It’s that time of the month again and I’m glad to say that I’ve found time to watch a little bit more this time, on paper at least, there are a lot of films here. I’m still busy scheduling everything and maybe it’s pretty bad that I’ve been watching these instead of reading everyone else but the shows here are so good that I feel kind of justified!
Don’t worry I haven’t finished all of them, but if I had I wouldn’t be able to make this list so big! You will probably be seeing returns of Ruroni Kenshin and Barakamon in another “What I watched” post.
Sometimes just being a calming show isn’t good enough, you’re not always in the mood to relax and with my mind ethic (which I’ve been strongly trying to improve lately) where I try to be as active as possible it’s difficult to force yourself to slow down.
Gladly I don’t have this problem with Barakamon because its ideas and themes are so good that the relaxing tone of the rest of the show really helps to deliver a great story.
The main character has a strong passion for his work but feels like he’s hitting a brick wall. We see him try and fail and try again while constantly being bothered by a wide cast of entertaining characters. It’s clear that the secret to unlocking his potential lies within the connections he makes with the rest of the villagers and seeing him slowly change his nature and improve, partially through friendship but also learning new things.
Approaching the show with that idea in mind makes it fascinating and really great to watch.
I’ve only seen about 5 episodes of this show and while I like the episodic nature so far I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens in the big arcs later in the series.
It’s not the most entertaining show and certainly has a lot of down moments but I just think it’s really cool. Even though something isn’t always happening I like the setting as well as the design and idea of the characters. Someone using a reverse blade sword is very interesting because it shows how much Kenshin has changed since his days as the batosai.
It’s a fairly old show and suffers a little from that because I reckon I’ve seen a lot of things that may have ripped it off already, which hinders my enjoyment. Still, it feels entertaining, it’s not brilliant now but I’m enjoying it enough to see what will happen later.
Hajime No Ippo Champion Road
This is by far the worst part of Hajime no Ippo I’ve seen. And what I mean by that is that it was only a 9/10 instead of a 10/10! This film was great and followed Ippo in his match to defend his champion belt!
Ippo has always been a show that was fairly good at dealing with power creep, which is the idea that as a show progresses the characters need to get stronger and stronger until it’s unbelievable. In this case the worst part was this idea. Ippo was always really strong but it felt pretty toned down this time and he was a lot worse. I didn’t get the impression that the challenger was as good as Sendo and it was a little bit irritating to see that happen. I have also seen the emotional stakes be a lot higher in other seasons.
Still, the only reason why I would give this a 9 in the first place is that the later seasons of Ippo were so much better so I sort of had too. This was an excellent film and had me hooked start to finish.
Hajime no Ippo Mashiba vs Kimura
Easily one of the best films I’ve seen, Mashiba vs Kimura dragged Kimura into the focus of the show for the first time and connecting with his emotions and seeing his fight was thrilling.
Part of the epicnes of the film was in the setup, Mashiba was an excellent choice for an opponent. We had already seen him kick ass so many times in the original show and we knew Kimura was seriously going to have to work just to match him. The idea of calling his match an execution was also so good to see, and really worked to make the stakes so great.
Kimura was such a good character to see go up against him and the outcome was really entertaining.
Hajime No Ippo New Challenger
By far the worst part of season 2 was the lack of attention payed to Kimura. I was really looking forward to see Kimura’s change but it was difficult to see since he didn’t get very many fights and it felt like that epic persona that entered the ring in the last film was gone. Still the fights we got were really amazing.
The three big ones were Ippo vs Hammer Nao, Date vs Ricardo and of course Takamura vs Hawk. All of these were so good for their own individual reasons.
It was brilliant to see the return of Yamada and see Ippo deal with facing an old friend of his, his struggle to harm someone he likes was great and it was interesting to see the show explore the idea of cannon fodder. Hammer Nao is technically considered cannon fodder but with 8 wins he is the ultimate dark horse. It was great to see how his determination had led to his incredible rise in strength and how Ippo motivated him to continue growing further.
