My Pirate Crew

So Lyn Sheridan kicked off this tag and it seems like it could be great fun. You know, other than the fact that I get boat and every-other-mode-of-transport sick I think being a pirate could be great fun. Is there a job for pirates who walk? Anyway, huge thank-you for the tag and let’s see who I’m including in my crew.

The Rules

  1. Display the My Pirate Crew logo and add ‘My Pirate Crew’ as a tag.
  2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog.
  3. Link back to the original post here (so I can compare your crews to mine).
  4. Select seven anime characters and give them a position on the crew. These are the positions you can to fill. Warrior, sniper, chef, doctor, scientist, navigator, strategist, mechanic, entertainer.
  5. Nominate 5-10 bloggers.
  6. Set sail and rule the seas!

The Crew

Let’s start out with a navigator because I’m going to get hopelessly lost. This may be a weird choice but I’m picking Homura from Madoka Magica. I’m not entirely certain about her map reading ability or even navigation but that’s kind of pointless. She can just go back and fix it if we make a mistake so I’m thinking this is the perfect choice for a navigator.

Homura Akemi Madoka Magica

Next, we’re going to need a chef because food is really important to maintaining morale, and you know, just because food is really good. I’m actually cheating here and I’m going to bring all four of the guys from Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori because food, dessert, tea and coffee are all super important.

The mechanic is perhaps the easiest position to fill. Winry from Full Metal Alchemist. Seriously, why wouldn’t you pick her? If Kaylee from Firefly were an anime character I’d have picked her but she’s about the only person I’d pick over Winry.

Winry Rockbell Full Metal Alchemist

Right, so warrior, because I probably need someone who can fight in this crew if I’m actually putting together a pirate crew. There are many incredibly strong fighters in anime but then I had to think about who I’d actually like to spend time with in close quarters and I ended up deciding Hei from Darker Than Black. He doesn’t talk all that much but he’s pretty proficient and I’m certain that electricity and water couldn’t possibly be a terrible mix.

Strategist is again and easy one to pick. Admittedly, she didn’t do so well out of her strategist in Katanagatari but things worked out for everyone else so I’m definitely picking the self-proclaimed strategist Togame. While I’m not entirely sure that her motives and mine will align, I’m certain that she’ll lead us to some interesting pursuits.

Katanagatari - Strategist Togame

For the doctor, much like my navigator, I’m not so worried about them getting it right. I’m picking Orihime from Bleach and she can just reject the damage and reverse it back to before it was. It’s a neat trick and works on all injuries. Not so sure whether its effective on things like catching a cold but I’m thinking given she’ll bring you back from being pretty much dead she’s definitely worth having around.

Bleach Orihime

Finally, entertainer, because everyone needs entertainment. I’m definitely hiring the duo of Yuri and Victor from Yuri on Ice (and please don’t point out the lack of reality of having an ice-skating rink on a pirate boat). You know what, we’re going there and if worst comes to worst they can just get drunk and have a dance off.

Yuri on Ice Episode 8

And that would be my highly dysfunctional crew. I’m sure we’d have fun. Or sink. Either way.

The Nominees

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Princesses

Tuesday's Top 5

The Princess list turned out to be easier than the anime Prince list. That’s probably because there’s a lot of princesses out there who happily sit as bystanders and then there are the extreme warrior princess tropes that run around. Finding a princess who is an active participant in their story but not a juggernaut of violence is actually fairly challenging. Still, here are my top 5 picks for anime princesses who have that regal Princess air to them (at least at times) but also take an active role in their plot. Bonus points for great outfits and as always I’d love to know what my readers thing.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Teresa (Tada Doesn’t Fall in Love)

Number 5: Princess Hitei (Katanagatari)

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As the antagonist for a lot of Katanagatari, Princess Hitei didn’t really get to do a lot (and in honesty I’m not entirely sure if she’s a real Princess), but her manipulations and schemes certainly directed a lot of the action within the series. More importantly, when her schemes all came crashing down around her, she proved herself adaptable which is a fairly vital survival trait and one she demonstrated beautifully. Not to mention, her look is crazy but distinct – like most characters from Katanagatari.

Number 4: Chaika (Chaika – Coffin Princess)

Chaika

Alright, I know she’s actually a clone of a Princess and only one of many, but Chaika is awesome. Her magic is a little inconsistent and takes forever to power up, but you have to admit when it works, it is pretty brilliant. And even knowing her whole life is being manipulated, Chaika still manages to find her purpose for moving forward. Kind of have to love her (and her hair clips – those are gorgeous).

