Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fan Art Friday - Log Horizon Akatsuki

I know I'm a bit late for this iteration of 'Fan Art Friday' but nonetheless I wanted to get one out (even though it's Tuesday). This week's theme is Akatsuki fanart from Log Horizon, the show constantly being compared to SAO by so many Anime fans. I'll leave the debate as to which series is better up to you readers, so feel free to let me know in the comments below!

The first fan art is by AoiTsunami and offers a perhaps even more adorable viewpoint of Akatsuki.

This image by AsakuraShinji has Akatsuki standing in some water, but Akatsuki herself looks nearly identical to the animation in the show, so it's worth the share.

This FF1 based Log Horizon spoof by Kutoal just couldn't be passed up. Pixel Akatsuki is awesome!

And finally we have a closer fanart image of Akatsuki riding a Phoenix with Shiroe by Foluthewizard.

If you have any fanart images from ANY anime that you would like to submit please feel free to leave a comment with your link!

Beyond the Boundary S1 E5 - Lanterns are Gorgeous

I'm going to be incredibly honest. This episode of Beyond the Boundary was incredibly slow moving and borderline boring. I do realize that a lot has happened since we started the show and they wanted to give us a bit of a breather after the epic battle against the Hollow Shadow, but I can't help feel like this episode was just mainly filler. Akihito interestingly didn't feature too heavily in this episode. The only section where he really had any prominence was a weird part in which him and Hiroomi outwardly crushed on Mirai.

The episode spends most of its time developing the relationship between Mitsuki and Mirai. I have to say that while I found this episode borderline boring, I do think that the development of the characters (no matter how slow paced it was) is leading to something revealing and crucial to the plot. Mirai gets her license suspended so this episode, though having one youmu fight scene, is rather stagnant and more geared along character development. 

The fight scene was short and left me wanting, but I can forgive the episode for being a bit lackluster. I'm more interested in what the future and culminating episodes have to offer as a viewer. The end of the episode offers a really cute glimpse at Mirai and Mitsuki, as Mirai has convinced Mitsuki to go to the festival, but I feel like the bonding moment is at the expense of the viewer in this episode. In anime there are bound to be filler episodes (unless you are Kill la Kill) and this episode appears to be just that.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Kill la Kill S1 E5 - Get Naked Baby

Ok you can probably tell that this episode of Kill la Kill is another one of those weird 'take your clothes off' plot lines. At this point, the entire plot line of Kill la Kill is basically, 'get naked' but I'm willing to not care (I actually enjoy it). Ryuko has pretty much seen it all at this point, so it only makes sense to bring in a vigilante who for the most part swings both ways on the good or bad scale.

Later in the episode it is revealed to us that the mysterious man after Ryuko's Kamoi is Tsumugu Kinagase. Tsumugu is shown to be friends of Aikuro and his 'Nudist Beach' organization. The entire episode revolves around Tsumugu trying to get Ryuko's Kamoi so that it does not end up possessing her. I found the plot actually kind of interesting as not only did it introduce Tsumugu, but it tried to flesh out a more serious psychological undertone that the show was missing. Through the devices used in this episode, Tsumugu is able to bring another side to Kill la Kill that simply was not in it before.

The development that this episode offers to the series is, in my opinion, huge. I still question what happened to the 'you must fight everyone before you fight me' plot, but do acknowledge that this is an anime halfway through its series and the writers of the series more or less just like to have fun...well at the very least I'm having fun watching,

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Top Three Best Anime of Fall 2013

1. Kill la Kill

I have Kill la Kill listed first out of the three anime listed as it is one that is sweeping social sites by storm. Kill la Kill is a dream for anime blogs as it has left anime bloggers like me with heaps of exciting content to write about.

Kill la Kill
Kill la Kill (Photo credit: Danny Choo)
Kill la Kill is a non-stop action packed anime that sees its main character, the empowered Ryuko Matoi, attempting to get vengeance for her father's death. Kill la Kill doesn't shy away from its overt fanservice which has become somewhat of a controversial issue amongst fans of anime, and a trending topic on many anime blogs surrounds the overt sexualization of the lead characters in the series.

Kill la Kill
Kill la Kill (Photo credit: Danny Choo)
While users of message boards and anime blog writers might keep writing about the fanservice aspects of the show, the fact remains that the show simply is an amazing and entertaining watch for fans of anime. If you are looking for something to watch that isn't extremely serious but still packs in tons of action, Kill la Kill is the show for you.

