International Saimoe League

This is the International Saimoe League’s 2014 regular season promotion video.

 

http://internationalsaimoe.com/

 

For those who don’t know, International Saimoe League is site where anime fans can vote for the cutest girls in various rounds throughout the year. It holds numerous voting rounds annually, and follow a sophisticated procedure.

*Fans don’t need to register to vote.


Fate/Zero

Today, I present Fate/Zero from the highly acclaimed studio ufotable, produced during 2011-12. Fate/Zero is the prequel of Fate/Stay Night.

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Fate/Zero takes place 10 years prior to the events of Fate/stay night, detailing the events of the 4th Holy Grail War in Fuyuki City. The War of the Holy Grail is a contest in which seven magi summon seven Heroic Spirits to compete in a deadly game with the aim of obtaining the power of the “Holy Grail,” which grants a miracle. After three inconclusive wars for the elusive Holy Grail, the Fourth War commences.[Wikipedia]

Fate/Zero, alongside with Sword Art Online, is among the most hyped anime to watch during 2012. There are a lot of things to like about f/z, since it is notably different from the trend of anime today consisting of teenagers saving the world or managing their harems. Instead, fate/zero offers a cast of older men, most of whom are willing to abandon their morals in order to achieve victory in this deadly tournament. Each person wants to win for a different reason. Even though all of the motives are arguably well-intended, but good fortune rarely accompany good will in fate/zero.

The most enjoyable part about watching fate/zero for me is seeing the clash of ideals among participants of the holy grail war. By participants, I meant both the magi and the servants. The 14 characters experienced different things in life, due to the particularities of their era and social surroundings. Ufotable has done a great job in giving a big part of story-telling to dialogues between characters. These exchanges are intelligent, philosophical, and allow us to peek into the characters’ past, without becoming overly pretentious and hard to follow.

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In terms of production quality, Fate/Zero is top notch. Ironically (or not so), LiSA, Aoi Eir, Luna Haruna also performed in OP ED music for Fate/zero, same as Sword Art Online. However, the addition of Kalafina makes f/z slightly superior than SAO in terms of music.The animation … well, let’s just say that ufotable is amazing in this aspect.

However, fate/zero is not without flaws. This occurs in two levels, in terms of enjoyment and story. Allow me to explain a bit more. Storywise, f/z is amazing up to the ending. While the whole thing did not fall apart, the ending did not lived up to the epicness shown throughout the story. I suppose this is inevitable, since the story has to end in a particular way as the prequel to Fate/Stay Night. As for entertainment, for most people, f/z may present a world that is too dark for people to handle. As soon as you become attached to a character, bad things happen to him/her.

All in all, Fate/Zero deserve its hype during 2012, and presents a complex retelling of the 4th holy grail war. I award fate/zero with a 9.3/10.

RECOMMENDATION

For all viewers looking for a mature story.

For people unsure of whether to watch this, try the first episode and then decide.

For ultimate recommendation try Kara no Kyoukai movie series also produced by ufotable. Also, don’t miss Fate/Stay Night 2014 remake by ufotable that will be aired soon!

 

 


Funny Anime Quotes #1

peopledie

After this brilliant quote from Emiya Shirou in “Fate/Stay Night (2006)” …

die-not-killed

Erica Blandelli in “Campione” responded with this!


Anime Characters Awards #1

Today, I present the anime characters awards series. There will be a series of titles awarded to various anime characters.

@Most Annoying Third-Wheeler

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Shirai Kuroko (from A Certain Scientific Railgun)

Trust me, your romantic life would be in ruins if you have a roommate like her.

@Chuunibyou Award

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Rikka Takanashi (from Love, Chuunibyou & Other Delusions)

Rikka comes out on top for this criteria no matter how I many times I tried..

@Harem King

twgok__katsuragi_keima_22_by_makiri-d40hl6y

Keima Katsuragi (from The World Where Only God Knows)

Even though the concept of harem king runs rampant among many anime, Keima Katsuragi remains the god of harem, in 2D and 3D.

@Most Hated Male Character

Makoto_1

Makoto Itou (from School Days)

Had he existed in real life, thousands of feminists would line up to stab him again and again, just in case he doesn’t go to hell.

@Tsundere

bakemonogatari-crab-hitagi-senjougaharaHitagi Senjougahara (from Monogatari Series)

While most other people would nominate characters voiced by Rie Kugimiya (such as Taiga, Louisa, etc), I personally prefer more sarcastic and biting tsundere.

@Escapist

oregairu-hikigaya-hachiman

Hikigaya Hachiman (from My Teen Romantic Comedy Romance SNAFU)

My role model … enough said.

@Yandere

YunoYandereFace

Yuno Gasai (from Future Dairy)

Only Yuuki can “handle” someone like her.

