Categories
anime

Karakuri Circus [Episode One]

Why aren’t more people talking about this show?

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The animation is amazing. Look at those rocks!

It’s a miracle it even exists. An anime adaption in 2018 of a manga series that ended in 2006. It’s almost unheard of nowadays. Especially, because Karakuri Circus isn’t exactly mega-popular, at least not in the west.

Long story short (and spoiler-free), Karakuri Circus tells the story of a Masaru, Narumi, and Shirogane. Three people whose lives intertwine with each other and the Automatons, mechanical puppets with a tenacity to kill, usually under the guise as performers at the Midnight Circus. Why are they doing this? What’s their goal? And what’s all this has to do with our three main characters? Spoilers, spoilers, and spoilers. But believe me, learning the answers to these questions are what makes this story work. Can’t say how they’ll fit the entire saga in 36 episodes, but if it the anime is half as good as the manga it’s worth a watch.

Categories
anime cartoon

Wakfu Wakview: Season 3 Episode 2 – Like Father, Like Daughter

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Aww! Miss Elely gonna smash your wittle face.

Episode two picks up with Elely dragging her beat up dad, Percedal, to safety. In true Iop fashion, Percedal lets his young child go off to fight a giant bear-man alone—as you do. It’s the Iop version of a child’s first errand. And surprise, Elely can kick ass! Guess it makes sense with Percedal as your dad. I don’t want to imagine fighting anything barefoot in the snow. And Evil Kevin Smith’s only wearing a speedo—one of the few times being a hipster isn’t a good idea.

Categories
anime Editorial

Slayers’ Lord of Nightmares, Best Omnipotent Being Ever

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One Thing I must say before jumpin’ in:

1. Watch Slayers Next, the second season of The Slayers TV series. Subbed or dubbed, doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about the first season, you can always go back. Major spoilers from the last two episodes are coming. This is your only warning!

Let’s talk about the Lord of Nightmares.

The Golden Demon Lord, L-sama, the Sea of Chaos, she has many names. In the fantasy world of Slayers, the Lord of Nightmares sits at the top, above humans, above dragons—demons, Gods, she is a creature in a class by herself. I’m talking next-level cosmic stuff here. So, why do I think the Lord of Nightmares is awesome? It’s not like omniscient beings are rare in fiction. The answer to that lies with what she is as well as her interactions with others.

Being a fictional world, the Lord of Nightmares fits quite comfortably within the Slayers lore. In fact, the magic and overall hierarchy of world building in Slayers is some of the best I’ve ever seen. I encourage anyone interested in magical fantasy to check out Inverse.org and read up on the detailed word of Slayers.

Categories
anime Hipster Hotline

Hipster Hotline: Baccano! (anime)

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Take a story, fill it full of diverse characters in the American 1920’s, add a supernatural element and throw in some mystery. Then, chunk it all in a blender. That is Baccano!

Baccano is the out of chronological order tale of…people. Yeah, it’s lots of characters doing stuff. But, what they’re doing and who’s doing it is what makes the series fun. Gangsters, immortals, manic murderers—the show by design is crazy, but sometimes crazy works. And Baccano works.

Not going deep about the characters, mainly because they’re so many. It can—no, it is confusing (at least during a first-time viewing), but chances are you’ll find a character or five to fall in love with. Again, the story is all over the place but you get the since the creator wrote the story out linear and broke it apart so if you really wanted to piece it together it’ll make sense. This is all about enjoying the ride (no pun intended), a ride that wonderfully knows when and when not to take itself seriously. On the subject of fun, Isaac and Miria will become your spirit animals.

Categories
anime Hipster Hotline

Hipster Hotline: Colorful (anime)

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I need a hug.

Colorful is an anime movie released in 2010 about a boy, Makoto Kobayashi, who dies but gets another chance at life inside the body of a boy who committed suicide. With no memories of his previous life, Makoto picks up where the boy left off, seemingly surviving his suicide attempt.

This movie hits close to home. While I never attempted suicide I have thought about it in the past and I certainly been bullied and had an overall lonely school life. It was hard to watch at some points. While not bullied the same way as Makoto, I had my share of bad experiences. But, it wasn’t about the bullying as much as feeling things would never get better. That the normal attitude of most people was constantly set to Uncaring Asshole. Why is the world like this? Why can’t I have a friend? Will things always be this way?

