Seven Coloured Compass

Beneath the starry sky, we'll meet once again.


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Free!

It’s summer and you know what that means… it’s time to get in the pool and feel Free! (haha, do you get it? No? Rude.)

Free! logo

Name: Free!

Japanese Name: Free!

Air Date: July 3 2013 – September 26 2013

Studio: Kyoto Animation, Animation Do

Episodes: 12

PLOT

The story revolves around Haruka Nanase, a boy who has always loved to be immersed in water and to swim in it. Before graduating from elementary school, he participated in a swimming tournament along with his fellow swimming club members, Makoto Tachibana, Nagisa Hazuki, and Rin Matsuoka. After achieving victory, each of the boys went their separate ways.

Time passed, and in the middle of their uneventful high school lives Rin appears and challenges Haruka to a match, showing Haruka his overwhelming power. Not wanting it to end like this, Haruka gathers together Makoto and Nagisa once again, and brings a new member named Rei Ryugazaki to create the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club in order to defeat Rin.

[via ANN]

When the first episode aired, I pushed aside all other anime I was watching (yes, including Bleach) and dived straight for this! All those PVs, key visuals and fan art finally got to me and I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to watch something summery and get my stubby little hands on those boys… (づ。◕‿‿◕。)づ hehe, shirtless boys in speedos, here I come!

I had my eyes particularly on Rin… because he’s voiced by my precious Mamoru Miyano! He is my god, and I hope that there will one day be an official religion dedicated to him. If not, I plan to take the world by storm with this religion… if anyone wants to join, then feel free – haha, OMG I just said ‘free’ and this review is about Free! LOL… am I the only one finding this funny? (-__-)

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting much recently. I’ve been trying to catch up with episodes from Polar Bear’s Cafe, plus I’ve been trying to settle into college… I’M A COLLEGE GIRL. So I do apologise, but posts are going to be late every so often due to excessive amounts of homework I’d be getting and my busy schedule. I AM SO SO SORRY TT^TT

First Impressions

NAKED NAKED NAKED NAKED (。♥‿♥。) … oh. What a disappointment. I thought I was going to get at least some fanservice from the first episode but nope. They crushed my dreams. The main character – Haruka Nanase – was in the bath when his best friend Makoto Tachibana came to pick him up for school. So… Makoto walks directly into the bathroom while Haru is still in it. Whoa, that’s a bit straightforward isn’t it? O_o anyways, Makoto helps Haru out of the bath and the camera slowly films Haru… the chest, the abs, nearly there and… wait. He’s wearing his trunks in the bath (-___-) goddammit! Kyoto Animation, what kind of people are you to ruin my wild fantasies?! It has gotten to the point where I’m actually visualising the whole scene again just to fulfill my fangirl heart. Oh the agony! Haru also apparently cooks shirtless with only an apron covering his trunks (´⊙ω⊙`) I really thought he was naked then. Who knew my mind could be like this?! STOP PERVERTED BRAIN, JUST STAHP. I’m sure I’m not the only female who feels this way… raise your hands if you are part of the guilty party *raises hand up sheepishly*, if you raised your hand, I applaud you. Give yourself a round of applause, even if you’re reading this in public *claps* I dare you.

Episode 1*makes inhuman sounds*

MAKOTOOO!~❤ why are you such a little cutie? D’aw, why do you have to make it so easy for me to love you? He resembles the caring, older brother type which I now have a thing for… apparently. He really is such a precious little thing (maybe not little because this guy is TALL) and I adore him to pieces. His friendship and closeness with Haru is beautiful and I love how he knows what the latter is feeling without him saying so. There’s something about Makoto that really attracts me to him; his smile is somehow refreshing and his feeble attempts at stopping Haru from stripping (yes, stripping!) really make me smile with him and of course, I get a good laugh out of it. But I wasn’t joking about the stripping. Haru always has a compulsive need to strip every time he sees water or hears the word ‘pool’… I’m not complaining, it’s just something important that needs to be said (¬‿¬)

Someone’s a cocky, arrogant laddie… it’s my beloved Rin-chan (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧. y’know every time I watch a new anime, Mamo-chan always voices a character in it. I swear he’s stalking me… I like it, keep it up! After elementary school, Rin moved to Australia to attend a swimming competition. He has recently returned to Japan and visits his old swimming club where he bumps into Haru, Makoto and Nagisa. A tense situation arises as all three notice how much Rin has changed; personality wise and appearance. He’s no longer the bubbly child they remember from childhood, but rather cold, arrogant and egotistic. Does Mamo-chan always end up voicing these sorts of characters? Yes he does it very well, but seriously I swear he mostly goes for the arrogant characters… as well as the out-going and frivolous characters! Mamo-chan has the perfect voice (*´ω`*) it’s no wonder I love him so much!

