Naka-Kon 2018 Experience/Haul!

Hi everyone!

Since 2015, I’ve gone to this midwestern U.S. anime convention called Naka-Kon. That makes this my fourth year, which is kinda hard to believe! It’s a small convention, estimating around 8,000 attendees in 2015, but the population has grown exponentially in the past few years. Soon, I fear that the convention hall itself won’t be large enough to contain all our anime madness!

Anyway, this year was much less stressful compared to years past. Why? Well, I’m one of those eager youngsters that insists on meeting with English voice actor guests. I keep it brief, but try to walk away with a signature on one (or more if I’m lucky) of my Blu-rays, a picture, and delightful, positive memories to cherish. Typically, I’ll know (or at least recognize), say, 6/7 of the VAs—and you can bet that I’d try to meet with all of them if I could! At this year’s Naka, however, I only really knew (and loved) one or two roles per each voice AKA not enough to validate standing in line for a couple hours, sadly.

So I told myself to limit my VA line-standings to just one, and amp up my cosplay game so that I could spend time taking more pics and having fun. After 2017 when I cosplayed Mika from Seraph of the End, I didn’t realize what great fun cosplaying could be—SO MANY PEOPLE WANTED A PICTURE EITHER OF OR WITH ME (which makes me so happy and thankful), yet it was a tad overwhelming given how I had my own agenda of rushing from one VA line or panel to another. The guest line-up happened to work well with my intentions this year, and it all worked out swimmingly!

The unintentional VA-grab theme for this year must’ve been Cowboy Bebop (last year was Final Fantasy XV), as both Steve Blum (Spike Spiegal) and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (Julia, also ADR Director) were both guests this year. While I love Bebop just as much as the next guy, I knew that his lines and panels would be crazy full, so I skipped out to avoid the hassle. Also, I only knew him as Spike and Todo from Code Geass. WE DID, however, manage to squeeze in to a huge panel hosted by Steve and Mary, as well as Ian Sinclair and Wendy Powell. I count my lucky stars that my sister persisted on us sitting down, as it was really cool to hear all these famous voices casually talking in one room!

As for Mary Elizabeth . . . SHE’S THE FREAKIN’ MAJOR FROM Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex!!!! If you’ve been following me for even the past year, you’ll know that GitS has quickly worked its way up my favorites list following my marathon of the franchise just one year ago from now (happy reunion!). She’s also my QUEEN, Cornelia li Britannia from Code Geass!! Long story short, she was my must-meet for 2018, and though I was only allotted one signing (as I wanted a picture for my second), she kindly signed my DVD copy of Stand Alone Complex, of which, fun fact, I had picked up JUST for this con! Our transient meeting—where we chatted about technology’s advancements and  possibilities, the internet, and finding our own path in this digital age—was brief, but one that will stick with me for a long time!

While at the con, I popped in on several of Xanthe Huynh’s panels. I only really knew her as Love Live!‘s Hanayo, Yuki Yuna‘s titular Yuki Yuna, PMMM Rebellion’s Nagisa, and A Lull in the Sea‘s Miuna (as pictured above). Her charming commentary on the industry and business as a voice actor for “all the cute characters” was very insightful, plus it was nice to balance out the wild loudness of, well, a con with a much smaller, calmer Q&A panel. After visiting like three of her panels, I made it my mission to nab an autograph, of which was quick, painless, and fun to meet her one-on-one!

Oh yeah, I also snagged a ticket for Ian Sinclair since I just could. It was a Sunday, lines were significantly shorter and moved much faster, so I thought “Eh, why not.” He’s not a personal favorite of mine, but I do think he does great work!

**Insert my frustrations when Wendy Powell, who had no people in line for like 20 minutes, left just as I had snagged a ticket to meet her after noticing the vacancy. Ughhh, oh well, at least I got to hear her voice IRL in that panel earlier. Also, the staff were very supportive in my endeavors to try and meet her. Shucks, thanks anyway! :3

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Moving on from my meetings with guests, 2018 was also a year to try out some other activities that the con offered given my greater schedule leniency. Each year, I fear that Naka will offer fewer and fewer surprises for me. Especially this year, I figured I’d be bored half the time—BOY WAS I WRONG, and joyfully so! My siblings and I went to our first cosplay shoot (for My Hero Academia), posed for countless many pictures, and even tried waltz lessons of all things together! It was great fun, and EVERYWHERE we went were nice, happy, positive anime fans! So yeah, new experiences all around—I shouldn’t have underestimated such a great con like I did!

