Episode Updates!

It sure is getting confusing trying to schedule these things out! But I know if I don’t I’ll have days where I don’t post anything, and I really don’t want that. *sigh* Maybe I’ll start scheduling the “list” type posts out and try to get these more date-able posts out sooner?

Recovery of an MMO Junkie

Episode 5 – Secret Triangle

Have I mentioned how much I love this show before? Oh.. I did… and I still do! This week we get confirmation that Yuta has put together the pieces, and is so far the only one aware of Moriko’s true identity. We’re also properly introduced to the convenience store clerk Fujimoto Kazuomi, another member of their guild, @Home Party, though they’re unaware of their connection… at first. Kazuomi/Kanbe, quickly uses his newfound knowledge to toy with Moriko/Hayashi. However they smooth things over and their bond grows in the process. We also learn that Kanbe knows that Lily is actually a man IRL, though it doesn’t seem he knows Lily’s actual name.

This episode is also great for the scenes where Moriko gets ready to go out for drinks. She begins comparing the prices for clothes and haircuts to lootboxes and treats the whole thing like a quest. Finally she heads out for the date, not realizing it’s actually planned for tomorrow. Yuta decides to check and see if his hunch is correct, and approaches her as the episode ends. Hell of a cliffhanger.

Kino’s Journey

Episode 5 – “Country of Liars”

A cold wind blows with early winter. After receiving permission to stay in a country for three days, Kino and Hermes encounter a man who’s waiting for his lover’s return. After parting ways with him, Kino is welcomed by the residents in town.

This episode starts out with Kino exploring the town hall/home of a former traveler who settled down and reformed a country. As they observe his belongings on display, they note the inaccuracies behind their stories and actual histories. This is never more apparent than when they encounter his mottorrad, who tells them how terrible it is to be on display and never ridden. But just as your heart is about to break, Kino is approached by a young boy who asks how to become a traveler. Kino suggests going to speak to the neglected mottorrad. I sincerely hope we see them again.

Kino then visits another country and is approached by a man looking for missing lover, who abruptly claimed she needed to go on a journey five years ago. Some townspeople later explain that he was part of a revolution five years ago to overthrow their tyrannical king. His lover, as it turned out, was the princess and he accidentally killed her while trying to kill the king. The shock from the incident made him unable to accept reality, so he believes she’s off on a journey. Such a tragic story. Kino later runs into the man’s housekeeper, a former traveler hired by the city to take care of him. It’s revealed that she is actually the very princess everyone believes to be dead, and that doubles had died in her family’s place. She returned upon learning of her lover’s illness, and takes care of him out of love. However it turns out even she is being deceived, as the man is actually lying about his condition and is fully aware that his housekeeper is actually his lover. Truly a country of liars.

I really enjoyed this episode, but it was definitely a strange one. Of course that might be why I love this series so much.

Black Clover

Episode 6 – “The Black Bulls”

Asta has arrived at the home of the Black Bulls, which Yami himself called the absolute worst Magic Knights Squad. He is greeted by the squad’s unique members.

“Your height and the volume of your voice are all out of proportion”. You said it Yami. All “joking” aside, I really enjoyed this episode. Asta meets all of his new teammates, and get initiated through what is basically a game of fire baseball. I’m so-so on most of his new teammates, but I think they’re an interesting bunch to say the least. This show finally feels like it’s starting to take off on its own.

Nisekoi Season 2

For the oldie today we have Nisekoi season 2 all the way back from 2015. You know it’s funny, but I didn’t think I’d ever go back to this show. I try not to get too wrapped up in these never ending harem anime, but Nisekoi was one of my favorites in recent memory. Chitoge = best girl btw. Fight me on this!

Episodes 1-2

“From Now On / Please Notice”

Now that Chitoge has come to terms with her feelings for Raku, she sets out to mold him into the ideal boyfriend! However, with Raku being the oblivious guy he is, just how many different ways can Chitoge try to get him to recognize her more?

“Fate / Showdown”

Tsugumi has a visitor from her past. Her dark, violent past… Now, she has to prove that she still has the skills she once had!