Number 3: Princess Serenity (Sailor Moon)

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This girl has way too many titles and while the modern day Serena isn’t exactly instilling confidence in her leadership most days, her past life and future self certainly lend her some credibility that even if she isn’t there yet she will be one day. Besides, the girl has saved the world how many times? You have to cut her some slack if she wants to spend her afternoons playing video games when there is no world threatening evil afoot.

Number 2: Yona (Akatsuki no Yona)

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While I still feel Shirayuki was the superior red headed character of these two, technically Shirayuki is not a Princess (marry Zen already), and so Yona takes the number 2 place on this list. I will admit, as much as Yona didn’t impress me when I first saw it, time and a rewatch has definitely made me appreciate her more and now that I’m two volumes into the manga I’m kind of hoping to learn even more about the Princess who lost everything in one night and yet refused to give in.

Number 1: Euphemia li Britannia (Code Geass)

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Okay, her ending was pretty tragic for everyone involved, as it was supposed to be, but even before the event that made her infamous, Euphemia was a pretty special princess. Despite her lack of combat abilities compared to her siblings, she didn’t just sit on the sidelines. She worked her strengths and found other pathways such as diplomacy to achieve her ends and she almost succeeded at bringing about peace. I’m laying the blame for her untimely end entirely on Lelouch and I’m just saying we lost a very fine Princess.

That’s the end of another list but as always I’ll now turn it over to the comments and ask you who your favourite or top 5 anime Princesses are.


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Karandi James

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Katanagatari Series Review: A Story of a Strategist and Her Sword on the Fetch Quest of a Life-time.

Overview:

Togame is a self-proclaimed strategist and in order to gain favour with the shogunate, she seeks out the aid of an exiled warrior to help her collect 12 legendary swords. The warrior is long since dead but she does meet his children and recruits Yasuri Shichika, a swordsman without a sword, to help her on her quest.

Review:

On the surface, Katanagatari is as simple as it gets. There are 12 episodes and 12 swords so pretty much each episode is the story of Togame and Shichika travelling to a location, confronting the person with the sword, and eventually collecting the sword. However, despite the fairly simple plot structure, this show manages a number of interesting developments, and with its striking visuals and interesting characters manages to keep the story feeling fresh from start to finish (also throw in a healthy dash of truly awesome music that gives the show a fairly unique tone).

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I’ll actually get my major criticism of the show out of the way before I talk about all the reasons why you should stop reading this review and just go and watch the show. The biggest problem this anime has is that the villains for the most part are completely throw-away characters. The sword owners are all eccentric and interesting in their own ways (though we barely get to know most of them before the sword is collected and the characters have moved on), but there is also a troop of ninjas who have been hired to stop them and all of these characters have increasingly ridiculous outfits and abilities and really don’t add anything other than a few eccentric fights to a show that already has enough. Likewise, there’s a Princess plotting against Togame and while she’s needed for the final plot to work, for the majority of the run time she is an irritating distraction from the more interesting story that seems to be going on.

With that criticism out of the way, let’s get to everything that makes this show amazing.

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First and foremost, from the very opening scene this anime looks unique. I think it is quite beautiful in some ways and bizarre in others, but it was just such a visual pleasure to watch. The outfits, the hair, the trees and scenery were all just wonderful to look at and while there is always a rich array of colours on the screen it never quite crosses the line to becoming an eye-sore or a distraction in the way that shows like No Game No Life occasionally manage. The character eyes were probably the only part I didn’t really think were pretty to look at, but even then they were striking and memorable.

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Once you get past the look of the show, the fetch quest these characters are on to collect the 12 deviant swords is wonderful in its simplicity and yet each sword has such an individual feel that every fight and every sword collection is distinct. The swords are classed as deviant for a range of reasons, but essentially they come in all shapes and sizes (and one of them is clearly a pair of guns and not a sword at all). Their handlers are equally diverse and they all have their reasons for not letting go of their sword. They present an array of challenges for Shichika and Togame to overcome over the course of the series so while the basic arrive, find sword, fight for sword, gain sword pattern is followed almost pedantically you can’t help but want to see what the next location and sword will bring.

