Category Archives: Classics

Classics: Vagabond

Standard
Classics: Vagabond

“Focus only on the leaf, you will never see the tree. Focus only on the tree, you will never see the entire forest.”

Takehiko Inoue made himself a household name in his line of work with Slam Dunk. He would prove himself that he had more to share for us and his next working title would be Vagabond. Vagabond is yet another series that I found my brother reading, but rather this was one of the older series he found and started to read. This was around, my middle school years before he went off to college. This was the penultimate series he would read as far as I know, he hasn’t been reading anything that isn’t related to Berserk as of late. Read the rest of this entry

Classics: Slam Dunk + Short Analysis on Sports manga

Standard
Classics: Slam Dunk + Short Analysis on Sports manga

Truly, one of the greatest sports manga ever made

You have been reading most and if not all my classic reviews, you would learn that a lot of old manga series are discovered by me thanks to my brother’s reccomendations. If I remember well enough, this was probably his very first manga series and definitely his favorite (next to Berserk, but that takes f*cking FOREVERRRR). It was probably the very reason he took basketball with such a passion during his highschool years. Now this was a long time ago, and he always told me, firsthand to read this manga if I was ever going to read a sports manga. So now, my time has come and I finally did read this and, wow. That was one hell of an inspirational joyride.

So whats the series about anyway? Judging from the title and the fact if you knew anything about the basketball world, it’s about basketball. The story is about the Shohoku Highschool’s average basketball team that rises to one of the top schools for basketball in the nation, thanks to a team of rowdy teammates that constantly fight and annoy eachother. Spoilers! but it’s a sports manga!  Read the rest of this entry

Classics: GTO-Great Teacher Onizuka Review-

Standard
Classics: GTO-Great Teacher Onizuka Review-

“To become truly great, one has to stand with the people, not above them”~Charles de Montesquieu

(Note: No character list, just Onizuka and his awesomeness)

Great Teacher Onizuka or rather, GTO was one of few mangas I saw my brother read. Most of what my brother read, i have read as well and I have fairly enjoyed them. First manga I read thanks to my brother was Ichigo 100 which i already talked about. Then I read Vagabond and then Slam Dunk. I didn’t read Berserk because of how long it is and I plan on reading Fist of the North Star soon too. But GTO gets the spotlight for now as one of the greatest mangas I have ever read.

Eikichi Onizuka, blonde, 22 years old, ex-bike gang member, chain-smoker, 2nd rate Karate master, and most of all a virgin. Who expects a man like this to ever become a teacher? Let alone gain the title of “Great Teacher”? Onizuka spent most of his younger years with his buddy Ryuji(who shows up a few times in the manga) trying to get lucky with beautiful women but has failed in many aspects. Now 22 years old, Onizuka spends his days trying to get lucky while peeping up girls skirts. It all changes when day when a girl actually finds some interests in him. Onizuka pulls some stunts gets on “date” with the girl. It all goes well before the crucial momente at a love hotel. His attempts fail as the girl’s “boyfriend” an old and unattractive teacher happens to be the girl’s boyfriend. Seeing this, Onizuka realizes the power of the teacher over the minds of highschool girls and decides to become a teacher himself. After much hardships and finally graduating out of a shifty college he eventually gets hired by a kind old lady who happened to be a chairwoman of a private school. Standing in between his goals of becoming a teacher is the reputation from his students and his fellow teachers. The students vow to drive Onizuka out while the teachers will try to root Onizuka out as he is not a “real” teacher  Onizuka confronts his class, student per student and he is about to give them a lesson that they will NEVER forget. Read the rest of this entry

Classics: Yu Yu Hakusho Review

Standard

“Just as the cherry blossom is a flower amongst flowers, Kuwabara is a man among men!”

