6 Anime to watch at Halloween

1) Blood+

Blood+

Saya seems to be an ordinary high-schooler until she meets a mysterious cellist and starts having strange flashbacks, unaware that she has amnesia. When she is attacked by a terrifying bat-like creature the cellist comes to her rescue. His name is Haji and he calls the creature a Chiropteran, which is sort of like a vampire in that it lives off of blood. Once she had been feed his blood she regains her powers and some of her memories, including ones of him. Together she and Haji set off to find out more about her past and fight the Chiropterans, but the bat-like monsters turn out to be the least formidable of her enemies. Man, even just watching clips of the first episode makes me want to re-watch this entire show!

2) Higurashi When They Cry (2006)

when they cry higurashi

Okay, so, I haven’t actually seen all of this one yet, I’ll edit a full description when I’m done watching it. It was recommended to me by a friend as being a horror anime and good for Halloween. But, essentially, it starts off as an unassuming Harem anime where the normal-looking guy is surrounded by a bunch of pretty girls, however things begin to get more and more sinister. By the end of the second episode its clear that its going to get more murdoerous and bloody, especially with a google search used to gain the above image.

3) Shiki

shiki

Shiki is translated as Corpse Demon, so we can sort of tell where this is going already just from the title. Natsuno is not at all pleased about his parents forcing his family move to a small Japanese town, but he tries to make the best of it with his friend Toru. Doctor Ozaki is faced with an epidemic which turns out to be one of the undead, which comes to include many of Natsuno’s classmates. The old people call these undead ‘Shiki’ and they  begin to take over the town.

4) Corpse Princess

corpse princess

The series takes place in a world where people who have “intense regrets or obsessions” can maintain an animate corpse after death, becoming imbued with powers that aid them in attacking humans. These monsters are are called shikabane. Makina is a different type of undead creature, a Shikabane Hime (Corpse Princess) who hunts down the newly transformed monsters, aided by her bonded partner, Keisei a Buddhist Monk. In addition to destroying the dangerous shikabane to protect innocent humans, Makina also wants to hunt down the shikabane group the Seven Stars, who killed her family. In their battles Makina, Keisei, and Keisei’s adopted brother Ouri encounter other Shikabane Hime and their partners, leading to a more complex social dynamic.

5) Another

another

“When Kōichi Sasakibara transfers to his new school, he can sense something frightening in the atmosphere of his new class, a secret none of them will talk about. At the center is the beautiful girl Mei Misaki. Kōichi is immediately drawn to her mysterious aura, but then he begins to realize that no one else in the class is aware of her presence.” -AnimeNewsNetwork

Okay, okay, fine I haven’t actually watched this one yet either, but once I finish Higurashi When They Cry, I’m going right to Another. This was also a suggestion given to me, and it has been on my to-watch list. The recommendation pushed it up, so one I finish it I’ll update this entry for it. School, why do you always get in the way of TV?

6) Chibi Vampire Karin

chibi vampire karin

This was the first anime that I thought of when making the list, but I wound up with Horror/Action/Adventure genre stuff for the rest of the list, whereas this one is more of a Romance/Slice-of-life then with a bit Action thrown in later on. Karin lives with her vampire family but she attends a human school and pretends to be human. But, being a vampire isn’t the worst problem she has- Karin is actually a reverse vampire. She makes too much blood and has to bite people to inject it into them, otherwise she has massive nosebleeds all over the place in a comical but embarrassing fashion. When she meets Kenta, a normal human guy, she realizes that her blood-producing is worse around him but he helps her out with hiding it from the other students.  However, relationships between a human and a vampire are discouraged, which puts her in danger from the other vampires.

Also, this post was featured on AnimeShinBun!

ADDITIONALLY CHECK OUT MY 13 ANIME GIFS FOR HALLOWEEN POST!!!

Things that were suggested but didn’t make the list:

Soul Eater– It has that Halloween feel: art style, Blair the enchanted cat, and the fact that they’re fighting witches. But it just isn’t HORROR enough for my personal taste as pertaining to this list. Also, like Bleach, its very popular and a Halloween theme isn’t really needed to re-watch it.

