ONE PIECE #661 -- Special Review

http://www.animevice.com/news/one-piece-661-special-review/7850/

Holy shit… this is a weekly program?

I have to think that Toei must’ve decided to throw a lot more staffers and cash at this show after they passed the 15th anniversary mark. (Maybe that was all leftover following TORIKO’s cancellation?) CrunchyRoll allows to, at a glance, compare the animation quality of the show’s various eras, and the amount of textures, lighting effects and added frames on display here makes the first early years look like rough animatics.

Sheesh… it’s even heads and tails above the “Punk Hazard” arc! The duel between Doflamingo and Law alone - - where their carving up bridges and entire city blocks, at once - - looks like it cost about the same as an entire episode from last season. Hell, that one screencap above alone is better rendered than most promo art for that game.

Anyway… == TEASER ==

Lest I keep waxing rhapsodic about the animation quality, I ought to say that watching this particular episode right after HxH and NARUTO’s latest offerings puts a fine point on how much fun this series is in comparison to its competitors. I mean, the better part of this joint is devoted to an evil Elton John causing wanton destruction. Doflamingo didn’t look that interesting when he was getting teased as Caesar Clown’s boss but, holy hell, is he a hoot to watch here.

I had to tap out of ONE PIECE after “Punk Hazard” because it got too exhausting week-to-week, but I’m strongly considering picking it up again after this little re-visit. I mean, animation alone - - this looks better than most features.

Watch "A Showdown Between the Warlords! Law vs. Doflamingo!" and decide for yourself.

NARUTO Ch. 692 Review

http://www.animevice.com/news/naruto-ch-692-review/7851/

Sasuke has gone full-on Light Yagami, now.
Sasuke has gone full-on Light Yagami, now.

Just when it appears the world has been saved from destruction. Sasuke plays his hand to capture the Tailed Beasts and enforce his violent revolution. Only Naruto stands in his way.

The Good

**Rhythmic sound of my head pounding at my desk** Sorry, I got nothing.

The Bad

The revolution won't be televised...until it appears in the anime.
The revolution won't be televised...until it appears in the anime.

You see, people. This is what I was talking about a few weeks ago when I brought up the concept of fiction-based PTSD. Kishimoto couldn't let this end, and Sasuke goes from semi-rational back to emo-psychopath as quickly as if someone had flipped a switch. His motivations have never seemed any more rational than a kid who demands ice cream for dinner. When he doesn't get what he wants, he decides to burn the house down with everyone inside. This chapter is no different.

I understand that the series still needs a final showdown between Naruto and Sasuke, but would it have been so difficult for Kishimoto to at least give Sasuke a rational justification? Sasuke is holding the currentFive Kage responsible for events that were set into motion before four-fifths of them were even alive. Did he just miss the part about how Madara and Obito had been manipulating the nations into this war for decades? Yet during the conflict, they've put aside past grudges to come together and gained mutual respect for one another.

I'm honestly unsure if it's creator or Sasuke that doesn't realize that for a revolution to be successful you need the support of the masses. When you plan to murder the heads of several nations while they're vulnerable then appoint yourself leader, that sounds less like a revolution and closer to a violent coup.

What makes this almost laughable is that Naruto makes a point of stressing to the Sage of Six Paths that he and Sasuke aren't likeAshura and Indra, then they fall into those exact roles by the closing of the chapter. Let's also not forget that while these two settle their immature rivalry the population of the planet is already transforming into White Zetsu-like creatures.

Verdict 1/5

Building tension in a story is normally a good thing to have, but there's also the risk of dragging that out for too long. A good story is similar to a roller coaster. It builds up, has ups, downs, sudden turns, twists, and ends before you've realized. It makes you want to get back in line to ride. Now imagine being on a nonstop roller coaster that runs for thirty minutes at a time. You'd likely be both physically ill and done with roller coasters in general. That's what NARUTO has felt like to me during this story. A coaster that has run waaay past the point of being fun.

You need to let the audience decompress occasionally. Yet, for some reason, Kishimoto just can't let go of this war that's been stretching on for four real-world years. This has to be the longest three to four days in fictional history, and it's still going. It's certainly blown the "Planet Namek blowing up in five minutes" scenario out of the water.

To top it all off, NARUTO is on break next week. It's probably for the best, because this chapter just left me feeling disgusted. I need a respite.