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The show also delights in teasing its audience. Whether it is with the dialogue as the characters discuss a catch phrase for the hero, that only gets delivered once with the appropriate context to support it but gets used numerous times to humorous effect, or with the plot simply deviating from what is expected while still ultimately returning to the path we expected but not in the way we expected, it keeps you guessing where it will go next. A masterful fight between Shichika and one of the deviant blade owners took place almost exclusively off-screen and we only heard about the fight at all in a discussion over dumplings at the end of the episode. The episode in question had spent almost the entire time showing us Shichika’s sister fighting off some ninjas who had decided to try and kidnap her, which was highly entertaining, character revealing about the sister, and set up a future development that Shichika would have to deal with.

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And that of course brings us to the characters. The best part of this show is the relationship that develops between Shichika and Togame. Given it begins in episode 1 with her boldly asking him to fall in love with her because otherwise she couldn’t trust him and Shichika basically agreeing because he’s a very simple person (at least in the beginning), the actual relationship developments between them are quite subtle at first but by the end you really do see how their journey together has changed both of them. Shichika also has a great moment with his sister, Nanami, midway along in the story that also pushes his growth as a character.

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Basically if you want a classic adventure story with some decent action sequences, a bit of humour, and some very off-the-wall characters thrown in, you will absolutely love Katanagatari. There’s a few moments that might break your heart but basically this is a fun ride from start to finish and a show which I will quite happily return to watch again and again. Just a heads up (because I didn’t get one), while there are only 12 episodes, these are 40 minutes episodes so it works out to be about the length of a standard 24 episode anime.

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Female Characters with Green Hair

Tuesday's Top 5

Today I am taking a look at the lovely green haired ladies of anime and I will admit this ended up being harder than expected.  While there was no doubt who was going to top my list, the other characters proved a little harder to split. Basically I was looking for interesting female characters where their green hair was a distinguishing part of their appearance.

I’d love to know some of your favourite green haired female characters. Next week I’ll tackle the guys but until then be sure to leave your picks in the comments below.

Note: There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions go to Sailor Neptune (Sailor Moon) and Akari (Chaika).

Number 5: Nanami Yasuri (Katanagatari)

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Nanami gets points for being the second creepiest character I put on this list. She’s a devoted sister but I’m pretty sure that her notion of raising or caring for her brother has definitely crossed a few lines. Admittedly, he is really strong and made stronger by her interference in his quest but Nanami is still one terrifying green haired girl. Her particular ability to essentially use any ability she has ever seen makes her fairly terrifying to almost all who encounter her and if it wasn’t for her weak body she’s be an unstoppable force of nature.


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Number 4: Tsuyu Asui (My Hero Academia)

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Now I am not the biggest froppy fan but even I have to admit that Tsuyu is one talented hero. If she wasn’t in the same class as the protagonist and his rivals she might even get to stand out occasionally. She’s level headed in a crisis, has a range of useful skills and is pretty determined. Throughout the second season she demonstrated numerous times that she has what it takes to be in the same class as the others and while I didn’t really appreciate her getting her own mission episode as it felt a lot like filler, even I had to admit it was very high quality filler and you could totally see this character carrying their own series.


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My Hero.jpg


Number 3: Lenalee (D Gray Man)

No real surprise here given I’ve made it fairly clear that I love Lenalee as a character. She’s such an awesome exorcist and a great partner for Allan. Unfortunately she gets sidelined too often, but the fight over the ocean on the way to Japan just proved how incredibly tough she is and how far she will go to save others and win the fight. She also got her innocence to evolve to the crystal type and while Hallow severely underutilised her I’m kind of hoping if we get another follow up series (please) that we’ll see more of this amazing character on the screen.

Number 2: Mion/Shion Sonozaki (Higurashi)

Mion and Shion.png

So who beat Nanami as the creepiest character on this list? Mion and Shion of course (and no, I’m not even going to try to split these two because depending on the time loop you are in either one of them could be crazy and it isn’t as though they don’t switch places making it even more confusing). Still, these two are fantastic characters. The older sister characters of the group and the children of gangsters, they come across as tough as nails but are surprisingly emotionally vulnerable. They both go through hell at various times but fortunately they learn from the experiences eventually, like the other characters, and finally find their happy ending.

Number 1: Nel (Bleach)

Whether in her child-form or fully grown, Nel was a fantastic character that Ichigo met when he invaded Hueco Mundo. As a former member of the Espada, she is one tough cookie but she’s got a grudge and Ichigo has a soft spot for little sister characters so the two of them bond fairly readily after meeting. One of my favourite Bleach characters ever, and rocking her green hair and matching shirt, Nel well and truly deserves the number one spot on this list.

