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Lanzhu the Heel: How Love Live! Nijigasaki Explores Differences in Personal Goals

Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club Season 2 introduces new girls to the anime, including Lanzhu Zhong from Hong Kong. Unlike other previous rivals in Love Live! such as A-RISE and Saint Snow, Lanzhu is the closest the franchise has ever come to having a full-fledged heel. The result of having such a character be prominent is that Nijigasaki Season 2 is able to explore contrasting motivations for being a school idol. Lanzhu’s Approach to Success To be fair to Lanzhu, she’s not malicious or out to humiliate the others. Rather, her disagreement with the School Idol Club comes from the fact that the latters’ members “do it for the fans.” In Lanzhu’s view, school idols should be above...

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The Genuine Greatness of Bojji: Ranking of Kings and How People Perceive Disabilities

  Ranking of Kings is a popular anime, and for good reason. The story is gripping and unpredictable, and the characters are full of depth and personality—most notably in its protagonist, Prince Bojji. While recent shounen anime are full of excellent heroes like Deku (My Hero Academia) and Tanjiro (Demon Slayer), this series is also the rare case of an action-oriented series where a main character with disabilities is portrayed not as inspiration porn or as having some superpower resulting from his circumstances. Ranking of Kings impresses me because it neither ignores his disabilities nor makes them Bojji’s only defining qualities. A Note Before I go into any details, I want to make it clear that I myself do not...

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Delicious Party Precure Early Thoughts: The Paths to Self-Love Through Food

  The main gimmick of Delicious Party Precure is right in the name: the joy of food. Heroines and their mascots are designed based on rice, bread, and noodles. Villains rob the flavor from dishes by stealing away the spirits that give dishes their brilliance. But more than just an aesthetic flourish, I think this focus on encouraging viewers to eat well might actually be reflective of a more general goal of teaching love and acceptance of both self and others through its positive portrayals of eating and its nonstandard depictions of gender.  Eat Well for Your Own Sake This is not the first time a Precure has put the spotlight on culinary traditions, but with older titles like Kira...

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Kindness Is Strength in “Demon Slayer: Entertainment District Arc”

Demon Slayer’s Emphasis on Love and Growth Stay Evergreen The new season of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is in full swing, introducing new characters while also spotlighting the heroes we’ve met along the way. It can be tough following on the heels of the fantastic Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train, but what I’ve come to notice is that no matter where the story has gone, there’s a level of consistency that goes beyond technical quality. Demon Slayer never seems to lose sight of its heart, and the foundational elements that make the series appealing in the first place are still present, especially in the way it emphasizes the power of kindness even in fury.  What It Means to...

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The Giant Robots of Fall 2021: Six mecha series to satisfy your needs for the rest of 2021

Giant robots are a trope closely tied to images of anime in popular culture, and I can never get enough of them. But it’s no stretch to say that they don’t have quite the firm grip that they used to, with a handful of major exceptions like Gundam and Evangelion. This is why the Fall 2021 anime season feels so unusual—not one, not two, but as many six mecha series debuted in October. Rather than feeling like the harbinger of a genre revival, they seem to be taking different routes to using giant robots as selling points. Muv-Luv Alternative Muv-Luv Alternative fills the role of adapting a work that already has an established fanbase, though the story of how Muv-Luv...

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Lupin the Third’s Loving Farewell to Its Last Original Voice Actor, Kiyoshi Kobayashi

The Lupin the Third franchise is as much defined by its ensemble cast as it is Lupin himself. The sixth television series kicks off with a spotlight on Lupin’s oldest companion, the unparalleled marksman Daisuke Jigen, but it’s no ordinary character-centric episode. Instead, it comes on the heels of the announcement that Jigen’s voice actor, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, is finally hanging up his hat and holstering his magnum at the age of 88, after 50 years playing Jigen. The story told is a loving tribute to Kobayashi-as-Jigen and Jigen-as-Kobayashi.  “I’m Getting Too Old For This” “Episode 0”, as it’s called, revolves around Jigen contemplating finally retiring from a life of constant heists. He laments the changing times, especially the way technology...

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Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul—On the Heels of Greatness

Whenever I think of great anime adaptations of mobile games, the first that comes to mind is 2014’s Rage of Bahamut: Genesis. Its world, characters, and story are remarkably entertaining and compelling. Despite my love for the series, though, I was originally unable to watch its 2017 sequel—or rather, I was unwilling to put up with the double paywall of Amazon’s now-defunct Anime Strike. But circumstances have changed, and now I’m here to lay down my thoughts on Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul. Premise Virgin Soul takes place ten years after the events of Genesis, and stars a girl named Nina Drango. Hailing from a remote dragon village, her half-dragon lineage confers upon her superhuman strength—but also the side effect...

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The Best Love Live! Anime So Far?!: Love Live! Superstar!!

Once again, it’s time to write about one of my favorite subjects: Love Live!  The summer 2021 anime season brings with it the fourth generation, Love Live! Superstar!!, and from the first few episodes I find it to be the most exciting series so far. The Superstar Difference Love Live! has a lot going for it in general: entertaining music, charismatic idol girls, and a generally positive energy. The fundamental premise of school idols—high school girls who are both idols and school mascots—is fun and just a bit fantastical. When adapted into anime, their stories are streamlined into an easier-to-digest format that I appreciate. But as good as previous iterations have been (and Hanayo will forever be my #1), Love...

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