Day 4: Favourite female character

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Saber is a character that appears in many parts of the Fate series including Fate Zero and Fate Stay Night. For anyone that is not familiar with the Fate series, it is based around an event known as the Holy Grail War (well Zero and Stay Night are, I haven’t looked much deeper than that yet).

The Holy Grail War is a competition founded by the Matou, Einzbern and Tosaka families with the aim being to claim the Holy Grail which can only be obtained by the winning master and servant. By winning, the Holy Grail will grant one wish for each of the two members in the team. The masters are seven mages from different families and they are required to summon a servant/heroic spirit before the start of the war. Their heroic spirit will be summoned from a particular class, the classes include Saber, Lancer, Archer, Assassin, Caster, Berserker and Rider.

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Saber’s true identity is that of Artoria Pendragon (otherwise known as King Arthur), meaning that in her previous life she was born male although she does not care for gender and is usually referred to under her class name. She only sees herself as a tool for her master and her sole purpose is to win the Holy Grail but she will not abandon her chivalry to do so, she always tries to conduct a fair battle when facing opponents.

As well as chivalrous, Saber is also loyal, strong and independent. She appears cold at times but that is because she is focusing her goal of securing the Grail’s wish for her master and herself. We learn that her wish, should she obtain the grail is to undo her rule of Britain so that someone more suitable can take her place, as she felt a great sense of self doubt and loathing over her time as king especially when it came to the actions she took trying to save her people. She blames herself for the destruction of her kingdom and feels immense guilt over it but she eventually has to come to turns that her wish isn’t possible.

Saber’s wish has often been criticised as being selfish but I personally think it reflects a kind, although foolish, nature from her as she is willing to sacrifice herself to help her people. I think she was a pretty good ruler if she’s prepared to go that far for everyone but I do wish she would give her own wellbeing a bit more thought.

 

Day 3: Favourite male character

There were so many characters I could have chosen as my favourite male character. You would think that with Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure being my favourite anime that I would have chosen one from the long line up of male characters they have there. And believe me I was tempted but then I thought about Shoya Ishida from A silent voice and how realistically he was portrayed and that almost won me over, but not quite.

My favourite male character is actually Yukihira Soma from the anime Food Wars. It seemed like a weird choice to me because I wouldn’t say that Food Wars is one of my favourite animes, I don’t think I even put it in my top 20 but there’s something about Yukihira’s charisma and energy that I can’t help but love.

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“I didn’t expect to be admitted in the academy, but I don’t plan on losing to some bunch that has never stood in front of clients. I’ll use all of you as stepping stones. Now that I’m here, I’ll take the top”

Yukihira Soma is a chef at the Yukihira family restaurant but is sent to Totski Academy by his father who believes that life experience will benefit his cooking. And although Yukihira doesn’t agree that going to an academy is the way to do this, it is obvious that he has a strong desire to improve which is fuelled by the rivalry he has with his father. 

However, because of his background he is constantly belittled by the other students at the academy. Despite this he remains optimistic and confident, but not arrogant, although he does go as far as to call out the whole school in his introduction speech saying that it is just a stepping stone for him, much to everyones disbelief. Of course this makes him a huge target for everyone to take down so that they can ‘put him in his place’ but he does acknowledge and admit that some of the opponents he goes up against are better than him but instead of moping about it, he looks for a way around. Even when he doesn’t do as well as he would have liked in a Shokugeki• he sees this as a way to improve and even turns some of his rivals into friends.

•a shokugeki is a cooking duel between two parties where each must give something up if they lose, this can be anything but the compensation on each side must be equal in worth and agreed by both sides.

As well as this he is also very supportive of his friends, paricularly Megumi Tadakoro, who struggles under pressure but is actually a very capable chef. In the first season he even puts his place at the academy on the line so that she can stay at the school.

In the second season he takes on another shokugeki against a student who’s method of winning is based around cooking the same dish as his opponent and surpassing them, to then take his victims most prized kitchen tool as his reward. Yukihira cannot respect his way of cooking so puts his entire career as a chef on the line in order to take back kitchen equipment for the 100 students who had previously lost to him, most of which he didn’t even know and many of them were probably among those who shunned him. I can respect him for the way he conducts his victories, he doesn’t gloat and instead tries to help his opponent by offering suggestions on how they can improve their cooking, he is truly a selfless character.

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Day 2: Favourite anime you’ve watched so far

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure is a series I don’t think I will ever get bored of and is my favourite anime that I have watched so far, especially part 4. I read the manga for part 1 before I moved onto the anime which I then followed to this part, this is as far as the series has gone so far (part 5 when?).

The story follows the Joestar family, whose fate is to take down the supernatural villain of the series. Honestly, I wasn’t really a fan of the part 1 anime and almost dropped the series but that was mainly because it followed the manga really closely and as this part was designed to set up the series, it contains a lot of explaining about the powers they use, etc, that I really did not need to hear more than once.