Rin MatsuokaSQUEEEEEE!! >////<

Plot wise, nothing much has been offered however, it does gets the chance to show off some bromance and fierce rivalry within the first episode. I hope Kyoto Animation plan to develop the rivalry between Haru and Rin because… they ended the episode on a cliffhanger. A CLIFFHANGER. But this also gives Kyoto Animation something to build tension upon and raises questions that can only be answered by the characters themselves. How did this rivalry begin between Haru and Rin? Why did Haru quit swimming competitively? Why do all the characters love swimming so much? These are questions that most fans would be pondering on and hopefully, they will be answered in future episodes. Gimme more, MORE I SAY (屮゚Д゚)屮!!!

Midway Impressions

I’ve had a little look around to see what people’s views on Free! are, and I was really disappointed to see some people poking fun at their bodies and how they behave around one another. Some say the bodies look strange and inhuman… I beg to differ. A few of you may know that I am a competitive swimmer, but I was also at national standard ranked in the top 20 for the 100 metre freestyle before my health began to deteriorate – I caught viruses and infections so obviously it affected my training. Look at me rambling about myself… shut it Jimmy! If you look at Olympic swimmers such as Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte etc., you can see that their bodies are of similar appearance. Nothing to complain about here.

ASDFGJKLASHDSHGKLFDABHJ *HEAVY BREATHING* I CANNOT FATHOM THE FEELS I AM FEELING RIGHT NOW. The Iwatobi boys are off on a training camp in order to prepare for prefecturals, so they’re training… in open water! Obviously since Rei is a beginner, he starts off doing kick whilst the other three swim ahead. At this point, Rei feels guilty because he feels like he is going to let the team down at the rate he is going, so at night he goes out and trains more. Bad choice. A sudden storm takes Rei by surprise, and he starts to drown whilst yelling for help. Upon hearing his cries, Makoto frantically leaves his tent and dives after Rei. Both Haru and Nagisa hear the commotion and dive in after them. Once Makoto reaches Rei, he’s overcome with fear and is rescued by Haru; Rei is rescued by Nagisa. A while later, Haru manages to drag Makoto onto a nearby island to find that he is unconscious and his breathing weak. Worried, Haru contemplates on what to do, and is about to perform CPR (mouth to mouth) until Makoto awakens. Now this is where i must point out something. For those who ship Haru and Makoto together and were looking forward to some lip-to-lip action, you should notice how much Haru is shaking, and how worried he looks. His best friend is before him; unconscious, and barely breathing. He could have lost him. So imagine all the conflict Haru is feeling inside him. Think about it.

CPRWe all know what happens next…

Episode 7 marks the beginning of the prefectural tournament Iwatobi were preparing for in previous episodes. Rin and Haru are placed in the final heat (heat four) for the 100 metre freestyle (my best event yay!) and the top eight who have the quickest times qualify for finals. Now this is where is gets confusing… Rin and Haru are placed in lanes four and five; Rin won whilst Haru placed second, but Haru still didn’t qualify even though he got the second quickest time. In swimming, heats are determined by seed times with the first heat having the slowest competitors, and the last heat having the quickest. The lanes are organised in spearhead formation with the slowest (in the heat) on the outside lanes, and the fastest on the inside. Watch the Olympics and you can see how this works. But. Haru was in the last heat, seeded as one of the fastest, came second, got a time a few milliseconds off Rin’s, and yet HE STILL DOESN’T QUALIFY which is bugging me to no end! Unless there were seven other competitors in previous heats who went quicker, I am not content with this result. NOT AT ALL. What makes it worse it is that after the race, Rin says to Haru: “I win. This means I’ll never swim with you again. Never.” Haru looks so distraught, and lost after that. My heart twisted in knots, and it was painful to see Haru so upset TT^TT

The competition beginsSide by side, but not together.

Overall Opinion

Free! was one of the most anticipated anime series of the summer season, and has accumulated a whole horde of fangirls. But has it REALLY lived up to its expectations?

