The Badger On: My Hero Academia (Anime & Manga)

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Well todays review is going to be on My Hero Academia. This was another show that I started to watch but stopped though I am not sure why because I did like it. I think I was on my DC binge at the time. I have been listening to a podcast (Hero Notes) and reading the manga by Kōhei Horikoshi because the podcast is about the manga though they do mention the anime in comparison, especially when it improves on its source material.

My Hero Academia is really up my alley, if you think about it. It is about superheroes essentially with 80% percent of the population having some kind of a superpower though it is called a quirk. The protagonist is Izuku Midoriya a middle schooler who is born without a quirk and has all his life wanted to be a hero. He is bullied by his classmates, and in particular Katsuki Bakugo, who is able to cause explosions through his sweat. After Bakugo is captured by a villain Midoriya tries to save him despite being quirkless. The number one hero, All Might, witnesses this and offers to bestow his own quirk “One For All” onto Midoriya, though this ability is not the norm.

The show follows Midoriya as he learns to use his new power while also gaining entry into the prestigious hero high school of UA. Here he will make new friends and gain enemies as a new villain organisation rises in the hope of destroying All Might and taking over society.

Though the show and manga is very much about Midoriya it also does well in showing the ideals and motivations of many of the supporting cast and in particularly his classmates, teachers and even the villains.

The show returns on October 12 and I am really looking forward to it. I will continue to read the manga and I have just finished a re-watch in anticipation of the new season. Oh, there is also a movie called Two Heroes but I have yet to see it as it has not become available digitally or on any streaming services that I use, though with the new season hopefully it will, fingers crossed. I have also started reading the spin-off manga Vigilantes, but admittedly have not really gotten into it yet.

 

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Opening Theme 1

 

 

The Badger On: Fruits Basket (2019) (Anime)

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First off I should say that I have watched and have a love of the original anime but have never read the manga, though I might rectify that. When the remake of the show was announced and became available there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to watch it. It finished this past weekend and I have to say that I love it more than the original.

I am going to try to condense the premise as much as I can but it might be a little tricky. Orphaned, homeless and not one to impose on friends and family Tohru Honda instead buys a tent and squats in a nearby forest. One day she comes across the house of schoolmate Yuki Soma and his cousin Shigure’s within the forest and notices and comments on their Chinese Zodiac figures and mentions the old tale and her sympathy for the cat who was tricked by rat and so was not a member of the Zodiac.

When her tent is destroyed by a landslide the Sohma’s invite her to stay with them with Tohru cooking and cleaning for her room and board. When another cousin, Kyo, storms in and attacks Yuki, Tohru tries to protect Yuki and in the process comes into physical contact with the Soma boys. They all turn into animals; Yuki a rat; Shigure a dog and Kyo a cat. Upon return to human form they tell her of their curse; that some members of the Soma family, when they come into contact with members of the opposite sex that are not also under the curse, or are under high stress turn into one of the Zodiac animals. Tohru agrees to keep their secret.

Now that is the gist of it and now a little comparison of the 2001 and 2019 versions. The way the story is told there really isn’t much difference between the two versions but I think they have both kept very close to the source material. The 2001 version however is played lighter and more comical while the 2019 version seems slower and is much more focused on the relationships of the characters and their development, though it is still amusing. Art wise the 2001 version was good but the 2019 version is gorgeous.

The original ran for 26 while this new version only has only has 25 but somehow told the story exactly the same way but added more, especially in the relationship of Tohru, her mother and Tohru’s friends Arisa and Saki plus the ending is a lot better and not as confusing as the original. The 2019, however is only the first season which means there is a second season set to premiere next year.

Character wise all the same characters appear but Akito’s presence and menace is felt a lot more in the 2019 version though you saw more of the character in the original. Also Shigure is shown to be more manipulative and Hatsuharu’s concern for Yuki is more prominent in the 2019 version. Voice wise a lot of the original cast have returned for the 2019 with a few exceptions the one most prominent being the German accented Momiji, which I am not sure I like. Music is wonderful especially the first opening theme and the second closing theme.

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BTW: Tohru is most Hufflepuff of all!!!!

