#so long golden kamuy i have so many art ideas for you though :')
onebarofsoap · 1 year
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she gave me light, and now i’m going to be killed by her
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piduai · 3 years
Interview with Noda Satoru from the Golden Kamuy fanbook
sharing anywhere is fine, but please credit me.
Q: Tell me how you feel about passing 6 years of serialization. Noda: I was already serializing at the time of my debut, so I guess I’d be able to give a summary when I’m finished. I don’t really think about how many years it’s been, it’s merely a checkpoint.
Q: What made you decide to become a mangaka? Noda: I feel like I wrote it down as my goal in my yearbook back in middle school. I also wanted to become a movie director, but as a mangaka you can create the entire thing by yourself. 
When Golden Kamuy just took off I was living in a tiny apartment and the postman, a young fellow and a reader of Young Jump, realized that I’m Noda Satoru. The magazine was sending me a lot of things, so it was rather obvious. “Are you the author of Golden Kamuy?”, he asked in a surprised tone while looking around the cramped entryway. I could feel feel his confusion regarding the fact that that vast Hokkaido world of the manga was being created in this modest apartment. Or maybe he just expected me to be making more money and afford a better place. Anyhow, I just thought again about how a manga can be created in even the smallest room in the universe.
Q: Who is your favorite character and why? Noda: As always, it’s Tanigaki. But well, I love all of them. I want to showcase only the best parts of them, and it hurts when I fail. For example I’m very happy that there’s a character who stirs the pot as well as Usami. He’d be Katsuo in the world of Sazae-san.  
Q: Which characters are the easiest to draw, and which ones are the most difficult? Noda: Characters like Shiraishi, Tsukishima and Nagakura, they don’t have a lot of hair and even if they turn out a little ugly their faces are well-defined so it’s easy to draw. In general faces that are strongly distorted and resemble caricatures are easy. Meanwhile Asirpa, Kiroranke and Inkarmat have neat facial structures on top of wearing Ainu clothing, so they are a very high-calorie effort for me. Ogata and Kikuta are difficult too. Their faces are distinctive and I have to make them look cool too, which is wearing me out the most.
Q: Have you decided on all 24 convicts at the very start of the story? Noda: Wouldn’t I sound like a badass if I said that that I have? Anyway. There were the ones that were based off real-life Meiji era criminals, such as Shiraishi, Kumagishi Chouan or the lightning couple, and of course there was Hijikata.
Q: Tell me of a funny thing from the manga that you are fond of. Noda: Gansoku’s “Hah! ☆”. And also when Koito Jr. Was flapping his arms and legs around trying to keep himself in mid-air.
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Q: Why did you decide on Otaru as the starting point? Noda: I am from Hokkaido, so I’m familiar with Otaru and Sapporo. Otaru is close to both the mountains and the sea. Sapporo used to be a swampland, it’s wide and flat and there is no sea. Otaru is a place where foreigners come and go, there are many criminals roaming around creating danger, and money is found. There aren’t many big cities in Hokkaido. There were Ainu living in Otaru but sources are scarce, however Nakagawa-sensei, the supervisor over the Ainu language, told me not to worry too much about the difference of location, so I figured it would be best to make it Otaru.
Q: Was there any real life experience you had while growing up in Hokkaido that you turned into a scenario? Noda: When I was about 19 someone I knew told me that there is a locust graveyard on a nearby mountain, which sounded so ridiculous I had to laugh in their face. Turns out it indeed was a heap of locusts and their eggs left after a locust plague, that place was the Teineyamaguchi locust mound (a real historical site). I realized I ended up using this in my story. I owe that person an apology.
Q: Was there any scene that was particularly difficult to draw? Could you elaborate on it? Noda: The time Sugimoto went against Nihei and Tanigaki. It gave me a very hard time. Who goes where and does what, how does Nihei carry Asirpa, stuff like this. I had no time to waste either, I just remember that sequence overall driving me insane. 
There was also the sequence with Wilk, Sofia and Kiroranke being at Hasegawa’s photo studio. It’s really frustrating to draw something that you know will bore the readers, the story flow becomes less exciting too. I was praying for everyone to have a little more patience and keep reading, because the twist was so good.
Q: If you were to take part in the gold hunt, which group would you like to belong to? Noda: It seems that Hijikata’s group doesn’t have funding problems, and because Kadokura is there the atmosphere is relaxed too. I’d go there.
Q: If you were to find all that gold, how would you use it? Noda: No idea. Had a couple when I was younger, though.
Q: Were you planning to eventually transfer the action to Sakhalin from the very beginning of the series? Noda: Asirpa and Kiroranke have roots there, so I anticipated that the story will eventually move to Sakhalin. I also expected to have to travel to Amur river myself, but couldn’t go after all, only went as far as Khabarovsk. 
I was thinking of making Sugimoto eat permafrost mammoth. There was talk of a research team or an ivory excavation team’s dog eating mammoth. However there was no reason to make Sugimoto and Co go as up north as needed for permafrost, so I scrapped the idea.
Q: Tell me something about the hardships you experienced while doing research is Sakhalin. Noda: It was tough, but fun. I was only able to understand the clear differences between Nivkh and Orok people by going there; I couldn't by only looking at records and materials while in Japan. 
Complete unrelated, but I was surprised by how many stray dogs wander around there. One time my cameraman and I ended up being chased by one while looking for a factory and we had to run for it. The beast was big, about the size of a German Shepherd. The guide also warned us about junkies, it was really scary.
I also went to the Japanese military pillbox over 50th parallel north and prayed at a cenotaph deep in the mountains. I met a group of Japanese people in the hotel by the place where it's said you can still find remains of Japanese soldiers and their driver, a Russian, seemed to help with collection of the remains on the regular. He said that he's doing it out of reverence, even as a former enemy. As a Japanese, I felt gratitude. The 7th Division are villains in my story, but I don't have any personal bias against either side.
Q: What were the biggest differences between drawing Hokkaido and Sakhalin? Noda: Well... it's Russia. Even though Sakhalin is so close, it's already Europe. The structure of houses is strikingly different. There's also the differences between Hokkaido Ainu and Sakhalin Ainu, and differences between Orok and Nivkh people. There is no manga that will conveniently lay the differences of those down for you. 
It seems that the Orok and Nivkh's relation with Japan only got more difficult by the beginning of Showa era, there is only one person in the whole of Japan who can supervise on the Orok language. The professors in cultural studies I consult for Golden Kamuy are truly top-level; not only are they tremendously knowledgeable, they also understand how important to me is to stay impartial.
The wildlife, as well. There's a biogeographical boundary between Hokkaido and Sakhalin, observing animals I would never be able to see in Hokkaido was riveting. 
Q: Did Sugimoto really have a hidden plan during the whole stenka business? Noda: No idea. Even if he used it as a pretext to get everyone involved, though... cut him some slack. He's only a man. Sometimes he just wants to fight and win. Not for Ume-chan or Asirpa-san, just for the sake of proving to himself that he's strong.
Q: Your art is dynamic and detailed. I think your style changed quite a bit with time, though. How would you describe yourself as an artist? Noda: I want to preface this by saying that in no way do I think of myself as more skilled than other mangaka, but if you're drawing everyday for more than 10 hours you're going to improve a lot eventually, whether you want it or not. People who are able to keep the same style for years without change are the ones who are impressive, because it means that they achieved the peak of their potential. Ageing and health problems influence your art a lot, you know. I try to draw by observing. I use a lot of references. Drawing by memory alone is not a good thing.
Speaking of other artists, I once had one of the assistants I had working for me for years draw me a door knob from memory, and the result was a truncated cone resembling pre-packaged pudding. The actual shape of a door knob has an intricately angular circular shape. It's the result of being unobservant in everyday life. Good art requires constant observation.
Q: What was the foundation for your style? Is there an artist you were influenced or inspired by? Noda: Araki Hirohiko-sensei, for sure. During my time as an assistant, many authors told me to not even try to be original when it comes to battle abilities, it's already been done in JoJo, it has it all. He's kind of the Beatles of this industry, isn't he? 
By the way, I usually have no intention of parodying JoJo in Golden Kamuy, but my friends will tell me that they identified this or that reference from time to time. I read Part 1 about 30 years ago but I was obsessed, so maybe some things were just left in my subconscious. I only did one obvious parody, during the stenka fight. Funnily enough that trope started in Fist of the North Star, though, not JoJo.
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Q: What's one thing that gives you the most motivation to write? Noda: Fan letters. I know how straining it is to write long and neat sentences by hand, and am thankful for them. I'm happy that people go that far to share their thoughts about my work with me. I'm really grateful to the people who keep reading and supporting Golden Kamuy.
Q: Did you have an interest in Ainu culture before starting the series? Noda: I did not. I'll be glad if my work makes people interested in the Ainu. Prejudice is born out of ignorance, so if you want to learn about the Ainu, don't limit yourself to Hokkaido only; there are museums all around Japan, and they have knowledgeable curators. It's important to remember to take into account the time period and the occupation of the person on which the research materials are based when you're trying to learn about the subject.
Q: You showed us a lot of aspects of life during Meiji and Taisho eras. Tell us about what surprised or impressed you in the process of research. Noda: It's not that I was particularly knowledgeable, so having to check every single thing was quite exhausting. The Ainu, the military, katanas - all of these needed research on my part. 
There are more regulations and rules set for things out there than one could assume, and mangaka who base their works on real life need to be especially careful about this. You have to take into account things like the size of the buttons on a military uniform, how a tea cup is held, and and how different people talk in different ways. For movies there's staff working on costumes and props, there's the cast, there are screenwriters, but in a manga you are the one responsible for every single detail. I wish I had a time machine and travel back to those eras. There are things I couldn't get right here and there that I keep having regrets about.
Q: Golden Kamuy was the main visual in the British Museum manga exhibition between May and August in 2019. I know you went there in person. How was it? Noda: The trip felt like a reward for all of my efforts. The exhibition is jam-packed by opening time, but I got special treatment and they let me inside early in the morning so I could walk around the vast British Museum in solitude. I also travelled between Jack the Ripper's crime scenes at night by taxi.
The driver in a taxi I caught by chance was wonderful, she looked up photos of the crime scenes and surroundings taken at the time of investigation on her smartphone and showed them to me one by one, saying things like "the third victim was found here!". 
I've always had a soft spot for Jack the Ripper, back in middle school I even wrote a screenplay for a school festival stage and played him in it myself. It was done in very poor taste, like that one scene in the Addams Family movie where there are arms blown away and fountains of blood gushing out. The audience loved it. 
Q: Please leave a message for the readers. Or maybe some advice for the troubled youth. Noda: I want people to say that everyone in Golden Kamuy had a satisfying ending, and I want that for everyone involved more than anything. As for advice for the troubled youth, there's none. Life is survival of the fittest. The weak ones get eaten.
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yukiwrites · 3 years
His Two Most Precious
For Corrianderweek, Day 3: Bonding Moment. LONG TIME NO KATERINA!! My baby girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There was always a larger influx of work and reports to read during the weeks preceding any of the Royals’ birthdays, most of all the King’s.
Thus, Xander spent more time than usual cooped up in his study, going over piles and piles of documents each and every day. Of course, so did Kamui, but she was one to know when to take her proper breaks so the people saw the Queen around the castle much more often than they did the King.
Throughout their years (over a decade!) of marriage, Xander had grown resistant to Kamui’s invitations to take breaks, be they family rated or not, so the Queen had to resort to her trump card…
“Toc, toc, toctocTooc!” A youthful, almost baby-like voice sounded at the same time a chubby hand did the set of knocks specially devised for her. The guard on duty outside fidgeted, wanting to open the door as it was his role, but being told not to.
From the inside, Xander tilted his head to the side in confusion. “Katerina?” He asked the empty room, being answered by the youngest princess of Nohr right outside.
“Caan Katie come inn, Papa?” She asked adorably, in a way that Xander could already picture how she was standing on the tips of her toes and swaying her fluffy dress around.
“Of course, my precious princess. Come on in.” The King immediately let go of his pen to welcome his youngest child midway to the room, opening his arms to pick her up.
Before he could, however, Katerina hopped inside and opened a rolled up sheet of paper, yelling a, “ta-dAH! Happy birthdee, Papa!”
“Oh?” Xander chuckled, wearing the warmest and fondest expression only found on a parent who deeply loved their children. “What priceless piece of art! Is that me?” He kneeled in front of the little girl, prompting her to sit on his knee and let him take the drawing so she could point to each of the hairy stick figures she had drawn with crayon.
“Here is Papa, me, Mama, bibig bro and big bro! I made Papa’s crown reaaally big here!” She kicked her chubby legs, making her curly, golden hair bounce around her pointy ears.
“Indeed, you have managed to capture me perfectly, my precious princess. May I keep this with me here?” He rolled the paper back, gesturing to his desk, intending on keeping the drawing in the drawer closest to his arm so it could be within his reach anytime he wanted to look at it.
“Mhm!” Katerina nodded as she wrapped both short arms around her father’s neck, squeezing him in a warm and loving hug. Xander reciprocated the gesture immediately, getting up as he held the little girl with one arm, safely holding her drawing with the other. He walked back to his desk, sitting upon the comfy chair by it so he could safely place the wonderful piece of art inside the drawer.
As he bent sideways to do so, Katerina made herself comfortable on top of his desk -- specifically making of the many important documents of the kingdom as her seat of honor. Usually, the one who would sit on his desk to distract him from work would be-
Wait just a moment…
From the corner of Xander’s eyes, he saw that the door to his study remained ajar, despite him knowing full well that was supposed to be a guard on duty standing right outside. As a rule, it was the soldier’s job to open the door for the guests and close it behind them, so there was no understandable reason for him not to do this single task of his job, unless there was someone of a higher rank than him standing right there to impede him from doing it.
“Say, Katerina?” That line of thought took less than half a second to conconte, so the young princess had barely set her fluffy dress atop his documents when he opened his mouth.