The plot isn’t a complicated one, or anything special for that matter, but it’s refreshing and simplistic. It’s about friendship, being able to move forward with the help of others and following YOUR own dreams instead of living out someone else’s. Haruka Nanase, the main character, only cared about feeling the water since he first started swimming as a child. He thought that was all that mattered, until a transfer student by the name of Rin Matsuoka shows up and gets him to swim on a relay with him, and two other teammates, Makoto Tachibana and Nagisa Hazuki. After the sensational experience of swimming with the best teammates you could ask for, the four youngsters felt something that would change their lives; the feeling of being a team, and being one with them. However, they were not completely aware of this, so when Rin goes to Australia to follow his dad’s dream and become an Olympic swimmer , his confidence is shaken when he realizes that something isn’t right. Swimming isn’t as important for him if he doesn’t do it with his best friends, so he assumes he’s just weak and gives up on swimming, and so does Haruka.

Several years later, the boys have grown up with Haruka, Makoto, and Nagisa attending the same high school – the former two being sophomores, and the latter being a freshman. Unbeknownst to them, Rin has returned to Japan, and demands a race against Haruka with the result of his victory. Rin thought this victory would make him free from the feeling of weakness and pain that surrounded him, but it simply didn’t work. Beating Haruka wasn’t what he needed to become ‘free’. He needed to swim with him again. As a team. So, seeing his old teammates forming a swimming club all over again, he feels lonely, and left out, and he doesn’t know how to move on. However, in the final episode – which was by far the best one of them all – friendship saves Rin from the dark and endless abyss he was in, and in the process, Haruka finally feels whole.

The animation is by no means, flawless. Half assed anime to please the fans, you say? I’d like to see you stuck in a studio trying to make the animation as realistic as possible. The swimming strokes, when they swim through the water and turn on the wall, the moment when they dive in… everything was realistic, and they took the work to animate it the best they could. The movements of the swimming styles follow the rules of FINA (the governing association for swimming), and everything is carefully taken care of. As a swimmer myself, KyoAni depicted the different techniques and strokes well.

What makes Free! stand out above all overs, is that the story is VERY much character-driven. The swimming itself is merely a by-product of the characters’ desires and interests, so the passion for the sport is clearly there. The boys development and progress is down to the fact that they lean on each other, and this makes this a rollarcoaster for your emotions. I genuinely care for each, and every character in this series, so the feels and angst where all over the place. The characters are intensely loveable, despite the flaws that make them human, and they’re not the typical stereotypes at all either. Rei and Haru displayed particularly rattling progress, and most of the other characters also showed signs of growth by the end. In the end, all characters got equal development, and KyoAni certainly deserves praise for this.

ReunionAnd they’re whole again! THE FEELS MAN ;____;

The opening song ‘Rage On’ by OLDCODEX is a rock number, and is probably one of my favourite songs ever. It’s intense, which arguably suits this particular type of series; since swimming is one of the more difficult sports to commit to, and also it is indeed intense. The lead singer – Tatsuhisa Suzuki – just so happens to be the seiyuu for Makoto Tachibana, which was a nice little fact to figure out about halfway through the series (unless you knew beforehand, as to which I applaud you). The ending song ‘SPLASH FREE’ by STYLE FIVE consisting of the five main seiyuus for the lead characters, is an incredibly catchy tune that will have you singing in no time. Trust me, I was up and dancing before I could even comprehend what was happening. But the voice acting, oh man. It was the best. It felt as if the seiyuus literally poured out their feelings for this one, and the feels got to me very well. As for the soundtrack, it consisted of calm, uplifting tracks that fitted the moods/atmospheres completely.

Free! is a prime example of why you should NOT underestimate a show’s potential based on what it is. Yes, it may have started as a commercial which stole the hearts of millions of fangirls everywhere, but it became so much more than the original ‘fanservice’ image. It became one heck of a series with the greatest animation, character development, and story development ever. It doesn’t lack substance! This is the highest praise I can give a series, and Free! truly deserves it. Free! is officially my favourite anime series ever, and I have high hopes for a season 2! If you judged this as a ‘gay swimming anime’, here is my challenge to you. WATCH IT AND SEE FOR YOURSELF THAT IT IS NOT JUST SHIRTLESS BOYS CONSTANTLY STRIPPING DOWN. Then let me know your thoughts. And that my friends, is my rant for the day.

PhotoMy darling, precious swimming boys…

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Kuroko’s Basketball Season 2 Starting Soon!

Kuroko’s Basketball is going to bounce back onto our screens very soon!

