Tag: manga

Starchaser’s Favorite Visual Novels

I never have time to read visual novels nowadays. It’s a shame since they have some of the best stories I’ve ever been exposed to. Maybe when I graduate university I’ll get back in the game, but until then let me not waste any more time and instead tell you about some of the best visual novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

 

Muv-Luv Alternative 

Muv Luv Alternative

Muv-Luv Alternative is a true beauty. It’s difficult to talk about any of it without getting into spoiler territory though. Alternative is the third and final part of the Muv-Luv series. It takes characters you’ll be familiar with (it goes without saying if you want to read Alternative you SHOULD start with Extra and Unlimited first so you can appreciate it in its entirety) and puts them in a world where an alien invasion has humanity on the brink of extinction and human-piloted mechs are their only hope for survival.

This visual novel did a lot whilst making me feel a swirl of emotions and succeeded in doing so. I can’t understate how heavy the plot is though, and I wouldn’t recommend it for the weakhearted and those who can’t deal with depression. The ending is the definition of “bittersweet”, and calming songs such as this were able to hit me in the heart every time I heard it. Oh yeah, and it’s because of Alternative Ayamine Kei was solidified as one of my favorite fictional characters of all time. The only other character I hold in high regard is Miles “Tails” Prower. Her moment with Chizuru and reading her letter had me burst into tears.

 

Galaxy Angel 

Galaxy Angel

My community college days were fun and I have the Galaxy Angel trilogy to thank for that. It’s no secret Fullmetal Alchemist got me into anime and manga, and this is what got me into visual novels. There are probably better introductions, but make no mistake, Galaxy Angel is one of the best visual novels I ever read. The story is straightforward and the theme mostly centers around romantic love. It actually makes for a good amount of heartwarming moments no matter which girl you pair Tact Mayers with.  It’s one of the best romance stories I’ve ever experienced. Some people talk about Beyonce and Jay-Z being “relationship goals” but for me, I would want a relationship with a woman the way Tact Mayers has with Ranpha Franboise.

For me, this visual novel oozes with charm thanks to its pretty art style, sci-fi and futuristic setting and wonderful soundtrack. I should also mention “Eternal Love is one of the grooviest themes I’ve ever come across in any media. The moments where it plays is always fitting and a delight to hear. The actual battle gameplay mechanics are great as well even if they are on the simple side. The ending to the third and final installment is a happy one that’s bound to bring a smile to the reader’s face.

 

Grisaia no Kajitsu 

灰色的果实高清壁纸

This visual novel really tested my patience, both in a good and bad way. If I can encapsulate what Grisaia no Kajitsu is about I would say… everyone has their own story, everyone has their own struggles, and everyone makes mistakes, regardless if you can see any of them or not. Also, no one’s perfect. Anyway, the dialogue, writing, execution and unique heroines are what makes this piece of fictional work stand out.

This has the longest common route I’ve ever read and that’s what I mean by testing my patience in a bad way. What keeps it going though is the copious amount of comedy thanks to the girls’ quirks and Yuuji’s serious and stoic disposition providing a lot of hilarious moments. Once one of the heroine’s route starts, the tone of the story takes a turn for the more serious. I started to find a deeper meaning in why the woman in question is the way she is now. There are quite a number of plot twists in each route that kept me guessing and engrossed throughout.

 

Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!

Majikoi

This and Muv-Luv Alternative are the only visual novels I have given a 10/10 to. So yeah, I think it’s really damn good. Unlike the previous entries, Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai (usually shortened to Majikoi) is more lighthearted and over-the-top, and I’m a forgiving person especially since there wasn’t one character here I didn’t like. The story is about life, growing up and making memories with the people you love. It’s a story about family/friendship between a group of childhood friends. Considering I’m a happy person who loves his family and friends to death, I was able to get a lot from this visual novel.

It might be not plot heavy, but this is where the characters come in. All the characters are lovable, entertaining  and memorable. Besides the main characters, there’s also a bunch of supporting characters and they’re all great. They contribute to the comedic dialogue and each have at least one moment to shine. If there is one visual novel I would recommend, it would easily be this one.

