Ani-view: Vampire Knight

Because I rather like vampire hunters (sorry Twilight folks), this particular anime caught my eye.  Also, it had Vic Mignogna voicing a (two) character(s) so I wanted to see it.  Yes, this anime is technically classified as a Shojo anime, meaning that it is geared specifically towards girls, but I’m a girl; so it’s fine.

The story takes place at Cross Academy, an elite school that has day and ‘night’ classes.  The day class is obsessed with the night class, and the (majority) of the night class couldn’t care less.  The two classes are patrolled by only two students: Yuki Cross, adoptive daughter of the headmaster; and Zero Kiryu, her moody partner.  In the very first episode, it is revealed the night class is comprised entirely of aristocratic vampires, under Kaname Kuran, a pureblood vampire.  Kaname seems to have an obsession with Yuki, which both scares and excites her; and just plain pisses Zero off.  The hostility between the two men is palpable whenever they cross paths, mostly on Zero’s part, but Kaname sometimes exhibits his own irritation.

When you first meet her, Yuki Cross appears to be a love struck, clumsy girl.  She has a special connection to both Kaname and Zero.  Her connection to Kaname began when he rescued her from another vampire that attempted to kill her when she was a child.  He then visited her after he took her to Master Cross.  Her connection to Zero came a little later, when he was brought to her house after his family was brutally murdered by a vampire.  She tried to help him as best she could, and finally, he opened up to her a little.  Yuki wants to help both men whenever she can, but sometimes, she trips over herself in the process.

For Zero Kiryu, it is almost ironic that he works as a mediator between humans and vampires.  He comes from a long line of vampire hunters, and hates all bloodsuckers with a passion.  Oh, and the irony continues when it is revealed that Zero is also a vampire, slowly descending to what is called a Level E: a purely animal vampire breed.  Zero doesn’t show affection for much, except for Yuki.  He cares for her, but he feels threatened by Kaname because he sees how the other vampire looks at her, as well as how she feels about him.  Zero is torn between the girl he cares about and his own predilections.

Kaname Kuran is mysterious and hardly ever reveals what he’s feeling.  He’s used to people bowing and scraping to him because of his pureblood lineage.  That’s why I actually think he kind of likes Zero’s insolence on occasion.  It’s nice to not have everyone kissing your *ss.  Now, occasionally, Kaname shows his displeasure, usually with Hanabusa Aido, but it’s never actual anger.  Kaname is always calm and collected, a true leader of vampires.  His love for Yuki is incestuous (as is revealed later in the second season) and he will literally do anything to protect her.  Even working with his rival (Zero) to keep her safe.

The anime was ‘fun’, but I wished that Yuki had made a different choice when it came to men.  She left Zero in the end and he promised that if he ever saw her again, he would have to kill her, because he is first and foremost, a vampire hunter.  If you’re a girl, you’re probably going to enjoy this anime; if you’re a guy, probably not.

And on that note, it’s been real!

 

Ani-view: Spice & Wolf

Spice and Wolf!  The anime that taught viewers a little something about economics and capitalism, while at the same time, introducing you to one of the cutest anime couples ever!  Based off the light novels by Isuna Hasekura, they were later turned into manga and adapted into anime.  My friend told me about it and I bought the seasons and watched them.

So, the anime follows traveling peddler, Kraft Lawrence, as he travels across a medieval world, trading with other merchants.  When he stops at a pagan village called Pasloe, that is when he hears about the local legend of a wolf that aids them growing their crops.  At least the wolf used to.  And then, Lawrence actually meets her.  Her name is Holo the Wise Wolf.  She has a beautiful red tail, pointy ears, and crimson eyes.  She escaped in the wheat on Lawrence’s wagon.  She wants to get back to her home in the far North.  Lawrence promises to get her there and their journey begins.

Almost immediately, Lawrence is protective of Holo, but is mostly because he doesn’t want her to be found out and taken by the Church.  However, eventually the protective feeling shifts from that to a different kind.  The jealous kind.  Lawrence hates it when other men talk to her, especially in a romantic fashion.  He doesn’t have the courage to claim her as his own, but he doesn’t want to share her.

