From my earliest little-MJ memories, I have watched and adored anime.
I didn’t know that the colourful, extravagantly expressive, human-esque characters were any different from Courage the Cowardly Dog and SpongeBob SquarePants, or that there’s a huge debate as to whether anime is a “cartoon.”
I don’t deny getting argumentative for similar reasons, as Giovanni used to refer to my collectible anime figures as “toys,” and I’d explain the collectible anime figures part.
There’s a lot of little arguments within the anime community (let’s not even get started on shipping wars), but ultimately it unites us as one happy, anime-loving family. 🙂
After a far too long hiatus, I’m leaping back into the anime world. My original line-up consisted of Gatchaman Crowds: Insight, Digimon Adventure tri., and Skull Man. I try to watch a diverse selection of shows, varying the levels of fun and serious. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find Skull Man on a legal site that lets me watch for free (versus paying for a subscription; I’m so tight on money that a jar of olives is pushing it… I eat
too many a lot of olives). I considered replacing it with One-Punch Man or Mob Psycho 100 but decided to save those for Giovanni, because I think he’d enjoy them. I’m assuming the two anime I picked along with Gatchaman Crowds: Insight are ones he won’t mind passing.
Note: This post is not sponsored. However, if you plan on watching any of these anime and are on an olive budget like me, I recommend Crunchyroll.com. Other streaming sites, like Netflix or Hulu, require a subscription (if not on a budget then pick your fancy!).
There’s a lot of illegal streaming sites out there, but it’s important that we support the anime industry. So many people work to bring us quality shows, be it the over-time animators, passionate voice-actors, or mangakas themselves, and viewing their shows legally is what helps them pay their bills and continue providing content for fans. Okay, that’s the end of my service announcement. Time to talk anime!
Gatchaman Crowds: Insight
(season 2 of Gatchaman Crowds)
Gatchaman Crowds is a reboot of the Gatchaman franchise, centered around superheroes in a world where anyone can be a hero if they’ve got a Smartphone. This power is known as Crowds, and it can be used anywhere around the world (though from my understanding, it’s typically used in Japan, where the story takes place).
At first the story felt like a whirlwind of animations and fast subtitles, but the episodes always developed in an unexpected way and ended on great cliffhangers. Sometimes I thought I missed pieces of plot, but the story unfolds gradually as characters themselves try to connect dots, ultimately keeping you in the loop.
Gatchaman Crowds is a different superhero story, and I love how it’s not all about fighting but politics, questioning society, and solving problems through wit – but there’s still a lot of fighting, satisfying the action-lover within us! The villain is super cool, evil, and has an amazing voice actor.
The main protagonist, Hajime, is introduced as an airhead and overly bubbly female-trope but turns out to be a capable and outside-the-box thinker. This can cause conflict with her teammates however, as they typically don’t follow her thought process. As a girl (er, young woman, I guess…), I appreciate strong female leads, especially in anime, where females are an excessive source of fanservice.
Light season 1 spoilers ahead!
I’m currently on episode 3 of season 2, and I’m not yet interested in the two new girls, who seem to be the major focus. Tsubasa is a typical headstrong hero rushing to act rather than think, and Gelsadra just feels like moe appeal.
But I have faith in Gatchaman Crowds: Insight to develop both of them!
I liked the dynamics of Hajime’s unconventional ways clashing with her teammates, so maybe this season will involve a clash between Tsubasa and Hajime. As for Gelsadra, she has the ability to display people’s moods above their head, and a prophetic character is strongly suggesting Gelsadra to be a bigger hero than anyone is expecting…
Similar to last season, it’s wacky and all over the place. Tsubasa is suddenly chosen to be a Gatchaman, and Gelsadra crashes her spaceship in rural Japan. Oh right, she’s an alien! I suppose what the writers intended is that an alien visiting Earth isn’t a big deal and this is the day-to-day job of the Gatchaman.
I’m glad this superhero anime is continuing its trend of strong female leads! Woohoo, gender equality! Men and women can both be awesome heroes!
Edit: Episode 4-5 spoilers!
Whaaat, Gelsadra is…
Male?! I had no idea. Some commentors are saying that maybe he doesn’t have a specific gender, but it’s not really discussed further. I think that’s another nice aspect of Gatchaman Crowds. The first season has a cross-dresser without explanation, and the villain is rather feminine in appearance. It’s a good message: a person (or alien) is who they are; gender is one detail.
After “growing up,” Gelsadra is entering the prime minister race as an attempt to “unite everyone’s hearts.” Yep, the writer’s got me. Lots of surprises.
Tsubasa and Gelsadra have good intentions and are working hard to unite everyone, but their actions are being foreshadowed to backfire. I find it rather tragic, because all they’re trying to do is bring world peace. Unfortunately, as seen in all utopias, a sacrifice is required to achieve peace. And yes, I’ve grown more fond of them.
The first season involved a clash of Hajime and her teammates’ way of thinking, as well as a chaos-causing villain, while this season is focusing more on a clash of extreme ideals, which are currently the faceless villains. I love it.
These episodes reminded me why I loved Gatchaman Crowds… the plot and characters continue to surprise me as the story develops. Episodes 1-3 were a great build-up, and episode 4 got me pumped for the rest of the season!
Kiss Him, Not Me
I didn’t plan for this.
Romances, especially harems, bring out too many emotions and can be frustrating, so I don’t watch them often (but let me assure you, I love a good romance).
I planned on watching more Gatchaman Crowds: Insight when Crunchyroll advertised a curiously named anime. I had to check it out.
As written in the site description, Kiss Him, Not Me is about a chubby, BL-loving, otaku who looses weight in a week, due to a certain happening in her favorite anime, and returns to school looking completely different.
Four boys that never noticed her romantically begin fighting for a date and end up seeing a movie. All together. Following that evening, they start hanging out as a group because no one wants anyone else to get too close to Kae, the protagonist. Watching their rivalries is hilarious, because she’s obsessed with any affectionate (or seemingly affectionate) moments they share with one another rather than with her.
Some anime fans might shrug off their love of this anime with jokes or embarrassment, but I LOVE THIS SHOW! ヽ(゜ ∇゜)ノ *:･ﾟ✧
The characters are all charming in their trope-esque ways, and many times I’ve laughed out loud during their misadventures in romancing Kae. My hope is that everyone gets developed further, but if not they’re still funny and sweet.
I’ll admit I’m biased towards reverse harems (1 girl and ? guys… there isn’t a base number constituting a harem), but my opinion is that reverse harems concentrate on the relationships the boys have with one another and the main girl. A harem, in contrast, concentrates on sexually-tense situations the male has with the females, and there is less character development. Every show varies, of course, but this has been my experience and what I’ve gathered from others in the anime community.
I ended up binging the first five episodes and loved every moment of it. Go watch it right now (if rom-coms are your fancy… even if they’re not, just watch the first episode).
There is an underlining controversy regarding fat-shaming, but I don’t believe that’s the show’s focus.
When Yusuke’s affection is challenged by another suitor, he thinks to himself that at first he only loved her for looks, but his love grew past that. These feelings are soon tested when Rae gains all her weight back, and he is confused as to how he really feels. Later in the episode, he notices Rae’s never-give-up and realizes that is why he truly fell for her.
Instead of pushing Rae to loose weight for his own satisfaction, he supports her efforts and helps her achieve her weight goal at a healthy pace (she herself wants to loose weight).
I imagine the other two suitors will have similar realizations, and this is where the show’s real message shines: Looks don’t matter. What’s truly important is personality and heart. So despite the fat-shaming, I look forward to seeing when the other boys realize their true feelings and going further into the real message (and more cute romancing).
Magical Girl Rising Project
Since I’m saving the action-packed anime for Giovanni, I decided to give this one a go (though I’m sure it’s action-packed in its own way)!
I love the magical girl genre, and the “dark and gritty” trend is even better (thanks, Madoka!). This one either really wants to be dark or really wants to trick us.
Uhhh… what’s going on over here?
The glimpse of bloodied girls, presumably magical girls, is the first selection of panels, followed by an otherwise fluffy, colourful, and innocent first episode. The animation and magical girl outfits are gorgeous, but as pointed out by Koyuki/Snow White, they aren’t the usual magical girl outfits either.
I love Koyuki, the protagonist, who comes across genuinely sweet, opposed to moe for the money (sorry Gatchaman Crowds… I initially felt that way about Gelsadra). Maybe the syrupy moe characters I imagine are all sweet and genuine, and I’m really a huge softie… I don’t know, but she’s cute. So is her childhood friend, Souta, who is seen in a flashback to love magical girls, despite being a boy, as much as Koyuki. ❤
Spoiler time (up until episode 3)!
The first episode is mostly world-building and character introductions, which I appreciate, but there is an after credits scene where Pon, the magical girl recruiter, reveals that he needs to “halve” the number of girls.
Leading into the next episode, the girls begin collecting “candies” by performing good-deeds, and the girl with the lowest candies by the end of the week is removed. At this point the girls don’t know there’s more to lose than their magical girl status, and they all wish the first girl well when she is deleted. I curled up in dreadful anticipation during her final moments alone, but the deadly reveal was without violence… I don’t know if it will stay that way or worsen from here.
Episode 3 is when the mystery ends and they find out that they could die. Some people in the comments thought it was anti-climactic, but since we (well, I) read the description and had that much revealed, I’m glad that mystery didn’t go on for long. Although the girls’ reactions were a bit relaxed considering the news, I didn’t think much about it, because I’m infatuated with the mystery as to why it’s happening. Still, I have a dreary feeling that my other favorite character, will get killed off…
So at the last few minutes of episode three, the next update is revealed and sparks a new conflict in the “game,” and Koyuki is being targeted.
I’m looking forward to this anime’s development and meeting girl number 16 (15?), who signed her contract before Pon realized he/she enlisted too many magical girls in this district…
And that’s what I’m watching this month!
Kiss Him, Not Me (12 ep) and Magical Girl Rising Project (12 ep) are both Fall 2016 anime and going to finish up in the coming months, so I’ll only be concluding Gatchaman Crowds: Insight this November.
Are you interested in checking out any of the listed shows? And I’m always open to more recommendations, so feel free to comment below! Thank you for reading!