Shaman King

I like to think of this anime as the one that got me into anime. This was, with the exception on Digimon, Dragonball Z and Pokemon, the only true anime on my TV growing up, during the day time. So this became my thing, with friends.

Background

Following the new kid on the block, Yoh Asakura, Shaman King is basically a spirit-fusing anime with a tournament to become the Shaman King.

Amidamaru, Yoh Asakura’s spirit companion

Along the way, our hero makes some friends/allies on his quest to become the Shaman King. With many obstacles blocking the road, Yoh competes to become the Shaman King, so his wish of being a slacker is made a reality.

Characters **minor spoilers**

All characters are steadily introduced, from Yoh and Morty to later chatacters like Lyserg and Faust.

Yoh Asakura, please… button it up!

The chemistry between them is somewhat strange at times. Faust is introduced quite psychotically, however once defeated, he sort of ends up being the teams morale support. Go figure.

This makes for some good times though, as all of the characters retain their personalities, even as they become the Yoh Asakura fan-club. The dynamics between Yoh and Morty stay true the whole time and the actual relationship of Yoh and Ana are kept in tact.

Design

Yup, well designed characters, all personalities shine through their dress sense. Yoh can’t even do his white shirt up, showing off his slacker behaviours. Morty is well groomed and presented.

Then we have the spirits, all of whom take their themes and run with it. From feudal era samurai to the ghost of a loved one, all of the designs shine through.

The backgrounds do not wow you in Shaman King, but the intensity in the matches keep you away from the backdrop, anyway. Well drawn but not out of this world.

Fight scenes, you barely notice the background!

Music

I remember the theme tune perfectly well, but all other music doesn’t naturally stick to me from this anime. Though, the English Shaman King did just happen to have the catchiest and cheesiest theme going.

Overall

Yes, I do recommend Shaman King, but bare in mind that this is a series intended for a younger audience. The graphic parts don’t get too graphic, but may be a touch unsettling for very young audiences.

But hey! This is anime, my friends! This is how it goes! Morty being operated on is a scene of beauty… Or something like that!

4/5 stars.

Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo

Bobo what?

This series is a mouthful to say, along with an eyeful to watch. Not that this is a bad thing.

Having the plug pulled in Japan for being too weird (Please, someone confirm this for me!) after 70+ episodes, you have to ask, how weird is too weird and how viewable is it? Allow me to introduce Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo and how I, actually enjoyed it.

Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo is just all out weird. I usually explain this series by saying “Within the first ten episodes, you see a guy who has the best blonde afro ever fight with nose hair attacks, he asks one of his faithful sidekicks in a slightly later episode to carry him on a big ol’ platter as he wants to know what it feels like to be a burger… You see the intro is full of things such as a man made of jelly and a man with a whipped strawberry ice-cream head (Or “pink poo” as some people tell me his head looks like)… You know you’re in for a long night when describing this anime. This is exactly why I want to describe this to you all. I love a challenge and to open minds to something new.

Story!?

Bobobo-Bo Bo-bobo is primarily an anime with a very simple back story: Tsar Baldy Bald the Fourth wants to take everyone’s hair. Rebels, including Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo, is fighting for hair everywhere. That’s the most basic premise of this story available. There’s a lot more to it, but basically the story is easily forgotten from time to time.

There’s a narrator (who is definitely my number 3 in the series for his rather silly comments) who can remind you exactly what’s supposed to be going on. With “fusion” characters, vehicles, ridiculous journeys across even more ridiculous lands, this is a show and story not for a serious view. I blasted my way through this series, just so I could see how it ends. With this being said: There are moments where I lost interest momentarily.

The story follows and continues nicely each and every episode, but sometimes the episodes feel like they side-track so heavily, that when it remembers “Oh, right, the  main story”, it is hard to remember how the story got side-tracked to begin with! Thankfully, a memorable cast of characters makes up for this.

Art

This is a hard one to deal with in Bobobo-Bo Bo-Bobo, as the art isn’t extraordinary.

Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo
The cast of Bobobo in a typical day.

With this being said, there’s nothing wrong with the art either. It’s nice, but nothing that will make you go “Wow”. Well animated, well drawn but the best feature of the art of this show to me is the exceptional character designs which shines through. Every characters personality shines through with their design and facial expressions. That’s what makes the art of this series so good.

General Jelly Jiggler
Oh Jelly Jiggler, don’t be so surprised!

Music

As with nearly all anime, great opening theme, but other than that, most music was forgettable I’m afraid to say.

But that opening sums up the anime very nicely. This is a fast paced, wacky, zany show. I’m all for it.

Overall then?

This is a fun show, albeit very childish in humour. I love the idea, be it true or myth, that the next season (Which would have been inevitable with the way the last episode finishes) was scrapped as it was “too weird”. If this is not true, please correct me in the comments below, but darn, what a story that’d be!

This series gets 4/5 from me.

This isn’t comedy gold. This is pure silly slapstick and if you don’t like it, you’ll know very quickly. This series is great fun, but only if you allow it to be a fun series. Be forewarned readers, if you venture into this, this is anime Marmite. I know people love it because of how stupid and over the top it is. I also know people who hate it for that exact same reason. The characters are endearing, however. The only character I wasn’t a big fan of, was OVER… But his alter ego, Torpedo-Girl, is sure to… Hit the mark. Oh gosh, she’s going to get me for that one.

