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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bleach 528 A Mindful Review

I put some mindful consideration into how to approach Bleach 528 and it gave me much more of a challenge than the latest Naruto release... This seemed to be a setup chapter more than anything else, getting into where Ichigo was (i.e. Back Home) and what he was going to have to do. I don't think there's much to analyse about the content of the chapter itself, none the less I may try to make some commentary on it. Mostly though I think I'll take this apparent "breather chapter" as an opportunity to assess where Bleach has come over 528 Chapters and what's going on in the writing of Bleach.

 Ichigo is a Quincy or a Shinigami or a Vaizard or some mixture of the three(I'd rather not touch the Fullbring right now...). His father seems to imply that Ichigo's Shinigami status is illegitimate and the Asauchi seem to back this up, but clearly we've seen nothing but Shinigami with a touch of hollow out of Ichigo until this point and the whole thing is getting a little hard to follow...why does he get all of these powers and abilities?! Who is he?! And what's this story really about?!

 Pictured Above: Half of Ichigo's Powers...

Now, Bleach fans like myself are hooked on Bleach because it does give us a "Psychological High" so to speak. Our hearts race with excitement and joy as we see a young man rise above the cruelty of fate and punch the faces, or more often slice the shoulders(Why always the shoulders...?) of arrogant snobs trying to get their way. We love that and we dream of doing it in our real lives, so we come back for more Bleach every week. But even so, we all know that there are sometimes questionable and fishy things that happen in the storytelling. It seems to me that far too much of Ichigo's character is based on raw brute force. This does not great storytelling make. Oh sure, it does have it's strong points I mean a certain degree of raw strength and stamina is crucial in life and manga/anime alike. Who wouldn't benefit from a little more weightlifting and a little less stuffing swiss rolls in our faces?  But Ichigo has done almost nothing else other than simply "level up" and I hope and pray he's not on track to do it again...

 For me at least the most interesting parts of Bleach are the intelligence trumps all events. When Aizen tricked everyone into thinking he was a great and wonderful Captain only to turn around and stab everyone in the back...brilliant!!!

The way Mayuri outsmarted Szael Aporro made that battle one of my favorite fights and demonstrates why I like Mayuri a lot!

 When Aizen cut through the Captains like butter with no thought to strategy whatsoever on the other hand, I was a bit disappointed... then he sealed the Captain Commander's zanpakutou admitting it's superior power! Badass!

Then the Hogyoku with unexplainable superpowers turned him into a semi-god...MAJOR HAX! Then Urahara revealed that he planted a seal in Aizen knowing Ichigo would activate it by kicking Aizen around. SUPER OPS!

I think you get my point. There's no readily detectable consistency about what rules the Bleach universe follows. I'm eager to hear Urahara's explanation for how the Captains bankai's were stolen, because I'm desperate to know that there's a legitimate force at work rather that some silly answer like: Because Quincy's have an almighty absorption power because, pick a reason :P.

 Our emotional brain centers love the intensity and stimulation of power ups and the rumbling of Spiritual pressure, but our minds are more complex than that. We are, at our best at least intellectual and creative creatures. We like novelty and creative problem solving, and for good reason. Those are the things that give us the experience of a genuine and happy human life. I will say that Bleach has done an adequate job at times of stimulating my intellectual and imaginative cravings with some of the examples I mentioned above...but it weighs on me a little bit that Kubo seems inconsistent with how as "god" of the Bleach universe he wants to run the show and what rules he want to write. The law of broken Bankai never being able to return to their original state for example, that seems to be something he came up with just for this arc(Note: Kubo had to make an excuse for Komamura's Bankai recovering after Aizen.)...not that you can't get away with making up new rules but I think great care and effort must be taken to build a world, even in fiction that exists within boundaries and limitations that, while presenting challenges to the characters do not by any stretch make success impossible. But merely serve to force the heroes on an interesting and stimulating journey to victory.

  What I hope to see as Ichigo continues his confusing adventure is that when his heritage is revealed and he understands who he is, which will be interesting to see that he will have to learn actual techniques and strategies aside from getting angry and desperate while firing one Getsuga Tenshou after another. I still have hope for Ichigo and Bleach because I think he still has growing up to do, but there will need to be some fascinating tasks for Ichigo to perform in order for me to judge him a compelling and relatable character which I once deemed him to be during the very first Bleach arc way back when.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Naruto Manga 622 A Mindful Review

 Naruto 622 is out and Manga Stream is holding strong! This time we saw something that personally made me all warm and fuzzy know after I got past the senseless deaths and everything.
Hashirama and Madara made friends fast when they met at that creek as kids and we learn in this chapter that they have both known the painful loss of brothers, and surprisingly we discover that there was once a time that Madara really did want people to kiss and make up!

I was touched by the experience and sentiment that we see which we know will ultimately take us back to the war raging at present in the Narutoverse. Hashirama and Madara have in common the fact that they both find the adults in their lives idiotic. The point they made was one that really struck home with me. Why do people have to retaliate when they have been wronged?

