The Badger On: Prince Of Stride : Alternative

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Now usually I am not into sports anime favouring fantasy/sci-fi and occasionally a slice of life style show with a comedic bent or something with heart. I do have a fondness, I guess, for shows that are based in a high-school as I find the Japanese educational system quite interesting.

I decided to Prince of Stride a go as it was one of the shows available on Animelab that had been dubbed and thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so that I actually watched it twice back to back finishing it the first time Saturday afternoon and re-watching last night all twelve episodes.

The show is about a high school Stride team, a fictional extreme sport that is a combination of a parkour and relay racing. Each team consists of six members 5 runners and a relationer. The relationer and runners are connected to each other through earpieces and the relationer will give instructions to their team during the race. The runners have to make sure the connect with their teammates with a hand-slap or be disqualified. They also have to deal with obstacles along the course which is where the parkour comes into.

The show follows the Honen High School Stride team of Tokyo who were once well known but are now fallen on hard times due to in-fighting and the resignation of members. As such at the beginning of the series there is only three members third year and team captain Heath Hasekura and two second years Hozumi Kohinata and Ayumu Kodowaki.

It is the beginning of the school year and Nana Sakurai in her first year has come to Honen specifically to join the Stride team aiming to be a manager, though she ends up being a relationer instead. Takeru Fujiwara has also attending the school for the same reason. The last of the firsts years is Riku Yagami who wants to join all the sports clubs and has an aversion to Stride as his brother, Tomoe, is a well-known Stride competitor, and former member of the Honen team. Tomoe and Riku used to trained together until Riku gave up as he didn’t think that he could compete with his brother and Tomoe also took the fun out of the sport.

The team go through a lot of trials just to make it through to the big Stride competition called End of Summer, including injury to Ayumu and recruiting of an ex-team member, Kyosuke Kuga, who left of bad terms due to taking the blame for others misdeeds to the return of Tomoe, who has returned to Japan after studying overseas and has joined a rival team, and the impact this has on Riku’s confidence.

This show has a lot of heart and humour and like I have said before it has pretty good music and I don’t just mean the beginning and ending themes but also the music used through the show. I am also surprised in a way that this hasn’t developed into a real sport, in a way that Quidditch did. I really enjoyed this show so I really recommend it.

 

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Trailer

The Badger On: Assassination Classroom (Anime)

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I watched the first season of Assassination Classroom when it was first arrived on AnimeLab in Japanese and loved it. When it became dubbed I watched the first episode again and didn’t really like the voice work done so I let it go. I decided that I would try again a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed the dubbed version this time. Maybe because I had given it a bit of a gap between the watches that voice work didn’t bother me as much and this time I watched the whole first season again and then continued on with the second.

I am really having trouble trying to put down in words what this show is which is odd because it really shouldn’t be that hard. It is a classroom comedy I guess at its core but it has a lot of heart and is strange at that same time. I guess I should go over the set up.

The moon is destroyed so it now only a crescent moon. It is said to have been destroyed by an octopus like creature who  is not an alien and claims that he will destroy the earth within a year. He, during this time, wants to teach class 3E at Kunugigaoka Junior High School where he will not only teach them the usual school subjects he will also teach them the art of assassination. The Japanese Government put a reward of 10 billion Yen if the kids kill their teacher whom they name Koro-Sensei. This is virtually impossible though as Koro-Sensei has many superpowers and can travel at Mach 20. He is however a really good teacher, the best teacher any of these students have ever had, as they are lowest class in the school and are looked down upon but the student population and faculty, so much so that they are separated from the main campus and are only allowed to go to the main campus for assemblies.

The story is told through the point of view of Nagisa Shiota one of the students though you get to see the motivations and perspectives of the rest of the class though admittedly the focus, student wise, is on Nagisa and his two closest classmates  Karma Akabane and Kaede Kayano, who gave Koro-Sensei his name. Koro Sensei is also a main focal point but then the show is just as much about him as it is about the students.

Other characters of note are Kaede sister Aguri Yukimura who was their original teacher, Tadaomi Karasuma who is a government worker for the Ministry of Defence, assistant teacher and PE instructor, Irina Jelavic an assassin who had come to kill Koro-Sensei but couldn’t and ends up being their foreign-language instructor. The students call her Professor Bitch.

