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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.

 

Light Novel Tuesday- Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

Light Novel Tuesday- Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

The series Orphen came about when author Yoshinobu Akita with Yuuya Kusaka as illustrator created a series of light novels called “Majutsushi Orphen Haguretabi.” It consists of 20 novels which were first published by Fujimi Shobo under their Fujimi Fantasia Bunko label in the Monthly Dragon Magazine between 1994–2003, and was the basis for the first anime and manga series.

Two years after the beginning of the main novel series, Yoshinobu Akita created a second series called “Majutsushi Orphen Mubouhen,” which is a collection of side-stories that depicted more light-hearted and comedic adventures that took place during Orphen’s journey. The novel series spanned 13 volumes between 1996–2003, which were published the same way as the first series.

As of late 2012, T.O Entertainment have released a brand new series of the Majutsushi Orphen Haguretabi novels. Orphen is now older and is married to Cleao, both of whom give birth to three daughters that become Sorcerers. Majic is a Sorcerer lecturer at the new school that Orphen runs. Orphen is known as the “Demon King” due to his exploits in the original novels. The books are published in a standard version and also a special edition version which comes with a behind the scenes booklet about the book and a Drama CD which is based on the new novel series itself. The original Orphen novel series received a reprint as well.

The Slayers vs. Orphen novel was a special collaborative novel between Yoshinobu Akita and Hajime Kanzaka and was published in 2005. It was later reprinted in 2013.

During their panel at Anime Expo 2018, J-Novel Club announced that they have licensed the light novels.

Main characters

Orphen  
is known for his arrogance, gruff demeanor, short temper, and near-obsessive drive to finish what he is working on as soon as possible without distraction. He also strives to remain stoic and detached from others save his closest friends and allies. However, he has a strong sense of humanity and even though he will complain, he will not abandon a person in need nor tolerate the slaughter of innocent. He is partly an anti-hero throughout the entire series. In the anime, the only time his attitude changes is when the subject of Azalie is brought up. He will do anything for Azalie, as they have quite a history together, but Orphen keeps his feelings and the story about Azalie to himself at first, only opening up later in the series. However, in the novels, he opens up about Azalie fairly quickly. He and Azalie were brought to the school together because it was believed that they possessed a strong amount of magical power within them. This proved correct; Orphen was a magic prodigy. Orphen eventually becomes the greatest sorcerer in the world. His true name is Krylancelo Finrandi, and the sorcerers from the Tower of Fang (Hartia, Azalie, Leticia, Childman, and Flameheart) still refer to him like that. In the novels, Orphen is characterized slightly differently, being more rough, profane and seemingly unstable than his anime portrayal. He suffers from increasing megalomania and what seems to be a type of dissociative identity disorder in which he sometimes thinks of Krylancelo and Orphen as different people. However, through the company of his apprentice, Majic and the heiress Cleao Everlasting, he steadily becomes more at peace with himself and learns to accept who he is. In the novels, he gains the dark magic of a Deep Dragon and the power of Swedenborg(a Demon God), though this can tax on his sanity when he utilizes it for too long. By the end of the original novella series, Orphen is living in relative obscurity on the outskirts of the continent with his wife, Cleao Everlasting and their daughters, Ratsbane, Edge and Ratchet. By the age of 40, he becomes the head founder of his own magic academy known the Swedenborg School of Sorcery.
Cleao Everlasting 
is the main female protagonist that joins Orphen on his journey. In the first anime, she carries the Sword of Baltanders, which was entrusted to her by her father on her fifteenth birthday, and lets Orphen hold onto it as long as he does not object to her tagging along. Cleao also carries in her backpack a Deep Dragon wolf-cub named Leki. She and Orphen constantly quarrel, but she does so to hide her growing affection for him and secretly longs for him from afar. She and Orphen eventually marry at the end of the original novels and have three daughters. She trains with a long sword and quickly becomes proficient with it as she journeys with Orphen and Majic, even able to duel on even grounds with other highly skilled swordsmen. It is later discovered that Cleao has magical potential, which is unlocked due to Leki merging his mind with hers and she eventually seeks training from Leticia to develop her latent abilities, which she completed in a year’s time. She also learns how to handle a gun.
Majic Lin 
is Orphen’s apprentice, and the second male lead. He is a childhood friend of Cleao’s, but in the manga they are not close friends since she’s three years older than he is, and she also spent a long time at boarding school. In the anime, they were in the same grade in school, but she has since moved on to boarding school. Majic deals with the torment from both Cleao and Orphen on their journey together to save Azalie. His father is paying Orphen to teach him, which at first seems a waste of money to his father. When Orphen repairs a glass that fell with his magic before the father’s eyes, the father’s opinion about his money being “thrown out the window” disappears. Majic appears to be a good student, learning as much as he can, and retaining all of what he learns, although his anxiety tends to get the better of him when it comes time to prove himself. Orphen, however, sees significant potential in Majic and encourages him in his training. This gives him courage, which makes his power stronger. Majic looks up to Orphen, and refers to him as “master” upon Orphen’s request. All sorcerers call their “teachers”, who teach them sorcery, “master.” By the end of the novels, Majic has become a famous, world-renowned sorcerer and even takes on Ratsbane, Orphen and Cleao’s firstborn child, as his apprentice.

