Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Characters Who Smoke

This post is a little earlier in the day than normal and that’s because in about 7 hours (give or take) Raistlin and I are going to reveal our super secret project we’ve been teasing about on Twitter. Be sure to check back later for the post.

There’s a definite distance created when watching anime. In real life I cannot stand the smell of smoke or cigarettes and yet there are some anime characters out there that just look perfectly right when they light up their smoke, pipe, or whatever else. So today I am counting down my favourite 5 characters who are smokers and I invite the readers as always to give a shout out to your favourite characters as well.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions: Jean Havoc (Full Metal Alchemist) and Toshio Ozaki (Shiki).

Number 5: Shinya Kougami (Psycho Pass)

Psycho Pass.jpg

It seems kind of odd for Kougami to only come in at number 5 and yet that is definitely the case. Mostly because his smoking always seemed like a crutch to show he’d become broken down after everything and it never really fit with his excessive exercise and drive to find the culprit. That said, like with most things Kogami did, he looked very good while doing it.

Number 4: Worick (Gangsta)

Worrick.png

Unlike Kogami, smoking really does fit with Worick’s character and lifestyle. It would actually be harder to imagine him not being a smoker. In the gritty world of Gangsta the cigarettes are pretty tame compared to the many other entertainments that could be found.

Number 3: Mikoto Suoh (K)

Suoh.gif

At least Mikoto will never have to worry about finding a light. The Red King again manages to make the cigarettes seem an extension of his character rather than something that is tacked on. It fits with his image and firey nature. It also makes a nice moment toward the end when he shares a smoke with the Blue King.

Number 2: Franken Stein (Soul Eater)

Franken Stein.gif

Could anyone else imagine this crazy character without his smokes? There’s something very careless about Stein and his overall appearance and temperament seem to lend themselves to living in the now. Though I have to wonder if smoking while dissecting a rare creature is particularly good practice.

Number 1: Yuuko (xxxHolic)

xxxHolic2

She’s such a classy and beautiful character and her elegant pipe just kind of finishes her image perfectly. Again, it is harder to imagine removing this aspect from the character as it really is a part of who she is. Besides, despite her outward appearance of being together and focused, when done with her work Yuuko is quite the whimsical individual who definitely lives for the pleasure of the moment.

There they are, my top 5 anime characters who smoke. Be sure to share your favourites in the comments below.


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Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime Bookworms

As an avid bookworm myself I definitely appreciate seeing characters who read, who talk about books, and who generally respect stories and it is no surprise that some of my favourite characters ever are bookworms (though there are plenty of book reading characters who are neither here nor there really). Today I’m counting down my top 5 anime bookworms and why I enjoy them so much (though those who have been following the blog for awhile will already know who number one is sure to be).

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable mention: Sunako from Shiki and Makashima from Psycho Pass. Okay, I seriously want to add Makashima onto the list and I just can’t fit him so here’s a picture anyway.

Number 5: Jibril (No Game No Life)

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Jibril loves knowledge. As a member of the Flugel race she craves it and after defeating the King of Imanity in a game she claimed the library as her own. There’s something really special about a character who is powerful enough to have more or less anything and she picks the library and while her reaction to a tablet full of books from a world she didn’t know may have been a bit over the top, you have to appreciate the enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge.

Number 4: Kaneki Ken (Tokyo Ghoul)

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While I haven’t much liked much of Tokyo Ghoul since season one, it is undeniable that I quite liked Kaneki’s character way back when. The shy book loving boy who just wanted the pretty girl to notice him and discuss books with him was adorable and the tragedy that befell him suitably heart wrenching. If only they’d continued to evolve his character sensibly from that point I probably would still love Kaneki as a character. Still, any guy who thinks of a bookshop for a date is definitely going to get a spot on my list.