But you probably just wanted my haul. Ok, so do I. 🙂

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Pins, pins galore! Each year I make it a mission to scout out new pins (especially from one artist in particular who designed the trio on the right), and this year my bag had nearly 20 some-odd pins from various favorite anime. With most ranging from one to just a couple dollars, it’s an easy, affordable way to support artists, as well as keep track of your favorite characters. Highly advised! In case you were wondering, those three on the left were gifts from my sister that she bestowed upon me as soon as we got home—how thoughtful of her! And of course, I had to get my Sailor duo, plus the almighty, all-powerful LELOUCH VI BRITANNIA!

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I also got some playing cards, this becoming my third set with anime artwork on them. I was a bit let down with this set, thinking that because the main image had the entire cast on it, it should have pics of the other YOI characters. WRONG, all main three, and all random close-ups, ahahaha! Should’ve gone with the other set they had, but oh well, more YOI to go around.

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Traditionally, I like to snag some new wall art (either as a scroll or artists’ prints) each year. Seeing as how I cosplayed a male version of Danganronpa‘s Junko Enoshima (which a crap ton of people recognized somehow and asked me for a pic), I thought it was only fitting to cap off the experience with something from the franchise. I’d never seen this artwork before, so I thought hey, let’s do it!

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I DIDN’T REALIZE CONS HAD CLEAR FILES until I stumbled upon a couple of vendors on the last day that had stacks full of ’em! These epic Fate/stay night: [Unlimited Blade Works] clear files had the absolutely stunning poster artwork on them that my DVDs had, and though I wish they had the last one from the second season, they make an awesome set to either hang up together (considering a Fate wall in my room) or to use them as actual files. (Does anyone use clear files like they’re supposed to? Let me know . . .)

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AND THEY HAD GHOST IN THE SHELL TOO, LIKE, WHAAAT?!? At either just $4 or $2.50 per file depending on the vendor, these are wonderful deals compared to the $10+ that buying off the net will charge. Like my Danganronpa wall scroll, these SAC files will forever be remembered as the ones that I bought when I met Major Motoko Kusanagi, the great Mary Elizabeth McGlynn herself! #unreal

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This right here was the biggest win for me. I knew that as soon as I passed it on day one, it would be mine come the end of the weekend. Because I was unexpectedly busy with all the cosplay shenanigans, however, I ended up waiting until later in the con ’till I finally snatched it up. Thankfully, the artist still had a few, and she was super happy that I was this excited over her Kiki’s Delivery Service artwork. I mean, WHO COULDN’T?! It’s like Ghibli meets Shinkai all perfectly contained within one aesthetically pleasing masterpiece! The artist is Alexis Moore, and you can reach her at both her website alexis-moore.com and social media (presumably Insta or Twitter?) @alexisparade. Love this so much~!

That wraps up the stuff that I personally bought. Much less money was spent than in years past, but that can be a good thing sometimes. Here are some gifts my siblings bought me (and don’t worry, I surprised them with some neat stuff, too)!

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This blind-pick horizontal poster of Yuuri and Victor that my sister got me, ahhh, so precious. You know how anime fans sometimes like to decorate their own spaces with that bit of anime-inspired flair during the holidays? Yup, I think this might be the winter holiday piece that’ll go over my door. 😛

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Here’s a Code Geass soundtrack (again with the con-specific merch to match the times, damn!) that my brother bought for me! It’s got quite a few quality jams from the series, and for only $8, ummm, duh one of us is gonna get it LOL! After I passed it up for a minute, he swooped in, bought it, then surprised me by giving it to me as soon as we got home (omg how kind). Part of it was as a thank-you for me creating the *coolest* part of his cosplay that everyone admired last-minute, so it was pretty nice to get this after he got all that recognition for my work.  >.<

But that’s not all—he also bought me a new wallet, and it’s Evangelion, holy shit! I’ve already swapped it out with my previous decaying Zelda one, and though this one is a bit bigger, I loving having fashionable anime that low-key celebrate my status as a fan. I was the one who introduced Eva to my brother (and sister), and although I know it was thanks for the cosplay accessories, I also see it as part of a return to introducing them to one of their favorites, too.

And that about wraps things up. Lots of cool voice actors, lots of neat stuff, and lots of pics (which are hopefully coming in a separate post). Even Mary exclaimed how cool my Todoroki ice effects were, and Ian knew exactly who I was as male Junko: “That’s awesome!” he said! All the praise felt good, and for someone with a mediocre body image thing going on, it felt nice to be admired for looks, even if just superficially.

