Anime

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Anime Review #015 – One Piece Special 12: Episode of East Blue

Published September 5, 2017 by GravediggerNALK

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Review:

If you go into this expecting something new, don’t.  This is a recap of everything the crew goes through in the East Blue (sans Loguetown) before entering the Grand Line.

The special begins with the crew breaking the barrel, stating their goals for their journey: Luffy, to be King of the Pirates; Zoro, to be the world’s greatest swordsman; Nami, to chart the world’s oceans; Usopp, to be a brave warrior of the sea; Sanji, to find the All Blue.

We start with the Episode of Luffy, recounting Luffy’s interactions with Shanks, the attainment of his devil fruit powers, and end with his setting out to sea, following in the steps of his brother Ace and his idol Shanks.

We then move to Zoro, tied up at the hands of Navy Captain Axe-Hand Morgan.  Without even detailing why Zoro is being detained, we go through the motions; Luffy saves Zoro, demonstrating his devil fruit powers, and convinces him to join his crew.  We are treated to a brief flashback of Zoro’s promise to childhood friend Kuina, to become the world’s greatest swordsman so that his “name may reach the heavens.”  We then cut to the Baratie, where Zoro faces “Hawkeye” Mihawk for the first time.  After his defeat, Zoro vows to never lose again until he can attain the title of the world’s greatest swordsman, a title that Mihawk says that he will patiently hold until Zoro is able to take it from him.

Then comes Usopp.  The Episode of Usopp . . . sure is.  It’s a weird mishmash, not really doing a good job of explaining that he has a tendency to lie, or explaining why he has the relationship he does with townspeople.  We get a weird shortened version of the fight with Captain Kuro before straight to Usopp joining The Strawhat Pirates.

Next is the Episode of Sanji, back at the Baratie.  His backstory with Zeff is kept intact, and we move straight into Luffy defeating Don Krieg, along with Sanji coming to the realization that living and attaining his goals would be the best thing he could do for Zeff to repay him for his life.

Last, is the Episode of Nami.  Every time we have the story of Nami and Cocoyashi Village retold, I cry.  No expense was spared on this, and it showed.  Nami’s sad life gets retold, her bond with the people of Cocoyashi Village re-explained, Bellemere and Nojiko’s family ties with Nami re-affirmed, all of it happens again and it’s sad as hell.  It ends with a VERY condensed version of the fight at Arlong Park.

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At the end of the special, we move back to the ship, moving closer and closer to Reverse Mountain.  As the crew busts the barrel, a special version of “We Are!” begins to play, followed by glimpses of the then-current activities of family and future allies, Chopper, Robin, Franky, Brook, Ace, etc.

Scoring:

  • Plot: 7/10
  • Animation: 9/10
  • Overall: 8/10

Information:

Title: One Piece Special 12: Episode of East Blue

Released: August 2017

Director: Takashi Otsuka

Written By: Tomohiro Nakayama

Studio: Toei Animation

Licensed By: Funimation

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30 Days of Anime Challenge: Day 30 – Your Favorite Anime

Published August 29, 2017 by GravediggerNALK

I enjoy and relate to so many different shows, that it’s too hard to try and choose a single one.  That said, I cannot really say more than I already have about the long list of shows I love.  I’ve already talked about Cowboy Bebop, Witch Hunter Robin, Psycho-Pass, Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Non Non Biyori, Seitokai Yakuindomo, and Golden Boy at length.  It’s not like all of my favorite shows are the same either.

I love some shows that you know damn well why I love ’em:

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I love some shows that are cool:

I love some shows that are comfy:

I love some shows that are funny:

 

I don’t stick to shows that follow a set list of themes or certain genres, I’ll watch damn near anything.  Science fiction, slice-of-life, horror, action, crime drama, you name it and I’ll give it a try.

30 Days of Anime Challenge: Day 29 – Your Highest Rated Anime

Published August 29, 2017 by GravediggerNALK

E19 'Wild Horses'

Where could I even begin with Cowboy Bebop?  The immaculate music?  The gorgeous Sunrise animation?  The engaging stories?  The cool yet relatable characters?

Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts created pure magic with the soundtrack.  From the moment “Tank!” starts to the moment “The Real Folk Blues” ends, every bit of music in the series is absolutely perfect and each fits its respective scene(s) perfectly.

Sunrise is my favorite animation studio, and Cowboy Bebop is a shining example of why that is.  Every movement and every bit of background is detailed and refined.  The only faults in the animation quality are the digitally animated assets, and those look like trash regardless of whether they’re made in 1998 or 2017.  To their credit, Sunrise did the best job they could to make it as least-jarring as possible.

Each episode is a condensed movie without losing any of the quality that comes with being a movie.  Cowboy Bebop brings forth emotions from the viewer that come from across the spectrum.  Some episodes are as lighthearted as can be, while others are dark, sad, intense thrillers.  Whatever emotion a scene is supposed to bring to the viewer, it does so without a doubt.

What could I possibly say about Cowboy Bebop that hasn’t already been said by any other anime reviewer/commentator of the past 20 years?  If Jason Demarco is willing to run it until hell freezes over on Toonami, that should tell you something.  I cannot think of any other anime so well done, from top to bottom, that deserves a 10/10, 5-star, etc. more than Cowboy Bebop.

30 Days of Anime Challenge: Day 28 – Anime You Wish Never Ended

Published August 25, 2017 by GravediggerNALK

There are all sorts of answers I could give here.

The first series that comes to mind is Psycho Pass, but there’s no confirmation that it’s over. Even then, the difference I saw in the knowledge of cyberpunk and general dystopian science fiction of the season one writers/directors and the season two writers/directors was enough for me to have doubts about how long the series could last maintaining its identity.  I enjoyed season two, but more staff changes could be detrimental to the overall feeling of the series.

I could say The Big O or Witch Hunter Robin, since I would love to see both of them retooled as long-running detective dramas tackling the issues in their respective fields, but I fear that the aesthetics and themes of those series would end up being sacrificed to allow the show to run longer.

I could make an argument for not wanting One Piece to end, but only because I’d love to see the other 70% of the world as developed as the East Blue and the Grand Line.

 

30 Days of Anime Challenge: Day 27 – Favorite Anime Movie

Published August 25, 2017 by GravediggerNALK

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The End of Evangelion is incredible.  Top to bottom, it’s everything to be expected for the ending of Neon Genesis Evangelion.  It is the culmination of all of the characters’ feelings that have been expressed (or, in most cases, repressed) throughout the show.  At the end of it all, we get an ending just as vague and open-to-interpretation as everything else in the series.

Gainax spared no expense, and it puts its score and animation on display in magnificent fashion.

Definitely a must-see if you’ve completed Neon Genesis Evangelion.

30 Days of Anime Challenge: Day 26 – Favorite Male Protagonist

Published August 21, 2017 by GravediggerNALK

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Takatoshi Tsuda, male lead of Seitokai Yakuindomo, is the best.  At first glance, he’s constantly being terrorized by his peers’ humor and spends most of his days forced to play the straight-man to their antics . . . but look deeper.  He’s used to it.  Sure, he does it a lot, especially early on, but he’s gotten so used to it that most of it now just washes right over him, and he grows to do more short quips or and reflexive jabs instead of hitting ’em with the Just Defend.  He achieves True Comfiness, and, for that, I salute him.

30 Days of Anime Challenge: Day 25 – Favorite Female Protagonist

Published August 19, 2017 by GravediggerNALK

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Imagine a show, where there was obviously a “best girl.”  Now, follow me on this, you could have two characters together and they were collectively “best girl.”  That’s Infinite Stratos.

Laura Bodewig and Charlotte Dunois are, together, the “best girl” of the series.  Their chemistry together is perfect, and it is the cutest thing.  It doesn’t matter if you read the light novels (the original source material) or watch the anime, just do it.  The only main manga adaptation that matters is the one that is currently publishing, but it’s so far behind that it’s not even worth it if you’re wanting to get into the series.