Review: Tokyo Ghoul

People eating other people usually isn’t a particularly palatable topic on screen (see what I did there?).  For some reason while television and film, may that be anime or otherwise, has in recent times glamourised the concept vampires and all that comes with them, it has very rarely and only cautiously dabbled into the realms of cannibalism.

Tokyo Ghoul then steps bravely into this gap, telling a story where eating people is not accepted or chosen but is necessary. It is a story that questions society as well as the morality of those within it.

Background and plot

The world in which Tokyo Ghoul is much the same as modern Japan today. Set in Tokyo (well, duh), the world is inhabited by humans and ghouls. To the eye there are no difference between the two, with ghouls fitting into society seamlessly, with only one thing giving them away: devoured humans. The one difference between humans and ghouls is simple – ghouls eat humans.

Kaneki lives a totally normal human life in the show - for about 10 minutes at least.
Kaneki lives a totally normal human life in the show – for about 10 minutes, at least.

As with any horror based plot, the main character is unassuming and in this case lonely and parentless university student, Kaneki Ken. Kaneki lives his typical human life quite happily until a date with the seemingly like minded and beautiful Riza goes wrong when he becomes her dinner. After being saved by an accident (?) Kaneki is forced to have an organ transplant to save his life, and thus transforming him into part ghoul.

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The Anime Amateur on YouTube!

Hey all, for the first time I’ve posted a video to YouTube! It’s my top 20 anime openings 2008-15. My video editing isn’t the best, but hopefully you’ll enjoy some of the openings and maybe you could let me know what some of your favourite openings are as well?

UPDATE:

Video has been muted following several copyright claims (figures). I’m having a look into it and seeing if there is anyway in which the video can be on YouTube with some kind of sound.

UPDATE:

After filling a dispute against the copyright claims on my video, the audio has been restored!

Building the Japanese Bookshelf: Battle Royale

It’s often the case that novels that are controversial are also very good. A fantastic example of this is Houshun Takami’s Battle Royale. Released in 1999, the novel was widely criticised for its barbarity and the similarities that were drawn between Takami’s fictional state and Japan. It’s credentials as a cult classic however, were undeniable and within the first few years of it’s release critical opinion in Japan had swung.

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Battle Royale is story that needs little introduction. Every year, a middle school class from each prefecture is taken to a remote, uninhabited area and told to fight until only one of them is left alive. The story is told from a third person point of view, but focuses largely on Shuya Nanahara, a boy popular with the girls who enjoys illegal, foreign rock music. As is not uncommon in each incarnation of the ‘programme’, Shuya and his friend Noriko, harbour hopes of somehow being able to both escape alive. After they meet up with the distant Kagawa, these hopes seem to come closer to reality.

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Review: DanMachi

Dan Machi or Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon was billed as one of the biggest show of this spring’s anime line up. Based on the light novel series by Fujino Ōmori, it is a show portraying a teenage boy’s dream: the underdog hero who exceeds all expectations in a dungeon full of monsters and beautiful girls – who incidentally, all happen to love him.

Bell's pretty enthusiastic, you've got to give him that.
Bell’s pretty enthusiastic, you’ve got to give him that.

Background and plot

In the city of Orario there is a giant dungeon that is the domain of monsters and glory seeking adventurers. It also happens that the God’s have decided to transcend to this city, giving up their heavenly power (for the most part), creating familia of adventurers to advance far into the dungeon. The main character is Bell Cranel, a young boy with no family who seeks out a familia to join and begin adventuring. He ends up with Hestia, in a familia that comes as close to a group of hobos as is possible when you’re led by a God.

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First Impressions: GATE

So after reading my first impressions of Charlotte yesterday and then watching the show you decided you want something that speaks to you a bit more: you want more monsters and medieval Japanese soldiers. The thing is you liked the modern setting of Charlotte and would like some kind of modern involvement in the next show you watch. If that is indeed the case I have found just the show for you.

Medieval mounted Japanese general in modern Tokyo. Sorry, what?
Medieval mounted Japanese general in modern Tokyo. Sorry, what?

GATE begins in modern Japan, focusing on Youji, an Otaku who lives and works for his hobby. On the way to a convention, he finds that Tokyo is being attacked by monsters and regimented medieval soldiers like he would see out his dream manga, anime or other otaku related media form. Being experienced in these kind of events, he takes control saving many civilians, earning himself a promotion in the army and stems back the tide of enemies.

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First Impressions: Charlotte

It’s new anime time! Spring has finished and with the coming of the new season comes a lot of new shows.

Possibly the most highly anticipated of the summers shows is Charlotte. Written Jun Maeda and produced by Key Studios, we’re seeing, for the first time, the same combination that created Angel Beats!. No wonder people are excited.

So the main characters have super powers. Sounds good.
So the main characters have super powers. Sounds good.

Charlotte takes place in a largely normal world where are very small amount of teenagers have supernatural powers. One such person is the main character, Yuu Otasaka, who has the power to take over the consciousness of others around him. For much of the first episode, he uses his power to cheat in tests to get into a top school and then to impress the girl he likes – it makes him come across as pretty dislikable kind of guy. That said this episode sets the show up as a good comedy.

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Review: Plastic Memories

I’m 20 and male and am not ashamed to say that every so often it’s nice to sit down and watch something that doesn’t have guns, swords, dragons, bad guys or a cataclysmic event. An example of such a show is Plastic Memories, with the simple point of the show being romance – sure things happen but the main reason for the show is it’s love story.

What you see is what you get with Plastic Memories.
What you see is what you get with Plastic Memories.

Background and plot

Somewhere in the not too distant future the world is populated by humans and Giftias, fully intelligent androids who are completely integrated into the world. The story focuses on the retrieval service of the SAI corporation, the organisation that is responsible for recovering Giftias at the end of their lives. Tsukasa, a young man who has recently finished college but failed because of illness gets a job in the Retrieval Service.  Enter Isla, a giftia who also works at the retrieval service and becomes Tsukasa’s partner.

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5 shows to get you started in the anime world

So you’ve stumbled across this blog knowing nothing about anime or you’re just looking for some recommendations for shows to start with. Lucky you, because I’m going to share my top 5 shows that every anime newbie should watch. These aren’t necessarily the best shows, but they do cover well liked and accessible areas that will help you decide what other shows you might like in the future.

5. Sword Art Online

Not everyone likes Sword Art Online, in fact the ‘serious’ anime community (whoever they are), actively dislikes it. That said it’s actually very popular, and for good reason. Think swords, fairies and dragons – plus it’s based within a game. The themes of the show open it up to pretty much anyone and it’s a good example of great anime artwork.

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Seraph of the End, episode 11: Reunion of Childhood Friends

At the end of the last episode the inevitable happened, Yu and Mika met each other again. Perhaps unconventionally so in as much as Yu stabs a cursed gear through Mika’s chest. That left us all waiting eagerly to the resolution in this weeks episode.

Touching, shame they realised after Yu stabbed Mika.
Touching, shame they realised after Yu stabbed Mika.

What becomes clear from this episode are two things: firstly, Mika sees his relationship with Yu as somewhere on a fine line between brothers and lovers and, potentially more importantly, Yu has something else to worry about that may be even worse than his own demon, Ashuramru.

This is another high intensity episode as the vampires led by Ferid and Crawley continue the fight against the human army.

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Review: Absolute Duo

As you might have seen a couple of weeks ago I posted my first First Impressions article. Looking over the internet, it seems to be a pretty widely used format for overviewing the first few episodes of a show. However, the most important form of reviewing, in my mind at least, will be always be the season review – such as this one. Why? Because the start of a show can misleading, it’s often the case that a show with a bad beginning can improve in the latter episodes, or, as is the case with Absolute Duo, a promising show can make a turn for the worse.

Background and Plot

The premise is as follows: a group of selected school kids have been given the power to materialise the essence of their souls as weapons, called blazes. At the school, the students, known as exceeds, work together as duos, living and training together. The story focuses on a boy called Toore Kokonoe and his duo partner Julie (u-lee-a) Sigtuna as they navigate the beginning of their school lives.

Toore and one member of the harem.
Toore and one member of the harem.

The point of the story seems to be the development of Toore and his relationship with Julie. We get a problem with the plot after episode 3 when events are completely ignored in favour of starting new plot lines which only seem to bring more girls into Toore’s life for no other reason than this is harem show and it needs the main character to be loved by girls. The truth is I don’t mind a good harem based show, but Absolute Duo wasted what was looking like a deep and serious plot.

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Thoughts and ramblings on anime, manga and visual novels