This fourth year held all kinds of surprises, despite my thinking that I had Naka all mapped out. As my fifth year comes next spring, I want to do bigger cosplays, buy even more merch and art, and meet more cool people, be it big names in the industry or simply fellow fans wanting a picture together! Thank you to all who made this year’s Naka-Kon possible, as it’s become my favorite way to spend the spring break! Also, thank you for reading this post! Let me know if any of the art or merch I got was particularly neat to you, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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2017 August Anime Haul [Birthday Edition]!

Greetings cafe goers!

August was a special month for me: first day of college, beginning my Funimation Now and Amazon Prime subscriptions, and most special of all, my birthday! Thank you so much to all those who sent me birthday wishes and good cheer that August 27th! It was just another reminder as to how many friends I’ve met thanks to blogging, and how far we’ve all gone together. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Now, my siblings like to go overboard on birthdays. They’re HUGE in my house. Like, even if you’re 40 or 50 you’re gonna get a ton of gifts and feel celebrated for—that’s just how we roll!

This year, my siblings asked for a list, and while that doesn’t guarantee anything will get picked, it gives them an idea of what I like (even though they already know by now). As always, I try to remain cost efficient, pulling together items that are currently on sale from various sites and places into one big list of fairly inexpensive anime-related items.

At the time, the biggest sale going on was Funimation’s end of summer (or was it middle of summer, I can’t remember) sale. We’re talking $5 films, $10 classics, and $30 new shows—that’s like RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP. And for that reason, I can understand why I received so many new titles. I’m now gonna brag about how cool they are by showing off what I got, so thanks bro and sis!

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My sister gifted to me one of the big hitters, if not THE biggest, of 2015: the chic yet suspenseful Death Parade. We’ve already busted it open, and have been watching an episode each night to relieve stress (or to add to it since there’s so much suspense and, well, death). She also got me the Trigun: Badlands Rumble film, and while that’s neat and all, I don’t have Trigun, nor have I watched it. There’s a reason she gave it to me (and wrapped it in my signature paper wrapping decorated with hints to the show as a little guessing game) . . .

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AND THIS is why she got me the film, hahaha she had coordinated with my brother!! Now I can enjoy this classic and not feel bad that they spent a ton of money on anything. He also got me the last book in the Bakemonogatari trilogy, which I’ve been reading since the first, Kizumonogatari.

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But he doesn’t stop there, oh no. He got me the SECOND big-hitter of 2015, everybody’s favorite Blood Blockade Battlefront, as well as the next film in the Project Itoh trilogy, harmony. (I showed the first film, The Empire of Corpses, to them, and told them the history of the project’s writer. Guess it must’ve made him curious.) I haven’t watched either of these yet, but I can’t wait!!

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To finish of my Ghost in the Shell collection (which I also showed to them the 1995 film), he got me the second of two OVA sets, which contains borders: 3 & 4Ghost Tears and Ghost Stands Alone. While I thought that Arise was mediocre at best, I am a collector, and this is just as wonderful as receiving a 10/10 title!

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LAST BUT NOT LEAST (oh god, how truly spoiled I am), he gifted to me this curious little oddity I found in the RightStuf 30th Anniversary sale, Freedom, which is supposedly from the creators of the apocalyptic Akira. I haven’t watched either of these yet, but I’m excited to explore more of the anime sci-fi branch and its origins. Plus it came in this stupidly high-quality box set (despite being under $30), complete with a mini artbook and YES black Blu-ray cases. Again, thank you so much bro!!

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But OF COURSE, I had to spoil myself #treatyoself with two titles that I’ve been VERY excited to watch! The first, a short series (like Arise, composed of four or five one-hour-long episodes) which takes place between the legendary Code Geass‘s first and second seasons: Akito the Exiled. After rewatching the series with my siblings this past summer (which they ABSOLUTELY LOVED TO DEATH), getting this ASAP was a must. Now we can enjoy the events that took place between the two seasons, as well as witness stunning CG mecha fights. I’ve plugged in the first two episodes, and so far it’s quite entertaining. Oh, and it came with an art card set like the first did, YAY! (ugh I’m wet for Clamp artwork.)

