Tuesday’s Top 5: Male Yokai

Continuing on from last week where I looked at my top 5 favourite female yokai, this week we have my top 5 male yokai. I must admit, my first draft had a lot fox yokai on the list and even the revised version hasn’t really fixed that issue. Apparently I like foxes. Anyway, as always, I’d love to know who you would include on your list so please leave a comment below.

Please Note: There may be some spoilers below.

Honourable mention this week goes to Kappa from Nurarihyon.

Number 5: Yahiko from The Morose Mononokean

Okay, I nearly chose Fuzzy from this list but ultimately had to go with Yahiko. Seriously, this fox is so cute and his desire to play hide and seek is adorable (okay, potentially deadly but still pretty cute). Admittedly, the fact that Yahiko was introduced as a potential big bad and then quickly degenerated into the little brother type character that just wants all the attention is probably the reason Yahiko isn’t further up the list.

Number 4: Kuro from Blue Exorcist

Yeah, I know technically they want to say Kuro is a demon but I’m still including him as a yokai. There really isn’t much to explain with this choice. Kuro is my favourite character from Blue Exorcist. Fiercely loyal and yet definitely a cat, Kuro manages to steal pretty much every scene he is in.

Number 3: Yasaburo from The Eccentric Family

Our fast talking, trouble seeking tanuki, Yasaburo had to be on the list. He’s just such a great character even before you consider the fact that he is a shape changing tanuki. As the third of four brothers he is pretty content to drift through life looking for things to make his days ‘interesting’. Despite that, he’s pretty loyal to his family when it matters and most of the time he cleans up the mess he makes (mostly). I absolutely adore spending time with Yasaburo.

Number 2: Tomoe from Kamisama Kiss

Now, how could I overlook Tomoe, the fox who serves as a land god’s familiar. He is rude, occasionally foul mouthed, and extremely short tempered, but also incredibly loyal and ultimately a fairly lonely character seeking acceptance. Not to mention incredibly powerful and needs to be given how often his human-turned-god master Nanami gets herself into trouble.

Number 1: Miketsukami from Inu x Boku

So what beats a fox familiar, well a 9 Tailed Fox secret service member who uses a sword apparently. Told you there were a lot of foxes on this list. Seriously, the guy is adorable both in his normal suit and when he transforms into a yokai. If it wasn’t for his creepy stalkerish tendencies (I guess he calls that loyalty) he’s be nearly perfect. About the only thing he lacks is the ability to actually have a normal human interaction and eventually he might learn to get around that.

There is my list of my favourite male yokai characters. I’d love to know who you would have included.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Female Yokai

Seems like October is an appropriate time to bring out lists on yokai and similar topics so my Top 5 today is focussing on female yokai characters. I started with quite an enormous list of characters and narrowing it down was difficult but eventually I picked my 5 favourite female characters that also happen to be yokai. Next week I’ll turn my attention to the male yokai but until then, I hope you enjoy the list today and I’d love to know some of your favourite female yokai characters so please leave me a comment.

Please Note: There may be some spoilers below.

Honourable mention this week goes to Zashiki-Warashi from xxxHolic.

Number 5: Aokuchinashi from Natsume Yuujinchou

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For a one episode character, I have to admit, I kind of love her. First she tries asking for help, then she threatens to curse Natsume, and ultimately her conversation with him helps him to understand more about himself and his grandmother. I’m really glad she met Natsume and I absolutely love her episode. We’re never really sure exactly what kind of yokai she is (though apparently she’s a minor god) but that’s a minor issue.

Number 4: Kejourou from Nurarihyon no Mago

Of all the members of Rikuo’s inner circle, Kejourou probably gets the least attention and the least development, but I absolutely love her. Her calm and cool demeanor occasionally being thrown off for a petty tantrum, and her incredible contributions to many of the major fights make her one of my favourite characters ever (not to mention her really amazing outfits). There’s just something very cool about her and I really feel she needs a lot more appreciation. Again, we never find out exactly what kind of yokai she is but her hair is amazing both in appearance and as a weapon.