Date’s fight with Ricardo was brilliant because it was Date’s last chance at the world title, and those steaks alone made it thrilling to watch. Ippo had lost so badly too him as well and just seeing the two fight it out was a massive spectacle. Then the emotional payoff happened at the end, with Date battered and bruised in a dead end hospital speaking to Ippo. With the phrase “batton pass” he passed all the hopes and dreams everyone had for him onto Ippo, making his fists heavy.
One thing I won’t forget about the show is Date sentiments that “a champions punches are heavy” from the hopes and dreams everyone else has for them as they are rooting for him so much. With that pass Ippo now has the weight of Japan on the shoulders, to show the world Japans boxing and it was so emotional to watch.
If the Date vs Ricardo fight made me tear up slightly, Takamura and Hawk turned me into a crying mess of a human. I really loved the way Hawk was built up as a villain; he was a racist misogynist and a generally rude violent guy and I was looking forward to seeing his face get smashed in.
The whole fight was a conflict of two separate ideologies; talent and hard work. But it was more than that. Hawk had got his powers through living in a terrible place and being threatened with violence constantly, but his style was unpractised and raw, while Takamura was practiced and perfect technically.
The disconnect between the two, where Takamura was constantly struggling with his weight management while Hawk was living it up only made me want him to win more. As well as that the drama beforehand made it so perfect. It was such a great mix of every great thing about Shounen and sports flung together and the way the fight unfolded is so good that it’s easily my favourite fight in the whole series.
It wasn’t just the fight for the small boxing gym, but it was a fight for all of Japan to prove their worth in the ring, and that’s what made it so great.
Vampire Hunter D
I decided to watch both vampire hunter D films since I had heard good things about them and I felt it was about time. This one was just alright, bloodlust was much better.
Shiki was a show that got me interested in vampires, and also made me never worried about a vampire invasion when I reached the obvious conclusion that the vampire race is unsustainable because they need to kill humans to survive, but to survive they need to keep humans alive in the first place. It’s a common pyramid of biomass, let’s say for an example that the plant gets energy from the sun, the animals get energy from the plants, and the humans get energy from the animals. In each of these steps of the pyramid there is a decrease in biomass since energy is always lost through heat, waste and movement. The people on top of the pyramid need the energy from bellow, if there is ever more biomass on the top of the pyramid than the bottom people at the top will start to die because there isn’t enough food.
So vampires, they need humans to survive which means there will always be less of them. It is physically impossible for a vampire invasion to take over, so stop worrying kids! And if the vampires do take over, then they die straight away since there are no humans left to feed off of.
Tangent aside this film was fine, I sort of lost track halfway to go on my phone but it was still fine.
Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust
A lot of the bad things in the first film were solved in this next one. The idea of a girl falling in love with a vampire and living though the unfortunate relationship was great to see. It had fun action scenes and a much better background plot which made me like it more.
I don’t really get the love for the main character though. He’s not very cool in my opinion and his silence doesn’t help. He just doesn’t have a great appearance in my opinion. There is also the idea that he’s really good looking in universe, but I find that really hard to believe since I don’t get where this is coming from. If you saw this guy on the streets would you want him to come up and talk to you?
I read Uzumaki last month and Gyo this month. It was a really fun manga and very creepy. Just seeing the horrible things that could happen to humans is terrifying for a lot of people.
For me, I wasn’t so impressed. Yes the shots were really cool but I was never really creeped out or shocked in any way. I just can’t feel squeamish or scared of any gore or horror in anime/manga at all. I google gore shows for anime and find nothing but shows I’ve already seen and don’t think are gory.
That being said, the ability to creep you out isn’t everything and the manga had a lot of other great things going for it which made it worth my time anyway.
Alright that’s it! I already covered all the other manga In the last post which I’m still getting through so it’s time to list the winners for best show I watched in that month! And I’m sure you will be completely unsurprised by who won this time. It was Gyo and Hajime No Ippo Season 2. Gyo because it’s the only manga I finished and HNI because it was just that good.
So here’s the table so far!
January – Neon Genesis Evangeleon
February – A Silent Voice
March – Hajime No Ippo: New Challenger
January – Gantz
February – Uzumaki
March – Gyo
(I changed Bakuman to Uzumaki since I never finished Bakuman and I will add it to the list when I’ve finished it – it is that good I just know that it will beat whatever else I finish that month)