Left to right: Hiei, Kurama, Yusuke, Kuwabara, Keiko, and Botan

Back in the years of my childhood, i first saw one of the greatest animes  would come to remember. Oh, i guess this counts as an analysis too

Every single night, after every grueling hour of school and boring tv, every 10 o’clock at night Yu Yu Hakusho would air and damn it was a good series.  Original, action packed, funny, amazing (not as much as Bebop though)

The story focuses on Yusuke Urameshi, a highschool delinquint whose also in love with a girl.  His parents are divorced, his mother’s a drunkard, and he gets into fights and is a huge misift.  One day, he tries to save a child from a runaway truck and ends up dying.  Instead of just…well dying, he meets  girl naed Botan, a grim reaper.  She leads him to Koenma, the son of the guy who judges people’s fate in the afterlife.  Yusuke’s brave action caught hell by suprise and the committe are currently deciding where he would end up.  Koenma then gives Yusuke a test, he must help the people in his life if he does so, his soul will be spared.

He is able to fulfill these tests by helping his friend Kuwabara and Geiko, some of his “friends” when he was alive.  After proving himself, his life is restored.  However, during the numerous occassions Koenma has seen Yusuke, he finds that Yusuke possesses spiritul energy and recruits him to be a Underworld Detective.  He also gains the ability to fire a blast of energy from his fingertips, his signature skill.  He hunts down three thieves who took 3 artifacts.  He kills one, but spares two of them.

Later, Yusuke and his rival/friend Kuwabara travel to hone their abilities with their powers.  Kuwabara happens to possess powers of his own, mostly being able to form a sword out of spirit energy.  The two go through a tournment to see who would become Genkai’s successor.  All the while, Yusuke tries to hunt down a criminal who kills masters and masters their techniques.  Eventually, Yusuke wins the competition and trains under Genkai for several months.  Both of the teens’ power are enhanced and they are assigned by Koenma to infiltrate Maze Castle, 4 demons that rule the castle threatren the human world.  The two are able to make it to the hills overlooking the castle and they meet with Kurama and Hiei, two demons who Yusuke fought and beat during one of his earlier missions.  The four then fight their way to the castle, fighting 4 demons named after the Chinese Cardinal Directions, the Black Tortoise of the North, the White Tiger of the West, the Azure Dragon of the East, and the Vermillion Bird of the South.  Kurama, the red haired dude fights with a rose whip, Kuwabara with his spirit sword, Hiei with his sword, and Yusuke with his fists and energy abilties.  The fight lasts long but they are victorious.  Later Yusuke, Kuwabara are assigned yet another mission.  This time to save a girl from a bunch of thugs.  This girl happens to be Hiei’s sister so he’s on the mission, only not officially.  The main bad dude is introduced to be the Toguro Brothers, the eldar being able to shapeshift andthe younger that can control muscle mass.  The three leave with their mission fufilled, however, the Toguro’s remain alive, and are under control of a mysterious man named Sakyo.

Toguro then invites Yusuke to the Dark Tournament, run by humans, fought by demons.  The champion gets one wish.  Team Urameshi, consists of Yusuke, Kuwabara, Kurama, Hiei, and Genkai.  There are too many stuff to fill in here, but they win the tournament.

Now lemme get into my thoughts on this.  From beginning and to the end of the Dark Tournament, i loved.  But after that, the plot seemed kinda weak and over stretched.  All about the demons and such, didnt like it.  It made a lot more sense that he was a human with an anamoly, not a trait.

Other than that, the series is absolutely fantasic, great music which i will post up.

Characters

  • Yusuke Urameshi: The delinquint turned hero .  He can fire shots of energy through his fingertips like a gun.  He can also fight pretty well as hes a gangster
  • Kazuma Kuwabara: The delinquint’s rival who turned into great ally.  He’s the second toughest deliquint compared to Yusuke. His power comes from his sense of energy and ability to create swords out of energy, truly a man among men through his sense of justice.  (seriously, this guy only looks funny, this dude kicks ass)
  • Kurama: Kurama is a demon fox thief that was raised by a human “mother” he eventually stopped hating humans and likes them now.  He has an aura over plants and has a calm head when fighting.
  • Hiei: Hiei is the short dude.  He’s the guy tsundere who basically hates everyone.  Being a demon child of demons, nobody really likes him.  Hiei has more of dual sided fighting spirit.  He’s calm but can also go crazy.  Never liked this kid, he’s cool but he rejects stuff too much.
  • Genkai: Genkai is the master of spirit energy based martial arts.  She trains Yusuke and is a great fighter.  She used to know Toguro before he became associated with demons.  She also pwns everybody in SNES
  • Koenma: The son of the Lord of Hell, he usually takes the form of an infant with the words Jr on his forehead.  He can also turn himself to look like a teenager, he speaks quite fluently, even with the pacifier in his mouth at all times.
  • Keiko: Is Yusuke’s friend, later his girlfriend.
  • Botan: The cheery reaper who serves on Koenma, shes the girl who tells the news to the group.

