Halfway into the Summer Simulcast Season | End of July Update 8/8/17

That’s right, we’re halfway through the summer of anime! Even though school kicks up in a couple of weeks for many (myself unfortunately included), at least we’ll still have the exciting finales of many great titles to look forward to. Speaking of, what have I been following this summer? Let’s take a look!

But before we dive into what’s new, despite the lack of reviews I’ve actually watched a lot of anime this summer. For the recently finished titles, I’ll be looking as far back as the end of May until now. Crazy behind, I know! Also, I’ve got pictures in my updates now, so that’s cool!

Recently Finished:

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Bungo Stray Dogs Season I – Bungo Stray Dogs fans already form this occult following; either you love it and are willing to buy everything Bungo, or you’re just biting your nails until it’s over. I found myself on the latter side, but hear me out!! Animation: awesome. Characters: great amusement. Story: entertaining enough. So where did it go wrong for me? It lies in the identities of the characters, or rather, who they are pingbacks to in history. From what I grasped, each boy identified as an allusion to a famous author in history. Half the fun of the show was, like with Fate or Touken Ranbu, probably in seeing how these historical figures interacted with one another, and sadly, my literary history is quite lacking! Maybe I’ll give the second season a try, but I’m in no hurry at the moment.

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Buddy Complex – This was actually a title I was intending on reviewing once I finished, but I got caught up in other things before that could happen. Anyway, Buddy Complex is a title that went unnoticed as it aired—it even got a release by Funimation, sub only, though. That’s sad, cause I would’ve bought the heck out of a dub! I LOVED this anime. While it felt so cheesy and cliche at first, it kept on making all of these nonsensical calls that only made me curious as to how badly it would crash and burn in the end. Surprisingly, I found myself enthralled with how everything came together. It only goes to show how much a little OVA or two can make the world of difference. Definitely glad I didn’t give up on Buddy Complex, and hey, maybe I’ll revisit it when I pick up the Blu-ray.

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Hanasaku Iroha – If there’s one title I’ll remember for my 2017 summer, it’ll be this one. So soft and sweet but knows when to throw down the hammer, Hanasaku Iroha stands as another WIN for P.A. Works, and a huge victory for slice-of-life/drama shows. I could go on, but I actually tied my review for it into this month’s OWLS post, a two for one you could say! Here it is in case you missed it!

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Corpse Party – Ugh, I knew what I was getting myself into before I even started. Watched it with a couple of friends, one who said that we had to watch it. It wasn’t fun. At least I didn’t waste too much time on this shit show.

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Eureka Seven – Do you know of that one title that EVERYONE loved but you didn’t? For me, it’s Eureka Seven, and this is particularly tragic considering as I was really hoping to walk out of it claiming it to be perfect. I mean, it’s got all of the elements of a mecha anime that I love, but it was the characters that dropped the ball for me. All of the Gekkostate crew were dicks to Renton, and rather than taking the time to work him into the team, showing the audience some of their personalities in the process, they all either picked on him or ignored the poor guy! I guess they were certainly a realistic bunch, but not a crew that I would ever want—and these are supposed to be the good guys! The whole way I kept telling myself, “It’s gonna get better, it’s gonna get better,” and when it finally did in those last 12 episodes, it soon after ended. It’s the first time community hype has ever failed me. I’m still eager to watch the three new films within the coming years; maybe those will change my mind about the series.

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Fate/Grand Order: First Order – Anyone else utterly consumed by the Fate/Grand Order mobile game? If I ever have a spare hour, you know what I’ll be doing: plugging away, earning gold four-star EXP cards until the next story update. Anyway, this is just a 45-min adaptation of the game’s beginning, and it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I could have watched more for sure. Like the recent Fate trend, it wasn’t done by Ufotable, but whoever did make it did a pretty solid job with it. Nothing too fancy, but pretty cool for those playing the game. Otherwise it’s a pass.

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KADO: The Right Answer – Unlike what the popular opinion about the ending is, this was a show that intrigued me from beginning to end, making me ponder endless hours as to the possibilities, the what-ifs, and could-have-beens about our own universe. KADO may have been done up in 100% CG, but not only is it good CG, the impossibly smooth texture of the models gives the series that extra edge, making it feel all the more otherworldly and spatial. The series is about a cube measuring 1 kilometer on each side (I think) that suddenly lands on a Japanese airport runway. A mysterious man calling himself a being from outside the universe offers mankind gifts beyond comprehension, but they may only keep those gifts if they make the right answers to his actions. Awesome show, might have to review!

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The Vision of Escaflowne – I DID IT LITA, I FINISHED IT!!! About a year ago, Funimation created a Kickstarter for the show’s 20th anniversary and a new English dub to go along with it. I supported it, and when I received the first part in the limited edition box I remember being overjoyed! It was my first Kickstarter, after all, so it kinda felt like owning a piece of history that I contributed to. I finally picked up part 2 this summer, watched it all, and finished just a couple days ago. While I was simply swept of my feet with the first half, the second started off pretty rough. At least it pulled itself together for the ending, and I’m glad to have watched another 90s gem. Will review this one for sure, so please look forward to that!

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Divine Gate – Hahaha I can’t believe I’m using my free 2-week Funimation trial for this dumbass show. I finished this one earlier this morning, and while the English dub was quite satisfactory, everything else about it . . . wasn’t. Like Buddy Complex and KADO, it was the trailer that convinced me to watch it, even if the YT comments were screaming otherwise. Call me a badass. But yeah, it had an exciting premise with decent animation to back it up (granted that other than the characters it was all CG), but man, either it needed a longer run than 12 episodes or Studio Pierrot (Tokyo Ghoul) just reeeaaallly sucks at adaptations. It was a tolerable show, but it’s not anything to write home about.