 

Torpedo-Girl, she's a torpedo.
You’re cool though, Torpedo-Girl. Please don’t hit me, I’ll try not to make any more jokes around you.

Sword Art Online

This is the review that I will possibly look bad for. This is just my opinion, so I am not right, but it is how I feel.

What is it?

Sword Art Online (SAO) has one of the most fantastic background stories I have ever heard. Honestly, quite something. SAO is a Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (VRMMORPG) in this anime of the same name. People in SAO pick an avatar and off they go. Able to feel the fight (minus pain) for real via their NerveGear, a Virtual Reality Headset.

This thing. Yeah, they made it. Oh gosh, RUN WHILE YOU STILL CAN!

The NerveGear works by being worn on the head and needing to be plugged into you (ooh err). So that’s cool, the people play a game in this anime. The bad guy decides that he wants a world he can watch over, see people go about their lives, etc. So basically, the bad guy made SAO. Not very original but it is a great idea for an anime, so no points off there.

The main character, Kirito, was an SAO beta tester. He is also a ‘solo player’. So, he is pretty powerful. In one episode a whole group attacks him who come off threatening, but he kind of ignores all damage by regenerating faster than their Damage Per Second (DPS). Whew, with his gear too, you kind of believe he is this powerful, great player! I know I found him relatively believable. For those who’ve played an MMORPG, you would know someone at the max level being attacked by someone who’s only level 1 is just laughable to watch. It makes the max level player nearly invincible in comparison.

(Yup, this is exactly what it looks like in the anime.)

So slowly, Kirito’s limits as a solo player are revealed. That’s nice. He now needs to buddy up with someone, forming a party.

In enters our protagonists buddy and– WAIT! This will spoil everything. So, I won’t do it. Just know: Kirito gets less and less impressive as the series progresses, getting ridiculously close to death to too many things. The story of SAO is then finished about halfway through the series and they move into a new game. You heard me right: SAO itself is finished and the series continues.

Mind blown.
Don’t worry, Jackie… I’m just as mind blown as you are.

But wait, what about the visuals?

Oh, blow me out of the water, this is one of the nicest looking anime I’ve ever seen. With fantastic character design (Except Kirito in the white gear he wears at one point, that’s just a no-no.) some fan service (There’s only so many times I can look at a screen where the “camera” is behind a girl who’s bending over, shouting at Kirito and NOT call it fan service.) beautiful scenery and overall impressively immersible world, SAO is one of the nicest looking anime I’ve seen.

If you want to know about music, it’s good. I’d not go running to home about the music, but that’s fine. It serves it’s purpose and you know what’s going on with the music adding some extra atmosphere nicely. Very nice opening theme, however.

Verdict

For all of SAOs strengths (amazing art, nice music, great back story), this series suffers with some (for me, heavy) plot weaknesses. I would recommend this series to people who want to ‘continue their anime viewing path’, but certainly not to people new to anime.

I give this show: 3.5 out of 5. As I say, this is merely an opinion, which may not be popular. I would still give this a watch. Especially for those into fan service or really lovely love scenes. The first 6 or 7 episodes to me were spot on and perfect. From then on, it sorta quickly goes from what it was to a full love story which wasn’t what I bought into when finding out about the series.

What (for me) should have been quite an impressive “End Boss feeling” ending with tactics and stuff (Hey, this is what happens in MMORPG final bosses) ends up being about this one guy, a love story and inadequacies abound, then overcoming all odds for love. But the series itself is not bad and I’ll probably re-watch it some day. As mentioned: Not a bad anime. Give it a try at some point. Maybe you’ll like it more than I did?

Tiger & Bunny review

Hello one and all,
So, today I want to talk about one of the most recent anime I have seen, Tiger & Bunny.

Tiger & Bunny art
A rather serious looking cover, for what’s actually a very charming (and clever) series.

Tiger & Bunny is phenomenal. I mean let me go through this with no spoilers for you all. A western styled superhero story in anime form. Surely, this is the best of both worlds. This anime truly is.

Some incredible artwork, with truly amazing characters that aren’t forgettable. The story primarily follows Wild Tiger, an ageing hero who is known for being a bit of a destructive machine. He always means well for everyone, selfless. He is partnered with a younger hero who has the same power as he, super strength for 5 minutes. This younger hero, Barnaby Brooks Jr (aka Bunny), however, is out for glory and revenge for his parents deaths.

As the story progresses, each of the heroes personal stories are touched and you see their rivalry also extends into a strong friendship. With plenty of bad guys and some amazing blend of a serious superhero story and fun comedy, Tiger & Bunny seems to have the blend perfect. This is a pretty tame anime, however it is absolutely wonderful and will bring in fans of western comics as well as anime/manga fans, too.

It’s not particularly long at 25 episodes, which means you could finish it in a few days if you watched it back to back. Ultimately, you can watch the prequel to the series which is a feature length film (a spectacular one, at that) and this gives you a great start into the series. Now, maybe in future I will have to consider cosplaying Origami Cyclone… Maybe.

I give this series 5 out of 5! Top marks for the first review, can’t be bad, no?

DISCLAIMER: These are my views alone. You are welcome to comment and add to the discussion, but my views stand as above!

Origami Cyclone
Oragami Cyclone, great design, great character.