Probably not going to go into too much detail on the older show today. I was really just trying to find something good to watch since I caught up on everything else I’m watching and this popped into my brain. Really hoping that it gets an actual ending, and if it has (manga or anime) please no spoil! It’s taken me about a year to forget all the manga I read that ruined this season for me the last time I tried to watch it. Now I think I can finally just sit back and enjoy the awkwardness.

Welp that about wraps things up for today. Which of these shows is your favorite so far? I’m pretty split with RMMOJ and Kino’s Journey, but I’d probably go with RMMOJ. Kino’s Journey is amazing, but I think it may be a little too lonely if that makes any sense. It’s something I enjoy watching in bursts, but probably couldn’t watch if it had as many episodes as Mushishi for long periods of time. Anyway, let me know your favorites!

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Top 10 Voice Actors

What’s this about Jake? You’re starting to do a bunch of Top # Lists now?

You bet I am! I don’t know why I didn’t start doing them sooner! What a great way of telling people about my favorite stuff in a way that clearly states I think my trash is better than your trash… wait did I say trash? I meant opinion ^_^. But don’t worry I’ll still be doing reviews and other posts as well!

Today’s list will be a top 10 favorite voice actors of all time. They could be in anime, cartoons, games, etc etc. Long as they’re a voice actor they’re liable to end up here. Well good voice actors anyhow. Now while I was thinking this list over I realized the number of voice actors I absolutely adore is probably in the triple digits, so this will NOT be the last you see of these lists, nor is the order especially important. I will make as many as it takes to give credit to these amazing voices, as well as a section towards the end for notable voices. I’m also only focusing on English voice actors on this list for convenience. Enjoy!

#10:  Mako Iwamatsu

Most notable in my opinion for his role as Uncle Iroh in Avatar the Last Airbender, Mako’s voice was one of wisdom and sincerity. I still remember bawling my eyes out after it was revealed that he had passed away after his battle with esophageal caner. I do however greatly appreciate the tribute Avatar did with the song “Leaves From the Vine” in which Iroh sings for his dead son. And now I’m crying again.

#9: Morgan Freeman

Need I say more?

#8: Colleen Clickenbeard

I’ll be honest, I was not expecting that last name or the alliteration when looking up the voice for the famous Riza Hawkeye of Fullmetal Alchemist. However fans may also recognize her as the voice of Monkey D. Luffy and young Goku and Gohan from Dragon Ball Z Kai.

#7: Nick “Lanipator” Landis

If my love for TeamFourStar isn’t obvious by now it should be. Nick Landis does the voices of Vegeta, Piccolo, Krillin, Shenron, Mr.Popo and others in their series Dragon Ball Z Abridged. He’s also lent his vocal talents to MOBA-game Heroes of Newerth, and the anime series The Ambition of Oda Nobuna! Honestly, if I were better at lists he’d probably be higher on it.

#6: J. Michael Tatum

Famous for his work as Rintaro Okabe in Steins;Gate and Sebastian Michaelis in Black Butler, J. Michael Tatum quickly rose in the ranks as one of my favorites. He’s also done other great voices such as Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist, Dr. Gel from Space Dandy, Tenya Īda from My Hero Academia, and many many more!

#5: Tara Strong

I’d be crucified if I didn’t include the queen of voice acting to my list. Many consider her overrated, but I’ve only got one thing to say to those people.

LEAVE

Tara Strong has voiced so many great characters it’s actually hard to choose favorites. Timmy Turner, Ben 10, Raven, Harley Quinn — the list goes on and on.

#2: Lawrence “MasakoX” Simpson

Another member of the TeamFourStar crew who does the sillier voices of Goku and Gohan.

#3: Sean Schemmel

He’s the real Goku. I don’t know what else you want from me.

#2: Trina Nishimura

One of the lesser known VAs on the list is also one of the most impressive. Trina Nishimura made her debut as Namiko is Desert Punk. She then moved on to roles such as Rachel in Baccano!, Flora and Sophia in Claymore, and my favorite Kurisu Makise in Steins;Gate!

