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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Fragglepuss Anime Review 191: Mob Psycho 100

Mob Psycho 100

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Slice of Life, Comedy, Supernatural, Psychic

First Aired: Summer 2016, 12 episodes

Summary: Shigeo “Mob” Kageyama is a seemingly normal eighth-grader except for how he discovered his psychic prowess at a young age. Mob is an introvert that chooses to suppress his power. The problem comes when he reaches a breaking point where he is unable to suppress it any further. At this point his power bursts like a soda that’s been shaken too hard, destroying everything in his path. Mob teams up with some unlikely allies to get by in his day to day life and help him understand his power.

One of his allies is Reigen Arataka, a con artist claiming to be a psychic, who exploits Mob’s powers to earn an easy yen. Some other allies include his school’s bodybuilding club, who accept Mob despite his weak appearance. It’s up to Mob to juggle not only his psychic duties, but also his daily school responsibilities. As if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy, an even greater threat is looming.

Mob Psycho 100 is a fun watch with an entertaining cast of characters. Mob is a socially-awkward guy, but is complemented by the loud-mouthed and smooth-talking Arataka. The episodes work for watching one or two at a time and it’s interesting to watch Mob’s “limit break” fill throughout the episodes.

You might enjoy this if: You want a version of One Punch Man with less superheroes and more psychic abilities.

You might not like it if: You want a dramatic take on the world of the supernatural.

Similar Series: One Punch Man, A Certain Magical Index, Detroit Metal City, My Hero Academia

Note to the Viewer: Mob Psycho 100 was created by One, the same as One Punch Man. Some of the animation and humor makes it fairly obvious.

AMV – Lone Digger 100 by Phenom Sage

(Warning, the AMV contains minor 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 190: Brave Witches

Brave Witches

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Ecchi, Magic, Military, Sci-Fi, Historical in an anime sort of way

First Aired: Fall 2016, 12 episodes

Summary: The year was 1939. Humanity was suddenly forced to stand against a mysterious new threat. The Neuroi invasion had begun. In the blink of an eye, the Neuroi had successfully laid siege to most of Europe. Millions lost not just their home, but their homeland. To combat the Neuroi menace humanity had to create a new type of weapon. They devised the Striker Units, war machines that could only be operated by young women with magical powers known as Witches. Witches from all across the globe gathered together, willing to use these Striker Units to take the fight to the enemy. A unit of Witches was formed. To the commanders of the Allied Forces they were known as the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing, but among enlisted forces and civilians they were fondly known as the Brave Witches.

Brave Witches is a spin-off of the Strike Witches series created by Humikane Shimada. I thought I had seen it all but this one is really out there. The witches look like your standard anime girl with cat ears from the waist up, but below the waist they have planes for legs, propellers and all. It’s worth watching an episode just to see what the show’s all about.

You might enjoy this if: You are ready to go down the anime rabbit hole.

You might not like it if: You want to remain on the surface of the anime iceberg.

Similar Series: Strike Witches, Girls & Panzer, High School Fleet, Sky Girls

Note to the Viewer: Humikane Shimada, creator of the series, has created several military girl anime. If you’re looking for more in that specific genre, check out his other works.

Brave Witches Official Crunchyroll Trailer

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 189: Gamers!

Gamers!

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Romance, School, Gaming

First Aired: Summer 2017, 12 episodes

Summary: Amano Keita is a seemingly normal high school boy who happens to be a passionate gamer. He may not be the best at any game, but he loves to play regardless. Keita’s life takes an unexpected turn when he is approached by the beautiful and perfect Karen Tendou, president of the video game club. Tendou is attempting to recruit Keita into the video game club, which is as dysfunctional as can be with each member being quirkier than the last! Will Keita join the club? What kind of hijinks will he get into while being recruited?

Gamers begins as a reference heavy show but turns into much more. Comedic romance hits full force as character A likes character B but dates character C because B is dating character D even though B is only dating D to appear more attractive to A. To complicate matters further, C likes D but cannot pursue since D is in a relationship with B. Oh, and D secretly likes C but cannot confess their love. Enter character E who is trying to get all the proper relationships started but secretly likes B as well. Confused yet? Don’t worry, it will all make sense as you watch the series and it’s fun to watch everything go down. In one of the episodes they are all playing Love Love Game of Half-Life (The Game of Life) and I was cracking up.

The various game references are enjoyable, especially since all manner of genres are covered. The opening intro alone covers a whole handful. The characters are entertaining with the different games they prefer and their complaints about other genres they don’t understand. I also enjoyed seeing the characters visit several Japanese arcades.

You might enjoy this if: You are a gamer or are seeking to understand the life of a Japanese gamer.

You might not like it if: You have had enough of the high school anime scene.

Similar Series: D-Frag, Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend, This Art Club Has a Problem, No Game No Life, Orange

Note to the Viewer: The series is produced by Pine Jam, an animation studio founded in 2015. Gamers is only the second anime produced by the studio.

