So glad I switched to a 12-month Crunchyroll Premium Subscription

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…One of the last things I did before my savings ran out last summer year was set aside $60 to get a 12-month Crunchyroll subscription. For those who may have been wondering why the my Anime reviews just fell off, this is why: I’ve been binge watching ALOT of Anime, mostly new titles. Almost half of what I’ve seen so far has been dubbed or will get be getting dubbed. Crunchyroll’s partnership with Funimation actually speeds up the localization process so…yeah.

For those who may not be aware, Black Clover and and Dragon Ball Super are being simulcast in both the U.S. and Japan. Attack on Titan Season 2 had been simulcast last year. What I mean in this case is episodes that have already aired in Japan are being dubbed and are airing in English on both Adult Swim and Funimation. To give a more specific example: Dragon Ball Super is at the end of the Universal Survival Saga now but in the U.S., the Goku Black Saga recently began. With Black Clover, the spacing is closer as it was with Attack on Titan. I’d say a 4 to 6 episode difference in the case of Black Clover. Attack on Titan Season had 2 actually been dubbed in its entirety before it aired in the U.S. and Japan. I know because I saw the season premiere at Anime Boston last year and heard it straight from Funimation and Crunchyroll’s reps.

In the case of DBS, the dub came almost 2 years after its premiere in Japan. By then, the Universal Survival Saga was about to begin. To promote the series in the West, the first two sagas were released as the standalone movies Battle of Gods and Resurrection F. Beerus and Whis are introduced for the first time and Freeza, who plays a significant role in the Universal Survival Saga is reintroduced.

Getting back to Crunchyroll. Unlike Funimation, CR doesn’t focus on pushing a few Anime to promote the Medium and their service. Those of us with a Premium or Premium+ account can watch new episodes as they air in Japan or right after they finish airing over there. The reason is because of the licensing deal Crunchyroll has with Japan TV and other networks. Those with a Free Account have to wait a week or more after the fact to see a new episode plus they have commercial interruptions. The comercial pay for the content so Free Accounts can see it at all. Those of us with a Premium Account or higher can watch commercial free as well as an HD. Crunchyroll is on demand but they also air new content in real time as it airs in Japan or becomes available. Not that different from WWE Network in that way.

Let’s see…I have watched over 20 new anime series since this time last year. I have also watched 8 live action dramas, which Crunchyroll seems to be moving away from in favor of focusing on Anime. A shame as the dramas I have seen were pretty memorable. Most are actually live action adaptations of existing Manga or anime such as Tokyo Love Kiss, Dr. Coto’s Clinic and GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka. I’m assuming the reason there hasn’t been any new Dramas added in almost 2 years is due to licensing but I hope this changes.

I have watched both My Hero Academia and Shokugeki No Soma as well. Currently waiting for them the continue over the next two months.

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Dragon Ball Super’s Universal Survival Saga races to its end

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…Vegeta is clearly about to break through the glass ceiling and attain the Ultra Instinct form. He tried reaching that form the same way Vegeta did but quickly changed his mind after getting floored by Jiren not once but twice. His pride as a Saiyan Warriore is likely why despite having knocked him out twice, Jiren passed on eliminating him from the tournament so far.

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Goku is clearly the one Jiren wants to fight but unsurprisingly, Goku is holding off on using his new Ultra Instinct form again for plot reasons. This is also why he reverted to using his Super Saiyan Blue + King Kai Fist x20 form for now. Vegeta vs. Toppo was in the preview for the next episode and it’s even stated both #17 and Frieza are eliminated, likely at the start of the episode. It’s not hard to figure out Vegeta likely gains Ultra Instinct either during or after eliminating Toppo.

Speaking of, it was confirmed in last week’s episode what I said in my last post on the Tornament of Power: Jiren and Toppo are both candidates to become Universe 11’s next God of Destruction. After Gohan sacrificed himself to eliminate Dyspo, #17 and Frieza teamed up to fight him. Backed into a corner thanks to Frieza, Toppo reveals the power he refused to use until now: The power of a God of Destruction. Having decided surviving is more important than anything else, Toppo goes full power and the tables are turned. With Toppo now enveloped in Destruction Energy, #17 and Frieza can no longer touch him. Despite wielding the power of a Destroyer, Toppo is careful not to use fatal blasts to avoid being disqualified.

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…Of course, THIS it the rematch currently being delayed. Heh. Reminds me of the original Dragonball Z Sagas: They’d drag on each Saga for as long as possible for no reason. LOL. Of course in this case, the wait will be worth it. One thing you gotta give DBS credit for: Almost no filler episodes or needlessly extended Sagas. I mean we already know Universe 7 survives since DBS begins right after DBZ’s Buu Saga ends but there is a time skip in DBZ to when Pan is 4 years old. DBS takes place during the span of time in between.

The more interesting questions to be answered when the Tournament of Power ends are how does it end and will someone wish for the return of the Universes that were erased? Time will tell.