And that’s my list done but I’d love to know your picks and remember to check in next week when I count down my top 5 male characters with green hair.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Females with Silver Hair

Tuesday's Top 5

Okay, I’ve already covered blonde, red and blue hair so today I am tackling silver hair (though I won’t argue if you want to tell me some of these characters have white or gray hair). Next week I’ll share me list of the guys with silver hair and I had a lot more fun with that list but there are still some great female anime characters with silver hair to be found. My final decision this week came down to characters that had silver hair that I found to be kind of adorable on a character I found to be interesting. As such it is entirely subjective and I’d love to know who you would have included on your list.

Please Note – There are spoilers below. You have been warned.

Honourable mentions to Villetta Nu (Code Geass) and Eucliwood (Is This a Zombie).

Number 5: Anju from Karin, Chibi Vampire

Anju1.jpg

Anju is arguably the most interesting character from Karin despite how little she talks. A great deal of the plot is pushed forward by her small moments of interference or her suggestions to other characters. She sits in the background a lot but she is very motivated and driven. What I like the most about her is that despite the fact that she is very attached to her sister, she isn’t trying to hold her sister back but is really trying to push Karin into a life of her own. It is refreshing to see a sister complex that results in actually helping the object of your affection rather than trying to control them. All and all, I really liked Anju as a character and episodes that had more of an Anju focus were very enjoyable.

Number 4: Togame from Katanagatari

Togame is a fascinating character and her journey throughout Katanagatari with Shichika is adorable. Her hair plays a fairly critical role in the development of their relationship early on and later in the series gets cut, so not only is her hair beautiful but it also has a purpose in the plot (though I will admit it is probably more white than silver).

Number 3: Sylvette Suede from Letter Bee

I haven’t got around to a review of this show yet but it is adorable from start to finish and Sylvette is one of my favourite characters. She’s the sister of a missing letter carrier and has a strikingly similar appearance and colouring. Throughout the show she develops a close relationship with the main character as he goes on his journey. She’s wheelchair bound and her cooking is fairly toxic but she’s most definitely the most resilient character in the show and the one who regardless of circumstances knows that they have to keep moving forward in whatever way they can. Utterly adorable character and the heart of the show for a lot of the characters.

Number 2: Kanade from Angel Beats

Kanade is just adorable. Even when Angel Beats first started and she was set up as the antagonist, I loved her character from the opening as she played the piano. As the story developed, we found out she was just kind of dreadful at communicating and she was actually trying to help everyone move on. She’s just such a sweet character and I really wanted her to be happy at the end of the series, which is why I always end up in tears pre-final credits and then smiling like an idiot post-final credits.

Number 1: Yin from Darker Than Black

So what beats Kanade? An emotionless doll who actually has more agency than it first appears, apparently. Yin is undoubtably my favourite character on this list. While early in the series, she really is just a doll, as the story progresses you see more and more often the small things she does because she wishes to and the way she builds her relationship with Hei. She’s a crucial part of the team and the only reason Hei managed to succeed at anything, so really should get the title of most valuable player for Darker Than Black. Plus, she’s just beautiful.

Alright, that’s my list of silver hair female characters. Who would you have included on yours?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Male Characters With Gorgeous Long Hair

Tuesday's Top 5

Yes, this list is entirely my own preference and as such I am going to happily update the list as new characters come along who catch my eye, or I just gain a deeper appreciation of older characters. Either way, I love a guy with long hair and male anime characters regularly have amazing hair and so this list is one I really enjoyed putting it together initially and coming back to update it (Feb 2019) has been great fun.

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions this week go to: Edward Elric (Full Metal Alchemist) and Malachite (Sailor Moon).

Also added to the honourable mentions are Weismann (from K Project) and Zangetsu (from Bleach). They formally held the fourth and first spot on this list but I’ve kind of moved on just a little bit from both of them so while they are still awesome, and so is their hair, they now sit in the honourable mentions.

Number 5: Kanda (D Gray Man)

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I’ll admit there is very little chance of Kanda actually letting me touch his hair even if he wasn’t an anime character and if I happened to meet him, but that doesn’t stop me very much wanting too. That glossy shine, the way it moves when he fights, his hair is amazing and completely sold this character even early on in D Gray Man when he was a bit of a jerk (okay, he’s regularly a jerk but he kind of grows on you).

Number 4: Tomoe (Kamisama Kiss) – Moved from Number 3

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Another character who doesn’t usually have long hair but the few times he does, it is unbelievably gorgeous. It almost makes you wish for more flashback episodes just so you could see more of Tomoe with this hair. Plus the ears kind of work. Then again, he was pretty violent then so maybe we should just stick to present day Tomoe.

