Tag Archives: anime

Digimon the Movie is still pretty awesome!

Digimon

I’ve been doing a lot of revisiting lately. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is still awesome, Final Fantasy VIII is still awesome, Threads of Fate was awesome at least for the first hour, and now I can officially say that Digimon the Movie still rocks. Y’know, in a this-is-my-childhood-why-am-I-suddenly-crying kind of way. Digimon has started playing on Nicktoons as a way to bring in the brand new Digimon show that looks horrifying, and I couldn’t help but think about Digimon the Movie. It was my favorite VHS tape as a child. I think I actually ended up breaking it by replaying it so much. There are three main reasons why Digimon the Movie is still amazing:

  1. Angela Anaconda. I hated the show as a kid. I hate it now. But seeing the intro to the main movie was enjoyable to watch at least for the sake of remembering how I used to fast forward over it.
  2. The Rockafeller Skank, One Week, All Star, The Impression That I Get, All My Best Friends Are Metal Heads, Kids In America
  3. The humor is still humorous! It’s not often when I revisit an old show/movie and still genuinely laugh at the jokes. Digimon the Movie is still just as charming as it was as an impressionable kid.

There’s nothing really deep or intellectual about Digimon the Movie and many hardcore fans of the show complained about hypocrisy and events that just didn’t make sense inside of canon. But as someone who only slightly loved Digimon (Pokemon was for the cool kids), those factors were never anything I stressed over. There is action and adventure, and while the storytelling is fairly straight-forward, it’s still pretty entertaining. So while nostalgia does undeniably fuel my continued love for the movie, perhaps there are still several qualities to appreciate about it. This film is a nicely packed childhood memory that should definitely be revisited! If you haven’t seen the movie yet, well you need to be a cool kid and watch it.

Now if I can just find my Digimon Tamagotchi-like device…

Full Force: Relationships in Video Games

Full Force is GFN’s weekly look at some of the biggest news in geekdom, from video games to anime to movies and everything in between. We also welcome your comments below, if you want to join the conversation. This week, our panelists examine the newly announced Nintendo 2DS.

masseffect3

Romance is becoming a more prevalent option in modern video games, especially as storytelling evolves in series like Mass Effect, Elder Scrolls, etc. Do you think the introduction of relationships into video games is a benefit to the industry? Why or why not?

Chris: I think it’s a positive overall, because anything that helps people become more immersed in the experience is a good thing. Being able to marry someone and have my own house in Skyrim added to this feeling that I was capable of doing anything I wanted to within that world. Conversely, watching my romantic interest in Mass Effect 1 melt to death made me feel more invested in saving the rest of my crew.

Cary: As someone who likes doing mundane things in games, I’m all for the addition of “real life” qualities to them, including romance options. They absolutely help me become more invested in not only my character but others as well. With the current trend of (mostly indie) games moving away from video games as “games” and towards video games as interactive and social experiences, romantic relationships in games will probably become more prevalent. Sure, we’ll all want to keep stomping on koopas and throwing hadokens at each other every now and then, but having games that include the chance to form deeper connections between characters is necessary to growth and evolution of the industry as a whole.

simpleek: I naturally love good stories and characters, so when I saw that Bioware’s Dragon Age: Origins is not only a really involved story that you can shape however you want to, but you can also romance a number of the characters in the game too? I was sold. I became obsessed with the game because a lot of the characters were really well-written and I had such a strong emotional response to every single one of them as I kept playing. The romance system in Dragon Age: Origins isn’t perfect, especially since you can win almost any character’s heart over by just giving them the right gift or picking the right lines they want to hear, but overall, it gives video games a personal touch for each player. It’s a benefit to include these relationships because it adds another layer to the story and you get to learn more about these characters if you choose to romance them. Games like this one might appeal to those who are interested in compelling stories and characters. It’s like reading a really great book, but the only difference here is you can actually participate in the story and interact with the characters. It’s the ultimate role-play experience.