Colorful can’t answer give you solid answers, nothing can. Sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t, but what the movie does is allow people to see that if you want your life to change, you have to change. A little perspective goes a long way, and if you can focus on being a better you, maybe, something good will happen. It’s not easy, but it is possible.

We learn over the course of the movie about the boy who committed suicide, his family, and why he killed himself. It’s a slow build that keeps you watching, even throwing in some unexpected twists that I won’t even try to touch on. This is a movie best watched knowing the bare minimum. Now, before you dismiss the movie as a bummer fest, there are hopeful moments. You’re rooting for the main character. Yes, the story gets dark, but that means when good things happen it’s that much more meaningful.

Colorful isn’t a movie trying to give advice how to stop bullying. It’s about hope and forgiveness. Life isn’t simple, or maybe it is and we make it complicated, I don’t know. All I know is that this is a great emotional movie deserving of anyone who felt they didn’t belong or just wanted a friend. The highest of recommendations.

Categories
anime Meet The Geek

Meet the Geek: Diva (Blood+)

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You are disgusting. An amoral, psychotic, ugly, vicious, pile of human excrement wearing a dress without panties. Oh! Sorry, got a little ahead of myself. Today I get the displeasure of interviewing the most horrible vampire ever, Diva.

Redgeek: …Hello, Diva.
Diva: I’m not ugly.
Redgeek: You are the devil!
Diva: I only do what I’m born to do. Don’t be racist.
Redgeek: What?! You’re a monster. Are we really going to have this conversation?
Diva: This is an interview, isn’t it?
Redgeek: First of all. Chiropterans are not inherently evil.
Diva: No, humanity is. Have you forgotten what was done to me?
Redgeek: And it’s a shame, really. But, massacring everyone at the Zoo is the least of your crimes. What about Riku?
Diva: *sigh* Why does everyone bring up Riku? Doesn’t even pay child support. Get it? Because you can’t pay when you’re dead. Honestly, I did him a favor.
Redgeek: I-I don’t… What you did to Riku… That one act of cruelty makes you one of the worst beings ever to walk the Earth.
Diva: What about me? You never asked how I felt about it now.
Redgeek: Okay, how do you feel?
Diva: Great. *laughs* Killing my sister’s adoptive brother, creating my darling children, and not having to engage in awkward post sex conversation—quite a treat. Plus, Riku was hung like a—
Redgeek: Stop! And to make things worse, you made a move on Kai. The hell is wrong with you?
Diva: That was a joke. Don’t tell me you never joked about raping and killing someone. What a SWJ. Next, I suppose you’ll tell me trying to turn a significant number of the populous into chiropterans was bad.
Redgeek: You know what? We’re done here Diva. I hope you die a painfully ironic death.
Diva: Maybe. Depends on which version of Blood+ you see. Did I just kill the fourth wall? Whoops. *giggle*
Redgeek: And with that, I’ll see you all next time on Meet the Geek.
Diva: I never got to promote my new album. Kanye West is producing it.
Redgeek: Truly a monster through and through.

Categories
anime Hipster Hotline

Hipster Hotline: Samurai Pizza Cats

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“What’s that on the ground?”
“Dirt.”

Samurai Pizza Cats will go down in history as the only edited/altered anime fans aren’t upset about. Simple plot, a team of anthropomorphic cats fighting evil while running a pizza shop in downtown Little Tokyo. What made SPC memorable is there unapologetic jokes, puns, and casual destruction of the fourth wall. Even more memorable is most of the humor works. You can tell the writers are having a blast, giving the audience the best lines they can get away with on a kids show. They wrote Samurai Pizza Cats for themselves and I thank them for it.

Even the best written anime needs good voice acting and Samurai Pizza Cats…deliver. Each voice is distinctive and full of life, able to deliv–uh–tell a joke or punch line the perfect way, essentially making even bad jokes land on their feet, heh. I think that’s the show’s secret ingredients, great writing coupled with great voice acting. I don’t think I’ll ever forget any of the main cast voices. They’re that good!

