3 Ways to Improve Kabaneri’s Ending
Anime , List / July 28, 2016

I loved Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress’ first eleven episodes. But the last episode? Ummm… I’m not saying it’s terrible. I am saying I was disappointed. After the show built anticipation to a feverish pitch, it fumbled as it crossed the finish line. All is not lost! I’ve come up with three changes that would redeem the final episode and turn it into a fitting end of the series. If you haven’t watched the last episode yet, stop right now! There are spoilers below! First Change So, Biba injected Ikoma with the white blood? When? Forget when, why? Biba was a ruthless, brutal, murderous monster who leveled cities. And I’m supposed to believe that he suddenly grew a heart and helped his enemy? What is Biba, the Grinch? Did his heart suddenly grow 3 sizes (starting at about 2:50)? I couldn’t buy that. My first change would be to keep Biba consistent and murderous until he’s dead. As an alternative, the show could have foreshadowed more self-doubt and creeping humility in Biba. As it is, though, only the last episode would have to change if we keep Biba consistent and brutal. Second Change First, I want to give credit to the show for…

D.Gray-Man (HALLOW) Episode 4: Truly Offensive Weapons
Anime / July 26, 2016

In Blood Crusade, the fourth episode of D.Gray-Man HALLOW, Allen Walker suffers through a prophetic dream, only to awaken a momentarily changed man; Allen and friends become aware of the true nature of the red-robed CROWs they met last episode, and the prognosis is chilling and unholy; the Noah awaken. Amazon has some really attractive D.Gray-Man merchandise! Please check these out: What Happened (Spoiler Free) Still troubled that Crown Clown, his own sword, hurt him in the last episode, Allen dreams that he’s impaled on that sword. Mana Walker frees him, and he reverts to a child; but then he awakens with the yellow eyes of a Noah. Lenalee Lee sees the change before he regains himself, but she doesn’t say anything. Renny Epstain, American Branch chief for the Black Order, arrives and announces that the red-robed CROWs are actually products of the Third Exorcist program. They are not Exorcists in the sense that they are not Innocence Accommodators. Allen is shocked to learn their true nature. Around town, the Noah begin to reincarnate by taking over the bodies of humans and forcibly ejecting the original human personalities. They rejoice to be reunited with the Millennium Earl. They waste no time in launching an assault against the Exorcists. As we saw in the…

Taboo Tattoo Episode 4: The Meaning of Friendship in the World of Tattoos
Anime / July 25, 2016

In Taboo Tattoo’s fourth episode, Distance, Justice Akatsuka injects some much-needed realism by undergoing actual training; Bluesy Fluesy struggles against her helplessness to stop the abduction of her friend Lisa Lovelock; Akatsuka and Tōko Ichinose run roughshod over Tom Shredfield’s reasonable and helpful advice; and Bluesy confronts the kidnappers, R. R. Lurker and Iltutmish. Amazon has some Taboo Tattoo merchandise (plus another show that had good fight scenes, Sword Art Online). Please check it out! What Happened (Spoiler Free) Bluesy is working hard to train Akatsuka. Encouraging him to thwart a thief, she stands on a bridge and feeds him live commentary on his progress. Secretly, she’s amazed that he has adapted to Void Maker so quickly; she’s worried. Was he too good to be true? Iltutmish drops from a helicopter and attacks Lisa, along with her guards. They put up a valiant fight, but how long can non-Tattoo users stand up to the likes of Iltutmish? What can Lisa herself do — even with her Tattoo — against such a killing machine? Bluesy, in the middle of gym class, receives a distress call from Lisa’s guards. Akatsuka’s detector shows that Bluesy has activated her tattoo and he follows her. Can they protect Lisa? Or will the simply fall along side…

D.Gray-Man (HALLOW) Episode 3: Allen, Crown Clown, and Noah
Anime / July 20, 2016

