Anime Review – “The Seven Deadly Sins”

[ Between the episodes of the ever-growing anime that is Fairy Tail, I managed to squeeze in another. So, please enjoy this newest review of the Netflix exclusive, The Seven Deadly Sins! ]

1When you mix a group of people that have special powers together, often times they are given a collective name. Just look at the X-men, Powerpuff Girls, or Crystal Gems, for example. This rule tends to also apply in the anime world, specifically the Kingdom of Leones. The Seven Deadly Sins in their world are a group of seven people with special powers as well.

While the story is simplistic, it’s the characters that really make it stand out. A young girl, introduced as simply Elizabeth, is seeking out the Sins to save her family. She comes across a quaint tavern and meets the owner, Meliodas, and his talking pig named Hawk. Events unfold quickly as the pair are forced to face down a strong opponent who claims to be a Holy Knight. Elizabeth is revealed to be the third princess of the kingdom, and Meliodas the leader of the Sins.

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Promising to help her on her quest, Meliodas travels with her using his moving tavern pig-vehicle. They quickly meet up with Diane, one of the Sins who also happens to be of the giant race. They rescue another Sin, Ban, from prison. Well, Ban actually rescues himself, due to his inability to feel pain and heal extremely fast. It’s revealed that there is a new generation of Holy Knights that, instead of training for many years, can drink a potion to give them power. Ban’s actions cause a Holy Knight in training, Jericho, to take on these new powers.

2As the group gathers the other Sins, it becomes apparent that these new Holy Knights are connected to a rather sinister plot by those that have overthrown the kingdom. This was the original reason for Elizabeth seeking the sins – her father and family are in danger due to the Holy Knights coup. Besides the coup, the usurpers seek to bring demons into the world to use as tools. But the new Holy Knights cannot control their powers well, and some become strange human-demon abominations.

Facing a number of these before racing into the capital, Elizabeth and the sins eventually3 have to face the leader of the Holy Nights, Hendrickson. This opponent is coursing with demon power, having become something more than human. The Sins gather forces, even combining with previous enemies to defeat this opponent.

At first I thought a lot of the characters were going to be cliche, especially Elizabeth. But, she reveals a hidden strength that redeems her early on. Hawk can be seen as an unnecessary character, but as true to form, he turned out to be one of my favorite, especially in the end, making a huge sacrifice for the good of his friends. It was also nice to see the Seven Deadly Sins show in a new way instead of how they tend to always be (see Fullmetal Alchemist for an example).

Final Words

While it was somewhat cliche, it was a very decently put-together anime. There were all the classic characters: the perv, the shy boy that doesn’t want to reveal his true feelings, the sap that pretends to be tough, the tsundere, and the delicate female. But they were presented in a way that didn’t make them boring. I was also glad that the giant girl didn’t have a skirt that everyone could see up when she walked around. I would have liked to see the characters have a bit more depth, though, as Elizabeth is the only one that seemed to have any of it.

I would give this anime a…7.5/10 (my rating system)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Slayers, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

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Temporary Hiatus

Short post today. Thank you everyone for continuing to follow! I hope you enjoy my posts!

As the title says, I’ll be going on a temporary hiatus, not because of anything going on in my life, but actually because I started finally watching Fairy Tail. As many of you know, it has over 400 episodes, and I want to make sure I watch all of them to provide you all with a proper, in depth review. So, reviews will be postpones until I finish all these episodes!

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned!

V3 Takes Falsehood to Another Level

1Memories are what make a person. They include important information that makes the essense of who someone is – personality, likes, dislikes, habits, etc. But what if memories someone has are not even their own? What if they were implanted? How would someone know what is a lie and what is truth?

These questions are the very core of Spike Chunsoft’s newest installment in the Danganronpa series, and the third Killing School Semester plot line, V3: Killing Harmony. Sixteen specially talented students are placed in a strange school where they are trapped, and the only way to escape is to kill one of their fellow classmates and get away with it. It’s the same basic concept as Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair, but something is a little different this time. Instead of the main theme being escaping despair, there’s a new focus on truth and lies.

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This is important to keep in mind as the students struggle to not only “graduate,” but also find out what is happening in the world. As they gather clues about this, everyone’s favorite evil bear Monokuma establishes motives. The first murder takes place under the pretense that Kaede Akamatsu, the main character and player controlled, wishes to end the Killing Game as early as possible. In her haste, she ends up killing the innocent Rantaro Amami, and doesn’t end the killing game after all.

