Skip Beat 248

I don’t even know if I ever mentioned Skip Beat, but I’ve been reading it ever since my brother’s first girlfriend introduced me and that was ages ago. It’s quite amazing how little this manga developed story wise in this period of time.

skip_beat_44_8You see, when I stated reading Skip Beat, it must’ve been around 2005, so it’s been a long time. In these 12 years, I’ve read and finished so many manga while this is is one of the few that I’m actually still reading from this period of time. Skip Beat has easily always been the manga I’ve complained about the most about it’s speed of development story- and character-wise. The fun part is, I’ve also always been reading Detective Conan and there’s nothing happaning at all, very few instances when we had a bit of actual story, but it’s not much.

The difference is, Conan is designed very periodic, so we usually have a couple of chapters revolving around a case. The case is finished and we move onto the next one, so every few chapters we have some kind of resolve and we accomplish something. It’s a weekly manga, so it’s usually between a months or two before we finish one mini-arc.

Skip Beat drags on a lot more. First and foremost, it’s monthly and it’s not just monthly, it also has a very small page count for a monthly manga. You know, I’m used to the Fullmetal Alchemist type of monthly manga around 40 pages per chapter, sometimes even close to 50. Skip Beat has about 25-30 ish pages per chapter and as you can see: huge difference. Okay, this can be thanks to different art style, working conditions, health issues with the manga-ka, whatever, you know, there are many reasons why we skip_beat_78_25have less pages per chapter and if 25-30 works good for Nakamura, then that’s fine.

Unfortunately, Skip Beat has not exactly been the most regulary released manga on the planet, skipping a month here and there. Actually, it used to be released bi-weekly, which might be the reason why the page count is that low for a monthly release, and was moved to a monthly release a few years ago if I remember correctly. Which is fine, again. I’m sure there are reasons I don’t know about and I don’t have a problem with that.

Now take all what I’ve said so far about page count and not-as-regular-releases-as-we-would-like and add a painstakingly slow narrative to it – THIS is where it starts getting annoying. I swear to god, Akagami no Shirayukihime managed at least twice as much substance in 85 chapters than Skip Beat managed in 248 chapters. I constantly feel like we’re walking on the same spot without getting anywhere, as if we’re stiped to a conveyer belt or something.

We did make some progress over the time, no question. Kyoko went from hating love after being mistreated by Sho, to admitting to herself that she’s in love with Ren. She also developed into a capable actess, even though she’s still officlally an idol and head chef of the Love Me section, but I actually think she was surprisingly good right from the start. I skip_beat_241_4mean, she was never “bad” at acting, she had the talent all the time and impressed people all over the place even with her early works.

Thanks to the amazingly slow narrative, the mini-arcs in Skip Beat take years to finish, which can drag on a lot. For example: Kyoko was talking with Moko-san about the role of Momiji, that she’s currently auditioning for, 14 chapters ago – that’s 14 months, if a chapter was released every month during that time. I think the whole thing actually started even further back, but that’s already over a year and she still didn’t get the part just yet. It looks like she will get it very soon and Ren has come back from Guam earlier only to see a picture of Sho and Kyoko kissing, which is not that good, I guess…? I mean,  Ren is 21 years old currently and Kyoko is 17, which officially makes then illegal. Sho and Kyoko are of the same age, so at least Sho is not breaking the law.

Akagami no Shirayukihime has been dragging on a lot lately as well, because Shirayuki and Zen have been separated for a while now and I’m dying to see them together again. At least they’re an official pair, that’s much more than Skip Beat can claim to have. I’m also dying to know what Ren will give Kyoko as a White Day’s gift. He sent everyone a gift, except Kyoko and Yashiro mentioned months ago that he knows what Ren got for her, so I think it’s certain to say he got her something special and wants to give it to her skip_beat_219_8in person. That was, before he saw that picture of Kyoko and Sho kissing, which might delay thing a tiny bit… and by that I mean probably another half a year.

Yeah, that’s one way to keep your manga running, but apparently there’s still enough people interested, or Skip Beat would’ve suffered the same fate Bleach had and would’ve been axed. At least we still have a chance to see a proper end to this.

