Bowl Season Is Coming

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Gurren Lagann 14: Explosions

Gurren Lagann episode 14 review

About as boring of an episode as you can get. This episode was full of explosions. They were everywhere. Explosions, explosions, explosions. And all I could do was yawn.

Gurren Lagann has relied on explosions in the past, but not as much as in this episode. This one was utterly over the top and ridiculous. There wasn't much of an actual storyline as there simply was pyrotechnical action. I'm not sure how the plot was advanced because all I saw was fire, everywhere.

Probably one of the worst episodes of the series up to this point.

Character of the episode: Kittan
Really, no one deserved this award here.

Episode rating (out of four stars): *

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bowl Season

It's the newest gimmick on this blog! What could possibly top the Anime Bracket, the Voice Actor Draft, and the World Cup of Anime? Why, how about Bowl Season? After all, the name of this blog - "Anime Bowl" - came from the fact that there are so many different bowls in college football. So why not mix the two together - anime & college football?

The result is Bowl Season. Here, we will have 6 bowl games between various anime series. But, instead of me deciding the winner through my whims or you choosing the winner through votes, the winners will be decided in a completely new way - a video game simulation.

The video game to be used will be NCAA Football 14, a college football video game. What will happen is that 12 various anime series will have their characters turned into football players, and they'll actually have their players go at it on the football field. They will play in 6 various bowl games, based off real-life bowl games but instead with anime company sponsorships. At the end, there won't be a national champion as there is in real life. Rather, just six different winners of hard-fought games. Rumor has it that there may even be video broadcasts of the games...

Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks to find out which teams are invited to the six bowls, and - what really matters, of course - which anime companies will sponsor those six bowls!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

InuYasha TFA 1: What the heck's going on out here?

InuYasha The Final Act episode 1 review

If you haven't seen InuYasha in 5 years, well, wow. You're going to get bombarded by the amount of stuff that goes on just in the first 10 minutes of this episode. InuYasha's first act of its Final Act does not hold back. Every single major character from the series and even some of the minor ones appear as you get a crash course in InuYasha. It's fortunate that I know this series so well that I wasn't bamboozled by all the action coming my way.

The most compelling stories in this premiere episode of InuYasha's last arc are twofold: Hakudoshi's coup d'etat on Naraku with Kagura on his side, and Kageromaru (yes I had to look it up) and his attacks on Sango's younger brother Kohaku. This is actually quite a turn for Kagura as a character; back in the original series she was about as cold of a villain as you could get, and so evil that I hated her almost more than Naraku himself. Here in this episode she shows some signs of conflict, and it even gets to the point where InuYasha refuses to attack her. Miroku ends up sucking Hakudoshi into his Wind Tunnel and I have no idea if this is a real "death" for this detachment of Naraku or simply a temporary defeat.

The dubbing for this episode is stellar as it's always been in InuYasha. There is a minor drop-off for those characters whose actors were replaced; the most notable is Kohaku.(not really so much for Kagome after all). Overall, though, it seems as if many of the actors had never stopped. Kikyo's voice actress Willow Johnson is once again so brilliant and once more my favorite of all of them. She captures Kikyo's voice so perfectly and provides a maturity to it that few VAs can bring.

If this is the way InuYasha: The Final Act is going to go, then we're in for a real treat because this was about as action-packed and even emotion-filled as you'd hope. The Sango-Kohaku moment was a touching one, and the InuYasha-Kagome romance is picking up great. No complaints here for this one.

Character of the episode: Kagura
Hard to believe that I'd actually feel bad for Kagura.

Episode rating (out of four stars): ***½

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Gurren Lagann 13: Duck Hunt

Gurren Lagann episode 13 review


In reference to the duck-like pilots helping out the enemies in this episode, Seemoan/Simon was on the hunt of his opposition, and he won quite easily this time around. In fact he won so handily that I was quite disappointed in the battle, even with all its explosions.

This was more of a light-hearted episode, save for a few somber moments between Simon and Yoko. They miss Kamina, and so do I. However, I will say that I enjoyed the cooking by Nia as well as Leeron's usual antics.

Character of the episode: Nia
I miss her long hair, but I love her voice!

Episode rating (out of four stars): **½

TPI - Week 1

Here's the premiere episode of my new sports talk show, TPI! (Very sportsy, though there's an anime Easter egg in the background.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

2014, Week 11: 50:50

2014, Week 11: Packers 53, Eagles 20

2 straight games of at least 50 points for the Packers, who are on fire at home and started to get back the Lambeau magic which has been so missing in recent years.

What can I say? Aaron Rodgers is on fire, the defense is actually playing well, and it's a whole lot of fun right now in Green Bay. Now it's time for the team to take it on the road - to the University of Minnesota's home stadium against the Vikings - and see if they can't keep this up.

+'s & -'s:

+: Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Micah Hyde (punt return TD), Julius Peppers

-: Special teams (2 botched extra points and a blocked punt allowed, not to mention a missed 50-yard FG)

2014 Green Bay Packers: 7-3
Next week: at Minnesota

Free! & Thanksgiving (or lack of)

And you thought I'd be posting about the Packers' big win! (I will later, but I've started moving this blog to be more focused on anime dubs.)

This week, Funimation announced the dub cast for Free!, the immensely popular swimming anime of which I have not seen one snippet. Then came the heavyweight brouhaha. On one side you had the anime fandom lambasting the casting choices. On the other side you had voice actors such as Chris Ayres defending them. While it's obvious which side I'm on (the latter), I'd like to point out why this is exactly what's wrong with anime fandom.

You don't need to Google search to know the prevailing thought around otaku. "Anime industry is dying," they said. "Anime conventions are dying," they said. Well, who's doing the killing?

I know I'm just a random blogger with very few viewers, an anime fan with a football problem. But I have a unique perspective since I've been to very many anime cons and thus have heard opinions from many otaku as well as dub voice actors. And what I can see is that otaku are too busy cannibalizing their own rather than being thankful for what they have (ooh, a Thanksgiving theme!).

You've got the otaku who won't watch a dub if their lives depended on it and even go as far as to refuse to say the English translation of the title of a show. You've got the otaku who will blast the casting choices for dubs, even going as far as personal attacks and starting rumors. You've even got the otaku who will go to the extreme on the other side and make personal insults at those who disagree with casting choices. And you just have to wonder, does anyone actually like anime anymore?

Don't get me wrong, I will criticize the shows I don't enjoy, but I'm not going after people personally. Rather I go after Captain Levi and Kirito and deus ex machina. I don't attack fans of Sword Art Online or Vic Mignogna or even the casting directors.

But this has gone too far. Instead of destroying the voice actors and casting directors who are trying quite hard to make anime accessible to the masses, why can't we just be thankful for what we've got and be grateful that these shows will now be more likely to be watched by those who can't understand Japanese (me included)? It's just a shame to see people who are working hard on these shows blasted by the very people they're trying to serve. And let me tell you, these voice actors/casting directors are not getting paid well. Scott Freeman revealed at Matsuricon in 2013 he was working a side job as a grocer.

I may not like every voice acting performance, but I'm thankful for Funimation and the fact that they're putting out a dub for a show I may not have ever watched otherwise. I think that if other otaku did the same, perhaps we wouldn't have to have these discussions on "why the anime industry is dying." A little something to think about in a couple weeks when you're carving your turkey.