Count 'em. 22. In blackjack that would be a bust. But here, 22 simulcasts means 22 new episodes airing every week - more than any where else! But aside from that we've been developing some great new editions to the site, like our news tab that brings you not only the lastest anime news, but pop culture news as well from around the internet. The new Buzz section that lets YOU the user add to Crunchyroll! Check it out and let us know what you think!
Let’s get one thing straight: despite its title, SKET Dance has nothing to do with a dance group rising to the top nor does it have anything to do with hip-hop music in general. Rather the name comes from the SKET-Dan, or campus support club, of Kaimei High. Unfortunately nobody takes the club seriously since it really only comprises of three rather eccentric friends who are desperately looking for new problems to fix. Sound familiar? It probably is, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ride.
First penned by Kenta Shinohara in July 2007, SKET Dance is an ongoing slice of life story serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump. The series remained consistently popular with young readers and even won the 55th Shogakukan Manga Award for best Shonen Manga of 2010 It’s no wonder then that Tatsunoko saw its potential and decided to grant SKET Dance its own animated series.
To make a long story short, SKET Dance is an episodic series that consists of self-contained 22 minute stories. Our heroes get an unlikely client and throughout their wacky exploits they seek to resolve the case. Sure there are some overarching elements that tie everything together such as recurring students and Sket-dan’s rivalry with the student council, but luckily one doesn’t have to watch the episodes from beginning to end to appreciate the series. At times, there might not even be a case to solve and thus we get to look further into the lives of our heroes, and it’s these moments of character that truly sell the show.
Our heroes consist of three major members of SKET Dance: the reckless yet insightful Bossun, the sweet yet hotheaded Himeko, and Switch, the brainy guy that only talks through his laptop. There’s no question that their extreme personalities are the core of the series, and it becomes even more intriguing once the audience gets to learn the personal back-story of each protagonist. While this is something that the anime won’t get to for a good while, it adds a certain amount of depth that ensures that as comedic as our heroes are, they are much more than most anime series that uses stock characters for one-personality gags and little else. They may not look like the whacked out, cosplayable anime characters most anime fans are accustomed to, but their eccentric personalities are more than enough to win you over.
If there’s one more thing I can say about this series, it would be its surprisingly balanced sense of humor and drama that manages to reach beyond just hardcore anime fans and could easily appeal to those who only want a casual series to get into. Yes this series has cartoonish characters set in the most typical anime high school setting one can think of, but underneath that there’s a sense of realistic drama that many audience members can relate to. It is rather difficult to explain, but the characters of SKET-Dance easily feel like the guy or girl you know from school with a couple of personality quirks here and there and the situations feel like ones that real people run into at high school.
It’s a warm, clear day, and you’re chatting with your classmates about the upcoming trip to Deadman Wonderland, the prison where prisoners must perform dangerous circus acts for the park goers. It’s a perfectly normal day. All is well.
That is, until a mysterious man known as the Red Man floats through the window and brutally massacres everyone in the room but you, not sparing the least bit of sympathy for you when he rips off your friend’s head. He does, however, leave you a red jewel stuffed in your chest as a present.
That sums up the first three minutes of Deadman Wonderland, a dark, but fresh addition to Crunchyroll, and it doesn’t stop there. In the next seven minutes, protagonist Ganta Igarashi is charged with the murder of his classmates, framed, tried, sentenced to death, and is sent to Deadman Wonderland.
Now he has to attempt to survive the prison and its games while searching for the Red Man. It’s safe to say that Deadman Wonderland will pull out everything it has to suck the viewer into its world. With brilliant originality; an intensely fast-paced, yet well executed plot; and one of the most chilling atmospheres in an anime, Deadman Wonderland is the perfect anime to watch to get your heart racing.
You know Deadman Wonderland is different from regular anime when you see a crazed prisoner holding a fellow inmate hostage for the sake of a piece of candy. In the privately owned Deadman Wonderland, death row inmates have to eat a special piece of candy every three days or face an execution through the means of poison. The results of the poison-induced death aren’t exactly beautiful either; blood spilling from the whites of someone’s eyes is never a pretty sight. Deadman Wonderland pushes the limits of human rights by making prisoners compete in coliseum-like battles that include trials such as avoiding blades swinging from above and choosing the right bungee cord, the wrong one resulting in one smashing into the ground and, obviously, dying. There is also an interesting element of magic where Ganta can actually control his own blood; he manages to save himself from being crushed by a falling building by surrounding himself in his own blood. While perhaps just a little bit gruesome, it’s quite intriguing and mysterious. Deadman Wonderland’s originality makes one wonder just how far is too far when punishing a prisoner, a prisoner who might actually be innocent?
Besides its originality, the way Deadman Wonderland’s plot is executed is quite astounding. Deadman Wonderland wastes no time in its storytelling, but it doesn’t get too far ahead of itself that the average viewer falls behind. The first ten minutes alone tell the long tale of Ganta’s trials before being sent to prison, and they do this with passionate cruelty. It is so utterly intense, but it could have failed miserably in the hands of another company. This anime just refuses to drag behind, never wasting a precious second of animation time. By using comic relief through secondary characters, it doesn’t get too heavy with violence and dark themes for long and achieves a certain balance. It executes its plot with such cold brutality that sometimes one may wonder if Ganta really is insane instead of his world. Such a question brings a new, enigmatic dimension to Deadman Wonderland.
It is this plot execution and originality that all lead up to the all-encompassing, most amazing thing about Deadman Wonderland: the atmosphere. Deadman Wonderland has the wonderful ability to control its atmosphere with incredible ease and usually creates a haunting atmosphere full of dread. Within the first seconds is a simple scene of friends chatting in their classroom, but there is something in that scene, something intangible that makes such a light scene feel ominous. Just moments after that scene, the mood completely changes to being sickeningly gory and horrific, and the transition between the two is seamless. Nothing is added to Deadman Wonderland just to take up time, and in combination with its fast-pace, everything just seems to make the audience breathless. The instance where the father of one of several of Ganta’s murdered friends screams at him for taking his daughter away when the audience knows Ganta was framed is bone-chillingly haunting. It seems like every element of Deadman Wonderland has been meticulously added in for a specific purpose, and they all blend to create the perfect, adrenaline-inducing anime.
In the end, though the abundance of blood and gore may be shocking to the faint of heart, Deadman Wonderland is one of the freshest, most unique anime of 2011. Say goodbye to overused plots about teenage romance and battles, and say hello to an anime that provides heaps of originality, amazing plot pacing, and a chilling atmosphere that will leave you stunned even when it’s all over.
First, it was totally worth the wait and secondly, it seamlessly picks up right where we left off and as thrown us into some hilarious and captivating story loops.
For those who are new to the series: shame on you. Watch the first season RIGHT NOW and you’ll know why this is such an awesome series. Should you not have the time and want to jump right into the second season, here’s what you missed so far:
Keima receives an e-mail offering him a contract to "capture" girls. When he accepts it thinking it is an invitation to a game play, a demon from hell nicknamed Elsee shows up. She asks for his cooperation to help her in hunting evil spirits on the run. These spirits hide themselves inside the lonely girls' heart, and Elsee suggests that the only way to force the spirits out is to "capture" their hearts, by making them fall in love and filling up the hollows which the runaway spirits hide in. Just the kind of job for the Divine Capturer!
Interested only in 2D girls, however, Keima is appalled by the idea and refuses the assignment. He has no romantic real life experiences whatsoever. Nevertheless, with the contract already executed, Keima has no choice but to help Elsee no matter what; if they fail, it is Elsee and Keima who will lose their heads!
In the first season, we saw Keima apply his gaming knowledge to capture a good number of souls in a comically warming fashion. Second season doesn’t disappoint and with the first two episodes: “Flower in Bloom” and “Problem Solved by the Fist.”
While this scenario is no different, what’s truly amazing about this first season is how quickly we are captivated by Keima’s approach. I personally got butterflies in my stomach as I was talking to the monitor, trying to encourage both sides to find the point of resolve. It’s that engaging.
Now the section chief has arrived, and I can already tell that this season is going to be one wild ride – at least for Keima!
The Thirteen Court Guard Squads who attacked Ichigo and Rukia in the Soul Society are revealed to be imposters known as Reigai, who have switched places with their originals. Thanks to the work of Mayuri, the real captains and lieutenants are rescued from the Precipice World, and they all regroup in the World of the Living to discuss how to deal with this new crisis. Meanwhile, to help Nozomi feel welcomed, Ichigo and the others decide to host a barbecue party, when Nozomi suddenly runs off.
Vowing to become an exorcist, Rin is taken to True Cross Academy by the mysterious Mephisto, a friend of their late father. Later, Rin heads to the Exorcist Cram School, as Mephisto warns: “You must keep that you’re the son of Satan confidential.”
Did you know that Nobuyuki Hiyama is best known for his roles as hot blooded heroes such as Gai Shishioh from GaoGaiGar and Viral from Gurren Lagann. He's also the official "voice" of Link, the silent protagonist of the Legend of Zelda.