Awesome Series: 12. Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger (Boys into Men! – Shonen Week!)

First off, why New Challenger? Just because I like the song a tiny tiny bit more then the original Ippo themes. That is it.  Also I know Ippo did not run in Weekly Shonen Jump but in Weekly Shonen Magazine, that still counts in the rules of Shonen Week. The main reason I am doing Hajime no Ippo, or Fighting Spirt now is becasue it shares something with YuYu Hakusho. They both started in the same year, that same year also happens to be the year I was born; 1990. Why am I bringing this up at all? ! Why does it matter what year a sereis started? Well for Ippo in particular, is because the series started one day after I was born (It started on February 17th.) The series started in Japan, and the time difference bettween Japan and here is 13 hours and I was born at night. Which means Hajime no Ippo and I were born in the same 24 hour span. I think that is kind of cool.

I honestaly have not seen a great deal of Hajime no Ippo, maybe ten or so episodes of the original seires. I did really like what I have seen and heard about it (I have a friend who was really into it for a while). I will get around to it one day because I do really love a lot of sports anime. Heck, Eyeshield 21 may be my favourite manga. On a side note, I wish the manga or New Challenger would get licensed here but I 100% understand why it does not. It makes me sad that fans here in North America wont give sports shows a try just because they are “sports shows”. Let me tell you something kids! Sports anime and manga are as “shonen” as it gets. Most of the time they are much more well written and have better characters then things like Naruto, Bleach or D. Gray Man. Now I am not slamming those things. I am saying that if you like those kinds of things there is NO reason you would not like stuff like Ippo or Eyeshied. Because just like in things like Naruto, the story is not about being a ninja it is about the characters with a ninja theme. Hajime no Ippo is the same it is about characters with a boxing theme. Instead of throwing fire balls they throw punches in a ring.

MADHouse really looks like the put their best efforts into Ippo be it the older series or New Challenger. I like that they did not change the character designs to try and make it more “Shonen-ie” as it were. Though as far as I know stuff like Ippo is very popular in Japan, I just wish it was here too  I really want to see more stuff like Ippo come out of Japan in the future. Yes we did just get Cross Game (though not shonen it is very, very good) but I want to see the next sports show that is over the top like Eyeshield and has awesome animation like Ippo. I know I will love that series when it comes. I’ll be waiting Japan! I will be waiting! Everyone start spreading the word about how awesome sports anime can be! People will listen one day, if they want to see true shonen, true boys turning into men material they will watch stuff like Hajime no Ippo!

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Awesome theme: 9. Darker than Black.

Last night I saw The Dark Knight Rises. When I was thinking of what theme I was going to use for today I wanted to get something with an american comic book-ie type feel to it. As I am sure for a lot of people when you think “Batman, Anime” I thought; Darker than Black. Why is that thought? I got to thinking about it and the two properties really have very, very little in common. I mean they are both pretty dark properties with cool heroes that where mostly black and act diffident when they are in costume and not. . That is where the similarities really end. Hie, In terms of powers, well Hie actually has powers while Batman has none. Hie works for an organization while Batman just does it for Gotham. Biggest difference between them is that Hie kills (also sometimes uses guns) and Batman does not, will not kill. Am I saying that Darker than Black is bad because of this?  Of course not! I am just saying that the comparison between Hie and Batman is very very silly.

I really do love Darker than Black, I think it is one of the best looking shows of the past decade. I think it is one of the coolest show you can watch. Does that mean it is a good show? Um that is tough, I am of the came where Darker than Black is totally awesome if you don’t but energy into caring about the overall plot. Just watch all the awesome two praters and don’t worry, it will be okay. I don’t think it is Studio Bones’ best work (My personal favouirte anime studio) I mean the best things they have probably made are things like FullMetal Alchemist (and Brotherhood), Wolfs Rain, and Cowboy Beeboo: the movie. That said, I personally still think Darker than Black is one of their best and one of their most assailable to new fans. I mean you could show this show to someone who has never watched anime before in their life, maybe they are a comics fan or like action movies, they would probably get a kick out of this show.

