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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Hunter x Hunter Manga has now gone 900 Days without a new Chapter

May be a cartoon of text that says 'AS ANIMES SENPAI HUNTER X HUNTER REACHED 900 DAYS WITHOUT NEW CHAPTER ANIME SENPAI'

 

For those who don’t know, Hunter x Hunter Manga creator Togashi Yoshihiro put the Manga on Hiatus in 2019 due to nagging back pain. With Yoshihiro’s health failing, it’s looking more and more likely the popular series will never be completed. Commenting on his nagging back pain, Yoshihiro admitted drawing aggrivates his injury.

There are growing concerns the super popular series will never be finished due to his health issues and the fact he has not allowed someone else to continue the series. Most believe it’s a pride thing in regards to Yoshihiro not allowing someone else to work on it. What that means for now is when he dies, the Manga dies with him.

 

As an aspiring author, I can respect that personally. At the same time, chronic health issues are easily the biggest reason I would consider getting someone to continue the story. More so if it has a fan following on the scale Hunter x Hunter does. At the same time I do get it. It’s your baby. Your own creation. Unlike in the U.S. where studios and companies can legally own what others created, over in Japan there is respect for content creators.

Although authors making content based on an established IP–we call it Fan Fiction–most in Japan at least get the original author’s blessing before they do something like that. They also don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Attack on Titan Junior High, which spoofs the first half of the first season of the anime is a good example of this. It’s not that unusual to see Fan Fiction next to the source IP in bookstores in Japan but that’s probably a topic better suited for my blog on Fan Fiction.

 

 

 

May be a cartoon of one or more people and text that says 'AS ANIMESENPAI ANIME HIGEHIRO AUTHOR ASK FANS TO NOT IMITATE THE ACT OF THE STORY FS'

 

The author of this Light Novel series turned Anime recently took to Twitter likely to cover himself legally. For those who may not be familiar with Higehiro, the story is about a mid-20s office worker who takes in a 17 year old girl who is a runaway. The fact that the story doesn’t dance around the fact what the lead male protagonist does actually is a crime in not just Japan but most of the world is what makes it such a gripping story.

While obviously Sayu is there willfully and Yoshida has made it clear he has zero sexual interest in her, it’s obvious their living arrangement can’t possibly last. Based on the latest episode, her older brother–a businessman–found the convenience store where she works. It’s only a matter of time before reality forces them apart at this point.

The Light Novel’s author telling people not to imitate the story should go without saying but sadly, there are those who would imitate what they see in fiction. While I haven’t heard of any copycat situations yet personally, he is saying it anyway in case someone in Japan does try it.

 

Weak Hero - White Mamba" Photographic Print by sa1x | Redbubble

Get Schooled Manga | Anime-Planet

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about what is arguably one of the best Manwa (basically Korean for Manga) ever made that probably won’t get an Anime adaptation. Weak Hero follows the story of rival gangs in rival high schools in Korea. It’s also got a bit of slice of life and coming of age for both the lead protagonist Gray Yeon and the main antagonist Donald Na. The graphic, visceral nature of all of the fights as well as the profanity throughout this Manwa is why we will never see it get an Anime adaptation like Tower of God did with Crunchyroll.

It’s the same for Get Schooled, the second picture above that recently came to Webtoon. Both Manwa highlight School Bullying in South Korea. Though some things are clearly exaggerated, the actual bullying situations and sub-culture depicted are in fact real. This may be quite the shock to Western readers but several South Koreans and Japanese commenters have said the sub-culture both Webtoons explore are painfully accurate.

Those who’ve read certain Manga or seen certain Anime probably already know some kids are bullied into suicide in Japan. Like South Korea, the root cause is mostly cultural and the bullies push that to the extreme. Even when teachers know for a fact a student is being bullied, most typically fall into one of two categories: Turn a blind eye for the sake of job security or give vague lip service and hope it’s enough.

Why are teachers and school administrators in Japan and South Korea so hesitant to address, let alone acknowlege bullying? Reputation, Optics, Job Security and Genuine Indifference. One or a combination of all of those things. This is especially true of older educators who never dealt with this in the past.

 

…Obviously, times have changed.