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Tales of Zestiria (PS3) – Takuto played a game?! Yup, gotta do anything for the Tales franchise! This marks my second Tales game, first being Symphonia. While Symphonia offered a much, much better story (it’s actually one of my favorite stories in any media ever!), Zestiria‘s gameplay was a lot more fun—and easier, at that. For me, a person who does very little gaming, that’s incredibly important. I set out on this adventure after meeting Robbie Daymond at Naka-kon. He’s the Viz Tuxedo Mask from Sailor Moon, Prompto from what is it Final Fantasy IV(?), and he’s Sorey from Zestiria. It inspired me to hear more of him, and seeing as how I’m already acquitted with the Tales franchise, and that I had been anticipating watching the anime for MONTHS now, I just put it all together! Fun game with great, playful characters. I’m very much excited to finally start the anime!

Currently Watching:

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My Hero Academia Season 2 – I mean, who’s NOT watching this show by now?? It’s the new hottest thing, all the kids love it, and I’m no exception. After the dazzling events of the sports festival AKA TOURNAMENT ARC (which I binge-watched), things had settled down in Izuku Midoriya’s world for just a second before rapidly picking back up again, reminding us that even in a world of tournaments and school games, the kids are being trained to be heroes, and heroes have to fight villains. As the second half of this sequel takes MHA back to its roots, I can’t help but miss the true fun and excitement of the tournament. My eyes are still yearning for more Todoroki being his half-n-half badass self, and the thrill of Bakugo’s explosive attitude (and powers), but season 2 is all about the original story, and I guess that’s A-OK too. It still has about 6 episodes to go, so hopefully it can peak the excitement that the first half boasted by the end!

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Re:CREATORS – This show was my EVERYTHING when I was marathoning the first 12 episodes that had already aired. Now, not so much. The show is still very good, still visually pleasing and entertaining as a story. I think it’s just the shift from watching the beginning straight through to now where I catch an episode each week. It feels very slow now, and I don’t want to blame the story on that if it’s just the way that I’m consuming the show. Re:CREATORS was a show that I myself hyped up on Twitter a couple seasons back, which has a stacked production cast including Ei Aoki (Fate/Zero) as director, Hiroyuki Sawano on music, and TROYCA as the studio, three components that made up the exciting guilty pleasure of mine: ALDNOAH.ZERO. It’s a show about popular manga and anime characters that are brought to our world by a woman in a strange military/priestess outfit, proclaiming to the creations to force their creators to change their worlds. It’s easily the most interesting simulcast I’ve watched in a while, and I can’t wait to see where it goes!

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Fate/Apocryhpa – Did someone wish for a year of Fate? Well, with Fate/Grand Order, Fate/Extella, Fate/stay night: Heaven’s Feel, and the newest adaptation to this perplexing arena, Fate?Apocrypha, it might feel this way. I’m a HUGE fan of this franchise, but I am a stranger to this tale about the Great Holy Grail War. Set in an alternate universe to Fate/stay night in where, during the Third War the Grail was stolen by the Yggdmillenia family (that name tho), the Mages Association must reclaim the relic before the family goes too crazy with it. Noticing the intended competition, the Grail conjures up 7 servants of Black to serve the Yggdmillenia family and 7 servants of Red for the Mages Association in addition to one Ruler class servant to oversee the war. It’s a clusterfudge of 14 vs. 14 and all I can say is that I’m glad this show was announced with 26 episodes cause MAN, I DO NOT KNOW ANYONE. JK, I’m slowly picking up names and goals, but if there isn’t some big fighting soon then I’m gonna be in a fit. Rather than Ufotable at the helm it’s A-1 Pictures, and while I’d like to complain, so far I can’t. I can feel the hard work that’s being put into the animation to compensate for Ufotable’s signature high quality style, and so long as the characters keep on interacting and learning about one another, I think the show will turn out just fine.

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DIVE!! – This is by far the quietest entry on my simulcast list. Very few people are tagging along with the MDC boys and their journey to the Olympics simply because, well, it’s unremarkable so far. Unfamiliar viewers have been labeling it as another Free!, but we all know it’s far inferior to that beloved title. Animation is pretty average, but the art of the characters does look quite nice. Also, I’ve been jamming to the nostalgic qualities of the ending song!! Something about it reminds me of good times I used to have, IDK. If DIVE!! is lucky, it’ll complete its run telling a full story all on its own, because I know very few would stick around for a sequel—if it even got one. Still, I like DIVE!!, and yes, I’ll keep on watching. 🙂

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Katsugeki TOUKEN RANBU – If there’s one show I’ll drop this season, here it is. No, it’s not because the show is bad by any means, it’s just that I am a complete stranger to this generally otome-catered title. It’s sword boys the anime, what can I say? From what I’ve grasped (ha, grasped), it’s about famous Japanese swords that are reincarnated as bishi boys to stop an organization that threatens to alter the course of history throughout time. Did I get that right? I just wished Ufotable took up Apocrypha instead of this because so far, while it’s a very pretty show, I’m still wondering when the main course is supposed to be served.

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Welcome to the Ballroom – Annnnd I’ve saved my favorite for last, BALLROOM E YOUKOSOOOO!!! I love everything about this anime, from the sharp character designs and snappy, fluid dance movement to the soft color palette it has. This anime has reigned as most people’s No.1 title for this summer, My Hero Academia aside since it technically is a spring leftover. The show is about Tatara, a young boy who falls in love with professional ballroom dancing after being saved by Sengoku, a dance coach, from some bullies. He’s invited to the studio, where he becomes entranced by his secret idol at school, the beautiful Shizuku Hanaoka. Shortly after, Tatara finds himself taking up lessons in anticipation to one day earn the right to dance with Shizuku on the ballroom floor. The problem is that he’s not the only one that’s head-over-heels for Shizuku, so unless he practices hard he’ll lose the girl and possibly much more! It’s a sports anime that takes me back to when I simulcasted my first sports anime, Free!. While I was hoping for DIVE!! to bring me back to those days, Ballroom has outclassed it in all areas. As the exciting opening song invites us onto the floor and the waltz-like ending theme brings the day to a close, I look forward to this show each and every week! Bless Ballroom and its 24-episode run!!