It's seems like a stupid question...I mean if someone is a jerkass to you then naturally you have to put them in their place, right!? Right!? Hashirama argues with his own father that it's twisted and wrong to be sending children in to fight and die when the Senju claim to be a clan of compassion and love! His father merely punches and berates him for disrespecting his fallen brothers sacrifice, but Hashirama remains adamant that the deaths in the war of Senju versus Uchiha are empty and meaningless and he doesn't want it to continue.

Now common sense might tell you: Well hold on! This is just manga we're talking about here, it's all lovey dovey idealistic nonsense and doesn't reflect how the real world works! But as an Otaku I don't believe in common sense and as a Psychology student I draw research based conclusions that refute the reliability of common sense, soooo Double Whammy!!

Hashirama and Madara alike, after their respective bad experiences and arguments with their clans about the senselessness of constant war and revenge both agree in their conversation at the creek that if people were honest, open, and forgiving the endless bloodshed could find an end, but the selfrighteousness and fearfulness in peoples hearts prevents such progress. Guess what, I can make the argument that Hashirama's love and compassion philosophy is backed by research and experiments to ultimately be not only happier but a more  practical solution to conflict!

Yay for Love!

Refer to this webpage for details:

Apparently revenge stimulates the reward centers of the brain specifically in something with the fancy smart sounding name; caudate nucleus...yea the reward center in your head causes you a lot of problems as I mention in my last article "Anime Mind" and here it strikes again. People like revenge, because it satisfies a base urge to get what you believe you ought to have. Our nature as social creatures is partly responsibly for this too. Most other animals are not vengeful beacause as long as you leave them to live their lives they don't much care to hunt you down and punish you for what you've done. But humans rely on relationships to live so if someone wrongs you, there's a typical feeling of a threat to your survival and you strive to "set it right" for survivals sake!

However, when we take Hashirama's perspective and look at it empirically, we see the pitfalls and high prices to be paid for acts of vengence. All of the time and energy that could be used to, oh I don't know, build a Leaf Village or something are instead invested in war, and the return on this investment is what? We attack and kill some of them, they return the favor, then we kill more, then they kill more, and...when and how exactly do you think this is going to go anywhere? What are we achieving!?

This is a common fallacy that both characters point out. Which is the fact that humans will fall into the trap of; do what makes me feel good now. Unfortunately distracting us from what would ultimately be better for everyone in the long run.

So where is this going? Well I found it interesting in I think the previous chapter, when Tobirama said that when an Uchiha loses someone they love a unique chakra flows into their brain which enhances their power with Sharingan while simultaneously blinding them to reason. Which is a really cool fictional parallel to actual science, people react to stress with certain brain activities like stress and emotional reactivity which produce what can sometimes be very adverse and maladaptive effects and behaviors like memory failure, shortsightedness, alchoholism, shooting sprees...or on a lighter note...

It looks like Hashirama and Madara were on the path to friendship and revolutionary practices which will bring the warring factions together, however we can see where this is leading. They will persuade people to work towards a better world built on forgiveness and kinship, buuuut we already have it spoiled for us that Madara will break at some point, I don't understand how, because apparently his brothers have already all been killed...was he lying? Is there another brother or a friend he sees as a brother?(Like Itachi and Shisui?) Whatever the case Madara will suffer a loss he can't handle, which will drive him over the edge. Instead of standing by Hashirama and enduring through it, he will succumb to the natural drive to  balance the ledger so to speak and get his dues and set everything straight.

But we know it won't work, not just because Manga story telling is predictable, but because there's a grain of real truth infused into the work as a reflection of reality and human feelings. Nobody can stand as the lone supreme judge of all that is holy, different people with different standards of who owes what to who will continue a cycle of retaliation, and there will be no peace as long as people surrender to their impulses and fail to let go, see the bigger picture, and move on to better things.

The only thing I'm curious about here is what Hashirama's conclusion will be about the true purpose of shinobi. If love and kinship are what's best, then why is it still necessary to have shinobi and build our military power? I would argue that this is a recognition of the fact the we can't let our guard down with human nature churning within us. The fact is that the lovey dovey approach is easier said than done. It's not so easy to forgive and forget, and it sounds unbelieveable to even consider building kinship with people who killed members of your family, some of whom may have been children!

I think the purpose of shinobi here is this: they are guardians against human weakness. They do not exist to kill enemies or punish wrong doers. Their true purpose is to fight against the frailty of the human spirit. Sometimes this will lead to war, Hashirama himself even said "Whenever you live there is always war." both times he's been resurrected. So while conflict may be inevitable, I think the true philosophy Hashirama, and in turn everyone in the Leaf and perhaps the Ninja Alliance too at this point is this: Hate the Sin, not the Sinner. Fight for what's right and make peace as soon as you can.

This went waaaaaay deeper than I had intended, I hope you get something out of it!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Anime Mind!