Opening Theme 1 – Again – Beverley

Closing Theme 2 – One Step Closer – INTERSECTION

 

Marvel Badger 2: Phase Out

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I actually set this post up a couple of weeks ago after I finally watched Captain Marvel but didn’t post it. Not sure why maybe I just thought it wasn’t complete as Spiderman: Far From Home had not been released as yet and that was the true end of this phase of Marvel Movies. I saw the movie over the weekend and though I did enjoy it and it rated quite high on the below list I thought it was a lot of bang but no substance but then a few of the Marvel movies were that way. I still feel no connection with Spiderman but Tom Holland is just so likable and earnest as the character that I enjoy watching him and the movies.

Now a little review I guess of the other two Marvel movies that have been released this year. I give Captain Marvel a solid meh. I had issues getting into the movie and it wasn’t until she arrived on Earth that I understood what was going on. I also didn’t find her likable at all and I guess for a hero to be a hero you have to find something about them that you find admirable and with her there was nothing.

Avengers: Endgame was a fitting end for Iron Man, Captain America and Black Widow. It was a little long but I am not sure how they could of shortened it, the emotional beats were better as was the humour. The big problem that I had with it was there treatment of the female characters. I found it questionable at best as they were all underutilised through all the movies despite them trying to make it seem like they weren’t and the girl power scene near the end of the battle was undeserving and frankly left me a little angry. What was the point of introducing Captain Marvel at all as she virtually did nothing?

So here is my list and remember this is more about how much I enjoyed the movie and not about the quality of it. The first list can be found on my Pop Goes the Badger Blog and

1.       Avengers
2.       Guardians of the Galaxy
3.       Avengers: Infinity War
4.       Iron Man
5.       Captain America
6.       Ant-Man
7.       Avengers: Endgame
8.       Thor
9.       Spiderman: Homecoming
10.   Captain America: The Winter Soldier
11.   Spiderman: Far From Home
12.   Captain America: Civil War
13.   Guardians of the Galaxy 2
14.   Thor: Ragnarok
15.   Black Panther
16.   Iron Man 3
17.   Doctor Strange
18.   Ant-Man and the Wasp
19.   Captain Marvel
20.   Iron Man 2
21.   Thor: The Dark World
22.   Avengers: Age of Ultron

 

 

All In all Kevin Feige and his team at Marvel/Disney did a very good job with all the movies that they produced over the last 10 or so years and they deserve a lot of kudos for what they have achieved.

 

 

 

The Badger On: One Piece (Anime)

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This is my third (?) attempt at this. The first time I just thought it was a bit long and the second time I paired it with another anime which I also thought was getting a little too long with the hope that combining them I would be more conscious of the length. I still have that post available but I think I would prefer them to be separate rather than together.

Now One Piece seems to be a pretty straight forward kind of show, it’s about pirates after all, but it is a little more complicated than that. The actual world is made or two oceans with one large continent called the Red Line dividing them. There is then a sea known as the Grand Line that runs perpendicular to the Red Line that divides the oceans into four seas, North, South, East and West Blue. On either side for the Grand Line are what are called calm belts that have no wind or ocean currents and are breeding grounds for sea kings which are gigantic aquatic creatures. The Grand Line is where most of the pirates aim to go and explore.

Oh, and there are things that are called Devil Fruits which gives the person who eats one a certain ability ie gives them a rubber body, elemental powers (ice, fire, smoke etc) or animal powers (change a human into animal/hybrid or make an animal/human hybrid). The power has a draw back in that the person/animal can no longer swim in saltwater.

The show revolves around the Straw Hat Pirates. Now for pirates they aren’t so bad. Sure they like treasure and they are a bit violent but usually that violence is for protection sake. They all have their own goals but they take care of each other and for pirates they make quite a lot of allies during their adventures. Admittedly they also have a lot of enemies as well with several of their members being rather notorious before joining the crew.

The crew so far are Monkey D. Luffy, the captain whose body is made of rubber, Nami the navigator who is also a thief, Zorro the swordsman who has no sense of direction and was known as Pirate Hunter Zorro before joining. There is Usopp the sniper who is a pessimist and a liar who has a really long nose, Sanji the chef who fights only with his feet and is girl-crazy. Chopper the doctor who is a reindeer who ate a devil fruit and is able to speak and change into a human/reindeer hybrid of varying sizes. Robin their archaeologist and is able to create extra body parts on herself and elsewhere. Franky is their shipwright and is a cyborg and Brook is their musician and is a skeleton.

