Category Archives: Manga

Cross Medium Recommendations (1)

Hi, been a while since I last posted on this blog. I’ve been planning this post for a while, and hopefully it will be interesting. Today, I will bring you guys several recommendation across ACGL (anime, comics, galgame, and light novels) spectrum.

It is usually easy to seek recommendation in the same medium. For example, for anime rec, you can just pop into myanimelist’s recommendation forum and ask for rec according to your criteria. The same goes for manga, light novel, or visual novel; you just have to ask in the relevant forum. However, one thing that I’ve rarely seen is recommendation from one medium to the other. To give an example, if I liked Code Geass, can I find similar stories in VN or light novel…?

I am going to tell you, yes, absolutely.

Moreover, all recommendation that I am going to enumerate here are considered classics in their own respective fields. Even if you have never experienced a particular medium before (probably visual novel/galgame or light novel), this is a good place to start.

1. Gintama & Futurama

Gintama (anime/manga)

Futurama (cartoon)

So despite what I said, I decided to start off my first recommendation with a Japanese anime and an American cartoon. Well, anything goes, right?

Gintama started as a manga in 2003, and was since adapted into anime in several seasons starting from 2006. Futurama debuted on TV way back in 1999, and came to an temporary halt in 2001 after just 4 seasons. The series is revived on TV, however, in 2007, and aired 3 more seasons until its finale in 2013. At first sight, one can immediately observe that both shows have 2 main male characters, with 1 main female character, in their posters. Of course, the similarity doesn’t just stop there. Both are episodic comedy parody series that follow one principal and one principal only: anything goes.

The setup allows for such flexibility in story-telling. In Futurama, the protagonist, Fry, is a 20th century man who was frozen and essentially time-traveled into the 31st century. He had no choice but to work in a universal delivery company, exploring the most dangerous part of universe on an everyday basis. In Gintama, the protagonist, Gin, is an Edo Samurai whose entire country has been invaded and occupied by Amanto, or space aliens. As he has lost his job as samurai, he opened a yorozoya house, where he and his team do all kind of odd jobs upon request. Already, both shows have such broad and crazy setup. Literally anything can happen, so you’d never know what to expect, ranging from popularity contest, space conquering, holiday gathering, to sudden, emotional flashbacks. Normally, I don’t like to watch episodic series in that they lack a coherent main story line, but pure comedy parody series with such crazy setup are an exception.

Parallels in how characters are presented also draws affinity between the two series. The protagonists, at first, seem to possess all kinds of negative qualities that a human being could have, spending their days lazing around the neighborhood. Unlike the deluge of Mary-Sue protagonist that seem to encompass all positive qualities in shows nowadays, Fry and Gin are usually lazy, sometimes dumb, indulging in bizarre habits, occasionally revels in others’ misery, and always draw the short end of the stick in life. However, this is only on the surface. As the shows progress, audience will discover that, actually, there are a lot of good points about the protagonists and their entourage. This stark contrast is always done in powerful ways, making the characters real humans instead of characters endowed with many good attributes.

Finally, both series share the element of trying to make fun of everything that is waiting to be ridiculed, from our everyday habits, customs, culture, to just ways of how humans interact with each other, in a non-aggressive, fun way. Of course, Futurama mostly makes fun of American culture, while Gintama do Japanese, so it is sometimes hard to catch the humor if you are not familiar with the particular culture. Still, the key point is that there is so much comedy in both that you’d at least be able to catch some, and it would still be very funny. Ultimately, through their ridiculing of human nature, we could perhaps learn something about ourselves, and change for the better. I am very serious when I say this.

2. Code Geass & G-senjou no Maou

Code Geass (anime)

G-senjou no Maou, or Devil on the G-string (visual novel)

If you are an anime fan who is still active in recent years, you’d probably already watched an original anime called Code Geass, or at the very least, heard about it somewhere. Now, if you really absolutely loved Code Geass, right after you finished the anime you’d probably feel a big void in your heart. Where else can one finds such an entertaining and gripping tale of revenge, fraught with tension and theatrics? Some would, rightly so, suggest the anime Death Note. Of course, it doesn’t take a detective to see the similarities between them. Still others would recommend the anime Guilty Crown, written by the same script writer. In this case, one would disappointingly find that the similarities remain limited, if not only on the surface, with setup such as the king’s power, big robots action, blah blah blah. Today, I am going to take you guys on a different path. If you broaden your horizon, you will find that there is this one popular visual novel called G-senjou no Maou (Devil on the G-string) that will definitely satisfy your thirst for Code Geass.

