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Summer Anime Season 2016 – Review September 25, 2016

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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This season was comparatively light in terms of must watch animes. A couple of them were from series I’ve watched before, some were short series anime, and the rest were just casual watch ones. Still entertaining, but nothing special. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Amaama to Inazuma

Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV

Love Live! Sunshine!!

Momokuri

New Game!

ReLIFE

Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara

Remember, these reviews assume that you have watched the series, which means SPOILERS will be few but imminent. You have been warned.


Amaama to Inazuma

amaama-to-inazuma

This anime is one that makes you smile as you watch. Also know as Sweetness and Lightning, it’s about Kouhei Inuzuka taking care of his young daughter Tsumugi after the death of his wife. As he’s no good with cooking, one day they go out to eat and stumble across a closed small diner that is run by the mother of one of his students, Kotori Iida. It turns out Kotori is often alone since her parents are divorced and her mother is frequently not around. The three of them begin to meet and cook tasty food together.

The adorableness of Tsumugi and the hard work of her dad Kouhei to take care of her makes this anime bittersweet, as they find the little things in life that makes them happy, but at the same time still struggling with the relatively recent death of the mom/wife. Most of the time the atmosphere is light, but when things get sad you can relate to the characters as their situation is probably common in reality. The main theme that keeps everyone happy in this anime is everyone getting together, whether it be for a party, school, or cooking tasty foods. Even if you are alone, there are others like yourself that probably see themselves in the same situation. Just reaching out towards one another can bring up everyone’s spirits, which is what helped Tsumugi and Kouhei to get together with more friends who can understand and support each other in times of need.

Food is what brings everyone together in this anime. Because Kouhei couldn’t cook, and found himself at a restaurant that was mostly closed because Kotori’s chef mother was always out and busy, he decides to learn how to cook more. Under written instructions from Kotori’s mother, Kouhei, Tsumugi, and Kotori work together to learn how to make great food that is best enjoyed with company. They are eventually joined by more friends which almost makes it a party every time. The directions for making the food seem simple enough that you could possibly make it real life, as the instructions was written for people new to cooking.

I enjoyed this anime for the simple fact that it made me smile. Seeing that Tsumugi was in good hands from friends and family despite losing her mother at a young age, makes me think that she will grow up happy and healthy none the less. Of course if this was an anime that showed her at an older age, such as middle school or high school, I could see it being more of a drama type anime exploring how many years of growing up without one of your parents affects you. As this anime revolves around Tsumugi at around the age of 4 (I presume), within a year of her mom passing, she doesn’t have the full understanding of what it means for her mother to be gone. It would be interesting if this series were to do something along the lines of a new season that takes place 10 or so years in the future, but that would dim the lightness this anime has, unless they don’t go in the direction I imagined. Either way, I recommend this anime for casual watchers.

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Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV

ff-xv-brotherhood

With the soon upcoming release of Final Fantasy XV, in order for people to get a taste of what’s to come, a five episode ONA was broadcast on Crunchyroll. In this this short series anime, our main characters (Noctis, Prompto, Ignis, Gladiolus) are traveling by convertible car towards probably the capital city where a war is taking place. Each episode focuses on one of the characters, showing their backstory and relationship with Prince Noctis. As a prequel to the game, this series introduces us to the characters in anime fashion.

I enjoyed watching the 12 minute ONAs, though I wasn’t sure (and still am) if they were going to the Kingdom of Lucis to deal with the problems that seem to be happening there. Maybe it was because there was a lot of dialogue for me to keep up with in the beginning, or my unfamiliarity with the setting, probably both. What I mostly got out of it was learning more about each of the main characters that will be part of the game when it comes out in November. As for whether or not this animated series attracted me more to the game, it didn’t really. I’m probably not going to get the game, at least not right away anyways, especially that I don’t have a PS4 yet, but I will be keeping an eye out for it at the very least.

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Love Live! Sunshine!!

love-live-sunshine

Love Live! Sunshine is a spin-off title of the main Love Live! series. After the success of the school idol group μ’s, a new generation follows their footsteps. Chika Takami aims to form a high school idol group, inspired by the past school idol group μ’s. With friends by her side who join up one by one, she also learns that her school is planned to be closed down in the near future due to low amounts of new applicants. Naming their group Aqours, they aim to attract attention to their town and school and save it from closure, all while doing their best together as school idols.