The little girl’s bright, red eyes that looked so much like her mother’s darted straight to Xander, being accompanied by a large, missing-a-tooth grin that somehow managed to melt the King’s heart even further. “Papa?”
“Did someone tell you to come here to do this? My birthday is only two days from now, after all.” He glanced from the princess to the door, wondering if he could catch a glimpse of what was behind that slight crack.
As matter-of-factly a 3-year-old could be, Katerina simply pointed to the door and said, “Mama!”
“C-cough!” Something behind the door moved, making Xander’s gaze catch a glimpse of a blue dress.
Pressing his lips so as to hide a smirk that fought to grow on his lips, Xander cleared his throat, managing to ask with a semi-sarcastic, mostly-fond tone: “Would you care to join us, Kamui?”
Xander could feel the tension coming from beyond the door, which made his hard-fought smirk win half of the battle, giving him an annoyed look to the normal onlooker. To his family, however? They could see that he was fighting back the urge to laugh the moment any of them laid eyes on him.
Kamui awkwardly popped her head inside the study, smiling as though caught red-handed. “Heehee, you caught me!”
“Mama!” Katerina bounced on her seat of documents. “Mama, Mama!”
The couple exchanged glances that carried the words of a man and woman who had been together for the largest part of their lives. See that? She’s calling me so I’m going over now, Kamui giggled innocently, knowing that her husband would see through her ruse right away. We will need to talk later, was the only message Xander’s gaze sent through, but Kamui simply smiled as though to ignore it and quickly headed towards the bouncing little girl.
“Katie heard everyone say it’s Papa’s birthdee, but it’s not! Did Mama say wrong?”
Kamui coughed once again, caught in her ruse by their too-smart 3-year-old. “M-Mama only meant that Papa was too busy with the preparations for this birthday party, my little pumpkin. Thank you for coming here and reminding him to take a break, okay?”
“Mhm!” The little girl nodded vehemently, but stopped it just as fast, “AH!”
Startled out of their skins, the parents each placed one hand on either of Katerina’s shoulders to assess how she was, but the princess simply widened her sparkling eyes as she looked at her mother.
“Bumpkin!” She waved energetically, “Nanny said there was bumpkin snack today!”
Xander and Kamui both breathed out in relief, the Queen placing one hand over her chest as the King stroked his thumb on Katerina’s arm in an act of fondness.
“Are you going to eat lots of pumpkins, my little pumpkin?” Kamui squeezed the little girl’s chubby cheeks, receiving a loud giggle and happy kicks in response.
“Mhm!” She nodded to Kamui, then immediately turned to Xander, opening her arms as though asking for upsies. “Papa, take me!”
Blinking, Xander was stunned for half a second before narrowing his eyes to his wife.
It wasn’t my idea, her eyes said, though her mouth let out a gurgling snort as her hands did a thumbs-up for her daughter’s wit. Noticing how her husband was about to give in, she joined the act by hugging Katerina and showing Xander the exact same look the little girl was giving him. “Take me too, Xander?” She pouted adorably, knowing that she would answer for this later.
“Take meeee, Papa!” Katerina insisted, pushing Kamui away so as to open her arms once again for her father.
Xander further narrowed his eyes as he reached for Katerina, promptly putting her on his arms and getting up from his seat. “I’m afraid I will not be able to take you, my Queen, as my arms are occupied with one princess already.”
Kamui grinned widely. “I suppose I must concede defeat, then. But I must ask for a fee for this travesty.” She tapped on his free arm, asking him to bend down to her short height so she could place a kiss upon his lips.
Not being able to hide his smile anymore, Xander simply did as his wife said and welcomed her kiss with open lips and closed eyes.
“Chuu, chuu, chuu!” Katerina imitated kissy sounds, wanting her to be the next receiver of smooches.
Gurgling a giggle under Xander’s lips, Kamui smiled as their kiss turned into smaller ones until she was able to speak. “Muah, muah, muah for Katie too!” The Queen pulled her little girl’s cheeks closer to her, covering her with loud and wet kisses.
Xander placed a patient peck on Katerina’s forehead after Kamui was done disheveling the princess’ hairdo, slicking the curly hair back with his free hand. After he was done, his Queen took the arm within her own, wanting to be escorted to the tea room alongside their daughter.
“Bumpkin, bumpkin!” Katerina chanted, kicking her tiny feet as Xander made his way out of the room with Kamui in tow. The guard that was supposed to be there had been probably relieved of his duties for the day by Kamui, but that was a matter for him to talk to her another time.
For now, he would enjoy this moment to bond with the most important women of his life, two days before his birthday. 
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boomingsmile · 3 years
Decided to create new blog to have some language practice and talk a lot about gross old man Tassiter hes my comfort character gather some ideas for my fanfics and stuff. Also, for making friends. Maybe. I’m kinda lonely, don’t mind talking at all.
MY FANDOMS (the bold ones are my favorite):
Borderlands (otp — Blake x Tassiter)
Hazbin Hotel (otp — Katie x Tom)
Dishonored (otp — Outsider x Emily)
Sonic the Hedgehog (brotp? — Jet x Sonic)
Discworld (The Essential Discworld Ship — VetVimes)
Don’t Starve (otp — Wickerbottom x Maxwell)
Overwatch (otp — Moira x Mercy)
Golden Kamuy
Undertale (otp — Grillby x Gaster)
Bakugan Battle Brawlers (otp — Mira x Hydron)
I can make friends with literally anyone but, please, remember this: I avoid any discourses and not discussing politics, though may share an opinion if necessary.
Times are getting weirder with every hour so I decided to be clear: I’m a pro-ship. What does that mean, as it seems people associating it with pеdophilia, which is very, completely wrong:
no harassment over an art piece,
no cancel without a concrete proof of said person’s guilt,
no art censorship,
no GTA Make Killers arguments,
main reason I am a pro-shipper: everyone in russian fandoms, except for a bunch of radfems, are pro-ship because from the very young age we were taught the difference between fiction and the real world, and how do they affect each other. If it’s in the Real World, it has to be done something about it as real people might be hurt; if it’s Fiction, doesn’t matter, people who rampage after a book have another, more vile and sinister reasons behind their actions (that’s why art censorship wouldn’t ever work: it’s not up to the author to decide what they had wrote in this person’s very eyes; every book, every game, a movie, fan fiction, anything could be the person’s last straw. You have to be naive, or ignorant, to think otherwise), plus, it’s just one side of the thing, another being happy about your favourite story, and it’s prevalent.
What I wanna say: care about ones who live around you. Who have been counted in the statistic and could be analysed on what is the cause of their problems. Hypothetical people do not exist yet your neighbour without life-saving meds, the sad kid with strangle-looking parents, a stray kitty, and many others, pretty much are. They need your help, or at least attention.
Let pixels be. Getting another art account down and their creator dead wouldn’t help anybody.
Also, my time zone is GMT+3, meaning I might text you back a little late or a bit too early…
Things I like:
Cuillin 102.7 FM 
Cities Skylines 
Alfredo pizza from Papa Jones
DSBM, Shoegaze, Atmospheric Black Metal, Retrowave&Synthwave, Chavela Vargas
Video games are my life-long passion
Also, books
And trips!!!
Computers were a mistake but I love them, too
Things I dislike:
Other pizza from Papa Jones except the one with cheese
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scyllua · 4 years
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While chap.203 hasn't stirred that much of a reaction in the Japanese fandom as the previous chapter did, it prompted many fans to emulate Sugimoto's art style. Nothing of this comes as a particular surprise, as the chapter serves as sort of a recap of the events from vol.14 (the Abashiri Prison assault)... and because Sugimoto's drawing talent would be on par with his sniping skills.
The highlights of this chapter have to do with the confirmation of the Russian sniper's identity and goals and the hint at Noda pursuing the plotline regarding the Partisans. It was rather obvious who that Russian sniper was from the very moment he (re)appeared in the manga, but given this is Golden Kamuy and the weird things that have already transpired in the plot made me think it's a very crazy Meiji era the one they are living in, I'd rather wait for the author's clear confirmation on ANY matter before taking anything for granted. Let us not forget that, for starters, I think most of us had already assumed our Russian sniper pretty dead. We can always speculate, however, and this chapter leaves enough room to reflect on a certain other sniper (this one, Japanese and now one-eyed) and how soon (or not) he could make it back to the plot.
I should work on my summaries so they aren't that long. In the meantime and to everyone who had the patience to read my previous chapter post: thank you very much and fear not, for I have no random movie comments to make here! There should be some fan comments, of course, and the usual warnings about mistakes and mistranslations apply as well. Onto the fun of two amateur artists sharing their Ogata fanarts then!
In short, as no further shots are made, Tsukishima believes Sugimoto got to the sniper and Asirpa runs off to meet him. Meanwhile, Sugimoto and the sniper -now confirmed to be Vasily- overcome the language barrier by using the latter's hand-drawn pictures to explain to each other the circumstances in which they crossed paths/met Ogata. Upon the arrival of the rest of the group and after Asirpa recognizes Vasily as probably one of the men who ambushed them in the frontier, Tsukishima explains to him Kiroranke is already dead and they don't know about the current whereabouts of Ogata, their only purpose in Karafuto being finding Asirpa and going back with her. As a rather annoyed Shiraishi complains to Vasily for shooting him, it's revealed he can't speak because of the shot wounds he sustained. As Sugimoto's group resumes their journey, Vasily keeps following them on horseback from a distance. They deduce he's now keen on meeting Ogata again and engaging in another snipers' duel, and that he's sticking around convinced the wildcat will eventually come after them. Questioned by Asirpa, Sugimoto says as long as they're still looking for the Ainu gold, there's always the possibility of Ogata coming back; as per his motivations, Sugimoto adds it might be that Ogata is simply messing with them as opposed to being after an actual goal. In their way back, the group visits Svetlana's parents to hand them a letter she wrote; even though Sugimoto would rather search for Sofia and find out the truth, he understands their primary purpose in Karafuto has been fulfilled already. The chapter ends with Sofia meeting Gansoku and Svetlana in a port city in Russian territory. After exchanging a few hits, Sofia invites Gansoku to come with her, but he turns down the offering, stating he'll travel west with Svetlana. Sofia then states she'll go to Hokkaidou in pursue of their hope... and revenge.
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Ever wondered why streets are always so conveniently empty whenever there's a chasing or a shooting going on? I have, even if my question is probably answered in the same question already (because... they're so conveniently empty: easier to describe, draw or animate, and with a minimum of casualties, as well!) In any case, and even though our group seemed to be the only bystanders at the time the shooting began, there's now the usual traffic and activity you'd expect in a town street. In fact, a man in a sled is just walking down the street when, alerted by Koito and Tsukishima not to come that way or otherwise risk being shot, he good-naturally asked what the soldiers are doing. Tsukishima comments it seems as though Sugimoto has already done his magic, ie. he did what he's best at (hint: it isn't sniping or drawing, as we'll see in this chapter), and Asirpa runs off to meet him.
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Here follows some good 4 pages of Sugimoto and Vasily proving the language barrier isn't an hindrance when it comes to relatively difficult tasks, such as explaining the events from vol.14 up to that point or how both of them have survived being shot in the head by the same sniper. It turns out Vasily has made enough drawings of Ogata to start his own Pixiv account -putting aside the fact that he's one century ago from that website being created-; actually, Vasily could begin posting full illustration logs, as he even took the care and time to draw the wildcat sporting different expressions, including one smiling. I'm suspecting he might have more study sketches of Ogata in the fiction than author Noda in the real world. This would pose a question for me: just how well could he see Ogata during their snipers' duel? In the extended passage as it was compiled in vol.17, they do spend many hours watching and studying each other... but let us not forget that Ogata's face was obscured in such a way, Vasily couldn't tell for sure where it was him or not. Well, following last chapter's caption at the end, I'm just going to assume here Vasily has nothing short of a photographic memory, sharpened to perfection through his sniping skills, and that he could commit to memory the features of a man he only seemed to have caught fleeting glimpses of partly because the wildcat is unforgettable. Being shot can arise that kind of reaction in people, after all. Going back to the chapter, and given the amount of Ogata portraits he has, Sugimoto asks him whether he's been requested to find him -bounty hunter-style, we may speculate-, but then Vasily uses some of his many (MANY) drawings to explain he went into a showdown with Ogata... and lost. This chapter's title could be translated as "portrait" (似顔絵, nigaoe), though its exact meaning would be more in the lines of a "drawn sketch/picture of a face". Why, yes, a portrait indeed, only that the term in Japanese suggests it isn't as precise as a taken photograph, but a close enough depiction.
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I'm always making jokes and complaining about the cast in this manga being so prone to trust in others no matter what terms they might have been on in the past, but I have to admit that being able not to hold grudges, apart from preventing bitterness and anxiety in addition to other negative feelings, also helps greatly when it comes to pace the story forward. Remember how Sugimoto was about to kill Vasily in the best of Friday the 13th traditions (only that less bloody I might presume, given this is still a seinen manga and not a R-rated story), all of this happening in the previous chapter, 7 days ago in real time, 2 pages prior in the manga, like 10 seconds previously in the story's timeline? Well, let's put aside all that negativity for the sake of a couple of souls bonded by the same sniper (different bullet obviously, same rifle and all) sharing an artistic moment.
In addition to their fanboying over Ogata -for the wrong reasons, though, as they'd be both after the wildcat to settle some scores-, Sugimoto and Vasily manage to summarize the manga from vol.14 up to that point, using their respective drawings to explain to each other the events. "Explaining to each other" wouldn't be a wrong statement in this case because they do appear to be understanding the other quite well through the drawings, some gesturing, and the usefulness of somatic language, even though Vasily doesn't seem to know Japanese (as he's puzzled at Sugimoto's questions). When he produces drawings of Kiroranke, Shiraishi and Asirpa, Sugimoto explains to him the latter two aren't related to the Partisans: the bad guy here, no doubt about it, is Ogata, as he emphatically conveys by hitting his portrait with his fist. Now in quite the roll because Vasily is assimilating the ideas very fast (as he also hits Ogata's portrait), Sugimoto then explains he was also shot by the wildcat... and reveals his artistic sense might be on par with his sniping skills. ...and while I'll keep joking about his awful aiming until the day he finally manages to shoot anything down -as opposed to pummel or pierce it with his rifle or affixed bayonet-, I won't make much fun of his artistic capabilities because, I'm afraid, he might draw better than I. As I state in my blog's sidebar, I color manga panels partly because I can't draw a straight... or crooked... line for the love of it.
