Saturday Anime

Saturday night anime on Cartoon Network’s [adult swim] has been an enjoyable weekend staple of mine for over ten years now. The lineup changes regularly, yet still manages to give me some shows that I like.

Currently, that lineup consists of DragonBall Z: Super, DragonBall Z: Kai, and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. Attack on Titan is supposed to have a new season, according to my guild-mates who are in the know, but when it will air is anyone’s guess. Sword Art Online was another recent favourite, but it may have suffered the same fate as the now-defunct Deadman Wonderland.

Things come and go. That’s how life is, yes?

😎

5 On Friday: Anime Edition!

For today’s installment of “5 on Friday,” I decided to list my five favourite anime series of all time. These are shows which have been long-lived, well-written, have even featured a non-white character, and not been tainted with pornographic images of children. I’m always mystified as to why people feel the need to ruin perfectly harmless forms of entertainment, such as animated television shows / movies or video games, with graphic porn! Sheer, mindless insanity is all it seems to boil down to.

I listed the various series in the order I began watching them in, as that was the easiest route. Most of them began as a manga series, which are usually more detailed and in-depth than the visual version – that seems to be common with any adaptation of a written series. With that disclaimer out of the way, here we go – on with the show!

😎

Robotech: Just like Monty Python, Doctor Who, and Red Dwarf, Robotech was introduced to me by my older brothers and their friends. Other anime shows soon followed – Robotech was my initial foray into that world. From Wikipedia:

Robotech is a science fiction franchise that began with an 85-episode science fiction anime television series cartoon adaptation produced by Harmony Gold USA in association with Tatsunoko Production and first released in the United States in 1985. It was adapted from three original and unrelated – though visually similar – Japanese anime television series (Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada) to make a series suitable for syndication.

In the series, Robotechnology refers to the scientific advances discovered in an alien starship that crashed on a South Pacific island. With this technology, Earth developed robotic technologies, such as transformable mecha, to fight three successive extraterrestrial invasions.

Prior to the release of the TV series, the name Robotech was used by model kit manufacturer Revell on their Robotech Defenders line in the mid-1980s. The line consisted of mecha model kits imported from Japan and featured in anime titles such as The Super Dimension Fortress Macross (1982), Super Dimension Century Orguss (1983) and Fang of the Sun Dougram (1981). The kits were originally intended to be a marketing tie-in to a similarly named comic book series by DC Comics, which was cancelled after only two issues.

At the same time, Harmony Gold licensed the Macross TV series for direct-to-video distribution in 1984, but their merchandising plans were compromised by Revell’s prior distribution of the Macross kits. In the end, both parties signed a co-licensing agreement and the Robotech name was adopted for the TV syndication of Macross combined with Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross (1984) and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA (1983).

I liked the animation style of Robotech, and was impressed with the fact that the sole Black character, Chief Communications Officer Claudia Grant, wasn’t drawn with exaggerated features typical of the racist stereotypes portrayed in other anime like One Piece. Robotech is still going strong, after all of these years – it stands the test of time!

Dragon Ball Z: I found Dragon Ball Z purely by accident one day. It was originally on the Nick at Nite lineup, back when Nickelodeon still had shows worth watching with your kids. At any rate, the cable network I subscribed to at the time had a channel called “I,” short for the International Channel. That channel had television shows and movies broadcast from all over the world, so I was able to get my fill of foreign films (with subtitles, of course) – and, of course, a decent helping of untranslated, uncensored anime. Dragon Ball Z was actually watchable even in its unadulterated, unsanitized originality, so I grew attached to it over time. I still get to see it on [adult swim] on Saturday nights, and am glad for it!

Bleach: I think that I was idly flipping channels late one night when I happened upon the series Bleach, and got involved in the storyline pretty quickly! I enjoyed the characters and their unique personalities and backstories, and the side story-arcs are worth enduring for the main storyline. From Wikipedia:

“…in terms of demographics, Bleach appeals to a narrower international audience than Naruto due to the higher complexity of its plot as well as due to the religious aspects of the story.”

The anime has been featured various times in the top ten from the Japanese TV Ranking. DVDs have also had good sales having commonly appeared in the Japanese DVD Ranking. The anime was nominated in the 2007 America Anime Awards in the fields of “best manga”, “best actor”, “best DVD package design”, and “best theme”, but failed to win any awards. In a 2006 Internet poll by TV Asahi, Bleach was ranked as Japan’s seventh-favorite anime program. The previous year, it was ranked as the twenty-seventh favorite program. During February 2009, Bleach ranked as the 9th most viewed animated show from Hulu.

