Anime Opening Songs that Get Stuck in My Head

Apart from the original Pokemon theme song, which has been a staple anthem anime theme song, here some of my favorite Anime Opening songs. If you already know my taste in anime I hope this doesn’t seem redundant, since some of my favorite opening songs are from my favorite shows. Big surprise, right?

Songs that are ENGLISH versions will get a ( * ) by them, just so that its obvious that the song is on the list from nostalgia of childhood and not for any other reason.

1) Pokemon, The Johto Journeys, “Whole New World” ( * )

I know, I know, more Pokemon? But seriously, I love this opening as much as the original.

2) Ouran High School Host Club

Light hearted, sweet, this is just a great opening!

3) Bleach, Opening 3

Listening to this makes me feel hardcore like my 8th grade death metal phase… but with a little bit less screaming.

4) Attack on Titan, Openings 1 and 2

I had to put both of these because they are both full of enthusiasm and awesomeness.

5) Soul Eater, Opening 1

I seriously love the fast pace in this, it really gets me pumped up!

6) Digimon Frontier Opening ( * )

Not as many people are a fan of Digimon Frontier as of the other series in the franchise, but I am, and I really enjoy this english opening because its simple, well sung, and passionate.

7) Blood +, Opening 3

Honorable Mention:

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club, Ending

I know, I know, its an ending, but this gets stuck in my head too!

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Reccomendation in 5 Reasons: Madoka Magica (Show)

madoka magica group

Puella Magi Madoka Magica came out with one season of 12 episodes and became popular in 2011.  There have been three movies, two that recap the show and the third which continues it. In light of having viewed the third movie recently, I thought it would be fitting to explain my adoration for the original series. I know that many anime fans have already seen this show, and it might seem silly to make an effort for a slightly less spoiler-laden post about it, but this is simply how I’ve decided to do it.

Keeping it short and sweet, here we go!

1) Concise Series

Madoka Magica

I think that Puella Magi Madoka Magica had a perfect run length of 12 episodes at about 24 minutes each (including opening and end credits which you might not watch every time). It really isn’t that much of a commitment, and if you’re not hooked by the end of the infamous episode 3, when things start to getting good, clearly it just isn’t your type of show and you haven’t spent long giving it a shot. With 12 episodes there are enough episodes for a long marathon or two shorter ones. If you get into this show, you will stay intrigued because the plot moves quickly with pretty much no filler. In my opinion it has a proper, fitting end (in the Anime at least, I don’t really read manga). The third movie does continue the story, and it does wrap up a few questions, but, honestly, the original series felt complete to me before I saw the movie.

2) Art/Animation

As with most really good anime/manga, the art is simply incredible and speaks for itself but I’ll go on praising it just a tiny bit anyway. The concepts for the characters and their attacks are top notch, but the show truly shines in the more surreal scenes and the animation of the fights. It’s just all so beautiful, even when its intentionally grotesque or dark!

3) Good Round Characters

madoka magica2

It isn’t to say that many anime shows don’t have round characters, most of my favorites do, but it is a major plus when I can put this down on a list of reasons why I enjoy a show. The main characters of this show go beyond the typical ‘hair color is personality’ standby of Anime even though certain characters do fit some of their assumed traits. All these main characters have character strengths and flaws and are put in situations that make them explore the moral grey areas helps them grow and also helps you to get more emotionally invested in them.

4) Counter to most other ‘Magical Girl’ shows

madoka magica mami

puella_magi_madoka_magica-08-kyubey-incubator-shaft_head_turn

The show comes off as a typical ‘magical girl anime’ like Sailor Moon, but, unlike most of those shows it becomes very dark and thought provoking (going back to those moral grey areas). The concept of hope and despair having to be in balance runs contrary message of cutesy Magical Girl shows which focus on good overcoming evil. Also this relates back to the ‘hair color is personality’ statement in the previous point because Sailor Moon was one of the shows that helped nail down the association between colors and personality traits. Also twisting around the concept of the ‘cute companion animal’ is an aspect of the show which I really enjoyed.

