Twin Star Exorcists ends with Episode #50

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…Can’t help but wonder if it’s more than a coincidence TSE and Naruto Shippuden had their respective finales a week apart on Crunchyroll. That said, I’m sure I’m reading a bit too much into the subject. LOL.

I’m fairly certain this Anime will get an official English Dub. It’s already mega popular in the U.S. thanks to Crunchyroll. I started watching TSE last Fall purely by accident and knew it was something special. Watching how the lead protagonists developed and matured was pretty cool. Even though the series is done, there is plenty of material available to make a spinoff series or something.

Most of the cast was quite memorable. The only two I absolutely hated overall were Kinako and Yuto because of how 1-dimensional and shellow they both felt for separare reasons. Kinako’s Benio complex aside, he was clearly meant to be the comic relief but Rokuro can hold that role down just fine on his own. Yuto’s Rokuro complex aside, he got virtually no development. At least Kinako got a proper backstory. With Yuto, it’s revealed he was never supposed to exist in the first place and has no reason to exist. In fact, his existence was a mistake and shouldn’t have happened while his twin sister Benio was fated.

The show is so-named because Rokuro and Benio, who are the most powerful Exorcist couple alive were destined to give birth to the most powerful Exorcist ever. Having saved the world and befriended some Kegare and Basara by the end of the series, rules are meant to be broken. The irony of course being Rokuro and Benio fall in love for real in the end. Having saved the world themselves, their original “purpose” is no longer necessary and the worldwide threat of Magano has been neutralized. Even so, their kids will be insanely strong. Comes with Rukuro technically being a Kegare and Benio having the most dense spiritual power.

TSE is the first Anime series to have over 26 episodes in several years now. If you watch, you can take it slow. Overall I give the series an 8/10.

 

 

Naruto Shippuden (FINALLY!) comes to an end with Episode #500; Boruto Anime to Premeire April 5

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10 years after Naruto Shippuden premeired, the final Episode aired on March 23, 2017. It is now truly the end of an era. Combined with the first Naruto Anime series, the franchise spanned nearly 650 episodes combined. A smash hit on both sides of the Pacific, Naruto burst onto the scene back in 2003 first in Japan and then came to the U.S. in 2004. With the stable of memorable characters, it goes without saying Naruto/Naruto Shippuden has more than earned its spot on the Top 10 List of Greatest Anime Of All Time.

While Naruto introduced the main and support characters and most of the recurring characters, Shippuden provided the backstory and the history of the Naruto Universe. The first part of the series opened with Naruto returning after training with Jiraiya for 3 years. He reunites with Sakura, who are joined by the socially awkward Sai. Former Anbu Yamato is appointed temporary leader of the reformed Team 7, which renewed its goal of finding the missing Sasuke Uchiha. The missing former member of Team 7 joined forces with Orochimaru to gain the power he would need to slay the man responsible for wiping out his clan: His brother Itachi, who had since joined the Akatsuki. The Akatsuki is a shadowy organization made up of powerful rogue ninja. Their goal is the capture all of the tailed beasts for a much larger and more sinister purpose.

Shippuden reveals the previously unknown story of Naruto’s origins and Kakashi’s past: Naruto’s father is actually the 4th Hokage, Minato Namikaze (which you should know if you read my blog post featuring him). Naruto’s mother Kushina Uzumaki comes from a clan that specializes in sealing and restraining chakra. She was chosen to be the Jinchuruki of Kurama, the Nine-Taled beast before Naruto. On the night Naruto was born, a mysterious man attacked the village. His goal: Release Kurama and unleash his power on the village, which he does for a time. With Kushina severely weakened from giving birth and having Kurama ripped out of her, Minato is left with no choice but to make their newborn son Naruto the next Jinchuruki. He seals half of Kurama’s power in Naruto and takes the other half with him to the grave.

The man responsible is later revealed to be Obito Uchiha, a former member of Minato’s first squad and one of Kakashi’s teammates. In a cruel twist of fate, Obito in revealed to have been manipulated to bringing Madara Uchiha back to life. That ended up being necessary along with assembling The Tailed Beasts to summon the world-ending Ten-Tailed Beast, which Madara summoned once before. This was all part of a much larger plan to bring back Kaguya, the Mother of Chakra who had been sealed away many eras ago. In the end, only Naruto and Sasuke’s combined powers are able to not only withstand her God-like power but ultimately reseal her and this time forever. With the world safe, Sasuke challenges Naruto to one final duel to decide who is the greatest and most powerful Shinobi in the world.