Lets go on with the music

Oh gosh the memories

Oh dammit, more memories, that chorus part makes me cry in sadness

Oh the nostalgia, how i long for the days when anime wasn’t about girls.

Lets wrap this up.

Yu Yu Hakusho was great, they stretched out the story a bit far though.  Thankfully they ended the series before it got even more insane, im looking at you Naruto and Bleach.  Great series, watch til Dark Tournament finishes then its a great watch

Classics: Cowboy Bebop Review

Standard

“You know what they say cowboy, easy come, easy go”

Okay, 3, 2, 1 Lets Jam

I first heard of Cowboy Bebop when i spent the majority of my childhood in Korea.  Watching some Fullmetal Alchemist(the old one), the ending theme rolls in then i see the words “BONES” and “Cowboy Bebop”.  Those words i would never forget, why? Well it was just plain absurdity to my brain at that time, i was but a little child.

Back in the USA, Cowboy Bebop would air a bunch of times on [adultswim], but i didn’t really watch it then either.  During the year i came back, or one year after that, i watched Samurai Champloo.  Violent, cool, awesome, smooth, hot-damn this was awesome.  However, i wasnt able to watch the entire thing, only like 2-5 episodes of it.  Years later when i actually knew what i was watching, i finished the series (prolly about 1-2 years ago, present day).  The name Shinichiro Watanabe rung in my head.  Then i learned that Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo were made by the same guy.   A guilty confession: I watched Champloo before Bebop. 

After some more neglecting, i heard the opening theme, i was hooked, but just not yet.  One saturday night, i watched an episode completely, and i had to finally finish the series, 12 years late.

Cowboy Bebop, boy where do i begin.  The series starts with a blast and ends with a bang, quite literally

CB tells the tale of a rag tag team of lost souls.  Sprawled in the our very own solar system; ex-policeman Jet Black travels with ex-gangster Spike Spiegel to hunt down criminals and bounties,on their ship:  The Bebop.  On their way, they meet their pet dog, Ein.  The female fatale, Faye Valentine, and the genius earthborn hacker, Ed.  The tale of two loners making their way through the stars, would become a thrill ride with a likeable cast of characters.  A tale of sorrow, regret, lonliness, and knowing oneself.

