We've got some great news: CR will be featuring a live streaming of the Hangry and Angry's concert in Shibuya this week! Here's your chance to see them live without having to fly all the way over to Japan! Stay tuned for more details.
Also, we would like to congratulate the winners of the Nogizaka Haruka Writing contest: mistersaxon, KookieKrazy and Xaldan8. It took us quite some time to decide on our winners after receiving so many great entries! We chose to feature our favorite article out of the three winners here in the newsletter and hope you guys will all enjoy it too!
You know, I used to be afraid. When I was little I was afraid of lots of things: bullies, homework, being left out of stuff, school sports days, as well as the usual stuff like werewolves (always a problem round here). vampires, ghosts and big scary dogs.
Of course, when I was afraid no-one ever came over to me and gave me comics to make me happy. I mean, why would they? I was just a dumpy little kid who was afraid! If anyone had been bothered to come over to me they would, undoubtedly, have taken the opportunity to give me a slap and tell me to pull myself together. My life was, in a nutshell, harsh.
By contrast Haruka's life is one of luxury. Pampered, waited-on, surrounded by the finest and the best that her family's considerable fortune can buy, she doesn't seem like she has much to fear. And yet, we see her creeping along, with a hidden secret in her closet, terrified that anyone would find out. Of course if someone found out it would spell disaster for her, but luckily for Haruka, Yuuto is not a your typical young man. He doesn't judge or condemn, he doesn't gloat or manipulate. In some sense it's almost like he doesn't even care!
So here we have the ordinary and the extra-ordinary side by side. A pampered heiress, world-class pianist, bright, beautiful and utterly unobtainable to mortals yet she keeps a secret that, let's face it, almost everyone on Crunchyroll shares to some degree. She is an otaku! She is addicted to these cartoons that are widely regarded as either juvenile or perverted or both. Of course we see so much more in them than what the world sees: humour, love, honour, trust, friendship, danger, excitement, bravery and - quite often - the guy getting the girl of his dreams. To love such things is normal to us and Haruka herself is quite ordinary in her liking. Is it possible for anyone NOT to like Haruka? Especially here on Crunchyroll, a place where she, if anyone, should have a membership!
But she is afraid. Before, when her secret was discovered and she had to pay a heavy price. The judgement of her peers was swift and cruel and she was left, friendless and alone, convicted but not convinced, still in love with her beloved anime and manga. And when all else had left her and this is how we find her, guiltily borrowing her beloved books from the school library.
This is where her life crosses with Yuuto of course. In spite of all her perfection she is still a normal girl and even a little clumsy: she trips, spills out her secret and then flees in terror. All Yuuto knows is that Haruka is afraid - he simply has no idea about why. How is this possible? Again, we have the extraordinary alongside the ordinary. How has he, alone of all his friends (the ones who aren't otaku themselves) managed to avoid judging those who like anime and manga? Is it his friend Nobunaga who has shown him that this is simply a hobby? Maybe not! Nobunaga has shown all of us that this hobby can cross quickly to obsession and we all understand this. But Yuuto doesn't judge and Haruka's secret is in safe hands.
As time passes we see that they are a couple who are, perhaps, destined to meet. We like this - we approve of it. We wish they would just realise it themselves as well - they are so oblivious sometimes!
But here is the question that the series asks us - gently and quietly - as is its way: how often have we been afraid to admit out liking for our anime and manga? How often have we felt that the rest of the world looks at our books and music and pictures and figurines and judges us because of it? How many of US have hidden a comic or denied our otaku selves in order to not be thought weird or worse? How many of us have been like Haruka? How many of us have longed for a friend like Yuuto who would simply not judge us for it?
Where I live I don't know of anyone who likes anime and manga. I'm sure there are people who do but I never see them - they are as hidden as I am. As an older fan of these things I know that I am expected to have put such things away a long time ago. I still have my subscription to 2000AD (an awesome Sci-Fi and Fantasy comic that has been going for about 30 years now) and I have my drawer full of DVDs and manga. I play some of my music in the car (my kids think it’s odd but not too awful), wear my MegaTokyo hoodie with pride (no-one knows what it means), read Siku's Manga Bible even (amazing artwork!).
But unlike Haruka I still keep my secret to myself and I am still afraid.
When people throw around the term “gateway drug” what they’re referring to is a subcategory of less harmful illegal substances such as beer and cigarettes that when used on a constant basis will cause the user to later turn toward more potent drugs such as heroin and cocaine. While many people contest that such a concept is true, for the sake of discussion allow me to run with this theory for now.
What makes gateway drugs so effective mainly lie in the fact that they are easily available to the public while at the same time only slightly altering the body when they’re ingested so that the user is not overwhelmed by the experience. In the same light, here in the world of anime and manga, we have series that can be considered “Gateway Anime”; shows that can easily be acquired by the masses and contain stories and animation techniques that show an accurate representation of the genre without drowning a new viewer with an overabundance of anime quirkiness. After going through the entire fifty-episode series of Eureka 7 in little less than a week, I can safely say that this show has all the markings of a great entry level anime.
Eureka 7 tells the story of a boy named Renton Thurston, a typical fourteen year old boy whose only escape in life is refboarding and reading about the escapades of his favorite refboarding idol in an independent magazine Ray=Out. Suddenly, his mundane life is shattered when a giant robot (known as LFOs) crash lands at his grandfather’s workshop. As the pilot hatch opens Eureka is seen for the first time, Renton is immediately smitten with a strong case of puppy love and the events of Eureka 7 begin.
While Eureka 7 is a series where almost all the action is carried out by giant robots, to say that the show is just a mecha anime would be such a disservice to the series. Eureka 7 effectively mixes multiple genres: action, drama, humor and romance to create an emotionally packed experience. Themes such as self-expression, national loyalty, religious theology and the power of mass media are wonderfully executed in the show making it a much deeper experience than if it were about robots fighting other robots.
What makes Eureka 7 a great entry level anime is that it carries out such a grand plot with a level head. Everything in Eureka 7 is played straight and feels natural. Renton’s efforts to get Eureka to notice him feel real while the questioning of conventional science through the use of religion is presented in a way that’s anything but pretentious. Eureka 7 does a great job of showing people how deep and emotionally captivating anime as a medium can truly be without shoving its message down our throats.
However if there is one overarching that that pushes Eureka 7 above and beyond the realm of generic action anime, it’s grand testament to the power of love. Throughout the show the viewer is introduced to a wide assortment of types of love and all its stages. Eureka 7 has characters falling in love, characters finding love, characters afraid of love, characters who love the planet and seek forth to protect it, characters loving their hobbies and others loving their religion. In the realm of Eureka 7 love is by far just as powerful as the LFOs and just like its other themes, the constant preaching of the emotion’s power is handled with a level head and doesn’t feel sappy.
Ask anyone who’s already seen the show in its entirety to name a single part that was their favorite and they’d be hard pressed to answer. A great tribute to Eureka 7’s mastery of storytelling is how tightly paced the tale was at fifty episodes. Simply put, each episode has something significant going on whether it be story exposition, character development or just a crazy action scene, if Eureka 7 isn’t grabbing you with its visuals its doing so through its characters and story. You see every triumph, stumble and tragedy in Renton’s journey with Eureka and there’s little room for boredom to set in as you’re constantly wondering what will happen next.
Unlike gateway drugs, Eureka 7 is safe, legal but no less potent. With its rich characters and richer story, you can bet that this show has the potential to hook both new and old anime fans alike.
You have just been told that you are to become the new Leader of a crime syndicate; in addition, you are to be taught in the ways of the mafia by a psychotic infant. There are two plausible scenarios which have just taken place; you are having a complete psychotic breakdown, or your name is Tsuna Sawada. Welcome to the chaotic and exhilarating world of “Katekyo Hitman Reborn!”
“Drawing Days”, by J-Pop band Splay, is the opening song of the Shonen anime title “Katekyo Hitman Reborn!”, or just “Reborn!”, as it is known amongst English audiences. “Reborn!” tells the story of the young Tsunayoshi “Tsuna” Sawada, and the incomprehensible situation he finds himself in. After being told that he is the successor to the leadership of the Vongola Mafia Crime Family, Tsuna is given a tutor to teach him the ways of a respectable syndicate leader. This tutor is the diminutive, infant Reborn, the Vongola Family’s most revered hitman. And so follows your typical supernatural, action, mafia-comedy.
“Drawing Days” as a singular entity tells the story of personal resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity. Despite the hardships one may endure, one must continue to “keep drawing”. The song’s joyful tone helps encapsulate the comedic and jovial element of “Reborn!”, while its self-aware lyrics carry a strong theme of personal advancement that is present in the series.
This contrast is equally prevalent in both “Drawing Days” and “Reborn!” providing the audience with a deep, engaging piece, that can still serve as an enjoyable treat.
In addition to “Drawing Days”, Splay also contributed the third ending song of “Reborn!”; “Echo Again”. Splay formed in Osaka, and have released one live and two studio albums.
“Drawing Days” adequately complements the themes and tone of “Reborn!”, while serving as an enjoyable piece of music in its own right. Most importantly, “Drawing Days” is the kind of theme that causes the viewer to sing along, with their head bopping mindlessly from side to side.
Did you know that Rumiko Takahashi, author of works like Ranma 1/2, Inuyasha, and Urusei Yatsura, is the world's best selling female manga-ka with over 170 million copies of her work sold worldwide. She is also one of the most affluent people in Japan.
The Taka split up with the Akatsuki to hunt down the remaining Tailed Beast. At the Land of Lightning they go up against Killer Bee, whose attack utilizing Lightning Style and seven blades proves to be more than a match for them.
The entrance ceremony for Raira Academy. The students' varied mix of emotions swell. As they prepare for the new journey that lays before them, some meekly introduce themselves. One says he's quitting school even though they've just begun. A seat where he should be sitting sits empty. Amidst all this, Kamichika Rio is there. A girl with a dark side to her. A crack suddenly opens atop this otherwise normal world. The girl who spots this should have died two days prior.
Anzu, Koume, and Hiiragi are excitedly discussing Koume's pet rabbit when second year Sunflower Class student Kenji shows up. He taunts Koume, claiming rabbits die from loneliness. When Koume is on the verge of tears, the knowledgeable Hiiragi saves the day, correcting Kenji's “facts” one after another. Kenji presents Hiirage with a challenge to settle their know-it-all battle once and for all.
Word of the Day
婚活 (pronounced: cone-kah-tsu): This word is short for kekkon katsudou. This phrase encompasses the idea that younger people are getting more and more aware about getting married these days.