*deep inhale* And that’s what I’ve been watching lately. Thanks to the NOT-SO-LOVELY services that are Netflix and *shudders* Amazon Prime, I’ve been left with little option but to find my anime elsewhere, as I am not supporting giants that I know can get their money from other resources. That said, it’s been kinda hard moving around the various sites, and it reminds me of days where I did nothing but pirate. I don’t like to do it, but I do help when I can by paying for a Crunchyroll membership, buying Blu-rays (frequently), and very soon, paying for a FunimationNow membership. Sometimes we’re left with very little choice, and I like to think I’m still helping out.

If you didn’t already know, my lack of content here stems from some house/room remodeling and simply not wanting to write. Part of that was also my job, where I work as a lifeguard. When we work, it’s not a shift, but open to close. That means that, on the days where I work, very little watching can get done, meaning less time to review, too. Summer is coming to an end, and so is life-guarding. Maybe now I’ll get more watching, gaming, reading, and blogging in. Sound like a good plan?

Summers are hot where I live. At its peak, it was +100 degrees F for weeks at a time, but now it’s dropped quite a bit to the 80s~90s, and on a day like today, 75 and cloudy, the best kind of days. As a whole, I’m still pretty excited with all of the simulcasts that I’m following, and hopefully my interest lasts until the end of the season where I can review the ones that came out on top! I want to know what you’re watching, too, or if I should be watching something else! Let me know in the comments and (after I catch up on all of the others I’ve left unanswered) we can talk about them! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

My Hero Academia, Where we’re all a bit Quirky | Review

A brief spoiler-free review of the 13-episode spring 2016 anime “Boku no Hero Academia” or its English title “My Hero Academia,” produced by Bones, based on the manga by Kouhei Horikoshi.

***Dedicated to Crimson, a silly blogger pal and shipper of all things MHA. I hope you enjoy it ~!

I know we all are a bit quirky, but in the universe of My Hero Academia, 80% of humanity takes quirkiness to the next level. Recently discovered super powers, otherwise known as “quirks,” have overtaken the daily lives of most people. Not all were blessed with powers though, Izuku “Deku” Midoriya being one downtrodden soul.

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So while all of his friends (more so enemies) set their sights on the prestigious UA High School, an intense school dedicated to raising heroes, Deku continues his menial routine of taking abundant notes on local big-shot heroes and especially eyeing his idol – The almighty All Might!!! (Yes, the exclamation points are necessary.)

When Deku is suddenly caught in the chaos of rescuing his rival from a hideous slime villain, All Might, upon witnessing his unwavering heroism, vows to train young Deku into a muscular man and eventually pass on his quirk to him (because his quirk relies on inheritance).

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Flash forward past the months of rigorous training and it’s enrollment time – and Deku is intent on making the student roster. Not surprised to see his rival Bakugo sitting at the back of the classroom, Deku’s new life full of new friendships and hardships begins. And through his academia, he will learn both the harsh realities and unmistakable joy that come with being a true hero.

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The Underdog Reincarnated, But Made More Interesting

My Hero Academia succeeds in many merits, the obvious one showing the traditional underdog tale that we all like to resonate with through explosive visuals and just high production values overall. Call it cliché, but people still do want to watch the curly-haired nerd beat up the bad guys—it’s a tried-‘n-true formula, and Academia does not fail to meet the expectations of the genre. I dare say it trumps the more complicated plots of Hollywood hero films just because its lead character is so . . . well, you really, really want to watch him kick ass.

Deku is a kid with a big heart for heroes, and I wish I could say that about most people. Even though he’s been quirk-less since birth, his dreams are still set on UA and All Might, and while it was shattering to see that flashback of him finding out [insert meme here], I think that is what has made him such a loveable guy. Being of humble origins, obtaining powers from a supernatural source, and faced with challenges every day, every hour of the day, Deku practically had the hero formula drilled in him – And he knows it, too!

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He’s SUPER enthusiastic about the whole hero bit. Watching him get all geeky about the city’s greats never fails to lift spirits, which is why when Deku is taken up on the aw-inspiring All Might’s offer, a part of me just cracked, then stitched itself together again. It’s a show that rewards not only its cast, but its viewers as well.

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A Colorful Class of Soon-to-be Friends

There’s also the very interesting setting—a world where heroes are viewed by the media and the public as superstars. Their identities are still concealed behind their unique quirks, but for the fanboys like Deku, merely getting firsthand coverage of a battle is enough to wet pants.

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But how do the kids in Deku’s class measure up? It’s hard to say. His class is HUGE, and to spend the first several episodes on Izuku’s background alone doesn’t leave much room for the rest. It’d be like if someone flashed you a bright and brilliant work of art, then quickly tucked it away. You’d never know if it was a masterpiece or not, but you sure as heck are interested! Beyond the playful and bouncy Uraraka Ochako (I love her name), the noble class officer Iida, and everyone’s favorite frog girl Asui, only Izuku’s rival Bakugo shares part of the spotlight. As a delinquent with rough features, watching his growth waver between righteousness and chaos really made for an interesting story arc. I only wish we got more attention for each of these quirky classmates, but given the brief runtime, there’s a lot of setting-up to do with the overarching story.

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Comic Book The Anime

It helps that the animation is bright, active, and uncensored in the body fluids department . . . I’m talking about blood, sweat, tears, and snot, of course. The action scenes with All Might are particularly empowering. It’s saddening to see him shrink to his normal scrawny human physique after being buff and superior. I hope the animated part of the franchise carries that torch straight through to the end just like Deku is so far.

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Studio Bones nails the cartoonish atmosphere and bubbly expressions of Izuku’s hobby, stringing out comedic slapstick reactions whenever possible to keep the tone light. Action scenes with the superpowers themselves draw us viewers into the wacky world where large-scale catastrophe is commonplace. That is, so long as a hero soars swiftly in to quell the fire. The character designs are all very individualistic and flashy, which does wonders in helping you remember who’s who. While the sharp facial designs and bold outlining in particular caught my eye, the frequent switch a softer and doughier style during school hours really bothered me. But as a whole, all of the actions culminates well into this high-intensity finale that’s furious in every single swing and punch.

