Sunday, September 27, 2015

GATE: The JDSF Fought There


GATE: The JDSF Fought There is probably the most interesting anime I've seen in a while. The basic concept is this: A large gate appears in Japan, from which numerous warriors and fantasy creatures pour forth, invading our world and wreaking havoc on Tokyo. Through it all, one middle-aged Otaku nut, who just so happens to be in the military, is caught up in this battle and, through a lot of unfortunate mishaps, ends up becoming a hero. He and several other members of the JDSF are then sent through the gate to investigate the other side, where they come upon a fantasy world straight out of Lord of the Rings.

There were two things I enjoyed about this anime. The first is the concept. While the "other world" idea has been used plenty of times before, I've usually only seen in done on a smaller scale. In GATE, EVERYONE knows about the other world. It's broadcast on live TV, so pretty much the entire world knows that there is a gate in Japan, and that this gate leads to another world. This is like taking a concept and cranking the audacity levels to well past 9,000. 9,001? Anyway, I thought the idea for the anime was very well executed, and I like how this didn't fall back on the "Let's hide the existence of fantasy creatures from the world for so and so plot reasons."

The other aspect I appreciate the most was GATE's myriad of characters. Itami, the main character, was particularly refreshing. He's an Otaku, meaning he's someone who's so obsessed with anime and manga that he would generally be disregarded as a loser, however, he also happens to be a member of the JDSF, and is honestly kind of a badass. I really liked how it portrayed a healthy side of Otaku culture, showing that not everybody who loves collecting anime, manga, and other paraphernalia is a social shut in that refuses to leave their home. Itami is relatively sociable, and even though he has his moments, he functions just like every other member in society.

Outside of Itami, three other characters stood out the most. Tuka Luna Marceau,  Lelei La Lalena, and Rory Mercury. These three are girls that Itami and company encounters beyond the GATE, in the other world, and each one has a unique personality and their own issues. Rory is an immortal stuck in a 13-year-old body. She seems to be a favorite, which I guess is because she has such a strong presence and is the most active member of the trio. She's also very violent, which makes sense, as she is a demigoddess and the apostle for Emroy, a god of war. Tuka is my personal favorite. No, it's not because she's a hot elf girl.... don't look at me like that! Anyway, she is the one we see the least of, though I hope that will eventually change. Her personality is that of a normally optimistic and cheerfull 17-year-old girl... even though she's actually 165. Hey, it's better than Rory's 961 years of age. The last of this Trio is Lelei, a sage and sorceress. She is the only human among the three, yet she is very talented and extremely intelligent, capable of grasping the Japanese language within a very short time.

Like most anime, this has its moments of fanservice. Rory seems to have be this anime's fanservice girl. I sorta wish they'd had more Tuka, but whatever. The fanservice can, at times, be a little awkward, but it can also be quite funny. I do think they could have, if not toned down the fanservice, then at least given us a bit more development with the characters. The only one we really see a lot of is Rory. I would've enjoyed learning more about Tuka and Lelei, though Lelei's past history seems to be the least interesting, perhaps because she's only 15-years-old. Regardless, I did enjoy most of the moments in here, fanservicy scenes included.

Animation wise, I do believe this is one of the better animated series. Then again, I feel like a lot of animations are becoming smoother due to the use of CGI. Regardless, the animation in this anime is very fluid and generally seamless. I especially enjoyed the action scenes, which were always a blast to watch - and no, it wasn't because of the loli kicking ass with a giant scythe. Overall, I feel like the animation was only secondary to the story and characters, which are what really drove this anime home for me. I can watch an anime with only okay animation, but I can't watch an anime where the character's are a bunch of dull caricatures of stereotypical archetypes.

Artwork: 8/10
Animation: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Characters: 8.5/10
Story: 8.5/10
Personal Enjoyment: 9/10
Total: 8.3/10

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Shokugeki no Soma


Shokugeki no Soma is the food fanservice show that everybody is talking about. It's the anime where eating a good meal prepared by a teenager induces massive amounts of orgasm, and it's freaking hilarious. I have watched many a fan service anime in my life, and out of all of them, this particular anime definitely ranks somewhere within my top 5 ecchi/fan service shows ever. It is just that fun to watch.


Story: This anime follows a boy named Yukihira Soma, who dreams of surpassing his father as a cook and inheriting the family restaurant, which is a low-brow diner for the masses. His father decides to send Soma to a cooking school. Already being something of an expert chef with plenty of experience, Soma is at first angry with his father, however, after learning that he's been sent to Tootsuki Culinary Academy, an elite school with a 90% fail rate, his tune quickly changes. It was this original premise that first drew me into the story. For a show about cooking, this anime is surprisingly original. Although, perhaps it is because this show is about cooking that I got so into it. Seriously, have you seen the food made in this show? It looks delicious!

This show takes what I consider standard Shonen Tropes and combines them with a cooking competition feel similar to Chef Ramsay's Kitchen - only ten times more intense. When I first watched this show, I wasn't sure what to expect. I mean, it was a show about cooking, so it couldn't be that exciting, right? Wrong! Somehow, despite being an anime about cooking, it is surprisingly intense. The director and animators really know how to up the ante, making activities as simple as cooking food feel like the most epic thing you'll ever see. It does an extraordinary of keeping my attention throughout, and I was always excited whenever a new episode of this would come out on Crunchyroll.

Being a shonen anime, it is not surprising that there is a lot of fanservice in it. I'll admit, I really liked the fanservice here. While some feel pervasive and annoying, this was just funny. Who ever heard of people orgasming from food? And it's not just the woman who get fanserviced in this either. Gray Fullbuster from Fairy Tail has some competition now, because there are plenty of instances where one of the male characters in this anime is shown in nothing but an apron. I'm guessing YĆ«to Tsukuda and Shun Saeki wanted the fanservice to be more gender equal. While I'm sure there are still plenty of people who dislike how ecchi this anime is, at the very least, no one can complain that the fanservice only features women.

Characters: One thing I loved about this anime was the caste. There are a lot of characters in here - perhaps even a few too many characters. Despite this, I did like most of them. Yukihira Soma is my favorite, being the main character and everything. I really love his determination and pride as a chef. Unlike many protagonists who come off as wimpy, Soma is determined and unfalteringly confident in his cooking, and he doesn't take any crap from others who insult his abilities as a chef, or his father's diner. There is also Megumi Todaroko, an unconfident young woman who is on the edge of failing at Tootsuki Academy; Erina Nakiri, the prominent and somewhat spoiled young woman who's been given the title of God's Tongue for her enviable talent at determining the quality of food. There are plenty more characters, and each one stands out vibrantly amongst the others. No two characters act the same, and I think that says a lot about this anime's ability to handle such a wide caste.

Art: The art style here is also pretty dang good. While I've certainly seen better, I like how original the artwork is for this anime. The character designs are quite different from what I've seen in other anime. Of course, all of the woman tend to be very beautiful and the men handsome, which makes sense as this is a fan service anime. The backgrounds designs are all well-detailed and interesting, and I really like the animation, especially when the chefs are all cooking. Naturally, I am also a big fan of the fanservice moments. The attention to detail during these scenes really is impressive - and perverted, but mostly impressive.

Artwork: 8.5/10
Animation: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Story: 9/10
Personal Enjoyment: 10/10
Total: 8.75/10

A Fox's Maid, available on Amazon!


The tail of a boy, a kitsune… and a maid?

Kevin Swift doesn’t know what to think anymore. His love for Lindsay has dwindled, he’s constantly plagued by thoughts of Lilian, and now he has to deal with his sexy housemate’s maid: A kimono-clad, katana-wielding femme fatale who doesn't like him very much—and who has this weird tendency of adding Japanese suffixes to everyone’s name for some reason. Go figure.

Now Kevin must make an irreversible choice: To become Lilian’s mate or not. It’s a life changing decision that no teenager should have to make. Unfortunately for him, Lilian’s maid has basically threatened to clean out his entrails with her katana if he doesn't.

He used to think being a teenager sucked. Now he’s realized that being a teenager is nothing compared to being the potential mate to a kitsune whose maid holds no moral compunctions about flaying him alive.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

K-Project


I have a confession to make: I have fallen in love. Yes, love. I've fallen in love with an anime called K-Project. This anime did almost everything right. It's one of the few that I've found myself enjoying so completely that I watched the entire 12 episode season in a few days - and one of the few anime that I became disappointed to see end.

