"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." While typically and incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain, the essence of the message is probably truer than its attribution.
That said, Tuesday, July 31 defied the famous quote and presented an atypically warm and sunny San Francisco summer day. Hardly ever do the summers around these parts plateau and hover around a manageable 72 degrees. Perfect weather for taking a long lunch, catching some precious Vitamin D, or taking off of work to take advantage of this meteorological anomaly.
However, while many did just that and were out and about enjoying this unusually beautiful weather, the whole Crunchyroll office was cooped up inside, astir with anxious anticipation as to whether or not the Crunchyroll/PS3™ application was going to go live.
To celebrate its release, Crunchyroll is currently offering a special 30-day free trial for PS3 users who download the application from the PlayStation®Network. The Crunchyroll application for the PS3 system will initially be available in English for U.S. and Canadian audiences. Anime fans in those areas will be able to enjoy the latest Anime shows with subtitles within hours of Japan TV broadcast!
Now users are able to view all their favorite content on a laundry list of devices starting from the actual Crunchyroll site to iPad and iPhone applications, the Android application, Windows Phone, Google TV, Roku, Boxee, Vizio VIA, WD TV Live, and additional set-top channels. That's a whole lot of places. Now with the crowning cherry on top - PS3™ - joining the list of places where you can enjoy all your favorite Anime content, there are few places left where you can't watch all this amazing content. Honestly, why would you want to go anywhere else?
Yes, good fortune incandescently beamed on San Francisco that day, blanketing it with probably the most beautiful day its seen in a long time. The weather was perfect. The hometown baseball team won. Award-winning food trucks bustled throughout the thorough ways filling the city air with appetizing aromas. And the free Crunchyroll application was released. Spectacular is the only way to describe the day.
For millions of Anime fans residing elsewhere in the world, it felt like they too were right here in the midst of this spectacularly atypical San Francisco day, to share this day with us as we all hit the download button and opened up the home screen to our favorite show.
Both of these conditions were met, and I got to see new leading man Ryunosuke Ibuki get kicked around by heartless loyalist samurai before being saved by Serizawa Kamo, the rowdiest and most outspoken founder of the group that would eventually become the Shinsengumi.
In a way, starting with this series is better than starting with the original Hakuouki -- Hakuouki Remeiroku is a prequel series, and focuses on how the lowly Mibu Roshigumi eventually changed into the powerful and feared Shinsengumi. Political maneuvering and vicious action collide as the leaders of the Roshigumi must put up with Serizawa’s very public antics and a civil war that will soon tear the country apart.
Even with that hilarious little surprise, Hakuouki Remeiroku has beautiful animation and seems to be building toward an intense confrontation -- after all, Serizawa Kamo was murdered, and his co-founders took over the Shinsengumi in his place. Is that where the series is headed? Watch Hakuouki Remeiroku to find out!
The moeblob qualities of K-On!, the slice of life everyday conversations of Minami-ke, the all-girls camaraderie of Ichigo Mashimaro, the yuri (or in non-weeaboo terms: lesbian) undertones of Softenni and the running gags of Working!, Yuru Yuri takes all of this, blends it a bit, adds a sprinkle of Nichijou absurdity and serves us a tantalizing dish with a unique taste that stands out on its own. It will however likely leave a bitter aftertaste for viewers expecting anything but a laid-back comedy with a healthy serving of moe.
Yuru Yuri's strengths lie in its characters and situations. Every girl has her thing: Akari is a pure, cute girl but has no presence due to her typical personality, Chinatsu is openly infatuated with Yui, Kyoko is clueless, hyperactive and spontaneous, Yui is the straight (wo)man, Ayano plays the tsundere secretly in love with Kyoko, Chitose puts on a kind, gentle act but explodes with yuri fantasies whenever her glasses come off and so on. Although this would seem like it would make them uni-dimensional characters, the intricate web of different relationships between the girls and situations they are placed in gives way for endless variations and amusing turn-outs, even if these situations happen to be everyday conversations.
If I could name the main thing that hurts Yuru Yuri, though, it would definitely be its inconsistency. I remember going through the first season last year and being THIS close to dropping it, since most of the episodes were mainly consisting of endearing moments of deep friendship and light gags that made me all warm inside but couldn't really do more than put a smile on my face. Remembering the few strokes of genius of the last couple of episodes, though, I decided to suck it up and kept going... only to be completely floored by the last few episodes with skits that still make me chuckle a year later. Season two seems to be afflicted with the same symptoms so far, kicking it off with a stellar, flawless first episode followed by two comparatively uneventful episodes that drop down the pace multiple notches.
Also, as a less concerning dash of salt on its sweet taste (didn't think I'd come back to the food metaphor did you?), the anime seems to underestimate the importance of knowing the characters to fully appreciate the running gags in its second season, taking little time to properly detail what makes them tick and thus making some great gags fall flat since first time viewers will likely not get why that joke just now was hilarious. Case in point: the entire first half of the first episode assumes the viewer knows Akari doesn't usually get all the attention. I wouldn't go as far as to say watching the first season is mandatory to your enjoyment as you'll likely quickly catch on to the girls' characteristics, but I would definitely recommend it.
In short, Yuru Yuri is a relaxing feel good anime with the added bonus of great humor when it sets its mind to it. If the second season can learn from the mistakes of the past and step up its game to balance humor, slice of life and moe with the right pacing, it could definitely earn its place among the best offerings this summer!
Kankuro’s Commando Unit is cornered by Hanzo’s poison attack. Fortunately, Mifune and his Fifth Company arrive in time to provide assistance.
NARUTO SPIN-OFF: ROCK LEE AND HIS NINJA PALS Episode 18
The Leaf Village is holding a fireworks show, including a contest to see which ninja can make the biggest boom. Guy-sensei orders Lee to win at any cost! After the fireworks show, Tenten starts acting strange. Neji and Lee set her up for numerous punchlines, but she just doesn't seem to want to play the part this week.