Have you ever awoken in the middle of the night, gripped by some nameless fear that has you jerking awake, flecked with sweat and short of breath? You have no idea what just went down, but it was Six Degrees of Unpleasantness? Yeah, that was me with getting the hotel accommodations. Except it felt like the 10th Level of Hell and it was a lot of my own doing.
I had initially slogged on getting the room when they opened up on February 15th, as I thought my travel agent friend could cut me a better deal. He could not. He called my on Friday night (that would have been the 17th) to say that inexpensive rooms were miles away and of questionable quality and locations. The hotels I did want were more than my mortgage payment for a month!Continue reading
Although this is kind of a ‘girls who save the world’, it was very hard to take this show seriously, even when it became ‘serious’. “Gonna be the Twin-Tail!!” (“Ore, Tsuintēru ni Narimasu”, “I Will Become a Twintail”.) also takes gender-bending to another level.
We are at Yōgetsu Private Academy. Sōji Mitsuka is an ordinary high school boy who has an obsession for twintail hair. That is when you split the hair, so you have it flaring off to the side, as we see up there, although it can trail in the back as well. At the opening ceremony, he is enraptured with the numerous twintails about him, especially Erina Shindō, who is the student body president and has a magnificent pair…of twintales.Continue reading
This was an intriguing series, but the terseness of the first season means that there will be a second season (at the very least) to try and settle the problems that were both brought up and complicated in this show. This is “Gate: Jieitai Kano Chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri “ (“Gate: The Self-Defense Forces Fight Like This in That Place”), although it just seems to be called “Gate”. It is either current times or a slightly distant future (like 2020 or something along those lines. Still no hoverboards). It is a wonderful afternoon in the Ginza Area and Yōji Itami (guy up there) is enjoying his day off. You see, he is a JSDF soldier, but he is also a hopeless otaku and is making his way to his favorite store for the latest and greatest in manga and anime.
Suddenly, a massive portal shows up, and I don’t mean like a pulsating spiral of pure evil, but a real archway. It almost looks Roman in construction and design and size. Look, it spans the street and is, maybe two stories tall, perhaps taller. Then, all of these nasty monsters start pouring out and attack the citizenry. Itami is ticked off, as he had places to go to, but now, he is pressed into service to help protect people and drive back the threat. Well, despite being monsters, these guys come off as mediaeval, with spears and arrows and swords, so they are no match for modern weaponry and are quickly dispatched (those that aren’t captured).Continue reading
When Japan’s animation industry didn’t have its very own Studio Ghibli, animators took cue from Western classics. They tried to get ideas from pre-existing tales and create their own twists in it in order for the stories to appeal to the Japanese audience. One such classic that Japanese animators tried to port to Japan is Jack to Mame no Ki (Jack and the Beanstalk), which was first published in 1734.
Japan’s version of Jack and the Beanstalk is interesting take on the Benjamin Tabart story. After Jack was conned into swapping his family’s only cow for a handful of beans, he plants them and realizes the next day that they yielded a tall, magical vine that rises through the sky. Climbing the beanstalk, Jack discovers an enchanted world ruled by the kind and beautiful Princess Margaret. Margaret has an unusual love interest in the form of Prince Tulip – an unattractive and brash fellow. As the story unfolds it is apparent that the Princess is in fact under a spell cast by an evil witch called Madam Noir. This spell has left the Princess in awe of the vulgar Prince Tulip who she is set to marry. The Prince, as the story reveals, is the witch’s very own son. Upon uncovering the plot, Jack leaps to the defense of the Princess.Continue reading
You only have to look at the box office to see that there’s no shortage of Western adaptations of (much better) anime properties. Ghost in the Shell is just the latest anime classic to get brought to Western shores. While that movie was a disappointing (but visually appealing) mess that doesn’t hold a candle to the original, it still got us thinking about the times when Japan flipped the script and tried their own hands at popular Western franchises. Here are five times it happened—and the results were actually pretty good.
The sole non-comic adaptation on this list, The Animatrix brought some of the biggest names in animation together at the absolute peak of the Matrix’s popularity for an anthology film that still remains impressive today. The film featured direction by Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop), Mahiro Maeda (Gankutsuou: The Counte of Monte Cristo), Peter Chung (Aeon Flux), Takashi Koike (Redline), and Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll). With such an all-star team behind it, it’s no surprise that the film was a success and helped to lay the foundation for many of these director’s future works, notably Koike and Kawajiri. The two Second Renaissance films in particular do a great job of expanding the Matrix mythos and further explain the circumstances that led to the rise of the robots and creation of the Matrix.Continue reading
As much fun as it is to go to the Anime Expo®, you still need a place at the end of the day to store your swag and get a hot shower and maybe even cop some Zs. I mean, you can’t live on Starbucks and Red Bull for four plus days (well, you can try, but you could die). So, you have to think about accommodations.