Follow along with the latest NARUTO chapters yourself, tune in for the SJ Podcast, and check out the free starter pack sampler at ShonenJump.com here. You can download the free app for both iOS and Android devices.

About the Author

Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek. Follow for news updates: @AnimeVicers/@FoxxFireArt / http://kristofferremmell.tumblr.com/

HUNTER X HUNTER #147 -- Special Review

http://www.animevice.com/news/hunter-x-hunter-147-special-review/7849/

At the start, HxH struck me as what the BOOK OF VIRTUES would look like if it encouraged kids to kick ass in between all the lessons about making the right decisions and being humble. So, it truly fits that this episode opens with a father/son lecture about how Gon needs to apologize, followed by an involved explanation of what a proper apology actually is. Despite all my complaints about the show, I’ve always appreciated how Togashi is keen to go deeper with his story morals, and throw his heroes into conflicts where they have to make decisions that can't be answered by trite platitudes.

That extends to the Koala Ant’s long description of his life, before and after his transformation…

== TEASER ==

When the “Chimera Ant” arc was good, it felt like seeing the innocent version of a dark fable, with loads of eerie hints at deeper, philosophical issues that'd would eventually be explored in some darker deconstructionist work, years from now. Look at “the Greatest Robot in the World” and its remake, PLUTO, for a demonstration of what I’m talking about.

Looks like Togashi was playing the long game, because now that the arc’s been over a while, we’re finally getting a deeper exploration into all the off-handed remarks the Queen made about ‘remaking’ her servants. Answering all raised questions, at once, isn’t in the best interest of an ongoing serial, sure, but I would’ve definitely been more likely to stick “Chimera Ant” out if the show it had gotten to stuff like this sooner.

It’s undeniably touching to see these best friends part ways at the end, but since the show opts to run a short clip show of Gon and Killua’s adventures during the credits, I really doubt their separation is going to last more than arc. That montage really puts a point on how little plot has actually been covered over 140+ episodes… and I expect that pace is going to continue before the next point about friendships and reunions is made.

Watch "Salvation × And × Future" and decide for yourself.

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN Seriously Tries to Sell You "Mecha Naruto?"

http://www.animevice.com/news/naruto-shippuden-seriously-tries-to-sell-you-mecha-naruto/7848/

Considering how when you Google ‘Mecha Naruto,’ you get dozens of images of the character in a new game before you see any of him in the episodes he actually debuted in, I have a crazy suspicion that this two-parter might’ve been concocted just to establish that particular bonus skin.

If so, it certainly fits. I was more eager to pick this ‘special episode’ up because it was presented as something fun and self-contained that you could just drop into without having to get entangled in the latest dour SHIPPUDEN mega arc. C’mon -- it’s called “NARUTO VS. MECHA NARTUO?” The shenanigans practically write themselves.

Well, it’s a lot less fun - - and far more convoluted - - than the title would suggest.

== TEASER ==

The special makes a few obvious homages to Western characters. Mecha Naruto is created in a laboratory powered by a kite in a thunder storm, and the sequence might as well be taken shot-for-shot from any iteration of FRANKENSTEIN. The mech goes on to basically serve as an Iron Man armor for our titular ninja boy to wear, right down to having an in-helmet, holographic HUD that lets us see Naruto’s manic expressions as he pilots.

What’s weird is that all of this sounds wonderfully absurd, but plays rather dourly, even when the show’s attempting to go for jokes. Seriously, there’s a sight gag where Mecha Naruto gets down on his hands and knees and literally starts sucking Regular’s Naruto’s Chakra energy in from waist level. It’d be funny if anybody made a double entendre, but the whole production feels so rushed, it’s like they forgot the punchline they set up. Thus, the scenario just seems… awkward.

‘Rush’ is really the write word here, because a lot of the potential fun seems to be spread out by Naruto getting manically carted through his home town and running into what felt like dozens of names from his roster of friends. It feels less like a tribute special, and more like the crew just throwing in as many familiar faces as they can just to fill air time. I kept watching these guys awkwardly scurrying about, carrying Naruto in a protective cart, and wondering how it didn’t feel as funny as it ought to.

Well, if the aim here was as mercenary as the Google search suggests, than I think I’ve already answered my own question. This doesn’t really feel like ‘filler.’ It feels like spam for the game..

Watch "the Directive to Take the Nine-Tails!" and "Naruto vs. Mecha Naruto" and decide for yourself, then read our take on the previous batch of episodes.

