Only the second of Matsumoto Rie’s head director series, Kekkai Sensen (or Blood Blockade Battlefront) danced onto the stage with flair. The setting, style, script, and music all contributed to an alluring world between life and hell. Of the many episodic stories told in this too-short series, the one featuring the unexpected friendship between Leo and Nej over a mutual love for Jack & Rocket’s hamburger stayed with me the most.
It took three seasons for us to reach this point, with an agonizing season of stasis in between, but I’m sure that every viewer who witnessed the above scene had a huge, goofy grin on his or her face.
Astrid Lindgren’s tale comes to life through Ghibli in the anime studio’s first CG television series. The pilot episode almost had me running without a glance back, but I decided to give both the author and the studio the benefit of the doubt due to their other beloved works. And I am so glad I did, because Ronya turned into a treasure with its setting and characters. It’s almost impossible to discuss Sanzoku no Musume Ronya without both names of Ronya and Birk on the lips–what is her story is also his, as the two are linked from birth through childhood, and will likely remain so into adulthood. I tried to zero in on one scene of theirs that stood out to me the most, but picking just one proved to be difficult. Here’s a rundown of their most memorable moments:
Sawamura Eijun will always be the ace of the Seidou baseball team in my heart for his spirit and potential, regardless of the actual number on his back. We’ve seen him grow with agonizing slowness and meet with extraordinary challenges instigated mostly by others, but also by himself. He redefined my definition for “ace” and continues to surprise me with his ability to adapt and stand tall in the face of adversity.
Shokugeki no Souma may be the first anime I’ve seen where I initially read the manga. I’ve never been much of a manga reader given the difficulty of obtaining it where I grew up, and the price point of each volume had always seemed too high. But now I’m supposedly a functioning adult with money and live in a city with easy access to the medium, both licensed in English, and in the original Japanese.
When Shokugeki was recommended to me, I about drop kicked both the reading and the recommending friend after the first chapter’s erotic display of overflowing pleasure in flavors and textures. Juices dripped, skin gleamed, and tongues flapped for more. But I kept reading, and gasping, and found the work difficult to drop. As a foodie, the reactions of those in the manga were relatable in a taboo, over-the-top way. Their emotions were exhibited more openly than I would ever dare, their hunger, joy, pride, and greed.Read More »
I dub 2015 the Year of Romance, both in anime, and in my own life. There weren’t an abnormal amount of romantic shows through the seasons, but there was a notable addition to the genre with Ore Monogatari!!, an unconventional story in quite a few ways from its characters to its early successes. The anime fulfilled almost all of the wishes I hold for romance stories, ones that tend to end up unfulfilled or on an open ending.
Tag me behind-the-times, but I finally came around to watching Ping Pong at the beginning of this year after several peers’ rave reviews and a lull in my own schedule. A few factors stopped me from watching the series when it first aired: subject, art style, and my own busy schedule. I learned the basics of the sport in grade school and never progressed beyond that point; while I thought the ping pong scenes in Forrest Gump were fantastic, I didn’t take any further interest in watching professional matches. I was also turned off by the art style, despite having overlooked it in another Yuasa Masaaki directed work, The Tatami Galaxy. When asking via Twitter what backlogged shows I should watch, Ping Pong overwhelmingly won.
Almost a year ago in February, I joined the “Anitwitter Book Club.” Draggle and a handful of anime bloggers and Twitter folk started the club, with our first book being Franz Kafka’s The Trial. Those following included:
- The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
- Earth Abides by George Stewart
- Neuromancer by William Gibson (Dec 2015-Jan 2016)
We give each book about a month of read time before coordinating a Skype voice call with one person as the discussion leader. As you can see from the list, none of them center on anime, manga, or anything you might expect from an “Anitwitter” group. You should instead interpret it as a bunch of book lovers brought together from various anime fan media. Topics do not need to hold to our beloved platform, or even to any sort of Japanese culture; we can suggest works from across various genre.
Anime B&B has been up and running for almost six years now, and it was only last year that I opted to join the 12 Days of Anime. There are quite a few seasonal aniblogger projects flitting around, but the two that had always caught my eye were 12 Days and Secret Santa. I kept meaning to try Secret Santa, but repeatedly missed the deadline for application. Finally, this year I stalked the date like a crazy person and actually remembered to submit.
“Leave everything to your big sister!” –Mocha/Cocoa
Family has always been a major factor of Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu-ka? Rabbit House is run by a grandfather, father, and daughter. Cocoa dubs herself Chino’s big sister and quickly does the same with Chino’s grade school friends upon meeting them the first time. And now in this second season we get to meet Hoto Mocha, Cocoa’s big sister. The relation is immediately clear upon meeting her—Mocha exudes a sisterly care for everyone around her, particularly cute girls, and gives off a vibrant love for life. Like Cocoa, Mocha’s eyes light up with stars when she spots a special something warm to the heart.