Archive for August, 2011

Tumbled out

Posted: August 30, 2011 in j-drama
the Kara HIghschool Boys Rhythmic Gymnastics Club

the Kara HIghschool Boys Rhythmic Gymnastics Club

It took me two days, and I finished it. Like a good book, I couldn’t put it down. Now it’s over, and that really makes me sad. There’s no spoilers in this post; I just want to say a few things. It might be weird to admit this, but this is, with out a doubt, the best show I’ve ever seen, including anything I’ve seen in America. It sounds ridiculous, right? To love such a bizarre show about rhythmic gymnastics with an underlying theme of never abandoning your friends, it’s absurd.

But the show made me cry, in at least 7/11 episodes. When they’d get ready to do a competition, or help eachother learn a new trick, or getting a new member involved, you can’t help but stand and cheer at the screen. I think I scream and cheered more at my screen with this show than anything else I’ve watched; no other show made me feel this involved. You can’t help but love all the characters, even though picking favorites is always imminent. You might even be surprised at who you end up favoring at the end. My favorite, Kiyama, at the beginning, turned into Hino and Azuma pretty much equally. And I went from loathing Satoshi to really enjoying his character by the end. Believe me, he makes up for his high pitch squeak of a voice.

The after party for the Kanto region competition was a great way to end it. Everything wrapped up, mostly nicely. Some of the most hilarious moments of the show are in this scene. On the downside, they make you realize, pretty much in the last three minutes of the final episode, that 6/9 of the members are seniors this year, and that the club is back down to 3. So much for my hopes for a second season.

Yamamoto Yusuke as Azuma Wataru

Yamamoto Yusuke as Azuma Wataru

Daito Shunsuke as Kiyama Ryuichiro

Daito Shunsuke as Kiyama Ryuichiro

This show totally set up Yusuke and Shunsuke for their roles in Ouran. Yusuke, who played Azuma, has a major Tamaki moment when he mopes on the stairs at the after party. But aside from that, the passion that his character exudes at a constant level is unwittingly a Tamaki signature. And just like Tamaki, Azuma’s strength was being able to pull all the hurt, pain, hidden pasts and trials that burden the club members and turn them into an unbreakable family.

Kiyama didn’t speak very much through the majority of the series. When he did, it was important. And even though Azuma was the head honcho, it was Kiyama no one wanted to mess with. Shadow King anyone? The difference in character appearance between Kiyama and Kyoya is significant, almost like they’re two separate actors. But on that rare occasion that Kiyama smiled, that’s when you know they’re the same.

Nishijima Takahiro as Hino Tetsuya

Nishijima Takahiro as Hino Tetsuya

Going into the series, these were the two I was looking for, to see how their acting was outside of the purposefully crazy Ouran Host Club. I was quickly introduced to a character who was a total jerk through the first two-thirds of the series. His redeeming process wakes you up to the fact that this kid can act. And apparently he sings and dances too (as a member of the j-pop group Attack All Around), which is exceedingly obvious when they add a dance routine to their number. He quickly becomes a fan favorite.

All-in-all, I loved this show, which I’m sure you’re well aware of by now. The way the underlying theme generally avails itself in the plot line is almost like watching a live action anime. I seriously wish American TV dramas, and by dramas I don’t mean soap operas (which is why I think I paid no attention to Japanese dramas until now), could have such moral ideas and attitudes that keep popping up as their theme.

I would watch this show again, in a heart beat. And every so often I catch myself replaying some of the more brilliant moments in the episodes. I highly recommend this show; just give it a chance to get past any preconceived notions. The plot line is so much deeper than the descriptions give it credit for.

Tumbing

Tumbling main cast

It’s almost 5am here on the east coast. I’ve got a number of things keeping me awake, when I’m usually passed out cold by midnight most nights. For one, hurricane Irene is on our doorstep, and the bands of rain are starting to wash themselves over us, which is rare for a named storm to do. Also, I’ve consumed a good 4-5 cups of green tea with jasmine, which I stopped drinking at about 11pm. Did I mention I’m completely caffeine intolerant? Haha, I’m wide awake. And the third thing keeping me awake: “Tumbling.”