 

 

May be a cartoon of text that says 'NEWS HOW NOT TO SUMMON DEMON LORD Ω OPENING THEME EXCEEDED 1,000,000+ VIEWS ON YOUTUBE NEWS Source: YouTube animecorner.me'

 

If you watched How Not to Summon a Demon Lord Ω at all in recent months then you have no doubt heard the OP. Here is the music video:

 

It’s easily the most popular OP for an anime since Dean Fujioka’s History Maker (Yurii!! On Ice).

For those who haven’t seen the Anime itself yet, start with the first season!

 

 

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So many interesting new Anime on Crunchyroll lately

Crunchyroll (@Crunchyroll) | Twitter

 

…Which is good considering the rest of Attack on Titan’s final season is on hiatus, Black Clover’s final episode aired on my birthday (March 30) and it’s still not clear if the Quintessential Quintuplets will have a third season after the announced movie or if it will be like Demon Slayer + Mugen Train. As the saying goes, time will tell.

 

Ok let’s start with this Anime:

itz__-__D (@DhruvCh64453269) | Twitter

Honestly, I was pretty turned off by Sayu constantly trying to seduce Yoshida off the jump even after finding out where that’s “normal” to her at the end of the latest episode. Yoshida putting his foot down in the latest episode is why I’ve decided to keep watching.

The basic premise of the show is Yoshida meets Sayu, a 17-year old runaway the same night he’s dumped and decides to let her stay at his apartment until she’s ready to go back home. The Anime seems to be trying to avoid the Rom-Com route in favor of Slice of Life which is good since neither of the leads are complete idiots.

Now that Yoshida’s reaffirmed his boundaries, it looks like he’s going to do what he can to help her unlearn a lot of the bad stuff she picked up before they met. The preview for the next episode indicates Sayu will get a part time job at a convenience store. Should be interesting.

 

I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level - Home | Facebook

Here we have a new Isekai with RPG references to hold us over and no, there is no connection to That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime (On hiatus, likely until Winter) or its spinoff series Slime Diaries (more on this in a bit).

It’s been a pretty interesting Anime so far since like most Isekai these days, the lead is OP but doesn’t want the attention that comes with it. The supporting cast is being introduced so far which is a good way to keep the focus away from the lead too much. It’s quite interesting so far and assuming it’s 12 or 13 episodes long, it should wrap up mid-summer.

 

Let's Make A Mug Too Premieres Next Year

Let's Make a Mug Too TV Anime Reveals Promo Video, More Cast, April 2  Premiere - News - Anime News Network

 

Honestly, I like this anime because of the simple fact you get a bonus episode each week featuring the voice actresses of the four leads. A lot of care clearly went into both. You can tell from the interactions between the voice actresses that it was a labor of love.

The animed and live episodes were both obviously done during the Pandemic. It’s a nice slice of life series to say the least.

Watch Fruits Basket Sub & Dub | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Shoujo, Slice of  Life Anime | Funimation

The 2019 reimagining of Fruits Basket has been quite the departure from the original 2001 series to say the least. Season 2 ended with the shocking revealation Akito Soma is actually Female. It’s revealed in the opening episode of Season 3–the final season–that Akito was born Female but her mother–whom she is extranged from partly for this reason–decreed she be raised as Male.

Akito’s true gender is a closely guarded secret even within the family though clearly that might not be the case for too much longer: At the end of episode 2, Shigure reveals to Akito his and always has been madly in love with her.  Though it’s offscreen, it’s implied they then have sex. If Akito got pregnant from that, it would be very difficult to keep her true gender a secret for much longer.

We will have to wait and see how things go. The first two seasons were 25 episodes. I have no reason to believe this will not bet the case for Season 3.

Tensura Nikki: Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken (The Slime Diaries) · AniList

While That TIme I Got Reincarnated As A Slime‘s current season is on hiatus, we are getting a spinoff series to help pass the time. The slice of life spinoff appears to take place between Seasons 1 and 2. It’s literally filler and yes, there is also a Manga version.

Is it necessary to watch before Season 2 resumes? Obviously not but if you’re a fan of the original series, it’s sure to be entertaining at least.

Watch Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai Streaming Online | Hulu (Free  Trial)

Square-Enix was clearly smart to not base it on any of the mainline games released so far. That takes a lot of pressure off of it to say the least and it’s been paying off.