 

Manga Monday- Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

Manga Monday- Sorcerous Stabber Orphen

Sorcerous Stabber Orphen is a series of Japanese fantasy adventure novel and manga, two anime television series (Sorcerous Stabber Orphen and Sorcerous Stabber Orphen 2: Revenge), and a video game.

Manga

The manga adaptation was created by writer Yoshinobu Akita and artist Hajime Sawada. The first volume was released stateside by ADV Manga in March, 2005. It tells us about Azalie, Orphen’s foster sister and best friend from six years ago, much sooner than the anime does. In the first manga, we are told almost exactly what the eighth episode (titled “Azalie”) of Sorcerous Stabber Orphen tells us about her. The story in the manga follows the anime but more the Novels almost exactly, except for information coming up earlier, or later.

The Sorcerous Stabber Orphen manga was created by Yoshinobu Akita and Yuuya Kusaka. The manga is split into two separate series: Majutsushi Orphen Haguretabi, which is six volumes long so far, and the two volume side story known as Majutsushi Orphen MAX. The first volume of the manga series was released in 2005 by ADV Manga.

There is also a special manga that was released called “Sorcerous Stabber Orphen Special Parody,” or “Majutsushi O-fuen Haguretabi Spesharu Paarodi.” It is a collection of doujinshi of Orphen put into one volume of Orphen.

A new ongoing manga adaptation based on the main novels (or “Stray” arc) was created and released by Yoshinobu Akita and illustrator Muraji in March 2017. In July 2018, Seven Seas Entertainment announced their acquisition of the manga’s license for English distribution.

In August 2018, a manga adaptation based on the light novel spin-off series, “Sorcerous Stabber Orphen: Reckless Arc” or “Majutsushi Orphen: Mubouhen”, was released. It will be written and illustrated by Yu Yagami (The author of Those Who Hunt Elves).

Synopsis

Krylancelo Finrandi once attended the most prestigious school of sorcery on Kiesalhima continent, the Tower of Fang. He was sent there as a young child from an orphanage, along with another orphan girl called Azalie. Throughout the years, the two were very close, with Azalie becoming more and more powerful and Krylancelo looking up to her as a sister/mother figure and a best friend. It isn’t until one day, Azalie’s thirst for knowledge and extracurricular experimentation backfire, and she is horribly transfigured into a hideous creature, a dragon-like beast that departs the Tower in an animal fury, leaving Krylancelo behind. The Fang Tower, however, is unsympathetic. They promote the belief that Azalie is dead in order to cover the grievous error that resulted in her unimaginable transformation, a terrible scandal that would surely destroy the school’s reputation and authority. People whom Krylancelo thought were his friends suddenly seem as though they are strangers, even enemies, going along with the Tower’s pretense rather than challenge their authority. Furious that they will do nothing to help her and are instead determined to track down the Bloody August and destroy it before the truth can come to light, Krylancelo renounces his former self, declaring Krylancelo to be dead and that he is, instead, Orphen.

After five years, he finds himself living in the quiet town of Totokanta and taking on a student – Majic Lin, his landlord’s son. Life is quiet and fairly lazy until the day Cleao Everlasting comes home from boarding school, and stumbles into Orphen’s quietly laid plans for the sword that sits on her family’s mantle: the Sword Of Baltanders. It turns out that the sword is actually one of three magical artifacts that Orphen will need if he is to save Azalie, and, in fact, was the very sword Azalie used in her experiment that ended with her unfortunate transformation. Before he can obtain it, however, the Bloody August assaults the town looking for the sword, and soon after, Tower’s forces show up as well.

To find the other Baltander’s relics, Orphen sets off with his apprentice, little miss Everlasting and two short-statured misfits, but at all times they need to stay ahead of the Tower of Fang and its sorcerers, who all believe that bringing Azalie back to her former state would reveal their oversight in containing her increasingly dangerous magic, a mistake so great it could bring the Tower down – and, of course, ahead of Azalie herself who, as the dragon is more powerful than both Orphen and the Tower. Orphen is driven solely by the need to transform Azalie back into her human self at even the cost of his life. But restoring Azalie ends up being only the beginning…

 

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.

 

Manga Monday- Maison Ikkoku

Manga Monday- Maison Ikkoku

Maison Ikkoku is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi. It was serialized in Big Comic Spirits from November 1980 to April 1987, with the chapters collected into 15 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan. Maison Ikkoku is a bitter-sweet comedic romance involving a group of madcap people who live in a boarding house in 1980s Tokyo. The story focuses primarily on the gradually developing relationships between Yusaku Godai, a poor student down on his luck, and Kyoko Otonashi, a young, recently widowed boarding house manager.

Written and illustrated by Rumiko Takahashi, Maison Ikkoku was serialized in Big Comic Spirits as 162 chapters between 1980 and 1987. The chapters were collected and published into 15 tankōbon volumes by Shogakukan from May 1, 1982 to July 1, 1987. The series has since been re-released in several different editions. A 10 volume wide-ban edition was released between September 1, 1992 and June 1, 1993, 10 bunkoban from 1996 to 1997, and 15 shinsōban throughout 2007.

North American publisher Viz Media originally released the series, adapted into English by Gerard Jones, in a monthly comic book format from June 1993. This release was collected into 14 graphic novels. The images were “flipped” to read left-to-right, causing the art to be mirrored, and some chapters were out of order or completely missing. Four of the five missing chapters were published in Animerica Extra Vol. 3 Number 1 and Vol. 3 Number 2. Viz later re-released the series in its original format and chapter order across 15 volumes. These were released between September 24, 2003 and February 14, 2006.

Maison Ikkoku has over 25 million collected volumes in circulation. Jason Thompson claimed that while Maison Ikkoku was not the first men’s love-com, it is “almost certainly the best” and definitely Rumiko Takahashi’s best work. He also stated that because the main character is a university student, Maison Ikkoku is “slightly more sophisticated” compared to Kimagure Orange Road. Anime News Network (ANN) gave the manga an “A” for its story and an “A-” for its art, stating that the series shows off Takahashi’s skill; “with a clear cut and rather simple plot, she is able to concentrate on the characters, using them to drive the story, while at the same time ensuring the proper reader reaction intended for each scene.” They remarked that the story focuses on Yusaku and Kyoko’s relationship, with the other characters used only “to create conflicts, exposition, and comedic relief.”

Plot

The story mainly takes place at Maison Ikkoku, a worn and aging boarding house in a town called Clock Hill, where 20-year-old college applicant Yusaku Godai lives. Though honest and good-natured, he is weak-willed and often taken advantage of by the offbeat and mischievous tenants who live with him: Yotsuya, Akemi Roppongi and Hanae Ichinose. As he is about to move out, he is stopped at the door by the beautiful Kyoko Otonashi, who announces she will be taking over as manager. Godai immediately falls in love with her and decides to stay. Godai and the other tenants find out that despite her young age, Kyoko is a widow who had married her high school teacher, who tragically died shortly thereafter. Godai empathizes with Kyoko and endeavors to free her from her sadness. He manages to work up enough courage to confess his love to her, and it begins to look as if a relationship between them might appear. However, Kyoko meets the rich, handsome and charming tennis coach Shun Mitaka at her tennis club. Mitaka quickly declares his intention to court Kyoko and states that he is very patient, and can wait until her heart is ready.

Godai, not willing to give up, continues to chase Kyoko. But through a series of misunderstandings, he is seen by Kyoko and Mitaka walking with the cute and innocent Kozue Nanao. For the rest of the series, Kozue is mistakenly perceived as being Godai’s girlfriend (by Kozue herself as well). Angered by this, Kyoko begins to openly date Mitaka. Despite the misunderstandings, Kyoko and Godai clearly have feelings for each other, and their relationship grows over the course of the series. Godai eventually manages to get into college and, with the help of Kyoko’s family, he begins student-teaching at Kyoko’s old high school. Almost mirroring Kyoko’s meeting of her husband, Godai catches the attention of precocious and brazen student Ibuki Yagami, who immediately begins pursuing him. Her outspoken approach stands in stark contrast to Kyoko, which helps Kyoko come face to face with her feelings for Godai.

Meanwhile, Mitaka’s endeavors have been hindered by his phobia of dogs, as Kyoko owns a large white dog named Soichiro in honor of her late husband. He eventually overcomes his phobia but, when he is about to propose to Kyoko, his family begins to goad him into a marriage with the pure and innocent Asuna Kujo. Feeling the pressure, Mitaka begins to pursue Kyoko with increased aggression. He slowly realizes that she has decided on Godai and is waiting for him to find a job and propose. Mitaka is completely pulled out of the race when he ends up thinking he slept with Asuna and her later announcing a pregnancy. Taking responsibility, he proposes to Asuna, but finds out too late that it was her dog who was pregnant, not her.

As things begin to really go well for Godai, Kozue Nanao makes a reappearance in his life. Kozue tells Godai and the other Ikkoku tenants that she is thinking of marrying another man, even though Godai had proposed to her (which is another misunderstanding). Kyoko, feeling foolish and betrayed, slaps Godai and demands that he move out. When Godai refuses, he wakes up the next morning to find her gone and her room empty. Godai tries to explain himself by visiting Kyoko every day, even though she won’t answer the door. After she calms down a bit, Kyoko checks on the house and runs into the other tenants. They try to convince her to return.

The seductive Akemi, sensing that Kyoko is still hesitant, threatens to seduce Godai if Kyoko doesn’t want him. She later tells the other tenants that she only said that to threaten Kyoko into coming back. This backfires when Godai is spotted leaving a love hotel with Akemi (he was only there to lend her money). It results in Kozue resolving to marry the other man. As Kyoko is about to return to Ikkoku, she learns that Godai has ended it with Kozue, but she thinks he slept with Akemi. She insults him, tells him that she hates him, and runs away. Godai follows her explaining that she doesn’t trust him and that, despite the other girls, she never considered one important thing: Godai’s own feelings. He passionately tells her that he loves only her: From the first moment he saw her and forevermore, she is the only woman in his eyes. The two spend the night together. Having cleared his last barrier of getting a teaching job, Godai proposes to Kyoko and, with the blessings of both families, they get married. The story ends as Godai and Kyoko arrive home with their newborn daughter, Haruka, and Kyoko tells her that Maison Ikkoku is the place where they first met.

 

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.

 

Manga Monday- Land of the Lustrous

Manga Monday- Land of the Lustrous

Land of the Lustrous is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Haruko Ichikawa and published from 2012 onwards. It is published by Kodansha in Monthly Afternoon magazine and eight volumes compiling the chapters have been released so far. Set in a world inhabited by “jewel people,” it chronicles their efforts to find the place where they belong and defend their way of life.

Synopsis

In a place inhabited by jewels that take the form of people, Phosphophyllite (Phos) is weak (with one of the lowest hardnesses) and considered useless by their peers. Phos asks their aloof but wise colleague Cinnabar for help after they receive an assignment to create a natural history encyclopedia, thus beginning their friendship and personal growth. Meanwhile, the “jewel people” are at war with the Lunarians (Moon people) who want to take advantage of their luxury value.

Manga

The Land of the Lustrous manga began serialization in Kodansha’s Monthly Afternoon magazine on October 25, 2012. The first tankōbon volume was released on July 23, 2013, and the most recent volume, volume 8, was released on November 22, 2017. Volume 4 was released in two editions, a regular edition and a special edition, which included a card game. Volume 6 and Volume 7 were also released in two editions, with volume 6 being released with an additional limited edition, and volume 7 being released with an additional special edition.

Kodansha Comics announced during their 2016 New York Comic-Con panel that they have licensed the manga in North America in English. The first volume was released on June 27, 2017.

Volume 1 reached the 47th place on the weekly Oricon manga chart and, as of July 27, 2013, has sold 21,204 copies; volume 2 reached the 35th place and, as of February 2, 2014, has sold 44,511 copies;[ volume 3 reached the 30th place and, as of August 31, 2014, has sold 56,765 copies.

It was number 10 on the 2014 Kono Manga ga Sugoi! Top 20 Manga for Male Readers survey. It was number 48 on the 15th Book of the Year list by Da Vinci magazine in 2014. It was nominated for the eight Manga Taishō in 2015.

 

Film Friday- Parasyte

Film Friday- Parasyte

An anime television series adaptation by Madhouse, titled Parasyte -the maxim-, aired in Japan between October 2014 and March 2015. The English-language dub aired on Adult Swim’s Toonami block in America between October 2015 and April 2016. The manga has been adapted into two live-action films in Japan in 2014 and 2015.

Plot

Parasyte centers on a male 17-year-old high school student named Shinichi Izumi, who lives with his mother and father in a quiet neighborhood in Tokyo, Japan. One night, strange worm-like creatures with drills as a ‘head’ called Parasytes appear on Earth, taking over the brains of human hosts by entering through their ears or noses. One Parasite attempts to crawl into Shinichi’s nose while he sleeps, but fails as Shinichi wakes up, and enters his body by burrowing into his arm instead. In the Japanese version, it takes over his right hand and is named Migi, after the Japanese word for ‘right’; Tokyopop’s version-(English dub), in which the images are flipped horizontally, has the Parasite take over Shinichi’s left hand and it is named Lefty.