What makes Code Geass so endearing is definitely not the mecha action. It is the drama, the theatrics, the high amount of tension, how characters pull ridiculously impossible yet brilliant moves against their opponents, and of course, Lelouch. Unfortunately, Lelouch is not in this visual novel, but we get the next best thing: a charismatic, mysterious criminal mastermind, self-styled Maou, or Devil, whose identity is shrouded in mystery even from the audience.

Instead of royal offspring acting as commanders trying to outwit one another in the battlefield as in Code Geass, we dig deep into the world of terrorist and yakuza in G-senjou. As the adopted son of a mafia boss, the protagonist, Kyousuke, obey his father’s every bidding. His peaceful day as an yakuza-in-training is disrupted when two individuals suddenly showed up in the city, a beautiful girl named Haru and an internationally powerful mafia known only as “Maou”. And so, along with Haru, Kyousuke begins an deadly cat-and-mouse game with maou, in an epic game of wits.

Without going into more details, I am going to assure you that the two stories are most similar in that they have the same “feels”. The suspense is there. A lot of mystery needed to be uncovered. Characters engage in deadly games of wits against each other, with high stakes. They pull off huge stunts when one least expect it. Some comic relief here and there, and then bang, plot twist again. Although the story is prone to some minor plot holes with careful inspection, just like Code Geass, the story overall is very well written and executed in a good pace. The conclusion ends in the most dramatic fashion possible.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that the voice actor for both Lelouch and Maou is Furukawa Jun?

For more info, refer to this post https://bunny1ov3r.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/first-experience-with-visual-novel-an-attempt-at-g-senjou-no-maou-review/

PS: I really meant to include a couple more recommendation in this post, but I got really lazy and still wanted to publish it today. I’ll call this post part I. Hopefully the next part will come soon with more interesting recommendation across mediums. 


On the topic of myanimelist (MAL)’s anime database

Hi everyone. It’s been a long while since my last post here. Today, instead of doing an usual review, I would be sharing some things about the nature of MAL (myanimelist.net)’s anime database.

I think most deeply-invested fans of anime medium would at least heard of MAL, which is basically an online site where you can update what you’ve watched on your account. While there are similar types of sites, like hummingbird and anilist, myanimelist remains as the the site with the biggest user number. To give but an example, the most popular anime on MAL, Death Note, have as many as 460,000 members! With such a big sample of users scores, we can do some basic calculations to know more about the parameters of the population of MAL scores.

I have extracted all MAL data from this site http://test.animeadvice.me/, which is a program that someone else built.

 

Distribution of All Anime on MAL database

By all anime, I meant anime that is on MAL’s database and with more than 50 user scores. There are 6922 anime in total at my time of data extraction.

Having copy and pasted all those data entries into excel, I can easily calculate the average and standard error of *MAL score of the entire anime database.

Average = 6.87

Median = 6.87

Standard Error = 0.76

 

mal score frequency

Frequency Graph Divided in range of the standard error

So basically, the distribution of MAL’s anime database scores is a normal distribution, with a slight negative skew.

 

*MAL score is calculated in Bayesian average.
Weighted Rank (WR) = (v / (v + m)) * S + (m / (v + m)) * C
where S = average score of anime; C = average score of entire anime database; v = number of votes for the anime; m = minimum votes (50 votes)

 

Average Year Aired of the Most Popular Anime

Are people only into new anime, or are people still immersed in the nostalgia of past glories? I also find it worthwhile to investigate into the average year aired for some of the most popular anime (on MAL).

I have computed the average year and standard deviation of the top50, top100, top250, and top500 most popular anime on MAL.

Year Table

The current time would be formatted as 2014.5 (2014 June). This means that the average airing time of top50 – top 500 are 7 to 8 years in the past. Whether this means that MAL users are obsessed with new anime, or are they overly fond of the old anime, it is entirely up to your discretion.


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.

tumblr_mvdbepGwzO1r4xqamo1_500

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.

c042-043

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.

 

 


Anime&Manga Pairing Countdown #1

This time for real.

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#1 Nagisa Furakawa x Tomoya Okazaki in Clannad: After Story (Anime, originally Visual Novel)

Tomoya x Nagisa

Tomoya x Nagisa

After only watching Clannad, maybe not everyone will immediately list Nagisa as his favorite Clannad girl (I didn’t). Just like Kanon (2006), Clannad is also an anime that is divided into 5-episode-arc that focuses on each heroine, so Nagisa like everyone else only get the spotlight in a few episodes, and was demoted to a side character in the rest of story.