 

Bijin: Starchaser’s 10 Beautiful Anime Women

Howdy, and welcome to the 2-D world of attraction. These women aren’t real so you’ll never be able to speak to them or see them walking down the street. Even so, female anime characters attract a multitude of fans. A great example would be myself, I dream about them and discuss them like they actually exist. I’m not gonna front and act like this isn’t an important list to me, because it is an important list. I want to get right into it so here is the list of beautiful anime women (according to Starchaser), read it all mayne! *Chris Jericho voice*

 

Senjougahara Hitagi

Is it biased to include my waifu on a list of beautiful anime women? Yeah, most likely, but it’s my list for a reason so deal with it! *Batista voice* I’m not sure if there’s anything new I can say about Waifugahara that I haven’t already said before. I mean, besides my brother, I don’t think there’s anyone else I talk about on this blog quite as much and in such a positive manner. She’s a tsundere, kuudere, yandere, smot, loyal, and grateful, I appreciate that. This sharp-tongued, stapler carrying beauty is multifaceted indeed. There’s a number of reasons she’s my waifu, and I think if I actually was in a relationship with her, it’d be the best one I would ever have. If a woman ever took me out on a date to stargaze knowing how much I love astronomy, I’d have to propose to her right away. Oh and she’s a Fullmetal Alchemist fan, she would be my waifu based on that fact alone.

I just realized this, but her birthday is July 7th which makes her zodiac sign Cancer and its symbol is the crab. Waifugahara’s problem/secret involves her being almost weightless because of the heavy crab and some of a Cancer’s strengths are being loyal, dependable and caring while some weaknesses are self-pity and moody. I may be looking too much into it, but if not they gave this character so much depth. It’s no wonder Senjougahara fascination took the anime world by storm.

 

Medaka Kurokami

One of my most cherished things in life is big-breasted anime women so seeing Medaka on this list shouldn’t be too surprising. But if you ask me, she’s such an underrated character, at least when it comes to waifu discussion. She actually reminds me of one of my favorite characters from my childhood, Pajama Sam. What I mean is just like Sam, she is always willing to help those in need. She is the epitome of an overachiever. She’s the student council president (with a 98% approval rating) who excels academically, is athletically gifted, possess unrivaled charisma, and always sees the best in people.

She’s an anime woman whom I consider to be breathtakingly beautiful and it’s a good thing she has no problem showing off her zaftig body, which is actually one of the main reasons I read the manga. One thing I should mention is Medaka is as physically strong as she is gorgeous. According to the Medaka Box wiki, some of her abilities include: “adaptability, agility, analysis, awareness, attractiveness, balance, calculation, charisma, cognition, combat, competence, coordination, deduction, dexterity, durability, eloquence, endurance, flexibility, instinct, intelligence, intuition, invincibility, leadership, memory, meta-luck, mimicry, perception, persuasion, reasoning, reflexes, regeneration, senses, speed, strength, tactics, vitality, and willpower” all at a superhuman level. And the key words I used were “some of her abilities” ’cause she has so much more.

 

Leone 

I don’t know if “beautiful” would be the adjective I would use to describe Leone. To put it bluntly, Leone is the sexiest anime woman my eyeballs have ever seen. Her beautiful smile is able to fill me with rainbows and sunshine despite my stoic disposition. If it weren’t for a certain purple-haired and stapler carrying Senjougahara, well… haha who knows. But I do know if I was a member of Night Raid I’d do everything to protect her smile (and breasts). Anyway, she’s generally a cheerful and laid-back kind of woman who loves alcohol and can handle it better than I ever could. At first glance, you might just think she’s Ms. Fanservice (and she is), but she’s also Ms. Sexy Badass. Allow me to explain.

Leone grew up in the slums, projects, ghetto or whatever you want to call a place that’s a disadvantaged residential area of a city. She was able to become a member of Night Raid because she beat up some asswipes who were abusing children for fun. Leone loves fighting and what better way to participate in her passion than killing people to make the world a better place? Even though she’s a flirtatious, funny and spunky character, she does care about people more than she’s willing to admit. The safety of her friends and accomplishing her missions came first to her, even if it meant putting her own life at risk.