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Sugimoto explains Ogata was in cahoots with Kiroranke -and as well as the readers, he doesn't how for how long-, shot him in the head in Abashiri Prison and then ran away taking Asirpa with him. Unlike their previous exchange, I can deduce Vasily didn't get a single word of any of it, as he mistakes Sugimoto's drawing of himself for a spider. And I must confess it took me some time to realize Sugimoto drew himself being shot: those tendril-like things sticking out of his head -that Vasily takes for a spider's legs, it seems- are meant to show the bullet's trajectory when impacting him. A parenthesis here: Let's just check Sugimoto's drawing of Ogata running away on horseback. I don't pretend to make fun of it, but I still find quite the noteworthy detail that he draws Ogata with an arrow sticking out of his right eye, and not sparing even the lock of hair that frames his face. Or at least, I'm assuming that's a lock of hair on Ogata's head. The caption Sugimoto writes in katakana reads, "Ogata escaped". That scene, may I add, has been a fan favorite -mine included- and a source of inspiration for many works in the Japanese fandom. Some speculative fanworks have to do with the circumstances Ogata runs away, and thus some fans have posed quite the questions, ranging from where he got that horse, to whether it didn't hurt too much to ride it in such conditions as, you might remember, he was wearing a hospital gown only and had no underwear to speak of. If you take a closer look at the panel, however, you'll notice Ogata is carrying a sack when he's riding away, implying he managed to gather his belongings and probably a couple more things for the road, and thus wouldn't be dying on us due to exposure or some painful horse riding to wherever it was he ran away .
Back to our amateur artists (because I'm assuming Vasily's main occupation revolves about being a sniper... with an eidetic memory for faces and some outstanding artistic talent as bonus) and resuming his recapping of the latter half of the manga and unabated by the debatable poor reception his drawing skills might be getting, Sugimoto explains Asirpa involuntarily shot an arrow that hit Ogata in the eye. Here comes a short passage -it's a single panel, in fact- that killed my Japanese pretty dead, so I wouldn't risk a translation of it... though I think, it seems to me, I could grasp that blah blah etc. etc., Sugimoto further and quite lively states Ogata's death would have "stained" Asirpa -meaning, would have dirtied her hands-, and thus he saved the wildcat because he'd do anything in his power to keep everything surrounding her pure for her sake. The actual word in Japanese he uses is 綺麗 (kirei), which you might know as meaning "cute" and "pretty", but it can also be understood in the sense of "clean", "pure" or "neat." Given Sugimoto literally uses 汚い (kitanai), "dirty", "unclean" or "foul" (used as a verb in this case) to describe how Ogata's death would have impacted Asirpa, I'm going with "pure" in my previous sentence. ...I'm aware my explanation of Sugimoto's statement makes it sound as though he's belittling saving Ogata, but I can reassure you that his lines are way more poetic and moving: it's just that my Japanese -and my English, come to that- is just that lacking, sorry about this! The scene is more moving because Asirpa arrives at the precise moment to hear Sugimoto's words, but he doesn't notice her.
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The rest of the group arrives and cuts off Sugimoto and Vasily's artistically driven moment of plot exposition, though. And now, please allow me to state that God bless Tsukishima for being himself, acting as the sane man every story needs, accompanying the group in this journey, and knowing Russian, not in that particular order: I'm 100% convinced this manga wouldn't progress half as smoothly as it does weren't he around. And Tsurumi and Koito wouldn't be probably around either if he didn't have that presence of mind and swiftness of action, specifically when projectiles and explosions are involved. After Asirpa says she thinks Vasily was part of the group of men that ambushed them in the frontier, Tsukishima explains to him Kiroranke is already dead and Ogata ran away, his whereabouts unknown to them. Their only purpose in Karafuto was to find Asirpa and go back with her, he adds, and they have nothing to do with the Czar's assassination by the Partisans. Vasily says nothing in the metaphorical sense, as he keeps quiet and seems to accept the explanation. Now, and I've already written above, I've always complained about the GK cast for being this trusty and, let's say, think nothing of the repeated risk of a headshot by accepting in their ranks a traitorous character who left their previous party after shooting a couple people in the head, but I have to admit yet again the characters being this quick to understand, accept and come to terms with practically anything and everything does help move forward the plot. Very much so.
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I wrote Vasily said nothing in the metaphorical sense because it's revealed -just as we were speculating- he can't speak due to the shot wounds he sustained during his duel with Ogata. Once outside, Shiraishi complains to him about shooting him; when our Escape King snaps whether he doesn't have anything to say or it's just that Russians don't know how to apologize (he literally asks whether there are no words for apologizing in Russian), Vasily shows him his face, prompting a reaction in Shiraishi that might make readers grateful we aren't shown the state of his lower face. Sugimoto comments at that moment he might not be able to speak due to those wounds. I was also wondering whether Vasily knew or at the very least could grasp a little Japanese. It seems to me he might not after all, as there are some panels throughout the chapter that show him with an interrogation mark -indicating he isn't understanding- when Sugimoto was talking to him. In the above panels as well, Tsukishima seems to be translating Shiraishi's complaints for him.
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Just before the group resumes their journey, Shiraishi tells Vasily -in not so kind words- to go back to Russia, but he's shown to keep following them from a distance. Shiraishi ponders whether he doesn't believe Kiroranke is already dead, but Asirpa points out he used the back of Kiro's wanted poster to make some of his drawings, leading her to conclude he isn't interested in the latter anymore. As discussed by the our main protagonist trio, it seems Vasily is sticking to them under the belief they'll eventually cross paths with Ogata; as Sugimoto puts it, given he's still alive, he considers their snipers' duel to be not finished (I suppose a more poetic way to put it would be, "as long as he draws breath, he can keep fighting"). The immortal also thinks there's always the possibility of Ogata coming after them because of the Ainu gold, prompting Asirpa to wonder if that's actually his goal: let us not forget he showed quite the intent to kill her (chap.187) and thus, eliminate the one person who holds the key to solving the tattoo puzzle. A somewhat serious and pensive Sugimoto comments it might be that Ogata... is simply messing or toying around with them. Cue a full-page panel depicting a lynx (in Japanese, an ooyamaneko) crossing the path in the snowy forest. (I should point out I'm assuming it's a lynx because of its ears, making it very similar to the one shown in chap.169, vol.17.)
A not-so-random fan comment here: I always refer to Sugimoto as not being the sharpest knife in the drawer. Actually, I'd say he's the kind to smash the drawer against a wall and use the sharpest fragments of it to cut open whatever it is he might need cut, even if I'm compelled yet again to admit his approach, while not the most strategically planned, tends to work. But he also seems to be quite understanding of others in addition to his natural kindness, and it comes as not much of a surprise then that he could be the person with the better grasp at Ogata's personality. Or the only person who might have any grasp on it at all, in any case. I must say my opinion of Ogata's character pretty much coincides with that of Sugimoto as he stated it in chap.196 and now in this chapter: specifically, that Ogata doesn't have a particular motivation to act as he does (apart from being driven by the most negative and dangerous of his traits, of course). I think his character isn't meant to have any specific motivations or goals other than being chaotic for the sake of it; however, as Noda has given a background to every single recurrent and relevant character in the manga and spares no revelations for some of them no matter how far into the plot we might be (the most recent flashback regarding Koito's past should be an example), I can't discard the possibility of the author having in store some plot twist or equal revelation about Ogata.
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Given Sofia is the only one who knows the truth now (I'm assuming here Sugimoto thinks Ogata might have sided with Kiroranke for a reason that lies with the Partisans' intentions), our immortal comments he'd liked to look for her. He's aware, though, that Tsukishima and Koito's mission was to find Asirpa and get back with her to Hokkaido, whereas Tanigaki joined in the entourage for the sake of the girl as well and thus, they should have no reason to pursue other ends at the time. They still stop by the lighthouse to hand Svetlana's letter to her parents, and just as the manga implies they won't be going after more subplots, Asirpa points out Sofia was planning to reunite with her comrades in the continent and then go back to Japan: she wouldn't just run away to Europe after everything that just happened.
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Right in cue, Sofia meets Gansoku and Svetlana in a port town in Russia. Just as Gansoku seemed to be involved in yet another cathartic moment pummeling around men who can't put a dent on him, he's challenged by Sofia but refuses, stating he only fights other men. He's quick to change his mind and declare the world does have many surprises in store ("The world is so wide!") after Sofia not only punches him, but manages to get in quite the equal grounds with him. This yet again poses another question for me: given Gansoku is one of the toughest men in this story -in the strictest physical sense at the very least: we can't forget everything Nikaidou has gone through the manga, after all-, how come Sofia can beat him so badly? The obvious answer would be that Sofia happens to be just that tough -or the toughest woman of the Meiji era-, but since this is a Shueisha and a Jump-published manga, I also want to believe she might be using Haki to hit that hard. Just as Nami in One Piece, her blows manage to harm a man's heart and soul.
Before their fight can further escalate (but after Sofia has pulled off the almost obligatory Rip Open my Shirt scene, only that she isn't exactly wearing a shirt and the scene isn't that common when female characters are involved because of censorship), Svetlana intervenes and stops them, saying it'll be quite the problem for her if Sofia kills her bodyguard. Implying here she was at least sure of what the outcome of the fight would have been. The three of them have a talk then and Sofia invites Gansoku to join her, but he turns down the offer and explains both he and Svetlana intend to make their way to the west, to the cities where a larger population means a larger possibility to find stronger people (to beat the **** out of them in more cathartic instances, I'm presuming). As Svetlana asks Sofia where she's planning to go now, she replies that she's going to Hokkaido... for their hope and revenge.
I should note I'm not including any more panels of Sofia in this chapter because I'm assuming Tumblr would flag this entry otherwise. I was never told why they put my blog "under review" when I barely had any posts on it, so my best guess has to with an entry I wrote explaining about the terrorist groups that operated in my country. I made that post partly because to poke some fun at Sugimoto's wielding a hammer and a sickle in chap.145 (vol.15), and how that would have been merited a ban for this manga were some conservative Congressmen in my country to see the panels (the largest terrorist group operating in my country originally followed the Communist ideology). Well, as Sofia begins exchanging blows with Gansoku, she uncovers her torso and her breasts remain visible for the rest of the chapter, even when she's speaking with him and Svetlana in the freezing Russian landscape. Her breasts are so big, they cover part of the chapter's title in the last page... making me suspect Tumblr could flag this entry just because her nipples are equally big.
Some (more) fan comments on this chapter: The story is unfolding as I'd anticipated in a very broad way, as it seems Vasily will stick around with the group for at least some more chapters. While none has proposed an alliance, I don't think any will have any inconvenience cooperating with each other as long as their goals align: even if it's true Sugimoto's group isn't that elated at the possibility of meeting Ogata again, they're obviously expecting to cross paths with him in the future, and extra help is always welcomed. Specially if things come to a sniper against another sniper, I'd say: the manga is hinting at another confrontation between Vasily and Ogata. After all, Noda is a noteworthy narrator and all of his plot elements turn out to be relevant (even those related to food and cultural traditions which could have been seen at first as more trivia-informative to the reader than important to the plot), so I don't think he brought Vasily back to the story for no reason. Or just to show off Vasily's artistic talent, in any case, * ahem *. The plot would still have to take shape, but it seems to me all elements are aligning so that Noda can solve several pending subplots: Vasily's reappearance can tie up with the plot regarding the remaining member of the Partisans trio, Sofia, and also provides the proper scenario for Ogata to make it back to the story. It'd be a viable, solid and swift way to focus in the current open subplots before focusing on the main premise of the Ainu gold in Hokkaido.
I'd just speculate then about how soon the subplots would meet a resolution. I'm wondering whether we'll see the rest of this arc taking place in Karafuto, as Sugimoto's group has already made their way back to its southern region, whereas Sofia is in Russian soil, but making her way to Hokkaido. If Vasily doesn't have any trouble with following them to Hokkaido -given he's already in Japanese soil-, then I see no reason as to why the action might not unfold in the island that is the main stage of this manga, but I'm thinking this arc could wrap up while the group is still in Karafuto. We'd need to see at least one more chapter to see how things progress from this point on; unless Noda suddenly feels like jumping back to Hokkaido and showing us what Hijikata has been up to since vol.18 and whether Tsurumi reunited with his men already, with the arc “introduction“ over and the situation laid out to both the cast and the readers, chap.204 should serve as the starting point for the resolution of the current subplots.
My last fan comment of the entry has to do with Vasily. While I'm happy to see him back in the plot and sticking to the protagonist cast for the time being (and hoping he stays in the plot and with the cast for at least the remainder of this volume), his personality as shown in the current events has caught my attention. I wouldn't say he's that different or plain out-of-character in comparison to his first appearance in vol.17, but it's also true he now acts carefree enough as to join Sugimoto in a fanart-sharing moment, and is more emotional as opposed to his cool-headed demeanor during the ambush in the frontier. And adding to his minor hairstyle change, he also looks more youthful now, even if the only we get to see of his face are his eyes. We'd need to see more of him in upcoming chapters to have a better grasp at his character... but if you'd ask me, I'd say Noda has made some changes to his personality, or rather, is shaping his character in a different, though not drastic, way. Why? Well, it seems to me Vasily would fit our protagonist cast and all the weird things bound to happen in this convulsed Meiji era just fine and even better now; in comparison, the group he first appeared as part of acted colder, more focused and serious. Until we see more of him, I'm just going to assume Noda decided to give his character another direction because Tsukishima was plenty of a sane, serious man for the group. Any more sane men in the same group at the same time and I might begin doubting what happened to this manga.