Vampire Knight- This show IS about vampires, but it’s also the romance, so much so that the vampire stuff often seems lost to me. I do really like this show, but in anime just because a show has vampires doesn’t automatically make it ‘perfect for halloween’.

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Cosplayer Profiles AnimeUSA 2013

Attending conventions and cosplay are very important social aspects of the Anime Community. While not everyone at a convention is a cosplayer and some people like just take pictures of other’s costumes, cosplay is still one of the most enjoyable parts of an anime convention. Because of this I decided to interview two cosplayers at AnimeUSA, who happen to be my friends, to learn a bit about their costuming passions.

Haley has been cosplaying for 7 years and has attended 14 conventions, and Mandy has been cosplaying for 2 years and has attended 7 conventions. I used pictures of their ‘Favorite Currently In-Use Cosplay”, Haley’s Winter Sawsbuck (Pokemon Gijinka) and Mandy’s Pit from Kid Icarus.

Haley as Winter Sawsbuck (Pokemon gijinka)

Haley as Winter Sawsbuck (Pokemon gijinka)

Mandy as Pit from Kid Icarus

Mandy as Pit from Kid Icarus

Our AnimeUSA group, I'm on Haley's right (plus a random OnePIece cosplayer on the far right)

Our AnimeUSA group, I’m on Haley’s right as a Fennkein Pokemon Gijinka (plus a random OnePIece cosplayer on the far right)

Q.  What is the weirdest material you’ve used?

Haley- a door stopper, for a prop for Kira Kosuke from the anime Btooom!

Mandy- cans of Mountain Dew, to make the laurels for my Pit cosplay

Q. for Mandy: What inspires you to make a new cosplay?

Mandy- I want to show my love for my favorite  characters, and to show appreciation to their creator.

Q. What is the hardest piece  that you’ve very made for a costume?

Haley- altering a sweater for a Halloween version of Estonia from the anime Hetalia

Mandy- toga for Pit from the game Kid Icarus, since there was no pattern

Q. What originally got you into  cosplay?

Haley- People who cosplay at conventions get talked to more, so its easier to make new friends while wearing a costume.

Mandy- my friends go to conventions and most people cosplay, so it seemed fun, and if someone recognizes your costume, you know that you have a shared interest with them

Q. for Haley: You’ve been to a lot of conventions, whats that like?

Haley- going to conventions is really fun, but I’ve been to so many that it’s hard to keep my exact count accurate!

 Q. What is your favorite Convention snack?

Haley- Chocolate Pocky and Strawberry Ramune

Mandy- Strawberry Pocky

Chocolate Pocky

Chocolate Pocky

Anime-Style: Avatar the Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra

The Legend of Korra

Anime-Style shows that aren’t made in Japan are a trend in American animation. Avatar the Last Airbender and its currently airing spin off series The Legend of Korra, look, feel, and act like anime shows. With the success of these shows, which are hailed within the general anime community, I hope to see more anime-style shows in coming years. There are several reasons that these AtLA (Avatar the Last Airbender) and LoK (The Legend of Korra) break away from the typical ‘American cartoon mold’, so here is the 5-point rundown.

1)      Art Style

Suffice it to say, the most obvious of the reasons that AtLA and LoK come off as being anime-style is that the art is similar.  Here are two sub-examples to help illustrate the point.

Breathtaking Backdrops:

AtLA and LoK compared to Attack on Titian.

Western Air Temple from AtLA

Western Air Temple from AtLA

A bridge in Republic City from LoK

A bridge in Republic City from LoK

Overview from Attack on Titan

Overview from Attack on Titan

Realistic Portrayal of the Elderly:

Compared to  iconic anime movie Howl’s Moving Castle by Miyazaki.