My brother’s fiance, Mayumi, who I might have mentioned before, is from Japan and she’s a huge fan of Japanese dramas. She’s the one who revealed to me the epic-ness that is the live action Ouran. So anyway, I just got done watching the newest episode that was out, and while consuming my 3rd cup of the glorious jasmine green tea, I mentioned to Mayumi that I need to start watching other Japanese dramas to fill in the gaps between Ouran airings.

Perusing the website that I was on, I stumbled upon “Tumbling,” a drama centered around a failing Rhythmic Gymnastics club at the high school, and a rag-tag gang thug is forced to join as punishment for failing in his classes. Needless to say, he learns a lot from them, and they learn a lot from him, like how to stop failing. The mischief maker is played by Yamamoto Yusuke, the same actor as Tamaki in Ouran. And Kyoya actor Daito Shunsuke also has a role as an ex-gang member with a deep and hidden past. I know, it just draws you in, doesn’t it?

The story line is fantastic, and the side plots in the episodes are actually pretty riveting. I think I’ve even cried a few times. And the bizarre thing is, I’m only on episode 2. (Episode 1 is like, two hours long, and each consecutive one is an hour.) But honestly, I feel like I’ve already watched half a season.

Now, I’ve never seen the American show on ABC family called “Make it or Break it.” You know, the one with the gymnasts and what not. But anyway, I assume it’s a lot like that, except instead of whiney, drama filled teenage whores, there’s gorgeous japanese guys doing kick-ass back hand springs and vaulted twists. Clear winner. But don’t take my word for it. Just start the first episode, and you’ll flip too.

Edit 8/28: Oh yeah, and Nippori’s cry face is hilariously awful. And Yuuta looks like a Japanese version of 11 year old Harry Potter, which makes me giggle every time I see him on screen. And Satoshi’s voice DOES get more tolerable.

Edit 9/10: I stumbled upon another blog who referred to Tumbling as a cross between “Bring it On,” “West Side Story,” and “Make it or Break it,” to which I whole-heartedly agree.

Me with my Ouran card

Me with my Ouran cards

Can’t believe I forgot to post this. Here’s another Ouran gem I stumbled upon. It’s bad for my game though, they know I’ve got a Jack or a 4 when i shriek like a little fan girl when I get Kyoya in my hand. But Lena does the same thing with Mori. Ha!

Vic Mignona

Vic Mignona

If I say Vic Mignona, you might say “Edward Elric!” And you’d be right. Undoubtedly, you’ve heard his voice in other anime, if you’re a hard core watcher. His voice is so unique that you can always pick him out of a cast.

Vic got his fame from voicing Edward Elric, the main protagonist in Full Metal Alchemist. One of the reasons I enjoy Full Metal Alchemist is that I share the same initials as the show: FMA. I know, I’m a dork. But of course you already knew that. I write this blog, don’t I?

But aside from the eldest Elric brother, Vic has voiced several main characters in some of my best loved anime, including Soul Eater, Naruto, and my all-time favorite, Ouran Highschool Host Club. Through each character that he does, his voice has a different feel to it each time, even if  he remains recognizable.

He’s also a graphic designer, like myself, and does sound editing and host of other creative endeavors. His website is a little on the ‘sloppy’ side, but it’s pretty nifty, especially the intro. http://www.vicsworld.net

Edward Elric

Edward Elric

So, here’s the run down. Obviously, he provided the voice for Ed Elric of Full Metal Alchemist, a teenager who, with his brother, seeks to undo the consequences of human transmutation. Through the course of the anime, he ages a few years, and his voice adapts along the way.

 

 

 

Tamaki Suou

Tamaki Suou

In Ouran, he played the romantic, over zealous leader of the Host Club, Tamaki Suou. Half French and half Japanese, Tamaki thinks of himself as a princely type and likes to put smiles of the faces of everyone he meets. Though he’s from an aristocratic family, he is obsessed with “commoner” culture, and likes to indulge in commoner food and games.  He’s pretty much happy-go-lucky, and has a tad of a playful ego, but he’s extremely compassionate and has a giant heart. He also has a bit of a sad story to his childhood, playing piano for his sick mother, and a grandmother who disowns him as a member of the Suou house.

 

Pein, aka Nagato

Pein, aka Nagato

From Naruto, Vic voices several characters, many of them of smaller roles. He does voice major antagonist Pein, aka Nagato, and Kakashi’s childhood friend, Obito. Pein was the figure head of the antagonist group called Akasuki. He had the powers of the sage of six paths, and could basically use all six at once from a hidden location, making him almost impossible to defeat. Then Naruto came along. He was able to recant his ways and gave his life undoing his destruction of Konoha.