Sing (movie 2016)

I missed quite a lot of movies in theatres lately and now that they’re slowly being released on Blu-Ray/DVD, I’m finally catching up. My latest additions are “Moana” and “Sing”.

sing011I had fun. It’s just very unfortunate for Sing that I watched Moana first. Do’t get me wrong, it’s a nice movie, it’s fun, has some pretty unique and enjoyable characters, but it’s not a “must see”. While Moana is not Disney’s greatest movie ever, it’s at least one of their better recent ones, that’s for sure. It’s not flawless and while the budget clearly shows (like, seriously, that’s got to be arguably the most beautiful animated movie I’ve ever seen), it has some shortcommings. This is criticism on a very high level, though. Still… I support Zootopia for winning the best animated movie Oscar, it really was the best animated movie of 2016.

Either way, back to sing: The plot is pretty thin. This wouldn’t really be much of a problem, if the characters were strong… which they aren’t. And here’s the problem I have with the movie: the characters don’t interact. You have this cast of awesome and interesting personalities and they’re just there for the sake of being there. All of them come with their own sets of problems, which all of them more or less solve by the end. They solve these problems by themselves, because they sing.

The singers in the show barely talk to each other outside of their respective groups. Even Buster Moon doesn’t really talk to them that much, he basically chooses them, chooses their songs and dresses, puts them into rehearsal rooms to practice and that’s it. The first and last time you see them interact is when they’re building the “outdoor theatre” together. Buster and Meena are the clostest, because Buster lets her work behind the scenes instead of sing, so he has to pay attention to her and teach her how stuff works.

I personally feel the main problem is, the movie tried to do too much at the same time. I personally cared the most about Johnny and his storyline, but that would’ve easily been enough to fill the entire movie and then there’s all the other characters, too. Frankly speaking, there’s simply not enough time to give each character the time they deserve for growth and developments to solve theie own problems in a satisfying way. Instead, I guess they focussed on Butster Moon and indended to have this story revolve around him, but his story is the least interesting. I mean, yeah, he loves his theatre and he doesn’t want to loose it, because of his dad, but when it comes to it it’s a money problem first and foremost. The other characters have emotional hurdles to take. Well, except Mike, Mike is an asshole and only cares about money and reputation.

Meena is very shy and needs to overcome her natural timid nature in order to follow her dream of being a musician. Ash needs to free herself of her boyfriend, who’s stopping and constricting her own artistic talent, but she catched him cheating on her and has to deal with a broken heart. Johnny… well, poor boy has a criminal as a father, who wants him to join the gang and doesn’t acknowledge Johnny’s interest in music. Rosita is the burned out mom of too many kids and not enough support from her husband who needs her personal life to kick off in order to be happy again.

All of this ^ sounds more interesting than the Koala with money problems. Here’s two l3vQZEUEKUvbvsFsAdifferent approaches: a) reduce the backstory of the singers, because their backstories don’t matter that much anyway, to properly build Buster Moon into a likable character with an actual emotionally connectable problem and that would most likely include giving more backstory to Buster and his father. Take your time to build emotions and don’t just throw stuff at out faces and expect us to care. Does anyone really cares about Buster? I don’t even think so, in the movie itself it was said all of Busters shows were flops, so it’s HIS fault he’s in this situation anyway and he expects these singers to get him out of it. Besides, he’s committing crime along the way, stealing electricity and water and illegally employ these squids.

b) reduce the backstory of everyone expect one of the singers and explore him or her properly and include the other caracters present into his or her healing process.

This movie tried to do everything at the same time and that’s just too much. It’s still fun, the music is great, but I never connected with the characters as much as I expected I would. Unfortunately, Meena seems to be the one from the artists who’s the “main” and for me she was the least interesting one, because she had the most trivial problem. Yes, being timid is not a piece of cake and getting over your fears is very hard and challenging and I’m not trying tot alk that down, but she had such a picture perfect life besides that. It’s like… girl, you have a way better life than any of your competitiors, why should I root for you over them? You will get your next chance, your family will catch you if you fall and help you come back. Rosita doesn’t have anyone like that, she will just fall deeper into depression. Johnny might end up in freaking prison as a criminal. Meena is basically the princess of the group.