Notable Mentions

  • Mel Blanc – The Man of a Thousand Voices
  • Peter Dinklage – Destiny (game)
  • James Earl Jones – Darth Vader

 

And now, the one you’ve all been waiting for. Considered by many to be the greatest voice actor to grace the mic with his presence,

#1: Steve Blum

Steve Blum is an American voice actor of anime, animation and video games known for his distinctive deep voice. He provides the voice of TOM, the host of Cartoon Network and Adult Swim’s Toonami programming block. Most notable for his role as Spike Spiegel in Cowboy Bebop, Blum has also starred as Mugen in Samurai Champloo, Eikichi Onizuka in Great Teacher Onizuka, both Guilmon and Mitsuo Yamaki in Digimon Tamers, and Orochimaru and Zabuza Momochi in Naruto. In animation, he provides the voices for Starscream in Transformers: Prime, Vilgax, Heatblast and Ghostfreak in Ben 10, Amon in The Legend of Korra, Wolverine in Wolverine and the X-Men, and Zeb Orrelios in Star Wars Rebels. He was awarded the Guinness World Record for being the most prolific video game voice actor in 2012, with roles in franchises such as God of WarCall of DutyTom Clancy’s Ghost ReconNarutoX-Men and Transformers. He’s also not half bad in Expelled From Paradise.


So what’d you think of my list? Don’t worry if you didn’t see your favorite VA up there, because there are definitely more to come! I’d also like to say again that the order isn’t especially important here, except perhaps when it comes to Steve Blum. I mean anime wouldn’t be what it is over here without him. Anyways, hope you enjoyed and look forward to more to come!

Top 5 Servants in Anime

Well this is a weird list right? But if anime didn’t have so many bad ass servants in it something like this wouldn’t even need to exist! But instead, it’s a common enough thing that it should have its own genre. Wait.. does it have its own genre?

*intense internet searching*

Well I’m not seeing it, so I’m officially dubbing the genre “サーバント” or “Sābanto”. 

For this list I’m going by the servants that I think are the best in terms of loyalty, bad assery and style. So totally subjective and I’m sure plenty of you will disagree. If you do let me know which servants you think are better and why. Now here are my favorite 5 servants in anime.

And as usual,

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!

#5: Vanilla Ice – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

This loyal servant of Dio in Stardust Crusaders was not only willing to give his blood to his master, but his entire head! While his character was ultimately short-lived, his duty as a servant is not easily forgotten. He also possessed a rather interesting Stand and killed who some would say was the best member of the JoJo’s crew. No not Avdol! Obviously I’m referring to Iggy!

#4: Heracles – Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works

If you’ve never watched any of the Fate series, well you’re missing out because they are chop full of amazing fight scenes. But that aside, Illya’s servant in both the Fate/Stay Night and Unlimited Blade Works versions is a BEAST. Heracles is one of the most recognized and famous of the divine heroes in Greek mythology. The son of Zeus and the mortal woman Alcmene, he was considered the greatest of the heroes, a symbol of masculinity, sire of a long line of royal clans and the champion of the Olympian order against terrible monsters.  In Fate/Stay Night, he’s the bad ass Berserker class servant of the half-human half-homunculi Illya. Fitting if you ask me.

#3: Alucard – Hellsing/Ultimate

If this is your first time here, you’ve probably missed my reviews of Hellsing, Hellsing Ultimate and Hellsing Abridged, so I’d recommend you check those out! Really packing in the Alucard this month, but I couldn’t imagine not including him in this list! The original vampire is now the Nazi-killing twisted servant of Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing – decedent of Abraham Van Helsing, the only human to defeat Dracula. Though it’s not entirely clear as to why he serves Integra, his loyalty is unquestionable and he practically releases the gates of hell for her.

#2: Iskandar (Alexander the Great) – Fate/Zero

Oh look another servant from the Fate series made their way into this list. Imagine that. Must be because the Rider class servant Iskandar was one of the most inspirational heroes across all of their series! Hell the guy got along with everyone, including even Gilgamesh, and eventually convinced even his own master to swear fealty to him. In fact, if you look carefully around 0:15 of the clip above, you’ll see an adult version of his master Waver in his army. Rider was a generally fun bad ass servant who won the hearts of many. Myself included.

