All posts by Jack Scheibelein

Former Opinion Editor of the HVA Hawkeye. Current Writer at SakugaCity.com. I write about Anime and Politics, along with publishing a ton of poetry and short stories. Hoping to be a successful person, at some point.

Review- Hellsing: Ultimate: About as Fun as an Anime Can Be

I find myself more and more looking at anime, and entertainment, through a more analytical lens. This is mostly due to having read How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas Foster. After reading the book I couldn’t help but just look for the details of what was going on. Even though it was mainly meant for western literature, I still find myself applying its core ideas to anime. Hellsing: Ultimate, however, was a show that I could very easily turn my brain off and just watch the blood splatter everywhere.

Following the leader of the Hellsing, Sir Integra, and her powerful vampire servant Alucard, Hellsing Ultimate is a remake of the original 2001 adaptation of Hellsing. It follows the bloody, spine-tingling adventures of Hellsing’s work, and how it leads up to a war against a group of Nazi soldiers that escaped World War 2. The group now known as Mellenium seeks to start a war against England, and the leader of Millennium seeks revenge against Alucard.

Oh, and did I mention that there are Vampire Nazis in this show too? Cause that really is a selling point of this show. Anituber Glass Reflections often speaks about how a certain percentage of shows generally operate on the “Rule of Cool.” This essentially means that even when a show is lacking in factors like Music or characters, it is still able to be enjoyable due to the sheer amount of awesome on screen, and Ultimate knows how to use this rule to its full effect.

Ultimate takes an idea like vampires, which has had many different, often repeated, interpretations in popular media, and manages to make it fun again. Alucard’s demonic powers are beautifully animated, along with the rest of the show. Whenever he fought, my eyes were always glued to the screen, so much so that I would forget that I was hungry.

Aside from riding the “Rule of Cool,” Ultimate has a lot to offer in other categories. It’s soundtrack, while not being as good as the original 2001 adaptation, still manages to set the tone no matter what the scene, especially near the end of the show after the Major’s ship crash lands in London.

As I mentioned before, the show is breathtakingly animated, especially when it comes to the fight scenes. Each movement feels smooth and in place, aside from a few wonky slow moments. The color palette for the show almost always feels perfect for the setting at hand. Alucard specifically always looks fantastic in his signature black and red outfit.

The show is by no means dumb. In fact, there are many ideas that are worthy of there own analytical pieces, like the ideas of being a monster vs being human, but if your looking for the epitome of fun, then Hellsing: Ultimate is definitely worth your time.

First Impressions: Aho-Girl, Super Smart Comedy? No, but Still Hilarious

Aho-girl is by no means an anime great, even when compared to just other comedy anime. Its premise is a little basic, and leaves a lot to be desired, but for whatever reason I just can’t stop laughing when I watch it.

Aho-girl centers around Yoshiko, most likely one of the stupidest people to ever live. The title seems to fit, considering how much of an idiot she is, failing all of her tests and being obsessed with bananas. She’s constantly irritating both her friend A-kun and her mom with her sheer lack of common sense. She goes to school with A-kun and everyday there is something new she is hung up on.

I’ll start up front by saying that if you like your comedy to be thoughtful and sophisticated with well thought out jokes that go a couple levels deep then this show is not for you. Aho-girl relies on mostly low brow humor and fast paced, often violent jokes to get you to laugh. Now, if you are like me and can appreciate many different types of humor, including boob grabbing and dick jokes, then you will probably love this show, as I have so far.

The show seems to know comedic timing very well, as many of the jokes land, and there are quite a few good one liners already. As of right now at least, it looks like the show understands its comedic formula well enough to not only perfect it,  but to experiment in future episodes.

Of course, the show would be nothing without its characters. All of them are very well voice acted and are very emotive, enhancing the comedy even more. I would like to give a special shout out to Yoshiko’s voice actor Aoi Yuuki who does an amazing job portraying her character’s stupidity. Admittedly, I’m not to familiar with to many Japanese voice actors, but you can now officially call me a fan.

