Magical Girls Replaced by Magical Boys!!

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The genre of Magical Girls has been a very popular on in anime. From the classic Sailor Moon, to Tokyo Mew Mew, anime fans have alike have always been fascinated by Magical Girl anime shows. Now, this concept has taken a unique turn- Magical Girls are now Magical Boys!

Cute High Earth Defense Club Love. Just take a second to read that title and see if it makes you laugh. The Japanese name is Binan Koko Chikyu Boei-bu Love! It is a long title for an anime, which makes me think it mocks itself. I was curious as to why they had to have the word “cute” in there. Maybe it was to draw attention to the title, and make people so curious, that they’d check out a few episodes. Well, it sure got my attention.

Battle Lovers

This is a new anime, released in Japan on Jan. 6, 2015 and ran on the air until Mar. 24, 2015 with 12 episodes, features five young men, Yumoto Hakone (Kazutomi Yamamoto), En Yufuin (Yuichiro Umehara), Atsushi Kinugawa (Kotaro Nishiyama), Io Naruko (Yusuke Shirai), and Ryuu Zaou (Toshiki Masuda). They all attend Binan High School, where they are part of a school club called The Earth Defense Club.

BathhouseThe anime starts off with Atsushi and En enjoying a bath at Yumoto’s family bathhouse. Out of the blue, a pink creature in the form of an Earth Wombat (Mugihito) appears before the guys, and begs them to help him save the planet. Atsushi and En don’t know what’s going on, grasping the concept of a Wombat speaking perfect Japanese, and talking about saving the Earth through the power of Love.

WombatAt the school the following day, Wombat appears in front of all of the club members, this time being held by a teacher who he controlled in order to move around freely. With his powers, he gives the guys magical bracelets that clasp to their wrists. When they shout the phrase, “Love-Making”, the five guys turn into the Battle Lovers. Yumot, who is obviously the leader of the Magical Boys, transforms into The Sparkling Prince, Scarlet. En transforms into The Flashing Prince, Cerulean. Atsushi is The Piercing Prince, Epinard. Io is transformed into The Roaring Prince, Sulphur. Ryuu transforms into The Thrilling Prince, Vesta.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2sk-XfiyOc Click this link to see the Battle Lovers Transformation!

Now, let’s talk about the transformation sequence for the Battle Lovers. In my Defense Clubopinion, I think this show was greatly inspired by Sailor Moon. The outfits are flashy, the boys are nakes and surrounded by glittering hearts, and the poses are on par with Sailor Moon and other Magical Girl series. The first episode is hilarious, because before they all transform, they are forced by the bracelets to pose and declare how strong the power of Love is. I found myself laughing at the fact that they were doing it against their will.

Love StickWhen they defeat a monster, Yumoto, AKA Scarlet, uses an attack with a weapon called the Love Stick, and calls out “Love Shower”. When that happens, the monster is turned back into a human, and their understanding of love is returned, and increases tenfold. After the battle ends, Scarlet declares, “Love is Over”, which of course doesn’t make sense. Even his friends say that the line makes no sense, but eventually rolls with it.

Conquest ClubOf course, this being a Magical Boys anime, there have to be main antagonists that call forth the monsters. The villains of  Cut High Earth Defense Club Love are The Conquest Club. In Binan High, they are the members of the Student Council, Kinshiro Kusatsu (Hiroshi Kamiya), the council president (center), Ibushi Arima (Jun Fukuyama), the vice-president (right), and Akoya Gero (Takuma Terashima) (left). They are led by a green creature in the form of a hedgehog (insert Sonic the Hedgehog reference here LOL), named Lord Zundar (Hiroki Yatsumoto). Their goal is to Zundartake over the Earth and cleanse it of everything uncivilized and ugly. Kinshiro transforms into Chevalier Aurite, Ibushi is Chevalier Argent, and Akoya is Chevalier Perlite. Using a quill from Zundar, they can fill it with dark energy and shoot it at an ususpecting person, bringing out the darkness in their hearts and transforming them into a monster. Every episode, they manipulate a person, and get them to threaten the school and fight the Battle Lovers. Every episode, the Battle Lovers thwart them.

Now, there are two final things in this anime that need to be addressed. One of them is the identities of the Battle Lovers. In Sailor Moon, Tokyo Mew Mew and Magical DoReMi, no one seems to ever recognize them, despite the fact that they aren’t wearing masks. Cut High Earth Defense Club Love is clever with explaining why non of the boys’ classmates can recognize them. Wombat explains that he uses advanced technology to censor the Battle Lovers’ faces and voices from the general public. I found this funny just because of the way they explained this, and the fact that this is an extremely creative and smart approach as to why no one knows who they are. The Conquest Club have the same technology protecting their identities as well. The Conquest Club and the Battle Lovers cannot even identify one another because of this technology. Of course, later on they figure it out.

