Fragglepuss Anime Review 170: Fuuka

Fuuka

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Music, Drama, Romance, Ecchi, School, Battle of the Bands

First Aired: Winter 2017, 12 episodes

Summary: Yuu Haruna just moved into town. He’s a normal guy besides being a loner and a lover of technology, especially when it comes to Twitter. What he lacks in social skills he makes up for in expressing his feelings on the internet. Yuu’s love of technology gets him in trouble when he takes a photo to upload which is mistaken by Fuuka Akitsuki as being inappropriate. The situation gets more complicated as Yuu arrives at his new school and sees Fuuka in his class. Life will never be the same!

The series focuses on the characters, from their interaction with one another to flashbacks of how the past caused them to act in certain ways, revealing inner flaws and making them believable. Despite being a seemingly normal high schooler, there is more to Yuu than meets the eye. That also goes for Fuuka, as well as others that are introduced throughout the series. My favorite aspect has to be the characters, from the intensity of their emotions to how they actually express themselves rather than hide their feelings in a locked safe. It drives me crazy how in most anime the characters act so ignorant to romance. “Oh, does this person like me? I had no idea even though all the signs are there” or “I’m in love with this person but I’ll never tell them. I’ll take it to the grave because I’d rather die alone than admit feelings to my true love”. Come on, out with it already. Anyways, this series involves romantic confrontations and I love it!

I’ll admit when it comes to anime I appreciate vibrant animation, and it that regard Fuuka delivered. The screen was filled with bright character colors mixed with a subtle background that made the individuals stand out. I also found the background fitting since the locations are all real locations in Japan, making the subtlety appropriate. Also, any show that features the Hachiko statue at Shibuya Station can’t be all bad and Fuuka has it in the first episode!

You might enjoy this if: You are ready to watch the drama unfold between talented high schoolers!

You might not like it if: You get annoyed when the opening song of a series gets played in the actual show. I think it’s hilarious, but some people don’t go for it.

Similar Series: Your Lie in April, K-On!, White Album 2, Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad, Sound! Euphonium

Note to the Viewer: Once upon a time I watched a series called Usagi Drop, maybe you’ve heard of it. After I finished the series a friend told me, “If you like the anime don’t read the manga”. Curiosity consumed me as I felt the need to ask him how a manga could possibly change the way I feel about Usagi Drop. He proceeded to explain how he enjoyed the lighthearted anime, then was left dumbfounded after reading the dark turn in the manga. I was in shock after he told me. Crazy stuff!

Fuuka is the same way for me. The lighthearted anime is wonderful and fun, but the manga turns an entirely different direction. I’m not to say which is better, but it’s crazy stuff alright.

AMV – Say When by Panta Na Xamogelas

(Warning, the AMV contains minor spoilers)

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 169: Magical Girl Raising Project / Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku

Magical Girl Raising Project / Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Fantasy, Supernatural, Thriller, Magical Girl

First Aired: Fall 2016, 12 episodes

Summary: The Magical Girl Raising Project is a social game available on all major devices. It’s a simple game of creating a magical girl, fighting monsters, collecting candies, and tending to various duties of the magical girl. The caveat is that 1 in 10,000 players will become a real-life magical girl! At least that’s the promise given by the game that nobody believes. Guess what, the game is telling the truth!

Magical girls have begun to appear one-by-one in the district. As soon as 16 magical girls have been chosen an announcement is passed down that 16 is twice as many as should exist. The number of magical girls must be halved, a solution that will be reached by the girls performing good deeds to collect candy. The girl will the least amount of candy at the end of a given time will lose their status as a magical girl. Rules quickly become twisted as the competitors get violent in order to gain candy. Nobody wants to lose their status and they may end up fighting for their life!

The Magical Girl Raising Project reminds me of shows like Madoka Magica in the way it deconstructs the genre. The characters in the show are a positive due to their differences. Despite there being 16 magical girls, each is unique with their own abilities. The girls share a complex web of relationships and while they are kind and friendly to each other at the beginning, their attitudes change and their inner personality comes to the surface as difficulties arise.

The story is another positive in that nothing is as simple and straightforward as you are led to believe. Plot twists are revealed from time to time and the series does not pull any punches. The one aspect I wish they would have spent more time on was explaining the abilities of each magical girl. With 16 girls possessing unique abilities, some of them seemed vague. Sometimes the best description you’d get of an ability would be the frame cutting to commercial that would state the girl’s ability for two seconds on screen.