The recent revealation Dai is actually the son of Baran wasn’t too surprising for some given there were clues that heavily implied a connection. Like Hyunckel, Baran had an experience in his younger days as a Dragon Knight that made him turn his back on Humanity. Dai was born during that time and eventually ended up on the Monster Island where he grows up.

Having now slain Baran’s three top warriors, Hyunckel appears intent on trying to convince Baran it’s not too late to change course like he did after learning of his past. Hyunckel was initially raised by monsters and had been led to believe Avan, the man who trained him (as well as Dai, Popp and Maam) killed the skeleton who raised him. He was later tricked by Hadlar into turning his back on Humanity and became the leader of the Undead Legion in the Dark Army.

After learning the truth from Maam, Hyunckel decides to join Beast King Crocodine in aiding the Students of Avan fight the Dark Army. After the group rescues Princess Leona and slays Flazzard, Maam’s Magic Bullet Gun breaks so she decides to leave the group to train as a Martial Artist. It’s looking likely she will return after the current storyline finishes so we’ll see.

 

…Whew.

So much anime to look forward to over the next few months. I plan to do another post like this around this time next month. I may start a new job in the next week or two so I’ll need the extra time anyway.

 

 

 

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The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: 10 Years Later

A decade after Great East Japan Earthquake, suicide continues to take lives, Asia News - AsiaOne

 

March 11, 2011.

 

I remember following the news coverage from the day it happened to several weeks later. It was also the biggest topic of conversation at Anime Boston, which was 7 weeks later. Although only two areas of Japan was directly affected, it impacted the whole country and sparked a broader conversation on Nuclear Power and disaster preparedness globally.

The disasters claimed the lives of almost 20,000 people, another near 7,000 were injured and to this day almost 2,600 are still unaccounted for. Millions were left homeless or lost their jobs due to property damage or destruction. The initial earthquake was felt in most of the eastern half of the country but most of the destruction and casualties was concentrated in Fukushima Prefecture.

Rebuilding after Japan's tsunami | Features | Building

Japan Earthquake: Before and After - The Atlantic

 

It is worth noting most of the damaged areas were repaired or restored within 5 years. That’s astonishing if you don’t know Japan actually does experience earthquakes on a regular basis annually. Most of the rail lines in the affected areas reopened though some rail lines were so heavily damaged, they were permanently replaced with bus service where the rails used to be. Japan obviously cares a lot about its infrastructure so the speed at which they got things repaired or restored isn’t that big of a surprise. There are still several hundred thousand permanently displaced people who are living in temporary housing.

This includes many who are afraid to return to Sendai where the Fukushima-Daichi Nuclear Power Plant, which suffered a catastrophic meltdown during the disaster is located. The power plant was quickly shut down and sealed off though concerns of radiation sickness is why some are refusing to return. Since 2012, Japanese government officials and UN officials have both separately said the area is safe for people to return.

 

Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa): A Persistent Yearning of the Heart - Catholic Geeks

 

The 2016 feature film Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa) by Makoto Shinkai is loosely inspired by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake in Tsunami. In the movie, a meteor strike wipes a small town off the map in 2013. That is where one of the two protagonists, Mitsuha Miyamizu is from. According to the story, everyone in the town who isn’t killed by the impact dies from the Tsunami that washes away the town including Mitsuha. A supernatural phenomenon links her to Taki Tachibana, a boy living in Tokyo in 2016. After doing some research, Taki realizes Mitsuha lives in the town just before it’s destroyed 3 years earlier.

The red cord of fate that connected them makes it possible for them slightly change history and most of the townspeople survive the disaster. The two meet in person for the first time in 2022 during the movie’s final scene. Both also make separate cameo appearances in Shinkai’s 2020 movie Weathering With You, which takes place in 2021. Based on this, many believe they will appear together in Shinkai’s next movie if it’s not a direct sequel to their movie.

I gave an overview of Your Name but was careful not to spoil too much. If you haven’t yet seen the movie, you definitely should. I have it on Blu Ray but apparently it’s available on Netflix.

 

 

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Cells at Work Season 2, Black Clover Updates and Tales of Smyphonia on Crunchyroll?!

Image result for Cells at work Season 2

 

Ok so Season 2 of Cells at Work started earlier this month (and somehow I didn’t know it was coming). To say it’s a nice surprise for me goes without saying.

