Gate Episode 9: Intrigue and a Slacker
Anime / August 30, 2015

Itami’s character continues to amaze me. From the first episode, where the Otaku plunged a knife into an invader, to last episode, where we found out that he was Special Forces, I’ve enjoyed seeing his character deepen in unexpected yet believable ways. Last week’s episode ended where this week’s episode starts: we got to meet Itami’s ex-wife Risa. Our heroes impose on poor Risa as they plan their next move. Itami sends Risa, Rory, Tuka, and Lelei shopping while Princess Pina and Bozes go with Akira to the library for “research” — this after Princess Pina came across some BL manga in Risa’s collection. The idea is that if they’re being followed, they might as well “hide” in crowds. This made perfect sense to Itami’s team. However, when Itami announced he was heading for Akihabara, Shino once again derides him for slacking off. At some point, I hope she learns. Itami bought a catalog, but it wasn’t for his own use. He gave it to his friend — the Defense Minister. Yeah, Itami’s friend with the Defense Minister Tarou Kanou. Turns out they read manga back in the day. On the Defense Minster’s orders, Itami takes the our heroes to a…

Gate Episode 8: Our Heroes Visit Japan
Anime / August 22, 2015

If you haven’t watched Gate Episode 8 yet, please stop reading this immediately, buy a Crunchyroll membership (if you don’t already have one), and watch the episode. Of course, if you haven’t watched the previous episodes, watch them first. There are moments in episode 8 that are worth the four hours of investment to watch all of the episodes so far! In other words, there are spoilers beyond this point. I’ve enjoyed Gate from its first episode. It avoids most of the cliches that plague too many anime series. It offers what I think is a realistic portrayal of what would happen if a parallel fantasy world would invade Japan — including what the Self Defense Force (SDF) would do in response. Episode 8 was no different. It starts with our heroes coming to Japan to testify before the Diet. For me, the episode started on a high note, when the Princess Pina Co Lada* looks up at buildings that seem to touch the sky and says, “…the empire has started a war against a civilization capable of building these structures.” I’ve often wondered what drove the emperor to start the war. The decision is incomprehensible! It seems the Princess…

In Defense of Monster Musume
Anime / August 17, 2015

The first science fiction story I can remember reading is Lords of the Starship. The book depicted cultures that were so far from my experiences as a farm boy in rural Ohio that they blew me away. After reading that book, I’ve wanted to learn about new culture: not only about Terran cultures, but about cultures that were beyond my experience or my ability to directly experience. Books like Dune and Startide Rising fueled that interest. A lack of science fiction, especially after the failure of Stargate Universe and Stargate Atlantis, started my search for other genres that might feed my interest. That’s led me to anime, where I fell in love with series like Chrome Shelled Regios and Corpse Princess. In the context of these (comparatively) august anime titles, why would I defend MONSTER MUSUME EVERYDAY LIFE WITH MONSTER GIRLS as a standard bearer for my love of different cultures? Commentaries and viewers seem to treat it as a salacious series dealing with various ways to sexualize non-humans like lamias, harpies, and centaurs. This series caught my attention for a very simple reason: it’s more than that. A recent editorial at Anime New Network crystalized the idea for me. The show’s not just…

The Summer 2015 Anime Slate: Funimation Edition
Anime / August 12, 2015

I subscribe to both Crunchyroll and Funimation. I find that both are well worth the investment! Note: With Crunchyroll, I generally watch the new releases. With Funimation, I find that I choose a mix of new and old. So, please expect to see both on this list! Here are the shows I’m watching right now on Funimation (in no particular order): Future Diary: Yukiteru is really excited to have a cell phone that tells the future, until he discovers the price: he’s trapped inside a game where the last one standing wins godhood. Of course, that means everyone else must die and are therefore your enemies. In Yukiteru’s case, though, his ally might be worse than all of his enemies combined! Assassination Classroom: An artificial alien that looks like an octopus and who can travel Mach 20 recently destroyed the moon. For his next act, he says that if no one can kill him before the end of the school year, he’ll destroy the Earth! He took over training for the low-achieving class at a prestigious high school. The students are conflicted: he’s the best teacher they ever had and he seems to genuinely care for them. Yet, he’s threatening to destroy the…

The Summer 2015 Anime Slate: Crunchyroll Edition
Anime / August 5, 2015

I subscribe to Crunchyroll, Funimation, and Daisuki. Though I like all three, and I would recommend any of them to anime fans, my favorite is Crunchyroll. Expect that most of the series I review will be from there. From my perspective, not only does Crunchyroll offer the best selection, it also streams reliably even when the other two don’t. I hope net neutrality addresses that problem, but until then, I have to deal with reality as it is! For the summer 2015 season, I’m watching the following series on Crunchyroll: Charlotte: A series about adolescents who manifest paranormal powers that disappear during adulthood. This one is surprising me with its depth and characters. Classroom Crisis: Deals with an advanced R&D class who looses senior management’s support. We’re up to episode 6, and I’m considering dropping this series. Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers: Follows the exploits of a group of six (or seven!) heroes who are chosen to protect the world against the Evil God. The solid characters and beautiful have surpassed my expectations! And I’m not just saying that because one of the braves dresses as a bunny girl (with lethal blades). Kidding aside, the mystery aspect is keeping…

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