I think this is kind of breaking the rules of “Awesome Themes” by way of not really having the best theme in the world. Sure, It is kind of cool but I would not really say it is totally awesome. But I think this is an anime that more people need to see, more and more people are getting into anime and just watching the very samey kind of harem/shonen romance type shows. If you like those kinds of things, that’s fine they just are so not for me, at all. I think Darker than Black represents how cool and sleek anime can be and it is important for people to try something new in their viewing every now and again. Remember kids, anime is a medium, the medium of animation, not a single genera. And Darker than Back is a very cool part of that medium so go check it out, it’s awesome!

Awesome Theme: 7. Tokyo Majin

More then a year ago at Anime North 2011 I was there with a friend and he was buying a probably bootleg mug of some shonen romance show. I believe I asked him “Do you even know that show? why would you buy a mug of a show you are not even really a fan of?” and he replied with “Well I don’t care about this show, I just like the characters and how it looks. Isn’t there a show like that that you like?” The first response that came to my head was “No, of course not” because what is the point of liking something let alone buying something from a show you do not care about. Then it hit me “Oh! Tokyo Majin!”

I really like Tokyo Majin, I have seen the whole thing a good few times. I can not tell you what happened at all in that show, I barely remember a single plot point especially in the first season. I think it is a totally forgettable show. That said, I do really like this show just for some of the cool fight animations and the art design really grabs me. I think this show has my favourite anime opening of all time, which is this song “Prayer” by ACID. I don’t know why, this song just really gets me going. especially the climax of the song. The little animation of Tatsuma turning into that fish and flying away is amazing. Let me be clear though, This show is not a guilty pleasure I do legitimately like the show and am not ashamed of it. I just think the show is not very good at all but still is one of the top shows I would just throw on to have in the background when drawing or something. I wouldn’t really recommend the show to anyone unless you like what you see in the opening credits her. Just be warned there is not much meat on the bone, still a fun time though for my moneys worth.

Review – Gintama

Gintama is awesome. It has been a while since I read any of it, over a year or 2 in fact. I have gotten around to re-reading a couple of volumes in the last couple days. It amazes me how it can still make me laugh as much as it does. I am not a big fan of a majority of anime comedy for pretty obvious reasons. but things like Chromartie Highschool and Gintama really blend with my sence of humor.  They play everything so straight faced and with such great timing that it just works.

I remember in high school when I first heard of Gintama I did not know it was a comedy. I just thought it was another shonen series I would probably never get around to seeing. Then a friend of mine started talking it up and saying how good it was, I remember there were particularly ecstatic over the Death Note parody episode. I watched a coupled episode and was not too drawn in, because quite honestly when it is trying to tell its serious sotry or not doing kind of a series of one off stories it is not that good. I hate to be the guy that says you have to watch/read to a cretin place in the story before it gets good. With Gintama though, It is kind of forgivable because it has to set up its characters so that when there is character related comedy you understand it. I think once you get past the first 7 or so episodes and or the first volume and a bit of the series you are in the clear for a good time.

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Daily Awesome Robot Theme: Overman King Gainer

From the man that brought you the Byston Well saga wing and Zambot 3! (and also some little things like Mobile suit Gundam, Zeta, ZZ, Char’s Counter attack, F91,  Victory, and Turn A) Yoshiyuki Tomino! He created this little crazy series and it…sure is something, I’m not quite sure what but it is something. I do like the cheesey song though.  I first saw the Overman King Gainer in the trailer for a ps3 game from Japan Another Century Episode R and he really stands out that is for sure.

Daily Awesome Robot Theme 6: Big-O

Ah, Big-O another robot show that escaped my adolescence. Like Eureka Seven I do one day want to get this show. I have heard its one of the greats. I do really like the robot and character designs. That Sunrise always good for something. Though I do like this opening theme it is one of the LAZIEST I have ever seen. The “animation” for the opening not including effects and the psychedelic backgrounds. There is exactly 18 drawings in this opening. That includes a shot of Roger and the Big-O in all black and in colour at the end as two different drawings on this list. Wow that’s so lazy. But so awesome!

Ps: Obligatory Big-O looks like Batman the Animated Series comment.