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The other movie I picked up was the wildly anticipated 2016 Japanese masterpiece film Shin Godzilla. I’m not a huge Godzilla fan, but knowing that Evangelion director Hidaeki Anno directed this project, too, made it a MUST HAVE. I NEED to know what he worked on between 3.33 and his upcoming 3.0+1.0 in order to understand the emotions running through his mind (or dare try), so the other title I need to pick up is Sentai Filmworks’ The Dragon Dentist, which I believe comes out in the fall.

I also know that Life-in-Japan YouTuber Sharla (Sharla in Japan, Sharmander) worked with the lead actors and actresses on pronouncing their English, as there is quite a bit despite being an otherwise subtitled film. I like Sharla, her videos being a large source of relaxation, exploration, and fun for me.

For another #TakutoMovieNight on Twiter, I watched Shin Godzilla as soon as it came in and I LOVED IT to pieces!!! Still not converted to a full-on Godzilla fan, haha, no, but the directing is very much like his films (1.11 especially), to which I honestly can’t get enough of. I’ll review it sometime if you’d like, just know that it’s already a thumbs up from me! When I watch it again, I’ll try out Funimation’s English track to see if it’s any good!

That’s all from me! For those wondering, I had a nice relaxing weekend with the family, to which we exchanged good food, laughs, and films together. Specifically, we continued the tradition of watching a film of my choice, and to follow up last year’s 1.11 (review here), we watched Evangelion 2.22 (review here).

Surprisingly, it left my parents intrigued as to what happens next, so my dad decided we’d watch 3.33 (review here) the following week. That made me happy. After watching it, however, they both got pretty confused (no surprise there), but I still think that they hold as much hope for the last film as I do, and that also reassures me.

In otherwords, it’s been a very Evangelion weekend, but I wouldn’t have it any other way~!

Again, big thank you to all who said such kind things to me throughout my little holiday!! I’ll be posting an End of August Update soon, so look forward to that! I really do have the BEST, most supportive family one could ever want, both IRL and through the net. Thanks for making my day that lil’ bit of “extra” we all need! Love you all, you party crew!!!

– Takuto, your host

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30-Day Song Challenge Day 8: Songs That Make/Made You Cry

I know, shame on me for being a day late. But I’m not skipping any days in this challenge, so I’ll just post two today. Now to pick today’s songs . . .

Dammit, I’ve already used “Ichiban no Takaramono” from Angel Beats! *bites thumb*

Like I mentioned about sad songs, no song by itself has really made me “cry,” but in the context of a given anime, things are a little different. With that said, I’ll once again choose songs that, when played with their respective scenes from the show, make/made me cry. Grab your tissues, and here we go 😥

From No.6, “Kaze no Requiem” snug by either Nezumi or Safu

Spoilers for No.6 below. CAUTION

I know for a fact that No.6 is not a very “good” show from a reviewer’s standpoint. But because I think of myself as more of an anime fan than a critical reviewer, I’ll give this little show all the lovin’ I want! One of two male leads, Nezumi, sings this tune throughout the entirety of the series. Notably, however, it can be heard in the last episode when his boy Shion is shot. Mourning over the loss of his love, Nezumi croaks this song as the city around him is being torn to pieces. The scene ripped my heart out; everything from his choking gasps to the dry tears in his soulless eyes just hits me right in the gut. His normally rich, low voice becomes flaky and parched as he strains himself to protect what was once an upbeat, energetic youth, now a lifeless body. This song is both melancholy and uplifting at the same time, which to me is a rare quality to find in songs.

And here is the second version, which is the continuation and remix of Safu singing after Nezumi stops. Her voice is utterly enchanting, but I think the reason I like it almost more than Nezumi’s is the opera chorus that rings in the background. It helps recreate that heavenly feeling when Nezumi came in contact with Elyurias.

Also from No.6, “Rokutosei no Yoru” by Aimer

I don’t think I really need to explain myself, cause just listen to it, I mean, it’s not necessarily a happy song >.< I’ll spare you my banter, enjoy the song. This slow, depressing rock is great to listen to on long rides 🙂

From Shinsekai Yori, “Going Home” by Dvorak, 2nd Movement from the New World Symphony

I don’t even know what happened to me, but when that last episode cued and this song played in the last few minutes, I completely lost it. I don’t think I cried, but man, I was a complete emotional mess after that! Very seldom does classical music mash so well with anime, and From the New World incorporated the piece brilliantly.