Crystal: This is one of my favorite topics simply for the fact that I love how BioWare integrated romance options inside of Mass Effect and Dragon Age. They became my favorite games because of the romance system and the relationships you could build or destroy. I like it when I’m able to invest myself inside of a complex character, so being able to mold something deeper and more intimate is always something I enjoy. Adding multiple romance options also heightens the replay value.

Ashley: As others have said, being able to pursue a romantic relationship in a video game as your character adds another layer to the story and deeper character development — so I love in-game romances! The cool thing about having control over it is that you can create a character who is a romantic or a character who pushes people away, and then you can kind of destroy the relationship for the sake of your character’s personal journey. So yeah, I get really into it. =)

LadyCroft3: I think it’s important in context. I don’t really want to make these choices in every game I play, but in games like Mass Effect or Skyrim I think it can only benefit the player. Romance and intimacy are ways in which we bond with others on a closer level in reality, it’s that line between friend and more than friend that we cross. Having this in video games that call for it is not only fun, it helps the player further establish a bond with a character they care for in the game.

Jason: I think anything you can add to the industry is a benefit. I mean sure, not every game gets relationships right; but those games only help make the ones that do get it right even better. Now I’m sure there is an argument floating around on the internet somewhere saying that “reducing relationships to a simple game robs them of their complexity” or some such nonsense. Like somehow games are going to ruin real life relationships in ways that romance novels and movies haven’t over the last century or so. I think every medium of entertainment deserves to touch on every aspect of human life; and that goes double for our social and romantic relationships.

Shaun: So, apparently I’m going to be the odd man out here, but while I agree that romance in games in good (because every sort of storytelling medium in games is good), I prefer something that is totally scripted that I can explore, rather than being given the decisions and dialogue tree to build this. I become as immersed in Mass Effect as anyone, but for some reason, the romances fell flat for me – I just wasn’t sold on the progression, and the build up felt really “gamey” to me (which is also a little weird because I felt like the “bromance” in my case with Garrus was as real as the streets). With that said, I’m still glad it’s something that’s being explored in the genre, because it’s only going to get better with time.

If you had the chance to romance any one character from the wide world of video games, who would it be and why?

Cary: Without a doubt, Lowell from The Last Story. Sure, I love me a good Bioware romance any day, but Lowell was more than just an interesting guy with a nice voice — he was downright captivating and sexy. Don’t think such a thing is possible in a JRPG? Well, The Last Story isn’t just any ol’ JRPG. Its writers wonderful wove together an adult story about friendship with romance at its fringes. Sure, it also involved terrible monsters, fate and fantasy, and all that, but all of it revolved around the bonds formed between the core group of characters, one of which was Lowell. He had quite the wacky and witty way with words, and he was a joy to be around. Plus, he was as great with magic as he was with a sword. Win-win if you ask me!

simpleek: This is a tough choice and I’m always fangirling between Kaidan and Alistair, both from two different Bioware games. Big shock, right? I think between these two, my choice would be Kaidan from the Mass Effect series. I know a ton of people, especially guys, tend to hate on the Bioware men, but I think Kaidan has a lot of depth and complexity as a character. Aside from being gorgeous, he has a sweetness and sensitivity which is, thankfully, different from the usual military men type of characters who are portrayed as being solely tough and macho. It’s as if being a soldier means you can’t have any deep emotions. And just because Kaidan is the sensitive guy type, it doesn’t mean he can’t hold his own in a battlefield. I always take Kaidan with me on missions because his powers come in handy in a fight, at least if I’m not playing a Shepard that is already a biotic. I also think the writers wrote Kaidan in such a way to make the player feel as if a guy like him could actually exist in reality. He has the whole package for me as a romance: sexy, sweet, and strong. As much as I love Alistair, he’s more of your fantasy romance type that wouldn’t exist in real life, as much as you want him to.