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Music is pumped-up to the max for the hero scene, silly during the comical training scenes, yet more emotional to fit Deku’s resolves and inspiring speeches with his mentor. What especially caught my ears was the opening, “The Day” by, don’t laugh, Porno Graffiti (HAH).

Final Thoughts

As much as it’s simply a glance into the franchise, I like My Hero Academia’s first seasonThere’s not much else to be said that hasn’t been already. It’s a show about growing up, one of those feel-good anime that makes you want to run out and punch a guy in the face just because you get so hyped up with energy. Full of colorful action, comedy, super powers, and likable characters, My Hero Academia is a comic book come to life by THE studio Bones being Bones again. Should that not win you over, then ALL MIGHT himself is enough of an empowering reason to watch this show. To think that a second season was greenlit before production of the first was even over gets me all revved up for more. If you’re not already heading to class each with MHA, what’s going on? Add this anime to your schedule! PLUS ULTRAAAA!!!

“This is something I was once told: ‘Something that you receive because you’re lucky and something you’re given because you’re recognized are different in essence.’ Take that to heart. This is power that you earned because of your own effort.” – Our greatest hero, All Might

Final Assessment

+ Izuku stands out as an endearing lead amongst the standard pool of underdogs

+ Exciting and energetic fights with explosive effects

+ The All Might-Izuku-Bakugo relationship is especially an attention-grabber

+ Sequel announcement cushions story faults

– Ultimately skimming the surface of a lively and most-likely successful story

– Such a large cast DEMANDS further exploration

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If it seems like you’re having déjà vu, that might be because most of the ‘script’ for this review came from my Episodes 1-5 Thoughts a while back when it aired. I just didn’t feel like rewriting and regurgitating the same material, haha. But looking back at the spring season, this is definitely one of the bests to emerge—a 4/5 “caffe mocha” rating over here! Now that it’s all out, what are you waiting for? Head to FUNimation.com to watch the whole darn thing for free! I’ve also heard the English dub and can confirm that it’s also pretty solid, Izuku and All Might’s performances in particular. Now I’m just waiting for a physical release! Till next time, where we’ll be looking back at more 2016 spring titles,

– Takuto, your host

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“Go beyond,” awwww~ *sobs without resistance*

 

TAKING A WEEK OFF | End of June Update 7/5/16

Helloooo cafegoers, ’tis I, Takuto, and it would appear yet another month has slipped between our fingers. Seriously, what’s up with that? Summer is going by way too fast! U-PUPUPUPUPU

Have you noticed my presence gradually increasing behind the scenes with this past week? Yup, it’s not just your imagination. Inspiration just kind of hit me smack dab in the face and, well, here I am! I think most of that natural high can be contributed to all of the Anime Expo announcements made, my favorites of which I’ll list later. However, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to keep tabs on AX if it weren’t for all of you pressing me to get a GODDAMN TWITTER. So I did, and it’s great! I already feel at home, though I’m not sure if I should drop the “Anime Cafe” part on Twitter and just leave my name. Let me know.

Being on Twitter, I noticed that if I had anything brief to say, I said it there rather than in a blog post. That’s a good and a bad thing. Good because hey, whatever stupid in-the-moment things I have to say usually don’t require a full-on post. I’d like to keep the blog a little more cleaned up, so having a Twitter for small talk and catching up with you people is great.

The bad is obvious — Everyone now knows that I’m alive and kickin’, so why leave comments? I’m sure you all noticed that waaay before I did, but now instead of discouraging me, it’s done quite the opposite. I feel like I’m a part of the community that’s on the edge of excitement and new things coming out, but I also feel like I’m pumping out my own material with a blog. In other words, I can be social on two planes now, one is just for ‘work.’

But you all wanted an update right? Sounds good, I can deliver!

Recently Finished:

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann – WHAT A SHOW! Watching this one was not only fun, but it felt educating in a way to see where KILL la KILL, a huge favorite of mine, sort of got its roots. It’s often wacky, and the battles are quite frequent, but that’s just shounen action anime, right? I could ramble on about its ups and downs, but why clutter the update when I did a whole review on the series RIGHT HERE!

The Lost Village – So I watched only 4 of the 2016 spring anime, and of those this was my  least favorite. Bad? Not necessarily . . . just a bit of an odd egg. It’s along the lines of “setting was awesome, concept was solid, but the execution of it was a bit rough.” There’s a good chance I’ll be writing a review on this one here soon, so stay tuned.

My Hero Academia – Last time I updated on this one I was about half way through. Having watched the last three episodes last night, I can confirm that this is indeed a fantastic show — And the prospect of a second season so soon makes me even happier, cause this first one just sort of ends. It’s a pleasant ending nevertheless, and it doesn’t fail to provide a solid story with quirky characters and exciting fights. Really happy with how this one turned out. Review on the way!

Absolute Duo – If you’re not familiar with FUNimation Entertainment’s YouTube account, then you might not know that they’ll frequently post episodes of shows that (I presume) didn’t do so hot in their airing phase, yet the plan to release anyway to make some greens. This was one of those shows and, oh my lands, was probably THE WORST anime I have ever seen!!! Loaded with tropes, bad animation, chicks that endlessly follow a shallow guy, and a story that is so unbelievable that it retracts the viewer from even calling it fiction, Absolute Duo is Absolute Shit. I’m not even going to dignify it with a review.

