Fragglepuss Anime Review 199: Knight’s & Magic

Knight’s & Magic

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Mecha, School, Fish out of Water, Medieval Builders

First Aired: Summer 2017, 13 episodes

Summary: Kurata is an otaku with an unbridled passion for mechs. He is a genius programmer that spends his free time building mech models. His passion is so strong that his two-bedroom apartment has one room for him and one for his models. On a rainy day like any other, he dies, reincarnating in another world as Ernesti Echevarria. This new universe is everything he’s ever dreamed of, with mechs not only existing, but being a part of everyday life. Ernesti quickly adjusts to his new reality and strives to attain his new goal, becoming a part of the Knight Runners that pilot the Silhouette Knight machines.

Knight’s and Magic differs from other mech anime in several ways. It goes into incredible detail with the machines being built, from their efficiency upgrades to entirely new mechanisms. The series focuses on mech building rather than piloting or fighting. It is set in a medieval setting with giant mechs, so that’s different. There’s still some fighting against baddies and robots, but the focus is elsewhere. On another note, the opening and closing credits are enjoyable and appropriate.

You might enjoy this if: You are a mech-building otaku. You will be all about the deep dives into mech mechanics.

You might not like it if: You are tired of the “being transported into another dimension” trope. My one minor beef with this series is how the protagonist is transported into a new dimension in the first episode and then it’s like the original world doesn’t even exist anymore.

Similar Series: Overlord, The Irregular at Magic High School, Log Horizon, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon, Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World

Note to the Viewer: Knight’s & Magic began as a web novel before being picked up for print publication. The anime adaptation was created by studio 8-Bit, creators of Absolute Duo, Comet Lucifer, and Rewrite.

AMV – Alive by Anime4Kings

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 198: Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic / Kuroshitsuji Movie: Book of the Atlantic

Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic / Kuroshitsuji Movie: Book of the Atlantic

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Comedy, History, Demons, Supernatural, Fantasy, The Titanic

First Released: January 2017, 100-minute film

Summary: Ciel and his butler, Sebastian, book a trip on a luxury vessel to investigate the doings of the Aurora Society, a secretive group uniting under the Phoenix banner. The society claims to be performing unbelievable miracles, and it’s up to these two to discover the truth behind it all. Turns out there is more to it than meets the eye as Sebastian gets involved in all manner of disputes. Several fighters are aboard the vessel and rumor has it the dead are being resurrected with a taste for the living.

I will admit this is my first experience with the Black Butler series. I’m familiar with the characters, but this is my first real exposure to the anime. That being said, it was an enjoyable watch. The characters are full of personality and easily distinguishable. The unique weaponry for each character was a nice addition. The action was well choreographed throughout the fight scenes, which can make or break a show. The zombies were a nice touch in the battles, especially with the creativity in ways to kill them.

You might enjoy this if: You love zombies, action, and the high seas. I mentioned how Book of the Atlantic is my first exposure to Black Butler. Watching it left me wanting more. I’m going to start watching the series now.

You might not like it if: You are averse to a to violence and gore in a comical way. There’s a significant amount of blood in the film, but it’s presented in an over-the-top fashion.

Similar Series: Black Butler, Hellsing, Death Note, D. Grayman

Note to the Viewer: The Black Butler franchise is expansive, consisting of two television series, three OVA films, a live-action film, a video game for the Nintendo DS, and several musicals that each had a short run in Japan.

AMV – You’ll be the Moon by Erika Shun AMV

(Warning, the AMV contains some minor spoilers and a lot of blood)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 197: Space☆Dandy

SpaceDandy

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Sci-Fi, Comedy, Space, Alien Registration

First Aired: Winter 2014, 13 episodes

Summary: Space Dandy is a dandy guy, in space. He combs the galaxy like his pompadour, on the hunt for aliens. Planet after planet he searches, discovering bizarre new creatures, both friendly and not. These are the spectacular adventures of Space Dandy and his brave space crew, in space.

Space Dandy travels the galaxy searching for unclassified aliens, hoping to capture them and receive a handsome reward from the alien registration division. His journeys take him all over the universe, whether he’s encountering zombies or a mystical ramen chef.