Kuroko_Basketball_Season_2_Shonen_jpg_650x10000_q85

(Image belongs to rightful owner)

2013’s 40th Shonen Jump magazine has announced that the popular anime series will be dribbling back on October 5 (four days after my birthday… yay), and include both old and new characters.  GRANRODEO will be performing the opening theme titled ‘The Other Self’, and OLDCODEX will be handling the ending theme.

So the main question is… ARE YOU READY FOR SEASON 2?


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Quickie: New Free! Promos, Key Visuals and Date Revealed!

Well, Kyoto Animation are certainly pleasing us females at the moment! Not only have they released the rest of the character promos for Free! and new key visuals, they’ve also announced the premiere date!

The newly released promos introduce us to Nagise Hazuki, Rei Ryugazaki and Rin Matsuoka. After watching all three, I’ve fallen in love all over again with Rin and I’m beginning to drool over Rei… those muscles… that body…

Also revealed were three key visuals. The first shows the five male leads while the second and third show images of two female characters: first year student, Gou Matsuoka and classic literature teacher Miho Amakata. So it’s not just hot guys in speedos… damn.

New Free key visual

Key visual 1

Key visual 2

Free! will air on July 3rd this summer… so girls, put that on your calendars, get your swimming costumes ready and brush up on your skills! You’re going to need it if you’re going to impress these lads. Luckily for me, I’m already sorted!

Get ready guys, Free! is splashing it’s way in! (Pun intended…)


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Quickie: Kuroko’s Basketball season 2 date changed!

Previously in our otaku happy-go-lucky lives, I told you guys that the release date for season 2 of Kuroko’s Basketball was set for September… bad news, they’ve changed it to a month later which is now October.

This is according to the Weekly Shounen Jump so I assume that this information is more reliable than the one I gave you before. But an extra month of waiting? An extra month of waiting for those monstrous slam dunks, epic passes and all sorts? Boo!

I’m sure we can live with that though. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’m capable of dealing with it… ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I’ll be crying myself to sleep tonight!

See you!

Yeah, see you… in five months time!


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Swimming anime becomes reality!

We all must have seen the Swimming PV by now. Well, not because it decided to show up last month or anything like that! Anyway this PV created a whole horde of female followers and hell loads of speculation. Everyone wanted this to become a reality. So when Kyoto Animation – the studio behind the PV – made a live announcement on NicoNico, nearly the entire female population fainted or squealed with joy. That’s right, the announcement Kyoto Animation made was that the Swimming PV is getting an anime series!

The anime will be titled Free! based off Kouji Ouji’s ‘High Speed!’ another honourable mention from Kyoto Animation’s yearly award program which no one has ever managed to win. It will premiere this July.

Free!

Character image 1

Character image 2

Character image 3

Character image 4

Character image 5

Many fans took to Tumblr after seeing that thirty second promo last month creating fanart, fanfics and even a petition! Their hard work paid off since THIS IS REAL! I’m a competitive swimmer myself so I was excited to hear this news! Plus, Mamoru Miyano will be voicing Rin Matsuoka… I will definitely be watching this.


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Quickie: Kuroko’s Basketball season 2 release date revealed!

While the terrorist is threatening those connected to the manga and anime, there’s still good news for fans of the popular series Kuroko’s Basketball. According to the May/June issue of The Tsukuru magazine, the second season of the sport series will premiere in September. So by my counting, that’s about five months or so away until we can see the Seirin team don their awesome new uniforms and take on the competition like we’ve never seen before!

After season 1 ended, I’ve been waiting very patiently for news of a second season premiere date and finally I’ve got it! Well, I for one know that this will be one of my most anticipated series for the fall season!

If you haven’t watched Kuroko’s Basketball yet, DO IT NOW. If we all support the series, then hopefully this will show the guy who’s been making these ridiculous threats that no matter how hard he tries, it ain’t going to stop people from liking the series. What is there to hate? Just the fact that these guys are insanely good at basketball or something? I am honestly confused about what could be hated in Kuroko’s Basketball. Nothing comes to mind.

All we can do now is to wait for season 2 and then hope for some good ratings. That’ll show the guy.


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Quickie: New Kuroko’s Basketball uniforms revealed!

We all know that there’s been a lot of hype after Kuroko’s Basketball was given the thumbs up for a second season with a scheduled release this year, so it’s natural that around this time the studio behind the hit series would casually show the art for season 2. And this time, it involves new uniforms. Take a peek!