2. Beyond the Boundary

My second favorite anime series of the current fall season is without a doubt Beyond the Boundary. Beyond the Boundary is an incredibly underrated show that Crunchyroll has been offering every week. While this particular anime isn't as funny or fast paced as Kill la Kill, it possesses a highly engaging story that deals with the spirit world on earth and warriors within it. Like Kill la Kill, I've covered this show with anime blog summaries, so if you are interested in joining the conversation I've made it easy for you to do so.

Interestingly, Beyond the Boundary is a show that carries with it a certain amount of charm that the other anime offerings of the season just don't have. The show's characters are strong and have their own set of quirks and issues (cough Akihito and his spec fetish) but all of them add to the complexity and reliability of the characters themselves. Beyond the Boundary is a show that dedicates itself towards telling a serious story, and it deserves every drop of attention it can receive. 

3. Log Horizon

For the third show I've decided to list Log Horizon. The main reason I am listing this is because of its unavoidable comparison to Sword Art Online, another hugely popular video game anime. Log Horizon is another anime that gets the anime blogs buzzing simply because of the comparisons it draws to SAO. While I don't think it has quite the same impact on me that SAO did when I initially watched it, Log Horizon is still a must watch that should not be missed.

Honestly if it wasn't for Kill la Kill, I think Log Horizon would be dominating social media buzz much more than it already is. Log Horizon, which is also based off of light novels, delves into the issue of being stuck inside a gaming world and how the players cope with that experience. The concept isn't new and neither is the execution, but the story is engaging and at times more informative than others within the genre. It's not SAO and I've learned that much in the first four episodes, but it does offer something refreshingly different with likeable characters that viewers can latch onto.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Crunchyroll: The Best Anime Streaming Online

There are a lot of different places that offer anime streaming services online. Some of these places offer it legally and others, well not so much. It is always important to make sure you are accessing the material you are watching legally for a number of reasons. It is very much crucial to support the studios that are making the anime, as well as the producers and publishers who are allowing for the resources to sub and translate it for viewing around the world. Simply streaming anime off of unlicensed free anime sites is not only bad for the person doing it, but also for the industry itself.
When I was a little kid the only options on the table for anime watching was either Toonami or Telemundo. There were times where I would huddle around the television in order to catch glimpses of Dragon Ball Z episodes not aired in the U.S. yet even though I couldn't speak the language. Had the internet been something able to stream into households at the time, or had I had access to a network of just anime programs, I would have been watching DBZ on a site such as Crunchyroll. It's for these reasons and more that I don't mind paying for anime. I actually want my providers to be rewarded for bringing me good content and I want the content makers to get their money via royalty and licensing fees.

Anime Expo 2011 - Crunchyroll lounge
Anime Expo 2011 - Crunchyroll lounge (Photo credit: Doug Kline)
That brings me to you who choose not to pay but to find ways around the system. I understand not everyone has a fat wallet these days, but the cost of buying a months worth of anime streaming is half the cost of a ticket to a movie theater for less than two hours (on average). I simply don't see the excuse to illegally pirate, aside from when you as an otaku can't get a program so you need a fan sub. Crunchyroll is amidst other providers but chooses not to have commercials strung in between scenes, it offers simulcasts and HD viewing, so please stop the pirating.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fan Art Friday: Ryuko and Mako

For my first installment of Fan Art Friday I'm going share some great Ryuko and Mako fan art. Below the images are links to the accounts in order to check out more of their work. I didn't explicitly ask to use these images so if one is yours and you don't want me sharing it let me know! Also, if you have some anime fan art you'd like to submit to the Otaku Soup anime blog, please feel free to comment or send me a message as we'd love to share it!

This first image is of Ryuko and Mako done by Oponok

Let's admit it, our favorite character from Kill la Kill is Mako. Mako picture by Winumeri.

The third image this week is by Vaitranquillo and is an awesome Ryuko and Mako digital art that varies from the other styles you often see.

The fourth image will get your pulse up there if you are a Ryuko fan. This was created by Aconitea and it deserves a crud ton of attention...for obvious reasons.

