In 2013 I choose Monkey D. Luffy for my favorite male anime character. At the time he had a bounty of 400 million now it’s 1.5 billion. Since then, a new type of shonen protagonists has emerged. Gon from Hunter X Hunter is considered a “deconstruction” of the typical shonen hero. During the Chimera Ant arc, he almost kills himself due to the typical shonen heroes need to risk everything to save someone they care about. Izuku Midoriya is a highly determined shonen hero that was gifted with motivation and desire to be a hero. Unlike the typical shonen hero he has literally no powers at the start. In addition to that, Deku is analytical. Most shonen heroes are dumb. However, when they do show some kind of intellect it’s only in battle. Deku’s fighting prowess comes from hard work and studying. Finally, despite Deku recieving one of the most powerful Quirks, he’s never been the strongest in My Hero Academia, at least not yet.
Finally, there’s Tanjiro Kamado from Demon Slayer. Like Deku he’s smart but he also has sword fighting skills. Tanjiro has an emotional intellence that the others don’t. He’s more complicated. He’s motivated to stop demons, but once he kills them he has remorse for them. (Demon Slayer makes a deliberate effort to “humanize” the demons by giving them a back story.) This isn’t to say that Luffy doesn’t care about anyone or doesn’t have sympathy for his enemies but that he represents a different era of shonen hero that are less sophisticated. Regardless, I still pick Luffy as my favorite male a character. If I have more time with Deku or Tanjiro that might change but so far they haven’t surpassed the future Pirate King.
Over the years, several new anime have entered my top ten anime. However, none have topped Neon Genesis Evangelion. When I first began watching Neon Genesis Evangelion, it was for the epic and violent mecha battles. I couldn’t comprehend the more complex themes and imagery woven into the narrative. They credit Evangelion with revolutionizing anime as a medium. Set in the year 2000, a global cataclysm called the “Second Impact,” changes the world. Antarctica is destroyed and the planet’s axis shifts, causing flooding and an altered climate. After the nuclear war, half the world’s population is wiped out. Teenagers, Shinji Ikari, Asuka Langley Soryu and Rei Ayanami pilot massive mecha called Eva’s. Their enemy are physic altering monsters dubbed Angels.
Evangelion explores complex themes like depression, human subjectivity, and child abuse. The series makes many references to philosophical, psychoanalytic concepts, and references to Kabbalah, Christian and Jewish religions. Evangelion even uses religious texts like the Book of Genesis within the series, and the Angels share names found in religion like Sachiel. Evangelion has been described as a ” critique and deconstruction of the mecha genre.” On the surface, Evangelion is a mecha anime with distinctly designed robots that engage in brutal battles. However, the series has levels of deeper and more sophisticated themes that make Evangelion one of the most well-regarded series ever.
Way back in 2013, I started the 30 Day Anime Challenge. It was a fun challenge that encouraged me to think more about what I liked about anime. Since then, I’ve completed several more challenges like the 30 Day DC Challenge, the 30 Day Marvel Challenge, the 30 Day Video Game Challenge, and the Salty Anime Challenge. As we start the beginning of this 2021 year, I thought that I would tackle the 100 Day Anime Challenge. Since 2013 I have watched and reviewed so many new anime series that I think my answers from the 30 Day Anime Challenge have changed. So let’s get started:
The Very First Anime You Watched (Sailor Moon)
For anime fans, Sailor Moon is one of the most iconic anime and manga series. Written and illustrated by Naoko Takeuchi. Serialized in 1991, Toei Animation adapted Sailor Moon in 1992. Since then, praised for its art, characters, and humor, Sailor Moon has achieved critical acclaim. As a franchise, Sailor Moon has generated over $13 billion worldwide. My very first memory of watching anime was getting up at 5:oo in the morning, trying to glimpse the series.
Sailor Moon tells the story of middle school student, Usagi Tsukino. Her talking cat Luna gives her a magical brooch that transforms her into Sailor Moon. Together they form a team of Sailor Soldiers, Sailor Mercury, the studious Ami Mizuno, Sailor Mars, the shrine maiden Rei Hino, transfer student Makoto Kino becomes Sailor Jupiter, and aspiring idol Minako Aino awakens as Sailor Venus. The group fights against the Dark Kingdom, ruled by Queen Beryl and her Four Kings of Heaven, as they try to find the Silver Crystal and free Queen Metaria.
Toei rebooted Sailor Moon in 2014 as Sailor Moon Crystal and a two-part movie, Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal: The Movie will be released on January 8th 2021. Toei will release the second part on February 11, 2021. Sailor Moon Eternal will cover the Dream arc and act as the fourth season of Sailor Moon Crystal series. Sailor Moon continues to impact the anime world and was my gatekeeper anime. I haven’t looked back.