The first part follows Jonathan Joestar, the second is based around his grandson Joseph who stays in the series until part 4 (aka my favourite part) where we switch cast and move setting entirely to a small town called Morioh. With this peaceful (term used loosely) town comes a new artwork style, the design is a lot simpler and more colourful than we had seen previously to set up for a new concept. Part 4 is set as a murder mystery, which is a twist on the story they have been using up until now as the previous parts were all based around the Joestar member at the time knowing who they had to go for and battling to get to them.

Yellows, greens and purples dominate the colour scheme which is a great contrast to the muted and more neutral colours that have been used until now. And although the majority of the cast is new we do see some old faces again such as Joseph Joestar and his grandson Jotaro (who was the lead Joestar for part 3), it was great to see these familiar faces again but obviously Joeseph is a lot older now and although he didn’t appear much in this part, I kind of wish they hadn’t included him at all as he came across as almost useless and a total inconvenience at times.

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Luckily they didn’t wipe out the battles as these are still heavily included and some of the villains they face reappear later in the season as allies, such as Okuyasu and Yukako. I guess this had to be the case with such a small town but I’m glad that the characters aren’t written off as soon as they are defeated.

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 12.09.30I was generally really impressed with the characters and their development in this part and not just the defeated villains. Koichi Hirose, one of the main trio began with quite a meek and easily startled personality which he does hold onto throughout, but you can see his confidence grow after he receives his stand powers and becomes more assertive with each stand user he faces. His confidence appears to impact his stand and cause it to evolve. This is showcased in episode 9 in his battle with Yukako and also happens in episode 24. It was a great plot device to use to keep track on his character’s progression.

Some characters remain pretty much the same, which doesn’t pose a problem at all. The main character is an example of this. Josuke Higashikata is a confident and loyal high school student with a strong sense of justice when it comes to the villains he’s facing (although he does bend the rules on numerous occasions with cheating and stealing). This doesn’t change at all, right up to the last couple of episodes Josuke is still risking his life to try and save his friends. His personality is strongly reflected in his stand ‘Shining/Crazy Diamond’ who is often used to repair and heal but fights when required.

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I almost forgot to mention the OP/ED. The first OP used was ‘crazy noisy bizarre town’ which, lets face it, was a jam as was ‘great days’ which they used for their final OP, but the real magic lies in the ED ‘I want you‘. The same ED is used throughout the entire season but with each episode it expands. To put it simply, as the main trio progress and battle more enemies/make more acquaintances, the more you see in the animation for the credits.

All in all it was a brilliant season from a fantastic series, I would highly recommend it to anyone!

Day 1: Very first anime you watched 

Technically, Pokemon was my first anime. I grew up watching it on weekends, week in and week out and played all the games from the fire red/leaf green generation onwards. But my memory on it is pretty hazy as it was so long ago.

For some reason I don’t class Pokemon as my first anime, it might be due to that fact that I didn’t watch it with the intention of getting into more anime series and there was a long break before I started actively looking into it. So when people ask ‘hey what was the anime that got you into all this?’ I always reply with ‘Kill la Kill’ and I will do the same today.

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Kill la Kill is a 24 episode series created by Studio Trigger. The story follows high school transfer student Ryuko Matoi, who is set on finding her father’s murderer. The odds are set greatly against her until she discovers a kamui by the name of Senketsu who is awakened by drinking Ryuko’s blood while she wears it.

A weird concept, I know. I must admit I was a tad skeptic about it, especially after seeing Senketsu, I was convinced the series would shift towards over the top fan service.

I was right, completely right. It stripped off and dived right into it but it totally worked. In fact it relies on over sexualising (mostly for comedic effect) and by the end of the series half the characters end up almost fully nude. Everything about this show was over the top but that’s what made what could have been another generic anime into something great. And to this day it still remains to be one of my favourite anime series.

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30 day anime challenge

Hello! At the start of May I was meant to start the 30 day anime challenge but due to some internet problems I was unable to start it for 2 weeks, because of this I have pushed it back to start on 1st June.

My Hero Academia: Episode 20

*warning: spoiler alert

My Hero Academia or Boku no Hero Academia is a Shonen Jump manga written and illustrated by Kohei Horikoshi that still continues to this present day. It was adapted into an anime with the first season airing in April last year and the second season currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

The plot centres around Izuku Midoriya and his quest to become the greatest superhero and follow the path of his childhood hero All Might, despite being born without a ‘quirk’ or superpower in other words. The first season saw his obtain the ability to use All Might’s power ‘One For All’ but he still had not learnt how to use the power without causing injury to himself and this continues in the second season although at episode 18 we can see that he is starting to grasp it.