Chris: I’ll go with a pick from when I was younger: Celes Chere from Final Fantasy VI. To me, Celes is the most compelling character in a cast that isn’t exactly lacking for interesting stories. Her time on the island with Cid is either a little heartbreaking or a lot heartbreaking, depending on the speed of the fish that you catch. Thanks to some genetic enhancement, she’s more than capable on the battlefield. She’s certainly not tough on the eyes. Best of all, she’s a general, not some opera floozy.

Ashley: Definitely Garrus Vakarian from Mass Effect. I always thought he had it all — a great sarcastic sense of humor, a badass side, an awkward side, loyalty. He’s one of the most well-rounded characters ever. And it’s totally okay that he’s an alien.

LadyCroft3: I’m going to have to go with Ashley on this one and say Garrus Vakarian. The last time I played through the entire series (a few months back) I tried to analyze why I like him so much/ Sure, he’s sweet. Sure, I have a thing for aliens with sexy voices and a bad-boy attitude – but what is it really? I learned that he and I happen to share a lot of the same ideals and morals. I mean, I’m not flying around fighting Reapers or anything and he isn’t sitting around in his PJ’s playing video games all day, but we both have similar qualities. We both love justice, we both like distance weapons, we are both trustworthy friends, we both love Shepard (wait, what?), and we both are realists. I may be looking to far into this though. *Zoidbergs out of room*

Jason: God, is it terrible that I too want to list off a Bioware character? I mean, there are certainly a lot of other great ladies out there… bah, screw it. I pick Jack from Mass Effect. As far as I’m concerned, she’s got it all. She’s a BA, she doesn’t take sh!t from anyone, and deep down she’s a big old softy. I mean, I won’t lie; she’s got a rock’n body and I’ve always had a thing for ‘crazy’ chicks. But it goes deeper than that. Jack has overcome a lot in her life and still manages to make the best of it. I admire that kind of adversity. Likewise she’s got a soft spot for kids, and passing on what she’s learned to the next generation. As someone who’s spent a large part of his “professional” carrier working with kids/children, that’s a trait that really gets me right in the feels. Of course I have yet to actually FINISH a romance playthrough with Jack, (cause ya know: Femshep 4 life) so Jack would probably just tell me to **** off and then toss me out an open airlock… and I’d probably enjoy it.

Shaun: God…so hard. Annnnnd that was a very poor choice of words. My gut would initially go to someone like Jill Valentine, because she’s awesome – brave, beautiful, resourceful, adaptive, calm under pressure…but she’s seen some s*** and that might be hard to deal with…but if I could help her through it that would be so romantic…

Then I go to Cortana, who is witty, wicked smart, and more genuine than most of the female characters in gaming (who also happen to be, you know, alive). But the fact that she is a computer might be a deal breaker.

So then I go to Tifa Lockhart, but not for the reasons you’d think – I actually prefer the Advent Children version, with the reduction and more emphasis on her pretty face than her sex appeal. She’s stood by her comatose bf through thick and thin, she’s great with kids, super sweet, and also a grade A badass. But she’s SO stuck on Cloud I don’t think I have a chance really…and that blonde spiky hair…

So my answer is Jill.

What is one game or series that you wish would include some kind of relationship element? Or, conversely, what game or series do you think has butchered relationships and you wish they would stop?

Cary: Is it wrong of me to wish that something this side of temptation, or hell, just steady feminine friendship had been set into John Marston’s story in Red Dead Redemption? One of the first people he met in the game in the game was a rancher named Bonnie, and I really enjoyed bonding with her. Not that I expected anything to happen between them, what with all of John’s professions about his wife, but their friendship just fizzled out. (Not that there really were any chances to form extended relationships with any of the characters in that game.) Did I want John to end up in bed with a prostitute? Not at all. But it wouldn’t have been out of line to add a strong, tempting female character to his world. The era of the game was as much about the push and pull between the sexes as it was about the government’s desires concerning the West.

simpleek: I haven’t finished the game yet, but I kind of wish Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning had a relationship system. As much as I like having my character fight through bad guys and create her own destiny, it’d be nice if she had someone to come home to after a long day of slaying creatures and saving the world.