Seraph of the End: Battle in Nagoya – So I’m a huge Seraph fanboy. ‘Nuff said. I know this franchise is kind of stupid and that its first season in particular is pretty trashy, but after picking up on the manga series from the beginning, it has at least rocketed itself up into being one of the more entertaining franchises I have played with. Once I got my hands on the volumes that this sequel covers, I squealed like a girl when I also got to watch it play out in anime format, like pawns on a board, muahahaha! This second season was much more exciting than the first, having fixed many of the animation and soundtrack glitches that were omnipresent. It’s a series riddled with darkness at every turn, and that sometimes, we have to muddy our hands in that darkness to fight bigger nightmares. That ending though…It makes me so excited, yet so scared. Guess I just need to order volume 10 to find out if they did it right! Review might come your way, but don’t be surprised if it gets sidelined for a while.

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (PS Vita game) – No, I didn’t play the game, nor do I even own a Vita. As several know, this summer season we’ll be getting TWO Danganronpas!!! One continues where the first series left off, the second being a prequel to the franchises second game, Goodbye Despair. So, in preparation of tangoing with despair once again (and having rewatched the first season with my siblings), I decided to flee to the YouTube game walkthroughs where 44 freakin’ hours of “NO, THAT’S NOT QUITE RIGHT!” stole my evenings. During this period, I decided to put the simulcasts I had been previously watching on hold, which is why I was missing for a while there. But it’s done now, and holy God is this the MOTHER OF ALL PLOT TWISTS. Seriously, the last three hours of gameplay are mindf*ck after mindf*ck until I couldn’t even see straight. Totally worth it though. I only wish they decided to adapt this instead of making a prequel. I mean, I’m not complaining — more Danganronpa is definitely a good thing. So hyped!!

Kizumonogatari (novel) – Having dabbed around in several different medias this past month, I can officially report that Kizumonogatari is my new favorite book!!!! Thanks to Seraph, my vampire phase couldn’t just end with manga, so it spread to light novel. And the Monogatari franchise of all things! This book is a thrill ride from beginning to end; a story of tragedy playing out on a school ground lit by the light of the moon; a tale of wounds inflicted, one onto her by him, the other done to him by her, both sharing this incredible burden and twisted fate. Brilliant tale, a masterpiece of supernatural-meets-school done right! Also, Vertical’s matte finish copy of it just feel so damn good in my hands, mhmm.

Currently Watching:

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – It’s interesting how sick people probably are about hearing the spring titles being mentioned, but hey, I still got three episodes to go! While I still think that episode 6 was the series’ highest point, the latter episodes were starting to pick up the pace a bit. Biba is simply an incredibly annoying character, manipulating Mumei like she’s some fodder of his. I already know that the series will end with a bang of beautiful animation thanks to ANN’s ‘reliable’ reports, but I want to explore that for myself. More exciting than the actual series though, did you all here that it’s getting released — and by Crunchyroll no less??!! I’m getting ahead of myself. Kabaneri still feels a bit lost, and I’m sure the end will not cover everything, but it’s been a hell of a ride — One clustered with glorious animation and music that’s hard to beat!

Kiznaiver – For me, nothing has changed much with this show. I still want to call it one of my “Top ten favorites,” even though I know it’s just a tad bit behind the others. With three episodes to go, it has reached lowest point so far, one where everyone has felt the pinnacle of their pain. Or at least it has me believe. I actually plan to rewatch this one from beginning to end BEFORE I give my final thoughts on it, for simulcasted isn’t the best way to watch Kiznaiver. The others just aren’t as sensitive as this one is. Loving everything that Trigger has done so far, and hoping that everyone pushes just a teensy-weensy bit more so that I can indeed let it go having watched a fantastic series.

2016 Summer Movie Theater Shows – We’ve gone through A Lull in the Sea, Girls und Panzer (recently wrote 5 reasons you should watch it here), Danganronpa, ef – a tale of memories and melodies, and Baccano! Currently about to start Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya. Being one lucky enough to show anime to his siblings, I am thankful that everything has gone fairly smoothly thus far. Everyone loved Nagi Asu, and Panzer seemed A-OK by the end. What really got the riled up was Danganronpa — Oh my, how they were thrilled by this one!! AGH, it makes me so happy! My sister even decided to, right after finishing, to recommend it to a friend and watch with them. It’s nice to know I’m doing my job, heh heh. While it was all well and good, they only thought ef – memories was fine, and they really didn’t care for melodies at all, which is sad, considering that they hold such a dear place in my heart. I guess not everyone will like everything you will *sighs*. Baccano! just sort of happened. They thought Isaac and Miria were the best part, haha, me too!

I’ll be starting up the summer anime soon after everything is finished and reviewed. There will be a separate post for that, so if you’re curious to see what I’ll be following, keep your eyes peeled. Same goes with my favorite announcements from AX 2016. I may not have gone, but everything was reported here on the home front, and boy, there are a lot of good things coming our way soon!!

Let’s see, what else . . . ah, home life. I’m not sure if many of you knew this, but I don’t blog on my own computer. During the school year, I get a rental one to do all of my posts, which is why you’ll actually see more of my reviews then. What am I typing on now then? Why, it’s our bomb-ass family laptop — The one that: can’t be unplugged without it shutting off, frequently overheats itself, has lost Google and instead uses some sketchy browser (we got Chrome tho), and finally, that half of us need to use all the darn time.

So life is stressful in that regard. If my dad decides to upgrade to an iPad soon (because he is starting to pick up on its convenience), I’ll graciously be inheriting his mini laptop, which is leaps and bounds ahead of what I currently use because it EHERM, ACTUALLY WORKS. Also, for WP’s privacy sake. Fingers crossed that this all goes down soon because, uff, I’m not sure how much more I can take.

I’ll be away from the 10th to the 16th of July

Lastly, I’ll be taking a week off due to a music camp that I really don’t want to go to, haha. You see, you can enter to win camp scholarships by recording a solo and the people picking yours. There’s only one rewarded to a camper who gets in for free, however . . . AND I’M THE FREAKING ONE WHO GOT IT. Damn my rotten luck! So now I’m out a week of pay from work AND a week of blogging, and instead I’ll be sitting in a stupid classroom like a domesticated animal being forced to re-audition to get a spot. Then, of course, there’s the whole week of activities that I didn’t want to do in the first place. Why, kami-sama, why?