The first half of Episode 2 was a clear reference to the ongoing Pandemic in progress with the topic of it being Acquired Immunity. The disease featured was the Mumps. For those who don’t know, if you get vaccinated from the Mumps once you are set for life. This is called Acquired Immunity. The Flu Vaccine is an annual vaccine because its effectiveness only lasts about 6 months. We know the Flu Season typically runs between October and February and this is why you normally get vaccinated in the Fall months each year.

Vaccines save lives.

End of story. There’s a LOT of aggressive Anti-Vaccine misinformation that has been spread in North America for at least the last 20 years now. It’s the reason the U.S. leads the world in COVID-19 cases and deaths since last Spring. It’s shameful to say the least but I won’t digress further. I have a separate Blog for that purpose.

 

Black Clover Is Worth The Watch - We're Still Cool

 

It was recently announced that the anime version of Black Clover will wrap up on March 30. It’s worth noting like Bleach did before it, the Manga version is going to continue.

As everyone should be aware by now, not everyone who watches Anime adaptations has access to the source medium. Black Clover is no exception. There actually was a long pause between the end of Inuyasha’s 7th Season and the release of the final arc, The Final Act. The fans demanded it and it happened. I do remember hearing a few weeks ago Bleach’s final Arc is getting an Anime adaptation so there’s that.

Time will tell if the same will happen with Black Clover. For now, the series will end on my birthday =O

 

 

Tales of Symphonia | Anime, Tales series, Tales of zestiria

 

Stop everything:

After 14 years, Tales of Symponia: The Animation has FINALLY been officially realeased outside Japan!

Crunchyroll dropped the bombshell news Wednesday morning and then released it the same afternoon along with 3 other Classic Anime. The anime initially released on Crunchyroll without subs but the problem seems to have been fixed by Thursdy morning. Horray!

For those who are not familiar with the video game Tales of Symphonia–shame on you if you’re one of them–it is only one of the greatest RPGs from a story perspective. Ever. Initially released on the Gamecube in 2003, it was since re-released first on the PS2 (Japan only), the PS3 (globally) and more recently Steam. I still have the original Gamecube version as well as the PS3 and Steam versions. The game is THAT damn good but I won’t digress further here. I have a separate blog for that purpose.

 

Anywho, the anime originally released between 2007 and 2009 across serveral arcs. The anime is 11 episodes long in total. Like Tales of Phantasia’s Anime (which I have on DVD, it’s 4 episodes long), a LOT of story content from the video game is cut mostly for time but I’ll talk about that more on my video game blog.

The fact that the anime adaptation is so short really hurt it with fans of the video game to say the least. More so given the game’s presentation is anime-like. For many people, Tales of Symphonia was the first game they played with a voiced cast. Anywho, fans were expecting a faithful retelling of the story back in 2008 but what they got instead was the same they got in Phantasia: a scaled down mish-mash with some key details cut or presented out of sequence. I will cover that on my video game blog in a separate post. Once it’s up, I will add the link to this post.

I will leave you with the lyrics to the OP for Sylverant Arc, Almateria:

 

The artist who performed the song, Eri Kawai passed away in 2008. One of the biggest mysteries surrounding this song is what language it’s in. I did some looking around and apparently three languages are used: Japanese (obviously), Latin and English.

It’s NOT a made-up language or “the language of the angels” as some people keep saying on YouTube. Anyone familiar with old Fantasy stories should already know Latin is commonly used as the “magic language” because for centuries, most of Europe knew both Latin and their native language. No way in hell would they get away with making up a language without an actual translation. I can guarantee that.

 

On that note. I do know Holy Song, which Colette sings in Episode 2 (Fiat Lux) is in Latin:

Here is the translation, pulled from YouTube:

 

~Latin~
Ne Perdatis Luces
Cantum Sanctum Nunc Accipite
Oro, Canto, Vobis
Fiat Lux

Spes, Ne Perdatis
Cantum Lucum Nunc Accipite
Dono Animam Mea
Fiat Lux

~Translation~
Don’t lose the lights
Receive the holy song now
I pray, I sing, that to you
There may be light.

Do not lose hope
Receive the song of lights
The gift of my soul
Let there be light

 

Almost the exact same 2nd and 4th lines in each verse. In general, Latin is recited or spoken slowly. That’s what the dirge sounds so otherwordly. That’s the desired effect obviously. In general, music can alter moods and your state of mind. Keep that in mind.

