Original anime graphic tees and posters
Original anime graphic tees and posters

My current Crunchyroll playlist.


Terra formars
I watched the first episode of this potential gem partially conscious. I think I might have been bored or bloated from watching a lot of random Crunchyroll anime offerings at the time. I admit that I wasn't sure what to make of it. Fortunately it was the first episode, so I wasn't overwhelmed with the idea of obligating myself to watch more than one a day.

It has an interesting premise. You have humans that have been mutated with other animal traits trained to fight off mutated cockroaches, that were sent to Mars 500 years ago. The show is always full of swings. Both sides (Humans and the mutant roaches) always seem to have something up there sleeves. In one episode, it appears the human visitors are going to survive their trip to Mars. Then in the next episodes, it appears the muscle bound humanoid roaches are going to make the humans regret sending them to mars in the first place. Is been a while since I watched an anime show with a truly compelling mystery. As you watch the show, you can't help but feel the conspiracy theorist in you, trying to fill in the gaps.


Fate/Stay Night

This is by far the best thing in my current rotation. I would actually go as far as to say that it is up there in my top 5  anime shows. If you've seen Fate/Stay Zero, you know that it was a pretty good show. But Fate/Stay Night is only into its 7th episode, and it has completely blown its predecessor away. The animation is crisp, smooth, detailed and mind boggling. Whatever budget the studio had for its animators, must have been offensively high.

The character designs are fantastic. The Archer character is well done. I have no doubt that he will be an iconic character for cosplay fiends. And saber always looks awesome in her armor. Oh my goodness!, I almost forgot about the berserker in this show. The berserker in Fate/Stay Night makes the berserker from Fate/Stay Zero look like a lost child in a mall. This new guy is awesome, scary, vicious and very powerful looking. Everything you would expect from a classic berserker. My kid brother's friends jokingly call the show Fate/Stay Night "Unlimited Budget Works" for good reason. The studio behind this gem did not pull any punches. The story line is solid, the animation is superb and the character designs are  easily the best I've seen in a long time.

I highly recommend this gem to everyone. Is just too good to ignore.




World Trigger

 

We all have that one show we watch to provide ambiance while you're busy doing something else. This is it for me. Started off strong I guess. Then it just sorta went lukewarm on me. Could be the character design that did it for me. There was no spark. For all I know this show might redeem itself in the future. But right now, is a good show to have going on in the background, while I work on figuring out how to get our brand out there.
Obviously you might feel differently about it. So please don't let my premature judgement sway you.

While the premise of the show is fairly unique, it fails to properly build on that fact. The weak character design is a massive penalty against the show in my opinion. However I do like one character in the show. The kid Kuga from another dimension, is fun to watch. He is quite strong and rather silly at times. Is a good mix. His character and maybe Jin (the elite border agent) are the only reasons why I reluctantly watch each new episode.

But again, you be the judge. I tend to be quite harsh at times.

 

Parasyte -the maxim

I like this show. Though, I rarely eat while watching  it. I especially try not to eat meat while I watch this show. I am just sensitive like that. So sue me :) . All jokes aside, this show is solid. Again, I love anything with a unique story line.  I don't have much to say about the show, since it is taking its time to build up its characters. But from what I can surmise, this is basically an anime spin on the body snatchers movie.

 

Yowamushi Pedal

 

So I recently picked up a bike from Walmart. Is a road bike. But in all seriousness a road bike from Walmart doesn't really make much of a statement.
I got the bike because I discovered a lovely 30+miles(I still haven't seen the end of this trail) trail near my house. Had to take advantage of that!
Anyway, seeing this show pop on Crunchyroll in such timely fashion, demanded that I commit to seeing the whole thing. After-all I could now relate to the characters because I just picked up a road bike! Right? LOL

This show in a way, is very typical of most anime sports shows. You have the protagonist, who is usually mild mannered and appears to have no business partaking in any kind of sports. But he just so happens to be a natural at one specific thing. In this case, the protagonist is really good at riding his bike up steep hills. 