This new entry into the Love Live! series features an all new cast of characters, each of which also features relatively new seiyuu (voice actresses). I thought that these seiyuu did a very good job, despite having limited roles in other animes. Each character of the main cast is unique in their own way, though can be compared with some characteristics from μ’s. While Sunshine is its own story, the similarities between it and its predecessor are numerous and sometimes takes away from its uniqueness. Whether or not intentional, near the end of the series it’s made certain that Aqours, while inspired, will make their own path and will not follow in the shadow of μ’s, which I felt was a step in the right direction, but a little forced at the same time. The reason I say forced is because I felt that the last few episodes were rushed to get the story to an ending. The majority of Sunshine focused on the relationships between Aqours members and not a lot of actual idol training. I’m not saying that they did not do enough training (it’s probably implied that it was done off screen), but compared to what we saw with μ’s which I would say had a 50/50 idol activities/character focus airtime, it didn’t seem enough to justify how they were able to become as good as they were in the end. I doubt that all of them had the ability to sing and dance well in the beginning, but maybe I’m not suppose to think that way, I don’t know. In my opinion it didn’t seem realistic. (Its an anime I know.)

I enjoyed Love Live! Sunshine, like I do most idol animes as I like seeing the progression from beginning to end. Seeing something come from nothing is a great example of results coming from passion and hard work. I just wish it was fleshed out a bit more to give it more individuality. I know its using the brand name to its full advantage, but if showed more of their idol and character progression more gradually, it would of been more enjoyable I think.

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Momokuri

momokuri

Momokuri is a romance, slice of life comedy that has a simple synopsis, courtesy of MyAnimeList : The story revolves around Yuki Kurihara, a girl who has finally been granted her wish of dating her crush Momo. At first glance, she just looks like a normal but very cute girl. However, she is in fact a maniac over Momo, taking notes of his activities and never missing the chance to see him in a cute moment. Momo, on the other hand, is inexperienced in love, and just wants to make Yuki happy.

This series was originally aired earlier this year in an OVA format that was reformatted into full 24 minute episodes for TV broadcast, which I watched on Crunchyroll.

I decided to watch this series as it seemed to fall into the categories I usually watch. Since this series was originally a 26 OVA episode series, I felt that the progression of the story and characters would be better paced than if it had less. On the exterior, it looks to be a charming but simple story of a young couple. However in some scenes, it tackles the more subtle but important issues and feelings of being in a boy/girl relationship. I felt that this gave the series some depth and serious tone, that its exterior doesn’t show outright.

As for the other characters surrounding our couple, they are helpful and supportive of them. None of them are annoying like some can be in other anime series about couples. They give advise when needed, and help to ease tensions when one or the other is stressed out. In general they’re all good friends, even though other alternative shippings are hinted….

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New Game!

new-game

If you’re looking for a moe comedy about making a Japanese game, then New Game! is for you! Aoba Suzukaze is a new hire at a game company that made her favorite game series. Learning on the job, she gets to work on the latest installment of the series under the mentoring of the character designer who made her love the games in the first place. Alongside fellow friends and co-workers, they strive towards completing a new game together.

I like New Game! for a couple of reasons, mainly that the characters were cute, and that I wasn’t overloaded with production terms like I experienced when watching another anime about making something, namely Shirobako. With at least several main and supporting characters weaving in and out of the spotlight, the anime did well to balance out each of their appropriate airtimes with their importance to the show. The comedy gave me some laughs that didn’t feel added out of necessity. Towards the end though it did feel a little rushed, but satisfying none the less for Aoba and her team. Make sure you watch after the ED on the final episode, as there’s a little scene after it.

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ReLIFE

relife

ReLIFE was a nice little high school drama about Arata Kaizaki, an unemployed, single 27-year-old who has just been cut off from his parents’ financial support. Unable to find a job due to him leaving his previous employer within three months, he meets Ryou Yoake, a man who offers Arata pills to turn him back into a 17-year old so he can redo his life. After agreeing to the experiment, Arata joins a high school class, and meets Chizuru Hishiro, a socially-awkward silent beauty who yearns to have friends. Through connecting with her and other classmates, Arata must find what he lacks to live a happy life in the real world within a one-year time limit.

It came to my surprise that all 13 episodes were available on Crunchyroll all at once. Even so, I paced my watching so that I’d finish around the same time as the other animes of the season were ending. I enjoyed this series, though something felt a bit off about it. Not necessarily in a bad way, but maybe it’s because it was released all at once that it makes me think that it wasn’t worth taking up airtime in Japan. Like I mentioned, I liked the show but it felt like a budget anime. The art, music, and character designs were nothing fancy, only the story itself shined. As a person around Arata’s age, I can relate to his situation and feelings, and that is what I think made this anime a great example of having a second chance at life, even in a restricted fashion as the anime used. The ending of ReLIFE ties up most of the branching plot-lines, but does not conclude this series proper. This may give way to another season in the future, but that will remain to be seen.

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Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara

shokugeki-no-soma-s2

The second season of Shokugeki no Soma continues directly from where the first season ended, during the Autumn Elections. The top 8 compete for their ranking among the first year Totsuki students. The majority of the season focuses on the cooking battle between the 8, showing each of their unique talents and skills. After the end of the elections, the students are put into a Stagiaire program that requires students to take up residence at various restaurants outside of the school, aiming to leave their own impressions there in order to pass.