Number 3: Takato (Dakaichi)

This one is just a total cheat because Takato doesn’t have long hair. He does however play a role in a play where he has long hair and can I just point out he looks absolutely gorgeous. And then I’ll ask why he doesn’t wear his hair long all the time because it absolutely suits him. Totally in love with Takato when he has this look going.

Number 2: Shichika Yasuri (Katanagatari)

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He may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but Shichika is honest, earnest, and deadly. Combine that with some odd but strangely compelling fashion sense and a great hairstyle (albeit one that cannot really exist outside of an anime) and you have a character that is going to fascinate from minute one.

Number 1: You Keika (Spiritpact)

I still don’t know when it was that You Keika went from being the single most annoying character ever to a character I really enjoyed watching and wanted to succeed, but particularly during season 2 I really grew to love this character. Keika is a spirit but he’s growing in leaps and bounds and I absolutely have loved his character journey. Needless to say, once I started paying proper attention to his character I also noticed just how amazing his hair looks and well, the rest is history as he now has the number one spot on my list.

Okay, and a total cheat bonus addition to the list. Victor from Yuri On Ice (from when his hair was actually long).

So that is my list this week. Which anime male with long hair would you have had on your list? Or female if you prefer.

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Karandi James
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Friday’s Feature – What Do You Mean Spoiler?

I’ve been wondering this for awhile; how much information can you give in a write up or a review before you enter spoiler territory? And even if you do tell people what something is about, or what happens in it, does that actually spoil the watching of it?

Keep in mind, I’m not discussing murder mysteries where telling someone who the villain is would kind of defeat the purpose of the story.

And if you want to avoid any spoilers I’d recommend stopping.

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If we look at the fantasy genre specifically, there are a lot of quest stories. Joe ordinary has his life turned upside down by some sort of extraordinary event and has to begin a journey. Somewhere in the early stages he’ll meet someone who can act as a mentor character and point him in the right direction (so at least we don’t spend half the story with no clue about what the end goal will be). Then there is usually the rushed attempt to succeed whereby our ordinary Joe loses something of value and in the process learns some valuable life lesson before he rallies again and we get to the real confrontation whereby Joe employs all of the skills he has learned (usually in short montages) and defeats the whatever and succeeds in his quest. Then he may or may not return home, sometimes with a girl, and sometimes he’ll choose to go on questing.

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It’s the plot of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings and Katanagatari and Bleach and about several thousand other fantasy based stories.

So does telling someone that the mentor dies count as a spoiler for most of these shows? I mean, they don’t in every single one, but it is certainly a consistent theme. The act pushes some emotion into the early stages of the story, gives our protagonist a reason to grow up or a personal investment in the challenge (if they weren’t already), and also usually provides a reason for an early fight that is awesome but not quite as awesome as the final one will be because that would ruin the climax.

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Likewise, does saying our protagonist wins count as a spoiler? Really, they are either going to win or lose. It seems unlikely that in a finished story they are going to compromise or  walk-away (though I guess that is possible). If the show feels like it is setting up a tragedy, be prepared for the protagonist to die. If the show feels like your typical fantasy, prepare for the victory march. You can’t spoil basic plot elements because most people will have already seen where things are going.

Then what about the details? If the basic plot really can’t be spoiled because there’s only one or two ways it can end anyway, can we ruin some of the fun of the journey by giving too much information about the details?

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So Ichigo has to save Rukia from Soul Society and he does it by mastering… Is that spoiling or simply engaging in a discussion about the plot?

I’m going to admit, I’m fairly indifferent to whether I know the details of a story before I watch or read it. This is probably because I read a lot of classics (as well as a lot of pulp fiction) and to be honest I usually know everything that is going to happen in a novel by the time I actually get around to reading it. Does that make it less enjoyable? Not really. The way it is written and the way it delivers that story is what will make me love it. Knowing where it is going usually just heightens a sense of anticipation.  However, if I don’t know, as I usually don’t with anime because I don’t read all that much manga, it is still enjoyable. Seeing how things unfold and trying to work out what will happen next is also pretty fun. It’s a different kind of pleasure from a story but still perfectly pleasurable.

So here is where I’d like to open the discussion.

  1. What’s the worst spoiler you’ve ever been given? (Dumbledore’s death doesn’t count.)
  2. Do you care if you know what’s going to happen in a story before you begin?
  3. How much information do you consider too much?