Number 3: Nagato Yuki (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya)

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The only member of the literature club who then is forcibly joined into the SOS brigade, Nagato is very seldom seen without a book. She even passes message to Kyon about meeting by lending him a book (a failed strategy when he at first just forgets to read the book and it isn’t until the second night he gets the message). Still, she’s persistent. It is hard to figure out whether Nagato actually enjoys reading or whether it is just a habit, but she’s one bookworm you do not want to mess with, or apparently try to verse at any kind of computer strategy game.

Number 2: Chito (Girls’ Last Tour)

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Chito’s genuine joy and love at finding a book and her genuine horror at Yuu’s callous destruction of a book, is something that really drew me to her character during Girls’ Last Tour’s run. There’s a lot to like about the quieter and more contemplative of the pair, and I definitely think that anyone who wants to save books even at the end of the world deserves to be mentioned on this list with love.

Number 1: Maka Albarn (Soul Eater)

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In fairness, I think Maka loves studying more than she actually likes books, and yet she’s a badass character who takes time to read, to learn, and to genuinely bury herself in words. Although, she isn’t above using a book as a weapon of mass destruction should the person near her annoy her enough. Honestly though, Maka and books are more or less inseparable in my mind and they are a part of what made her character so incredibly relatable and memorable to me all those years ago. I love Maka as a character and she well and truly deserves the number one spot on this list.

Maka Chop

So I’m dying to know who your favourite anime bookworm is. Be sure to let me know in the comments.


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Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: English Dubbed Anime

While I’m pretty much a strictly sub-watcher under normal circumstances, there are the occasional anime that for whatever reason I’ve enjoyed in English or had to watch the English dub of. Today I count down my five favourite anime that I’m pretty happy to watch in English. At some point I’ll have to count down my top 5 least favourite dubs, but for now I’m counting down my favourites and I’d love to know what some of your favourite dubbed anime is and why.

Please note, there will probably be no spoilers this week.

Honourable Mentions: K

Number 5: Bleach

Fight-Bleach

Bleach is a weird one because I know the dub isn’t that great (not that bad, but not that great). However, given this was one of the earlier anime I watched and initially I was watching episodes in smaller than ten minute chunks on YouTube so the subs were not always done by the same group and some episodes were in English with Spanish subs, actually getting to listen to it in English and not try to work out what the slightly different translated term or name was in the subs was kind of a relief when I could access it in English. There’s definitely a fondness and a nostalgia factor at work here and realistically I mostly watch this one in Japanese now that I own the DVD’s, but when watching with others I’m pretty happy to watch this either subbed or dubbed.

Number 4: Soul Eater

Maka + Soul

Is it wrong if I admit I prefer Maka’s English voice over her Japanese? She’s one of my favourite female characters of all time, one I’ve bothered to cosplay, and I think she’s amazing but something about Laura Bailey’s delivery in the English dub really lifts this character. Again, no actually issue with the original Japanese and I prefer Black Star in Japanese to English (though personally I’d prefer him on mute) but overall this is one of my favourite anime and I watch it in English about half the time I watch it.

Number 3: Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood

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This is another anime I originally watched online, somewhere, because everyone said it was amazing and I didn’t have access. The version I watched just happened to be an English dub and I really fell in love with the characters. By the time I was able to by a DVD copy of this anime, I kind of felt the English voices fit things just right and I actually find it odd when watching this one in Japanese. There’s a real energy to the cast and the characters really do come through beautifully in the dub.

Number 2: Sword Art Online

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While I love the Japanese of this one, this is an anime that I’ve used on multiple occasions to get people into watching anime so I’ve watched the dub, a lot. At first it kind of bothered me but over multiple watches, the voices have definitely grown on me. There are some characters that really do give a fairly impressive performance in the cast and while I prefer Kirito speaking Japanese, he works quite well in the English dub. More importantly, most of the people I’ve watched it with have been impressed by the voice acting given most of them had previously had limited experience with anime and most of the dubs they had been familiar with were 90’s ones which we should probably all agree just weren’t very good.