I was a little surprised that at the start of the second season, there was no recap at all, as if this was just more episodes to the main season of the series. I did remember generally what happened at the end of the first season, so I wasn’t lost on what was going on. As usual Soma’s ability of adaptability makes him a high contender, but it also shows that he has a lot to learn and that he’s willing to put the time and effort to show that he’s in it to win it. He’s confident, but humble. Experienced, but curious about new experiences in the cooking world. Wins most of the time, but that doesn’t stop him from improving over his victories. Soma is a character that exemplifies how a passion can drive oneself to achieve great things.

The other characters also show great ways of cooking, which is probably done in real life by chefs. It’s cool how this anime really showcases deep levels of cooking, down to the science. It’s not always taste alone that dictates how good the food is, sometimes food can affect all the senses, even psychological ones. I guess that’s why I was not totally surprised at the results of the Autumn Elections, because they’re all excellent chefs in their own regard.

I know that this anime is not for everyone, especially with the fan service that the series could do without. What is serves to do is to overemphasize and sell how the judges of the food experience it. Anyways, with what I’ve noticed with other animes, the fan service is more so used in the beginning of the series, especially in the first episode of the first season of this series, to attract fans with eye candy. Later on however the story sets in, which becomes the main course for entertainment. Fan service decreases and is used more sparingly, only used for emphasis for certain scenes, but even then it’s not too bad. I wish that either animes would not use fan service in this manner, or people try and give a series more of a chance down the line even if its initial “cover” looks one way.

Spring Anime Season 2016 – Review July 4, 2016

Posted by coolmikeol in Seasonal Anime Reviews.
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Another anime season is over and this one was a mixed bag of the good, the weird, the relaxing, but overall entertaining animes. Initially there wasn’t much I was looking forward to until browsing the web, but as usual it grew to be a decent number. If you want to see a full list of what animes I’ve watched, you can always check out My Anime List. Here is a list of animes that I watched from this season:

Bakuon!!

Flying Witch

Kiznaiver

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri

Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?

Pan de Peace!

Sakamoto desu ga?

Shounen Maid

Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge

Uchuu Patrol Luluco

As usual, SPOILERS will be avoided as much as possible, but sometimes may pop up through my writing if I think it’s not too much of a SPOILER.


Bakuon!!Bakuon

This anime can only be described as K-On!, but with motorcycles rather than music. It uses real terms and brands when it comes to explaining things, and each character is assigned to liking particular brands like Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Ducati. It’s another one of those animes where cute girls do cute things, with motorcycles. Because real life brands and models are referenced a lot, this anime is also probably a marketing tool for those brands to appeal to more audiences, specifically anime fans.

Did I like this anime? Sure it was entertaining. It was a bit weird at times, especially when fan service was used. Did I learn things about motorcycles? Not so much as a lot of the terms sailed over my head, though I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one to say that. I’m not a motorcycle enthusiast, though if I were asked if I wanted to try and learn, I’d be willing to try. This wasn’t because of me watching the anime though, I’ve thought of this idea even before this anime came out.

——

Flying WitchFlying Witch

One of the most relaxing animes of this season, Flying Witch is about Makoto, a witch-in-training who moves in with her Kuramoto relatives in Aomori. Her unmagical family members are treated to her little bouts of magic as she continues to study. While staying in Aomori, she also discovers other witches and magical places and things in the peaceful town in the countryside.

I didn’t really know what to expect when starting to watch this anime. I decided to watch this because it was going to be about a flying witch…. Like I said, didn’t know how the show would be, but I am attracted to flying and magic, so that was enough for me to try and watch.

This anime has been compared to other animes such as Non Non Biyori, in that it takes place in a rural setting where nature and slow days mesh to create a soothing but still interesting show to watch. The magic that happens in this show is subtle, not flashy that you’ve seen in many other shows. It’s also nice to see that the magical characters don’t worry about being found out by the public, which is usually a theme in other shows like it. (Probably there are automatic spells in place that prevent magic to be seen by people who shouldn’t, like when they fly around.) Flying Witch focuses on the day to day adventures of Makoto as she continues her witch training while living in a new town surrounded by her family and friends. It’s a nice slice-of-life type of anime with the added theme of magic, as a small spark that makes things a little more interesting.

——

KiznaiverKiznaiver

I first heard about this anime back when I attended Sakura-Con earlier this year in March. There was a premiere event at the con for the first two episodes of the series at least two weeks before it was to officially start, where we also got posters of the series too. For the first 10 minutes of the premiere, it was a little hard to read the subtitles as it was on the bottom of the screen, so anyone who wasn’t in the first row had trouble reading it because peoples’ heads in front blocked it from sight. Luckily it was resolved by making the video player a little smaller and higher so that everyone could see. After that it was smooth sailing for the rest of the premiere, followed by a live stream from Japan for people who saw the premiere with people I think who were asking how they thought the first two episodes were.