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recentanimenews · 4 years
What Anime Represent Each of Japan's Eras?
On April 30, 2019, Japan’s Emperor Akihito officially abdicated the throne and his son, Naruhito, became the new emperor. This means that the country has both a new ruler and has started a new era, ending the Heisei era that started in 1989 and beginning the Reiwa era.
  This brings up an interesting question though. What are the major Japanese eras? Many anime fans will know terms like “Warring States period” and maybe “Showa era,” and may even know some of the important names or characteristics, but when does each era occur in relation to the others, what was happening in the world in general at the time and most importantly: what anime can I watch that depicts each era?
    Keep in mind that many of these periods of history last for centuries and so no characterization is going to be perfectly accurate. Society changes a little with each generation, so the early Edo period of the 1600’s is almost certainly significantly different than the late Edo of the 1850’s.
      Also, technically each emperor is given their own era, hence why Akihito’s Heisei is ending and Naruhito’s Reiwa is beginning, however for the sake of not turning this article into a history book, we will be talking about the major historical periods, and only focusing on each emperor’s era for the most recent few.
  Chronologically, the earliest parts of Japanese history, collectively known as ancient Japan, are the Jomon, Yayoi and Kofun eras. Jomon is the oldest, going from 10,000 to 800 B.C. In terms of the rest of the world, by 800 B.C. Chinese alchemists had made gunpowder and Rome was about to be founded.
    No anime have been explicitly set in the Jomon era, however the era’s dogu figurines, one of its most well known styles of art, have been depicted in shows like Digimon via Shakkoumon and Pokémon, with Claydol.
  The Yayoi era takes up the next 600 years, from 300 B.C. to 300 A.D. This is when various practices made their way to Japan, like metallurgy and hierarchical class structure. In other parts of the world: Christianity started, Julius Caesar’s reign happened and China entered its Three Kingdoms era.
    In terms of anime, while not set in Japan, Kingdom is set in the Chinese warring states era, which ended in the 4th century B.C., which is still in the early Yayoi period. Meanwhile, Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix is set in a few different eras, with the one of the arcs, specifically the Dawn arc, being in the Yayoi era. In 2004, the manga received an anime adaptation, and earlier this year Media Blasters announced that they were re-licensing the title to make Blu-rays available for the first time.
    The final era of ancient Japan is the Kofun era, from 300 A.D. to 538 A.D., when the country became more politically centralized with the start of the first Imperial government. The name of the era comes from the Kofun mounds where important figures were buried. Elsewhere, the huns were attacking India and Rome, Zen Buddhism entered Korea and Chichen Itza was founded in modern day Mexico.
  Unfortunately, there do not appear to be any anime that have adapted the Kofun era. Even Phoenix, despite covering eras both before and after Kofun, seems to skip over this time period.
    Next is Classical Japan, with the Asuka, Nara and Heian eras. The Asuka era lasted from 538 to 710, during which the arts were greatly affected by the influx of Buddhism, and the country’s name changed from Wa to Nihon. In the rest of the world, Italy reunified under the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic prophet Muhammad is born and wet field rice cultivation flourished.
  For anime, Phoenix comes back to life as quite possible the only show that has adapted the era, specially the Sun arc for the Asuka era.
    Nara, which lasted from 710 to 794, is known for the Imperial Court creating the first Japanese literature and Buddhism finally gaining more followers due to the emperor being Buddhist. Meanwhile, the Ghana empire began and the Iberian Peninsula begins to be ruled by Berber Muslims.
  Outside of potentially some children’s manga though, like the Kofun era, there seriously don’t seem to be any anime set in the Nara era.
  Japan’s classical era ended with the Heian era from 794 to 1185, during which Buddhism and the Imperial Court were at their peak, Charlemagne was crowned Roman emperor, the Norse became Normans, the University of Oxford began teaching and anime finally had something to adapt. This is the era Shounen Onmyoji and Otogi Zoshi are set, among others.
    After the Heian era are the Kamakura, Muromachi and Azuchi-Momoyama eras, collectively known as Medieval Japan. In general, these eras are known as when the shogunate and samurai became prominent.
  The Kamakura era, from 1185 to 1333, saw the rise of the Kamakura shogunate, emergence of samurai and establishment of the feudal system. In the rest of the world, Richard I was crowned king of England, Genghis Khan was declared Great Khan of the Mongols and the Ottoman Empire was established.
  Like with many of the ancient eras, not many anime are explicitly set in the Kamakura era. One exception is Kurozuka, a show about a man in the 12th century who finds out he is unable to die and so watches Japan develop for the next 1,000 years.
    The Kenmu Restoration, which lasted the next three years, was an attempt to put the Imperial Court back in power, and ultimately led to the next Shogunate.
  The Muromachi era and shogunate lasted until 1573 with a succession of 15 shoguns. The last shogun was driven out of the capitol by Oda Nobunaga, starting the Azuchi-Momoyama era, which most people probably recognize more as when Nobunaga and company ended the Warring States era (which had lasted 150 years through half of the Muromachi era) and reunited Japan. When Tokugawa Ieyasu took over and started the Tokugawa shogunate, the Edo period and Japan’s isolationism policy officially began, lasting from 1603 to 1868.
  The reason why these three eras are combined instead of each getting their own sections is because they are collectively known as Japan’s feudal era, one of the most popular time periods for anime.
    If a show looks like it’s set in the past and the characters are wandering the countryside from village to village, there’s a good chance it’s set during the Warring States period, even if it has more magical or fantastic elements. If the show ever mentions the Shinsengumi, it’s probably set sometime during the Edo period or shortly after.
  Most anime set in feudal Japan tend to keep the exact era obscured, instead just showing that the setting is somewhere in that almost 400 year timeframe or heavily inspired by the politics and history of feudal Japan in general, like how Gintama is technically set shortly after the Edo era, so still has a Shogunate and the Shinsengumi, but is also set in a world where aliens conquered Earth. Of the shows that make the timing clearer, the likes of Inuyasha and Dororo are set in the Warring States era while Samurai Champloo and Mononoke are in the Edo period.
    The Edo period ended when people loyal to the emperor overthrew the shogunate to reinstate the Imperial Court, leading to the Meiji Restoration and subsequent era. During the Meiji era, which lasted from 1868 to 1912, Japan emerged from its isolation and ended its feudal system, influenced by more Western ideas.
  In terms of anime, this is the set piece for the likes of Rurouni Kenshin and Golden Kamuy.
    After the Meiji era come the Taisho, Showa and Heisei eras of the 1900’s and 2000’s, with Taisho going from 1912 to 1926, Showa lasting until 1989, and Heisei ending this year on April 30th, 2019.
  The Taisho era established the Imperial Diet of Japan and democratic political parties. The Showa era lasted through World War II, and as a result saw a drastic shift in Japanese society eventually resulting in a parliamentary democracy replacing the Imperial government and a massive economic boom in the latter half of the era.
    This season’s Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is set in the Taisho era. For Showa era shows, Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju and Baccano! are two of the bigger names. Moving into the Heisei era, pretty much anything set in the modern day qualifies.
  The Heisei era is still a part of modern memory, so it is difficult to know how it will be remembered in history, however the transition between Heisei and the new Reiwa era is the first time an emperor has abdicated the throne rather than the new emperor ascending soon after the previous one died.
  And that leads into the current Reiwa era. Since even anime set in modern times typically lags behind current events by a few months or years, nothing is explicitely set in the new era yet, but any slice of life show set in a highschool where the school year just started will be a good contendor for the first ones to cross that line, as one month into the current Japanese school year (specifically at the end of Golden Week) everyone in the country should get a bit of extra time off as the new emporer takes the throne, prompting a national holiday and extension of the students' study time in preparation for their upcoming exams.
    That takes us all the way through Japanese history, from the ancient artifacts of the Jomon era to the smartphones of the modern Reiwa era. There are still the science fiction shows set in the future, but since those eras are yet to come, they do not fall in the scope of this article. Now, all that's left is to watch how the modern era turns out and see how anime in the coming seasons and years deal with new history being made.
  Do you know of any anime set in ancient Japan that I missed? Any standouts from classical or medieval Japan? Let me know in the comments below!
Kevin Matyi is a freelance features writer for Crunchyroll. He's been watching anime for as long as he can remember, and his favorite shows tend to be shonen and other action series.
  Do you love writing? Do you love anime? If you have an idea for a features story, pitch it to Crunchyroll Features! 
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aion-rsa · 2 years
The Legacy of Women in Anime with Funimation
This virtual panel is presented in partnership with Funimation.
Anime has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade as it’s progressively evolved from a niche interest into mainstream entertainment. There are now more places than ever to consume anime, whether it’s on broadcast television or any of the available streaming services, some of which are devoted entirely to anime content.
It’s truly exciting to see the medium’s continued success, but part of the reason that it’s found such universal acclaim is because often anime is just as concerned about representation as it is with entertainment. Anime doesn’t just speak to everyone, but specifically highlights those that may get overlooked elsewhere and feel like their voices are diminished. 
Monica Rial (Case Closed, Golden Kamuy, and Dragon Ball’s Bulma) and Caitlin Glass (My Hero Academia, Fairy Tail, The Vision of Escaflowne) are two highly accomplished voice actors. In celebration of Women’s History Month in partnership with Funimation, we spoke with the actors to discuss female representation in the anime industry, the versatility and freedom that anime can provide women, and the joys of inspiring the next generation of talent to realize and reach for their dreams.
DEN OF GEEK: What sort of relationship did both of you have with anime—if any—before you started working in the industry?
CAITLIN GLASS: I started as a voice actor in 2004, but I’d been watching anime since I was a kid before I even knew what anime even was. I remember being really young—like elementary school—and watching this Grimm’s Fairy Tales show, that I only found out decades later was anime. So yes, I’ve been watching anime since I was a kid, but I really got into it in high school.
In college, anime was an escape for me. I was a theater student, so I spent all my time in rehearsal and I just needed something else to focus on and so I picked anime. I was like, “I used to like anime in high school. Let me go back to that!” Within months of me picking it back up as a hobby, I ended up with an audition at Funimation and the rest is history.
MONICA RIAL: For me, it was my little brother who got me involved in anime. My family is from Spain, so we would go visit over the summertime. Of course, him being a little kid, he would wake up really early to watch all the Spanish anime. One of the shows was a little thing called, “Las Bolas de Dragon” — Dragon Ball. I got to translate for him and it made me really familiar with the show and just really enjoyed it. Then when we came back stateside, he started looking into more and more anime and It made me realize that I, like Caitlin, had been watching anime since I was a kid, but didn’t realize what it was. 
After that he started getting into more mature shows like your Akira-type stuff and the big ones that were popular. I’d watch these with him and really enjoyed them. I was in college at this point too and one of my colleagues was like, “Hey, I’m doing this thing and you should audition.” It just so happened to be a company in Houston that dubbed anime and things started there. It’s really neat for us to have this history with anime, but then also get to be a part of it. It’s really, really cool.
DEN OF GEEK: With anime did you realize what you were being drawn to in particular? Did you see something in the material that perhaps wasn’t getting represented in other animation or programming in general?
CAITLIN GLASS: When I was a teenager, I had friends in theater in high school who were into Sailor Moon. I think we were really attracted to the beautiful costumes and the art in the manga, as well as in the cartoon. The more that I watched it, I  started to realize that what I loved about it is the variety of personalities represented amongst all of the Scouts. How you could see yourself in one or more of them. Liking that show immediately gave you a community when you found someone else who also liked it, because you could be like, “Which Scout are you? Who do you like the most?” 
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There was very limited merchandise, but I remember being able to find some and feeling like I was the coolest because I had the Sailor Mars brush and then my friend had the Sailor Jupiter one. I think that anime helped pave the way for showing not just some token female with a group of guy friends, but that there could be a show that’s led by all female characters who have a variety of personalities to them. It lets the viewer truly find themselves represented in what they’re watching.
MONICA RIAL: I agree. What’s so intriguing to me as an actor is that so many of the stories in anime are character-driven. Sure, the story’s important, but the characters are really what get fleshed out and usually we really get to know them as human beings. As a result, this is also true with the female characters as well, which is not something that you see in all media. 
A lot of times you will have these female characters that are present, but they may not be as fleshed out as you would like. You want to know more about them and it just never happens. It never comes to fruition. So, being a part of a medium where women are not only present and sometimes carry the show, as Caitlin says, but they are also real humans. We get to see their good sides and their bad sides. Not just the stereotypical. That stuff is in there too, but there’s not as much of it in the anime world.
DEN OF GEEK: Like you guys were saying with Sailor Moon, I think anime does such a good job with projecting different types of female relationships. Sailor Moon specifically helped normalize same-sex female relationships way ahead of the curve. Does it feel good to be a part of that inclusivity and to get to see it evolve even further, a decade or two later?
MONICA RIAL: I would say 100%. One of my first memories in voice acting was an audition that I went to and I remember being so amazed that the character that I was playing in this audition was a lesbian. I was so excited, because at that time in the late ‘90s and the early 2000s, that wasn’t really huge in media. I remember seeing the director later and being like, “I really want to play the lesbian. She’s so great. Like what a great character.” We don’t normally get characters like this, that are so well-rounded and so much fun to play, but also have that aspect. There’s not always a lot of LGBTQ representation, especially at that time. 
It’s so cool to be able to play a character like that. I felt like it was life-changing because then you go from there and it’s like all those stigmas working in that industry just kind of disappear by normalizing it and making it a part of what we do. And I love that with anime fans today there’s not even a second thought over what a person’s gender might be. It’s like, everybody is free-rolling. We’re all putting our 100% into it. And there’s representation everywhere, which I think is fantastic, because it’s so needed.