I have not finished watching One Piece, as there are around 800+ episodes and it is still running. I am however 400+ episodes in and it has taken me, I think, over a year to get that far because I watch it in stretches and then have a break and then return to it.. The problem I have is the pacing which is incredibly slow and this is the reason why I keep stopping and there are a hell of a lot of flashbacks, usually to the same time period (the origin of the original 5), and filler episodes. Also the theme songs and recaps take way too long.

I really enjoy the story arcs, though I believe they could be shorter, and I like the characters a lot. The show is funny, has heart and at times really hits you in the feels. I mean any show that makes you cry when a ship “dies” has something to it!!

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The Badger On: A Silent Voice (Anime Movie)

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Admittedly I have watched this movie a couple of times, the most recent being over the weekend, and I actually thought that I had already reviewed it, maybe I started to but got distracted and never finished it. I however went through my posts and realised that I hadn’t and I am a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t.

This film tackles some heavy themes with the main one being bullying though it does also cover suicide and redemption. It is not an easy or comfortable movie to watch, especially the beginning but it is still a really good story and it is beautifully animated though admittedly some of the minor characters could have bene fleshed out a little more and the run time of 2 hours is a little long.

It follows the actions of Shoya Ishida, who as a kid bullied a classmate, Shoko Nishimiya until she was forced to change schools. Shoko is deaf and though Shoya was not the only one in his class that bullied her he was the only one called out for it and he in turn was bullied when he tried to make this point.

Now a teenager in high school Shoya is an outcast, he has no real friends and has problems looking people in the eyes, so much so that everyone in school has a big X over their faces. He sees his past as a punishment and decides to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge but comes to his senses. He intends to make amends and goes to return a notebook of Shoko’s that he thrown into a pond and that he recovered when he was pushed into it. They begin to meet at a bridge and feed the koi together.

He also makes a friend in Tomohiro Nagatsuka, another outcast at school after he stopped a bully from stealing his bike. He also meets Shoko’s younger sister Yuzuru, who is a talented photographer, and is sceptical of Shoya intentions, but eventually comes around after he shows her kindness after she posted an embarrassing picture online of Shoya that got him suspended from school.

Though they all hang out and Shoya and Shoko reunites with some of their old classmates, both Shoya and Shoko are still carrying a lot of baggage. Shoko, in particular displays self-loathing for her disability and blames herself for everything that happened to Shoya. It climaxes with Shoko attempting suicide and Shoya saving her but in the process falling into a coma. After he comes to he apologizes for his past behaviour and ask her to help him continue to live.

Shoya and Shoko visit his school festival together where he is reunited with his new friends and old ones and for the first time he is able to look others in the eye and believes that he has finally found his redemption and forgiveness for his past actions.

As I said the beginning it might be a hard movie to watch especially if you have experienced bullying of any kind but it worth a watch. It is emotional and shows that redemption is possible if you want it and work at it.

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The Badger On: BECK: Monglian Chop Squad (Anime)

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I have been a little quiet of late. I have had a few things going on with work and my upcoming wedding and general anxiety and depression issue but hopefully I will get back to writing a little more and that leads me into this review because it has made me think of writing again not just my blogs but in general because I haven’t been doing any form of writing in a long while.

Before streaming became a thing I used to buy a lot of my anime and Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad was one that I always saw and it always caught my eye but I never bought because I didn’t think it was my thing. I wasn’t really into the whole slice-of-life shows and more into things that had a more fantasy bent, magic and action and a little bit of comedy and such.

Lately I think I am gravitating more towards that kind of thing. Two of my previous reviews in Your Lie In April and Prince of Stride: Alternative reflect that I guess and that leads me into BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad.

Like Your Lie in April this one revolves around music, which I guess is another thing that I really pay attention in when it comes to anime, which is rather odd because I don’t really pay attention to it in others shows and movies that I watch unless it plays a significant part in the plot or it is Harry Potter, but I might leave that for another time.

Unlike Your Lie In April, where it revolved around classical music and competitions, BECK revolves around rock/alternative music and bands and in particular the forming of and the highs and lows of the titular one.

The show focuses on Yukio “Koyuki” Tanaka, a middle school student who feels average and has no real direction in his young life. After saving a strange looking dog, whose name is Beck, from some kids he meets the owner, talented guitarist Ryusuke “Ray” Minami. They develop a friendship and Ryusuke encourages Koyuki to learn to play guitar himself. It turns out that Koyuki has a bit of a talent, not only with playing but also as a singer and eventually songwriter.