The rest of the season I watched on my own, and I have mixed feelings about this one. First off, I feel that maybe going to that premiere affected my initial impression of it. I tend to like watching animes on my own, specially episodes I have not seen before because I want to have my own experience and impression uninfluenced by others. During the premiere, there were times where the audience would audibly respond in different ways. At those times, I felt myself going with the crowd, but if I were alone I would of stayed quiet and took the situations in a more serious way. Also because I didn’t know anything about this anime prior to watching it (besides it being a Trigger anime), this was a true first impression for me, though influenced by others’ reactions.

Now to my actual thoughts of the anime itself. The beginning made me feel that the main reason for doing this whole experiment to connect peoples’ wounds was for a war or something. I was thinking more of the physical level as I took the word wounds on a literal level. As the anime progressed, and it became clear that it was meant more so to connect both peoples’ physical and emotional wounds, it also took away my expectation of a final battle of some sort. Maybe it was because it was also my expectation of a Trigger anime to be something always actionly. While this did detract my interest a bit from this series, I was still invested to see what would happen to the main cast once things really got moving, especially during the emotional breakdown of everyone by transmission of wounds of the heart. The finale was alright, but a bit anticlimactic in my opinion partially due to my own initial over-expectation. It did wrap up most of the plot, and now it seems that most of them have hooked up with another, making this experiment a success in connecting several people together. As for whether we’ll see more of this series in the future, I don’t know. But if an example in the form of Trigger’s other anime Space Patrol Luluco has anything to say (or any anime after Kill La Kill at least), maybe we’ll see references to it in the future.

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Koutetsujou no KabaneriKabaneri of the Iron Fortress

This was the anime I was anticipating ever since I heard about it for a couple of reasons. For one it has a cool setting that probably many compare a little to Attack on Titan, though I was more interested because the anime’s soundtrack was being worked on by none other than Sawano Hiroyuki (Aldnoah.Zero, Guilty Crown, Blue Exorcist).

The first couple of episodes jumped right into the action, explaining along the way what was known about the Kabane and Kabaneri. What was not fully explained however was how Ikoma’s machine made him into a Kabaneri besides him explaining that he prevented the virus from getting to his brain. As the Kabane seems to come from a virus than a supernatural phenomenon, the question popped up into my head about whether or not a source for it will be revealed in this show, similar to how Attack on Titan was trying to find the answer to where the titans were coming from. That never happened as for the most part, the crew of the Koutetsujou, the name of the train they were riding in, was just doing what it could to survive. Their final destination was to the Kongokaku, the fortified capital city where the Shogunate lives. Along the way, they faced countless Kabane and hopeless situations, but always managed to pull through by fighting together.

While stopped at one of the station cities, the Koutetsujou crew met with the Hunters, a special division dedicated to hunting Kabane. At first appearing to be the heroes and hope for the people who fear the Kabane, they are revealed to the main characters to be planning a revenge attack against the Shogunate for what happened 10 years ago. Biba Amatori, leader of the Hunters, is also the son of the Shogunate who was disowned by his father. 10 years ago Biba was a young general who was dispatched around Japan to destroy the Kabane, which is how the stations were able to be built up without problems. However supplies and support from the Shogunate suddenly stopped and Biba was nearly killed due to it. His hatred grew for his father and his thirst for revenge created the Hunters who all share his goal.

Mumei knows Biba as he was the one who taught her that the strong survive and the weak die, as well as turning her into a Kabaneri through scientific research. When the Koutetsujou and Hunters link up and travel together to the next station, their true intentions are shown and are taken prisoner by Biba to be used as tools to get him to his father. Once they reach the Kongokaku, the Koutetsujou crew are forced to pretend that they captured Biba to present him to his father. Once face to face, he exacts his revenge on his Shogunate father and destroys Kongokaku, by using Mumei as a weapon of mass Kabanes. Ikoma however vowed to save Mumei from her fate as a Kabaneri and comes back from the grave to take on Biba with a power up knowing that it very well might kill him. After a relatively short battle, Ikoma saves Mumei and brings her back to her Kabaneri form before Biba stabs him. Mumei returns the favor to Biba, and alongside Kurusu return to the escaping Koutetsujou crew. Ikoma looks to be dead, especially after we know that by using the black blood as a booster, there was no way to return to normal with out the white blood antidote, but miraculously he recovers. It is hinted that Biba used his own on Ikoma during their fight, probably when it seemed that he fatally stabbed him. Biba probably realized in his last moments that being weak doesn’t necessarily mean the end, and that Ikoma is proof of that. He gave Ikoma a second chance to protect what he cares about the most. The final scene shows the Koutetsujou riding off into the distance, uncertain of its future in the burning land of Japan.