Number 1: Steins;Gate

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Yes, it is the original Steins;Gate series. I’ve mentioned in more than one comment online that this one of the few series where I prefer the dub. Not only are the cast amazing, it relieves the problem of the very quick dialogue and multiple characters speaking at the same time. While I have no issues with subs, when the subs cover a third of the screen and pass so quickly you can’t read it all at times, it becomes a slight distraction from the overall enjoyment. Watching this in English is a joy and one I would happily recommend skipping the subs on and just switching straight to dub.

What are some of your favourite dubs?


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Antagonists With Inhuman Characteristics

Antagonists and villains are visually quite fun characters because they usually end up as fashion disasters or twisted into weird caricatures. Today I want to look at five villains and antagonists that have inhuman characteristics that I think are still pretty cool looking (or at the very least they are memorable). I’d love to know your picks so please leave me a comment below.

At some point I’ll have to look at love interests and protagonists with inhuman characteristics but those will be a lot harder to narrow down.

Please note, there will be spoilers below.

Honourable Mentions: Pretty much every villain in Sailor Moon ever.


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Number 5: The Beast Titan (Attack on Titan Season 2)

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I wasn’t the biggest fan of Attack on Titan season 2, but I did love the beast titan. I would have loved for him to be more important in the season and spend more time on screen. He was a fascinating presence in the first episode and his return later to royally mess things up for the group in the tower was fantastic. More of this character definitely would have made the viewing experience a bit better.

 

Number 4: Amaimon (Blue Exorcist)

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Again, not an anime I’m majorly in love with but Amaimon was kind of cool. Okay, he was a jerk who likes messing with people, but the nails, the ears, his tail, and just his general playful yet cruelly malicious personality just kind of work. And they aren’t trying to make him out to be one of the good guys. He is a nasty piece of work, but he does the job well.

Number 3: Neferpitou (Hunter X Hunter)

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I still haven’t gotten to the end of Hunter x Hunter but Neferpitou is fantastic. Okay, she’s horrible, but she’s kind of supposed to be. Plus, look at that face. She’s truly adorable. Actually she reminds me entirely of my cat who will happily sleep on my pillow but try and move her and you suddenly discover she has four claws and teeth and she isn’t afraid to use them.

Number 2: The Millennium Earl (D Gray Man)

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I can’t help but wonder about the kind of crazy person who would agree to a deal with the Millennium Earl. I know he doesn’t always look quite that sinister, but even at his most innocuous, he’s still pretty creepy. This is the face of someone who can and will destroy the world. Not just monologuing about how bad he is, this guy is going to actively work towards his goal and he’s pretty successful at it. If this was live action that would be the stuff of nightmares.


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Number 1: Little Demon (Soul Eater)

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Not so much a villain or antagonist so much as an inner demon to be faced and overcome by the central characters. The Little Demon starts out fairly small and manageable as a voice in Soul Eater’s subconscious. But as Soul and then Maka give in to madness the Little Demon grows and becomes far more menacing. One of my favourite characters from one of my favourite shows, The Little Demon is both adorable and terrifying and has great taste in music.

That’s this week’s list and as always, I’d love to know who you would have included on yours.


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Karandi James

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Tuesday’s Top 5: Non-Weapon Items Used as Weapons

Alright, this list could literally go on forever because anime has used a lot of items that we usually don’t consider weapons in fights. Cards, coins, crosses, hair pins… You name it and some anime character somewhere has attempted to weaponise it (probably successfully). I narrowed this list down to characters and items that were genuinely fun to watch in action and where the item was used in its standard form and didn’t have some magic transformation applied to it (sorry Orihime’s hairpins but that ruled you out). Weapon effectiveness was not the primary consideration which explains a few of the choices below. That said, this was a fun list to make and I’d really love to see what you would have included on your list so please leave a comment below.

Please Note: There may be some spoilers below.