It doesn’t really help much her song in the show was my least favorite. It’s not the song itself, Stevie Woner’s original version is awesome, I just don’t like Meena’s cover and I was glad when it was over. The other characters did a much better job covering/presenting their songs, in my opinion. I mean, have you listend to the orinal version of “Don’t you worry ’bout a thing”? It’s Latin-ish with lot’s of piano inviting you to dance Chachacha (if I’m not entirely mistaken, you can dance a Chacha to this), it’s a feel good song. Meena’s version doesn’t do it any justice. I loved her sining Halleluja so much more, why couldn’t she have sung something like that? Or … at least some kind of ballad, instead of latin? I don’t think it was the right song for her.

sourceBy the way, I loved Gunther. He was so cool. He was flat as a board in terms of characterization, but he was the comic relief and he was doing a great job being just that. They tried to give all these characters background and problems and failed to explore them properly and it’s the one character with no background whatsoever and barely and charcter to him, that I love the most. The things he was supposed to do, he was doing  extreamly well and that was: being funny and helping Rosita to loosen up. That’s all, but he did his job and he did it good.

Enough rambling. It was okay. Visuals were good, not quite as amazing as Moana, but good. Thin plot, interesting characters that don’t interact and (for the most part) pretty good music. It’s mild entertainment, but not a must-see.

A few thoughts

Okay, first of all: Where’s Yuri on Ice season 2? WHERE IS IT? I need my gaylicious babies.

tenorApparently, everything was planned from the start and nothing was changed in favor for a possible second season. I’m not entirely sold on that, but whatever. From what I heared a second season will be made, if the DVD/BluRay sales are good. Judging by the huge waves the TV broadcast made, I’m hoping sales will be good enough. Since Yuri now lives and trains with Victor in Russia, this is the perfect opportunity to get more background on Victor, who’s still more of a walking mystery than anything. Also: more Victor skating, please? God, this man is just too delicious for his own good.

 

Akagami no Shirayukihime. I mean, I love this manga. Contrary to what I initially believed, I absolutely love it. It’s one of the sweetest romance stories I’ve read in a while and quickly advanced to become one of my favorite romance manga. If Yuri and Victor are a pair of sexy gay deliciousness, Shirayuki and Zen are a cute bubble of innocence. I love seeing them together, even though I think it’s quite ironic Shirayuki flees from her home country to escape from a prince who wants to marry her and ends up in another country in tumblr_nuom06w3vx1qfjlbzo2_500the arms of another prince who wants to marry her.

Either way, the latest chapters are great and all, but I really miss my cutsey dose of Shirayuki/Zen love. I get it: Zen is trying his best to be able to stay with Shirayuki permanently together in the castle where his mother is currently “ruling”, taking over her place. This needs time and preparation. Yeah, but… I remember getting impatient when we haven’t seen Ed in Fullmetal Alchemist for half a year after he was massively injured and the story focussed on something else, before he gloriously reappeared (seriously, that was freaking amazing, but that’s FMA for you), but if I’m not mistaken we’re getting close to 1 & 1/2 years since Shirayuki was sent on her mission away from Zen. They met somewhere in between and currently the focus is more on the aids and as much as I adore Mitsuhide and Kiki and their own little love story, but I really really really miss Shirayuki and Zen being lovely dovely.

 

Shokugeki no Soma took a very sudden turn in events and now it looks like it’ll be over relatively soon. Judging by the popularity of the manga, I’m a bit surprised by that and I’m not liking the decision of this new Shokugeki. I mean, that’s just bending the rules to have some plot convenience. I know that happens a lot in shounen, especially in long running a2bac6b4ce94598a5870839c7355ca76sounen, but it still kind of bothers me. It’s like saying: by the way, the ultimate weapon against all of our problems have been there the entire time, if someone would’ve just been nice enough to bring it up, which strangely never happend. Yeah. Stange, isn’t it?

Saibas backstory was pretty cool, though. Why do I seem to like the backstories of father figures in shounen so much? Isshin had a damn awesome backstory in Bleach as well. On the other hand: Isshin as well as Saiba are some pretty cool dads. I don’t think Saiba has been a very good father, though. He’s cool, but not a good father. He loves Soma, sure, and it’s not like he did everything wrong, but some of his decisions regarding Somas upbringing are very questionable.