Gamers! Opening

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 188: Love Tyrant / Renai Boukun

Love Tyrant / Renai Boukun

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Supernatural, Romance, School, Cupid

First Aired: Spring 2017, 12 episodes

Summary: Imagine if you will, a powerful notebook that makes anyone who has their name written instantly fall in love if they kiss each other regardless of the circumstances. This magical and very familiar item is the Kiss Note and belongs to an angel named Guri whose job, as cupid, is to create couples. She accidentally writes down Aino Seiji, a seemingly normal high school student, and unless he kisses someone, Guri will die. She convinces Seiji to kiss his crush, Hiyama Akane, the school’s popular girl who turns out has even stronger feelings for him, bordering on obsessive and psychotic. Eventually Akane and Seiji come together but not before Guri decides that she likes Seiji as well. Unfortunately for Seiji, he just wants a normal relationship without all the love notebook nonsense.

The obvious twist on Deathnote is what grabbed my attention, but the silly characters and the relationships between them is what kept me interested in the series. The animation is nothing special but the characters are unique and have fun personalities. My favorite besides Guri has to be Korari… When you watch the show you’ll understand why. He’s a polarizing character, some love him while others want nothing to do with him. I don’t usually watch an anime opening more than once or twice, but Love Tyrant’s is catchy and left me tapping my foot to the song every time. The Pac-Man reference thrown in is a nice touch. While humor is subjective, the comedy in Love Tyrant gives a look into Japanese culture and what they find funny. I found it humorous, mainly due to the ridiculous nature of it all.

You might enjoy this if: You want to watch the opposite of Deathnote.

You might not like it if: You want cohesion and a storyline full of depth and emotion.

Similar Series: Ah My Goddess, My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy (NOUCOME), Date A Live, Deathnote, Rosario + Vampire, Nisekoi: False Love

Note to the Viewer: Love Tyrant is produced by EMT Squared, producers of such series as: Rainy Cocoa, Kumamiko: Girl Meets Bear, and Nyanko Days

Love Tyrant Clip – Kiss Note

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 187: Ao Oni the Animation – The Blue Monster

Ao Oni: The Animation – The Blue Monster

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Comedy, Horror, Short-Form, Monster, Haunted House

First Aired: Fall 2016, 13 episodes

Summary: Rumor has it that monsters lurk in an empty mansion on the outskirts of town. Hiroshi and his classmates, Takurou, Takeshi, and Mika, enter the mansion and are attacked by the bizarre monster known as Aooni. Can they solve a series of puzzles and escape the mansion?

Ao Oni is a quick and easy watch from start to finish. The 3-minute episodes fly by and you can finish the series in less than an hour. It’s full of silly violence, but nothing too crazy is shown, if that makes sense. For example, the Ao Oni monster will bite off someone’s head, but the cartoonish style of animation coupled with all the characters being chibis makes it more humorous than anything. If that’s not enough, any excessive violence is censored by way of pixelation. The clever puzzles set up by Ao Oni kept me interested, especially the one in episode 11.

You might enjoy this if: You like dark comedy with bits of horror sprinkled in. There is monster murder in every episode, but it’s the kind of death that makes you chuckle.

You might not like it if: You’re looking for a story line or any type of continuity between the episodes.

Similar Series: Another, Aggressive Retsuko, The Lost Village, The Master of Killing Time,

Note to the Viewer: Ao Oni is based on the freeware role-playing horror game released in 2008, which has more puzzles and horror to it than the anime series.

Ao Oni: The Blue Monster Trailer

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Fragglepuss Anime Review 186: Little Witch Academia (Series)

Little Witch Academia (Series)

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Magic, Fantasy, School, Fish out of Water, Witches

First Aired: Winter 2017, 25 episodes

Summary: Atsuko Kagari is a cheerful girl with high aspirations of becoming a witch and following the path of her idol, Shiny Chariot. Magic life begins with a series of mishaps and adventure on Kagari’s trip to the academy as she befriends Lotte Yanson and Sucy Manbavaran, who become roommates on campus. Atsuko quickly learns she must work harder than the other students to become a proper witch since she came from a non-magical family and has no history of spell casting. Lucky for her, Atsuko has an upbeat demeanor and a passionate attitude to do whatever it takes to accomplish her dream!

The homage to Harry Potter is strong in this one. The idea of traveling to an all magic school to learn nothing but spellcasting pretty much gives it away. There’s an episode on broom racing and the importance of respecting the broom. The initial trip to the academy is reminiscent of the constant trouble Harry would have getting to Hogwarts. Besides all that the series is a lot of fun to watch. The eccentric characters with unique personalities were enough to keep my interest throughout the season. The animation wasn’t the best I have ever seen, but I enjoyed the soft color choices. It is an easy watch, something you can sit down for a single episode or binge a dozen.

You might enjoy this if: You love Harry Potter and have always wanted to see an anime spin on it. It’s fun to see the anime spin they put on the witching world.

You might not like it if: You’re a Harry Potter fan that will critique Little Witch Academia the whole time because of the similarities.

Similar Series: Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Hero Academia, The Familiar of Zero, Nichijou – My Ordinary Life

Note to the Viewer: Keep an eye out for Little Witch Academia: The Magic of Time and the Seven Wonders, a Playstation 4 release coming at the end of the year. Bonus Note: Both Akko and Sucy from Little Witch Academia make an appearance in Space Patrol Luluco, Akko in episode 13 and Sucy in episode 8.

AMV – Stick Together by Koto

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