You might enjoy this if: You’re in the mood for survival, betrayal, back-stabbing, and a world of “kill or be killed”.

You might not like it if: You prefer a classic version of magical girl, something along the lines of a Sailor Moon.

Similar Series: Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Selector Infected WIXOSS, No Game No Life, Akame Ga Kill, One Punch Man

Note to the Viewer: Be ready to pause right when each episode would cut to commercial. It gives insight to the girls’ abilities.

AMV – Faded by Last Week AMV Nightcore

(Warning, the AMV contains minor spoilers. It’s nothing crazy though)

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Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 18 – Cosplay

Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 18 – Cosplay

Podcasters: John Fragglepuss Evans, Breanne Evans, Brittany Evans, Lindsay Starke

Cosplay is an essential part of every geek convention. In this episode of Anime Happy Hour we chat about why we love dressing up, our dream cosplay, and some of our favorites.

Photos are from Anime Banzai, Salt Lake Comic Con, FanX, and Anime Expo.

Thanks for listening!

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 168: Your Name. / Kimi no Na Wa.

Your Name. / Kimi no Na Wa.

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Supernatural, Drama, Romance, School, City vs Country Life

First Released: August 2016, 106-minute film

Summary: Mitsuha Miyamizu is a seemingly normal high school girl living an easygoing life in the Japanese countryside. She dreams of living the opposite, a life in the big city of Tokyo, full of locations and activities not seen in the country. Taki Tachibana lives the busy life in Tokyo as a high school student while juggling his part-time job. He has a difficult time keeping up with the high-stress lifestyle.

Everything changes unexpectedly when Mitsuha awakens in an unfamiliar room in Tokyo… It’s her dream. Things are too good to be true as she realizes she’s in Taki’s body! Unbeknownst to Mitsuha, Taki finds himself at the same time living her life in the calm countryside. Naturally they begin to search for one another as well as the reason behind this sudden and unlikely change.

Your Name is directed by Makoto Shinkai who came to fame with such films as: 5 Centimeters Per Second, Children Who Chase Lost Voices, and The Garden of Words. The artwork is beautiful, from the color choice to the characters and backgrounds. The characters are done well. It’s a film, so there is not as much time to dive into backstory and development. That considered, Shinkai does an exceptional job making you care for the characters.

The story allows you to embark on a journey with your two main characters with questions that arise as the film progresses. Time passes and some questions are answered while others are raised. The end left me in deep thought about what has just transpired. How would I react to being placed in their situation? Would I make the same decisions or would I respond differently?

You might enjoy this if: You are in the mood for an emotional roller coaster taking you through the ups and downs or life.

You might not like it if: You want to watch something on the bizarre side, something with more of an “anime” feel to it.

Similar Series: ERASED, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Charlotte, Children Who Chase Lost Voices

Note to the Viewer: In 2017 Your Name dethroned Spirited Away as the highest-grossing anime film of all time.

Your Name. – Official English Dub Trailer

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Studio Ghibli in Western Pop Culture

Studio Ghibli in Western Pop Culture

By: John Fragglepuss Evans

This information was originally presented as part of our Salt Lake Comic Con FanX panel, “Studio Ghibli: Anime that Appeals to Everyone”. Thanks to everyone that attended the panel and my fellow panelists, Breanne Evans, Brittany Evans, Lindsay Starke, and Alec Unsicker.

 

Studio Ghibli is perhaps the most iconic Japanese animation studio, creating such films as Howl’s Moving Castle and the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away. Imagine a Japanese Disney in terms of notoriety. For an in-depth look at the company, check out my post here. 

Ghibli is beloved by countless individuals and has inspired many creators around the world. John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, stated “Whenever we get stuck at Pixar or Disney, I put on a Miyazaki film sequence or two, just to get us inspired again”. Other Pixar animators have paid equally complimentary to Ghibli’s films.

Several methods how been used to pay homage to Studio Ghibli:

Recreating scenes

A tribute is paid to Studio Ghibli in Bob’s Burgers season 3 episode 25, An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal. An exact scene of My Neighbor Totoro is recreated using Bob’s animation style and characters.

 

South Park also recreates a Ghibli scene in season 14 episode 12, Mysterion Rises. In the episode Cartman meets a sleeping Cthulhu for the first time and asks its name, much like Mei when she first encounters Totoro.

