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Film Friday- Banana Fish

Film Friday- Banana Fish

Banana Fish is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akimi Yoshida. Serialized in Shōjo Comic from 1985 to 1994 and adapted into an anime television series in July 2018, the series follows Ash Lynx, a teenage gang leader in New York City. It takes its name from the J.D. Salinger short story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish”.

In October 2017, an anime adaptation was announced as part of Yoshida’s 40th anniversary commemoration project. Produced by MAPPA, the 24-episode series premiered on July 5, 2018 on Fuji TV’s Noitamina block in Japan, and Amazon Prime Video internationally. The production staff includes Hiroko Utsumi as director, Hiroshi Seko as script supervisor, and Akemi Hayashi as character designer. The adaption revises the setting of the series from the 1980s to the present day, adding modern references such as smartphones, and substituting the Vietnam War with the Iraq War. The opening theme is “found & lost” by Survive Said The Prophet, while the ending theme is “Prayer X” by King Gnu.

Main characters

Ash Lynx  

 

The alias of Aslan Jade Callenreese, a seventeen-year-old leader of a gang of teenagers in New York City. Formerly a sex slave, enforcer, and heir to the criminal empire of Dino Golzine, Ash joined the mob at the age of seven after running away from his home in Cape Cod. Ash breaks from Golzine to solve the mystery of “banana fish,” which drove his brother to insanity in Vietnam. Ash commands extraordinary intellect, charisma, and tactical foresight, in addition to being an expert marksman and knife fighter. His physical appearance is based on Stefan Edberg and, as the series progresses, River Phoenix.
Eiji Okumura  

 

A nineteen-year-old Japanese college student and former competitive pole vaulter, Eiji was forced into early retirement due to injury, and now works as Ibe’s assistant. He travels to New York to complete a report on street gangs, where he becomes a friend and close confidant to Ash. Eiji is kind and gentle, though frequently stubborn and naïve. Ash’s closeness to Eiji is frequently exploited by his enemies, who correctly intuit that Ash’s willingness to sacrifice himself to protect Eiji is his sole weakness. Eiji’s appearance is based on the actor Hironobu Nomura.

Ash’s and Eiji’s affiliates

Shunichi Ibe (

 

A Japanese photojournalist who comes to New York City to do a report on street gangs.
Max Lobo

 

The alias of Max Glenreed. A Vietnam War veteran, freelance journalist, and former New York City Police Department officer. Deployed in the same platoon as Ash’s older brother Griffin, Ash initially blames Max for his brother’s mental illness, though he later becomes one of Ash’s closest confidants in his investigation of banana fish. His physical appearance is based on Harrison Ford.
Griffin Callenreese
Ash’s older brother. A veteran of the Vietnam War, Griffin became severely mentally handicapped after being used as a test subject for banana fish. Later killed in the crossfire of a confrontation with Golzine’s men.
Alexis Dawson
A pathologist at the University of California. As a student, he and his brother Abraham accidentally created banana fish while attempting to synthesize LSD.
Jessica Randy
A journalist and Max’s ex-wife. Jessica takes Ash’s group in during their investigation of banana fish, and later joins the group for their final battle against Golzine. She and Max reconcile their relationship towards the end of the series.

Corsican mafia

“Papa” Dino Golzine

 

A kingpin in Unione Corse who aims to expand his power by selling banana fish to the United States government. Ash’s former patron and later adopted father, he has groomed Ash since he was a child to be his sex slave and heir to his criminal empire.
Frederick Arthur

 

A vindictive and cruel ex-member of Ash’s street gang, who allies himself with Golzine in order to usurp Ash.
Abraham Dawson
The younger brother of Alexis, who defied his brother’s wishes to destroy banana fish, and continues to develop and weaponize the drug for the Corsican mob into his adulthood. As a doctor during the Vietnam War, he tested banana fish on unknowing soldiers, including Griffin.
Manorheim
The director of a federal mental health facility secretly funded by the Union Corse, who experiments on violent criminals to observe the effects of banana fish.
Blanca

 

The alias of Sergei Varishkov, a Kazakh assassin and former KGB lieutenant who defected from the Soviet Union after his wife, a political dissenter, is murdered. Prior to the events of the series, he is employed by Golzine to train Ash to become Golzine’s heir. He subsequently retires to the Caribbean but is called out of retirement by Golzine to capture Ash. A highly effective killer who dutifully carries out any contract he is hired for, he is hired by Yut-Lung to murder Eiji, but refuses to do so and defects to Ash’s gang.
Eduardo L. Fox
A sadistic mercenary and former member of the French Foreign Legion, hired by Golzine to capture Ash.

Chinese mafia

Yut-Lung Lee

 

The youngest son of the Lee family, the largest crime family in China. Possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and poisons, he allies with Golzine to determine the chemical composition of banana fish. Yut-Lung possesses a deep grudge towards his brothers, who raped and murdered his concubine mother, and eventually violently deposes them. He is hostile towards Ash and Eiji and frequently attempts to capture and murder the latter.
Shorter Wong

 

A Chinese American gang leader who controls Chinatown. A close friend and ally to Ash, the two met while in juvenile prison together. Shorter is sociable and gregarious, in contrast to Ash’s stoicism. He is injected with banana fish by Golzine’s men and ordered to kill Eiji, though he is able to ask Ash to kill him before he is able to do so.
Sing Soo-Ling

 

A fourteen-year-old Chinese American boy who assumes control of the Chinatown gang upon Shorter’s death. He becomes a reluctant ally to Ash, after initially blaming him for Shorter’s death. Though outwardly child-like and carefree, he is a skilled tactician and leader.
Lao Yen-Thai

 

Sing’s half-brother. Though Sing forgives Ash for killing Shorter, Lao continues to distrust him and resents Sing’s deference to Ash in the ongoing gang war. In the final scene of the story, Lao stabs and kills Ash.

Street gangs

Alex
The second-in-command in Ash’s gang.
Skip

 

An African-American boy, and member of Ash’s gang. Killed in a confrontation with Golzine’s men.
Bones
Lieutenants in Ash’s gang assigned to protect Eiji.
Cain Blood
The leader of Black Sabbath, an African American gang that controls Harlem. Though initially neutral, he later allies with Ash in his battles against Arthur and Golzine.