 

Asuka Tenjoin 

Or Alexis Rhodes if you prefer. I did say she was one of the most attractive heroines in anime, and I still think so. Asuka is the top female duelist at Duel Academia from the Obelisk Blue dormitory. The way she’s portrayed in the anime and manga are a bit different, but in both versions she’s a confident, loyal, humble, brave, kind and beautiful young woman. Unlike her Obelisk dueling peers, she does not look down on others or regards herself as better than most people. Besides her skills in card games, she’s also known for her pulchritude in the school and various male characters have tried dueling and using other shenanigans to win her affection. Because there’s no better way to show a woman you like them than playing a children’s card game.

Asuka’s character also appears in Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc V. It’s pretty cool to see old school characters in the newer series if you ask me. Asuka’s a determined character throughout. In the anime of GX, she wants to find her lost brother and she’s willing to put herself in harm’s way for her friends. She shows just like in real life, you can’t always win. But even when she loses duels, she never lets her losses affect her in a negative way. Instead, she uses them as motivation to become a better duelist and that’s always an admirable trait to have.

 

Mizore Shirayuki

Mizore could also be on anyone’s “bad ass anime characters” list and is my favorite character from Rosario + Vampire. She’s a yuki-onna (it would literally translate to “snow woman”) who is initially portrayed as lonely, shy, depressed and misunderstood. But thanks to the protagonist, the ice queen was able to be defrosted and she opens up to others. She is often seen stalking and hiding in different locations and the reason she’s almost always seen with a lollipop in her mouth is because it helps maintain her body temperature. I’d like to take the time to say I also like her fashion choices, if “swag” was a thing in anime, she would be one of the characters who helped to innovate it.

She and I have something in common, we both had a crush on a teacher. Unlike her though, mine didn’t try to take advantage of me and I didn’t have to put her in block of ice. She’s madly in love with Tsukune (the protagonist) and wants to have his babies, even if she has to force him. There are a number of running gags involving her such as the previously mentioned hiding and stalking and firing ice projectiles at Tsukune and Moka whenever they get too close to each other. In my (correct) opinion, she gets the best characterization in the manga and her story is pretty heartwarming to say the least (no spoilers).

 

Android 18

Will someone explain to me how someone like Krillin who dies as often as Kenny from South Park got to marry a fine ass woman like Android 18? I’m not one of those people who believe in the “league” horseshit and I don’t want to sound jelly, but I guess there’s no accounting for tastes. 18 was originally an antagonist in DBZ and was created for the sole purpose of killing our hero Goku. While I’m sure Vegeta is stronger than her now, at one point she humbled him by breaking his arm when he was a Super Saiyan (seriously, why does Toriyama have a vendetta against Vegeta?). It’s never shown onscreen, but Krillin and 18 eventually get married and have a daughter named Marron. By this time in the series, 18 has obviously grown to be more compassionate and smiles a lot more.

18 is dedicated to her husband and daughter’s happiness and well being and wants nothing but the best for them. One time she wanted to use the Dragon Balls to wish Krillin the perfect present, but after a talk with Bulma she realized she and her daughter are what made Krillin the happiest. It’s nice to see how she originally went from being a calm and confident villain, to a supportive wife and mother who became a member of the Z Fighters. It’s funny how life works out, even in anime!

 

Dirty Pair (Kei & Yuri)

Oops I’m sorry, ladies, I meant to say Lovely Angels. Yeah, two for one I’m a greedy guy and I honestly couldn’t pick between the two since I’m not partial toward either. Dirty Pair is an old school anime and one I think is highly underrated too. I’m glad I bought the DVDs and watched them with my brother while we were dogsitting at my auntie’s house during Christmas vacation. Kei and Yuri are two smokin’ hot women who basically travel the galaxy and kick ass. They’re part of the 3WA, the World Welfare Works Association which is a corporation that helps solve problems around the universe the police can’t or aren’t able to do. The Lovely Angels are more commonly known as Dirty Pair because even though they’re always successful in accomplishing their missions, there is almost a guarantee to be collateral damage along the way.

“It’s not our fault!” is their catchphrase, and even though it’s true no one believes them. Even though Kei and Yuri are pretty different from each other, it’s entertaining to watch their interactions and banter. Kei is the more hot-headed of the two and Yuri is the more feminine. Kei likes manly men (think The Rock) while Yuri likes cultured men (think Prince). One thing they have in common is they are not bad at their job, so if they’re on the case, you know it’ll be solved. The theme I like that they convey is despite being different from each other, they’re still able to be best friends. According to anime, friendship truly is a wonderful thing to have, even back then.

