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Month: January 2021

Film Friday- Death Parade

Film Friday- Death Parade

Death Parade is a 2015 Japanese anime television series created, written, and directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa and produced by Madhouse. The series spawned from a short film, Death Billiards, which was originally produced by Madhouse for the Young Animator Training Project’s Anime Mirai 2013 and released on March 2, 2013. The television series aired in Japan between January 9, 2015 and March 27, 2015. It is licensed in North America by Funimation and in the United Kingdom by Anime Limited, the latter of which was eventually cancelled. The series was obtained by Madman Entertainment for digital distribution in Australia and New Zealand.

Plot

Whenever someone dies, they are sent to one of many mysterious bars run by bartenders serving as arbiters inside a tower in the afterlife. There, they must compete in Death Games with their souls on the line, the results of which reveal what secrets led them to their situation and what their fate will be afterwards, with the arbiters judging if their souls will either be sent for reincarnation or banished into the void. The series follows Decim, the lone bartender of the bar where people who died at the same time are sent to, known as the Quindecim bar, and his assistant.

Media

Death Billiards

Death Billiards was produced by Madhouse as part of the Young Animator Training Project’s Anime Mirai 2013 project, which funds young animators, alongside other short films by Trigger, Zexcs and Gonzo. Death Billiards and the other shorts each received 38 million yen from the Japanese Animation Creators Association, who receives funding from the Japanese government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs. The short was created, directed and written by Yuzuru Tachikawa. The short, along with the other Anime Mirai shorts, opened in 14 Japanese theatres on March 2, 2013.

Death Parade

An anime television series based on the short, titled Death Parade, aired in Japan on Nippon TV between January 9, 2015 and March 27, 2015. Produced by NTV, VAP and Madhouse, the series is created, written and directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa, with Shinichi Kurita designing the characters and Yuki Hayashi composing the music. The opening theme is “Flyers” by Bradio while the ending theme is “Last Theater” by NoisyCell. The anime is licensed in North America by Funimation, who simulcast the series as it aired. It was also acquired in the United Kingdom by Anime Limited, however, it was later announced that the release was cancelled and delisted. A broadcast dub version began streaming from February 18, 2015, both on Funimation’s website and a Dubbletalk programming block which is streamed on Twitch.

Reception

A poll done on the Japanese video-sharing service Niconico at the end of the Winter 2015 airing anime season, ranked Death Parade 9th as the users favorite anime of that season. The English dubbed version of the anime had nominations for “Best male lead vocal performance in an anime television series/OVA” and “Best female lead vocal performance in an anime television series/OVA” and it won the “Best vocal ensemble in an anime television series/OVA” for the “BTVA anime dub television/OVA voice acting Awards”. IGN listed Death Parade among the best anime series of the 2010s.

Main characters

Decim
The bartender of the Quindecim bar (located on the 15th floor) who oversees the Death Games between people who have died and must be judged. His hobby is making mannequins that resemble guests which made an impression on him. He is supposed to have no human emotions, just like all arbiters who are referred to as dummies because they have never lived or died. As a risky experiment, Nona allows him to develop his interest in learning about human emotions.

 

Chiyuki
A human who initially has no memory of her life or her real name and is simply referred to as “the black-haired woman”. She works as an assistant at Quindecim, learning the methods that arbiters use to judge human souls and helping Decim learn about human behavior.

 

 

Nona
Decim’s boss, with the appearance of a young girl. She reports to Oculus and manages the arbiters, primarily working on the 90th floor and sometimes overseeing the games.

 

 

 

Manga Monday- Daytime Shooting Star

Manga Monday- Daytime Shooting Star

Daytime Shooting Star is a Japanese shōjo manga written and illustrated by Mika Yamamori. It ran in Margaret from 2011 to 2014. A live-action film adaptation of the same name was released in 2017, as well as a collaboration clothing line with Earth Music & Ecology in 2014.

Plot

Suzume Yosano’s parents move to Bangladesh when her father’s job gets transferred there, while Suzume herself moves to Tokyo to live with her uncle, Yukichi. On her way to her uncle’s house, a strange man helps her when she gets lost, and on her first day of school, she learns that he is her homeroom teacher, Satsuki Shishio.