In D.Gray-Man HALLOW’s third episode, It’ll Be Fine if I Wash My Face, Allen Walker makes a sobering discovery about his sword; the Central Order sends two more CROWs into the field; the young thief steps up and confronts the Akuma — and his own past; Kanda becomes suspicious. Amazon has some really attractive D.Gray-Man merchandise! Please check these out: What Happened (Spoiler Free) Timothy Hearst, the young thief from the last episode, is in despair. His orphanage family lies in front of him, turned into puppets. The Exorcists had been ready to take him back to the Black Order’s headquarter; now the Akuma were going to take him to the Millennium Earl! Gunfire from Emilia Gaimar snaps him out of his funk. It also attracts the attention of a huge Akuma. It attacks her. Fearful for her safety, Timothy unconsciously activates his Innocence, and he possesses the Akuma that had turned his friends into puppets. But he doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing, and he pitted against multiple Akuma who are powerful and deadly. The Central Order sends two CROWs to the orphanage, and one’s able to bypass the Akuma’s seal and enter — much to the shock of the Exorcists there with him. But the CROW is…

Taboo Tattoo Episode 3: Peel Off Tattoos and a Bad Liar
Anime / July 18, 2016

In Taboo Tattoo episode 3, Misery Loves Company, Bluesy Fluesy decides on a tactical retreat; Justice Akatsuka has to defend himself against a possessed friend; Lisa Lovelock grills Bluesy over her house guests; Iltutmish takes delivery of a really, really big sword! If you like Taboo Tattoo, you might like these manga of the same series (plus another anime with great fight scenes): What Happened (Spoiler Free) Iltutmish, the girl we saw last week who wore chains under the dress, possesses Tōko Ichinose’s body and attacks Akatsuka. Tom Shredfield urges Akatsuka to run, but our hero feels reluctant to leave his friend in the enemy’s clutches. At the high school, Bluesy launches herself at R. R. Lurker. Dodging his attack, she makes for a classroom on the floor below. What’s her plan? She better have one because R. R. Lurker is right behind her! Akatsuka’s fight goes back and forth until he spills enough blood to activate his tattoo. But to his dismay, he’s still too inexperienced to control it well. Iltutmish takes advantage of his lack of experience and literally pins him to the wall with an umbrella though his shoulder. Tom’s trying to reach his cigarettes; Ichinose confronts Iltutmish’s mental specter. How will they survive against such a furious onslaught? The rest…

Summer 2016 Preview: Funimation Edition
Anime , List / July 16, 2016

Funimation’s Summer 2016 Season, for me at least, doesn’t offer as many titles as Crunchyroll. But there are three titles that I think have huge promise, and one of those represents the return of one of my long-time favorite shows, D.Gray-man. Here are the four shows that I started watching on Funimation this season! There may be some spoilers among the descriptions; please be cautious if you haven’t seen the first episode or two of each series! Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars It’s hard to do something new and fresh in the mecha genre. From the semi-sentient mecha from Argevollen to the alien-tech-inspired mechs from Knights of Sidonia, from Evangelion to Valvrave the Liberator, anime’s presented a lot of interesting and enjoyable alternatives. That’s why when I started watching Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars, I was afraid it would be more of the same. Now, I’m not claiming that this series is astoundingly original or anything. I’m not even claiming (yet) that’s great. But I will say that I enjoy the their visually distinct take on mechs. The show opens with a battle twelve years ago between two powerful mechs piloted by young women (of course — it’s anime!). The result is the release…

D.Gray-Man (HALLOW) Episode 105 (a.k.a. Episode 2): Battleground Orphanage and the Enemy Evolves!
Anime / July 13, 2016

D.Gray-Man Hallow’s second episode (also known as episode 105), Lonely Boy, begins with Allen Walker under suspicion for murder; moves on to Yu Kanda, Howard Link, and Allen on an assignment that leads them to an orphanage; and ends with an encounter with an Akuma who has, unfortunately for our heroes, learned to evolve. Interested in D.Gray-Man merchandise? Amazon has a great selection: What Happened (Spoiler Free) Malcolm C. Lvellie accuses Allen of arranging for Cross Marian’s murder in the last episode. Allen is having none of that; he accuses Malcolm. In actuality, Malcolm has another idea of who was behind the murder, and he shares his fear with Howard. After Malcolm announces to the whole European Branch that Allen possesses the hidden memories of The Fourteenth, the Black Exorcists are dispatched to help apprehend Phantom Thief G. This supernatural thief takes over people’s bodies and steals high-profit items with those “borrowed” bodies. Kanda thinks he has arrested the thief, who then jumps into a policeman’s body and tries to escape via the rooftops. Allen and Howard stop him there, but he jumps to Howard’s body. Howard fights so well that it forces Kanda to come to an angry conclusion. Working together, Kanda and Allen impale Howard on Allen’s sword….