 

Obito Uchiha

Obito Uchiha

Obito was Kakashi’s team mate in his first squad and he was overly rambunctious and comrade oriented. He’d kill a mission to save a team mate, something Kakshi’s father was chided for. One day a mission of theirs went horribly wrong and their third team mate, Rin, was kidnapped. Obito took the beaten path to save her, and Kakashi didn’t want to go along at first. Eventually he realized the importance of his team, and that no life is risking for the good of the mission. Kakashi joined in and helped in successfully rescuing Rin. Obito died in the process, but as a thank you, he had Rin, a medical ninja, transplant an eye into Kakashi’s lost eye.

 

 

Spirit Albarn

Spirit Albarn

Ikkaku

Ikkaku

He also lends his vocals to the endearing, tries-to-hard father of the Main character in Soul Eater. Spirit Albarn is Maka Albarn’s father, and though she’s completely put off by her father, it’s obvious that she still cares for him.

Ikkaku is a Lieutenant commander in Squad 8 in the anime Bleach. He doesn’t have a prominent role, but he’s not exactly a walk on role either. His character is always looking for a fight, and to prove his strength.

 

 

Dark

Dark

Goemon

Ganbare, Goemon!

Dark Mousy is the alter ego of main character Daisuke in D.N.Angel. Another flighty teenage role of his. Pun intended.

Goemon is the title character of an anime of the same series of the same video games that I loved growing up. I was pretty shocked to discover that he voiced him in the anime. It seems like a pretty out of character role for him, but it’s awesome.

He did a host of other voices from a ton of different anime and video game titles, but these ones are the ones I most recognize. Vic is my favorite voice actor of all time, because his voice is extremely recognizable, and he plays some fantastic characters. He also filmed a hysterical World of Warcraft commercial, in which he alludes to his portrayal of Edward Elric.

 

 

What do you like best about him, and who’s your favorite character with Vic’s voice?

Stumbled upon some Ouran treasures

Posted: August 22, 2011 in AMVs
Tags: , , ,

So, these two AMVs I stumbled upon tonight after getting a Something Corporate song stuck in my head. I searched for “Something Corporate” in YouTube with “AMV,” because I’d rather watch it with anime characters than just plain ol’ lyrics or something else. Anyway, I came upon an Ouran video with Something Corporate’s “As You Sleep.” The person did an excellent combining Tamaki’s piano playing abilities with that of Andrew MacMahon of Somehting Corporate, and making it look like Tamaki was the one playing. It was brilliant, until it ended abruptly.

If the video doesn’t load, watch it here: http://youtu.be/lPxU3NBmO6o

And then after it was over, and as I was sulking at the disappointing ending, I noticed a Kyoya and Haruhi AMV with All American Reject’s “Give You Hell.” I thought, well, why not, and clicked it. I’m extraordinarily glad I did. The video was set up brilliantly, making it look like Kyoya was Haruhi’s ex, and Tamaki was her new guy. Hilarious.

If the video doesn’t load, watch it here: http://youtu.be/OXdA5Q9vLEE

spoilers abound. you have been warned.

So, I am two states away from my home town, because a good friend of mine is getting married today! Yay! Congrats Tim and Ana! So to preemptively celebrate (I’m going to be far too tired after all the dancing I’m going to do at the reception), I’ve decided to compile my list of Top 5 favorite couples who are together, as seen in the anime/manga from where they came. This post comes in conjunction with another post of mine, the Top 5 couples who are not together (yet).

5. Bulma and Vegeta

Bulma and Vegeta

Bulma and Vegeta

Who can take on the cold, heartless Saiyan prince, with a temper of an Irishman and the arrogance and personality of prize antagonist? A woman.

Bulma is the daughter of the founder of a technology company called Capsule Corp. She’s got a bit of a hard edge, and doesn’t let herself get easily run over by others. In a “night of passion” Bulma got pregnant with their son, and my favorite DBZ character, Trunks.

Though Vegeta is ruthless and potnetially volatile, his relationship with his (now) wife and his son makes him a bit more civilized.

