anime adaptation of Yasuhiro Nightow’s Blood Blockade Battlefront which, incase you have no information on this series at all, is also known as B3. Now as soon as you read Yasuhiro Nightow you probably think Trigun. For you to do so wouldn’t be unjustified but for your own sake and for the sake of this new series…I’d toss that thought out the bloody window. This is not Trigun. This is…look, I don’t even know what this is. It’s just…it’s just…it’s…just…magnificent…Blood Blockade Battlefront is, without a doubt in my mind, simply magnificent. Let’s talk about the story for just a little bit: Johnny Landis…I mean, Leonardo Watch is a young man who’s just moved to the city formerly known as New York. A few years back, this huge portal to another world opened up …