That pretty much wraps up this lengthy update. I wasn’t expecting 2,000 words, hah! Sorry about that. I’m hoping that all of us Americans had a wonderful Independence day with lots of tasty food, good company, and explosions! Summer is hot as balls here, and being a lifeguard for 7-8 hours in a day doesn’t help that. I got a nice tan already though, so I guess entrance fee was paid for. Until my seasonal line up, favorite AX announcements, spring anime review, or whatever comes next, I hope you’re having a great day! See ya~!

– Takuto, your host

End of April/Mid-May Update 5/24/16

Hello cafegoers, ’tis I, Takuto, with a hodgepodge of updates from this last April to now, the middle-end of May. Woah, it’s been that long?

Whew! So April was a pretty busy month – Well, just busy enough to hold up on an end-of-the-month update at least. Like most everyone on the planet, I was occupied with way too much school for my own good. Seriously, all this homework and you’re telling me it only counts for 20% of my total grade?? F this sh*t, and then these daily grade boosters mini quizzes with only 10 points, so if I score a 9/10 it’s still a B? What is wrong with this system (talking to you, math classes)??

I could go on, but you get the drift. School sucks. Homework sucks. Extracurricular activities are draining. And at the end of each day, the last thing I wanted to do was sit at my desk and write reviews. It’s not like I hate doing it – oh no – it’s that a certain level of creativity and time has to spent on each post – each sentence – so that it all flows together in a unique style. To muster that kind of technical level required for a half-decent post, in my experience, requires a nice long weekend, which was sadly few and far between. In the evening, I just want to watch, not write.

Then May comes alone, and by golly, don’t we all just love May? Who doesn’t enjoy the last-minute cram sessions for chapter tests followed by the study review for the FREAKIN’ final next week, or the hustling and bustling of obligatory graduation parties galore, or how about the short evenings spent stressing about summer jobs, more schooling, and when the HELL am I gonna get back on the blog? Good question. That’s why I occupied myself with a few pre-planned activities, which you will find below. It’s update time!

Recently Finished:

. . . Nothing, I’ve been pushing for more writing and reading. That and I have four lovely simulcasts to keep me hot and bothered. That’ll change this summer, just you wait.

Well, actually there are a couple of reviews for March anime I completed. Those are for Cowboy Bebop and Dimension W. I used a different stylistic approach to Bebop just to stand out of the crowd a bit more, and you guys seemed to enjoy it. I stuck to my more traditional approach with my DW rant, and that got just about the same solid reception, so I must be doing something right, haha. My awesome buddy Matthew of Matt-in-the-Hat and I are actually still talking about that one, so it’s never to late to hobnob with the cool guys 🙂

Click on either of their titles to read! I also appreciate those who took the time to check out my old Fairy Dance posts. That’s cool of you.

Currently Watching:

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress – While I’m only five episodes in, I can officially say that even if the story goes under the rails, the plummet will be an exciting one. Being an original source (my favorite kind of anime) with only 12 episodes, it will probably wrap up leaving much of the history unexplained. I suppose that’s fine, because the conclusion will more than likely get me to the edge of my seat. At this point, I’m strongly tapping my foot to intense train action and Hiroyuki Sawano’s beats. And that opening, ooh, I think it’s one of Egoist’s best works yet! Kabaneri is still engaging, still epic, but lacking in direction.

Kiznaiver – This is one of those anime that I really want to call in my figurative “Top Ten,” but so far, it’s falling oh-so short. With five episodes watched, I think the biggest problem lies in the characters themselves, in that they’re only shells of the archetypes they belong to simply for the cause of contrasting each other, much like the seven deadly sins do. In theory, Kiznaiver should be great (I am especially captivated by the lead character’s personality for some reason, IDK, maybe it’s his hair, yeah, probably), but unless it really digs deep with its cast, it’ll be nothing more than another pretty piece recycling the same old themes.

My Hero Academia – So I just claimed that the downfall of Kiznaiver would be it’s tropish characters, but then there’s this little gem that is guilty of the same crime, yet gets away with it superbly. MHA is one of those go get ’em, feel good anime. It’s a cliché clash of heroes and an underdog, though it all works because Izuku, the main character, is such a keep-on-keepin’-on youngster, and that’s both heartwarming and exciting. Full of relatable feelings and flashy animation, six episodes is enough to judge that MHA is a good adaptation of its source material. It’s also, and I rarely use this word on action anime, cute.

The Lost Village – AKA Mayoiga, this is the odd egg in the batch of simulcasts this season. It’s really bad – like from a review perspective, the characters are complete one-lined garbage – yet it’s so fun to watch. Isn’t that what all anime strive to be? Fun? With six episodes in, I can’t tell if this anime is trying to pull my leg or be genuinely creepy. Whatever happens, it’s still engaging enough to pull me back each week. That alone is enough to give me a mini heart attack during the nights I watch.

But wait, THERE’S MORE!

As with my Revisit of Evangelion and In Defense of Fairy Dance, I recently tacked another HUGE project called the Heroic Spirit Manifesto or “Hero Week” for short. While I consider it a somewhat ‘failed’ project (huge gap in start and finish), it still was an undertaking that I was proud of accomplishing. If you’re interested in the following anime, click each title because I wrote my thoughts on each one in a specialized format with a heroism section specific to each show. Please enjoy these amazing anime to your heart’s content!

ERASED

One Punch Man

Yuki Yuna is a Hero

My Hero Academia

Café Talk Wrap-Up Segment

So what can we look forward to from me the rest of May? My comments. Lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of catching up to do on all of the posts you guys have written during my sporadic absences! Don’t expect a review anytime soon, as the only anime I am currently watching are simulcasts. I do, however, have a couple of café talks planned and even an unboxing post (ooh ooh~), so stay tuned for my gradual slide back into the community. I also got a summer job . . . outside . . . as a pool lifeguard. I already have mad sunburns on my shoulders from two days of training. Why do I hate myself? Hahaha, thanks for keeping my seat warm, like ya do, and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

Oh yeah, Twitter? It will happen. Soon. Hopefully. Muah.

