World Trigger: Episode 6 – “Chika Amatori’s Side Effect”

World Trigger is set in Mikado City, where a “gate” to a different world opens one day and monsters known as Neighbors start appearing from it. Earth’s weapons don’t work against these monsters, but a mysterious group appears and starts fighting against the Neighbors. The group, known as the Border defense agency, creates a defense system against the Neighbors that emerge from the gates. Four-and-a-half years later, a 15-year-old boy named Osamu meets a strange boy named Yuma; Osamu is secretly a member of Border while Yuma turns out to be a Neighbor.

Episode Six reveals the concept of Side Effects, which happens to high-level Trion users that enhance a human’s physical abilities. We learn that Jin has a Side Effect that allows him to see the future of the person nearest him at the time, and this is revealed when Jin takes Osamu to the Restricted Zone and finds Yuma there. When Jin saw Osamu at the meeting the previous day, he had a vision that he’d learn the reason for the abnormal gates at that location the next day.

Fortunately, Jin isn’t going to turn Yuma in for being a Neighbor; apparently, Jin has been the other world and knows there are good Neighbors, too. Jin’s ability also came in handy before going to the Restricted Zone, because he was able to keep Shuji and Yosuke, who are tailing Osamu, from finding out about Yuma and Replica. But from what I saw in the preview for Episode Seven, it looks like Shuji and Yosuke may find out the truth. But I have to say that Jin’s Side Effect is rather helpful and was put to good use here.

With Yuma and Replica’s help, it’s discovered that reconnaissance drones called Rads are behind the abnormal gates. Jin is able to get everything in place in order to take down all the Rads before the Trion barrier wears off. There’s a short montage sequence to show this happening; unfortunately, the animators cut corners by simply using still shots and panning or tracking them to give the appearance of movement. We only see any action at the end of the montage sequence, when they’re down to the last Rad. Honestly, I think this would have been stronger if we could have seen the Border agents taking down the Rads instead of relying on still images.

Since Yuma can’t become a member of Border, Yuma and Jin both decide to give Osamu the credit for Yuma’s work for providing the information to take down the Rads. Osamu tries to object, but Jin says this will keep Osamu from being dismissed from Border.

Even though Chika is the character who appears in the title, she’s only seen briefly right at the very beginning of the episode, and then for only slightly over half the episode during the second half of it. Chika and Yuma are both waiting for someone at the same location, and Chika sees Yuma falling off a bike that he’s trying to figure out how to ride. We get to see an instance of reused footage here when Chika sees Yuma fall for a second time. But this was a nice scene overall, because it allowed the audience to see more of Chika. Also, the interactions between Chika and Yuma were also nice to see.

But Chika runs off when an alarm sounds and heads to the Forbidden Zone. Yuma is able to save her before the Neighbor can get her, but it’s Osamu who takes down the Neighbor. In this scene, we see that Osamu is now a B-Rank agent; we also get to see him take down the Neighbor on his own. Even though Osamu did a good job taking down the Neighbor, we know he didn’t truly do what’s been claimed and earn the B-Rank. Will Border find out the truth at some point? And if they do, how do they handle it?

And the episode ends with Osamu telling Yuma that Chika is someone who attracts Neighbors. From the way Chika had been acting earlier, I had a suspicion that that was the situation. The preview for Episode Seven shows Replica and Yuma examining Chika, so I’m sure more information about her will be coming out sooner rather than later.

The series is slowly starting to become a little more interesting, but the pacing still feels a little on the slow side right now. And the cheap-looking animation and the animation shortcuts being used for the series doesn’t really help to sell the show. Hopefully the story will start becoming even more interesting and help to minimize the effect of the animation quality.

Anime Soundtrack Review: Ranma 1/2 TV Theme Song Complete

Ranma 1/2 TV Theme Song Complete is a 16 track CD that includes the full versions of all of the opening and ending themes for the Ranma 1/2 television anime series. This CD was released in Japan in 1999.

The disc opens with “Don’t Make Me Wild Like You” by Etsuko Nishio, which was the first opening theme for the series. When someone thinks of theme songs from Ranma 1/2, this is going to be the first one that pops up in anyone’s head. Not only was it the first theme song, it was also the catchiest theme song for the entire series. When I hear this one, I can’t help but bop along to it.

Next is “Let’s Keep It Friends” by Kaori Sakagami, which was used as the first ending theme for Ranma 1/2. This is an upbeat theme song and it ranks up there as one of the memorable ending themes for the series. But this song is definitely a product of its time; sonically, you can tell that it came straight out of the late 1980s. Fortunately, I’m a fan of 1980s music, so this “dated” sound doesn’t bother me at all.

