“Gangsta” Life

This is a gritty crime drama, set out in a town that is ruled by crime lords, so everyone is miserable all the time. It emotionally rains every day and life is very cheap. Welcome to “Gangsta” (“Gyangusuta”).

We are in the town of Ergastulum. It is not truly identified as such, but it had a Mediterranean feel to it, almost Italian. We follow the lives of two ‘handymen’, Nicolas Brown (far left) and Worick Arcangelo (right next to him). Many years ago, Worick had Nic as a personal bodyguard, but when Worick’s father stubbed out a lit cigarette in his eye (you did notice the eye patch, right?), Nic dispatched the family and they both went underground. You see, Nic is ‘special’.

He is known as a ‘Twilight’, a person with superhuman abilities, gained from the drug Celebrer. He is deaf and uses sign language to communicate, but reads lips well. They are dispatched to clean up the dirty jobs that a lot of the other crime families won’t even touch. The two ladies? At the far end is Alex Benedetto (Ally) who was working as a prostitute, but is saved by the two guys (she plied her trade in the alley just across from their office/apartment) not only from her life, but from her abusive pimp. The little girl is Nina and works for Dr. Theo, one of those back-alley doctors who patches up people after the rather numerous battles and helps get the Twilights their Celebrer.

The series details their lives in this gritty town and the machinations in place that seem bent on eliminating all the Twilights. Continue reading

Missed “Connection”

This was a rather confusing show, “Yosuga no Sora” (“Sky of Connection”), in that you were never really sure where the reality was, if what you were seeing was merely the overheated fornix of any of the characters or if it really was as it really was, which made things more disturbing than it had to be.

We start off with the tragically orphaned Kasugano twins (she, Sora; he, Haruka; both to the right). They travel to their grandparents’ countryside residence via train, hoping to reconstruct the shards of a shattered life. Two lonely souls, so physically alike, yet so spiritually divergent, that they are unaware of the challenges ahead of them. Sora is weak, frail since her birth, and so is predisposed to being reclusive and unrelentingly dependent on her brother for everything. Haruka is damaged emotionally, as he clings to memories of the past, hoping to find the strength he needs to protect his ailing sister and move forward towards a better, new world for them. Yeah, you already see the storm clouds on the horizon.

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That’s “Mister” To You

“Osomatsu-san” (“Mr. Osomatsu”) is a throwback show, something I have not readily encountered. The show originally ran from 1966 to 1967, in what would have constituted the First Wave of anime (and could have been shown on US television, when I had my initial encounter with anime back in 1964). It was everything you might recall from that time: flat or non-existent backgrounds, overly–broad characters, simple art design and pointless plots.

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Weekly Check-in: September 27, 2017 (October Premieres & Neo Yokio)

Screenshots from promo videos for The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Children of the Whales, Dances with the Dragons, Girls’ Last Tour, Himouto! Umaru-chan R, Osake wa Fūfu ni Natte kara, Recovery of a MMO Junkie, and Two Car.

A new crop of anime series debut next month and I’m interested in a handful of them. I also sampled Neo Yokio and didn’t like what I watched. Continue reading

Tuesday Check-In: August 22, 2017

I read volume 1 of Kore Yamazaki’s The Ancient Magus’ Bride tonight, partly because Yamazaki is a guest of honor at this weekend’s Crunchyroll Expo in Santa Clara, California. I had heard praise for that manga over the past couple years but didn’t know much about it. This first volume engaged me with its characters (mage Elias, his apprentice Chise, and Elias’ various acquaintances), fantastical creatures, and recurring talk about magic gradually fading out of practice.

Kore Yamazaki is scheduled to talk on Saturday afternoon about her career & other projects and she will also participate in a Sunday preview event for the upcoming Ancient Magus’ Bride anime series. (The three-day schedule is available on the official website and through the Guidebook app.)

I’ve been thinking about how Crunchyroll Expo appears to be organized more like a media expo than like a fan-run convention. Many of its guests have prior connections to Crunchyroll or its parent companies (Otter Media and Ellation): Rooster Teeth and Cartoon Hangover appear on the VRV video service (operated by Ellation); some of the YouTube “influencers” have Crunchyroll free trial affiliate links or sponsored videos; and upcoming anime series Kino’s Journey, Juni Taisen, URAHARA, and The Ancient Magus’ Bride have already been announced as simulcasts on Crunchyroll. Please note that I’m not implying any of the guests are not worthy of being invited; I’m just being conscious of its promotional aspects and how different my experience might be compared to Fanime or Otakon.

Anyway, I plan to be in Santa Clara all weekend so if you’re also going to be there, please say “Hi!”