I have been meaning to review the anime movie Children of the Sea, however, I just returned to school (digitally), and have a backlog of anime to review. Regardless, Maya Phillips has a brief review of the movie. The movie combines “traditional hand drawing and C.G.I. technology.” Children of the Sea is an odd story that has phenomenal animation. Maya compliments the score by Joe Hisaishi calling it “whimsical string-heavy,” and “dazzling.” However, she’s not fond of the conflict between the C.G.I. and drawing saying that “the drawings make the C.G.I. look artificial, and the C.G.I. flattens the drawings.”
Also in the times is an article discussing the limits anime chooses when animating athletes. Maya Phillips writes “Because animation is free from the physical limitations of reality, it would be simple for these anime shows to slough off trifles like gravity” . . . ” they depict athletes as living just a few toes beyond the realm of possibility.” She mentions series like Yuri on Ice, Haikyuu!!, and Kuroko’s Basketball. She talks about how these series “dramatizes athletes surpassing the body’s limits.” She end’s the piece with Yuri on Ice, focusing on fluid animation, “The skaters swivel and swerve, fan out their arms and legs in a large circular sweep, then tuck themselves into tidy spins.”
Final a few days ago I was introduced to a stunning game called Black Myth: Wukong. A project from Chinese indie developer Game Science, the gameplay trailer is impressive. According to IGN the founder, Feng Ji, wanted to use the video as a recruitment tool. IGN goes through what is currently known about the title and its developer. Game Science was founded in 2014 and produces mobile and free-to-play games. The story is based on the classic Chinese myth, Journey to the West. It gets its name from Sun Wukong or the Monkey King. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t have a release date, so it’s unclear when we could see it.
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.
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.
A 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.
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 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.
I uses to wonder why anyone watched sports anime. Why not just play it or watch on tv? It can’t be more entertaining than real thing, right? Turns out it can be or at least sports anime is a different kind of entertainment. Regardless, I learned to love some anime sports. The best sports anime create drama through the characters and matches, while explaining the rules of the sport. I prefer series that allow the protagonists to lose from time to time. Even if the main character is a prodigy, even body loses in sport. At least sometimes. My top five are:
5. Air Gear
Air Gear is the least realistic of the anime on this list. Air Gear is an in-universe invention that is based on inline skates. Itsuki Minami “Crow” is the main character. Air Gear focuses on Ikki and his friends as the try to climb to the top of Trophaeum Tower. Personally, I preferred the manga to the anime because of the amazing art of Ito “Oh Great” Ogure. The anime isn’t true to the manga series leaving out some story aspects. Overall, Air Gear is fun, high action comedy anime.
4. Prince of Tennis
The Prince of Tennis series from Takeshi Konomi. Adapted from the manga in 2001, the series featured several OVA’s, 178 episodes and a movie. I love Tennis. It’s my favorite sport, so seeing it get the anime treatment was exciting. The animation in this series isn’t great, but the dramatic matches, and the dynamic presentation of tennis is entertaining.
3. Ping Pong the Animation
The first thing you notice when watching Ping Pong the Animation is the animation style. Rather innovative the art style is fluid in motion and the line work is phenomenal. That said, its unique styling isn’t going to work for everyone. Some characters can look deformed at times, but I didn’t find it of putting. The series focuses more on the characters than you would expect. Ping Pong the Animation is a complex series, with electrifying animation, and good character building.
2. Yuri on Ice
I only pay attention to Ice Skating during the winter Olympics. So when I kept hearing about Yuri on Ice I wasn’t convinced I would like it. After the first episode I was hooked. The ice skating was well done. With great music, camera angles, choreography, and animation Yuri on Ice stands out. However, it’s the characters that makes the series great. The main characters Yuri Katsuki, Yuri Plisetsky, and Victor Nikiforov all feel real. At the same time the secondary characters all have interesting stories. You hope they skate the best routine, and are heart broken when they fall.
Volleyball is one of those sports that everyone thinks they can play. It was one of the sports I was required to play in basic gym class. Most of the class was uninterested in the game, but if you grade depends on participating you better try. It was surprisingly fun to play once everyone got involved. Haikyuu reminded me of this moment. Turns out real volleyball isn’t that easy. Haikyuu explains the strategies to the audience. Like Yuri on Ice, this series has amazing animation that works well with the action. Centered around the short Hinata and his antagonist/best friend Kageyama, Haikyuu is awesome. Balancing emotion, with dramatic action, and the occasional loss, Haikyuu is the best sports anime in my opinion.
Studio: Wit Studio | MAL: 8.61 | Genre: Historical
Vinland Saga is dark, violent series with a depressing protagonists that never smiles. If like me you have a love of Viking and Norse mythology this anime is for you. Wit Studio of Attack on Titan fame, continues to produce stunning animation. Vinland Saga balances the epic battles with realism well. Conflict manages to both feature superhuman feats with human consequences. The first scene in the first episode sets the tone, bloody, gorgeously rendered, outstandingly directed action. The quality remains consistent throughout. Vinland Saga also features complex characters and great world-building. It’s an anime series that simply cannot be missed.