The final issue, is the one that took me up to at least episode four to realize: There are LITERALLY no females in this anime. Okay, the characters attend an all boy’s school. But, whenever the characters are outside pf the school, there are still no sign of any girls. Anywhere! Ryuu talks about being popular with girls, and at one point is seen talking to a possible girlfriend over the phone. However, he gets picked on a few times for lying about his status with girls. There is no yaoi in this anime, nor does it fall into the category. Personally, I thought it made the show unique about having it focus on guys. Plus, the anime is geared towards females (and maybe gay men who like anime), so it does make sense to not have females in the show.

All in all, this anime is…interesting. That’s all I can say about it. All of the characters, main and supporting characters, have individual personalities that allow viewers to pick favorites, and it just keeps you laughing to the point where you want to watch the next episode to see what happens.

Believe me when I say, this anime has tons of surprises that no one will see coming.

The Birth of a New Yu-Gi-Oh! Are they Jumping the Shark?

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You read the title correctly; a new Yu-Gi-Oh! is in production as we speak! The title is called Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V (five). The title emphasizes that this is the fifth Yu-Gi-Oh! series. The main character is Yuya Sakaki. The only description of his personality is he escapes the harshness of reality by smiling until one duel forces him to make a determination to confront the difficulties of life. There will also be a new type of summon called Pendulum Summon. Again, this is still new so there is not a lot of detail yet. It is set to air in April 2014.

There is a short trailer on YouTube from Japan, but it just shows the main character with some of his cards. It’s sort of a build up to the show itself.

Many of the Yu-Gi-Oh! fans who grew up watching the original series are not very psyched about this new series. When I saw this, I put up on my FaceBook to let my friends know about it. Majority of the comments were deep concerns about it since Yu-Gi-Oh! ZeXal didn’t pull the older fans in. There were also comments that said, “They jumped the shark with Yu-Gi_Oh! 5D’s,” which is the series where duels could take place while riding on motorcycles. The enthusiasm for this new series…is barely there. Mostly because of how 4Kids sort of messed up ZeXal and also how annoying Yuma, the ZeXal main character is at most times.

Defending ZeXal, I admit I cannot stand the 4Kids dubbing and that the “X” in ZeXal is meant to be silent if anyone has ever watched the Japanese version (which is better in my opinion). However, going back and giving the 4Kids version a chance, I can say that ZeXal has its moments and is not all that bad when putting it together as a whole.

Me personally, I am going to give ARC-V a chance. My opinion and faith in this new series is based on the design of the character Yuya. He has elements that the other protagonists had: gravity-defying hair, determined personality, possibly a main catch phrase and a pendant.  Oh and different-colored hair. I’m the type of person who will give an anime a try if it sold to me in the right ways. One way of course is looking at the main character and giving me the basics of the plot. To me, Yuya is one of the best looking Yu-Gi-Oh! protagonists. He is up there with Yami Yugi.

So, is Yu-Gi-Oh! jumping the shark with ARC-V? Ummm….it is really in the eye of the beholder. I mean yeah, it may have a similar plot to the other series. But all of the Yu-Gi-Oh! series have qualities that make them stand out and unique. In some ways, they might be jumping the shark a bit, mainly because I’m not sure what else they can do with the plot. Also, the series is going further and further into the future, showing how much dueling has evolved. Will they keep the duel gazers shown in ZeXal or have a new method of dueling?

Another problem is the plot is going to be predictable to the people who have followed all of the previous Yu-Gi-Oh! shows. The character might meet their rival and as time goes on, the rival accepts the main character’s friendship and work together in a tag duel. There might also be an otherworldly entity that helps the main character, and so on and son. While I am a bit curious of what the creators will do with the plot, I think they are just sort of…stepping over the shark rather than jumping over it. I trust the creators to give us a good story line, so I’m not going to judge it and give it my hate or negative judgement on little information. So I’m looking forward to it.

Whether it is going to be an epic series or an epic failure, I can’t wait till ARC-V comes to America! If more information comes out once it airs, I’ll write a follow-up.

Welcome to the DWMA!

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Soul Eater, directed by Takuya Igurashi, manga author Atsushi Okubo, is a very interesting and unique anime series. The TV series aired April 7, 2008- March 30, 2009 with 51 episodes. The manga was published in June 2003 and is still ongoing.