Getting back on topic, the anime does its job of telling you most of the major plot points. It’s still a hot mess unfortunately though. You’re better off playing the game in comparison.

 

 

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Anime Boston 2021 Officially Cancelled

I opened my Inbox today to find this email from the New England Anime Society, which is the parent company for Anime Boston. Here it is in full:

Notice of Cancellation

We at Anime Boston and the New England Anime Society (NEAS) have been closely monitoring the status of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on events of our size. Although the recent developments with vaccines is fantastic news, the governor’s order prohibiting larger gatherings is still in effect. With less than two months until the scheduled dates for Anime Boston 2021, it is extremely unlikely the ban will be lifted before then. As such, we unfortunately have no choice but to cancel Anime Boston 2021.

Our executive board has reviewed the possibilities of postponing the 2021 convention for later in the year or hosting an online version of Anime Boston. After careful consideration, we have decided it would not be feasible to do either at this time. We are a completely volunteer organization and all of the preparation is done on our personal time. Reorganizing the convention for later this year would be extremely difficult to achieve especially with the added uncertainty.

For our pre-registered members who had 2020 memberships transferred to 2021, by default we will be transitioning your memberships to Anime Boston 2022, set for May 27 – 29, 2022. Anime Boston is operated by the non-profit New England Anime Society (NEAS) and all revenue goes back into the operational costs of our convention and NEAS. Members who allow us to transition their membership to 2022 help us remain financially stable and cover expenses we already incurred for 2020 and 2021.

We understand that not everyone is certain if they will be able to attend Anime Boston 2022. Anyone who would prefer to be refunded for their Anime Boston 2020/2021 membership, please contact Registration Customer Service. Please include your full name and the email address used when registering. Please allow at least three to four weeks for processing of refund requests, based on the volume of requests. Please also note that refunds will be delivered by mail because it has been more than one year since the card transaction. This means that there will be a further delay between processing on our end and the refund getting back to you. A request for refund must be submitted by March 14th, 2021. Any memberships without a refund request will be transferred to Anime Boston 2022.

Hotel reservations made directly through a hotel must be cancelled through the hotel’s website or at their phone number. Reservations made via a third party vendor should be cancelled through the same vendor. Please refer to your reservation confirmation for refund information for direct hotel or third party bookings; Anime Boston is unable to intervene in these circumstances.

Participants of the 2020/2021 Artists’ Alley who have already been confirmed and completed their registration will be migrated to the 2022 Artists’ Alley. Similarly, for our exhibitors in the 2020/2021 Dealers’ Room, we will be migrating all who completed their registration to the 2022 Dealers’ Room.

Participants of Anime Boston 2020/2021 programming, such as the Masquerade, Cosplay Games, Idol Showcase, AMV Contest, panels, contests, and other events will be contacted in the upcoming weeks by their event coordinators.

We appreciate your patience and understanding while we worked to figure out a new path for Anime Boston 2021. Though we had considered cancellation earlier, we had certain contractual and financial obligations that made it difficult for us to cancel on our own before a certain time frame without jeopardizing the convention long term.

We hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy, and we encourage everyone to do their part in getting a vaccine when it is available to you. We hope to see you at a better time at the next Anime Boston, May 27 – 29, 2022.

 

At least this time they let people know more than a month out. As noted, red tape prevented them from officially cancelling AB2020 and AB2021 until certain conditions were met. Like last year, they ruled out postponing the convention to later this year–even in a virtual format–because their staff is 100% volunteer including their executive board. They do all the planning and preparation on their personal time.

Hopefully the third time will be the charm next year. As noted, Governor Baker’s ban on large gatherings is still in place due to the Pandemic. I don’t see that changing until the COVID-19 vaccine is widely available first and there is a huge drop in transmission second. Hopefully both of these conditions will be met by this coming Fall.

For those who may be wondering, the local pro sports teams have been playing with no fans in attendance last summer (and excluding the NBA Bubble in Orlando of course). As for the Japan Boston Festival–usually held in August–we will have to wait and see. If the current restrictions are still in plance by mid-June, that’s likely to mean it won’t happen either. I do follow news on that and if anything comes up later this year, I will provide an update.