Media

Manga

Daytime Shooting Star is written and illustrated by Mika Yamamori. The series first was announced on May 3, 2011. The manga was serialized in the bi-weekly magazine Margaret from May 20, 2011 to November 2014. The chapters were later released in bound volumes by Shueisha under the Margaret Comics imprint.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Margaret, Yamamori collaborated with Momoko Koda, the author of Heroine Shikkaku, to release the crossover comic Heroine Shooting Star. Heroine Shooting Star was released in Mini Margaret, a booklet that was distributed as a magazine gift in the May 20, 2013 issue of Margaret. In 2014, Yamamori collaborated with Suu Morishita, the author of Hibi Chōchō, to produce two crossover comics, Hibi Shooting Star and Daytime Chōchō.

To promote the live-action movie, Yamamori released Daytime Shooting Star: Side Story Blue in the February 3, 2017 issue of Margaret. It was followed up by Daytime Shooting Star: Side Story Red in the March 28, 2017 issue of Margaret.

In 2018, Viz Media announced at the New York Comic-Con that they were licensing the series for English distribution, with all comics published under the Shojo Beat imprint.

Live-action film

In mid-September 2016, the live-action film adaptation was announced. The film stars Mei Nagano as Suzume, Shohei Miura as Shishio, and Alan Shirahama as Mamura. The film was released in Japan on March 24, 2017 in 272 theaters and opened at #5 on opening weekend. The film’s theme song is “Hayaku Aitai” by Dream Ami.

Yamamori released Daytime Shooting Star: Side Story Blue in the February 3, 2017 issue of Margaret and Daytime Shooting Star: Side Story Red in the March 28, 2017 issue of Margaret to promote the film. Nagano and Shirahama were also featured in a collaboration commercial as their characters to cross-promote handbags from Samantha Vega, a sister brand of Samantha Thavasa.

Reception

The series has 1.93 million copies in print and 500,000 in paid digital copies.

Characters

Suzume Yosano
moves from the countryside to Tokyo to live with her uncle while she goes to high school. When she was in middle school, she saw a shooting star during the daytime and is convinced that she can see one again. She skips classes and hangs out on the rooftop frequently at school, often leaving poor grades. When she arrives to her new school, she is assigned to sit next to Mamura in class. She meets Shishio, who she discovers to be her homeroom teacher, when she is en route to her uncle’s house. She eventually falls in love with him. Since he knows her uncle, the two see each other fairly often. She confesses her feelings, but is rejected. Unable to get over him, she confesses once more. This time Shishio accepts and they date in secret. This only lasts a short time, since Shishio thinks their love for one another was not really love. Feeling upset and rejected, Suzume becomes depressed, to the point where she runs away back to the countryside. Mamura tries to make her feel better by taking her to an aquarium she went to with Shishio. At first she rejects going, but begins to realize why Mamura is taking her. She begins to see how much Mamura cares for her, and realizes she is in love with him. She runs to his house and confesses to him, which he accepts. They begin to date afterwards.

Satsuki Shishio
Suzume’s homeroom teacher. He somewhat reluctantly falls in love with Suzume. After she confesses to him for a second time, he agrees to date her in secret. Eventually Shishio asks Suzume what she would do if he stopped teaching. Suzume replies with “I’m going with you,” to his surprise, so he says he was just kidding. Shishio and Suzume’s relationship is inadvertently discovered by Suzume’s uncle Yukichi to which he disapproved. Shishio realizes the gravity of his situation then says they should just quit “it”—their relationship—and just go back to having a normal student-teacher relationship. He says that her love for him was just “admiration,” and she does not really love him at all. However, he realizes he still loves her, but cannot be with her. This angers Mamura that Shishio hurt Suzume, leaving their relationship often constricted. By the time he tries to get back together with her, she is already dating Mamura.