Number 3: Yuki-Onna from Nurarihyon no Mago

Yuki-Onna is obviously a snow woman and so pretty much freezes things, particularly when she is annoyed. She’s completely devoted to Rikuo but that doesn’t stop her freezing him from time to time. Still, for all her ditsy silliness in the day to day, when it comes to a major battle, Rikuo knows that Yuki-Onna has his back and is dependable. She gets one of the coolest moments of the final fight of the first season, and really, there’s just something about her hair that makes her pretty awesome.

Number 2: Karuta Roromiya from Inu X Boku SS

The spacey, pink-haired, food-obsessed body guard who also turns into a giant skeleton thing. She had to have a place on this list. I kind of love that even in her human form she is pretty amazing the few times she is spurred into action, though to be honest, mostly she just wants to eat good food and be left alone. Though, don’t ever mess with Watanuki or you will definitely have Roromiya’s less nice form to deal with.

Number 1: Hinoe from Natsume’s Yuujinchou

Another yokai that I don’t know what kind she is supposed to be, other than a compulsive smoker and drinker, Hinoe has become a reoccurring character in Natsume and one I deeply love. For all her occasional cattiness and her sillier moments when she is letting loose, she is often an advisor and a voice of reason and regularly she provides Natsume with what he needs. Plus, for all her aloof attitude as she looks down from where-ever she has currently perched smoke in hand, when Natsume is in trouble she has come running more than once.

And there you have it, my list of top 5 female yokai. Who would you have included on yours?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Sisters

Two weeks ago I looked at some of the awesome brothers out there in the anime world. Today, I’m looking at all the great sisters that exist out there. Admittedly, both of these lists have made me want to write the top 5 most horrible sibling list so I guess I’ll have to get around to it at some point. For best sister though, I was really just looking for someone who looked out for their family.

Please Note: There will be some spoilers below.

Honourable mention this week to  Ryo and Kyo from Clannad for obvious reasons.

Number 5: Mikasa from Attack on Titan

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Okay, technically adopted sister, but her loyalty to Eren is pretty obvious (if not a little bit obsessive). Still, just think how many times Eren wouldn’t have been beaten senseless if not for Mikasa. Her presence is life saving.

Number 4: Akari from Chaika: Coffin Princess

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Another slightly obsessive sister, only in her case she’s not overly protective. She’s fine if her brother does die as long as his body can be stuffed and kept. Despite that somewhat cavalier attitude, Akari is always there as part of the team and her skills are pretty first rate even if her weapon of choice is a bit less precise than Touru’s. All and all though, she’s got her brother’s back and follows him half-way across the country after he accepts Chaika’s job.

Number 3: Kyon’s Sister from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

kyons sister

Now this is one cute little sister. She has no name (that I know of or have been able to find) but she is adorable. Not creepily obsessed, she likes getting her brother’s attention but is happy to tease him, look to his friends for their attention, or just play with the cat. This girl gets my vote for one of the most plausible little sisters I have seen in anime yet.

Number 2: Suzuna from Kaichou wa Maid-Sama

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This girl needs the theme song ‘My Way’. While Misaki as the older sister works hard to help out her family, this younger sister isn’t exactly dead weight. With a fierce focus on entering competitions, Suzuna brings many much needed items into the house taking some of the strain off of her overly serious sister. It is impossible to know what Suzuna would be like if their money situation hadn’t developed, but everything she does in the series is to benefit the household and so she definitely earned her place on this list.

Number 1: Akari from March Comes in Like a Lion

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If Kyon’s sister is my most plausible little sister, than Akari is kind of the dream version of an older sister. She’s patient, calm, wise enough given her own age and also knows when to keep her mouth shut. What makes her an even better older sister is she extends that protection and warmth beyond her blood siblings to Rei who she sees struggling to find his way. Akari is definitely the perfect older sister.

 

Over to you, who would you have included on your list of anime sisters?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Character Poses

Pretty much every anime fan will admit that at some stage they definitely struck the pose of their favourite character (usually a fighter) in real life. There’s something very cool about character poses on screen and something utterly ridiculous about using them in real life and yet some cosplayers really pull it off. Today my top 5 includes 5 character poses I love seeing and am really glad that they are either parodied regularly in other anime or that cosplayers enjoy them too because it means endless streams of images to admire.

Please Note: There may be some spoilers below.

Honourable mention this week goes to Rika from Chuunibyou.