 

Inserting Ghibli characters as Easter Eggs

Several films and television series have inserted Ghibli characters as Easter Eggs, such as in: Toy Story 3, American Dad, South Park, Drawn Together, Powderpuff Girls, and Gravity Falls.

   

 

Season 3 episode 13 of Steven Universe is titled “Kiki’s Pizza Delivery Service”, an obvious reference to Kiki’s Delivery Service.

 

Jim Kim, character designer supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios, drew an homage to My Neighbor Totoro using the two main characters from Big Hero 6, Hiro and Baymax.

 

Full-on tribute

The Simpsons created a unique tribute to Ghibli in season 25 episode 10, Married to the Blob. Homer and Mr. Nakamura to a Japanese bar where they drink Habushu (Snake Rice Wine) and stumble home intoxicated. The streets transform into a Ghibli wonderland, with references to Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, and Porco Rosso.

 

This next video tribute is not taken from a television series or film, but I wanted to share it because of how creative it is. It is an original creation by French animator dono. It is a tribute to Hayao Miyazaki and uses a mixture of 2D and 3D animation set to music by Joe Hisaishi.

 

Cosplay

If you need further proof of Ghibli’s influence, look to the geek conventions. If you have ever been to a comic con or seen photos of one, you’ve seen Ghibli cosplay. Popular choices include: Howl, Sophie, Totoro, San, Ashitaka, Porco Rosso, No Face, Kiki, and Nausicaä. If you’re lucky you might see a Forest Spirit, San, or Sheeta wandering the convention floor.

Photos taken at: Salt Lake Comic Con, Anime Banzai, and Anime Expo.

It makes me glad Ghibli has a strong impact on Western culture. I adore their films and hope to see more homage as time passes.

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Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 17 – Looking Back at Winter 2017

Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 17 – Looking Back at Winter 2017

Podcasters: John Fragglepuss Evans, Breanne Evans, Brittany Evans, Lindsay Evans-Starke

In this episode of Anime Happy Hour we look back at the Winter 2017 season of anime. We chat about the anime we watched, we dropped, we’ll get back to, and anime we still need to start watching.

Anime mentioned:

  • Interviews with Monster Girls
  • Gabriel DropOut
  • Scum’s Wish
  • Hand Shakers
  • Kemono Friends
  • Little Witch Academia
  • Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
  • Akiba’s Trip: The Animation
  • Fuuka
  • Konosuba season two

Thanks for listening!

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 167: Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 + The Three-Year Anniversary of Fragglepuss.com!

Another year has come and gone in the life of Fragglepuss.com. Who would have thought after three years I would still be writing anime reviews? Thanks to everyone that’s read them over the years. Hopefully you have found a good recommendation or two. Thanks to Michael Ricks and the crew at The Closet Geek podcast for recommendations and support. Check out their podcast for all the geek-related news!

Thanks to my fellow Anime Happy Hour podcasters: Breanne Evans, Brittany Evans, and Lindsay Starke. I love chatting anime with the four of us and presenting all the convention panels. It must be true that the family that does anime together stays together. What, that’s not a saying? Still though, we have a blast and it keeps us close so I’m grateful for that. Speaking of panels, thanks to Alec Unsicker for joining our panel crew for the past couple conventions. It’s been fun having you up there with us!

Thanks to SLC Anime for providing interesting anime to watch. The members are great and been the inspiration to watch anime I would have not considered otherwise. If it wasn’t for SLC Anime, I would have never seen Madoka Magica or Princess Jellyfish. Now I love them both! If you’re looking for an anime group, check us out on Facebook. We meetup once a month and chat anime. It’s wonderful!

One last special thanks goes out to Breanne and Maxine Evans. Thanks for not only being supportive all these years but also helping with all the geek stuff. I wouldn’t be able to do it without you.

Alright, enough of that nonsense. Back to the reviews!

 

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Drama, Tragedy, Natural Disaster

First Aired: Summer 2009, 11 episodes

Summary: Summer vacation begins and Mirai Onozawa grudgingly takes her younger brother Yuuki to Odaiba to visit a robot exhibition he’s been looking forward to seeing. The day begins like any other as they reach the exhibition with no problem. Everything changes when a major earthquake shakes Odaiba and the entire Kanto region. Suddenly the children must worry about a lot more than a train ride home. They need to figure out a new path since the bridge is out and the city is crumbling before their eyes. As the aftershocks are still coming in waves, they stumble upon Mari Kusakabe, a single mother who decides to help the young siblings. Aiming to return to their homes and reunite with their families, the group sets off on a long and hard journey through the ruined city.