#1: Sebastian Michaelis – Black Butler

There was never any question as to whom my #1 spot would go to. Sebastian Michaelis is the definition of the perfect anime servant. A demon sworn to protect Ceil Phantomhive who not only fights like a warrior but also takes his duties EXTREMELY SERIOUSLY, Sebastian has no equal in the genre. He always pulls off the impossible while doing so with grace. Supposedly it’s all to devour Ceil’s soul when the time is right, but honestly the deal doesn’t seem so bad personally! And besides, he’s simply one hell of a butler.

 

So that’s the list! There were plenty more options to choose from, but in terms of loyalty and charisma these are my top picks. Though not all are my favorites of their respective series, I think they’re all quite deserving of their titles and place. But what did you think of the list?

Bonus outtakes from Black Butler

TV Review: Master of None (Season 2)

Nothing but spoilers ahead!

After all this time we finally have the second season of Master of None available on Netflix! I’ve enjoyed most of Aziz Ansari’s work, except maybe his role in the last season of Scrubs, and I remember binging the first season of Master of None like there was no tomorrow. Season two is quite possibly better than the first, and starts out with Dev in Italy in a black and white neorealism style exploring the city of Modena.


After traveling abroad, Dev (Aziz Ansari) returns to New York to take on challenges in his personal and family life, a new career opportunity, and a complex, developing relationship with someone very meaningful to him. – Netflix


The first two episodes in Italy were beautiful and was a great chance for Dev to show off his Italian. We also get to see the character Arnold again when he drags Dev along to his ex-girlfriend’s wedding. Plenty of laughs and cringe packed into those two episodes!

In the third episode ,”Religion”, we’re reintroduced to Dev’s parents (Aziz’s actual parents) as well as some family friends and a portrayal of Muslim life in America. Or at least a portrayal of two pseudo Muslims eating their bodyweight worth of pork and trying to hide it from their parents. I actually really enjoyed this episode because of how relatable it was. I was raised in a Catholic family and was pretty devout for most of my life. However as I grew up and apart from Catholicism, I felt the need to hide it from my family just like Dev. Eventually I realized I shouldn’t pretend to be someone I’m not, but just like in the episode I could’ve probably been more respectful about it.

The next episode, “First Date”, starts off in a way familiar to a lot of people with women using a Tinder like application and deciding wether or not to match with Dev. This episode probably draws a lot from Aziz’s book Modern Romance which admittedly I’ve only read a few chapters of. It was still fun to see several first date tropes shown through what seems like one date but the women kept changing. Some of the dates went well, some were an absolute train wreck, but none really led to anything great. As playful as an episode as it was, it also makes you reflect on how the dating scene has changed so much with the influx of new technology and our changing society.

In, “The Dinner Party”, Dev takes Francesca, a friend he made while in Italy, to a dinner thrown by his celebrity chef boss for the show Clash of the Cupcakes. The pair hit it off really well to the point Dev’s boss even advises Dev to make a move on Francesca. Dev informs him that she has a boyfriend, but his boss insists that Dev should act on his feeling for her. After dropping her off at her hotel room, the camera stays focused on Dev in the taxi for an excruciating amount of time. It’s a very real, very relatable scene where you can see him fighting with himself internally about what he should do, and you can’t help but hope that he’ll tell the driver to turn around or at least call or text her. Instead Dev does what most of us would do and goes home. Heartbreaking but realistic.

“New York, I Love You”, follows the story of several different types of people in New York. Some are work in hotels, some are deaf, some are East African cab drivers. Each story is different, but make up the key reasons New York is such an amazing city. This episode offers a lot of perspectives that are rarely, if ever, shown on mainstream television. The episode wraps up very nicely bringing everyone together in the end watching the same movie.

We get some real plot development with “Door #3” when Dev gets an offer to host Clash of the Cupcakes for another seven seasons. Considering his feelings towards the show — lukewarm at best, he’s hesitant and honestly wants to do more with his career. This episode is great because we also get to see more of Brian and his dad for a whacky adventure, and Dev pitch a new travel show to his boss.

“Thanksgiving” starts out with a flashback of Dev as a child with one of his early girlfriends (actually his friend Denise) and her family. We get a picture into the black community’s thanksgiving and interestingly a young Indian boy’s take on it. As the episode progresses it skips forward several years to when Denise first comes out to Dev as a lesbian. The time skips from there show some of her relationships and her family’s reactions towards them. It was a rough journey but in alls well that ends well, and this episode ends beautifully and hilariously. Probably my favorite in the season… thus far.

The next episode “Amarsi Un Po'” is a true work of art. Francesca comes back into the show with her now fiancée and Dev decides he’s going to go for it. The two exchange A LOT of flirting, and she really doesn’t seem all that interested in her fiancée. After a convenient string of events involving a snow storm, the pair end up in Dev’s bed after a very romantic night. They don’t have sex, but from that point on Dev knows he has to confess to her. However after that night it’s all cold vibes from Francesca, and Dev pries until they’re both very aware of the situation. He confesses he loves her during a helicopter ride around NYC and she says she probably loves him too.

Episode ten, “Buona Notte”, the season two finale shows the filming of an episode of BFFs “Best Food Friends”, the show Dev and his boss are working on. He’s finally got everything he wants, except Francesca. I don’t want to spoil too much from this episode, but I will say the cinematography is something you don’t typically see anymore. If television was this emotionally strong I doubt I’d typically be reviewing anime. Admittedly I wasn’t expecting to see H. Jon Benjamin and Raven Symone in this episode, but it certainly led to an interesting twist, among others, that I imagine will strongly affect season 3.

But come on that callout to “That’s So Raven” was classic.

Ultimately this episode is something most of us can relate to — even with a vague ending. Now I feel like I should start to get more critical about my rating system, because I give Master of None

a simple 5/5

It’s beautiful and a must watch.

Anime Review: Natsume Yuujinchou

Natsume Yuujinchou (Book of Friends) has been one of my favorite anime series since 2013. I suppose you could call it a mystical slice-of-life about a boy named Takashi Natsume and his ability to interact with youkai or supernatural monsters, spirits or demons in Japanese folklore. His grandmother Reiko Natsume also had this ability, and would take youkai’s names after she encountered them and put them in her Book of Friends. Ordinarily if this happens to a youkai they would become slaves to the one that took their name, but Reiko never had ill intentions for them and rarely, if ever, actually called on them. Takashi decides to give the youkai back their names along with his “bodyguard” Madara, a powerful cat-like youkai he calls Nyanko-sensei.


Precious days with kinds friends. A beautiful yet fleeting story about people and spirits. Natsume Takashi had been able to see youkai ever since he was young and inherited his grandmother Reiko’s Book of Friends. He spends his days with his self-proclaimed bodyguard Nyanko-sensei and freeing the youkai that were bound to the book. Natsume continues to find ways to protect the precious days where he tries to find which path to follow through his connections with spirits and those involved with them and being helped out by friends who share the same feelings – Crunchyroll


Huh, maybe I should’ve just used Crunchyroll’s summary from the beginning… Anyway, with the release of the sixth season I’d like to finally do a review for this blog. Before that though, I thought I’d plug the review I did on Crunchyroll three years ago for the first four seasons.

When I first started watching Natsume Yujin-cho, I was surprised at the lack of action in a show that has “monsters” who like to attack a boy who can see them. Over time however, I began to appreciate Natsume for his methods of trying to befriend both humans and youkai. This show has been one of my favorites because it manages to teach good messages while still telling great stories. I’m sad to see the series end, but this season delivers just as much, if not more, than the previous seasons in terms of plot, message, and tear-jerkers. It gets a 5/5 for being one of the few happy-go-lucky “slice of life” animes to keep strong without turning into a snooze fest after a few episodes. It easily deserves the four seasons it has had, and could easily pull off another four if the writers and animators wanted to make it. But for now, I’ll have to say goodbye to one of my favorite series. Goodbye Natsume Yujincho. I will miss you.

It seems my writing style and vocabulary haven’t changed all that much since then… Might need to do something about that. I was also surprised to see that I didn’t write a review for the fifth season, which I thought I was going to be reviewing today, but to be honest each season is more or less the same — which is why this review will be over the series as a whole and not necessarily specific to season six.