Final Crisis is a crossover story that ran from May 2008 to January 2009. Written by Grant Morrison, the limited series spanned 7 issues. Marketed as “the day evil won,” Final Crisis deals with Darkseid as he plots to “overthrow reality.” After the final battle of the New Gods, the spirit of Darkseid travels through time and manifests inside the body of a human being. After finding the dying Orion, detective Dan Turpin, The Justice League of America and the Green Lantern Corps investigate. The learn that he was killed by a Radion bullet that was “fired backwards through time from the future.” Realizing the upcoming threat, Alan Scott enacts “Article X,” preparing the metahuman forces for the war that is coming.
The New Gods manage to remove the greatest obstacles to Darkseid’s master plan. Batman is captured, Hal Jordan framed for murder, Wonder Woman infected by bacteria called Morticoccous, Superman in the future and Flash in the past. Turpin is possessed by the essence of Darkseid, who then subjects Turpin’s body to “bio-genetic restructuring” to recreate Darkseid’s original form. Darkseid’s agents spread the Anti-Life Equation through communication networks, spreading it around the world. As a result, Darkseid gains control over the majority of Earth’s population.
A small group of superheroes manage to resists. A battle between the mind controlled heroes and the resistance. Wonder Woman infects the other heroes with Morticoccous that strips them of their powers. Batman mortally wounds Darkseid with a radion bullet, however, Darkseid kills him with his Omega Beams. Enraged Superman retrieves Batman’s corpse, the Flashes still being chased, lead Black Racer and the Omega Beams that follow them directly to Darkseid. Like most crossovers, Final Crisis is convoluted and not for everyone. The art style shifts from JG Jones to Doug Mahnke, the death of Batman turns out not to matter. Despite all this I still enjoyed Final Crisis, it’s overall entertaining and I did wonder if Darkseid would win.
Well this marks the last day of this challenge. Did you enjoy it? Have another challenge I should consider? Regardless, I appreciated all the comments. Thank you.
The Spectre is a divine Spirit of Vengeance. He’s considered the “right hand of his God.” The Spectre is an “aspect” of the Presence (the One Above All), joining His Wrath (Eclipso), and His Mercy (Radiant). A former angel named Aztar, he needs a mortal host. In 1940, Jim Corrigan became the latest host of the Spectre. Corrigan was murdered, he was tied up and thrown in a barrel of cement that was then thrown into a river. After his death he went to Limbo. He was bonded with the Spectre Force and given the mission to “confront evil wherever he found it.” When he returned he exacted his revenge on the mobsters that murdered him.
As a servant of God, The Spectre is granted limitless power. He is a being that’s capable of almost anything. He’s second only to the “one.” He can warp and control reality. This allows him to simulate any form of superpower or ability. As a divine agent The Spectre has access to all knowledge. The Spectre is also immortal. His powers can be reduced by the Voice. He also cannot take any action that is “not dictated by the laws that he’s bound to.” He can also be killed by a weapon of sufficient magical force. Each Spectre host manifest a unique Spectre form, some people can recognized the host if they new them in life. After Jim Corrigan, Hal Jordan becomes the next Spectre host, followed by Crispus Allen. In the New 52, the Spectre is once again Jim Corrigan.
The Watchmen was the first graphic novel/comic book series I read that didn’t have mainstream superheroes like Superman or Batman. Created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, the 12 issue series was published in 1986 and 1987. It has since spawned a movie adaptation, a prequel mini series titled Before Watchmen and a HBO tv series. Moore originally wanted to write a story that ” featured an unused line of superheroes that he could revamp.” His hope was to “shock and surprise” readers by using characters that were familiar to them. However, DC while receptive to his pitch, though using original characters was a better idea. He said that ” if I wrote the substitute characters well enough, . . . then it might work.” Dave Gibbons asked to be involved in the project and sent him the outline.
Watchmen is set in an alternate universe that is similar to the world during the 1980’s. The main difference is the existence of superheroes. These heroes alter real life events like the Vietnam War and Richard Nixon presidency. None of the superheroes have any super powers except, Doctor Manhattan. Superheroes become unpopular among the public resulting in the passage of the Keene Act. As a result many heroes retire, except the Comedian and Dr. Manhattan, while Rorschach continues to work illegally. The story is complex, as the antihero Rorschach investigates the death of the Comedian and uncovers a conspiracy that threatens to destroy the world.
The Watchmen series features structures that deviate from the comics of the time using a “nine panel grid system,” the cover of each issue was the first panel of the story and each cover “were designed as close-ups that focused on a single detail with no human elements present.” It also had a story within a story, Tales of the Black Freighter. Moore used several different images and symbols like, a stained smiley face (considered the symbol of the series), doomsday clock and craters, all cleverly woven into the series. Watchmen tackled adult themes, with a sophisticated plot. Watchmen is one of the best works I’ve ever read. It has been described as “one of the greatest literary works ever created.” Watchmen was honored in Time Magazine’s best 100 English Language novels from 1923 to present, it was the only comic present. I couldn’t recommend this graphic novel enough, if you get a chance read it.