Number 5: Steins;Gate

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This one is fantastic but mostly because you can actually pull it off in real life without looking too ridiculous, which makes it a fairly safe pick for most people who while they would like more anime in their everyday life don’t want to have people start avoiding eye-contact with them. There are some more dramatic poses from Steins;Gate but the back to back in the lab coats is pretty classic.

Number 4: Soul Eater

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I’ll admit, Death the Kid with Patty and Liz is also pretty iconic but there is something insanely fun about taking on one of Maka’s stances and if you happen to have your scythe handy (or a broom stick or anything else really) you can really prepare to fight. Of course, the key to Maka’s look is not actually how she stands given other than the crouch it isn’t exactly the same each time, the key is in that piercing gaze. Nail that and it won’t matter how ridiculous you look.

Number 3: Evangelion

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The Gendo Pose. Probably doesn’t need much explanation and while it isn’t really a cosplayer favourite, it is an overly referenced and parodied look in anime. Plus, it is all kinds of fun to strike it in meetings when no one knows what you are doing. Even more fun if one person knows what you are doing and the rest are oblivious.

Number 2: Full Metal Alchemist

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I dare you to tell me you watched either version of Full Metal Alchemist and didn’t at one point in the month after the viewing clap your hands together when something broke or didn’t work. It may not be the coolest pose but once again it is all about the attitude while doing it. This isn’t a clap your hands if you believe in fairies moment.

Number 1: Sailor Moon

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I should probably attribute this one to the fact that I was significantly younger when I watched Sailor Moon but I most definitely spent more time than I will ever admit practicing and perfecting each of the Sailor Scout’s poses. And their attacks. And pretty much anything else to do with the show. Favourites were of course Jupiter and Mars for attacks. But very little beats Sailor Moon’s transformation stance and then her little monologue ending with “In the name of the Moon, I’ll punish you”.

Okay, time to spill. What is your favourite anime pose or which one will you admit to practicing in front of your TV?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Brothers

We all know there are some terrible anime families out there, but every now and then a show finds a way to remind us that not every blood relative wants to abandon you, use you to destroy the world, or is on a vendetta to kill and destroy you. I’m dedicating this list to all the very cool brothers out there in the anime world and my criteria was simply that they had to actually look out for their sibling/s in some way.

Please Note: There will be some spoilers below.

Honourable mention this week to Byakuya from Bleach (admittedly, it took him awhile to warm up to the idea of saving Rukia but after that point he was a pretty good brother).

Number 5: Sora from No Game No Life

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Sora is an incredibly confident gamer who is absolutely certain of victory, but only so long as his sister, Shiro, is by his side. More importantly, he prioritizes her happiness and well-being at every turn and absolutely trusts in her abilities. While there relationship may be unhealthy in some respects, separating them leading to the both of them all but shutting down emotionally, you can’t doubt the love these siblings have for one another and how much Sora is willing to do to give Shiro exactly what she wants.

Number 4: Edward and Alphonse from Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood

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Oh, they are so cute. Seriously, these two are adorable as brothers even after one of them ends up as a soul attached to a suit of armour. Realistically these two could be put at number one on the list given everything they do is initially driven by Edward’s desire to ‘fix’ Alphonse but to be honest they get caught up in a lot of other stuff and even while the two will forever help each other out, both are aware there is more at stake. Still, utterly adorable.

Number 3: Lelouch from Code Geass

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I’ll be the first to admit that Lelouch’s family situation is complicated and not exactly nice, however his genuine love for his little sister Nunnally remains one of the touching cornerstones of Code Geass and is pretty much the only reason Lelouch shouldn’t just be written off as another egomaniacal character wanting to show off how smart he is. While I’m not entirely convinced that Lelouch ever really succeeded at ‘saving’ Nunnally, his determination to give her a better life was pretty admirable and he did end up shouldering an end that really shouldn’t have befallen him in order to spare her from having to take the responsibility.

Number 2: Touya from Cardcaptors

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Best big brother ever. Okay, maybe not given I put him in the second spot on the list, but he would still be an awesome brother to have. He doesn’t fall into the sickly sweet category as he certainly teases his little sister, as any self-respecting big brother would, but he never crosses the line into being mean and he most definitely always has his sister’s back even when she doesn’t know what he’s given up for her. This also carries over into Tsubasa Chronicles, though Touya has a much briefer role there.