Chris: I kind of wonder what would happen if games from our past had been made today. For example, what if you had the opportunity to make your silent protagonist choose between the love triangle of Marle (canon), Lucca (best friend syndrome) or Ayla (rule of life, no change rule) — or any of the cast? Would it add to the game, or detract from it? On the other hand, the Mass Effect series has done relationships extremely well, but I wonder how much would be missed if that element didn’t exist at all. It’d be a less complete experience, for sure.

LadyCroft3: There are plenty of games that have relationships that I hate or don’t have relationships where I want them, but when reading this question the first thing that popped into my mind was Metro: Last Light. There is a really awkward relationship that seems to have just been thrown in for nudity’s sake and to be honest it kind of ruined the game for me. Luckily it was towards the end so I got to enjoy the great gameplay and intriguing story for a good while before being disgusted. Without getting to deep into it, I can really just say that is was one of those “WTF WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS IT MAKES TO SENSE” kind of moments and I wish it was just never added into the game since it demeaned the female and had no real benefit to the male (other than pure, carnal sex I suppose).

Jason: OK so, I love me some Skyrim. It’s really the only Elder Scrolls I stuck with playing. And I love my waifu Aela, she’s the best werewolf woman a man/woman could ask for! But if there is one game that REALLY needs to start upping their game when it comes to relationships it’s the Elder Scrolls. I mean, they have almost literally turned “significant other” into a type of resource. You put on a necklace, they say they like you, you get married. DONE. Want to start a family? Well, better adopt than. Wanna spend time with your wife? Well I hope you like generic conversation wheels where she makes you food you don’t need or buys junk off you. And don’t even get me started on the “Lover’s Comfort” buff you get from sleeping in the same bed as them. Relationships in Skyrim are seriously the most 1 dimensional things ever.

Shaun: KINGDOM. HEARTS.

Okay, look. I know it’s a game that also has to appeal to kids. And I’m not saying I want a sex scene between Sora and Riku. I meant to write Kairi, but you know what, that fits too.

But seriously – all we’ve gotten to this point is that every character is just really great friends. NO! Young peeps are allowed to be in love, even if it’s puppy love. And let’s remember, these characters have saved the world like two dozen times already. Is it too much to ask for them to start exploring a little more complex feelings than “basic friendship?”

Full Force: Nintendo 2DS Announced

Full Force is GFN’s weekly look at some of the biggest news in geekdom, from video games to anime to movies and everything in between. We also welcome your comments below, if you want to join the conversation. This week, our panelists examine the newly announced Nintendo 2DS.

2ds

In your mind, what are some pros and cons for the 2DS? Is it a system that you would purchase?

Shaun: Pfft. Pros. How about it doesn’t quite make me want to kill myself. Is that a pro?

Ashley: I’m not opposed to the idea of a console that kids can beat up a little bit. But if it’s going to be 2D and less glamorous than the 3DS, don’t make it the same price or more expensive! I could see Nintendo coming out with a console designed for kids with maybe fewer capabilities on it and selling that for $99 or something. And parents not knowing much about gaming would go for it to appease their children without breaking the bank. But this Nintendo 2DS just doesn’t seem to have a target market…

Chris: If nothing else, I think the timing is decent — it’ll probably catch some parents around the holidays because of its lower price point and lack of eye-gouging 3-D for kids.

Shaun: People are already dubbing it the “Pokemon X and Y machine.” So yeah…the timing is pretty good, as far as selling a bajillion units to unsuspecting parents is concerned.

simpleek: I personally don’t like the look of the 2DS. The marriage of a portable console and tablet is a weird design choice. Nintendo should have stuck to the look of the regular DS or 3DS, but without all the functions of a 3DS to make it more kid friendly as Ashley pointed out. The 2DS also looks like it’d be a pain to carry around. I can’t figure out how I’d fit that in my bag if I had one, just by looking at it.