This is followed by “EQUAL Romance” by CoCo, which was used as the second ending theme for the series. This is another upbeat track, and is a standout ending theme. It’s a great song in and of itself, but it stands out because this song was later covered by voice actresses under the name DoCo and was used in the “Tendo Family Christmas Scramble” OVA during the karaoke scene. The original version also has a “dated” sound, but I don’t mind it; also, I think it’s the dated sound that helps to make the song.

Next is “Don’t Mind Lay-Lay Boy” by Etsuko Nishio, which was used as the third ending theme for Ranma 1/2. While this is a memorable ending theme, I don’t like it as much as I do “Let’s Keep It Friends” or “EQUAL Romance.” Also, between this and “Don’t Make Me Wild Like You” (which was also performed by Etsuko Nishio), I think this song isn’t as strong or as catchy.

“Little Date” by Ribbon was used as the second opening theme for the series. It’s not as catchy as “Don’t Make Me Wild Like You,” but I still like the sound of this one. This song has more of a “rock” sound when compared to the previous themes, which tended to be more pop in nature.

This is followed by “Full Of Memories” by CoCo, which was used as the third opening theme for Ranma 1/2. This is more of a midtempo song, but it works really well as an anime theme song. Both of CoCo’s contributions to theme songs for the series are very strong, and this is one of the opening themes that I really enjoy listening to. This theme song is from the early 1990s, but to me, it has an arrangement and sonic sound that almost make it sound like it could have come out ten years earlier. Not that I’m complaining, though.

Next is “Lambada Ranma” by Ranma 1/2 Choral Ensemble, which was used as the fourth ending theme. I have no idea who thought this song was a good idea, because the way it’s done makes it sound really cheesy. You hear characters saying lines of dialogue, and their names being sung before they say their lines. This definitely ranks up there as one of my least favorite theme songs from the series.

“Present” by Tokyo Shonen was used as the fifth ending theme for Ranma 1/2. Musically, the arrangement sounds like it’s influenced by Motown music from the 1960s. It’s a decent theme song, but I admit it’s not memorable enough for me to see the title and realize that it’s this song. But once I hear it, I’m like, “OK, I know this one.”

This is followed by “Absolutely! Part 2” by Yoshie Hayasaka, and it was used as the fourth opening theme. This one is a classic and memorable theme. It’s an upbeat and frenetic song, and the visuals for the opening help to make this song memorable. It’s one of those songs that I hear and I have to bop along to it because it’s so catchy.

Next is “Friends: by Yoko Takahashi (YAWMIN), which was used as the sixth ending theme for Ranma 1/2. It definitely sounds like it was recorded in the early 1990s, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a good theme and it’s catchy when you listen to it, but I admit that it doesn’t come to me right away when I see the title. But as soon as I hear it, it’s like, “I do know this one, and it’s got a catchy beat.”

“Earth Orchestra” by Kusu Kusu was used as the fifth opening theme for the series. It features horns, something that you don’t hear much of in the other theme songs on this disc. The song also has a tropical sound to it, so this helps it stand out as a theme song.

Next is “Red Poppy” by Michiyo Nakajima, which was used as the seventh ending theme for Ranma 1/2. It’s a slower song, and it’s a decent song. It’s not as memorable as many of the other songs, especially if I just see its title. However, when I hear it, I recognize it. It’s not a bad theme, but I’m not as likely to listen to it as I am to many of the others.

“Don’t Cry Anymore:” by Azusa Senou was used as the sixth opening theme. It’s a very upbeat track, and it’s one I recognize instantly when I hear it. It’s another one of those where I just have to bop along when I hear it. However, I do have to say that it does sound a little similar to one of the theme songs used for the Inuyasha television anime series, another anime based on Rumiko Takahashi’s work that was released after Ranma 1/2.

This is followed by “Positive” by Miho Morikawa, which was used as the eighth ending theme for Ranma 1/2. It’s a more midtempo song and it’s got a catchy beat. While it may not be one of the first theme songs I think of when I think about Ranma 1/2, it’s still an enjoyable song to listen to.

“Love Seeker (Can’t Stop It)” by VisioN was used as the seventh opening theme for the series. I liked this one when it was used in the series, but because I only heard one particular section of it, I had a very different impression of the song than what it actually is. By being able to hear the whole song, I could hear that the band was definitely inspired by the band Queen. The introduction of the song makes me think of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and there are arrangement choices later in the song that also have a Queen influence to them. While the song is heavily influenced by Queen, it doesn’t sound like VisioN was simply trying to outright copy Queen.

The final track on the disc is “Hill of the Rainbow and the Sun,” which was used as the ninth ending theme for the series. It’s a midtempo song that has a strong focus on piano and percussion, but it’s still catchy and memorable.