Number 1: Komui Lee from D Gray Man

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While most of the time Komui acts like such an idiot it is hard to take him seriously as a character, it is important to remember that he gave up everything in his life to be with his sister and be her support. She was taken by the Dark Order because she could use Innocence and then she was pretty much on a self-destructive path and perfectly happy to die until Komui gave up whatever future he’d been heading towards to work for the Order to be with her. While casual observers think he’s the sister obsessed one, it is more that he knows how important his presence is for his sister and it really is the case that she’s the one who is a bit obsessed. Whenever you remember those scenes where we see Komui join the order to care for her, it makes so much of his character more tolerable and makes him my very favourite anime brother.

Over to you, who would you have included on your list of anime brothers?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Shows of Summer 2017 That Weren’t As Bad As Their Synopsis Made Them Sound

This might seem like an odd choice for a list but I’m going to be honest, going into Summer 2017 there were only a few shows that on reading the synopsis made me want to try them and then most of those were unavailable to me. I did get to watch Elegant Yokai Apartment Life and it had the opposite problem of the write up makes it sound more fun that it is. So instead I got to just randomly sample shows that I went into expecting not to really like them very much and in some cases the results have been pleasantly surprising. That’s not to say these are the best shows I’m watching or the best on offer, only that they are actually more fun than I initially thought they would be.

Anyway, I’d love to know if there’s a show that has surprised you this Summer season by not being dreadful.

Please note: Probably only limited spoilers below.

Honourable mention this week to Princess Principal. Not only is it one of my favourite shows of the season, it is one that from the short synopsis I read and the character designs I was pretty positive I was going to drop, not because it sounded bad, but because it just didn’t sound or look like something I would enjoy. So glad I watched the first episode because it was great fun.

Number 5: 18if

After going to sleep like normal, Haruto Tsukishiro wakes up to discover something unbelievable—he’s stuck in dream world! Here, witches plague the dreamscape and are more than dreamy figments—they’re the trapped souls of young women who’ve rejected reality and are afflicted by the “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome.”

The above is the Crunchyroll synopsis and reading that it just screams that this is something to be avoided. Stuck in a dream world? Okay, here’s another chance for a writer to just be totally random for no reason. Oh, there are witches who are actually the trapped souls of young women? Suffering from a syndrome named after a fairy tale character. It all just seemed far too much like a desperate cry for attention and to be honest with each episode featuring a unique art style and tone you could be forgiven for thinking this entire story is just a project being made by an over-zealous art class full of students that all just want their turn at creating someone for Haruto to rescue. Despite that, it actually hasn’t been a bad watch. There’s been quite a bit of heart in some of the stories and there’s been enough cohesion with Haruto to carry us from story to story without too much confusion. Admittedly, this could still end very badly or not at all if they don’t bother to get to some sort of more definitive point before the season draws to a close.

Number 4: Gamers

“Would you like to be with me… in the Gamers Club?” Amano Keita is a perfectly mediocre loner with no particular distinguishing features other than his love for games. One day, his school’s prettiest girl and Gamer Club President Tendo Karen suddenly calls out to him. That moment changes Keita’s life forever, as he now finds himself in the midst of a romcom with beautiful girl gamers… or, well, that’s how it usually goes. Not with him, however.

As much as I like games and gaming, this anime didn’t exactly scream that it was something I wanted to watch. Everything about the synopsis is cliché and high school, club anime about loner boy getting targeted by the school’s ‘prettiest girl’ to join a club just didn’t seem like something I was going to get into. And the first episode more or less confirmed those fears and then it didn’t. Gamers managed to turn the trite and overused scenario on its head and admittedly it has marched us through a lot of tropes and clichés the way it manages to continue to defy audience expectations while remaining watchable is pretty amazing. The narrative is completely shot at this point because of all the twists they keep building in but it doesn’t really matter because I’m just caught up with these odd characters and their odd but charming interactions.