Alot to look forward to on Crunchyroll these days

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…So much that for the first time, I got a 12-month Premium subscription last month.

This has been a really good year for Anime fans in general. If you watch Dubs on Funimation or Toonami, you’ve seen a number of Anime debut or premiere. We have also seen the simulcast of Attack of Titan Season 2: Two weeks after its premiere in Japan, the English Dub premiered on Toonami. They wrapped up two weeks apart, too.

Since Crunchyroll and Funimation have partnered, Anime have been getting Dubbed faster. At the same time, distribution has sped up on both sides of the Pacific. It’s win-win.

Here’s a short list of the Anime in my Crunchyroll Que that I am currently watching and is still in progress:

 

  • Boruto: Naruto Next Generations *
  • Dragonball Super
  • My Hero Academia *
  • My Life as a Cenataur
  • Restaurant to Another World *
  • Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma *
  • Knights & Magic *
  • Fox Spirit Matchmaker
  • Aria The Animation *
  • Yona of the Dawn *
  • Katsugeki Touken Ranbu *
  • Elegant Yokai Apartment Life
  • Ninja Girl & Samurai Master

 

A * Means it is will likely get an official English Dub

…Of that list, Dragon Ball Super has an official English Dub that is now airing on Toonami. My Hero Academia is shaping up to be the heir apparent to past hits such as Naruto, Bleach amd Fullmetal Alchemist. It has universal appeal and the Superhero theme will make it extremely easy to market it mainstream in the U.S. Most of the other Anime in the above list that may be dubbed…I think it’s more likely they will be stream and DVD/Blu-Ray only releases.

I can only see My Hero Academia guaranteed to premiere on Toonami and only because of how freaking popular it already is. Even better is unlike Attack on Titan, they won’t have to worry about pushing it too hard in the beginning. I feel like that’s why the live action Attack on Titan movies (Japan) tanked so hard: They rushed them out and it showed.

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma is basically a high school version of Iron Chef and is amazing. The one drawback to it that I feel takes away from it a bit is the over the top fan service dressed as foodgasms. Yeah, no way in hell Toonami can run something like that despite the rest of it being such a solid anime.

All in all, now’s as good a time as any to watch Crunchyroll. Speaking of watching: Crunchyroll announced a few weeks ago that they will no longer be updating the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii U Apps. The current versions of both will still work though.

As a reminder, Crunchyroll is free BUT you get all of the following with a Paid Subscription:

  • No Ads
  • 720 and 10780 HD Video and Audio
  • New episodes available an hour after airing in Japan
  • Ability to give a 30-day premium pass to a friend each month
  • Free Swag at Conventions (see the Crunchyroll booth for details)
  • Can stream from 2 or 3 devices simultaneously

…CR actually has a Premium++ which grans Simulcast: You can watch new episodes as they’re aired in Japan. This is in addition to all of the above¬† and of course, it costs more than their baseline premium package. In comparison, Free accounts lack all of the above plus you have to deal with ads AND wait 24 hours after a new episode has aired in Japan.

 

Dragon Ball Super’s Universal Survival Arc just got REAL interesting

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Dragonball Super’s Universal Survival Saga just finished its 5th episode since the Battle Royale began. Universe 9’s 10-man squad was the first to be eliminated. The remaining participants watched as Zen-Oh Sama wiped Universe 9 and everyone in it from existence once the whole team was eliminated from the fight by ring out. That brought home the reality for the remaining fighters what they were fighting for: Survival. Universe 11’s team is made up of the Pride Troopers and they have lost 6 fighters so far–5 in this week’s episode. We’ll get to that in a minute. 3 Episodes passed before we would see someone from Universe 7 get eliminated: Krillin.

In case you haven’t been f0llowing DBS on Crunchyroll since the Universal Survival Arc began, Universe 7 was forced to recruit Frieza last-minute to replace Buu. Buu fell into a coma-like sleep after undergoing intense training for the tournment and won’t wake up for at least two months according to Mr. Satan/Hercule. Left with no other choice, Goku prettymuch mades a deal with the devil and recruits Frieza to replace Buu. Mind you, not that much time passed since the Ressurrection F Arc but for Frieza, working with his archnemesis is preferential to being in Earth’s Hell (LOL!).

Frieza reveals after he was sent back to Earth’s Hell by Goku, he’d been mentally training himself and can now maintain his Gold Form for much longer. Excluding Beerus, Goku and Vegeta are easily the two most powerful fighters in Universe 7 for different reasons but Frieza easily rounds out the top 3. This was explained better in Dragonball Z Kai but #17 and #18 are both humans who were artificially enhanced by Dr. Gero. They’re technically still human but they are for all intents and purposes, immortal. One huge advantage they have over their opponents is as a reminder, their energy can’t be sensed. This makes them virtually invisible if you can’t see them. LOL.