New York City Police Department

Jenkins 
A diabetic homicide detective assigned to investigate deaths caused by banana fish.
Charlie Dickenson

 

A homicide detective. A friend of Max, the two met while in a police academy. In a romantic relationship with Nadia, Shorter Wong’s older sister.
Film Friday- Sorcerer Stabber Orphen

Film Friday- Sorcerer Stabber Orphen

The Sorcerous Stabber Orphen anime series was produced by TBS/Bandai and first released in Japan in 1999, then in North America on DVD by ADV Films in 2001. It features a combination of a fantasy setting, action and gag comedy. It is 24 episodes in length.

A second series called Sorcerous Stabber Orphen 2: Revenge, or Orphen Revenge was later broadcast. The second anime series was released on DVD in North America in December 2003 by ADV Films. It is 23 episodes in length. In 2009, Sentai Filmworks released a box set featuring the two seasons of Orphen in an economic box set.

A new TV anime adaptation has been announced to commemorate the series’ 25th anniversary.

Video game

A single player console role-playing video game was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2000 by Kadokawa Shoten in Japan as Sorcerous Stabber Orphen and by Activision in North America and Europe as Orphen: Scion of Sorcery. It included a whole new adventure and a few video scenes with more sophistication but a minor difference in the voices and personalities of the characters. Reviews of the game were mixed.

Supporting characters

Azalie Cait Sith  
is Orphen’s foster sister, best friend – and the Bloody August. They were in the same orphanage and came to the Tower of Fang together, believed to be magical prodigies. She tutored him extensively, and gave him special attention. She was a great sorcerer – considered to be one of the greatest in her generation, and is referred to as the “Demon Sorceress” by some at the Tower. However, she had two sides to her. There was the kind, loving Azalie, and then the, as Orphen says, “scary” Azalie. After having her love declaration to her mentor rejected, she seemed to be almost obsessed with her studies; she wanted more power, and one of her experiments turned her into Bloody August – a name given to the dragon that first appeared in August. In the novels, Azalie is returned to a human state fairly early in the series, but her mind has been warped by her time spent as the beast and the cruelties endured by those in the Tower who had been hunting her. Vengeful, her main goal is to destroy the Tower, which leads her to becoming a major antagonist in the series. She becomes increasingly unstable and Orphen is often torn between his attachment to her and his horror at her remorseless violence.

Leki  

is a cub who is found and adopted by Cleao, although perhaps it could be said that Leki adopted Cleao, as adult Deep Dragons are more powerful and intelligent by far than humans. Like all Deep Dragons, Leki resembles a wolf rather than a reptilian dragon, and when he uses his innate powers, his eyes will glow a bright green color. As Leki is still very young, he often exhibits young animal-like tendencies, such as chasing after a butterfly. He protects and defends Cleao whenever he feels the need to, or when Cleao orders him. She’s very good to him; in fact, Cleao often treats him better than her two male companions, Orphen and Majic. Leki will not only protect Cleao, but anyone who he sees in danger. In the first anime, Leki’s collar belongs to one of the three artifacts from the Aisle of Balthanders, the Bracelet of Nomafrozis. In the novel, Leki is eventually able to use telepathy to speak with his human companions and released Cleao’s hidden magical potential by linking his mind with hers. Throughout the novel series, Leki grows from a small cub to the size of a large dog.

Volkan  

Is one of the two short-statured brothers who follow along with Orphen on his quest. He frequently refers to himself the “Masmaturian Bulldog”. Volkan always comes up with their plans (which usually turn out to be poorly thought out, utterly bad ideas, and almost never work). He hates Orphen (whom he refers to as “the black wizard”) and his companions, and always finds a way to ruin whatever they had in mind. It is his fault that Orphen often must use his magic on them to make them go away (himself and Dortin). Volkan wants only power and money. Any scheme he has in mind has the end result of getting him one of the two. None of his schemes ever work, however. He constantly bosses Dortin around in a very comical fashion.

Dortin  

Is Volkan’s younger brother. Dortin and Volkan are often viewed as comic relief throughout the series. They are two trolls who are always low on money, and seem to always find a way to mess up whatever Orphen is trying to accomplish. They work in Cleao’s basement, cutting up food and whatnot; she is their employer. In regards to his character, Dortin is the voice of reason (that is never paid any attention to) on his and Volkan’s quests. He is kind and knowledgeable, but his swirling glasses give him a rather geekish appearance. When Volkan messes up, Dortin always tries to tell Orphen he had no part in Volkan’s schemes, but they both wind up being victims of Orphen’s magical blasts anyway. Dortin is shown to be quite caring and loyal, as he begs Orphen for help in saving his brother from mushroom poisoning and, later, in defying Volkan’s “order” to run from danger when a friend needed his help.

 

Film Friday- Loveless

Film Friday- Loveless

A 12-episode anime television series adaptation was made by J.C. Staff, broadcast in a post-midnight slot on TV Asahi and ABC from April 2005 to June 2005. The anime series was licensed and released in the US by Media Blasters in a set of 3 DVDs in early 2006. A 12-episode anime adaptation was made by J.C.Staff, and first aired in Japan from April 2005 to June 2005. The episodes covered approximately volumes 1–4, due to production starting in August 2004—about four months before volume 5 was published. Because the source material hadn’t finished its serialization, and with a limit of 12 episodes, the anime adaptation has quite a few differences. The most notable is the series finale, which was written specifically for the anime and left the storyline open to the possibility of a future sequel. The opening theme music was “Tsuki no Curse” and the ending theme was “Michiyuki”; both were composed by Yuki Kajiura and arranged by Masayuki Sakamoto, and performed by Kaori Hikita. Media Blasters licensed and released an English subtitled version in early 2006. On April 26, 2011 Media Blasters re-released the series with an English dub titling it as “Loveless: Vocal Collection”. The series is also licensed in German by Tokyopop.

