FLCL Progressive Episode 5 Review: Fool on the Planet

The animated creativity of this episode was stunning. Fool on the Planet feature several different animation styles throughout the episode. It begins with what seems like a charcoal watercolor like painting. Then it moves to a sketch style that makes the episode feel unfinished. Finally, the episode transitions to a manga style, black and white with panels. The shifts between the various styles happen sometime between frames as well as scenes.

Ide “fights” Haruko in a abandoned pool, she dominates him, mocking his lack of strength. Ide’s relationship with Haruko is odd, it appears to be sexual on some level but never really progresses pass innuendo. Regardless, after she defeat him, she straddles him telling him that he “knows nothing.” Ide responds in kind telling her that “you don’t satisfy me!” This pisses Haruko off, meanwhile, Hidomi races to the roof and becomes jealous.

She weirdly absorbs Ide in a fit of rage, leaving behind a weird black human shaped rubber type thing. We learn that Hidomi’s mother is closing the cafe, seemingly abandoning any hope that her father will return. It appears that Haruko is working with “the Department of Interstellar Immigration,” and the weird amusement park is finally implemented. Draining the N.O. energy from the students to power a robot. They attack a “Medical Mechanica factory.”

Meanwhile, the rubber suit floats up into space where it’s sucked into a giant satellite and feed to a Canti-like dog by an elderly woman. This is similar to what occurred in the last episode of FLCL, the terminal dog ended up becoming a world destroying machine. Hidomi’s attacks Haruko in her new cyborg form. She chastises Haruko for being “just a girl in love.” Before Haruko can respond the sky turns red signalling the return of Atomsk. While, I enjoyed the animation change, I found it so distracting that I had to re-watch the episode to remember what happened. Which is bad enough considering that this whole series will require re-watching. Anyway, I’m curious what the final episode will bring.

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One Piece Chapter 910 Review: Now, to Wano

This chapter was largely a throw away, were I’m concerned. It’s not that it doesn’t do anything to progress the story, spoiler alert they reach Wano, it’s that well that’s all that really happens. As I’ve mentioned in the last chapter review, the visual styling of the Wano arc is striking. The koi fish were impressively rendered, I really like the use of thick outlines. Wano seems like a world separate from the rest of the One Piece world.

The chapter opens showing that the Strawhat’s have learned what going on in Reverie. Luffy, Sanji and Chopper get into their usually hi-jinks, fighting with one another as they rip the pieces of the newspaper that they want to read while Nami’s reading it. Oda seems to intend to infuse this arc with Japanese cultural references. Oda’s homage to the famous woodblock print  “Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Hokusai on page 9 was great.

One potential criticism is that Oda seems to be setting the Strawhat’s for yet another separation. The Strawhat’s are already split in half, I don’t think they also need to be separated individually, it’s tedious. Obviously, I don’t know that Oda is going there but he tends to do that. Finally, giant animals with katana’s is epic.

FLCL Progressive Episode 2 Review: Freebie Honey

Episode 2 opens with another dream from Hidomi. She faces off against zombie versions of her classmates, while being one herself. It doesn’t end well for her as she is dismembered. The visual styling of this scene is worth the violent imagery if you’re put off by such things. What these dreams mean is still unclear.

Haruko appear to not have been fired for pretending to be another person, and Hidomi’s classmates seem to under her control. She hands them her yearbook, as they flip through looking at it content of Haruko playing baseball, but Hidomi merely sees drawings of the evens in what looks like crayon.

She is given a mission from Haruko to deliver a worksheet to Ide. We learn more about Ide, he’s working at a terrible job where he’s regularly abused by patrons and his boss. He’s literally being wiped by his boss as he, along with his co workers a trying to pull a car. He’s then beaten by a customer who punches him. Hidomi witnessing this begins to an emotion reaction and passes out.

As Ide takes care of Hidomi, Haruko interrupts them. Jinyu arrives as well and she faces off against Haruko. During their battle, Jinyu states several times that Haruko will not “you know you’re not going to reach him like this.” Hidomi finally transforms in a massive explosion, when the dust dissipates Hidomi has transformed into a junky little droid. However, Hidomi merely touches Haruko and knocks her away in an explosion. Hidomi attempts to punch Haruko again, but misses and manages to hit herself, returning Hidomi to her original form.

FLCL remains a confusing show, this episode doesn’t answer many pending questions. Who is Jinyu referring to when she says “you know you’re not going to reach him like this”? Is Hidomi falling in love with Ide? Hidomi’s transformation is weird and I’m not sure I like it or love it, but it’s unexpected. However, unexpected is what FLCL is about.