ONE PIECE Ch. 760 Review

http://www.animevice.com/news/one-piece-ch-760-review/7847/

Doflamingo isn't going to make this showdown so easy for Luffy and Trafalgar to win in the first round. This pirate knows how to bite back with a ruthless passion for cruelty.

The Good

Looks as if Law may have some time to think while he bleeds.
Looks as if Law may have some time to think while he bleeds.

One sided brawls can be pretty boring, and I really doubt anyone was silly enough to think that Luffy's big attack last week was going to end this one. Who wants a to see a battle on this level that only works to Luffy's favor? A victory for the good guys is always more epic the closer they come to defeat. That's the formula of shonen. The Red Hawk does however raise my expectation for something big when that times does come for Luffy to shut this guy down. Hody and Caesar defeats have set a certain standard for me.

I really have to agree with Law now. They had a great setting for a finishing blow on Doflamingo, and he's not the kind of opponent that will allow the same trick twice. I have a feeling that it's up to Trafalgar to think up something brand new. He'll probably have some time on his hands in his current condition.

Just to touch on the Jimbei side story. This page seems to show that the previous events have been more prequel material. He was shown reacting to the Straw Hat & Heart Pirates alliance when it was first reported, as shown in Vol. 70. This cover story was showing the events leading up to that moment. That was a little surprising. From his story's perspective, Luffy and the gang haven't yet even landed on Dressrosa.

The Bad

I really hope there's more motivating him than this.
I really hope there's more motivating him than this.

I have to admit that I'm feeling a little disappointed with this glimpse into Doflamingo's past. It seems a bit cliche for his story to partially center around revenge motivated by a rejection from the other Celestial Dragons due to them seeing him as tainted. It doesn't quite explain why he's so indifferent to his real family but protective of his adopted one. Where does this sense of loyalty come from? I have to imagine there is yet more behind all of this.

Verdict 3/5

Nothing really surprised or amazed me in this week's edition. Not to say it was bad. The action was still on a high level, and it builds some nice tension. If there was ever a set up for a flashback, having the heroes either tied or otherwise immobile couldn't be a better setting. At least I hope it starts next week. I'm not sure how long I want to be reading as Luffy is laying there tied up. There's also one less battle to cut to now the Fujitora and Sabo came to some sort of understanding off screen.

Follow along with the latest ONE PIECE chapters yourself, tune in for the SJ Podcast, and check out the free starter pack sampler at ShonenJump.com here. You can download the free app for both iOS and Android devices.

About the Author

Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek. Follow for news updates:@AnimeVicers/@FoxxFireArt / http://kristofferremmell.tumblr.com/

Anime Caption Contest! -- 9/16/14

http://www.animevice.com/news/anime-caption-contest-91614/7846/

Welcome back to the Anime Vice Caption Contest! You know the drill; we have three new images that need some funny captions! See who won the previous contest below! Also, I want to make a shout out to BigHeart711 for suggesting these cool images for this week's theme.

Rules!

  • You can caption any or all of the images!
  • You can caption the same image more than once, but not in the same post!

Your captions will be judged by the hosts of THE VICE PIT themselves; Tom Pinchuk and Sam Weller! The winners and their winning captions will be featured in the next Caption Contest post!

Winners!

"My mouth.....is not.......made of win."
~ CapeBarnes
"i can see them even if you wear black"
~ yuzuha
"Wait, are you sure we have to get circumcised to join the team?"
~ Oglaphone

How to Participate!

To post the images properly, you should copy them from this post and paste them into the comment box, rather than upload the images again yourself. To do this, highlight some of the text below the images (try starting from "want to recommend") all the way up to some of the text above the images (try highlighting up to "fill in the captions!") and then right-click on that text and select "copy", go to the comment box, right-click inside that and select "paste" - then all you need to do is fill in the captions! Hope that helps, have fun!

New Caption Contest!

So, are you up to the challenge? Just copy the images (READ INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE!) into the comment box below and fill in the captions!

Want to recommend some images for the contest? Go to this thread and submit images, and we'll check them out. Have fun and good luck!