Anime News Network’s Carlo Santos praised the anime adaptation, describing it as “…one incredibly entertaining anime that will grab you and refuse to let go.” Animefringe’s Maria Lin liked the varied and distinct characters, and how well they handle the responsibilities increasing powers give them. She also complimented the series for its attention to details, well paced script, and balance of seriousness and comedy. In summary, she notes “Bleach the anime deserves its popularity. It has something for everyone: the supernatural, comedy, action and a little bit of romance, all tied together with excellent animation and a very enthusiastic sounding bunch of voice actors.” Adam Arseneau of DVD Verdict, felt Bleach was a “show that only gets better with age” and was “surprisingly well-rounded and appealing” with well-developed characters and pacing. Active Anime’s Holly Ellingwood praising the anime for perfectly capturing “the excitement, the caustic humour and supernatural intrigue” of the original manga. She felt that the series “does a wonderful job of building on its continuity to provide increasingly tense and layered episodes involving not only Ichigo and Rukia, but the secondary characters as well”. She also praised the series for its striking visual effects, intriguing plot and its “brilliant blend of action, off the wall comedy.” In reviewing the series for DVD Talk, Don Houston felt the characters surpassed the usual shōnen anime stereotypes and liked “the mixture of darker material with the comedic”. Another Fellow reviewer John Sinnott felt series starts out as a boring “monster-of-the-week program” that becomes more epic as the stories build and the characters are fleshed out. Otaku USA’s Joseph Luster wrote that “the storylines are consistently dramatic without hammering it home too heavily, the characters manage comic relief that’s not as eye rolling as one would expect, and the action (in classic fighting series form) has only gotten more ridiculous over the years; in a good way, of course”. Mania.com’s Bryce Coulter praised the series for its plot twists and “the quirky and amusing characters”. In comparing the series with Naruto, Mania.com’s Chris Beveridge felt Bleach was less childish and “simply comes together surprisingly well in its style and execution of what is fairly standard material”.”

I have the first four seasons of Bleach on DVD, and am still in the process of slowly filling out that collection. It is one that I can enjoy, even years from now!

Death Note: This is the shortest-running series of this list, but it made a major impact during the two seasons that it ran. I have the DVD set (of course), and am overdue for dusting it off and watching it anew! There aren’t many shows currently running that have grabbed my attention, so Death Note is always a good one to return to while waiting for something worthy. Here’s a little background, from Wikipedia:

Death Note (デスノート) is a Japanese manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata. The story follows Light Yagami, a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook from a Shinigami named Ryuk that grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose name and face he knows. The series centers around Light’s attempts to create and rule a world “cleansed of evil” as “God” using the notebook, and the efforts of a detective known as L to stop him.

Death Note was first serialized in Shueisha’s manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump from December 2003 to May 2006. The 108 chapters were collected and published into 12 tankōbon volumes between May 2004 and October 2006. An anime television adaptation aired in Japan from October 3, 2006 to June 26, 2007. Composed of 37 episodes, the anime was developed by Madhouse and directed by Tetsuro Araki. A light novel based on the series, written by Nisio Isin, was also released in 2006. Additionally, various video games have been published by Konami for the Nintendo DS. The series was adapted into three live-action films released in Japan on June 17, 2006, November 3, 2006, and February 2, 2008, and a television drama in 2015. A miniseries entitled “Death Note: New Generation” and a fourth film were released in 2016. An upcoming American film is scheduled to be released on Netflix on August 25, 2017.

Death Note media is licensed and released in North America by Viz Media, with the exception of the video games and soundtracks. The episodes from the anime first appeared in North America as downloadable from IGN, before Viz Media licensed it and it aired on YTV’s Bionix anime block in Canada and on Adult Swim in the United States with a DVD release following. The live-action films briefly played in certain North American theaters in 2008, before receiving home video releases. In 2015, the collected volumes of the Death Note manga had over 30 million copies in circulation.

Death Note, for all of its brutality and graphic violence, was also an interesting take on morality and people thinking that they have the right to be judge, jury, and executioner – but not applying those rules and morals upon themselves.