5) People who normally only watch American TV will enjoy it too if they give it a chance!

madoka magica

After I first saw the show in 2011 I was trying to get all my friends to watch it, and I had one of my friends who hasn’t watched any anime sit down and view the concise 12 episode series- and she really liked it! (Honestly though, I think that most people who aren’t into anime could be if they found the right niche of shows that is similar enough to what they already watch.)

10 Sparkle-Eye Gifs

sparkle eye

This blog needs more Sparkle-Eye Gifs, so more it shall have! Normally I try to keep blog is only about ANIME, but I enjoy other animated things, which have Sparkle-Eye gifs, so two of these will be from animated shows not from Japan! Shows recommended by me will have a ☆ next to them.

  1. Meiko “Menma” Honma peeking out from behind her fingers, from Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (I’ve been meaning to watch this one)
  2. Nai Muhinyi chattering cutely, from Karneval ( ☆ )
  3. Shooting-star eyed Serena, from Sailor Moon ( ☆ )
  4. Misty’s star-eyed twirl, from Pokemon ( ☆ )
  5. Kumin Tsuyuri’s excited reaction, from Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions
  6. Star + Eye, my immidate thought was Ciel Phantomhive, from Black Butler ( ☆ )
  7. Yui Hirasawa sparkling and stammering cutely, from K-ON
  8. Adorable squishy-face Jake, from Adventure Time ( ☆ )
  9. HUGE star-eyes PinkiePie, from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic ( ☆ )
  10. Largest and most sparkley eyes with tiny hearts surrounded by MORE sparkles, from Squid Girl

The Anime shows I Would NOT Want to Live in

“What if Pokemon were real?” Is a question that I hear tossed around a lot. The replies range from unicorns-and-rainbows happiness to hilariously destructive scenes.

"if Pokemon were real" by Inkydragon of DeviantA

“if Pokemon were real” by Inkydragon of DeviantA

Wanting to live in the universe of your favorite show is a common thread of discussion in any fandom, so it would make sense that over the years many people have asked me what Anime I would want to live in, if given the choice. There are plenty of good options, like Free! Iwatobi Swim Club where drowning-but-always-recovering is the only danger and not much could really go wrong like in the Pokemon scenario.

I find it much more interesting to focus on the question of “What anime would suck the most to live in?”. It reminds me of the rather new adage “I wouldn’t want to live in the Hunger Games universe NOPE NOPE NOPE”.

hunger games

So here is my list of the anime shows I like to watch but would never want to actually live in because of the near-certainty of a horrible death.

Btooom! – First off, you’re trapped on a deserted island with limited rations. Then you’re told to kill other people with miniature bombs to gain your freedom as they also try to hunt you down the same way? Fun to watch as an Anime, no really fun in practice. Statistically you would probably get blown up. Not to mention that this universe also implies a high possibility of rape, or the fact that this little psycho is on the island with you.

Kira Kosuke, Btooom!

Kira Kosuke from Btooom!

Dangan Ronpa – It’s another trapped-somewhere and kill-or-be-killed situation! Except this time with a twist, if you get away with murder for long enough you’ll be let go, but if you get caught you die. The participants are all high schoolers, and all the blood is PINK!

Junko Enoshima from Dangan Ronpa
Junko Enoshima from Dangan Ronpa

Attack on Titan – 3d Maneuver Gear would be super sweet to swing around on, but really, so many people get eaten by Titans, you would probably meet a very grisly end like many of the named characters.

Eren Jaeger from Attack on Titan

Eren Jaeger from Attack on Titan using 3d Maneuver Gear

Attack on Titan

Your likely death if you lived in the Attack on Titan universe

Madoka Magica – It would be pretty awesome to get a wish granted, be Magical Girl and to have all those Magical Girl powers. But the reality of the how the Witches are created would result in a really un-fun universe to live in.

