Former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo assassinated

Shinzo Abe, Japan's Longest-Serving Prime Minister, Dies at 67 - The New York Times

 

I happened to be watching NHK Japan last night when the shocking news broke that Japan’s former prime minister was shot. He was taken to a local hospital unresponsive and was later pronounced dead. He was 67 years old. Abe Shinzo was Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister. He was in office for 12 years before declining health forced him to step down in 2020. Abe was prime minister while Bush 43, Obama and Trump were president.

Tributes are pouring in from not just across Japan but around the world. The former prime minster’s assassination has also shattered the sense of peace and safety from gun violence Japan has long enjoyed since the end of World War II. Japan has long been known as one of the safest countries in the world. For context, it’s very common to see preschool-aged children using public transportation unattended in Tokyo and Osaka. For the most part, tou do not need to look over your shoulder when walking around at night.

While the assassin was arrested on the spot, the body blow he dealt to Japan will be felt for some time. The assassin was a former JSDF soldier and made the gun he used himself. Personally, I am concerned that may have permanently shattered the collective sense of safety from random gun violence the people of Japan have enjoyed for generations.

Many Japanese officials condemned the assassination as an attack on not just Democracy but an attack on Free Speech. Abe was speaking at a public event in Nara at the time he was killed. One of the so far known motives behind the assassination was the assassin held hatred toward what’s being referred to as a “certain group” he mistakenly believed Abe was affiliated with. Yes, someone really felt they needed to kill the former Prime Minister over something like that.

Given this was a politically motivated killing, even though he was no longer a government official at the time, the assassin will likely face the death penalty when convicted. Assuming that happens, The Japanese government has a policy of not telling the condemned in advance when they will be executed. Capital Punishment is extremely rare in Japan but given the nature of Abe’s assassination, it’s not a stretch to believe it will be off the table. The condemned don’t know when they’ll be executed until the day of. On that day, a guard will go to their cell to take them to be executed.

 

Yu-Gi-Oh! Creator Kazuki Takahashi Dies At 60 - Game Informer

 

The day before Abe’s assassination, manga, anime and trading card game fans were already rocked by the sudden and untimely death of Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi. Takahashi was found dead off the coast of Okinawa wearing diving gear after being spotted by someone passing by. He was 60 years old. His death is presumed to be accidental drowning.

 

In the early 90s, Takahashi’s fascination with Egyptian Mythology inspired him to create the Yu-Gi-Oh! Manga. The Manga was adapted into an Anime and more famously, inspired a real world trading card game. Not gonna lie, I spent around $1,200 on the TCG between 2002 and 2009. I wrote about it here. To save people a click, here’s one line that sums up that experience for me: Trading Card Games are a massive time and money pit. If you’re not careful, you might not be able to get out on your own.

 

While the Yu-Gi-Oh Franchise is nowhere near as popular s it once was 20 years ago, it currently lives on in anime, manga, the physical trading card game, the new official digital trading card game (Free to play) and video games.

 

 

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Japanese parents expressing concern over Sexually Explicit content in Anime

Top 17 Anime/Manga With Fanservice » Anime India

 

It’s hard to ignore the fact it’s becoming more and more commonplace in mainstream anime these days. Last year, Fire Force creator Atsushi Ōkubo weighed in on the subject that involved one character known to randomly lose their clothing in a Manga scene. He addressed the controversy around this character’s semi-nude trope directly by basically saying “So what if some people don’t like her showing so much skin in almost every scene? I dont give a damn.” through the scene. We’ll have to wait and see if this scene is put in the anime once the story reaches that point but it probably will be.

Most Anime fans in the West are already well aware of this but Japanese media is imfamous for being very…”liberal” in regards to its depictions of sexual content, violence and immorality in general for decades. The difference is until about 20 years ago, such content was strictly 18+ even in Japan. What happened? Foreign demand for Japanese media sharply increased, that’s what. Many consumers in North America and Europe who didn’t like their country’s “Censorship practices” took a strong liking to Japanese anime and manga because in general, western consumers felt Japanese media appealed to “mature audiences”.

Even when Anime began to become mainstream in North America and Europe about 25 years ago (late 1990s), most of what made its way to the West was relatively tame compared to most what was available in Japan at the same time. The West almost exclusively got select Shonen like Digimon, Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO), Pokemon, Dragonball Z, Inuyasha (started in the late 90s, Manga premeired earlier in the 90s) and Sailor Moon back then. All of these were geared toward kids and youth so even in Japan they were mostly tame, the one exception from that list being Dragonball Z (edited fo graphic content outside Japan).

It wasn’t until the mid to late 2000s that we really started to see the kiddie gloves coming off because by that point, anime airing in the West exclusively ran on Cable/Satellite. There was less of a need to edit anime for graphic content. Bleach, Death Note, Naruto, Samurai Champloo, Code Geass, Fullmetal Alchemist and Cowboy Beebop were all trail blazers in their own right and opened the floodgates for anime globally. Toward the end of the decade, anime streaming services were starting to take off. This is to say nothing of the West being introduced to the artistic genius of Hayao Miyazaki earlier in the decade via Disney’s Studio Ghibli.

It was during the 2010s that we really started seeing more non-Shonen going mainstream. We would also start to see Shonen that didn’t have fighting or flashy action sequences at the end of the decade like Food Wars and Dr. Stone. By 2014, Crunchyroll had become the anime streaming giant it still is now though Funimation would also launch their own streaming service. It was also by the mid-2010s that Anime’s Global Golden Age would be over after almost 20 years. At this point most anime, manga and even many Japanese RPGs were noticably being made with older consumers in mind. Why? Demand from foreign consumers was driving profits to new heights and the industry was adjusting accordingly.

 

World's End Harem Episode 1 Review: A Dangerous Journey Through Sex and Fantasy

 

That brings me back to the main topic. The fact that Japanese parents are raising concerns about Sexually Explicit content in anime tells me there is a more social awareness in Japan on what exactly their kids are being exposed to.

