The “Yu-gi-oh!” Experience

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“And this is the card I sleep with every night!”

As a middle-schooler I was obsessed with Yu-gi-oh!, just like I was with Pokemon. I didn’t think about it at the time, but there’s a lot of key features within the actual show that may or may not have defined the “Card Game” genre, which eventually expanded to other things including spinning tops and bead battler toys. As an anime itself, it was a little unbelievable, looking back on it now.

 

The anime itself, before the multiple spin-offs (which included Yu-gi-oh! GX, Yu-go-oh! 5Ds, and Yu-gi-oh! Zexel), came in about five seasons. It started off with a group of middle-schoolers (of which, only the main character Yugi looked the appropriate age) that liked to play a game called Duel Monsters. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s basically the classic card game War with a few extra things.

The Japanese version is actually quite a bit different, including a complete removal of the true episode one, but that’s a whole other can of worms we won’t go into (stupid 4Kids). Anyway, the entire anime is basically a series of Duel Monsters tournaments in different locations, and an episode usually consists of an entire card game or sometimes even a small part of a card game. If I recall correctly, at least twice, a game extends four to five C_l2hNLXUAAbddiepisodes.

While I’m sure this is an excellent marketing tactic for the company that owns Yu-gi-oh!, going back and watching it now, as an adult, has made me realize how rediculous the show actually is. First, the main character has some kind of ancient spirit within him, thanks to his super cool necklace called The Millenium Puzzle, but he apparently doesn’t realize this until midway through season one. The irony being that he magically transforms into this spirit before every duel, which does nothing to him except make him look more serious, about a foot and a half taller, and have a much deeper voice.

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“This is how we get all the chicks!”

Also, the games apparently require the use of holographics to make them super cool and playable, so the characters use special arenas to make their monsters come to life. But, sometimes the monsters actually hurt the people. Like, losing actually causes physical pain sometimes, according to a few episodes, and as the series goes on, the monsters seem to get more and more real. I constantly found myself asking “Do they realize this is just a card game?” Apparently not, because the bratty Seto Kaiba decides to throw a tournament just to defeat Yugi, and when he loses, blows up a whole island.

While this genre is mostly aimed at young boys in middle school, it does sometimes draw older people, especially if they grew up in the Pokemon and Yu-gi-oh! era. For me, however, it’s just background noise while I update any various social media sites I have or play videogames.

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Skip Beat! Character Profile: Kyoko Mogami

Mogami.Kyoko.600.130754Kyoko is a strange one, but also a determined one. She enters the acting business with hopes of getting revenge on her former friend Sho Fuwa. But, it’s not as easy as she initially thought. While her first audition was quite different that what the recruiters first thought she might show, she ends up landing a spot in the agency she hoped she could get into.

But, the agency has taken a liking to her, and puts her in a new special section called the “Love Me” section. Not only is it embarrassing to wear their bright pink jumpsuits, but she is asked to carry out various tasks such as errand running and carrying luggage. At first she is very upset about it, but she realizes that this is her chance, and she grabs the opportunity by the horns and puts her all into her tasks.

She soon gains some fame by taking a few jobs in commercials, but she really proves herself when she takes over the role of a quiet woman performing a tea ceremony. Having fractured her leg helping that very woman make it to the shoot, she goes through with the role, not making a single complaint the entire time. The director and her costars are stunned, and soon she gains more jobs.

However, an old enemy has joined the “Love Me” section. When the woman, Kanae, and Kyoko first meat, the former is very rude and says she will never make it. But now that they are both in the same section, they are forced to work together. I liked the development of friendship between them despite their differences. They even team up to make a commercial together and really knock it away.

Kyoko is not only determined, but passionate about everything. When revenge fueled her, she would get visibly angry when Sho was mentioned. But as she moved away from him, her anger softened, and she became passionate about the roles she played. In the end, she really shows how much she’s grown as an actress and how much talent she has.

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Skip Beat! Character Profile: “Sho” Fuwa

shoShotaro, or “Sho” as he goes by on stage, Fuwa is a classic jerk. He plays the perfect antagonist against Kyoko as she fights her way into the world of show business. Originally, he was her goal and sought revenge against her, but eventually, Kyoko realizes he wasn’t even worth it.