 

Eleonora Viltaria 


Elen
Elen is incredibly sexy. She’s so sexy in fact, there’s a figure of her I plan on getting. In her series, she’s considered one of the most beautiful women in the kingdom and I would have to concur. She’s got gorgeous crimson eyes, a nice rack, shiny hair, pretty smile and thighs out of this world. She’s a Vanadis, they’re powerful female warriors who act as military officers and nobility to keep the kingdom of Zhcted safe from any enemies. Elen’s duty is to make sure the people are safe from harm by any means necessary. On the battlefield she is strong-willed and gallant and due to this she’s respected by not only her peers, but her adversaries as well. Also she owns a friggin’ dragon!

Despite her courageous personality, she has a fear of insects and I can relate when it comes to cockroaches. She gets jealous when it comes to her love interest when she started developing romantic feelings for him. It’s a contrast from her usual mature self. When she’s not in a battle she likes to take a stroll around town, create wind forces to make herself float in the air and she also likes taking hot baths since it’s shown a number of times in the series.

 

Rias Gremory

It’s kind of funny to think about, but Rias Gremory and Mio Akiyama share the same voice actress or seiyuu if you want to be all pedantic. Anyway, Rias is the main female protagonist of High School DxD and is actually a devil. She’s not portrayed as evil since Rias is kind and deeply cares about those who are close to her. Just like me, she has an affinity for sleeping naked. A little off topic, but if you’re not sleeping naked you really should, there are benefits to doing so. She can be overprotective of her boyfriend and used to get jealous when other women would flirt with him.

Being a devil, Rias is quite powerful. She has the ability to fly and cast magical spells, superhuman strength, endurance, enhanced senses, can see easily in the dark, and according to Rias herself, she can’t get a sunburn. One of her better known attacks is called Extinguished Star which is her one-hit killed technique. One silly technique she has is projecting beams from her breasts to recharge her boyfriend’s energy, but this causes her breasts to temporarily shrink in size. She’s one devil I wouldn’t mind making a deal with (I hope the deal would involve a lot of sex).

 

Mikasa Ackerman 

Attack on Titan is quite the exhilarating anime and Mikasa is one of the reasons. From an early age, she was exposed to some of the harsh realities of the world when criminals broke into her house and killed her parents and then tried to sell her into slavery. Despite her traumatic upbringing with the murder of her parents, Mikasa is one of the most well rounded characters when it comes to intelligence and fighting. Her outlook on life is somewhat similar to my own, this world we live in is so broken and yet it’s also so beautiful. Mikasa is physically fit and muscular, some anime women have boobs of steel while Mikasa has abs of steel. Not the complacent type, she’s constantly training to better herself and will do anything to protect her friends and comrades.

She’s very protective of her adoptive brother Eren whom she grew up with after the killing of her parents. She can be seen as the more rational and level-headed of the two. While Eren relies more on raw emotion, Mikasa can be seen as more calculating when making decisions. She’s usually seen as stoic and impassive, but there are times when she shows emotion, mostly when it involves Eren. The sole reason she enlisted in the military was to keep an eye on Eren, she’s quite the loyal one and her bond with him is one of her defining traits.

 

And that’s my list. Did I miss any of your waifus, reader? I probably did, but if so, you can always comment and let me know which anime women you think are beautiful. I just hope this top 10 will give you a glimpse of the many beautiful women anime has to offer. Even though they don’t exist y’know.

What Good Taste in Anime Looks Like

anime

 

Take notes otaku and weeaboos, lol. Naw, but seriously, these are all my favorites regarding everything anime related. Looking at this pic, I noticed I have an eclectic taste in anime too. It might seem strange to have something as exhilarating as Fullmetal Alchemist and something as cutesy as K-On!! on the same list. Since I’m a guy, pay no attention to the two shojo manga please. Despite the fact all my favorite anime and manga are so different from each other, the one thing they all have in common is they are/were able to entertain me greatly. That’s all I ask out of anime really. You can ask my brother, I’m someone who appreciates a well-written story, and the fact I love K-On! so much shows  a complex story isn’t a prerequisite to entertain me. I actually want to do a list of all my favorite anime characters so I want to save that for another post so I can get into better detail.