The Promised Neverland shocked me. Not since Made in Abyss (also on this list) have my expectation been undermined for the better. Orphans housed in the Grace Field House live as a family under the watch of Isabella or “Mama.” Tested daily, the children are largely permitted to do as they will. Except they are not allowed to venture past the bridge. Being children they don’t question the world they inhabit much. However, the three eldest and smartest siblings begin to become suspicions of what’s happening. What they uncover is a conspiracy in which children are cattle for a mysterious alien race. You’ll need to suspend some disbelief as some of the plot can be convoluted, however, The Promised Neverland is never dull and will pull at your heartstrings.
Is it possible to like an anime based on a sport and not care for the sport itself? To be honest I have watched some ice skating, but I can’t call myself a fan. Regardless, Yuri on Ice made me love ice skating at least for a while. Yuri on Ice’s main protagonists is Yuri Katsuki. Unlike a typical sport anime protagonists, he’s . . . well a loser. Literally. At the beginning of the series Yuri is crushed as he suffers another humiliating defeat at the Grand Prix Finale. At the age of 23, Yuri is old (in skating anyway) and his window is closing. He return home to supportive family and friends. Outside of the public view, Yuri performs a routine from five time world champ, Victor Nikiforov. This performance goes viral, inspiring the actual Victor to come to Japan to become Yuri’s coach.
Izuku Midoriya subverts the expectation of a shonen hero. He’s born without any powers (in My Hero Academia they’re called quirks). Where characters like Monkey D. Luffy or Goku lack intellect but possess great power, Midoriya is the opposite. Sure he gains great power from the greatest hero All Might, but he struggles to control and master it. Izuku is highly intelligent, often stopping in the heat of battle to analyze the situation. Unlike most shonen anime, Midoriya is routinely outclassed by classmates, Todoroki and Bakugo. The series even switches from the heroes to the villains. Often the villains are already fully grown, in age and power. However, in My Hero Academia they must learn to be effective villains. Like the young heroes they develop new powers and simultaneously an affection for each other. This coupled with amazing action and humor, makes MHA on of the best series of the last decade.
If Izuku Midoriya is the start of a new type of shonen hero, Tanjiro continues the trend. Driven by the sole purpose of returning his sister back to a human, Tanjiro embarks on a journey that results in him joining the Demon Slayer Corps. Tanjiro Kamado is smart and courageous hero, but his kindness is what makes him stand out. He will give his life to stop the demons, but when he defeats them he is compassionate as he helps them into the next life. However, his relationship with is sister, Nezuko, is probably the heart of the series so far. She can be forgotten sleep in her box for hours, but she manages to display human traits despite being a demon. Characters like Zenitsu and Inosuke add humor to the series, although they’re an acquired tasted. Finally, the only true evil in the series isn’t the lower level demons, but Muzan Kibutsuji. There’s no nuance to him. He a monster that takes advantage of the weak and expects them to give in to his will. Demon Slayer is a top tier series with amazing characters and action to match.
Yuri Plisetskyis furious that his former teammate, ViktorNikiforovhas headed to Japan to coach Yuuri Katsuki. Yuri heads to Japan despite his coach saying he shouldn’t. Viktor tries to get to know Yuuri better, asking him what his favorite food was. He tries Yuuri’s favorite food called Katsudon and loves it. However, he quickly informs Yuuri that he will only coach him if he loses weight.
Viktor pits Yuri verses Yuuri
Viktor gives Yuuri the nickname Kobuta-chan or Piglet. Yuri arrives and searches for Yuuri and Victor. He finds them at the local rink, and is surrounded by reporters. He confronts Viktor about his promise to choreograph Yuri’s debut routine. Viktor decides to have Yuuri and Yuri compete for the honor of being coached by Viktor. They will skate against each other, to two different arrangements of the same song, with two different routines created by Viktor.
Viktor plays the arrangements
Viktor plays both arrangements for Yuuri and Yuri, asking them their opinions of them. Yuuri takes an instant liking to the slower arrangement and Yuri likes the second arrangement which is quicker and more like his style. Viktor explains that the first song arrangement is about agape: (unconditional, innocent love) and the seconded is about: eros (romantic, sexual love). Viktor surprises them by suggesting that they will skate to the song they didn’t like.
This episode created some intrigue, regarding whether Viktor will coach Yuri or Yuuri. I predict that he will choose Yuuri, even though Yuuri probably won’t beat Yuri. Something tells me that Yuuri will be a harder worker, but Yuri is more talented. Either way the next episode will be interesting.