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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

Prince of Stride - Alternative (2016)

Prince of Stride - Alternative

Here's a series about Stride, a fictional mixture of running and parkour.

It features a bunch of guys and buddies, a team, and a girl - the team leader. There's a lot of blue skies and emotional runs, and feelings floating around up there amidst the cloud. I realized too late it was an otome anime (noooooo), which I sort of wish I'd never been made aware of, because up until that point I was thinking it seemed like a surprisingly inspiring and refreshingly different show.When you know what it's all about there are suddenly too many guys, and just the one girl, and you start wondering if everyone's really straight, but...

It was a good show. Values of friendship intertwine with a will to win, a childhood promise, feuds and friendships between crews, and one final race that closes it at a rapid pace.

I was a bit disappointing at how it all ended in the middle of the final phase, with emotion and speed rather than with a definite victory, but they did win! All's well that ends well, and if there's any one show that's inspired me to get a move on in life this year, it's this one.

12 episodes total, and I don't think this is one of those series that'll span more than a season. There's also apparently an original version of this, which I wonder... if I should maybe leave alone. It couldn't have been any better than this, could it? Good watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

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