To point out one of my often favorite things about a great anime, the art in this series is simple amazing. I hate to use this phrase but it’s breath-taking — especially when showing landscapes. Natsume Yuujinchou is also a master craftsman of the emotional rollercoaster. If you can watch an entire season without tearing up then I question your humanity. That said it’s not necessarily a sad show, so much as it is profound, melancholy and sweet. Some episodes are rainy days while others are the peak of spring. I don’t really enjoy using flowery language like that but it’s a perfect metaphor.

Friendship is definitely the defining theme of this series, and if the title doesn’t spoil that one I don’t know what does. What makes Natsume really admirable though is that he values the friendship of humans and youkai alike — a value I find equally admirable when reflected in real life’s society. I always find it funny that the youkai he encounters mistake him for his grandmother because in their eyes all humans, especially relatives, look alike. Much like Japan, or the rest of the world for that matter, the youkai are very xenophobic are prefer to stick to their own kind. But a few are more accepting of Natsume and the bonds they make are really beautiful to witness.

For a show that’s so heartwarming and unique, it’s hard to really point out too many flaws. If anything I often feel like it’s biggest flaw is also one of it’s strengths. There are times an episode or two might feel too long, but then before you know it you’ve finished an entire season and then you’re caught up unsure if they’ll make any more. Honestly I would consider myself ungrateful if I complained about episode length. Oh and speaking of unique, shows like this really are hard to come by. The more popular Mushishi might be the closest example I’ve seen, but I’d say it lacks the warmth and humor of Natsume Yuujinchou.

All in all, Natsume Yuujinchou easily deserves

5/5 Yokai

Anime Review: My Hero Academia (Season 1)

With season two of My Hero Academia’s release recently I figured it was time I finally finished the first season. Immediately I was struck with a strange thought; This is one of the most under and over-hyped shows I’ve ever watched. It’s like a mainstream anime that at the same time has more of a cult-like following. It’s your run-of-the-mill shounen, but packed with more than your run-of-the-mill entertainment.

Oh yeah and

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD!


Izuku has dreamt of being a hero all his life—a lofty goal for anyone, but especially challenging for a kid with no superpowers. That’s right, in a world where eighty percent of the population has some kind of super-powered “quirk,” Izuku was unlucky enough to be born completely normal. But that’s not enough to stop him from enrolling in one of the world’s most prestigious hero academies. – Crunchyroll


I’m honestly not sure why I feel the need to be so critical of this show. It’s enjoyable enough, but it runs shallow with the underdog plot line. Of course you’d give the main character Izuku his own hero’s OP Quirk. But then the show turns around and gives you a nice little twist — Izuku can’t control his power and it wrecks his body. Sound familiar anybody? Overlooking that, My Hero Academia is still a fun watch. From Izuku’s training, to the first time he uses his Quirk, to the surprise battle at the end, the show knows how to get you pumped.

Plot: 3/5

Not a lot here to differentiate from any other action packed shounen. We’ve got the underdog hero with special powers, his best friend/rival, some kind of skill that sets him apart, etc etc. That said, My Hero Academia still manages to shine in an oversaturated market.

Characters: 4/5

The first season is pretty short with only 13 episodes (typical for anime I know, but seems like the kind of show that could get 26), so there isn’t a whole lot of time for character development. Izuku, All Might, and friend/rival Katsuki definitely get the most development and back story. However I buffed the score a bit because of how much I love some of the other characters. Ochako Uraraka and Tenya Iida for example are really enjoyable side characters — though their Quirks aren’t all that special. Honestly, that might be what balances their classmates so well since nearly all of them seem to have pretty amazing abilities.

Art/Music: 3/5

Really there’s just nothing all that special here. The art is pretty typical for the genre and the music, while good, is about what you’d expect as well. Characters are pretty blocky and generic looking, but occasionally get improvements based on the energy of the scene.

Enjoyment: 4/5

Maybe it’s because of how short this season is, but I never felt like the show was just dragging along. The students are interesting and the action sequences really get the adrenaline pumping. Sure the show can be dumb at times, but it’s not something you watch to really get you thinking. It’s more of a feel good kind of show that makes you hopeful. A modern day Epic of Gilgamesh or King Arthur.

I give My Hero Academia (Season 1)

3.5/5 Quirks

Ahh see what I did there? With the Half-Cold Half-Hot Quirk? I knew I’d have another half rating one of these days.