Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen 2 Episode 2

The episode started with good ol’ Gintoki complaining about how beating up small fry is pointless and won’t get the story anywhere.

Gintama Season 8 EPisode 2 (2)

This is why we love Gintoki. If the animators force him to fight pointless battles, he will make sure he complains enough to get his point across.

Kagura sensed the presence of a Yato close by and left all alone to take care of him. To be honest, I am rather disappointed in what Gintoki said about her.

Gintama Season 8 EPisode 2 (3)

Let us be honest. Kagura is not a weakling. She has taken care of many Yato before. So why would Gintoki imply that Kagura can’t beat a Yato alone? She is almost as strong as him. If Gintoki can win a fight, chances are, Kagura can win that fight too.

Kamui and his gang showed up when Kagura was getting beat up. The siblings, whose sibling spat has finally ended, decided to fight together. We got a nice sweet reunion with Kamui saving his little sister and playing hero.

Gintama Season 8 EPisode 2 (4)

That was until Kagura accidentally kicked Kamui in the face

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Chirin no Suzu (Ringing Bell) – Just another messed up old movie

Chirin no Suzu is a 1978 movie and chances are, you haven’t even heard of it before. Take a look at the cover art.

Chirin no Suzu

Isn’t it pretty? If you think Chirin no Suzu is a nice cute story about a little lamb, you are gravely mistaken. If you have watched enough anime, you know how much anime creators love messed up stories and Chirin no Suzu is no exception. I will be spoiling the entire movie in this post. Please watch the movie first if you hate spoilers. Spoilers won’t affect your anime viewing experience though. It isn’t like the movie tries to surprise the viewers or has many major plot twists.

The movie starts with the introduction of a lamb named Chirin. He lives in a little pasture surrounded by mountains. He loves chasing after butterflies and eating clovers.

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Chirin

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Chirin and his mother

His perfect little life is turned upside down when a wolf named Wor attacked their pasture. His mom tried to protect him and got killed in the process. The heartbroken Chirin chases after Wor to get his revenge. By the way, Wor is spelled as Woe in several translations.

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Notice how there is no blood? Then again, a dismembered corpse is not something you can show in a kids movie

It sounds like a perfect tragedy, doesn’t it? The cute little lamb lost his mother and got fixated on revenge. It sounds like just another tragic hero setup. That is until Chirin finds Wor.

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Wait, what?

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Kimi no Na wa. (Your Name.)

I am one of those people who usually watch Makoto Shinkai’s movies for the animation. I usually have lots of complaints about his storylines. I started watching this movie expecting amazing visuals and was pleasantly surprised when the movie turned out to be a fun watch.

The story is about a girl named Mitsuha and a guy named Taki who randomly switch bodies.

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Mitsuha
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Taki

Mitsuha lives in a small village while Taki lives in Tokyo. Imagine waking up in someone else’s body one day. The regional and gender differences make the whole body-switch thing very difficult for the two protagonists. Mitsuha is a very shy and soft-spoken girl who likes cafes and puppies while Taki is a quick-tempered guy who will gladly pick a fight with a tough opponent knowing full well he is going to lose. To top it off, Mitsuha is a shrine maiden. The movie uses several of their personality quirks to create tons of comedy moments.

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“Make a contract with me and I will grant you power!”

So, continuing with the tropes. I decided to write this post because I happened to read two manga in parallel, both of which used this trope. What am I talking about? Let’s see, it usually goes as this:

The main character is a normal person, no obvious awesome powers. Then one day he meets a person (or a creature or some other kind of a sentient being) that offers him to sign a contract that will grant the guy powers and will bind the two together. Eventually he agrees, of course.

The two manga I mentioned were Cerberus and Holy Glory. In Cerberus, a boy named Kei walks into a haunted school where he and his friend are attacked by a kuzure (a ghost/demon thing). Before he falls pray to the monster, Yukifusa (another demon-like creature) offers him to become a “grave keeper” by making a contract. Kei has no choice as he wants to save his friend, so he agrees and obtain power to destroy the kuzure. Then as the story goes on, he slowly masters these powers, learns more about kuzure from Yukifusa, trains and so on.

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Kei and his friend

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She wins :D

In Holy Glory, a boy named Salt robs a strange man who calls himself Rudolf the Reindeer (I am not making it up). Soon after Salt is attacked by a cauchemar, an evil spirit. Rudolf was able to save him and offered him to make a contract and become a Sankt Nikolaus (still not making things up). Salt refuses, but later on his brother gets attacked and Rudolf isn’t strong enough to help, so Salt makes the contract and obtains the power to destroy the cauchemar.

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Bastard Manhwa – Should you read it?

If you, like me, took one look at this webtoon’s title and decided not to read it, give me five minutes to try to convince you otherwise. Before I start with the review, in case you are wondering, this webtoon has nothing to do with Bastard!! anime or manga.

The protagonist, Jin Seon lives with his father. His father, Dongsoo, is rich and is very well-known in the city for his good deeds. If some old lady is having trouble carrying a bag, Dongsoo will be the first one to run to her and offer help. He even pays the loan of one of Jin’s friends when she was being hounded by loan sharks. Jin on the other hand, doesn’t talk much, doesn’t have any friends and is pretty much the typical problem child. Or is he?

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Jin – Take a good look at him

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Dongsoo – Doesn’t he look like your nice next door neighbor?

Do you want to know why Jin has his left eye covered? His left eye is made of glass. He has artificial valves in his heart. All his joints have metal plates and pins in them. Now, why does Jin have such a messed-up body? Because someone threw him down a big building when he was a child. He lost his eye, lost his memories and broke all his joints. Want to guess who threw him down the building?