 I started noticing something intriguing to me a couple of years ago that has bugged me for all the time since. School and work alike can be pretty rough to deal with. There's a lot to learn and understand, and even when you think you have it all still more stuff comes up to distress your life. I was talking to a friend of mine about  our complaints concerning "the system" as in this cold cruel world keeps us down with it's stupid laws and foolish logic. In the midst of this childish lamentation about the world's baka rules, I made an innocent comment which instantly gave me the insane hope of matching Naruto and Ichigo Kurosaki in terms of power!

 I'm not claiming to be an expert on this but I think this is worth exploring so please stay with me!

"You know, if I could get into my school work the same way I get into an anime I could have learned everything and gotten straight A's without any effort at all!" This is the essence of what I said to my friend.
It occurred to me in this moment that many anime's/manga such as Bleach and Naruto are very deep and detailed, and as they grow with each new chapter or episode, you are essentially being given more and more and more information about the characters, the universe(s) they live in, the details of their personalities, personal stories, powers and abilities, topped of by a slew of miscellaneous craziness and side stories. These stories we watch/read in our anime/manga have an enormous amount of activity and dialogue going on. And those of us who are fans of this addicting and crazy genre of entertainment absorb and remember every damn bit!

To me this is an amazing feat that we don't realize we deserve a lot of credit for, and a lot of scolding as well!

Watch this:

  I've watched Captain Shunsui Kyoraku release his shikai only a handful of times and from memory...

"Flower god rage and flower god roar, heavenly wind rage and heavenly demon sneer...Katen Kyokotsu!"

Katen Kyokotsu's ability is to make children's games real! If you win you live, if you lose you die. In Kageoni whoever gets their shadow stepped on loses, in Takaoni whoever is higher up wins! Bushogoma is a spinning top game, in Irooni you call the color you want to cut and can't cut anything else, but the damage you do is enhanced or weakened in proportion to the amount of that color you have on you, also if you get hit back on that same color you get hurt with the same proportion of damage.

And that's the shikai power of Katen Kyokotsu, Captain Shunsui Kyoraku's zanpakutou in the anime/manga Bleach!

And now for my next trick I will tell you the equation to calculate velocity in physics...after I google it...hold on...          
Ah! Yes! Velocity equals speed over time! ...wait, that's it? Yep! That's it, that's all I needed to remember after having teachers try to drill it into me over the years, and I still had to google it to figure it out for this article! Not so for Kyoraku's unnecessarily long release command and complex set of powers...

The simple explanation of course is that we care immensely about our anime/manga and so we invest a hell of a lot more of our time and mental energy engaging with it repeatedly, swirling it around in our heads analyzing the decisions of the writers, the characters, and the issues they're facing. But I believe there is a really profound point to be made in this very simple observation. The psychological activity and commitments we have for our beloved anime/manga appear to be the very same kind of qualities we ideally ought to have when living our daily lives! I'll bet you anyone who has seen and heard Lelouch vi Brittania's epic speech at the tail end of Code Geass season two will remember that for years to come. But not a damn one of them could remember that important lesson in class even a couple minutes after walking out. Probably because they just wanted to drop the work to log on to Anime Freak!

 Can this be explained perhaps by the concept of escapism?! Do we really hate our lives so much that we retreat from them, and sacrifice our time and energies on the altar of Japanese born fantasies rather than giving those resources to fighting and defeating the challenges we have in life!? This sounds very bleak and incredibly cynical...and I'd honestly rather not believe it to be true. So what's the deal? If I can give you detailed explanations of the status, strengths, and limitations on every single zanpakuto that has ever been introduced in Bleach, then why the hell am I stressing out about the test I have to take on Monday!? Why can't I buckle down, learn the crap in a few hours and ace that test without any effort!? If the test was on the recent events of Naruto, or hell even if it was on the first damn episode I could ace it without studying!
(This creature was mentioned in the beginning of the series. It's the Kyuubi and it got                                                                                                                  sealed into the main character Naruto shortly after Naruto's birth.)

I study psychology at school and that's partly why I've become intrigued with the subject. I know we have a lot more potential than what we use, and I am desperate to learn how to tap into that potential so I can apply the same brain functions that help me retain years and years worth of manga releases in order to figure out how to budget my income, invest in profitable ventures, and figure out where all my damn socks go after I wear them!

 Our memories are nartually a big part of intelligence, if you don't remember stuff that you learn in life how the hell do you make good choices about anything? And if you're an avid anime fan and you've kept reading with interest so far than you probably have a brain that has proven it's powers of retention on it's favorite anime's. Thus demonstrating it's potential for great intelligence. So why aren't we better at life?!

 Psychologists have done research on how fantasies and expectations affect the outcomes of our real life endeavors. In one study, they measured the successes and failures of people who they encouraged to indulge in fantasizing about success and things that were important for them. They also did the same for people who were encouraged to merely think about and report what they truly expected to happen to them based on actual past experience rather than fantasy. (I'm sure you can see how I connect this to anime/manga.) Here's a link to an article pertaining to the study:

 The results were as follows: The one who indulged in the fantasies ended up applying to fewer jobs, unsurprisingly getting fewer interviews and got hired less, and in the jobs they did have they were generally paid less money. They recovered from surgery less quickly and didn't do so well on tests or dates either.
But people who considered more realistic expectations, which included an awareness of the challenges and sacrifices we inevitably will have to deal with in life, they had considerable better luck and performance levels!