4. Duck & Fakir

Duck and Fakir

Duck and Fakir

I find this pair, from the anime Princess Tutu, to be the most fascinating in how they came together through the events of the story. From the beginning, Duck (Ahiru), as an actual duck, became enamored with Myuto, the lonely prince who was missing his heart.

Myuto is a prince from a story by an author named Drosselmeyer, who had the ability to make his stories real. Drosselmeyer never finished the story of the prince and the raven before a fearful group cut his hands off. The prince, Myuto, and the raven emerged into the real world where Myuto shattered his own heart to seal away the raven. Drosselmeyer sees how how much Ahiru wants to help and gives her a pendant that transforms her into a girl, enrolled at the same ballet school as Myuto. The pendant also allows her to transform into Princess Tutu, a character from Drosselmeyer’s book that restores the shards of the lone prince’s heart.

Through the majority of the anime, the viewer, as I did, roots for Duck and Myuto, as she restores his heart with the mising shards. Fakir, Myuto’s overprotective roommate who is fully aware of the story, being a magical writer himself, comes off as a huge (I prefer a more expletive term, but I will settle for a pg-13 rating here) jerk-face. Fakir, and the Raven’s daughter, Rue, or Princess Kraehe, tries to foil Tutu (Duck)’s attempts to gather the shards.

But somewhere toward the last quarter of the anime, a series of events begins to unravel between Duck and Fakir, and the viewer starts to realize that Myuto x Duck completely pales in comparison to Fakir xDuck. The two’s bond is eventually how they manage to save Prince Myuto from the Raven, and he ends up living happily ever after with Princess Kraehe who was not actually the raven’s daughter, just a girl who had been kidnapped by the raven. The pair go back into the story. Duck returns to be a duck again, and keeps Fakir company while he writes, unfortunately. I wish she could have kept the pendant and stayed with Fakir as a human.

3. Minato Namikaze & Kushina Uzumaki

Kushina and Minato

Kushina and Minato

One of the more tragic love stories is these two from the anime and manga of Naruto and Naruto Shippuden. The pair are actually the title character’s parents, which isn’t revealed until way late into Shippuden. Minato, the fourth hokage from the Leaf Village, fell in love with the Kushina, a ninja from the Whirlpool Village, which has close ties to the Leaf. Kushina was the current carrier of the Nina Tails demon fox.

Before they started dating, Kushina was kidnapped, and Minato was able to rescue her by following bits of her red hair that she had left as a trail. It was love at first rescue. Most people found Kushina, like Naruto, to be annoying because of her fiesty-ness and a speech tick that both of them share. She was aso made fun of for her brilliant red hair, often being compared to a tomato. But after the rescue, Minato told her that he loved her red hair, and she started to let it grow extremely long.

After being married, the pair were expecting their first child, Naruto. At childbirth, Kushina would become vulnerable to Nine Tailed fox, so they went away to have the baby in secret. The main antagonist (that we know of so far in the series) got wind of it and broke in mid-delivery. Minato and Kushina were able to seal away the Nine Tails within their baby, in exchange for their lives. They also incorporated memories of themselves into the seal, so that if Naruto were to ever try to remove it, they would reveal themselves to their son.

2. Dominic Sorel & Anemone

Dominic and Anemone

Dominic and Anemone

In Eureka 7, even though these two were on orders of the antagonist, you couldn’t help but root for the pair. Anemone was the only survivor in an experiment to alter bodies to that of a Coralian, in order to pilot one of the ships. In her drugged state, she’s a fearless killer and appears bloodthirsty. The side effects of the procedures and drugs give her massive headaches, as well as an unstable mental capacity.

Dominic starts off as her caretaker, but eventually finds himself sympathetic toward her, and even falling in love with her. Eventually, actually pretty much at the end of the series, she comes to realize that not everyone is lying to her, and she feels for him back. Just before this realization, a rebound attack from her ship causes enough damage to Dominic’s ship to cause him to fall out of the sky. She is ejected from her own ship to save him. That’s when they kiss! *squee!*

The pair are together ever after.

1. Winry Rockbell & Edward Elric

Winry and Ed

Winry and Ed

I loved Full Metal Alchemist, until the very end, when Ed and Al enter an alternate dimension. I was convinced that Ed and Winry belonged together, and to separate them like that was an absolute outrage. Then I saw the movie, my hopefulness crept back in and I watched with bated breath. Then it ended. Still in separate dimensions, and I was furious. Though I thought FMA was a fantastic anime, I couldn’t help but feel cheated that they did not end up together after all they had been through.

