QOTW: What’s Your Favorite Anime Opening?

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for another Question of The Week! Now if you don’t know already, I thoroughly enjoy anime. From the zany antics of a slice of life comedy to the unbearable sorrow of a heart wrenching drama, I will watch it all. However, nothing gets me more pumped up for a show then a good opening song. (I’ve even been known to keep watching an objectively terrible show because the opening theme is too good.) Here are a few of my favorite openings:

“Obsession” – .hack/Sign

The first theme song that I can recall leaving a lasting impression in my head was “Obsession” by See-Saw for the show .hack//Sign. The shrill noise in the first two seconds gets my heart beating at full throttle every time.

“Forever We Can Make It” – To Love Ru

When it comes to bad shows, I think it’s pretty difficult to top something like To Love Ru, but damned if it doesn’t have a banging opening song. With its catchy lyrics and heavy hitting pop punk attitude “Forever We Can Make It” by Thyme is hard to ignore.

“Sawakaze”Kimi Ni Todoke

It would be an egregious act if I didn’t introduce more people to one of the greatest romance anime of all time, Kimi Ni Todoke. While I can admit the opening of the first season didn’t quite hook me, the second season’s opening really hits me where it hurts. If any show could be perfectly defined by its theme song, Kimi Ni Todoke is encapsulated exquisitely by “Sawakaze” by Tomofumi Tanizawa. With no embarrassment, I can state this song makes me cry with each listen.

Those are some of my favorite anime openings. What are some of yours? Please let us know in the comments!


Kamen Rider: Japan’s Legacy Superhero

In my senior year of high school, I was getting into Mecha anime and frequented a certain imageboard. Through this community I managed to discover some older anime from the 80s and 90s I had never heard of, but I also discovered something else this small community talked about: Tokusatsu.


Tokusatsu, in Japan, is a live action television show or movie that uses extensive of special effects. A western example would probably be Doctor Who, which in Japan was marketed as Britain’s longest running tokusatsu show. When it comes to fandom though, the term tokusatsu in the western fandom tends to exclusively include Asian productions. In Japan, the medium includes Godzilla, Ultraman, Super Sentai and my personal favorite, Kamen Rider.

Kamen Rider is one of the most prevalent tokusatsu franchises, and is one of the oldest. The original Kamen Rider was created by manga god Shotaro Ishinomori. The franchise started in 1971 and continues to run today. It’s a live-action superhero show, with a lot of fun over-the-top action and toy-selling gimmicks.

The original Kamen Rider Ichigo series ran throughout 1973 but an important precedent was placed when the next series starred a new Kamen Rider entirely. The structure of the franchise is every year, a new Kamen Rider with a new story stars in their own 50-ish episode show and 2-ish movies. After that series is done, the show is rebooted to fit a new story and a new Kamen Rider. There’s still an underlying continuity, with older Riders teaming up with newer Riders in special episodes, straight-to-video content, and movies.

When I started to get into the franchise, what got me interested was the special effects, the Japanese-ness of the material, and the overall optimism and enthusiasm that a lot of the better Kamen Rider series deal in. In the early 2010s, the overall grittiness of Western superhero media (especially the New 52 stuff) kind of left me in the dust. The goofy optimism of Kamen Rider was what I desperately needed at the time, and my first series was a part of a new generation of Kamen Riders.

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I’m completely biased about this, but Kamen Rider W (Pronounced Double) is one of the best places to start watching this franchise. What makes Double special is it’s great fight scenes, it’s fun characters, and it’s overall execution.

In the windy city of Futo, the powerful Sonozaki Family sell USB-shaped devices called Gaia Memories to anyone who will take them. These Gaia Memories turn their users into powerful monsters called Dopants, but also contain a toxin that drives them insane and may eventually kill them. After his boss dies, the half-boiled detective Shotaro Hidari works with a mysterious man named Phillip to form Kamen Rider W to save Futo’s residents from Dopants, as well as save the people behind the Dopants.

What makes this series special is the great cast of characters: Shotaro and Phillip have a great dynamic and the Boss’s daughter, Akiko, tends to bounce between annoying, cute and funny. There’s also the too-serious Kamen Rider Accel Ryu Terui, who shows up about halfway throughout the series to shake the show’s dynamic up. That’s not to mention the half-dozen recurring characters, all of which get the time to shine.

If this show is up your alley, I’d highly recommend Fourze, OOOs, Faiz, and Kabuto. There are tons of options in the twenty-seven series that exist thus far, but this is my biggest recommendation, and there are a ton of recommendation guides if you wanted something different.