If you can’t tell by the pic, I’m a big fan of Fullmetal Alchemist. It is what got me into anime/manga after all. Because of that, I will forever be grateful to Hiromu Arakawa.

The Impact Fullmetal Alchemist Had on My Life

Who knew such a simple choice of checking the manga section in my high school library when I was a library assistant would leave such an impression on my life? To put it simply, Fullmetal Alchemist is my favorite story of anything. Not just “favorite manga” or “favorite anime”, it’s my favorite piece of storytelling. It is the story I compare every thing to, regardless of genre, medium or creator. This is not only the standard against which every anime must be judged, but it’s like it integrated so many elements from the best of anime that it can stand toe-to-toe with even the genre-defining progenitors.

 

What is Fullmetal Alchemist?

If you’re an anime cognoscente then Fullmetal Alchemist most likely won’t need an introduction. This is the anime the current generation of anime fans hold above all others as the greatest anime EVER made! It started off as a manga written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa that was serialized in Square Enix’s Monthly Shonen Gangan from August 2001 to June 2010 and lasted 108 chapters. Arakawa Hiromu’s tale of two brothers and their adventures in alchemy has spawned games, a movie, numerous figures and plushies, piles of merchandise ranging from tattoos to clothes and two different anime series. Fullmetal Alchemist takes place in an alternate history which combines medieval and WWI-era European aesthetic and the forerunner of science known as alchemy. Alchemists have the ability to create almost anything they desire. The only thing alchemists are forbidden from transmuting are humans. However, after the death of their mother, Edward and Alphonse Elric, two bright kids who are brilliant at alchemy, try to resurrect her.

Despite their best efforts, suffice to say things turn into a nightmare for the siblings that day. Edward loses his arm and a leg and Alphonse loses his entire body, his life was saved by Edward being able to attach his younger brother’s soul to a suit of armor. From there, Ed accepts the military’s offer to become a state alchemist (becoming the youngest ever) and with his brother, begin to find the Philosopher’s Stone, an enigmatic substance which allows alchemists to bypass the Law of Equivalent Exchange in hopes of getting their bodies back. This starts a powerful human adventure that takes them all across the country and has them confronting moral, philosophical and even religious situations as they make their journey toward their destination.

 

Themes

I never had any familiarity with Arakawa’s other works, but I have read manga before when I was a kid. Even though this is a shounen, there’s complexity and innovation applied to engross the reader and it’s one of the best aspects of Fullmetal Alchemist and Arakawa’s way of writing.

There are themes most people who read shounen will notice such as never giving up, friendship is the best thing ever, etc. and it does a good job in presentation and execution.

One of the darker themes is revenge. The character out for revenge like it’s the sweetest joy is Scar, a man from the country of Ishval that was destroyed by Amestris in The Ishval War. As such, he has become an assassin, targeting state alchemists who destroyed his country and people. The war is what shaped the personality of not only Scar, but most of the characters in the military.

In this world, science takes the form of alchemy. It’s based around one basic concept, The Law of Equivalent Exchange. This law states that in order to gain something of value, something of equal value has to be lost. Essentially this means that in alchemy and in life, an alchemist cannot create something without losing something in return. This itself is based around the law of conservation of energy stating that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but transforms from one form to another.

Family is another theme and it’s arguably the most enduring. What is a family? Is family someone you share blood with or a bond with or both? What would you do to protect your family? The Elric brothers are the main vehicle for this particular theme, but there are other characters that touch on the subject as well such as the villains who are all technically brothers and sisters. Family is what started the story and it’s also what concludes it.

 

Edward Elric

It’d be hard to talk about Fullmetal Alchemist without talking about one of my favorite characters in anime. Yeah, there are a lot of anime characters I like, but not all of them can be called a “favorite”. I think well written characters are ones you can connect and resonate with. I like how relatable and genuine Edward is as a character.