World’s End Harem, which recently premiered on Crunchyroll is a blatant attempt to make an obvious Ecchi appealing to “General Audiences”. How so? The basic premise of the story is about a man who wakes up after 5 years in cryogenic sleep to a world where Males are virtually extinct due to a viral outbreak. His primary mission? Impregnante as many Females as possible weather he wants to or not. The Manga it’s based on has actually been around for some time. While it IS true there is an actual plot, that is obviously not what the uh…”appeal” is if you know what I mean.

It’s interesting to note the reason there has been an uptick in anime and manga with sexually explicit content in recent years is because demand for it has sharply risen. Not from Japanese consumers but from consumers outside Japan. Most consumers from inside Japan don’t understand it and they DON’T like all the “Fan Service” for that matter anywhere near as much as they know many people outside Japan think. I do think it’s only a matter of time before Japanese artists and studios pivot on their own because most of them don’t want to be stereotyped for this anymore.

 

This is to say nothing of content sexualizing Female characters characterized as pre-pubescent and content depicting or promoting incest, usually between sibings becoming mainstream. This kind of content you usually had to put in some effort to find but mostly due to Western influence, we are seeing more of it in the mainstream. Japanese society is starting to recognize it as the problem it truly is and I am hoping they can discourage it personally.

 

 

 

 

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Crunchyroll announces Funimation, VRV and Wakanim’s libraries will merge with theirs

Image: Crunchyroll Hime with text "All your anime in one place!"

 

Crunchyroll broke the news this morning on their website. They have also given a partial list of what they have moved so far and more will be coming over time. If you already have a Crunchyroll account, you do not need to do anything. If you have an account with Funimation, VRV or Wakanim Crunchyroll is offering 60 free days of premium which they will send you via email.

I forgot to mention it on this blog but Funimation bought Crunchyroll last year. One of the biggest questions those of us with Crunchyroll Premium subscriptions had been wondering to now is what it means for us. Sony, which owns Funimation could have simply done the opposite. Most would agree browsing Crunchyroll’s catalog regardless of platform is way more user friendly than Funimation’s even after the former’s revamp two years ago.

Sony could’ve merged Crunchyroll’s library with Funimation’s but thankfully they decided to do it this way instead. For me it also means Crunchyroll is strong enough for Funimation to do this at least. Funimation itself is not going away. They will still Dub and license anime. Their streaming service is simply merging with Crunchyroll’s. They are calling it the world’s largest anime streaming library for a reason but the caviat is it’s the largest LEGAL one. I don’t use pirate websites–never have and never will–but I know a lot of people in low-income countries who do. They use pirate websites because they simply can’t afford it in their country or in many cases Crunchyroll isn’t available in their country. Much will need to be done to address this problem to say the least.

 

 

 

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Fruits Basket and Fullmetal Alchemist: Two Manga that got two different anime adaptations

Amazon.com: Fruits Basket Collector's Edition, Vol. 1 (Fruits Basket Collector's Edition, 1) (9780316360166): Takaya, Natsuki: BooksAmazon.com: Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1 (9781591169208): Arakawa, Hiromu, Arakawa, Hiromu: Books

 

 

It doesn’t happen often but Fruits Basket and Fullmetal Alchemist are two Manga that would each get not one but two different Anime adaptations. In both cases, both Anime ended up having huge fan followings. Both anime employ the same characters (and same voice actors) but the difference is the storytelling.

In the case of Fullmetal Alchemist, the first Anime doesn’t follow the Manga. The second anime released over 10 years later–titled Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood–is a complete adaptation of the Manga. I was able to confirm it myself when I got the entire Manga series over the course of 3 years. The second one was more well received because it followed the story from the Manga which the first one doesn’t. I am not familiar with the Manga version of Fruits Basket though I have seen both Anime. The first one leans more into RomCom but the second one leans more into Drama and is clearly more serious. The second version was promoted as “reimagining the original story” and most agree the slower pacing–and the greater emphasis on developing the new supporting characters added–helps tell a better and expanded story. The focus is shifted from the Soma Curse itself to the relationships and interactions between various people.

 

The number of Anime that deviate from the source material over the years is just way too long to list all of them. Here’s a few notable examples of Anime that deviate from the source material:

 

Yu-Gi-Oh!: Takahashi, Kazuki: 9780575077379: Amazon.com: Books

Yu-Gi-Oh! (Anime) - TV Tropes

Contrary to popular belief, the Manga preceeded everything else. Those who are familiar with the imfamous English Dub for the original series already knows how much 4Kids, which did the English dub changed from the Japanese version. Upper Deck, which localized the trading cards in the U.S. and Konami, which localized the video games followed their lead. Did you know Dark Magician was really Black Magician in Japan? Likewise, Summoned Skull was Summoned Demon. Black Skull Dragon was–you guessed it–Black Demon Dragon. The names were changed due to concerns of blowback from Conservative parents in the U.S.–it was marketed to kids as a reminder–and more so since even with the changes, there was no avoiding the occult themes. That alone, most can understand.

What made no sense was several characters being renamed. Teala became Tea, Junnoichi became Joey and Honda became Tristan. The only change to Yugi was the spelling for his last name (Motou became Moto). THAT pissed off a lot of people who were familiar with the source material and speaking of. What was the first season in the U.S. was actually the second season in Japan. The first season that only Japan got prominently featured Yami Yugi using pranks and curses to deal with troublemakers he encountered, often in gruesome ways. Naturally, they wouldn’t have been able to get away with it in the U.S. since as a reminder, kids were the target audience for marketing purposes.

One other thing that was a major pet peeve for me as someone who played the Trading Card game–and I was pretty good back in the day–was duels in the Anime followed their own rules separate from the TCG. This created a lot of confusion especially for those who watched the anime thinking the rules were the same.