When the series starts out, Kyoko is completely in love with Shotaro. She grew up with him, Shotaro’s parents hoping she would marry him and help him settle down. She learned all the “important” wife-things, like how to cook, clean, and care for children. But, not knowing his parents’ plan, Shotaro had another goal. He wanted to be a rock star and become famous and adored.

Right out of high school, the pair took off to the big city. Neither of them even graduated, but Shotaro was on the right track. Kyoko simply came along because Shotaro trusted her and she thought they could be together. But as Shotaro became more famous, he started to change. He would come home late, and get angry easily, especially when his professional rival Ren showed up on the television. But Kyoko was always there with his favorite snack and a joke to calm him down.

Convinced she was in the right place, Kyoko continued to act as a sort of maid and servant to Shotaro. Until one day, she had made him lunch and he’d forgotten it. Deciding it would be nice to visit him at work, she pushed through the crowds and headed up to his office to deliver it. But upon arriving, she discovered Shotaro speaking with his manager, claiming to only be using Kyoko as a maid. Obviously she is furious and vows revenge at him. He simply laughs it off and leaves.

Though Shotaro is confident in his skill, he is extremely competitive. He does his absolute best at everything, even going over the top sometimes. He practices as much as he can, trying to get every note right in order to “beat” his rival at the show business game. But he is constantly pushed back by his own drive to dominate that he comes off childish, causing Ren to basically ignore him. This causes Shotaro to become even more furious. But when he realizes that Kyoko has pushed off the ground and rocketed ahead of him, even working directly with his rival, he can’t stand it anymore. He can’t stop thinking about her and is confused why. Not only is he angry that she’s achieved even more than him, but that he may still be attracted to her.

In the end, he gets his just desserts. He’s a great character, and I actually really like him because he plays his part so well. It just goes to show you that using people and being a jerk doesn’t get you anywhere, and really all it does it slow you down on your way to your dreams.

Anime Review: “Skip Beat!”

skip-beat-muzic-world-free_136926When I first heard about this anime, I thought “Wow this is probably going to be awful and boring.” But rather quickly, I began to think completely different. I’d have to say that this anime quickly became one of my favorites, and I’m sad to say there’s not a continuation series.

The story starts out with a girl named Kyoko living in an apartment with her childhood friend who just happened to become a famous musician and TV personality. While they were children, they spent almost every moment together, but now that he is famous, Shotaro, or “Sho” as he is called in the business, has begun to change. Kyoko quickly finds out that Shotaro has been using her as a housemaid while she thought he really cared for her and she vows revenge on him. He laughs it off, saying she would never be able to get revenge unless she got into the acting business, so that’s what she plans to do.

Upon making the vow, she seeks to join the competing talent agency LME and runs into Shotaro’s biggest rival, Ren. At first, he dislikes her because of her motives, but she soon proves that she has more than just guts. She has talent and creativity, willing to go the extra mile. She is assigned to a special department as a sort of “intern” and manages to secure a few positions. But, even after becoming friends with Ren, the two have to face their biggest role and all the challenges that come with it. They’ll have to work together and learn more about each other as well as themselves to get it right.

The story is heartwarming, showing how Kyoko grows from a revenge-seeking amatuer to a real professional. I didn’t want it to end, and I felt my heart swelling when Ren realizes how much he cares for her. The friendship between Kyoko and her department-mate “Moko” is perfect, too! I wish they made more than one season of this made. But apparently the manga is still going. I might have to resort to that! I give this wonderful anime a 10 out of 10 on my rating scale!

Picture Source: http://www.pageresource.com/wallpapers/30728/skip-beat-muzic-world-free-hd-wallpaper.html

“C3” Character Profile: Sonora Kashima

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Current president of the C3 club, Sonora is the tallest and oldest of all of the members. She sports a positive, but relaxed attitude, letting things happen as they do. In the beginning, she finds that the new member her club wants is actually her new roommate, but doesn’t jump on the opportunity like the rest of the club. Instead, she answers questions that Yura has and says that if she doesn’t want to join, it’s fine. The other members have a fit and beg her to get Yura, but Sonora simply brushes them aside with a grin.

To some people, Sonora might seem aloof, but she really doesn’t want people to be forced into a decision. She prefers to let them come to their own realizations. She keeps a hands-off approach to everything in the series, but remains enthusiastic and positive. When in a survival game, she is an excellent leader, and simply tells everyone to have fun and do their best. If they lose, she doesn’t take it personally and has great sportsmanship.