 

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…Getting back to the two Female Saiyans from Universe 6. Kale is Universe 6’s Broly. The difference, of course being now the Legendary Super Saiyan is officially canon. We saw a preview of her “Broly” form before the tournament began. When she transforms during the tournament for the first time, everyone else is suddenly in danger. Jiren from Universe 11 effortlessly takes her down, knocking her unconscious after they lose a team member during a previous skirmish. Toppa dispatches 5 of the remaining team members to take out Goku but Kale and Caulifla end up getting pulled into it along with #17 and #18.

Kale transforms again to help Caulifla but this time she is able to control her power. After decimating Universe 11 in one sweep, Kale passes out. She can now maintain control while in “Broly” Form but can’t maintain it for too long. Thanks to Kale, we now have a better understanding of the Legendary Super Saiyan form. Referenced back during Dragonball Z’s Namek and Frieza Sagas, The Legendary Super Saiyan is the most powerful of all Saiyans with overwhelming power. They are extremely rare and it’s said you only see one every 100 years.

For Universe 7, that was Broly. Now, Broly and Goku were born on the same day on Planet Vegeta. Goku was born with a Power Level of 1. Broly was born with a Power Level of 10,000. It’s probably safe to assume his mother didn’t survive childbirth. King Vegeta (Vegeta’s father, who he is named after) ordered the newborn Broly be killed along with his father. Despite getting knifed through the heart, Broly survived both that and the destruction of Planet Vegeta. We would find out later Broly got drunk off his own power as it grew faster and faster to the point his father fashioned a device to keep in in check. The limiter worked until Broly met Goku and prettymuch snapped. At full power, Broly was unstoppable. The Goku that beat him was Super Saiyan 2 and only after being fed energy from Vegeta, Preteen Gohan, Piccolo and Future Trunks. In the second movie, we got confirmation deep down Broly was pure evil. At half-power, he literally threw Goten and Trunks around like rag dolls.

…Kale is a different story. It’s obvious she was unaware of her own power before she transformed for the first time. Unlike Broly, Kale actually is a Wallflower (Broly pretended to be one before he was found out). Like Caulifla, she’s clearly a Saiyan: When she transforms for the third time, she maintains control. When Goku became a Super Saiyan for the first time, it took everything he had to keep the power from controlling him. When Caulifla went SS2 while fighting Goku, she immediately reverted to SS1 after he told her about SS2’s drop in speed in exchange for raw power. If we’re gonna theorycraft here, The Legendary Super Saiyan form is an offshoot of SS2 with the speed of SS3 but powerful enough to match Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan (SSGSS), also known as Super Saiyan Blue (SSB).

 

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Caulifla obviously found out for the first time when she transformed but you can’t help but wonder if she could sense Kale’s dormant power before Cabba introduced them to Super Saiyan. Speaking of, Goku dropped a strong hint he’s gonna show Caulifla what SS3 looks like. Goku hasn’t used it since he sparred with Beerus on King Kai’s planet. There is fan theory Caulifla could go SSB so…yeah.

In closing, let me give my Universal Survival predictions. Like Beerus and Champa’s tournament, there appears to be a hidden purpose behind this Battle Royale. Let’s be honest, Zen-Oh’s child-like personality makes him easy to manipulate. I think most of the universes will be wiped out but more than Universe 7 will survive. All that’s left is to see how things play out ^_^

 

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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.

 

 

Anime Boston 2017 Day 1 Done: So much Anime!

…I’ve been home for about an hour now and man am I exhausted. LOL. I got to the Hynes around 11AM but decided to eat at a nearby restaurant before going inside. I went in the Boylston St. entrance just as the Dealer’s Room opened.

I walked out with the following Anime on DVD and Blu Ray:

  • Fruits Basket
  • Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit
  • Cowboy Beebop
  • GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka
  • Angelic Layer
  • Michiko and Hatchin (Blu-Ray)
  • Attack on Titan Junion High*

* Got it on Sunday of the Convention

 

…It is the most Anime I have ever bought in one day physical or digital. I got a deal on all of them too. Oh and yes, I’ve seen all of them before either via Netflix (Fruits Basket and Angelic Layer), Toonami/Adult Swim (Michiko and Hatchin,¬† Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and Cowboy Beebop) or Crunchyroll (GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka). Speaking of, I also bought the Boruto movie digital via iTunes and no, I haven’t seen it before.

Oh, speaking of Boruto: Congoers can buy the first Volume of the Manga in the Dealer’s Room. What makes it a big deal: It doesn’t hit store shelves until May. I asked a friend of mine working one of the booths selling Manga and he told me the dealers apparently received advance shipments of Boruto were given permission to sell them at conventions ahead of the official release. I also bought Volumes 18 through 20 of Attack of Titan and the first four volumes of One Punch Man. I plan to buy the other 6 available volumes on Sunday when they will be discounted further than they currently are at my go-to vendor. Other than that and maybe getting a few more volumes of Persona 3 and Persona 4, I doubt I’ll start any new Manga series this weekend (LOL!).

One other thing before I forget: I got Attack on Titan and Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm for the PS4 yesterday. When I finish the main story of each game, I will post my review of them on this blog since they’re based on Anime.

 

 

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).