 

 

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Eren Jaeger takes power of the War Hammer Titan in Episode 66

Attack on Titan S4 episode 7 release date and times: International premiere  revealed

 

Episode 66 not only had non-stop action from start to finish but it left you wanting episode 67 NOW. Episode 65 ended with The War Hammer Titan seemingly forcing Eren into a stalemate. Episode 66 makes it clear that this is NOT the same Eren Jaeger you knew from the end of Season 1. This Eren is older and much more calculating than the one we knew at the beginning of Season 3.

When the Beast, Cart and Jaw Titans enter the battle, it looks like the tables have been turned on Eren and the Survey Corps. The Marleyian Forces are shocked and horrified to see the Survey Corps, which has been hunting Titans on Paradis Island for generations fearlessly taking on their Titans directly. Levi gives a long-owed receipt to the Beast Titan, dropping him like a bad habit out of nowhere. Jean and Sasha pin down the Cart Titan and she ends up being severely injured.

Then, our boy Armin debutes the Colossal Titan with a bang. Literally.

 

Attack on Titan Welcomes Armin to Season 4 With a Bang

His line after emerging from the Titan form he took from Bertoldt at the end of Season 3 sums it up: “Is this how it felt for you, Bertoldt?” For those who need a reminder, when the Colossal Titan transforms it’s basically a nuclear explosion that gets set off. This is why Armin transformed off the cost on a raft–a transformation that wiped out the Marleyan Fleet rushing to provide backup–because if he didn’t, he probably would’ve instantly killed thousands of people in the city.

He didn’t do anything beyond that and he didn’t need to. The Marleyan Army now knows Paradis Island has two Titans and they know how to use them. Commander Hange later tells Armin he seems to have become more like her predecessor, Erwin Smith. He shrugs it off, saying he hopes to be a little like their former leader. Meanwhile, Eren patiently tries everything he can think of to take the War Hammer. The owner of the War Hammer crystallized herself like Annie, the Female Titan did.

Prior to Armin’s entrance, the Marleyan Army was sure they had Eren cornered. After his arrival, this gve Eren the space to focus on taking the War Hammer’s power. “If you had anything left, you would have done something by now.” he remarks before freeing himself and transforming again. “Me, on the other hand…I’ve got plenty of strength left.” When the Jaw Titan breaches his own Hardening, Eren figures it out: He grabs the Jaw Titan, tears off his limbs and then uses the Jaw Titan as a giant nutcracker above his head to devour the War Hammer Titan’s powers. He gets interrupted before he can finish off the Jaw Titan by the arrival of Reiner, the Armored Titan.

The preview for Episode 67 announces the Armor Titan falls which is a fair assumption: Reiner told Eren he basically had a death wish so…yeah. Assuming Eren takes the Armor Titan’s power next, he will have four Titan powers (Founder, Attack, War Hammer and Armor). The status of the Cart and Jaw Titans is currently unknown but both are critically injured. We also do not have confirmation Levi actually killed Zeke yet. Excluding Armin (Colossal) and Annie (Female), all of the Nine Titans are now accounted for. All but the Female Titan, who is crystallized are in the same place right now too. Things should get real interesting.

 

 

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Episodes 14 and 15 of Yasha-Hime: Princess Half-Demon sheds light on two of the biggest mysteries to now

Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon (2020) - Hulu | Flixable

 

If you haven’t been following the sequel to the legendary Manga turned Anime Inuyasha because you don’t like sequels to anime you like…your loss. I’m just gonna put it like that. For everyone else, keep reading. Fair warning, there be MAJOR plot spoilers for both Inuyasha and Yasha-Hime: Princess Half Demon in this article. If you’re not caught up to Episode 15 of the latter Anime, stop here!

Ok so as the name of the new series reveals, the focus of this story is on a trio of Half-Demons who are the daughters of Inuyasha and Kagome (Moroha) as well as Sesshomaru and Rin (Towa and Setsuna) respectively. The twins are cousins to Moroha due to their fathers being brothers on that note. As was revealed in Episode 1, Towa and Setsuna were split up as children during a forest fire. Towa ended up being raised by Kagome’s brother in the Modern Era while Setsuna would be raised by Sango and trained as a Demon Slayer in the Feudal Era. As was revealed in Episode 15, Moroha was raised by the Wolf Demon Tribe, which is led by Koga. For those who don’t remember him, he was Inuyasha’s rival in the original series. It’s likely she learned how to use Divine Power from Kaede as so far she’s demonstrated the ability to use Sacred Arrows and erect barriers. It certainly helps her mother Kagome is a priestess.