 

Nostalgic News: Pokemon Red & Blue was released 20 years ago

The First Season of POKÉMON Is Now Streaming in HD — Nerdist

 

The Anime is now the longest running ever with no signs of slowing down anytime soon 23 years later. Pokemon fans have had a love/hate relationship with Ash since the beginning but mostly hate. The hate comes from the fact in each region, Ash doesn’t evolve most of his Pokemon and doesn’t catch a lot of Pokemon either. Ash leaving all of his Pokemon but Pikachu behind before going to the next region is also viewed by most as needlessly handicapping himself. Ash has racked up quite a few powerhouse Pokemon that if he used them, he would’ve dominated in some of the regions he would later visit. It certainly wouldn’t have taken him 21 years to become a League Champion to say the least.

It goes without saying the anime follows its own story separate from the games each saga is based on. At the time what’s now officially known as the Indigo League Saga first aired, Pokemon Red and Blue came to the U.S. Those games would be joined by Pokemon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition about 18 months later. Pokemon Yellow adapted some of the story elements from the Anime such as Jessie and James replacing four Team Rocket battles from Red/Blue and Giovanni having a Persian on his team each time you battle against him. Unlike Red/Blue in which you’re forced to choose from Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle you will be able to get all three of them in Yellow by the time you finish your business in Lavender Town. Why? Because Ash gets all three of them by that point in the Anime. You can find a Pidgeotto in Viridian Forest and can’t use a Thunder Stone on the Pikachu you start with in Yellow for the same reasons.

Pokemon Yellow also made some balancing changes with most of the Gym Leaders. The Pokemon the first 6 Gym Leaders were known to us by the time Pokemon Yellow dropped on that note. To help offset not having a Water or Grass Pokemon at the beginning of the game, the wild Mankey and Nidoran (Male and Female) you catch in Yellow do learn Double Kick early on so you can get past Brock’s Rock Pokemon without having to trade. Both of Brock’s Pokemon also had their levels reduced by two each. Misty’s Pokemon and levels are unchanged but unlike Red/Blue, she will not Full Heal status ailments you inflict on her Pokemon. Lt. Surge uses a single Pokemon when you face him: A level 28 Raichu with Mega Punch and Mega Kick just like in the Anime. Erika uses the same team she used against Ash in the anime (Tangela, Gloom and Weepinbell). Koga adds a Venomoth to his lineup while Sabrina uses Abra and its evolutions. Blaine’s team is unchanged while Giovanni has a Persian replacing a Pokemon in Viridian Gym (same for your other two Giovanni battles).

As folks who followed the Anime for years know, Ash is joined by Brock and Misty for the Indigo and Johto Sagas. Misty leaves after the Johto Saga and Brock leaves after the Sinnoh Saga. From the Hoenn Saga to the Kalos Saga, Ash would be joined by the Female protagonist from the game (May, Dawn, Serena) or Gym Leaders (Iris, Cilan, Clemont). It actually wasn’t until the mobile game Pokemon Masters EX that we found out the official names of Gen 5’s Protagonists (the in-game avatars you play as): Hilbert (Male), Rosa (Female), Nate (Male) and Hilda (Female). In addition, Gen 7’s Protagonists are named Elio (Male) and Selene (Female). None of them appear or are mentioned in the anime.

It goes without saying the anime follows its own plot separate from the games. There is also a reason we have not seen another game like Pokemon Yellow that incorporated elements from the Anime. Ash-Greninja (Distributed via Sun/Moon’s Demo) does not count on that note since the unique abilities Ash’s Greninja displays was for cross-promotion purposes. This special Greninja can’t be bred on that note and its special ability is nothing to call home about. The reason we have not seen another game like Pokemon Yellow either main series or otherwise incorporate elements from the Anime is simply because they are two different worlds. Pokemon Yellow proved they were meant to stay on separate tracks.

 

Attack on Titan' should be your next watch, regardless if you are an anime  fan

 

The second half of Attack on Titan’s final season begins next month and fans of the franchise have been following it from the very beginning over 5 years ago. The pacing of the release of the anime has been held back to ensure it does not outpace the Manga and that’s because the anime has no filler episodes or filler arcs. On that note. In times past, studios would develop filler episodes or filler seasons that have nothing to do with the source material due to network obligations. Not anymore. This is one of the benefits that come with a series being on a platform like Crunchyroll or Funimation.

Everyone remembers the original Dragonball Z anime from the 90s that not only had filler episodes but drastically slowed down storytelling and pacing. When the reboot Dragonball Z Kai was released first on Nickelodeon and then Adult Swim, they cut out all the filler and the difference is like night and day. By the time Dragonball Z Kai was beginning to wind down the Buu Saga, the then new Dragonball Super was well into development.

 

…Whew.

 

I think it’s become obvious by now there is a new appreciation by the industry to just stick as close to the source material as possible when making anime.  Fans are willing to wait and with streaming services, they can work at their own pace. These days, more Anime is adapted from Light Novels or Web Comics than Manga and it’s just as well.

 

 

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Netflix’s Live Action version of Cowboy Bebop is clearly trying to be respectful to the source material

Cowboy Bebop | Netflix Official Site

 

More so given the overwhelmingly negative reception it’s received so far from fans of the Anime. I get it, everyone remembers the disaster that was Netflix’s Death Note. Clearly tthis time will be different though.

 

Here’s a side by side comparison with the opening title sequence for both the Anime and the Live Action Version:

 

 

As of now, we know that there will be at least two seasons.

One noticable omission from the first season is seems to be Edward. The interesting thing about Edward is contrary to the name, Edward is actually a girl. If you pay attention, Edward’s gender isn’t mentioned or clarified until the episode explaining her backstory near the end of the series. My guess is the producers were either not sure how to write her story for the first season or they may be planning to make her genderless.

 

Netflix dropped this almost 3-minute teaser I assume to convince fans of the anime to check it out. Given they kept Tank! (the song from the opening sequence), which is one of Anime’s most iconic tracks ever that should be enough for people to know this project is worth checking out at least. I plan to watch along with a few other stuff whenever it is I renew my Netfix subscription. Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop premieres on November 19.