 My proposed explanation for this is that anime...and fantasizing in general, spoils your brains reward centers and floods your system with related hormones like serotonin without actually forcing you to do any work and face any hardships. And get this, based on studies in sensation and perception, everything you experience in life, whether it's in "real life", in anime, in your dreams, or whatever the case may be, every single experience is the result of your brain's calculations and interpretations which it uses to present to your consciousness a unique and personal experience of life. Because of this, your brain actually can't distinguish any meaningful difference between fantasy and reality! So when you get your fix of feelings of victory, love, pleasure, and success from anime your brain is liable to decide: Well! I'm happy now so I can take it easy, one day I will have enough strength to shatter fate! Just like Ichigo Kurosaki! Whether you consciously believe that and decide that is irrelevant unfortunately...your brain will make a lot of poor decisions without you if you don't train and discipline yourself properly!!!

I could go into great length right here and now to give my opinion on how to deal with this, but perhaps I can expand on this in another post. For now I will say just a bit. First of all don't think you have to be "like" anyone real or imagined. You are not Ichigo or Naruto, you are not Captain Commander Yamamoto, you are not the President of the United States...most likely, you are not your parents. You are who you are, and you need to take a good look at yourself and think: "This is me." "This is my life." "I have to live this life and deal with these things that are in this life that I have. I will clean the dishes, pay my bills, and do my job or be a student, at an epic level of greatness. As I take care of these seemingly simple things, I will enter and live the grand heroic adventure I've always wanted without even having to try!"

 Adventure, romance, epicness, heroism, and all the things like don't do these things, they happen as a function of living genuinely and with passion, and living with such zeal and honesty is about accepting the fact that you and your heroes are equally human and so have the same potential. And your anime/manga... they're specifically designed for psychologically pleasing effects! They are not superior to real life, they are subordinate to real life! They are mere reflections of the desires and hopes of the people who create them and the fans who enjoy them! We own them and we can either use all our free time to get a psychological high off of them or we can make them addition to getting that high of course. ;)  Not in the sense that we can actually summon giant living toads by biting our thumbs...but in a certain, more realistic format we can make life just as fun, crazy, and epic. At least that's my belief.

 This might require at least one more post, as it doesn't feel like I'm done just yet! ;)

If you came back to read more stuff I EPICALLY THANK YOU!

And if you would, please click the appropriate like buttons and such to share my stuff with others. :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Viz Media vs. Mangastream!

 I think I've got a better understanding of the situation. It seems that Viz Media a big provider of Japanese tied products like manga and anime got a little minced about manga stream offering free manga content and now there's a bit of conflict and doubt about what manga stream's responsibilities are. Manga streams defense is a horde of loyal fans combined with the fact that they only archive about 4 or so chapters per manga at a time, discarding them from the archives as new chapters come out. So there appears to be a dispute over whether manga stream is hurting support for artists and writers by offering their stuff for free, even though there is a counter argument that manga stream is indeed supportive of the anime and manga.

Well that's what I have so far I'll keep you posted and crank out my next article come the weekend!

Up Date On Manga Releases!

 I just checked Manga Stream and the latest releases of Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece are all up!

I really don't know what this means yet. Maybe they have a limit left before they stop or perhaps the rumors spreading around are false. I'll let you know if I find anything definite. But it seems getting the accurate 411 is not as simple as I thought!

I'll search around!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bleach Manga 527

Kenpachi has succeeded! Ichigo has failed!?

I'm now ready to give you my take on bleach manga 527! Pretty deep and serious business in this chapter I must declare. Captain Unohana...not long after the death of Captain Commander Yamamoto and so shortly after starting to learn about the real her and the true nature of her powers...Unohana seems at least to have passed away.

It's unlikely she will revive herself or be saved. Per her own words she sees her death by Kenpachi Zaraki's hands as the passing of her torch which ought to have been done long ago. Zaraki really touched me as well screaming for the continuation of Unohana's life. At the start of the fight he proclaimed to have respected her, it would appear from his desperate cry for her to live, that he may have actually loved her. To top it all off as Unohana slips away assuring us that she is happy in doing so we hear Kenpachi's zanpakuto call out to him.

This is an incredible development after all that action with the big reveals of memories and emotions Kenpachi will now bond with and call out his Zanpakuto! I wonder now what kind of zanpakuto Kenpachi's could possibly be. The zanpakuto are supposed to be manifested as a result of the Shinigami's essence being poured into a Asauchi or a nameless zanpakuto, at first this solidified the idea in my head that Kenpachi must have a melee type zanpakuto. However considering what we've seen of Unohana who was the first Kenpachi that is called into question. She loved battle just as much, bearing the name Kenpachi after all, but she still valued Kido enough to master it and wielded a Kido based zanpakuto. And we also know that Kenpachi learned a new perspective on what true battle is with Unohana and appreciated it enough to grieve over her. what do you think Kenpachi Zaraki's zanpakuto will be? I believe it has to be something that delivers attacks in a violent and forceful manner. Like something that causes explosions or lightening bolts.
I'm really eager to see what's up with that!

 Next we have a startling development in the royal palace. Ichigo has been booted out! I was floored with that result! Ichigo was not "chosen" by the Asauchi and was deemed by Oetsu unworthy of continuing! This is a real major twist. Not at all like previous arcs, not one bit. Especially since Renji did apparently pass the test and will be able to move on, whatever that means.

I have to say though I do like the way that went as far as story telling is concerned. I think it's always better when things don't follow a predictable pattern the way the hero would like for it to go for his convenience. And like Oetsu said he's got to get back to his roots even if it means not going back to the Spirit Palace.

 I will say though, that I am very disappointed! Because I feel now that because of recent evens that I won't get to see or learn more about Senjumaru Shutara for a while! It was love at first sight for me to be honest...she looks so pretty and cool! She's got the wicked extra arms and apparently she's got some history with Mayuri who is one of my favorite characters. I was so pumped for Ichigo and Renji to move on to her palace, but now I don't know where things are going now. I'm perfectly fine with Ichigo getting screwed out of the Spirit Palace because I think he's got a lesson to learn from it, and he might even get a chance to tap into his Quincy powers(No I didn't forget about that!). I'm honestly mainly bummed because I want to see more Senjumaru...and I'd like to know the last guy too I guess.

 So what did you think of the development? Don't you want to see Senjumaru and the other dude! And what do you expect for Ichigo now?

Naruto Manga 621

 Naruto 621 came out today and it's a blast from the past! A lot of blasts to be more accurate.

It's facinating to find out that Madara Uchiha and Hashirama Senju were childhood friends! At least that's the First Hokage's view of things. The entire chapter was flashbacks and falshbacks withing flashbacks. We started with the final fight between Hashirama and Madara controlling the Kyuubi. As they argue back and forth about the battle they fight, Hashirama laments that he'd thought the two of them were friends! Think back to their first meeting, apparently as kids, looking the same age as Naruto and Sasuke from the begining of the Naruto saga.

Not much happened in the chapter other than this, but it does raise some questions. Exactly what was the world like back in those days that Madara and Hashirama could become friends and grow up together? I had thought the world was at war back then. Was there actually a time of peace prior to Hashirama and Madara growing into adults?

Also, it seems to me that there could possibly be a comparison getting drawn between the Hashirama/Madara relationship and the Naruto.Sasuke relationship. It seems to me that this was hinted at before because of the Uzumaki connection to the Senju and comments made by Obito I beleive, but now it seems Kishimoto really wants to solidify that idea.

I must say though I have mixed feelings about this. In the begining I respected the original message of Naruto that with hard work and determination you can beat the so called odds and become a great person. But with each new development I've seen it looks more and more like Naruto was always destined to be great. Born to the Uzumaki, son of the Fourth Hokage, endowed with the power of the Kyuubi, and now a comparison drawn between him and Hashirama...

Don't misunderstand I do love the heroism and the romanticism but it will be interesting to see I can appreciate the message Kishimoto sends with the way he justifies and explains everything in the end.
I do like the Naruto both the character and the story, but I would've been more compelled if Naruto was more like...well Hinata. Hinata's part of the story was fantastic. She was weak, pathetic, and fragile but she worked hard and achieved moments of awesome in this story all on her own! That is a story I really respect! She neve got any special advantages, training sessions, or power boosts...well not counting Naruto juicing her up with the Nine Tails, but hey I would argue that with all the work she did and the way she slapped Naruto back to his sense she earned the one power boost she got!

But hey maybe I can learn a new perspective and Naruto will be a big hero in my eyes by the time all is said and done!

If you have opinions on this feel free to comment!

Naruto and Bleach Manga!!

Naruto 621 and Bleach 527 are now out I found them on Manga Panda and Manga Here respectively!

 I may offer commentary after I get to read them! So exciting!

Barb Is Super Sweet!

  There's a pretty awesome Cosplay enthusiast with her own company dedicated to it!

Here's the site:

I specifically linked that to the anime/manga section but she's got other stuff to offer as well!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New Topics For The Next Articles!

Welcome back! Or just welcome whatever the case may be!

 I decided that it could be interesting to write about how Anime and Manga have the power to open our minds. I think there are clues in the anime world to unlock the potential powerhouse of strength and intelligence in all of us! Coming this Sunday I'll dive into it with at least one article on the subject.

After how ever many posts that subject takes me(no less than one no more than three most likely, it depends on how expansive I can get) I'm considering the anime Campione as a subject for review!

