Episode One-Derland: Plawres Sanshirou

Plot: The incredibly popular sport of plawrestling is sweeping the nation. People called modelers create and control small robots called Plawrestlers in battles/wrestling matches. A boy named Sanshirou and his plawrestler, Juohmaru, strive to be a great plawrestling team.

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I think I inadvertently found Angelic Layer’s 80’s shounen predecessor.

Seriously, barring the target audience, they’re pretty much the same show in regards to the game. The modelers are deuses, the plawrestlers are dolls and the plawrestlers battle each other in an arena from the modeler’s computer commands. Angelic Layer is just more high-tech and shoujo.

That aside, this does seem like a really fun classic shounen gaming anime. In a time where the market was being completely flooded with giant mech anime, this small robot anime is a big breath of fresh air. The game is really cool, and this is yet another instance where I wish the game existed. It seems like the robots don’t use special weapons and abilities really, either. They have stuff that helps them maneuver and special features but seemingly no special attacks like swords or lasers like Angelic Layer would have.

The matches are interesting, exciting and very fun, and it definitely has a feeling like a shounen gaming anime.

A bit too much.

In our first episode, we’re introduced to our main character, Sanshirou, who is a very typical lead in these shows in that he loves the game and is basically a prodigy at it. He’s loud, he’s incredibly confident to the point of obnoxiousness but still retains likability.

That being said, if he suffers from the messiah trope, I can see this becoming a chore to watch.

The extended cast is really only touched upon, which is fine as I imagine we’ll explore them more later. I think we got enough to realize that they’re really good friends. The girl is obviously the love interest and the fat guy is kinda irritating. The stand out character in this regard is Shota, who acts like he’s a really brash adult when he’s really about seven years old. The first time you see him, he’s ‘smoking’ a chocolate cigarette.

The main plot of this episode is what made me dread the messiah trope in the future as, in this episode, Sanshirou is challenging the repeat champion to a battle and wins….Yeah, he’s going into episode two with a win against a champion under his belt. This might get annoying.

However, despite my worries for the future, this was still a really fun anime that made me want to pick up Angelic Layer again.

The art and animation are of course dated, and the backgrounds get really trippy for some reason sometimes.

The music is alright with my particular favor going to the ED. While Sanshirou’s voice got a little annoying when he yells, the Japanese voice acting was also fairly good, albeit with that classic 80’s cheese.

I’m ready for more plawrestling!

Final Verdict:

 

30DAC – Day 26: Best Anime Fight

I was going to choose Ed vs. Envy near the end of FMA as that fight, next to Ed vs. Greed, is one of the best animated and choreographed fight scenes in the entire series. Plus, the two major twists at the end of the fight were mind blowing.

However, I felt like there was another FMA fight that was way too entertaining to pass up. Ed vs. Roy.

In the episode titled Fullmetal vs. Flame, Ed is up for his State Alchemy assessment to renew his certification. This entails a show of skill to the higher ups to ensure that they’re still good enough to be State Alchemists. It also seems like you may need to one-up yourself on every assessment to ensure that you’re also improving. At least that’s how Tucker’s case seemed to present itself.

After getting fed up with Roy’s attitude and knowing that he was keeping secrets about Dr. Marco, a man who might have information on the Philosopher’s Stone, he decides the perfect demonstration for his assessment would be an alchemy battle between him and Roy.

And what a battle it is. For the most part, this battle is played up entirely for laughs. Ed spends much of the fight running from Roy’s explosions while Roy spends a good deal of the fight taunting him. Roy even starts attacking the audience to get to Ed (with no major injuries of course, being a comedy fight for the most part.)

I told you guys not to eat that candy from Willy Wonka’s factory.

The tides turn in the smoke with a decoy from Ed, who comes up from behind to slash his glove off of his hand. The transmutation circle on his glove is the main way he makes his flames, so Edward thinks he’s won, especially when he decides to make this insanely huge friggin’ cannon to finish it off.

The cannonballs must be the size of my house.

 

But Roy’s not down for the count as he reveals he has another transmutation glove on his left hand and blows up the cannon.

