Hey everyone, it's hard to believe that we're already nearing the half-way point for the Winter 2013 season! Things have been crazy with our new simulcasts and catalog titles, as well as our awesome contests! Be sure to check out our Weekly Caption Contests for a chance to win a 90-day Premium Membership! Lastly, this month's Catalog Spotlight is on one of the first Crunchyroll Simulcast titles ever, Time of Eve! For just this month, ALL members can watch all 6 episodes, so don't miss the opportunity to catch this wonderfully-animated and well-written masterpiece!
One of the things that really struck me about Time of Eve was just how well it was able to blend both drama and humor together in a perfect balance, with both the cinematic camera angles and music contributing a great deal to setting the right tone and mood. The series is on the shorter side, with 6 episodes of 14-16 minutes each, except for the last episode, which was a longer 27 minutes. That being said, the format works really well, and it feels like a succession of short films, which actually follow each other very nicely, instead of being one of those works where the timeline is all out of order and you have to sort of guess where each episode fits in with the others.
Obviously, the themes of man vs. machine and AI are prominent throughout the whole story, but it's approached in a surprisingly casual and easy to digest manner. It certainly does make you think on the subject of just what it means to be human, but it doesn't delve so deep or try to hammer home a point so much so that it takes away from simply enjoying the story. If anything, it has a tendency to interrupt the dramatic and tense moments with some very well-timed comedic moments, complete with the music either starting or stopping right when the mood changes, and the appropriate camera pans and zooms at those moments.
Voice acting is superb throughout the series, with Jun Fukuyama as the lead character, Rikuo, Kenji Nojima as his best friend Masaki, and Rie Tanaka as Rikuo's household android, Sammy. The supporting cast is just as impressive, featuring Yukana as Akiko, one of the cafe regulars, and Tomokazu Sugita as another frequent customer, Setoro.
Time is Eve is available to all Crunchyroll members WORLDWIDE excluding Japan. Many thanks to our partners at Pied Piper for letting us make ALL 6 episodes available for EVERYONE (yes, that means free users as well!) for this month's catalog spotlight, until February 28, 2013, 11:59:59pm PST!
For those of you who wish to own the series to re-watch whenever the mood strikes, you can also buy the Blu-Ray release of all 6 episodes from the official website: timeofeve.com/e/ (for US, Canada, EU)
So if you who haven't seen this amazing series before, go and check it out before the month is up! And if you love it as much as I did, be sure to tell them on their Facebook page and Twitter @TimeofEve1!
About a week ago, I participated in an anime marathon where a friend and I watched at least the first three episodes of every new anime currently out this season. The one I deemed to be “The Hidden Masterpiece” of the season was Kotoura-San. This emotional roller coaster hit me like a wall. I began this journey completely blind, having never heard of the series before, and I was in for a treat. I didn't believe there was any show, live action or animated, that could touch my heart in a mere ten minutes. I'm glad I didn't bet on it, because this was the one.
Many anime have been centered around teens or kids with special abilities. However, very few relate so well to real life. Kotoura-San takes an extremely realistic approach to the idea of growing up with an ability such as mind-reading. We do not typically think of how people would react to someone who could do something like read minds for example. This has to be my favorite aspect of the anime. It's REALISM. Of course, it wouldn't be a slice of life anime without plenty of humor to relieve the tension. The main male character, Manabe, brings plenty of comedy into the picture with his constant perverted thoughts towards Kotoura. The characters are all quite unique and have very defining personalities, which will make learning each of their stories quite entertaining. The artwork, like many of the other titles this season, is simply magnificent.
Dai Loli storms into the room, grabbing everyone's attention and slams his palm on the whiteboard. He repeats the topic sentence written on it in a loud, commanding tone: "How do you write a review about the second season of an anime that essentially has no plot?"
A deafening silence echoes through the room. He crosses his arms, eyes closed and adopts a haughty pose: "Simple, you remind them why they loved the first season and reel them in for a second helping!". His audience stands up, "ohhs" and claps excitedly.