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is created by Bones, the same studio that brought us Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Noragami, and My Hero Academia. The quality shows in the compelling story and characters. I went back and forth on how I felt about Mirai and Yuuki, but by the end I cared not only for them, but also for Mari. I appreciate the research that went into the realism of the series, such as the attention to detail in Odaiba and the Tokyo Tower. Another aspect adding to the realism was the use of natural hair color and little to no use of typical anime exaggerations (big eyes, tear drops, chibis, etc). I will admit, I began watching the show with the opinion I wouldn’t like it. However, by the end I was more emotionally involved than I have been in an anime for quite a while.

You might enjoy this if: You are ready to strap in and go for an emotional ride like no other. So many feelings went through me as the series progressed. The potential reality of the situation kicks it up another notch. I just imagine being in that horrible situation and the decisions I would make given the circumstances.

You might not like it if: You’re already going through a difficult time in life and are searching for a lighthearted pick-me-up to forget about reality for a minute.

Similar Series: Grave of the Fireflies, Usagi Drop, Eden of the East, Attack on Titan, Your Name, Wolf Children

Note to the Viewer: Extensive research was conducted to make the series by collecting information on previous earthquakes and interviewing individuals affected by them. They were attempting to make it realistic to illustrate the potential consequences of an 8.0 earthquake.

AMV – Time Falls Away by AdventLostKaichou

(*This is a spoiler-heavy AMV*. I wouldn’t watch it until after you have finished the series. That’s just my recommendation though. I’m an anime review, not your parents)

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Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 16 – Initial D

Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 16 – Initial D

Podcasters: John Fragglepuss Evans, Breanne Evans, Brittany Evans, Lindsay Evans-Starke

In this episode of Anime Happy Hour we chat Initial D, a 1990s anime series about street racing. For a quick summary:

Takumi Fujiwara is a seemingly normal high school student that helps his father by delivering tofu to the Lake Akina shops at night. On top of that he maintains his job at the local gas station in town. His coworkers are all gearheads, but Takumi could not care less about cars. It’s difficult to pinpoint what he cares about since Takumi is indifferent to most situations. Everything is about to change when Takumi’s talents come to light and he is called upon to shine in the world of street racing.

For a detailed summary, give the podcast a listen!

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 166: Humanity has Declined / Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita

Humanity has Declined / Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy, Humans & Fairies

First Aired: Summer 2012, 12 episodes

Summary: It’s a post-apocalyptic world where human civilization has regressed due to a significant decrease in population. Our protagonist Watashi is a mediator between humans and fairies, who are creatures with a surprisingly high intelligence despite their innocent looks and small stature. The fairies tend to cause trouble for humans in their search for amusement and sweets. Watashi is not alone in attempt to maintain human/fairy relations, she can take tips from her grandfather, who was the mediator before her. She also enlists the help of someone simply known as Assistant, a young boy that hardly speaks and always has a video camera.

Humanity has Declined uses a semi-episodic format to tell its story, with each individual story lasting anywhere from one to three episodes in length. I enjoyed the simplicity of the post-apocalyptic world, which has reverted to a simpler time but not one completely full of destruction. As a whole the society is able to carry out their daily duties and no one seems to mind how basic life has become. The fairies on the other hand are always up to trouble. Whether they are searching for sweets or just bored and looking to cause chaos, they are always making life difficult for the mediator.

You might enjoy this if: You are looking for a heap of bizarre and unusual mixed with a dash of normal.

You might not like it if: Creepy looking fairies with ulterior motives and a deceiving attitude is not for you.

Similar Series: Watamote, From the New World, Mawaru Penguindrum, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Note to the Viewer: The protagonist’s name is never mentioned throughout the course of the series. Sometimes she is referred to as Watashi, which translates to “I” in English. Other times she is referred to as Ms. Sweets.

Humanity has Declined Trailer

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Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 15 – Winter 2017 Anime

Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 15 – Winter 2017 Anime

Podcasters: John Fragglepuss Evans, Breanne Evans, Brittany Evans, Lindsay Evans-Starke

In this episode of Anime Happy Hour we go over the Winter 2017 anime season. Even though there are over forty series airing this season, we’ll touch on them all. Gabriel Dropout, Kemono Friends, Fuuka, Akiba’s Trip the Animation, Konosuba season two. It’s been a good anime season!

 

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