New Kuroko's Basketball uniforms

The image comes from Monday’s issue of Shuseisa’s Shonen Jump. Pretty neat uniforms huh? So the picture shows our two lead characters – Tetsuya Kuroko and Taiga Kagami – showing off their new uniforms whilst bumping up their bromance a bit. I’ve only caught on with this yaoi thing that’s going around with some fans, so this image could possibly send their imaginations wild. Maybe frying their brains in the process.

All I know is, we’re in for a pretty awesome second season. I honestly can’t wait to see those monstrous dunks that Aomine does so well and the epic shots that Midorima never fails to get in. Plus with Kuroko discovering his new basketball and Kagami getting stronger by the minute, I can’t wait to see what style they’ll pull off. It’s going to be one of the anticipated series of 2013, I just know it!

Oh and about the guy who’s been threatening the mangaka? No news on whether the police have caught him. I’m pretty damn sure that he ain’t a fan of these new uniforms though, that’s for certain.


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Kuroko’s Basketball

“This is my basketball!”

Kuroko's Basketball logo

Name: Kuroko’s Basketball

Japanese Name: 黒子のバスケ

Air Date: April 8 2012 – September 22 2012

Studio: Production I.G

Episodes: 25

PLOT

The Teiko Middle School Basketball Team. The class that produced three perfect seasons in a row with five once in a generation players called ‘The Generation of Miracles’. There was another player who all of them respected…a legendary sixth player. An up and coming power player -Taiga Kagami – is just back from America. When he comes to Seirin High School, he meets the super ordinary boy, Tetsuya Kuroko. Kagami is shocked to find that Kuroko isn’t good at basketball, in fact he’s bad! And he’s so plain that he’s impossible to see. But Kuroko’s plainness lets him pass the ball around without the other team noticing him, and he’s none other than the sixth member of the Generation of Miracles. Kuroko makes a pact with Kagami to defeat the other members of the Generation of Miracles who have all played basketball at other schools. A battle of light (Kagami) and shadow (Kuroko) begins!

First post of 2013! How exciting! Did you all have a good Christmas? Mine was so-so… but I don’t particularly want to remember what happened. Eurgh, just thinking about it send shivers up my spine! The amount of singing and dancing and piano playing… OH THE HORROR OF IT ALL! I’ve been traumatised by Christmas, the best holiday of all; what have I done to deserve this Santa?

Ok, I know I’ve been delaying Campione! for a while now and I promise that I’ll get round to it soon. I’ve always wanted to watch Kuroko’s Basketball though and I kinda grew impatient so I decided to watch it despite my conscience telling me not to. Oh well, lets play some sports guys!

First Impressions

Tetsuya Kuroko is the phantom sixth player of the Generation of Miracles. He always appears when you least expect it and you barely see him at all when he does. I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s like that! My friends call me the shadow girl because I pop out of nowhere so me and Kuroko are the same… we’re superhuman (^.^) I love this ability because I can sneak up on people and scare the living daylights out of them. Mwuhahaha xD Kuroko is also quite blunt with his words towards Kagami but he’s always right. Gosh, me and Kuroko are really similar… it’s kinda creepy.

I never realised how much Kagami-kun eats. He has about ten to fifteen burgers on his tray whenever he’s at the fast food place O_o where does he put all of it? It’s like he’s got a black hole for a stomach! However his skills are superb and he has a chance against the Generation of Miracles. Kagami has determination and is very passionate about basketball; his ambition is to defeat the Generation of Miracles and become the best player in Japan. Good luck Kagami, I’m rooting for you \(^o^)/

Taiga KagamiBow down before my awesome power! xD

After two episodes, one of the members of the Generation of Miracles is introduced. His name is Ryouta Kise. He is well known as being able to copy a player’s moves precisely and was known as the rookie of the Generation of Miracles since he started playing basketball in his second year of middle school. He plays for his current high school, Kaijo. He works as a model in his spare time so he’s always mobbed by girls. I agree with them though, he is very good looking o(*゚▽゚*)o I think he has a slight obsession over Kuroko but it’s rather adorable in it’s own way. He’s such a cutie when he dotes on Kuroko and how he calls him ‘Kurokocchi’ (*´ω`*) why are you so darn cute?! Kise is definitely one of my favourite characters, mainly because I fangirl whenever he does something that is super adorable or whenever he appears in general. I really do love him.