The only twists and turns in this show are literal. Lots of exciting bike races. Lots of over dramatization of what a bike rider can actually do. For instance the sudden vortex of wind when a certain rider picks up speed, is a bit of an exaggeration. The animators have a lot of fun with that stuff. Honestly I really enjoy seeing those exaggerated effects. The characters are all pretty interesting in their own way. Like almost all anime sports shows, there is no actual bad guy. You mainly have jerks with back stories that try to legitimize their douchey behaviors. I normally watch this show when I plan to go for a ride myself. What can I say, the show gets me in the mood for speed... haha. Who knew road races could be fun to watch? Is there anything anime can't make better? 


I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying

Gotta have my slice of life. Might be a maturity thing, but I've started acknowledging "Slice of Life" anime. I call them the anti stereotypical anime. No over the top action. No energy beams, no ridiculous antagonist. In fact no antagonist at all. Slice of Life is basically a reflection of real life, I guess.

"I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying" is less than 6 minutes long. And it is actually quite funny.

December 02, 2014 by Justin A

The Crunchyroll x Boomslank shirt.. how it happened.

Crunchyroll x Boomslank

This would have to be one of the coolest things we've done. Collaborating with Crunchyroll was an idea inspired by my admiration of Street wear brands. To be honest, I don't buy from street wear brands. But I definitely admire how the culture is strongly interlocked with the brands that subscribe to it. Street wear is truly one of the most innovative subset of fashion when it comes to branding. A big thing in street wear culture is when two brands collaborate on a product. Something about that union always ends up making both brands more appealing. When brands like Bape and Stussy collaborate on a shirt or shoe, that particular item always seems that much cooler than its individual brand parts.

So taking a page out of their book, I went ahead and tried my luck with a company in the anime culture that's truly pushing the envelope. Crunchyroll is easily one of the coolest things to happen to anime in the US. Allowing me to comfortably watch anime from my couch on my LED Tv, is a luxury I am still getting used to. So it made awesome sense to me that a union of our brand with theirs on a shirt, would be a very cool idea. And our fans seem to agree with us. 

Doing the collaboration with Crunchyroll was an idea a year in the making. It didn't just happen overnight. I was looking for a way to get the word out on our brand using the power of the Crunchyroll brand. I sent out a couple emails and messages to the gate keepers at Crunchyroll and never got a response back. I had tried this about 4 times! It was only when I decided to put myself in their shoes, that I realized why they were probably not paying any attention to us. First problem is  I had no credibility in their eyes. Second problem was, I knew no one over there and no one over there knew me. So feeling like a guy trying to run for presidency, I setup a long campaign to gain Crunchyroll's trust and respect. Basically, I had to build up some "street cred" before approaching a brand like Crunchyroll. Initially we listed our shirts on their store, just to get some exposure. We made some sales, but most importantly, we got noticed by Crunchyroll! Crunchyroll employees were apparently buying our shirts and we got emails from them expressing how popular our shirts were in their office. I was filled with joy that my meticulous plan was slowing taking shape. Over time we gradually built up some serious rapport with two pretty awesome individuals over there. 
So around April, I proposed the idea of a collaboration, and to my surprise they embraced it immediately. And over the next couple of weeks we had meetings to hammer out the details and expectations from both parties. Of course my brother was tasked with coming up with a design, that was an embodiment of everything the collaboration represented. A seriously difficult task that took him 2 months to sketch.
Crunchyroll x Boomslank


Being our first collaboration, we failed to realize how much trouble it would be to meet outsider expectations. Our deadline was more conservative than we thought. As a result we were behind one extra month. Needless to  say the folks at Crunchyroll were very accommodating, and it really took the pressure off us whenever we got reassurance from them that they had faith in us to see this collaboration through. After 3 months of working on the collaboration, we finally had the shirt ready for printing. Crunchyroll made a few minor revisions and gave us the green light to print.

3 weeks later our love child was born. It is currently available at the Crunchyroll store. Both our brands came out of this project feeling great! After an experience like this one, is safe to say we will be doing more collaborations in the future! But most importantly it showed me that any goal can be accomplished with the right attitude and required amount of effort.
Crunchyroll x Boomslank t-shirt


September 12, 2014 by Justin A

Robot Girls Z: Not Nichijou, but It'll Do



One of my new favorite genres has been the slice-of-life anime comedies. These shows don't seem to have a real plot, which I really appreciate (my attention span is not the best), and they are just flat out hilarious. I call them the Seinfelds of anime. We all know the greats like Azumanga Daioh and Nichijou. With those shows having run their course, it is time we found a new one, and I think the makers of Robot Girls Z may have just delivered.
 