 

Ballroom e Youkoso is back to a regular release and it’s as great as always. I don’t even know what else to say. It’s back, that’s awesome! And the two chapters released since it’s comeback have been awesome. Not much dancing, but more character and the right dose cdmkwwcuuaejszeof humor sprinkled in here and there. I love Akiras and Chii-chans relationship, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of it, even after this competition is over. Furthermore we got a glance at the possibility how easy it is to loose for Chii-chan and Tatara. Rememeber: they promised to break up, if they don’t win and winning will be a miracle, if they don’t get it together soon. Thank you Hyoudou for ripping Tataras shoulder apart, so instead of being too stiff he’s too loose now. … great…

Best of 2016

Now that 2017 has arrived and is still in it’s baby shoes, I’d like to make quick list about my best manga, anime, game and movie of 2016. Last year I made this huge individual lists, but I’m not feeling well, so I’m going to keep it shorter. The same rules apply as last year:  on going franchises are allowed & also titles I’ve seen/read/played 2016 but premiered ealier are allowed as well.

Best Game of 2016

As for best game, unfortunately there was no Zelda this year, so no Zelda for best game either. Spoiler alert: Zelda will be best game of 2017. I’m actually very tempted to go with Super Metroid, even though it’s very old, but it’s so damn good. Even after so many years, it’s still such an amazing game and I haven’t played it on SNES back in the days, I played it first on the Wii U. However, if a 22 years old game is better than recent games, that would be sad, even if Super Metroid is one of the best games ever made.

So, what else to choose? I played Yokai Watch, which was nice. Bravely Second was very good as well and I also liked Legend of Legacy and Pokken. Unfortunately there’s no game like Xenoblade Chronicles X that stood out among the rest as much as XCX did (I still love this game, it’s fucking amazing), but I was positively surprised by Kirby Planet Robobot. I already liked Triple Deluxe, but Planet Robobot was even better. Kirby is doing good lately!

sun-moon-box-artEventually, I guess I have to go with Pokemon Sun/Moon for my game of the year 2016. When I first started the game I couldn’t help but wonder just how far the franchise has come in the past 20 years and I’ve been a part of it the entire time. They dared to change up the formula and it payed off. Even though Gen VII doesn’t have the best Pokemon designs (in my opinion), they’re fine and I love the concept of regional forms of old pokemon.

Best Movie of 2016

This is a hard one. I think I watched a lot of great movies in 2016. I loved Creed, The Hateful Eight, Rogue One, The Martian, Zootopia, The Danish Girl, Deadpool…. the list goes on. However, when it comes down to it, I guess two movies stood out and even though the winner is very clear, I’d love to point out the runner up, because it surprised me that much. The runner up is Southpaw and it surprised me, because I thought it’s just a Rocky-clone, but it’s not. I didn’t like all the decisions made in the story, but it’s more about a broken man who tries to fix his relationship with his daughter after his wife’s death and tries very hard to get her back, than it’s about boxing. He just happens to be a boxer. Yes, there’s a training montage and yes, it’s awesome. Also, kudos to Jake Gyllenhaal, I think he did a great job.

Now, for my movie of the year, it’s easily Whiplash. Why didn’t I see this movie earlier? whiplashIt’s so intense, it caught me completely off guard. I heard it was good, but damn it was downright amazing. It climbed right into the league of best movies I ever watched. It’s clever, dramatic, cruel, intense, strong characters and an awesome soundtrack. If you haven’t watched it: go watch it.

Best Anime of 2016

For me, 2016 was a good year for anime. Lot’s of shows I enjoyed: Akagami no Shirayukihime Season 2, Haiyku Season 2+3, Hai to Gensou no Grimgar, Soma Season 2, Battery, Bungou Stray Dogs, Noragami, 3 gatsu no Lion, Fune wo Amu, Udon no Kuni no Kiniro Kemari.

I don’t think it comes as a surprise when I say, my personal anime of 2016 was, easily, Yuri!! On Ice. I just jumped into the fandom and was going along with the hype. It was gaylicious, it was fun, it was one hell of a ride and I don’t think I’ve been that much into an anime ever since Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. This doesn’t mean, it’s as good as FMA:B, I don’t like some of the decisions in episode 11 and 12, but it’s just breathtaking yuri-on-ice-02-6how episode 10 suddenly made the entire anime look in an entirely different way. Awesome plot twist right there. Also, as cheesy as it sounds, Yuri!! On Ice really did make history: it boldly portrayed a homosexual relationship in a world without discrimination as something entirely normal and it was done so incredibly well. I’ve hardly ever seen heterosexual relationships done that good and Yuri!! On Ice simply takes it to an entirely different level. We need more romance like that, we need more couples like Victor and Yuri and we need more media open enough towards homosexuality to treat it completely normal. It should not be that big of a deal to have a same sex couple treated like that. I hope, someday, our world can be as understanding and open towards homosexual relationships and other kinds of sexuality as the world in YOI is.