Winry is an ace mechanic, and she specializes in automail, which she outfits Ed with after he lost his arm in an alchemy spell that went awry. Continuously throughout the series, she admonishes Ed for doing risky things, and it is blatantly obvious that she cares for him. He takes comfort in her affection and it always feels like he’s home when she’s around.

Chapter 108

Chapter 108

Several years after I had finished the series, I had stumbled onto something interesting. There was an ongoing manga, and I had only discovered this when the manga site I visited announced that the FINAL CHAPTER had been released. Though I didn’t know what had been going on, I clicked through the final chapter to see what happens at the end. Somehow Ed and AL got their bodies back intact, and their father passed away. But best of all, an end photo showed Winry and Ed together, with two kids. My life is complete.

Winry and Ed

Winry and Ed

First off, I must apologize for the lack of posting over the last week or two. I’ve been interviewing at a company to be a web designer, and they had me create a website from the ground up as part of the process. Though I thoroughly enjoyed sinking my teeth back into the wonderful world of CSS and wordpress manipulation, I’m glad to be back to spending my free time writing and watching anime. I’ve also seemed to have run the well dry on Criminal Minds episodes.

Mugen, Fuu, and Jin

Mugen, Fuu, and Jin

I started watching Samurai Champloo tonight while hanging out with a friend of mine on our day off. For some reason, I either forgot about this anime, or I subconsciously ignored that I knew about it. Samurai Champloo was the ultimate favorite anime of one of my best friends who passed away in 2008. Perhaps, for that reason it took me so long to get into it. I’d also venture to guess that it’s due in part to the airing of it on Cartoon Network, and therefore, I’ve only seen a few, random episodes. I tend to not get into anime in which that happens… ie. Cowboy Bebop, Kekkeishi,  Inuyasha, and Ruoni Kenshin to name a few. Thanks Cartoon Network!

My friend Lena and I decided on Samurai Champloo after perusing the various anime on her Netflix (I’m convinced I need Netflix now), and we were riveted from episode 1. I was surprised that it was only 26 episodes, as I had been convinced it was one of those anime that seems to go on forever. So far, we made it through to episode 15 in one sitting, and this is my reaction to what we’ve seen so far.

First of all, we’re half way through, and I find it COMPLETELY bizarre that the character who talks the most (Fuu) is the one that we know the least about. Weird, right? And the whole objective of the plot is Mugen and Jin helping her to find the samurai who smells like sunflowers. We’re at the middle of the series and know absolutely nothing about who this guy is, what he means to her, and why she wants to find him. My best guess is that it’s her father, considering she mentioned that he left a long time ago, and her mother passed away just about a year prior to episode 1.

Jin, who will have his own Megane Danshi post in the future, is almost even with Fuu on how much we know about him. He generally does not say a whole lot, but it is known at this point that someone betrayed the dojo, and Jin himself killed his own master. Again, I can venture a guess, and I think Jin is above blatant murder for no reason, so the guy must have had it coming to him. I’m thinking the master was the rogue.

And Mugen, his entire backstory was revealed in episodes 14-15, and that was probably the most powerful thing I’ve seen in awhile, when Mugen leaves his childhood friend alive after killing everyone she depended on. And by awhile, I mean since episode 7 when Fuu witnesses the unnecessary murder of a new friend who was just trying to make enough money to help his sick and dying mother.

I think this anime has all the makings for a very intense and sad ending. All three of them seem to revolve heavily on their secret pasts, and I’m insanely curious as to what they’ve all got hiding, especially Fuu. I wouldn’t be surprised if either Mugen or Jin bites the dust at the end, for some reason I don’t see that happening to Fuu. Those two seem to have much to atone for in their lives, even though they’re still extremely young, and Fuu seems to have been innocent in her upbringing.

I can see why my friend loved this anime so much. The main characters are interesting, and their dynamics play off each other extremely well. Their secret pasts keep you glued to find out how it unravels. And this mysterious samurai who smells like sunflowers is driving me crazy. We still don’t know anything about him. I look forward to having all of these questions answered and secrets revealed, and I hope I don’t need a full box of tissues.