As for Holo, she is the Wise Wolf, as she repeatedly tells Lawrence (in between stuffing her face and being drunk).  She can sense when somebody is lying, but cannot outright say it for a fact.  She has a nose for trade and economics, and helps Lawrence with his deals.  Which I suppose helps makeup for the fact that she spends a great deal of his money on apples.  Holo also doesn’t like it when he is around other ladies; rather apparent when they run into the shepherdess, Nora.  She is defensive of Lawrence, but does not say that he is hers.  Once again, one of them is afraid to speak first.

Their journeys together during the anime test Lawrence’s skills as a merchant and Holo’s skills as the Wise Wolf.  But together, they are a team, and one that travels its way into our hearts with a smile and an apple.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Ani-view: Ouran Highschool Host Club

This particular anime, all is fun, laughs, and goofs portrayed by the characters.  The first time I saw this, I was at a friend’s house and he insisted that we start watching it.  At first, I thought it very strange: a girl basically pretending to be a boy, joins a group of surprisingly heterosexual (Kyouya Otori is doubtful) boys, and every day, pays court to the highschool girls.  It made me laugh and I had to complete it.

Enter Haruhi Fujioka, a commoner, who has a scholarship to attend the privileged Ouran Academy.  At first, the viewer believes that they are seeing a depressing, fashion challenged boy.  Haruhi stumbles into a music room, and gets introduced to the Host Club, a group of the school’s handsomest and eligible youths.  There, she accidentally destroys a priceless vase, which, according to Kyouya Otori, puts her in their debt for quite a bit of yen.  At first, all she does is run errands for them, until Tamaki Suou sees her eyes and orders a makeover.  They transform the little shrimp into an adorable boy-girl.  And now, she has to play a host in order to pay off her debt.

Now we have the ringleader, Tamaki Suou.  Tamaki is the inspiration of the group, the one who comes up with the crazy ideas and pushes each member of the group to be whoever they are.  Tamaki is considered the illegitimate son of a Japanese millionaire, but his rough past doesn’t seem to bring him down at all.  Tamaki is quick to protect Haruhi, and his affection for her becomes more and more apparent as the season moves on.  Tamaki is the heart and soul of the Host Club, which is obvious in the last two to three episodes when he ends it, and how everyone reacts.

The Mother Hen of the band is Kyouya Otori.  Kyouya is always quick to put anybody who challenges him in their place.  Despite Tamaki calling him (and the twins) homosexual supporting cast, Kyouya holds his own spotlight.  Even though is never officially confirmed or spoken out loud, Kyouya has a specific loyalty to Tamaki, and it stems from a possible love… but it was never said aloud.  Kyouya is a shrewd business man, and he is the one who really markets the Host Club.  He’s always considering new ways for them to make money, in order to pay for Tamaki’s more expensive endeavors.  He is ‘Mommy’ while Tamaki is ‘Daddy’.

Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, the borderline incestuous, identical twins.  Hikaru and Kaoru are the resident troublemakers, always quick to have a laugh at the expense of their fearless leader.  However, they use this sarcasm and sardonic quips as a cover to conceal their real feelings for every member of the Host Club.  However, with the arrival of Haruhi, a sort of separation begins between the two of them.  Not in a bad way, but Kaoru realizes that Hikaru kind of likes Haruhi (despite Tamaki’s unofficial claim almost from the beginning), so he begins to place his brother in situations where he is with Haruhi.  It is a gentle parting that actually doesn’t really affect their sibling love, but is one we see later on in the season.

Mitsukuni Haninozuka and Takashi Morinozuka, the cousins.  The first time we meet Honey and Mori, we all mistake Honey for a child, until it is revealed that he is in fact a third year student.  Mori is also a third year, but he is much more believable with his towering height, and grim bearing.  Honey, on the other hand, is a pipsqueak, who still carts a fat, pink bunny around.  However, they care very much for each other.  Honey tries to make Mori smile, and Mori looks after Honey.  Honey always likes to charm people with his almost toddler charm, while Mori is the strong and silent type.  Honey treats Haruhi like a big sister/brother, sweetly calling her ‘Haru-chan’ whenever he addresses her.  Mori just stares, picks her up, or just says, ‘hi’.  However, they are (like the other members) important contributors to the club, and they clearly care for Haruhi.

