After hearing that his brother was defeated by Black Beard and handed over to the World Government to be executed, Luffy enlists the help of his newest friend Boa Hancock — one of the 7 warlords of the sea — to help him get to Impel down to rescue his brother Ace. Impel Down is the World Government’s underwater prison that is said to be worse than hell itself.

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Luffy is determined to rescue Ace no matter the odds. This time though, Luffy is going in without his crew. Luffy has a hard time getting down to level 6 where his brother is being held, but he picks up several old friends along the way down. By “old friends” I really mean mostly old enemies that his crew took down in the past. Buggy the clown, Mr. 3, and Mr. 2 were the main ones helping him out. They were all trying to break out of prison but ended up helping Luffy get deeper and deeper into the prison instead.

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Despite facing one trial after another, the group makes it down to level 4 — freeing lots of prisoners along the way — but it is here that Luffy faces Warden Magellan. Luffy puts up a great fight but Warden Magellan is a poison man. Luffy couldn’t even touch him without being poisoned. Eventually, the Warden defeated Luffy. He had been poisoned so bad that he was on the brink of death. Mr. 2 — also known as Bon Clay — rescues Luffy from his prison cell and seeks to find Luffy some help. In the end, they both almost freeze to death but are rescued by Ivan. S/he used to be a leader in the rebel army and has a secret base in-between level 5 and 6 of Impel Down that her and her comrades have been living in. She saves Luffy’s life through a painful process using devil fruit powers. Once Luffy is better, they lead a charge down to level six but was too late. Ace had already been handed over to the Marines to be taken to Navy Headquarters. Luffy ends up freeing his old enemy Crocodile — one of the former Warlords of the sea — and Jinbei — another one of the warlords of the sea — he refused to fight in the upcoming war because he’s friends with Ace so they through him in Impel Down.

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Together they fought their way back up to the first level of Impel Down, however, they did run into an unexpected guest along the way — Blackbeard. Luffy had some harsh words and some fists for the man that defeated his brother and handed him over to the World Government. However, due to their time restraints, Luffy elected to stop fighting Blackbeard and instead rescue his brother. In the end, Luffy’s new team of former inmates managed to break out of Impel Down and steal a Navy battleship. Their destination is Navy headquarters to stop the execution of Luffy’s brother Portgas D. Ace.

lens_processed_180617114901706-2Luffy is constantly running from one dangerous place to another. He’ll do anything to rescue his brother, no matter the odds of success. I admire Luffy’s dedication and resolve. All the other characters in the show must feel the same way since he’s constantly rallying others to his cause. It really is a joy to see. It’s pretty obvious why he is the main character of the show. You can’t help but like him. I can’t wait to see how Luffy performs in the upcoming war.

 

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Verdict: It’s beautiful; if nothing else, it is simply beautiful.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride is one of the few anime where I notice the artwork and detail of the anime. It’s a gorgeous anime and nearly every frame of this show is screenshot and wallpaper worthy. That being said, it’s artwork and detail are not it’s only redeeming qualities.

This anime follows the story of Chise Hatori (pronounce Chee-say). She is a red-headed, green-eyed, fifteen-year-old girl who sells herself at an underground magic auction in the first episode. She is then bought for an astounding amount of money by a mage named Elias. We found out later that Elias is not human. He has human qualities be he is a halfling entity — a dark spirit manifested by the forest. He is extremely tall, well dressed, and has a bone for a head. He buys Chise because she has a rare trait that allows her to draw in incredible amounts of magical power, however, this also makes her body frail. This is important to note because one of the only downsides of this anime results from Chise’s frailness and portrayed brushes with death. However, Elias buys her because of this trait she has, to not only teach her magic but for her to become his bride, hence the title.

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The story progresses slowly and quickly all at the same time. There is effort put into the fine details of the visual aspect (such as Chise’s hair growing and her constant change of outfits), and a certain subtleness and flow to the story that makes it fun and relaxing to watch, but it also has action and high stakes at certain points. This anime had a 24 episode run, and we learn a lot about these characters in that time. Chise has had a hard life up until this point, which is evident in that she sold herself to the highest bidder at the age of fifteen. Ancient Magus’ Bride follows her story as she grows and overcomes her past and becomes someone who wants to not only live but be a part of the world she’s in. She learns magic, she makes friends, and ultimately she finds a home.