From Puella Magi Madoka Magica, “Decretum” by Yuki Kajiura

Okay, let me just clarify that all of the Madoka songs brought many feels. But I think “Decretum” brought the tears home when I first watched this catastrophe. Though she’s not my favorite, Sayaka Miki was definitely the most depressing to watch. That fake yet triumphant smile, the way she flittered around with Madoka, her near selflessness to save another’s soul – isn’t that what being a magical girl is all about? She lived a tragic life, and the Law of Cycles claimed her being in the end.

From Code Geass R2, “Continued Story” by Hitomi Kuroishi

The greatest moment of Code Grass: The moment when you finally understand how Lelouch will put an end to the Britannian Empire . . .

Just listen to it. I won’t have to explain my feelings this way. Why does this guy have to toy with my emotions? God dammit, ALL HAIL LELOUCH, YOU RIGHTOUS BASTARD IN BLACK

So before I start thinking too much about all of these depressing moments, I’m going to go write the next challenge post. AGH, I gotta stop picking so many songs per day >.< See you in a little bit!

– Takuto, your host

End of July Update 8/5/15

Hello helloooo, it’s update time ~

Another precious month of my summer as slipped by me . . . WHERE did the time go?? My fun summer life form is running low on HP, and in about a week it will reach zero. The cup’s almost out of coffee. The river’s almost all dried up. Why??? Because school starts soon (BOOOOO)! But don’t worry, I’ll still make room for anime between all of my homework.

For those wondering, my simulcast break has been absolutely wonderful. Like most, I hope that the season summer continues to be great so that by the end, I’ll have several more cool shows to watch, not that my list needs anymore ;). I have a couple of special announcements at the end of the update, so read on!

To the update, we got our recently finished shows:

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (and R2) – Ah man, what to say? Bloody fantastic show from start to finish, I couldn’t have been happier. It was quite the undertaking, considering its 50-episode stretch, but oh boy was it worth it. I suppose I could just flaunt on and on about how much I love mecha now, and proclaim like a love-struck weeaboo that I know all of the ins-and-outs to the genre, but you’d be much better off simply reading my review of the series here 🙂

ALDNOAH.ZERO Episodes 1-6 English Dub – These were just my brief thoughts over the new dub for an anime that I enjoy, click here for more info

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Part 3: Rebellion – Okay, so I am one of the few who freakin’ loves this film, so it was a joy when the Blu-ray arrived in the mail. I had seen it previously subbed, and the English dub was incredible! All of the actresses did amazing jobs with their characters, Homura and Sayaka especially holy crap! I’ll probably never review this film just because I can’t ever wrap my thoughts into a nice bundle like with most anime, so yeah. I do like the premise of how the film ends – how Homura reveals her true love for Madoka since I felt the series kinda dropped that – but it was a little extreme in terms of execution for my tastes >.< Still, so happy to actually own the movie!

A Certain Magical Index: The Miracle of Endymion – I know this film is a boat shot full of holes, but I seriously love this franchise too much to judge. As long as I see the Railgun in action, I’m good for another six months. Like Rebellion, the animation is gorgeous, so that made the watch even more enjoyable. I love me Raildex 😀

Currently Watching:

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma – In the last couple of episodes, Soma’s master chef-of-a-father returns from the U.S. to test his son’s new abilities. The gang is also back at the school, which means stuff’s probably going down in the next couple of episodes. I think the show is still kickin’, and I haven’t got sick of it yet!

The Heroic Legend of Arslan – Hmm, this show on the other hand feels like it’s wasting my time. I mean, I still enjoy the story about Arslan growing stronger to become king, but there’s not enough bonding with Arslan’s party and development for him, so I find it somewhat hard to appreciate him. Agh, I digress, it’s okay.

Nagi no Asukara: A lull in the Sea – So this show has been on my watch list since the dawn of time, so I thought I’d get on it since a) I’m on my simulcast break and b) It was recently released with an English dub. I’m four or five episodes in, and OH MY GAWD that art makes Takuto drool 😛 Such a pretty show, and the characters and story aren’t half bad either. I pretty sure I’m in for a good ride

Now for those special announcements! One, I FINALLY FINISHED the Sword Art Online Light Novel: Aincrad Volume One! You probably don’t remember, but it was that DAMNED book I had been trying to cut down since I started blogging, and it’s finally OVER!! My brother bought me the second novel, so I will be starting that as soon as I finish my summer reading school books.

