Kaiju Monsters! Oh My!

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 Opinions I read on MAL were quite mixed on this show. People seemed to love it or hate it. I fall in the “love it” camp….or just like it a lot…it was good!

Much of the confusion I read seemed to be centered around comparing it to other mecha shows…the problem with this is…it’s not a mecha show. It’s based off of the tokusatsu genre.

From Tokupedia:
“Tokusatsu (特撮) is a Japanese word that literally means “special effects.” It is primarily used to refer to live-action Japanese film and television dramas that make use of special effects.

The term “tokusatsu” is a contraction of the Japanese phrase “tokushu satsuei” (特殊撮影), meaning “special photography”. In production, the special effects director is given the title of “tokushu gijutsu” (特殊技術), Japanese for “special techniques” or “tokusatsu kantoku” (特撮監督), which is Japanese for “special effects director”, the title usually used by English language productions.

Tokusatsu entertainment is often science fiction, fantasy, or horror, but movies and TV shows in other genres can sometimes be classified as tokusatsu as well. The most popular types of tokusatsu are kaiju monster movies (the Godzilla and Gamera film series), superhero TV serials (the Kamen Rider and Metal Heroes series), and mecha dramas (Giant Robo). Some tokusatsu television programs combine several of these subgenres (the Ultraman and Super Sentaiseries).”

Now this obviously wasn’t a live action, but still was, in it’s nature, a tribute to this genre. Sure, there were nods to the mecha genre (Neon Genesis High School), but it was a Tokusatsu at it’s core. It had Kaiju and superheroes to fight them.

I can’t say that I am particularly versed in that genre at all, so I can’t speak to it in depth. I went into the show blind. I am basically looking to be entertained. This can be surface…it can be deep…I am not fussy. I will take a deep story or mindless entertainment. As long as I am entertained, I am happy.

I was pleasantly surprised with SSSS Gridman. I liked the animation, soundtrack, and story. The characters were good, with the supporting characters being more memorable than the main protagonist.

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 There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with Yuta, but I found Sho and Rikka more memorable and interesting….perhaps because they had to make sense of their relationships more than Yuta did.

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 And then there’s Akane…a very good villain. Way too much power in a teenage brain trying to find itself. She was a delight.

I watched the dub of this and it was great. I recommend it highly. I often watch sub, but thoroughly enjoyed this dub.

Beyond the monsters and heroes there is the underpinning of trying to find friendship and a sense of belonging. I really like this aspect of the show. While one can cynically dismiss that as trite or cheesy, I like it and think the world needs more of that. A sense that we can find connection in others when we are lonely and lost ourselves.

Attention Parents: Nothing is too bad….or that memorable as really bad. Fantasy violence is about it. Akane is a bit psycho.

I liked the show. It is on Crunchyroll and the dub is on Funimation.

Until Next Time: Happy Viewing!


30 Days of Anime- Day 16

Anime With The Best Animation

As a fan of animation in general this is hard for me to answer. Different studios and different stories bring different styles. All have something to bring to the table, so defining something as “best” is a subjective matter even to me.

One may argue that some of the more styles that highlight background realism as best and they’d have a point. I did love the animation of   Kyoto Animation’s “Sound! Euphonium”. It was well done and often quite beautiful.

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In contrast an older show like “Serial Experiments Lain” while not as detailed, has a beauty that came out of well thought out direction to make a visually striking impression on the viewer.

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There is so much to love in the visuals in anime, so it is hard for me to narrow it down. However, two stand out for me (I’m sure some of you could guess).

The Monogatari series (along with other Shaft titles) do it for me. I love their style of visuals.

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  The other series that contains my favorite visuals, although it is not my favorite show (don’t get me wrong, I like it), is Soul Eater.

   Something about the dark, Halloween-esque, cartoon-ish visuals that just appeal to me. I really love the look of the show.

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I so love the visuals on this show! I have considered getting the sun and moon as tattoos I like it so much.

So…Best? So much is good, why a best? You like what you like. Each person has their own criteria of what they find aesthetically pleasing. These were a few of mine.

Until next time: Happy viewing!

Identity and Ethics: Mob Style.

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Mob Psycho 100

I was late to the Mob Psycho 100 bandwagon. I had watched the first episode, but something in it didn’t speak to me. I set it aside. Then,I kept hearing about how good it was. One day I was bored and finished with the other shows I was watching so I decided to give it another try.

The show got me. I like it.

The show also got me to thinking. Mostly what struck me was the struggles of the characters around self identity and the ethics of power.

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Central to this, of course, is Shigeo Kageyama aka: “Mob”. Mob is an un-athletic, socially  awkward, poor student who is not very remarkable in any way other than he is an extremely powerful psychic. The funny thing is: to Mob, this doesn’t mean much. While the rest of the world would see his abilities as desirable, they are just kind of there to Mob and he doesn’t really see them as all that beneficial. He instead looks up to his younger brother, Ritsu Kageyama.

