Anime & Manga RSS



Burning Kabaddi Early Impressions: Breathless and Wild

  When it comes to anime and manga, there are titles that one inevitably forgets and ones that always linger in the back of one’s mind. The latter often leave that lasting impact because they look a little different or just don’t fit easily into the boxes assumed to house them. Back in 2016, I reviewed for this blog a Japanese manga app called MangaOne, and among the works I sampled was one such attention-grabbing sports series called Shakunetsu Kabaddi, or Burning Kabaddi. Now, almost five years later, it’s getting an anime TV series. Seeing it show up on the season schedule was certainly a surprise, but I welcomed the chance to see it in action on the screen. Discovering...

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Tropical Rouge! Precure Early Thoughts

Tropical Rouge! Precure (also known as Tropical Rouge! Pretty Cure) is the latest entry in the popular Pretty Cure magical girl franchise, and while every season brings something to the table, few have been planned during a pandemic that has changed the world itself. With its tropical summer theme and its hyper-cheerful heroine, I believe that one of the goals of the series is to bring some joy and positivity in the face of COVID-19. Positive Entertainment in the Face of Crisis The best children’s entertainment tries to respond to the needs of its young viewers. Ten years ago, a different tragedy struck Japan: the 3.11 Fukushima triple disaster. Back then, the next Pretty Cure to debut after that horrific event was...

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Three Winter 2021 Anime Sequels That Are the Spice of Life

The Winter 2021 anime season is in full swing, and with it comes new shows, as well as continuations. While it would make sense for me to prioritize first impressions about anime that are debuting, I find this particular batch of sequels to be interesting because of the wide range of approaches they encompass. Attack on Titan: The Final Season The first anime to stand out in this respect is Attack on Titan: The Final Season. The fact that one of the biggest titles in recent memory is heading towards a conclusion is noteworthy enough, but one wrinkle about this particular season is that it’s being animated by a completely different studio, MAPPA. This usually means that there will be...

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Love Live!, Nijigasaki’s Setsuna Yuki, and the President Archetype

As a media franchise meant to both attract new fans and bring back old ones, there are certain traits that recur throughout Love Live! One such example is the “student council president as idol.” There was Eli Ayase in the original Love Live!, followed by Dia Kurosawa in Love Live! Sunshine!! Now, the new Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club features Setsuna Yuki.  But while all three share similarities, it’s Setsuna’s particular brand of perfectionism that sets her apart from the others. Three Presidents, Three Forms of Perfectionism Eli, Dia, and Setsuna are all portrayed as having very high standards for themselves and others, but in each case they come from a different place. Eli’s initial conflict with the...

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Love Live! Nijigasaki's Yu Takasaki Is the Perfect Audience Character

A new Love Live! anime is out this season, and it has a lot of firsts for the franchise. Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club emphasizes the importance of individual differences over previous series’ focus on teamwork and unity. It’s helmed by a different character designer, trading the familiar “glossy” designs of series past for ones that feel a little more “matte.” And with a plot derived from a mobile game, this new show features an audience stand-in—the blank-slate player character adapted for a different medium. To my pleasant surprise, the transformation of this character has been quite successful, and the girl we now know as “Yu Takasaki” strikes the right balance for her role.  From Player Avatar to...

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Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and the Matter of Family

  Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba has been one of the big shounen success stories in recent years, in Japan and internationally. Whether in anime or manga, the series is filled with charismatic characters, a compelling world, and exciting battles. Of course, that describes plenty of other series, so someone looking in from the outside might wonder what exactly Demon Slayer brings to the table—is it just the latest hit shounen battle manga, or is there something more?  While Demon Slayer is in many ways a conventional work, what makes it stand out among similar titles is the bond between its two central characters: Kamado Tanjiro and his sister Nezuko. That core relationship, built on familial love and a world-defying...

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Mobile Games Are Temporary, But Their Anime Are Forever

In 2017, one of the biggest jokes about the sleeper hit anime Kemono Friends was that it was based on a defunct mobile game. The show exceeded all expectations and should have been the perfect gateway to attract potential players, but that was out of the question. Even after a successor game launched in 2018, there was the sense that the mobile game felt ephemeral, whereas the anime version had a sense of permanence. The more I’ve thought about this contrast, the more I’ve come to realize that it’s a common theme among mobile games and their adaptations.  The Limits of Mobile Games Mobile games (especially ones with prominent gacha systems) have been a juggernaut for many years now. Type-Moon,...

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Ookumo-chan Flashback Final Review: Love Your Mother...But Not Like That

  Three years ago on this blog, I published my early impressions of Ookumo-chan Flashback, a manga about a teenage boy and his extremely hot mom. This past June, the series finally concluded, and so I can, at last, give my final verdict and thoughts about this strange and racy title. Note: ENDING SPOILERS BELOW  The Story Ookumo-chan Flashback by Riichi Ueshiba (Mysterious Girlfriend X, Discommunication) revolves around Minoru Suzuki, who for some reason is able to occasionally see back in time from the perspective of his late father. Every time he has one of these “flashbacks,” he sees his mother, Aya (maiden name Ookumo), during her high school years when she was dating his dad. The result: Minoru starts to...

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