I don’t think its very likely that the show will end up going downhill, as the consistent level of quality leads me to believe the show is being handled well. As of right now though, I definitely recommend you watch it. The short twelve minute episodes are bound to brighten up your day.

Boruto: My Thoughts So Far(SPOILERS)

After Having caught up with Boruto just recently, I do feel at ease knowing the show is trying to differentiate itself from its predecessor. Boruto, for the most part, feels as though it’s coming in to its own, however that does not free the show from criticism, so I thought I would share a few of my thoughts and concerns.

Firstly, Even though I was very skeptical before I started watching it, the first few episodes convinced me quickly that Boruto can, and for the most part will, be its own show. Boruto himself is in many ways different from Naruto, especially in personality. Boruto seems to be much cooler headed, and doesn’t always resort to fighting as the first option. It seems he got some of Hinata’s calm and collected genes, as he thinks about the situation he’s in much more carefully, although not always. This change is very much welcome, as Naruto’s endless naivety could get very annoying at points. The show also goes a great distance to show that Boruto wants nothing to do with his father’s legacy, and that he would much rather make it on his own and have Naruto be a normal dad than to have the status that comes with being the Hokage’s son. In that way he seems to have a lot in common with Itachi, without of course feeling the immense pain he did.

I will also sing its praises, albeit a bit more tepidly, for the mystery elements that it has incorporated into this first arc. It was a very fun experience watching Boruto use this power, which seemingly is hinted will be his only hope in a later arc, to first solve a mystery about an attacker that came seemingly out of no where, and who turns out to be the class rep. Not to mention that the mystery elements are done fairly well overall. The show builds up the main villain by leaving clues at every turn, and has Boruto try and piece that all together.

Of course, there are a few things that I have a problem with. For one, although it seems Boruto is very much his own person, it’s hard to say the same for his classmates. Both in character designs and in personality, they seem to be, in one way or another, just copies of their parents. This could be the lack of episodes in the show so far, but I’d be willing to bet that a lot of Boruto’s classmates just wont get any time to show themselves as characters.

Its also worth pointing out that while the content of the show so far is very different from Naruto, the structure seems to be already setting itself up in the same way. The first arc, like in Naruto, had them fighting an enemy over a smaller number of episodes, and just like in Naruto it seems Boruto is setting itself up for a much larger arc to come. Admittedly this criticism is largely based on speculation, but It still concerns me nonetheless.

Overall, I think it’s a good show so far. It has a lot of promise and the first arc with the ghost was entertaining. Any other criticisms I have of the show, at this point at least, are a bit nit-picky, so I’ll just finish by saying that I hope the show stays original, otherwise It might get boring very quickly.