Number 3: Fastest Finger First

Bunzou High School is welcoming its new first-year students. One of them, Koshiyama Shiki, is chosen to participate against his will in an impromptu fast-buzzing quiz meet by the president of the Quiz Bowl Circle. As a quiet boy who loves reading and doesn’t want to stand out, Shiki is overwhelmed, but his classmate, Fukami Mari, is able to hit the buzzer and answer questions before the full question is given.

Once again, high school club with quiet boy getting dragged into things. What actually drew me to this one is that it was about quizzes and I really enjoy them so I ignored all my trepidations and took on the first episode. While I can’t say that this has truly defied any of my expectations, it is really quite watchable and mostly that is because of Koshiyama as the protagonist. He might be a quiet kid who doesn’t like standing out but there’s more to him than just that and he’s actually proving to be a reasonably well rounded protagonist. Does that make the show particularly good? Not really. Unless you like quizzes there really isn’t a lot to get into with the story. However, given what my initial thoughts were when reading that synopsis I’ve ended up finding this fairly okay.

Number 2: Clean Freak Aoyama-Kun

Aoyama kun is a hot, young soccer prodigy who plays midfielder for the National U-16 Soccer Team. But he’s also an extreme germaphobe! The TV anime adaptation of “Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama kun!” (Clean Freak!! Aoyama kun) portrays the friendships he forms and the challenges he overcomes in a “spotless” coming-of-age story!

Seriously? It is a story about a ‘hot’ soccer player who is a germaphobe and in case that isn’t enough to make your eyes roll right out your head at the sheer gimmicky nature of that match up we then get an incredibly tacky pun dropped into the synopsis just for fun. There was absolutely nothing about that write up that made this seem like it would appeal and to be honest, there’s nothing about the show that really should given its basically an episodic comedy that has a cast of overly zany characters that each seem to get one episode in the spotlight where their extreme dysfunction takes centre stage as we circle around Aoyama and then we move on. Despite that, I’ve been finding this anime oddly charming. Not every joke is a winner and some episodes are more tiresome than others, but overall, Aoyama has been kind of interesting and part of that is probably because despite the cheap jokes and gimmicks, for the most part it seems to respect people with conditions. There are a lot of tacky jokes in the series but Aoyama’s need to clean has for the most part been treated as a setting rather than the target of the humour.

Number 1: In Another World With My Smartphone

After dying as a result of God’s mistake, the main character finds himself in a parallel world, where he begins his second life. His only possessions are the body that God gave back to him and a smartphone that works even in this new world. As he meets all kinds of new people and forges new friendships, he ends up learning the secret to this world. He inherits the legacy of an ancient civilization and works together with the kings of some very laid-back countries on his carefree travels through this new world.

Right from the title you know what this show is giving you. It is another self-aware isekai story about an overpowered protagonist trapped in another world. Gimmick to throw in is he gets to take his phone with him and somehow it works. There’s really no reason at all this anime should have appealed to me and yet there’s just something about how it delivers its tropes that manages to entertain. It seldom crosses into overly cringe worthy territory and even though the last couple of episodes have started to become a little repetitive, due to Touya being all but an unstoppable force of nature at this point, there’s still plenty to make me smile about this show. Nope, it has no depth and it isn’t trying to actually make itself distinct or a satire on the genre or anything else. What it does is simply remember why these clichés became cliches and what makes them fun. It delivers lines that in most shows would all but be followed with a nudge to the audience to let us know that they are aware it is an overused line in an absolutely serious manner. Just as it delivers cloth dissolving slimes without a hint of shame. All and all, of all the shows I tried without really expecting anything from them, this one is the one I’ve ended up having the most fun with. Again, not exactly the best anime of the season but nowhere near as terrible as it could have been from that synopsis.

Over to you, which show this Summer did you find to be oddly not terrible after reading a synopsis that kind of made you wonder why you were even pressing play?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Characters Who Are a Bit Strange

Alright, anime characters by their very nature are usually a bit strange. They are after all living in the anime universe and not the real world. That said, there are some characters that take being a bit peculiar to all new levels of strange. Sometimes there’s a really good reason for their actions (childhood trauma, etc), and other times they just like doing what they do. So today’s top 5, I’m focussing on my favourite top 5 strange characters. This list is kind of similar to my list on characters who weren’t all there but on that list I went more with characters who were a bit spacey and oblivious rather than characters who clearly have direction its just weird what direction they’ve chosen.