The second season is basically a tournament arc where the superheroes in training at  U.A high school have to battle it out against each other to reach the top in a sports festival. After an obstacle course and a cavalry battle we have finally made it to the one on one battles where we can expect intense fighting and explosive scenes as this is based on Shonen manga after all. In this episode we see the first two matches, the first obviously being Izuku’s and the second is between his rival for the festival, Shoto Todoroki and another student who is, lets face it, pretty irrelevant seeing as the match between the two lasted about 30 seconds at most and he was well and truly defeated.

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You would think the match to talk about would be Izuku’s as he is the protagonist of the story but the real highlight of this episode were those 30 seconds. Don’t get me wrong Izuku’s match was really well done and the pacing was fantastic for it. I’m really glad they didn’t drag it out to be a one match an episode kind of set up, although that probably would have worked well too.

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The reason I was so into Todoroki’s match was probably because the previous episode and part of this one showed us a glimpse into his past where we learnt that he was born with the sole purpose of taking on All Might to become the number one hero in place of his father, who has been second to him with no hope of surpassing. He was born with the advantage of being able to wield a dual quirk, the control of fire and of ice and his father was confidant in saying that he cannot possibly be number one without using them both, but there is clear resentment from Todoroki towards this as he vows to make it to the top of the festival only using his power over ice which is his mothers side.

After seeing the exchange between Todoroki and his father before his one on one it’s clear that this battle was set to prove a point and it did as like I said after 30 seconds the match was over and the other student was immobilised in a huge block of ice that impressively covered half the stadium. Despite the short time of the battle it really left an impression and sent a chill up my spine (no pun intended).

Also kudos to the animation team for this episode, it looked incredible.

Haikyuu!! Season 2: Karasuno vs Seijo

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*warning: major spoiler alert

The second season of Haikyuu!! is a personal favourite of mine, I would go as far as to label it as my second favourite anime season. This 25 episode season is completely dominated by the finale; the long awaited rematch between arch rivals, Karasuno and Seijo. It is one of the best Shonen battles I have ever seen AND it’s a battle over volleyball, what could be better?

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In this match we are introduced to Seijo’s new player, the powerful double edged sword, Mad Dog, who definitely earned his name. His dynamic playing style is hard to keep up with but great to watch. Mad Dog’s introduction meant that there was no ease in to this match, it was intense from the start with the increased attack rhythm he bought.

Another player I really enjoyed watching in this match was Yamaguchi, not that he was on the court for very long. I was really happy about the breakthrough he had with his pinch serves, it was heartwarming to see such confidence from him after the incident at the Inter High Prelims. I was really rooting for him but it was nerve-wracking to watch.

But no matter who played it was obvious this match had to go to the final set, so with one set each and no significant lead at the halfway mark of the third set, seeing Mad Dog finally come together with his team was worrying as this is assumed to provide an advantage to their side. However, with the game progressing and the score reaching 22-23 to Seijo it didn’t look like this was the case, until Oikawa hit a clean service ace straight through to take the team to their match point. But this is where it got really intense (as if it wasn’t already). Cue Daichi blocking Oikawa’s second serve and Karasuno’s ace scoring, followed by a not so skilful but still effective block by Hinata which meant that the teams were now at a deuce. It was Karasuno’s serve, carried out by Suga which led into a slow motion shot of their four person attack. And with everyone trying to figure out who was going to spike, Kageyama simply dump served, much to everyones surprise.

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As Oikawa dives for the ball and misses by a fraction we see a brilliantly symbolic frame as Kageyama towers over him from the other side of the net showing the clear transition of power between the ‘King’ and the ‘Great King’. This didn’t mean that Oikawa was going to give up as he dramatically crashed into tables at the side of the court to create a set up for Seijo’s #4 . But of course the match had to conclude with a quick attack from Karasuno’s famous duo.

The whole season was used as a build up for this match and although the victorious team had to be Karasuno, I second guessed it so many times, Although I couldn’t help but cheer for both teams.

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There are two things I want to mention. The first is the lack of repetition. You would think that a four episode match would get boring and repetitive but this was not the case at all. The pace was constantly changing. Flashbacks of the players past as well as narration from audience members and coaches were used to break it up and to help keep the audience up with what was going on. Some rallies would be shortened sequences and would only show small cuts of it to show the progress of the match without dragging it out. And despite the match’s duration I did not notice the use of many repeated shots, if they did reuse animation it was not obvious at all, with the exception of some of Oikawa’s serves and the impressively styled frame of Seijo’s #16 spiking.

Which brings me onto my second point. The detail to animation was incredible throughout the match. It was consistent and clean and a few times they used these brilliantly drawn frames that amazed me. It’s hard to explain them so I’ve just put a photo above of them to showcase it.

All in all, it was a great match that I really can’t fault. Production I.G did a great job with this one.