Daiki Mamura
Suzume’s classmate who sits in front of her. He is a gynophobe. Upon discovering this, Suzume uses it to blackmail him into being her friend. Once he becomes friends with her, he begins to get more used to being around girls and starts to develop feelings for Suzume. He is fairly jealous of Shishio and Suzume’s relationship (romantic or not) and becomes protective and supportive in the times Suzume is hurt emotionally. Despite his feelings, Mamura decides to keep them hidden only revealing them when he discovers Shishio’s decision to cease his relationship with Suzume. When they move up to second year of high school, Mamura becomes popular with the underclassmen much to the chagrin of Suzume. Suzume’s friends come up with the idea to have Mamura and Suzume pretend to date in order to make the underclass girls leave him alone. When he takes her to an aquarium he confesses his feelings for her, to which she is unsure how to react. Upon going home, Suzume realizes she is in love with him and accepts his confession and the two begin to date. Mamura’s appearance was based on model Kentaro Sakaguchi.

Yuyuka Nekota
is very blunt, which she believes makes it hard to get along with others. She hides behind a cute exterior that is friendly and outgoing in order to make friends. Initially, Yuyuka was only pretending to be nice in order to get closer to Mamura, but the two later become honest friends. She eventually confesses to Mamura, who rejects her, saying that he has feelings for Suzume. She is comforted by Togyuu Minagawa, whom she slowly develops feelings for. As friends with Suzume, she often gives relationship advice.

 

Film Friday- Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle

Film Friday- Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle

Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kagiji Kumanomata. It has been serialized in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday magazine since May 2016, with its chapters collected in seventeen tankōbon volumes as of December 2020. An anime television series adaptation by Doga Kobo aired from October to December 2020.

Media

Anime

An anime television series adaptation was announced in the 42nd issue of Weekly Shōnen Sunday on September 18, 2019. The series was animated by Doga Kobo and directed by Mitsue Yamazaki, with Yoshiko Nakamura handling series composition and Ai Kikuchi designing the characters. Yukari Hashimoto composed the series’ music. The series ran for 12 episodes from October 6 to December 22, 2020 on TV Tokyo, AT-X, and BS TV Tokyo. In Southeast Asia, the anime is licensed by Muse Communication. Inori Minase performed the opening theme “Kaimin! Anmin! Syalist Seikatsu”, while ORESAMA performed the ending theme “Gimmme!”. Funimation acquired the series and streamed it on its website in North America and the British Isles.

Characters

Princess Syalis
is a princess who was kidnapped by the demon king and causes chaos in the demon castle while trying to get a good night’s sleep.

 

 

Twilight the Demon King
kidnapped Syalis in her sleep, so he has hardly ever seen her awake and has never had a proper conversation with her. He is always thinking of ways to make the hero get to him and gets worried if he is going to lose, he even puts weapons and tools to make the hero’s quest easier. Apart from that he is a good leader for the demons of the castle, but even he can’t go against Princess Syalis, and is shown to care for her to a certain point.

 

 

Demon Cleric
might seem like a gentle young man, but he is actually the demon in charge of the Demon Temple inside the Demon Castle. The Demon Cleric is usually the one called upon to use magic to resurrect anyone who happens to die in the Demon Castle.

 

 

 

Trailer:

 

Manga Monday- Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle

Manga Monday- Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle

Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Kagiji Kumanomata. It has been serialized in Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday magazine since May 2016, with its chapters collected in seventeen tankōbon volumes as of December 2020. An anime television series adaptation by Doga Kobo aired from October to December 2020.

Media

Manga

Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle is written and illustrated by Kagiji Kumanomata. The series started in the 2016 issue #24 of Shogakukan’s Weekly Shōnen Sunday published on May 11, 2016. Shogakukan has compiled its chapters into individual tankōbon volumes. The first volume was released on September 16, 2016. As of December 18, 2020, seventeen volumes have been released.

Viz Media announced in September 2017 that they had licensed the series in North America. The first volume was released on June 12, 2018.

An official fanbook of the series was released on October 16, 2020.

Plot

Sshhh! Princess Syalis is trying to get a good night’s sleep. Some shut-eye. Forty winks. Catch some Z’s. Long ago in olden times when people and demons lived together in—well, disharmony, really—a demon king kidnaps a human princess and imprisons her in his castle. Bereft, the princess’s subjects beat their chests in anguish…until a hero arises to spearhead Project Rescue Our Princess! While waiting for her knight in shining armor, what’s an imprisoned princess to do…? Teddy-bear guards with bat wings are all very well, but her dungeon cell is bo-o-o-ring! So, she decides to wile away the long hours by sleeping. Now if only she could get comfortable…and didn’t suffer from insomnia…

 

Film Friday- Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!

Film Friday- Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!

Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! is a Japanese light novel series written by FUNA and illustrated by Itsuki Akata. A manga adaptation by Neko Mint began serialization in 2016. Both the light novel and manga have been licensed in North America by Seven Seas Entertainment. An anime television series adaptation by Project No.9 aired from October 7 to December 23, 2019.

Plot

Misato Kurihara, a genius girl who couldn’t make any friends due to her exceptional abilities, is killed after being run over while protecting a young girl. Offered the chance to be reborn into a fantasy world, Misato asks that she simply be reincarnated with average abilities. Reborn as the noble Adele von Ascham, she soon discovers that “average” in this new world takes into account the power of the absolute strongest and the absolute weakest magical creatures, resulting in her physical and magical abilities being 6,800 times stronger than that of a typical human, which is half of that of the strongest ancient dragon (the strongest of all the magical creatures). Attending Hunter’s Prep School alongside her classmates Mavis, Reina, and Pauline, Adele tries her best to live her life as normally as possible, which does not prove to be an easy feat.

Characters

Adele von Ascham
The central character, Adele is a twelve-year-old girl with long silver hair. She was originally an intelligent Japanese girl named Misato Kurihara, who was unable to make friends due to the expectations placed upon her. After losing her life while saving a girl from an oncoming truck, she was offered the chance to be reincarnated into a fantasy world, asking only that she would be given “average” abilities so she can live a normal life. After regaining her memories at the age of ten, Adele discovered that her abilities, which are the average of all magical creatures in the world, are 6,800 times more powerful than an average human, giving her excessive physical strength and powerful magic. After failing to hide her abilities at Eckland Academy, she left her home country and took on the alias of “Mile” to attend Hunter’s Prep School, where she forms a party named The Crimson Vow. She loves anime, manga, and video games, the knowledge of which she uses in her new life in very interesting ways. She has a boob complex, which provokes her anger when someone points it out.

Reina
Also known as Crimson Reina, she is a mage specializing in fire magic. She was born to a traveling merchant, and became a Hunter at an early age, giving her the most practical knowledge and experience amongst the Crimson Vow party members. She has a signature fire spell called Crimson Hellfire, and has a particular hatred for bandits after both her father and a Hunter group who had taken her in were killed by such brigands. Despite being fifteen years old at the start of the series, she is assumed to be a similar age to Mile, the youngest member of their group, due to her height and appearance which is a source of annoyance for her.

Mavis von Austien
The official leader of the Crimson Vow (although it is always Reina that does the actual “leading”), Mavis is a 17-year-old swordswoman of noble birth. After running away from home in the hopes of becoming a knight, she met the other members of the Crimson Vow at the Hunters’ Prep School and helped to form the party. She is tall and has an androgynous appearance, making her popular with other girls. She is a softie for sappy and sad stories, especially the backstories behind each of her friends.

 

Pauline
A 14-year-old mage specializing in healing and water magic, she is the daughter of a merchant and the resident bookkeeper of the Crimson Vow. Despite her miserly manner, she typically has a gentle appearance and demeanor but is known to show fits of ruthlessness when called for. Her family’s company is called the Beckett Company, although whether Pauline’s surname is the same has not been confirmed.

 

 

Manga Monday- Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!

Manga Monday- Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!

Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! is a Japanese light novel series written by FUNA and illustrated by Itsuki Akata. A manga adaptation by Neko Mint began serialization in 2016. Both the light novel and manga have been licensed in North America by Seven Seas Entertainment. An anime television series adaptation by Project No.9 aired from October 7 to December 23, 2019.

Media

Web novel

FUNA began serializing the story as a web novel on the user-generated novel publishing website Shōsetsuka ni Narō on January 14, 2016. As of November 3, 2020, 492 chapters of the web novel have been published.

Light novels

The series was acquired for print publication by Taibundo and Earth Star Entertainment, who published the first light novel, with illustrations by Itsuki Akata, in May 2016 under their Earth Star Novel imprint. Seven Seas Entertainment announced on September 11, 2017 that they had licensed the series.