Crystal: Ultimately I think I’m torn down the middle about the 2DS. At first sight it looked cheap and childish… but perfect for younger children. However, if this is intended for the clumsy and messy fingers of kids, then I would expect something cheaper. I definitely agree with what Ashley said. $99 would attract more interest, particularly from parents who don’t carry much knowledge about handhelds, and children with their peanut butter-smeared fingers can enjoy some playtime.

Jason: I’m going to echo what people said about $99 being an ideal price for it. That being said, calling it a “2DS” is perhaps the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. Not only does that SOUND like an April Fools joke, but apparently someone actually posted a “mock-up” of the “2DS” a year ago AS an April Fools joke. Why in the world would you market your device as “2D”?! You know what’s 2D? EVERY OTHER ELECTRONIC DEVICE WITH A SCREEN. It just boggles my mind… That’d be like marketing a book as “paper with words on it”. Congratz, join the club!

LadyCroft3: I think the 2DS is a double edged sword. For some, it’s great because it’s more affordable and non-3D (hey, some people hate 3D) but for others it’s worthless since they already have a 3DS. I suppose I just don’t really like or hate the idea of the 2DS, I’m right in the middle. I think the design is ugly though. In a world where tech items are getting slimmer and smaller, what the heck is up with that clunky design? It would never fit in my pocket or purse comfortably.

Cary: I’m with everyone else who’s on the fence about the 2Ds – neither love nor hate. I agree that the timing of it makes sense, parents on budgets will see it as a decent option for their kids (though the games, they still cost money, y’know), and it’s not the worst design for little gamer hands. But the whole family-friendly angle they’re giving it makes little sense under the same darkening cloud of WiiU non-sales. And it does look cheap. They used to make foldable Game N’ Watch’s that look like they could eat the 2DS and still be hungry. If I were looking to get back into the handheld market, I’d readily invest in a 3DS over a 2DS. Now, if I was looking for something my little nephew could chew on…maybe the 2DS would be the way to go. But only maybe.

Do you think the 2DS is Nintendo’s way of waving the white flag on its 3D ideas, or is it just another way to extend its dominance over the handheld market and battle tablets at the same time?

Shaun: I hate this idea, but I also know with the right marketing, it will sell a moon-full of copies to kids who don’t know any better and parents that are too stupid to tell them otherwise.

simpleek: It does feel like with the announcement of the 2DS that Nintendo is doing a bit of backtracking on the 3D idea. The 3DS hasn’t even been out that long and already they’re coming out with the 2DS? Without the 3D? It doesn’t seem like Nintendo spent a lot of time marketing the 3DS well enough or they just about gave up on 3D because not enough people were buying it as they hoped. I also think they should focus on being a handheld system instead of also trying to appeal to the tablet market. Nintendo is trying way too hard to be both and I don’t think they’re going to succeed by dipping their hands in both markets. If anything, their main focus should be on making great games for their handheld devices that people will want to go out and buy.

Crystal: I physically can’t see 3D because of my eyes and yet I still purchased a 3DS. There’s this sweet little ability that lets you turn the 3D power down or completely off… and still enjoy the game you’re playing. It’s nice to have that ability there if you want it, but there lies the awesome factor of having a choice. Nintendo would have had a better chance marketing the 2DS if the 3DS forced 3D visuals on you. However, now the 2DS just looks like a piece of cheap equipment that I have no interest in.

Shaun: You can’t see 3D? That’s amazing! You’re not missing much.

Crystal: Lazy Eye has made my eyes well… lazy. I once got sick (exorcist-like) at a bar after trying to watch Transformers in 3D, but that’s a completely unrelated topic and I’ll shut up now.

Shaun: It’s okay — that story itself was more interesting than the entirety of that movie.