I enjoyed the anime for what it was, even though the issue with Biba felt slightly petty. I know that it was a big deal for the Shogunate to stop supporting the cause to fight the Kabane, even more so towards his own son. The reason he stopped sending supplies was never said by the Shogunate, but I think it may be because the Shogunate wanted to keep a certain level of control over the country by using fear of the Kabane, but that’s just my two cents. I do also wonder if the rest of the world is dealing with Kabane or similar beings, as we know it takes place in an alternate version of the real world based on the fact that the whole country of Japan is shown in the intro, burning away. If not, could this be an attack on Japan for reasons unknown? I don’t expect there to be a continuation to this series, at least anytime soon. But if there is a future season, I’d watch it with these questions in mind.

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Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko ja Nai to Omotta?Netoge

NetoYome (short version of full Japanese name) is an anime about people in real life who play an MMORPG, but rather than focusing on the video game aspect, it’s more about the relationships and interactions in the real life. Synopsis ahead courtesy of Wikipedia (I felt it makes more sense to include an official synopsis this time instead of me trying to explain in my own words):

Hideki Nishimura plays the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Legendary Age under the alias Rusian. One day, after he proposes online to a girl who says that she is a man, Hideki swears off online marriages. Two years later, the persistence of Ako Tamaki, another Legendary Age player who is in the same guild as him, wore him down, and he accepted her in-game marriage offer. When he finally meets up with the rest of his guild members in the real world, he is shocked to discover that not only are they all actually girls, but that they attend the same school as him.

After Nishimura meets his guild members in real life, they learn that Ako confuses the video game world with real life. The guild decides to guide her to like the real world more by creating a club at school where one of their main goals is to help her realize that these two worlds are separate.

What I like about this anime is that it focuses more on real life than that of other recent animes about online gaming; It’s more casual and relatable. One of the things that initially caught me off guard was the fact that when Nishimura met his guild members in real life for the first time, that the others besides Ako were girls as well, but really that should not have surprised me. (They were shown in the opening, and would of made sense if I thought about it a little. Just a little note for what I first experienced when watching this one.) This anime was an enjoyable one, more cutesy with Ako’s antics. In the end not much changed, but at the very least progress with Ako’s intergration with the real world is going steady.

——

Pan de Peace!Pan de Peace

It’s an anime short series about girls and bread. Not much more to say than it had some obvious animation flaws, but as a short series, its expected.

——

Sakamoto desu ga?Sakamoto

I first got interested in watching this series from seeing from random clips online. It became another weird anime of the season for me, but in a good way. Also as the alias holder of “Coolmikeol”, I wanted to watch an anime series about a cool guy too. If I were to describe this anime, it’s basically about a high school student named Sakamoto who does everything in a cool way, even if it may look out of the ordinary. He’s a bit hard to figure out sometimes, but he always seems to do things to help others no matter who they are.

For the first half of the season, it was more or less separate skits of Sakamoto encountering different situations. The connecting events during this part was dealing with the many delinquents in the school, and helping out and interacting with his fellow classmate Kubota. The second half had the school festival and revealed a mastermind of trouble named Fukase, a long overdue to graduate senior who manipulates people psychologically to get them to do what he wants.

What made it a little weird was the fact that in the beginning of the season, that there was some yaoi undertones because of how the guys act around Sakamoto. Of course the girls act more aggressively than the guys in this case, but it was played more comically than literally. I can understand at least how anyone would be infatuated with him with his own cool style.

The finale of the season ended pretty well, and I liked how you could feel how the many of the people of his school were truly touched by his actions. He was never selfish, always did things in his own stylish way, and was humble about it too. He always knew how to resolve the drama that brewed every so often, into a positive learning experience for everyone. The final scenes do leave it up to imagination what happens to Sakamoto in the end, but it seems at least that it’s a good one. If you’re into overly dramatic but still normal school anime, then I recommend this for you.

——

Shounen MaidShounen Maid

Shounen Maid is an anime about a boy named Chihiro who, after losing his mother, moves in with uncle as a housekeeper of sorts, under the philosophy that his mother taught him, “Those who do not work do not eat”. As a result of this, Chihiro is a hard worker who does things thoroughly and responsibly. The name of the anime comes from the fact that Chihiro’s uncle, Madoka is a clothing designer who likes frills and cute things, and as such made Chihiro an outfit befitting his role in the house. Chihiro was not forced into this new life, but rather given new opportunities. He himself agrees to live in his uncle’s house under a give and take policy, which works out for him as he gives more than he takes. This also gave Chihiro an opportunity as well to learn about his family he never knew, as his mother was disowned from the main family before he was born.

