A swimming anime??! : Free! Iwatobi Swim Club

Disclaimer!!

Woahhhh!! Have I been away long. What was it 3 months! =__= Oh my goodness!! I apologize to everyone for having to wait so long for my next update. Juggling school and work is killing me and I barely have enough time to get some shut-eye when I get home!

Hopefully, I will continue to update you on the newest animes that are coming out this summer. And what better way than to introduce an anime that fits this season perfectly?

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Watching the PV to Free! a few months back (and of course seeing the people I follow on tmblr spam numerous gifs of these pretty boys), I was excited to see the series’s potential.

First of all, I have never seen a swimming anime before. Sure I’ve read Rough and Dive!!, two great mangas that have had the chance to adapt into their own live action movie, but none successful enough to become their own anime.

The second reason is because of Kyoto Animation. We have seen beautiful creations come from this company, along with a wide variety of storylines, characters and genres.

For one thing, this anime is a total “fan-service” anime, and is mainly targeted towards females. So if you think Kuroko no Basuke opened up alot of windows for fanfictions and shipping, Free! took it on a totally new level. You’ve got abs, butts, bromance hinted moments. Heck, you’ve got guys swinging their hair back and forth like their the models to loreal shampoos or something.

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And you have to admit, the way the director controls the shots is…well, let’s just say we got a very GOOD look of the lower torso of the body.

Plot: Free! revolves around a boy named Haruka Nanase who “lives” for water. He loves swimming, taking long baths, I mean this dude even wears his swimsuit under his clothes most of the time! As he continues to grow throughout the years, his swim club is cancelled, his teammates parts ways, and slowly he starts to lose his love for swimming. This is until his long time bestfriend/rival returns from Australia and challenges him to a PVP.  After the defeat, however,  Haruka begins to rekindle his passion towards swimming and invites his long estranged friends Nagisa Hazuki, and Rin Matsuoka, and also a new recruit Rei Ryugazaki , to create the Iwatobi High School Swimming Club.

Artwork: Kyoto Animation does not disappoint. You’ve got the natural flow of water, to the detailed structure of the human body. (Well, maybe a bit TOO over-exaggerated, but you get the point.)

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I mean look at that. Seriously??! =.,= *nosebleed*

Characters: Now, I’m particularly found of all the characters in this series. You’ve got Haru-chan, who acts like your typical “cool” boy, but really he’s just a big kid who still wants to play with his childhood toys.

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Makoto-kun is your scaredy cat/weak hearted but genuinely kind character. He provides a sort of comical and refreshing feel to the anime, as well as try to put most of the characters in line.

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There’s also Nagisa-kun (my personal favorite) who just a fun loving and eccentric guy. He’s the guy who does things to the extreme. (Okay….he went skinny dipping on the first episode of the anime!!)

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Badam! Then we have the villian-yet-soon-to-be-good-guy Rin-kun! After their victory in the past, Rin moved to Australia to perfect his talent even further.  He now enrolls in Samezuka Academy where he’s now a top-notch Ryan Locte of his generation.

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The episode where Rei-kun (aka Mr.Glasses) comes out is still to be aired, but you can probably infer from the PVs is that he is a hardworking and determined student, trying to juggle both track and field and swimming at the same time.

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Whoops! Let’s not forget Gou-chan, Rin Matsuoka’s sister, who kinda balances the series cast by adding a female (if not already) touch to the anime.

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Another little thing I though that was cute about the anime is that the creators decided to give all the male characters a sort of female name and the female a male name. (which is frequently joked about throughout series) Goodness, if I was named Bob or Richard instead of my own name….=_= urghhh…the humiliation…

First Episode Impression:

First let me say that I watched this anime is 720p and….oh my goodness….was the animation spectacular. The way the animators captured the sport of swimming was just amazing. I thought I was watching an anime movie, with the artwork being so perfectly drawn. What I noticed about the episode is that the animators are trying to take a sort of friendship and bonds route with the characters. Since the sense of deep passion is already present in the series characters, I can tell that the story will play out very well towards an anime that can show you the true meaning of doing what you love to do and how you can’t easily grow out of something when you start to age.

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So what do you think about the new release of Free! ? Have you watched it yet? What do you think. I do believe that the next episode will be aired tomorrow. (Or in 8 more hours according to my time :P)

For those of you who haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend you to watch the first episode, even if you don’t enjoy the concept of the series, just looking at the splendidness of the animation is enough to leave you satisfied. I’m glad to say though that this is an excellent anime for the summer and if you want to see something a bit more sporty with a cute sense of humor and just a load of fun, then check Free! Iwatobi Swim Club out!!

And until next time!!! Nyaaaaaaaa~~ =^..^=

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Blast From The Past Thurdays! : Power!! aka Girl Got Game!

DISCLAIMER: Whew ! I decided to start on a weekly “past” series review in addition to the weekly/biweekly/monthly/bimonthly/yearly(wait what??! O.o) reviews that I normally do. Hope that this Category not only interests you in reading an amazing past manga work, but also remind you of the creative stories that had once made us laugh and smile with enjoyment. 🙂

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I’m really excited to review this manga, because not only is Shizuru Seino one of my favorite mangakas, but because this manga is just that ALL-IN-ONE set that you never seem to get tired of. Power!! Is packed full of romance, comedy, school life, sports, gender swap, and just random silliness. This manga has not only shown me that love can prevail against any complications, but also that no matter how old a manga is it’s comedic effect never fades.

Background:

Power!! is a manga published by Shizuru Seino, known for mangas such as Junai Tokkō Taichō! (Love Attack!) and Heaven! Power!! was published in the Bessatsu Friend from 1999-2002. That’s right we’re bringing back a manga that was written over 13 years ago!

Critically acclaimed mangas from the magazine include MARS, L-DK, Peach Girl and Life. The manga has been licensed by Tokyo Pop, which finished their release in 2005.

Artwork:

Whether it’d be her use of exclamation points on her manga’s titles or her strong “tomboyish” way of drawing (creating the most muscle crazy female leads you can ever imagine), Shizuru Seino has always been very distinct and confident in her style. Creating tough, macho girls, along with either a jock or delinquent male protagonist is her forte. No whiny heroine waiting for her prince charming here! Think wonder woman pairing up with teacher Onizuka (GTO).

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Plot:

If you ever watched the movie She’s The Man, then you know where I’m going. Kyo Aizawa is a high school girl who just wants that simple girly life. A boyfriend, wearing a knee high (or as anime attire have it as “almost seeing your panties” high) skirts, and just enjoying highschool! And does she get that? Nooooo. You know how your parents tell you they want to give you a better life that they ever had? Well…Aikawa’s dad takes it to a whole new level. Not being able to attend the NBA’s because he tore his Achilles’s heel, Aizawa’s father forces her to attend Seisyu, an academy holding one of the top ranked boy’s basketball teams in the country. With her hair cut short and her dream uniform tossed aside and replaced with a jacket and trousers, Aizawa attends the school as a boy.

There she meets Chiharu Eniwa, her quite “tough-front” roommate and one of the best players in the basketball team. Aizawa’s and Chiharu’s relationship start off rough at first, but through humorous and absurd events, the two begin their crazy adventures.

As the series progresses, we stumble upon the complications of Chiharu dealing with his feeling for Aizawa (he still thinks she’s a he XD), Aizawa’s adaption to learning to become a male basketball player, her difficulty of adjusting to a boy’s team as well as her risk of being exposed with every turning event.

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Characters:

Let me just point out first that all the characters in the series are hilarious!! It’s like a gag reel of Slam Dunk or Kuroko no Basket. The side characters appear frequently and try to serve as support for Chiharu and Aizawa’s relationship but always end up being their obstacles instead.

Another key character I would like to mention (my personal favorite in the series) is Kensuke Yura. With his photographic memory and one of the ONLY characters to realize the obvious,  he is basically a shoujo version of Kaede from Slam Dunk. *imagination activate!* Without spoiling too much, I would like to leave a side note that not only is Yura extremely cute on all possible corners, but he has some of the best “I didn’t know” moments ever.

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Conclusion*:

✧ Hilarious non-stop laughing story with the most ridiculous characters you can ever imagined.

✧ A light and cheerful plot if your looking for a stress-free read with a balance of romance and gender benders thrown in between.

✧ It’s complete! So you don’t have to wait for updates! You can also find it at your local bookstore if your interested in buying the tankobon volume.

And there you go! Our Blast from the past Thurdays! I was debating what manga/anime to open with my very first “sceduled” post, and I finally came to a conclusion after seeing the manga stashed at the back of my closet. (Trust me, you do not want to see what kinda crap I keep in there @__@)Hope you guys give Power!! a chance and until then….Nyaaaaaaa!! (=^-ω-^=)

Like Fruit’s Basket? Check out Natsuki Takaya’s new series! Liselotte to Majo no Mori

ImageYup! You heard me! Natsuki Takaya the popular author of the best selling shojo manga, Fruits Basket (which is the FIRST best selling shojo manga in the USA, and SECOND best selling shojo in Japan) has yet again created a “I-never-want-to-put-this-book-down” series!! Giving a twist between fairy tales and a medieval type aura, Takaya-Sensei has presented us with yet again, a pitiful yet kindhearted heroine.

Liselotte to Majo no Mori or “Liselotte and the Witch’s Forest” is about a young lady living in exile in “a far far away place, in the east of the east of the east”. She is accompanied by her two twin servants, Anna and Alto, who worry for her well-being daily. (Well who wouldn’t, she manages to cause an uproar every time she tries something new, e.g get’s blisters on the second day of trying to learn how to plant crop or tries to cook, proving no avail and almost poisons one of the characters in the story..)

While on one of her gardening routines, she finally meets a witch who provokes her with different colors of apples (it’s snow white gone colorful O.o) and surrounds her with pitch black darkness. She is saved by a mysterious person named “Engetsu” who remind her of someone of her past…..just who is this person? Why did her brother banish her after taking the family throne? And is “En” the person who she has always been looking for?

Artwork:
If your familiar to Takaya’s works from either Fruits Basket or the citically acclaimed Hoshi wa Utau, you’ll know just how she adores creating characters with such simplicity yet uniqueness. Her lines are nice and clean, making the characters neat and adorable at the same time. One thing special about her artwork that you seem to notice is that she likes to play with a type of cinematography. She draws her characters from different angles, experiments with light shadings, and includes small distinct details in each panel.
An example of this is when she darkens her drawing and creates shadows when trying to show that her characters are behind a tree.

Plot: Takaya-Senei had always been inspired by things out of the ordinary. From Zodiac spirits to broom flying witches, she has always been able to bring her readers into the story.
In Liselotte to Majo no Mori, we can sense our main characters trying to piece together her life back and try beginning to “live” We can see in recent chapters that it hard for her to try expalining her situations and just basically just brushes off her misfortune by telling everyone she aa-okay. As the story progresses we begin to further see what happened before she moved to the forest and all the pain she was put though (T_T of gosh I’m going to cry)
Tragedy put aside, we also have some comical moments such as that of her servant Alto, being the protective person he is, not being able to accept “En” into the household. We also have an amazingly adorable witch’s familiar (ooops, spoiler) who makes you just wanna go “awwwwwww >///<” every time you see him. (at least, I think it’s a him =__=)

Given the tone of the character’s daily life, you can also consider this manga as a slice of life type manga, something you can read that will just make you feel comforted and relax.

Finally, for those who are interested in those historical themes,  the manga is filled with monorchial terms such as days of provisions or royalty ranking, and that of fantasy references. (witches, familiars, magic, curses…you get the picture)

Characters: 

Another thing that Tayaka-Sensei is able to create are her memorable characters. One of these is “Engetsu” who is a somewhat dimwitted and straight forward individual. His quiet composure makes him seem like he’s holding many secrets, including his wish to find a certain witch. Although Engetsu doesn’t speak much and frequently disappears (yes, he just vanishes), he is always popping up to help Liselotte either in physical or mental matters. (as seen when he is hug…..AHH! Spoiler! Really, you guys need to read it before I ruin the story!!)

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Now, if your really into those quiet mysterious guys, you really need to check out this manga and see for yourself just how adorable he is.

We also have Alto, which is the COMPLETE opposite of “En”. After his mistress had been banished, her bravely decided to follow her along with his sister to become her support system. Although he may seem a little uptight, it’s because of his loyalty that he is able to go through great lengths to see Liselotte safe and sound.

We also have Anna-san who is a down to earth, although she is protective of her lady, she i fully accepts her determination to try and learn different things and is always trying to help Liselotte towards her goals.

As you can see, or read…the characters are very genuine and subtle, making Liselotte to Majo no Mori a must read for this month !!