If you’ve read this far and havent watched the anime before–what the hell is wrong with you if that’s true–you have quite a few options:

  1. Toonami/Adult Swim (Cartoon Network)
  2. DVD/Blu Ray
  3. YouTube

…Pick one.

I have it on Blu Ray but first watched it on Toonami/Adult Swim when it was first released way, WAY back in 1998. Toonami has been airing it in reruns ever since.

 

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Future Blog Plans

First things first, I want to repeat what I said at the end of my previous article. Please consider supporting me financially via the PayPal Links above and below. If you’re sharing my articles on Twitter and other platforms, please ask your people to consider giving me financial support as well. I do all this for free but the financial support would be greatly appreciated.

 

This is one of my first blogs and since it’s been a while, I figure I would take the time to explain the direction I plan to move with this blog moving forward. One thing I plan to continue is give analysis of various Anime and Asian Dramas I watch. I also plan to continue giving an analyis of various Dramas and Webtoons I read. Of course, I’ll also talk about Anime Boston as I have been for almost 10 years now.

Something I’ve noticably been making an effort to do more of is delve into current events in Japan outside Pop Culture. I have also been expanding things outside strictly Japan especially when I talk about Manwa (Korean Manga) and Manhua (Chinese Manga), more so because of their increased international popularity in recent years.

It goes without saying Japan won the Cultural War it declared on the West in the Mid to late 90s. Western Cultures scoffed at what they viewed to be a “niche” subculture in the early 2000s but by the early 2010s, it really started to take off. Now, it’s more or less considered mainstream. To say Western society is obsessed with Japanese and Asian/Pacific Culture(s) now goes without saying. A lot of that has to do with the fact let’s be honest, Western Moral Values have become virtually non-existent over the last 20 years. Of course, much of that is because of our own doing–violence, sexual immorality, profanity and crime glorified in our entertainment–so the results of that on our society shouldn’t surprise anyone.

People are looking for decent entertainment that has a lot of the good morals that used to be be all over TV’s first few decades. Until about 30 years ago, parents in America didn’t need to worry about what their kids watched on TV. Obviously, now parents do and then some. I’ll spare you the history lesson but basically, people are just tired of the garbage that is today’s American TV. This is also what makes Asian Programming in general so attractive to Western Audiences. People are seeing things in the vein of what they saw when they were young or in the case of younger viewers, they’re seeing something wholesome.

China and to a lesser extent Korea are known for producing Period dramas alongside Dramas set in the modern age. The Period dramas set in the past give Western audiences a look into life in either country’s history even when there are historical inaccuracies or a hard lean into Fantasy elements. After all, Anicent China was the home of both Buddhism and Confucianism though there are also elements of Taoism as well.

Most of the modern shows I watch highlight the cultural struggles in China and Korea with the influences of Capitalism and other Western influences with established longtime cultural values. When the 2018 American movie Bohemian Rhapsody was released in China, the Chinese government agreed to allow the movie to be shown in the country but there was a catch: The movie had to be edited to remove references to the lead character being Bisexual. The Chinese government does censor international movies, literature and TV shows not just on moral grounds but for political reasons. Of course, the will also censor anything that mocks or goes against or threatens Chinese cultural beliefs as a whole. Yes, really.

While just the idea of government censorship is enough to trigger well…everyone in the U.S., you won’t find a lot of people who oppose the idea of the American Media Industry getting cleaned up. The problem is the industry has made it clear it has no interest or will to police itself so…yeah. I’ll stop there since it’s a topic for another blog though.

All that said, I am WELL aware of the Sexually Explicit and graphic violence in some Japanese Anime and Manga. I hate it personally and more so when I feel a lot of it is unncessary. I also hate the fact Sexually Lewd content in particular has seeped into video games from Japanese developers being localized in the West. Why do they do it? Because in Japan, those types of games are deliberately marketed to adults. Same for “Girls/Boys Love” Ecchi and Harem genre games.

Don’t even get me started on charcters regardless of medium featured that are physically “child-like” but are actually 18+ AND teenagers under 18 with exaggerated physical proportions being put in sexually suggestive situations or scenes. All that said, the Japanese goverment finally stepped in a few years ago and more so because of Anime like Higehiro where unfortunately concerns someone would try to replicate what they see depicted actually did. This was never a concern for Japanese society in the past but that was before so much of their mass media was as saturated with Sexual Content as it is now.

What I was pleasantly surprised to learn in recent years is there are people on both sides of the Pacific who are basically saying “Enough. All this [Fan Service] isn’t necessary”. It’s commonly known as Fan Service which in Anime/Manga is almost always females being sexually suggestive or Lewd, usually in an over the top or deliberate way. Those in Japan are tired of being stereotyped over it first and its not as socially accepted in Japan as people might think second. Even more so these days. Those outside Japan are pushing back hard against those who oppose content makers who edit out or change sexually explicit content. When you’re older, you realize “less is more” anyways.

 

Moving on. I snuck this in at the end of the last article but I set up a Discord Server! I started using Discord for the first time ever this year and I see it as a potential alternative to some social media platforms. I have Discord on my iPad as well so I’ll be able to follow conversations anytime and anywhere. I’ll add more channels to the server over time as well so it’s not a bad idea to drop in at least.

 

Things You Probably Didn't Know About Instant Ramen Noodles

Instant Pot Ramen Noodles | Gluten Free Ramen Noodles - Confessions of a Fit Foodie

 

I do plan to add a section for Japanese Foods with complete recipes.

Instant Ramen and Cup Ramen have been around for over 50 years but did you know you can and it’s reccommended you spice it up to look like it does in Anime? Instant Ramen and Cup Ramen imfamously got a bad reputation in the late 1990s to mid-2000s in the U.S. but that changed after the Naruto Manga and later Anime were released. Anime Fans in particular began to realize they were mostly eating it wrong their whole lives: The Flavor packet was for the broth BUT it was assumed you would add the protein and veggies yourself. If this isn’t a reason to learn how to cook, I don’t know what is!

