Weekly Anime Round-Up (May 17th – May 23th): Nami remains weak, The Dystopian Deca-Dence, and an Interview with studio Tonton

Kid saves Nami from Big Mom

In One Piece, Nami has always been weak. Oda seems to have deemed the comic relief or fanservice. It not that One Piece doesn’t have strong females characters either (Big Mom, Hancock), so I just don’t get why he kept her so weak. Redgeek in his post, “Welp, At Least She Tried [One Piece 1013],” seems to agree with me, ” Yep, I’ve given up on Nami. She’s gonna stay a weak fighter forever. …Hmm?” He believes that Zeus is going to make a comeback. I thought that Zeus was gone for good. However, considering that Oda gave him some backstory I think that Redgeek might be right. I also agree that Ulti and Page One are uninteresting villains and I don’t care about them either. As Redgeek puts it:

On the bright side, Ulti’s down for the count! Yay!!!!! I’m sure I haven’t mentioned it at all on this blog, but I don’t care about either Ulti or Page One. So glad they’re KO’d.

Redgeek

Deca-Dence the dystopia

Irina reviews the anime series, Deca-Dence, a surprising anime I reviewed last year. Irina loved the animation from Studio NUT, ” the actual animation of DECA-DENCE is just wonderful . . . In any case, it’s a well-done anime that looks good in just about any episode.” Like most people I was surprised by the twist and Irina thought it was helpful to the narrative:

I do think the surprises it injects into the narrative actually serve to flesh out the themes and messages it’s going for rather than to simply be a cool thing for the audience. And as such, it works best as an integral part of the viewing experience.

Irina

Fan animators create Naruto OP

Studio Tonton has created an OP to pay homage to Naruto. Despite its quality, the video is made by amateur animators. The Sakuga Blog interviewed the producer, Blou, to discuss how the video came to be. Sakuga Blog has praise for the video:

I wouldn’t fault you for assuming that they’re a professional animation production company with quite a lot of talent at their disposal. Now, a trained eye will quickly tell you that the sequence actually has a distinct indie flavor, but that only makes their technical and creative achievements all the more impressive.

Sakuga Blog

100 Day Anime Challenge-Day 4

Favorite Female Anime Character Ever

Sakura Haruno is one of the most divisive characters in anime. People hate her personality, her Sasuke obsession, lack of backstory, and her powers pale compared to Sasuke and Naruto. All this is true. Sakura is terrible to Rock Lee and Naruto in the early seasons. With Sasuke, she just pathetic. He tries to kill her several times and she still “loves” him. But they get married and have a daughter, so I guess it’s okay. So how can she be my favorite? Only if I ignore all of that and focus on what she could have been or should have been. Sakura is terrible because Kishimoto wrote her that way. That’s his right as the creator of Naruto, but I think he did her a disservice. I cover why I think Sakura isn’t useless and why I like her on my 20th Day of the Salty Anime Challenge.


Sakura’s potential is wasted in the beginning of Naruto. She was superior to Naruto and Sasuke with chakra control, genjutsu, and she’s smarter. Unlike them, however, she wasn’t gifted with the chakra of the nine-tails or blessed with the sharingan and curse seal. Sakura shines briefly in the beginning of the part 2. After training with Tsunade, she develops super strength and masters medical jutsu. Sakura’s biggest battle moment is the fight between herself, Chiyo, and Sasori. During the battle, Sakura impresses the far more experienced Chiyo and Sasori.

I originally favored Naruto over her, but I was more impressed with her abilities. She had a lot of potential, but had to work harder than her teammates. I believe that “Sakura’s transformation from the beginning of the series, both personality and ability, changed more than anyone and she had to work with less than her teammates.” If you judge Sakura from her anime portrayal you’ll hate her, but if you look at her potential and ignore the limitation of how she’s written you might love. I do.