Honourable mention this week goes to Lin Shaolee in Black Cat for their creative use of a scarf as a weapon (though a lot of the weapons in Black Cat could have ended up on this list). The other honourable mention:

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I’m just going to leave this here and get on with my list.

Number 5: D Gray Man – Soccer Ball

You have to admit, soccer is not the first thing you think about when someone mentions D Gray Man. In a show full of weird weapons as every Innocence is just a little bit unique, Daisya Barry’s stands out because it is just a ball and he is just a kid playing even when fighting for his life. For a character that only really appeared in three episodes his impact is enormous because his personality is a breath of fresh air, the impact he has on others is incredible, and then he dies tragically (as do most side characters in D Gray Man so I guess we all saw it coming). Still, odd ball weapon choice and still incredibly awesome to watch.

Number 4: Hunter X Hunter – Fishing Rod

Again, Hunter X Hunter is full of plenty of weird items being used as weapons, but I think Gon’s fishing rod is a classic. I kind of thought it was cute when he was training to be a hunter and was using a fishing rod, and then the more we learned about being a hunter the weirder it seemed and some of the situations Gon ended up using that rod are fantastically non-sensical and yet it always ends up pretty effective. But mostly this made the list because it so suits Gon’s personality. I did notice that he was using it less often as the story progressed and I still have a fair way to go through the series so I’m kind of hoping it doesn’t get totally forgotten later.

Number 3: Black Butler – Cutlery

Did anyone seriously think I was going to make this list without adding Sebastian to it? The reason this isn’t number one is because I’m pretty positive the only reason these weapons are effective is because they are being thrown by a demon. I somehow don’t think the average person is going to throw a fork hard enough to penetrate skull from a distance (I could be wrong but I hope not). Still, watching Sebastian in action with the silverware… Just another reason he is one hell of a butler.

Number 2: Soul Eater – Tombstone

For a show about people who can literally transform into weapons, Sid’s first fight might seem a little underwhelming given he is just hurling his own tombstone around. And yet, in any other show awesome. Here’s a zombie literally fighting off his attackers by pummeling them with his own tombstone. There’s a certain level of craziness to that idea that really appeals and it doesn’t hurt that this fight is the first time we see Maka and Black Star ‘working’ together.

Number 1: Love, Chuunibyou and Other Delusions – Pigtails

Yep, it is the Dekimori Spin and other random attacks by Dekimore (aka Sanae). Okay, her attacks are almost never effective but they are always awesome to watch whether we see her own delusional version of the attack or whether we see the real world action, it is always fun. Including the time she tangles herself in her own hair and falls over. I also liked the time she increased the weights on her hair fora more effective attack and then couldn’t even really move. Yes, weaponised pigtails. We definitely need to see more of this even though I’m pretty sure most villains will not be shaking in their boots.

There’s my list for the week and as I said before, I’d love to hear what you would add on your list. What’s your favourite non-weapon item that has been weaponised?


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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: Girls in a Shonen Anime

I was inspired to write this list after watching My Hero Academia episode 22 on the weekend and then seeing this tweet:

Tweet - Shonen.JPG

It got me thinking about all the female characters in shonen anime and how usually they get sidelined or end up in support roles (healer, archer, etc). So I started thinking about my favourite female characters in these shows who defy the odds and actual get to be a front line fighter (even if only in the lead ups to final battles where the male protagonist of course steals back the show – it is shonen afterall). My other criteria for a spot on the list was I actually had to like them as a character. Just being a crazy fighter didn’t quite cut it if I couldn’t stand them whenever they were on screen.

Anyway, this is my list and I’d love for you to tell me who you would have included on yours.

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Honourable Mentions: Mikasa from Attack on Titan and Morgiana from Magi.