Please Note: There are some plot spoilers below if you read the descriptions.

Honourable mentions this week go to Oculus from Death Parade and Misaki Mei from Another.

Number 5: Koko Hekmatyar from Jormangand

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Koko is an arms dealer. She’s tough and almost impossible to phase even if you point a gun directly at her face. That said, she’s also more than a little bit odd. She’s got a strange moral code and at times her decisions about who to deal with and who to walk away from seems fairly arbitrary. Also, after spending a lot of her childhood on battlefields she has picked up one very strange habit after she was told by one of her body guards she should always be smiling. All and all, Koko is a character I love, but the girl is strange.

Number 4: Kagerou Shoukin from Inu X Boku

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This guy sees everything in the world through the classification of either being an S (sadist) or an M (masochist) and he goes to great lengths to explain his reasons and logic to those around him even when they tell him they don’t care. Even a Lazy Susan in a Chinese restaurant doesn’t escape classification. Kagerou is one seriously annoying character, but he does have style and you certainly can’t accuse him of not being true to who he is.

Number 3: Miyo Takano from Higurashi

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Miyo’s strangeness is really entirely understandable given the horrific experiences she had at the orphanage as a child, but that doesn’t excuse her decision to kill an innocent child and then massacre an entire village just to prove that her adopted father’s research was actually right all along. You do have to admire her dedication to the long term plan and she’s certainly tried to account for all the loose ends. If not for time looping and the power of friendship, she’d have definitely succeeded and she did many, many times before she was finally defeated.

Number 2: Akito Sohma from Fruits Basket

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Alright, if you just watch the anime, Akito is just a bully and a nutjob. Violent temper tantrums, control issues, and outright torture of younger family members litter the scenes Akito appear in. There’s some attempt to justify this extreme personality in the manga, though while it helps you to see why Akito is so crazy it doesn’t really justify Akito’s actions given for the most part this is a case of misplaced anger. A tragic figure through and through, there’s something compelling about Akito so that even when you hate what Akito is doing, you can’t really look away.

Number 1: Ladd Russo and Claire Stanfield from Baccano

I couldn’t really split these two. In a show full of strange and extreme characters with strange and extreme personalities, these two still managed to distinguish themselves as being severely unhinged and yet fantastic fun to watch. Their show down on top of the train was one of the highlights of an anime I loved through and through. They are also oddly similar though Claire is clearly the more refined. Neither is squeamish or has an issue with blood and they both wholly believe in their abilities and that their actions and justified. They also severely lack empathy for pretty much anyone else except their chosen lady. All and all, these two guys are awesome to watch on screen but I would never, ever want to meet anyone like them.

Over to you: Who is your favourite strange anime character?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Guys with Black Hair

Last week we did the list of top 5 anime females with black hair focussing on the cool beauties of the anime world. This week my attention shifts to the male characters and I think my main focus here was focussed and dependable. That said, there are an enormous number of males with ebony hair that I just could not fit onto my list so I would love to know your thoughts and who would have been included on your list.

Please note there are some spoilers in the descriptions below.

Honourable Mentions: Jiroh (Black Blood Brothers), Kazuya Shibuya (Ghost Hunt) and Gilbert Nightray (Pandora Hearts), plus the dozens of others that were considered and ultimately left off the list.

Number 5: Hei (Darker Than Black)

Whether he’s on a mission, infiltrating an organisation, reporting in, apparently having a break, Hei is always focussed on his primary goal, find out what happened to his sister. He might be a crazy powerful contractor but even before he became a contractor he was feared for his skills. he is one guy you do not want to cross because once he sets his sights on something, one way or another he’s going to make it happen and he’s going to look really good while doing it.

Number 4: Kirito (Sword Art Online)

Another highly focussed character and one I very much enjoy watching in action, Kirito does not let anything stand between him and his current goal, not even death. Plus, once you get through his protective shell and anti-social exterior, he’s actually a genuinely caring person who looks after those he considers his friends. While his tunnel focus might work against him when he gets fixated on single points and sometimes misses the bigger picture, in terms of drive it is hard to argue against his actions.