@Cutest Imouto

Kobato-Hasegawa-boku-wa-tomodachi-ga-sukunai-30624208-720-609

Kobato Hasegawa (from I don’t have many friends)

No. I am not picking a character from an incest show…

@Sword-master

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Kagura Tsuchimiya (from Ga-rei: Zero)

The other nominee is Ryougi Shiki, but then she doesn’t quite qualify because she uses a knife rather than a sword.

@Kamisama (god)

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Madoka Kaname (from Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica)

Gods have never been cuter.

@Artificial Intelligence Supporter

Chamber.(Suisei.no.Gargantia).full.1535770

Chamber (from Suisei no Gargantia)

The coolest AI… ever.


Saiteihen no Otoko

Since I run out of review-worthy recently-watched anime, I am doing a manga review today, always for manga that was completed.

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Murai Masahiko (16) has a fetish for the smell lingering around a scumbag in his class. One day, a beautiful girl named Mizusawa Haruka transfers into his class, but when they start dating he spills the truth: “Mizusawa Haruka died 5 years ago…” Who the hell is she!? What are her intentions!? The heart pounding suspense horror Scumbag Loser begins! (Source: Batoto)

First off, if you are just looking for a happy-go-around romance/slice of life manga, stay the fuck away from this one. Saiteihen no Otoko is noticeably different from the majority of other manga because it actually tries to be a true horror story, with messed up contents. This is quite rarely seen in the medium of manga and anime.

The story is relatively short, with only 14 chapters and approximately 40 pages in each. There are however a tons of narrative contents told in mere 3 volumes. The pages are filled with twists and turns, leaving readers on the edge of their seats. The manga never loses its intensity, though there is a departure of tone in the second half of story, opting for a less scary but more “shounen” tone. Compared to numerous similar mystery manga that I’ve read (with shitty ending), it actually gives a great finish. At least I found it satisfying and not pulled out of nowhere.

Being a psychological horror story, there is a heavy focus on MC’s (unstable) state of mind. I myself am not a “scumbag loser” like MC, but even I can see the loser characteristics are exaggerated. Still, it’s entertaining (in a shounen way) to see how even a person who resides at the bottom of social hierarchy can exhibit moments of heroism, at crucial moments.

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I don’t think I can do a better job of commenting on the art than what is shown by the two pictures so far. Scared yet?

[Fyi: itadakimasu means bon appétit]

tl;dr

Overall, for its satisfying story, unique art style, and generally decent execution, I award it with a 7.7/10.

RECOMMENDATION

Recommended to readers who want to read an actual horror story in manga, or anyone who want to take a break from the mass of ecchi harem.

Don’t even attempt this if you feel disgusted to the point of throwing up simply looking at the two drawings from this manga.

For ultimate recommendation, I point you to Ibitsu, also a short horror story.

 

 


High School of the Dead

Time to talk about everyone’s second favorite ecchi show!

HotD

A mysterious, lethal disease is on the loose worldwide, resulting in a catastrophic death rate of humanity, and the increasing rise of attacks, caused by the living dead. In Japan, several high school students and a school nurse have banded together to escape Fujimi High School shortly after it was attacked by zombies. The group now attempts to figure who or what was responsible for this plague, and in the meantime, attempt to survive the present apocalypse.
The story is initially narrated through the eyes of Takashi Komuro, one of the students who had survived in the initial outbreak. (MAL)

If I am forced to only use two words to sum up this anime, it would be … boobs and zombies. I have to say, what a glorious combination!

If you are watching this show with your brain turned on, you are doing it wrong, because this is not an intelligent show, neither does it try to be one. The only reason that plot exists is so that characters can move around the city swarmed by zombies, showing off exhilarating zombie-smashing action as well as their jelly-filled boobs that modestly hide behind very suggestive clothes. Seriously, that’s all there is to it.

There are totally 6 main characters, consisting of 4 pairs of tits and 2 boys who seek to protect those pairs of tits.  Among the 4 walking pairs of tits, 2 pairs do nothing but annoy the audience, and the other 2 pairs gratify the male audience with some of the most ridiculously hilarious sword-panties-boobs or gun-panties-boobs action, ever. Oh yeah, before I forget, all except for one pair of tits have crush on the male lead, Takashi.

Fortunately, the main male characters in this show is much better done. The male lead Takashi of course is the epitome of manliness. A shout out to his voice actor, who just made his voice that much more manly. Also deserving of mention is the fat gun-geek Hirano, a person who knows the ins-and-outs of fire-arms and go psycho with guns whenever he gets his hands on one. Between the two of them and the sword-wielding pair of tits, there were plenty of entertaining zombie-exterminating action.

saeko busujima

expect this in the entire show

The art is, if you haven’t figure out yet, amazing. The backgrounds are colorful and vivid. The animation is often exaggerated, thereby maximizing the entertainment value. The character designs follow faithfully in those of its manga. The only character design that I didn’t like is the pink-haired girl’s (doesn’t her hairstyle just annoys you?). In terms of fan-service, the art is great!