I'm keeping with the promise of at least one article per week, but that doesn't mean by any stretch that I won't shoot for better work in quality and quantity.

Popular Manga Supply Dropping!!!!

Apparently it's becoming harder to find manga for Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece and mangastream seems to have stopped posting them. MangaHere and MangaReader should still have them availiable though! In spite of the fact that I don't seem to haved the software compatible with MangaReader...:(

Other manga that will cease to appear on mangastream are the following:

Hunter X Hunter
Katekyo Hitman Reborn
D. Gray-Man

All the sites I checked seem to confirm that this is accurate though I can only speak for American audiences.

Good luck everyone!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Anime Source!

 Above is the Anime Freak website! It's one of my go to sources to get my fix!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Amagami SS Plus!

 Hey everyone I'm here to close the book on the first anime topic I've ever written on! Thanks to you for being my first readers! Anyway the second season of Amagami SS is call Amagami SS Plus. It's setup in the same omnibus format so each girl "gets a turn" so to speak. ;) I was a little worried that this was going to be some kind of revamp or perhaps just a few extra bullshit episodes but I was most pleasantly surprised to find that it was a legitimate sequel to the first season!

 I'll give you a break down of everything the same as before so here it goes!

 Kaoru Tanamachi- Hey Juunichi I know we're in love and all but why can't I sit on your lap and straddle you? Let's go on a vacation to figure that out!

 Sae Nakata- We're so in love and you helped me be strong Juunichi! I'm gonna be president of the Founders Day/Christmas Committee and you can make a movie out of it! Also I made those "special"
clothes for you and now I want to cook your buns in my oven!

 Ai Nanasaki- I love you and we're so wonderful together, I'll care for you and...what?! Wait don't go! Break out of your cell and come back to me!!!!

 Rihoko (Rihochhi) Sakurai- I'll get you this time Juunichi! I'll fill you with good food then fill you with me. Now who's this other guy? You get away you perv!

 Tsukasa Ayatsuji- We'll always be together and you'll be my right hand as Vice President. Hmmm...Juunichi who is this girl and why are you named as her running mate...Juunichi?

 Haruka Morishima- Won't ask him to marry me because I don't want him thinking I'm desperate or forcing the I'll just drop subtle hints like pretending to marry him and practice getting pregnant!

 So this season essentially served to give us more of what we had seen. I for one am very happy with the fact that the writers decided that they would tie things up a little better. With season one we had interesting and fun stuff but after the lovey dovey stuff was underway the stories just kind of ended there for the most part. Especially Kaoru's now that I think of it...with her it was over the moment they had their "special love moment".That was a little bummer because I actually like Kaoru and considered her as a competitor with Ayatsuji as my favorite Amagami girl at the very least because of her perky, energetic, and friendly personality. I just think she's so sweet! But in this season we actually get to see what came out of their lovey gooey mush mush.

 It turns out their relationship hasn't changed since they fell in love! That really makes no does falling in love not change of good golly damn thing in your relationship! I guess I kind of understand that since they were always so close in both the emotional and physical sense that it was almost like they were always a couple but just never recognized it before. That's the best way I could understand it.

I'm not sure now if I should delve into these stories or just throw you a couple of bones here or there. I think it's best to let you watch the full stories on your own so you can be all the more entertained.

Here's a break from the text for you!
 I'm kind of assuming that I've got mostly male readers with that...sorry ladies let me make it up to you!

Anyhow my I was mostly pleased with the additional stories we got for each of the stories. By this point as well I had pretty well gotten over the whole feeling sorry for each girl for missing out on Juunichi and how they missed their chance at paradise. Not that I don't still sympathize but the show kind of forced me to just deal with fine. Sae's story made me feel like her relationship with the boy was a lot more substantial and solid than I thought. Originally it seemed rather shallow and contrived because it was all about loving someone just because he was nice to you. But my eyes opened up more to see that Juunichi really did help her out considerably and gave her cause to fall for him...not only that but she actually took up the position that Ayatsuji held as president. Since Ayatsuji is my favorite even if just by a hair the reason I took to Sae's second season story might have to do with how she, in a way took on the same substance I appreciated in Ayatsuji's story and Juunichi was right there for her like always.

 Ayatsuji's second story though...ohhhh boy. There was so much emotional action going on there! The tension, the jealousy, the fear, the love that fought through it all! Again I find Ayatsuji's arc to have a lot of substance. Again I will say that this is because they dealt with issues that seemed to hold a lot more weight in the grand scheme of things. I mean, I think every story was sweet and nice and well done, but the Ayatsuji arcs had a feeling of greater force to me. Issues of a potential betrayal, competing to get the boy instead of two boys fighting for a girl. Then Juunichi gets caught in an...awkward position with this other chick and Ayatsuji is clearly pissed, but they make you wait and wait to see how she's going to deal with it! The suspense was torturous!