Even though the songs appear on this disc in the order they appeared in the series, I have to say that the disc still flows together well as a whole unit. And in the end, even if there are a couple of songs I may not care for that much, I still have to say that Ranma 1/2 TV Theme Song Complete is still a good collection of theme songs for Ranma 1/2.

For fans of Ranma 1/2 who want to be able to own all the theme songs from the television anime series, this would be a great disc to try and track down. By having this disc, the main music from Ranma 1/2 that would be missing are the theme songs for the OVA episodes; however, I don’t know if there’s a disc out there that would have those songs or not. If you’re interested in trying to acquire this disc, your best bet is to look around at sites that sell import Japanese import CDs and trying to find the best deal.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of Ranma 1/2 TV Theme Song Complete that my husband purchased for me as a gift.

New Manga Releases: November 25, 2014

Here are the new manga releases for November 25, 2014. If you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Attack on Titan: Junior High GN 2
Cardfight!! Vanguard GN 4
Fairy Tail GN 44
Samurai Executioner Omnibus GN 3
Satoshi Kon’s OPUS GN [being released on November 26, 2014]
xxxHOLiC Rei GN 2

New Anime Releases: November 25, 2014

Here are the new anime releases for November 25, 2014. If you see any errors or omissions in this list, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Amagami SS Season One Complete [DVD]
Amagami SS Season One Complete [Blu-ray]
Log Horizon Collection 1 [DVD]
Log Horizon Collection 1 [Blu-ray]
Naruto Shippuden – Road to Ninja [DVD]
Naruto Shippuden – Road to Ninja [Blu-ray/DVD Combo]
Nisekoi Volume 1 [Blu-ray]

Pokemon: Ruby and Sapphire Anime Is Now on Hulu

The Fandom Post is reporting that the first eight episodes of the Pokemon: Ruby and Sapphire anime are available for streaming on Hulu. The episodes are the English dub versions that originally aired on American television in 2003.

As of this writing, the episodes are only available for Hulu Plus subscribers, who can watch them on their TV and mobile devices.

VIZ Media Previews Forthcoming New Bleach and Naruto Manga Box Sets

VIZ Media announces details for a pair of forthcoming manga box sets that are sure to capture the attention of die-hard readers and fans of the popular Bleach and Naruto series.

Scheduled for release in the Summer of 2015, the Bleach Manga Box Set 2 and Naruto Manga Box Set 2 each contain 20 or more individual manga volumes, at a substantial savings over buying them individually. Exclusive bonus premiums, such as special mini-comics and full-color posters, are also included in each Box Set.

In addition, due to continuing fan demand, Bleach Manga Box Set 1 and Naruto Manga Box Set 1 will be available again January 2015. The Bleach set contains the beginning 21 volumes of the first story arc, and the Naruto set contains 27 volumes. Both sets are housed in sturdy corrugate display boxes, and also include a full color double-side poster and collectable booklet.

BLEACH MANGA BOX SET 2 · Rated “T” for Teens · MSRP: $214.99 U.S. / CAN · Available July 2015

The second Bleach Manga Box Set offers fans the chance to own Volumes 22-48 at a substantial savings over buying them individually. Fans purchasing the Box Set will also receive an exclusive mini-comic containing the pilot story of the bestselling series along with a full-color, double-sided poster.

Ichigo Kurosaki never asked for the ability to see ghosts–he was born with the gift. When his family is attacked by a Hollow–a malevolent lost soul–Ichigo becomes a Soul Reaper, dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping the tortured spirits themselves find peace. In the latest Box Set volumes, after finally rescuing their friend Rukia, Ichigo and friends return to their quiet lives in the world of the living. However, the peace is short-lived as new enemies arrive from the world of the Hollows. Aizen is back, and Ichigo may be the only one who can stop him for good!

NARUTO MANGA BOX SET 2 · Rated “T” for Teens · MSRP: $174.99 U.S. / CAN · Available July 2015

Naruto is a young shinobi with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He’s got a wild sense of humor, but Naruto is completely serious about his mission to be the world’s greatest ninja! In the second NARUTO Manga Box Set, featuring Volumes 28-48, it’s been more than two years since Naruto left to train with Jiraiya. Much has happened while he has been away, and new threats to the ninja world have emerged. Can Naruto prove his worth and rescue his friend Sasuke? The new box set also will feature an exclusive mini-comic containing the NARUTO pilot story and a full-color, double-sided poster.

“These new box sets each receive a deluxe treatment and will become noteworthy additions to even the most discriminating fan’s manga collection,” says Alexis Kirsch, Editor. “Fans can catch the opening of the NARUTO SHIPPUDEN story arc and also dive into electrifying supernatural adventures with the gang from BLEACH. Hours of manga reading fun and excitement are guaranteed with these new manga Box Sets. Don’t miss their release next summer!”