Happy Spring everyone and hope you've all been enjoying the beginning of the Spring 2013 season! The biggest news of all, which some of you may already know, is that Crunchyroll will be streaming the heavily-anticipated show of the season, Attack on Titan! Be sure to catch it every Sunday at noon Pacific Time on Crunchyroll at www.crunchyroll.com/titan! Also, for the latest updates, news, and special announcements, don't forget to follow us on all of our socialmediaoutlets!
Now that our Spring 2013 lineup has been revealed, which show are you enjoying the most? (Hint: It starts with "Attack" and ends with "Titan") Don't forget to keep your eyes glued to Crunchyroll as we still have catalog announcements on the way! *Note* All times below are listed in Pacific Time.
To start off, Attack on Titan is already based off of an award-winning manga of the same name, created by Hajime Isayama. The plot is set in a world where humanity has been hunted to the brink of extinction by giants, called "titans", and the surviving population remains within a territory guarded by three massive walls. Humanity has remained safe for the past 100 years, but of course the titans manage to invade, and now humanity is once again fighting for its very survival.
I have to say, for a series labelled as "shounen", Attack on Titan really feels more like a seinen series to me, from the serious atmosphere to the more realistic art style. It's certainly not an action/adventure in the sense of a series like Bleach or Naruto; the fear and terror of the threat of the titans is extremely palpable, and the show does a very good job of reminding you that these titans are much bigger, stronger, and will most likely devour you upon first glance. That is not to say that this series is not action-packed--far from it in fact, the series starts off with a bang, with the wall being breached within the first episode, and all of the ensuing chaos and violence. In fact, Attack on Titan does not skimp on the gore and blood that the titans wreak upon humanity. The action is fast-paced and well-choreographed, especially when you see the soldiers bravely trying to take one down. (Just take a gander at the opening)
With animations by the famed Production I.G., the visuals are indeed smooth and gorgeous. The darker, muted palette lends itself extremely well to the tone of the series, and actually provides a very interesting contrast to Production I.G.'s other show this season, the brightly-colored sci-fi Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet. I really liked how the animation style was more realistic, from character designs to the facial features. There's none of that wide-eyed moe or crazy-colored hair so often associated with anime.
Music and voice-acting are all top notch, as to be expected from a title with this much anticipation behind it. Yuuki Kaji pulls off the angry brat of younger Eren with ease, and I'm excited to hear how he plays the older version. Kaji also voices the main character in this season's HENNEKO – The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat -, Yoto Yokodera, and Q-vier in Valvrave the Liberator should you want to hear more of his work. The talented Marina Inoue is Eren's childhood friend, the delicate Armin, and surprisingly, newcomer Yui Ishikawa does a commendable job as Mikasa, the straight-laced and serious Mikasa.
'Am I watching an anime, or is this a live-action?' That was one of the first thoughts that came to mind as the first episode of "Flowers of Evil" (Aku no Hana) started out, the anime adaptation of the manga "Aku no Hana" by Shuzo Oshimi. Before I get into any other details about the story and characters, the first thing that everyone is bound to notice is its distinct style; director Hiroshi Nagahama and studio Zexcs have very deliberately chosen to animate using rotoscoping, which is an animation style where live-action actors are recorded and then traced over, to present the stark minimalism that is Flowers of Evil. In contrast, the backgrounds are beautifully drawn and detailed, which stands to foil the blank, eerily-human-yet-not movements and images of the actual characters themselves. Whether you think it's a cop-out or an unique artistic choice, there is no doubt that this style alone will set Flowers of Evil apart from all the other titles this season. Because live actors were used to create the motions, all the characters look and act extremely realistically, which gives the feeling that you're watching a live-action drama rather than a traditional anime. Still, I found it to be very refreshing, and the realism helps add to the tension-filled atmosphere.
The story, likewise, starts off rather innocuously and slowly, with our main character Takao just going through the motions of everyday life. We find out that he's pretty much like most guys--hanging out with friends, crushing on the top girl in his class--except that he's also a bookworm, with a preference for literary works by famed French writer Charles Baudelaire, specifically "Les fleurs du mal" (The Flowers of Evil). Of course, given this series' title and feature of the book itself, you can bet that there will be plot points and themes central to those found in the actual book itself, particularly those unsettling moments where Takao finds himself having less-than-pure thoughts towards his crush, Nanako Saeki. Instead of having those thoughts spelled out, the anime instead represents them using a rather abstract imagery of a thorny flower with a single eye opening, and the various thorns and vines growing larger as Takao's thoughts become more intense. Things get even weirder when Takao unwillingly gets caught up with another classmate of his, the loner Sawa Nakamura, who blackmails him into having a "contract" with him after she catches him stealing Saeki's gym uniform.
"Flowers of Evil" the anime is one of those series that's sure to draw both positive and negative commentary; if you're a fan of the original manga, you may not appreciate the artistic liberties taken with the design and pacing, but I (having not read the series yet) greatly enjoyed the spooky atmosphere and deliberate use of rotoscoping. So many anime these days are all slick, rainbow-colored moe blah, so it's great to see some series are still willing to break that mold and intentionally raise the ire of their viewers. While the pacing is definitely on the slow side, this isn't a series that is meant to rush you in; it will ever so slowly build up the tension, until you think you just can't take it anymore, before letting you go. Whether you've known about the series beforehand, or just want to try something drastically different, I highly recommend giving "Flowers of Evil" at least a shot. You might just surprise yourself by your decision at the end of episode one.
Crunchyroll on Xbox 360
For the latest news, special announcements, giveaways, and pretty pictures, and more, follow us on our social media platforms!
NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Episode 307: Fade into the Moonlight
Three years ago, Leaf Anbu Yugao Uzuki lost her lover Hayate Gekko in battle. Unable to cope with his death, Yugao has since left the Anbu and joined the Medical Corps. Meanwhile, Kabuto has reanimated Hayate.
Hunter x Hunter Episode 74: Victor and Loser
Genthru has shown that he is much stronger than Gon. However, after Gon refuses to back down, he finally uses Little Flower to severely injure Gon. Does Gon still have a chance to win?
Majestic Prince Episode 1: Sortie
Undina Base is about to be overtaken by the enemy Wulgaru fleet. The last remaining army on the base needs some backup to buy enough time to evacuate everyone. For better or worse, their backup comes in the form of the infamous Fail Five...
DEVIL SURVIVOR 2 THE ANIMATION Episode 1: Melancholy Sunday
Daichi and Hibiki are two high-school friends on the verge of graduation. The latest rumor to go around their school: Nicaea, a "dead face delivery site" that supposedly sends photos of one's friends at the time of their death. When Daichi and Hibiki suddenly meet their own untimely end, they are mysteriously revived by Nicaea and thrust headlong into a long-brewing battle between human and demonkind. Now, armed with Demon Summoning apps and accompanied by fellow student Io Nitta, they must fend off a series of demonic attacks that are targeting the heart of Tokyo.