Happy Yankee Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my dear readers! If you’re not a U.S. citizen, then may you have a pleasant November 28th and a happy Thanksgiving when a similar holiday rolls around for you.

I know an American History professor who refers to today as “Yankee Thanksgiving.” There are two Thanksgivings which took place prior to the one celebrated by the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony in 1621. You may hear Floridians brag that their state boasted the first Thanksgiving in what would become the United States. On September 8, 1565, Spanish explorers and the Timucuan tribe held a Thanksgiving mass in St. Augustine–the oldest city in America. As for the other one, English settlers in Virginia held a Thanksgiving event on December 4, 1619, beating the Pilgrims by almost two years. But, it is just as well that our holiday hearkens back to the harvest festival put on in Massachusetts: the other two do not give a ready excuse for eating tons of food!

While I thank God for His innumerable blessings, I want to write a Thanksgiving post which rectifies my long, long hiatus. For the first time, I did not participate at all in National Blog Posting Month. So, I thought that I would write blurbs on all of the anime which I’ve watched in the past few months. After all, just because I have stopped writing about anime does not mean that I have stopped watching them! The list is long, but I promise to limit myself to five sentences per anime. If you don’t see a rating, that means that I have not watched that anime until the end.


1) Arcadia of My Youth ★★★★1/2

I love Leiji Matsumoto’s work.  This movie acts as a prequel to the events of Captain Harlock.  An alien race has subjugated the Earth.  Captain Harlock, a new friend, and a resistance network must give the men of Earth hope.  Anime fans with a love of bushido are sure to find this film very moving. (Tubi TV, Amazon Prime)


2) Buddy Complex ★★★

Buddy Complex offers some excellent fights and a plot which keeps you glued to your seat.  We follow a high school boy dragged against his will into a mecha conflict in another world.  The one person connecting him to Earth turns out to be an enemy pilot who wants him dead.  I’m very happy to have watched this anime, but I can’t see myself re-watching it. (Hulu, Tubi TV)

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What I’ll be Watching for Summer 2014

After watching many first episodes and reading many blog articles, I have decided on eleven shows from the Summer 2014 season to watch.  Medieval Otaku is mainly a blog for opinions and deep analysis on certain threads and themes found in anime, especially religious themes.  But, my dear readers might be curious to know which shows I’ll be enjoying and on which they’ll likely see some commentary.  Here is the list of shows with minimal commentary:

Akame

1) Akame ga Kiru

I’ll confess that I’m one of those crazed, die-hard Esdese is mai waifu Akame Ga Kiru fans you’ve heard about.  The story has some hard-hitting action, likable characters, and interesting moral dilemmas and other shades of grey.  It’s fun to see the manga animated.  May the pacing and plot be better executed than Gokukoku no Brynhildr, the other manga about whose anime release I had been enthusiastic.

2) Girls und Panzer OVA

3) Aldnoah.Zero

From the same mind that gave us Majestic Prince, it also feels much like that show.  If it can be as good, I’ll be very happy.

4) Psycho-Pass Restart

Only a true Psycho-Pass junkie would wish to see the first season retold with a few additional details.  That pretty much describes me.

Sabagebu!

5) Sabagebu

What’s not to like about girls and guns?  This show has some great humor, awesomely detailed weapons, and fun action sequences (even if they are imaginary).

6) Rail Wars

7) Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

8) ARGEVOLLEN

It was great seeing Yomi again--especially as one of the good guys.

It was great seeing Yomi again–especially as one of the good guys.

9) Tokyo ESP

That this show occurs in the same universe as Ga-Rei Zero came as a complete surprise to me.  The first episode is a little slow, and Tokyo ESP has much to live up to in order to be a worthy successor of Ga-Rei Zero.  Anyone else catch the Ryougi Shiki look-alike?

vlcsnap-2014-07-13-01h31m04s86 Ryougi Shiki

10) Hanayamata

I don’t know how this show wound up on my list.  But, I found episode one endearing.  Let’s see how long it lasts.