Anyway prior to Episode 15, one of the biggest mysteries of the series to that point is “Whatever happened to Sesshomaru, Inuyasha and Kagome?” followed by the obvious “Who is Towa and Sesshomaru’s mother?” For the second question, if you guessed Rin you would be correct. Rin was the orphaned human girl who accompanied Sesshomaru during the original series. Kagome, who is pregnant with Moroha at the time is present for the birth of Towa and Setsuna.

As the first question, Episode 15 explains this part. Prior to this, Sesshomaru is briefly seen when the trio journey to the Feudal Era from the Modern Era. They pass through the Tree of Ages, which played a minor role in the original series. If you’ve been following the series up to now, you will know about Kirinmaru. While Inuyasha and Sesshomaru’s father Inutaisho–known as the Great Dog Demon of the West–ruled Western Japan, his counterpart Kirinamaru–originally from Mainland China–ruled Eastern Japan.

500 years before the original series, the Great Demons teamed up to destroy a comet fragment that would have destroyed Japan. Sometime after that, Kirinmaru went into a long slumber. As anyone who’s watched the series or saw the third Inuyasha movie should know, Inutaisho died saving Inuyasha, who was a newborn at the time and his wife Izayaoi.

The week after Setsuna and Towa were born, the same comet fragments returned but this time Sesshomaru and Inuyasha dealt with it. Sesshomaru is visited by Zero, a mysterious Demon and subordinate under Kirinmaru to warn him about the coming comet fragment. Kagome is tipped off by Riku, who clearly knows more than he was willing to reveal both then and since. As is revealed by Zero, Sesshomaru’s children are in danger along with Inuyasha and Moroha from Kirinmaru simply because they’re Half Demons (Quarter in the case of Moroha).

Zero reveals a prophecy from the Shikon Jewel relevant to him for viewers: At some point in the future, he will be slain by a being that is neither Human or Demon. Apparently, Kirinmaru intially laughed at the idea but that was before Inuyasha came along. It didn’t take him long to realize Half-Demons were was the prophecy was referring to and naturally, he personally hates them as well as humans in general.

Presumably acting on his orders, Zero had Homura set the forest where Towa and Setsuna were hidden. The three would meet in Episode 17 where Homoura would be consumed by his own flames. Sasshomaru’s majordomo Jaken had planned to eventually bring Rin to the place where he sealed the twins. Although Rin lies in suspended animation inside the Tree of Ages, clearly something happened that led to that. We’ll probably find out at a later time but she will be in for a shock when she is reunited with her children.

As for Inuyasha and Kagome. Sango and Miroku finally made their appearance in Episode 13 and as was revealed, Miroku sealed most of Setsuna’s Demon Blood. Shortly after Moroha was born, she was spirited away to the Wolf Demon Tribe which raised her. Joining with Kirinmaru, Sesshomaru used the Black Pearl to seal Inuyasha and Kagome in their father’s resting place, which is in another dimension. Jaken explains to Kirinmaru there may come a time in the future when they will need to Inuyasha and his Medio Zangetsuha. Satisfied with knowing Inuyasha is sealed away, Kirinmaru is ok with it.

…Whew.

It’s fair to say at this point Sesshomaru did all that he did to protect everyone from Kirinmaru. It’s also likely he figured out Towa, Setsuna and Moroha will be needed to take down Kirinmaru one day. He clearly knows all three are making names for themselves right now but is likely keeping his distance for their own good. One bit of plot that appears subtle in Episode 15 that’s easy to miss is the fact Zero can find people in their dreams. As it happens, Setsuna’s memories were taken by a Dream Butterfly and for the same reason, she is unable to sleep. Clearly there is a connection there.

There are still a few mysteries and questions the need answering such as “Whatever happened to Shippo?” but I’m sure we’ll find out in time. At the time the series ended, Shippo was planning to take the Fox Demon Exam. His absence doesn’t surprise me personally and I’m sure we’ll find out what he’s been up to at some point.