The Witch Charlotte from Madoka Magica

The Witch Charlotte from Madoka Magica

 

Closing note:

Future Diary, similar to Btooom! and Dangan Ronpa, is another a murder-elimination game, and another universe I wouldn’t want to live in. But living in the Future Diary universe would be a bit less horrible than Btooom! or Dangan Ronpa in my personal opinion, because the magic involved in the Future Diary premise would make it a little bit more fun and also make you feel as if you really could win. Part of the point of Dangan Ronpa is feeling despair, and the same with Madoka Magica. The feeling of being hopeless in your outcome is important and if I was in the Future Diary universe I wouldn’t be in despair since I would like to hope that my Future Diary’s specific power would help me win. Sooooooo, anyway, I didn’t really feel like Future Diary deserved as much a place on this list as the others, but it wouldn’t be fun and desirable to me to live in that universe, hence why it is mentioned down here- mostly because it IS another murder-elimination game and I’d like to think that being in one of those would generally suck.

 

Pokemon Origins: Reviving the Pokemon Anime Franchise

Even though I’ve played every generation of the Pokemon games, like many people in the Pokemon fandom I stopped watching the anime many years ago. Many people found that the anime was getting stale and formulaic. It started having characters which I couldn’t connect to the same way as in the first few seasons and the conflicts had little depth. While I still watched the movies, I had basically given up on watching the actual anime series, waiting for a revamp that never seemed to come.

Pokemon Black and White Anime

Pokemon Black and White Anime

When Pokemon Black and White came out, more fans of the game began to watch the anime again. Encouraged, I watched the first few episodes but I still found myself disappointed.

It was okay, I guess. But, could the Pokemon anime ever be engaging and cool again?!

Everything changed when I saw Pokemon Origins.

Red and Green from Pokemon Origins

Red and Green from Pokemon Origins

This beautifully animated and 4-episode short series used a lovely updated art style and goes back to the original Pokemon games as source material. It follows the journey of Red and his rival Green as they beat gym leaders, fight team rocket, and discover the mysteries of the Pokemon world. As soon as I finished it, I watched it over again- its just that good.

Over all Pokemon Origins is concise, well animated and made me cry several times. I would explain in detail exactly when and why it made me cry but then I would ruin a lot of the plot-points since the series is only 4-episode.

Red and his Charmander from Pokemon Origins

Red and his Charmander from Pokemon Origins

In my friend group Pokemon Origins has been hailed as “super super awesome” and “an hour-long commercial for mega evolution that is full of nostalgia”. Spoiler: I totally agree with both statements. Even though my first Pokemon ever was a Pikachu, and Ash’s main Pokemon is Pikachu, I still feel like the little yellow rodent is over-rated as the mascot of the franchise. My favorite original starter evolution chain is Charmander/Charmeleon/Charizard, so it was exciting to see Red and his Charmander set out together, and to watch it evolve into a Charizard as the two fought together.

Pokemon Origins restored my faith that the franchise is capable of working on their anime to make it good again. Due to that restored hope and a few positive reviews I’ve decided to watch new the Pokemon X & Y anime series to give it a shot. The art style is also different in the X & Y incarnation from the previous series (though not the same as Pokemon Origins) and Ash is still the main character with his Pikachu.

I still highly recommend Pokemon Origins! Watch it!

Popular Anime of AnimeUSA 2013 (By Convention Poll)

In September I attended AnimeUSA 2013 and I went around asking people about their current top 5 favorite anime shows (not counting movies). Most people stared at me for a moment before their expression turned sheepish and confused, responding with something along the lines of “U-um, uh- well, that’s really hard! Only 5? Wow, I’ll need a moment to think about it.”

Mashup of Characters from Different Anime

Mashup of Characters from Different Anime

I tried to ask as many people as I could while still being able to enjoy the convention myself and wound up with 40 lists of 5 anime shows. As a notable part of my methodology, I did mostly approach cosplayers, since some people in a hotel on an anime convention weekend are just bystanders that wouldn’t be able to answer my question.

There were 99 titles mentioned out of the 200 collected total show answers, which I think really shows the diversity of the Anime community from such a small sampling. A lot of the shows only had one mention, and a number of those shows I had never heard of before, like Patlabor (which makes sense since it seems to be a Mecha series). But other shows only mentioned once surprised me because I thought they would have more people talking about them, like Guilty Crown.

Guilty Crown

I intended to make a chart containing only the shows that had more than one mention, since I thought that there would probably be only about 60 shows total with only about 50 or so repeated, but there turned out to be 43 shows and 143 results, which still seemed like a bit much. But even with 28 shows and 118 results the chart still looked… not very visually helpful.

Huge Anime Chart, 28 Shows, 115 Results

Huge Anime Chart, 28 Shows, 115 Results

Once I narrowed it down to 5+ mentions, there were 8 anime shows left, which seemed to be the most popular.

Top 8 Most Popular Anime Chart

First, as a side note, I want to point out that the listing of “Full Metal Alchemist” contains both the original series and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and that the listing of “Gundam” contains all answers that were a Gundam series, G Gundamn, Gundam Wing, and a few others. These are both shows are classics that probably got people into anime, as are Sailor Moon, and Pokemon.

Soul Eater

Of the more recent shows, Soul Eater is one that I consider to be a ‘modern classic’ which has joined the others on the above list as being a well-known show that most people in the community like or are at least well aware of. The other two, Free Iwatobi High School Swim Club and Attack on Titian, were the most popular new anime at the time of the convention, hence how they both made this Top 8 Answers list.

Attack on Titian

Attack on Titian

Attack on Titian had the most mentions with 7 total. You might be thinking that with only 7 out of 40 people surveyed saying that Attack on Titian is one of their top 5 favorite anime show that it wasn’t that popular, but I asked them about their top 5 shows, so I’m sure that many of them considered Attack on Titian, even if they didn’t put it down.

Overall I found this polling process fun and interesting! I think that I’d like to do it again at a future convention but ask more people… and write the post within a month of the convention, which I failed to do this time. Oops. Ah well, I hope that you all enjoyed this!

13 Anime Gifs for Halloween

Gasai Yuno, Future Diary

Gasai Yuno, Future Diary

Readers seem to like my GIF lists, so I searched around for GIFs that covered the broad spectrum of Halloween-related things- meaning that I tried hard not to make all of them gory!

Anime recommended by me will have a ☆ next to them and ones that are from my 6 Anime to watch at Halloween post will have  ☆☆.

1) Blair firing her Halloween Cannon at Maka, from Soul Eater ( ☆ )

2) OMG SOMETHING SHADOWY IS RUNNING TOWARDS ME from Yami Shibai (which I never heard of until just now but it is a collection of  horror shorts based on Japanese legends- and it seems really freaky)

3) Shark attack- on land? from Gyo: Tokyo Fish Attack (which I haven’t seen but it is an OVA so its a one-shot of 70 minutes, mixed reactions in the reviews I’ve skimmed)

4) SPOILER FOR Another! Lots of blood… from Another ( ☆☆ )

5) All this pink blood really makes me laugh! from Dangan Ronpa: The Animation ( ☆ Yes this is a show where all the blood is neon pink! From what I gather it was for censorship reasons from the game it is based off of due to the Japanese game rating system.)

6) Monobear seems cute but is bleeping scary- also from Dangan Ronpa: The Animation ( ☆ )

7) Just like Monobear, Kyubey is was creepier in context! from Puella Magi Madoka Magica ( ☆ )

8) A big Titian Fight from Attack on Titian ( ☆ )

9) Head gets grabbed annnd yoink! from Blood+ ( ☆☆ )

10) Really super bloody experiment scene from Shiki  ( ☆☆ )

11) Hand up to the moon from Future Diary ( ☆ )

12) What is that-? Gasai Yuno and Yuki, again from Future Diary  ( ☆ )

13) SPOILERS FOR Future Diary- Gasai Yuno’s Horrifying bloody flashback which is, again, from Future Diary ( ☆ )