Midway Impressions

I’m really enjoying this series! It’s so good that I can’t stop watching it! What’s good about this series is that I enjoy all sorts of sports and basketball is one of them. I’m learning a lot about the rules of the game, what positions there are and how difficult the game really is. Also for the LOL moments, they never fail to make me laugh xD now I want to play some basketball… anyone willing to go against me (^^) sorry, I got a bit competitive there didn’t I? I really like sports though since I’ve been involved with all sorts of teams since I was young. This ranges from football to athletics. Anything will do as long as I get the chance to compete and win!

Wow. This anime has some serious stuff going on! Seirin High School are playing in the Inter-High Basketball tournament and they reach the finals pitting them against one of the three kings of Tokyo, Shutoku High School. It’s going to be even more difficult this year though because Shutoku has obtained one of the Generation of Miracles, Shintarou Midorima; he’s known as the far distance shooter of the Generation of Miracles because he can score from anywhere on the court. Midorima’s star sign is Cancer; he believes in horoscopes and always carries a lucky item. He also tapes his fingers on his dominant hand when he’s not playing basketball…slight obsession there? He may seem cold and heartless but I like him. I like him a lot. He’s also voiced by Daisuke Ono o(^▽^)o Midorima is a serious character, I think the glasses do that but it makes him look sexy…athletic with a hint of sexiness, now that says something! Also because he follows everything his horoscope tells him to do. He takes things literally. Back to the point, Seirin defeat Shutoku by one point thanks to Kuroko and Kagami so now they progress to the championship league! Hurrah! I was really happy that they won but Midorima wasn’t because he lost, does someone need a hug? He can be so childish sometimes that I find it cute…

Shintarou MidorimaNothing says sexy like a pair of glasses…

Around episode 13, another member of the Generation of Miracles makes his appearance; Daiki Aomine. He’s known as the ace of the Generation of Miracles. Best thing about this guy? Junichi Suwabe is his seiyuu! So far, three members of the Generation of Miracles have been introduced: Ryouta Kise, Shintarou Midorima and Daiki Aomine. Two more left! Aomine was really close friends with Kuroko in middle school because Aomine was Kuroko’s light. They were an amazing team together and they seemed to be the closest out of the Generation of Miracles. Aomine may appear rude, cocky and arrogant but he’s kinda grown on me ヽ(*´ー`*)ノ that’s some badass attitude right there.

Overall Opinion

I heard that Kuroko’s Basketball has gotten a lot of criticism because it seems unrealistic. Being an avid sports fan, I can understand the criticism as this anime has a lot of monstrous dunks, blocks and flashy passes; the stuff you usually see in highlights. There’s also the shounen elements with the special powers of the Generation of Miracles members and other things such as the ‘martial arts’ Seiho use. Oddly enough, I’m fine with all that. Why? Because it makes it very interesting. As a fan, it’d be great to see the teams run plays but you can’t expect the average viewer to understand what’s going on. Plus, trying to explain this and other technical terms would eat up screen time and bore a lot of people.

Kuroko’s Basketball is great to watch because of these elements. Watching Kagami slam dunk the ball or Kuroko making a flashy pass is far more exciting than watching a player hit an open jumpshot from good ball movement. If you wanted a realistic basketball match, you’d watch it on a sports channel. What Kuroko’s Basketball excels at doing is showing how exciting basketball can be to a mainstream audience. I haven’t been disappointed by any episodes as they always left a goofy grin on my face from the thrilling games, hilarious antics of characters or the cliffhangers at the end of each episode. Many viewers are not basketball fans, but they still love this anime. This is great because it’s garnering interest for basketball in people that would have never noticed the sport if it weren’t for this anime. This is especially true in Japan, where basketball is nowhere near as popular as sports such as baseball or football.

Daiki Aomine & Ryouta KiseAomine and Kise…the final showdown.

SPOILER: Aomine and Kise go head to head and the match gets more and more intense. Just when all hope is lost for Kaijo, Kise surprises the crowd by perfectly mimicking Aomine’s hard to copy technique. They’re both evenly matched however Aomine’s team emerges victorious by the time the match finishes.