Number 5: Lenalee from D Gray Man

I really wondered about Lenalee and whether to include her or not. Mikasa was looking fairly tempting given she’s undeniably a better fighter, but Lenalee wins in terms of mostly having an actual personality other than save Eren. So what makes Lenalee awesome? During the early half of D Gray Man, she’s a very active fighter. She shows Allan the ropes of being part of the order and she holds her own in some pretty horrific fights. The first battle Lenalee and Allan have against Road Camelot takes a massive toll on both Lenalee and Allan but Lenalee is in that fight all the way. The second half of the original 103 episodes Lenalee gets a couple of exceedingly cool moments with a fight that literally destroys her innocence and ends up encasing her in crystal. She’s pretty much out of active combat at that point until we get to the final battle of that particular run of episodes where Lenalee’s innocence evolves and she gets a brand new power up just in time to help Allan win the fight. Admittedly though, you are just as often going to see Lenalee serving various characters cups of tea.

Number 4: Rukia from Bleach

Rukia is another strong female character that suffers from having her power broken/stolen/whatever in order to allow the male character a chance to actual grow and catch up. It would be lovely if we could just a female character strong and not need to be crippled for a good chunk of the plot for narrative convenience but apparently that is asking for a little too much (back to Mikasa, she hasn’t been crippled physically but emotionally she’s pretty stunted). Anyway, Rukia doesn’t get to show us how amazing she is for pretty much the entire first three seasons given Ichigo takes her power at the end of episode 1. Still, if you make it past that point, when Rukia comes back into the show you see the very capable shinigami that she is and her sword definitely does have one of the prettiest attacks in the show, if freezing your enemies solid can be considered pretty. What I really like about Rukia is her versatility. She uses her sword but she also uses a range of other attacks and thinks through her fights.

Number 3: Uraraka from My Hero Academia

Okay, one tournament fight does not make her an awesome fighter but seriously, Uraraka has been hanging in there right from the beginning. Despite a pretty timid personality she has stepped up to every challenge so far. She’s also a nice person. We’ve recently learned how fierce her desire to be a hero is and yet she still tried to give away her spot to Midoriya after the entrance exam. That’s a pretty impressive move for someone who is desperate to succeed. However, nice or not, hanging in there through every challenge including villains attacking the school, none of that is the reason for her place on the list. That one tournament fight is enough to show us that this girl is deadly serious about becoming a hero one day. She may not be there yet but her tenacity, skill, and focus were amazing and this girl really needs more attention on her.

Number 2: Akari from Hitsugi no Chaika

This one might be a weird choice and I will admit her weird brother focus does kind of make her a weird character at times, but Akari is fantastic. As a saboteur she’s got a fair range of skills at her disposal. I know most of the focus is on Toru, but Akari is in pretty much every fight and the majority of them wouldn’t have succeeded without her presence given the two siblings plan and one acts as bait or a distraction while the other usually either sets up the trap or pulls off whatever goal they are currently working towards. Also, there are two occasions where Akari turns on Toru (once for fun and once after brain washing). Both times, Akari pushes Toru hard. If you think Akari is just there for comic relief or rival love interest, think again. She’s a cold fighter and you better not be her opponent.

Number 1: Maka from Soul Eater

Okay, this was a given from the get go. Maka is not only an awesome fighter, hard worker, and academic, she’s also one of the few girls on the list who doesn’t lose her powers midway through a series and gets to be the main character and doesn’t lose out to the main guy in the show. Admittedly, she does go a little mad during one of the story arcs, but crazy Maka is kind of fun too (and a significantly stronger fighter due to a lack of care for personal safety). Actually, Soul Eater gets a double hit here because I’d love to also add Tsuabaki (Black Star’s weapon) to the list. She doesn’t get the spot light much but when she does, she really shines (plus she deserves a medal for putting up with Black Star).