Two: This award floated back to the surface, and what do ya know, I had recently been nominated for the Liebster award again! Hooray! You can read my nomination right here if you’d like

And three: Ever since I started watching anime, I’ve kept and recorded a list of all of the anime I have ever watched and the season and year that I watched them in (because I think season affects the mood the series has on me or something). The list is pretty defunct now, considering that I have a MyAnimeList account to keep an even more specific account of my watching. But since it can’t sort the shows in the order that you watched them (alphabetical listing only), I still keep that my scratch list on hand as a memento.

Anyway, my point is that according to my lil’ list, I am on anime number 99, which I have designated to Nagi-Asu. When I hit 100, I’ll probably have a mini party of some kind because, why not!? 100 anime is a huge accomplishment for me! I have a pretty darn good idea as to what show I’ll watch for my 100th, but as my followers and friends, I’d like you guys to put down your recommendation for my next anime to watch! Also, if you remember your 99th anime, what did you watch?

I think that’s all I have to say for now. Until I finish Nagi-Asu, I won’t be reviewing anything . . . maybe another “Cafe Talk,” perhaps? How have all of you been? I’ve noticed we’ve recruited quite a few more customers to the cafe – you’ve chosen the right spot to hang out! Hehe, but seriously, thank you guys 😀 How has your summer gone besides so damn fast!? Let me know in the comments so that we can chat, but speaking of chatting with friends, real quick, my pal LitaKino uploaded a video on her YouTube channel as a live chat with the hilarious Gigi from AnimePalooza and a couple others. If you have the time or are looking for a dorky laugh or two, check out her video! Alright, now I’m done. Stay cool in this hot weather, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Code Geass: A Masterful Rebellion To Be Remembered

A review of the 2006-2007 anime “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion” and its 2008 sequel, “R2”

***Beware of slight spoilers, though everyone should have seen this show by now***

Before I start writing, we must travel back in time to December of last year – my amateur Guilty Crown review *shudders*. In it, I accused GC of “stealing something precious from every solid robot/action anime prior to its own existence,” and that it was “just a messy conglomeration of past sci-fi anime.” I actually confess to being the one guilty here, as prior to that review I was honestly just venting others’ thoughts rather than speaking my own. I knew nothing about the mecha genre of anime! So now, I apologize and atone for my sins by witnessing the very chaos where Guilty Crown got its roots – And it all rises with a single rebellious command.

Secondly, my god, how I love smart characters. Enjoy ~

By 2010, the totalitarian Holy Britannian Empire, which already claims a third of the world, captures and strips the honorable Japan down to petty people. Now renamed to Area 11, the “Elevens” no longer enjoy a life of freedom and pride, but slave away while the Britannian aristocracy stands over them with overwhelming wealth and authority, wine glasses in hand.

Lelouch vi Britannia, a banished royal youth has been taking refuge in the prestigious Ashford Academy with his blind and wheelchair-bound little sister Nunnally. Going by the last name Lamperouge to escape execution, the two became members of the spirited student council. All goes fairly well for the two, but Lelouch can hardly even call hiding in secret day by day living! So when a Japanese terrorist operation results in a horrific highway wreck, the witness Lelouch runs to check on their safety, but instead uncovers a classified Britannian “weapon” of sorts. Her name is C.C. (pronounced C2), and she bestows the near-omnipotent power of Geass upon him – the power of absolute control over another, which merely requires direct eye contact and a command to activate.

It’s at this exact moment that the scheming Lelouch ZERO begins his awe-inspiring rebellion to destroy Britannia and recreate the world anew, all for the safety of his crippled sister and to uncover the mysteries surrounding his mother’s death. Zero rallies his Black Knights, the Japanese terrorists, and sets his sights on liberation, but by donning the mask of a criminal mastermind and wielding his King’s Power mercilessly, he shall pave his own path of solitude and shoulder all of the world’s evil.

Code Geass is a complex anime to watch. Half of the show is following Lelouch as he scrambles identities from school boy to the anarchist Zero, while the other half is political mumbo jumbo. Between constant Geass brainwashing, royal court betrayals, and countless bickering, national figureheads, each complete with an ideology of their own, it’s quite easy to get lost. The plot also relies on very meticulously placed characters to show you what you need to see, when you should see it. I don’t think this overly convenient placement is considered plot armor for Lelouch, for he is quite the intelligent badass, it’s just that there is an inhuman amount of info to keep track of, considering that each character’s current knowledge, prior history and point of view is equally important toward the end result. One easy slip-up early on and his whole uprising would have fallen flat -_-

As a viewer, I was very stressed to find no answers to any of my several hundred questions after the first season, but in due time, everything became clear. Often, explanations arrive too late in the series, however, which only adds to the long-standing confusion. My episode one qualms no longer seemed relevant to what was going on.