I’ll add a new section for Japanese foods before the end of this year. Of that you can be certain. I’ll announce in posts when content is added as well, don’t worry. I won’t just post recipes but more importantly, how you can make certain things without access to an Asian Grocery Store like Super 88. Most Supermarkets in the U.S. do have an aisle or two lined with Sauces, Spices, Seasonings and other Asian ingredients or food products. Those will cover everything I plan to feature over time but if live near an Asian Grocery store, you can ask staff about specifics.

If you’ve never seen the Produce section of your local supermarket, most do sell Daikon–it’s a type of Radish for those who don’t know–as well as Shitake Mushrooms as well as Leeks (Green Onions). If you want Kobe Beef, you would have to go to either go to an Asian grocery store or a Butcher Shop though it won’t be cheap. Alternatively, you can use other cuts of beef instead. Oh and I won’t just feature Japanese food. I also plan to feature foods from South Korea, The Philippines and China to name a few places.

I also plan to add a section for the Idol Industry in Japan and South Korea as a whole to explain some things many of those outside South Korea and Japan may not understand culturally. The Western World knows who BTS is now but until very recently, they were only known in South Korea. The Dark Side of K-Pop and J-Pop Fandoms is touched on in other media but I’m gonna make a section to show folks what could have been the U.S. Pop Scene about 25 years ago. I feel it’s important for folks to be aware at least.

 

…Whew.

Yeah, I know this is quite a lot of big things I have planned moving forward. Your continued support will be greatly appreciated moving forward. Really, I mean it. Thank you ^_^

 

 

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a monetary donation via PayPal by clicking here. Whatever amount you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I now have a Discord Server! You can find it here. My Discord name is mraurabolt.

Crunchyroll and Rakuten Viki are clearly gearing up to attract viewers for the Fall and Winter

…That’s probably the best way I can think of to put it right now. Before I preview what’s new, I first want to give a recap on some ongoing anime and one legendary reboot that wrapped up over the summer.

 

Ok here we go:

Digimon Adventure: (2020) Episodio 44 Online Sub Español HD - Pepeliculas

Digimon Adventure, which was a reboot of the original Anime series wrapped up over the summer. The reboot cut out all of the bloat so prevalent from the original series and a lot of that was because unlike the original series, the reboot only aired new episodes once a week. For those who are either too old to remember or didn’t exist at the time, look up Dragonball Z’s original episode count and compare it to Dragonball Z Kai’s.

Anywho, Digimon Adventure basically cuts right to the point. If you watched the original series, you’ll notice a few changes made to the reboot with certain characters. Most notably with Patomon having a split evolution. Aside from evolving into Angemon, Patomon gets an alternate evolution to Pegasmon. Another interesting change is the kids stay in the digital world until the end. In the original series, they are able to return to the real world after a certain point and this is how we originally meet Tai’s sister Hikari. What happens instead is she is introduced at the beginning and is later pulled into the Digital World.

For those who never saw the original series, you can just watch this instead. Prepare to binge though. At the time the original series was released, yes it was compared to the Pokemon Anime. Digimon are different from Pokemon in two ways. One is Digimon with human partners only Digivolve Temporarily in the Anime. Aside from Mega Evolution, Pokemon permanently evolve. In the case of Pokemon like Eevee that had multiple evolutions, you would need a LOT of Eevee to get all of its evolutions.

The other difference is Digimon can speak human language while almost all Pokemon can only say their name. Team Rocket’s Meowth explains he gave up learning PayDay to learn the human language as well as learn to walk on two legs (Meowth usually walk on all fours). Meowth is able to translate the Pokemon Language though. That aside, any other Pokemon that can speak to humans are almost always a Legendary Pokemon or highly intelligent. You also almost always see such a Pokemon in a movie.

Taichi Mukai Performs New Opening Theme for Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai Anime - News - Anime News Network

 

As a reminder, the Manga turned Anime is not based on any existing game from the legendary Dragon Quest/Warrior video game series. With the new OP that debuted a few weeks ago, it seems we are fast heading towards the series finale at this point. Dai reluctantly teams up with his estranged father Baran to take on a common enemy. While the two are fighting Hadlar, Baran notices a danger that may make beating Hadlar lethally impossible. King Vearn is confident Dai and Baran will not survive their encounter with  Hadlar, who is already planning to fight to the death. It will be interesting to see how things unfold.

Hyunckel, who was nearly killed in the previous fight was considered too injured to fight anymore. That doesn’t stop him from dragging himself to the Field of Death to join Popp, Maam and Crocodine on the battlefield. Even without Dai, the unlikely friends are prepared to overcome the odds stacked against them.

 

Is Kurama dead? Kurama's death in Boruto: Naruto Next Generations Chapter 55 manga shocks fans

If you passed on watching Boruto up to now because you felt the story should’ve ended with Shippuden, hopefully a major character death and a second one teased at the end of the Kara Arc will change your mind. This is a major spoiler but given the fact it’s all over the internet since the episode first aired two weeks ago, I won’t give a spoiler warning.

During the final battle with Isshinki, Kurama offered Naruto a deal that would give him a massive power boost but it would require a sacrifice. Naruto assumed it would mean death and he was right. Just not his. After the battle, Kurama reveals he only told Naruto half the story: The only one who would die would be him, not Naruto. He didn’t tell him the truth up front because he knew Naruto wouldn’t have agreed to it otherwise. Before disappearing, Kurama explains normally a Jinchuriki would die with their Tailed Beast but because of what Kurama did, Nauto’s life would be spared. The loss of Kurama means Naruto no longer has Superhuman strength and Chakra but he’s still really powerful.