Number 3: Kuroh Yatogami (K)

If you are looking for dedication and loyalty than you can’t go much further than Kuroh. Not to mention the guy can cook and rocks that pink apron. Admittedly, there’s a bit of a disconnect between his good looks and personality when fighting to his more laid back persona and he definitely has some personality traits that are a little questionable, such as listening to the recordings of his dead master for guidance on a daily basis. Still, he’s a strong fighter, wields a sword, has an absolute sense of duty, and ultimately does what he believes is right. He is one very cool character for this list.

Number 2: Shinya Kougami (Psycho Pass)

I’d like to let the pictures speak for me on this one. Kougami is tough, focussed, and relatively unstoppable once he puts his mind to things. He’s also really great to watch in action. However, he isn’t a muscle head who only relies on his fists, he’s got a good head on his shoulders and knows when to use it. A pure joy to watch as he unravels the mysteries in Psycho Pass and seeks out his revenge.

Number 1: Sebastian Michaelis (Black Butler)

Was there ever a moment of doubt that Sebastian would not be number one on this list? The guy can do anything and look amazing while doing it. Okay, he might be a demon so has an unfair advantage. In a fair world, Kougami would be the number 1, however fair or unfair, Sebastian is perfect, except for the whole eating people’s souls things. That’s a minor hiccup in an otherwise flawless persona.

Alright, I’m done so I’m handing it over to you for your top 5 guys with black hair.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Female Characters with Black Hair in Anime

Well, it had to happen sooner or later, but I’m finally turning my attention to the raven haired characters in shows. While not as flashy as certain other colours, there’s something to be said about the beauty of black hair. Below are my top 5 female characters from anime with black hair and I’d love to know your picks. I kind of based the selection on how cool a beauty they were so some of my favourite black haired characters got cut a little bit (sorry Sawako). Next week I’ll turn my attention to the guys, though I’m pretty sure people who’ve followed the blog for awhile already know who is going to be number 1.

Please note there are potential spoilers in the descriptions below.

Honourable mentions: Rukia Kuchiki (Bleach) and Ran Mao (Black Butler).

Number 5: Yukino Yukinoshita (My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU)

The cool leader of the service club, Yukino has poise, grace, and a fairly nasty tongue in her mouth that will quickly rid you of any self-delusion you have. That said, she’s at heart an honest and hardworking person (though she may not be fully honest with herself sometimes). They say that still waters run deep and that is pretty true of Yukino as she goes about her business and interacts with the other members of the service club.

Number 4: Rory Mercury (GATE)

Do not let the cute costume fool you. This black haired beauty is almost a millennium old and a demi-goddess to boot. You do not want to mess with her even if she isn’t wielding her scythe because she’s another on this list with a dangerously sharp tongue. While Rory has some very fine moments on screen (when she isn’t being used for fan service purposes), her finest hour came when she visited earth and was testifying about the actions the soldiers took on the battlefield.  It was a fantastically delivered speech that left very little room for argument.

Number 3: Mei Misaki (Another)

For someone being shunned by her classmates in a desperate but futile attempt to ward off a death curse, Mei Misaki certainly defines grace under pressure. You almost want to see what she was like at school prior to entering grade 9 just to see whether the girl we meet is who she always was or whether the successive pressures of being in the class, being made invisible, and the death of her sister played a role in creating the cool and quiet Mei we meet.

Number 2: Rei Hino (Sailor Moon)

Rei is an interesting character, mostly because she can switch between cool and sophisticated to middle school brat in the blink of an eye (and usually when in the presence of Serina). Still, in the 1990’s Sailor Moon, she was the cool beauty of the group and the sometime rival for Darien’s attention prior to the whole revelation that he was Tuxedo Mask etc. I’m kind of glad Sailor Moon got an update if for no other reason than it saved Rei from some of those dreadful 1990’s fashion choices (the pink overalls are definitely springing to mind).

Number 1: Yuuko (xxxHolic/Tsubasa Chronicles)

The cool and mysterious dimensional witch and a very intriguing lady, Yuuko can be every bit the lady, or she can drink herself silly while lazing about and still look cool doing it. Don’t expect a straight answer from her and don’t expect a favour without payment, but she does always honour her agreements no matter how hard a bargain she drives. With a fantastic wardrobe full of a wide variety of truly glamorous and unique outfits, Yuuko is my number one pick for a true cool beauty with black hair in anime.