About the mechs. While the first season valued tactics, ahem errr, strategy on the battlefield, the second season’s combat was structured on “my gun is bigger than your gun,” of which the sexy Rakshata or ridiculously quirky “Earl of Pudding” would steal the other’s ideas to invent a better one. These scientific discoveries were pointless compared to the supernatural Geass, though they were at least entertaining. The second season’s use of flight capabilities also took out the thrill that came from ground combat. All in all, I really enjoyed the solidly strategized Knightmare Frame battles, but I could have gone without the boring aerial stuff.

As for characters, we have the aforementioned Lelouch Lamperouge, the brilliant chess master who is justly one of the BEST anime characters EVER, like do I even need to explain? Always several steps ahead of the game, using whomever he needs like pawns to create a new world. One character who constantly bumps heads with him is childhood friend Suzaku Kururugi, a knight of justice who in contrast to Lelouch believes that the means are more important than the end result. Due to “Spinzaku” being Japanese, his righteousness brings punishment from leaders on the both sides, however, and his stubborn will causes never-ending interference with the Britannian nobles and Lelouch. A fine character nevertheless.

And of course, the rest of the cast is extraordinary! Nobles like Prince Schneizel and Cornelia li Britannia (BEST GIRL) continually throw in spicy curveballs. A rebel like Kallen challenges her very existence because of her being half Britannian and half Japanese. Lovers like Lulu’s sister Nunnally, Rolo, Jeremiah, Shirley, Villetta, and eventually C.C. heighten the levels of drama. There are also the Black Knights, Ashford’s student council, and other royals that play their part exceptionally well! Granted some of the characters are incredibly dumb, and in the second season there are a lot of bipolar decisions, I was pretty damn impressed with what we got. Lastly, Code Geass never forgets about a single character; each one is gradually touched on throughout the entirety of the franchise, and that is not an easy feat to pull off!

Animation was done by Sunrise, and since I have not watched many mecha anime, it was a huge change for me to see robots that were all drawn. Unlike most CG, I was never taken out of the world thanks to the drawn appearance, so that’s a plus! Another nice factor was the character designs done up by Clamp. There’s just something so incredibly sexy about those elongated chests and limbs tagged along with bold, charming, unique faces that made me go mmmm. I especially love the eye and hair designs (Leads, Euphemia, Cornelia), so rich and fierce 😉

Ahh, the OST by Kotaro Nakagawa and Hitomi Kuroishi, much like the animation, a strong point. It’s an epic, classical, string based soundtrack, which are my favorite kinds, but occasionally there are soft, Celtic-esque tracks that play during the most depressing moments, milking all that they can out of a scene. Some of the best songs include “Black Knights,” “Beautiful Emperor,” “Lullaby of M,” “All-out Attack,” and the famous “Madder Sky.” But the one that tops them all, possibly my favorite track from an OST, is the bittersweet “Continued Story” by Hitomi Kuroishi, which played in the final episode. From YouTube, this is the song that got me into the show, and literally tears run down every time . . .

The very first and last ending themes, both Ali Project songs, also added fuel to the fire of the rebellion! Check out “Yuukyou Seishunka” and “Waga Routashi Aku no Hana,” as they are both eerie and insane!

I can now easily understand why Code Geass receives so much conversation and the title of classic. I was always trying to guess what Zero would do next, but little did I know that he had everything in the bag from the start, or so I believe. The show excels in all categories and provides the genre with ONE OF THE BEST (TRAGIC) ENDINGS IN ANIME HISTORY. Code Geass is a battle of wit, a competition for science, a war of mechs, a struggle for royal power, a strife for family, and above all, a rebellion to be remembered. By accepting Geass and becoming the world’s greatest antihero, Lelouch vi Britannia dug his own grave, and once he reaches the pits of hell itself, he shall take all of the world’s hatred with him.