CAITLIN GLASS: I think it’s great that people who enjoy anime fandom can really find a home and a place to belong within it because anime is not a genre in and of itself. It’s a medium of storytelling. There are so many genres of stories within it and there is something for everyone. And as far as LGBTQ content goes, I think that here in Western society, I think that we’re actually able to handle that material in a way that respects it possibly even more than the Japanese do. I’m concerned sometimes, when I see it in anime, that it’s really just there for someone’s fetish, as far as Japanese viewership goes. Because as a culture, they are not necessarily as open as anime may lead you to believe. So, it is a comfort to be at conventions and see people just getting to be themselves.
DEN OF GEEK: Something that I think is so interesting with anime is that there seem to be more roles for women, which isn’t typically the case in other fields. Talk a little bit about that dynamic and if you started more with voicing female or male characters?
MONICA RIAL: I haven’t really gotten to do a lot of male characters. I don’t know if there’s just something inherently female in my voice. I have no idea! I would love to do more of it! However, what I do adore about the medium is the ability to be completely different than what you are in reality. The roles that I’m cast in, I would not get to play on screen and I would not get to play on stage. I tend to do a lot of what I call, “critters,” which are kind of the ambiguous, not of this world, alien types of things. Or sometimes literal critters, too. That’s a lot of fun, because that’s not something I would get to do on stage. Or even the opportunity to play a little girl is something that I can’t do in real life because I’m a 45 year-old woman. Being able to have those opportunities to play things that are outside of what you would normally be cast in because of your physical appearance or biology is such a huge benefit for an actor. And it’s just so much fun. We get to play all the time.
CAITLIN GLASS: Like Monica, I haven’t played many male roles, though it is on the bucket list. I really, really want to get to play a young male protagonist who has more than just a scene, but is like a leader. The 12 to 13-year-old spunky boy or whatever. I’d love to do that. But you’re right, it isn’t as prevalent in media otherwise, outside of anime. I think nowadays in Western cartoons, the trend is to actually get real kids. Though, in cartoons when I was younger, it was still normal to have a female playing a male lead. I think of shows like Dexter’s Lab, and maybe even more recently, Fairly Odd Parents. Those shows have females in those young boy roles. The reason for it is that they intend for the show to run for a long time. You can’t  do that with a real boy who will experience puberty and his voice will change. 
I’m also a director as well as a voice actor and I love the  idea of getting to work with real young people. But I also recognize that the subject matter of anime may not be something that’s appropriate all of the time to have a real 12 year-old kid doing. So, it’s nice for us, as Monica said, to get to play against type. Sometimes the show comes along and it’s just an all-male cast. It’s an all-male story. That’s just how that story is. But I think, maybe they’ll have a flashback when they’re all six years old, and then I’ll get to be in it!
DEN OF GEEK: Both of you also have experience working as ADR directors and having a hand in casting and the performances in anime. How does your work as a voice actor affect and inform your directing work and is there anything that you try hard to bring through when you’re directing on projects?
CAITLIN GLASS: Yes. Being a voice actor certainly helps at the job of being a director, because you can understand the actor’s perspective and you know how to communicate with them. You know what is going through their head while they’re in the booth, trying to do the math, and make the words fit the animation. I will say, I started directing shortly after I became a voice actor, in 2005. Over the years, I’ve seen a great increase in female representation in the industry side of anime. I can’t do anything about what the stories are about, but it is nice to see a lot more female directors, female engineers, female ADR writers, script adapters. That’s really encouraging. I just want people to know that women are behind the scenes and doing a lot. We have producers that are women, vice presidents that are women within the company. 
I do feel it is our responsibility as directors, if you’re able to make casting decisions. At Funimation I’m able to cast my own shows and it’s really important to me that the shows that I dub sound like the people who watch them. I mentioned when we can go to conventions and we see all the people there getting to be themselves and it is the most wonderful, diverse picture I’ve ever seen in my life. People from all walks of life, all races, all sexual orientations and genders, just hanging out and having a good time together. I really want the shows that I produce and that I direct to sound like these people. I’ve made it my goal in the last handful of years to be more diverse in my casting and be purposeful about it, so that people can hear themselves in the media that they like so much.
MONICA RIAL: And it’s so appreciated! I remember back when I started that there was a group of us that were Hispanic and we would joke, “Oh, we’re the three Hispanic voice actors. Go us!” There just wasn’t a lot of diversity when we started. I don’t know why that was, but as we’ve gone through the years, we’ve gotten more and more diverse. I think, as a result, our dubs sound more interesting because they’ve got different kinds of voices and accents. Natural accents and things. I think that makes it sound much more interesting than just a bunch of people that all sound the same. 
As a director, I think Caitlin hit the nail on the head, but I think that being a director sometimes can help you be a better voice actor. I learned so much by watching the people in my booth. As an actor, you don’t ever get to see the other actors’ processes, unless you’re on a stage production or something. As a voice actor, we work individually. I never got to see Caitlin’s process in the booth or anyone else’s. Once you finally get to see that you kind of go, “Oh, wait, you can just do a wild take in between? I didn’t know that. I’m going to start doing that!” It definitely makes you a better voice actor. But I’m so proud of Caitlin and the push for diversity that she’s been doing, because I think it’s phenomenal. Her shows sound so cool as a result!
DEN OF GEEK: To expand on that, it feels like the variety of anime that get dubbed now covers a much broader range than how things were a decade ago. Have you noticed any changes in this area and if anime has become more progressive in that way?
MONICA RIAL: I’m surprised that after all of these years that they’re still coming up with these really, really creative ideas. How do you not run out of ideas, Japan!? I find that absolutely fascinating. I think that it’s really cool to watch, but it’s even cooler to think about the fact that it’s all still going. We’ve had so many periods in time where there was a question of, “Oh, is this is it? Is anime going to pitfall? Popularity is going to go away. It was fun. See you guys later.” Every time we get to that step something happens that kind of brings it back. I assume it’s the fandom. Thank you guys so much. It’s really great to see because every time it comes back it comes back a little bit stronger. Right now, anime, in my opinion, feels like it’s more popular than it’s ever been before. That’s just so cool when you’ve spent so much of your life working on something that you truly believe in and love.
Read more
Celebrating Black Voices in Anime with Funimation
By Daniel Kurland
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By Daniel Kurland
CAITLIN GLASS: Yeah. It’s pretty spectacular. The number of shows that come out every season, and like Monica mentioned–the sheer variety of story–just warms my heart. It means that there’s going to be even more and something for everyone. You’re going to find that thing that you like. Like I mentioned before, anime is not a genre; it’s a medium. So, that thing that you’re into? We’ve got that. We’ve got that for you.
DEN OF GEEK: Finally, what are some lasting memories from working within the anime industry that have really resonated with you?
MONICA RIAL: Well, going back to conventions will be huge because I think that for us it’s just so great to have that one-on-one experience. And I really feel bad for the actors that don’t have that connection to their fandom like we do. We really do get to speak to the people who are taking in the medium and watching it. They’re all so incredibly sweet and thankful, but I think the biggest thing for me has been playing Bulma. I’ve had so many women come to me and go, “Man, I just want to say thank you because what a strong lady! She’s strong, independent, smart, wealthy. She doesn’t need a dude. I’m pro-Bulma!” And that makes me so happy and she’s a great role model. Finally, I have a role model that I can go, “Hey, little girls. You can be a scientist, and you can be spunky, and you can be all of these things together.” And that’s cool. It’s totally okay. 
We go in individually to record and you do the best that you can. You hope that the director gets all the puzzle pieces together and it’s brilliant. But then, to see the reaction from the folks that have watched it, and to see how it’s touched their lives is just huge. How often do you get to see that you’re making a difference just by doing something that you love? It really means a lot. I’ll be happy to get back to conventions and see those guys again, because I realized how much I miss that interaction with the fandom just over the last year.
CAITLIN GLASS: For me, something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately isn’t so much who am I touching with a particular character, but what influence am I able to have just by being a voice actor? When I first started and I was going to conventions, even very early on in 2004 and 2005,  people were always asking, “How can I be a voice actor?” At the time it was kind of this, “Oh, God. Who wants to tell them?” situation. It would be this annoying question that we had to get out of the way. However, over the years I’ve realized answering that question so many times that this stuff has truly shaped a generation of young actors in a way that I did not expect. I used to just roll my eyes at it, but the folks that really had it in their heart to make this their way of life are doing it. Now some of them are even my colleagues and it’s amazing. It’s amazing.
I’m so proud of them, but it’s also really reassuring to me. I want Monica and any other voice actors out there to know that there was a time in this field when I thought, “Is this all that I could be doing? I have a degree. I wanted to go on stage and study abroad and do Shakespeare…Am I settling by putting down these roots in the anime dub world?” I look back now and I realize that we have honestly and truly made a mark on the industry, and in the West, in a positive way. It’s shaping young lives and giving young artists a place to call home. We’re doing good and let’s keep doing it. Let’s keep doing it.
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MONICA RIAL: It’s really amazing. The first few times I recognized somebody at the studio that was someone that told me in an autograph line, “Someday, I’m going to work with you.” And when you see that person it brings tears to your eyes. You’re like, “You did the thing! I told you how to do the thing, and you did it! Congratulations!” It’s such a cool feeling. You realize that we become the maternal figures to the community because these are kids that looked up to us and now are working with us. As a result–and I know Caitlin is the same way–we try to give back and help them out whenever they have questions. I always want to be available for support and to let the other kids out there that are still so interested in getting involved that there is a path to success. There is a path to becoming a voice actor, especially during the pandemic. That’s huge because now most of what we’re doing is remote. There’s a lot of people that have been able to break into the industry that may not have been able to before because of the constraints of limitations of distance. That’s been really exciting.
The post The Legacy of Women in Anime with Funimation appeared first on Den of Geek.
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arcaneranger · 5 years
Final Thoughts - Spring 2018
Oh, I am so very late on this one, but in my defense, I did warn that I had too much to watch during the spring, so much so that I actually have to have MAL open in another tab while I’m writing this just to remember everything.
I’ll start with what I skipped.
* Tokyo Ghoul:re, FLCL Alternative, Hozuki’s Coolheadedness Season 2 and High School DxD Hero because I have neither watched the previous seasons nor read the manga.
* Cutie Honey Universe and Gurazeni because by the time I would have gotten to them, I had only heard bad things.
* Dragon Pilot: Hisone to Masotan because Netflix picked it up and we’ll have to wait until September for it.
* Gegege no Kitaro because I didn’t hear any buzz about it and frequently forget that it even exists, I’ll get around to it if enough people ask me to.
* Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory because Funimation has inexplicably removed the dub from VRV and that’s how I want to experience it.
* Kakuriyo: Bed and Breakfast for Spirits because I already watched Konohana Kitan and didn’t see much of a difference.
* Captain Tsubasa because Viz licensed it and then just kinda sat on it everywhere except the Philippines.
* Inazuma Eleven because it just went completely unlicensed/unloved.
So, with those out of the way, from the bottom to the top, here’s everything I did manage this season.
Worst of the Season: Fist of the Blue Sky Re:Genesis (2/10)
Oh my god, it’s just the ugliest thing this side of Berserk. I don’t remember a damn thing about this one, and I’d bet that most people who watched it are with me on this one, because I was just distracted by how astoundingly awful the CG production in this show is.
Butlers x Battlers (3/10)
Ugh, what a boring slog of a premiere. I still pretty vividly remember this one, if only because it’s so painfully generic that it swung all the way around to be memorable again. Butlers spent almost its entire first episode on absolutely nothing before remembering in the last five minutes that it was supposed to have a plot and smash-cutting to it in the middle of a scene.
Caligula (3/10)
Where to start? After one of the most interesting premieres of the season, this adaptation pretty immediately sank into complete nonsense, and it’s such a massive waste of potential that this was the work of the writers behind the original Persona titles. Caligula is a show where the main characters literally forget the plot is happening and decide to go to a theme park while they’re trapped in a virtual world with a bunch of digi-zombies trying to murder them. Are you kidding me?
Devils’ Line (3/10)
I just did my write-up for this, so it’s a little fresher in my mind, but honestly, it’s just Twilight with adults and the edge factor turned up, and it looks damn silly trying to be as serious as it is. Sentai needs to choose a little more carefully than this if they want to promote their new service.
Libra of Nil Admirari (3/10)
This one was just so boring to look at that I don’t remember anything except that books were evil and it was a visual novel adaptation.
Dances With the Dragons (4/10)
I’m aware that I use the word “generic” an awful lot, but this season’s worst had quite a lot of that quality, and it applies here, too. Trying its hardest to be a mid-aughts grimdark action piece, it just does almost nothing interesting in its premiere, aside from giving the protagonist an already-existing girlfriend, which may have just been an attempt to quell any yaoi-baiting the two main dudes have going for them, because her only qualities demonstrated were “can’t cook” and “looks hot”.
Real Girl (4/10)
As I said in my write-up, I wanted so badly to like this one, but you need a budget of more than fifty cents to make an anime, and nearly every shot betrays just how little the studio was working with. We’re talking about the kind of show where the main cast goes to a summer festival, and appear to be the only people there. The story and writing just aren’t enough to make me put up with it.
Gundam Build Divers (4/10)
What a total letdown from this franchise. Fighters was an incredibly well-written show that was aimed at kids but could appeal to all Gundam fans, Try was divisive but the people that liked it (like me) got a lot out of it, but Divers just flounders. A relatively decent first episode gives way to episode after episode of Villain of the Week shenanigans that I cannot bring myself to care about because the main cast just aren’t interesting; they’re pretty much just generic shonen cardboard cutouts. This was one case where I was almost hoping for a sudden death game turnaround, because the idea of a bunch of kids being trapped in a game with lots of adults and giant robots would at least be a workable plot, but just fighting Team Rocket over and over again is boring schlock.
Magical Girl Ore (4/10)
I held out hope for too long on this one, but I had an inkling from the beginning that the humor was just going to turn me way, way off, and I was right. This one just carried too many bad implications if you thought about it, and they all piled up and crashed down on me the more I tried to keep going.
Magical Girl Site (4/10)
This show just couldn’t stay above water. The writing only got dumber as the plot carried on, and the fact that I was still watching became embarrassing, because most of the community watched one episode of this and dropped it like a hot rock. Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson.