Top 10 Most popular manga based on MAL

10. Fairy Tail

Manga vols. 63

Aug 2006 – Jul 2017

MAL Score: 7.67

Fairy Tail is a manga and anime series created by Hiro Mashima. Published in Shounen Magazine in 2006, the series released 549 chapters before ending in 2017. Fairy Tail focuses on Natsu Dragneel, a fire mage, as he searches for his dragon foster father, Igneel, with his guild. 


09. My Hero Academia

Manga vols. 28 (Current)

Jul 2014 –

MAL Score: 8.37

MHA has been published in English by VIZ Media under the Shonen Jump imprint. My Hero Academia is still publishing, having just finished its 291st chapter. In MHA the majority of the population has special abilities called “Quirks.” Most go on to become heroes, while, many become villains. The main protagonist Izuku Midoriya (Deku) is one of the few born without a Quirk. However, his life changes when he meets his idol, All Might. He inherits All Might’s Quirk and joins an academy for potential superheroes. 


08. Bleach

Manga vols. 74

Aug 2001 – Aug 2016

MAL Score: 7.66

Bleach was once considered one of the “big 3” manga series along with One Piece and Naruto. Having sold more than 90 million copies it’s one of the most successful manga series of all time. Bleach follows Ichigo as he invades Soul Society to rescue his friend Rukia from execution. 


07. Death Note

Manga vols. 12

Dec 2003 – May 2006

MAL Score: 8.73

Light Yagami is a brilliant high school student that finds a notebook called the “Death Note.” Inside the book, reads the message: “those whose names are written in it shall die.” Light tests this message and when he learns that it works he embarks on a killing spree under the name “Kira.” However, the mastermind detective “L” and the police aim to track him down. 


06. One Punch-Man

Manga vols. 22 (Current)

Jun 2012 –

MAL Score: 8.75

Saitama is an “ordinary” hero that trained for three years, gaining so much strength that he can defeat most enemies with one punch. However, he becomes bored with the ease with which he defeats the villains. He joins the Hero Association along with his pupil, Genos. They quickly rise up the ranks of the association. 


05. Tokyo Ghoul

Manga vols. 14

Sep 2011 – Sep 2014

MAL Score: 8.54

Ghouls are beings that feed on the human race. In response, the Commission of Counter Ghoul organization has been established. The CCG hopes to exterminate the monsters but they can blend into society posing as humans. Ken Kaneki becomes part Ghoul after he’s attacked by one on a date. As he makes peace with his transformation he finds himself at the center of the war between the Ghouls and CCG. 


04. Naruto

Manga vols. 72

Sep 1999 – Nov 2014

MAL Score: 8.07

Naruto is one of the greatest manga series ever created. Created by Masashi Kishimoto, Naruto has sold over 220 million copies, ranking fourth all-time. Naruto Uzumaki is an orphan ninja from Konoha. He dreams of becoming Hokage (the best ninja in the village). Having been shunned by the village, Naruto originally becomes a mischievous troublemaker. Over the series, Naruto becomes the ninja he hopes to become, gaining the love and admiration of the village that once hated him. 


03. Berserk

Manga vols. 40 (Current)

Aug 1989 – 

MAL Score: 9.34

Guts is a former mercenary seeking vengeance after being betrayed by a former friend. Guts had a terrible childhood and set out on a mission that is filled with horrors and misfortune. Guts battles monstrous demons, cutting them down with his massive sword. Berserk is a harsh series that’s not for the faint of heart. 


02. One Piece

Manga vols. 97 (Current)

Jul 1997 – 

MAL Score: 9.09

The last of the “Big 3,” One Piece is considered by many to be the greatest manga series of all time. As of 2017, One Piece is the highest selling manga series with over 430 million copies sold. Gol D. Roger is about to be executed by the World Government before they kill him he confirms that a treasure called “One Piece,” exists somewhere on the Grand Line. This act inspires a new generation of Pirates. One such pirate is Monkey D. Luffy, who aims to get a crew, sail the seas searching for the One Piece, and becoming Pirate King in the process. 