About the Author

Kerry Chhay (Takashichea) is an Asian American Studies student who is a big wiki and anime nerd. He serves as a wiki mod in Anime Vice and an Admin in To Hollywood and Beyond Wikia(a 2nd home for Screened users). Follow him @Takashichea

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY... the Anime?

http://www.animevice.com/news/guardians-of-the-galaxy-the-anime/7845/

The way international licenses work, it’s hard to make heads or tails of which shows get imported, and when, or why. So, while we’ve been aware of MARVEL DISC WARS: THE AVENGERS since it started, we haven’t actually gotten to look further because - - shocker of shocks - - it isn’t actually being imported to America. You’d figured that an anime starring characters from the third highest-grossing movie of all time would come back across the Pacific faster than HERO MAN did but, hey, surely there’s a whole web of legal entanglements tying it up.

Thus, one of the most notable East/West co-productions in animation is going on, without much commentary here…until characters from this year’s highest-grossing movie guest star on it. That’s double-buzzworthy. No way that’s not getting talked about, now.

== TEASER ==

Yes, the Guardians of the Galaxy have just made a guest appearance in DISC WARS. After gathering the Dragon Balls and wishing the show onto the TV for a quick look, it seems like the premise is basically "POKEMON does Marvel." Loki’s captured all the heroes into triangular ‘discs,’ and a bunch of plucky Japanese kids must gather those discs over the course of the series because -- wouldn't you know? -- these gadgets allow them to summon/command the heroes for brief periods of time.

(It was only a matter of time before the comparisons between Hulk and Bulbasaur would cinch closer…)

All the superheroes and supervillains have gotten true shonen make-overs in this show; and that goes doubly for Starlord, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket Racoon. Somehow, Rocket even manages to some look even cuddlier here than Chopper here. While there's always an outside-looking-in-reflected-through-a-mirror-darkly quality to projects like this, the Gaurdian's anime ball feels that much more surreal than BAT-MANGA and the tokusatsu Spider-Man show with Leperdon because, up until a month ago, these were all C-list and D-list characters in the Marvel universe. People hadn't heard of them in Chattanooga, let alone Osaka.

Anyway, what do you vicers think of this make-over? Does it feel like getting chocolate in your peanut butter, or milk in your orange juice? Let us know in the talkback if you're hoping this gets an official dub/sub import.

The Lamest JOJO'S BIZARRE ADVENTURE Episode

http://www.animevice.com/news/the-lamest-jojos-bizarre-adventure-episode/7844/

This episode was delayed for half of Friday. As I’d say whenever KILL LA KILL was late, in America it’s pretty much unfathomable for a show to be delayed a few hours after its scheduled airdate. Usually, the production company already delivered the tape/file well ahead of time. There’s no turning in a paper at midnight and it still counting for the grade here. If you miss the deadline, you don’t air that week.

I could imagine KLK’s delays toward the end were due to Trigger over-extending itself -- frantically trying to cram in as much cool shit as they could before they handed the episode over. Here, it frankly seems like Studio David forgot they were going to take a hiatus, so they hastily tried to re-work this installment to make it seem like it’d been planned as a teaser for next season. == TEASER ==

And that’s exactly what it feels like. A 20-minute teaser. I’ve just watched the anime equivalent of a promotional ashcan at a comic convention. We got barely enough new story, and then a bunch of red-cheeked fillibustering for what’s coming, so none of it feels that substantial or filling. It’s just minutes of screen time being... filled up. So, gee, if something deserved the label ‘filler’…

Seriously, by the time Season 3 runs its courses, and this show’s fanbase develops more in-jokes, this is going to be looked back on as embarrassing footnote on the order of the guest-directed GURREN LAGANN episode and the last EVA episode where Gainax literally ran out of money. The conclusion of the titular battle with Bette and the High Priestess feels so rushed and arbitrary - - like they were rushing to punch the clock. I’d be surprised if they didn’t re-do this for the home video released.

Anyway, I suppose it’s fitting that the praise train would finally derail when JOJO’s is literally taking such an abrupt stop. See you next season then?

Watch "the High Priestess, Part 2" and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode.

Community Spotlight 9/12/2014

http://www.animevice.com/news/community-spotlight-9122014/7843/

Greetings, Anime Vice Community! Just as the final episode of KILL LA KILL as been released in the Japanese market, Tom and Mattlook back to examine if there were any deeper meanings to be found in the year's bigger hit series. I know that I saw plenty, but you should check out their video to get their perspective. Unfortunately, that particular episode isn't being officially streamed anywhere. You'll need to wait for the DVD/Blu-ray box sets for that one.