The series reunited several creators of the Cowboy Bebop crew, including producer Masahiko Minami and director Shinichiro Watanabe. The similarities are apparent throughout the series, from the space setting to the humor and the use of woolong currency. It even has a catchy opening song!

You might enjoy this if: You love the Cowboy Bebop universe and have been waiting for more content with a lighthearted and sometimes nonsensical tone. Something I enjoyed with this show is the ability to watch an episode here and there without the worry of forgetting the story. The episodic format allows for viewing of a single episode when you need a quick laugh. That said, the individual episodes are well written and fun to watch.

You might not like it if: You want a consistent storyline that doesn’t do a soft reset after several episodes. It should also be mentioned that Space Dandy’s favorite eating establishment is “Boobies”, an intergalactic chain restaurant shaped like the name. It pops up in most episodes, so if that sounds offensive, this probably isn’t the series for you.

Similar Series: Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star, Redline, Highschool of the Dead, Konosuba – God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World

Note to the Viewer: Space Dandy premiered in the United States before Japan! It first aired at 11:30pm on January 4th, 2014 on Adult Swim’s Toonami block in the U.S. It then aired in Japan at 11:00pm on January 5th, 2014 on Tokyo MX.

AMV – Just Funkin’ Dandy by Shin AMV and Pixel Blended Studios

(Warning, the AMV contains butts and boobies. It’s a good representation of the show)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 196: 18if

18if

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Supernatural, Psychological, Fantasy, Dreams

First Aired: Summer 2017, 13 episodes

Summary: Tsukishiro Haruto is taken by surprise when he awakes in a bizarre dream world run by a witch. He discovers that the witch is a trapped soul afflicted by “Sleeping Beauty Syndrome”. Traumatic life events have caused these individuals to go into a coma-like state and create a unique dreamscape that resembles the nightmare that caused them to be there. Haruto must figure out the rules of the dream world if he has any hope of escaping.

18if reminds me of other dream-based anime with how much I enjoy watching interpretations of distorted reality. This series takes a dark approach to the topic with the witches demanding retribution for the way they’ve been wronged. Their methods of inflicting punishment can be cruel but they’re usually justified in their decision. Half the time I wondered why I was rooting for the villain. I really enjoy the dream world scenes and animation. They nailed it with the dream sequences, going all over the place with little connection on the surface.

You might enjoy this if: You are ready for a trip into the mind of several individuals, regardless of what may be in within.

You might not like it if: You want to keep it light with a lighthearted crazy series like Space Dandy.

Similar Series: Paprika, Summer Wars, Perfect Blue, Death Parade

Note to the Viewer: 18if is produced by Gonzo, producers of countless quality anime. The series is based on the game “18: Kimi to Tsunagaru Puzzle”.

AMV – Wait for Me by RL99AMVs

(Warning, the AMV may contain spoilers)

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Anime Banzai 2017

Anime Banzai 2017

Layton, Utah

October 20th – 22nd 2017

Review By: John Fragglepuss Evans

The 13th annual Anime Banzai took place this weekend at the Davis Conference Center. 2017 guests included: Daman Mills, Alejandro Saab, Michaela Laws, Sean Chiplock, Crit Killen, EmpathP, Jamie McGonnigal, and Steve Nunez aka Warky T. Chocobo.

Some of the events at this year’s Banzai included a card/tabletop gaming room, an arcade/video game room, the vendor hall, Artist’s Alley, a scavenger hunt, Banzai Village, Kid’s Corner, countless panels, and two viewing rooms that offered anime all day long. The main events included Banzai’s Got Talent, the Opening Ceremony, Cosplay Chess (Jesters vs Humorless), Brawl, AMV Contest, Cosplay Contest, Orori Matsuri Ball, VOCAMERICA Live, and the Closing Ceremony.

 

Anime Banzai’s charity quilting auction returned this year. All proceeds will be donated to Huntsman Cancer Institute.

 

The AMV Contest showcased 34 videos this year in the main event room.