Uncle Iroh from AtLA

Uncle Iroh from AtLA

Tenzin from LoK

Tenzin from LoK

Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle

Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle

2)      Martial Arts

Not every anime has martial arts, but a notable number do, and an asian, though not specifically Japanese style is shown in the ‘bending’ of the elements in AtLA and LoK. In this video we can clearly see the martial arts influence in the series:

3)      Spirits

The view on spirit beings in Avatar and Korra is an interesting interpretation, one that is based on a division between the human and spirit worlds. It isn’t uncommon for anime to use this spiritual division of worlds as the basis for which magical occurrences will begin. Bleach predicates most of its concept upon on the idea of a separate spirit world and human spirits turning into monsters call Hollows.

Koh the Face Stealer, a spirit from AtLA

Koh the Face Stealer, a spirit from AtLA

Concept art of a Spirit from LoK

Concept art of a Spirit from LoK

Hollow from Bleach

Hollow from Bleach

4)      Strong Female Characters

More female lead characters, and stronger female characters have been seen in recent years in American animation, such as the trend in Disney to improve the independence and toughness of the Disney Princesses. However, magically powerful female characters have been popular in anime for much longer, in fact it is a running joke that Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon is only good for distracting the villain, giving pep-talks, and being the love interest. Anyway, given the anime influence it make sense that Avatar and Korra would have powerful female characters as well.

Toph Bei Fong from AtLA

Toph Bei Fong from AtLA

Title character Korra from LoK

Title character Korra from LoK

5)      The ‘misguided villain’

Rather than having a villain who is clear-cut evil without really going into it, like a lot of American cartoons, AtLA and LoK have villains who wind up having understandable or even pitiable pasts which explain their misguided views. In anime its pretty common that one of the most beloved characters would be the villain.

Prince Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender

Prince Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender

Amon from Legend of Korra

Amon from Legend of Korra

 

Another 10 Anime Food GIFs

Ramen from the movie Ponyo

Having some ramen in the movie Ponyo

It’s that time again, the time for MORE anime food GIFs!

Anime recommended by me will have a ☆ next to them.

1) Mixing cream into a coffee from Guilty Crown (☆)

2) All these cakes from Servant x Service (on my to-watch list)

3) Yakisoba (fried noodle dish) from Silver Spoon (another anime that is new to me)

4) Hashbrown or omelette thingy from My Little Monster (never heard of it before but it made me think of My Little Pony so I laughed)

5) Stirring some juice from The Garden of Words (still on my watch list from the last post- why? College, ugh)

6) A large spread of food from Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions (on my to-watch list)

7) Cooking some Takoyaki (little balls with filling that is often octopus) from Penguindrum (which I feel like I have heard of before)

8) Intensely layered cake-pancake thing from Dream-Colored Pastry Chef

9) Topping off fish with a pineapple slice from Free! Iwatobi Swim Club (☆)

10) All of these many different foods from Hanasaku Iroha

And, finally, because I love putting Honorable Mentions: how I feel after writing this post.

PETA can’t shake my Pokemon Pride

Pokemon X&Y Fan Art by KIRU75 of Deviant Art

With the new Nintendo 3Ds Pokemon games X & Y coming out so soon, I wanted to write a post that was about Pokemon! Unfortunately this post is mainly about a disgusting parody game created by PETA and all the reasons that it is the complete opposite of how Pokemon really is.

The Pokemon franchise has videogames, manga, and anime, so I figured that it would be good to talk about in this blog. I thought about it all week, trying to pick a topic within the franchise. I considered writing about the increased graphics quality I expected to see in X & Y versions based on the previews, about the new Pokemon that have been released so far, or maybe even about how awesome the preview for the new anime season looks.

But no, I did not pick any of those topics. A few weeks ago, I was watching Nuzlocke Challenge play-though videos on Youtube and clicked on a related video which contained a review of a parody game based on Pokemon created by PETA. I’m warning you now, I was frankly disgusted by how violent it seemed and how it had totally twisted the message of Pokemon.