Ritsuka Aoyagi 

is twelve years old and the protagonist of the story. He was named after the lunar day “Rikka,” which fell on May 5 in the year 2005. His “true name” is Loveless, although it is yet to be seen on his body as the other teams’ names are. He enjoys taking photographs and “making memories.”In the first volume, the story alludes to an abrupt change of personality occurring in Ritsuka two years prior. It is seen often through flashbacks, when his mother beats him and denies that he is truly Ritsuka and that he is actually someone else in his body. Before this change, he was a popular, yet academically average student; he doesn’t get along with his classmates, and he purposely points out their faults. In contrast to this, he is the perfect student now. In addition to the personality change, he suffers a loss in memory. The cause of these drastic changes is still unknown, although he has regular therapy sessions to determine why.On his first day at his new school, Ritsuka meets Soubi Agatsuma. Soubi confuses him with his sudden intimacy and puzzling claims that he was Seimei’s friend and Fighter Unit. As Ritsuka discovers, Seimei’s impromptu will dictates that Soubi shall “become Ritsuka’s” upon his death. Ritsuka and Soubi’s relationship is complex, but in many ways Ritsuka admires Soubi. However, Ritsuka has trouble trusting others, and Soubi’s various secrets continue to have an adverse effect on this. Despite his young age and inexperience, Ritsuka is very intelligent and approaches things with startling maturity. The circumstances of his life encourage his lack of innocence; however, there have been notable incidents that bare his naïveté, particularly in sexual love and healthy relationships. Despite this, he still has firm opinions and unrelenting ideas about those subjects. It is these opinions that clash dramatically with adults and authority figures around him, most notably Soubi. Ritsuka is a pacifist, and strongly opposes violence under any circumstance. Love is an uncomfortable subject for Ritsuka. He is wary of compliments, and doesn’t like affection. Ritsuka’s inner conflict over believing Soubi’s declarations of love becomes a source of great tension and bitterness in their relationship.

Soubi Agatsuma 

is a twenty-year-old student, studying Japanese art. He is a former student of Shichisei Gakuen (“Seven Moons Academy”), a school for fighters, where Ritsu Minami was his teacher. He arrived at the school and became Ritsu’s student after the death of his brother, who was Ritsu’s former partner. Ritsu raised Soubi and, incidentally, was the person that took his ears. Whether it was a consensual act or not wasn’t specified. It is hinted by another teacher at the school that Ritsu took Soubi’s virginity because Soubi had his mother’s face, which made Ritsu desire him. Ritsu explains to Soubi that he took his ears to make him a better fighter. Soubi is later partnered with Seimei. He doesn’t enjoy this, feeling attached to Ritsu and resenting that Seimei is younger than he is. Seimei notices this and mocks Soubi for feeling attached to Ritsu. He later carved the name ‘Beloved’ into Soubi’s neck, making him his fighter unit. As ordered, Soubi contacted Ritsuka after Seimei’s death. He introduced Ritsuka to the world of fighters and sacrifices and told Ritsuka he would be his Fighter Unit. He fought beside Seimei for some time, and many people believe that he is Beloved’s Fighter Unit. The appearance of Nisei in the manga, however, proves this to be false later in the manga. Soubi now fights for Ritsuka as Loveless, which is considered taboo because there is not a fighter-sacrifice bond between them. There is also a severe loss of strength, and in Soubi’s case, his markings bleed in battle. Soubi was revealed to not have a true name at all—in fact, Ritsu comments that he is a blank slate, and whatever marking he is given becomes his name. Since Seimei carved Beloved into his skin, it became his name. When given a command to break the windows, courtesy of Seimei, in volume 8, it is shown that he cannot disobey, no matter how strongly he is against it. Soubi appears to know much more about Seimei and his cause of death than he will divulge. Despite Ritsuka’s insistence that he tell him everything he knows, Soubi refuses. In volume 5 of the manga, he even says, “Seimei is my God.” He openly declares that he lives his life by Seimei’s orders, but still says he’ll obey Ritsuka’s every order, which is not necessarily true. Because Seimei told Soubi not to tell Ritsuka about the seven moons he cannot tell him.

 

 

Film Friday- Nana

Film Friday- Nana

The manga was adapted into a live-action film in 2005, with a sequel released in 2006. An anime adaptation created by Madhouse aired on Nippon TV between April 5, 2006 and March 27, 2007. All Nana media has been licensed for English language release in North America by Viz Media. They serialized the manga in their Shojo Beat magazine until the August 2007 issue, while also publishing it in the tankōbon format. They released both films in 2008 and their English dub of the anime was broadcast on the Funimation Channel beginning in September 2009. Nana won the 2002 Shogakukan Manga Award for Shōjo manga and has sold over 43 million copies.

Anime

Nana was adapted into an anime series, directed by Morio Asaka, written by Tomoko Konparu, and animated by the studio Madhouse. The first and third openings and third ending songs are sung by Anna Tsuchiya for the band Black Stones, and Olivia sings the second opening and first and second endings for the band Trapnest as Reira Serizawa. The first DVD release was on July 7, 2006. The anime series was intended to be equal to the manga and it was adapted until the 12th tankoubon to avoid filler. According to Junko Koseki (editor of Nana in Shueisha) and Masao Maruyama (president of Madhouse) a second season is probably going to be aired once the manga series is finished.

The anime adaptation was also licensed for release in North America by Viz Media. Funimation got the broadcast rights to Viz Media’s dub and it premiered on the Funimation Channel on September 19, 2009.

Films

Two live-action film adaptations have been made for Nana. The first, Nana, was released on September 3, 2005. The film stars Mika Nakashima as the punk star Nana Osaki, Aoi Miyazaki as Hachi (Nana Komatsu), Ryuhei Matsuda as Ren Honjo, Tetsuji Tamayama as Takumi Ichinose, Hiroki Narimiya as Nobuo Terashima, and Matsuyama Kenichi as Shinichi Okazaki. The DVD edition was released on March 3, 2006. The film did quite well at the Japanese box office, grossing more than 4 billion yen, and staying in the top 10 for several weeks. A sequel, Nana 2, was announced right after the debuted. However, on August 4, 2006, Toho stated that shooting would begin mid-September and that the film was to be released on December 9, 2006. Aoi Miyazaki and Ryuhei Matsuda would not be reprising their respective roles as Nana Komatsu and Ren Honjo; as such, their roles were assigned to Yui Ichikawa and Nobuo Kyou, respectively. Some locations from the manga had been changed for the film, and there also were many plot differences. Additionally, the film’s ending is not the actual end of the manga; “Nana” is an ongoing story.