On the outside, this anime may look and sound like one for cross dressing genre, but in actuality it feels more like a mild drama if you take away Chihiro’s maid outfit. This is why I enjoyed watching this series, as the pacing was good, the characters were interesting enough and reliable, and the story and relationships between the characters understandable and relatable. Chihiro reminded me of myself when I was around his age. I was known for liking to clean a lot back then, and also now that I think about it, was also just with my mom without really knowing my dad back then too. In conclusion, this anime is a good slice-of-life but still story driven show that most anyone can casually watch.

——

Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo KedarugeTanaka kun

Started watching this anime a few weeks into its airing, as initially it did not catch my interest. This show is about Tanaka, a high school student who is always listless. In other words, he’s never interested in doing much than sleeping and relaxing as much as possible. While this may sound like an annoying trait to have, Tanaka is praised for this and the people around him are used to him being the way he is. Even though he looks to be uninterested in doing anything, what he does quite well is give useful advise that usually coincides with his listless nature. This helps him with his relationships with the people around him.

I’ll admit, I have fallen asleep a couple of times watching this anime, though it’s more of that I watched it late at night when I was tired. I’ve making an effort to not watch anime super late which is when I usually do.

Most of the people who regularly interact with Tanaka are pretty interesting. Oota is always taking care of Tanaka, very much used to how he is and what is best for him, known for carrying him around on his shoulder. Miyano, the super energetic girl who wanted Tanaka to teach her how to listless to look more mature, is always a bundle of fun who respects Tanaka as her “Master”. Rino, Tanaka’s little sister who looks similar to him but is actually reliable, initially doesn’t look to like her brother that much but seems to secretly to have a crush on him. And of course Shiraishi, a girl who changed her outward appearance upon entering high school from that of a introvert in order to attract more people and gain a social life. Tanaka however sees her secret true self one day and accepts that side of her too, allowing her to be herself a little more in public. She develops a crush on him after this, and tries her best to interact more with Tanaka in order to get closer to him.

This was a super slice-of-life anime, and when I mean super, I mean in a slow and relaxing kind of way. This doesn’t detract from the experience as the times where there is a long pause, it’s meant as a way to build anticipation towards the situation. Entertaining with a bunch of characters, this anime is one that I’d recommend to a slice-of life genre fan.

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Uchuu Patrol LulucoSpace Patrol Luluco

Unexpectedly one of my favorite animes of the season, Space Patrol Luluco is another one by studio Trigger. This anime short series is about Luluco who joins the Space Patrol after her father is frozen and has to take his place. As Space Patrol, she travels the universe alongside her branch when her city is stolen by her Space Pirate mother in her quest to get it back.

While the synopsis sounds quite basic, things ramp up quite a bit once the true adventure begins. Because Luluco’s city was stolen and sold and transported through a portal, they travel to all sorts of planets and places that have references to studio Trigger’s previous works, such as Kill La Kill and Little Witch Academia to name a couple. It was so awesome to see such blatant use of things from their other animes rather than just cameo background appearances, like how life fibers were seen a couple of times in Trigger’s anime When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace. The moment I heard “Don’t Lose Your Way” during the Kill La Kill segment in Luluco, I was ecstatic.

What also made this anime short a unique one was the fact that while each episode was only about 8 minutes long, the creators managed to create a plot that was easy to understand, but play it off on a much larger proportion as they usually do. I love how during the second half of the series, the story shifts to add the Nova/Luluco relationship. While it was hinted from the very start of the series, I like how it became the main plot-line to wrap up everything nicely. I’ll admit, it was a little odd to see Nova with emotions, though I accepted the explanation that he was a being that did not have any to begin with, at least until Luluco filled it with hers.

As you can see by how much I wrote for this anime, I enjoyed it a lot. Maybe it was because I recognized the references, or how I’m a sucker for sweet love stories. Either way, I would recommend this anime, mostly though to people who have watched other Trigger animes.

One more thing, that high five at the end between Luluco and Akko of Little Witch Academia is a perfect sendoff. A great way to say good luck to Akko in the future with her newly announced TV anime series. Trigger is on a roll, wish it were the same for Kiznaiver….


 

FanimeCon 2016 June 5, 2016

Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
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It’s that time of year again! I attended this year’s FanimeCon which took place May 27th – 30th at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. FanimeCon is an anime convention “by fans, for fans”. I’ve been attending this anime convention since 2011, and I do intend to attend it annually as long as I’m able to, as it is one of my favorite cons around.

For all of my photos taken at the con, please check out my Flickr set FanimeCon 2016.


Day 1 – May 27

Got up early in preparation for the first day of Fanime at around 6am. After showering, I had to do some quick shopping at my local Safeway. I waited for the arrival of my friend who was tagging along for the first day of the con before we headed to Safeway, also grabbing a bite to eat for breakfast there. I came back to my place to drop off the groceries and grab the things I needed for Fanime. We left SF at around 8am.