01. Attack on Titan

Manga vols. 32 (Current)

Sep 2009 – 

MAL Score: 8.64

Hundreds of years ago humanity was attacked by massive creatures called Titans. These “Titans” eat humans whenever they can. Unable to combat the new threat humanity sought safety behind massive walls. Eren Yeager, Mikasa Ackerman, and Armin Arlert grow up in this new environment. However, what was once a peaceful life becomes a horror when a Titan burst through one of the walls. After losing his mother, Eren promises to eradicate the Titans from Earth. 

Source: MAL

My Top 5 Naruto Arcs

Chunin Exams

Manga Volumes: 4 – 13

Anime Episodes: 20 – 67

The Chunin Exams marks the moment we get to see the rest of the current ninja generation. We are introduced to the rest of the Rookie Nine, Team Guy, the Three Sand Siblings, and Orochimaru. Until this point, I found Naruto to be mediocre but characters like Rock Lee and Orochimaru made me fall in love with the series. This arc also displayed the value intellect was to ninja. The first phase of the exam required the genin to use their skills to acquire information. However, the most exciting part of this arc was the preliminaries. With too many teams passing the exam, the 20 remaining genin we pitched against one another to cut down the numbers. Some of the matches we duds, but a few are classics. The same is true of the finals matches between the surviving winners. 

Best Fights:

  • Orochimaru vs Sasuke
  • Rock Lee vs Gaara
  • Naruto vs Neji
  • Temari vs Shikamaru

Five Kage Summit

Manga Volume: 49 – 51

Anime Episodes: 197 – 214

This arc is filled with action but I think it’s most interesting for is the focus on the political aspect of Naruto. The arc centers on the Summit between the current Kages, Gaara, Onoki, Mei, A, and Danzo. While we’re familiar with Gaara, the other Kages are more of a mystery. Danzo uses Tsunade’s coma as an opportunity to claim the title of Hokage for himself. Danzo is revealed to have possession of the Sharingan. The Kages argue over their ideological differences, with A claiming (correctly) that each of the other villages used the Akatsuki to gain power. Of course, the summit is interrupted by Sasuke and the rest of Taka. In the fights that follow, A proves to be a powerhouse, and Onoki and Terumi show off some of their abilities. Finally, Madara declares war over the remaining tailed beast. 

Best Fights:

  • Sasuke vs The Kages
  • Killer B vs Kisame
  • Sasuke vs Danzo

Pain’s Assault

Manga Volume: 45 – 48

Anime Episodes: 152 – 175

The beginning of this arc introduces us to Killer B, the host of the Eight Tailed Beast. He quickly becomes a fan favorite, while the rapping is bad and stereotypical, he’s a fun character that gives Sasuke a fight. It’s also the first time that we witness a Jinchuriki fight alongside his beast. After this fight, Pain invades Konoha. It’s a devastating assault that results in the “death” of Kakashi and the destruction of Konoha. The highlight of this arc is the fight between Naruto and Pain, with the former using the senjutsu (Sage) techniques and the Wind Release: Rasenshuriken technique. Hinata confesses her love for Naruto and the latter finally meets his father. 

Best Fights:

  • Sasuke vs Killer B
  • Naruto vs Pain

Sasuke Recovery Mission

Manga Volume: 20 – 27

Anime Episode: 107 – 135

Sasuke defects from Konoha in pursuit of power. This marks the moment Sasuke becomes a villain. Tsunade sends a five-man genin squad to retrieve him. Lead by Shikamura, the team of Naruto, Neji, Choji, and Kiba face off against the Sound Four. This arc features several battles that felt consequential. Each fight showed the depth of skill each ninja from Konoha possed. Furthermore, we got to see the specific techniques of the Akimichi, Hyuga, and Inuzuka clans. While Sasuke was becoming a villain, Gaara and siblings became allies. Watching the siblings fight for Konoha gave me chills. Throw in drunken fist Rock Lee and the epic battle between Sasuke and Naruto, this is one of the best Naruto arcs. 