Opening screen of PETA’s Parody

Before I even get to the parody game made by PETA, I want to establish firmly that a strong message in Pokemon has always been that the Pokemon are not tools of the humans who use them but they are the partners. Pokemon do not fight to the death in their battles, its so rare that there is only one Pokemon cemetery in the entire 5 known regions, and there is sufficient technology to easily heal them including free medical care in every town called a Pokemon Center. The entire guiding principle behind the original villains in generation 1, Team Rocket, was that they were evil because stole trainer’s beloved Pokemon and sold them for profit. It is your quest, as the player character, to stop Team Rocket and to be come the best Pokemon trainer. In generation 5, the same theme holds true, that Team Plasma wants to separate humans and Pokemon but that only the Pokemon trainer who loves their Pokemon and treats them as friends can save the day (again, this is your player character). In Black2 and White2 the text when defeating Team Plasma’s leader leader Ghentsis, is very telling, especially when his son, N, explains how Pokemon and their Trainers share a special bond.

Image

In Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back, the very first Pokemon movie, made in 1998, Mewtwo spends most of the movie trying to remove Pokemon from their human partners, which it feels has made them slaves. Mewtwo makes the Pokemon of the Trainers fight his own cloned Pokemon, but the hero, Ash Ketchum, throws himself into the middle of the fray in order to stop it. He gets turned to stone but after a few tense moments his Pikachu’s tears of love manage to revive him.

And then Mewtwo gives this statement, which is still thought of as one of the most profound quotes in the entire franchise: “The human sacrificed himself, to save the Pokemon. I pitted them against each other. But not until they set aside their differences did I see the true power they all share deep inside. I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.”

So, all of that being said, I’m going to show you guys the video I came across. I completely agree with the commentary given by the game reviewer, GCPM11of Youtube who will introduce to you PETA’s Parody, “Pokemon Black and Blue Gotta Free Em All”. I totally agree with him that the images are totally disturbing especially compared to the “E- for Everyone” nature of the actual real Pokemon games.

GCPM11 said that he was highly disturbed while playing the original parody game which isn’t child-friendly the same way that the real game is, and I totally think he’s right from watching the gameplay in the parody. He also points out logical flaws with the game’s text that completely contradict the actual events of the game, and the show. The parody Ash says that he put his Pikachu in a Pokeball, when one of the points of that particular friendship is that Ash’s Pikachu doesn’t want to go in the Pokeball, so he decides NOT to force it inside (he also respects it enough not to make it evolve into a Raichu when it doesn’t want to). Also most Pokemon don’t mind being in their trainer’s Pokeballs anyway so I fail to see how that would be cruel.

I bookmarked GCPM11’s video and wasn’t going to make a blog post about, I just thought I would wind up sending it to another Pokemon fan if it came up in conversation. But, I was on Facebook, and I saw a post in an anime fan group I follow, which linked me to an ANN (Anime News Network) post about a new parody from PETA about Pokemon. You can read ANN’s post though please don’t play the game. I recently added a playthrough right below this.

As an updateThe Sanctus Nex, True Melon Aficionado a Youtube reviewer/humorist saw this post and it interested him. He happens to swear a lot but is HILARIOUS- anyway, Sanctus Nex said that he would do a playthrough of the new “Pokemon Red White & Blue” parody.

Noting ANN’s warning that “the game contains cartoon violence and links to real videos of animals being slaughtered” and Sanctus Nex’s  confirmation that there were links to it, I would say that PETA’s new parody is completely NOT child-friendly the same way the real games are. ANN said that the first parody was released right before Black and White 2 came out, and that this new parody was clearly intended to be released right before X & Y.

I stand by the Pokemon franchise and fandom despite PETA’s disrespect. I am super excited for X & Y, which I will be starting with my Pokemon partner Fennekin.

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10 Anime Food GIFs

Food in anime is very beautiful, idealized, in fact. Watching the characters eat makes me hungry.

Tea time shown in Gachaman Crowds:

Image

So, in no particular order, here are 10 random awesome GIFs of food from anime. Shows that I personally recommend will have a star like this ☆ next to them.