Then, there is Clannad: After Story, the second season of Clannad, aptly named because it is literally Tomoya and Nagisa’s story after they got together. The strength of Clannad: After Story lies in the fact that it portrays romance between our main couple differently from 99% of other romance works, whether they be anime, manga, books, or movies. In your typical romance stories, writer try to make the plot interesting by orchestrating break ups, love triangles, new girls, etc in the plot. This is supposed to make the audience see how much hardships that the couple went through before finally getting a happily ever after ending. But what if a story has none of these?

Audience are treated to hardships that Tomoya and Nagisa faced as they married and live together in a new home. Both of them are exposed to the responsibilities that they must bear as a member of the society. Tomoya works hard in order to support his wife, while Nagisa learns how to be a good housewife. Several years later, they experienced for the first time what it means to be parents, and how to be responsible ones.

In short, After Story is one that narrates Tomoya and Nagisa’s quest for finding happiness, through overcoming numerous ups-and-downs of life, and finally by becoming a happy family in a town full of miracles.

 


Anime&Manga Pairing Countdown – #1

#1 Makoto Itou x Kotonoha Katsura in School Days (Anime, Manga, originally Visual Novel)

Makoto x Kotonoha

Makoto x Kotonoha

In this beautifully written tragic love story, Makoto’s girlfriend, Kotonoha Katsura, remains faithful toward her boyfriend until the bitter end, enlightening fans of School Days with a shining example of what an ideal girlfriend should be. The story being told here is most saddening, and the morals to be learnt shout out loud right at its audience.

Even if the person you love loses sights of what are important, you should not lose faith. Believe in those you love, and you will be granted a satisfying conclusion.

On the odd chance that the results betrayed your beliefs, perform what must be done even if it is not something a normal person would commit too.

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troll faceThe not troll version of #1 is coming soon …

Would it be what everyone expects it to be? yes, pretty much any self-proclaimed anime fan can guess the #1 on this countdown already. If you guess wrong, well … sorry but you are not a real fan. I’ll take the trouble and write a few short paragraph about the couple anyways. Until later, have fun.


Anime&Manga Pairing Countdown #3 – #2

#2 Yuzuki Eba x Haruto Kirishima in Kimi no Iru Machi (Manga, Anime)

Haruto x Yuzuki

Haruto x Yuzuki

This manga is translated into A Town Where You Live in English. Notice the you (as in Kimi) in this usage usually refers to a girl, but can also refer to a guy. In this case, the town that was referred to in the first part of this story is Hiroshima, Haruto’s hometown, a place in which Yuzuki Eba seeks to find her first love in. The town in the second part of the story refers to Tokyo, Yuzuki’s hometown, a place in which Haruto moves to in order to win back his girlfriend Yuzuki. In the third phase of the story, the town refers to any place where both of them settle down, together. At least, that’s how I want to interpret this manga in a poetic way.

Now let’s get down to some facts.

Was this manga epic (in the sense of really poignant romance) in the first 100 chapters?

Yes. The progression of relationship between Yuzuki and Haruto is something fascinating to read.

Do I get the urge of punching the characters in KnIM at numerous occasions?

Without a doubt. I wanted to punch Haruto so many times throughout the manga, because of some of his stupid decisions, and Yuzuki as well for the same reason.

Is Haruto the biggest jerk in the world?

Well, maybe not the number 1 biggest jerk in the world, but he certainly is a big jerk. So what? Aren’t we all? Every man and woman is a jerk in relationships at times for whatever reason. And if you have never been a jerk, the chances are that you probably haven’t been in a relationship before. It’s fine being a jerk at odd occasions, but the important thing is to realize that you were a jerk and apologize to those people of whom you have hurt, or at least prioritize those of whom are dearest to you. 

Does this manga becomes endlessly side-tracked by new characters/new love interests?

I wouldn’t deny it, but isn’t that the how it is with life? Haruto isn’t going to be stuck with the same friends his known since childhood forever, just like a normal person wouldn’t be. When he joins new clubs, work at new restaurants, or find new jobs, he meets new people, along with new female characters who are romantically interested in him. In the end, what is most important is staying with the person you love the most despite new (and old) temptations, and that is all.

Will Haruto and Yuzuki end up with each other?

If the majority of fans wish for it, YES. In this case, it is literally true because mangaka will always take what fans want into account (public demand and preference dictate what is being produced). That is, unless he wants to alienate every fan with an ending that is even more notoriously atrocious than Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai. Specials, he would make an ending where Haruto and Yuzuki is together. Rest assured.

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From

 knim 1

to

 knim 3

 to finally

knim 2

A beautiful love story.