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Ritsu is everything that Mob is not. Athletic, popular, a good student and is a member of the student counsel. Ritsu, however, envy’s his brother’s psychic abilities. Rather than being happy with his own good qualities, Ritsu measures himself against Mob.

Yet this is common in life. We often find ourselves stuck in envying what others have rather than valuing what is good in, and about, ourselves. This theme runs throughout the show to some degree which I found to be interesting.

Mob decides, after an unintentional prompt by  both a ghost he exorcised and the student counsel president, to do something about improving himself. Mob decides to get in shape and joins The Body Improvement Club.

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The Body Improvement Club was glad to take him. This was one of the refreshing bits of the show. After Mob became a member of the club, he was one of their own. It didn’t matter that Mob wasn’t athletic. That he fainted when running. He joined the club, so he was one of their own. At one point they even went so far as to try to rescue, and fight for, Mob. It was acceptance in a group regardless of ability. They just cared that he was there and he was trying. They are  favorites of mine. This allowed Mob to explore, and expand, his sense of identity.

And then there is Mob’s employer: Arataka Reigen.

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Reigen is a con man…But it isn’t as black and white as that. He sells himself as a psychic who claims to talk to spirits: he doesn’t. He takes easily persuaded people’s money and performs a service that, while alleviating the client’s problems, isn’t psychic or spiritual in any real sense as he leads them to believe. When confronted with an actual spirit, he calls in Mob. Reigen sets himself up as Mob’s mentor, letting Mob take on the “smaller” spirits as practice (which Reigen can actually do nothing about).  While client problems get solved, it is under false pretenses.

Reigen also takes on a protective role for Mob. He sees Mob’s uncertainty and awkwardness and works to protect Mob emotionally. He takes seriously (even though he is profiting from him) being a mentor and protector to Mob. In the quote below he normalizes Mob’s abilities.

Listen well, we are different than regular people because we are born with special powers. But that shouldn’t give you the illusion that you’re a special being. We are part of humanity. Besides our rare power, we are no different than them. People who run fast, people who can sing well, people who study hard, people who are funny, and people with psychic powers. Are we different from them? Having confidence in your strength, is good thing but do not get carried away. Our powers are a dangerous weapon.

This is why I love Reigen.

And throughout the show there is the struggle of: What makes a person special? What defines oneself? Does power define us? How we use power? Our abilities? Or something else?

Reigen “borrows” some of Mob’s power at the end of the show and gives perspective to the bad guys trying to take over the world. He points out to them, that even with special powers, you won’t get the validation you’re looking for.

I think that’s an interesting discussion to have. If you have kids: have it with them. If you have friends: have it with them. How to recognize and be happy with the person you are regardless of your abilities. Finding what makes you unique and special and being happy with that. And if needed, exploring new possibilities of who you are (or can be).

Attention Parents: There is a lot of “cartoon” violence in this show and only one scene where I thought it was perhaps a little bloody (which turns out to be a rouse).

I thought Mob Psycho 100 was a good watch. Nice animation. Action packed. And thought provoking.

Until next time: Happy Viewing!


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What Happens In Dimension W, Stays In Dimension W


I found the dub of this show on Funimation. It is enjoyable, although not what I’d call a perfect show by any means.

Set in the future, humanity has found another dimension (which they obviously refer to as Dimension W) and they have found a way to harness limitless energy using an invention called “coils”.

The story follows Kyouma Mabuchi, an ex-military special ops soldier, who now shuns this new technology and hunts illegal coils for money. On a job, he encounters an android, Mira Yurizaki, who happened to be the android to the father of the coil technology. And from there the story develops.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable ride. I did find the finer details towards the end dealing with what Dimension W actually is, and what happened to the protagonist there in the past, a little convoluted and found myself hoping for more (and clearer) explanations. Also, another reviewer pointed out the fight scenes with Mabuchi throwing his darts with the wires attached could get a bit perplexing (where were those long wires??!!).

I liked the animation style overall. It was well done.

What I did find irritating (and this is a “me” thing) was the fan service with Yurizaki. It wasn’t extreme, and I know they do it so all the young otakus will buy her figurine later, but I found it pointless and distracting.


I know, I know…It’s just what you find in anime, but it’s not always necessary.

I watched the dub of this, and it was very good.  Christopher Sabat voiced Mabuchi and Jad Saxton voiced Yurizaki. The complete dub is available on Funimation’s streaming service.

Attention Parents: Overall the show isn’t too bad. There is some violence, but not excessive or bloody in particular. The fan service is mostly a half naked Yurizaki, which isn’t horrible, but I found it distracting and annoying more than anything. It does have a few disturbing ideas towards the end of what happened to survivors of an experiment gone wrong that might not be good for a young viewer.

Aside from some minor points, I enjoyed this show. The story is interesting, characters enjoyable, and the voice acting and animation were well done. A good watch over all.

Until next time, Happy viewing!

*the images used in this post are not owned by the blog*