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

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

It’s been one week since I started One Piece and I managed to watch way more episodes than I thought I would. It’s kind of (REALLY, REALLY, REALLY) addictive. I managed to watch the first 44 episodes this week and they were awesome! I really enjoyed seeing Luffy gathering, recruiting, and forcing the members of his crew to join him. Each person Luffy recruits has a great back story.

If you haven’t watched the first 44 episodes and don’t want to be spoiled, you should probably jump ship now.

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Verdict: It’s funnier and more risqué in English, but both versions are great.

Warning: It’s rated mature. So… fair warning. Now, moving on.

Is This a Zombie? is an anime that is unique. You have a main character that dies in the first episode. Obviously, with the title of the anime, you expect someone to be dead, so no shocker there. However, that’s just the tip of the anime iceberg. Ayamu is a zombie, turned one by an adorable necromancer, and is constantly bombarded by monsters he must fight, as well as superpowered females who argue their way into his life and his home.

And, let’s just go ahead and state this: Ayamu is a pervert.

His best friend is an even bigger one.

The dynamic these too have as the series progresses is one of a true broship (is that a thing? Don’t know, it is now) and it’s hilarious to watch them interact with the girls. The first season is bomb, a solid anime. The second season is… eh. It’s cute and fun to watch but it opens a lot of doors and doesn’t close any of them. If you need your anime wrapped up in a neat bow at the end, forego the second season. It’s more like DVD extras than anything else; but if you love the characters and want to see more, the second season is for you.

This anime proved to be unique to us, because we don’t speak or, more importantly, read Japanese. One of the characters in this anime is nonverbal and relies on writing to communicate. You miss a lot of important info if you choose to watch this dubbed alone because (on the service we use) there’s no translation provided. The conundrum is, this show is leaps and bounds funnier in English (to us). So we had to have the subbed version (with the translation) going at the same time as the dub. It was an interesting situation trying to get them timed perfectly to sync.

All in all, it’s a good show and worth a watch. It’s funny with cute and unique characters. The second season is a bit aimless, but it doesn’t detract from the show overall. If you’ve seen it, feel free to leave a comment below and let us know.


The Otaku Couple

Verdict: Don’t judge an anime by what you’ve seen before.

So, over the past couple days, I’ve been watching the anime Myself; Yourself. It’s a cute little slice of life anime that follows Sana after he moves back to his hometown from being away for five years. The first episode is extremely cute and shows the dynamic that he and his childhood friends had. They each gave him a gift before he leaves and as the episodes progress, you see that one of his friends, Nanaka, had feelings for him. When he returns, it’s evident that his friends haven’t forgotten him for even a moment and he remembers all of them but doesn’t recognize Nanaka, which is a major faux pas since she still wears the bracelet that he gave her when they were kids.

The first couple of episodes give you the feeling that this is a light-hearted anime; a simple slice of life number that is easily predicted. I originally thought I knew what was going to happen, but I was far from it. After the fifth episode, we begin to see more serious topics show up. I think what makes it so great is that it’s shown in a way that could easily be real life and so it’s very relatable. The friends start to deal with trauma and jealousy and dysfunctional households and we get a clear picture of who these characters are and what’s shaped them up until this point.

There are moments where it’s still a very light-hearted anime with budding love and uncertainties; moments where you lean forward toward the screen thinking, “Finally! Yes!” and then other moments where you want to roll your eyes at what’s happening or jump in the screen and shake some sense into Nanaka and Sana. However, the further you get into the anime, the more serious it gets. It didn’t take away from the show though; it added a lot more needed depth and, in my opinion, made it stand out against a lot of other slice of life anime because it did address a couple proverbial elephants in the room.

I’ve said it once, but again, this anime IS really cute. It’s a slice of life anime about 5 friends and the journey that life takes them on and the paths they choose to walk. It’s an anime about love. About friendship. About loss and pain and happiness and memories and making memories and living and why it’s so hard sometimes. If you like anime about those things, sprinkled with awkward teenage moments and a touch of realness, then this is right up your alley. I would definitely recommend you give it a watch.


The Otaku Couple