  • Spike Spiegel: The character that would become legend.  Spike is a likeable guy, easygoing, chill, and a kickass fighter. Being a practicioner of Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee’s style) he can easily disarm and kick anyone’s ass without taking out his gun.  Spike’s sorrow comes from his past, when Spike was once a member of the Red Dragon Syndicate, he knew a girl named Julia and his best friend Vicious.  They two liked eachother a lot.  When a deal gone wrong brews, Spike and Julia have to leave the syndicate and rendezous at a location.  Spike shows up, but Julia does not.  Spike regrets his choices and the thought of being responsible for Julia’s death pains him.  Spike pilots his ship, The Swordfish II.  Spike usually doesn’t like his new shipmates, but later comes to care for them.
  • Jet Black: Jet is the owner of the ship Bebop.  He was a cop during his earlier years he later grew tired of the corruptions and restrictions of the law and decided to become a bounty hunter to hunt down injustice.  His love interest also leaves him which kinda makes him sorta low.  Even if his pasts haunts him, he is the “father” of the crew, much to his chagrin as he is only in his 30’s.  Jet is more nice and considerate and is noticably taller and bulkier than Spike is.  Jet pilots both the Bebop and his personal ship, The Hammerhead.  He also sports a cybernetic arm, a reminder of his police days and his old habit of rushing without thinking.  Jet takes his bounty hunting seriously and always plans ahead, he’s also been around the system and knows many people.  He also owns a bunch of bonsai trees he takes care of, however he considers himself butchering them as he cuts too many branches
  • Faye Valentine: Faye first appeared to our duo (technically trio because they found Ein first) during one of the du’s earlier bounty hunts.  Faye showed up a few times after many incidents involving our duo.  Eventually, she decides to stay with them.  Faye dress lightly, but she’s a tough woman to crack.  She specializes in trickery and isn’t a bad fighter.  Faye was actually earthborn, but after an incident gone terribly wrong, she was stuck in cyro for YEARS.  She wakes up after atleast 50+ years, dazed and confused in the new world.  Once a cheerfl girl with dreams, living a life of a swindler, just making her way through the stars.  Faye happens to be my favorite character, not because of her looks, but because her character has so much meaning(will explain).  She pilots the Redtail
  • Ed and Ein: Ein is simply put a Welsh Corgi do.  Adorable and extremely smart.  She can drive, play chess, you name it.  Theres not that much to say about Ein, but she’s cute and she tried shrooms.  Edward is the most “Cheery” of the crew and shes the only kid.  Ed is from earth, abandoned by her parents, she became a distinguished hacker in the solar system.  Ed is bright, energetic, and livens up the mood of the ship.  She doesn’t really fight but helps the crew with information regarding their bounties.

Cowboy Bebop contains 26 episodes.  These episodes are sequential but they rarely make connections to a past episode, unless it involved one of the main characters.  Even without the continuity of a number of episodes, each and every episode is one hell of a joyride.  Each episode is unique and fun to watch.  Episodes usually deal with past problems, character introduction, or a bounty.  Sprinkled in between these kinds of episodes are episodes that deal with the main plot, involving Spike and his past life.  Spike like i mentioned above, left his gang.  During the years of his absence, his former best friend Vicious takes over.  Spike runs into Vicious many times and each time usually results in a fight. 

A few things i must mention: The music is almost orgasmic.  These Jazz pieces are great to listen and fit in so well, you can barely hear it sometimes.  Oh yeah, the crew of the Bebop got shrooms once.  Last but not least, Great dubbing.

Before i go on, writing the ending of this series, i want to make a small analysis, as well as someone else’s analysis as well.  In of the later episodes.  The crew finds a video, involving Faye.  It takes the entire episode to find out what the video contains.  The video is a recording of Faye that she recorded in her childhood for her future self.  Faye tells her future self to never forget who she is, and to always remember that she is there for herself.  The irony of course is that Faye doesn’t remember her past at all.  This kind of reflects to the real world.  In our childhoods, we had dreams to become famous.  Our hopes reached the heavens, but the sad truth as reality grounded us down.  But people should never forget the dreams they had.  Another analysis is shown by the presence of smoking, i found this article a few weeks back.  It’s late but, hey so is this review

http://www.absolutetrouble.com/bebopmusings/?page_id=17

Below is the video of Faye

I chose the subbed ver. because i liked Faye’s voice better in Japanese.

Let lets get cracking on spoilers, they are below this column and you must highlight to see 