Because Shinichi was able to prevent Migi from travelling further up into his brain, both beings retain their separate intellect and personality. As the duo encounter other Parasites, they capitalize on their strange situation and gradually form a strong bond, working together to survive. This gives them an edge in battling other Parasites who frequently attack the pair upon realization that Shinichi’s human brain is still intact. Shinichi feels compelled to fight other Parasites, who devour humans as food, while enlisting Migi’s help.

Parasites

The series’ antagonists, the Parasites are creatures of unknown origin which start off as worm-like creatures that instinctively enter the body of the nearest life form and travel to the brain to completely assimilate it while destroying the host’s identity in the process. From there, using the vital organs of the host bodies to survive, the Parasites would be driven with a need to kill humans and Parasites with failed host bodies. After assimilating their host, Parasites exhibit a variety of abilities that make them dangerous adversaries: the immediate area around their entry site (typically the head) is morphed into a versatile “parasite tissue” which can take a variety of offensive and defensive forms, and a parasite that successfully takes over a host’s brain can then maximize the physical potential of that host. In general, Parasite intelligence is comparable to humans, though their thought process is strictly rational and cold, with very little emotion. They are also capable of learning extremely quickly depending on their environment – Migi, for example, mastered Japanese after one night of reading books on the subject. While most Parasites initially acted alone, causing a chain of multiple grisly deaths coined the “mincemeat murders”, they eventually form groups for safety in numbers. By the time of the final chapter, Shinichi speculating that they might have been created as an evolutionary countermeasure to humans, the surviving Parasites are assumed to have gone into hiding and adopt themselves further into human society to keep their activities to a minimum.

Reiko Tamura
An extremely intelligent, calculating Parasite and one of the story’s main antagonists. She originally infected and took on the identity of a woman named Ryōko Tamiya, one of Shinichi’s high school teachers while suggesting a beneficial ceasefire. Unlike most of her kind, she is motivated by scientific inclinations with a drive to understand her kind’s biology, origin, and purpose. She learned that she is pregnant with a normal human infant as a consequence of being impregnated by Mr. A, deeming it interesting while forced to quit to avoid unwanted attention resulting from it. Though she intended to kill Shinichi soon after, she lets him and Migi live unmolested largely because she finds them an interesting anomaly worthy of study. After killing off Ryōko’s parents when they saw through her, the Parasite alters her face and creates the identity of “Reiko Tamura” while aligning herself with Takeshi Hirokawa. She eventually gives birth to Mr. A’s baby and later kills three of her fellow Parasites when they deemed her actions with a hired detective a threat to their plans. It was after Reiko killed the maddened detective to save her child that she allowed the police to brutally gun her down in a park instead of trying to resist or escape. The baby survives because of her protection and decision not to fight back against or run away from the police.
Tamura is portrayed by Eri Fukatsu in the film.
Mr. B
A Parasite who attacks Shinichi and tries to coerce Migi into relocating to his arm in order to extend his own lifespan. To his surprise, Migi kills him on the pretense that relocation is too risky to try.
Mr. A 
An highly aggressive Parasite formerly aligned with Reiko Tamura. When first introduced, he (or rather, his host body) fathers a child with Reiko as part of the latter’s experiment. Described by Migi as “not one of our smart ones” and called a fool by Reiko, Mr. A is extremely impulsive and animalistic. He has little capacity for subtlety or deception, and no qualms about killing humans in the presence of numerous witnesses. Shinichi is forced to battle Mr. A when he attempts to hunt Shinichi down and kill him at school. Though Shinichi and Migi mortally wound him, they are forced to flee before they could kill him. Mr. A attempts to find Reiko to transfer himself to her body and survive, but she rigs the room to explode to completely destroy him to preserve her human cover.
Hideo Shimada
Hideo is a Parasite with a teenager’s body who decides to integrate with human society. Hideo enrolls in Shinichi’s high school on Reiko’s suggestion and expresses a desire to become friends with Shinichi, who does not trust him. Although Hideo is a relatively peaceful Parasite, he has no qualms about brutalizing or even killing bullies who try to start fights with him, and he continues to hunt humans despite claiming to be learning to eat like a person. But when Yuko uncovered his secret and confronts him about it, Hideo ends up being exposed to paint-thinner during the confrontation as Yuko manages to escape. The paint-thinner’s chemical make-up disrupts Hideo’s Parasite cells, causing him to go on an involuntary killing spree across the school. He is killed after he escapes to the roof, when Shinichi, using Migi to enhance his right arm’s strength, throws a well-aimed stone through his chest, destroying his heart.
Shimada is played by Masahiro Higashide in the film.