Best Manga of 2016

This is easily the hardest choice. First of all, I completely forgot what I read this year. I mean, besides the usual suspects. Some manga I’d like to point out are Vinland Saga, Skip Beat, Our Relationship is…, Piano no Mori, Until Death Do Us Part, Chihayafuru, Arte, Shounen Oujo, Do Da Dancin’, Kounodori, Nijiiro Days, Vagabond and Shinobi Quartet. Once again, I’d like to point out two manga more. The first one is 10 Dance. I’m a sucker for sportsmanga and ballroom dancing is so amazing. Maybe it’s because I learned it before and actually do know how to dance (not competitively, but at least I don’t make a fool out of myself at weddings), but I love manga about ballroom dancing and the two I enjoy the most are 10 Dance and Ballroom e Youkoso (after more than a year on hiatus, it’ll finally be back in just a few days and we’ll also get an anime, awesomesauce).

The story of 10 dance is rather simple, but I can’t help but love seeing the two Shinyas dacing together. It looks so good, the dancing itself is just awesome and it doesn’t hurt they boys are damn sexy and their personalities are so different it’s fun seeing them working their shit out together. I’m super thrilled the manga is published ihn my country 181140lnow, too.

As for manga of 2016 I’m going with a manga I’ve just recently discovered, but I absolutely fell in love with it and hope it’ll continue doing well. After just 8 chapters there’s not that much story yet and I’m guessing it’ll stay on the lighter side, but it’s a cute romance and I really need that right now: Otonari Complex. It’s cute, it’s light, it’s well done. Nothing of the huge big title like Whiplash in my movie section, but a manga that made an impression and I think it could become something like Lovely Complex, but that’s yet to see.

Yuri on Ice ep7

The love is real! All on board the hype train! Let the ship sail!

yuri____on_ice_folder_icon_by_holiekay-daezsjt

by HolieKay @deviantart

Damn, this episode was awesome. Ever since the first ep, Yuri on Ice was my favorite anime of the season. It’s just gloriously gay and walks the perfect line between making fun of itself and being serious. When Yuri broke into tears in episode 7, it was very well executed with a red nose, eyes, shaky voice and everything. It had such a big impact, we all knew he was going to break down after Victor dared he would quit if Yuri didn’t make the podium, but he was still surprisingly good at standing up for himself and telling Victor his place. It was still very much in character, though. On the other hand… Chris? He’s just insane: dat ass, dat routine, dat comming.

There’s so much to love and laugh about this anime, even if you’re not into BL. If you’re

yaoi-on-ice

Feel the love!

into BL, your dreams probably came true this episode. People can argue with me it wasn’t a kiss, I stand by my word it was a damn fucking real kiss. Period. Honestly, after having Victor sleep on him and hug him naked, I’m pretty sure a simple hug wouldn’t surprise Yuri as much as it did. Also: that lip close up. It was gorgeous!

And please, give me a minute to adore Yuris costume for his free program. I think it suits him so much more than the one he’s wearing for his short program (well, it was originally from Victor and designed to suit him, so…). With all the weird guys skating around, Yuri is simple, not too flashy, elegant and classy. Just like his music reflects on his person, his costume does, too! It all goes together so damn well, he looks stunning in it.

While I’m absolutely in love with Yuri and Victor, how they showed both of them have still

yaoi-on-ice-2b

Yuri standing up after his attempt at the quadruple flip

a lot to learn, but great potential, I’m a bit disappointed Yuri didn’t win. Yeah, he messed up 3 of his jumps, but only fell once, overrotated once and touched the ice once. He still got points for all three of his messed up jumps and he increased his technical difficulty with the quadruple flip right at the end of the programm, even if it was messed up – it had enough rotations at least. Furthermore, all of his other elements were flawless and his step sequence was amazing. He was surprinsingly clam, had a great expression and still had a 20 points lead over Phichit from his flawless short program.

Phichit skated great, but not flawless and had a much lower technical difficulty. Unfortunately we didn’t see the technical difficulty from Phichit and Yuri… or Yuris overall points. Therefore, we can’t really judge the outcome that good, but point in case: with Yuris higher difficulty, 20 point lead from the short programm and flawless free programm aside from his messed up 3 jumps, I still expected Yuri to win over Phichit. If I remember correctly Yuzuru Hanyu broke the world record with a messed up jump (that just shows a) how damn awesome he is and b) how crazy difficult his routines are) in his free programm and was 38 points ahead of second place. I think it was entirely possible for Yuri to win over Phichit.