Add all that with the fourth wall annihilating narrator, and the (rumored) drunk theme song singer and you have the recipe for a fun comedy/adventure show ready to eat.

If you’re hunkering for an anime that doesn’t take itself seriously, give Samurai Pizza Cats a watch. It’s stupid for all the right reasons. And, now, I’ll leave you with one of the best quotes in the series, that has to be heard to be fully appreciated, delivered by the great Polly Esther.

“A fully functioning, cybernetic, technologically advanced team of superheroes… and nobody’s got a flashlight?”

Marry me, SPC!

Categories
anime cartoon Hipster Hotline

Hipster Hotline: Wakfu

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Ever played a MMORPG called Dofus? It’s sister game, Wakfu? No? Okay, you like shounen anime? Yeah, now we’re on the same page. While Wakfu the show isn’t technically anime, like Avatar: The Last Airbender, it’s pretty much the same with the only difference being it was made outside Japan. Sidenote: Funding Wakfu’s English dub was my very first Kickstarter. I love this series, but strangely I forgot about it until recently. Not entirely strange. I know why, but lets save it for later.

Wakfu is the story of Yugo, an orphan boy living a quiet life until he’s thrust into an adventure that has him traveling the world with a new group of friends trying to save a kingdom from a…science wizard? Yeah, sounds basic but what sets Wakfu apart is style.

First things first, Wakfu is a good looking show. The world is vibrant and the characters look unique. No time is wasted pulling you into the World of Twelve from a visual standpoint. You can tell the show is based on a MMORPG and, yes, that’s a big compliment.

Categories
anime Hipster Hotline Now and Then, Here and There

Hipster Hotline: Now and Then, Here and There

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Let me take a deep breath. This anime is great, but…look, its been years since I first saw this show and I still remember how hard it hit me. I went in blind thinking this was a typical boy-meets-girl-while-going-on-an-adventure story. No, no, no, there’s a bit more to it.

Our protagonist, Shu, a caring young boy tries to help a girl, Lala-Ru, in trouble. Soon he’s transported to another time and place where…stuff happens. This story doesn’t pull punches. Shu is “interrogated” and at that point I realized this thirteen episode series is not going in the direction I first thought. This series doesn’t shy away from brutality.  

Categories
anime Hipster Hotline Manga novel

Hipster Hotline: Moribito

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Why am drawn to these stories I may never get to finish? Moribito is an anime based on the first novel of a series about Balsa, a female bodyguard and Chagum, a prince of New Yogo, a country part of the world of humans but closely connected to the world of spirits.

Prince Chagum has a spirit egg inside his body and through certain circumstances (AKA misguided dad) is saved by Balsa, the most bad ass spear wielder since…I don’t know.

*looks up anime spear users*

Geez! Either they have huge boobs or look like ten-years olds. Anyway, Balsa is calm, cool, and not afraid to kick butt if she has to.

Being based off a novel, Moribito doesn’t fall into many typical anime tropes. It’s not fueled by fan service or has the fate of the world at stake. It’s the story of a child prince adjusting to life as a commoner, hiding from his father’s assassins while his protector and her friends try to solve just what the heck is going on with that spirit egg inside him. Adventure, action, mystery—Moribito has it, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the characters.

You care about Balsa and her mission to protect Chagum, both from his father and the spirit egg.  You care about why she became a bodyguard. You care about Chagum, a kid being hunted by his dad’s secret squad and adjusting to everyday life—and not only them. Balsa’s kind-hearted childhood friend, Tanda, the brash old magic weaver, Torogai, even the antagonists ​​are all fully developed characters playing the hero from their point of view. This is a character driven story where you learn why each individual does what they do and the conflicts that follows those decisions. I love it.

I recommend the anime or manga, both retelling the first novel, and both are great. Or, read the original novel and the second book, Guardian of the Darkness (Love it!), officially translated for an English audience. Unfortunately, the later books won’t be getting the same treatment as the publisher decided not to translate them due to low sales.  There is a kind fan translating the third book, Guardian of the Dream, so hope is not lost. Maybe one day English fans will get to read every book in the series.

Moribito is a classic in my eyes. An engaging  fantasy with heart. Anime, manga, novel—don’t matter which you pick, you won’t lose.