Taboo Tattoo Episode 2: Fighting on Two Fronts
Anime / July 12, 2016

In Taboo Tattoo episode 2, Surprise Attack, the Selinistan Kingdom falls to a murderous hard-liner; Bluesy Fluesy makes a harsh proposal to Justice Akatsuka; Tōko Ichinose almost becomes a stalker and immediately lives to regret it; and speaking of regrets, Tom Shredfield has plenty when he answers the door. Interested in Taboo Tattoo merchandise? Check out these offerings from Amazon! What Happened (Spoiler Free) Recovering from his wounds, Akatsuka is shocked when Bluesy tells him that she and Tom are with the US military, and he either joins them or they repossess his Tattoo — and his arm along with it. The next day, Bluesy joins Akatsuka’s class as a transfer student from Los Angeles. During lunch, he agrees to join them, but on one condition: he violently resist anything immoral. Princess Aryabahta obliterates the world’s political status quo when she and the Sealed who follow her overthrow the king and queen of the Selinistan Kingdom and declares her intent to bring the whole world under her dominion. Akatsuka visit’s Tom and Bluesy’s house, but she’s still at school installing Tattoo activation sensors; she asks him to wait over the phone. He doesn’t know that Ichinose, jealous of his sudden interest in Bluesy, followed him. Realizing she was turning into a stalker, she…

Summer 2016 Preview: Crunchyroll Edition
Anime , List / July 10, 2016

It’s another anime season, and Crunchyroll is at it again. Crunchyroll — those villains! — have launched an all out assault on my free time. How dare they offer such a huge amount of entertainment for such a reasonable price? The pain is real-ish… In all seriousness, Crunchyroll’s Summer 2016 anime season is a lot like its Spring 2016 season — filled with shows that are fun to watch. There are even a few that might turn out to be something special! Here are the shows I’m watching as they come out: Alderamin in the Sky Many of this friends think Ikta Solork is a good-for-nothing slacker. The empire his city’s part of, Katjvarna, is fighting another nation (the Kioka Republic), and soldiers from his city are actively engaged with the enemy. When Solork tells his friends that it’s only a matter of time before their soldiers meet defeat, they ridicule him. Yatorishino Igsem, eldest daughter of the Igsem family (famous for their service to the empire), knows better. She takes him aside and asks him how long they had. He doesn’t think long. Solork and Igsem both attend the same school where they learn combat skills in preparation for joining the military. Boarding a…

Taboo Tattoo: A Chance Encounter Leads to Mayhem and Thirsty Ink
Anime / July 8, 2016

In Taboo Tattoo’s first episode, titled “Tattoo,” we meet Justice Akatsuka, who receives a strange tattoo as a “thank you” gift from a man he saved from a robber. Not long afterward, Bluesy Fluesy begins stalking him. Akatsuka’s day goes downhill rapidly from there. The anime is based on a series of paperbacks. Here are some of them you can buy from Amazon (along with another potentially interesting book): What Happened (Spoiler Free) Bluesy Fluesy chases down a man with missing teeth. She leaves him unconscious with a bloody palm. Justice Akatsuka defends a frail-looking man from a hoodlum. The man rewards him with a strange translucent slate that dissolves to leave a tattoo on his palm. The next morning, Akatsuka’s running to catch up to his friend on their way to school. He literally runs into Bluesy, who reacts without thinking and sends him head over heels. As she helps him to his feet, she feels an electric shock from his new tattoo. Her expression guarded, she excuses herself. That night, while he’s waiting for his friend to finish shopping, Akatsuka sees Bluesy again. This time, she steals his cellphone and leads him on a chase that ends in an empty warehouse. Browsing…

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