 SPOILERS BELOW

Much like how Champloo began concluding the series in 3 sequential episodes, Bebop does the same (yeah i know, Champloo got it from Bebop).  In the beginning of the end, the crew return to Earth as Faye wishes to find the remnants of her past.  At the same time, Ed finally meets her father who abandoned her.  Faye meets one of her old friends who recognize eachother.  She also finds her old home and decides to stay there.  Ed reveals that the reason they came to Earth was to find her father, she put a fake bounty on his head to track him down.  Once the bounty duo find him, Ed finds her as well and reveals the truth.  Ed’s father than tells Ed to follow him to map the new Earth.  However, he leaves her behind when he spots another meteor.  Before Ed’s father left, he gifted the crew with a bunch of eggs for them eat.  Later that night, Ed appears to Spike, smiling.  She gives him her paper windmill and mysteriously leaves as always.  While Jet prepares the eggs, Ein wakes up, takes a last look at Jet and leaves as well.  Ed and Ein meet eachother outside the ship, and the two decide to travel the Earth together.  Jet tells the crew that dinner is ready, however he finds Spike looking at a orange smiley face on the ship reading, “Bye Bye” with Ed’s signature hacker markings.  They also find Faye gone as well.  The two begin to eat dinner, without any words, and a mix of emotions written on their faces.  In the last two concluding episodes, Faye meets Julia, the girl Spike was so concerned over.  Spike and Jet is ambushed by the Red Dragon Syndicate and is told by Spike’s friend Shin that Vicious is to be executed and that all the people who were connected to him were being hunted down.  Spike eventually tracks down Julia, with Faye.  The two finally reunite and begin again their plans to leave the syndicate.  However, Julia is shot down and tells Spike that “This is a dream….” Spike is pissed for revenge.  Vicious’ execution actually revealed to be a failed plan.  Vicious’ bird detonated a bomb and those loyal to Vicious took over the syndicate with Vicious as their leader.  With Julia dead, Spike returns to the Bebop.  The crew share a last supper and Spike heads down to finish his last bounty.  Faye however tries to stop him.  She tells that he told her to forget the past.  Spike tells that one of his eyes are artificial.  One sees the past and one sees the present.  Faye yells at him for telling his part of his story to her now, when he is about to commit a suicide mission.  Spike replies that he is going there to see if he is really alive.  Spike leaves, Jet washes the ship, Faye stands in silence.

In Spike’s fury, he singlehandedly takes down many Syndicate members and finds his friend Shin who helps to get past the thugs and get to Vicious.  Shin is shot down and tells Spike to finish the job.  Vicious and Spike meet for the last time and engages in a short duel.  A stalemate seems to appear, however, just about Vicious raised his blade, Spike is able to kill him.  Severely injured, Spike sees a vision of Julia’s last word and replies to them.  As he walks down the steps of the syndicate base, light flows into the room.  A few members hold their guns but do not fire.  Spike gives a weak smile and p

oints his fingers and says “Bang”, he then collapses onto the ground

Spoilers end here.  So with that done lets finish this up


So is it good?

Well i wrote this much, so YEAH ITS GOOD.  If you call yourself an anime fan, you would already appreciated this thing.  This series is considered the best anime ever made.  26 episodes packed with action, story, music, and awesomeness.  I heavily recommend you watch this series.

Classics: Samurai Champloo Review

Standard

“The Journey beats the Destination”

Shinichiro Watanabe made himself a legend (in the anime world of course, but his works were famous in America too) by making the series called Cowboy Bebop which detailed the life of Spike Spiegel and his job of bounty hunting onboard the ship, Bebop.  Go to Google and type in “Cowboy”, the words “Bebop” will most likely be your Number 1 most recommended answer.  Now type in Samurai in Google.  Right after Samurai Jack, should be Samurai Champloo, and it is a well deserved spot

Cowboy Bebop was influenced by American Jazz and Blues era of the 40’s to 60’s.  Samurai Champloo follows the tradition of strange mixups.  This time Rap and hip hop blended with Samurais

Samurai Champloo takes place in the Edo period of Japan (Roughly the 1600’s all the way to the 1800’s) but more earlier than the 1800’s.  Anyway, our main character which happens to be a girl, works in a small teashop in a town owned by a feudal lord, or Magistrate.  Fuu (our main character) and her employers are having a lack luster day.  The shop is currently occupied by a group of misfits.  Another mis fit man with an (more or less) afro enters the shop.  He calls Fuu to him and whispers into her ear that he will get rid of all the misfits here for some food.  Fuu refuses the offer but when some complaints arise from the misfits and when an uproar seems iminent, she agrees to our afro-ed friend.  The afro man literally starts beating the misfits with a array of dazzling display of break dancing and sword mastery.  While hes in the middle of killing, another man enters the teashop and hes wearing glasses.  The dude with the afro already killed the dudes who were causing a ruckus, and now he decides to kill the man with glasses too.  The two get in a fight and with some epic fighting, the two accidentally burns the teashop down.   they are arrested for the murder of the magistrate’s son, who happened to lead the band of misfits the afro dude killed.  The two are about to get executed, only that they escape with Fuu’s help and soon meet up in an alleyway.  Before the two samurais being to kill eachother, she proposes a bet.  She will flip a coin, and if it lands heads, they follow her on her personal journey to find a mysterious man, dubbed, “the samurai who smells of sunflowers.” If it comes up tails, the two men can start killing eachother.  Oh yeah, the 2 guys names are Mugen (the afro) and Jin (glasses).  Mugen tosses the coin, pretty hard and it takes a while for it fall down.  Eventually, it lands and Fuu yells Heads and the new trio dash off while being chased by the magistrate’s army.  And the epic journey filled with awesomeness begins.