Some of my favorites AMVs of Banzai 2017 are:

Infectious Affections by Drew Brisco

 

Anime Master Chef by Chiara Carparelli

 

Burnt Animu by Anthony Ronquillo

 

Twintails and Music Clubs by Nathan Gjertson

 

I attended the How to Critique Anime panel presented by Athena Colt and Josh Jones. The panel took a deep dive into how to critically review anime, from the animation quality to the pacing of the story. It was an informative panel that I’m glad I attended. The panelists were well prepared and thoroughly answered every question asked.

 

Thanks to everybody that attended our What’s New in Anime 2017 panel. We were happy to have our full panel crew present with Breanne Evans, Brittany Evans, Lindsay Starke, Alec Unsicker, and myself. There’s so much anime that comes out every year so it’s difficult to funnel it down to so few.

The anime we covered in the panel include:

  • Akiba’s Trip: The Animation
  • Little Witch Academia
  • Love Tyrant
  • Gamers
  • 18if
  • King’s Game: The Animation
  • Clockwork Planet
  • Fastest Finger First
  • Re: Creators
  • Dive!!!
  • The Reflection
  • Alice and Zoroku
  • A Centaur’s Life
  • Clean Freak Aoyama-kun
  • Restaurant to Another World
  • Fuuka
  • Made in Abyss
  • Girl’s Last Tour
  • Love and Lies
  • In Another World with my Smartphone
  • The Royal Tutor
  • Ancient Magus Bride
  • Black Clover
  • Neo Yokio
  • Vatican Miracle Examiner

Thanks to everyone that attended our Visiting Japan panel, presented by Lindsay Starke, Alec Unsicker, and myself. We traveled to Japan recently and wanted to share our experience, giving others some suggestions of places to visit and the best way to travel around the country. I apologize that we couldn’t take questions at the end of the panel since we were running late.

If you want a recap of the locations we covered, you can check out my post series on recommendations while visiting Japan:

Akihabara

Shrines and Temples

Nakano Broadway

Studio Ghibli Museum

Quick Stops in Japan

 

Thanks to everyone that attended our Appetizing Anime panel and special thanks to Brittany Evans for putting together such a wonderful presentation. The panelists were: Brittany Evans, Breanne Evans, Lindsay Starke, Alec Unsicker, and myself. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did.

 

 

This year’s iteration of the Anime Banzai convention was well run and organized. I appreciate how the organizers of Banzai strive to make it an interactive convention with something for everyone. There’s a variety of panel topics, various main events, all sorts of games, and even a courtyard for dancing at any time of day! A new type of event this year was ribbon gathering, which involved finding convention-goers with a ribbon badge and answering their question to earn a ribbon to attach to your badge. From what I could tell, attendees were getting way into it.

Photos courtesy of Breanne Evans. Feel free to use, but please give credit to Fragglepuss.com for taking the photo.

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 195: Fooly Cooly / FLCL

Fooly Cooly / FLCL

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Comedy, Parody, Dementia, Mecha

First Aired: Spring 2000, 6 episodes

Summary: Naota Nandaba is a seemingly ordinary 12-year-old living in a city with his father and grandfather. His mundane life is rocked when he is run over by Haruko Haruhara and her scooter. The pink-haired Haruko hits Naota in the head with her bass guitar, opening a horn-shaped portal that occasionally creates robots. As if this wasn’t enough, Haruko moves into Naota’s house and drags him into a battle between the Galactic Space Police Brotherhood and the Pirate King.

There’s a lot to like about FLCL, from the stunning visuals to the fast-paced story that wastes no time. I’ll admit, I watched the first couple episodes and was confused because I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should. I started over, giving it the full attention it deserves and it was significantly better. It’s nice that the series is short enough to watch through multiple times without much commitment. FLCL embodies anime in a glorious manner with everything it is able to accomplish. By that I mean FLCL tells a story that is only possible through the anime medium, from the animation to the execution of the storytelling.

You might enjoy this if: You want a coming-of-age story that involves a fair amount of nonsense and silliness.

You might not like it if: You are not ready for a journey into the abstract.