There was also a very special video review between Tom and Matt as they took a look back at a more obscure title, EAGLE: THE MAKING OF AN ASIAN-AMERICAN PRESIDENT. That's one you really don't want to skip out on seeing, if you missed it. This duo got together again to discuss if shonen, such as NARUTO SHIPPUDEN, may be taking itself too seriously. The long and short of it is that there was plenty of video content to enjoy this week. Go find more on the news page.

You're going to have to forgive me a bit for the use of the GURREN LAGANN header. It may not apply to the current week. I've just had it on my mind ever since I discovered it was recently added the the Netflix line-up. Isn't that reason enough?

Anime Vice Task Initiative: Alphabetical: HERE

Anime Vice Task Initiative: Wiki Style Guide: HERE

Wonderful Wikis

It's always nice when newer users earn their way past the moderation limits. This week we congratulate OEST_MAG for reaching past 1,000 points, and AgentFakku completing enough edits to earn over 5,000. Great job, you guys, and keep up the fine work.

WANTED Wikis

Blog-o-sphere & Formidable Forums

  • CLAYMORE CHAPTER 154 REVIEW: TWIN GODDESS- HST COMPARISON by katmic HERE
  • NANATSU NO TAIZAI CHAPTERS 89-92: HAWK,THE MOST POWERFUL MAN by katmic HERE
  • Weekly DVD/Blu-Ray Releases: September 9, 2014 by takashichea HERE
  • Weekly Manga Releases: September 9, 2014 by takashichea HERE

Anime AMV Showcase

It was recently announced that NISEKOI could be entering the final arc of the manga, and Raku Ichijou will finally discover the truth behind the girl from his past. Isn't that ironic, given that the anime is just beginning? Seems a good enough reason to share this NISEKOIAMV with you all.

Remember, if you would like to submit something for the Spotlight. You can send me a PM, but please be sure to add "Spotlight" to the subject line I can't stress how important that is because it might just be lost in my Inbox when I clear it. Even if you have worked on something yourself and are really proud of your work. Get to work, and make more content for the next Spotlight!! Jana!!

About the Author

Kristoffer Remmell (FoxxFireArt) is a freelance graphic artist, writer, and over all mystery geek. Follow for news updates: @AnimeVicers /@FoxxFireArt / http://kristofferremmell.tumblr.com/

Comparing DRAGON BALL to JOJO's BIZARRE ADVENTURE

http://www.animevice.com/news/comparing-dragon-ball-to-jojos-bizarre-adventure/7841/

I was planning on writing up the latest JOJO’s episode today but - - ¡qué lastima! - - it’s apparently been delayed until the end of the day. Go figure with Japanese television, right? Well, what better way to combat a terrible wait for a new show than to revisit an old favorite, sitting comfortably there on the shelf…?

Actually, I suppose this juxtaposition makes for some worthwhile comparison points. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the Stardust Crusaders’ team dynamic, and Goku’s band offers an interesting counter example here. Last time, I said I was looking forward to the new line-up, since our hero was essentially trading one team [Bulma/Yamcha/Oolong] for another [Roshi/Krillin/Launch] that actually has a markedly different dynamic.

== TEASER ==

The key here is that all four players are good foils for each other. The Stardust Crusaders have that for the most part, but I still think Kakyoin doesn’t serve much purpose. He isn’t even a straight man for these other big personalities to bounce off. More importantly, if you put him in a given situation, there’s no guessing how his response will differ from Jotaro, Joseph, Polnareff or Avdol.

Contrast that with these guys, and how Goku and Krillin essentially serve as Goofus and Gallant during Roshi’s drills - - and you’ll start seeing there’s a bit of method to Toriyama’s madness. This could’ve just as easily been a training arc where Goku goes through the rote paces of learning another skill, but the pointed inclusion of Krillin as a foil makes all these familiar scenes funny. While I opted to combine these episodes for a double write-up because there isn’t a ton of plot between them, I was still highly entertained, and that’s chiefly due to that added character intrigue.

There’s even further intrigue for each drill, too, because Roshi will act differently (either as the sage or the letch), depending on whether Launch is around, and then Launch will act quite differently depending on whether she’s sneezed or not, and so on. Thus,, unlike with Kakyoin, there’s a clear and unique identity to how each team member will react to a situation (finding a hidden rock, delivering milk, etc), and then how they’ll interact will clearly change depending on who’s with whom. And again, that's the definition of a team dynamic, and DRAGON BALL handles it quite shrewdly.

Watch Milk Delivery" and “Find That Stone! decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode.