On November 11, 2011, we here at Crunchyroll launched our very first self-produced show that highlights the ever intertwining arenas of the anime, Asian and pop culture industry. Crunchyroll moderator keikawa – Keith Kawamura – teamed up with OtakuUSA magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Patrick Macias, host/voice actress/aspiring gamer Lisa Oh along with featured guest, and cosplayer extraordinaire Linda “Vampy” Le.
These four individuals came together – not only as a representation of the anime entertainment industry – but to bring you’re the hottest and latest things trending in the industry, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes footage!
Since then two episodes have been released live every Friday at 5:30 pm PST, and re-released for rerun on that following Sunday at 9 am PST. If you missed the first two shows, what did you really miss out on:
Some of the hottest cosplayers in the business
Interview with ViZ Media and New People Building founder: Seiji Horibuchi
6-month anime membership giveaway
Sega Shinobi game giveaway
Exclusive gaming interview with Shinobi development team
That’s just to list a few of the awesome things that went down in just TWO weeks!
But fear not, as the best is yet to come!
12/2 - Voice actress Stephanie Sheh and Star Wars: The Old Republic!
12/9 - Sailor Moon Cosplay, Tinier Me and Kotobukiya
12/16 - BIG TIME special guests that will be announced as we get closer to the date!!
If you really want to keep your fingers on the pulse of the industry and be given a free backstage pass to see the hottest things happening in the industry from the comfort of your own home, then tune into The Live Show (www.crunchyroll.com/live) every Friday at 5:30 pm PST.
Let us know who you want to see on the show, as that actors, artist, creator or whoever just might be on!
Stillness and silence but for the recital of the first half of an 800-year old poem intoned in a sing-song chant. An explosion of movement, and then all is still once again, until the next verse is read aloud.
On the surface, the game of karuta doesn’t appear to be particularly interesting or exciting, but the game’s simple nature belies the speed and intensity of competitive gameplay. The same could be said of the new show on Crunchyroll this season, Chihayafuru. On the surface, a series about the game of karuta does not sound all that compelling, but this simple premise belies the strength of the show’s artistry, characters, and storytelling.
The series opens with Chihaya’s voiceover reciting the joka, the traditional opening verse that prefaces the start of a karuta match. It’s the first day of a new school year, and there’s a rumor going around of a pedigree beauty among the first years, the sister of a famous model. Then we get to meet Chihaya Ayase – very pretty indeed, except she has no shame and no self-consciousness. Her tomboyish nature has earned her the title “Beauty in Vain,” of which she obviously has no clue.
But there is more to Chihaya’s character than just a pretty face. As the series progresses, we see also see Chihaya as headstrong and spirited, intensely loyal, and possessing a sense of fair play so profound, that as a young girl, she defied even her closest friends to defend a transfer student from bullying. And when she becomes obsessed with something, it becomes her singular goal in life, and everything she does revolves around it.
When she was in elementary school, she obsessed over her sister’s rise to fame, vowing to do everything she could to help her succeed as a top model in Japan – that is, until the transfer student she defended taught her that her dreams in life should be something she strove towards for herself, not someone else. That’s when karuta is introduced to her.
Back in the 6th grade, Arata Wataya was a quiet and withdrawn boy from Fukui. His threadbare clothes and funny accent make him the target of ridicule from the other students in their class. He expresses little interest in the things that the other kids talk about and avoids interacting with them, but when Chihaya asks him what his life’s goal is, his eyes light up and the karuta cards come out. His enthusiasm for the game is overwhelming and Chihaya can’t help but become completely mesmerized by the game. He’s a bit of a pedigree himself, as his grandfather just happens to be karuta’s meijin – the top karuta player in all of Japan. He tells Chihaya that his dream is to become a meijin as well.
Chihaya’s own passion for the game comes to the forefront in the few times they play together and her natural instincts impresses Arata so much, that he has no doubt in his mind that she will also become a great player one day. He suggests to Chihaya that she can strive become karuta’s Queen, the title given to the top female player. And, so long as karuta remains a sport that is only popular in Japan, to become the best player in Japan means to become the best in the world.
Sound familiar? You bet it is! But by keeping fanservice at a reasonable level and not letting it take over the whole production, I ended up taking the characters seriously, even in this most ridiculous of situations. While the animation was bright and clean-lined, it was somewhat generic at times, only to be spiced up by almost-theatrical quality sakuga (full-motion) animation during fights.
Ichigo and Chad rush to find Orihime, who they believe may be in danger. Meanwhile, Orihime attempts to stop Tsukishima from leaving the scene, but is instead stabbed by his Fullbring power, “Book of The End.”
With the arrival of fall, the students of Homare High School busy themselves with preparations for the cultural festival. Class representative and student council president Kaname runs around, trying to stay on top of all his responsibilities. When Chizuru and Yuki goof off, Kaname's annoyance reaches its peak, and Kaname realizes he's forgotten to prepare an important item for the festival.
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