While it would be fair to say the series truly ended with Naruto and Sasuke’s final duel, the episodes that followed both provided closure for several memorable characters and ended with the wedding of Naruto and Hinata. Sasuke left the village to atone for his past crimes and manages to solve an intricate mystery involving exploding zombies. Shikamaru, on the other hand breaks up a town of cultists looking to end the peace the world is now enjoying. The last 7 episodes, which clearly take place after the events of The Last: Naruto The Movie focus on the village’s wedding plans for Naruto and Hinata.

…All this said, those waiting for the Dub will probably not see it until 2019 or 2020. It will take some time to say the least.

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The finale ended with confirmation Naruto’s son Boruto is getting his own Anime series. Boruto: Naruto Next Generations will premeire on Crunchyroll on April 5.

There are serious questions regarding Naruto’s status that may force a retcon of the storyline. This is a massive spoiler for those who don’t know but at some point in Boruto, Naruto is killed. Then it’s revealed Naruto isn’t really dead. Or something? Like I said, Naruto’s actual status in terms of Boruto is unknown since the Manga is apparently being rewritten to make things more clear. According to several insiders, the orignally planned death of Naruto is being retconned entirely because of the confusion around it. As for why I’m being vague, I haven’t read the Boruto Manga myself.

Not yet, anyway. I just wanted to finish watching Naruto Shippuden first. Now that I have, I’ll get started reading some Boruto on my iPad ^_^

Before I forget: Boruto and Sarada (Sasuke and Sakura’s daughter) are both playable characters in Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PC, PS4 and Xbox One).

I recently registered for Anime Boston 2017; Crunchyroll Subscription extended through May

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Just when I’d made peace with missing Anime Boston this year, I make enough cash to register for AB2017 ^_^

Coming up with the money wasn’t easy. While it is true I am still unemployed I’ve been doing odd jobs for the last few weeks. I made enough money to register for the convention last week. I registered online Monday afternoon. I had a bit of extra motivation to go to AB2017: Johnny Bosch Young will be one of the North American Guests this year.

Johnny Yong Bosch

…Yes, THAT one.

The same JBY who played Adam Park on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (2nd Black Ranger in MMPR, Green Ranger in Zeo and 1st Green Ranger in Turbo). The same JBY who voiced Ichigo from Bleach, Yukio Okumora from Blue Exorcist, Lelouch vi Britannia from Code Geass and many other Anime and Video Game characters. He’s provided the English vocals to many iconic Anime characters over the last 15 years. Just look him up online for the full list of characters he is credited to.

Moving on, this will also be the first time since my 2nd year attending Anime Boston I will not be a panelist. As I announced last year at Anime Boston, I will be taking a break from running panels this year and probably next year at least.  Having had the privilage of running multiple panels at AB for five straight years, I have a greater appreciation for the work that goes into the convention each year. Believe it or not, my unemployment situation and registering for AB after the panel application deadline were both non-factors. I decided on this a year ago. I plan to just enjoy the convention this year and take my time.

I’m also really looking forward to not having to bring my laptop with me AT ALL this year, too: I bought a bluetooh keyboard for my iPad last week so…yeah. No need to bring my laptop this year! For those who are wondering, aside from the panels I used my laptop for internet use, charging my phone + 3DS (I have 2) + Vita (which I also have 2 of) + my iPad. I bought a portable battery two years ago. Since I commute two and from the con each day, That alone should cover all of my needs. Charging all my toys including the laptop takes at least an hour to 90 minutes. I’d have to find an outlet in the hallways o the Hynes each day to fully charge everything. I’ll have both my portable battery and my JBL Charge with me so I won’t be tethered to a wall ^_^

Last year was the first time I made the effort to watch Anime at AB since I had Crunchyroll Premium at the time. I plan to sample new anime this year, too. It certainly helps the viewing rooms are all Super Air Conditioned =O

Speaking of Crunchyroll…
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…When I got my 3-month sub last Fall, the first thing I did was get started catching up on Anime I started around this time last year. I finished Kuroko’s Basketball, Sailor Moon Crystal, Gate: And so the JSDF Fought, I Couldn’t Be a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job (yes, that’s the name of an Anime LOL), Maoyu and Dr. Coto’s Clinic. I also got caught up with Naruto Shippuden, Twin Star Exorcists, Dragon Ball Super, Konosuba and Blue Exorcist.

Now that I will be able to enjoy Crunchyroll Premium through the rest of Winter, I can focus on other things. Had I known it was far cheaper to get a 3-month subscription ($20) vs. a 1-month sub ($10), I would have just done that years ago. In comparison, a 3-month WoW sub uis $41. So, yeah the choice was easy when I had to pick one to renew and one to stop. LOL.