Riku clearly knows a lot more than he’s ready to reveal. We know he’s collecting Rainbow Pearls but at the same time he’s clearly not aligned with Kirinmaru. This is speculation on my part but I think he may be planning to make a new Shikon Jewel. He clearly knows about what happened to the original after it was restored and though he’s content to let the girls keep their pearls for now, no doubt he’ll make a move for them at some point down the road.

You can catch new episodes of Yasha-Hime: Princess Half-Demon on Crunchyroll Saturdays at 5AM EST Subbed. The English Dub is up to Episode 9 as of this week on that note.

 

 

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Crunchyroll’s Winter 2020-21 Lineup balances catching up with new shows

Winter 2021 Lineup

 

Go here for the full list as of January 3, 2021.

 

Here’s a partial list of Ongoing Series or New Seasons to existing shows:

 

  • Black Clover (Ongoing)
  • Boruto: Naruto Next Generations (Ongoing)
  • Attack on Titan: The Final Season
  • Digimon Adventure (Ongoing)
  • Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai (Ongoing)
  • Healin’ Good Pretty Cure (Ongoing)
  • One Piece (Ongoing)
  • Yasha-Hime: Princess Half-Demon (Ongoing)
  • Umamusume: Pretty Derby Season 2
  • Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories 8
  • That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2
  • The Quintessential Quintuplets Season 2
  • Dr. Stone Season 2: Stone Wars

 

…Noticably absent are The Rising of the Shield Hero and The Promised Neverland. Both were announced to be getting a second season each. Still no word on when they will premiere. The new seasons we do know about are welcomed especially Dr. Stone and That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime.

 

Black Clover has definitely defied many expectations in terms of staying power. I found out last year originally, the anime was originally only going to be 48 episodes long. Now it’s clocked over 150 episodes and counting. Same for Boruto, which many fans were initially hostile toward because of how much they loved Naruto + Shippuden. It has been gaining more acceptance and appreciation over the last 18 months I’ve noticed though.

We finally saw Miroku make his first appearance in Yasha-Hime: Princess Half-Demon this past week. At the end of the episode, Sango made a cameo appearance as well. As a reminder, they got married at the end of Inuyasha: The FInal Act and had three kids together, two of which we’ve seen so far: Their son and one of their twin daughters. We have yet to see Sesshomaru, Inuyasha or Kagome though we know Sesshomaru is connected to The Tree of Ages in some way yet to be revealed. Setsuna starting the series without memories of her childhood is clearly plot armor as we don’t know who her and Towa’s mother is yet. It’s easy to assume Rin but given she’s being held in suspension within the Tree of Ages, that’s no longer certain. Moroha being able to use Sacred Arrows and holy power–and with skill–despite being a Half-Demon prettymuch confirms she was likely trained by her mother Kagome.

 

Digimon Adventure (2019) is a remake of the original 1998 Anime similar to Dragonball Z Kai. This new series was likely done to help provide context to the confused young folks who may have watched Digimon Adventure: Tri and had no idea why they should care. The original series came under heavy criticism in the west due to the overt whitewashing by 4Kids, which did the English Dub. The remake uses everyone’s official Japanese names. Some of the characters were given English names for the English dub among other things. If you’ve only seen the 1998 English dub, Matt is Yamato for example.

 

Here’s a partial list for New Shows premiering:

 

  • Dr. Ramune – Mysterious Disease Specialist –
  • EX-ARM
  • Given: The Movie
  • Heaven’s Design Team
  • The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter
  • So I’m A Spider, So What?
  • Tropical-Rouge Pretty Cure
  • True Cooking Master Boy
  •  8 More Titles TBA

The Hidden Dungeon Only I can Enter looks like a spinoff of Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls In a Dungeon? to me based on the logo and art style. Tropical-Rouge Pretty Cure as stated is a spinoff of Healin’ Good Pretty Cure. I figure for the 8 TBA Titles we’ll find out in the coming months. In addition, hopefully we will learn more about Crunchyroll’s future a few months after they were bought by Funimation. Time will tell.

I will provide more updates and reviews over the course of this year when I can. I’m feeling pretty excited about this year personally. Between Crunchyroll and Rakuten Viki, I know I have a lot to look forward to!

 

 

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