Attack On Titan: Last but certainly not least, Attack on Titan. This show is amazing on all levels: storyline, characters, backstories, moral lessons, and thought-provoking questions about how humanity is and what it could strive for or sink to, depending on the circumstances. From Wikipedia:

Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人; Shingeki no Kyojin, lit. “Advancing Giant”) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama. The series began in Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine on September 9, 2009, and has been collected into 22 tankōbon volumes as of April 2017. It is set in a world where humanity lives in cities surrounded by enormous walls; a defense against the Titans, gigantic humanoids that eat humans seemingly without reason. The story initially centers on Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and childhood friend Armin Arlert, who join the military to fight the Titans after their home town is invaded and Eren’s mother is eaten. However, as the story progresses and the truths about the Titans are slowly revealed to the reader, the narrative shifts to encompass Historia Reiss, squad leader Levi, Eren’s father Grisha, and other supporting characters.

The spin-off light novel series Before the Fall began in December 2011 and has received a manga adaptation. Two additional light novel series and four additional spin-off manga series have also been created. An anime television adaptation is being produced by Wit Studio and Production I.G, aired in Japan on MBS. The first season aired between April and September 2013, the second season aired between April and June 2017,[4] and a third season is scheduled to be released in April 2018.[5][6] Four video game adaptations developed by Nitroplus staffers in collaboration with Production I.G were announced to be released as bonus content for the third and sixth volumes of the Blu-ray Disc release of the anime, with another game developed by Spike Chunsoft for the Nintendo 3DS. A two-part live-action film adaptation, Attack on Titan and Attack on Titan: End of the World, and a live-action web-series were released in 2015. An anime adaptation of the Junior High spin-off manga, produced by Production I.G, began airing in October 2015. Attack on Titan and all five spin-off manga are published in North America by Kodansha Comics USA, while the three novel series are published by Vertical. The anime has been licensed by Funimation for North America, by Manga Entertainment for the UK, and by Madman Entertainment for Australasia.

Attack on Titan has become a commercial success. As of April 2017, the manga has 66 million copies in print.[7] The release of the anime also saw a boost in the series’ popularity, with it having received widespread critical acclaim for its atmosphere and story. Although it also gained fame in neighboring Asian countries, the series’ themes have been a subject of controversy.

This list was one of the most difficult to compile, as there are a number of short-lived shows that I also enjoyed, as well as other animated shows such as Samurai Jack or Avatar: The Last Airbender which don’t quite fall under the genre of anime. Still, putting it together was enjoyable! I hope that you enjoyed reading it.

Saturday Stuff!

It’s Saturday night and I’m in a saucy mood…so, enjoy these five random clips! The first two are dedicated to a fellow blogger and friend out there, as he enjoys Doctor Who and Ren & Stimpy like I do…and that’s a rare and wonderful thing! The other three clips are in honour of my long-standing Saturday night ritual: watching the block of anime on Cartoon Network’s [adult swim]. I’ve been doing so for a decade, now!

“Hold fast…secure the rigging!”

Credit: blog.gwcollegedemocrats.com

So…are you ready for the torrential flood? Are you ready for the onslaught of emotion and cut-to-the-chase intensity? Some are, and some aren’t…c’est la vie, non?

Those who have followed me and can read between the lines get it…and I appreciate them immensely, even if I don’t express it on a daily basis. All the rest are still trying to figure me out and place me in some narrow category. That won’t work. The more you try, the less you know…own it and accept it, and meet me on my grounds – otherwise, don’t even try.

The following links will either make things clear, or they will be lost on those who are trying to overthink things – I could care less either way. I speak pretty plainly. People who don’t understand me have chosen that option for themselves… *SHRUG*

🙄

Credit: dogsanddoubles.com

Lovely Lavender…

I’m in my cocoon, still working on my horribly long post. I hope to have it completed and published by Friday, and I’m nourishing myself physically, mentally, and emotionally as I do so. I made a nice pot of soup this morning so I could snack on it for the remainder of the afternoon and evening – it is my personal cold-fighting, flu-busting, naturally-antioxidant-filled soup, and it works. I haven’t had the flu for 5 years, and colds are (maybe) a once-yearly rarity. I think that I’m too ornery to get sick, personally…LOL.