Her combat gear includes a set of Tokyo Marui Desert Eagles, which she keeps in two shoulder holsters. She has owned these since she was very young and just learning the sport. These are her primary weapons, but when in a tournament, she uses a Tokyo Marui AUG A1, and owns at least a dozen Airsoft Innovations Tornado Grenades, which the series shows are only used in practice games. She lends her M60 to Karila during practices, but also owns a M14, an M24. She also owns an M4A1, which is used Yura in her first tournament, a G3A4, and a USP40. Her eye-wear for practice games is blue, which she prefers.

Sonora is the most experiences member of the club, so she always likes to share things with new members. She shows Yura everything she needs to know, and even lets her borrow her Scorpion-style gun that her master gave her. Without her, I have a hard time thinking the club would even exist.

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Picture Source: http://c3-bu.wikia.com/wiki/Sonora_Kashima

“C3” Character Spotlight: Yura Yamato

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Yura Yamato is the focus of the anime Stella Women’s Academy – High School Division C3. Initially, she is so shy that she cannot even get herself to start a conversation with anyone. But, as it is soon made clear, she has a very vivid imagination.

As Yura enters the academy, she promises herself that she will change. She seeks to become less shy and to make friends, but isn’t sure how to start. She searches for her room, and after getting lost a few times, she eventually makes her way to the dormatory, only to find that her roommate has not yet arrived. Being curious, instead of unpacking, she looks around the room to see what her roommate is like. She finds much more than she expects: military-style uniforms, air guns, and action movies. What sort of roommate would she have? She decides to put in one of the movies and becomes so enthralled, she is soon playing out the scenes in full gear.

Meanwhile, the C3 club is seeking new members, but it seems that no girls are interested in survival games. Rento, one of the members, seeks out their club president, Sonora, to get ideas on how to draw more girls to their club, and walks in on Yura who is role-playing as a soldier saving her friend. Rento gets so excited, she drags Yura to the club room to try to convince her to join.

Yura in unsure at first, as the club begins a game to show her what it’s about. But, just like with the action movies, she finds herself enjoying them so much, that she can’t get enough. But her cautious nature makes her feel silly and she promptly refuses to join. But after some thought, she realizes that she should just do what she loves, even if she feels silly. As a sign of her important decision to change, Yura cuts off her hair so that it’s nice and short. In most Asian countries, this act also represents renewal and a decision to follow a new path.

In combat, Yura uses prefers to be an attacker, so she usually uses small guns that are portable and easy to reload. Sonora gifts her a special gun called a Scorpion, which was a gift from her own teacher. It’s a simple gun, but it means a lot to the two of them, and Yura works hard to master it. She has been seen using larger guns, but only when nothing else is available. She is fast and agile, as well as a quick thinker and a natural leader – she takes over as leader when Sonora is out on an injured ankle. Though she had some misplaced intentions throughout the series, she can be a great leader if she tries.

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Picture Source: http://angryanimebitches.com/2013/07/stella-jogakuin-koutou-ka-c%C2%B3-bu-episode-3-blitzkrieg/

Why I love Oogami Sakura.

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“Yes, baby girl, enjoy that donut.”

I never expected to see a character anything like Oogami Sakura. I mean, the Dangan Ronpa universe has quite a few odd characters to begin with, mostly on physical parameters, but that makes their souls all the more interesting.

When I first saw this hulk of a woman, I actually thought she was a man. But, as I found out later, she is actually the most sweet, loyal, and generous character in the whole anime. I found myself wishing I could hug her multiple times. She really didn’t deserve anything that happened to her. It was awful.

I could just feel her inner struggle. People might not have been willing to speak to her because she was so huge, but she really had a deep love for Aoi. Sometimes I wish I could have been the friend Sakura was. She’s the woman I always thought I should be: strong and protective, yet caring and compassionate. While that’s not to say I’m not that way now, it’s just, wow, she’s just great.

Sakura is really just a mirror of all of us, thinking about it. She just wants to be loved and cared about. Aoi was her best friend, and she went to huge lengths to make sure she was safe. When someone even threatened to hurt Aoi, Sakura went into a blind rage and had to be held down so she didn’t hurt anyone in the immediate area.

Basically, I just really love Oogami Sakura.

Picture (donmai.us/posts/1392988)

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