So, why did Yuri lose? My guess: plot convenience. The declared goal is winning the Grand

yaoi-on-ice-3

Yuri 2nd – Phichit 1st – Chris 3rd

Prix final and we still need some room for improvement, hence why Yuri didn’t skate his free routine flawless even once yet. He already nailed his short program, but he has a long way to go for his free progam, espically since he now added the quadruple flip and he still needs to land it, let alone nail it. I think the quadruple flip could be the deciding factor, the one thing that makes the difference, if he lands it well. This is where we need to go from now. Yuri probably has the potential to break the world record with his current routines, if done flawless from a technical point of view and a good presentation and this may just be where we’re heading for the final episode of this anime.

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Yuzuru Hanyu nailing the quadruple toe loop at Sotchi 2014 Winter Olympics – the element Yuri was supposed to perform as the final jump of his program.

 

Battery

80934I finally, finished “Battery”, which aired last season and is now completed with 11 episodes. I have to admit, this was the summer-season anime I had the most initial hopes in. It’s no secret I love me a good sportsanime.

The sportsanime of summer season 2016 I watched were Battery, Days and Cheer Danshi!! and out of all three Battery is still my favorite. It’s not that often I’m rating an anime or manga higher than MAL, but I don’t think Battery deserves the 6.0 it got over there, especially after considering Days got a 7.11… just… how?

I don’t think I’ll be writing a post for Days, so I’m just going to go over it real quick now: it’s just load of bullshit. I mean, seriously, why can’t Japan get soccer right? I’m a fan of more realistic sportstories and that already leaves out at least 3/4 of what’s available. The sad part is Days tries to be realistic, but utterly fails. No, you don’t get better at soccer by just running and running and running. You will be good at running a marathon, but not at soccer. Also, it’s sad attempt at building relationships within the team is very questionable. The main character is extreamly annoying and the decisions regarding his playtime on the field are more than questionable considering all he can do is… run. So, as you might’ve guessed, I dropped it.

Cheer Danshii!! I still have to finish up, I’m currently at 4/12, so I still have some way to go. It’s okay-ish so far. The animation looks too stiff and sometims awkward, but it’s watchable.

Battery is certainly on the realistic side, but I kind of expected it to take place in High1466172645_1_1_e87b793eaf09f5c9099fafd80ba12cae School… I was shocked it’s about middle schoolers. I like it’s slower pace and emphasis on the characters rather than the sport. The main character does seem very selfish, but fixing his issues is the biggest part this series is working on during it’s run time, so it does get better. The talking baseball at the beginning of the last episode was just plain weird, though.

I think what this anime managed to accomplished was good. There are a lot of open questionmarks, though. I stand at a point where I would like to see at last twice as many episodes and see the anime look at some other problems that occured and weren’t fully adressed. Especially Takumi’s family issues, what seemed to be a huge part of the story in early episodes, was not really touched upon or solved in any sense of the way. We didn’t even get to see the mother for the past 3 episodes or so.

Takumi has a huge problem with his mom and his little brother, who’s sickly and fragile. I would’ve liked a better explanation, though. Was he ill a lot when he was small? Does he have a certain condition that makes him fragile? Whatever it is, it leads to his mother being very overprotective of Seiha and kind of taking Takumi for granted. She’s not treating them equally, but kind of expects Takumi to be an adult and care for himself, understand his brother’s situation and so on… at the age of 13. That’s impossible. No wonder he’s so cold towards her. I would’ve really liked this triangle Takumi-his mom-Seiha solved.

battery_1bThen there’s Gou’s mother, who said Gou had to stop playing baseball and I expected a conflict out of that. Well, the conflict just vanished halfway though and was never talked about again.

Next point: Takumi’s granfather was apparently a very famous baseball coach and Takumi begged him to show him a breaking ball. He was refused, because he’s still too young and said he would teach him when he’s in High School. Okay, I understand we didn’t get to see more of it, because the anime only focussed on middle school, but I still expected a tiny bit more from the grandfather. For the rest of the season he was just… there. He was the one entertaining Seiha and comforting the mother when Takumi was rough again, explaining why she shouldn’t touch a pitcher’s shoulder and so on. He could’ve served a much bigger role.