It has been warmer-than-usual here in my little corner of the world. Little to no rain, for the most part – but living on the coast, I still benefit from the onshore and offshore breezes…so it’s pleasantly balmy. A wonderfully refreshing drink to have in the summertime is lavender lemonade – if you’ve never tried it, I recommend it…it’s modern ambrosia, much like tasting honey fresh from the comb – and chewing the bees-wax is a natural gum.

I also use lavender extract in my homemade hair-product because I love the smell. Others do too, judging from the compliments I’ve received over the years. More than once I’ve been told, “Gee…your hair smells terrific!”  (anyone remember that commercial?)

😉

Credit: bonnieplants.com

I’m reminded of the old song / poem / children’s rhyme I learned years ago…one of my favourites, along with “Kookaburra,” “Santa Lucia,” and “High Road / Low Road.” I wrote it the way I remember it, so apologies if I muck it up.

Lavender’s blue, dilly-dilly
Lavender’s green
When I am King, dilly-dilly
You shall be Queen

Lavender’s green, dilly-dilly
Lavender’s blue
When you are King, dilly-dilly
I shall love you

Something like that, I think?

Time for gaming…the battlefield calls loudly.

😀

 

It’s Friday – Full Moon Tomorrow!

We’re packing for a road trip and leaving before noon tomorrow – I can’t wait!  It will be nice to get my face in the breeze and let my cares fall behind me, while the road ahead stretches into the horizon.  Going to be passing through a few states I’ve only flown over; it will be nice to see forests and canyons…mountains and plains…different rock formations…new varieties of flora and fauna.  Clear blue skies or roiling stormclouds overhead; starlit nights, fireflies dancing.  Small towns and crowded cities…we will be passing through many.  Getting out before the Cinco de Mayo traffic jams and general idiocy is perfect timing – it’s going to be a full moon tomorrow, so prepare for the lunatics!  🙂

From “Jonathan Cainer’s Astrology” page:
http://www.cainer.com/

“Super Moon  Friday, 4 May 2012

Keep a close eye on the Full Moon this weekend. It is now about as close to the Earth as it ever gets. The Moon regularly comes a little nearer to the Earth, then slips slightly further away. But this doesn’t always happen at Full Moon and it hasn’t happened quite this close to a Full Moon for 100 years. Many expect it to trigger exceptionally high tides. Some are even speaking about earthquakes and floods. But whatever else this ‘Supermoon’ does, it will look unusually big when it rises… and suggests an exceptionally intense weekend for us all.”

Watching the weather forecast for the Cascades and the Rockies over the weekend and through Tuesday – it will help plan our course.  New phones…upgraded to a family plan; I’m now in the 21st Century with my sweet, new 4G Samsung!  It’s a fun little toy and has many features that will be of great assistance.  😎

The trip will be fairly long – about 3 weeks to get to our destinations and back.  We’ll be camping along the way to save on money; gas itself will be expensive enough, so we won’t be in hotels as often as we have been in the past.  Weather permitting, we may camp out two or three nights in a row…we will rotate our clothing during the trip so we won’t be wearing the same thing every day, this will extend the time we can wear each thing and can launder everything when we reach our stopping point – get them clean for the trip back!  Of course, no road trip is complete without getting at least ONE shirt from a bike shop somewhere, so we’ll most likely come back with about two or three new ones…sometimes we stop at a restaurant or pub that’s memorable enough to buy a shirt from, but only if the shirt design is worthy!  This means I’ll have plenty to post about when I return…I’ll have tons of topics!  Until then, enjoy a little bit of music, humor, and anime – talk at you all later on.

First, the humor – Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A., defends Kermit the Frog…and has a frightening epiphany!
http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/413585/may-02-2012/kermit-the-frog-s-german-tv-offense—hans-beinholtz

Next, the anime – first, the full introductions of parts 1 – 5 of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.  I love this show as much as Bleach!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koEvVD35c7A&feature=related

Then, one of the better Bleach fight scenes: Nelliel tu Odelschwanck vs. Nnoitora Gilga (untranslated)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2N-_zd5ock&feature=related

Kenpachi Zaraki represents my aggression and anger.  Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck represents how I generally respond to others: Childlike exuberance, tempered with the wisdom of experiencing heartache, deception, and asking “Et tu, Brute?” on multiple occasions…I will fight for myself, my family and my friends – who, indeed, definitely count as family in my book…TRUE friends…honor, honesty, and loyalty are rare traits – which, sadly, are sorely under-appreciated.