The most interesting thing about this battle is, by all means, Edward should’ve lost. The only way the fight ended up in a stalemate, or if you want to push it, Edward winning, was only because of Roy’s war flashback. That made for a really tone-shifting ending btw. This entire fight, from even before it started, was completely comedy with Hughes’ gigantic picture of his daughter to people booing or making fun of both Edward and Roy when being introduced, then at the very, boom, war flashback.

I guess it doesn’t really matter who won since it was the demonstration itself that meant to impress, but still.

This fight is just so much fun. It’s nice to see Edward actually take on Roy and it’s always fun to see Roy showing off. They play off of each other really well and their comedic chemistry just shines in this fight. Not to mention how over the top and crazy it is. It is definitely a fight I can keep watching over and over and still be smiling all the way through.

Uh oh, I’ve only been using stills this entire time. I have….no gifs? Okay, okay. Don’t panic!

I said don’t panic!

It’ll be okay! Just look at the baby Alphonse!

Okay, I just wanted an excuse to use this. Is that so wrong?

30DAC – Day 16: Anime with the Best Animation

To start this off, I’ll give a shoutout to the Animatrix. That sequence with the sword fighting simulation is the only time that I have ever been completely confused as to whether or not a CGI animation was real or not. I am not kidding. I first saw it on Adult Swim several years ago and I thought they had accidentally put on a live-action movie. Live action on Cartoon Network? Like that’d ever happen.

However, since that sequence was non-anime styled CGI, I’m discounting it. The traditional animated segments have great animation too, but I’m choosing a different candidate; Cowboy Bebop.

This show offers animation that is fluid, retains its art quality throughout, and actually makes me believe that these characters are physical beings, especially in conjunction with the Foley artists, which I don’t really get to bring up very often.

This is especially prominent when Spike is showing off his martial arts capabilities. He compares his fighting style to being like water in controlling excessive force through fluid motion, and his fights always do feel like they have such a graceful flow to them that it is like watching constantly-changing water.

Not to mention the great space battles and gun fights that suck you in like a straw.

From the art to the animation to the sound effects and the voices, all of them come together perfectly to create a feeling of animated and fabricated reality; people you could actually meet and places that could actually exist.

30DAC: Day 14 – Anime that Never Gets Old No Matter How Many Times You’ve Rewatched It

I’m surprised I actually chose a fairly long show/franchise for this prompt, but I’m choosing Digimon.

Matt’s spitting right in his face, yet he’s not putting on his goggles.

A gentle mix of nostalgia, cool monsters, likable characters, that thing I mentioned before about themed powers, some actually complex storylines, fun and cheesiness meld together so well that it’s so easy for me to just coast through old episodes of any of the first three series and enjoy it just as much as the first day I watched it. To be specific, though, I’m choosing Digimon series 1 or Adventure 01 since it was the one that started it all.

My Sub Dub Comparisons for the show (which I hope to get back to posting soon) have also introduced me to the awesome original version, so I can enjoy it in both languages. Sadly, it also highlighted just how awful some of the dialogue is in the dub, but I still enjoy every minute.

In essence, it usually is just a tried and true tale of good versus evil, but the setting of the Digital World and the aspects of the Digimon are pretty unique and interesting. Plus, some of the storylines, especially in Adventure 02 and Tamers are much more complex than that. I always thought it’d be awesome if it was real, but alas even with today’s technology there’s still no Digivice for me.

POURQUOI??!

30DAC – Day 12: Favorite Anime Scene

Well, since I see ‘Most Epic Scene Ever’ on this list, I guess I have to go a different route here. There is one scene that I can keep watching over and over and for some reason it never gets any less funny, and that is a scene from episode 13 of Fruits Basket.

 

Background on the show’s not entirely important here, barring a note I’ll get to in a minute, but the three main characters, Yuki, Tohru and Kyo meet up with Yuki and Kyo’s cousins, Hatsuharu and Momiji who recently started going to their school. Momiji looks really young for his age, and decided that he’d look cuter in a girl’s uniform than in a guy’s. The class president sees this and demands that he change into a boy’s uniform immediately to conform to school dress code.