Manga

A manga adaptation with art by Neko Mint began serialization online on Earth Star Entertainment’s Comic Earth Star website on August 5, 2016. Seven Seas announced on September 11, 2017 that they had licensed the manga.

Anime

An anime adaptation was announced via Twitter on February 26, 2018. The anime, later confirmed to be a television series, is directed by Masahiko Ohta, written by Takashi Aoshima, and animated by Project No.9, with Sō Watanabe as character designer and Yasuhiro Misawa as music composer. The series aired from October 7 to December 23, 2019 on AT-X, Tokyo MX, BS11, TVA, and ABC. Azumi Waki, Sora Tokui, and Masumi Tazawa performed the series’ opening theme song “Smile Skill=Sukisukiskill”, while Waki performed the series’ ending theme song “Genzai ↑ Banzai ↑”. The series is streamed by Crunchyroll worldwide outside of Asia.

 

Film Friday- Antique Bakery

Film Friday- Antique Bakery

Antique Bakery is a manga by Fumi Yoshinaga depicting the lives of four men who work in a small bakery. It was published in Japan by Shinshokan and in English by Digital Manga Publishing. The series won the 2002 Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo manga. The manga was adapted as a Japanese TV drama, with the title Antique or Antique Cake Store, that was broadcast on Fuji TV in 2001, an anime television series, airing on July 3, 2008 on Noitamina, and a Korean live-action film.

 

Characters

Main characters

Keisuke (Keiichirō) Tachibana
The owner of the Antique Bakery, as well as a waiter. He was childhood friends with Chikage, the son of his family’s live-in housekeeper. He was also Ono’s classmate in school and harshly rejected Ono’s love confession. He seems to be the only man whom Ono finds attractive, but who is not attracted to Ono in return. Tachibana comes from a rich family. He was kidnapped when he was a child. The one thing he remembers about his abductor is that he loved cake and fed him the cakes he bought every single day. Although Tachibana was rescued, his abductor was never found. After this ordeal, his family became overly protective of him. He feels obliged to play the “good boy” for his relatives because he does not want them to worry about him. As a result of his experiences, he often suffers from nightmares and has no taste for sweets. He is also fluent in French.

In the Antique Bakery dōjinshi by the author, it was revealed that Keisuke has had multiple girlfriends during the course of Antique Bakery.

Yusuke Ono
The pâtissier, a renowned chef who has been fired from many bakeries because of his “Demonic Charm”: whenever he is attracted to a man, that man—whether gay or straight—suddenly becomes irresistibly attracted to him in return. His coworkers will inevitably fight over him, and Ono will wind up fired again. This stemmed from when he was in high school, when Tachibana turned him down. He went into a gay bar, and suddenly he became a very popular lover. He has said his type is older men. He is also scared of women, and is fluent in French as well.

In the Antique Bakery dōjinshi by the author, Ono begins an intimate relationship with Chikage, however he is still ultimately in love with Tachibana.

Eiji Kanda
is Ono’s apprentice, as well as other help in the kitchen. He is a former street punk who was picked up off the street and reformed by a boxing coach. He trained to be a boxer, and was a top fighter. However, due to his detached retinas, he had to give up boxing. He saw a “Help Wanted” ad in the bakery’s window, and decided to join. He has a huge sweet tooth. He holds Ono in very high regard, calling him his “Master”, due to his skill in making sweets. Over time they have developed more of a father-son relationship than that of a master and apprentice.

In the Antique Bakery dōjinshi by the author, Kanda and his French teacher Constance appear to be dating.

Chikage Kobayakawa
is Tachibana’s childhood friend. His family works at the Tachibana house. He was sent by the Tachibana family to watch out for his friend. Chikage is trained to become a waiter by Tachibana. However, he is very klutzy and has a hard time. He wears sunglasses all of the time, as his eyes are weak. He has a crush on Ono, though he thinks Ono doesn’t feel the same way (on the contrary, Ono is in love with Chikage). He is very shy and polite. He calls Tachibana “Young Master” after the game “Ōoka Echizen”. Chikage is also two years older than Tachibana and has a daughter.

In the Antique Bakery dōjinshi by the author, Chikage and Ono begin an intimate relationship.