There are other aspects of the show that I could go on about but I don’t want this to be an overly long or wordy post so I will just mention one other thing and that it the music and in particular the opening theme songs. I believe that really good anime usually has a really good theme song and that it is one of the reason that you will watch the show. Cowboy Bebop, which is my favourite of all time had it with the Seatbelts Tank!  Assassination Classroom has 4 themes over the two seasons with all of them being performed by 3-E Utatan but in my opinion the first theme The Theory of Savage Youth is the best of them all.

If you have any interest in anime at all please give this a go. It is fun, funny, it will bring all the feels and by the end it will make you cry, well I did any way.

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Opening Sequence

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The Badger On: Cowboy Bebop (Anime)

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In my other blog, Pop Goes the Badger, I have mentioned that Cowboy Bebop is my favourite anime of all time. Since it is so, I thought that I would do a bit of a review of the show as I do a re-watch of this show once a year, usually during State of Origin time.

For those of you who have never head of the show before it was made in 1998 and is set in the year 2071 and follows the lives of a space bounty hunters (Cowboys) on their ship the Bebop. The crew of the Bebop are

Jet Black – Owner of the ship and ex Inter Solar System Police officer who is now a bounty hunter. He has a mechanical arm.

Spike Spiegal – His partner and former hitman for the Red Dragon Syndicate. His right eye is fake and he is a devotee of martial arts.

Faye Valentine – A con artist with amnesia and severe gambling problem. She was cryogenically frozen after a space shuttle accident. Looks like she is in her early 20’s but is actually in her 70’s.

Edward Wong or Ed – An androgynous teenage girl who is the one of the galaxies best hackers. She is odd, funny and never walks properly or with shoes on.

Ein – a Welsh Corgi he is known as a data dog and is very intelligent and shows that he is very aware of what is going on around him as he was able to hack into a gaming system when Ed wasn’t. Ein and Ed provide the comic relief.

Most of the episodes are one shot stories of the team trying to get a bounty but there are episodes that are part of the plot of the show. These episodes are usually in regards to Spike or Faye and deal with their pasts. Spike, with his time in the Syndicate and rivalry with Vicious, his former partner, and Julia the woman he loves and who he is searching for. Faye’s story is about trying to find out who she is and where she is from.

It is not just the story or the characters that made this anime wonderful it is also the music which is composed by Yoko Kanno.  It blues and jazz inspired with the character of Jet being a fan of the genres and why the ship is called the Bebop. All the episodes or sessions as they are named after a genre of music or particular song with the Rolling Stones having three ‘sessions’ named after their songs (Honky Tonk Woman, Sympathy for the Devil and Wild Horses).

The show is funny, entertaining and charming. You will fall in love with crew of space misfits and will be left with wanting more, especially an answer to the final scene in the show. It was rumoured at one time to be made into a live action movie with Keanu Reeves to play Spike, not good casting in my opinion. There is a anime movie called Cowboy Bebop: Knocking on Heaven’s Door which is also great and should be checked out.

SEE YOU SPACE COWBOY!!!

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P.S Instead of a trailer I have included a bit of a music video with one of my favourites songs from the show.

 

 

 

The Badger On: Your Lie In April (Anime)

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Another anime and another re-watch. This one however is nothing like Fairy Tail and based entirely in the real world and has not magic or supernatural elements to it. It is however an absolutely beautiful and moving story that on both watches I have cried.

The story centres on Kosei Arima, who is a piano prodigy who dominated competition when he was young. After his mother and instructor dies he has a breakdown and stops playing as he can no longer hear the notes when he plays, though there is nothing wrong with his hearing. He also starts to see the world in monochromatic tones.

Two years later he meets a free-spirited violinist named Kaori Miyazono who brings the colour back into his world and shows him that music is not meant to be structured and rigid as he was taught by his mother and that music shows who they are by the way that they play and slowly Kosei falls in love with her.

Of course there is more to this but I don’t want to give too much away as you really need to watch it for yourself. It is a beautifully told story of love, loss, friendship and music. There is only one season of 22 episodes so it is not a slog like Fairy Tail is.

I have watched this twice, first when it was released on AnimeLab in Japanese with English Subtitles and again last week though this time with it dubbed in English and the dub is just as good. It available through Crunchyroll, Hulu and Viewster if you would like to give a go and please do as I can’t stress how wonderful this show is.

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Trailer