Review- Eureka Seven: Still One of the Best Anime to Date

It really only took a few episodes before I realized, but Eureka Seven is by far and away one of the best anime to date. The 2006 Bones production enjoys some of the stellar storytelling along with a cast of characters that feel much more relatable than a lot of other shows.
Eureka Seven is set in a future in which the discovery of ancient creatures has lead to the to the creation Human shaped robotic fighting suits known as LFOs. These suits have largely been taken over by the military, which has used them to expand throughout the entire world. Enter the Gekkostate, a rouge group of anti-military resistance made up of former special forces units who also happen to have their own magazine publication. It is through this publication that our protagonist Renton Thurston, son of the man considered humanity’s hero Adrock Thurston, comes to admire the group and dreams about one day joining them. It is through a fateful encounter with Gekkostate’s best pilot Eureka Renton is able to join the group, leaving behind his grandfather with the promise to return and become a mechanic.
After the first few introduction episodes it begins to show the life of the Gekkostate, and the wild and captivating personalities on board. All of these characters, in one way or another, feel compelling, from Tolho’s transformation over the course of the show from a rowdy, confused 20 something to a mature, loving motherly figure, and Holland’s evolving feelings about Eureka, to Renton’s maturing as an individual, which leads to the main attraction of the show, the love story of Eureka and Renton.
As Renton is very much a young teenager, the show is set up as a coming of age story, in which he not only learns more about his past and has to come to terms with both his sister and dad being gone as more and more of the ghosts of their pasts show up, he also falls deeper and deeper in love with Eureka, and it is here where the show shines. At first, having not had a women in his life other than his sister before she past away when he was young, Renton did not have a way to properly express his feelings, often coming off as overly aggressive even when trying to show compassion and kindness. However, over the course of the show’s 50 episodes, he learns more and more about Eureka, including the fact that she is a highly intelligent being known as a Karalian, Renton can only find more things to love about her. Intially, Eureka is confused about her feelings, even to the point of being scared of Renton, because she does not know how to process mutual feelings for him. But even while fighting a war to save the planet from the destructive tendencies of Duey, Renton and Eureka’s Romance still shines through as one of the most endearing in anime.
Apart from having great characters, Eureka Seven also knows how to world build. As prominent Anime YouTuber Digibro said in a recent video, “the show is steeped in…anything that is counter culture.” From the surfing of Trapar waves to the releasing of the Gekkostate’s own magazine, “Rayout”,  the show not only portrays the Gekkostate as being resistant to power, but it also paints the entire world from that point of view. It shows you life of Gekkostate and how it may not be glamorous, but it can be fun. Among this exploration of counter culture the show also explores many themes about environmentalism, diversity and acceptance that also serve to build on both the world and the romance between Renton and Eureka.
Eureka Seven is a show that, while only having discovered it recently, will likely remain with me for a long time. To say that its narrative is compelling is to undermine the show’s unique perspective and simply not give it the credit it deserves. It goes without saying that if you have not watched it, then you should.

Arakawa Under the Bridge: The Manga Version of Waiting for Godot

  I recently read Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot as an assignment for an English Class. It was a fun enough read, and the obvious joke of the situation revealed itself fairly quickly, but after i was done I really didn’t think much of it.
Jump to a few weeks ago when I was scrolling through Crunchyroll’s relatively small selection of manga, and I end up finding an absolute gem in the form of Arakawa Under the Bridge. I’ll admit that I have not read through most of it, only about 40 or so of it’s relatively small chapter’s, but what I have read has intrigued me in a way that most Manga I have read before simply did not.
Now, let’s not beat around the bush, Arakawa Under the Bridge and Waiting for Godot share many similarities, both in their genre and characters. The more obvious similarity between the two is their genre, which can be most easily classified as a Tragicomedy. The Tragedy is Godot comes from the book’s perspective on expectation, where the two main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait everyday near the same tree for a man named Godot. And while it is true that this expectation also ends up being the comedic payoff, from the perspective of those characters, It is very sad. Both of them sit their everyday, hoping that their aspirations of finally getting to meet Godot, it never happens, and they simply continue to sit their, disappointed. The Comedy also comes from the idea that a lot of different ideas can be projected on the man named Godot, most notably God.
  Arakawa also shares a similar comedic setup in it’s reliance on expectation, but the expectations play out in a much more lighthearted way. Kou Ichinomiya is supposed to take over his father’s very successful Company, but one day after being bullied by a group of kids and having his pants hung from the top of a bridge and then trying to retrieve them, he falls in the river and almost drowns. When he wakes up, Kou realizes that he’s been saved by a girl who live under the bridge. As the story goes on, we see that Kou has quite a few expectations about both Nino, the girl who saved him, and the rest of the people living under the bridge. Some of his expectations are right, and some are wrong, but in both cases his expectations create great comedic payoff and a furthered sense of connection. The Tragedy in Arakawa’s case comes after the expectation. As soon as you realize how likable a character like Nino really is you start to wonder why it is she’s homeless under a bridge, or why she insists that she’s from Venus. It also comes from realizing that as much as Kou might want to, it seems unlikely that he’ll ever really fit in with society under the bridge.
It may not seem like Something you would read in English Literature class and a comedy Manga from 2004 have much in common, but they do. Both have two main characters that play off each other and provide fantastic comedy relief, and both have broader societal commentary about what it is we should be valuing in life, and about what it is we really seek to achieve.
I write all of this to say that if you have not read Hikaru Nakamura’s Arakawa Under the Bridge then you should, but also to provide some interesting points of comparison between a book you probably have read and a manga you might not have.