Manga Monday- Parasyte

Manga Monday- Parasyte

Parasyte is a science fiction horror manga series written and illustrated by Hitoshi Iwaaki, and published in Kodansha’s Afternoon magazine from 1988 to 1995. The manga was published in North America by first Tokyopop, then Del Rey, and finally Kodansha Comics.

Manga

Parasyte was originally serialized in Japan in the Morning Open Zōkan from 1988 and switched to Afternoon after a few issues in 1990. It was collected into ten tankōbon volumes by Kodansha, and was later republished in eight kanzenban volumes. It was originally licensed for English translation and North American distribution by Tokyopop, which published the series over 12 volumes. The Tokyopop version ran in Mixxzine. Daily pages from the Tokyopop version ran in the Japanimation Station, a service accessible to users of America Online. The Tokyopop English-language manga went out of print on May 2, 2005. Del Rey Manga later acquired the rights to the series, and published eight volumes following the kanzenban release. Kodansha Comics later republished the volumes in North America between 2011 and 2012.

Characters

Main characters

Shinichi Izumi 
Shinichi is the protagonist of the manga, a thoughtful, compassionate high-school boy whose hand is infected with a Parasite and is repeatedly put into difficult positions. He must find a way to peacefully coexist with Migi, the Parasite which has taken over his hand, and reconcile his desire to protect humanity from the Parasites with his desire to keep his own Parasite a secret in order to avoid being killed or used as a laboratory specimen. Like a superhero with a secret identity, he must also find a way to explain away his Parasite-fighting activities, as well as the stress and grief they cause him, to his friends and family. While originally forced to have Migi fight for him, Shinichi later gains heightened abilities when trace cells of the Parasite course through his body, and fights his own battles, with the two having an advantage in both being able to act independently and work as a team. Shinichi’s retention of his humanity, despite gradually becoming emotionally distant as a side-effect of Migi’s cells, makes most of the other Parasites deem him a threat. After defeating Gotou, with Migi deciding to “go to sleep” indefinitely afterward, Shinichi attempts to live a normal life again while having an understanding of natural order from his experience.
Masanori Harada, a 20-year-old student, wrote to the editor of the Monthly Afternoon noted that Shinichi acts calm when he is threatened and that he is “not human anymore!” Iwaaki responded, stating that Shinichi is accustomed to “close calls” partly because Migi calms Shinichi down during battle. The statement and response were printed in the April 1993 Afternoon.
Shinichi is portrayed by Shota Sometani in the film.
Migi 
Migi is the Parasite which lives in Shinichi’s right hand, named after the Japanese word for “right” ( migi). Unlike “successful” Parasites, Migi has no desire to kill humans for sustenance, and is nourished by the food Shinichi eats. Migi is, like other Parasites, completely without emotion. His primary consideration is survival, and he has threatened (and in some cases attempted) to kill other humans who pose a threat to his and Shinichi’s secrecy. When he and Shinichi were first coming to terms, he even threatened to remove Shinichi’s other limbs in order to render him unable to place the two of them in danger. Migi can be reasoned with, however, and has just as much reason to be mistrustful of other Parasites as does Shinichi. On the other hand, unlike Shinichi, Migi has no inclination to place himself at risk in order to protect other humans from Parasites. But Migi gradually evolves over the course of the series, he becomes more human while able to temporarily separate from Shinichi’s body. After the final battle with Gotou, having been absorbed by the Parasite prior to his defeat, Migi’s composition is greatly altered to the point that enters a deep sleep though he briefly woke up to save Satomi without Shinichi’s realization.
Iwaaki explained that while Migi appears to be Shinichi’s weapon, in fact Migi is in control of the battle and orders around Shinichi. Iwaaki explained that Migi is easily able to order Shinichi since Shinichi is young and “needs guidance”, while Migi would find difficulty if he became a part of a politician or a president of a company since in that scenario Migi and his host would argue a lot.
An 18-year-old from Saitama Prefecture named “Midari” asked in the letters to the editor that if Migi took Shinichi’s left hand, if he would have been named “Hidari”. Iwaaki answered that it would be Hidari, but Iwaaki felt that the name would be similar to those of Bokuzen Hidari or Tenpei Hidari and the name would “bring to mind a doddering old man, so that wouldn’t have been a good idea”. Iwaaki then said that the first man to climb Mount Everest “had a name an awful lot like that…”
Migi is voiced by Sadao Abe in the film.
Satomi Murano
Shinichi’s best friend and love interest. She is a thoughtful, tender-hearted young girl who cares deeply for her friends. While Satomi and Shinichi are mutually attracted towards one another, their relationship is strained to the breaking point when Shinichi’s life is thrown in turmoil by the Parasites.
From the moment she is introduced, Satomi is depicted as being romantically attracted towards Shinichi due to his kind and sensitive nature. Consequently, she is utterly grief-stricken as she watches him grow ever more cold and withdrawn over the course of the story. Despite her best efforts to find out the reason behind Shinichi’s behavior , Satomi becomes increasingly estranged from him as he desperately strives to keep her in the dark about Migi and the Parasite threat. As a result, she begins to question whether any trace of the gentle, caring boy she originally fell in love with remains. After losing nearly all hope, Satomi’s faith in Shinichi is restored upon witnessing him cry freely while protectively cradling Reiko’s orphaned baby in his arms. Upon learning that Shinichi is part Parasite at the end of the series, Satomi firmly proclaims this does nothing to diminish his humanity because he still regards all life as precious.
Satomi is played by Ai Hashimoto in the film.