Characters

  • Mugen: An ex-band of rogues and was an ex convict (he has rings around his ankles).  Mugen has escaped to the life of a wandering warrior whose main problem being his hunger for food and his hunger for fighting.  Mugen carries an oversized Sai like weapon and fights in an unpredictable manner, using his feet and break dancing skills.  He’s brash, vulgar, yet turns into a more calmer person in the end
  • Jin: A former student of a dojo now on the run because he killed his former master(not on cold blood though).  He swore to never serve a master because of human nature of greed.  Jin also wears glasses, yet they are only an accessory.  Jin unlike Mugen fights in single style he has mastered and also is a lot more calm.  In the end, Jin becomes less tense about his life.
  • Fuu: Fuu is the glue that holds this trio of unlikely heroes.  There is nothing special about her, only that she can eat an enormous amount of food.  Fuu is just a regular girl who has not fighting abilities.  Through her journey, she learns to become a more patient and less complaining lady. She’s also accompanied by a small flying squirrel.

So let me sum up why this anime was amazing

  • First of all, it has a plot, unlike most animes and manga nowadays, this has a obscure (wonder if i spelled that right) yet linear storyline
  • Second, although secondary characters last no longer than 3 episodes, the main characters, even with their archtyped natures go really well.
  • Some animes focus solely on romance, Samurai Champloo summed up a huge romantic subplot in one episode, and it was great.
  • Mugen gets high on weed once, and its definetely a memorable scene.
  • The battles are amazing, Mugen’s break dancing was always fun to watch.
  • THERES DUDES RAPPING
  • The blend of music are a nice thing to listen too, the ending songs are great

Out of most of the anime series i will ever review, this is one of my favorite series.  A nice story packed into 26 episodes and most of the time, the events of a the past episode rarely leads up to the next one.  The series is filled with comedy, action, and for each small arcs of episodes mirror some other genre of anime.  Go watch episode 11, a nice romantic story summed up into 1 episode.

So is it good?

Well, no shit its good.  Although it ain’t the new “Bebop” the show is a funny and action packed piece of art.  It also has a decent dub, which is very rare.

The music, is fine, although i find the opening credits not as good as the ending themes.

Best ending song….ever. A beautiful song with beautiful images

Another great song

SPOILERS BELOW

Highlight to see

The ending, was kinda the best ending i would have hoped for.  The ending is realistic (compared to other anime, i’m looking at you Angel Beats, but hey, we didn’t even cover the ending of that one yet.) and ends in a nice tone of reassurement.

In the final episodes, the trio finally tracks down the “samurai who smells of sunflowers” and learns that they need a boat to cross to a small island.  While trying to gain money, a wandering bounty hunter and a band of pirates Mugen defeated from his past surface and fights with Jin and Mugen respectively.  The battle is worth seeing, one is realistic (seriously, its a damn swordfight, it shouldn’t take an entire episode.) and one happens to be less realistic, a scythe that cuts rock, hmmm.  Fuu manages to glimpse at the “SWSOS” and it reveals to be her father.  Her reason was that he abandoned her and her mother and she wanted some explanation.  However, her father is bedridden and she can’t really do anything now.  An old couple who were taking care of him tells her, that he never once forgot about his wife and daughter. 

The ending, spoilers

Oh man, i still feel kinda sad, and damn do i love the song.  Words cannot describe this perfect ending

Go watch it dammit