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So that’s my list this week with my top 5 girls in shonen anime (okay, technically 6). I’d love to know who would have been on your list and which girls stand out to you.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Fight Sequences

I thought this list would be pretty easy but then I ended up with a short list so long I couldn’t even begin to figure out where to go from there so I’ve narrowed the field. This is my choice of top 5 fight sequences that involve a blade of some description. So magic fights, gun fights, hand to hand fights, and random other weapons are being ruled out before this list even begins (though if one person in the fight is using a blade, I’ve kept it in the running even if the opponent isn’t). I’ll have to go back and do a list of fights that involve some of those at some point but that’s not today. Pretty much what I am looking for in a fight sequence is that it looks good, is entertaining, and serves some purpose in the overall story.

As always, I’d love to know what you would include on your list so please feel free to leave a comment below.

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions this week go to Angel Beats (Yurippe vs Tenshi) and Attack on Titan (pretty much any time Levi is actually fighting).

Number 5: Higurashi (Rena vs Keiichi)

For an anime about school children, Higuarshi regularly get’s quite dark. However, there aren’t all that many direct fights as the characters are more prone to acts of torture, drugging opponents, setting traps, and generally go about things in a less direct but still fairly lethal manner. That’s kind of what makes the fight between Rena and Keiichi on the rooftop of the school extraordinary. It is one of the few stand up fights of the series and is an excellent way for the first season to draw to a close. Now I’ll be the first to admit, Higurashi is not a good anime to look at. Characters are off model a lot and the animation is awkward at times. That didn’t interfere with this fight being very cool to watch as it really brought out the characters, addressed some of the ongoing questions about what was going on, and it certainly had high stakes given the situation they were in. All and all, this fight was a great mid-way point in Higurashi’s ongoing story and one I thoroughly enjoy watching.

Number 4: Sword Art Online (Kirito vs The Gleam Eyes)

As much as people like to criticise SAO, I really enjoy it and one of the fights I never get enough of is Kirito vs The Gleam Eyes. Partly its the impossible situation the characters are in. Neither Asuna nor Kirito were looking for a boss fight and it was only because the other group of morons trudged into a boss room unprepared that they get involved at all. partly its because we finally see Kirito use the dual welding skill and the sword that he had made. But a lot of the reason I like this fight is it is just fun and dramatic to watch. Okay, we know Kirito is going to win the fight from the beginning, but that does not take away from the way this sequence builds excitement and tension. Although, from a visual point of view they really do get a bit excessive with the light show at times and I’m guessing if you look at fights for actual technique this one probably won’t do much for you. Mind you, a lot of the credit has to go to the music in this scene. They really nailed it.

Number 3: Soul Eater (Maka vs Jack the Ripper)

The very first episode of Soul Eater delivers one of the best fight sequences I had ever watched (when I first saw the episode). It was the reason I fell in love with the series and Maka as a character. She’s cool, confident, and she is rocking that scythe. Anyway, if you’ve never seen this particular fight, you should check it out (it is literally all over YouTube or you know, watch the anime). Though I still love this fight, Soul Eater is full of interesting battles between characters, and some fairly interesting weapons, and really ends up being visually fascinating to watch.

Number 2: Bleach (Gin vs Hitsugaya)

Alright, you kind of had to know Bleach was showing up on this list sooner or later, and here it is. The reason for this fight over most of the others is that even though both Captains use their swords there are no bankai going on here, no over the top silly powers, just a nice simple fight between two characters, that may or may not end up involving bystanders, Gin really does fight dirty. Part of me loves this fight because Hitsugaya really has lost his cool entirely and part of me loves this fight because even though Hitsugaya has the upper hand most of the way through the fight, because he doesn’t consider that Gin will use underhanded methods, he still technically loses. It is great fun to watch and in a show filled with epic, ongoing and long winded fights, this one is short, brutal, and fairly effective (even if not quite as spectacular as some of the others).