Film Friday- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

Film Friday- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

A six-volume original video animation adaptation of the later half of the series’ third story arc was released from 1993 to 1994 by studio A.P.P.P., followed by another seven-volume series covering earlier parts of the arc from 2000 to 2002. A.P.P.P. also produced a theatrical film of the first arc in 2007. In 2012 an anime television series produced by David Production began broadcast on Tokyo MX and covered the first two-story arcs of the manga in 26 episodes. A second 48-episode season covering the third arc was broadcast in 2014 and 2015, and a 39 episode season adapting the fourth aired between April and December 2016.

Plot

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure tells the story of the Joestar family, a family whose various members discover they are destined to take down supernatural foes using unique powers that they possess. The manga is split up into 8 unique parts, each following the story of one member of the Joestar family, who inevitably has a name that can be abbreviated to the titular “JoJo”. The first six parts of the series take place within a single continuity, while parts 7 and 8 take place in an alternate continuity.

Part 1 Phantom Blood
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure volumes 1 to 5. In the 1880s in Great Britain, the young Jonathan Joestar meets his new adopted brother Dio Brando, who only wants to usurp Jonathan as heir to the Joestar family. However, his attempts are thwarted and he resorts to using an ancient Stone Mask which transforms him into a vampire. Jonathan, with Italian Hamon master Will A. Zeppeli and former street thug Robert E.O. Speedwagon at his side, must now find a way to stop Dio using his newly found affinity for the Ripple martial arts now that Dio’s sights are set on nothing less than world domination.
Part 2 Battle Tendency
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure volumes 5 to 12. In New York City in 1938, Joseph Joestar, grandson of Jonathan, who has a natural affinity for the Hamon technique, becomes entangled in his grandfather’s destiny when the Pillar Men, supernatural beings of impossible power, awaken after failed experiments by Nazi German special forces. Joseph ultimately teams up with Caesar Zeppeli, Will’s grandson, and Caesar’s teacher Lisa Lisa, a woman mysteriously tied to Joseph, to stop the Pillar Men from obtaining a mystical artifact in Lisa Lisa’s possession that will grant them complete immortality and bring about the end of the world at their hands, so long as Joseph can master the Hamon technique to beat the Pillar Men in a rematch for the antidotes to poisons they implanted in his body.
Part 3 Stardust Crusaders
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure volumes 12 to 28. In 1989, Jotaro Kujo, a Japanese high school student, places himself in jail because he believes he is possessed by an evil spirit. His mother Holly calls on her father Joseph Joestar to talk sense into Jotaro, and with the help of his ally the Egyptian fortune teller Mohammed Avdol, reveals that Jotaro has in fact developed a supernatural ability known as a Stand that has run through the family due to the revival of their ancestor’s foe Dio. After thwarting an assassination attempt by transfer student Noriaki Kakyoin who is under Dio’s thrall, Jotaro and Joseph discover that Holly is dying from her own Stand. Jotaro resolves to hunt down Dio, and Joseph leads him, Avdol, and Kakyoin to Egypt, using their Stands to battle more Stand-wielding assassins along the way, gaining allies in the French swordsman Jean Pierre Polnareff who wishes to avenge the death of his sister, and the stray dog Iggy, before 50 days elapse and Holly dies.
Part 4 Diamond Is Unbreakable
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure volumes 29 to 47. In the fictional Japanese town of Morioh in 1999, Jotaro arrives to reveal to Josuke Higashikata that he is the illegitimate son of Joseph Joestar and to warn him that Morioh is beginning to be filled with Stand users due to a mystical Bow and Arrow that bestows Stands on those struck by the arrowheads. After Josuke takes revenge on a Stand user who killed his grandfather, he agrees to help Jotaro hunt down the holder of the Bow and Arrow, gaining allies in Josuke’s friend Koichi Hirose, who is hit by the arrow, Okuyasu Nijimura, whose brother was using the Arrow until it was stolen from him, the famous manga artist Rohan Kishibe, and even his estranged father Joseph Joestar. Along the way, the group deals with the various new Stand users throughout Morioh, including several of Josuke, Koichi, and Okuyasu’s classmates, until the death of one of their friends leads to the discovery that one of the new Stand users is the serial killer, Yoshikage Kira.