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There’s been a couple times it’s been adapted in the US, but always to critical or commercial failure. Haim Saban’s 1995 adaption Masked Rider is a complete mess to a point of laughter from the fandom, whereas 2008’s Kamen Rider Dragon Knight was a pretty decent adaption until they suddenly decided to just add aliens to the plot for no reason.

There hasn’t been an adaption since Dragon Knight and personally, I feel if the right series was marketed and adapted correctly it could be fairly popular. Considering it’s sister series, Super Sentai, has had a lot of success here it’s a damn shame that Kamen Rider never hit the big time in the west.

It’s crazy to come from the US where almost no one knows about the franchise to go to Japan where it’s a big popular thing you can find anywhere. You can’t even find officially subtitled versions, despite the fact that shows like Ultraman and Super Sentai have made progress on that end in the past few years.


I love Kamen Rider, so I wrote this to share my love of this franchise, even if it’s just to a few people. It’s no doubt a kid’s show, sure, but there’s a lot of great work put into every series. If you’re willing to seek it out, Kamen Rider is a distinctly Japanese superhero franchise worth the watch.

QOTW: What’s Your Worst Gaming Experience?

We’ve all been there. We’ve either purchased a game we’ve waited years for only to be sorely disappointed or we tried playing a multiplayer game with an overly aggressive and angry individual that destroyed any essence of fun. Whatever the case or cases may be, we’ve had unfortunate times in our gaming history, but which one was the worst?

Now, I know this is a subjective question. By gaming experience, I quite literally mean any experience involving gaming. You don’t even have to be the one playing the game. Maybe you saw a friend throw his controller through his TV because he was struggling to get that final high score in Peggle. Maybe your worst gaming experience was having to watch your friend play Peggle. Who knows? All that matters is that it qualifies by being a video game experience. No board games this time around.

Seriously. Look what they did to the fucking unicorn.

For me, it’s too hard to call. It’s not that there’s so many for me to choose from, it’s just that they are all about equal levels of shitty. I’ve had games spoiled for me, I’ve had people act like jackasses when I was trying to play seriously in co-op and I’ve even had times where things nearly got violent. I find it hard to pick just one. I’ve reached this point that unless someone repeatedly punches me in the face while I’m playing a game I’ve waited 10 years for while telling me in painful detail how the main character dies in the last level, I probably won’t be too phased by anything.

So what about you? What was your worst gaming experience?


Before the Attack On Titan Anthology…

In October of 2016, Kodansha Comics released the Attack On Titan Anthology, a book based upon the extremely popular manga franchise. The anthology was made specifically for the large following the original manga had gained in North America. The Anthology’s stories were made exclusively by Western comic creators, and it was a big deal because of its western origins and the diverse stable of creators that worked on it. While there hasn’t been any word about how well the Attack On Titan anthology has done, a mark of its success is the similar Ghost In The Shell Anthology coming next year from the same publisher.

While the Attack On Titan Anthology was a big push toward the crossover between western comics and manga, it was hardly the first. Western comic creators working with anime and manga intellectual properties for over fifty years.

In 1965 Gold Key Comics, a publisher largely known for their work on licensed TV and cartoon comics, gained the license for Astro Boy from NBC. My source, this article from Manga Bookshelf, only claims that one issue was created but from what I’ve found, it’s the earliest Western comic adaption of anime. This wasn’t the last time Astro Boy was adapted to American comics, either.

atlas comics astro boy
Astroboy #1, 1965, Gold Key Comics
Brian Thomas and Marc Hansen, The Original Astro Boy, March 1989, NOW! Comics
E.J Su, Astro Boy: The Movie, January 2009, IDW Comics

Astro Boy was adapted again by NOW! Comics as The Original Astro Boy and ran from 1987 to 1989. In 2009, IDW Comics put out two miniseries to coincide with the animated movie’s release: a prequel and an adaption.

However, I’m getting way ahead of myself. The single-issue Astro Boy comic was a huge outlier: the first few adaptions from anime and manga to comic started in the 1980. A lot of manga in the 80s and 90s was released in single-issue floppies, not unlike the weekly releases from Marvel and DC. In fact, it was Marvel’s imprint Epic Comics that initially colorized and released Akira in that floppy format with a run lasting from 1989 to 1995.

Early translated manga was far more niche than anything you’d see today: initially, these floppy-style translated manga were only sold in comic shops and were generally obscure. These comic-style manga existed until the early 2000s, when the “graphic novel” or tankōbon format prevailed, and the manga section in your local Barnes and Noble became commonplace. Yet, despite manga’s obscurity, this early environment was when multiple western comics based upon anime/manga began their run.