Hatsuharu, hearing his loud and obnoxious blatherings, gets incredibly irritated, snaps and ‘goes black’. The note I was mentioning before was that Haru and the Sohma family, Momiji, Yuki and Kyo included, are cursed with different animals from the Chinese zodiac. Yuki’s the mouse, Kyo’s the cat (different story), Momiji’s the rabbit and Haru’s the ox. Because of this, Haru has a bit of a side effect where he has basically two sides of his personality; the white side which is extremely calm, kind and respectful and the black side which is really intense, angry, violent, flirtatious and sometimes rude. He doesn’t get many moments to show off this side, and this is definitely the best black Haru moment in the series.

He chews the living crap out of the Class President going on the best tangent ever trying to argue his side for Momiji. The Class President keeps trying to fight back, but gets shot down time and time again. Even when he gets put down a peg with a bit of logic, he calls out Haru for also not obeying the rules by assuming his hair is dyed because it’s both black and white. (It’s really that way because….well, moo)

 

Oh he can convince you, alright.

 

I don’t really want to explain the scene full out, watch it for yourself, but it did include one of the most shocking and risque moments in the series at the end of the scene. It’s absolutely hilarious when you realize what he did.

Technically, Momiji was in the wrong here as you agree to school rules when you enroll, including dress code, but it was incredible to see this loud hothead get his ass verbally handed to him.

30DAC – Day 3: Favorite Male Anime Character Ever

This is one I looked at and thought would be even worse than the previous prompt, especially given that they don’t put ‘so far’ on it. Damn you convenient word choices! However, as I skimmed through the anime I have watched, it actually became pretty damn easy.

The anime is Baccano! His name is Jacuzzi.

Yes, bask in his awesome name. If I didn’t think they’d get their ass kicked for it in school, I’d name my kid Jacuzzi without question. Jacuzzi actually comes off as pretty annoying in the first episodes that he appears in because he is constantly crying and whining and seems to have no real backbone whatsoever. His gang, however, follows him with fierce loyalty especially his longtime girlfriend, Nice.

You may be wondering why I would choose a guy who seems like he’s consistently pissing his pants instead of some badass character. Well, Jacuzzi is a badass character in his own way. He’s also one of the coolest and kindest male anime characters I’ve ever seen.

Wanna play marbles? They’re a blast!

To get this out of the way, this isn’t a matter of him having dual identities or anything. He’s not a scaredy cat with a super kickass alter ego; Jacuzzi is just Jacuzzi. The reason that he is constantly crying and whining is because it allows him to let out his feelings of fright and sadness in times where it doesn’t effect anything. When the time calls for it, such as in dangerous situations, he picks himself up, stops crying and takes the leadership role like a damn boss. He is ready to die for his friends at a moment’s notice and face even the most frightening and difficult of situations without care as long as his friends make it out okay. And don’t think that just because he doesn’t look like much that he doesn’t have skills, because believe me he does.

The main reason he topped my list was because of the story behind his tattoo. Spoilers, btw.

Jacuzzi is known throughout the city as the guy with a huge gray sword tattoo on his face, and the origin of the tattoo is left a mystery throughout much of the show. However, we later learn the origins of the tattoo are tied directly into the origins of Nice’s scars.

Nice is the gang’s explosives expert and she has been such since she was a little girl. However, an accident while creating some explosives as a child caused the mixture to blow up in her face, making her lose her right eye, lose a good deal of vision in her left eye and suffer from many scars. She held herself up in her room for a long time after the ordeal and not even her best friend Jacuzzi could coax her out. To make her feel less alone in her plight and to allow her to easily recognize him with her damaged vision, he immediately went out and got that huge facial tattoo. It succeeded in its purpose and she’s been by Jacuzzi’s side ever since.

They have an explosive relationship.

End spoilers.

That is an incredible guy through and through and if anyone deserves the spot (Or should I say SPLOT? Ahahahahah…ahh I’ll see myself out.) of my favorite male anime character ever, he does. Aren’t you happy for this honor Jacuzzi?

I knew he’d be.

Honorable mentions: Vash from Trigun, Roy Mustang from FMA Brotherhood, and Marco from 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother.