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Since its inception in 2006, Fairy Tail has climbed, controlled and conquered the rankings in a way that few titles have in the past. From its top 10 ranking on Tohan’s Top 10 Manga’s in 2007 to being named as the best shonen manga of 2008 by About.com; winning the 2009 Kodansha Manga Award for the best shonen manga to receiving the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation’s Industry Awards for best comedy manga, Fairy Tail has proven to be nothing short of an industry success.
This year, as it makes it inaugural transition into the anime medium, we – as fans – can expect nothing less than a comedic, action-packed masterpiece, reflective of the manga-style storytelling that made it popular from the start.
Already six episodes in, we have been whisked away into the world of Fiore where the sights and sounds from this highly popular manga have come to life. For those who are unfamiliar with this story, the concept of Fairy Tail surrounds a teenage girl named Lucy Heartfilla who is determined to join the notorious magical Fairy Tail Guild. During a daring rescue, she encounters Natsu who is part of the guild and eventually offers her a place. They become teammates performing various missions for the Fairy Tail Guild. Its perfect blend of fantasy, adventure and unusual camaraderie amongst its characters makes for an easily digestible and addictive show for fans of all ages.
Yet, Fairy Tail’s appeal extends far beyond just the storyline. As pattern and history have shown us, for every great anime storyline, an animation must have a captivating art and animation style to complement it. This anime is no exception. Utilizing colorful brushstrokes and elongated character designs, this style of animation helps focus and accent on the comedic elements while still staying true to the more shonen qualities that brings in its initial appeal. And herein lies what some may argue as its subtle brilliance.
Fairy Tail’s ability to seamlessly intertwine slapstick and witty comedic elements adds overwhelming appeal to the overall value of the anime itself. Whether it’s Happy and Natsu’s obliviousness or the Japanese-style, play-on-words jokes in the dialogue, this constant and appropriately placed humor lightens the viewing experience. Whereas many shonen series’ tend to be one-dimensional, categorizing itself as being either strictly humorous or intensely action-driven, Fairy Tail has found a happy medium between the two, making it ideal for fans looking for a little bit of both to watch.
Just like the variety of guilds in Fairy Tail, only those belonging to the Anime Membership Guild here on Crunchyroll may proceed and watch this fantastic series. Guild membership is open, if you think you’ve got what it takes and cannot wait to see what happens next on Fairy Tail!
Since as early as I can remember, there have been many shows that would depict the usage of robots such as Vicki in the live action series “Small Wonder” back in the 80s, Rosie in the cartoon “The Jetsons”, and more recently Sammy in the anime “Time of Eve”. These robots all played a significant role in the series and in most cases, became a part of the family in which they worked/lived with.
Sora No Otoshimono is one of the new fall titles on Crunchyroll that takes on a similar concept of incorporating a robot into the storyline and enters the protagonist’s life unexpectedly, determined to grant every wish of his master, Tomoki Sakurai. While having someone at your beck and call may seem like every person’s wish, especially in this case where a young man gets a beautiful young woman, sometimes, it may be more than you asked for.
Ikaros is Tomoki’s young and beautiful angeloid with an immaculate body that any young boy in the midst of puberty would die to be in her presence, and breathe the same air, as her. As for Tomoki, she falls from the sky and does anything and everything he requests of her. She has unlimited powers and can perform superhuman feats whenever requested and has a chain connected to her neck that Tomoki can use in order to keep her from going afar. She is chained to him, quite literally.
After the initial shock of having something enter your life with no explanation of how this all happened, Tomoki begins to adjust with this major change in his life especially since he is a pacifist. In the first few episodes, we already notice the flaws in robots and why they can never be on the same level as humans. Regardless of how advanced technology is, robots still fail to comprehend and lack human emotions, something that makes us different from other species. In episode 3, the word “fun” is introduced to Ikaros’ vocabulary. She goes on to try to discover the full meaning of “fun” despite her confusion and lack of understanding. She inquires if her master has fun when he’s with her and in conferring with her, her basic comprehension of “fun” becomes “Ikaros + Master = Fun”.
Ikaros does everything possible for her master but since she’s a robot, she takes everything quite literally. When asked to purchase the ingredients necessary to make curry, in addition to the vegetables that are required, when she is at the market looking for meat, she picks up a live chick because even though a chick is technically meat, some common sense would tell you that meat for tonight’s dinner would mean meat that has already been killed and packaged.
These are just some of the flaws of robots. Are human emotions and common sense things that can be taught to Ikaros over time since she is surrounded by humans? Will she be able to express and fully comprehend what it means to have fun? Watch to find out!
The setting of this anime would be all too familiar to many yuri fans. Sumika Murasame is a 15-year-old schoolgirl who’s cool and athletic. Her best friend is the adorably naïve Ushio Kazama who is surprisingly open about her sexual orientation, stating that she originally wished to go to an all girls school because of all the cute girls that would likely be there. Though she would never admit it, Sumika harbors a crush on Ushio, despite not being the cute type she normally goes for. The cast of characters for this series is also fairly expansive as is typical for many school dramas, but for the most part our focus is on our two main characters and their trials and tribulations throughout their friendship.
Now you might be wondering what sets this series apart from every other yuri school romance out there. The setup’s the same, the drama’s guaranteed, and the storylines you get from this series are fun to watch but nothing too revolutionary. But what Sasameki Koto manages to do that sets it apart from other yuri series is balance comedy and drama to give it a soft, natural feel.
By in large, yuri series tend to float into two extremes: heart-wrenchingly dramatic love stories and wacky lesbian hijinks. The former would employ long emotional monologues and tons of angst (using a ridiculously pretentious all girls school is a plus) while the latter relies on lots of fanservice, sex jokes, and the exaggerated anime emotions we’ve all come to know and love. Some yuri series even manage to mix both extremes to send the viewers on a wild and crazy emotional roller coaster, which may or may not work depending on how well it’s executed. In the case of Sasameki Koto, the writers combine the elements of comedy and drama while managing to keep everything down to earth to give it a more realistic feel. The characters you see on screen are no longer the glittering rich girls from the super exclusive all girls academy nor the sex crazed girls that are always misinterpreting everything, but rather your fellow students from your class. Sure there are some exaggerations to these characters and they do fall under the various schoolgirl types you come to expect, but they are by in large more believable than those high-class girls that are so gorgeous, rose petals and sparkles follow them everywhere.
Immediately there will be comparisons between this series and another yuri series on the site: Aoi Hana. Rightfully so, since both of these series take the refreshingly realistic route to portraying romance between girls in comparison to Maria-Sama ga Miteiru or Strawberry Panic. But while Aoi Hana is by in large a dramatic series, Sasameki Koto takes the slightly comedic route in presenting their stories. You might be thinking why some would consider Sasameki Koto a comedy since it is rarely prone to the gut-busting bursts of randomness that initially come to mind. However, the subdued realistic feel for the series help accentuate the comedic moments when they do happen, and overall in context you realize that while you might not be guffawing over sheer hilarity you would chuckle over the awkward situations.
Another aspect to note is how well integrated the idea of homosexuality is played out in this series. In many yuri series the idea of girls getting together is either never directly mentioned or played out like a shocking development. Even if lesbians are generally accepted in the context of many yuri series, it’s pushed to the extreme in which everybody in the cast is a lesbian! Sasameki Koto changes this up by telling you straight up in the first episode that Ushio is, in fact, gay, but never making it a bigger deal than most series would make it out to be. There is no shocking reaction from the rest of the cast, nor do you get the sense that the writers are afraid of saying anything of a homosexual nature. There are more lesbian characters that show up as the series progresses, but you never get the feeling that it is a completely otherworldly situation. It’s an interesting balance where being homosexual is an important aspect to the plot, but you are never bombarded with it through tons of emotional angst. Sexual orientation, like most of the other nuances about this series, is treated not as an alien concept but rather a natural fact of life, which in turn creates a refreshing story that doesn’t have to follow all the conventions a stereotypical yuri series tends to fall under.
Sasameki Koto is a good change of pace for yuri fans who are tired of seeing the same elegant upper-class academy or the obnoxiously outlandish cast. If you’re sick of hearing “gokigen yo” all the time or just don’t want to hear another breast joke amongst girls, give this series a look. It’s the kind of sweet, dramatic romance that many fans of yuri crave, but sets the tone naturally enough as to not pull you completely from reality. No need to deal with outrageously insane caricatures or learning all the rules of proper elegance. Just sit back and enjoy.
Did you know that the actor Robin Williams is an avid fan of Neon Genesis Evangelion? In One Hour Photo, his character Sy gives Jake an action figure of Eva Unit 05 (mass production unit from End of Evangelion) as a gift which was actually from his personal collection in real life.
Long story short, Tomoki's house is destroyed. Wandering aimlessly, in search of a place to stay, Tomoki and Ikaros are lent a hand by the class president, Satsukitane. Sohara and Sugata join the mix as they are invited to the home of the town's #1 big shot. They are given a warm reception. But, when they wake up in the morning, there's an angry mob with them!
Lag, as well as Niche and Steak, a strange animal that tags along with Niche, reaches the town of Kyrie where the bridge Bifrost connects to Yuusari. There they meet Nelli, who guides them to an inn to stay the night, and volunteers to take Lag's bag up to his room, but then suddenly disappears. Nelli's aim is actually to get Lag's crossing pass into Yuusari.
Word of the Day
空気読めない (pronounced koo-key-yo-meh-nai) Made popular in 2009 and is still prevalent throughout Japan, this phrase describes a person who cannot properly read a situation and handle themselves properly in a public, group setting.
In other words, people who are socially awkward are 空気読めない.
Although this is heavy in yuri themes, this is still a very enjoyable view as it throws you back in time, before the Japanese economy burst. It's crazy how a decade later things are so much different...