As for the anime itself, it captures your attention with epic scenes, likeable characters and funny comedy. Kuroko’s sudden appearances that startle everyone is a running gag, opponents with nicknames like ‘Papa’ and Kagami’s English “THIS IS JAPANESE LUNCH TIME RUSH!” keeps things interesting. The story is your classic sports anime, with the Seiren basketball team aiming for the top. However, if you’re expecting an athletic and hot-headed doof who excels in the sport…well, that’s the deuteragonist Kagami. Kuroko is the protagonist here and he’s an unconventional lead for a sports anime. He’s terrible at almost every aspect of basketball except passing and stealing. Together, he and Kagami form a spectacular duo. The other characters aren’t explored too much and I was afraid the other Seiren members would just become background images but slowly each have been introduced with their own unique skills. The only other characters that the anime really delves into are the members of the Generation of Miracles, who are all distinguished by their special abilities and urm…colourful hair, Kuroko included. Here is where the shounen aspect of the show is most visible, with the members displaying everything from behind the backboard shots to full court shooting range. They’re the equivalent of boss characters you see in other shounen anime as Kuroko, Kagami and the Seiren team must find a way to overcome them.

The art and animation were really good however, the animation isn’t as consistently fluid as I liked. The movement of players shooting or passing the ball sometimes feels too rigid or unnatural, as if they didn’t draw enough frames – with the exception of Daiki’s ridiculous ball skills. It compensates for this by having a lot of slow motion and close up shots of dunks, blocks and steals which really help create an atmosphere of excitement and making this anime so thrilling. It is definitely one of the best sports anime out there, which is what makes it so appealing to everyone no matter who they are.

For the most part, the music consists of guitar heavy tracks that come in whenever something notable happens such as opponents being surprised by one of Kuroko’s invisible passes. The opening and ending feature rock songs that keep the same adrenaline pumping feel the anime has. The one thing that really annoyed me was how each episode starts off with the narrator introducing the Generation of Miracles story. It can be easily remembered after the first few episodes but past that there’s no point since viewers would already be familiar with the story. It also wasted time which could of been used to get straight into the action.

Kuroko’s Basketball is an entertaining anime to watch, even if you don’t like basketball. The thrilling games will capture your interest and many can relate to the story of going for the top and exceeding expectations, as the underdog Seiren team does time to time. Don’t go into Kuroko’s Basketball expecting expertly executed plays like the real deal. Go into it expecting a thrilling game of dunks, blocks, crazy passes, a lot of (O.O) faces and competitive trash talking. Watch for the passionate and overly determined characters, comedy and special abilities we love in shounen anime. It doesn’t portray basketball too realistically, but realism in this case would only drag a fun anime like this down.

Recently there have been threatening letters and mysterious substances sent to the mangaka and companies in relation with Kuroko’s Basketball which has unfortunately lead to many events being cancelled. Now this isn’t fair because so many people love this series, and it’s disappointing to see one person ruining it for everyone. We will not stand for this! That is why I request that every otaku support this series by watching it. This one person can’t stop us from enjoying the thrills this series radiates. Whoever’s doing this is sick and to be honest nothing will stop Kuroko’s Basketball from being popular with it’s fans because a second season has already been green-lit. You read it here first, more Kuroko’s Basketball is on the way!

Go forth my minions! Watch Kuroko’s Basketball for the greater good!


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Chihayafuru

I’m in the mood for some competitive karuta… anyone with me?

Name: Chihayafuru

Japanese Name: ちはやふる

Air Date: October 5 2011 – March 28 2012

Studio: Madhouse

Episodes: 25

PLOT

Chihaya Ayase is a lighthearted tomboy, who’s not especially good at anything in particular. Her dream has always been for her sister (an aspiring model) to become the number one beauty of Japan, or perhaps of the world. But then one day she meets a young boy named Arata Wataya who tells her that a dream is something that should concern only herself – and something she has to work hard for as well. At the same time, Chihaya discovers a passion for the old Japanese game hyakunin isshu, also called ‘karuta’. And so a long journey to become the ‘Queen’ of karuta begins…

Why on earth did I decide to watch this you ask? Mainly because of Mamoru Miyano. Everything I watch these days has Mamoru-san in it, so watch out! Major obsession coming to light here xD

I was also intrigued by the idea of a competitive card game. There’s nothing like that these days so it was nice to see some old fashioned games taking centre stage! It was confusing at first but I gradually understood the rules of the game. Hopefully everyone else understood it too!

First Impressions

The theme song was a great start to this series – it’s called ‘Youthful’ and it’s sung by 99RadioService. Youthful really suited the theme of this anime; perfect for a group of youthful people living their lives (^ ^) plus when you’re young, you really live life to the fullest because you only live once!

Who wears a skirt AND trousers? Chihaya certainly does \(^o^)/ when I first saw her, my immediate response was ‘she is not the main character’. Boy was I wrong xD she’s a strange girl and has guts to climb a chair with pins in her mouth. She’s a confident and outgoing character too which makes this series feel more real. I’m liking Chihaya already… you go girl!