When I’m not watching it on my Xbox or PS3, I watch Crunchyroll on my iPad or one of my Vitas on the go. I plan to watch some Anime when I got to pre-registration for AB2017 =O

 

Best Romance, Best Romantic Scene and Best Couple of 2016!

Feliz Navidad!

It’s the holidays so you’ve got another set of award winners to look forward to ^_^

 

Best Romance: White Album

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Not gonna lie, I had to cheat to find the winner for this category. I also found out White Album was originally a Visual Novel and was apparently ported to the PS3 a while back. Anywho, I recently started watching White Album earlier this month. It’s a rustic, feel-good Anime set in the 1980s. This is the main reason I gave Best Romance to White Album is because of its potential. I’m actually still watching it on that note.

…This Concludes Best Romance of 2016. On to the next category:

Best Romantic Scene: Sailor Uranus kisses Sailor Moon (Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon Crystal)

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…It’s still considered one of the most controversial moments in Anime history 30 years later. Not just in the U.S. but in Japan at the time, too. Those who watched the original Sailor Moon dub 20 years ago will recall Haruka and Michuru referred to their relationship as “cousins”. They did that because of this moment. You literally have two girls sharing a passionate kiss. No way would the U.S. have been able to air the scene without that preface in advance (even though they did, they cut away so you don’t see this frame in the original dub).

That aside, Sailor Uranas is in short Bisexual. She maintains the appearance of a boy in public but is in fact a girl. Sailor Moon Crystal doesn’t dance around this subject. Michuru explains Haruka has both male and female characteristics. Haruka herself has no interest in going along with gender roles or assignments and loves both boys and girls. All that said, that is why this won Best Romantic Scene 2016.

…This concludes Best Romantic Scene of 2016. On to the next category:

Best Couple: Shimon and Mayura (Twin Star Exorcists)

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Ah, the plot thickens. With so much going on in the current arc, kudos to the studio for not forgetting about Mayura. Originally, Mayora had feelings for Rokuro early on in the series. When Rokuro and Benio started getting close, Mayura knew she lost to Benio. Fortunately, there was another guy who happened to be available to pair with her: Shimon, one of the tweleve guardians. Hilarity ensues when Seigen picks up on how suddenly close Shimon and his daughter have become.

…Goes without saying Rokuro and Benio were the other couple I was considering but for the sake of being consistent, I decided not to put a runner up for any of these three categories. LOL. Don’t worry, they were considered for other categories.

This concludes Best Couple of 2016. On to the next category!

Next Up: Best Drama, Best Comedy, Best Anime Short and Best Team!

 

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Best Opening, Fight Scene and Weird Characters of 2016!

…We’re gonna kick this bad boy off with a BANG.

Best Opening: Twin Star Exorcists (Third Opening)

 

The song is titled Sync and is by the group LOL.

Combined with the animated footage, it sets the tone for the plot of the third arc of the Anime (which I won’t spoil here). It’s a nice fusion of pop and hip hop. The anime itself premiered earlier this year as well. You can watch it on Crunchyroll (still in progress).

Runner Up: One Punch Man

 

The Song is The Hero !! by The JAM Project

I know what you’re probably thinking: “How in the holy hell did Saitama NOT win this category?!”

The truth is this was in the running for Best AMV AND best Fight Sequence in addition to Best OP. I decided to give all three categories to others but I did want to give OPM some love off the bat. Besides, you WILL see Saitama mentioned for sure in at least one other category ^_^

…This concludes Best OP 2016. On to the next category:

 

Best Fight Scene: Hisoka vs. Kastro (Hunter x Hunter)
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I recently watched the 2-episode fight as it aired on Toonami. Without spoiling the outcome, Hisoka breaks down what happened after the fight while being treated for the injuries he sustained in the fight. I chose this fight as this year’s winner simply because of the buildup, how it ended and the explaination afterward.

I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll leave it at that.

Runner-Up: Naruto and Sasuke’s Final Fight (Naruto Shippuden)

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…If we didn’t already know the outcome thanks to Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 and The Last: Naruto The Movie this would have won Best Fight Scene 2016. The problem, of course is we already knew the fight was going to happen and it was going to end in a tie. Based on that, it didn’t feel right to award them Best Fight even though everything else was done right. The problem is even non-Naruto fans knew this was going to happen. LOL.

For those who don’t know, Sasuke challenges Naruto to one final battle after they seal away Kagura. The battle, which spans several episodes ends in a draw with Naruto and Sasuke losing an arm each (Tsunade uses the cells of the 1st Hokage to grow a new arm for both of them later).