In the late 70s and early 80s, Marvel found that licensed comics based upon toy properties were extremely lucrative. In fact, one of the licenses that they obtained was Shogun Warriors, a line of toys based upon imported super robot properties that most people in the United States had little access to. The comic Shogun Warriors only focused on three mecha and their pilots: Combatra which was based upon Combattler V, Raydeen which was based upon Brave Raideen, and Danguard Ace which was based upon Planetary Robot Danguard Ace.

The Shogun Warriors comics have a degree of separation due to this being an adaption of the toy line rather than the anime and manga themselves. It’s extremely notable due to its age: the first issue came out in 1979 and the series lasted until 1980.

The Jack Kirby Museum website indicates that the King himself was tapped to work on a Gigantor comic around the same time the Shogun Warriors comics were released. The article notes that plans feel through, and I couldn’t find any other sources than this on a Gigantor comic from Marvel.

Similarly to Astro Boy, in 1987 Speed Racer, another classic anime, was adapted into a comic by Now! Comics. The book ran from 1987 to 1990 and even outlasted the Astro Boy book, with an Astro Boy back-up story being featured in Speed Racer #17 after it’s cancellation.

The longest running comic series I could find based upon an anime is the Toren Smith and Adam Warren-written Dirty Pair comics, published initially by Eclipse Comics and then by Dark Horse Comics. While a fairly short run in terms of issue count (24), the way that the Dirty Pair Comics worked was that it wasn’t really an ongoing comic. Dirty Pair began as multiple miniseries, but later were just published straight to graphic novel format.

While Toren Smith left early, he and Adam Warren were some of the earliest manga-influenced artists found in Western comics. Toren Smith at the time was known for Ninja High School, whereas Adam Warren is a little more relevant today due to his Empowered superhero comic. Adam Warren also worked on Bubblegum Crisis: Grand Mal for Dark Horse in 1995. Dirty Pair led to a long run, from 1988 to 2002: fourteen years of Adam Warren art evolution and original English manga.

While most of what I’ve found is exhausted, there’s one last oddity I’d like to talk about. In 2013, BOOM! Comics imprint Archaia released a graphic novel based upon Cyborg 009. The book was written by F.J. DeSanto and Bradley Cramp and drawn by Marcus To and Ian Herring. Some of these Western adaptions are really interesting for their place in history: the Dirty Pair book, for example, shows that the Dirty Pair anime was popular enough in certain circles for it to be adapted into a western comic with a fourteen year run. Personally, when I came upon this book I was extremely curious why a Cyborg 009 Graphic Novel by a western team was published in 2014, when the original series doesn’t have much of a fandom in the West. According to this interview with F. J. DeSanto, the book was part of a push to make Shotaro Ishinomori’s work more well-known in the US.

By Ian Fleming and Marcus To, Cyborg 009, 2013, Archaia Comics

While there isn’t a ton of Western comics adapting these Japanese properties, I’d like to think that the crossover between East and West when it comes to comics is a part of the future. There are other things I likely overlooked, but if you have any Western comics about anime and manga you’d like to share with me, leave a comment below! I may write a follow-up on this, possibly from the other end: anime and manga about American comics and properties. Until next time, thank you.


QOTW: What’s Your Favorite Mario Kart Entry?

Since the launch of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe last Friday, my Switch has been getting a bunch of attention. Waiting for the game to drop on the eShop at midnight was one of the most exciting releases for me in recent memory apart from Persona 5 for obvious reasons. I adored Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, it was one of my favorite games on that console and then when they added the Animal Crossing and Legend of Zelda DLC I became even more enamored. How could a company know exactly what I want? And how could they pull it off exactly how I wanted? That’s part of the greatness of Nintendo. They give us such wonderful and finely detailed products that leave us wanting more. So that got me to thinking: even with how great I think Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is, can I really call it my favorite? Is there another entry in the series that I love even more?

Almost all the people I know around my age got introduced to Mario Kart on the N64. It was a welcomed change of pace from the hectic onslaught that was Super Smash Bros and the intense space battles of Star Fox 64. It was something much more casual like Mario Party, but still had enough of an edge to it to make it competitive. It was a great fit for the console and the accompanying library of games.


But the game that really sold me on the series was Mario Kart: Double Dash for the GameCube. Talk about a beast of a game. With the cast of characters more than doubled from the previous entry and the addition of back seat drivers, special items, stats and dual items, the game added so much more complexity and engagement to the franchise that I was hooked.

Look at those choices.

But sadly, after that entry, none of the future games ever seemed to grab my interest. The Wii version was painfully forgettable and the ones for the handhelds never had the party nature of the game that I cherished so much.

Even with the incredible additions they put into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Mario Kart: Double Dash remains to be my favorite in the series to this day.