The anime as a whole was meant to be light-hearted, fun, and in all honesty, a general mockery of public school.  If boys have an entire afternoon to be a host club to girls, who also have an entire afternoon to be waited upon, then somebody is doing something wrong in the chain of command!  Now, drink your commoner’s coffee and long live the poor!

And on that note, it’s been real!

 

Welcome! To Tekko, 2016!

Tekko 2016 was an interesting year.  Completely Marvel for my costumes that weekend.  It started on Friday as it always did, and just kind of went from there.  That was obviously a couple of months before Suicide Squad came out, and there were an obnoxious amount of Jokers and Harley Quinn’s there.  I actually almost through up at the amount of neon green, sparkling purple, and starch white I saw.

On day one (Friday), I dressed as Black Widow.  And I did run into the best looking Deadpool and threatened him with my batons.  But then, he did have a gun behind me.

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There were quite a few people dressed up as Marvel characters.  We had a couple of Iron Man’s, we had a lot of Deadpool’s, a few Hawkeye’s, a Thor running around, Jessica Jones, Spiderman, Spider Gwen, Peter Parker, Dark Phoenix, and even a Captain Marvel.  And then on the flip side, Jokers, Harley Quinn’s, Batgirl, Batman, and a couple of others.

On day two (Saturday), I went as Loki in his Stuttgart suit with the disguised version of the Chitauri scepter.

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On that day, we were asked to a Marvel vs. DC photo shoot.  We got a large area to ourselves, then it was us against them.  Somebody on the DC side said they outnumbered us.  I countered with, “Only because you’ve got repeats galore!”  No comebacks from Camp DC.

No voice actors that year I wanted to meet, but I didn’t let that stop me from having a blast.  As I walked through the convention center, I would hear people say, “Look!  That’s a Loki!”  It’s always so nice when people recognize you.  Sometimes people don’t remember that a character looked that way (the staff was probably what did it), so when people do remember, it’s refreshing.  Got give them what they want.  In true Loki style!

And on that note, it’s been real!

Ani-View: Homunculi – Superior Bodies & Complexes

I’ve already done a review of FMAB, but I decided to also focus on the villains of that piece.  Of course I’m talking about the homunculi and their creator, Father.  Everyone knows the history of the homunculi differs from the original series to Brotherhood.  Their story in the original was interesting: they are the souls of people that died and were almost resurrected by the ones they love.  Lust was initially Ishvalan, and Scar’s brother tried to bring her back to life, but unfortunately, Lust was the outcome.  Envy was the miscarriage from Van Hohenheim’s first marriage.  His name certainly suits the way he feels towards Edward and Alphonse.  But, we’re not discussing them.  We’re doing Brotherhood.