Story: The story is about a young man named Isana Yashiro, who supposedly murdered a member of a gang called Homra, and now several different people are after him. This 12 episode series follows his journey as he tries to prove his innocence, discover the real killer, and learn more about himself in the process. Despite how that makes it sound like some kind of mystery series, I can assure that it's not - not fully, at least. If I had to call this series anything, I'd say it's a mixture of action, comedy, and drama with a little bit of mystery mixed in. It's also a very intelligent series, with a complex storyline and a good deal of well-developed characters.


Artwork: The artwork in K-Project is absolutely gorgeous. Truly top tier. In all honesty, I think the artwork in this anime is better than almost any other anime out there. All of the characters are well-designed, and the backgrounds are just stunning. I don't think I've ever seen backgrounds that were so beautiful before. All of the characters also stand out quite well. The color pallet used for the characters creates a differentiation between background, main characters, and side characters. Furthermore, the use of 2D and 3D artwork is done rather seamlessly. I can tell they used 3D art in here, but it's done in such a way that you don't notice unless you really know what to look for.


Animation: This is probably one of the few anime whose animation is almost completely without flaw. Throughout the entire season, I didn't find any of the mistakes that most animations tend to have. It was fluid and the transitions were smooth. What's more, all of the fight scenes were beyond amazing. I've watched a lot of anime with action in them, and very few can keep the same level of fluidity in their action scenes that they do in a normal scene where there isn't much going on. This one does that, and it does that well.

Characters: One thing I truly loved about this anime definitely has to be its characters. All of the characters are well-done, fully-fleshed out, and have unique personalities, which is really quite amazing, considering how many characters this anime has. The three main characters, Isana Yashiro, Neko, and Kuro are all well-crafted. Yashiro acts like a lazy high school student who just wants to enjoy life, and yet you can tell that there is a lot more to him, even at first glance. There's a lot of mystery surrounding him. And, of course, there is Neko, the mysteriously beautiful girl who can turn into a cat. We don't know much about her backstory, but she has such a vibrant personality that we don't really need to. I loved watching her and seeing all the things she did. Kuro plays the straight man in this group. If Yashiro is lazy and Neko a glutton with little common sense, then Kuro is the one who keeps both of them from doing something stupid. Watching the three of them was a pleasure because every scene they had was interesting. Of course, there are many other characters, and each of them is unique and feels real.

Also, can I just say that I ship this pairing so freaking hard? I do. NekoxShiro has officially become one of my favorite pairings of all time. In fact, if there is one thing that I was disappointed in with this anime, it's that these two never got together. I feel like these two were made for each other. Yashiro acts like a lazy young man whose kind of reckless and just likes to go with the flow, while Neko is a fun-loving girl who is completely devoted to him. I'm going to be honest, if these two don't get together in season 2, which comes out this October, I am gonna be so pissed off - so, so, so pissed off. I want to see them kiss so badly, and I really hope the animators make that happen. If not, I'm going to write a very strongly worded letter about how they've ruined my life by giving me such a cute couple and not going anywhere with it.


Sound: I normally don't have a whole lot to say about sound quality, but I have to admit that it was really something here. First off, the opening theme song is beautiful, just beautiful. I absolutely loved it. The music has a rockish feel mixed with opera vocals. It was very provocative, and the ending theme song was also gorgeous. The sound effects were all nice to, and I loved the voice acting, both from the dubs and the subs. In fact, I think the English dubbing was even better than the subtitled version this time. The voice actors who played these characters in English really knew how to put emotion into their voice. It was quite good.

Artwork: 10/10
Animation: 10/10
Sound: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Story: 10/10
Personal Enjoyment: 10/10
Total: 10/10

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Spice&Wolf Volume 4


To be perfectly honest, I didn't enjoy Spice&Wolf volume 4 as much as I did volume 3. While the writing hasn't suffered, and the story is still pleasant, I feel like the last volume had a lot more going for than this one did. Perhaps I was simply expecting more out of the story, or maybe I was hoping for a bigger plot with higher stakes, since every volume before this had high stakes and risks involved. While I wasn't disappointed to read the next saga in Lawrence and Holo's adventures, and I still enjoyed it, I found myself enjoying it a little less than I expected.

This particular volume is about Lawrence and Holo journeying to Tereo in the hopes of uncovering information about Yoitsu, Holo's homeland, and its ultimate fate. There isn't really much more to say, honestly. Without giving any spoilers away, I can say that while this story was still entertaining, it lacked the sense of urgency that the other three novels have had. While this doesn't necessarily make it a bad story, and I can appreciate a good break from the constant danger they've been facing, I still wish that something more interesting had happened. This entire book was basically Lawrence and Holo getting involved in the affairs of a town they hold no allegiance to.

I think my biggest problem was that there really weren't any major issues here. In the last novel, Lawrence and Holo had this huge fight, which caused them to separate for the last half of the book. In it, you could feel Lawrence's loneliness and desperation to get Holo back. Even if, at the end, Holo had been on his side all along, the way it was written had me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire story. I couldn't put it down. Not so much with this one, though. While I still read this quickly enough, I didn't feel this insane desire to keep flipping pages. I think my problem stems from how I read volume 3 before this. I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't read volume 3 before this one, I would have liked it a lot more. It was kind of calm, and the story was clean and interesting, and Holo and Lawrence have grown really close, which I like. However, compared to the previous volume, this one felt just a little lackluster.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

To LOVE Ru Darkness Season 1


Come one, come all, to the ecchiest freaking anime on the planet. Fill your eyes with big bouncing bazangas and jumbo jiggly joggers. Yes, this is the most boobalicious anime you're ever going to watch. And unless you despise ecchi and the harem genre, I guarantee that you'll love this.

To LOVE Ru Darkness is the anime that knows exactly what it is and doesn't try to hide it, nor are they ashamed to show it. This anime is like a train wreck of perversion. A part of you wants to look away, yet the rest of you forces your eyes to remain glued to the screen. In fact, despite my own shamelessness, some small part of me is actually ashamed to admit that this is one of my favorite anime of all time. The humor in this anime is hilarious and raunchy beyond compare. Every episode is filled to the brim with salacious gags filled with so much eroticism that erotica writers everywhere would cum if they watched this. Actually, I'm pretty sure the dudes who produced this were jacking off during the making of this anime.

Artwork: If there is one thing that To LOVE Ru does right, it is definitely their artwork. The artwork here is beautiful and, while it should come as no surprise, the females in this are absolutely gorgeous. These guys really know how to draw female characters to make them as physically pleasing to the eye as possible. Not only is each member of the female caste ridiculously beautiful, but the animators know exactly how to draw them to make them look as erotic as possible. A part of me really does have to applaud the audacity these people had when they made this, and also the genius of their perverted minds. Truly, Jiraiya of the Sannin would have cried tears were he not a fictional character.

Animation: Much like the artwork, the animation in this series is surprisingly spot on. You'd think that an anime whose entire plot is based around giving the main character a harem would mean the animation would be half-assed, right? Wrong. The animations here are beautiful, and perverted. Seriously. I'm not joking around here. Pretty much every scene in this anime is an excuse for something perverse to happen to one or more members of the female caste. In any event, while pretty much every scene is filled to bursting with something lecherous going on, they are beautifully animated. The animations are fluid, the characters are in model, and the scenes are like something out of a teenage boy's wet dream.

Story: Unlike the first season of To LOVE Ru, Darkness actually does have a plot. Sure, most of the plot is masked by the massive amounts of Plot, but it is there, though part of me suspects the plot is really just there to deliver us more Plot, if you know what I mean. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge. What is the plot? Well, basically, the story is about Rito Yuuki and his harem, and it's about how he gets that harem. It's also about Momo Viela Deviluke, one of the princess to the planet Deviluke, and how she is helping Rito get the harem he never wanted with her so-called Harem Plan. Yes, one of the main female characters is trying to give Rito his very own harem. What can I say? She's a perv.

Characters: To LOVE Ru Darkness features a wide caste of characters. You've got Rito Yuuki, of course, who is the Emperor of Boob Falls. You've also got Lala Deviluke, the cheerful genius and first princess to the planet Deviluke. Momo and Nana Deviluke, her sisters, are also present and so many more. Most of the characters are firmly set into specific archetypes. A good example is Kotegawa Yui, a classmate of Rito's, who has been firmly placed within the category of tsundere. While I normally dislike characters who are all trope and no development, Kotegawa actually makes it work. I think it has something to do with the over-the-top perverted things that happen to her. Seriously, if I was her, and I had some dude crash into me and either grope my tits or land with their face in my crotch, I'd go tsundere, too.

Two new characters are introduced to this story. Mae Kurosaki. No, she is not related to Ichigo Kurosaki. This isn't a crossover. Mae is actually Konjiki no Yami's little sister, another sentient weapon with the transphase ability, which allows her to turn any part of her body into a weapon, though she seems to prefer turning her hair into swords. Unlike Yami, who claims to hate ecchi, Mae seems to love it. In fact, I sometimes feel like her entire life goal is to get Rito to lick her all over her body. She really seems to enjoy perverted situations, which is funny because her best friend happens to be Nana Deviluke, the tsun-loli of this anime.

Tearju Lunatique is another character that's introduced during Darkness. She's a scientist and the creator of Yami, who is based on her DNA. You can actually tell the two are related in some way because they look almost identical. Taerju seems to be the definition of a klutzy genius. She can't seem to do anything outside of science-y stuff. I would even go so far as to say she's a failure at life, but that sort of adds a charm to her. I actually feel for the woman. She came to Earth so she could be with Yami, but Yami doesn't want anything to do with her. Her klutziness is also adorable. Also, and perhaps this is not so surprising, but Taerju's boobs are massive. They're huge. Ginormous even.

If there was one thing about this anime that I did not like, then I would have to say it's the lack of Lala. In the original To LOVE Ru and Motto To LOVE Ru, Lala was one of the main characters. In Darkness, Lala has taken a back seat for characters like Momo and Yami. While I know that a lot of men like Momo because of her Harem Plan idea, I've always preferred Lala. Her cheerful personality and the many inventions she's made, none of which ever worked the way she wants them to, was what really sold me on the original series. While Darkness does have some scenes with her in it, and you even learn more about Lala's past and how kind she can be, I really wish we got to see more of her.

Story: 6.5/10
Characters: 8.5/10
Art: 10/10
Sound: 7/10
Personal Enjoyment: 10/10
Overall: 8.4/10

Friday, September 4, 2015

Wattpad, What You Need to Know About It


Wattpad is currently the largest database of online stories. With over 30,000,000 readers worldwide and plenty of writers, it's probably the best place for aspiring authors to hone their craft, receive reader feedback, connect with like-minded individuals, and get noticed.

Unfortunately, Wattpad is difficult for a single author to become noticed. You'd think with so many people on it that all anyone would have to do is publish a story and voila! Instant notification. But that's not so. The truth is, with so many stories being posted on Wattpad, and with new stories coming out every day, getting noticed here is just as difficult as getting your book noticed in traditional publishing - maybe even more so!

Which is why I've decided to tell you guys what I know about Wattpad, to help those of you who are thinking about publishing stories there succeed.


Step 1: Write a Well-Written Story

Anyone can write, but not everyone can write well. The truth is that there are hundreds of thousands of stories on Wattpad, and not all of them are well-written. If you want to be noticed on Wattpad, then you need to make sure your writing is up to snuff. That means making sure your grammar is impeccable and your prose are clean, concise, and easy to read. Don't stop at self-editing. Do your research and find a beta reader who knows their English, or whatever other language you're writing in. The first step on the path to getting noticed is to make sure that your story is grammatical correct and doesn't make people's eyes bleed when they read it.


Step 2: Weave an Entertaining Tale

No one wants to read a boring story. Reading about how so-and-so got out of bed, yawned, scratched behind his/her ears, and then took a shower, is so incredibly dull. It's not fun to read, no matter how many people who write stories seem to think otherwise. If you want to have people read your work, then you need to write something that's going to catch their attention. Whether you're writing an epic fantasy, an intense sci-fi, or an emotional romance, you need to write a story that will engage your readers, something that will keep a hold of them and make them never want to stop reading - even after the story ends.