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And though she is the main character, she is not the only one who has a back story and grows throughout the series. Elias, while he has lived for centuries, is still very much a child in many ways. He learns from Chise about humans and their emotions, as she learns from him, magic. They learn from each other and about each other. Their dynamic is very interesting to watch. There is also Ruth, Silver, Angelica, Alice, Cartaphilus and more; all of these people are well-developed and integral parts of the story.

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The great thing about this anime is that there is so much to explore. The characters have a lot of depth to them and it’s easy to tell that there is more to them than what we’re able to glean from the anime. The magic in this world is incredible and it’s another thing that is just barely touched on, on the surface. There are dragons and fairies and familiars and centaurs and monsters of all types in this show. So much could be explained about these, but the story only lightly touches on it. The world this show is in, is also vast enough to include alchemists and witches; the world doesn’t just stop at mages.

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From the title of this anime, you would think it would be a love story. I don’t think it can really be simplified to that. This story is about finding yourself. About finding and being happy. About finding a home. This story is about living life even when it’s hard and uncomfortable and painful. Chise has a myriad of scars and problems she must face, but that’s just it, she must face them. We follow her on her journey to find her want and will to live as she learns magic and creates a home with Elias and battles her inner and outer demons. Yes, there is love involved, but it’s not what this anime is mainly about.

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I would highly recommend this anime to anyone who has lived life long enough to know that roses don’t bloom in every garden. Not only is it beautiful to look at, it’s got a solid story beneath the stunning artwork. It is most certainly something you’ll want to watch.

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If you’ve seen Ancient Magus’ Bride, or want to, leave us a comment down below.


The Otaku Couple

Verdict: This anime is good. It probably won’t rock your world, but it’s solid.

Kenichi is the story of Kenichi Shirahama. From the very beginning, we learn that he is a weakling. He was teased all throughout middle school and is called weak-knees because his knees always shake and knock together when he’s scared.

We see the first example of this when he sees the girl he met earlier (Miu pronounced Me-you) is outnumbered by 3 street thugs. Kenichi struggles with whether to do something or not. He ultimately decides to jump into the fray, but his knees are visibly shaking and we can tell that he is terrified. Miu ends up handling the guys on her own, and inviting Kenichi to train at Ryozanpaku, a dojo that we later find out is owned by her grandfather.

This starts Kenichi on a journey to become history’s strongest disciple.

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So I just finished with the second arc of One Piece — Alabasta. It’s the first arc for the straw hats after they enter the Grand Line. It was quite the ride. They gained two new crew members, took down an advanced crime syndicate, saved a princess and a country, all while taking down one of the seven war lords of the sea.

There were many battles in this arc but the ones against Baroque Works were definitely my favorite. Each member of the team developed and got stronger as they continued to fight. In the end though all of their opponents were stronger than them. They overcame their lack of strength by using their brains instead of their brawn. This was really a nice change of pace. The most impressive victories have to go to Nami, Zoro, and Luffy. Nami defeated a top tier member of Baroque Works by herself, even though she doesn’t have any devil fruit powers and isn’t freakishly strong like some of her teammates. It was impressive. It was nice to see her be useful in a fight instead of staying on the sidelines (like a substantial number of other female characters anime). Zoro’s battle was even more impressive though, he gained a new incredible skill as a swordsman and I can’t wait to see what he does with it next.

Finally, there was Luffy’s battle with Crocodile. Luffy finally came up against an opponent who he couldn’t beat. At this point we are used to Luffy displaying his passion for what he believes in and using that to drive him to overcome his obstacles. This time, that wasn’t enough and he actually had to use his head to win. I loved how this showed Luffy’s ability to think when he has to in order to get the job done.