11) Zankyou no Terror

Haven’t seen episode one of this, so I can’t claim enthusiasm.  Though from what I’ve read, it could be one of this season’s biggest hits.

Captain Earth may or may not be added to this list depending on the quality of the finale episodes.  To tell you the truth, I am rather shocked by how strong the summer season is.  Hopefully, a few shows will be good enough to be considered classics.  Also, I’m still watching El Cazador de la Bruja (I confess to stalling a little on that show) and am struggling through the Lincoln Island episodes of Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water.  May this summer’s anime be ten times more enjoyable than the spring’s!

My Progress This Season

Well, I figure that my dear readers deserve to know how I have been occupying myself recently with anime, so I have decided to write a post on my general progress.  Some older shows with which I have been dallying are Hunter x Hunter, a series of shorts named Sparrow’s Hotel (completed in one evening), Majestic Prince, The Third: The Girl with the Blue EyeSolty Rei, and Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk.  At last, I’ve almost finished with the original Hunter x Hunter, having just watched Kurapica’s major battle with one of the Spiders gang.  It was so pleasant to see the god-like and glorious victory over a certain murdering blackguard–whatever his name is–that I have difficulty putting my feelings to words.  Sparrow’s Hotel is a great comedy about a kunoichi working at a midsized hotel, which I heartily recommend to anyone needing a laugh.  I’m still trying to finish off Majestic Prince, which has to be one of the greatest mech shows of recent years–I place it next to Code Geass.   You might know that two of those last three shows figure on my top fifty list, and hence deserve their own posts.  Tower of Druaga is a great fantasy, and the first episode alone, which parodies fantasy anime in a grand style, suffices to give it a large place in any otaku’s heart.

tower of druaga

But, now onto some brief descriptions of this season’s shows.  I still have to get around to Samurai Flamenco and Coppelion, but I expect to accomplish this soon.  At any rate, my ability to keep up with new shows is much the highest since 2009.  That says something about the quality of this season!

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1) Arpeggio of Blue Steel (aka Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio) – 3 episodes

My long time readers will know that I am a huge fan of submarine warfare, particularly the WWII era.  So, it comes as no surprise that I am digging this show, despite the fact that the show exclusively employs CG animation.  As a matter of fact, I’m surprised in how unobtrusive they render this style of CG, which likely indicates that it will become more prevalent in the future.

It's based on a manga!  Now, I have to read that too!

It’s based on a manga! Now, I have to read that too!

Anyway, this show concerns aliens known as The Fog, who have effectively wrested the seas from humanity.  One of their vessels, a submarine, defects and gives humanity the chance to regain possession of the seas.  I find the fact that each ship’s personality is presented in the image of a cute young lady most amusing–all ships are feminine, you know!  The first sea battle was very exciting, and the submarine’s captain displayed that combination of intuition and sang-froid which renders submarine warfare particularly delightful.

Golden Time

2) Golden Time – 3 episodes

I was pleasantly surprised by this romance anime.  The dialogue tends to be rather sophisticated, and the characters entertaining.  A very enjoyable watch thus far.

Hajime-no-Ippo-Rising.jpgoriginal

3) Hajime no Ippo Rising – 1 episode

It feels very much like the prior season.  As long as this show sticks to exciting boxing with interesting characters, I’m going to keep watching.  I’ve only seen one episode so far because I hope to watch the rest of the series with my brother.  He’s a bigger fan of the Hajime no Ippo franchise than I am!

ICBAH

4) I Couldn’t Become a Hero, so I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job – 3 episodes

This show is hilarious!  Usually I steer clear of ecchi with shows like Freezing being a major exception.  The premise is that a prospective hero is forced to get an ordinary job after failing his exam.  While working in a magical department store, the demon king’s daughter decides to work there with him.  The effort he must expend to try to make this person use polite language and treat customers with hospitality is absolutely hilarious.  I might add that the girls are quite cute too.  Forma pulcherrimae!  When the tentacle monster appeared, I feared lest decency forbid me to watch further, but that scene did not exceed my tolerance, though it did exceed the grounds of decency.  This is a wonderful comedy if you don’t mind some fanservice.