The anime is about students who attend the Death Weapon Meister Academy (DWMA), run by the Grim Reaper (John Swasey; English), (Rikiya Koyama; Japanese), referred as Lord Death. There are two types of students at this academy: meisters- students who wield weapons and weapons- students who have the ability to transform into a weapon. Meisters and weapons have to be compatible with each other; their soul wavelengths must be in sync. The goal of the students are to use their partners to collect 99 kishin (Demon Gods) souls and one witch soul. The weapons devour those souls and then become Death’s Instrument.

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Anyone has the chance of becoming a kishin egg if they devour enough human souls. They become lost and slowly fall into the brink of madness.

The appearance of a witch’s soul varies depending on their powers. Majority of witches in Soul Eater have powers based on animals. But all of their souls have a purple color.

DeathLord Death stays in a room within the DWMA and he is unable to leave Death City, because his soul is what protects the city from evil. He founded the DWMA to protect and preserve the peace of the world and keep the madness subdued so its wavelength won’t take over the minds of the people. At first his appearance was threatening and portrayed the very definition of ‘death’ and ‘Grim Reaper.’ However when he built the academy, the children were afraid of him because of the way he looked. So he changed it so everyone could walk up to him without being scared of him.

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Lord Death is a very outspoken character, usually saying funny lines and exposing his large hands to make peace signs or to Reaper Chop people when they don’t focus on the situation. He does change back to his old self when he gets serious enough, especially when it comes to the safety of the students and faculty of the academy. Whether he is in his deep, scary voice or high-pitched silly voice, he can still be serious when the situation calls for it.

The anime focuses on Meister Maka Albarn (Laura Bailey; English), (Chiaki Omigawa; Japanese), and her weapon partner Soul Eater Evans (Micah Soulsod; English), (Soichiro Hoshi; Japanese). Maka wants to make a stronger death scythe that is stronger than her father Spirit Albarn (Vic Mignogna; English), (Toru Okawa; Japanese), who is Lord Death’s personal death scythe.

Maka herself is an interesting character because she hates her father for being unfaithful to her mother. Her parents are going through a divorce in the series and Maka is on her mother’s side. However, you never see the mother in the series, but she shows up in the manga. When she uses Soul in battle, her fear does surface but rather than give into it, she uses it as an additional weapon, using it as adrenaline. Soul, who is an actual scythe is a laid back guy who is very loyal to his meister, but always makes fun of her for reading all the time and insults her body type. Unlike Maka, Soul does not take his classes seriously but wants to be a strong weapon for Lord Death. He always refers to himself as a “cool guy.”

Their close friends are the loud and arrogant Black Star (Brittney Karbowski; English), (Yumiko Kobayashi; Japanese), his patient and forgiving ninja weapon partner Tsubaki Nakatsukasa (Monica Rial; English), (Kaori Nazuka; Japanese) and the son of Lord Death, Death the Kid (Todd Haberkorn; English), (Mamoru Miyano; Japanese) and his twin pistol weapon partners the Thompson sisters; Liz Thompson (Jamie Marchi; English), (Akeno Watanabe) and her younger sister Patty Thompson (Cherami Leigh; English), (Narumi Takahira; Japanese).

Not only is the series very colorful and flowing, it balances the funny episodes and serious episodes. There will be episodes that show the characters being students and going about normal lives, and then there will be episodes where they go on missions and experience new challenges that they must fight through for the sake of education and strength.

The students and faculty of the DWMA are put to the ultimate test when an old evil that Lord Death sealed away many years ago is awakened and threatens to spread madness throughout the world.

All of the characters have quirky personalities that make you laugh almost every minute and the missions they go on are filled with suspense and sometimes unexpected twists. The most interesting thing about all of the characters, protagonists and antagonists is that they are all very hard to kill. A character will get impaled by something and lose gallons of blood, but they will still stand tall (literally) and fight with the same amount of energy as they had when the fight began. Each character loses a large amount of blood but never die with just one blow.

The anime has stopped at 51 episodes, but the manga is continuing and has a lot more story, characters and plot to follow. If you watch the anime and get sad when you finish it, move to the manga and you will be happy again. There is also a spin-off manga called ‘Soul Eater NOT.’ I have yet to check it out, but what I do know is that it takes places a little before the events of Soul Eater. There are new characters who are starting their freshman year at the DWMA. The manga came out in 2011.

Bottom line this anime is very enjoyable and has an interesting plot and knows how to put the audience into suspense that makes us want to keep watching. Check out Soul Eater…or I’ll take your soul.