This is where the idea of falsehood is introduced. Right before Kaede’s execution, the perspective jumps for her to her new friend Shuichi Saihara. This has never happened before in any other Danganronpa game, to immediately, the player might sense something is different. This isn’t the last time it happens either, as in the final trial, the perspective shifts to each surviving classmate. This is right in tune with the final mind-blowing reveal: that this is actually the fifty-third killing game (hence the “v” disguised to stand for “version”), and you are actually the audience controlling the characters.

3Truth and lies rears it’s ugly head especially with the character Kokichi Oma. He is a pathological liar, and it’s never actually revealed what parts of what he says is truth or lies. He acts as the antagonistic character in this story, much like Nagito Komaeda did in Goodbye Despair. He continually uses his trickery to convince people of facts that are not quite true, especially when he convinces Gonta Gokuhara to outright kill his classmate, Miu Iruma. He even convinces all the students that he is the mastermind. Later, it’s revealed that he wasn’t actually, but this is only after he plots his own death with the help of Kaito Mamota.

Even the true antagonist plays into this theme. Tsumugi Shirogane, the Ultimate Cosplayer, is revealed to be the true mastermind, masquerading as Junko Enoshima. She is quoted saying “Why is it Junko Enoshima? It’s always Junko Enoshima.” She is actually the 53rd Junko in this game show, and it’s unclear whether or not there were “other” Junkos to host the show, but he disguise reveals the truth of the characters she cosplays – they are all fictional.

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The first major reveal happens toward the end of the game after Kokichi supplies the group with special electro-hammers. Up to this point, no one is sure whether or not to believe him since he is so adept at lying. But, having no other options, the remaining students take up the new weapons and use them to arrive at the exit door. Here, the “truth” is revealed that the world is dead, cooked by meteors. The first layer of truth is removed, making the students believe that they are on a dead Earth.

The second major reveal, and removal of all falsities, happens at the end. Nothing said previously is truth, and all of this is actually a game show for the amusement of the viewers. In this universe, Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair never actually happened. In this universe, a special game show has been created to keep the Killing Games going. And, the ultimate reveal: that Shuichi and all his classmates are actually fictional characters.

 

tumblr_inline_oxnu03xSPZ1trwr4z_540Now, this isn’t as fourth-wall breaking as one might think – let me clarify. Shuichi and his classmates, while they are actually fictional characters in our universe, they are also in their universe. A special machine has erased all of their previous memories of their old life, and replaced them with new ones of them being the last survivors of humanity, sent to find a new planet to salvage their species. The truth is that they are not even Ultimate students. They are just normal students chosen through a series of auditions and fed false memories to make them think they were Ultimates. Even their childhoods are fake, and everything about their personality is based on false memories.

What do you do after you find out the very core of your being is not even real? The final reveal throws the students into various existential crises in the middle of a class trial. But, despite this difficulty, the audience (you) help the characters push forward, even though they literally have no family to look forward to. The final lesson here reveals that6 even after all the lies they endure, there is still cause to live in this “new world” that they are now world famous in. The games end, thankfully, and after 53 seasons, the killing games are no more.

Is this the end of the Danganronpa killing games? Rumor has it that Spike Chunsoft has recently hired a bunch of new artists for a possible new game, but there’s no telling what type of game it will be. Personally, I’m hoping that they continue the mind-blowing style, but perhaps in another way. One can only handle watching their favorite characters die every game.

What do you think? How else is truth and lies used in the game? What did you think of the theme of this game? Tell me in the comments below!

Anime Review: “Pokemon Generations”

4Pokemon has been a much beloved series since the late 90’s when the first games came out in America. As a child in middle school I was completely obsessed. I played all the games, bought a ton of the merchandise, and even to this day, get excited when I see some new Pokemon collectible on the shelves at Walmart. What originally started as a collecting adventure based on the creator’s love of collecting bugs, blossomed into a world-wide sensation, spawning tons of main series games and countless side games even to this day.

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However, one thing about the franchise always seemed to fall short: the anime. When it was localized by the infamous 4kids Entertainment, known for its awful name localization and cutting out of full episodes (case and point: Yu-Gi-Oh! Series 1), Ash Ketchum (awful name, as expected) was made the most annoying and stupid character I’ve ever had the displeasure of watching in an anime. He made dumb choices, had a predictably obstinate nature, and the most annoying voice, second only to Naruto.

1Thankfully in recent years, The Pokemon Company released a short “mini-anime” called Pokemon Generations that delivers a much more serious and slightly darker take on the anime. Each episode spans less than five minutes and highlights various story arcs of the portable games up to Generation VI (Kalos Region). From the first episode showing Giovanni’s disappearance after being defeated by Red and Blue (Gen I) to the two teams of Generation III, Team Aqua and Team Magma, plotting to use the legendary Kyogre and Groudon to change the world to their liking. The final episodes even shed3 light on the fabled Pokemon War that may have happened before the games began.