Best Fights:

  • Neji vs Kidomaru
  • Kiba/Akamaru vs Sakon/Ukon
  • Shikamaru vs Tayuya
  • Rock Lee vs Kimimaro
  • Gaara vs Kimimaro
  • Naruto vs Sasuke

Tale of Jiraiya the Gallant

Manga Volumes: 40 – 42

Anime Episode: 127 – 133

This arc is short but it was the most impactful for me. Jiraiya was always my favorite Naruto character. I loved everything about him, his character design, humor, and abilities. However, we never saw the extent of those abilities until this arc. Jiraiya investigates Pain, infiltrating Amegakure. While there he encounters former students Konan and Nagato. Pain gets introduced and he’s a stoic villain that plans on forcing the world to stop wars, by creating a jutsu powerful enough to “wipe away entire nations.” It’s not the most original of motives but Pain proves to be a formidable villain. The battle between the two is probably my favorite and what made Naruto the best shonen series. 

One of the Legendary Sannin finally got to fight with their full power. This fight perfectly balances the powerful techniques of Jiraiya and Pain, while including strategy, and skills that feel earned. When you feel like Jiraiya has defeated a mysterious opponent, it’s revealed (not completely to the audience) what Pain is. After Jiraiya loses his arm and has to face The Six Paths of Pain you not sure he can survive. However, just when we begin to think he will escape, he sacrifices his life to protect Konoha. It was a heartbreaking moment that made me cry. I think it’s the best Naruto arc ever.

The Top 10 White Haired Anime Characters (Part 2)

Kakashi unmasked
Kakashi unmasked

Kakashi

Kakashi is one of the most famous shinobi in Naruto. Know the Copy Ninja, he had copied over 1000 jutsus. He’s one of the most powerful ninja’s in the series later becoming the Sixth Hokage. His appearance is often a source of interest for fans and characters in the series. He hides his face under a mask. Most of his friends have forgotten what he even looks like, although, Teuchi and Ayame consider him to be handsome. In addition to this and the fact that he hides his Sharingan under his forehead protector, and also has spiky white hair that leans to the left. 

Sesshomaru

The full demon brother of Inuyasha, Sesshomaru is a powerful demon. He began to hate his brother after their father sacrificed himself for him. Sesshomaru considered this act a sign of weakness. He always calm, calculating, and confident. Sesshomaru in battle was able to determine his opponent’s strength and only used power necessary to kill them. Despite his personality, he did show that he could care for others even humans, like his companions Rin and Jaken. In his human form, Sesshomaru is good looking, with pointed ears, and long white hair with bangs. In keeps his white hair when he transforms into his Yokai form. 

Victor Nikiforov

champion figure skater, coach, and choreographer, Victor is a legend in the skating world. He was the top figure skater at 16, having won five consecutive World Championships and Grand Prix Finals. It seems to be a trend that white-haired characters are considered more attractive than average. Regardless, Victor is considered hot. He has short gray hair with bangs that cover his left eye. 

Yoko Kurama

As a human Kurama has red hair, but when he reverts to his demon form he becomes a literal silver-haired fox. Kurama is calm, calculating, and analytical character. When he transforms his personality shifts and he becomes cruel and merciless even though he maintains his intellect. In this form, Kurama has fox ears, silver hair (including his tail), and wears an outfit that resembles a toga. 

Jiraiya

Jiraiya is one of the legendary sannin along with Tsunade and Orochimaru. A powerful ninja and world-renowned pervert, Jiraiya became the Toad Sage. Later he would become the teacher of Minato Namikaze (4th Hokage), Nagato (Pain), and Naruto. Jiraiya was generally silly and fun-loving. At first, you might assume Jiraiya’s hair is due to his advanced age, however, he’s had white hair since birth. As he got older his hair grows to waist length. 

The Top 10 White Haired Anime Characters (Part 1)