Number 1: DanMachi (Bell vs the Minotaur)

Given the series starts with Bell getting cornered by a Minotaur, the turning point for the story and Bell as a character is when he finally is forced to take on a Minotaur single handedly in order to buy time for others to escape. Eventually other adventurers show up but by that stage Bell is pretty committed to taking the thing down by himself and what follows is one of the best fight sequences I’ve ever seen. Tiny dagger and character against very large and strong minotaur, it literally takes everything Bell has got (speed, magic, endurance, as well as a lot of tenacity) to win the fight and it is so worth it. It is one of those moments you can’t look away from. For all the silliness that DanMachi has littered through it, it is the moments like this one that really make the show shine. This sequence is cool to watch, it has a lot of memorable moments, there’s some real tension and fear for the protagonist’s safety (though you know he’ll live there’s definitely the question of how injured they’ll let him get), and the pace is fantastic. All and all, this is a fight that I love rewatching.

So that is my top 5 fights (using blades of some description). What would you have put on your list? Looking forward to your responses.


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime I’d Like to See Rebooted

Clearly this list is just a personal wish list. Essentially, there’s a lot of anime out there with great premises and interesting ideas, but so many anime just don’t make use of that potential or end really badly. Like, incredibly train derailed into mountain pass before sliding into a chasm badly. So this is my wish list of 5 anime I feel could be really amazing if redone (and by that I don’t mean following the manga or other source material more closely, but I mean they actually think about the story they want to tell and just tell it without all the clutter or distractions and with a clear purpose and end point).

I’d love to know what is on your wish list for anime reboots so please leave a comment below.

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions this week go to Higurashi, Sword Art Online, and Gilgamesh.

Number 5: Vampire Knight

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As much as I have mocked vampire knight when talking about it (the anime version of Twilight) there is actually something quite interesting about the idea of a vampire hunter starting a school where humans and vampires co-exist. And the pure blooded vampire with his own agenda living at the school is kind of interesting. As is the child of the hunter family who has been bitten by a vampire and is slowly turning into one. I’d love to see this story redone with a little more focus on the darker aspects and a little less on Yuki’s indecisive love triangle (okay, every Vampire Knight fan now hates me).

Number 4: Claymore

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I really loved Claymore. Until we got to the end which was rushed and inconclusive. Seriously. This is a great concept for a story and the characters are interesting. The world building was well done. Why did we get that ending? I’d love this anime to be redone with a clear focus on where it is going and an actual ending.

Number 3: Fruits Basket

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My issue with this one is I did go and read the manga. The story in the anime was so inconclusive. We still knew nothing about the curse or why Akito was such a psycho or anything. There’s so many interesting characters and the central story around the Souma family is fascinating but the anime is happy to just follow Honda around on her daily life. Reboot please with the focus on the cursed family. It may not be the happy healing experience that the current anime is, but there’s definitely a good story to tell here.

Number 2: Soul Eater

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Soul Eater has been showing up a lot lately. As much as I love this anime, that ending was bad. Inexcusably bad. That and there’s probably a lot of padding that the series could afford to lose. I’d love to see a much tighter focus on the main villain rather than all the other villains they face off against and actually just watch the students and teachers prepare for and fight that battle. It would be different but I think the show could really benefit from a much stronger focus and a conclusion that doesn’t leave people stunned by how lame it is.

Number 1: Bleach

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It had to be. As much as I am in love with Bleach as a series and as much as Bleach is a big part of the reason I became an anime fan as an adult, there are some real issues with Bleach as a story because of its excessive length, scope, and endless rounds of filler. Now that the manga is finished can we decide what the main point of the story is and just tell that story. 50 episodes. Bleach in 50 episodes. Really trim everything unnecessary from the mix and just tell the core story with the characters you actually need. I would absolutely love to see this. Either that or give Hitsugaya his own show. I’d be pretty happy with that (joking – kind of).

Okay, so over to you. What would you like to see rebooted?


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Tuesday’s Top 5: Anime With Action

Alright, I’ve looked at romantic anime before but this time I’m shifting my focus to action. It is really hard to get a definitive classification on whether something is action or not. Does one fight sequence really make for action? And how do you compare action used for comedy with gritty realistic fight sequences, and then how do you compare those to the over the top craziness that is most action in anime? In the end my criteria for this list was that the fight sequences themselves were a strength of the show and integral to the narrative. So yes there are anime out there with more action and maybe even more impressive action sequences, this is the list of anime that I came up with.

I’d love to know what action anime you love and why. Please comment below.

Patrons, be sure to check out my lesser top 5 list. The anime on the list this week are all actually decent anime (in their own way – okay one of them is terrible no matter how you slice it) but the action in them is not so awesome.

Please Note – There will be spoilers below.

Honourable mentions this week go to Full Metal Alchemist and Claymore.

Number 5: Soul Eater

While I’d love to put Soul Eater far higher on this list (because Soul Eater is just plain awesome) when looking just at the action of the series I have to admit there are some really wasted moments and some fairly disappointing outcomes in some of the fights. The reason this stayed on the list at all is Maka. Her fights, right from episode 1, are some of the most amazing fight sequences I’ve seen from a female character in anime. She’s not using a ranged weapon, she’s not moral support, she’s out there in the thick of the fight and swinging around a weapon that realistically she shouldn’t be able to pick up. If we ignore the final fight (which, please do), all of Maka’s battles are just a joy to watch. If you’re interested my series review is here.

Number 4: Gangsta

This one is a bit more realistic than Soul Eater but still goes for spectacle and humans who can perform inhuman feats. Nicolas, as a tag, really shows off what he can do and given he seems to just like the rush his fights aren’t about efficiency, they are definitely about fun. Of course, most of his opponents also seem to be enjoying themselves so while the fight might be about life and death, you can’t help but get caught up in the enthusiasm of the clash itself. Again, I’ve reviewed this series so if you are interested the review is here.

Number 3: Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

I know I just heard the sound of jaws collectively hitting the ground but there is a reason for this choice. While Grimgar is a sleepy little fantasy that is focussed very much on the main character’s internal struggle to cope with this life he finds himself in, the action sequences are an absolutely integral part of this story. More importantly, because every fight is literally a matter of survival for both sides and the tragedy of death is introduced early as a central theme, every battle has a feeling of absolute finality. There are no small conflicts when a single arrow might bring you down and hesitating for a moment could be all the difference between life and death. If we couple this with Grimgar’s distinct art style then the action sequences here are not just deadly they are beautiful. So, while this might be a slow moving story, the action is anything but and if you haven’t given it a go you should probably check out my review and then go check out the anime.

Number 2: Owari no Seraph

This one I haven’t reviewed yet but it will definitely happen. I think what draws me to this is it is a vampire story but it doesn’t really try for horror or atmosphere. It really is a straight up us vs them battle for the right to rule and we have some pretty cool weapons and characters thrown into the mix. Certainly there’s a few issues with the story, particularly in the second half of the second season, but if you like humans (or mostly human) fighting against a superior supernatural force with high stakes than this anime is well worth a watch.

Number 1: Full Metal Panic

 

Again, I’ve yet to review this anime but it is a great action anime. You have military conflicts, robot fights, explosions in school shoe lockers, and pretty much any other kind of action you could be looking for in a story. The weird mix of serious narrative and high school comedy somehow works and actually the Fumoffu season which is pretty much entirely focussed on the mercenary’s day-to-day school life delivers some pretty amazing action in and of itself. Season 1 and Second Raid give us hostage situations and dramatic rescues, chase sequences, straight up military fights, and just such a range of scenes to enjoy it is kind of hard to overlook this one. As being a fighter is an essential part of Sousuke’s character and the action is used so much for both dramatic and humorous effect I just had to choose this as the number one for the list.

There we go, my top 5 action anime recommendations, though not necessarily the most action filled anime out there. What would you have put on your list?


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