Kawaki, who suffered extreme abuse and torture for most of his life gets the final victory over Isshinki by making a Shadow Clone and using it to fool his former benefactor. It was a great fist-pump moment and closure for him to say the least. Naruto offered to make Kawaki a Genin and he simply replied “I’ll think about it”. Amado defecting to the Leaf was what made that victory possible. Seeing him get a happy ending was also satisfying all things considered. Some might not agree with the fact he was able to easily neutralize the threat of Momoshinki taking over Boruto again after the emotional build to that point but all things considered, I’m totally fine with it. Both Boruto and Naruto have been through enough to that point.

Everyone in the Kara has been eliminated except for Code though based on the preview for the next episode, that loose end appears to be on the shelf for now. The next episode takes us back to the Chunin Exams which were interrupted and put on hold quite a while back. Ninja exams tend to get put on hold quite a lot in the world of Naruto, don’t they? Based on the preview, Sasuke and/or Orochimaru may be involved in the Chunin exams so we’ll see. It’s sure to be quite interesting to say the least!

 

Inuyasha x Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon Exhibition to Begin in Ikebukuro This Summer | MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON | もしもしにっぽん

The Second Season of Yasha-Hime: Princess Half-Demon recently started and out the gate, we get a bit more story development regarding Sesshomaru, Rin and Setsuna in particular. As was revealed in the first season, Sesshomaru pretended to ally himself with Kirinmaru to protect his family as well as Inuyasha and Kagome. We find out why Sesshomaru stopped the girls rom killing Zero in the latest episode and why she said “If I die, she dies too!”

In this case, “She” is Rin. In the latest episode, it’s revealed Zero–She’s Kirinmaru’s sister as a reminder–put a curse on Rin shortly after Jaken hid the girls. She then linked herself to Rin so that if one dies, the other would too. This basically ensures Sesshomaru or anyone who knows about the link can’t kill her. This is also why he stopped the girls from killing Zero at the end of Season 1. The reason Rin was placed in the Tree of Ages was to stop the curse placed on her from spreading. Time for her has stopped biologically. Presumably she will remain there until Sesshomaru can figure out how to sever Zero’s link with her as well as break the curse on her.

One interesting development was the revealation Riku, who turned on Kirinmaru was actually born from one of his horns. Everything Riku sees and hears, Kirinmaru can see and hear. Zero is actually the one who tells him what he really is and you can tell after he learns this, it’s likely Kirinmaru knows his every move to now. Riku turned on Kirinmaru and had been secretly helping Towa for the last few episodes. Now that he knows Kirinmaru knows everything, that makes things more complicated for him. We’ll have to wait and see how things unfold moving forward.

 

The Lariat | Rakuten Viki

…Moving over to Asian Dramas on Viki.

I neglected to comment on this last year but Viki has moved more of their existing content to its Standand and Premium Subscription tiers. I was a little annoyed to see some titles that were Free for me before now being locked behind a Premium subscription though the ones I have in mind were dramas I already watched. I do have a Standard Subscription and though I do plan to upgrade to Premium at some point in the future, it would have been great if Viki at least sent an email to let people know a show they watch or have on their watch list is changing tiers.I  renewed for another year this past September. The Standard Tier is $50 a year while the Premium tier is $100 a year. I will always prefer annual subscripions–I have one for Crunchyroll also–because you save longterm. $10 a month is $120 a year but $50 a year or $100 a year means you save $70 or $20 a year.

I mean I get those who don’t want to be locked into an annual subscription and more so if they don’t watch much but that’s a good reason to do the annual sub: You don’t feel pressured to watch at least once a day. With an annual sub, you can go weeks without waching and with series still in progress, you give time for several new episodes to be released. With Viki, I’ve only watched shows with all Episodes available so far personally though.

 

 

True Beauty” Webtoon Author Shares Her Thoughts On The Drama Adaptation And Casting | Soompi

 

Anyone who’s been reading the Webtoon True Beauty probably already knows about the Live Action adaptation that was released on Viki in 2019. If you’ve only seen the Live Action Drama, get the Webtoon app and read it so you’re caught up. The TV Series ends with Suho being forced to leave for Japan to attend to his father, who suffered a stroke.

If you’ve never seen the Webtoon, here’s what’s happened since then and warning, MAJOR Spoilers:

  • There is a time skip of a few years. Everyone’s a Young Adult now.
  • Jugyeong goes to College, majoring in makeup (obviously).
  • Jugyeong and Seojun start dating (!)
  • Seojun sees Jugyeong’s bare face for the first time, he compliments her for it
  • Seojun enters the Pop Idol Business at Jugyeong’s urging
  • Jugyeong finds part-time work as a Makeup Artist
  • After rumors about their relationship spreads online, Jugyeong breaks up with Seojun (!).
  • Suho returns from Japan (!)
  • Jugyeong gets a Stalker but fortunately, Suho eventually steps in.
  • Seojun learns Suho is back, the Frenimies pick up where they left off.
  • Suho learns Jungyeong and Seojun were dating while he was away (!)
  • Jugyeong learns a friend is in an Abusive Relationship
  • Jugyeong, Seojun and Suho end up spending a weekend together
  • Suho and Seojun come clean about both having feelings for Jungyeong and settle the contest “like Men” (they get into a fistfight), Suho wins (!)
  • Jugyeong shows her two high school friends her bare face for the first time.

 

That’s where we’re at to now. If you’ve been following the Webtoon to now, this is nothing new to you. If you haven’t read it yet or haven’t read much this year, go get yourself caught up! Oh and yes, I do think there is and should be a Season 2. I would end Season 2 with Suho’s return. End with a cliffhanger for Season 3.

 

 

My ID Is Gangnam Beauty” Webtoon Artist Reacts To Casting Of ASTRO's Cha Eun Woo And Im Soo Hyang | Soompi

Speaking of.

This is another Webtoon with a Live Drama Adaptation: My ID is Gangnam Beauty. I watched the Drama in full on Viki earlier this year but only last week did I find out it’s based on the Webtoon of the same name. With True Beauty, I started reading the Webtoon first and by the time the drama came out the current story was well past where the TV Series leaves off.