This show could have been better had the producers done better in the music department. The opening has an awesome first 30 seconds instrumentals, but loses all intensity as soon as the singer opens her mouth. There are 12 endings, one ending each for each episode. I don’t see the point of this except for promoting the singer’s album (indeed all 12 ending songs are from the same artist). In general, this anime could have added more sound tracks in the action part, but the ones that are there are not too shabby.

All in all, High School of the Dead is an anime that is not to be taken seriously. Once you forget paying attention to the story as well as screening out the failures in characters, this show becomes very enjoyable. It has some of the best down-right outrageous boobs-swords-guns action as well as its own fill of love triangle drama, amidst the zombie apocalypse might I add. I award this show with a gracious 6.2/10.

RECOMMENDATION

Again, recommended if you especially enjoy fan-service or sword/guns action.

Not recommended if you are looking for something intelligent in anime. Nevertheless, you are welcome to try this show.


Clannad: After Story

Finally, the time has come for me to write a review on the one and only Clannad: After Story!

Clannad AS

Events in After Story take place immediately after the first season, following Tomoya’s final semester of high school. After declaring his love to Nagisa, they begin to have a close relationship. Their life together will be faced with unexpected challenges, as the truth behind the illusionary world and the city’s legend come to light. (MyAnimeList)

Good anime are remembered for different reasons. Some shows excel in animation and sound; some have memorable characters; still others have well-written and well-executed story that does not leave much inconsistencies; finally, there are some shows of which you get very emotionally attached to.

A question might pop up at this point. Is it possible for one single show to accomplish all of these things? Well, let’s find out, shall we?

The story of Clannad~AS~ is notably different than that of Clannad in that it is no longer restricted to the omnibus format as adapted from the visual novel. The heroine has already been chosen, and the writer does not throw in any break-ups and love triangle routine that is so frequently seen in other romance shows. This is perhaps the truly brilliant aspect of the show. It focuses on what happens after they become a couple, and their life afterward.

It’s hard to comment on the plot of Clannad~AS~, so I will not do so. It is necessary to point out that a side story, of a little girl and a robot in an illusionary world (actually this side story is told in Season 1 as well), is featured along with the main story of Tomoya and Nagisa. The first half of After Story also delves heavily into the pasts of some side characters, nicely adding some touching moments. However, these side stories are not fillers nor distractions from the main stories, they actually exist to build up a major plot device that exist in Clannad, and paramount to constructing the grand conclusion of Clannad. The side story of the mystically illusionary world will come together with the main story and make sense to viewers at the end.

In season two, we see yet more character development in Tomoya and Nagisa, growing stronger together as they support each other … until the story takes a riveting twist that turns Tomoya’s world upside down. Believe it or not. Then, what unfolds is the best, the most emotional, the most touching, and the most inspiring tale of how a person learns to find joy in life despite great misfortunes, in any anime that I have seen. Indeed, the story is emotional and dramatic without ever forcing any drama, and manages to struck us viewers with the metaphorical baseball bat of depression again and again, and again, until we have dried our tears, and finally survived to the ending. (That was more of a subjective description of the emotional impact of this anime, but can you really blame me?)

clannad family

The technical aspect of Clannad is something that is easier to talk about. The animation is, in one word, superb. I have rewatched this anime to confirm this, and Kyoto Animation has animated this anime almost flawlessly. The movements of characters reflect those of real life, animated at the same tempo. The expressions of characters during dramatic moments were again, nothing short of amazing. The backgrounds used in episodes were gorgeously drawn. Perhaps the best part of animation goes to those moments at the illusionary world, where the quality matches that of a Disney movie watched in theater.

The sound department is also incredible. The sound tracks are packed with emotions, and only serve to inflame the emotions at the most dramatic points. However, a great drawback is the ending of Clannad: AS, having a drastically different atmosphere than the tone of the anime. Fortunately, the ending does not appear in the most emotional episodes.

Ultimately, After Story creates characters that are very close to humans. Although Tomoya is a fictional character, you can not help but relate to his struggles and admire his valiant efforts at living his life to the full extent. The lessons learned from AS should teach us to become a more positive person, to be strong even in front of hardships in life, and change the way we look at things.

I give Clannad: After Story a rating of 9.9/10, if only as a reminder that perfection is something that is never achieved. However, I would argue that Clannad~After Story~ is as close to masterpiece of “slice of life” anime as you can get, and I would honestly be surprised if another “slice of life” show could change me as a person as much as Clannad did.

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Oh, and don’t forget to bring a box of tissue when you watch the show, because you are going to need it.

RECOMMENDATION

This is a great anime for all anime fans out there, as everyone should be able to related to difficulties faced by main characters in this anime, though not everyone will share the same sentiments as I did. It is something that you can (re)watch anytime, and there are new things to be learnt from this anime each time you rewatch it.

Don’t watch Clannad and Clannad: After Story if you only watch anime to enjoy the fan-service and action, then this review is wasted on you anyways.


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