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September 11, 2017

What Anime Should I Watch? (Also, I’m a Kamen Rider)

So a funny thing happened the other day.  See, Kamen Rider Build started airing on September 3rd, and -- as a fan of the franchise for a good four years now -- I’ve been following its progress and details whenever I can.  I haven’t seen the first episode yet, mind you, but I’ve seen clips and read up on details.  One point in particular crossed my path: apparently, Build’s special moves (some of them at least) are called “Boltech Finish” and “Boltech Break”.  Seem familiar?  Well, depending on how you hear the sounds and read the katakana used to craft them, it can be interpreted as a B or a V.  In other words?  If you go by what TV Tropes has on the series, it’s actually a “Voltech Finish” and a “Voltech Break”.

To quote the famed nihilist philosopher Homer Simpson: “HE’S NAMED LIKE MY NAME!”

Logic would suggest that it’s just a happy coincidence (because incidentally, Voltech has also showed up in move names in Guilty Gear Xrd and Under Night In-Birth).  Of course, better logic would suggest that, because of my enduring loyalty and constant efforts as the unofficial herald of The Church of Rider Kicks, the creators from on high paid tribute to me, my humble and most undeserved self, in the best way possible.  So yeah, I'm basically a Kamen Rider now.  Just give me a belt, a mask, and a motorcycle, and I’m all set.

…Okay, let’s talk about anime for a bit. 

I mentioned this a while back, but for posterity’s sake: over the course of a few months, I made my way through Yu-Gi-Oh Arc-V -- as in Arc-5, apparently! -- and now I’m stuck waiting for new episodes to drop on Crunchyroll.  No telling when that might be, since they were promised weeks and weeks ago.  So in other words, I’m stalled on that front.  And it leads to an unfortunate situation: having invested so much time and thought into that series, the fact that it’s gone for now (barring YouTube clips that will almost inevitably lead to spoilers popping up in my recommendations) means that there’s a hole that needs to be filled.  It’s not an unfamiliar feeling; the same thing happened with me and JoJo.  Side note: when’s Part 5, DavidPro?

In any case, I figure that that’s where anybody reading this post can jump in.  I’d consider myself an anime fan, but the issue is that -- even if there are well over a dozen different shows that pop up each season -- I don’t actually watch that much of it.  Does that need to change?  Probably.  But not all at once, and certainly not in a way that’ll get in the way of other stuff I need to take care of (as a friendly reminder: novels don’t write themselves).  So I need to start working my way through what’s out there today, and become a part of the proverbial conversation.

But let’s go ahead and get the obvious one out of the way.

My Hero Academia is definitely at the top of the list, for obvious reasons.  Honestly, it’s almost at a point where I could say “I WANT DAT ONE” and not even bother with this post.  The clips that I’ve seen have been great, the premise is an interesting one, and I’m pretty sure “You Say Run” is practically carved into my phone at this point.  And in my defense?  I actually did watch the first episode; strong start, for sure.  I just got sidetracked because of Arc-V, itself the result of me wondering if I should watch the sub or the dub.  I’ll sleep on it a bit more before making a decision.

It’s also worth noting that there are two other options that I’d rank as top priorities.  Chief among them?  There’s been new content for Gundam Build Fighters (the secret top-tier anime) for a good while now, and I need to get around to it or else I’d be deserving of a free tour of a wood chipper.  Technically that means I should take a look at the other recent Gundam stuff that’s popped up -- Iron-Blooded Orphans has started and finished before I even watched the first episode -- so I’ll need to sort that out in the weeks and months to come.  Beyond that, there’s Thunderbolt Fantasy, which was recommended to me via Twitter.  I know it as “the puppet thing”; people who have seen it know it as a work of art.  I should give that a look at some point.

It should go without saying, of course, but this isn’t just a question I’m asking for slot-snatching filler my sole amusement.  If there’s something that leaves an impression on me -- even if it’s just a single episode, as was the case with stuff like Kantai Collection and Occultic;Nine -- then it’s the perfect fodder for future posts.  In other words, those that respond here pretty much have sway over what content might come to Cross-Up someday soon.  It’s basically your chance to go “Hey, Voltech!  I really like this thing!  Can you talk about this thing for me?”  And I’m okay with that.

With that said?  Because I’m me -- and thus the worst -- I’ve already kinda-sorta defaulted to Kamen Rider Ex-Aid.

Okay, real talk: based purely on his design, I think Ex-Aid looks like hot garbage.  He’s tacky.  He’s obtuse.  He’s loud.  Literally every choice made was the wrong one.  It’s a shame, because if you look past the main Rider’s appearance (which can work, given that Kamen Rider Brave looks much better), the series itself actually seems pretty cool.  I’m not that far into it, but I have heard good things about it -- and already things have started to take an interesting shape.

The series is finished (replaced by Build, incidentally), so the path is clear for me to start chowing down on episodes.  And I’m interested in seeing where it goes.  Outside of main hero Emu -- no relation to the Australian bird and harbinger of war -- the other Riders seem like unrepentant assholes.  One of them is cold as ice, another one only cares about dueling the others to grab the transformation trinkets, and a third will gladly con others to do autopsies on the monster du jour.  But even Emu might actually be a secret asshole, given that he seems like he has a cocky (and probably psychotic) split personality.  We’ll see if the doctor-to-be has what it takes to pull in the reins on his rowdy comrades.

It’s too early to know where the story will go, but I will say this: Ex-Aid has the easiest, most direct through line toward thematic heft that I’ve seen yet in this franchise.  I’ll explain why another day, because I want to see if the show capitalizes on it.  It just might, or it’ll go in a different direction.  We’ll see.  Anything’s game.

And that’s about all I’ve got for now.  Got an anime you want me to watch?  Know anything about Kamen Rider (or even care)?  Let me hear it in the comments.  I’m itching to see the best of what Japan has to offer.

But don’t bother recommending Sword Art Online.  Don’t worry.  I’ve got something planned for that one

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