#3 Koyomi Araragi x Hitagi Senjougahara in Monogatari Series (Light Novel, Anime)

Senjougahara x Araragi
Senjougahara x Araragi

Time to talk about everyone’s favorite tsundere and half-vampire, Soujougahara and Araragi-kun. I think that everyone who has read the light novel or watched the anime would have a really hard time disagreeing with the chemistry that exist between these two characters.

Everything from their rapid-tongued, witty, and sarcastic exchange of phrases, Soujougahara’s cute tsundere tendency as well as Araragi’s “bravery and heroism”, and their perfect contentedness in forming a special “SM” relationship, do nothing but help to prove their perfect chemistry together as a couple. Fans are treated to even more goodness during the second season, where even though the couple’s screen time together is almost non-existent, still viewers become more convinced that they are perfect for each other. 

Senjougahara becomes strong when she is with Araragi, so she can treat her love with Araragi as her first and only love.

Of course, Araragi may not be the ideal boyfriend, having a harem too many female friends who are excessively fond of him, even including his own sisters! However, Araragi maintains his faithfulness despite hanging out with his female friends more than he should be, simply because he’d have to be careful if his girlfriend is the fearsome stationary-wielding, sharp-tongued tsundere none other than Hitagi Senjougahara.

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Sometimes true love really do fall from sky…


Anime&Manga Pairing Countdown Special Mentions (2)

Yuuichi Aizawa x Ayu Tsukimiya in Kanon (2006) (Anime, originally Visual Novel)

Yuuichi x Ayu

Yuuichi x Ayu

Wait … what! Are you insane, bunny? You forgone one of the holy trinity in favor of Sword Art Online? Well, let me explain myself properly. While Kanon 2006 is one of the most beautiful and mind-fucking romance slice-of-life anime out there, the couples in it are not as strong. If I did not interpret it wrong, the main couple should be Ayu and Yuuichi. Yet, it is the couple that I feel have the least romantic compatibility. Certainly, I liked Shiori and Mai much better than Ayu. In the end, Kanon is one of the best romance slice-of-life anime, but the 5-episode-per-arc narration just doesn’t cut it for qualifying the main couple as one on this countdown.

Kazusa Touma x Haruki Kitahara x Setsuna Ogiso in White Album 2 (Anime, originally Visual Novel)

Love Triangle

Love Triangle

One of the best love triangle anime that deserve praise (and please check out my review https://bunny1ov3r.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/white-album-2/). However, it is impossible to pinpoint one couple from this love triangle even if the story did end in a profound manner.

Rygart Arrow x Sigyn Erster in Break Blade (Manga, Anime)

Rygart x Sigwn

Rygart x Sigwn

Maybe I will change my mind if the manga actually does reach a conclusion. For now, let’s just say that too much angst and no result come from this relationship.

Ryouta Sakamoto x Himiko in Btooom! (Manga, Anime)

Ryouta x Himiko

Ryouta x Himiko

If it is the case that you are a hardcore RPG game nerd, there is a high chance that your game has an in-game feature that allows your character to be “married” to other players. On the off-chance that the players in real life are indeed the genre they claim to be in the game, there is perhaps one in a millionth of a chance that players who are married in game meet and fall in love with each other in real life, if they decide to meet in real life, that is.

Now, what are the chances that two players meet in real life in a life or death situation, and the male player saves the female player several times before they finally fall in love. Most amazingly, they are doing all this before they realized that they were married in game before.

Well, that is the case for Ryouta and Himiko, and I can’t say that I did not enjoy the hell out of it.

Lelouch Lamperouch x Shirley Fenette in Code Geass (Anime)

Lelouch x Shirley

Lelouch x Shirley

Yes. I am a huge fan of Code Geass, but I did say that hard-core shipping is not the point of this countdown, so I refrained from putting this on it. And while I get this chance, I want to ask a question that I always wanted to ask, “to all Kallen lovers, what is it that you love about her?” Cuz I am having a hard time still to see any good points about her, whether it be character design or voice acting.

Exa x Sheila in Superior (Manga) & Maou x Yuusha in Maoyuu Maou Yuusha (Manga, Anime)

Both manga focus on the “unconventional” relationship between our male Hero and female Demon Lord, because you know, there must be some deconstruction pieces for the millions of hero vs. demon lord fictions out there. Personally, I found the romantic relationship to be better done in Superior than Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, which focuses too much on the economics behind everything (but I can’t see I did not enjoy it since I am in ECON major).

Yui Hirasawa x Mio Akiyama in K-ON! (Light Novel, Anime, Manga)

Yui x Mio

Yui x Mio

Cuz yuri romance is not legit romance.

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Brought to you by the funniest troll on MyAnimeList under the username of bunny_lover.


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