  1. Father – originally called ‘the dwarf in the flask’, Father is the head of the homunculi.  Created from the blood of Slave 23, later Van Hohenheim, Father desires to attain the perfect form, knowledge, and immortality.  He is an emotionless being after he separates all his feelings from his soul.  Father’s desire is to turn the country into a transmutation circle, so that he can use human souls as a sacrifice to obtain this.  He wants to become like God, which for a previous dwarf in the flask, is a tall order.  Also, very heretical of him.
  2. Pride – the arrogant, the first homunculus.  Pride was given the original form of Father back when he was in the flask.  Trapped in the body of a child called Selim Bradley, Pride is the right hand homunculus to Father.  Pride fancies himself above not only all humans, but even his fellow homunculi.  Living up to his name, Pride can’t stand to be defeated by measly mortals.  He controls an army of souls within his own Philosopher’s Stone; and it’s ironic that it took only two souls to defeat him: Solf J. Kimblee, and Edward Elric.
  3. Wrath – the furious, the King of Amestris.  Wrath was born from normal parents, but was chosen to be part of the program to choose the puppet king.  He went through rigorous training and was then turned into a homunculus.  He is the only homunculus (besides Greed) who shows some semblance of free will.  He chose his own wife and technically died on his own terms and with a smile on his face.  Wrath was a homunculus I disliked, but I didn’t hate him.  In the end, he was a homunculus we all could respect.
  4. Envy – the jealous, the shapeshifter.  Envy is a character most people hate with a passion because of what he did to most of the characters.  He killed Major Maes Hughes, started the war in Ishval, and personally (basically) tortures Dr. Tim Marcoh.  Envy is the most open with his distaste towards humans, constantly belittling them and saying they’re easily manipulated.  However, it is revealed that the reason he is so cruel is because (true to his name) he is jealous of them.  He is jealous of their strength and the bonds they form.  Humans aren’t so weak after all!
  5. Lust – the lascivious, the seducer.  Lust tends to pick on men because of her abilities.  Lust makes her comments about humanity in general, but she does like sniping about men.  She targets Jean Havoc for information about Mustang, and then her final fight takes place against Col. Roy Mustang.  It is fascinating, her final battle against the Flame Alchemist.  Lust follows orders from Father without hesitation, but she has no goals or ambitions of her own.  In that regard, she’s a little ambiguous.  However, that does not stop her from being a dangerous and beguiling enemy.
  6. Greed – the avaricious, the Ultimate Shield.  Greed is the most diverse because he was basically two characters in one.  Or was it three?  You have the first Greed, he simply defected from Father because he wanted to promote his own agenda.  Greed can not be trusted because his first priority is always his own interests.  The first Greed only wanted to have power, money, sex, status, women, and glory.  That is still a limitless achievement.  But, he gets captured by Wrath and re-assimilated by Father.  Greed Part Deux took control of Ling Yao’s body.  This Greed is a little more complex.  At first, he follows Father, but when memories start resurfacing, he turns like his predecessor.  Of course, we have to remember that Greed is also Ling Yao, and the Prince of Xing whispers in the homunculus’ ear.  In the end, Greed does find out what he was really greedy for.  Acceptance and friendship.
  7. Gluttony – the voracious, the failed portal.  Gluttony is an odd one.  He was usually paired with Lust and they were an odd couple: a tall, sensuous creature; with a squat and ravenous ball.  Gluttony cared for her in a way; which is why he was so angry when Mustang killed her.  Gluttony does not really have much else going for him.  But, there’s only one other homunculus who is more one dimensional than Gluttony.
  8. Sloth, the indolent, the one dimensional.  Life is such a pain.  That’s his line, not mine.  And that about says it all.

And those are all the homunculi for FMAB.  Some are more colorful than others, but they all had some purpose to play throughout the series.  They were all pieces of their Father’s plan and cogs in his machine.

And on that note, it’s been real!

Ani-View: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

I said I would do Brotherhood, and I meant it.

Of course everyone knows that after you watch the original Fullmetal Alchemist, you have to watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.  I actually didn’t know about it and watched the original series, and The Conqueror of Shamballa and I thought that was it.  Then, one of my tweeb buddies told me about Brotherhood and said that it was so much better than the first one.  So, I snagged the DVD’s at a convention and started watching.  It was a little hard at first, only because they basically repeated a couple of episodes from the original.  That bored me a bit, but then they started getting original and my interest was re-piqued.

One of the things I think that made Brotherhood better than the original were the host of new characters.  Well, not really ‘new’.  Brotherhood actually follows the manga, while the original diverted from it.  But, they were kind of new to me.  I loved Prince Ling Yao, and his alter ego, Greed Two.  May Chang, and her beloved panda, Shao May were adorable!  Come on!  We all loved her (especially her initial infatuation with Ed, that seg-wayed into a romance with Al).  Scar was done better this time too.  J. Michael Tatum made him stronger and just an all around better person.  Okay, yes, he did still kill a bunch of people, but the important fact is that in this series, he fights for the good guys (and lives) and gets to kill King Bradley (aka, Wrath).  After that, we have the Northern Wall of Briggs, General Olivier Mira Amstrong.  She is an unstoppable force, who certainly cows her much bigger and powerful brother, Major Alex Luis Armstrong.  After Armstrong, we love her lieutenants: Major Miles and Captain Buccaneer.  Their loyalty to her and to their men is admirable; plus Buccaneer slapping Ed around because he had a pretty mechanic was hysterical!

The chimera that wind up joining forces with Ed and Al are also nice additions.  Al’s chimera are loyal to him because of that talk he gave them.  Ed’s are loyal to him because he saved their lives, possibly above his own.  Although, Ed’s certainly give him more trouble than Al’s, but that’s probably because he rubs a few people the wrong way.

