Welcome to Sakurashin, a town where humans and youkai co-exist in peace and harmony. The premise of “Yozakura Quartet” is how to maintain the peace with such a divergent amount of folks.
The ‘quartet’ portion of the title involves the four people (and that is good, as a quartet IS four people) who run an office called Hiizumi Life Counseling Office, where their job is to help and protect the townspeople, regardless of their background or origin. The four folks are:
Hime Yarizakura, (dead center with that massive scarf). Although sixteen, she is the mayor of this town, which she inherited from her grandmother, and has supernatural powers. She is loved by all (so you KNOW it’s a fantasy. Who really loves their elected officials?)
Akina Hiizumi (the guy in the black shirt to Hime’s right). He is eighteen and is the only human in this office. He can do ‘tuning’, an ability that can send back the youkai to their world and cut off their connection to the human world. (more…)
I was drawn to this sports anime, as I had not seen one with swimming as its core. For this show, “Free!” is both a noun and an adjective, but first, some background for the plot.
Some years earlier, our four friends used to swim for the Iwatobi Swim Club and participated in the Medley Relay, which they won readily. However, one of their entourage was moving to Australia and this would be the last of it. Flash forward to the future. Three of them attend the same school and learn that the swim club they spent their youth at is being torn down. They go to look at it and bump into their old friend, who has enrolled in a different school, one that is a swimming powerhouse (Samezuka Academy), while these guys go to a school that no longer has a swim club. This is a show about revival and what it means to be free. (more…)
I can’t really remember a biking anime. The closest I got was an ending arc for “Honey and Clover” when one of the students went on a biking journey of Japan. “Yowamushi Pedal” is more focused than that and with the same amount and caliber of fan service.
Let us meet Sakamichi Onoda (dead center; look at the size of his eyes!). To say he is an otaku is like saying the Pacific Ocean is a little wet. He has just entered Sohoku High School and plans to join the anime club. In middle school, Onoda did not have any friends with whom he could talk about otaku things and is hoping he can make such friends in the anime club, but he finds out it has been disbanded. In order to reestablish the club he tries to find 4 other people who would like to join. Yeah, good luck with that! (more…)
Of all the sports out there, baseball seems to be able to generate the best metaphors and symbolism in a reflection of life: Clear the bases Three strikes and you’re out Caught looking Batting 1.000
And animes pick up on this, as we can track how a person grows and matures under these arduous, unforgiving situations….for the most part.
“Ace of the Diamond” follows in the tradition, but it has problems when it fell into old tropes and clichés. But first, the plot:
Eijun Sawamura (big grin in center) is a fairly good pitcher, but he is erratic and lacks control. But he makes up for that with a zeal and passion that fires up everyone else and makes them help the team in the town of Nagano. He gets scouted by Rei Takashima for Seidou High, a perennial powerhouse in high school baseball. He is reluctant to leave his friends behind, but they all feel that he stands a better chance of reaching his dreams by going there than staying here. Win for us, as they send him off to his future. (more…)
Again, another long-format show, this one has managed to keep the interest high, as there is just so much that goes on behind the scenes that we do not know of.
Now, they are calling it Season Four, as each ‘season’ is 25 episodes, but I call it Year Two, as we are at 100 episodes.
The year opens up with two flashback/recap episodes, one for Mutta and one for Hibito and then we proceed. The two massive arcs are Hibito’s Panic Attacks (which take up right to the end of the year) and how Mutta overcomes all the obstacles placed before him in order to discourage him from being an astronaut. The stories were told with a great deal of involvement and there was hardly an off-note for the year, although the Olga side-story for Hibito went on a bit long. (more…)
As I have always commented, long-form shows have a real problem in that you have to keep the interest going. I have heard that the creator of “One Piece” has enough tales to make 1000 episodes. But are they good episodes? Or are you Mario Mendoza? Mario Mendoza was a major league player for eight years with three different teams and had a lifetime average of .215. He got into baseball, but didn’t do much after that. The third year ofToriko was also like that.
Now, the overall goal is the finding of GOD, the greatest single ingredient ever, and both the IGO and the Gourmet Corp are in battle over it. To this end, Toriko and the other Four Kings do these insane training exercises and activities to help hone their understanding about the true food and what it can do. Sadly, we got to a point where it became the Dragon Ball Z Syndrome.
After some rather arduous training quests, the Gourmet Corp sent out these four hideous beasts that only the Four Kings could battle and condensed the world’s population into a ‘safe zone’ (think about the entire world’s population moved into the United States). These four battles eventually merged into one massive battle that gobbled up loads of episodes, as they battled and battled and battled to seemingly no genuine conclusion. When Komatsu helps turn the tide and the Kings were victorious, it was time for the Food Olympics (for wont of a better term), a competition held every four years to see who is the best chef in the world. But it is a combination of Iron Chef and the Iron Man Triathlon. (more…)