Upon joining the military Edward earns the title “Fullmetal Alchemist” (you know, like the title of the anime) and I think this is a fitting name, but not because of his metal limbs. Ed is very protective over his friends and family, especially his brother Alphonse. This always puts himself in tragic and dangerous situations. I think it’s safe to say everyone would do everything they can to protect the people they love. This personality trait is what makes him save and befriend a lot of characters throughout the series.

One of his most noticeable and comedic traits is his denial of his short stature. Obviously, he’s short even for his age standing at 4’11. Even during the most calm moments any and every reference to his height is met with physical and verbal abuse from him. Despite his height he’s a competent hand-to-hand combatant and a genius in alchemy making him able to hold his own against armed fighters and skilled martial artists.

 

The Women

I wanted to give the female characters their own section. No, this isn’t going to be me fawning over them and talking about how beautiful they are (even though they are). The variety of female characters is astounding, with all of them having their own personality, skill and morality. Winry Rockbell is the optimistic, strong-willed childhood friend of the Elrics. She’s also a skilled mechanic and makes sure Edward’s metal right arm and left leg are always working properly. The beautiful, but equally bad ass Riza Hawkeye who could bust a cap in your ass with the greatest of ease *Booker T voice*. There’s Izumi Curtis,  teacher to Edward and Alphonse who takes great pride in being a simple housewife and introduces herself as such to anyone who asks. Of course there are other compelling women such as Maria Ross, Lan Fan, May Chang, General Olivier Mira Armstrong and more. The women here aren’t just pretty faces, they all have a purpose.

 

Favorite Homunculus  

I don’t know if there is a debate concerning who’s your favorite homunculus, but mine is easily Envy. I’m sure the head writer of the 2003 series favorite is Envy as well (lol, if you watched it you’ll probably get the joke). Despite being the most sadistic character, he’s the most popular homunculus. Why is that though? He harbors a bitter resentment toward humanity as a whole and thinks and treats humans in the worst way possible. He takes delight in human suffering and does whatever he can to inflict it. Doesn’t seem like a very likable character to me. He has one of the most useful superpowers: shape-shifting. He can transform into anything and anyone as long as it doesn’t exceed his true from which judging by his actually size and weight most likely doesn’t cause much of an issue. He also uses it to play on his target’s emotions which comes in handy when he wants to kill someone or get the advantage.

Beneath his tough and heartless exterior Edward explains how Envy is envious of humans. He envies their inner strength, standing up every time they fall and the friendships they share. In his life, Envy was never able to experience true contentment. Despite all of the deplorable stuff he did, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor son of a bitch in his final moments.

 

A Roller Coaster of Emotions

^I still cry manly tears watching this scene. I was thinking “They did it! They fucking did it!”.

I laughed, I cried tears of sorrow and joy, I was angry, I was happy. As you can see, it’s easy for me to convey the emotions that went through my mind as I read the manga (and watched Brotherhood). I think there are a lot of scenes others will see that will make produce similar thoughts and feelings. A scene of hope. A scene of despair. A scene of loss. A scene of gain. Every facet of the plot gives some insight to this weird experience we call “life”.

 

Changed Thoughts

It would be almost two years after the last chapter was published until I was able to experience it for myself. Before then, my opinion on anime was not a good one. A childish form of “entertainment” made to cater to the needs of perverted nerds with only shows such as Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Pokemon and Tenchi being the anomalies and worth anyone’s time. When I was vacationing in Florida back in 2007 I remember seeing scenes of Fullmetal Alchemist on Adult Swim and merchandise being sold at Hot Topic. I didn’t know it at the time, but it’s kind of funny to see how things turned out.

I don’t know what made me change my mind senior year. What compelled me to read Fullmetal Alchemist? I hated anime, so why? Too much free time? I guess I should be thankful I had free time. I honestly didn’t think it was going to change my opinion and I had no idea at the time it was incredibly popular. I soon realized I couldn’t wait until sixth period where I would be able to put my nose between the pages of a manga.

 

Final Thoughts

Will there ever be an anime greater than Fullmetal Alchemist? Of course and I can’t wait to see what it is. I just hope it’s released in my lifetime though.

Fullmetal Alchemist is more than a classic. It’s an accomplishment in the anime medium.

Thank you, Arakawa Hiromu. I’m glad I was able to find an anime like Fullmetal Alchemist.