LadyCroft3: I think it’s both. Nintendo is big into releasing new versions and new colors of things just to get sales. There were like 4 different models of the DSi, for instance. I also think that it’s a way to help folks like Crystal who cannot see the 3D or like me who get headaches when looking at 3D movies or games.

Cary: I don’t think Nintendo’s given up on 3D, not at all. They may be backtracking a little with the 2DS, which feels like a ploy to make back some lost WiiU money. (But maybe it’ll do well overseas?) If there’s one thing that Nintendo does well, it’s handhelds. The notion of them taking on the tablet market seems farfetch’d to me. I mean, Nintendo battling Apple, Samsung, Google, etc…? That’s like King Kong vs. Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla…in 3D!

Jason: God, that’d be a great movie…

If you saw the fake rumor about the Nintendo 1DS, what did you think about it? Do you miss the days of the Super Game Boy and other similar products that could display handheld games on your TV?

Chris: For me, playing handheld games on my television was a big deal as a kid. I loved tossing Pokemon into my Super Game Boy and catching them all with a controller that fit into my hands better. I’ve never really understood why this idea died off. Playing Four Swords Adventures or Crystal Chronicles on the Gamecube with four GBAs was a huge pain in the ass conceptually and financially, but damn if they both weren’t a ton of fun. And with improved graphics, tossing an image from a Vita or a 3DS to my screen won’t cause my 50” plasma to recoil in horror. I guess I just don’t get it. Don’t you want my money, companies?

Shaun: My GBA had the battery life of a sonofabitch, which is to say terrible, so I have lots of fond memories of booting up Final Fantasy Tactics advance on my huge TV and not having to worry about scrounging up double A batteries from some other electronic device in the house every day. Sure, the image was a little bit distorted, but it was still well worth it.

Crystal: Can I just say that if Nintendo decided to “bring back” the GameBoy then I’d probably throw all of my money at them while simultaneously passing out in excitement. It’d be a weird scene. I remember actually having a Super GameBoy just randomly appear in my life. I don’t remember how it got there (thank you mysterious giver)… but Pokemon on my TV was a dream as a child!

After that I kind of shifted into more of the consoles (N64, PlayStation) so I never really experienced playing on a handheld after the GameBoy Color. But I’d love to bring back the classic stuff from my childhood. Handheld gaming was amazing as a child!

Jason: The fact that it’s 2013 and we STILL don’t have an easy way to play all these awesome handheld games on big screen TVs makes me die a little inside. It’s like these companies don’t even LIKE money… I realize the Playstation has been toying with this idea off and on for a bit with mixed success, and the WiiU certainly tries to mimic this idea. But why I still can’t play Pokemon on a 80 inch television is beyond me. Especially now that Pokemon is moving into the third dimension.

Cary: Soooo…there was something that allowed you to play Game Boy games on the TV? Huh. I never got the memo. But I also never had a Game Boy. I also missed the “1DS” thing. I’m terrible at paying attention to things. It’s just…oh! Look at that butterfly!

Liam: One of the best things about the Pokemon Stadium games for the N64 was the fact that you could insert your game through the N64’s Transfer Pak and fluidly go between the handheld game and the console game at will; you could theoretically use your Pokemon in the tournaments on Stadium, then go into the Gameboy game and retrain them, and then go back and forward at will. I know that I found this really convenient when going through the first two generations, and was sad when this died off with the Gamecube iterations.

Also, there were the Doduo and Dodrio Modes (excellently named!) which allowed you to play the handheld games at 2x or 3x speed. In the present day where emulators et al. can allow you to play at far greater speeds this isn’t really that notable, but for a kid looking to train his Pokemon in 2000, being able to do so thrice as fast was absolutely mindblowing!

Chris: Not to mention, Stadium also let 11-year-old me fulfill his dumb dreams of being Ash Ketchum, because I could transfer over each of the starters and then begin the game with ALL THREEEEEEEEE.