Similar Series: Kill la Kill, Mob Psycho 100, Punch Line, Nichijou / My Ordinary Life

Note to the Viewer: Almost two decades after the release of season one, 12 new episodes of FLCL were announced in March 2016 as a co-production between Production I.G and Adult Swim.

AMV –Black Betty by Spiderbait

(Warning, the AMV contains spoilers. I figure if you haven’t seen the show, you don’t know what’s getting spoiled anyways, right?)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 194: Fist of the North Star / Hokuto no Ken

Fist of the North Star / Hokuto no Ken

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Drama, Martial Arts, Post-Apocalyptic

First Released: March 1986, 110-minute film

Summary: The world has been destroyed by nuclear war, leaving the Earth a desolate place without vegetation and happiness. The few remaining resources are highly sought after, resulting in constant fights for survival. Kenshiro is a warrior trained in Hokuto Shinken, an ancient fighting style focused on killing through striking secret vital points in the body. Despite Kenshiro’s decent demeanor he has made enemies in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Several fighters are about to do whatever it takes to claim supremacy of the Earth’s remaining rubble.

Get ready for an action-packed thrill ride with no chill! Everyone’s solution in Fist of the North Star is to solve their problems with their fists. The 1980s animation is a treat to watch, from the brightly colored blood to the exploding heads. The characters are a blast, from their bright apocalyptic outfits to their utter disregard for reason. It’s all about the punches, no time for talking. The “Fist King” is a prime example.

You might enjoy this if: You want to watch the manliest anime of all time.

You might not like it if: You cringe at blatant exposition.

Similar Series: Basilisk, Berserk, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Ninja Scroll

Note to the Viewer: Fist of the North Star has an extensive library. In addition to the film there is a series with over 100 episodes, several video games, novels, and even a live-action film!

AMV – Fist of the North Star VS Mortal Kombat by Marc Alamara

(Warning, this AMV is violent)

fistofthenorthstar03

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 193: Neon Genesis Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Dementia, Psychological, Drama, Mecha

First Aired: Fall 1995, 26 episodes

Summary: Imagine, if you will, the future. It is the year 2015 and humanity stands on the edge of extinction due to the Angels, large monstrosities bent on destruction. Our last hope of survival is in the hands of Nerv, a special agency operating under the United Nations. Nerv controls giant mechs named Evangelions that are capable of fighting the Angels and saving the world. The problem with Evangelions is the need for a pilot that will synchronize with the mech, utilizing their maximum potential. Gendou Ikari, Misato Katsuragi, and Ritsuko Akagi are a few of the top Nerv officials in search of those pilots. Are the pilots going to be teenagers? It’s anime, so almost certainly!

Evangelion is a mech anime on the surface but dives into a deep psychological mind-bend as you watch the characters lose grip of reality. It turns out the intensity of piloting an Evangelion takes a mental toll that’s difficult to overcome, especially when life-or-death decisions must be made by adolescents. The series is considered a deconstruction of the mech genre. It focuses on the mech pilots instead of the machines. The action is present throughout the series, but it takes a back seat to the drama and psychological aspect.

You might enjoy this if: You are ready for a psychological trip that causes the innocent to question the line between right and wrong, simultaneously questioning their sanity.

You might not like it if: You are averse to a slow starting series. It takes a few episodes to really get into it. At least it did for me. I’m glad I saw it through though.

Similar Series: Serial Experiments Lain, Gurren Lagann, Madoka Magica, Attack on Titan, Elfen Lied

Note to the Viewer: Several Evangelion films have been released since the original series:

  • Death & Rebirth (1997)
  • The End of Evangelion (1997)
  • Rebuild of Evangelion
    • 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone (2007)
    • 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance (2009)
    • 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo (2012)

AMV – Shut Em Down by BlackSoul, Re-Allen, and RN

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 192: Blade Runner Blackout 2022

Blade Runner Blackout 2022

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller, Action, Artificial Intelligence

First Released: September 2017, 15-minute short film

Summary: While the Replicant Nexus 6 expired in inventory, Tyrell Corp. pushes the series 8 into the local and Off-world market. The series 8 were built with a natural lifespan. Soon the human supremacy movements began. These angry masses used the Replicant Registration database to identify and kill Replicants.

