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

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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

The Badger On: Fairy Tail (Anime)

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This is my third attempt to write a review for this show. There are just too many episodes and seasons/arcs to cover not to mention all the characters involved. Well at least I can name most of them unlike some other long running anime ( eh hem Bleach) that I have watched where there are probably only a couple of names that I remember and mainly because their roles are big and/or I like the character. It helps when you have a 8 year old niece that also loves the show and constantly grills you on it so that you don’t forget the characters.

The problem with the other attempts was that I was getting to bogged down with the characters which was making the post be way to long for my liking. I have decided instead to see if I can put together a little pro and con list and see how I go. But first maybe a little bit of an overview.

Fairy Tail Overview

The shows is set in the Kingdom of Fiore. Now everyone in this world has magic inside of them but only 10% of the populace actually use it. Those that do are called wizards and they either strike out on their own or they form/join guilds. There are three different forms of guilds Legal, Dark and Independent. The Legal ones are approved and registered by the Magic Council. The Dark ones obviously are not and are treated as criminals. Independent guilds are not approved but are not seen as criminal. There are other guilds that are non-magical guilds as well.

The purpose of the legal guild is for wizards to work together, learn their art and to get jobs. Fairy Tail is one such guild and is one of the strongest if not the strongest and one of the most well-known mainly because of the trouble and damage they cause when out of said jobs.

The Positives of Fairy Tail

If you have read my other blog you will know that my first fandom love is Harry Potter and as I have watched this show I have come to see there are some similarities between the two and I am not just referring to main characters having and using magic. For one thing Harry and the main male character of Fairy Tail Natsu Dragneel couldn’t be less alike. Same goes for Hermione and Lucy Heartfilia or if not Lucy then Erza Scarlet  and there is no Ron equivalent, well maybe Happy but I doubt that Ron would like to be compared to a flying blue cat that can talk.

The reason why I see them as been very similar is because the themes of friendship and love are both very prevalent in both stories. Though the Fairy Tail story has not finished yet but from what I have seen there seems to be another Harry/Natsu connection in that Harry was the only person that could defeat the big bad in Voldemort and it seems that Natsu is also the only one that can defeat the Fairy Tail equivalent in the Dark Wizard Zeref, though it seems that this is Zeref’s wish, which naturally was not Voldemorts.

Another thing I like and noticed is that like J.K Rowling, Fairy Tail’s creator Hiro Mashima likes to drop breadcrumbs along the way. What I mean by that is J.K would mention something early on and then it would come back up further down the track. Mashima has done the same thing along the way and I really like that in storytelling and it is shows just how much the author has thought about the story and the world that they are building.  It makes me wonder if he got a little bit of inspiration from Harry Potter when he began writing Fairy Tail.

The Negatives of Fairy Tail

My biggest gripe that I have with the show and this is not something exclusive to Fairy Tail but all anime that is based on still running manga and that is when the show defers from it the story lacks big time. The same can be said for Bleach and even one of my favourite anime’s of all time that being Soul Eater, which they really need to remake and stick to the original story like they did with Full Metal Alchemist. The Daphne Arc in Fairy Tail,  would have been so much better if Daphne was actually not in it as I am sure that Gray could have found a way to force Natsu to remember and keep the promise that he made. The Key of the Starry Sky Arc was way too long, had too much going on and even with that was still not very interesting. I can sort of forgive the Eclipse Celestial Spirit Arc but only because I love Loke and the battle between Gray and Cancer is hilarious.

The only other issue is probably a strange one and that is Erza and Jellal. I love them don’t get me wrong and they make such a great couple but the two arc’s that they have had that feature these two heavily, The Tower of Heaven and Oracian Seis, I have not enjoyed all that much. Maybe it is because one or the other was seen as weak and especially the Tower of Heaven arc I did not like seeing Erza in particular that way. Both arc were important to show their growth and how they became what they are but still I did not enjoy them the way that I should have.

Another thing that I don’t care to much for is that Lucy seems to be the go to damsel in distress. So far in the series she has been kidnapped and held hostage at least 4 times, mainly due to the fact that she is Celestial Wizard. Admittedly Erza and Wendy as well but still I am not really a fan of that kind of trope.

Well there is my review. If you like or are interested in anime or even manga and have not given this one a go please do. It is fun show and I wouldn’t be in the middle of a re-watch for maybe the third of fourth time if I didn’t enjoy it. I am currently in the Grand Magic Games arc and the Dragon battle has begun. Did I mention that there are dragons in the show and most of them are not nice.

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