Sakura-Con 2016 – Reki Kawahara and abec Panel

Another panel to focus on a franchise popular in recent years, guests Reki Kawahara and abec of Sword Art Online sat in with one of the larger audiences I saw this con. I did not attend the movie event before this panel since I was content to wait for its release further down the line in the U.S.

Kawahara Reki is the original creator of the Sword Art Online novels, as well as Accel World. He is still working on SAO installments, and was present at Sakura-Con for a second time to promote the upcoming film.

abec is the original character designer for the illustrations of SAO television series and movie.

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Sakura-Con 2016 – Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress and More by WIT Studio

WIT Studio has been prominent at Sakura-Con for a few years, with big titles like Attack on Titan and Seraph of the End. I was curious to see what they had in store for their future. Last year’s push on The Rolling Girls was a visual delight, but ultimately an overall failure for me in regards to storytelling. They also repeatedly promoted Seraph of the End, which was visually appealing, but utterly lacking in most other aspects for both its seasons. I was in that series solely for one character, who ended up changing for the worst by the end of the most recent series.

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Sakura-Con 2016 – Kawamoto Toshihiro and Matsumoto Rie Art Panel

Kawamoto Toshihiro and Matsumoto Rie were two of my most anticipated guests for this year’s convention due to their recent work with Studio BONES on Kekkai Sensen, a.k.a. Blood Blockade Battlefront.

Kawamoto Toshihiro’s arguably best known work was as character designer and animation direct of Cowboy Bebop. He also did the character design in Kekkai Sensen. He was the more animated of the two in this panel, and seemed comfortable in front of a crowd–this was his third time as a guest at Sakura-Con. He is also the founder of Studio BONES and is currently a board member.

Matsumoto Rie’s works include PreCure!, Kyousogiga, and Kekkai Sensen, where she covered various positions as director, assistant director, storyboard, and even series composition.

The panel opened with their introduction and a short promotional video of Kekkai Sensen, followed by some discussion by the guests. Photos were not allowed during this panel.

*Any transcription below is provided first through a translator’s words, then paraphrased as needed by me.*

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[Review] Tabi Machi Late Show

You can thank my new-found passion for X-Files and rekindled love for Agents of Shield for my month of silence. This has been a period of American television series and hitting the gym, and my progress of spring anime has ground to a near halt. But if there’s one thing I was able to complete, it was the 4-episode-long Tabi Machi Late Show, which ran for the first four weeks of this anime season.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this show were to drop under a good majority of people’s radars. Surface-wise, the episode count and art style leave much to be desired. If others are like me, their plates are usually overloaded with what each season has to offer, and reasons to cut shows out are always welcome. One of the easiest decisions are made based on art style; this is why it took me so long to finally try Ping Pong the Animation, as well as The Tatami Galaxy. Then there’s the combination of episode count and duration—each are extremely short. I find it hard to justify spending time on a show so inconsequential as to lack the time needed for fully rounded stories and characters. I already have a difficult time justifying including full single-cours shorts in my weekly viewing! Regardless of these obstacles, Tabi Machi Late Show vaulted cleanly towards my affections. A new story with new faces was introduced each week, but the underlying themes remained the same: “good byes and journeys.”

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Choco Pretzel Mallows with Ojisan to Marshmallow

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today’s the day of love, and what better way to celebrate it than with this season’s Ojisan to Marshmallow? This 12-episode series, each a short three minutes in length, follows Wakabayashi Iori and her affections for coworker Hige Habahiro, a large man who has eyes for nothing but his favorite brand of marshmallows. A delightful extra to the anime is the inclusion of simple, 34-second-long recipe instructions after the ending credits of most episodes. They’re the kind of treats that people of all ages with very limited equipment can make, like marshmallows on toast and marshmallow apple pie.

Taking inspiration from these recipes, I present to you chocolate marshmallows dipped in dark-chocolate and sprinkled with crushed pretzels! Props to Dessert for Two for the main recipe, which is super easy. I encourage you to give it a try!

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Winter 2016 Set Menu

It feels like the start of 2016 has been a mad rush of post-holiday preparations, with people jumping on resolutions and starting projects they should’ve begun before the festivities. With all of our new winter shows finally out, below are the ones that I’ve decided to stick with for now–as you know, the list is subject to changes. I’m always more than happy to try out something new recommended by a reader. This season is one heck of an addition to my plate since there are so many more pleasurable surprises than originally expected from glancing at the line-up. This just validates me giving at least every one of the new releases a try, no matter how much I think I’ll hate it.

  • Musaigen no Phantom World
  • Prince of Stride: Alternative
  • Boku dake ga Inai Machi
  • Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri – Enryuu-hen
  • Bubuki Buranki
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
  • Dimension W
  • Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
  • Akagami no Shirayuki-hime 2nd Season
  • Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm
  • Dagashi Kashi
  • Ojisan to Marshmallow
  • Nijiiro Days
  • Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!
  • Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu
  • Tabi Machi Late Show
  • Durarara!!x2 Ketsu

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Aria the Avvenire OVA 1: Bittersweet Reunion

Earlier last year, the second-to-best announcement I could have hoped for was made: an OVA for my favorite anime series of all time would be produced. Then came even better news! We would receive three OVAs in the Avvenire story line. The only way they could have improved my already sunny mood would be to announce a full season.

But then, I forgot all about it. My excitement lasted all of a month, then vanished in the face of an already full plate. I was reminded once again of Avvenire with the release of the first OVA, “For You, Whom I Longed to Meet.”

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Fall 2015 Season Wrap

Happy 2016, Year of the Monkey! The 2015 anime season ended on an exhaustively long, yet exhilarating run, launching us into a new year full of hopeful anticipation. I completed 14 shows this fall, and retained 6 ongoing series. It was a whirlwind, so hop on and let me know what you thought of both this past season and the year as a whole. Cheers!

  • Gakusen Toshi Asterisk
  • Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry
  • One Punch Man
  • Kekkai Sensen
  • Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider
  • Owari no Seraph: Nagoya Kessen-hen
  • Working!!! Lord of the Takanashi
  • Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan
  • Noragami Aragoto
  • Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru
  • Ushio to Tora (TV)
  • Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka??
  • Starmyu
  • Owarimonogatari

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12 Days of Anime – [1] One Punch Man

Superheroes have been a hot topic for several years now, from the U.S.’s several comics turned films, to the various superhero anime series in recent seasons. For the most part, they’ve all been predictable in format and body, and based off of One Punch Man’s promotional artwork, I assumed it, too, would follow suit. The first episode very quickly proved the OPM would be a conversation starter for weeks to come.

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