The final fan art is by Theresnopointofme and is another fanart that is completely out of the typical Kill la Kill style. Also... look how happy Ryuko and Mako are!

Kill la Kill S1 E4 - Don't Be Late Day

Well, Kill la Kill has firmly established its place in my heart. I'm assuming you all for the most part have seen this episode and if you haven't you are missing out more than you know. I don't know how I could possibly sum up this entire episode in a blog post...so I will talk generally about it. Honestly I still am recovering from the constant laughter this episode caused me to spill out and every character had their shining moment.

The beginning of this episode establishes the constant rush and chasing that will occur throughout. Senketsu ends up fearing for his fabric life as Mako's mom decides it needs a wash. With Senketsu in the wash Ryuko is on her own without her power-suit to aide her for what she learns is 'Don't Be Late Day'.

Mako, Ryuko, and the mysterious Maiko who is later discovered to be a villain of sorts. One of the funnier parts of the show is the running gag in which Ryuko's panties are revealed throughout the episode by someone grabbing her pajama pants. The sheer site of it causes different members of Makos family who are trying to deliver Senketsu to her to break out in nosebleeds...even Guts.

Ryuko and Matsoi must navigate the traps that are set up in order to cause students to be late to class. If students are late to class they become instantly expelled. Mako takes the entire day seriously and this is made obvious throughout the episode. This episode is also where Mako is allowed to shine the most, offering heeps of jokes and gags along the way. I particularly enjoyed the segment where Mako was freaking out over not having money to pay for the rail fare.

I'm pretty sure the writers just wanted to go out with the comedy and gags in this episode. The cheese trap and random baby sucking its mom's breast are just case in point examples of how hilarious this show is and can be.

If you are a fan of funny anime shows, Kill la Kill is for you without a doubt. The scenes in this episode are so intensely random and in your face that you can't but help love it. I often found myself drawing comparisons to FLCL which is by far one of the most random and spontaneous anime ever made.

Alas Ryuko does make it to class on time and we make it to the end of this episode. It's sad that we have to return to a somewhat more intense plot after this, but I appreciated and enjoyed the break from all the fighting and enjoyed my fill of bloody noses and silly characters. Episode four of Kill la Kill is anime blog gold and has provided the anime world with some quality laughter that it needs. This show improves exponentially with each episode and has already established itself as a classic.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Beyond the Boundary S1 E4 - Hang on Akihito

As you've already been able to tell through these posts, Beyond the Boundary is one that has completely won me over and surprised me. The developing story between Akihito and Mirai is one that gets more intense each episode. While this show is based off of the series of light novels which admittedly I have not read, it presents a stunning execution for an anime series that continues to deliver. Episode four stays in line with all of my expectations and then delivers beyond what was expected.

The episode launches us into the full on chase between Sakura and Mirai, which now includes Akihito who came to save Mirai. In the previous post my brain stupidly reported that this was not Sakura Inami but rather Yui Inami, but I stand corrected as this episode revealed her to be Sakura trying to get revenge on Mirai. While fleeing Sakura, the two of them have to navigate a labyrinth created by their memories inception style. In a tiny moment of fan service Mirai is forced to take off her leggings in order to navigate the escalator because the escalator's floor became smooth as the stairs went away. This moment was more or less to relieve the tension of the scene and did act as a plot device later on in the episode as they tried to trick Sakura.

The time does come in the episode in which Mirai and Akihito face the Hollow Shadow. This is where things in the episode really get intense. The battle between Mirai and the Hollow Shadow is thee highlight of the series thus far and offers some on-edge moments that other simulcast anime shows are not currently offering. While it would be nice to see some character development of other secondary characters, I have no problem with the continued focus on Mirai and Akihito.

Akihito's story line in Beyond the Boundary is given more concentration at the end of the episode. We learn just how similar him and Mirai are, allowing us to get a closer bond between the two characters. Though devastating, the battle against Akihito himself at the end of the episode allows Mirai to better understand exactly who Akihito is.

The end of this episode leaves us with even more questions. A lot of suspicion seems to be implied surrounding the secondary characters and it's left me pondering what is brewing in the air. The bond and viewer trust in Akihito and Mirai is in my opinion now solidified through their struggles. Both of them seem to suffer and struggle for their sins, but their suffering is voluntary as a form of atonement. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts behind the motives of the characters in Beyond the Boundary thus far, feel free to drop a comment and get in on the conversation!