This anime seems to have been made to be enjoyed by older fans, such as those that were children during the first games’ releases. It’s much darker and down to earth than the original anime. If it were expanded on, it could bring back older fans who have grown tired of the still-child-geared canon games and anime.

Final Words

The animation has been greatly improved, as has the voice acting, but I am disappointed that it was not expanded on. I would have liked to have seen much more of this, as it seems to be a kind of continuation of the mini-series made just before entitled Pokemon Origins. I feel like The Pokemon Company misses a huge opportunity when they just produced this as short highlights and not full episodes. I found myself wanting much more after each episode was finished.

I would give this anime…8.75/10 (rating scale)

If you like this anime, you might also like: Cardfight!! Vanguard, Digimon Adventure, Monster Rancher

Danganronpa’s Junko Enoshima is one of the most terrifying villains.

1Every villain has their own motivations and reasons for why they became a villain. Cruella DeVille sought diverse and exotic furs, Darth Vader wanted to save someone he cared about and make the universe safer, and Nurser Ratched simply seeks to control people. But it’s hard to really pin down why someone like Junko Enoshima is a villain. This is also what makes her such a mesmerizing character.

What makes her a villain, though, is almost as confusing as her rapidly switching personalities. She thrives on despair: forcing people to kill others, suffering setbacks in her own plans, or even brainwashing people. It actually causes her joy to suffer pain and see others suffer as well. She claims that even being born was a despair, saying “No, I’ve felt despair as long as I can remember, like I never should have been born at all. When I was born, I cried tears of total despair.”

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If she were anyone else, one might claim she suffers depression, but it’s actually the opposite. She seems to gain energy from this despair, and even after her death, those that followed her still continued her work to bring the despair she always loved. These brainwashed Remnants of Despair, who actually consisted of the cast of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, worked to cause despair to themselves and the world.

Even in her death, she celebrates, saying “This once-in-a-lifetime experience… It is my first and last colossal despair, here at the moment of death! To have the chance to taste of the highest grade despair–the utter failure of my dreams!” She actually gives herself all of the punishments she’d already administered to the other students that had been proven guilty.

3It could also be argued that it’s not the pursuit of despair that motivates her, but actual boredom. Junko is extremely intelligent; both her and her twin sister, Makuro Ikusaba, are. This also comes with a downside – Junko becomes bored very easily. For this reason, she is shown changing personalities even within the same conversation or sentence. She claims that she gets bored with one personality and changes it as quickly as a sentence can be said.

She also reveals just before her death that she “was so hopelessly desperate! [she] was bored of the world the moment [she] was born!” However, seeking to cure this boredom by means of causing despair throws this motivation into question, as she very much seems to be excited by causing it.

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It is because of all of these things that she is so unpredictable, and one of the most terrifying villains of all time. Whether her true motivation is causing despair or just pure boredom, there’s no way to know what she’ll actually do next. Even when her plans we set back, she felt joyful because she felt her own despair. She’s incredibly well-written to this end, and it’s easy to see why, despite her horrible actions, that she has so many fans.

What do you think? Is Junko motivated by despair or boredom? Is there anyone that’s more terrifying?
Let me know in the comments below!

“Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc” – Chihiro Fujisaki and Sakura Oogami shread gender norms.

1319406_Japanese_KeyArt-OfficialVideoImage_1f7ec87c-7a78-e711-8175-020165574d09Danganronpa is full of colorful characters of all types. There’s creative characters, mysterious characters, passionate characters; but most important is the excellent representation the franchise displays for non-traditional roles. Two of these types of characters appear in the first game, and they are presented in a very tasteful way as to show how those roles should be looked at – as something that isn’t “weird” or unnatural.

As the “Ultimate Programmer,” Chihiro Fujisaki appears as a very shy and withdrawn. He cries at the slightest thing, but only for the reason that he worries he’s impeded everyone else. This is a result of being bullied for his small size, which in turn made him sensitive, and resulted in further bullying. He was always told he was weak, and hisDanganronpa_1_Chihiro_Fujisaki_English_Game_Introduction negative self-talk turned into a complex relating to his physical weakness.

He discovered that girls were allowed to appear weak and not be made fun of, so out of defense for his own mental health, he “became” a girl. It’s important to note here that Chihiro does not identify as a girl. He still considers himself a boy, rather he changed for self-preservation. Instead of making him feel safer, this actually exacerbated his complex of feeling weak.

When Makoto Naegi asks him in a Free Time event how he had originally gotten interested in programming, Chihiro explains that his father allowed him to play with some programs when he was younger. He’s incredibly intelligent, and seems to even want to reveal his secret to Makoto when he points out that it’s unusual for girls to be interested in programming. But, he stops, thinking it not the right time.