Rihoko's story finally wrapped everything up! If you saw the first one you know what I'm talking about. Rihoko finally confessed her love for Juunichi...but not actually to him though. I mean he was there and I'm fairly sure he heard what she said, but it was actually directed at a guy making unwanted serious looking advances. That was pretty tense too actually. But fortunately we do finally get to see them make fireworks, and boy was that hot stuff!

 Ai's arc was about a series of events that led to Juunichi's buddy hitting on their teacher. Wait...uh no that was just one of my favorite parts haha! Really though that arc didn't have a whole lot happening in it. It was largely about how badly and how sorely and how painfully the pair missed each other so deeply and it was actually very sweet. It seems that no matter what I have a hell of a hard time criticizing love stories because you don't need action and adventure and war to have legit love in the air. Juunichi even bought her a beautiful and expensive coat.

 Haruka's is the only one I haven't done yet...I'm pretty sure. That was really entertaining to see them play the  marriage game with each other. Marriage pretty much defines the whole story and they even threw in Haruka's sexy cousin to screw around with Juunichi while ultimately serving to lead Juunichi to unnecessarily make a huge ass of himself, inspire jealously in his teacher and piss Ayatsuji off major time!


 The stories this time were half the length of the stories in the first season, so I can't say as much about season two without giving everything away. But I must say it took me for an enjoyable ride and made for a great way to open the lid on my Anime Thermos!

 So enjoy my post, and keep coming back to see it grow and bloom to offer you more entertainment and hopefully it'll even become powerful enough to enrich and serve your life!



 Just posting to give news that I will be publishing new post at a rate of at least once a week and will have each new posting up by 12 Midnight each Sunday by my current schedule.

Any changes will be communicated with new posts in advance.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Amagami SS!

 Hey anime fans! To kick start this blog of mine I'm going to talk(write) about an anime I came across that I
really love called Amagami SS which is a romance genre anime. The show is made in what is called omnibus format meaning that it essentially tells a new love story in each arc with the events and circumstances of the show being reset at the end of each arc. This means that the next story will take place with the conditions being restarted as though the events in the previous story had never happened!

There are actually two seasons. There's Amangai SS and Amagami SS Plus. I'll focus on season one this article and finish up the series next week.

 The main character/hero of Amagami SS is Junichi Tachibana a third year high school student who is a really good guy... even if he's a little perverted ;). Each arc depicts how Junichi gets closer to, and eventually falls in love with a different girl in his school.

Basically it's this stud:

And these girls(From left to right: Kaoru Tanamachi, Sae Nakata, Tsukasa Ayatsuji, Ai Nanasaki, Haruka Morishima, and last and possible also least(haha) Rihoko Sakurai)

 I for one am a sucker for love stories and dreams coming true, so I may be a bit biased but I really got into this show. What fascinated me was that through each story arc you had the same universe in the same setting with all the same characters while following the same protagonist and yet you got a completely different chain of events deciding the lives and futures of all of these different people. It caught me off guard in the beginning too, because I thought this was going to be a harem style anime where all the girls try to sabotage and fight each other for the love of the handsome hero. So imagine my surprise that at the end of episode 4 Junichi is already married to Haruka and are living happily ever after! Holy Hell!

 Here's a brief layout of how each arc went about:

 Haruka Morishima- Bonding over cute puppies, kissing weird parts of the body, and Junichi's cowardly fear of peeping in on a naked girl! Also, this chick seems ditzy but she's clearly doing...certain things on purpose.

Kaoru Tanamachi- We've been best friends forever but now we're more mature and...Woah! Did we just kiss?! Cuz it was kinda nice...also it's okay to cry.

Sae Nakata- So sweet of her to return that money holder! But it took a lot a courage for such a shy girl to do that, she didn't even wait for a thank you! No worries though Junichi will become your instructor in courage and people skills to help you get ahead in life. Also, you get the perfect excuse to have a make believe wedding. ;)

Ai Nanasaki- If she catches you leering at her she'll report you to the cops! Or she may fall in love with you...while having an experience which I swear is drug induced but the story sets it up to keep me from proving it! They make it look likes it's all okay but I've watched anime long enough to know better... Also, the ultimate climax doesn't feel the need to have clothing.

Rihoko (Rihocchi) Sakurai- We've known each other since childhood! My extra fat goes to allllll the right places and my Tea Club needs you to join so it won't die and I can have you there!

Tsukasa Ayatsuji- I'm the best there is! I'm sweet and lovable, class rep., President of the Christmas Party Committee and I respect your efforts! As long as you don't reveal what was in my notebook you can keep breathing and even be my right hand!

*(Lisa)Risa- An extra girl they threw into the mix who turns out to be more than she seems!*

 I don't think I knew what I was getting into choosing a show like this as my first blog topic. The multiple arcs I have to look at, all with different plot lines makes approaching a legitimate review difficult and I've never done this before! Oh well, I promised and I shall deliver this article. Brace Yourselves!