Another factor I liked was having Father as the villain and that he was basically a carbon copy of Van Hohenhiem, Ed and Al’s father.  The villain from the original lacked the subtle ferocity of Father (really, she was so bland, I’ve forgotten her name).  Van Hohenhiem had also been expanded and that did his character favors.  He was powerful, cared for his family (didn’t always know how to show it), and in the end, he got to be with his wife.  Also, we can all agree that the ending of Al getting his body back (Ed sacrificing his alchemy in order to get him back), and Ed and Winry’s admission of love was the best way to end everything.  It had been a long and hard journey, and not everybody came through.  Their casualties included: Maes Hughes (we all knew that one was coming), Capt. Buccaneer, Greed Two, and Old Man Fu.  But, we all know sacrifices must be made in war.  All in all, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was a much better anime compared to its predecessor.  More fun, more characters we fully connected with, and more high pitched Edward Elric lines.

“Who are you calling a pipsqueak-midget?!”

And on that note, it’s been real!

Ani-view: Fullmetal Alchemist, Original Series

We all have watched the original Fullmetal Alchemist series before we watched Brotherhood.  Why?  Because everybody told us in order to appreciate the new series, we had to watch the old one.  I actually didn’t know about FMAB until after I had completed the original series, along with The Conqueror of Shamballa.  So, I am only discussing the original series today, I will do FMAB another time.

For the original series, I was curious about the idea of a young boy with automail limbs, and his brother trapped in a suit of armor.  How could something like that happen; and how could they fix it?  An enigma indeed!  The first episode shows Edward and Alphonse Elric, two orphaned brothers, going to a remote town in the east, where a priest is rumored to have a Philosopher’s Stone (the ever elusive Philosopher’s Stone).  They observe the priest, and figure out that he is still using alchemy to do his miracles, even though he’s claiming other wise.  They then set out to prove that the priest is a fraud.  They also meet a girl, Rose (who, like every other girl in the series, falls in love with Ed).  This girl believes that if she simply has faith and follows Father Cornello, that her dead fiance will be brought back to life.  Quite frequently throughout the original series, the idea of faith and religious fanatics puts Edward Elric in the right when he basically says they’re the reason he’s an atheist.

Rose (got on my nerves, not going to lie) challenges Ed and says he will find happiness if he believes.  Ed brushes her aside and goes on to prove his point by exposing Father Cornello as a charlatan.  From there, Ed gives her advice that we can all agree on, “You have two legs.  Get up and use them.  Keep walking.”  After that first episode, we then get to meet all the other characters of the FMA universe, whom we fall in love with.  We meet Winry Rockbell, and Pinako Rockbell; the erstwhile adoptive family of Ed and Al.  Then, we meet the military folks: Col. Roy Mustang, Maj. Maes Hughes, Lt. Riza Hawkeye, Jean Havoc, Warrant Officer Falman, Sgt. Heysman Breda, Kain Fuery, and Maj. Alex Luis Armstrong (with his habitual stripping and other displays of partial nudity).

The first series deviates from the manga, and Brotherhood definitely has a better ending.  Another fact that kind of annoyed me about the original was the Ed did not really mature.  As a character, he experienced the expanding arc throughout the series, but as a physical person, he did not grow up.  They changed that in Brotherhood and I liked seeing Ed grow from being a kid into a man.  It was very rewarding for him in the end.  Also, I didn’t like the idea of a little kid being Wrath.  Then where does that put Fuhrer Bradley?  Not in a good place, in my opinion.  You definitely feared him more in Brotherhood, even before you knew he was actually the homunculis, Wrath.  And then Selim Bradley… yeah, he annoyed us a lot in Brotherhood, but we that only meant we enjoyed it when he got his *ss handed to him all the more.  And the cliff hanging ending for the entire series that they did not wrap up until The Conqueror of Shamballa left me aching and hoping that they wouldn’t f*ck it up.  They didn’t really, only because Edward and Alphonse wind up back together in the end, but that leaves poor Winry probably spending the rest of her life an engineering spinster (because we know her and Ed were meant for each other).  Kind of leaves something to be desired.  It was enjoyable when I did not know about FMAB, but since I have the entirety of FMAB (several times), I can’t really watch it again.  I mean, really, who does?

And on that note, it’s been real!