Seeing Through Cowboy Bebop’s Style

Cowboy Bebop is one of the most well-known anime series out there, and it’s the first anime series I watched in full. Initially, I was drawn to it just because it was science fiction. But I quickly fell for all the other elements that make it unique and memorable — things like the well-developed characters, sense of style, and incredible music.

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The show is about a group of bounty hunters who drift through space on a ship called the Bebop, usually without much food except ramen noodles, waiting for their next big target who can help them rake in some woolongs. It seems things never go quite right, and they certainly never get rich. But that’s okay, because the characters are still cool. Money isn’t everything; attitude is. Somehow, Cowboy Bebop manages to showcase characters who are kickass but flawed; they don’t lose their edge as you get to know them better.

What does lose its edge the more you watch the series is the violence.

The first time I watched Cowboy Bebop, I thought everything was so stylish… particularly the action scenes. But rewatching the series, it’s easy to see that the music is what makes the action scenes feel “cool.” As soon as the first gunshot fires, the music kicks in and makes all of the bloody, dangerous action feel like a rocking good time. Take away that music, and you have an experience that’s much more tense and dramatic but lacks the sense of play that makes Cowboy Bebop so fun to watch.

In this way, the music trivializes the violence. There are notable exceptions to this, such as when more dramatic, almost classical music is used instead of the usual bebop — or when no music is used at all. You first see this in the 5th episode “Ballad of Fallen Angels,” in which Spike confronts his old friend-turned-enemy Vicious. The violence is still made to seem beautiful, both in the visual presentation and the music playing, but it has much more somber tones than most other action scenes and episodes in the series.

Once you spot that, it’s easy to see that a large part of Cowboy Bebop‘s charm is that it makes everything seem beautiful. There are some genuinely ugly characters, but they are still designed to impress the eye. In other words, the characters can be ugly, but the art style is always gorgeous in some way. It makes me think Oscar Wilde would have loved Cowboy Bebop.

cowboy_bebop_remastered_03h264-ac3niizk-mkv_snapshot_03-05_2011-05-23_21-12-29_thumbBecause of all this, the show made me really enjoy the experience of watching it, and it presented a world I love to escape to. Although much of the violence doesn’t make sense when you watch it back — why did this person have to get shot? why doesn’t the fruit being thrown at the dog Ein ever hit the ground? — Cowboy Bebop prefers to be glamorous rather than sensible. That’s what makes it such a knockout to watch, and even though you see through all the sparkle after a while, it’s impressive that the show’s unique sense of style is able to play with your emotions as you’re watching.

— Ashley

Titan from ‘Attack on Titan’ invades Anime Expo

We love Con season. It’s a magical time when all kinds of people from all walks of life come to single locations and hang out together. Some dress up, some don’t. And some dress up, dance their ass off and make everyone’s day. This is exactly what happened at Anime Expo in LA this past weekend.

This is the second video featuring cosplayer P Diddy as a Titan from the hit anime Attack on Titan; he also wore the suit at AniMega Con. P Diddy might be better known for his series of videos called Deadpool Vs the Universe where you can find the mischievous Marvel character at Free Comic Book Day, Fanime, WonderCon and others.

You gotta respect a man who knows know to twerk it. 

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Things I Learned From: Guren Lagann

Gurren Lagann is one of my favorite anime of all time. When I first saw it, I was floored by its over the top story, memorable quotes, loveable characters, amazing art, and unforgettable action scenes. It is difficult to watch a show so awesome and to fall in love so deeply with it without having taken away something from the experience.

These are the things I learned from Gurren Lagann:

 (Warning, Spoilers Ahead)

Having the biggest breasts and the biggest gun doesn’t mean you can’t have the biggest heart too.

Screenshot 2013-06-22 22.31.39

The first episode of Gurren Lagann contains a lot of eye rolling fanservice primarily centered on one of the series major characters, Yoko. A barely dressed marksman with a sniper rifle that only seems to increase in size, Yoko seems like your typical over-the-top anime heroine.