Truth is, I don't think the CR Newsletter ever had a review up for the first season of this anime, it must have crept through the cracks mid-season, so I'm doubly concerned about you guys missing out on it! I remember my initial contact with Student Council's Discretion's (a.k.a Seitokai No Ichizon) first season. I was discussing the new season's offerings with a friend and he was telling me there was an anime that took place entirely within a single room; the student council's room. My interest piqued, I gave Seitokai No Ichizon a try and was rewarded with a memorable satire of otaku culture and a timeless cast of characters.
At Hekiyou Academy, the members of the student council are elected through a popularity contest, which basically means they're all cute girls... all but the vice-president, the sole male of the council. Why? Because the top scoring student of each year gets to decide if he wants the extra seat, and Ken Sugisaki definitely wanted that prized spot.
After this first unusually dramatic episode, though, things finally settle back down into tried and true territory with the daily discussions of the student council. Practically every episode starts with the president, Kurimu Sakurano, loudly proclaiming the day's topic and/or task coupled with a sage saying such as "Those who do not act will not find true happiness!" and basically, things go from there. Of course, you can count on the topic to quickly derail into WTF and TMI territory rather quickly.
Next, Kurimu Sakurano, the president, looks and acts like a little girl even though she's a senior, but her ego is through the roof and she often acts arrogantly. Ken never misses a chance to make fun of her flat chest and her immature behavior. She is the official loli of the group and her heartfelt desire to be considered mature always leads to amusing quips from the council.
Meanwhile, Chizuru Akaba, the secretary, stands on the opposite end of the spectrum as the well-endowed, mature, serious beauty... at least on the surface. Sadistic, blackmailer, coercing and showing tendencies to treat Kurimu as her pet, the gang knows to watch what they say around her.
Minatsu Shiina, vice-president, is the tomboy character. Always going off about shounen manga and sports on top of having slight violence issues. She particularly excels at putting Ken back in his place.
Lastly, Mafuyu Shiina, Minatsu's sister and treasurer is the gentle, tranquil character that talks about herself in third person... Also, she's a ferocious fujoshi. In fact, she is the embodiment of the gaming and BL (boys love) otakus, always carrying doujins or portable consoles around. She often surpasses even Ken in her perversion.
Seitokai No Ichizon's way of having characters that squarely fall into known tropes turns into its greatest strength by constantly making fun of itself and breaking the fourth wall. The council makes fun of the script, the screen time they get in each episode and other popular animes, it even dedicates a whole episode on "giving attention to supporting characters"! Not only this, but it succeeds in the most crucial aspect of what makes a comedy anime stand out: impeccable timing and delivery. Jokes will come out of nowhere, and they will hit you hard.
And in the midst of all the insanity, the anime surprises us with fleeting moments of genius character development told through some intimate discussions between the characters, supplying a very welcome stream of romance and drama in an otherwise simple comedy / parody setting. One minute you're crying tears of laughter, the next you're shedding a tear after an unexpectedly heartwarming scene sweeps you away. I also liked the attention given on how even though their arguments tend to get rather heated, they're always really just playing around, a testament to just how strong their bond is. Never taking center stage for too long but instead co-existing in harmony with the humor, the drama in Seitokai No Ichizon strengthens everything about it.
As an added plus for watching it on Crunchyroll, it seems new panorama images of the group in all manners of parody costumes and settings have been added to the ending credits of most episodes. I'm not sure what the story is behind those, but they definitely weren't in the original broadcasts I watched and are a nice touch!
So there you have it, Student Council's Discretion Level 2 is laugh-out-loud funny, 4th wall breaking, filled with otaku satire and surprisingly touching, just like the first season! Enjoy it for the first time or join the group again for some good times before they graduate. Topic closed!
