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.

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

“Stella Women’s Academy – High School Division C3” Review

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As usual, I was going through my Cruncyroll queue, and this was next on the list. I pressed “play” reluctantly, thinking it was another Ouran-esque slice of life anime. But, boy, was I wrong. This is an anime that is so cute, but so violent (in a good way) and I had never seen those two things put together in such a unique and intense way. Not only that, but it’s another sports anime that I never expected to like.

C3, as it is called, is a club in the Stella Women’s Academy consisting of five girls that participate in something called survival games. This involves the use of air guns modeled after real guns that fire BB’s. The girls practice every day through a series of games including “Rambo (all vs. one),” “VIP (all vs. a team of two, where one of those two cannot use a gun),” team battles, and free-for-all. In addition, they participate in larger tournaments against other schools or groups, even against adult teams.

Yura is a new student just starting at the academy, but she is so shy that she cannot even initiate a conversation. She promises that she will be different here, but she doesn’t know how. When she finds her roommate, Sonora, is part of this C3, she is invited to visit the club room where they offer her snakcs and try to get to know her. At first, Yura thinks this is just a teahouse-type club, but when one of the girls, the energetic Karila, requests a game, they drag Yura into it, and Yura finds that she absolutely loves it.

As Yura grows into the club, her skills increase and she learns more about each girl. They participate in a few tournaments until Sonora is injured trying to escape a sniper using an illegally modded air gun. Their leader out for a few weeks, the team is unsure if they will be able to participate in the upcoming 24-hour endurance tournament. But Yura steps up and becomes a drill-sergeant-like leader to help them train. During the tournament, Yura seems to have changed into someone who will do anything to win, and they other team members become upset.

Yura seems to have lost her team spirit, only caring about winning, and she leaves C3 to join a rival team. Having the impression that this new team only cares about winning, she trains every day to get stronger. She soon is able to hit every target she aims for, and though she is strong, the new leader kicks her off the team and leaves Yura to re-examine herself. What has she turned into, and why did she turn into this? No only that, but Sonora is going overseas, and Yura only has a few more weeks to figure herself out before she loses the only friends she’s ever had.

While it’s a classic story, it’s so well done that I didn’t want to stop watching it. I found a lot of myself in Yura, so much so that it hurt when she found herself alone. It also gave me a new interest in a sport I never even knew existed. I don’t get to say this about many animes, but this one touched my heart so much that I wanted to leap into my screen and give each of them a hug, and I haven’t felt that way since Tegami Bachi. I give this anime a resounding 10 out of 10!

Picture source: https://www.egmnow.com/electricsistahood/summer-2013-anime-impressions/

Find out more about my rating system HERE.

Tegami Bachi – Dingos

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In Tegami Bachi, a major theme is something called Dingos. While the actual word is a type of wild dog native to Australia, in the Tegami Bachi universe it takes a different meaning altogether. The term “dingo” in this universe means “partner” and “friend,” and assists a Letter Bee when he or she is delivering letters. If a Bee comes across a Gaichuu (a giant metal bug that eats people’s memories), their dingo is there to protect them and assist in the killing of the monster.

Most dingos are some form of animal, be it a dog, a large cat, or a bird, but some dingos are even humans. Lag Seeing’s, the main character, dingo is a young girl with the spirit of an ancient being residing in her. She is fast and powerful, and very dedicated to her Bee because he rescued her from her captors. They work together to make sure Lag can deliver his letters safely and depend on each other for ever step of the journey. Other characters have more traditional dingos, but they all love and care for their’s just as anyone else would a human friend.

Zazie Winters has Washiolka, who is a black panther, Conner Kluff has his Bloodhound named Gus, and Jiggy Pepper has a hawk. Unlike traditional animals, dingos are very intelligent. Each Bee can give specific instructions to their dingos – such as delivering messages, or developing a battle strategy – and they can understand what needs to be done. Each Bee picks a dingo based on their own battle style so they can work together to defeat any obstacle, be it Gaichuu or mountain.

Dingos are a very important part of a Letter Bee’s job, and without them, they wouldn’t be as safe as possible on their journeys.

Tegami Bachi – Gaichuu

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“Holy bugspray, Batman! That’s a giant mantis!”

In the world of Tegami Bachi, there are giant beetles that crawl the land. No one really knows where they came from or what they are here for, but they thrive on eating the hearts (more correctly, memories) of people. When a Letter Bee is sent to deliver a letter, they must fight these massive creatures alongside their dingos (or partners) and defeat them, or they may not be able to deliver the letters.

There many types of Gaichuu, each with their own weak point. The first introduced type, the Daikiri Gaichuu looks like a ladybug, and had thick armor on it’s back. The weak point of this Gaichuu is the joints in it’s leg. Lag and Gauche work together with Roda (Gauche’s dingo) to defeat it. The Bucker Gaichuu takes on the appearance of a ant lion, and can shoot a spike at its prey. Lag defeats it by shooting it in the mouth. The Four Roses Gaichuu looks exactly like a praying mantis and was first defeated by chopping off the head and shooting at the neck. There are quite a few more types of Gaichuu, and each resembles some kind of bug, even up to the horrible and powerful Cabernet dragonfly Gaichuu that seeks to destroy the artificial sun that lights the city.

These creatures can only be defeated by a Letter Bee’s “shindanjuu,” which is a special bullet that they shoot from their guns. Unlike real bullets, these cann’t harm humans, but they destroy Gaichuu by injecting the massive bugs with a piece of the Bee’s heart. Each shindanjuu is different, and each has special qualities. For example, Lag’s can help him see the memories of a specific object to find out who owns it or the story behind it.

With dingos and special weapons, killing Gaichuu to deliver the mail is all a part of a Letter Bee’s job. It’s not easy, but someone has to do it!

Tegami Bachi/Letter Bee Review

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“I put a nasty letter in the envelope for you!”

This anime is one of those few I can safely say is very good. The whole story takes place on an alternate earth where the sun has gone out, and an artificial sun sits in the capitol, giving light to the world. Letter Bees are basically post officers, delivering letters, but they also have to fend off giant metal bugs called Gaichuu which will eat your heart (in this case, memories is a better word) and make you lifeless.

When the main character Lag Seeing is young, he is delivered to his aunt by a Letter Bee named Gauche Suede. Through the journey, the two become good friends, and Gauche tells his sister Sylvette all about the “Letter Boy” he delivered. This causes Lag to wish to become a Letter Bee when he gets older, and he does, but finds out his idol has lost his heart. So he sets out with his new friends to find out what happens.

The end is a great big battle that I really enjoyed. I was sobbing at the last episode, and it wasn’t even sad. Stupid Lag is a crybaby, so naturally, I always cry when he does which is at least once a damn episode. I didn’t want this series to end.

Obviously, this anime gets the full 10 out of 10 because there is nothing in this that is bad. I found myself spamming at least 10 episodes a night. I love this one so hard and I hope you all decide to check it out, too, because it is 300% worth it.

Picture Source: weareawesomeness.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/the-awesome-new-manga-post-letter-bee/
For notes on my rating system, please see https://anrisaryn.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/my-rating-system/

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