…This concludes Best Fight Scenes of 2016. On to the next category:

Best Male Weird Character: Augus Mikazuki (Moble Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans)

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…While it goes without saying Mikazuki is one cool dude, he’s also a lose cannon. He’s got a 2-track mind: Fighting and Orga though he is working on socializing a bit more. He doesn’t hold much of an interest in anything outside those two areas. It’s very….WEIRD for the lead protagonist. That’s the best way I can think of putting it. LOL.

Runner Up: Tetsuya Kuroko (Kuroko’s Basketball)

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…Those who read my review of the anime knows I watched the whole series earlier this year. Kuroko’s quite the interesting basketball player. He uses his lack of presence to become invisible on the court. He’s become so good at it, he can literally hide in plain sight. LOL.

The main reason I did not give Kuroko the win in this category is because he will be mentioned in at least one other category.

 

Best Female Weird Character: Chidori (Ninja Girl and Samurai Master)

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The Anime is 5 minutes per episode yet there’s alot going on in each one. The anime is a satirical version of Nobunaga’s campaign. The story focuses on Chidori, a child ninja and her dedication to serving her naster, Nobunaga Oda. Chidori is very skilled despire her young age but she’s simple-minded and clueless outside that. This makes for some interesting interactions with basically everyone.

Runner Up: Maoyu (Maoyu)
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…For those who are wondering, he’s pointing at the fake horns she’s holding.Maoyu (Japanese for Demon King) almost won this category but didn’t because there is a method to her madness. Everything about her from the opening episode leaves you baffled. She clearly has both the skills and the willingness to advnacne human civilization in the name of peace. Despite being labeled the eneny of humanity, it turns out she doesn’t hate humans after all. In fact, she wants to champion peace between humans and demons. LOL.

 

…This concludes Best Weird Character 2016!

Next up: Best Romance, Best Romantic Scene and Best Couple!

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Aurabolt’s Best of Anime Picks 2016

I’ve done this with video games for the last few years so now I’ve decided to do it with Anime. I will be using some of the categories Crunchyroll is using for their Anime Awards.

Before I continue, here are the rules that I used when I put this together:

  1. Anime from Crunchyroll, Toonami or Anime I purchased (digital or physical) are eligable.
  2. Anime still in progress (last episode has not aired) is not eligable for Anime of the Year.
  3. Anime I saw at any time in 2016 is eligable for all categories even if it was originally released or started airing prior to 2016.
  4. Both Dubs and Subs are eligable for ALL categories.

…That’s it.

I took a look at Crunchyroll’s picks. I was bothered by the overlap even though I knew they were all basically industry picks. Their picks leave out other noteworthy anime from even being mentioned. It’s the same 4 to 5 Anime in every category.

REALLY? Not cool, man.

Yes, I am criticizing this year’s picks. If THAT’S the “best” CR can come up with this year, they’re even further out of touch with viewers than I’ve been hearing. Yeah, I get it’s just marketing but WAY more anime than the same 4 to 5 were released this year.

Here are the categories I decided to go with in no particular order:

  • Best Anime: Overall best Anime of 2016.
  • Best Action: Overall best Action Anime of 2016.
  • Best Romance: Overall best Romance Anime of 2016.
  • Best Drama: Overall best Drama Anime of 2016.
  • Best Comedy: Overall best Comedy Anime of 2016.
  • Best Fight Scene: Overall Best Fight Sequence.
  • Best Romantic Scene: Overall best PG-13 romantic sequence.
  • Best Tear-Jerker: Best “Bring a Box of Tissue” sequence.
  • Best Plot Twist: Best “Didn’t See That Coming” moment of 2016.
  • Best Hero: Overall Best Hero/Protagonist.
  • Best Villain: Overall Best Villain/Protagonist.
  • Best Weird Character (2): Because Wierd is good. LOL. A Male and Female character will get this.
  • Best Duo: Best overall non-romantic pair.
  • Best Couple: Best romantic pair.
  • Best Team: Best group of 3 or more.
  • Best Opening
  • Best Closing
  • Best English VA (2): Because dubs deserve love. A Male and Female VA will get this.
  • Best Anime Short: Overall Best Anime with a runtime of 14 minutes or less.
  • Best AMV: Overall Best Music Video with Anime footage.
  • Best Cosplay: Overall best Cosplay from an actual person.

…Those are the categories.

Over the course of next week, I will reveal the winners of each category as well as name the runners-up for most of them, too. I’m saving Best Anime, Best AMV and Best Closing for last.  I will try to reveal all of the winners by January 1 but am fine with going into the following week if need be.