Nana Komatsu

known as Nana K., comes to Tokyo looking to find her dream, though she initially comes in order to stay in a relationship with her boyfriend, Shoji Endo. Unlike Osaki, however, she comes from a large and happy household, though her childish outlook prevents her from living on her own at first and she is prone to falling in love at first sight, usually towards older men. Due to her kindness and faithfulness, Nana Osaki nicknames her Hachi, after the dog Hachikō. Nana Komatsu matures as the series progresses and becomes extremely protective of Nana Osaki, who becomes increasingly dependent on Hachi for stability. Later on, Nana forms relationships with both Takumi and Nobu and winds up pregnant by one of them, though it is uncertain by whom. Although she is in love with both, she marries Takumi since he could readily provide for the child’s upbringing. During the scenes of future events, it is shown that Hachi’s daughter was born and her name is Satsuki (as per Ren’s advice). Nana is presumably still married to Takumi, although her marriage does not appear either to be happy or unhappy. They are separated, and Takumi lives in London with their other son, Ren. Though Junko suggests that Hachi should divorce Takumi, she says there’s no need for it.

Nana Osaki

also known as Nana O., is the vocalist of the band Black Stones, also known as Blast. She considers the band Trapnest as her rival, most likely due to the facts that Ren decides to leave Blast for Trapnest and her roommate marrying Trapnest’s leader. Though Nana may look like a tough punk rocker, she has a kind heart and is a devoted friend. However, she can be possessive and dark, easily becoming emotional to the extent where she has trouble breathing. She is particularly insecure about losing people close to her, readily admitting to using means like bringing Nobu and Nana Komatsu together so she can keep Hachi with her. Abandoned by her mother and raised by her grandmother, Nana never knew the identity of her biological father. Nana was expelled from high school after she was falsely accused of prostitution. Despite these hardships, Nana “polishes the shards of her dreams” and is determined to be successful as the lead vocalist of Blast. She gets engaged to her first love, Ren. In the future scenes (Chapter 58) it can be interpreted that Nana ran away from Japan and cut all ties with her friends. This may be triggered by the death of Ren, her fiance, and the events that followed. Her favorite designer is Vivienne Westwood, and her favorite band is the Sex Pistols.

Film Friday- Maison Ikkoku

Film Friday- Maison Ikkoku

Maison Ikkoku was adapted into a ninety-six-episode anime television series created by Studio Deen that ran on Fuji TV from March 26, 1986 to March 2, 1988. A Final Chapter movie, three OVAs, and a music special were also produced, with a live-action movie made by Toei in 1986. A live-action TV special aired in May 2007 on TV Asahi, with a finale aired in July 2008. Both the manga and anime have been released in North America by Viz Media. Maison Ikkoku has been both critically and commercially successful, with over 25 million copies in circulation.

Maison Ikkoku was adapted into a ninety-six episode anime television series by Studio Deen and aired on Fuji TV from March 26, 1986 to March 2, 1988. The series was directed by Kazuo Yamazaki for the first 26 episodes, Takashi Anno from episode 27 until 52 and Naoyuki Yoshinaga for the remainder of the series. The production staff had previously worked on the anime adaption of Takahashi’s previous work, Urusei Yatsura. After production of that series was completed, the team moved straight onto Maison Ikkoku and the series took over Urusei Yatsura’s timeslot. A new HD remaster of the series has been created and released on two Blu-Ray boxsets in Japan. The first box was released on December 25, 2013 and the second box followed on April 23, 2014.

A animated theatrical film titled The Final Chapter was released on February 6, 1988, as a double feature with Urusei Yatsura Movie 5: The Final Chapter. On September 25, 1988, an original video animation that summarizes the story was released. A video titled Karaoke Music Parade and collecting all the TV anime’s opening and ending animations was released on November 1989. Shipwrecked on Ikkoku Island was released on January 31, 1991 and adapts a story of the manga, while Prelude Maison Ikkoku: When the Cherry Blossoms Return in the Spring utilizes all the flashbacks of Kyoko’s life before she moved to Maison Ikkoku and was released on June 25, 1992.

The anime was licensed for a North American release by Viz Media in 1994, and was put on two-episode VHS dub releases, but Viz dropped the English dub after 36 episodes. The remaining subtitled-only VHS releases went on until volume 32, without finishing the series. Viz released the series as 8 DVD boxsets from June 1, 2003 until June 4, 2006, with the latter episodes newly dubbed. In the newer episodes, Godai was given a new voice actor, as Jason Gray-Stanford was replaced by Brad Swaile. Other characters such as Kozue and Ikuko were also recast.

Yusaku Godai

is the protagonist of the series. He begins as a poor 20-year-old rōnin studying for his college entrance exams after failing in the past year. He eventually gets into a third-tier college (with Kyoko’s support). He is kindhearted and handsome, but indecisive and spacey. Godai is often “played” by the other tenants of Ikkoku, who habitually take advantage of him (e.g. they use his room for frequent drinking binges and steal food from his care packages). He falls in love with Kyoko at first sight, but initially lacks the courage (when sober at least) to tell her how he feels. Instead, he daydreams a lot and does several silly things (for example, he runs into road posts). But Godai is an honorable man who is worthy of Kyoko, as his love for her is a lasting and devoted love. He has, several times, tried making a move on Kyoko, but couldn’t bring himself to do so; such actions make Kyoko think of him as a perfect gentleman. At the end, the married Godai and Kyoko finally found happiness and have a daughter, which they give the name Haruka Godai.

Kyoko Otonashi

is the second protagonist of the series. She is a beautiful, 22-year-old widow who takes on the task of managing a broken-down boarding house. She is sweet and polite, but also has a violent, frightening side that emerges when she is jealous or angry, or dealing with her meddling and equally stubborn parents. She soon develops affection for Godai, and has a tendency to dote over him (with the other tenants teasing her for acting like a “good wife”) and becomes jealous over him (though she lies to herself and denies that it is jealousy). However, it is hard for her to forget about her late husband Soichiro (who died just six months after their wedding), and her memories of her husband sometimes put her in a melancholy mood. Kyoko’s love for him is sometimes reflected in dialogues with her dog, who bears the same name as her late husband. She believes Godai to be pure-hearted and not a pervert, unlike the other tenants, who try warning her about him. At the end, she is happily married to Godai and a new mother to their daughter Haruka. Otonashi literally means “without a sound,” but is also a pun on otto-nashi, or “without a husband,” in reference to her status as a widow.

Shun Mitaka 

in sharp contrast to Yusaku, is wealthy, educated, and hails from an elite family. Mitaka works as a ladies’ tennis coach more out of love for the sport than any need for financial support. To everyone’s surprise, he is revealed to be 31 years old by his parents, which would mean he was 26 at the beginning of the series. Nevertheless, he is remarkably handsome, and his teeth have a trademark sparkle whenever he smiles. Kyoko begins to take tennis lessons from him early in the series, and Shun begins to court her. His biggest obstacle in the beginning is his morbid fear of dogs, which makes it difficult for him to be with Kyoko when her dog, Soichiro, is around. While very interested in and devoted to Kyoko, he is very popular with other women and has a reputation as a womanizer, a reputation not entirely undeserved (most of his more grievous actions have innocent explanations, but Shun has admitted to dating many women). Kyoko’s mother strongly approves of him as a potential future husband for Kyoko (to Yusaku’s chagrin).

Shun recognizes Yusaku as a rival for Kyoko’s affection (and vice versa), and the two are usually antagonistic towards each other. Shun’s actions towards Yusaku are somewhere between magnanimous and condescending, depending on if Kyoko is around, and he is not above trying to position Kozue as a wedge between Yusaku and Kyoko. But while Shun and Yusaku are rivals, they both share moments where they bond over their mutual frustration over Kyoko’s reluctance to fall in love with anyone. Kyoko generally likes Shun and regards him as a suitor, but is apprehensive about his forwardness and occasionally feels pressured by him (Shun does not want to force a relationship with her, but will often “bend the rules”). It can be unclear whether Shun is interested more in Kyoko herself or in “saving” Kyoko from what he sees as a degrading life as a widow in Maison Ikkoku, putting him in the stereotypical role of the “knight in shining armor.”

Shun marries Asuna Kujo, a girl from a wealthy, important family whom his parents want him to marry, after thinking he drunkenly slept with her and got her pregnant. However, it was actually his dog whom got one of her dogs pregnant. While to him it came about as a shotgun wedding, he does not seem to fully regret it and at the end of the series they have twin girls, Moe and Mie Mikata, and another unborn child on the way.

 

Film Friday- Land of the Lustrous

Film Friday- Land of the Lustrous

An anime promotional video was released in July 2013 by Studio Hibari, and an anime television series adaptation by Orange aired between October and December 2017.

Anime

An anime television series adaptation aired in Japan between October 7 and December 23, 2017. Takahiko Kyōgoku is directing the anime at the Orange CG animation studio. Toshiya Ono is in charge of the series scripts. Yohichi Nishikawa is creating the concept art. Asako Nishida is designing the characters. The opening theme is “Kyōmen no Nami” by Yurika and the ending theme is “Kirameku Hamabe” by Yuiko Ōhara. Sentai Filmworks have licensed the series and streamed the anime on Anime Strike. MVM Films has licensed the series in the UK. The series ran for 12 episodes, which will be released across six DVD and Blu-ray sets in Japan.

Characters

Phosphophyllite 

Known as “Phos” for short. One of the weaker jewel people, with a hardness of 3.5. Declared as too weak for battle, Phos is tasked with creating an encyclopedia logging new information. As Phos keeps experiencing hardships in battle, their limbs, along with their memories, are gradually lost and replaced with other elements, including agate legs, arms made from gold and platinum alloy, a lapis lazuli head and a synthetic pearl eye.

Cinnabar

An aloof jewel person who is even weaker than Phos, with a hardness of 2, but carries a powerful poison in their body. Because this poison taints the environment and erases memories stored inside affected jewel shards, Cinnabar is kept on night watch, but yearns to escape the night.

Diamond 

A kind-hearted jewel person who has the maximum hardness of 10, but is still fragile against enemy attacks.

Bort 

An intimidating diamond-class jewel person who is powerful in combat and is the most durable of the jewels. They are also very protective of Diamond.

 

Film Friday- Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits

Film Friday- Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits

A 26-episode anime television series adaptation by Gonzo premiered on April 2, 2018 and was announced in November 2017. The series is directed by Yoshiko Okuda at Gonzo, with scripts handled by Tomoko Konparu, characters designs done by Yōko Satō and music composed by Takurō Iga. It premiered on April 2, 2018 on the Tokyo MX and BS Fuji stations. It will run for two cours, in which 3 episodes released in 8 of its DVD/Blu-ray release, as the ninth release has 2 episodes for a total of 26 episodes. The opening theme is “Tomoshibi no Manimani”, performed by Nao Tōyama and the first ending theme is “Sai -color-“, performed by Manami Numakura. The second opening theme is “Utsushiyo no Yume” by Nano, and the second ending theme is “Shiranai Kimochi” performed by Megumi Nakajima. Both Crunchyroll and Funimation are streaming the series. A stage play adaptation was announced in March 2017 during a pre-screening event for the anime adaptation.

Oryō

A Snow Woman servant of Tenjin-ya who works as a guest room attendant and appears to function as the Head Maid. She considers Aoi an unfit bride for Odanna out of jealousy. She further considers it her duty to prevent Aoi’s marriage to Odanna. She is in love with Odanna and has been known to call herself his mistress. After disgracing herself trying to get Aoi killed she falls ill with a fever and her unpopularity with the other servants is revealed when Aoi is the only one willing to look after her. Following this she becomes closer to Aoi and treats her like a friend.

Akatsuki

Tenjin-ya’s clerk known for his rough and meddlesome behaviour. He has a younger sister named Suzuran. His Ayakashi form is a giant purple spider with thick legs and red eyes.

Byakuya

A wise and strict servant in charge of Tenjin-ya’s finances. As Aoi frequently makes no profits running Moonflower he thinks she should give up and marry Odanna. He hated Shiro with a passion because not only did he owe Odanna 100 million yen he also cost Tenjin-ya enormous amounts of money over the years on broken furniture, unpaid bills and the theft of food and alcohol from the kitchen.

Chibi

A type of Ayakashi known as a Kappa with the appearance of a green turtle with a blue shell that acts similar to a pigeon but can speak. Chibi is a specific Kappa Aoi is fond of feeding in the park. She thinks of him as sly and ends up taking him with her to Tenjin-ya as a pet.

 

 

Film Friday- Get Backers

Film Friday- Get Backers

The manga of Get Backers was adapted into an animated television series in 2002. The Studio Deen production aired on the Tokyo Broadcasting System from October 5, 2002 until September 20, 2003, for a complete run of 49 episodes. It was also dubbed in English and broadcast by the anime television network Animax across its respective networks worldwide. The series was licensed for an English-language release in North America by TokyoPop, which released 27 volumes between February 10, 2004 and December 2, 2008. It has since lost the license to the property, and all existing releases are now out-of-print.

Ban Midou

is one of the main protagonists in GetBackers. His name comes from his mother’s surname “Midou” and the “Ban” from Japanese word for Savage. The “ban” can mean “barbarian” or “uncouth/vulgar”. This is the result of the first meeting between Paul and Ban. When der Kaiser first introduced the infant Ban to Paul, Ban kicked Paul in the face while being held by him, causing Paul to insist that the Ban of Yaban suited the child perfectly. der Kaiser agreed.

Known variously as “The Man with the Evil Eye” and “The Genius of Battles”, he is the “B” in the GetBackers. He is 18 years old in the manga and 21 years old in the anime. He is one quarter German is the grandchild of the “Last Witch of the 20th Century”. Ban is a brother-like figure to Himiko Kudo after she came to terms with her brother’s death, and later it is revealed in volume 38 of the manga that Ban is actually related to her by blood through the Witch Queen.

In the GetBackers duo, he is the one who thinks of the plans for their moves. Initially, Ginji Amano was seen to be a sidekick to him (in fact, when they first formed their partnership, Ban insisted that Ginji was only his sidekick), but as the story progressed, Ginji gradually held his own in their missions, and Ban acknowledged him as an equal.

Ban is very intelligent, having studied fighting techniques, science, history, music, art and magic from a very young age as a result of being hunted in Europe by shamans during his childhood. More often surprises everyone with his knowledge and abilities, such as being able to play the violin. He also bears a striking resemblance to his father. In fact, in the arcs where his hair is “down” (“Venus de Milo” and “Kiryuudo” arcs), he looks like der Kaiser during his Getbacker days with Paul. Another trait which both father and son share is that while they may appear cold and ruthless on the surface, they are actually very warm and caring towards their friends.

Ban inherited his powers from his grandmother. Ban utilizes two main abilities. His primary technique is the Evil Eye, which allows him to force anyone he makes eye contact with watch a one-minute-long illusion. It should only be used three times per day and cannot be used on the same person again for the next 24 hours. Furthermore, while the illusion only lasts for one minute, should Ban will it, the one affected by the Jagan can be placed inside a time-warp zone via the illusion created by the technique, meaning that to them, one minute in real life could last up to several hours in the Jagan’s influence. It is rare for Ban to use the Evil Eye to defeat his opponents, preferring to use it to aid in the retrieval process or to give clients happy/nightmarish dreams; however, he has been shown to use it in defeating Takuma Fudou’s insight during the blank second.

If the user were to use the Jagan a fourth time within a 24-hour period they would receive a penalty for using it. After the fourth use the user disappears both from the physical world and from the memories of all who know him. With this in mind, Ban requested one final duel with Akabane Kurodou. After an intense struggle, the two manage to strike each other, causing Ban to collapse and Akabane to disappear. However, Akabane had not died, as assumed, but instead, implanted a surgical scalpel into Ban’s chest as a “final favor”, given to Ban for allowing Akabane to see his own limits. Akabane later explained that because having Ban disappear would be a pity, he attempted to fool the “Archive” by faking Ban’s death and delaying Ban’s disappearance from using his fourth Jagan just long enough for Ginji to reach Babylon City and resolve everything, thus saving Ban from disappearing.

His second ability is the Snakebite. Because he is a direct descendant of the Witch clan, and was born under the star of Asclepius, he possesses incredible superhuman strength, which gives him a gripping force of 200 kilograms in each hand. It is also shown that he is strong enough to break open the doors of an armored steel truck and punch hard enough to create large craters in the ground or break walls, occasionally even collapsing multistory buildings. Ban can augment the strength of his Snakebite by reciting a certain chant in order to draw power from Asclepius, with the resulting force being sufficient enough to devastate even the most formidable of opponents with just a single blow. The full extent of the Asclepius curse upon Ban is expressed through his entire right arm degenerating into a grotesque state not unlike a demon’s limb, granting Ban even greater power but at the risk of losing himself to his savage instincts. Later Ban manages to transcend the Asclepius curse and draw out his full potential on his own, which is reflected by the manifestation of a single angel wing behind his right shoulder.

In the “Get Back the Lost Time” arc, his skills grow by leaps and bounds due to his learning abilities. Against Natsuhiko, he manages to execute a new move, “Snake Kill”, using his left hand.

Anime News Network praised the style of the Jagan in the manga to be a “horrifying nightmare”. The Tokyo Pop translation of the Ban Midou dialogues has been criticized for making him sound like a gangster.

Ginji Amano

Ginji Amano is the “G” in the GetBackers. He is 18 years old in the manga. Ginji was formerly the leader of a gang called “The VOLTS” in the Limitless Fortress, the fearsome Lightning Emperor.

He received the title Lightning Emperor because of his ability to control electricity. This control grants him several unique abilities such as amazing regenerative power and the ability to become a human magnet and battery. Despite Ginji’s dark past, his demeanor is one of an unassuming, energetic, and friendly boy with a strong sense of justice. He makes friends easily, often without trying and is trusting and open to an almost naive extent. However, when exposed to remnants of his past, he has a tendency to revert to his darker “Lightning Emperor” persona. For comical purposes, he also turns droopy and super deformed, most likely designed after a Tarepanda. He’s frequently beaten up by Ban for doing stupid things. As a child, his guardian was Takeru Teshimine, then ruler of the Limitless Fortress. Ginji founded the “VOLTS”, a gang led by The Lightning Emperor, and “The Four Kings of the VOLTS” to protect the Infinity Fortress from the monsters of the Beltline. During the era of the VOLTS, only one man (Midou Ban) is known to have defeated the Lightning Emperor, though not in a fight of physical strength. All Ban did was show him that he was causing pain to many. While they were fighting, Lightning Emperor summoned lightning which resulted in a huge blast. Though Ban escaped from the blast, he was able to see the infinite energy flowing in the Lightning Emperor, which made it impossible to beat him. Then, Ban remembered that the Lightning Emperor only appeared after Ban attacked one of his friends. He then showed him that though the Lightning Emperor said that he would protect everyone, he himself killed many since many were caught up in the blast. After seeing the devastation he caused, the Lightning Emperor shrieked and expelled all the power within him, turning back into Ginji. Ban noticed that he has changed and did not deliver the killing blow to Ginji as he sat in front of him, his head bowed and crying.

