Alice & Zoroku | 24 Episodes | DUB | VRV

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“Old man Zoroku would prefer a quiet life, but even he can’t turn away when an escaped test subject ends up in his care. Sana’s ability to materialize anything may seem like a gift, but first she must learn to use her powers responsibly.”

The above description is from VRV and I think it’s the most accurate description of what this anime is. It was interesting enough, but there were several gaps in the story that I felt were never quite filled in.

Ponder

There is a girl named Sana, and she has extraordinary powers. She can literally build a world with her mind and make anything, even life, come to existence. She was raised in a research facility and so, in the beginning, we see her break out in search of the outside world. She meets an old man named Zoroku and this is where the story kind of takes off.

Meeting

Zoroku tries to help her and then crazy things start to happen. His favorite thing to say is, “I don’t like crooked stuff” and because Sana uses her power irresponsibly, he dislikes and distrusts her at first. He gives her a lecture — something that happens often — and gives her a place to stay for the night. She is eventually caught and forced to return to the facility, but not before she bonds with Zoroku and his granddaughter Sanae.

There is a government agent working to protect Sana and keep her from the research facility and she is rescued, along with the other Dreams of Alice — that’s what they call the kids with supernatural powers — and returned to Zoroku who adopts her and she begins her life outside as Sana Kashimura.

Zoroku is a florist and does his best to raise Sana into a decent person. Even though she technically isn’t human, she acts exactly like a little girl and is curious about everything. He and Sanae teach her and she becomes the third member of their family.

Florist

The gaps I felt were never filled in were: what happened to the other Dreams of Alice from the research facility? Who is Alice? How did the public react to the Dreams of Alice? What happened? I felt like most of the story was spent on answering the wrong questions and spending time on useless info like Sana’s day to day life — like watering flowers, taking baths, going to work with Zoroku. It was cute, but I felt there were bigger questions to be answered and focused on. So, while the show did include quite a bit of action and is focused around an intriguing idea, I feel like it fell short in really exploring that.

It’s a warm story about what it means to be family and it’s interesting what Sana and the other dreams of Alice can do with their powers. Overall, it wasn’t a bad anime, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. If you like steady paced, slice of life stories with predictable plots and cute — although static and nonchanging — characters that are aimed toward a younger audience, then this is for you. If none of that appeals to you, then I would suggest you pass on this anime.

Happy Ending


The Otaku Couple

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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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Episodes 111-178

This week I watched episodes 111-178. I know that’s a lot of episodes, but I really don’t feel like a lot happened in them — at least in comparison to the last two weeks. I think this is mostly due to the fact that episodes 131-143 were all pretty much filler. They weren’t bad filler though. I did find some of the episodes enjoyable to watch, but they didn’t really add anything to the overall story. It was a little bit of a letdown, but at least all of it was in-between major arcs instead of during random episodes in the middle. Overall, I’m not upset that I watched these episodes but I’m sure I’ll probably never watch them again.

Once the filler was out of the way though, I started on the next arc: Sky Island. The concept itself is truly incredible. Floating islands in the sky floating on special types of clouds. These islands are so high in the sky that there was only one way for the Straw Hats to get up there — the knock upstream. That in itself was pretty crazy, but not as crazy as the world above the clouds.

The sky island that Luffy and his crew ended up on is called Skypiea. Up there they meet a host of new characters that all have little wings on their backs like angels, and yet none of them appear to have the ability to fly. In Skypiea we are informed of the many different types of clouds and their different uses. They also introduce the concept of these things call dials, which have a variety of different uses from blowing air, creating flames, recording audio, creating clouds and many more. This concept of dials was so thought out that you could literally take the exact concept and create an entirely new anime out of it. I love how it’s really a whole other world in the sky. This really helps keep the show fresh and exciting. I doubt One Piece will continue to create whole new worlds with radically different concepts in every arc, but if it does, it’s going to be amazing. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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.

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

So, I’ve just finished the first Arc of One Piece. The East Blue: these first 61 episodes were amazing. Seeing Luffy find the members for his ship was actually very satisfying. Most teams that form in anime form over quick one episode arcs, or the show just starts out with the team already together, but not One Piece.

Luffy takes his time in recruiting each new member of his crew. As each story progresses you learn more about the characters back story. Something I really appreciate is the fact that each character’s back story was well thought out; down to the little details, like each one of them was the star of the show. This really made me feel more connected to all the members of Luffy’s Crew and not just Luffy.

Ironically though, we’ve gotten the least amount of back story for Luffy. But that just leaves me intrigued and wanting to know more. Despite not seeing much of the main character’s back story in the first 61 episodes, I do feel Luffy’s character is strong. Luffy’s character is mostly defined by his actions. This becomes obvious as you look at the type of people he is choosing for his crew and what he is fighting for. Luffy is generally pretty carefree, but if you hurt anyone he see as a friend, you’re going to have a really bad day. Just like Captain Morgan, Buggy, Kuro, Don Krieg, Arlong, and Commodore Nelson. Luffy had great fights with all these guys.

Luffy wasn’t the only one having great fights though, which is really refreshing. It’s not like all the members of Luffy’s team are pretty much worthless without him like some other anime. You know the ones I’m talking about. These first 61 episodes included greatness from Zoro, Sanji and even Usopp. This show really makes you care about the characters.

Most anime are finished long before they get to 61 episodes but this one feels like it’s just getting started. I’m starting to see how this show managed to get over 830 episodes and is still going. The only episodes I’d skip so far would be 18 and 46. Out of 61 episodes, that’s not bad at all. Now that Luffy has all the beginning members of his crew and has made a name for himself, along with procuring a nice 30,000,000 berry bounty on his head, I’m looking forward to seeing what adventures await them at the Grand Line.


 

The Otaku Couple

Verdict: It’s nice to look at, but the love story is a little confusing.

Citrus is a yuri anime. It’s important to note this because if you’re not into girl-on-girl action then this is not the anime for you. If you’re into it, or don’t mind it then this anime is probably more your speed. It’s about the lives of two girls who have suddenly become step-sisters. Of course, there are moments when its typically anime with the sisters meeting each other and not realizing they’re sisters yet. But that’s about where they typical-ness stops.

On their first night of meeting Mei attacks her sister with a pretty forceful kiss after the blonde sister (Yuzu Aihara) makes a joke about her kissing a teacher, who is her fiancé, who you find out later has a girlfriend on the side, who Mei is unbothered by on the outside because on the inside she’s really into girls.

Get all that?

This show is all about emotions and acting on them. The main character, a blonde girl (look up for name) who is outwardly bold and outspoken is the main character who can’t speak how she feels about Mei. Admittedly Mei is her sister, but not by blood, so I guess in some universe it’s excusable.

The two sisters are as different as can be. The blonde sister has never been kissed, is outspoken, loud, rebellious, and in the beginning, she’s into guys. Mei has a fiancé, is quiet, reserved, well-put-together, in control of herself and everything around her, and very (how should I say this) cool towards other people. Think the female version of Sasuke without the sword, Sharingan, and constant threat of death. With these character traits, obviously they were meant to fall for each other.

And they do.

It’s an interesting journey, but it’s fun to watch. If you love to watch love stories and two awkward teenagers figure out how to coexist as siblings while still harboring secret feelings for each other, then this show is gold. Even if you just like the awkward teenagers falling in love, this show is solid.


The Otaku Couple