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Does this guy still look kind to you?

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Three act structure – Hunter x Hunter

Tons of spoilers ahead.

As I said in my last post, I want to make a few posts about writing elements/devices that I like, the ones that make the stories enjoyable for me. And for a while now I wanted to make a post about Hunter x Hunter. I already written a sort-of reaction post on the manga years ago, but I neither covered all that there is to say about it nor did I have enough understanding to even be able to do it. And I don’t expect to do be able to cover it completely now either. Because Hunter x Hunter is complex, there is lots and lots to be discovered within that manga if you put in the effort. And if this post manages to convince you that this last statement is indeed true, then I’ll be happy.

gon killua kite

Being one of the HxH fans I have heard people praising the manga in all sorts of ways. People would say “the story is great”, “it is so well written”; but what exactly makes it great? It is hard to put a finger on, isn’t it? One of the most enlightening posts about HxH I’ve read suggested that one of the strong points of the story is that it follows something called three-act structure. This is a way to divide and structure your narrative. So let me give you my take on this.

The idea with the three-act structure is pretty simple. Your narrative has three distinct parts, punctuated by important events. The first part is the setup, it ends with an event that “changes everything”. The second part sees constant change in tension until the midpoint and then going on (maybe in a different direction) till climax. After the climax the last third part starts, and its role is to wrap things up. Sounds needlessly complicated and not very useful, isn’t it? Let me convince you otherwise :P

Gon and Killua

Let’s start with something simple. The York Shin city auction arc, remember that one? The first act in this arc lasted till the moment Kurapika saw the Spiders, that was the event that changed everything for this arc. Interestingly, from that point on the tension had actually been dropping, with Kurapika first defeating Uvogin and then the Ryodan faking their deaths. The panel where Kurapika walks through the night with a jar with scarlet eyes is the “lowest point” of the arc (I will keep using this phrase; I use the word “low” to describe the emotional state of the character or the emotional feel of an entire scene), the midpoint I mentioned previously. From then on, the tension picks up, with the start of the hunt for Ryodan, with their retaliation, and eventually the hostage crisis. The climax of the arc is, I believe, the hostage exchange moment. It is a bit spread out, but whatever, we don’t have to follow the structure exactly, that is not the point. The rest of the arc is obviously the third act.

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Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 12

The final episode of the first season of the final arc is finally out. According to MAL, the second season will air in July. Gintama staff is taking a rather long break this time. I wouldn’t mind the long break if the second season turns out to be really good.

Gengai is kidnapped by the liberation army. Gengai made it clear that there is no way to stop the nanomachines. So Enshou decided to shoot a big laser beam and destroy the Earth along with Utsuro. Their machine will take six hours to shoot the beam. Gintoki and the gang has only six hours to save the Earth and their own lives. Do you want to know what Gintoki’s reaction was when he heard that Gengai was kidnapped?

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This is why we love this guy

Gintoki had a hangover and didn’t want to bother searching for Gengai. After all, resting is more important than saving a mad scientist.

Jokes aside, if this was a real battle, this is exactly what would have happened. There is no way people would be willing to try and save a random old man when their own lives are at risk. Gengai wouldn’t betray his team and stop the nanomachines. So why risk so many lives trying to save him when he would quietly get tortured and killed?

Gintama Season 7 Episode 12 (2)

This was Gintoki’s excuse for drinking too much. Honestly Gintoki, you should have known that Sorachi doesn’t believe in save points. He would rather shove everything down your throat at once

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Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 11

Poor Gintoki. He desperately tried to fix Hedoro’s flower. He tried adhesive tape and glue but they didn’t work. So he spent a lot of time sitting on Hedoro’s back and holding the flower in place. We all know how Gintoki is always more worried about his life than the future of the anime.

It turns out that Hedoro has a split personality. The kind florist we all know is Hedoro and the killer Dakini is called Hedora.

The liberation army fled from Edo and the tired people of Edo got to enjoy some temporary peace. The peace is going to be short-lived though. The Yato clan has already started moving and we know what kind of monsters they are.

The Gintama team spent their peaceful night helping each other out and fooling around. Even Gedomaru tried to help everyone by feeding them Pandamoniums.

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Don’t they look yummy?

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This was a pretty nice scene too

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Otose treating Jirocho like a brat was quite funny

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I just hope she didn’t trigger her own death flag with that statement

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Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 10

To be honest, this episode was completely different from what I expected it to be. It was entertaining nonetheless.

It all started with Katsuo’s flashback. We got to see how he met Jirocho. However, Jirocho decided to cut it short.

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Come on Jirocho! The guy has been around forever. He deserves a flashback

If you read my last post, you know I was expecting this episode to have a lot of drama because Hedoro, the kind florist, joins the fight. The reality was completely different. We learned that Hedoro wasn’t always a kind guy. He was once the strongest warrior of his clan. He was infected with a virus called Parapper Heaven and it turned him into a peace-loving tame beast.

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love the expression of the Dakini in the background and the way he was skipping

This makes a big difference. Hedoro isn’t kind because he wants to be. He is just forced to be kind and he has no control over it. If you pluck that flower growing on top of his head, he will turn back into a monster. It makes you wonder if people should appreciate his kindness, because to him, the kindness is just a curse.

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Gintama. Shirogane no Tamashii-hen Episode 9

Jirocho and Pirako are back. Jiocho has now become a doting parent and Pirako is having fun teasing him.

Gintama Season 8 Episode 9 (9)The rest of the episode was all about fighting. To be honest, the fighting is getting kind of boring. There are too many cliché scenes. I am also disappointed with how often Otae is being taken hostage these days. I don’t want Gintama to start using a strong female character like Otae for plot convenience.

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