One Piece Chapter 907 Review: The Empty Throne

Oda continues to up the stakes and add to the lore of this magnificent series. It was already stated that Kiado and Big Mom had some connection, in this chapter they both want the head of Luffy. Kiado threatens to “kill” her if she interferes. Big Mom refers to a “debt,” that he owes her from a long time ago. Garp later confirms that both Big Mom and Kiado were on the same pirate crew at some point. It’s not made clear why but Garp became “the Hero of the Navy,” because of his dealing with the Yonko. I assume he either defeated or killed their former leader. Hina references a “Rocks,” which is referring to a era before Gol Rogers.

We are shown the “Empty Throne” an aide tells Sterry that he cannot sit on it because “its vacancy symbolizes that the world is not ruled by a single figure, sending a message of peace by making all royals equal before it.” Even the Five Elders and the World Nobles are forbidden to sit on the throne. Something tells me that Sterry is stupid enough to violate this long held rule. Considering, stupid royals, Charlos proves that I was right in my last review. He has his giant slave attempt to kidnap Shirahoshi in full view of everyone. Rebecca and Vivi unsurprisingly are horrified and Sai and Leo only to defeated by Rob Lucci and CP-0.

Lucci says that whatever a “god” wants they get. Neptune plans on attacking CP-0 and Charlos, he states that he cannot bring his his people to the surface. Surprisingly, someone attacks Charlos with a club apologizing for Charlos actions. He reveals himself to be a World Noble named Mjosgard from the Donquixote Family. He’s says he owe’s Ryugu Kingdom a great debt. Apparently, Otohime “showed him the error of his ways and made him into a human.” Up until now we were lead to believe that all World Nobles were terrible, elites that abuse their power. Mjosgard seems to be different, even though he still benefits from slave labor. Finally, Shanks appears at Mary Geoise to speak with the Five Elders.

Megalo Box Episode 3 Review: Gear is dead.

 

With only 3 months to qualify for the Megalonia tournament, will Joe make it? Nanbu sheepishly heads into the official Megalonia headquarters to register Joe. He succeeds in this registering Joe, who’s ranked 257th among the fighters. Fujimaki reminds Joe and Nanbu of the stakes if they fail to win (death). Joe’s gear begins to get a upgrade. Nanbu tells Joe that in 3 months Joe will need to win 5 matches.

Getting integrated Gear is expensive, so Nanbu and Joe head to a seedy part of town to buy some gear. We encounter some street kids who steal some camera for “red candy” narcotics. The owner says that the “kids gladly eat the candy, the shop owner commenting that they’re happy to be distracted from their miserable existence.” Still they’re stiffed, as the owner of the shop only gives them 3 candies instead of 4. The head boy Sachio, gets into a altercation with the owner and smashes a globe on his arm drawing blood. He pulls a knife on him but Joe steps in. He quickly deescalates the situation and he and Nanbu leave.

While training in a old boxing ring, Sachio insists that the upgraded gear will not work. He and Nanbu agree that his assessment is correct but they have no choice. Sachio asks to go with Nanbu and Joe, but he’s dismissed as being useless. To prove that he’s not however, he steals the prototype from the seedy owner and gets caught. Sachio is getting beaten up by Potemkin, Joe drives a motorcycle through the front window and Potemkin face. The new gear proves useless, but Joe plans on fighting him without it.

Megalo Box continues to be impressive. In this episode the world is expanded on and we’re introduced to more characters. We get a more detail look at the seedy slums of the Megalo Box universe. Nanbu’s character is expanded on, we get to see him with other promoters and sponsors. He comes across as more of a opportunists in the earlier episodes but turns out that he actually is a good mechanic and trainer. Hopefully, this series will expand on other characters in this series.

One Piece Chapter 906 Review – The Holy Land Mary Geoise

This chapter begins at the “top of the World,” or the top of the “red Line” to be exact. The “Holy Land Mary Geoise,” is a sight to behold, grand in size and design. However, true to One Piece all isn’t as it seems. We are introduced to moving ground called the “travelator,” it is quickly revealed that beneath its surface it’s powered by slaves. Oda immediately kills our wonderment showing the reader that the man made forest and moving ground that amaze the privilege comes at the cost of the downtrodden.

As the Ryugu Royal Family enters into the Mariegeoise Pangea Palace, Charloss, the spoiled, nose picking World Noble whom Luffy punched into unconscious, takes note of Shirahoshi. It wouldn’t surprise me if he created an international incident by trying to kidnap her. Inside we get to see the luxury of the royals. While bodyguards are permitted, weapons aren’t. Several fathers approach  Shirahoshi with their unattractive sons, she accidentally insults them.

Meanwhile, Vivi and Carue meet Rebecca and Leo. They talk about their love of Luffy, we also are given a recap of who some of these characters are. The recaps are short and probably needed, but I was reminded how long the One Piece series has been releasing chapters (over 20 years). We also are reminded how much the Strawhat’s have done to liberate kingdoms around the world. One thing I did notice was the similarities between how Rebecca, Shirahoshi, Vivi and Nami look. I love Oda’s art, but clearly he has a creative blind spot, because they all look the same.

We are reintroduced to Sai, King Cobra, Dalton and Dr. Kureha. Finally, we see Doflamingo in Impel Down Level 6. He believes that he will be assassinated for what he know about the “secret treasure found in Geoise. A mysterious shadowy figure enters a seemingly cold room that features a large Straw hat. One Piece continues to amaze me, even a chapter with no action had me on the edge of my seat.

Megalo Box Episode 2: Junk Dog vs Yuri

Junk Dog faces off against Yuri, he’s clear outmatched and Yuri decides to give him a handicap, he won’t use his right hand. Junk Dog says that “he hopes that he doesn’t regret it.” Yuri continues to dominate him, but Junk Dog attempts to adjust and his hit from the an angle from the top, knocking Junk Dog to the ground and his mouth guard out. Junk Dog gets back up, claiming that he’s “having too much fun.”

 

Junk Dog challenges Yuri to fight with both his arms and Yuri agrees to show him “real Megalo Boxing.” JD charges in but Yuri see’s an opening and quickly knocks him out. Yuri leaves as the crowd chants his name, Junk Dog tells him he’s “not done yet.” Yuri tells him that if he wants to fight him again it has to be in “his” ring. Junk Dog’s battle with Yuri doubled JD’s audience and double their’s fees.

Junk Dog wants to go to fight in the Megalo box, however, he doesn’t have a citizen ID. Furthermore, only the top four fighters can fight and it’s unlikely that Junk Dog can get to the top four in three months. While in the ring JD, KO’s his opponent in the first round causing trouble for Mr. Nanbu. He’s taken to Mr. Fujimaki and begs for another chance and more time to pay him back.

Mr. Fujimaki agrees, handing Mr. Nanbu a knife to take out his other eye. Mr. Nanbu counters by telling Mr. Fujimaki that JD is going to enter and win the Megalo Box tournament. Junk Dog is given the identity of someone that Mr. Fujimaki appears to have killed, Junk Dog give himself a new name Joe. Another good episode, the name Joe not only seems to be homage to Ashita no Joe and also one of the themes about class.

JD seems to be inspired to name himself Joe after a billboard that reads, “It’s a wonderful District life. Not your average Joe.” Finally, the theme of around “dog” seem to be more obvious in the episode. JD is often compared to a “stray” dog and Yuri feels like he’s a more pampered domesticated dog, obedient to Yukiko. It will be interesting to see how JD will manage to defeat a lot of boxers in only 3 months.

One Piece Chapter 903: Is Luffy now the fifth emperor?

The 903rd chapter of One Piece, “The Fifth Emperor” focuses on the aftermath of the Strawhat’s battle with the Big Mom pirates. One Piece is one of if not the best action anime/manga out there and it’s often a pleasure to read those chapters. However, Oda does excel at telling a story that effective builds the One Piece universe, reminding the readers what’s at stake and how large the world actually is.

After a major arc many pirates receive different amounts in what’s called a bounty. For those who may not know, a “bounty is issued by a government official or by the Marines.” It’s amount is determined by the strength or the danger level the pirate presents.

Most pirates actually like bounties as it’s potentially high amount is a symbol of their strength to the world. The bounty is a tangible symbol of the stories progression. For example in the beginning of the series Luffy was excited to receive his first bounty, which after defeating several top pirates in East Blue was 30 million berry.

Watching his bounty and his crew-mates bounties increase represented their grow both in strength and experience. In this chapter Sanji’s bounty increases to 330 million berry, he’s joyful because it has surpassed Zoro’s 320 million berry bounty. However, he’s not so happy that his bounty seemed to increase due to his familial connections.

Another tool that Oda uses to expand the world and basically recap the recently ended arc is the newspapers. This chapter shows several major characters reading about the exploits of the Strawhat pirates, one of the first news items the paper reveals to the masses is that Luffy now “commands” a fleet of 5000 subordinates, called the “Straw Hat Grand Fleet.” This fleet is formed by seven organizations that have pledge to serve under Luffy.

The fleet’s membership includes, seven divisions, the Beautiful Pirates are First Division and are commanded by Cavendish. The Second Division is led by Bartolomeo and features his Barto Club, the Third Division features the pirate crew, the Happo Navy, the Fourth Division, the Ideo Pirates lead by Ideo, the Fifth Division is headed by the Tontatta Tribe, and their armed forces the Tonta Corps.

The New Giant Warrior Pirates are a five member pirate crew that make up the Sixth Division, lead by Hajrudin. Finally, the Yonta Maria Grand Fleet that features 56 ships, they’re the Seventh Division. We see that Dalton, Dr. Kureha, Crocodile, Cavendish, Bartolomeo, the Firetank Pirates, Blackbeard, Van Augur, Doc Q, Avalo Pizarro and Princess Vivi.

We get to see Koby and Helmeppo as they save the Riku family. I’ve been excited to see the progression of these two, the series obviously focuses on pirates not marines and only in conflict do we get a since of their strength. Helmeppo now possesses Kenbunshoku Haki, and Koby is strong enough to deflect torpedo’s underwater, he’s now a Captain.

The series now heads into the “Reverie Arc,” the 13th story arc of the series and will focus on the royalty gathering for Reverie. This chapter revealed so much and I would recommend reading it, some highlights included Sanji receiving a Raid Suit, Zeus abandoned Big Mom for Nami, Kaido is angered at Luffy for ruining his operations, Big Mom is angry that Morgan (the newspaper writer) suggested that Luffy had defeated her.

The World Economic Journal calls Luffy the fifth Emperor, placing him in the league with the Yonko, Shanks, Big Mom, Kaido and Blackbeard. Brook reveals that he made an error in reporting Luffy’s bounty earlier, and that it’s actual 1.5 Billion berry bounty, the largest known so far in the series.

My Hero Academia: Episode 3, The villains emerge

Class B wakes up early to find out that Class A has already been up training. Class B hopes to become the class that shine next semester. They will all be developing their quirks. Similar to muscles fibers, quirks become stronger after continuous use. Class B watches as Class A is in the process of their intense training. We see that Katsuki Bakugo, is ” plunging both hands into boiling water to expand his sweat glands and creating explosions repeatedly to increase the scale of his attacks.”

Shoto Todoroki is “alternating between ice and fire to make the temperature of the bathwater uniform.” The purpose of this training is to get his body “use to freezing,” and have him develop more control over his flames temperature. Hanta Sero by producing “tape continuously” his training will potentially increase his ability to “improve tape strength and shooting speed.” All the other members of Class A are effectively using their quirks over and over again to increase the qualities of their quirks. All of this may occur naturally, but due to villains they need to speed up the process.

We are finally introduced to the “full version,” of the Wild Wild Pussycats. The to new teammates we are introduced to, Ragdoll, whose search quirk “can know all the info about up to 100 people by just looking at them, and can find their location and weaknesses.” Tiger’s quirk is called Pliabody, he can “stretch and flatten his own body in an almost inhumane way.” He suggests that his job is to ” assault through punching and kicking” whatever that means. He trains the “power-up types,” like Izuku. He tell him to hit him with what he’s got and Izuku uses his “5% Detroit Smash only for Tiger to easily counter it.

Later, Dabi and the other villains finally arrive and begin the assault on the students. The numbers are stacked against them considering that there are only 10 villains, compared to the 40 plus heroes. Regardless, the willingness to kill might be the difference. This episode was largely setting up the next episode, which is likely to be epic.

 

 

Megalo Box Episode 1 Review: Buy or Die?

Megalo Box is a spin off of the classic anime boxing series, Ashita no Joe, accommodating it’s 50 year anniversary. There has been a number of boxing anime and manga, Hajime no Ippo being the most prominent. Ippo is an manga series created by George Morikawa, it focuses on ” the story of high school student Makunouchi Ippo, as he begins his career in boxing and over time obtains many titles and defeats various opponents. ” Hajime no Ippo to date has sold over 95 million copies and has well over 120 volumes.

Ashita no Joe’s success was more moderate with 20 volumes and 20 million copies, but has developed a cult following. The manga series was created by Ikki Kajiwara and illustrated Tetsuya Chiba it was adapted into a movie and an anime series. The series focuses on Joe Yabuki as he goes through the professional boxing ranks, with Joe dying from his injuries sustained in the ring.

Megalo Box is adapted from the manga of the same name, however, it will take place in a more futuristic society and some of the original characters have been recreated. The series will be simulcasted on Crunchyroll and will feature 13 episodes. The first episode, Buy or Die, introduces the underground boxer, Junk Dog (JD). Megalo Box is the “combination of athleticism and Gear technology to create the future of boxing,” the granddaughter of former head of the Shirato group, Yukiko Shirato states. She aims is to create the “ultimate combat sport” in the Megalonia tournament.

The first thing you will notice about Megalo is the classic visual styling. Megalo reminds me of Cowboy Bebop, with it’s color pallet and gritty environments and the animation is superb. JD has the similar “I don’t care” mindset that Spike (Cowboy Bebop) displayed. JD has a chance encounter with Yukiko and her prized fighter Yuri. JD insults Shirato’s Megalonia tournament, Yuri tells him to “take it back” and challenges him to a fight. Shirato interrupts the fight and they leave. JD’s next fight is against none other than Yuri himself. The episode ends before they fight. I usually don’t like boxing anime but Megalo hits all the right buttons for me, I can’t wait to see the rest of the series.

Source: Wikipedia