 While I did like some arcs better than others, which I think is a very natural thing. The stories did something for me that was really powerful. It made me care very deeply for every character in the universe. What I mean to say is that each girls life was drastically driven into fairy tale happiness and love because of their experiences with romance. Haruka married a man who loved and embraced her insanity, Kaoru fell in love with her best friend who stood by her when her family faced a major schism, Sae learned to overcome her agoraphobia with the help of the big and strong upperclassmen who was so sweet to her, Ai had a great time with this wonderful guy she met, while they probably dropped acid together and gained a supportive lover in her life, Rihoko finally made advances on the guy she always loved, and Tsukasa learned that she could trust others to help her and rely on a good man being by her side.

 But a part of me was a bit saddened as I watched each story. Because as each new story got underway, I felt that the girls that came before had just had paradise stripped coldly and cruelly away. Each happy ending was stolen away and then handed to someone else, at first causing me to be pissed at the new girl taking Junichi away, but then I myself fell in love with her prompting me to think: "Well damn it!". I grew sympathy for each girls problems and fears and doubts and pain and I wanted Junichi to save them all, but in the end this show told me: "Nope! These are your options, you have to choose which one to believe in!" It especially broke my heart after Sae the Shy got over her fear of the world through her love's guidance only to see her in future arcs struggling to deal with these issues without Junichi's brilliant kind of bummed me out a little...and another thing, what about Kaoru's family stress? What happened to her mother and that man? Without Junichi how could she possibly be dealing with that crap?! How can the other girl(s) be managing when the one thing they were missing is hanging on to someone else now?

 It gave me a great sense of awe and wonder about how life could work. Are we really potentially that close to a life altering experience? Could simply bumping into the right person in the hallway change our lives and give us everything we ever wanted? What could have happened if I'd only stayed to chat a bit longer with this person or that person? Could we all be missing out on beautiful things in life just by missing one single person, place, or thing?! These are the kinds of things I wondered as I endured huge sympathy pains for these ladies. Like Rihoko when she needed someone to join her in the Tea Club so that when her Senior club mates graduated the club could keep going, she also conveniently had a boy whom she loved who might be willing to help her out with that! But what about the other arcs?! Did the club fall apart without Junichi in those other stories? What happened to poor Rihoko while Junichi was getting it on with some other chick?!

 This kind of stuff bothered me all through out the show...but I have to say I think that is exactly what made Amagami SS such a great experience for me. It engaged me and made me give a lot of thought and appreciation to the basic needs and wants we all have in life and how we only have a few people who are really there for us. In any of the given stories most of the characters were completely unaware of each others problems and pursuits, but they had their own crap to deal with and their own happiness to achieve. I watched people suffer through problems who made me root for them but gave me no one to blame or appeal too for sweeping salvation! It was fascinating, stimulating, hilarious, heartwarming, and heartbreaking. It had senseless moments and moments of reality checking too. The variety of experience of emotion and unpredictable events with a method of story telling which challenged what I normally accepted as right and good gave me a happily stimulating experience which I recommend to anyone who's into the Romance genre and doesn't need too much action or adventure.

 So, the big question I've had trouble answering: Which is my favorite arc?

 Well as you may have gathered from what I've told you thus far that's a damn hard question for me to answer. But I think I have to lean towards Tsuakasa Ayatsuji for my number one choice. Mainly because her relationship which she developed with Junichi seemed to have the greatest amount of legitimate substance. What I'm saying is that while these love stories were all very nice in the way they mixed fun bullshit with deep and intimate issues the Tsukasa Ayatsuji arc told a story about a budding couple who had real work to do. Tsukasa was President of the Committee in charge of planning the big Christmas bash for the entire school and Junichi volunteered to help her. The two of them in my opinion anyway dealt with the greatest amount of honest to God responsibility and mature relationship demands. Don't get me wrong, this one did have it's fair share of silly lovey dovey tomfoolery like other arcs(I'm looking at you Ai Nanasaki! I know you had some illegal substances in that belt!) which I love very much and in fact wish we had more of the silliness in real life not just anime. But my point is that I believe their relationship did the best job of unifying and balancing the lovey dovey with the practical genuine life. I also have to admit that I may be biased because it might also relate to what I'd like to have in life. A nice girl who has a dark side capable of heavy handed discipline to keep me straight and make things more intense!

 So there you have it, my best effort on article number one! Go watch the first season entitled Amagami SS and then watch Amagami SS Plus so you can follow what's up around here! I won't do more than two articles on this one I promise. Unless you want more!


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Time For The First Article!

As promised the first article will be posted on February 10th, 2013!

But I should mention to avoid premature disappointment that it may not be posted until 6 pm.

Don't worry though I'll be sure to get it up by then, hopefully sooner!

Thanks to anyone and everyone who are patiently waiting!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hello and Welcome!!!

 Hi, my name is Derek Steiner and I'm pleased that you are interested in my blog! As you might have guessed this is going to be an anime themed blog. I'm just getting started so I expect to put out posts at about once a week tops to begin with. This coming weekend I'll be posting an article about one of my favorite obscure animes called "Amagami SS"!!! Come back on Sunday February 10, 2013 to see what I'll have in store!!!