Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This Ugly Yet Beautiful World

I feel a little guilty admitting I enjoyed this show.

This anime is about the end of the world, how original!  It got me hooked because I like drama and because I like hot chicks mixed with sci-fi/fantasy story lines.  When you get down to it, its really a soap opera.  The show does a decent enough job getting the audience to empathize with its characters, and keeps you interested in this unexplained reoccurring  phenomena of monsters that come out of nowhere trying to kill the female lead, Hikari, a girl who fell from the sky in a streak of light who has little memory of her past.  To make it even weirder, Hikari eventually gets a giant alien guardian made of magical crystal, Loneos, the male lead, Takeru Takemoto, transforms into a demonoid looking guy whenever a monster appears, Hikari apparently is not the only space chick to land on Earth with  a magical guardian, and whenever danger's near, Hikari often switches personalities to this crazy and evil women with pink hair.  She and Takeru, the guy who found her in the woods, obviously have some strong feelings going on for each other as the show progresses, but of course, there has to be a love triangle!  A very scandalous love triangle!  Takeru's Mom left him when he was young, and when I say left I don't mean she died, I mean she walked out the front door and left her toddler son at the mercy of the world.  So, his uncle takes him in and Takeru has to adjust to living with a girl cousin his age.  But, when he brings home the naked and hot young girl Hikari, jealousy sets in on the cousin!  The cousin, Mari Nishino, realizes has strong feelings for Takeru too, so you can see how that will play on for the whole series, which is actually very short, its only got twelve episodes.

To briefly describe the characters, Hikari is a sweet completely innocent girl (a lot like Tohru in Fruits Basket and Nagisa in Clannad, anime has a thing for sweet, hot, and innocent girls.)  She always finds the bright side of things, except of course when she goes all pink hair and evil.  Takeru is a nice enough guy, a little stubborn, not the best in school, and totally into motorcycles.  He has a best friend Ryo Ninomiya who's sort of a ladies man and is the nicest guy in the world, so when I first saw the show I had a little moment of "finally the nice guys get the girls in the show!"  Ryo's parents also left him and his sister Kimi, and he raises her by himself with his own money, and, coincidentally, he finds the other space girl, Akari, and takes her in as well.  The show has quite a few heartwarming moments in it.

There's also this wanna be important character named Jennifer Portman, an American scientist researching the weird creatures that have been showing up, but in my opinion she's not that important.

As always, I don't want to spoil too much, and the whole reason I stuck with the show was because I was unsure of how the relationships would progress and what the explanation was for all the weird sciency stuff, but I will say this.  It is often the case, for me, that the ending really makes or breaks a story.  That's why I get pissed off when shows like Fruits Basket or Soul Eater have really amazing episodes and wrap it all up with a worth shit ending (Fruits Basket didn't have a worth shit ending, I just didn't like it.  Tohru and Yuki were meant to be, not Tohru and Kyo!)  Anyways, back on topic.  I thought that the first ten to eleven episodes were okay, kinda like Clannad (a lot like Clannad) but the ending I thought was spectacular.  It was so pleasing for me partly because the show was just decent up until then so I wasn't expecting much from the ending, and partly because it wasn't a happily ever after ending it was more of a NOOOOO! ending.

Another thing that is really quick I'd like to point out is that This Ugly Yet Beautiful World is the only TV-14 rated show I have seen that has exposed boob scenes. Just thought I'd put that out there.

So here's the scene and that's all folks: This Ugly Yet Beautiful World.  Warning! this trailer may contain crappy music and cliche narrating some may find annoying.  Like I said, I feel guilty admitting I like this show.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sgt. Frog

This show is great; its got humor, aliens, hot teenage girls, ghosts, and FROGS!

The frogs are technically the aliens.  So here it is: Sgt. Frog is about a platoon of alien frogs called the Keroro Platoon which consists of Corporal Giroro (red), Private Tamama (dark blue), Lance Corporal Dororo (formerly known as Zeroro) (light blue), Sergeant Keroro (green), and Sergeant Major Kululu (or Kururu, I've seen it spelled both ways) (yellow.)  These guys have been sent from planet Keron to planet Pekopon (the Keronians name for Earth) on a mission to conquer its inhabitants.  Except they suck at their jobs, a lot.  Keroro, the leader of the platoon, has found himself infatuated with Gundam models, Tamama's found a love for Earth candy, Giroro falls in love with a human, Dororo has become a peace loving hippie ninja dude who is completely against conquering Earth,
and Kululu is too entertained torturing his fellow platoon members and various other earthly creatures to care much about their mission.