I don’t start fights – but you can bet your ass I’ll finish them!  Fuck with the ram, you get the horns…and it’s nothing personal.  I’m perfectly happy to be left alone.  I stay out of your way – have the courtesy to stay out of mine, m’kay?

Finally, some road music…”On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson, and “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver – but first, honorable mention goes to ska pioneer Lloyd Brevett, may he R.I.P. with the rest of the great musicians in the afterlife…he just passed away at the age of 80.  From the BBC…
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-17952383

Lloyd Brevett

I wanted to add one of his songs but, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to locate one.  It’s strange how difficult it is to find certain songs in the USA, especially if the music is produced by groups in other countries.  For instance, the song “Velonica” by Aqua Timez – excellent song; and impossible to find in its best form anymore.  Other songs I’ve searched for, to no avail, include “Juju” by le Klub des 7, “Honey Bunny” by Amour a Jeun, and “La Grosse Machine” by WongSifou (sp?) to name a few…

Cripes…yet another R.I.P. – Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys has died at the age of 48; he was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and looks to be the main cause of his death.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-17963855

Beastie Boys: “Intergalactic”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qORYO0atB6g&ob=av3e

Willie Nelson: “On The Road Again”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TD_pSeNelU

John Denver – “Rocky Mountain High”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxJCaZh9obc

And finally, one more time…just for the hell of it…sometimes, people can really be awesome – when they’re just being themselves, doing what they love!
http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=EEu42L0ufBY

Friday the 13th #2! Music time…

This is the second Friday the 13th this year; there will be three in all.  For your listening enjoyment, I present two classics!  😎

Primus – “Tommy the Cat

Boyz II Men: “MotownPhilly

I also finally found an awesome song called ‘Velonica’, by a Japanese group named Aqua Timez.  An edited version of this song was used for the 9th season opening of one of my favorite anime shows, Bleach.

Here are the lyrics with the opening: http://www.animelyrics.com/anime/bleach/velonica.htm

…and here’s the song! Enjoy…

Aqua Timez: “Velonica

Zasetsu mamire ryuukou ni magire
Shiawase na furi o shite utau
Motto hashire to iikikashite
Mubou ni mo sotto kazakami e
Kita michi o ichibetsu yutori wa gomen
Shimensoka sansen ni tsugu one game
“yama ari tani ari gake ari”
Chiri wa tsumotteku
Hateshinai tabi no tochuu de
Machi no hazure ni tachiyoru
Tsukareta ryouashi o sotto nagedashite
Nekorobu to kurikaesareru asai nemuri
Nando mo onaji ano yokogao
Nando mo onaji ano kotoba o…
“ikiteru dake de kanashii to omou no wa
Watashi dake na no?” to

Tabako no kemuri ga chuu o uneri utsuro ni kieru
Kitto mada chikara naki osanai hi ni

Minakute ii kanashimi o mitekita kimi wa ima
Koraenakute ii namida o koraete sugoshiteru
Honto no koto dake de ikiteyukeru hodo
Bokura wa tsuyoku nai sa tsuyoku nakute ii
Ii?

Mochiageta mabuta sekai wa haru da
Sakurairo no kaze o kakiwakete
Haruka kanata e mukau tochuu
Kono na no hanabatake ni kimi wa ita no ka na
Kono sora ni tori no shiroi habataki o
Boku ga sagasu aida kitto
Kimi wa daichi ni mimi o sumashi
Ari no kuroi ashioto o sagashita ndarou na

Piero no you na kamen o haide
Taiyou ni wasurerareta oka ni tachi

Tsuki no hikari o abite fukaku iki o suu
Sara no wareru oto mo donarigoe mo nai sekai
Nukumori ga naku tatte ikite wa yukeru sa
Dakedo bokura ikiteru dake ja tarinakute

Mebuku daichi ya buatsui miki ya
Kiesaru niji ya sugisaru hibi ya
Yozora no supika shiki no fushigi ga
Oshietekureta shinjitsu o sagashitsuzukeru bokura ni

Doko made tabi o shite mo inochi no hajimari wa
Ikite ai saretai to naita hitori no akago
Koko de wa nai dokoka o mezasu riyuu to wa
Kokoro de wa nai dokoka ni kotae wa nai to shiru tame

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