…I’m gonna read the Webtoon from the beginning so I’m caught up the story. Basically, the exact opposite of where I am in regards to True Beauty. The Webtoon App is free by the way. I have it on my iPad but you can also read on your phone or computer.

 

There was more I was gonna cover but with the next post I have in mind, I decided to cut things short.

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Here’s some recent Anime that I reccommend would make decent intros to the Medium

The best anime of 2019 - The Verge

 

When I say “recent”, I mean they were released in the last 2 to 3 years. Weather you’re new to the world of anime or you have someone you want to bring in, it can be pretty overwhelming picking one. The first thing you want to keep in mind either way when picking you “entry” anime is keeping personal preferences in mind. You or your friend don’t have to like something just because others do or because it’s super popular (or “mainstream”).

There is literally an anime for everyone and even with the 2 to 3 year limit I put on this list, it’s not too hard to name some. Before I continue, as usual I am only going to reccommend Anime I have seen myself. All of these Anime are on Crunchyroll which is free but if you want to watch new episodes the same day they become available in Japan (Free users have to wait an extra week) and watch episodes without ads (You have 2 or 3 rounds of Ads per episode to sit through on the Free version), you’ll want to get a subscription.

 

Ok here’s my list. Bold means the anime season is ongoing as of this writing. Bold Italics means the Anime is ongoing AND new. If you see Italics, that means a new season is planned or has been announced. Whatever is plain text either aired in its entirety or there are no known plans for a new season to my knowledge as of this writing.

 

  • The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated!
  • Fena: Pirate Princess
  • Fruits Basket (2019-2021 version)
  • Dr. Stone
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime
  • I’m Standing on A Thousand Lives
  • Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai
  • Tonikawa: Over The Moon For You
  • Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma
  • Rent a Girlfriend
  • Ahiru no Sora
  • Tokyo Revengers
  • Persona 5: The Animation
  • If It’s For My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat A Demon Lord
  • Somali and the Forest Spirit
  • The Rising of The Shield Hero
  • Remake Our Life!
  • 86: Eighty-Six

 

Most of these are critically acclaimed by anime fans for various reasons. I tell everyone this but don’t feel like you have to binge watch one anime before moving on to another. Feel free to jump around between a few if you want. The only listed Anime I have not actually seen yet is Tokyo Revengers and that’s because I’m planning to watch the whole season or series when it finshes, whichever happens first.

I went with a list of Anime that covers a range of genres. There’s a bit of everything in short. Take your time and just dive right into whatever looks interesting to you. Like Sports? Ahiru no Sora (Basketball) would be a good one. Slice of Life? Rent a Girlfriend is a pretty good pick. Want Isekai? I’m partial to The Rising of the Shield Hero and That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime. Are you feelng Hungry? Get fed with Food Wars. Want something based on a video game? Persona 5’s is pretty faithful to the source material. Want to see a new type of Shonen? Dr. Stone is not only good but educational. Slice of Life? Fruits Basket. Needing Adventure? You can’t go wrong with Fena: Pirate Princess.

 

I can go on and on but…yeah. There are other anime that came out over the last 2 to 3 years of course. These are just the ones I personally reccommend. It doesn’t mean some of the others aren’t decent though. These are just my picks.

 

 

 

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I just started watching Eighty Six-86 and the moral controversy has some real world parallels that should not be ignored

86--Eighty-Six, Vol. 1 (manga) by Asato Asato, Shirabii, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

 

I just finished watching the seventh episode on Crunchyroll and it is now my favorite new anime of 2021. Based on the Manga of the same name, 86 is the story of a country in the near future at war with rogue autonomous drones trying to invade the country’s far eastern boarder. The government and military boast it is a bloodless war since they claim to also use autonmous drones but the truth is much darker: In reality, the drones used by the country are piloted by people not considered human because they are not the “chosen race”. Since they are not considered human, they don’t exist as far as the government is concerned and so their deaths are never officially reported or acknowledged.

Yes, really.

This goes there and it doesn’t try to shy away or gloss over the obvious moral controversy. In fact, that is the story.

Of course, the general public is ignorant of the truth and to an extent is complicit due to the racism. Only those with silver hair and blue eyes are considered “human” while everyone else is not as far as the country is concerned. The anime is called 86 because those not considered human are confined to the county’s 86th Region on the edge of the country. These people are referred to collectively as The 86 or simply 86. They have no human or civil rights and live far from the eyes and thoughts of the rest of the Albins, which is the name of the “chosen race”.

Due to the government and media propaganda boasting “zero human casualties” in the war, officially their deaths in combat are not reported or recorded. The fact the 86 are not considered human and the battlefront is far away makes it very easy to cover up what would easily be considered human rights violations of the worst kind. Since they are not recognized as human, there is no reason or need to acknowledge their deaths as far as the government is concerned.

On that note. Episode 5 confirms what viewers were probably thinking to that point: The real plan for the country is for them to use the war to kill off all the 86. Since they are not considered human, there is no reason or need to acknowledge their involvement in the war to the public. As is revealed, 86 staying in concentration camps are basically pressed into military service with the empty promise of freedom and full citizenship if they survive 5 years of meaningless fighting. Of course, they are well aware that they are being lied to from the start and the sole purpose is for them to be killed off.

This is, of course to say nothing of the severe PTSD the 86 suffer throughout. More so knowing their death can come at any time and no one would know or care. As a reminder, the general population doesn’t know the truth and for the most part wouldn’t care about the truth if it were known. Again, since the 86 are not considered people their deaths are never officially acknowledged or counted beyond the codename “Processors”. As a reminder, the public are told unmanned drones do the fighting and so there will always be zero human casualties so…yeah.