Little is known of his past until the last volume of the manga where it is revealed that his mother, who Teshimine told Ginji was waiting for him in Babylon City, had created the world in which the GetBackers live. Her reason for doing this was that in the real world (Babylon City), Ginji had died as a child. Unbearably sad, she considered cloning him, but realized that it would not be the same child, she created a back-up of the world where he could live and grow.

When transformed into the Lightning Emperor, Ginji glows with a brilliant light and has bolts of electricity flowing around him. Although sharing the same body as that of Ginji, the Lightning Emperor is the polar opposite of the happy-go-lucky Ginji; his features harden and he becomes merciless towards almost anyone. He first came into being when Ginji was a young boy, as the Beltline Monsters invaded the lower levels of the Limitless Fortress. Ginji and a friend were attempting to escape from the hunters when Ginji’s friend was struck by an arrow. The whole invasion force was annihilated in an instant. From that point on, whenever Ginji is confronted with a difficult situation, emotionally or physically, the Lightning Emperor appears to make everything that troubles Ginji disappear. However, this ultimately causes more pain for the peaceful Ginji, as death is the last thing he wants.

In the “Get Back the Lost Time” arc, after the Lightning Emperor was successfully able to defeat the Voodoo King, it is revealed that the Lightning Emperor would never appear again as his reason for existing was over. The Lightning Emperor, who was born from the synchronization of Ginji’s rage and Mugenjou’s power, existed to defeat the person whose purpose was disrupting the plans of the “Archive” (the Voodoo King). His purpose was to protect the world without judgment from Good or Evil.

The source of the Lightning Emperor’s power is the limitless energy currents flowing through the Limitless Fortress, and as such, he draws as much power from them as he needs. Sometimes, though, this can put the Infinity Fortress in a bad situation if the Lightning Emperor calls for more power in a single instant than the tower is capable of producing. For this reason, he is dangerous to the “Brain Trust” in Babylon City who possess the “Archive” (the sum total of human knowledge past, present and future) as he could potentially erase the “Archive” if he blacked out the Limitless Fortress. Another reason why Ginji/the Lightning Emperor is so dangerous inside the Limitless Fortress is because his existence is “random” in the Babylon City Archives. This means his existence was not foretold and therefore his existence inside the Limitless Fortress changes all the prophecies made by the Brain Trust. The reason for this most likely has to do with his mother.

 

Film Friday- Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time

Film Friday- Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time

An English version was licensed by Viz Media under the title Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time. The storyline initially follows the characters and events from the first installment of the video game series. An anime series titled Harukanaru Toki no Naka de ~Hachiyou Shou~ was developed by Yumeta Company with Aki Tsunaki directing, with 26 episodes broadcast from October 5, 2004 to March 29, 2005. The anime received an English dub titled Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time: A Tale of the Eight Guardians.

Characters

Main characters

Akane Motomiya
A modern high school girl, Akane is transported to the Heian era and recognized as the Ryuujin no Miko, or Priestess of the Dragon God. She carries the power of the Dragon God within her body such that she can purify impurities from contact. Though reluctant to use her powers as priestess, Akane is determined to do the right thing. She is innocent and kindhearted, which sometimes leads her into trouble.

The Eight Guardians

Minamoto no Yorihisa
One of Princess Fuji’s bodyguards, who comes to protect Akane as well. He becomes one of the Eight Guardians, as Seiryū of Heaven. He is the strong, silent type and will do anything his mistress asks of him.
Tenma Morimura
A little bit of a tough guy, Tenma is Akane’s close friend from school. He is one of the Eight Guardians, as Seiryū of Earth. He cares deeply for Akane and loves her, but doesn’t really show it in the beginning. As the series progresses, he begins to reveal his feelings. He has a sister named Ran, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
Inori
A hotheaded young man whose one goal in life is to destroy demons for ruining his and his sister’s lives. He is Suzaku of Heaven, one of the Eight Guardians.
Shimon Nagareyama
One of Akane’s good friends from school, Shimon is a smart, cute, and very loyal. Along with Akane and Tenma, he is transported to the Heian era. Besides confused as an oni at first, having traits such as blond hair and blue eyes, he is recognized as one of the Eight Guardians, Suzaku of Earth.
Fujiwara no Takamichi 
Hardworking, studious, and chivalrous to all women, Takamichi works in the palace archives in Kyou. He becomes one of the Eight Guardians, as Byakko of Heaven.
Tachibana no Tomomasa
Tomomasa is a general in Kyou, known for being flirtatious, nonchalant, and popular with the ladies. He is one of the last to become a Guardian, as Byakko of Earth.
Eisen
Eisen is the younger brother of the current emperor of Kyou. Though he had been eligible to inherit the throne, Eisen gave up his position to become a monk. He is an accomplished musician and is a sweet, thoughtful, timid man. Eisen fell deeply in love with Akane when they first met, and is willing to sacrifice his life for her safety. He is Genbu of Heaven, one of the Eight Guardians.
Abe no Yasuaki 
A cool,intense guy and one of the Eight Guardians as Genbu of Earth, Yasuaki is a gifted apprentice to the famous sorcerer Abe no Seimei. Despite his expressionless exterior, Yasuaki is childlike in the sense he doesn’t quite understand emotions; He even shed tears with a blank face when Akane was upset with him on one occasion. He holds Akane with high regard, and develops a certain fondness for her.