1) Omurice (omelette+rice dish) from The Garden of Words (a movie that I found out about that looks great)

2) Dessert with jiggly puddling from Polar Bear’s Cafe (which I just now learned about from finding this gif)

3) Some sort of egg-rice awesomeness from Blue Exorcist (☆)

4) Cooking meat from The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (which I’ve been meaning to watch)

5) Crab Cooking from Free! Iwatobi Swim Club (☆)

6) Cake and Tea from Watamote (☆)

7) Making a tart from Dream-Colored Pastry Chef (which seems to be about baking…?)

8) Bento from Seitokai Yakuindomo (never heard of this one before, it seems like a typical harem genre anime)

9) Parfait from To Love-Ru (also new to me)

10) This weird thing + mushrooms from Oregairu (learning about so many new anime shows today!)

Honorable Mention: Poking open an egg yolk from Black Butler (☆)

Should I watch the Anime or read the Manga?

When asking a friend or convention acquaintance about an anime show I haven’t seen yet, I sometimes hear a sad or dismissive answer that “it’s not as good as the manga” that its based on. It is the same issue other creators face in converting a book to a movie, though the transition between anime and manga is a bit easier, considering the continuation of the art style set in the manga.

For some anime I’ve inquired about I have received the reply that I shouldn’t even bother watching it and should just read the manga instead. When I was in my younger High School years I to roll my eyes at this notion, but then I realized that there have been many times I have hated a movie version of a book I like. Many of my friends prefer to read the manga before they watch the anime. I, myself, am too lazy to do that, though there have also been several examples of the anime-manga transition that have compelled me to consider reading the original version rather than watching the less-than-perfect animated translation.

I throughly enjoyed watching Death Note and it is one of the series that I have watched multiple times through, though I have yet to go back and read the manga. Let’s take a moment to consider the art using promotional covers.

death note manga better

Here we can see the difference in art style between the of Death Note in the manga (above) and anime (below). In this case, the popularity of the manga resulted in the creation of the anime.

death note anime

Death Note became so wildly popular that it the franchise also got two Live-Action movies, which I thought were decent but way too condensed for the complicated plot they were trying to portray which was only loosely based on the anime plot. Had I read the manga, which was probably even more complex than the anime, I might not have enjoyed these movies as much as I did.

death note live action

Many of the wildly popular and long-running anime shows like Bleach and Naruto are based off of their just as popular and extensive manga counter part. A noticeable hiccup in that process is filler. When a show is based off of a manga, it depends on the manga artist to produce new content to air in the show, however, the artist cannot produce as fast as the show can translate, resulting in the need for extra not-main-plot episodes which are aptly called filler. Another problem with the generally successful process is a sudden and/or bad ending to the anime that doesn’t match the manga, which might even be on going despite the end of the show. When that situation crops up, this is the general reaction by the fan community. Notable popular examples of this include Ouran High School Host Club and Soul Eater.

While talking about some of the failings of the manga-to-anime process, one of main examples that comes to mine is my personal experience with the series DNAngel. I heard of it from several people, saw the art, and decided to check it out by watching the anime. It has been several years since I watched it, but I still remember thinking that it felt really off for some reason and that the plot was similarly awkward. Later a friend told me that in her personal opinion, the anime didn’t live up to the standard set by the popular manga. I still have yet to read the manga, as I still have yet to read most manga even of series I really like.

A similar thing happened to me with Fruits Basket. I heard that it was good so I watched the first two episodes of the anime and then I did not watch any more. My friends told me to read the manga, that it was better, and I have yet to. I do intend to come back around and eventually read the manga for many anime shows that I like. I do like manga, I have a small collection from certain series, but to be honest it is just my personal preference to watch the shows.

Despite all the pit falls of the transition process, I know for sure that it is possible to adequately pull off the transition from anime to manga, just as it is possible to pull of a decent book-to-movie transition. Over all, it is up to the individual to decide if manga, anime, or both are right for them, and at times even on a case-by-case basis.