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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Fragglepuss Anime Review 165: My Hero Academia / Boku no Hero Academia

My Hero Academia / Boku no Hero Academia

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: Action, Comedy, School, Sci-Fi, Super Power

First Aired: Spring 2016, 13 episodes

Summary: Super powers known as “quirks” have been manifesting themselves over time in the general population. Approximately 80 percent of the current populace possesses a quirk, whether it is the ability to transform, cause explosions, or shoot a laser out of the belly button. Some quirks are more powerful than others, while some are seemingly useless. Most people hope for a powerful quirk, with Izuku Midoriya being at the top of the list. He has been studying the abilities of others since before he can remember. His ambition has always been to become a hero. When Izuku discovers he is quirkless, he continues to take notes on various quirks and works on a new way to be special.

My Hero Academia is a fun show for all ages. The action does not contain blood and gore, the characters aren’t overly sexualized, and the story is a strong message on overcoming adversity and making the best of your situation. Everybody will be dealt a different hand in life and it’s up to each one of us to not only recognize our differences, but to build on our strengths and overcome our weaknesses. Izuku shows us that we can all succeed, regardless of our circumstances.

You might enjoy this if: You’re looking for a cross between the superhero-filled world of One Punch Man and the copious note-taking skills of Baby Steps.

You might not like it if: You like your anime based in reality, instead of a sci-fi superhero wonderland.

Similar Series: One Punch Man, Baby Steps, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Kuroko no Basket, Princess Mononoke

Note to the Viewer: My Hero Academia is brought to us by Studio Bones, who adapted the Fullmetal Alchemist series. Also, you don’t have to wait long for My Hero season two, it begins airing April 2017!

AMV – Don’t Let Me Down by SoccerRunner7AMV

(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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Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 14 – Anime Banzai 2016

Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 14 – Anime Banzai 2016

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

Join us as we talk about one of our favorite conventions, Anime Banzai, which is an annual three-day con held in Layton, Utah. We’ve been attending Banzai for several years and have so much to say!

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Review of Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2017

Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2017

Salt Lake City, Utah

Friday March 17 – Saturday March 18, 2017

Review By: John Fragglepuss Evans

Salt Lake Comic Con (SLCC) FanX 2017 was held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Guests included: Stan Lee, Jason Momoa, Weird Al Yankovic, Zachary Levi, Bonnie Wright, John Rhys-Davies, Cary Elwes, Dule Hill, James Roday, Emilie de Ravin, Holly Marie Combs, Danielle Panabaker, Michael Cudlitz, Josh McDermitt, Christopher Lambert, Judge Reinhold, Sean Maguire, Wallace Shawn, Chris Sarandon, Greg Grunberg, Verne Troyer, Tara Strong, Khary Payton, Adrienne Wilkinson, Brian Krause, Adrian Paul, Jennifer Hale, Jess Harnell, Amy Gumenick, Jeff Bennett, Sam J. Jones, and RJ Mitte.

FanX was more intimate this year than in years past. The convention space was limited, resulting in less room for panels and vendors. Even with the small space the panels that made it into the lineup were top notch and the vendor space had a variety of wares for purchase. Maybe I just paid more attention this con, but I found a wider variety than usual. There was a booth that specialized in vintage anime, including cels from Studio Ghibli films. If I had an extra $2,000 lying around I would have bought one to take home and cherish forever. Alas I do not, so the beautiful Nausicaä cel remains in someone else’s possession.

Thanks to Salt Lake Comic Con for having us again this year and thanks to everyone that attended our “Studio Ghibli: Anime that Appeals to Everyone” panel. Thanks to Breanne Evans, Brittany Evans, Lindsay Starke, and Alec Unsicker for all the panel preparation to ensure it ran smooth. We had a blast presenting and hope you all had a fun time rekindling your Ghibli love.

I was also glad they brought back the TARDIS, Han Solo in Carbonite, Iron Throne, Rocket Raccoon, Silver Surfer, orcs, Gandalf, and other photo opportunities. I spent some time at the “Salt Lake Gaming Con Lounge” that had video games and board games free to play. That was good times.

I’m a sucker for cosplay and it was impressive at FanX. Pokemon was out in full force, the multiple Deadpool variations that always make me laugh, MARVEL in all its forms, Studio Ghibli… People are just so imaginative and talented with their creations. I absolutely love all the Overwatch cosplay that has come onto the scene.

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 164: All Out!!

All Out!!

Review by: John Fragglepuss Evans

Genre: School, Sports, Seinen, Rugby

First Aired: Fall 2016, 25 episodes

Summary: It’s the beginning of the school year at Kanagawa High School. Kenji Gion is a fresh-faced first year student with a chip on his shoulder. Gion has always been smaller than his classmates and been teased, causing the anger and frustration to build over the years. It the start of the school year as Gion meets Iwashimizu, a fellow first year that played rugby at a younger age. The two chat about the sport which immediately appeals to Gion to be able to express himself as being strong despite his small stature. Chance has it that their school has a ragtag rugby club full of colorful characters. The team is full of unique personalities but it’s up to everyone to join as one to be the best squad they can.

I was surprised and intrigued to see a rugby anime being produced, but if Japan can create an entertaining anime of American football, they can surely go all out on this. The classic sports anime elements are present, such as the naïve spectators and new players that need to have the basics of the game explained. Luckily there are always teammates and coaches available to teach the intricacies of the sport. I enjoy it because I’m not overly familiar with rugby so I welcome an explanation to the field positions and strategy. Did you know that traditional rugby is played with 15 players on each team, separated into “forwards” and “backs”?

The story is decent for a sports anime and the art is nothing spectacular. My enjoyment of the series came largely from the team, how the players had to learn to work together and the adventure they went on. After all, rugby is not an individual sport, it’s up to the entire team to work together toward their goal of victory!

You might enjoy this if: You’re a sports anime type of person. All Out isn’t as over-the-top as Kuroko’s Basketball, it provides a more realistic take on sports…Besides the extreme amount of muscle on every player’s body of course.

You might not like it if: The idea of a Knock-on and getting into a scrum with a rugby anime is something you’d rather avoid.

Similar Series: Free, Kuroko no Basket, Haikyuu, Baby Steps

Note to the Viewer: The All Out anime series is written by Masahiro Yokotani. Some of his works include: The Devil is a Part-Timer, both seasons of Free, Shimoneta, and Re: Zero.

AMV – Champion by Full AMV

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Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 12 – Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2016, The Latest and Greatest in Anime

Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 12 – Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2016, The Latest and Greatest in Anime

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

We had a blast running our Latest and Greatest in Anime panel at Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2016. This episode of Anime Happy Hour covers the anime we discussed during the panel. A lot of great anime mentioned in that panel!

For a full list of anime covered, here’s my panel summary on Fragglepuss.com

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Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 11 – AMV (Anime Music Videos)

AMV Competition at Anime Banzai 2016

AMV Competition at Anime Banzai 2016

Anime Happy Hour Podcast – Episode 11 – AMV (Anime Music Videos)

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

An AMV is an Anime Music Video. AMVs are fan-made music videos of one or more anime set to some sort of audio track. They are not official music videos released by musicians.If you attend any anime convention in the U.S. you will see the AMV Competition is likely one of the most popular events. In this episode of the Anime Happy Hour podcast we chat about why we love AMVs as well as some of our favorites.

If you want to learn more about Anime Music Videos, check out the in-depth piece I posted here.

The line waiting to enter the AMV Competition, Anime Expo 2015

 

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