Then there’s the lack of actual baseball content. Like I said, it’s mainly about Takumi and getting him to become a team player and befriend Gou. I feel like we’re now at a point where we get so see some matches, especially with the other coach saying their team will be a real contender next year and then there’s no next year. There’s just the end. I liked the end, though. It looks like Takumi’s best pitch was indeed hit, meaning he still has a lot to learn and it not unbeatable. I liked that point. It was okay to focus more on the characters and less on baseball for the time we had, but now I guess we’re just ready for some more baseball.

The art direction was very fitting, I liked the intro and outro. Quality wise it was okay, even battery-08-9though I did notice some serious quality drops in the later episodes. It’s not Kuroko no Basket budget-wise, that’s for sure and I didn’t expect it to be, to be honest. It was within my expectations.

This anime still feels unfinished, but the characters it adressed were good and the major relationship problems it solved were well done. I really liked the more silent and calm tone of it. Gou was a bit too grown up, but then again, these characters could’ve easily been High Schoolers anyway, so… and it was acutally adressed that Gou is an outstandingly independend and mindful person.

I gave battery a 7/10. After reading my own review… it sounds more like a 5/10 due to all the missed opportunies and the unfinished nature of this anime, but I did enjoy what I saw and especially the episodes where Takumi and Gou had their biggest differences. Battery tried to make a different kind of anime, a bit into the direction of Adachi Mitsuru, but didn’t quite get it as good. It’s a change of pace in the very hyperactive and exaggerated world of sportsanime.

Recent turn of events in Hajime no Ippo

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Okay, so after 20 years of serialization we’ve come to a point where… our main character is broken. This doesn’t really come as a complete shock, a) because the possibility of getting hit by too many punches has been in the room for a very long while and b) Hajime no Ippo is obviously inspired by Ashita no Joe, who also suffered brain damage (and eventually died).

m018Still, I always expected this manga to end on a more positive note, maybe because it has been very happy-go-lucky in it’s early stages with many dirty jokes and the classic hard working shounen type of sportsmanga. You don’t see it very often in sportsmanga that human limitations and illnesses are addressed, especially in shounen manga where the sport is usually glorified and all’s good, if it’s a semi realistic manga. Then there’s manga like Kuroko no Basket that we don’t even need to start talking about, because it’s so far away from anything realistic.

Ippo has always been on the more realistic side and the possibility of brain damage is nothing new, like I said. I actually really like how this topic has been slowly made more and more prominent. Ippo noticed himself he has problems, but he brushed it off and therefore the reader also brushed it off. Now that the cast is openly talking about Ippo being broken and Punch Drunk, it still fells like this manga has suddenly turned into a very dark direction. It’s not like this hasn’t been foreshadowed, it’s more like until now it hasn’t been a real threat to Ippos career and at least I didn’t expect it to affect him this badly before his shot at a world title match.

Takamura is fully aware of Ippos state. He straight up told both Ippo and the coach. What b004else is he supposed to do? Beat Ippo to a crap so he can’t lift a finger anymore? I think this situation is very complicated for Ippo, Takamura and the coaches. Ippo may have managed to draw a straight line in front of them, but he’s well aware that he was damn lucky, because the last time he tried at home, he horribly failed. And I’m pretty sure Kamogawa doesn’t trust the line Ippo drew, he has a bad feeling himself and he also trusts Takamura. The odds are simply against Ippo.

It looks to me as if Ippo is crumbling under the high expectations he set upon himself and is loosing his grab on reality. On the one hand he’s telling himself he’ll stop before it gets bad, so he can still take over his family business, on the other hand he’s straight up lying to Kamogawa so he can step into the b013ring again. As things are right now, I think if he wants to avoid being unable to take over his family business, he needs to retire RIGHT NOW.

We are heading into the direction that Ippo will step into the ring again and he will take punches again. His condition will gradually worsen, the only question is how long can Ippo fool his coaches and go on. The happy-go-lucky manga from 20 years ago is long gone, this is about Ippos health and his brain is already damaged, maybe even permanent. To continue with boxing equals self destuction at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ippo ending up in a vegetative state, instead of taking over a fishing boat.

Do I think Ippo might die, like Joe? No. I don’t think this will happen, but I really welcome this turn of events in this manga. It’s finally interesting again and actually ending with your main character broken and severely ill after 20 years of serialization is a brave move – inspired by Ashita no Joe or not.