So the side story to the moe mahjong mayhem that started nearly a year ago gets its long awaited "round two" of sorts - a continuation to a season that was cut midway through and caught us all off guard. But to the nay sayers who had reservations for cheering on the Achiga bench this time around, be in doubt no longer. The succeeding episodes of the show, now premiering at an episode a month due to storyline constraints in the existing manga, are twice as immersive, twice as engaging, and twice as impressive as anything that came before it. Finally, we're treated to a closer introspection into the characters of not just the Achiga all girls school, but the rival schools as well. All of this is blended together in a well-tempered balance of competitive gameplay and character development that, by far, surpasses even the original first season that aired nearly four years ago.
But wait - did you just say one episode a month? What gives?
There are logistical reasons behind the big gaps. For one thing, the manga is progressing at a rate wherein content is not being released fast enough for shows to be made from it. The implications of this (besides annoyance in waiting) is that this will make room for speculations. Speculations are a good thing - because that means we'll be left thinking. Second, this means more time to scrutinize. Speculation and scrutiny are certainly two things that can make you keep a grip on a show - but has Saki made enough wiggle room within our hearts to keep us attached to it despite the month-long hiatus in between episodes?
Most definitely it has. I say this with a burning passion - more so with the roll out of the first two episodes that continue directly from the previous season. Starting with the second round in the semifinals of the national tournament, Yuu Matsumi goes up against Shiraitodai's Sharpshooter Sumire Hirose, gracefully dodging her attacks and embracing the viewer with the warmth of her skill and experience. In the following match, Ako Atarashi puts her own speed play to the test as she's challenged to finish all the rounds as quickly as possible, or else face the danger of giving Shiraitodai's Takami Shibuya the chance of scoring a "Hand of God" - a Yakuman scored at the very start of the round. And things don't stop there - the episode goes on to reveal a very delayed character treatment for Arata Sagimori as we finally get a hint on her style of play and the things that drive her.
This is where speculation comes in. With a month in between, we're left to wonder what weight out own personal attachments would have in determining what team we'd actually root for come the finals. At the end of the day, only one team will win - and with such excellent character development at play, the drama will be all the more intense when a team that we have learnt to sympathize and even empathize with turns out to be the loser in the end. For this reason, I curse the creators for having made the show so immersive and engaging. Had it been something more direct to the point like the competition found in shows like Slam Dunk! and the like, I probably would have just bat an eyelash at the whole thing, altogether. Saki, on the other hand, begs one to choose - almost painfully so - making it nothing less than an intense experience.
But that's what makes the show beautiful. Again, we're reminded of the bittersweet nature of competition. In the end, someone has to go - and the question now is who will that be?
So, are you ready to give the Achiga girls a second chance this time around? Sure, there will be some lull time between the episodes, but that means more time to brush up on your mahjong till the next torrent of mahjong mayhem comes around. You'll be needing it at the technical pace that the show is moving at - but when we're talking about moe girls playing mahjong and tossing tiles around like there's no tomorrow - definitely, there is no excuse in the world NOT to get your mahjong on. Now roll that dice and play on!
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NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Episode 299: The Acknowledged One
Itachi uses the ultimate genjutsu technique Koto Amatsukami to free himself from the Reanimation Jutsu. Itachi then joins Naruto and Killer Bee to fight Nagato, who is still under Kabuto’s control.
Hunter x Hunter Episode 65: Evil Fist X And Rock, Paper, Scissors!
After hearing Bisky's lecture on rock-paper-scissors, Gon decides to work on a special technique modeled off of rock-paper-scissors by using Enhancer, Emitter, and Conjurer abilities. Meanwhile, Killua leaves the game temporarily to take the Hunter Exam. While he's gone, Gon and Bisky find learn about the Bomber's most recent attack.
Amnesia Episode 5: V
Heroine is confused on why she was sent back in time. Orion appears before trying to explain but disappears before she is able to understand.
Kotoura-San Episode 5: School Paradise?
Kotoura is back, the ESP club has gained a new member, and it’s party time at Kotoura’s new apartment. Everything is coming up Kotoura; that is until she learns about the upcoming sports festival.