Kingdom Come was written by Alex Ross and Mark Waid. The series is part of DC comics Elsewords imprint. Featuring the photorealistics art style of Alex Ross, the series focused on a complex story of a future DC universe. Ross created new costumes for most of the characters, he also added several new characters. Set in the year 2020, the Justice League we come to know have mostly retired. They are succeeded by a new more radical generation, that lacks the concern of civilians. They often clash with each other. After a nuclear explosion in Kansas, resulting from Parasite tearing apart Captain Atom, Superman finally comes out of retirement.
Other heroes continued to fight crime, The Flash still patrols around Keystone City, Hawkman protects the forests of the Pacific Northwest, Green Lantern watches Earth from an emerald city in space, Batman (now elderly) uses robots to patrol Gotham. However, other heroes like Aquaman, the Amazons and the Legion of Super-Heroes abandon the world. The four issues results in Superman creating a “reformation center” for superheros called the “Gulag.” It becomes a re-education camp, trying to teach the prisoners how to use their powers.
Lex Luthor and Batman join forces (it doesn’t last long) to create the Mankind Liberation Front. Superman and Captain Marvel fight, a bomb is dropped on the combatants. Captain Marvel sacrifices himself, but the bomb still manages to kill many of the super-humans. Superman and Wonder Woman become pregnant and Batman becomes the godfather. The series Kingdom Come is an epic story with amazing art. It’s one of the few series that gives Superman complexity. I highly recommend this series.
I always loved magic. I don’t know why. I always thought it was cool. Maybe it’s the sense that with magic has no real limits or it doesn’t always have limits. In the world of superheroes, magicians aren’t prominent. They’re powers often seem just like the other heroes, but the source is different. Also, while many heroes have to learn their powers, there’s an intellectual aspect to learn magic that I respect. Dr. Fate is considered to be the DC counterpoint to Marvel’s Dr. Strange. Like Strange, Dr. Fate is a “magician.” His powers are considered “occultism” that is described as the ability to use magic. Much like Dr. Strange, Dr. Fate (Dr. Kent Nelson) was a physician.
Dr. Fate was a child of archaeologist Sven Nelson. While on an expedition with his father, Kent opens the tomb of Nabu the Wise. He revives Nabu from his suspended animation but accidentally kills his father by unintentionally releasing poisonous gas. Nabu, teaches him sorcery over the next twenty years. Nabu gives him a mystical helmet, amulet and cloak. The Helmet of Fate transforms it wearer into a “master of magic.” He is granted several powers like “spellcasting, flight, superhuman strength, invulnerability, telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis, and the ability to manipulate lightning. His powers have been described as ” the true conversion of energy into matter, and matter into energy.” Regardless, he’s one of the most powerful DC heroes.
Growing up I loved watching the Superfriends, a more kid friendly Justice League. One duo that were members was the Wonder Twins. The twins were mutants born on planet Exxor. They were each gifted with a specific form of shape-shifting. Their powers were activated when they touch rings. This is part of why their powers are the worst, however, Zan gets the worst of it. Jayna can turn into any animal, whereas, Zan can turn into any form of water (solid, liquid and gas). This ability is limiting in that he can’t really do much. He often turns into a puddle of water and needs to be carried in a bucket.
They were often played for laughs at least during commercial breaks or after credits on the Cartoon Network. The need to for them to announce the form they intended to transformed into stating, “Shape of . . .”, “Form of . . .” seemed impractical, but also was part of the humor. In one episode Jayna turns into a seagull, while Zan turns into a “Ice Gondola (Chair of Ice).” I’m sure that they have gotta retconned in some way or have been given power upgrades, but I choose to remember them as they were on one of my favorite childhood television shows the Superfriends, useless.
Superhero costumes are obviously difficult to come up with. You could be as simple as possible, but that feel like laziness. Some costumes are impractical. Many heroes (mostly women) have costumes that seem to work against them more than for them. Hawkman’s chest harness does little to protect said chest. Sometimes the costume has a feature that does nothing for the hero. Power Girl’s infamous “chest window” is on of the most popular example of this. Most of the worst costumes seem to have been created in the 1970’s. I don’t think that is an accident. The general fashion sense of those times weren’t too subtle. There are so many bad costumes, but this one is the worst.
Batman’s Zebras Suit
Batman has one of the best superhero costume’s in comics. However, he once wore on of the worst ones. In Detective Comics #275, Batman wears a Zebra Batman costume. In the issue, Batman and Robin battle Zebra Man. A small time criminal and a scientists, Zebra Man discovered that “all energy has lines of force.” After charging his body with this energy these “lines of force,” go through his costume. Batman becomes exposed to this energy, he becomes a Zebra-Batman. In this form Batman begins to repel everything with great force. Batman couldn’t get near anyone or eat without repelling it. While the Zebra suit wasn’t an intentionally made costume, it still wasn’t a good look.