Part 5 Vento Aureo
Le Bizzarre Avventure di GioGio volumes 47 to 63. In 2001, Koichi Hirose is sent by Jotaro to Naples to investigate Giorno Giovanna, whom Jotaro has discovered is Dio’s son fathered before his defeat in Cairo 12 years earlier, to see if the boy has a Stand and if he is evil. Koichi ultimately discovers the boy’s Stand and his pure goals for reforming the mafia from the inside out, and Jotaro lets him live his life. Giorno ultimately joins a squad of Passione, a Stand-using mafia, led by Bruno Bucciarati, who leads Giorno, Leone Abbacchio, Guido Mista, Narancia Ghirga, and Pannacotta Fugo on a mission to Capri to retrieve his former superior’s riches, being attacked by rival mafioso along the way, and then are tasked by Passione’s boss to escort his daughter Trish Una throughout Italy and protect her from others in the gang who wish to use her to find out his identity.
Part 6 Stone Ocean
Stone Ocean volumes 1 to 17 (JoJo volumes 64 to 80). In 2011 near Port St. Lucie, Florida, Jolyne Cujoh is arrested and sent to the Green Dolphin St. Prison for murder. Her estranged father Jotaro visits her and reveals that she has been set up in order for one of Dio’s disciples to kill her within the prison. After revealing that a gift he gave her has awoken her latent Stand powers to protect her, he is attacked, and his Stand is stolen from him by the prison chaplain Enrico Pucci, Dio’s disciple. Jolyne works with fellow inmate Ermes Costello, who has also had a Stand awoken in her, to retrieve her father’s Stand, gaining allies in the boy Emporio Alniño, other inmates Narciso Anasui and Weather Report, and the sentient Stand-using plankton Foo Fighters to save her father and stop Pucci before he can use his Stand to recreate the universe in Dio’s image.
Part 7 Steel Ball Run
Steel Ball Run volumes 1 to 24 (JoJo volumes 81 to 104). In an alternate timeline in 1890, Gyro Zeppeli travels to the United States to take part in a cross-country horse race known as the Steel Ball Run. His skill in a mystical martial art known as Spin, which he controls with steel balls, garners the interest of former jockey turned paraplegic Johnny Joestar, particularly after a Spin-infused ball briefly restores Johnny’s ability to walk. Johnny travels with Gyro on the race to learn the art of Spin from him in hopes he can be cured, but they soon discover that the race is a ploy set up by Funny Valentine, the President of the United States, to search the country for the scattered parts of a holy corpse that imbue their holders with a Stand, so the President can use the entire corpse to his own patriotic ends, even if it means the disruption of other dimensions with his Stand’s ability. Gyro and Johnny work together, along with fellow racers Mountain Tim and Hot Pants and race organizer Stephen Steel and his wife Lucy, to stop the President from his plans, as they threaten the very world, all while dealing with Valentine’s hired assassins in the race, including the charismatic racer Diego Brando.
Part 8 JoJolion
JoJolion is currently being published, beginning with the 105th overall volume of JoJo. In 2012, in the same universe as Steel Ball Run, the town of Morioh has been devastated by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, which has caused mysterious faults colloquially known as the “Wall Eyes” to appear in town. Local college student Yasuho Hirose is near one of the Wall Eyes when she discovers a young man buried in the rubble, and a strange bite mark on him. She nicknames him “Josuke”, as he cannot remember his own name, and after following a lead that he may be “Yoshikage Kira”, an attack by a Stand user leads them to find the real Yoshikage Kira’s corpse. Josuke is put in the care of the Higashikata family, whose patriarch Norisuke IV seems to know more about Josuke than he initially lets on, but Josuke himself discovers that the Higashikata family and Yoshikage Kira’s family are linked due to Johnny Joestar’s marriage to Rina Higashikata in the late 19th century. Josuke and Yasuho ultimately discover that Josuke is in fact Yoshikage Kira, mysteriously fused with another person, and Yoshikage Kira possessed the knowledge to cure a curse that has plagued the Higashikata family for centuries. Norisuke IV wants that knowledge back to save his grandchild from the same fate he and his family has suffered, but a mysterious race of rock men and Norisuke IV’s own son Jobin seem to be conspiring against them to both prevent Josuke from regaining his memories and from lifting the curse on the Higashikata family.