The first categories will be revealed tomorrow evening!

Review: GATE: And So, the Defense Force Fought (Anime Version)

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Worlds collide in the Anime adaptation of GATE: And So, The Defense Force Fought (GATE for short). Originally a Manga, Gate was made into an anime last year. The series’ second season wrapped up earlier this year on Crunchyroll. Yours truly binge-watched all of both seasons in about a week’s time. After watching the first episode, I knew I wanted to see the rest of the series. Fortunately for me, it wasn’t a 13-episode series like so many other Anime on Crunchyroll with the potential to be a longer series. From what I’ve heard from others, a Season 3 may be in the works (!).

Have you ever wondered what would happen if say, The Roman Empire’s Military fought the United States’ Military? PFFT! Of course not! The praetorians would get wiped out before they could get a good look at our infantry! Obviously, the Roman Empire would have no chance against 21st-century warfare. They’d be so laughably outclassed in EVERY way you couldn’t call it a “battle”, let alone a “war”. That’s just main plot of Gate in a nutshell. Yet it surprisingly works.

In the year 20XX (clearly present-day), a Gate connecting to another world suddenly opens in Ginza in Tokyo, Japan. A medieval army with knights, monsters and wyverns emerges from the gate and starts killing people. The JSDF (Japanese Special Defense Force) mobilizes and repels the mysterious invaders. In a bid to learn about the enemy force that emerged from the Gate, the Japanese Government sends the JSDF through the gate to the world of Falmart, which is prettymuch a Fantasy version of the 7th century–with Magic, Monsters, Dragons, Elves and so on–and thr home of the Empire, the enemy army that invaded Japan.

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The JSDF establishes a base at Alnus Hill where the Gate appeared on Falmart. The Empire sends its armies to Alnus Hill but as you can probably guess, they’re wiped out before they can even reach the JSDF’s defenses. LOL. Much of the story focuses on Second Lieutenant Youji Itami, who happened to be present during the attack on Ginza. Put in Charge of Recon Team 3, Itami’s Unit ventures deep into enemy territory with a 3-car convoy. He meets the Mage Lelei, the Demigo Rory and the Forest Elf Tuka on his travels and even encounters a Fire Dragon, which his unit describes as “A Flying Tank”.

Itami is forced to fight the Fire Dragon head-on in the second season to help Tuka accept the death of her father, who died protecting her when the Fire Dragon attacked their village. In the first season, a mutual interest brings the JSDF and the Empire’s Princess Pina Co Lada (pun clearly intended, LOL!) to the town of Italica. The two armies put their differences aside to defend the town from an army of bandit soldiers. The JSDF sends air support that easily lays waste to the bandit army.

After bearing witness to the overwhelming power of 21st century warfare up close and later visiting Japan, Pina realizes the futility in fighting the JSDF and works with the Imperial Senate to seek peace with Japan. The Emperor reluctantly agrees to allow peace talks with Japan but then things get complicated when the crown prince, Zorzal seizes control of the Empire and consolidates power. The JSDF is pulled into the power struggle when the pro-peace faction turns to them for help.

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The second season ends with the JSDF successsfully pulling off a daring rescue mission to save Pina from Zorzal along with the Emperor, who’d been poisoned. The Emperor then names Pina his successor and Empress. The first order of business: Taking care of Zorzal and uniting the Empire, which shouldn’t be too hard with the JSDF on her side!

It goes without saying the JSDF could have easily wiped out the Empire from the beginning but our view of politics and the 7th century’s view of politics are different. Sure, the JSDF understand their point of view and way of life but there was more to be gained by not repeating certain mistakes from human history (aka just wiping out the Empire, which they could’ve done a few times over without trying.

Plus. the concept in and of itself is pretty facinating. The idea has been done before but not to this extent. I feel like GATE is more groundbreaking than most even realize yet. It is for that reason I give GATE: And So, the Defense Force Fought a 10/10. There are certainly more than enough lose ends to warrant a Season 3 of the Anime. The Civil War’s the big one. In addition to that there’s also the unfinished business with Roroy’s sister. There’s also more of Falmart we’ve yet to even see.

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…Like I did with Attack on Titan, I plan to read the Manga where the Anime left off. If you wanna watch the Anime, it’s on Crunchyroll.

I also plan to write some Fan Fiction based on it. That goes without saying ^_^

Shortly after I posted this, I stumbled upon some websites that were talking about the political subtext and the overt pro-JSDF propaganda embedded in this series. In short, GATE is a controversal Anime in Japan and by extension (South) Korea. I’ll speak more to this and a few other Anime controversial in Japan in a separate post.

 

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