Robot Girl Z is one of the latest productions by Toei, and is a straight up parody of classic mech shows. It follows three girls (Mazinger Z, Great Mazinger, and Grendizer) and their clashes with and evil organization called the Underground Empire. Even their names are parodies! Most if not all the characters poke fun at a specific classic Toei mecha, which is just smart business since fans of Robot Girls Z find themselves checking out shows like Grendizer. I know I did.

 

Like any good slice-of-life comedy, this show doesn't even pretend it wants to be taken seriously. This may not be preferred by everyone, as I'm sure some people don't want to feel like they are watching an improv act when they watch anime. That said, if you are like me, and thought there was no future after Nichijou, I think you may find Robot Girls Z to be suitable consolation.
 
Though I must warn of significant ecchi themes, which may bother some.
 
I found myself laughing uncontrollably, and then sinking into sadness when I reached the last released episode. But Crunchyroll shows a new episode coming soon so I'm happy again! I strongly recommend that everyone check out Robot Girls Z. I'll just be sitting on my hands waiting for episode 3. Till then, keep watching, friends!
March 08, 2014 by Justin A

The new Hunter x Hunter is every bit as good as the old one!

(image is courtesy of kingdoms-fansub.com)

Let me start off by saying that CrunchyRoll on Roku is a god send. I can't stress that enough. For the price of a decent lunch each month, you get to watch a ridiculous amount of anime in HD. P.S I am not paid to promote CrunchyRoll, but I know a good thing when I see it and I don't mind telling others about it.

My current anime rotation, includes a lot of shows. Some not so exciting, others kinda relaxing and then some that you just have to watch like your life depended on it. Thats where Hunter X Hunter comes in.  I was always a fan of this show. So when they stopped abruptly, it really hurt me. Then suddenly I find out there is a continuation of the show on CrunchyRoll. I did notice that it appeared to be a remake. So Initially I was quite skeptical. I am not a big fan of remaking shows. Most shows never survive being revived with cleaner more advanced forms of animation. For all those new advancements, the storyline tends to surfer a lot. So my skepticism sustained my prejudice agains the the new Hunter x Hunter till my brother (P-shinobi) kept singing its praise and continuously recommending that I should resume watching it.

I finally relented and gradually sampled some of the old episodes and worked my way back up to where the previous version ended. And I gotta say, it didn't take long and I was hooked again. That feeling you get from watching a really really good show came surging. That feeling that says, "Sure is 2a.m and you have work tomorrow, but one more episode couldn't hurt". The new show extends the previous one with some new impressive and unusual villains. Thats all I am going to say. Needless to say, I have been reduced to patiently waiting for the release of a new episode every Wednesday. 

Hunter x Hunter is one show that doesn't seem to miss a beat. It is immune to the problem a lot of anime shows have to deal with. Most long running shows tend to loose momentum after a while. They are plagued with a barrage of inconsistencies. Character (strengths/power levels) relative to each other stop making sense (looking at you Bleach) . Hunter x Hunter does a very good job of managing its characters and maintaining consistency when it comes to what they are capable of. And I am truly appreciative of that fact. Not to mention it has a really unique story line. I think thats the secret sauce. A GREAT story line.

If you were once a fan of this show, please consider the new episodes, they are by no means disappointing. And if you were never aware of such a show, I envy you because you get to watch one of the greatest anime shows from scratch with a fresh mind. :)

February 09, 2014 by Justin A

How I got to understand american football by watching Eyeshield 21.

Eyeshield 21

If you are a close friend or family, you would know I don't care for American Football. 

Fist of the North Star. A true anime gem.

 

Enter Fist of the North Star. Some of you might already know that I got a premium Crunchyroll account. So after having watched what I considered all the good stuff on Crunchyroll, I thought I go retro just for kicks. So I watched one random episodes of Fist of The North Star. And a funny thing happened, I enjoyed how the bad guys were....