That’s my list done so throwing it over to you. Which lovely ladies have made your list?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime by Studio J.C.Staff

Another studio list. So far I’ve done fun titles by Bones and favourite works by P.A Works but today I turn my attention to J.C.Staff mostly because while they aren’t my favourite studio and I find their work a bit hit and miss, they’ve produced a fair number of solid titles in my anime collection at this point. I’m ranking these titles purely on the number of times I’ve rewatched them so I would love for you to share your favourite titles by J.C.Staff in the comments below and your reasons.

Please Note: There may be some spoilers for the anime below.

Honourable mentions this week go to Kaichou wa Maid Sama and Golden Time. I love both of these stories but they just haven’t had the same amount of rewatches as some of the other anime on the list.

Number 5: Bakuman

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The story of the two guys who think they are going to become famous mangaka and have an anime is actually really compelling. There are some issues that come up with how females are represented and the like, but mostly this is just a really interesting look at the industry as we follow the two main characters through a fairly gruelling journey. On paper this story shouldn’t work given how long we spend watching the characters brain storm and work in their studio. It should be boring, and yet it is fascinating and they give the entire thing a very shonen feel without going too far into the crazy and unbelievable. However, more than just being a story of trying to become the best, this is a story about the characters and they really sell the work as you become deeply fixated on whether they succeed or fail and their relationships with the other characters.

Number 4: A Certain Scientific Railgun

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The whole franchise with A Certain Magical Index seasons 1 and 2 and Railgun 1 and 2, really should hold this place together. I like these stories but they are riddled with problems so I tend to start a season and then get distracted and that stretches the watch time out. However, once I’m done I always remember the series fondly which is why I’ll rewatch it again in a few months time because I seem to forget about the pacing and character issues. That said, A Certain Scientific Railgun season 1 is my favourite so far and a lot of that comes down to the four main girls who manage to really charm without being overly cute and annoying.

Number 3: Heaven’s Memo Pad

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Apparently I’m yet to review this anime so I’ll definitely have to fix that. I love Heaven’s Memo Pad. That isn’t actually saying it is a good anime, but it just hits a certain spot when I’m in the right mood for it. Pretty much you know the feeling you used to get as a teenager where you want to just shut yourself away and right bad poetry for a day or two, that’s the mood you need to be in to truly appreciate Heaven’s Memo Pad. It is heavy dark melodrama that takes itself very seriously but it manages to bring about some really great character moments and force the audience to confront some fairly heavy issues. It is trying really hard to hit you with feels and when you aren’t in the right mood it just kind of comes off as trying too hard, but when you are in the right frame of mind it is kind of perfect. Be prepared for issues involving suicide, social isolation, betrayal, drug use, gang violence, and so on and so forth as well as an overly cutely designed detective at the centre of the story.

Number 2: Ghost Hunt

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Another anime I haven’t done a full series review of though I did review each of the cases individually soon after I started the blog. I love Ghost Hunt but I will admit the reason it does get rewatched so often is the episodic nature of the story. Each case only covers a handful of episodes so you can just pick a case to watch without watching the entire anime. Plus, the English dub works really well for most characters (John the apparent Australian priest is another story) so this is an anime I can watch when I’m really tired and don’t want to deal with subs or trying to pick up the Japanese. Its your basic introduce a mystery, send in the team and investigate, figure out the cause and solve kind of thing but the cases are quite diverse and they usually manage some genuinely tense moments along the way. I also really like the characters in the story, or at least I like watching them given I think most of them would be really annoying in real life.

Number 1: Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon

This is definitely a newer title for my collection but it is one I very quickly became addicted to. As in I watched it through, told my friend they had to watch it, and immediately binged the entire thing again over two or three days. It is a regular title for me to select when I need a pick me up. It is fun, energetic, has some awesome fight sequences, and it is really hard to feel bad about things when watching Bell run about so determined to reach his dreams. I absolutely love this silly little adventure story and will happily watch it over and over again, though I will point out it needs a second season. I’m also not even going to touch why the spin-off was an incredible waste of time.

Anyway, that’s my list this week. Feel free to tell me your favourite titles from J.C.Staff in the comments below.


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Karandi James.

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