Secret Santa 2010 Project Reveal

And now the part you have all been waiting for. The Secret Santas are revealed, the ancient conspiracy is foiled, and the destined couple finally consummate their relationship. This is the master list of all the participants, what they reviewed, and who gave them their recommendations. I know that several people are not going to finish on time because of various mishaps during the holiday season. So I will do my best to update this list at least once a day as reviews come in. Hopefully everyone watched something a bit unexpected and maybe learned something new about the range and scope of anime. Other than that Happy Holidays and I wish you and yours the best of luck in the upcoming year.

People Still Watch Anime?: A Guide for Fallen Fans

hisuiconRecently my old friend Ben McGraw, make a post request that we  felt was a brilliant idea for the site. He wanted a list of anime that he could watch as someone who loved Cowboy Bebop but had not watched anime since. Regular readers of the blog may have seen most if not all of these shows. That is because this list is not directly for you. This is a list for your friends, family, and coworkers. We picked 10 newer shows that will appeal to fans who have either fallen out of anime fandom or were never that into it in the first place. Everything on this list is licensed, has a dub, and is easy to obtain so there is no major obstacles to overcome when watching any of the shows below.

I know I certainly have friends who aren’t in on the anime scene anymore, so this list is something that runs perfectly along those lines. They are probably never going to stay up on what’s new each season or even want to spend enough time digging through all the new shows to find the ones for them. While this list is of course not the only shows that we would recommend, they all are good, most even great, and have enough to make the impact on fans who have been down and out for a while. It’s not a bad idea to remind people why they started watching anime in the first place.

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Ongoing Investigations: Case #018

So I have been watching Toradora! and got up to episode 5. So far I have enjoyed all them as much as the first. Taiga is still amusing, Ryuji is still girl fantasy fodder, and I have been surprised by the fact that Yusaku has not been clueless. I have to agree with Narutaki’s assessment that Toradora! seems more like a gender neutral romantic comedy rather than the shonen romance it clearly is. I know Narutaki was shocked when Ami Kawashima turned out not to be in love with Ryuji. I imagined him doing a doubletake when I informed him this was the case. I am interested in reading the light novels if they ever get licensed. People who have read them seem to love talking about how much better they are.

Finally volume 4 of Hissing has hit shelves! I really appreciate Yen Press continuing many of Ice Kunion’s manhwa titles. We are really getting into the thick of things as Sun-Nam finally realizes he has a connection to Da-Eh’s family. That could complicate things for these recent love birds. Ta-Jun still dominates as my favorite though I seriously doubt he will win the girl. He will be a bit of a monkey wrench in it all I suspect. Hissing is one of the better manhwa being released state side and continues to be funny and charming. The 5th book is coming out later this month and just one more volume to go after that!

Mirror Moon has completed their fan translation of Fate/Stay Night. So, this means I have started the third and final path, Heaven’s Feel. I personally find Sakura the weakest of the heroines but I hardly dislike her as a character. She is so mild compared to the rest of the cast. It is also the most disturbing of the Fate/Stay Night scenarios. With penis worms, rape, and re-grafted chopped off limbs it goes out of its way to be a unsettling. But it is still good to get a little deeper insight into the mechanics of the Fate/Stay Night world. Also more Rider equals more love. But then again Saber gets the short end of the stick in this path which is not fun. One of the high points is the Tiger dojo’s when you die. Loliburuma Panzer Corp. sums it up quite nicely. It also makes me wonder why there are not more Taiga figures.

Three of my favorite shojo manga-ka are starting new series within a couple of months of each other! Arina Tanemura who is best known for Full Moon wo Sagashite starts her new adventure and romance series titled Sakura-Hime Kaden in December. Nana Haruta, who’s work has not been licensed in the U.S., starts a new serial in January. And Maki Yoko, you may know her series Aishiteruze Baby, will start a new work in February. All of this is happening in Ribon, which is why it remains my favorite monthly manga magazine! All of these writers tend to write shorter series, in the under 10 books range, which I really like. I will report back when I can get my hands on these works!

I sampled the first episode of Baccano! on Funimation’s web site. I have been interested after hearing about its unique setting (1930’s America) and unusual storytelling techniques. A young girl named Carol is trying to piece together how a strange series on seemingly unrelated mysterious incidents are related. Her boss and her trade theories which leads to us cutting back and forth between stories. So far I can’t say that any one story stood out as great but I am interested to see how they all connect. There is also an obviously supernatural element to the story. It was considerably less violent than I had been lead to believe. There is violence and bloodshed but I guess I have become desensitized because nothing in the first episode phased me.

Let me just say, “Thank you Shonen Jump USA!” The past two months of it have been some good chapters for Bleach. Just finished chapters 224-226. We are in a slight break from the impending Hecto Mundo arc. Visoreds with Ichigo have been dominating the pages, whoo-hoo! As well as some Urahara (you clearly know I can’t ever be disappointed with that), Chad training, and Ishida reappeared! Oh the joy! Not sure when this streak will end but I am happy with what I have gotten for the moment.

Despite owning it for quite a while, I got to reading The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Wind. It was a good read although nowhere near as epic as the first Twelve Kingdoms novel. The first book was a girl surviving in a fantasy kingdom and eventually gaining the throne. This book is the story of Taiki and him learning who he really is and taking the responsibility of being the guardian animal of a Kingdom. I know Narutaki was super happy about there being more delicious Keiki in this book and him getting more screen time. This story is set before the first book which can make several things quite confusing especially when people are only referred to by their position. I only knew about it becuase I looked it up for Narutaki when he was reading the book.