The Heroic Spirit Manifesto (Anime Ver) | Cafe Talk

Hi guys, so it would appear that I’ve missed this deadline by quite awhile. This post is about two weeks late, in fact. I’ll be posting some sort of mid-May update here soon to caption what’s been going on and why I haven’t been posting (though you could probably guess). This way, I can avoid cluttering up the hero week celebration. Welcome to café talk . . . ?

weareheroesreformatted

What was this post supposed to be about again?

That’s a good question, haha. Hero Week was ideally supposed to encompass my thoughts and reviews for four anime with heroes in them followed by a café talk to wrap everything up and conclude with a few of your guys’ thoughts.

Unfortunately, there were very few comments. On two posts, exactly zero. so I won’t be doing that part.

In huge part, this was all my bad. While I did get the first few reviews out on perfect schedule, I lacked the promotional qualities that would technically keep bringing people back. Little preparation went into setting up the “festivities.” In fact, I mainly set this all up as an excuse to review the recent flow of anime I had finished with heroes in them.

Another reason Hero Week fell pretty flat was – again, on my fault – the shows that I picked. ERASED was a good one, and it got the matching hits and comments it deserved. Since everyone has already talked about One Punch Man, I figured that it would attract little public eye. The hardest one to write, Yuki Yuna is a Hero, is the most obscure show on the list, and despite how much effort went into writing it, only a tiny handful of you checked it out — and that is FINE! As readers (and writers), we deem what we think is worth our time, and if it was worthwhile, we might even drop a like or a comment. As a content creator, I was a bit discouraged.

Then my dinky iPhone-published-on-the-spot My Hero Academia impressions post came out, and several of you rejoined the congregation. This was unexpected! While I didn’t feel it made up for the lack of activity on the previous ones, I was definitely happy to talk with all of you 🙂

So where does this leave us? I mean, why even bother? Because heroes should be celebrated, and also because I am NOT a quitter! I realize this was kinda a failed project (and I won’t rush into one like this again), but there were very important lessons learned during the process. Part of me is glad that it turned out like this just so that I can emerge even stronger and more knowledgeable about the whole ordeal. But enough about my pitfalls, let’s talk about what the heroic spirit means to some other popular anime (no spoilers)!

The Heroic Spirit Manifests in other Anime

Fate/Zero – Quite literally, the seven “heroic spirits” which are conjured up by the Holy Grail itself each contain their own ideology on heroism, some being more extreme than others. The majority believe, however, that heroes are leaders among the crowd, and they must continue to inspire their brethren in the pursuit of peace and triumph. They must be feared, awed, and worthy.

Attack on Titan – Heroes are hard to come by in this world overrun by gigantic zombies, but even those few reluctant heroes must spur comrades – and even humanity – to find the will to survive, and to be bold and brave during dark times.

Eden of the East – Twelve influential people are given the possibility change humanity for the better by transforming not only politics and economics, but also society itself. Though they all possess their own opinions on how the world should be saved, these heroes must give the average man or woman a sense of belonging and purpose in such an overwhelmingly crowded world.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica – All magical girls seem to do is fight bad guys with sparkles and pink dust, but this dark fantasy’s twist adds extreme weight to the biz. Whether it’s fighting to purge your mind of troublesome thoughts, clashing with others who oppose your methods, or moving forward (or going back) to save the lives of the ones you love, heroes must make devastating sacrifices and bear terrible burdens in order to protect those who are precious.

 

A Certain Scientific Railgun – In this massive network of a city for academics, darkness lurks behind forgotten alleyways and inaccessible files. To eliminate surface crime and the unspeakable evils of power and curiosity, heroes must possess good judgment and an open personality to keep their dearest friends out of the chaos. Consequently, they also must be able to accept a helping hand when faced against extreme odds.

Guilty Crown – Being ordinary is just dandy, but when accidents so tremendous shake the very foundation of science and human health, heroes must arise to the occasion and step up to bat when potential is thrust upon them. And in their pinnacle depression, they must be able to accept the guilt of others by transforming shame into valuable experience.

The Rose of Versailles – A life of luxury comes at the expense of others’ suffering. When that suffering becomes inhumanly great and revolution ignites on the horizon, a hero of passion, charisma, and valor must understand both sides of the spectrum before taking a stance.

I could go on until we’ve covered nearly every anime I’ve watched, but I think you get the picture.

Hopefully now you can see that in ERASED, heroes must be able to overcome trial and error by empathizing with the past. Or that in One Punch Man, heroes can be any guy off the street so long as they have fun fighting for the good of the cause. Or how about in Yuki Yuna is a Hero, where heroes must be able to bear the pain of others, however intense, and handle loss in order to keep them truly safe.

I’d like to conclude with one of the heartiest anime I’ve come across thus far: My Hero Academia. Loaded with stereotypes and gimmicks so cheesy and redundant that we know the outcome of every scene — But we still love it, why? Because heroes must be able to inspire others to do good deeds for the cause itself. They’re not out to eliminate all evil in the world, but to spread enough positive vibes that outdo negative potential.

Watching Izuku Midoriya stumble during every training session and getting back up again is what fuels us to believe that he is a hero. We can relate to him and the other students and heroes alike. All Might himself has decided to pass on his quirk, the culmination of strength of previous holders, to Izuku, which is proof from the get-go that Izuku has the capacity to serve the world well.

All of the celebrity-like heroes in My Hero Academia have this cool edge to them (beyond the neat costumes and variety of superpowers), and watching them soar in and save the day fills us with this familiar sense of well-being — like there truly is someone out there fighting behind the scenes for all of us and boosting our drive to right our wrongs, find hope, and smile through the pain. All of this isn’t set out to rid the world of evil, but more in the hopes that one day, we can inspire those around us and the world to do wonderful things.