Darling in the FRANXX (5/10)
What total bull, huh? I’ve never seen public opinion on a show turn around as fast as the community ripped Darling to shreds. While it’s visually gorgeous (most of the time), the writing in the second half of the show is just humiliating to everyone involved, as the script becomes a child Godzilla-stomping through a carefully-constructed castle of wood blocks. Once again, I yearn for Inferno Cop.
Persona 5 the Animation (5/10)
I said for the longest time during the lead-up to P5A that I didn’t really see the point of it. Persona 5 is the fastest-selling game in the franchise, and ultimately an adaptation would only serve to recap the plot, because that’s all it would have time to do in only six months. I actually enjoyed Persona 4 The Golden Animation, because it sold itself as a companion piece to the existing plot rather than a retread of it, and seeing the Scooby Gang just hanging out more was precisely what I wanted from it. A-1 Pictures just didn’t learn enough from the sins of Ace Attorney, because while this is better, it’s still not worth watching if you’ve played the game.
Last Period (5/10)
This one got some early buzz for halfway-decent production work and a skewering of gacha-based RPGs, but ultimately ended up repeating itself so often that it became boring, and sidelining the highlight of the show (the villain trio Wiseman) into having barely a few lines per episode. Just goes to show what happens when repeated gags get stale.
Now that those are out of the way, we can get to the stuff I actually finished!
Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Die Neue These (6/10)
Barely worth watching for how badly condensed the plot is, and barely worth talking about until the movies happen. That’s assuming we actually get them stateside, but I won’t hold my breath on that one. I coulodn’t even find a decent GIF for this one.
Crossing Time (6/10)
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A fun, yet not especially memorable set of vignettes about people waiting for the train to go by. Some of the episodes were less enjoyable than others, but still worth a watch if only because it’ll only take you half an hour and anything you don’t like will probably be over quickly.
Golden Kamuy (6/10)
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The last thing I finished for the season, Golden Kamuy’s failure to live up to high expectations lies in its inability to focus on its serious tone, constantly inserting dick jokes into its brutal fight scenes and dragging a poop joke on for entirely too long throughout the show, but it’s still good-looking enough to be worth watching, and it was the only decent show this season to pull out the announcement of a continuation in its last episode, without which it probably wouldn’t have gotten a pass from me.
Umamusume: Pretty Derby (7/10)
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I still am amazed by the legwork that went into this silly little mobile game adaptation. While parts of it remain half-assed and unnecessary (the random idol performances being at the top of that list), it’s still a competently-written story about a protagonist who won’t let anything stop her from being The Very Best Like No One Ever Was, and I never get tired of that. The constant timeskips do get a little hard to keep track of, though.
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku (7/10)
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This one could have been improved by just tweaking a few things. While the characters were endearing and the comedy on-point, the story needed a little interference just so that we didn’t end the final episode in pretty much the same place as the second, because I didn’t get any sense of progress in the main relationship. Still, totally worth a watch if you were disappointed by the news that Recovery of an MMO Junkie was directed by a Nazi.
Comic Girls (7/10)
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A very cute story of four artists living together and sharing their passion for manga. This one grew on me a lot over its run, and while I had been pretty certain it would be a 6, a satisfying ending and unnecessarily pretty production elevated it, and I’m glad I wound up finishing it.
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online (8/10)
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This one has the distinction of being the first review I got hate mail for, because I said that Sigsawa was a far better writer than Kawahara and that the female characters in Alternative actually had agency, and boy are those things true. As it turns out, without Kirito-sama, Sword Art Online can actually be decent, or even great. A solid buildup, well-defined characters (that don’t want to bang the main character!) and a spectacular climax lead up to the best story in the franchise. Can’t wait for Alicization to bring SAO crashing back down to mediocrity-at-best.
Tada-kun Never Falls in Love (8/10)
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The only HIDIVE show I finished this season! And the best of three romantic comedies we got this spring, because it gave us the progression and satisfaction that Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun wasn’t able to. While it hit a few stumbling blocks, Tada-kun was brought up at least two full points by its fantastic ending, and that was a great surprise since I was really skeptical going into the final few episodes, as they are a big shift in tone and setting from the rest of the show, but the story pulled it off brilliantly.
Hinamatsuri (8/10)
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The funniest show of the season, hands-down, Hinamatsuri is the strange tale of a girl with psychic powers from another dimension coming to live with her new yakuza dad, and the hilarity that ensues. Hina herself is a great character, as her dimwittedness is the basis for a lot of the comedy in this show, but the real heart is Anzu, and the coming-of-age journey she takes over the course of the story. This series shows a great and uncommon sympathy to the downtrodden members of Japanese society, and ultimately is able to bring every character’s arc to a meaningful and satisfying conclusion...except for one. Shame about that final episode.
Food Wars: The Third Plate (9/10)
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I’m surprised at the lack of heat I’ve gotten about my opinion on Food Wars, and maybe it’s because I’ve been too subtle about my feelings, so I’ll spell them out clearly now: Food Wars is better than My Hero Academia, and you should be watching it.
Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS (9/10)
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Man, was this a satisfying turnaround from the disappointment that was incited. The decision to bring the original cast back for a Massive Multiplayer Team-Up was a great one, and meant that almost every character, but especially Midoriko, got the conclusion they really needed. I’m hoping that this is the end for this franchise, if only so it can go out on its highest note. Oh, also, the soundtrack is still awesome.
Best of the Season:...
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This shouldn’t surprise anyone, because MEGALOBOX was perfect from beginning to end and anybody who watched it is well aware of that fact. The sleeper hit of the season was everything the first episode promised; a gritty, 90′s-flavored story of one man’s journey to prove himself the best, and damn the consequences. MEGALOBOX is so great that it’s difficult to pick out individual elements of its awesomeness, but special mention should go to the music, because it is amazing. The OST of this one should go down in history along with that of Bebop as the best that anime has to offer.
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xtremedespair3d · 5 years
Anime Spring 2018 Final Impressions + Plans for Summer
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It’s been a long time since I made the last post on every anime I watched on winter, or posting anything on Tumblr in general, it’s time to come back to talk about what anime I’ve watched this spring season and what I’m going to watch this summer.
WARNING: This list may contain spoilers.
Spring 2018
Golden Kamuy: I’ve looked this one this entire season, even though I may not know much, after watching a few episodes, I was definitely impressed, but there are a few people who are disappointed with how the anime turned out, I kind of understand that, but at the same time it leaves me a sour taste in my mouth.
I’m happy season 2 got announced for October, definitely looking forward for more.
High School DXD Hero: I’ve always been skeptical about this season just by the new art style alone, even if it’s by the same studio that made the Citrus anime, but it seems like Passione pulled it off.
Not only the art is rather nice, as I stated, it looks to be faithful to the light novels, they retconned the Juggernaut Drive moment from Born from episode 0, it took me by surprise and learning that the rest of Born was anime original ruined my life and everything I’ve seen has changed.
Steins;Gate 0: Not a lot to add, but it’s definitely one of the strongest series I’ve seen this season so far.
Tokyo Ghoul:re: As someone who hasn’t read the Tokyo Ghoul:re manga, I’d say this one was decent. I saw this ComicBook post where fans were disappointed by the season finale, but hey, there’s season 2 coming in October.
(Man, what’s with these shows having season 2 in Fall?)
My Hero Academia season 3: It’s lower in my list because, while MHA is really good, I read the manga and I pretty much know everything that happens, even if I forget what happened since it’s been ages since I read the chapters the anime adapts, at least they refresh my memory.
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Lupin the 3rd Part 5: This one is good, my only problem is that every few episodes with storylines end, there are those extra episodes that take place in previous jackets, like red jacket and pink jacket Lupin, I can’t help but think those are filler. It’s probably my first time I’ve been mad to filler.
Persona 5: The Animation: Totally did not expect the problems P5A has at all, from animation quality, like terrible fight scenes, to pacing issues, like everything is happening so fast and A-1 decided to rush the 100 hour plot into a 25 episode series. At least it looks better than Persona 4: The Animation.
Given by the episode count I mentioned, I’m looking forward to the surprise teased by the director, I hope I see a lot of people lose their shit like Darling in the Franxx (Heh, A-1), I kind of have the guilty pleassure to see people suffer in this case.
Caligula: This one I really was looking forward to hate. The animation was decent and all but all I can think of is the story, I really don’t like the world at all and I probably don’t care for any of the characters, especially Ritsu.
At the end of episode 10, Ritsu left Mobius and came back to reality alone while all of his friends are left behind, by that point, for some reason I thought “I officially hate Ritsu for that!”, but the more I waited, the less I considered that idea and decided to drop it.
By episode 11, it’s where things are getting worse: The Ritsu we were seeing all along wasn’t even Shikishima Ritsu, it’s a dude called Tachibana Shingo...
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...and this dude right here IS THE REAL SHIKISHIMA RITSU!
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I thought Mobius Ritsu was Shingo who took Ritsu’s name but it’s actually the real Ritsu who took Shingo’s likeness. Why? Why would he do that? It’s not even explained. (Not sure if the game does)
I wanted to drop around episode 8 but I was 4 episodes left to finish watching this trash, and the more I saw it, I felt interested to know what was going on in the story.
I cared less about everything that happened in this show. It’s not offensively bad as 18if, but seriously, the world of Caligula sucks.
The only highlight of the series I’d give credits for are the post-credits teasers by Pop Team Epic creator, Okawa bkub.
Winter 2018 ongoing
Darling in the Franxx: Darling in the Franxx has grown to be the most divisive series to date, mainly from the “Bitchigo” controversy ever since.
While I definitely enjoy the series and I feel defensive about it, I can’t help but think that this is Trigger (and A-1)’s most controversial anime they’ve produced to have such fan outrage. Speaking of which, I don’t think it’s even being animated by Trigger anymore, it’s probably only A-1 alone along with Trigger animators and they just slapped the Trigger name on the credits. (I’m probably exaggerating), and Darling in the Franxx is not even on Trigger’s website!
If this is another one of Trigger’s big flops (The second one being Kiznaiver which WatchMojo called it “disappointing” which made me pissed so bad considering that I loved Kiznaiver, fucking thanks for the trauma, you cunts. (Don’t ask)), then Trigger, as storytellers, have become one-hit wonders, and that one hit is Kill La Kill. (Speaking of which, it’s getting a video game... developed by the people who made Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time, which turned out hot garbage, RIP)
As of the writing of this post, the series hasn’t ended yet, so we’re still gonna have to wait how the ending will turn out.
Toji no Miko: This one was alright, for some reason I expected the second cour to be somewhat time-wasting and trying to figure out the story because I was satisfied with the end of the first cour, but this one was decent.
Even if the anime series ended, while the mobage is currently on existence, I’ll never stop making Kancolle x Touken Ranbu jokes, at least the series had its own identity to make up for it.
Grancrest Senki: This one I was the least hopeful to watch, though not as trash as Caligula per se, but it’s just generic fantasy with some political drama, and ridiculously violent (Which there’s nothing wrong with it but the amount of gore is really something from a fantasy anime).
There were a couple of good moments but overall, it was meh.
Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card: I’m a little surprised that Cardcaptor Sakura Clear Card ended with 22 episodes as opposed to 24 or 25 episodes, overall, I enjoyed the series, hopefully we won’t wait for a long time for another season.
Plans for Summer
Attack on Titan season 3: Reminder that we didn’t have to wait for another 4 years for another Attack on Titan season.
Angels of Death: This one has the potential to be one of the better anime adaptations of an RPG Maker game, unlike Ao Oni which failed spectacularly, considered that the Angels of Death anime is being made by JC Staff.
As of the writing of this video, it’s now confirmed that the total of episodes was 16 episodes, 12 of the regular series, and 4 OVA.
Overlord III: It’s still hard to believe that Overlord II was a winter show and this new season is a summer show, considering that I normally would expect shows having two seasons between winter and fall (Such as Shinmai Maou no Testament (2015) and Bubuki Buranki (2016).)
Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs: All I can think of is the titular character, Yuuna, is cute, and hot springs, what’s not to like?
Fate/Extra: Last Encore Illustrais Geocentrism: It still feels weird that Last Encore ended with 10 episodes, but at least there’s going to be more, but it’s going to be a two hour special, in two separate episodes. I thought I’ve seen sources that it was going to be episodes 11-13, I’ve seen a lot of sources and they confuse the heck out of me.
(Finally, a good line-up to watch)
BONUS: FLCL Progressive: Technically, FLCL Progressive came out on June 2nd on Adult Swim/Toonami, unlike the majority of the shows are all July shows.
FLCL Progressive and Alternative have quite the unique releases.
I was so baffled that many of the people I talk with were skeptical about FLCL Progressive, there were even stories of the original creator not wanting to make a sequel in the first place, I never gave a crap and ignored to what they said and just moved on to watch it.
After the first episode, it seems like the reactions were mostly positive (Maybe because a lot of people must be more newcomers than a few veteran FLCL fans), though the one thing that cringed me out was the part where Haruko (disguised as a teacher) made everyone watch porn.
Also, my bigger problem with watching FLCL Progressive (and Alternative) is that I have to watch them English dubbed and the subs got delayed until November (yes, that long; I’m not an English dubbed person, okay?).
Speaking of problems, as I mentioned that it was English dubbed, the parts where the characters say Japanese phrases is absolutely cringey as fuck, and with episode 4, at the beginning of the episode, Hidomi made a Jacksepticeye reference by saying “TOP OF THE MORNING!” and that triggered me so bad.
Speaking of Hidomi Hibajiri, she’s like my only highlight of this entire season, she’s such a cutie.
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Like the original FLCL, Progressive and Alternative (I keep counting that one a lot, but, since it’s released on September, it still falls into Summer, I guess?) have 6 episodes, so as of the writing of this post, which ironically it’s almost 2 AM and it’s saturday, so new episode tonight, there’s at least going to be one more episode to end, and Alternative, while the first episode was released as a surprise release on April Fools, the rest of the episodes will be on September.
I wanted to add Tensai Bakabon to the list but now my interest to watch has turned off and I prefer Osomatsu-san over this one (This and Osomatsu-kun are made by Fujio Akatsuka and they’re being animated by Pierrot).
I hope you enjoyed my list of everything I saw this spring (while tryhard reviewing them in the process) and what I plan to watch this summer.
Twitter: @HKomaeda
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recentanimenews · 4 years
CR Features' Predicts the Future of Anime Awards
It is award season! In preparation for Anime Awards, our editors and columnists looked to the past to predict the future. Trying to predict the future was subjective for each of the editors and columnists but this is what came out of it.
*Spoilers below*
Ricky Soberano
Best Film - Neo Yokio Christmas Special
    I instantly fell in love with this and not -just- because I’m a born and raised Neo Yokion. It has dope music, a gorgeously decadent color palette (and Christmas sweaters), allows for the audience to see New York and Bergdorf Goodman during Christmas time, has a good message about telling capitalism to fuck off, and mechs. What more could you possibly want in a film?
  Best Fight Scene - Yami vs. Licht from Black Clover
    Watching the captain of the Black Bulls fight at his full capacity against a comparable opponent was honestly insanity. This literal fight between light and dark was almost incomprehensible due to the speed and beauty of it. The fight was progressive and a winner wasn’t clear until the very end. I was cheering on the sidelines and was completely engrossed in every second of it. A visceral reaction like that makes it the best fight scene in my book.
  Best Character Design - Ryouma Ebata for That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime
    The character designs in Slime are not only distinct and easy to differentiate, but convey a unique aspect of each character's personality through visual design. Ebata-san didn’t need to go that hard for us but he did it anyways.
  Cayla Coats
Best Film - Liz and the Blue Bird
    The first five minutes of Liz and the Blue Bird have no dialogue but they managed to bring the audience I saw the movie with to tears. If that isn’t movie of the year-worthy, I don’t know what is.
Best Girl - Lily Hoshikawa of ZOMBIE LAND SAGA
  Lily isn’t the protagonist of her series, but she taught us how to be brave enough to be ourselves, and that makes her the best girl in my eyes.
Best Ending - Pulse by Hina Kino, Rika Nagase, and Konomi Kohara from Asobi Asobase - workshop of fun -
    There’s no better way to represent the truly rotten souls of Asobi Asobase’s protagonists than with this delightful death metal ditty that closed out each episode.
  Nate Ming
  Best Fight Scene - Sakura vs. Saki from ZOMBIE LAND SAGA Episode 2
    A rap battle is a war of words, and these two zombies-turned-idols threw down in the best way possible. We had some titanic, beautifully-animated fights this year (and then we had the last few episodes of Golden Kamuy, which was just one long, wonderful running fight), but nothing has stuck in my memory quite like some trash talk turning into a battle of the bars.
  Best Anime - Devilman Crybaby
    There’s so much that goes into a memorable work for me--key scenes, the soundtrack, the impact--Crybaby brought back everything that was amazing about the original Devilman and modernized it, treating new audiences to the excitement and horror of one of anime’s all-time classics. Give Masaaki Yuasa the keys to more classics, please.
  Best Boy - Tanigaki Genjirou of Golden Kamuy
  What a man. Let us all aspire to be as brave, as honorable, and as chesty as Golden Kamuy’s Matagi hunter.
  Emily Bushman
  Best VA Performance (Japanese) - Mamoru Miyano as Koutarou Tatsumi from ZOMBIE LAND SAGA
  This performance is exquisite purely because we know very little about the character of Tatsumi. Who is he? What does he want to save Saga, a place it seems like he’s not actually from? Why does he care about Sakura so much? Why does he ALWAYS wear sunglasses??? With few forthcoming answers, we have to extrapolate who he is through his appearance, his actions and, what he says, and how he says it. It is these last two things that Miyano excels at. Miyano brings Koutarou to life, and through his voice we learn so much about him- he pinwheels between borderline scary enthusiasm for Franchouchou, smooth-talking charm for clients, and devoted sincerity with the girls. The range in tone and emotion is awesome, and makes his voice a key part of understanding his character.
  Best Girl - Shirase Kobuchizawa of A Place Further than the Universe 
     Shirase deserves best girl not just because this anime focuses purely around her journey, but because each episode we learn a little more about her- what motivates her, what scares her, what she likes and dislikes, and, most importantly, the complex relationship she shares with her mother. All this builds into a final two episodes that emotionally eviscerate the audience in a way that both hurts and heals, just as we watch Shirase hurt and heal, and, ultimately, metamorphose into a better version of herself. And, because of all the wonderful character building, Shirase goes from being just another character in an anime to being a friend or a sibling, someone we can relate to on a personal level. This is what makes her best girl.
  Best Opening - Fighting Gold by Coda from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind
  This OP is a winner for me for a few reasons. 1) The song is lit. I lived and died for the first ten seconds of the OP, with the brief pauses. I’ve never heard that done before, and it forces the audience to sit up and pay attention to what’s being highlighted visually. 2) The art and animation style do an amazing job meshing together Hirohiko Araki’s distinctive style with a secret-spy tonality, reminiscent of a James Bond opening. It provides the audience with a hint into what the season is all about- focusing on Giorno’s attempts to rise to prominence in a mafia- while keeping true to the original art style.
Best Boy - Ryu of Golden Kamuy
  Ryu is the bestest boy of them all: A doggo. He is a good boy. A sweet boy. A boy who followed the scent of his dead master’s gun across Japan, just to try to find his master Nihei again. <3 If he doesn’t get best boy, no one should.
  Nicole Mejias
  Best VA Performance (Japanese) - Kotono Mitsuishi as Tae Yamada from ZOMBIE LAND SAGA
  There are a lot of things that made ZOMBIE LAND SAGA great, from the amazing characters, songs, dance sequences, touching stories, and off the wall comedy, but one thing in particular was the glue that held that all together: The Legendary Tae Yamada! And without an amazing vocal performance from industry legend Kotono Mitsuishi, none of that charm would have been possible. Now, I know what you might say: “But Tae doesn’t speak!” which, frankly, is even harder to pull off in my opinion! Tae conveyed emotions, communication, and stood out as an amazing cast member because of her vocal performance, as limited in range as it might have seemed.
  Best Girl - Asirpa of Golden Kamuy
  Golden Kamuy is such an incredibly good series, and I feel that a large part of that is due to Asirpa. We hear a lot of talk about strong female characters in media, and frankly Asirpa, small as she may be, stands tall. Asirpa is a strong-willed and determined girl with the ability to not only survive, but to teach grown adults how to do so too, proud in her Ainu heritage and way of life. Asirpa never comes across as weak, and in many cases it’s her sharp mind and survival skills that have saved the day for her and Sugimoto. On top of that, she’s totally adorable! Asirpa’s huge blue eyes and distinctly charming facial expressions warmed my heart and made me want to see her succeed.
  Best Film - The Night is Short, Walk On Girl
    Frankly, a lot of anime movies tend to be very heavy on providing one-off “what-if” stories or little bits of fanservice here and there for fans of their respective shows, but a truly good anime film in my opinion is one that uses the medium of anime to tell a developed narrative in the span of a feature length film. The Night is Short, Walk On Girl did just that, sucking me in with the amazing animation style and combination of story threads that all paid off in the finale, when everything comes together and makes sense. The way the movie positions itself as a parallel to Tatami Galaxy was an extra treat, but even without having seen that, The Night is Short is a great film I can recommend to anyone and that I could watch time and time again and never get tired of!
  Anime of the Year - Golden Kamuy
    I generally like to think of my anime of the year as the series I couldn’t wait to watch another episode of, the one that I’d set my day around so as soon as a new episode released, I could watch it immediately. This year, that anime was Golden Kamuy, which honestly surprised me at first! I had no idea what to expect, and “historical action drama” didn’t initially grab my attention. What I found, though, was a series filled with unique, lovable characters (even the worst ones!), high-octane, high-stakes action, and a twisting plot filled with unexpected surprises and twists. I can think of many shows I enjoyed this year, but none kept me wanting more like Golden Kamuy did.
  Daniel Dockery
Best Film - Digimon Adventure Tri “Future” 
    I don’t watch a lot of anime films. Wish I did, and I probably will in 2019. But my knowledge of them is resoundingly lackluster. However, that doesn’t mean that my pick of Digimon Adventure Tri as Best Film is a sign of me having my back against the wall. I legitimately love Digimon, and I think that while the series of Tri movies had some stumbles, they warmed my heart with their continued themes about growing up and just how weird it is to be a teenager. Digimon has always been about goodbyes and how important it is to love your friends, no matter how much the world tries to tear you apart, and Digimon Tri nailed that. Also, you’ll always be my boy, Agumon.
  Best Opening - Make My Story by Lenny Code Fiction from My Hero Academia
My journey with My Hero Academia has also been a journey of finding great new songs to exercise to. And “Make My Story” is another fine addition to the list. “The Day” was definitely a bench pressing anthem, and “Peace Sign” was tailor made for leg day. “Odd Future” was more of a jogging/warm up song, while “Sora Ni Utaeba” was something to rally you for that last set of deadlifts. But “Make My Story” is my go-to if I’m trying to max out on shoulder presses or bicep curls. Anime is great, y’all.
Best VA Performance (Japanese) - Soma Saito as Honda-san in Skullface Bookseller Honda-san
  I know that this is almost a purely comedic performance, but I am allllll about it. I didn’t expect to like Skullface Bookseller as much as I did, nor did I expect to like the protagonist that much. Honestly, I thought I’d inevitably get bored with his constant exasperated screeches of anxious terror, but I never did. Soma Saito turned “AGH. I’M IN OVER MY HEAD” into a vocal art form.
Best Fight Of The Year - Gridman vs Kaiju in SSSS. Gridman Episode 2
    The fights in SSSS. Gridman are both lovable homages to tokusatsu and action-packed laser fests that can stand on their own. I think there are probably better fights in the show, but none other cement SSSS. Gridman as a must watch anime like the fight in episode 2, where he first uses the Caliber sword to defeat a monster. It was one of those “If I wasn’t totally on board with this show before, I certainly am now” scenes, and I’m so glad that my 2018 received the gift of Gridman.
Peter Fobian
  Anime of the Year - A Place Further than the Universe
    I couldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t take this opportunity to throw in my hat for Anime of the Year for A Place Further than the Universe. This anime anime had it all. Excellent writing, direction, storyboarding, and characters. The overarching plot and individual character subplots were excellently paced and wonderfully executed. The emotional journey was just as heartfelt as the logistical journey taking the girls to Antarctica was fascinating. Even in the diverse medium of anime, A Place Further gave us a refreshingly original concept.
Best Opening - Black Rover by Vickeblanka from Black Clover
  Black Clover has made a strong showing with OPs, but Black Rover is above and beyond. It’s probably my favorite song to come out of this year in anime (except maybe the Hinomaru Sumo ED). The visuals are also excellent, not forgetting to lean on some slice of life content, which is really one of the greatest strengths of the anime, along with an original fight and some awesome hype building shots for the upcoming Yami vs Licht battle. I’ve played this OP like 300 times.
  Best Fight of the Year - Boruto and Sasuke vs Momoshiki in BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS Episode 65
    This fight easily takes the category for me. In addition to Pierrot bringing in a ton of new faces and returning Naruto Shippuden animators to give episode 65 movie quality animation, the choreography of the battle was some next level stuff. Naruto and Sasuke’s combination attacks contained the collected history of Naruto with callbacks stretching all the way to the first story arc. More than best of the year, this might be the best fight scene I’ve ever seen.
  Best Character Design - Masayoshi Tanaka for DARLING in the FRANXX
  If there’s one thing I can say for sure about DARLING in the FRANXX, it’s that the character designs were excellent. It’s no surprise one of the reasons Nishigori said he wanted to start the project was to work with Tanaka. The AnoHana character designer managed to create some hyper distinct characters despite a rather sparse world and the multitude of character uniforms were excellent. The order of Franxx and character designs is not entirely clear, but it sounds like some adaptations were made to align the designs, which means his excellent work was made that much harder.
  Best Boy - Rei Kiriyama of March Comes in Like a Lion
March comes in like a lion aired this year, which means Rei Kiriyama is indisputably the best boy of the year for the second year in a row. This season in particular really showed his best qualities. Rei really came into his own by realizing how much the Kawamoto sisters meant to him and trying to show his appreciation for their friendship. One of the most heartbreaking parts of Hina getting bullied was spending time in Rei’s head with his feelings of helplessness as he desperately looked for ways to save Hina from the same pain he had experienced in school. Season 3 when.
Best VA Performance (Japanese) - Hina Kono as Hanako in Asobi Asobase - workshop of fun -
After the first episode of Asobi Asobase I was convinced Hanako would be the “dumb character”, like Oujo in Galko-chan, who would be the mediator/victim of the two more forceful personalities. I was hella wrong. Hanako is absolutely insane and Hina Kono absolutely delivered for the role, delivering on poor innocent Hanako, Grudge girl Hanako, Spanish Inquisition Hanako, and regularly screeching like a banshee Hanako. Her range and delivery were truly impressive and often well outside the usual vocal tropes for female characters in anime. A stellar performance.
Noelle Ogawa
Best VA Performance (Japanese) - Soma Saitou as Honda-san in Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san
I’ve worked bookstore hell before, and let me tell you, it was an absolute delight to listen to Soma Saitou scream about the happenings during his workshift. The polite customer service voice to the extremely pained internal monologues that you can’t let out if you want to stay employed; I felt each episode on a deep and visceral level. Even if you haven’t worked in a bookstore like I have, anyone who has worked with handling customers face to face for long periods of time will understand exactly what Honda-san is feeling, and Soma Saitou conveys that agony perfectly.
Best Animation - Pop Team Epic
Okay, but hear me out.
Most anime tends to have a standard set of animation, where even if the quality shown is high or low, how things look visually is still fairly consistent. That isn’t the case with Pop Team Epic. In working with different animation teams, the series allowed the teams to run wild in how they wanted to show each story, resulting in an insane variety. The stop-motion needlefelt music videos are completely different than the choppy and messy Bob Epic Team shorts. There’s a reason that the internet collectively lost it over Hellshake Yano. Pop Team Epic managed to mix up their animation styles with each short, and that’s something rarely attempted. Watching each episode was genuinely a blast because I never knew what to expect, perfect for the chaos of Popuko and Pipimi.
Wilhelm Donko
Anime of the Year – A Place Further Than the Universe
A Place Further Than the Universe took us on one of the grandest journeys in anime ever, and will hopefully be considered a must-watch title in the near future. The heartfelt story about the girls’ spectacular journey to Antarctica was one of the most well-crafted anime in recent years, making it an indisputable contender for Anime of the Year!
Best Opening Sequence – "SHINY DAYS" by Asaka in Laid-Back Camp
  Laid-Back Camp should at the very least have a fighting chance at the Anime of the Year title, but when it comes to 2018’s best opening sequence, there’s simply no competition here. Seeing Nadeshiko take off in her jet-propelled tent, and hearing the refrain kick in, always managed to put a huge smile on my face.
Best Character Design – Masaru Sakamoto for SSSS.GRIDMAN
Mecha anime really aren’t my cup of tea, especially those with old-school robots that transform by docking with trucks, planes, and the likes. And yet, I still gladly sat through all of SSSS.GRIDMAN, simply because of the gorgeous character designs. Looking at the excessive amounts of fan art for the show, I’m certain that SSSS.GRIDMAN has a realistic shot at the award for best character design.
What do you think will be nominated for each category? Hash it out in the comments below!
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recentanimenews · 5 years
Manga the Week of 12/20/17
SEAN: Are you ready? 3-2-1 let’s jam.
MICHELLE: *cracks knuckles in a preparatory fashion*
ASH: Get everybody and the stuff together, because there’s a lot of it!
KATE: There is SO MUCH MANGA that even I had to chime in.
SEAN: We start with Bookwalker, who has the second volume of their light novel The Combat Baker and the Automaton Waitress. I felt it was a good series for them to pick up (certainly better than their other LN series), and will be getting this volume.
J-Novel Club has the 4th volume of Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest, which remains the top choice for those who like overpowered isekai and take it Very Seriously Indeed.
Kodansha has many, many things, both digital and print, which I will tackle alphabetically, starting with a 4th All Out!!.
SEAN: Attack on Titan has a big change coming with the 23rd volume, one that (like everything Attack on Titan has ever done) has gotten a mixed reaction.
Cardcaptor Sakura remains one of CLAMP’s most beloved franchise, despite age, appalling Nelvana dubs, and Tsubasa World Chronicle. Now we finally get a sequel with Clear Card, which apparently picks up where the old series left off. I will give it a shot, though I warn you I’m mostly reading for Tomoyo.
MICHELLE: This has been available digitally for a while, and I read it in that format. It’s a cute start, and I loved seeing Kero-chan again.
MELINDA: I’m obviously on board for this.
ANNA: I enjoy early CLAMP, and am leery of recent CLAMP. That being said, due to my love of Cardcaptor Sakura, I will check this out.
ASH: Same! I really do love Cardcaptor Sakura, though.
SEAN: DEATHTOPIA has its 7th and penultimate volume coming out next week.
And there’s also a 4th volume of Elegant Yokai Apartment Life.
If you haven’t yet picked up Ghost in the Shell’s hardcover deluxe editions, why not get them in a handy box set?
We’ve caught up with Japan for Happiness, so it’s nice to see a 6th volume drop.
ASH: I need to catch up with this series, myself!
KATE: The last volume of Happiness had a big time jump and shift in emphasis — something that worked surprisingly well, and and promoted one of the most interesting (and resourceful) supporting characters to a leading role.
SEAN: Inuyashiki comes to an end with its 10th and final volume. It’s always been a bit too weird for me, but then I felt the same way about Gantz.
Kasane has an 8th volume of suspense and horror.
The digital debut next week is The Prince’s Black Poison, a Betsufure romance that honestly sounds like exactly the sort of title I avoid, but what the hey. Recommended for those who like handsome manipulative men. It’s by the author of Gakuen Prince, which was also very much filled with those.
MICHELLE: Oh dear.
ANNA: Feeling sort of meh on this.
SEAN: And Real Girl has a 9th volume of whatever it is Real Girl does, besides remind me how many of these Kodansha digital titles I have yet to sample.
Say “I Love You” has come to its 18th and final volume. Despite the occasional overdose of melodrama, I greatly enjoyed this series, and am happy to see the conclusion after a long wait (we had, again, caught up with Japan).
MICHELLE: I’ve been awaiting this release for a long time!
SEAN: If you haven’t picked up A Silent Voice’s 7 volumes, Kodansha has a box set for you! (Both this and the Ghost in the Shell box are clearly meant for Christmas purchases.)
Speaking of the author of A Silent Voice, we’re getting a 2nd To Your Eternity next week as well.
ASH: Definitely picking this one up. The first volume was very good and surprising in ways that I didn’t expect.
KATE: What Ash said; To Your Eternity is definitely on my short list of Best Sci-Fi manga of 2017.
SEAN: A 6th Tsuredure Children has more 4-koma romance.
And Until Your Bones Rot has a 3rd volume of what is, let’s face it, NOT 4-koma romance.
Seven Seas is next. Arpeggio of Blue Steel is up to its 12th volume, and I’m still really interested in it, which is surprising given it’s about a bunch of cute girls who are really boats.
There’s also a 3rd “not Alice in the Country of Hearts, but the next best thing” series Captive Hearts of Oz.
Unlucky it may be, but the fact that Magical Girl Apocalypse has gotten to Vol. 13 means it’s popular as well.
Seven Seas is starting to pick up light novels that aren’t J-Novel Club print editions, and we begin with Monster Girl Doctor, whose title speaks for itself, though I’m not sure how this falls on the scale between ‘fetishey’ and ‘spooky’ monster girls.
And if that’s too millennial for you, how about a series from the 1980s? We get the first in the Record of Lodoss Wars novels, The Grey Witch, in a fancy hardcover edition.
MELINDA: It’s hard for me to dismiss something from the 80s…
ASH: It really is fancy! I’m looking forward to giving the Lodoss novels a try.
SEAN: Chi’s Sweet Coloring Book is a spinoff from Vertical featuring lots and lots of pictures of Chi to color.
Speaking of cats, Nekomonogatari (Black): Cat Tale is the first of a two-part set in the Monogatari series that finally resolves most of Tsubasa Hanekawa’s ongoing issues.
And there’s also a 4th Flying Witch.
Viz gives us a 3rd Golden Kamuy, which I suspect will have a bit less cooking and a bit more life-threatening violence this time around, but who knows?
ASH: I plan on finding out!
KATE: I seem to be stalking you through this week’s column, Ash! I’m butting in to say GOLDEN KAMUY IS AWESOME. I think Asirpa deserves her own damn series. Heck, it could be a cooking manga and I’d read it.
SEAN: If you want to get someone something terrifying for Christmas, you absolutely can’t go wrong with Shiver, a collection of stories selected by the author, Junji Ito.
ASH: I’m always happy to see more Ito being released! This collection should be great.
KATE: Nothing says “Deck the halls” than a little Junji Ito, I always say.
SEAN: And if you want to give some yuri manga, there’s a 2nd Sweet Blue Flowers omnibus.
ANNA: Behind on this already but I’m gonna read it!
ASH: You absolutely should! I’m so glad this series is finally getting the treatment it deserves in English.
SEAN: Lastly (for Viz only, trust me – we’re not even halfway), we have the 2nd Tokyo Ghoul: re.
And now on to Yen Press, pausing only to scream until our throats are raw and we are coughing up blood. (pause) There we go. Onward.
First off, we have the digital-only titles. Aphorism 13 is the second to last volume, and is for fans of survival manga.
Corpse Princess is up to its 14th volume, but it still has a long way to go. It should appeal to fans of fanservice and zombies.
And Saki 13 means we’re close to catching up, but that’s an ongoing series, so no worries there either. Recommended to those who like mahjong and breasts, not in that order.
On the Yen On side, we finish the digital catch-up for Accel World (9-11) and Irregular at Magic High School (5).
There’s also a new digital release of an older, pre-Yen On title. Kieli was a 2009 series of novels about a girl who can see ghosts, and it had an associated manga as well. Yen now has the digital rights to the novels, so we get the first one next week.
There are also a GIANT number of ongoing and new light novels in print. We get a 12th Accel World, which is in the midst of Haruyuki dealing with another mysterious threat.
The Asterisk War’s 5th volume wraps up its tournament arc, I believe… or should I say, it’s first tournament arc.
Baccano! starts a new 2-volume arc taking place in 1933 and subtitled The Slash. This first volume will show us what happened to that Mexican stereotype of an assassin from the Drug & the Dominoes book.
The Devil Is a Part-Timer! 9 has far less part-time work than expected, as the devil has returned to his homeland to rescue Emi and Alas Ramus.
Goblin Slayer 4 will feature what sounds like a collection of short stories judging from the description. And probably goblins being slayed. The Irregular at Magic High School’s 6th volume starts a new arc called the Yokohama Disturbance Arc, which I think was the final arc adapted for the anime.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? asks the same question again, only this time it’s Monsters. Bell says no, others think differently. Vol. 10 drops next week.
KonoSuba’s 4th volume has the inevitable Hot Springs arc.
Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers has a 3rd volume, and I must admit if the storyline is “who’s the traitor” I may bail.
The first light novel debut is The Saga of Tanya the Evil, which is another isekai. A Japanese HR manager with a cold, ruthless reputation is killed, and then reincarnated by God. Not with the best intentions, though – God dislikes his logical attitude and so puts him in a world where magic exists and there is constant warfare. Oh, and he’s in the body of a little girl.
Sword Art Online has reached a dozen volumes, and we’re still in the midst of the epic Alicization arc. We finally see Alice again, but is she brainwashed? Can Kirito and Eugeo save her?
The other light novel debut this month already has its manga coming out from Kodansha, and is the 2nd of the three ‘ridiculous’ light novels Yen licensed recently. That Time I Got Reincarnated As a Slime arrives next week.
We’re nearly at the end! Only 28 more titles to go! And they’re all Yen Press. We start with a 6th volume of spinoff Akame Ga KILL! ZERO.
Angels of Death is a survival manga with psychological overtimes, which comes from the oddball Comic Gene. I’m not sure what to think of it.
An 8th Aoharu x Machinegun is shipping next week.
And a 5th Bungo Stray Dogs will give us literary references galore.
Light novel adaptations galore! Starting with a 4th manga of Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody.
Dragons Rioting has a 9th volume, which is also its final volume.
If you like the idea of Goblin Slaying but hate prose, I have good news, the first volume of Goblin Slayer is for you.
I know little about Graineliers except it’s from GFantasy, it has two male leads, and it’s not BL but feels like it should be.
MELINDA: Did you say GFantasy? Count me in!
ASH: It’s also by Rihito Takarai (of Ten Count fame) so I’m very curious to see how this series develops. If nothing else, the artwork should be great.
SEAN: Manga based on an unlicensed light novel, part one: the 10th volume of High School DxD.
Manga based on an unlicensed light novel, part two: the 8th and final volume of How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend.
After a year’s hiatus, the Kagerou Daze manga picks up again with Vol. 7, and should be arriving more regularly from now on. For light novel fans, the story here is different from the LN (and indeed the Mekakucity Actors anime.)
A 5th Kiniro Mosaic gives you vague yuri galore.
If you liked the idea of Magical Girls dying tragically but hate prose… well, you know. Magical Girl Raising Project, now in manga form.
The 11th Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi-chan is the last, which I’m pretty sure means there are no current ongoing projects for this franchise, be it anime, manga, spinoff manga, spinoff anime, or the original novels. We should take off our hats and mourn the end of an era.
My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong as I Expected gets a 7th manga volume, though I’m not sure which novel volume it’s adapting.
No Matter How Much I… sigh. WataMote gives us an 11th volume. Sorry, I’m exhausted.
Of the Red, the Light and the Ayakashi ends with its 9th volume, though I believe there is a Volume 10 with side/after stories.
ASH: Another series that I’ve been enjoying but need to catch up on!
MICHELLE: Aha! I had been thinking it was complete in 9, and then recently noticed there’s actually a tenth. Nice to have an explanation for that!
SEAN: One Week Friends is a Gangan Joker title about a cute friendship and the amnesia that threatens to tear it apart.
Re: Zero finishes its adaptation of the 2nd arc with the 4th A Week at the Mansion volume.
Rose Guns Days has a 2nd volume of its 3rd arc.
School-Live! does not come to an end with this 9th volume per se, but I think the series is on hiatus right now, so this may be the last for some time.
And a 3rd Smokin’ Parade arrives as well.
I enjoyed the first novel of So I’m a Spider, So What?, though am curious as to how a book that’s half internal dialogue will translate to manga. We’ll see with this first manga volume.
Strike the Blood’s manga has a Vol. 9, which, like the light novels, has Yukina and only Yukina on each cover.
Sword Art Online has the manga adaptation of the Calibur arc complete in one volume. It’s a great arc if you like the supporting cast, who all play a role – for the last time to date, in fact.
If you feel that yokai manga have gotten too serious lately, you should enjoy A Terrified Teacher at Ghoul School, a GFantasy title that is terminally ridiculous.
ASH: Yokai comedy, you say? Count me in!
Umineko When They Cry begins its 7th arc, Requiem of the Golden Witch. Battler is nowhere to be found. Nor is Beatrice. Instead meet Kinzo’s heir Lion Ushiromiya. Oh, did I mention this first omnibus is 826 pages?
Lastly (yes, I promise, we are at the end), there’s a 7th omnibus of Yowamushi Pedal, which should be SUPER EXCITING.
ASH: I know I’m excited!
SEAN: (falls over) So are you getting everything on this list, or just most of it?
By: Sean Gaffney
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