Mid-November update: Cromartie & Code Geass; Extra Life stream next weekend

Takashi, Freddie, Shinjirou, and Takeshi in Cromartie High School

Hi there! It’s been a number of months since my last update. Too busy with law school courses.

I watched Cromartie High School and the first season of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion with my regular classics anime watchgroup. Cromartie was hilarious and silly as a delinquent slice-of-life comedy, though I would’ve liked its episodes to be longer than 12 minutes.

While we were watching Code Geass, I started to make sense of some things I recall online communities and bloggers talked about when the show was first airing more than a decade ago. Things like the agony of Orange (aka Jeremiah), Cheese-kun and the frequent appearances of pizza, Nina’s obsession with Princess Euphemia, and “JIBUN WO” from the anime’s first opening theme.

Beachcomber from a Duracell commercial.

I plan to participate in this year’s Extra Life charity fundraiser by streaming myself playing video games in a marathon during the weekend of November 23 & 24. (Here’s my Twitch channel.) I’ll be raising money to support UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals as part of the Giant Bomb team. I’m thinking of going through my backlog of PC/Steam games and also play some older-generation sports games. I don’t think I’ll be able to do a full 24-hour marathon, but I’ll try to go for at least 12 hours.

Fear of “Flying”

Another popular genre is the witch show. Sometimes, they come off as ‘magical girl’, but they still are putting out some degree of wizardry and prestidigitation. And we have to keep it on the QT, as we don’t want to spill the beans too soon. “Flying Witch” (“Furaingu Uitchi”) is about Makoto (that dark-haired beauty near the broom), a young witch from Yokohama, that moves to Aomori to live with some relatives as part of her training. What follows is Makoto’s daily life as she gets used to her new environment, her new relatives, and the new friends she makes there, as well as being introduced to the customs and peculiarities of witchcraft. Continue reading

Should I Kiss Your “Bubu”?

I have never been able to fathom the Japanese obsession with robots and all things mecha. I am sure that if you did a run-down of anime themes, that genre would be at the top of the listings. I can’t go a week anywhere without seeing (or hearing) of another mecha show. The problem is that we have honestly seen this before. “BBK/BRNK” (also known as “Bubuki/Buranki”) is our latest venture. Let us go back ten years, but only to visit, OK. And no souvenirs, either!

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“Blood” Brothers

Have you ever been to New York City, so great, they had to name it twice? I was there recently and it is everything they say it is and more. As “The Town That Never Sleeps”, it is a magnet for all kinds of movies and shows based there. Although never officially named in this anime, it takes place in The Big Apple, or, as they call it, Hellsalem’s Lot. You see, Hellsalem’s Lot was created when a portal to the “Beyond” opened, becoming, in the process, a paranormal melting pot of monsters, magic and the everyday mundane life. Three Card Monte was never like this!

“Blood Blockade Battlefront” (“Kekkai Sensen” or “Bloodline Battlefront”) tells the tale of Leonardo Watch (to the left, grasping a beer mug), a photographer who has come here to help his ailing sister. But for some strange reason, a mysterious entity gave him the “All-Seeing Eyes of God”, granting him a variety of ocular powers (he normally wear a special set of goggles). He ends up being recruited by the organization “Libra”, who is tasked to clear the streets of trouble and prevent the horrors of this city from spreading to the outside world. Now, it does help that NYC….I mean, HSL, is blanketed in a perpetual fog, so you can’t really see what’s going on or going down or going away, but it makes for overall dreary days. Continue reading

“Comic” Relief

Rakugo is a performance art that I really don’t fully understand. The closest we would have would be a stand-up comic who tells a long and involved story, potentially exploiting the foibles and failures of people. Possibly the best example would be Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant”. But rakugo is done in a very specific way, telling very specific stories with almost no variance from one telling to the next.

“Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū” (“Shōwa Era, Genroku Era, Comic Storytelling, and Double Suicide”) is a double story. The first few episodes tell the story of Yotaro. He was recently released from prison and wants to become a rakugo performer (no, you don’t see him up there). In this time and place, being a barista might be a better career choice. Anyway, he tracks down the best rakugo performer, Yakumo Yurakutei (the one on the left, when he was younger; he was also known as Kikuhiko). Well, Yurakutei does NOT take apprentices, but the man is so earnest, and annoying, he takes him on, but with a lot of provisos. Continue reading

Warriors of the “Wasteland”

I have often said that if a show can’t decide on what the title should be, that is an indication of troubles. Although “Shōjotachi wa Kōya o Mezasu” (“Girls Beyond the Wasteland” or “Girls Aim for the Wasteland”, often abbreviated as “Shokomeza” and also known as “Girls Beyond the Youth Koya”) somehow avoids this problem, the story it tells is one that I have already seen. Continue reading