Artistic and Anachronistic!

Samurai Champloo

Samurai Champloo

This anime is so cool – it’s artistically anachronistic and totally unique in its own treatment of the samurai culture with a twist of the modern culture. I’m talking, of course, of Samurai Champloo, which is a total revision of the stereotypical ‘samurai atmosphere’.

For one thing, from the title itself, ‘champloo’ (chanpuruu) literally means to ‘mix’, ‘mingle’ or ‘combine’ – so the title itself gives the viewers a hint of what’s the anime about – there is a certain kind of acculturation or adoption of the samurai culture in the modern hip-hop culture (or is it the other way around?).

While Rurouni Kenshin’s (Samurai X) fictional setting takes place during the early Meiji period in Japan, Samurai Champloo takes place during Japan’s Edo period.

Still, one of the anime’s distinct characteristics is mixing modern elements such as hip-hop and rap music, break dancing, graffiti as well as the punk culture. It’s a deconstruction of the classic samurai images, sort of.

Like many other anime series, there is a conclusion to the anime, but there is no hint for any successive anime seasons for it either. Definitely, one of the must-see anime show for everyone!

One Half

2nd Opening Theme
By Kawamoto Makoto
Samurai X – Rurouni Kenshin

Romaji Lyrics

senaka ni mimi wo pitto tsukete dakishimeta
kyoukaisen mitai na karada ga jama da ne
dokka ichai-sou na no sa
damatte’ru to chigire-sou dakara, konna kimochi
hankei san ME-TORU inai no sekai de motto
motto hittsuitetai no sa

kawaribanko de PEDARU wo koide
ojigi no himawari toorikoshite
gungun kaze wo nomikonde, sou tobe-sou jan
hajimete kanjita kimi no taion
dare yori mo tsuyoku naritai
attakai RIZUMU
niKO no shinzou ga kuttsuite’ku

kuchibiru to kuchibiru me to me to te to te
kami-sama wa nanimo kinshi nanka shitenai
aishite’ru Continue reading

Hitokiri Battousai

Hitokiri Battousai

Hitokiri Battousai

If you ask me what’s my all-time favorite hit anime, then you wouldn’t really find it surprising if I say it’s Rurouni Kenshin. Also known as Ruroui Kenshin Meiji Kenkaku Romantan (lit. ‘Rurouni Kenshin: Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story’), Wandering Samurai or just plain Samurai X for short among English subs, this anime is adapted from a Japanese manga and the story is set in the time of the Meiji era. I love this anime because of its amazing plot structure, creative background story and the superb animation. I first saw the anime in AXN in original Japanese language (there was English subtitle then) and I was readily hooked to it that it’s excruciating to miss its anime episode.

The manga was originally written and illustrated by Nobuhiro Watsuki, and over time there have been lots of novels and fan fictions inspired from the manga. The anime adaptation was produced by Aniplex (like Fullmetal Alchemist, Girl from Hell, Blood+) and Fuji TV. It was also through Fuji TV that the anime was aired throughout Japan. The anime was animated by Studio Gallop and Studio Deen one after the other.

The story centers about Kenshin Himura, a former assassin (hitokiri) who vows to never kill anyone again. Thus, to atone for the murders he did in the past, he becomes a wanderer who readily helps those people in need with his reverse-edge sword. In Tokyo he meets the beautiful Kamiya Kaoru and saves her from imminent danger, in which Kaoru, who is a master of Kamiya Kasshin Ryuu, invites him to stay in her dojo because Kenshin didn’t have a steady place to stay. As time goes by Kenshin and Kaoru meet more characters like the Sekihotai former member Sanosuke Sagara (who later becomes Kenshin’s sort of right-hand partner) and an orphan Yahiko Myoujin – both of which stayed in the same dojo with Kenshin. Together, they battle again injustice, and all of them also establish a firm friendship with each other. And not to mention – love. Aargh.

My favorite character is Kenshin of course. But if I have to choose another, I would choose Shinomori Aoshi, the leader of the Oni Gang, or perhaps the superb Saitou Hajime. I love that episode when Saitou and Kenshin fought with each other. It so cool!

That Anime Fever

I couldn’t appreciate anime more in any day than during this summer. Since I’m staying home this break I didn’t do anything “cerebral” or some sort. Well, you must understand, I’m trying to take back those sleepless nights last semester, where most of them were spent from pouring myself over stacks of books that rubbed my brain raw. Well anyway, students like us deserved a good, nice vacation after such traumatic experience, and now I found out that watching TV, reading books of my own choice (I think that should be emphasized) and sleeping in between those times really help me during the break. Watching anime is also a great leisure activity. *laughs.