NitBs

5) Infinite Stratos 2 – 2 episodes

Hmm…There’s not much to this season yet.  I’m almost tempted to drop the show, but then I should be denied Charlotte’s cuteness.  I’m not sure whether I’m ready for that deprivation.

Commie-Kill-la-Kill-01-07B80133.mkv_snapshot_04.58_2013.10.04_18.36.46

6) Kill la Kill – 4 episodes

This is indeed an interesting show.  My last post and the commentary below it make it clear that this is a very thoughtful work.  I’ll definitely be keeping track of this show, and I hope that the animators are able to keep the high action and amusing antics up.

Well, that adequately describes the shows which I have watched.  I can heartily recommend all of them except Infinite Stratos 2 and recommend Golden Time with the reservation that shonen fans might find it uninteresting.  Cheers!

saw2 cheers

Cheering for Majestic Prince

I have already thanked the two bloggers who brought Majestic Prince to my attention; but I would like to reiterate my thanks to them, because I would have avoided this series for two reasons: 1) sci-fi is hardly my favorite genre, and 2) the character animation is especially poor.  Even compared to the usual fare of televised American cartoon, it tends toward mediocrity in this department.  Fortunately, the mecha designs and backgrounds tend to offer more variety and pleasure for the eye.  The mechs receive particular attention to detail from the animators and stand out among other mechs of the genre.

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In any event, I should like to add my own cheer to the growing number of fans.  The show’s strong point, despite the blandness of their designs, is the uniqueness of our heroes.  I am convinced that some of the minor characters must be stock; but, the writer does his best to hide that fact, and the heroes are particularly quirky.  Kei is quiet, reserved but capable of sudden exuberance, and has an unrivaled sweet tooth.   Izuru, their flight leader, openly proclaims his desire to be a hero, like those characters of his favorite manga, which he is quite adept at drawing.  Asagi appears tough, but get stomach aches at critical moments.  Tamaki ardently burns for romance and squid guts, but finds the former desire often frustrated.  Suruga happens to be a thorough gun nut and compares attractive women to his favorite firearms.

Ginga_Kikoutai_Majestic_Prince-01_07

Added to this, there is a great sense of family in the show.  The main characters all had their memories wiped out before entering the training program, so they particularly cling to their squadron members, collectively called Team Rabbits by the instructors and, literally, “the Regretful Five,” which is translated as “the Failure Five,” by their classmates due to their inability to cooperate during missions.  Asagi seems to take the place of the grandfather, Izuru as the father, Kei as the mother, Sugura as one of the children, and Tamaki as the baby of the family.  This is further stressed by how closely knit their teams of mechanics are.

The best team of mechanics.  Yes, this series has fanservice.

The best team of mechanics. Yes, this series has fanservice.

This series also happens to be brilliantly unpredictable in terms of how the battles will end.  So far, the audience has been treated to everything from a rousing victory to a Pyrrhic victory to utter defeat.  It keeps the audience routing for the protagonists since the outcome of each battle remains uncertain till the fat lady sings.  The mechs’ maneuvers fall everywhere from carving great swathes of destruction to hard hitting close combat.  Also interesting concerning the mechs is that the pilots’ DNA has been infused into the mechs and that the pilots’ survival instinct determines how well they fight.  If they can see survival in fighting, their mechs perform beautifully; otherwise, they might stand petrified or actually flee!  This kind of variety keeps the series refreshing.

Majestice Prince 1horriblesubs-majestic-prince-01-480p-mkv_snapshot_04-43_2013-04-04_22-00-21

So, I encourage otaku everywhere to look past the simplistic character designs and give Majestic Prince a try!  And here’s a wonderful rant by Kei on the immodesty of the swimsuits which a certain company asked them to wear for publicity (the military often displays the pilots for publicity):