…Sorry to veer into politics with this but some countries have a long, dark history of exploiting minority populations for military purposes since ancient times. Sometimes when a kindgom annexes another kingdom, instead of their own people they will press the people of the conquered territory into forced military service.  More recently, when ISIS carved up the Middle East 10 years ago they didn’t slaughter everyone. They gave the men a choice: “Fight for us or die”.  So, the plot for this anime is right out of the pages of history to say the least.

With everything going on in the world right now, it’s not hard to imagine scenarios like this happening again. I look at the U.S., Russia, China, The Philippines, Nigeria, India and Brazil being just a few countries that are more than capable of doing something like this in the near future. That’s based on what I’ve seen in all those countries. Is it a violation of human rights? Of course. Would the public give a damn at tthe end of the day? Of course not.

I’ll put it like this: Today, 13 U.S. Troops were killed in Afghanistan but dozens if not hundreds of Afghan civilians were also killed in the same attack. The media has almost entirely been on the American soldiers killed while the Afghan victims are basically footnotes in comparison. I’ll take it a step further. No one in the U.S. outside the military and their families give a damn about the U.S. Troops killed and injured today. I’ll just put it like that. As far as most laypeople are concerned, “Soldiers know they could die when deployed to dangerous parts of the world.” Why else do you think all the keyboard warriors are sounding off and have been since the crisis in Afghanistan blew up last week?

All that said and moving back to 86. The world has rightfully become very concerned by the U.S. government starting to rely on unmanned drones for both surveilance and combat missions more and more. Don’t get the wrong idea, no one objects to the idea of not having to needlessly risk human casualties for these things. The concerns lie in governments and by extension the people of countries that use military drones becoming desensitized to the often wanton destruction their military’s drones remotely inflict on human populations in distant lands.

It’s not really a secret the U.S., Russia and China all have Cyber Corps Divisions. Their primary purpose is defense but in the case of Russia and China in particular, they also engage in offense at the discretion of their commanders and high-ranking government officials. It’s not a stretch to assume some military bases in all three countries have computer terminals from which these cyber soldiers remotely operate drones deployed to other countries (so far).

I do know in regars to the U.S., Military Drones are replacing manned military jets for recon missions and in more cases bombing missions. No longer does the U.S. Air Force have to wait until the cover of night to do bombing runs. They can simply deploy a drone as the advance force to devastate targets on the ground, then send in soldiers to clean up afterward. No longer are fighter pilots risking being shot down in enemy territory.

So far, countries that have military drones have only been using them for either surveilance or in counterterrorism operations. You’d be a fool to not know it’s only a matter of time before two countries with military drone go to war with each other. If a country with military drones goes to war with a country without drones, it goes without saying the country with drones would be at a huge advantage. They could penetrate deep behind enemy lines and even when shot down, the attacking forces have still suffered–wait for it–no human casualties.

…You get the real world connection with 86 now?

While the drones used IRL are being remotely controlled by people, that still doesn’t take away the moral concerns with using them in an actual war. The prospect alone has been quite the derrent for the world’s military superpowers to fight each other so far but it’s anyone’s guess how long that can be maintained.

 

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Breaking News: The Misfit of Demon King Academy Manga Cancelled due to Author’s Health

Weekly Review — The Misfit of Demon King Academy Episode 10 – Biggest In Japan

 

A few days after it was announced the Manga would be on hiatus, news broke over the weekend that the Manga based on the popular Light Novel series will be cancelled due to the author’s declining health. It was first announced the Manga would be on hiatus but that was later updated to Cancelled. The studio where Kaya Haruka works revealed after this shocking and sad news that they were aware the author was battling Pancreatic Cancer since 2019. Things clearly took a turn for the worst recently for the story to be put on hiatus and now be cancelled. As of July 13, Kaya Haruka has passed away.

Do note this Manga was adapted from the Light Novel series of the same name. Meaning someone else could make a new Manga adaptation of it at some point in the future. An anime adaptation was released last year. Season 2 is set to be released sometime next year. The manga’s 10th Volume is set to be released next month. While the current Manga will clearly be ending soon, that doesn’t mean that the story can’t contine in a new Manga series and chances are good that is what will likely happen.

 

 

The Rising of the Shield Hero's New Director Teases Season 2

More disappointing news: Season 2 of The Rising of the Shield Hero has been delayed to April 2021.

The most likely reasons are the surge in COVID-19 cases in Japan and recent concerns regarding overworked studio staff that’s been widely publicized in recent months. Originally planned for an October 2020 premeier, the extra 6 month delay doesn’t surprise me at all and more so given Season 2 was originally planned to premeire last summer. That was postponed due to the Pandemic.

Naofumi, Raphtalia and Filo joined Isekai Quartet’s second season, likely in response to the anime’s massive popularity. A third season and a movie were both recently announced. We’ll have to wait and see if characters from other Isekai join and there’s quite a number of popular ones to choose from.

 

Tokyo Olympics 2021 Opening Ceremony: No Spectators Allowed - The Teal Mango

The Japanese government announced most of the Tokyo Olympics events will take place without fans in attendance and the news comes almost two months after the Japanese government announced the events would be closed to foreign spectators. Many athletes that qualified have started dropping out in response to the new announcement saying they don’t see the point in participating without any fans in attendance.

Japanese citizens have been protesting the Olympics for months, citing the surge in COVID-19 cases since March. Despite this, the clearly tone-deaf International Olympic Committee still plans to hold the Olympics as scheduled. Why is the Olympics, which was postponed from last year not being postponed a second time?

It’s simple: Broadcast and Advertising obligations.

In the U.S., ESPN and NBC Sports will carry the bulk of the media coverage for the Tokyo Olympics. The fact of the matter is even without live fans in attendance, that won’t keep camera teams from doing their jobs. This is exaserbated further by the simple fact most in the U.S. have NO CLUE what has been going on in Japan since the spring and honestly most of those people have no damns to give.

This is more of a thing I would normally cover on my blog for politics but I felt since this is Japan-related, it’s fair game to inform people on this blog on what exactly is going on.

 

 

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