Speaking of anime, out of my boredom, I ranked my favorite ones to ten.

At the tenth spot is my all-time favorite Cardcaptor Sakura. What’s good about it is that it has a very excellent original story, and very nice vivid animation. My favorite character is Shaoran, although he’s an archetype, so to speak, but his character has a high degree of verisimilitude.

At ninth spot is Bokura ga Ita, or We Were There if I’m not mistaken in my English translation. I really like it because even though it’s the same pattern all over again, falling in love, breaking up, unrequited love – there is something in it that is expressed in a very subtle way. And the insert songs are so amazing. Even I, as a viewer, did have my own emotional struggle because of the conflict in Yano-Nana affair. And Yano is probably what some girls really like – after all two-thirds of the class is in love with him. The manga series is also cool, by Yuuki Obata.

At the eight spot is La Corda d’Oro Primo Passo which is currently shown in Animax. With its vivid animation and musical background plus fascinating guys, I couldn’t stand the fact of missing any single episodes. Hino is so captivating, I really like her a lot.

Next, at the seventh rank is Fruits Basket. It’s funny in a cute way, and even though Honda-san may appear so innocent and so naïve, she is really lovable. And see? There is always the usual love triangle affair among Tohru, Yuki and Kyo. The manga series is written by Takaya Natsuki.

At the sixth spot is Midori no Hibi (Midori Days). Midori is so cute. The anime is so funny, and worth my time, but later on when you encounter the drama part, you get carried away (maybe this is because you get used to think that this is a funny one, but when you get to the emotional part you ended up being touched by something you are not used to). Seiji Sawamura’s character as a highschool delinquent is a fascinating one, and the very cute Midori is really something to look forward to every episode.

How would you feel if you possessed a certain mystical stone that would increase your abilities a thousand fold? And if you’re an alchemist, you would have extraordinary power to heal all injuries and to have everlasting life. This is the story of Fullmetal Alchemist, at my fifth spot, a quest to find the ultimate Philosopher’s Stone. Edward Elric as the youngest state alchemist is utterly stunning. As you go on watching this anime you would find that there is an underlying message about the science-religion (or morality, for that matter) in it. After all, the power to possess the stone does not only bring good things, but it has the power to annihilate and destroy every single living life there is. I also like Winry Rockbell’s character, her addiction to rebuilding mechanical devices exemplifies her strong personality.

At the fourth spot is Honey and Clover! It’s a very heartwarming story of college students living their college lives amidst encountering emotional struggles and life’s difficulties until they learn more about themselves. My personal favorite character is Ayumi Yamada, the Iron Girl with her excellence in making pottery, and good looks (not to mention long legs). Her unrequited love for Takumi Mayama is one of the dramatic scenes of the anime.

At the third spot is Inuyasha, with its witty, amazing plot – a girl named Kagome traveling to the feudal environment using the old well and meeting the half-demon Inuyasha. The real story begins as they find the broken pieces of the Shikon no Tama, but along the way, there seems to be a lot of touching romantic episodes between Kagome and Inuyasha, and the conflict is escalated with the presence of another character, Kikyou, Inuyasha’s beloved. This is really a must-seen anime for me. My personal favorite character, aside from the main characters, is Sesshoumaru. Maybe because of his strong atmosphere that exudes in his personality.

At the second spot is Blood+ – an anime produced by Production IG and Aniplex, is a story of Saya Otonashii, as she fights Chiropterans and gets rid of them and finds her own self-identity along the way. This anime is a mixture of horror, action, drama, mystery, supernatural, and romance genres all in one, which makes up the anime’s complex and concentrated plot. Saya embarks on the journey to fight the Chiropteran (vampiric creatures) with her faithful servant Haji, some members of the Red Shield, brothers Kai and Riku and other faithful friends. The plot is so amazing that once you get started watching it, you wouldn’t like missing episodes in the future. Some scenes may contain strong violence and language, which is why it’s hard to let other people see it halfway because they might not understand. This anime is so good, that I love watching it all over again.

But my favorite most of all is Samurai X. The whole story is definitely amazing enough for anyone to like. The fight scenes, the language and the animation are perfectly incorporated. Kenshin Himura’s character as a wanderer and as a bloodthirsty swordsman is unforgettable. Some scenes are funny, terrifying and touching. My favorite character, other than Kenshin himself is Saito. He’s kinda disturbing but his personality is so strong for me. It’s a story of fighting for the better good, living a new life out of a dreadful past, learning to love even through circumstances when the haunting memories from the past seemed to still hang around within and being strong in one’s convictions. I love it.