The Pet Girl of Sakurasou: A well-rounded coming-of-age series

Obligatory slice-of-life fireworks scene.

Obligatory slice-of-life fireworks scene.

Slice of life comedies are a dime a dozen in the anime world. If you ask me, it feels like the genre can mask bad storytelling while simultaneously providing studios the creative freedom to basically do anything in the name of comedy, and ecchi fanservice is typically one of the first attributes thrown around for no reason. The Pet Girl of Sakurasou definitely doesn’t shy away from these provisions, but it manages to steer away from being labelled as overly shallow with its very normal coming-of-age plot. That, and an interesting set of main characters to really grab viewers from the get-go. (more…)

Light novel awareness for the indifferent anime fan.

"When we're talking about a manga, you check both out, saying how the original work has its own goodness..."

“When we’re talking about a manga, you check both out, saying how the original work has its own goodness…”

Something I find interesting about many anime fans is their apparent lack of knowledge and interest in Japanese light novels. Typically, anime are not the first form of media released for a franchise due to the large production costs involved, so most animated series draw from existing source material that has already run the gauntlet of scrutiny by a particularly judgmental fanbase. There are some exceptions, of course, like Cowboy Bebop, Madoka Magica, and series based on video games, but more often than not you’re going to find source material in manga, visual novels, and light novels. While manga definitely has a thriving fanbase and community in the west, it’s much harder to find fans of light novels. It’s a shame, if you ask me. (more…)

City-sized ships, anglerfish, girls … und panzer?

gup_5 I’ll just say it: the girls with guns genre is pretty well-represented in anime. Noir, Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja were all stylish depictions of girls with guns that managed to present some mature themes and relationships while not skimping on the stylish action, and though the trilogy has long since ended, it’s not like anime’s trying to get away from gun-toting female protagonists or anything. Aria the Scarlet Ammo and the upcoming Sword Art Online arc are evidence enough. But recently, another spiritual trilogy seems to have emerged in a related genre, which I can only informally dub “military moe,” starting with Strike Witches and Upotte!, and rounded off by the recent anime season’s conclusion of Girls und Panzer. (more…)

So what’s the deal with brocon and siscon in anime?

So what's the deal with brocon/siscon in anime?Disclaimer: I’ve tried my best to tread lightly on many topics throughout this post. If you are headhunting in search of charged words or semantics in regard to mature themes, then you are missing the point. Take my words as opinion, observation and as a forum for discussion, and not to further a hidden agenda.

It’s no secret that one of the current trends in anime is widespread moeblob. Chalk it up to a combination of evolving art styles and public appeal. Another interesting trend, at least within the past few years, is the abundance of brocon or siscon as main features of recent series. Here, I don’t just mean minor subtext like in True Tears or Gundam SEED. I’m talking about series that present relationships between siblings, not necessarily blood-related, as a main theme. (more…)

Arcade Stick Showcase

Anime Moment #37

Anime Moment #37

Two of my favorite video game genres are fighting games and shmups. As a long time fan of both, having an arcade stick was a necessary investment to get that genuine arcade feel without having to waltz over to the local arcade and have my elbows rocked by the huge guy on the other side of the cabinet. That’s … kind of a lie; arcades are dead in the U.S. and have been for some time due to the PC multiplayer gaming boom in the late 90s and earlier 2000s.

In the past, it was rather difficult to get a quality stick. Heck, the stick that I used for the first half of the 2000s was a custom-built stick by a hobbyist I came into contact with on the Shoryuken.com forums. There were a few retail options, but they were just as pricey and pretty hard to come across; you’d almost always have to order them online instead of shopping for it retail. It might come as a shock to some, but there once was a time when online purchasing was the oddity and not the norm.

When Street Fighter IV rolled along, it sparked a lot of interest in arcade sticks. People wanted authentic arcade parts, though I’d wager that most people were biting on the placebo’d idea that their gameplay would improve with a stick and not a pad. Regardless of the reason, there was a huge demand, and MadCatz was eager to fill the void with entry and enthusiast-level sticks for fans. Nowadays, sticks with 100% authentic Sanwa parts are available for under $100 during certain promotions, and an inexpensive stick can easily be modded to include high-quality parts for under $40.

For many stick users, however, a lot of the fun is designing a stick layout. I’m one of these people. While most of my sticks have a specific purpose, I love being able to ‘swag out’ my peripherals. With a bit of effort, you can do the same. If you love collector’s edition materials, posters, or any memorabilia in general for your media, why not give personalized customization a go? For reference, here’s my small collection of joysticks with a bit of background on each. (more…)

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