Some other various characters are Aki, Fuyuki, and Natsumi Hinata, Angol Moia, and Momoka Nishizawa.  Aki Hinata is the mother of a son named Fuyuki, a paranormal enthusiast, and a daughter named Natsumi, who's just a plain bad ass in sports.  The Hinata's, seeing the inept frog aliens as no threat whatsoever, incorporated most of the platoon into their home: Keroro, Giroro, and Kululu.  Others such as Tamama found other homes like with Momoka who is head over heals for Fuyuki and will do anything to impress him and get his attention.  Dororo found his home in the woods and made a tree house for himself and a teenage girl he found named Koyuki Azumaya.  Angol Moia is another alien, though strikingly humanoid, who was incorporated into the Hinata house for knowing Keroro quite well.  She has this awesome staff that destroys planets and her original plan was to
destroy Earth but not wanting to interfere with Keroro's plans of planetary domination, she decides to assist him and the Keroro Platoon.

Now I'm not as into the show or manga series as some people are but I hear tale that during the process of translating the Japanese series into English, names were changed which pissed off a lot of fans.  I'm not terribly aware of all the information regarding that, I just think the show and manga are hysterically funny and that's all I care about.

This show has no real overarching story line, its mostly just stand alone episodes with funny underlying humor such as the English translation of all the character names.  I only know that Natsumi means "summer devil" but supposedly all the character names are puns.  The theme song of the show gives a very accurate description of what to expect in an episode so I used it as the clip: Sgt. Frog Opening Theme.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket is awesome!  Being one of my favorites (I have a lot of favorites), it currently ranks around the top five anime shows I know.  I used to have a little figurine of Tohru in my room as well as various Fruits Basket posters.  As an added bonus the voice actress Lora Bailey, who I recognized from before as the actress who voiced Maka in Soul Eater, voices Tohru Honda.

 So the story revolves around a first year highschooler (what a surprise) named Tohru Honda (middle) and two young men named Yuki Sohma (left) and Kyo Sohma (right.)  Tohru Honda is quite possibly the most pure and innocent person on the planet, a true believer in the common good, while the cousins Yuki and Kyo share a darker family history who both find consolation, acceptance, and support through Tohru.  Consequently, the two cousins really really really like Tohru, but of course they absolutely hate each other so in there lies some ongoing conflict.  Here's the twist: Yuki and Kyo, as well as various other family members of the Sohma clan, turn into one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac whenever hugged by the opposite sex!  Yuki is
the rat and Kyo is the cat (not to be confused with the tiger.)  Tohru Honda, being the loving and accepting person she is, does not reject or fear "the curse", as the Sohma family calls it, that possesses Yuki or Kyo, which was their initial fear that prevented them from showing off their bizarre condition.

Eventually, one by one, more of the Sohma family possessed by this curse are introduced to the show until all of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac, except for the horse for some reason, are incorporated into the story.  My personal favorite is the rabbit named Momiji, HE'S SO CUTE!

So there you have it, another anime series revolving around the turmoil of teenage years, spiced up with involuntary shape shifting goodness.  The story has moments where it tries really hard to really get the audience feeling compassionate towards the characters, kind of like in Clannad which bugs me.  But on the other hand no one truly knows in this world what its like to turn into an animal whenever hugged by the opposite sex; there's an element of mystery and in a way an impediment to empathizing with the characters in this story and their struggle to keep their curse a secret.

I'm currently collecting the manga series, which is quite different than the show and just as good in its own way.

Okay so to briefly explain this clip, Tohru in the beginning of the series moves in to Yuki's house which is owned by his older cousin Shigure and also is home to Kyo.  I found this scene to be funny and a good depiction of the tumultuous emotions and conflict that come and go in the household.  Oh, and the reason Tohru moved in with Yuki, Shigure, and Kyo was that she used to live with her grandpa but renovations were undergoing at his house so for the time being she was to live with the three Sohma men who graciously invited her into their home.  But now that the renovations are done, Tohru is returning to her grandpa's house despite how no one, not her, not Yuki, not Kyo, and not Shigure want her to leave.  Here's the clip: shigure funny part ep. 5.