To bring all of this in full circle conclusion, I TASK EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU to comment below with an anime title and how the HEROIC SPIRIT manifests itself within the story or characters. It’s hard to go wrong, especially after the examples I listed, and I know that you have some interesting things to say on the matter. Upon submitting your comment, you will have completed Takuto’s hero training courseCongratulations, and thank you for celebrating Hero Week with me!

What do we have in Common? WE ARE HEROES!

If I Went Missing . . . ERASED | Hero Week Review

One Punch Man is Absurd, Out-of-this-World Fun! | Hero Week Review

Loss Has Little Meaning in Yuki Yuna | Hero Week Review

My Hero Academia (Eps. 1-5) Thoughts | Hero Week

Above are the Hero Week reviews just in case you missed them the first time around and wish to check them out and/or add something to them. Sorry again for the late finale (consider this a lesson learned for myself) and I can’t wait to see you in the comment party! We can still make this awesome 😀

– Takuto, your host

My Hero Academia (Eps. 1-5) Thoughts | Hero Week

A little introduction:

I know we all are a bit quirky, but in the universe of My Hero Academia, 80% of humanity takes quirkiness to the next level. Recently discovered super powers, otherwise known as “quirks,” have overtaken the daily lives of most people. Not all were blessed with powers though, Izuku “Deku” Midoriya being one downtrodden soul. 

So while all of his friends (more so enemies) set their sights on the prestigious UA High School, an intense school dedicated to raising heroes, Deku continues his menial routine of taking abundant notes on local big-shot heroes and especially eyeing his idol – The almighty All Might!!! (Yes, the exclamation points are necessary). 

When Deku is suddenly caught in the chaos of rescuing his rival from a hideous slime villain, All Might, upon witnessing his unwavering heroism, vows to train young Deku into a muscular man and eventually pass on his quirk to him (because his quirk relies on inheritance). 

Flash forward past the months of rigorous training and it’s enrollment time – and Deku is intent on making the student roster. Not surprised to see his rival sitting at the back of the classroom, Deku’s new life full of new friendships and hardships begins. And through his academia, he will learn both the harsh realities  and unmistakable joy that come with being a true hero. 


My thoughts:

I like My Hero Academia. There’s not much else to be said that hasn’t been already. It’s a show about growing up, one of those feel-good anime that make you want to run out and punch a guy in the face after watching just because you swallowed your cat’s hair. But seriously, we’ve had more development with Deku and his two classmates than we’ve had with all of the characters in this season’s The Lost Village combined – and there are over 30 of those guys! 

Deku is a kid with a big heart for heroes, and I wish I could say that about most people. Even though he’s been quirk less since birth, his dreams are still set on UA and All Might, and while it was shattering to see that flashback of him finding out, I think that is what has made him such a loveable guy. Being of humble origins, obtaining powers from a supernatural source, and faced with challenges every day, every hour of the day, Deku practically had the hero formula drilled in him – And he knows it, too!


That development is nothing fresh, however, considering that it’s the same underdog story we all wish to resonate with. It’s managed to keep me invested thus far, and I’m daring to call it out as best anime of the season already just because of how straightforward and honest these first five episodes have been. 

It helps that the animation is bright, active, and uncensored in the body fluids department . . . I’m talking about blood, sweat, tears, and snot, of course. The action scenes with All Might are particularly empowering. It’s saddening to see him shrink to his normal scrawny human physique after being buff and superior. I hope the anime carries that torch straight through to the end, just like Deku is so far. 


Music is also pumped-up for the hero scene, yet more emotional to fit Deku’s resolves and inspiring speeches with his mentor. What especially caught my ears was the opening, “The Day” by, don’t laugh, Porno Graffiti (hah!). I can’t stop grooving to that and Kabaneri’s addicting OP. 

Full of colorful action, comedy, super powers, and likable characters, My Hero Academia is a comic book come to life by THE studio Bones being Bones again. If you’re not already heading to class each week with it, what’s going on? Add this anime to your schedule!

– Takuto, your host 

(PS: Sorry if any of this looks rough. I tried doing it all on my phone ^.^)

What do we have in Common? WE ARE HEROES!

There’s a reason for my frequent absences. Hosts hold social get-togethers, and I feel I’ve been failing a bit in that department. 

Join Takuto in celebrating “Hero Week” from May 2nd through the 8th! To combat my recent stumblings in anime with heroic themes, throughout the week I will be posting reviews of the following anime:

Erased (Boku dake ga Inai Machi)

One Punch Man

Yuki Yuna is a Hero

My Hero Academia (episodes 1-3, possibly 4)

What can you do to help (besides reading and commenting, like ya do)? Comment on any of these posts with your favorite heroes in anime or heroes in real life. These can be both the characters we love and people you value on your side of the fence. Each review will also contain a special mini-segment regarding the values of the hero archetype presented, and any flaws behind their ideology.

I urge you to involve as many spirited bloggers as you can! I want this to be a HUGE project that dominates the café for a solid week and floods it with iconic idols and wonderful people! I’ll be working around the clock trying to respond to each and every comment that comes in as soon as possible (because comments typically tend to slip by me once I unintentionally open them up to preview them). At the very end, I’d like to write a “Café Talk” post to encompass our many ponderings, much like I did with the Revisit of Evangelion and to an extent In Defense of Fairy Dance.

If you don’t have (for whatever reason) a favorite being of justice, feel free to browse around and get to know your other fellow bloggers and the important figures in their lives—Use this as your makeshift Memorial Day if you don’t celebrate such a holiday! Comment below if this interest you, or that you feel you’d like to participate 😀

A small blog like this one can’t do a whole lot on its own, but together, we should be able to have a grand time and spread awareness to the awesome individuals who have dragged us out of darkness at some point in our lives. I’m overflowing with all kinds of crazy ideas, so I can’t wait to start pumping these reviews out! Until next week, stay awesome guys! WE ARE HEROES –

– Takuto

P.S. (Spread dorky hashtags if you’d like #takutoheroweek #weareheroes :D)