The artwork and animations are beautiful. Chihaya really stands out since she’s a beauty. Beauty that’s gone to waste. She has my sympathy, you’re still beautiful in my eyes Chihaya-chan! Flowers bloom whenever she looks at boys, how flirtatious of her but they’re really pretty flowers. I think they were cherry blossoms?

TAICHI ~ ah, Mamoru-san! You’ve outdone yourself again…another handsome character under your belt, that has to be a record \(^o^)/ Taichi Mashima is Chihaya’s childhood friend and is an all rounded sportsman. You know what really sucks though? He has a girlfriend ( ಠ_ಠ ) my life is over. And what’s even worse is that he clearly has feelings for Chihaya! Why are you with another girl? Do something man!

But they were really cute as kids…

“Hehehe. I’m going to whip your ass like scrambled egg!”

Midway Impressions

BOOM BOOM BOOM! That’s all I hear whenever they play karuta. It’s a fierce game and after watching a few episodes, I never even want to attempt it! Plus Chihaya is so deadly serious…if I were against her, I’d be wetting my pants xD

How Chihaya tries to recruit Kanade Oe and Tsutomu Komano made me giggle. She had a more direct approach which was scary. She managed to get Kanade to join but Taichi managed to win over Tsutomu… by throwing his desk into the air Σ(゚д゚lll)

In episode 9, the group have a training camp at Taichi’s house why didn’t you invite me?! Chihaya pressures Kanade and Tsutomu into improving their karuta skills. She was really harsh with their training and pushed them too much. The poor things were exhausted in the end! However, they learn new skills and got better \(^o^)/

Taichi is the backbone of the karuta club and demonstrates his true strength as a leader by yelling encouragements to his teammates in episode 11. I knew Taichi was special right from the start!

How cute do these two look together? I’m routing for them (๑´ლ`๑)

Overall Opinion

Man, this was a good series! Everything about Chihayafuru screams passion and determination. I could tell that all of the characters really wanted what they were aiming for, that’s dedication for you.

The casting for the characters was incredible. They seemed so real and were well thought out and I felt their dreams, hopes and passions in everything they do. Especially Chihaya’s and Taichi’s. These two really stood out… congrats Taichi! Each character experiences significant growth and it’s great that I feel like I’m in their shoes so it helped relate me to the characters.

Taichi had the best growth in the series. His thoughts and what he says to Chihaya in episode 23 was really sweet (*´ω`*) :

*Knocks on locker door*

Taichi: “Chihaya, come out. Let’s go cheer him on”.

*Knocks again*

“Chihaya.”

I know how much it hurts to lose after trying your best. You don’t want to face anyone. I know how it feels, but my words won’t be able to reach her. Only Arata can help her.”

*Door opens and Taichi falls into the locker* プッ(※థэథ)∵.*.∵

Chihaya: “What are you doing?! You have to go watch Dr. Harada and Sudo-san play! Next year, they’ll be your rivals in Class A!”

“You have to go watch them play, not cheer them on!”

Kanade: “Chihaya-chan. The prez stayed behind because he was worried about you.”

*Taichi sits up*

Chihaya: “Oh, that’s right. Sorry. Sorry.”

“Let’s go, Taichi!”

*Chihaya grabs Taichi’s arm*

Taichi: Yeah, I’m hopeless… hopelessly in love”

YAY! Taichi admits he’s in love with Chihaya, took you long enough! And he broke up his girlfriend… BONUS. I totally ship you with Chihaya!

Because of the connection gained with the characters I found my emotions going all over the place during episodes. Karuta matches, something that might be incredibly boring under normal circumstances, suddenly become prime time entertainment. Chihayafuru will capture your soul.

Quiet! I’m in the zone…

Now you see that I barely wrote anything about Arata… it’s because there was nothing of importance about him and he barely even appeared in this series! Most of the time he was absent, and mainly wallowing in the past.

Although Chihayafuru didn’t have a proper ending, it has been greenlighted a second season! It should be released in January 2013 though so we’ll have to wait a bit longer for more karuta action! I’m upset that not many people know about this series. It’s true. But it’s still really good so I recommend it to everyone… spread the word my minions! The world needs to know about Chihayafuru (⌒▽⌒)

Chihayafuru is a heart warming series, you’ll most certainly grow to love this series as much as I did. Watch watch watch! Season 2, hurry up!