Directed by Cowboy Bebop’s Shinichiro Watanabe, Blade Runner Blackout 2022 is one of three short films released prior to the major motion picture Blade Runner 2049. It serves as a partial buffer to show the time that has passed between the original Blade Runner film that took place in 2019 and the new Blade Runner 2049. The dystopian, apocalyptic landscape is portrayed beautifully with unique animation that leaves you wanting more. It’s amazing how a short film like this can provide an action-packed story peppered with philosophical conversation. It reminds me of Ghost in the Shell with the pressing question of what makes something human. I appreciate the showcase of Replicant abilities through the action sequences, reminding me their superhuman capabilities despite having the outward appearance of a normal person.

You might enjoy this if: You want a quick taste of the Blade Runner sci-fi universe, whetting your appetite for a full-length film, or maybe you need a reminder of Watanabe’s genius to get you watching Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo again.

You might not like it if: You demand more content. 2022 goes fast and hard, but in the end it is still a 15 minute short film. I wish it was longer.

Similar Series: Ghost in the Shell, Psycho-Pass, Paprika, Elfen Lied, Plastic Memories

Note to the Viewer: I mentioned there are three Blade Runner short films that have been released leading up to Blade Runner 2049. While 2022 is animated, the other films are live action. The three are titled:

  • Blackout 2022
  • 2036: Nexus Dawn
  • 2048: Nowhere to Run

Blade Runner Blackout 2022 Trailer

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Salt Lake Comic Con 2017

Salt Lake Comic Con 2017

Salt Lake City, Utah

Thursday September 21 – Saturday September 23, 2017

Review By: John Fragglepuss Evans

Salt Lake Comic Con (SLCC) 2017 was held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Some of the guests included: Elijah Wood, Dick Van Dyke, Stephen Amell, Val Kilmer, Joan Cusack, John Cusack, Zachary Levi, and Christopher Lloyd.

SLCC 2017 features included: Magic the Gathering Artist Pavilion, Azog statue, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang full scale replica, Gaming lounge, Salt Lake Comic Con cars, TARDIS, Delorean time machine, Action figure life-size box, Mandalorian Mercs, Han Solo in carbonite, Supernatural Chevy Impala, Batman full-size statue, 501st Alpine Garrison, Gandalf life-size, Captain America Harley, Iron Throne, Kids Heroes Foundation, R2 Droid Builders Show, Rocket Raccoon statue, Star Commands Seventh Fleet, USS White Buffalo, Jurassic Jeep, Kids TARDIS, Gollum full-size, Umbrella Corp, Life-size Troll statues, Wonder Woman Harley, Rebel Legion, Harley Quinn full-size, REACH, Silver Surfer, Deadpool, Walking Dead Honda, Slimer, Utah Browncoats, Star Wars Harley, Quest Givers, Sparrow, Heroic, Arcade, and Anarchy Girls.

I was invited to be a part of the “Anime From the 90s You Need to See” panel alongside Aaron Lee Yeager, Valynne E. Maetani, Michael Bacera, Kiki Furia, and Rachie Mac. In case you missed the panel, some of the 90s anime mentioned were:

 

The Anime Happy Hour crew (Breanne Evans, Brittany Evans, Alec Unsicker, and myself) presented a new panel this year, “Down the Anime Rabbit Hole”. Thanks to everyone that attended. We had a blast chatting about all the anime strangeness, from nose bleeds to things that are cute but shouldn’t be.

 

We also presented our usual Latest and Greatest in Anime panel, which we always have fun presenting. Thanks to everyone that attended this one as well.

 

This year’s Salt Lake Comic Con was a lot of fun. Good panels, expansive vendor selection, and breathtaking cosplay. The convention has modified its layout every year and you can tell how it has improved through the years.

Photos courtesy of Breanne Evans. Feel free to use, but please give credit to Fragglepuss.com for taking the photo.

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