In the end, Chihiro revealed his truth to Mondo Oowada, who he saw as the ideal man: strong, tough, and straight forward. Monokuma’s threat to reveal Chihiro’s truth didn’t weaken him, rather pushed him to be stronger. Even if he knew he might not be accepted, Chihiro wanted to become a person he’d be proud to be.

Sakura Oogami is almost the complete opposite of delicate Chihiro. She is so muscular that a few characters actually confuse her for a man. During the first class trial, Kiyotaka actually says that it’s bad for a man and a woman to sleep in the same room after Aoi admits she’d asked Sakura to stay over the night since she was scared. Sakura calmly Danganronpa_1_Sakura_Ogami_English_Game_Introductioncorrects him and he quickly apologizes.

Even though she is nicknamed “The Ogre,” she is not ashamed of her stature. She seeks to surpass the “strongest man in the world.” Originally, she claimed that this person was her father, but then later explains that she’d surpassed him long ago. She expresses slight concern for him, saying that his dreams are affected by her growing stronger, but she also explains that this won’t stop her from her dreams.

Despite seeming rough on the outside, Sakura actually has a heart of gold. She is kind to everyone, patient, and seeks to always protect her friends. Even when it’s revealed she’s a traitor, she seeks to make up for her wrongs. She calls Touko Fukawa and Yasuhiro Hagakure just before her death to try and speak to them about doing to. Instead of listening, they attack her, thinking she means them harm. But even after this, her suicide note shows how much she really cares and wants everyone to be safe.

When talking to Makoto during Free Time events, it takes quite a while for her to gather the courage to even tell him about Kenshiro, who she also calls the Strongest Person in the World. She reveals that he is her first love, and is very embarassed due to her stature. She says that “even someone like me” can fall in love, because she “is still a girl.” This reveals a bit of self-consciousness on Sakura’s part where it’s least expected.

These two characters are excellent examples of the diversity the Danganronpa universe displays. It’s a step in the right direction for representation in anime, but there’s still a long way to go. The franchise continues to display more and more diversity in characters, and hopefully will always do so.

How about you? Are there any characters that “shred gender norms” like Chihiro and Sakura?
Tell me below in the comments!

“Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair” – Does Hajime Hinata have generalized anxiety disorder?

h2Being stuck on a tropical island might not be so bad if there wasn’t the constant threat of being killed at any moment. That alone is enough to give anyone anxiety. However, there are clues that point to Hajime Hinata, the protagonist of “Danganronpa 2,” possibly having generalized anxiety disorder aside from the situational anxiety.

As someone who has suffered from anxiety disorders all my life, I can identify with Hajime. He often mentions how tired he is, and how little he can sleep. This is common among people with anxiety, and while a lot of it has to do with the situation he’sh3 in, it appears most of the other students don’t seem to have any sleeping problems.

He also tends to get tired easily, as can be seen after almost any event; both after stressful events and seemingly normal activities. His communication with people seems especially draining to him after Free Time events, and he tends to stutters during these interactions, further pointing to a difficulty in communication. Anxiety sufferers often deal with this, as just being awake can drain you sometimes.

Despite his possible mental issues, Hajime is intelligent. He’s able to pick up on a lot of clues that other people miss. During the class trials, however, he mentions quite a lot about not wanting to look like a fool in front of the others. When advancing through the trial, he seems to think very carefully about his words, making sure to always have the h1facts before saying anything. Though these character traits might seem to hurt him, they actually make him a more careful thinker and able to solve problems in a more effective way.

Additionally, anxiety sufferers tend to display over-concern about the people they care about. When confronted with the awkward situation involving Mikan falling asleep on him, he’s more concerned for her well-being than his own. He carries worry with him for days as well, as seen after Fuyuhiko appears to be fully healed from his stomach wound. He still is concerned for the boy’s injuries, asking him to be careful.

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He is also easily swayed by stressful situations. At the beginning of the game, he expresses his concerns about getting off the island and doubts his own abilities, suggesting he may kill someone to escape. In the fun-house, he tries to enter the Final Dead Room, convinced that it’s a way out. In his desperate state, he;s nearly delusional, but thankfully Chiaki manages to help him both times, reminding him of a better path.

I’m filled with joy to see the depiction of a character with a mental illness like myself. The writers show that his anxiety does not disable him, and helps distinguish his character from the others, and even making him stronger. Additionally, it shows others that he is not just his condition, and that it does not override other characteristics of his personality. I’m glad Spike Chunsoft and Nippon Ichi decided to display these aspects as part of his character.

Do you think Hajime has an anxiety disorder? Is there a character you identify with? Let me know in the comments!

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