Beyond the Boundary S1 E3 - Mirai's Secret

Ok, wow, where to begin...where to begin... Episode three of Beyond the Boundary is a trip, to put it mildly. This episode is where all of the action starts to take place. After the second episode we found Mirai distancing herself from Akihito. Through some digging and research the beans are spilled all over the floor (and it's a mess) and it is revealed to Akihito that she actually murdered her child hood friend from the family she was adopted into. Initially this is just a hunch that is enforced by Mitsuki through a secret meeting on a train with Akihito, but it is later confirmed to be true by Mirai herself when Akihito directly confronts her.

One of the funniest scenes in this episode is with Akihito's friend Hiroomi. The scene plays out as yet another prolonged awkward moment which is then extrapolated by the reveal of Hiroomi's sister fetish which borderlines incestual, though let's be honest if you are young why wouldn't you be attracted to Mitsuki. I'm pretty convinced that all of Hiroomi's power and control over Akihito and barriers to fight off youmu stems directly from the scarf he wears...which at one point he even takes of and uses as some sort of weapon...scarfs OP. 

Part of the big reveal this episode is that Mirai is after the Hollow Shadow as it possessed her friend who she then killed.Though Akihito was warned that Mirai might be going after the shadow for darker reasons, it's pretty clear to us the viewers that it is more an act of revenge and a right of passage. So epic in proportion is this episode that Mirai ends up stumbling into and fighting her murdered friend allowing a battle for the ages to ensue. 

The area at this point is infested with youmu from the Hollow Shadow. Mirai is struggling to fight off her old friend but is rescued by Akihito, despite being told not to intervene. Ultimately it's Akihito's actions that end up saving Mirai's life and this is where the episode leaves us.

I've heard quite a few theories as to what will happen in episode four or after, but one of the most plausible seems to be Mirai defeating the Hollow Shadow through Akihito. This would somehow combine with his immortality to allow Mirai to complete the task (and hey Mirai loves to stab him...so why not). Episode four of Beyond the Boundary is sure to leave us with a lot of resolved and answered questions. To be quite honest, we are about three to four episodes into most of the new simulcast series right now on Crunchyroll and I have to say, and perhaps with controversy, Beyond the Boundary is currently my favorite even over Kill la Kill which I do indeed also enjoy. What a glorious time for anime right now!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beyond the Boundary S1 E2 - How to Kill a Youmu

Episode two is where this series really takes off and starts to make more sense. While the first episode was created as a way to send us into the world of Beyond the Boundary, the second episode acts as a way in which to let us know what is going on. It is in this episode that we really learn what youmu and Spirit World Warriors are. Beyond the Boundary is a show that takes time to get rolling. There are many intricate details that are built into the plot that are meant to pave the way for Mirai's back story.

The episode begins where the first left off. We are brought to the epic fight between Mirai and the mummy-like youmu. Akihito remains in the background watching and observing so that Mirai is able to conquer her fears and slay the youmu herself (something she must do by stabbing its eye).

After Mirai finally defeats the youmu Akihito takes her to turn in the rock left behind (it acts as some strange exchange for currency). When Mirai is brought to the hidden location she is originally taken aback as the appraiser herself is a youmu. This while appearing trivial actually tips us off that youmu range in their form and abilities. In the human and Spirit Warrior world, a lot of youmu themselves are responsible for keeping barriers up to protect members of society. At a hilarious moment, Mirai and Mitsuki walk into Akihito talking about his glasses fetish. Mitsuki teases him and he then becomes further embarrassed with a greeting from his mom presented through a card...only she appears as a neko.

This was a great episode with really strong moments. Perhaps the strongest moment is towards then end when Mirai informs Akihito she can't around him because she had murdered someone in the past and must deal with her problems alone. This episode also introduces us to Akhito's friend Hiroomi, who is Mitsuki's brother, and every time he is on screen we are embraced with a tad bit of awkwardness. 

Beyond the Boundary is an excellent series thus far and if you are getting towards that point of deciding which shows to cut from your schedule, I would suggest not cutting this show. The anime is a bit slow at first but its slow pacing is met with portioned action that has purpose and intrigue. Beyond the Boundary poses a great deal of questions for myself plot wise and is sure to continue to provide a great weekly viewing.