Oni Clan

Akuram
The leader of the Oni Clan, who summoned Akane to Kyou in order to utilize her power to gain full domination over the city. Akuram is said to be the most powerful of recent leaders of the Oni Clan, and his power stretches to such a level that even his close associates aren’t sure how to deal with it. Akuram inherited the mask of the Oni Clan, allowing him to lead them, because he had the greatest potential to do so as a young boy. Even now he is still young despite his position. On one occasion the mask is shattered, breaking his spell and forcing him to retreat, and it seems that the mask itself is a way of focusing the magic of the Oni.
Akuram’s motivation is not always clear. Sometimes it appears that he simply wants to dominate all of Kyou, however on occasion he suggests that part of his motivation is revenge for the deaths of many of his kinsfolk over the past generations of conflict between the Oni and the people of Kyou. His interest in Akane seems to be predominately a matter of obtaining power, although he often refers to her as ‘his’ Miko, and gets quite angry when any of his subordinates bring harm to her without his permission.
Ikutidaru 
Ikutidaru is Akuram’s right hand man and probably the oldest of the surviving oni. Of all of the oni clan he has the greatest sense of conscience, and is often torn between his loyalty to his people and his love for Inori’s older sister Seri. In the anime, he once disobeyed Akuram and had his eye removed as punishment for the crime (although in the manga it is not yet explained how he came to lose his eye). Despite the fact he does not always agree with the things Akuram orders, he often carries them out with resolute seriousness, even though at times it makes Kyou’s predicament worse. He has a strongly protective – almost paternal – instinct where Sefuru is concerned (although Sefuru is rarely appreciative of that fact). In the ongoing manga, Ikutidaru is currently working with Akane and Yorihisa against Akuram as they try to break the curse Akuram has placed over them. His defection was inspired largely by the way in which Sefuru was injured by Akuram when he was discarded.
Shirin
The only female among the surviving members of the Oni Clan, Shirin holds a strong affection for Akuram which will allow her to do pretty much anything he tells her to do. She is very jealous of Akane because of Akuram’s interest in her, and on one occasion goes behind Akuram’s back and assaults the Miko because of this jealousy. Akuram seems to have no affection for her, discarding her from the clan towards the end, however in the anime conclusion Shirin offers to exchange her life for Akane’s in order to be with Akuram in the afterlife. Although this ending only occurred in the anime, not in the manga. Shirin’s key power is the ability to use her beauty to seduce and then manipulate the actions of men, and therefore she is angered by Takamichi who refuses to submit to her seduction spell. She and Takamichi maintain a chemistry throughout the story on account of this, with Takamichi once saving her life despite her attempts to kill him. Shirin’s physical attacks often involve a rose, whose vines and thorns she can manipulate at will.
Sefuru
Sefuru is the youngest surviving Oni, probably no more than fourteen or fifteen years old. He is technically half and half, since his mother was a normal resident of Kyou. Sefuru is bitter and hates the people of Kyou because his mother abandoned him based on his appearance when he was just a small child. It was at this time that Akuram took him in and began to train him to use him for his own purpose. For this reason, despite his half blood, Sefuru has been accepted as an Oni by the rest of the clan. However, he has a deep rooted fear of being abandoned and alone again, which often drives him to desperate acts. At one point he befriends Shimon, thinking that he’s an Oni in the same situation, though he becomes indignant when he thinks that Shimon has betrayed the Oni by joining up with people in the city and is even more perturbed when he discovers that Shimon is one of the Hachiyou. Despite his aggression, however, Shimon is sure that Sefuru is more hurt than anyone by the encounter, and refuses to bear him a grudge. In the end, Sefuru is shown with Ikutidaru, Seri and their new baby, indicating that his hatred is based in his loneliness, and all he really needed was a proper place to belong. In the manga, which is still ongoing, Sefuru is discarded by Akuram and taken in in his injured state by Inori’s sister Seri on Ikutidaru’s request.
Morimura Ran
Technically not a blood member of the oni clan, Ran is actually Tenma’s long lost sister from modern day Kyouto. She was summoned into Kyou by Akuram some time earlier, but was too frightened to be able to connect with Ryuujin and become Ryuujin no Miko. In her despair, she reached out instead to the black dragon Kokuryuu and became engulfed by its power, erasing her memories of her past life and putting her under Akuram’s control. Ran continues to battle with her alter-ego throughout both manga and anime, though perhaps more significantly in the manga. Probably on account of her association with the oni clan, Ran’s name is also occasionally written in Katakana as and features this way on the anime credits. However, in the manga it is given in kanji, as shown above.

Film Friday- The Promised Neverland

Film Friday- The Promised Neverland

An anime television series adaptation will premiere in January 2019 in the Noitamina programming block.

Characters-

Emma 
Emma is the main character of the series and one of the oldest children living at Grace Field House. Like Ray and Norman, she is 11-years-old and consistently gets perfect scores during their daily exams. She is identified by her ID number 63194 and known for her ample optimism as well as her capable athleticism.
Upon discovering the truth of the orphanage, Emma teams up with Norman and Ray to escape the house. Her strong sense of selflessness insists that every one escape together, even if most of their siblings are below 6-years-old, an aim that Ray deems crazy and plain reckless.
Ray 
Ray is one of the oldest children living at Grace Field House and, like Emma and Norman, is 11-years-old and consistently gets perfect scores during their daily exams. He is identified by his ID number 81194 and known for being an avid reader with high intellectual abilities, blunt skepticism and cunning.
Being the only biological child of their caretaker and “Mama” Isabella, he did not experience childhood amnesia, confirming his suspicions about the existence of demons and true nature of the house later when he was 6-years-old. Ray becomes Isabella’s spy in exchange for goods and the promise that him, Emma and Norman could live to the fullest of their lives, pledging to use the remaining 6 years of his life to orchestrate a plan that would lead to his two best friends finding out the truth themselves. After a confrontation from Norman, he becomes the children’s trump card just as Isabella betrays him. Although initially unwilling to accept Emma’s unrealistic goal of escaping with every child, he vows to never give up on them after their escape succeeds.
Norman 
Norman is one of the oldest orphans living at Grace Field House and, like Ray and Emma, is 11-years-old and consistently gets perfect scores during their daily exams. He is identified by his ID number 22194 and known for being a genius strategist and planner, as well as unbeatable at the game of tag.
He discovers the truth of the orphanage with Emma and teams up with Ray to devise a plan to escape. While he knows leaving with every child in the house is near to impossible, his love for Emma pushes him to continue trying. As the most intelligent out of the three, he is the first to find out Ray’s true identity as Isabella’s spy and prepare various back-up plans and escape routes. After Ray is betrayed by Isabella, Norman is forced to be shipped before his 12th birthday, accepting his fate of inevitable death to deceive her and let the rest of the children escape.

Mama/Isabella 
Known to the orphanage’s children as their “Mama”, Isabella is a 31-years-old young woman who takes care of everyone there. Prior to being installed into her current position, she was raised in a similar orphanage and had an ID number of 73584. While appearing extremely loving and affectionate to the children, she actually very manipulative, cunning, and shows much detachment to their tragic fate.