One the plus side, the convention is of such a size and import that they can negotiate room deals with a variety of hotels in the area. On the down side, it may still be a bit costly to go.
As of the present date, there are seventeen hotels tethered into this Good Neighbor Program. The two closest ones to the Convention Center, the Ritz-Carlton and the J W Marriot (a mere 1/10 mile away) START at $224 a night. Yes, I know, if you get a bunch of pals to come together and are willing to bunk up, you can drive your personal cost down, but that means having to sleep with people who have differing diurnal/nocturnal schedules and what if you get a person who takes two hour showers and gobbles up all the hot water and clean towels? That’s the kind of guy you smother in their sleep and drop down the elevator shaft.Continue reading
Do not let the title of this show fool or throw you. “Snow White with the Red Hair” (“Akagami no Shirayukihime”) only has the lead character share the name (and not really that); beyond this vague reference, she is her own woman. Shirayuki is a normal citizen of the kingdom of Tanbarun. Well, if you consider an herbalist ‘normal’; it is a rather rarified vocation. She has another unique feature: her red hair…which we already mentioned. When the first prince of Tanbarun, Raji Shenazard, orders her to become his concubine, rather than agreeing to this, she cuts her hair and escapes to the neighboring kingdom of Clarines. On her way there, she meets and befriends Prince Zen Wistalia and his two aides, Mitsuhide Lowen and Kiki Seiran (but obviously does not know this when they first meet).Continue reading
I did not know that this was part of a larger grouping of stories, referred to as the “Monogatari” (“Story”) series. I came in on Series #9 “Hanamonogatari” with a concurrent viewing of #11 “Owarimonogatari” (review on that later. Maybe). It’s just that they are very annoying both in presentation and content.
If I had watched them from the beginning, a lot of what transpires in this one would potentially make better sense, but it suffers the same problem as “Mekakucity Actors” or parts of “Penguin Drum”. But I get ahead of myself. The plot contends itself with Suruga Kanbaru (left), as she begins her third year in high school. She deals with her left hand that had been turned monstrous through the use of her mother’s monkey paw charm. After hearing rumors from Ougi Oshino of a Devil that can solve one’s problems, Suruga sets out to find this person. She secretly fears that this person is her. However, she soon discovers that the Devil is her former basketball rival from junior high, Rouka Numachi (right).Continue reading
Another of those off the hook shows, the capaciously titled “Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist” (“Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai”) also really takes the concept of an alternate universe to…uh…an alternate universe. In future Japan (in trying to puzzle together the timeline, it could be, like, 2056), the Morality Police have cracked down on any and all things prurient and immoral, so no hentai, no ecchi, no eroge games, not even certain words are allowed in this squeaky clean and spiritually pure society.
Everyone wears a ‘morality collar’ (for wont of a better term), which is called a Peace Maker, that analyzes every spoken word for any action that could break the law. A new high-school student named Tanukichi Okuma (Mr. Shocked back there to the right) enters the country’s leading elite “public morals school” to reunite with his crush and student council President, Anna Nishikinomiya (Ms. Distraught Blue Eyes). However, Tanukichi quickly finds himself entwined with the perverted terrorist “Tundra Blue” when she kidnaps and forces him to join her organization, “SOX,” in creating and spreading pornographic material across the city.Continue reading
What you need to understand right out of the blocks for “Prison School” (“Purizun Sukūru”) is that this is the blackest comedy you will ever see. Your first clue is the guy at the right end, who reminds one of Little Face from the “Dick Tracy” movie. And, yes, what you see behind them is a barely-covered, completely massive bust line, but more on that later.
The plot: Hachimitsu Academy, one of the strictest girls’ academies in Tokyo (potentially worse than some dictatorial nations), has decided to admit boys into their system. To ‘integrate’ and have a kind of pilot program, five boys are selected to be among the 1000 girls. However, there are severe, yes, draconian, laws in place which punishes even the most minor infractions with a stay in the school’s prison. You betcha; in the center of the school commons is a cinderblock prison. Our cast of troublemakers (left to right): Jouji “Joe” Nezu, Shingo Wakamoto, Kiyoshi Fujino (the hero), Takehito “Gakuto” Morokuzu and Reiji “Andre” Andou are involved in an attempt to peep in the girl’s shower room, completely unaware that their actions are not welcome. Hell, they are not welcome. Well, it goes awry (naturally) and this causes the five boys to be “arrested” and receive an ultimatum: either stay a month in the school’s Prison Block or be expelled.Continue reading