So, what about you? What’s your favorite entry in the franchise?


Written by G. S. Martin


Completely Biased: Deformers (PS4)

Maybe the developers behind the game should change their name to Somewhat Ready At Dawn, am I right? Anyway, Deformers, from the minds behind The Order 1886 and those two PSP God of War games, seems like a step in a radically different direction for the studio and honestly, it shows. The game plays a lot like a concept that never evolved. It’s creative, cute, colorful and fun, but the fun certainly came last in the development of this $30-dollar game.

Look at all the cute squishy things.

Gameplay is only one aspect of fun in a video game. The whole experience with the game can’t feel like it’s a chore. Unfortunately for Deformers, they didn’t seem to understand that concept because everything, and I mean everything, was a chore. The game consists of these little creatures who are all nice and squishy and they generally just go around ramming each other until one explodes and one is victorious. The idea behind that seems so stupidly simple and enjoyable that you think the rest of the game would be too.

Let’s start with problem number one, the game must be connected to the internet. I don’t hate always online games like Destiny or anything like that because it makes sense for those types of games, but when you can’t even edit your characters in the workshop or play locally because the game can’t connect to the internet, you have made some very poor design choices. And let’s talk about the customization for a second. With the price of all the accessories and various items and how much money you earn via their level up system, it’s clear that Ready At Dawn is pushing to have you buy their in game currency through the PlayStation store, Xbox Marketplace, etc. I ranked up quite a bit in the game before trading it into GameStop and all I could afford was a blue hat. A little blue hat to put on my squishy friend. What kind of reward system is that?

The second big problem that needs to be address are the servers. They are terrible. I found myself lucky not just be in a full game, but a game period. It didn’t matter what mode I was playing, it would always struggle to connect and then when it did, I never got booted, but I always seemed to see a bunch of players just leaving left and right. It was very unfortunate because I loved ramming into my enemies and making them go splat, but that fun started to diminish when there was only one chump running away from me and my posse.

They see me rollin’. They hatin’.

The third and final problem are the modes. They are incredibly bland. While the character choices are different enough to make a real impact, you really only have two modes because team deathmatch and deathmatch don’t do much to change things up so you’re basically left with some type of deathmatch and what they call Form Ball. If you want to play a soccer based game where you can charge into people and have them explode, you might as well just play Rocket League. I was very disappointed that their soccer mode was unpolished and uneventful. They didn’t have cool extra powers to help you out or something. It was just boring and after about five games of it I was done.

Deformers is a good idea, but a missed opportunity. Maybe next time, Ready At Dawn. Maybe next time. (Isn’t that what everyone said after The Order 1886?)


Verdict: Save your money. Buy Rocket League.


Written by G. S. Martin


Initial Take: Love Tyrant

Heart. Absurdity. Chaos. These are the words I would choose to describe the brand-new comedy anime Love Tyrant. While most shows spend their first episode slathering everything with so much forced exposition it can feel like you’re drowning slowly in molasses, Love Tyrant bucks the trend by simply not caring. Each piece of information about the characters or answers to questions are absolutely ridiculous. It makes for a very entertaining watch on top of an already interesting premise: what happens when a girl comes to your door and tells you that if you don’t kiss death will come? How does one react to such an absurd statement? Hilariously apparently. Unfortunately, the premise itself spoils a lot of good jokes so I won’t go too far into some areas, I’ll just dance around most of the subjects.


What makes this show so hysterical is not just the bizarre and unrealistic situations the characters get themselves into, but the characters themselves. Everyone except for the main character is insane. Aino Seiji, is an ordinary high school student who goes against a lot of the tropes you see with main characters in harem type shows. He’s handsome, smart, he’s kind, he acts on his impulses instead of just mulling them over until it’s too late and most importantly, he’s the sound of reason. He’s just an all-around good guy, not too weird, not too bland. His partner in crime however, the mysterious girl Guri who shows up at his doorstep, is another story. She suffers from a lack of a filter, lack of self-control and honestly, in some areas, just a general lack of intelligence and maturity. She’s like a baby sister that never was disciplined by her siblings or parents. She does what she wants and gets what she wants with no consequence. Thankfully, this works in the show’s favor as it plays very well with the crazy situations that unfold and the aspects of the other characters such as Akane Hiyama, Seiji’s crush who excels at everything she does, even when those things are less than savory or kind.


Love Tyrant is a hard anime to describe without spoiling. With each moment being filled with jokes, twists and romance, I can safely confirm after watching the first two episodes that this will be the comedy of the season.

Verdict: Beyond Expectations And Highly Optimistic

Love Tyrant can be watched on Crunchyroll.


Written by G. S. Martin