While Koyuki is learning to play, Ryusuke is forming his band which includes emotional, karate kicking singer/rapper Chiba, stoic and insightful bassist Taira, and a drummer by the name of Togo who eventually leaves due to family issues. Koyuki introduces his friend Taku to Ryusuke, who turns out to be a drummer and the band is set and named BECK after the dog, though the name is a placeholder.

There are other elements in this story such as bullying that Koyuki experiences at school due to jealousy, his relationship/romance with Ryusuke’s younger sister Maho and also his friendship with Saito, a former Olympic swimmer who teaches him to play guitar and to swim. Another element revolves around Ryusuke and the guitar he plays, a bullet riddled Gibson Les Paul named Prudence, and it’s connection to a blues guitarist and his nephew who is a music producer/gangster in America.

After working their way through the club/pub scene in Tokyo Beck gains the attention of an indie label in America and release an album under the name of Mongolian Chop Squad which becomes quite popular on the college scene. They also get a chance to play at a major music festival, Grateful Sound, but this is where everything starts to fall apart and plan to split up after the show. They however draw the biggest crowd, despite playing on the smallest stage due to the weather and the determination and passion of Koyuki.

They all end going their separate ways however, with Ryusuke disappearing, Chiba working at his family’s ramen shop, Taira joining another band and Taku moving to another school, though he states that he will return if Koyuki is able to get BECK back together. He does, sans Ryusuke, and they get offered a tour in America, in which Ryusuke joins them in the end.

This anime made me think and feel so much so that I am having trouble putting into words exactly why this show has affected me. Maybe it is because of Koyuki’s feelings at the beginning on the show and how he changed after finding music. I think at the moment I am kind of feeling that and need to find that passion again. Maybe it is just the music itself, as rock/alternative music is my kind of music. I don’t know, maybe a re-watch is in order.

 

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The Badger On: Steins;Gate (Anime)

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Sci-Fi is not something that I am that into. It is more the Eagle’s kind of thing. The technical side of things pretty much go over my head though admittedly I will say that I probably have a bit of a fondness for sci-fi that involves time travel. I do watch Doctor Who after all, though I don’t consider myself to be a Whovian per say.

That leads me to my review of Steins;Gate and because of the sci-fi and time-travel nature of the show I am going to have an issue trying to review the show. Though I will say that I have watched it a couple of times now and every time there is something new to pick up on, well there was for me anyway.

It is not a run of the mill kind of time-travel show where the main characters hop in a time machine and travel through time for adventure or in the hope of changing something though this last one does occur but the concept of fate also plays a part in it.

The show revolves around Rintaro Okabe, a university student, who likes to think of himself as a Mad Scientist. He runs a lab which he calls the Future Gadgets Lab out of an apartment with Daru, a perverted hacker and his childhood friend and “hostage” Mayuri. After attending a lecture on time-travel Okabe finds the dead body of a neuroscientist Makise Kurisu. He sends a text message to Daru about this but later on finds that Kurisu is alive and that Daru received the message before Okabe sent it.

Am I confusing you, it is a little hard to wrap your head around I know.

Well anyway Okabe and his friends, have created a form of time-travel in which they can send messages, which they call ‘D-Mail’, back in time. He allows an assortment of friends, who he invites to join the lab, to send messages by D-Mail and as such the time-line changes though Okabe remembers the changes from each time-line.

Unfortunately an organisation called SERN (a play of the scientific research organisation CERN) are also researching time-travel and finds out about Okabe and Co’s discovery and will do anything to get a hold of it which leads to Mayuri’s death. Using D-Mail Okabe jumps from time-line to time-line hoping to change this but cannot stop Mayuri’s death. He eventually comes to the conclusion that he needs to undo the D-Mails sent as each one pushes back Mayuri’s death. Eventually there is only one left but if he undoes that one it will mean that Kurisu will be dead and he has developed feelings for her and she reciprocates those feelings.

This show has a lot of emotional weight not just with our main characters. The reasons for each of the D-Mails sent has a very significant reason and meaning for the sender and having to undo them is not only emotional for them but for Okabe as well. Each of the characters grow but that growth is especially evident in Okabe who starts off in the beginning being a bit of a jerk but with the weight of the choices that he makes and the guilt he carries he becomes quite a caring individual.

The show starts off slow but it gives you the chance to get to know the characters in the story but once it hits the midway mark it definitely picks up in pace. The voice acting is wonderful and naturally the theme song is also great.

 

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