Step 3: Update Frequently

This is a point that I cannot stress enough. If you want people to notice your story, then you need to update more than just once a month. I would say that you should update even more than once a week. At the same time, you don't want to upload your entire story all at once. Wattpad uses an algorithmic program to help stories get discovered. By updating frequently, you can ensure that more and more people will see your story. I would suggest updating at least twice a week. If you need to make your chapters shorter to accomplish that, then do so.


Step 4: Votes and Why They're Important

Wattpad has a voting system where, if a person likes one of your chapters, they can vote for it. When someone votes for a chapter, it appears in that person's dashboard, stating that they liked this chapter, and consequently, your story. This has the added benefit of allowing anyone who follows that person to also see that they liked your story. Want a more thorough explanation? Very well. Let's say that someone who has 123 followers votes for one of your chapters. This means that 123 will see that this person has decided that your story is worth reading. While some might skip over your story, others may become curious. They may check your story out, think it sounds interesting, and decide to read it. If they do, and they like it, then it means you have another fan. And if they vote for it, well, then it means whoever is following that person will now know that this person thinks your story is awesome. It's kinda like the domino effect. As more people vote for your chapters, more and more people will see those votes appear in their dashboards, which will lead to them checking out your story to see what the buzz is all about.

Now, some people may not see when someone votes for your chapter. Perhaps they're not on at the time the person they followed voted, or maybe they've got so much on their feed that they missed this person voting for your chapter. This also ties into Step 3. By updating your story twice a week, you ensure that everyone who might have missed it, will get a chance to see another one of your chapters being voted on.


Step 5: Engage With Others

Wattpad is as much a community as it is a place to read stories. It has clubs and forums and places where people can meet like-minded individuals. Go to these places and find these people. Talk to them. Are you a fantasy fanatic? Go to the fantasy club and check out some of the forums online. Find one that interests you and talk to the people posting on it. Like romance? That's fine. Wattpad has a romance club as well. Or maybe you're interested in becoming a better writer. Wanna learn more about the publishing industry? There are clubs for these as well. By going onto these clubs and engaging other people, you can find friends who will support your writing endeavors. Who knows, some of them may even be interested in reading the story you wrote.


Step 6: Review Other Stories

Don't expect other people to comment on your story if you're not willing to do the same. While leaving someone a long, juicy review might not convince that author to read your story, I can guarantee that someone will see your review, check out your profile, and decide to take a look at one of your stories. And, while not always true, the author who left you that juicy review may decide to check out your story, or even follow you. If that person has a large following, enjoyed reading your story, and decided to vote for your chapters, then you've just got someone who could very well help see your readership exponentially increase.


Step 7: Don't Ask Other People to Read Your Story

I cannot stress this enough - asking someone to read your story, either through messaging or by posting on their profile, is hands down the worst way to get readers. First off, it's incredibly rude. Second off, it's annoying to the people who's inbox or profile page is being bombarded with "READ MY STORY!" requests. Third off, you shouldn't do it. It's just not write. Get it? Not WRITE!

Ahem. Anyway...

Asking people to read your story through PMs or leaving notes on their dashboard is a terrible way to convince someone to read your story. This is especially true for the people who have large followings. Don't ask someone with 6,000 followers and several published Wattpad stories to read your story. Those people already have their hands full just writing their own stories. If you really want to get their attention, then read their story and leave them an exemplary review that details everything you liked about their chapter.

That's what I did. I read someone who wrote a story that got over 4 million views on Wattpad, became so popular that it was picked up by a literary agent without him having to send a query letter, and then got published and is now doing quite well. This person has 29,300 followers on Wattpad, and you know what? After he read my reviews - and I left a really long and detailed review for each chapter - he decided to follow me. I didn't ask him to read my story, and I didn't bother him with "PLEASE FOLLOW ME!" requests either.

Also, leaving a nice review for someone with a popular story will get other people who read that story to notice your review. These people may decide they liked your review and check out your profile, and if they like the story you're publishing, well, then you've got another fan.