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After about an hour drive, I was able to find parking within the San Jose Convention Center quite close to the doors that lead from the parking lot directly into the con center. We proceeded to line up to pick up our pre-reg badge. Because I heard of the long lines from social media the day before during Day 0, I brought mini chairs in anticipation of being in line for a while. During the wait, I was on my 3DS sorting through Streetpasses on multiple games. I never really used the chairs I brought because the line was consistently moving every couple of minutes. 1 hour and 27 minutes later, we got our badges.

Because most major events were not happening until a few hours later, we decided to tour around San Jose State University, which is only a few blocks away from the convention center. Afterwards my friend and I split up to do our own things.

At this point it was about 11:45am, still more than two hours until Opening Ceremonies which I planned to attend. In the meanwhile I went around getting myself familiar with the area.

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Quarter before 2pm I made my way to Stage Zero to prepare for Opening Ceremonies. I always like to attend the opening and closing ceremonies because I they make it truly feel like the con has officially started/ended. It also is a way for me to preview the guests of honor, as well as feel the vibe the con has.

After the Opening Ceremonies concluded, I made my usual rounds of checking out the Dealers Hall and doing cosplay shots primarily in the convention center lobby. Normally there would also be a bunch of cosplayers in the tree area on the left of the entrance of the convention center, but unfortunately it was occupied by the badge pick up lines. At least this would only affect Day 1, as the rest of the days of the convention they moved the entire line inside, for both the sakes of the people in line from the heat outside, and the cosplayers and photographers who use that area as a backdrop.

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At 7pm I called it for the day, called my friend to regroup, and headed back to SF. It wasn’t quite the end of the day yet for me as we called my other friends to come over so that we could go out have dinner at local restaurant. By the time I got home, I didn’t have much energy to do much else than go to sleep with Day 2 directly ahead.

Day 2 – May 28

Day 2 started almost the same as the previous day did, though I did wake up slightly later to give myself some more sleep. This time my sister was tagging along for the day. We left for Fanime at around 9:15am and arrived just after 10am. I parked at a different parking lot about a block away from the convention center as it was going to be cheaper than the convention center’s $20 parking. To my surprise, this parking area was nearly empty despite it being a peak time for people to park. I guess its because it is sort of hidden, and some people would rather park in the obvious places.

I helped her get her at-con badge, which luckily had a much shorter line than the pre-reg badge pick up line, though it still took about an hour for her to do so. Afterwards we went around the con a bit together before grabbing some lunch from a food area in the back of the Dealers Hall. We split off afterwards, so I went back to do my rounds of photography.

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There were a few cosplay gatherings I wanted to check out. That’s one of the things that makes Fanime great in my opinion, the cosplay and the gatherings that form at this anime convention. Most of them are visible and easy to get to. Maybe it’s more so than other cons I’ve been to because I’m somewhat familiar with the area, but also because everything is generally in one place. I don’t have to commute back and forth a large distance every time I wanted to check something out on the other side of the con.

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Once things started to settle down, we decided to leave at around 8pm. To my pleasant surprise, when paying my parking fee, it was only $7 for pretty much the entire day. Compare that to $20 at the convention center and it was an easy guess for where I will park in the future for Fanime.

Day 3 – May 29

I felt good after two days of relatively solid shooting of pictures, already about 1K taken. I was actually worried that I’d fill my 8GB SD card to the max for once. I also have a 32GB, but delegated it to my small point and shoot for video shooting purposes back when I went to Sakura-con. I didn’t think I’d need to use my 32GB SD on my DSLR, so I kept it in my small camera from then. I’ll have to buy either at least a 16GB or another 32GB for my DSLR now, so that I don’t run into this issue again.

For today I was going alone, which is an advantage for me as I would have less to worry about. Leaving at around 9am, I decided to stop by a local McDonald’s to pick up breakfast as I didn’t eat before I left home. I got back to Fanime at around 10:30am, on time for another cosplay gathering I wanted to go to at 11am. As I was getting out of my car and gathering my stuff, I noticed I didn’t see my DSLR camera bag. Looking around the car it was nowhere to be found. To my horror, I realized that I probably left it at home, which is roughly an hour drive back, two hours round trip. I called home to confirm that I left it there and sure enough I did. I wasn’t about to go through a whole day without my DSLR, especially as a photographer. I knew that going back and getting it would cost me about two hours, but it was worth it in my opinion. Since I was already here though, I decided to go to the cosplay gathering at that was happening soon. I figured my point and shoot would be good enough for that. Luckily by 11:30am it was over for the most part, so I bolted for my car for home to get my camera.

