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One Piece - Romance Dawn Story (2008)

One Piece - Romance Dawn Story (2008)

This is One Piece as it should be! Pure, well-animated, fun; straight-forward. Intense when it needs to be, but never too much. It's got it all right. I also liked the older, softer style of drawing better.

The story? The Strawhat's run out of food (after a certain someone ate through the pantry!), and Luffy (the culprit) is sent out on the Mini-Merry to fetch more. He arrives at a small town by the sea, and runs into a girl named Silk just as the Crescent-Moon Galley attack the town. He's only there for the food, but Silk mistakes him for one of the attackers, as do the village people, but no matter: everything is cleared up eventually when he has a run-in with the Galley gang he ends up punching them far off the island, and saving the town that Silk lives in and loves so much. It's a not a spoiler since there's really no other way it could end, but there's a bit more backstory than that, for those of you planning to watch. ;)

It's a feelgood story, and watching this I'm reminded of how I felt when I started watching One Piece, and how far from its roots it's reached over the years. Although things are bound to get more serious as they battle fiercer and fiercer opponents, and gain all the more attention from the law, I miss the light-hearted adventures of old, and the romantic part of it all. That's really all Luffy is: one big romantic with the guts to live out those dreams, and maybe even the stubbornness required to fulfill them.

This took me back, to the good old days of old and gold: the real treasure, One Piece. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

One Piece - Heart Of Gold (2016)

One Piece - Heart Of Gold (2016)

Here's a prelude to the big One Piece movie this year: Gold. It stars the Strawhats VS Mad Treasure and his crew, all-new characters with interesting abilities, yet behind the scenes - just like with that little recent filler bit (747-751) in the anime, Grand Tesoro (Grand Treasure in Spanish) is pulling the strings.

Unlike the filler, this is a pretty good story, though the play on Nakama over Treasure is getting a bit old. Luffy keeps screaming how important his friends are, and eventually it seems like the villain actually starts listening, and it just feels sad. That's not how you make a message sink in - pummeling your enemies into the ground a bit after proclaiming your propaganda, then take a break to recoup and shout a bit again. Luffy was so much more straight-forward before. Just get on with it! Punch the guys lights out and reunite with yer crew - they learn by seeing what you do, not by hearing what you say!

There's too much emotion on his part for it to feel 'legit'. But, the 200-year old girl (with all her odd personality quirks), and her father, and the long-lost kingdom of Alechmi are nice touches, as is the element of teamwork overall. It's a good spin-off, but clearly not on par with the movie. I hope.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Naruto Shippuuden 478

Man. That was amazing. Amazing. Man.

I'm happy to say Naruto is getting awesome again! And has been for the last few episodes now. Feels like it might soon be over, but suddenly... I donĀ“t want it to end after all. Hopefully people won't want the same thing so heavily they decide to prolonge it a bit, and add in filler - there's nothing like that to kill a good show. But this episode... amazing. It brings me back to what I felt when the show first started out, and I hope it goes full circle until the end.

Assassination Classroom S2 (2016)

Assassination Classroom S2 (2016)

The last episode of Assassination Classroom... oh man... so many feelings. Somehow I didn't think it'd end the way it did. Not after all they'd been through, but with a series like this... you never know how it'll go.

If you thought the premises for this show was totally unrelatable and crazy, you couldn't be more wrong. This season is even crazier than the last - moving away from the trials of school life to professional assassinations, and even to the moon - but it's all the more relatable, crazy as that may sound. Koro Sensei grows each day, as do the students, as do their bonds, and yet the deadline for the potential destruction of the world draws closer and closer. Suspense.

It's really not about assassination, but about growth, and humanity, and when it's not about all of that: it's fun! It's a blast. It's the odd series where action is commonplace and the real highlight is the personal growth each character goes through - especially Nagisa and Karma, and whatever will happen to their teacher. In the end this was so much more than I'd expected it to be. You can read my review of the first season here. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Fighting Beauty Wulong (2005)

Fighting Beauty Wulong (2005)

The subtitles were whack, but the show was good. It's a story about a high school student and heir to the Mao Fist: Maolang (or Zialong? Walong? Subtitles are whack), and the trials and tribulations she goes through mastering the art - fighting a series of tournaments on her grandpa's behalf.

The animation quality's pretty crappy, but the story moves through a series of fights and relations, and new friends and foes keep popping up along the way... and then there's that final fight. Looks like... she chased out Chunyang's darkness? Though the subtitles raised some mystery and confusion, I enjoyed the show.

It also reminded me of Air Master, though the fight sequences are far from as fluent as they are in the latter, and nor is the story as red-threaded. Where the latter delves into odd fighting styles and moves, this one delves more into chi and history, but they're both good in their own ways, and they both have character (though Air Master much more so). It's not flawless, but as far as female fighter animes go this one's much less known than it's less good than the competition. There's a sequel season too! Looking forward to seeing that one as well when I have some spare time to spar.

 rated 3/5: not bad

Soul Eater (2008)

Soul Eater (2008)

Soul Eater was friggin awesome.

I didn't really have too high hopes when it started out - in those first three episodes of character prologues, but before you know it you're really immersing yourself into their world - in the spontaneity and insanity of it all, and maybe not relating to, but wishing the best for this little group of inspiring heroes - the weapons and their meisters.

It's a different kind of world in Death City, where humans fight with other human weapons, and Death looks after the land, keeping it calm and peaceful. The sun and moon loom as living figures in the resiliently blue sky above.

Our main characters are students at the DWMA - The Death Weapon Meister Academy. There's Black Star, who might have lost a few brain cells along the way, but wins no matter what. There's Maka, who's scared, but fights her fear and has a heart of gold. There's Death the Kid - the kid of Death, a guy with his a skewed sense of symmetry, but straight sense of responsibility. And then there's the crazy Dr. Stein, the zombie teacher Sid, the mad witch Medusa, and a bunch of strong personalities that appear along the way.

It starts off with simple ventures - with learning, and chasing souls and things like that, but eventually it turns into an apocalyptic drama in which the order of the world is distorted by a wave of madness (not enough focus on that wave of madness though), and of course our three heroes are the only ones that can save the day.

It's an emotional battle, and an inspiring series, and I love how they bring everything to closure with the simple scenes as the credits roll. There are moments where I felt like I could've written a better script - when there were punchlines the characters could have come up with that would have been so much better than what they had, but their patterns of speech are parts of their personalities. They're only human, after all, and the series plays out in a natural way that way. Never mind the land of Death and soul hunting thing - when it's all over this world feels as natural as our own world, down-to-Earth and cozy. And it ends with that I-want-to-get-out-and-change-the-world kind of feeling I love to get. Great watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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