Anime Spotlight #27

If World of Warships were an Anime…

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High School Fleet, aka “Haifuri,” is about teenaged girls driving 20th Century warships as part of their schooling.  Akeno Misaki captains the IJN destroyer Harekaze, along with most of the other flunkies in the school.  Her best friend, Moeka, captains the Musashi, a ship destined for the top-class students.

The Harekaze is always getting into “pinches,” starting with Misaki’s maiden voyage!  Something goes horribly wrong when engine and navigation problems force the Harekaze to come in late, and things only continue to go wrong for her crew pretty-well till the end.  However, she and her crew do survive and win the day — thanks mainly to Misaki’s sheer dumb luck.

Technically, the real heroes of the Harekaze are Isoroku the fat cat that keeps the students well by catching all those infected RaTt’s (genetically modified rats) — and keeps giving Misaki good tactical ideas — and the twelve-year-old medical prodigy that provides an antibody for the infection carried by those RaTt’s.

For those who would like to take some of the Haifuri ships out for a spin, World of Warships allows for you the chance to drive such ships albeit virtually.  The Harekaze and Graf Spee even come with their respective Anime captains now!

 

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Anime Spotlight #26

Another surprisingly interesting Slice-of-Life Anime…:

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The first season, anyway….

Once again, I have a feeling I divert from the majority on what made Spice and Wolf worth watching.  I have no interest in Holo, to be honest; for a “wise wolf,” she is rather…unwise.  She’s very beautiful, but that’s about all she is.

Lawrence, on the other hand…:  He’s a merchant, and for me it was his knowledge of mercantilism and economics, as well as some street smarts (not that it helped him later on in Season 1), that provided the primary reason I enjoyed watching this Anime.

Then, he had to go and be cockier than Holo for a time and so pay the consequences for it.  I sorta lost a lot of interest in the show beyond the point he got thrown in jail.  Oh well!

Not so for most other people who watched it, apparently; Spice and Wolf has at least a complete Season 2 out, and there might even be a Season 3 floating around out there somewhere.

 

Anime Spotlight #25

Is it a Magical Girl Anime?  Is it a slice-of-life?  Is it a Madoka Magica rip-off?

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It’s… Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru (“Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero”)!

*spoilers!*

Yuuki Yuuna is a teenager who really wants to be a hero.  In typical Anime style, she gets her wish when Fuu (don’t laugh… that’s her actual name) establishes the “Hero Club” at her new school.  The season technically begins with Yuuna, Fuu, Itsuki (Fuu’s little sister), and Togo (whom Yuuna made friends with prior to enrolling in her new school — NOT this girl’s actual name, though!) putting on a play for a kindergarten class, but it soon gets into the Magical Girl action with Fuu leading the foursome in the mission to defeat the monsters, “Vertexes,” that lie just on the other side of the “veil” put up by the “Shinju-sama.”  Karin, the stereotypical transfer student who’s as good as she makes herself out to be, also ends up joining this crew.

As soon as you’ve had a handle on the initial situation, episode 5 rolls along and suddenly the main conflict in this series seems to be over and done with.  Now what…?

Time for some slice-of-life stuff, that’s what!  The girls assume normal lives, with those who went “Mankai” learning to deal with a particular loss they’ve acquired as a result:  Togo adds a deaf left ear to her amnesia and paralysis, Yuuna can’t taste anything, Fuu is blind in her right eye, Itsuki can no longer speak, while Karin remains unaffected having not undergone the Mankai process.

Again, as soon as you’ve had a handle on this new situation along comes episode 8 and a return of the Vertexes!  The girls are sent back into action, and easily take care of the stragglers.  Enter the final stage…:  Yuuna and Togo are teleported to the bedside of a bedridden girl named Sonoko, and so some nasty truths are revealed by her.

And thus we enter the Madoka Magica part of this show….  In exchange for awesome powers provided by the Mankai state, the girls are forced to give up one bodily function whenever they use this ability.  Here, the girls of Yuuki Yuuna really take on similarities to counterparts in Madoka Magica:

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from Reddit…

>Yuuna — the star of the show, who eventually commits the greatest sacrifice for the sake of her crew.  The Madoka counterpart is (of course) Madoka; both even have pinkish hair.

>Fuu — the one who gets the star character involved.  The Madoka counterpart wields a different weapon, but both still share the blonde hair and odd hairstyle aspects.

>Itsuki — the innocent little loli whose misfortunes from being dragged into this stuff (without full knowledge of the consequences) are the source of incredible suffering for other characters in the show.

>Karin — the transfer student who has trained for this her whole life, and has little patience for the other members of the crew.  The Madoka counterpart even wields daggers and has rust-coloured hair, too.

>Togo — the mysterious girl who’s been through all this before.  Her Madoka counterpart also shares the dark hair aspect of her.

It’s a wonder the creators of Yuuki Yuuna were able to stuff so much in so few episodes!  Maybe they took inspiration from Kill la Kill?

 

Anime Spotlight #24

WHAT’S THE FOX *ACTUALLY* SAY…?!

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from Google….

It’s exceedingly rare for me to take great interest in Slice-of-Life Anime, but Flying Witch happened to be an exception.

Makoto is the witch-in-training, who moves into the house of a long-time friend while she attends a local school for witches.  In the meantime, her friend’s sister is introduced to this whole new world that, until that point, she had never known truly existed.

Makoto’s own sister is already a master witch, and spends her time travelling abroad experiencing everything the Earth has to offer — usually getting drunk at most stops she makes.  As such, she drops by to visit Makoto a couple times during the course of the series and interesting things tend to happen both times she does arrive.

Highlights include:  The giant, flying, stone whale; Makoto’s Mandrake moment; the “What’s the Fox Say?” scene at a nearby witches’ restaurant, which is snapshot in the image above.

Overall, Flying Witch is a pretty neat show — coming from someone who isn’t really fond of Slice-of-Life!  The OP song for the series is also kind-a catchy….

 

Anime Spotlight #23

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Airing in N.A. just after the novelty of Pokemon passed, Digimon was the next Anime novelty I got into as a child.

Digimon took the leveling-up aspect of Pokemon, tweaked it a bit, and then placed them with their human masters in a parallel world resembling an MMO-kind of realm; The Digimon are the Pokemon of Digimon, but unlike in Pokemon each “Trainer” (called “Digi-destined” in the dub and “Chosen Child” in the original) in Digimon is partnered with only one Digimon.  Whereas Pokemon Trainers face off against other Trainers, the Chosen Children use their “Digivices” to help their Digimon fight off “Virus-type” Digimon trying to bring ill will to the Digital World (and sometimes the Earth as well).

The very first Digimon series was Adventure, and arguably it remains the franchise’s most popular.  While the franchise hasn’t (yet) made the kind of come-back that Pokemon has, I was still equally surprised to see that Digimon is still going for the most part; it’s actually pretty popular within the deviantART community, I’ve noticed.

 

Anime Spotlight #22

So…here’s the first Anime series I ever watched:

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Yep!  Pokemon.

I remember it being massively popular when it came out in America in ’98/99; I was in grade-school at the time.  Nearly every kid and their dog was watching it to some degree, and collecting the cards (I managed to collect over 100 in all, but I also remember seeing some who successfully obtained hundreds more).

Originally, it was just Ash (with his trusty Pikachu), Misty, and Brock, with their team of Pokemon wandering about the land leveling up and honing their skills — sometimes learning valuable lessons along the way.  Their adversary was usually Team Rocket:  Jessie, James, and the only talking, bipedal Meowth in existence (aside:  who ever noticed that Jessie and James look to be taken from the outlaw Jesse James?).  The initial roster of Pokemon numbered only 150 + Mewtwo.

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Those of us old enough to have been around when the first few seasons came out likely remember how Pokemon card trading often reached a point where schools had to ban it altogether in the hopes of mitigating some of the consequences that had come from it; personally, I watched the first two-to-three seasons until more Pokemon were added to the roster as well as new lands and new characters and new aspects to the old collecting and training that kids were used to up until that point.  As great as Pokemon was, it did end up giving way to other shows coming out that the time like Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh!

And koodos to Pokemon Go! for showing those like myself that Pokemon is still going on strong today!  Who knew?!

 

Anime Spotlight #21

Crazy to think I was around the same age as these protagonists when this Anime aired across the Pacific…:

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I recently re-watched Cardcaptor Sakura, the original Japanese (subbed) version, and holy crap were there a lot of changes made in the American dub I saw almost two decades ago now!

The original dub was titled Cardcaptors, and aside from Sakura and Shaoran nearly everyone else in the show had a name-change:  Toya became Tori, Tomoyo became Madison, Mizuki-sensei became Ms. Mackenzie, and Yukito became Julian — to name a few.  Even Sakura’s surname was changed from Kinomoto to Avalon; I’m sure what saved her first name is the fact that it appears in English all over the place, namely on her oddly-shaped pencil case and on all of Clow Reid’s Tarot-type cards she re-captures (the show’s namesake).  Shaoran’s name remains largely unchanged, I assume, because he’s a transfer student from Hong Kong, which wouldn’t affect the dub the way the other characters would.  Of course, Cardcaptors followed the same trend as Sailor Moon and Pokemon in cutting out anything that was deemed “controversial” when these Anime were released — things like homosexuality and under-aged love, both of which appear en-force in Cardcaptors.

While Japan has had a more open mindset on many things that were deemed controversial over in America for quite some time, I found that Cardcaptor Sakura made use of such things as same-sex and under-aged love affairs in a profound way:  They are explained as manifestations of interactions between people with strong innate magical power, and the strong feelings that do emerge ultimately foreshadow important elements that will appear in the future.  For example, both Sakura and Shaoran fall in love with Yukito, who just so happens to be a book-seal in disguise, named Yue (the other is Kerberos, the talking plush toy), who eventually passes judgement on them both to determine which of the two is fit to pick up where Clow Reid left off.  Toya becomes Mizuki’s boyfriend, back when he was not much older than Sakura currently is and Mizuki was his teacher, and as such Mizuki ends up meeting with Sakura herself many times while she’s re-capturing those cards she released by accident; Toya, on the other hand, has magical power of his own that allows him to see his mother’s ghost, to know Yukito’s true identity, and to know in advance where Sakura’s going to be any given day and take up a part-time job somewhere very near to that place she will be (in order to look out for her).

While this show is technically for kids, I’d say it’s still worth watching for anyone with an interest in magical girl-type Anime especially when there are some parts of the show that may go over a kid’s head.  As for those who watched the original dub, I suggest watching a subbed version so you can pick up the plot points that were cut out in the dub.  All-round, it’s a pretty neat show!

 

Anime Spotlight #20

Hands up if you’ve seen this Anime!  Anyone…?

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A woman becomes a shikabane right before giving birth.  However, the boy she sires is still very-much alive and human.  He is taken in by a monk with a hentai addiction and a shikabane-hime that serves him in secret.  The boy, because of his birth, has garnered a fascination with dead things, where even his pet cat is brought back to life within his own mind.  However, it’s the monk’s shikabane-hime that grabs his attention one night and from then on he starts meddling around where he shouldn’t and ultimately becomes fully involved in the secret world of the monk and his kin.  The shikabane-hime was eaten alive by seven shikabane during a raid of her house.  With a burning desire to exact revenge on those who did this to her, she became a shikabane herself.  A powerful bond with her childhood friend, now a monk, allowed her to become a shikabane-hime instead.

That’s the gist of the plot for Shikabane-hime.  The main characters involved are:  Makina, the shikabane-hime who kicks undead arse with two semi-auto pistols (and neglects to wear panties during the opening sequence).  Her “contracted monk” is Keisei, who works for an occult organization called the Kougon Sect.  Finally, there’s Ouri, the boy born of a zombie-mother who eventually becomes Makina’s contracted monk upon Keisei’s death.  The primary antagonists are the “Seven Stars,” comprising seven shikabane including a woman who, theoretically, was somehow able to become a shikabane despite harbouring no lingering regrets or desires.  Unlike most shikabane, these individuals have retained the full mental faculties of their prior human forms beyond their respective deaths decades ago — the woman, though, was shut-in her whole life, so her shikabane personality hasn’t changed much either.

Definitely not your average zombie show!  It’s not even your typical Anime zombie show…!  This show has two seasons, and at least the first season has been dubbed.

 

Anime Spotlight #19

Girls und Panzer — possibly the coolest Anime, ever.

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Is it Tankery?  Tankwondo?  Or Sensha-do?

School girls live on large, aircraft carrier-like ships, where they can learn to drive well-known WWI/II- and Cold War-era tanks and proceed to shoot each other with said tanks in special tournaments on land.  What could possibly go wrong here?!

Well…, physics apparently.  While some of the moves the girls pull of in their tanks are possible, others certainly are not (at least, not without a whole lot of skill or plain dumb luck).  The on-tank, roller-coaster traverse scene is one such example; in that particular case, it’s the getting-on the roller-coaster tracks that’d be the greatest challenge; once on, the tiny tank in question could straddle the rails as shown — friction could be a problem, though, and it’d be interesting to see if friction between the tank and rails is comparable to that of an actual coaster train.

It’s kinda like a World of Tanks game, derp-wise, but Anime-style….

And then there’s Mako Reizei….  She’s arguably my favourite Tankery girl on the show, namely because she’s surprisingly intelligent (and witty) and she doesn’t know what a “morning” is.

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I hear you, Mako….

‘Nuff said.

 

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