As such, initially I didn’t expect much from her character other than jiggles, panty shots, and a big gun that makes robots explode. If Simon and Kamina weren’t so outrageously charming from the onset, Yoko might have been a reason I stopped watching. I can stomach fan service when the rest of the show is good, but beat it over my head enough, and my Western sensibilities will take me elsewhere.

I would have been completely wrong about Yoko if I had quit.

While she may not be the deepest of female characters, she is one of the most important members of the cast. With Kamina and later Kittan, she does serve as a typical female romantic interest for our show’s major heroes. Still, given the fate of both Kamina and Kittan and her personal journey as a whole, it is difficult to look at Yoko as just arm candy.

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Size matters when you’re having fun.

Gurren Lagann’s single best handled element is the constant increase in size and scope. Both in plot and in the overall size of the mecha, each episode seems to introduce something bigger, better, or bolder. From the beginning in a tiny village underground to the end when galaxies are being used as weapons, there is a huge range is size.

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More than that, the story changes in size as well. As Team Dai-Gurren grows to be the champion for the entirety of humankind, the stakes get raised further and further. By the time the final fight has begun, you begin to realize that Simon and friends are fighting for an infinite amount of spiral lives scattered across the universe to have the right to be in control of their own destinies.

The laws of the universe, time, and space are all meaningless as long as you have an incredible surplus of willpower.

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Other than an ever increasing size, the dialogue and speeches of Gurren Lagann are incredible. Instead of another couple of long-winded paragraphs explaining my position, here is a selection of incredible quotes:

“Listen Simon… Don’t forget. Believe in yourself. Not in the you who believes in me. Not the me who believes in you. Believe in the you who believes in yourself.”

“Go beyond the impossible and kick reason to the curb!”

“Force your way down a path YOU chose to take, and do it YOUR way.”

“The tomorrow we’re trying to reach is…not a tomorrow you’ve decided on! We…by ourselves…choose our tomorrow from the infinite universe! We will fight through it. We will fight through it and protect the universe! We’ll show you we can do it!”

If you can’t believe in yourself, believe in everyone that believes in you being able to believe in yourself. That is until you realize that you should just believe in the you that believes in you. Believe.

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Simon’s character arc takes him from being a self-hating, shy, and honestly useless person to easily the most badass person in the entire Gurren Lagann universe. He even bypasses his mentor and biggest fan, Kamina, by series end, which seems completely impossible for the first fifteen or so episodes.

How does Simon change so dramatically? Through sheer belief and faith, at first in Kamina who had nothing but blind faith in his favorite digger and later in himself. “Believe in me who believes in you” does sound cheesy, but is it really such a crazy idea? The entire series explores the power of having faith in one another to its most absurd level. With the fate of all of humanity at stake, the series’ epic conclusion rightfully involves an entire planet’s faith being put to the ultimate mecha test.

Plus, having faith enough to do the impossible leaves you with a good feeling. Watching Guren Lagann again and again, I always walk away happier for being a living, breathing human being surrounded by friends, family, and community. It gives me faith in humanity, which is something most shows do not do.

Depressed? Suicidal? Just down? Then let me see you grit those teeth.

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Even if Guren Lagann always perks me with its over the top action, positivity-focused speeches, and lovable characters, the characters in the show aren’t always happy.

If I lived in a world where my entire race was subjugated by a series of more and more bizarre villains, I would be depressed too. Throw in the everyday wear and tear of living a mostly normal life with all of the losses and memories and regrets, and its amazing that most characters in the show aren’t constantly bummed out.

Still, Guren Lagann has perhaps the best known cure for depression and self-loathing: a hard punch to the face. So if you are ever down, let’s hope you have a friend who can bypass time and space to give you your wake up call. I’d volunteer but my knuckles are too delicate.

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