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I got back to Fanime with my DSLR in hand before 2pm and I immediately went to work. If you didn’t know, this year’s Fanime was quite hot, literally. Temperatures were running in the mid 80s, though being directly in the sun made it much worse. Cosplayers were mostly in the lobby area inside the convention center, or in shady areas in the outside. I didn’t get any sunburn because I avoided being in the sun for an extended period of time. I do feel bad for the people who were wearing cosplays that made them hot, as is one of the few reasons why I don’t cosplay much myself.

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I got myself an early dinner from Subway, and afterwards shot some more before going to The Best of the Angry Video Game Nerd showing at 9pm, something that I go watch every year. I prefer the older episodes of AVGN (1 to 100), but this year they were showing some of the new ones I haven’t watched yet which were good too. I left the con at around 10:30pm and got home an hour later. I was very tired after the events of the day so I think I went to sleep right away.

Day 4 – May 30

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 The final day of con finally arrived. A couple of my friends wanted to tag along, one of which came on the first day. We left a little past 9am to arrive as usual an hour later. I planned to park at the cheaper parking lot, but it was closed probably due to Memorial Day holiday. I ended up parking at the Convention Center, which is at least convenient if not for the price. At con, It was pretty dead looking during the last day. Combined with that and the badge requirement, the main floor of the con had the least amount of people I’ve seen during all the times I’ve been to Fanime. My friends went to do their own thing, and I went off to do my own, photos and stuff.

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I stayed around for Closing Ceremonies, which is usually not really eventful besides officially ending the con. They had a little (poorly put together) slideshow of some photos from the con, as well as a couple of performances and speeches from the remaining guests of honor. Q&A took place at the end, but that’s when most people leave, myself included. The only somewhat important info that was revealed at the Closing Ceremonies was the theme for next year’s FanimeCon, Magic, as well as the announcement for the first guest of honor, an American voice actor (don’t remember the name). It does sound like Fanime wants to fix the issues that plagued it this year, by also giving some information early for Fanime con goers of next year. Even the website is updated with the date of next year’s con and info.

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I met up with my friends shortly after I left the con at my car, and we headed in the direction of home. We went to a Red Robin to eat some dinner, while the Golden State Warriors were playing game 7 for the chance to be in the NBA Finals. They won by the way if you don’t know. Afterwards grabbing a pie from a place called Nations which are very good. We headed home and I showed some of the pictures that I took before disbanding. That is the end of my FanimeCon 2016 story.


This year’s FanimeCon felt a bit off, and seeing other people I know say the same thing online on social media at least tells me that I’m not alone. I guess some of this stems from issues that were arising even before the start of the con. The first I remember was the housing problems with hotels reservations. This was the first year that I did not attempt to reserve a hotel, and I’m glad I did so. Fanime did a thing where people were given priority to reserve hotels if they also had a registration badge with the con. While this sounds like fine idea to avoid scalpers (people who go to con without a badge) to book hotels, it also made problems to people who also reg with Fanime as well. Bear in mind that this information is some that I’ve heard on social media, so I’m going solely on that. In the end, some were not able to get the rooms that they were probably able to get in previous years, some even learning they got double booked day of. Definitely not fun.

The second thing was the changes made to registration. For the past two years, Fanime put a lid on what’s known as LineCon, long lines from people picking up their registration badge. I was expecting the same this year, as many were probably too. Unfortunately last minute changes to the registration system caused LineCon to return in a explosive fashion. I remember monitoring social media on Day 0, reading about how long the lines were. Wait times of a few hours were reported, and videos coming from the pre-con were not very comforting to people who were to face the lines the next day. It was explained that there was some sort of software/equipment malfunction with the previous system and had to be replaced entirely with a new system, which explains the new barcodes that were E-mailed a few days before the start of the con.

Personally I didn’t have much problems with the con. I thought the new policy about the second floor being badge only fine. It definitely lessened the amount of people on the floor, though the Dealers Hall wasn’t too different in terms of it being crowded. For the most part the staff had most entrances to the second floor locked down. Though there was one point where I thought I found a hole in their net with the elevators, the ones near the convention center parking lot. I took it up to see if someone could get on to the second floor unchecked, but low and behold there was a staff there the moment the doors open up. I had my badge then so no worries on my end, though I thought I did see some people without badges try this.

I also didn’t attend any panels/events at all, besides going to the viewing rooms every once in a while. While they had some decent guests of honor this year, they just didn’t pique my interest enough for me to check them out. Nothing really different from previous years, but at least the main reason why I come to Fanime is still fantastic.

Overall, FanimeCon 2016 was alright, but it feels a little underwhelming when compared to my previous years going to it. Maybe it’s because I didn’t stay at a hotel this year thus breaking the full experience, or that I had to take a detour to go back home to retrieve my camera. Could of also been LineCon or the bad things I was hearing about before Fanime started too. A mix of all these things could of caused my feelings to by mixed on the matter. All I know is that I still enjoyed myself, and that I will plan to come to Fanime next year. Until then, see you all later.