Overall the stories in this arc of One Piece were cool and exciting. We got to meet Luffy’s brother Ace and hear a little about his captain, which I know has to lead to a future arc and definitely piqued my interest. Even the filler episodes seem to further develop the characters. I don’t regret watching any of the episodes but I’ll probably skip episodes 131-135 when I go back to re-watch the series. I’m looking forward to what happens on the Straw Hats next adventure and how the teams newest member will mesh with the others.

Initial Impressions: I have no idea what to expect, so I can’t wait to watch it.

This is a mature anime for the gore. If you’re under the age of 15 or sensitive to blood and gore, this is not for you. Like… at all. However, this anime is very detailed in its artwork and you can tell already that each character has a well thought out personality and oddity about them. In the very beginning of the episode we meet a character with blonde hair, carrying two very large machine guns, who we later find out is from the family of the boar. Almost immediately after meeting her we see a really intense training session where her father is pushing her harder and harder.

Throughout this scene and the rest of the episode we see the dynamic between the father and daughter of the boar family. Not just father and daughter, but also dynamic between the two sisters. The older sister is slighted in a way that really on anime can depict, and so goes down a path of revenge against her sister to steal back her spot in the family hierarchy.

During this episode we also see the current time line and as the title suggests, we are introduced to the Zodiac War. In the show it is referred to as the Juni Taisen and each member there is the representation of one member of the Chinese Zodiac: the boar, the monkey, the ox, etc. The war begins after all present members ingest the poison that was given to them and the rules are explained. The rules are very vague, but also very simple and straightforward.

Kill everyone else and steal the jewel they swallowed. The winner is the last one left standing with all the jewels and they get any wish they want, granted.

After that, the floor explodes beneath them and we see the fights begin. I will honestly say that the first fight did not end the way I thought it would and it sets the stage for an awesome second episode if it keeps with this level of action, suspense, and surprise. I’m excited to watch the next episode and see what other twists and zig-zags this show takes next.


The Otaku Couple

This week I managed to watch episodes 45-110. I know I said this last week but again, I watched way more episodes than I expected. Watching 65 episodes of a single show in a week is pretty intense. I could have watched 5 other shows as long as they had 12 episodes or less, but I feel One Piece was worth the time I spent on it. This show is enthralling.

The way Luffy and his crew interact with each other is so authentic, like a real family. They argue, fight each other and disrespect their captain but, when it comes down to it, they have this unwavering faith in each other. Luffy was getting eaten by a bird and Chopper (the newest member of the team — I’ll get to him later) was saying that they needed to help him. The exchange goes like this:

Zoro says, “Did he ask for help?”

Chopper says, “No.”

Zoro says, “He’s fine then.”

That’s completely crazy, and yet Zoro was absolutely right. I just thought that was crazy.

Not as crazy as two giants fighting each other on a prehistoric island for a hundred years. Yeah, that was totally a thing. It was pretty fun too, but unfortunately it led to Nami getting bitten by a prehistoric bug. While they were on the way to their next destination — Alabasta — Nami got really sick, so they had to stop and find a doctor. This led to a great mini arc on a winter island that only had one doctor. Of course she lived in a castle at the top of a very steep mountain. Oh and by steep I mean straight up. Due to an unfortunate sequence of events, Luffy ended up carrying both Sanji and Nami up the mountain in a blizzard. In order to climb up with both of them Luffy had Nami tied to his back and carried Sanji with his teeth. Yes, his teeth! This scene really showed how far Luffy was willing to go for his friends. When he made it to the top he was all bloody and freezing. When the doctor saw him, he wasn’t worried about himself at all and just asked the she save his friends. It was pretty emotional.

The doctor fixed all of them up, but her assistant was a most interesting character. He’s a blue nose reindeer named Chopper who apparently ate the human human devil fruit, so now he can walk and talk and transform. Naturally, he became the next member of Luffy’s crew. So now the crew has a doctor. The unique things that this show comes up with are amazing and the fights are super cool, especially when Luffy gets serious.

Crocodile is next on Luffy’s hit list — a man who has sand powers, so of course Luffy is going to fight him in the middle of the desert. Which means it’s going to be a very interesting fight. I can’t see how the rubber-man is going to overcome this one. I really want to go watch it now, so I’ll let you know how it goes next week.


The Otaku Couple