“Suppose there is an evil that justice cannot bring down. What would you do? Would you taint your hands with evil to destroy evil? Or would you carry out your own justice and succumb to that evil?” – Lelouch Lamperouge

+ One of the best main characters to hit anime, supporting cast also brilliant

+ Masterful varying portrayals of justice and other ideological themes

+ Excellent English dub (especially Lelouch, Suzaku, Kallen, Cornelia), strong soundtrack

+ Gripping, curious, and intense story to the finale, one of anime’s greatest endings

– Plotline involving Geass history/Emperor’s grand plan could have used more combing through

– Several moments were a bit too conventional for Lelouch, some bipolar actions made to keep story moving

– 2 seasons; 50 episodes can be very extensive for some

This was definitely a difficult review to write, as I was pretty much just fanboying the entire time 😀 I did have a few complaints, though. But after considering the clever ride from start to finish, it deserves the Caffé Mocha award without a doubt! 9/10 for both seasons to those following my MyAnimeList. Action, romance, drama, great characters and story – EVERY anime fan must watch this show! The varying genres of school, mecha, war, comedy, sci-fi and more also make this show interesting. I feel I have the room to judge anime a little better now that I’ve seen this classic (and that cart scene, I see what you did there). My god, I’ve never been so entertained by one character in such a long time ahaha AHAHAH MUAHAHA – ALL HAIL LELOUCH!! Now, I command you to like, comment and follow my blog, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your emperor

Cafe Talk #3: Sacrificing My Soul to Simulcasts

Ahh, konnichiwa, it has been a while since I last sat and talked with you guys ~

Everyone in the aniblogger community has been spreading the good cheer about all of the fantastic new 2015 summer shows, yet Takuto hasn’t peeped a word. Why isn’t he speaking to us???

The answer is simple. This season, I wish not to sacrifice my soul to simulcasts. Let me fill you in.

Last spring included the largest amount of simulcasted anime that I have ever followed at one time. I’ve only been watching anime like this for two years now, my first technical simulcasts being A Certain Scientific Railgun S and Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club (two fine anime, might I add), but when you up the count to +7 anime, it can be a bit hard to juggle your thoughts.

Who is this? What is that? WHAT IS GOING ON NOW!?

The season started off phenomenally! There were too many shows with interesting concepts and superb animation that I couldn’t resist myself! It was a free cake eating contest and I was the judge, who could blame me.

But that’s when I made my first mistake.

Best not to mess around with cake . . .

You see, the more shows you add to a watch list, the greater amount of stories you’ll have to keep track of. While it was all fine and dandy for the first five or so episodes, I found myself eventually caring less and less as the season went on. Dan Machi made me ‘hoop and holler’ for more SAO-quality fantasy, but I was sighing more and more by the end. Plastic Memories ripped out my coal-black heart with intense robot x human drama, only to spend all of its remaining tickets, despite the other thriller rides it could have ventured through, on one boring-ass unmemorable Ferris wheel ride.

LITARALLY.

Really? I didn’t even know it had started! AHAHAHA [Gendo Ikari abridged voice]

On top of it all, I feel inclined to not only finish the shows (damn you, completionist me) but to write a review containing all of my thoughts just to feel closure. And unless it’s a rant, it’s quite frustrating to write about a show that was just ‘meh.’ Do you ever feel this way?

Though I had my fair share of disappointment, there were stand out shows like the rather vulgar Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, the enduring Sound! Euphonium, and occasionally more twisted Fate deliciousness. *drooling mouth at production quality*

With all of the confusion stacking up on my plate, I didn’t dare start an already-completed show that had been chillin’ in my dusty backlog. So I stuck it through, thank heavens, and have emerged enlightened! After clawing my way out of the pits of weekly trials, it occurred to me that, and hold your seat folks, here it comes, OH GAWD:

Why don’t I just wait the season out, in the meanwhile start hacking at my back log, and see which shows came out on top from you guys?

*gasps* This might actually WORK!

Sure, I’ll be sad not to chase after new sights with all of you, but I have my own personal nightmares that, in due time, need to be faced head on. As they say, “The list of anime only grows longer, not shorter.” So that’s the scoop. Takuto will ‘man the battlestations’ while you lot are off fighting in the summer simulcast war, and upon your return, shall present your finest treasures to the café king!

I will keep my soul thank you very much and hope for the best that this summer turns out great! I already keep eying Charlotte, Snow White with the Red Hair, and God Eater among several others, so hopefully they yield bountiful fruit. But regardless, how are you? Do you ever feel the weight of many simulcasts just crushing your soul at times? What’s piqued your interest this 2015 summer? We are well into the introductions for shows, and your guys’ reactions are enjoyable to read, so the judging can commence! Comment below – let’s chat!

And just watch: I’ll more than likely buckle in and hit up the first episode of Gate or Prisma Illya. 🙂

Because ” By the Gods, you are one sexy beast”

For now, however, if you’ll excuse me, I have some more Code Geass to watch *mischievous hehehe* Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host