30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 30: An Anime You Wish Never Ended and Continued On

This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.


Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

The time has come! It’s the last day in the 30 Day Anime Challenge and we’re thrilled to announce that as of yesterday our Kickstarter ended after successfully reaching it’s funding goal! Yay! Thanks so much to everyone who pledged😀

Today for the final post in this series, we’re tasked with thinking of an anime that we wish never ended.

For me, I would really have liked Death Note to have carried on, maybe with a new person taking over the role of Kira and using the book, or maybe even a deeper insight into the Shinigami world.

Death Note Anime

Death Note


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

The anime I often wish had never ended tend to be those with unsatisfying conclusions, mainly due to their short series length. There have been quite a few anime that have ended prematurely for me, and I have a few guesses as to why this happens. One reason could be that they just don’t get the ratings expected of them and are subsequently cancelled like any other poorly performing TV show; another could be that they catch up to the manga they’re based on too fast – which normally results in ‘filler’ arcs rather than an outright ending; and another could be simply because the studio or TV execs only order a short run of episodes. The latter is applicable I think to popular anime such as Soul Eater and Blue Exorcist which, despite having more than enough chapters of manga to last as source material for a while, both hurriedly build up a rich world and well-developed characters only to strangely finish at the 26th episode and always feel like they’ve been disappointingly cut short.

My pick for this post is going to be the most frustrating of these categories: a good anime series with a strong fan-base that was cancelled with NO conclusion and with no signs yet of ever returning to be finished properly – D.Gray-Man.

D.Gray-Man

D.Gray-Man

Despite having a big fan following and more than enough chapters for the manga left to cover, the show was cancelled after 103 episodes running from 2007 to 2009 for reasons which I still don’t know. Seriously – Google it. If you can find a reason then please tell me because it’s really baffling! The manga series, which is also incredibly popular, also suffers from sporadic release dates, but this is due (understandably) to a long-term severe illness that creator Katsura Hoshino suffers from.

It’s clear too that this cancellation was unplanned or unknown to the animators and production staff at the time, as the anime doesn’t exactly end on a cliffhanger, but just after the conclusion of the “Invasion of the Black Order” arc with absolutely no clear resolution to the story as a whole. Let me translate my frustration mathematically: 103 episodes at about 20 minutes in length adds up to over 2,000 hours of my life spent watching a show with no ending. (Kind of like watching Lost, I suppose.) And although I have been able to satiate my thirst for more story by reading the drip-fed chapters of the manga that are still being released, I don’t think I’ll ever get the feeling of proper closure on the anime cancellation until I at least find out the reason why😦

D.Gray-Man

I miss you, guys!

Honourable mentions: Soul Eater, Blue Exorcist, Ouran High School Host Club, Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, Cardcaptor Sakura


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

This one is an easy one. SHAMAN KING!

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Shaman King was awesome. The manga is a lot better in my opinion (it actually ends properly for starters) but I really enjoyed the anime – both dubbed and subbed. I found myself liking all the characters in it and would often think about what my Guardian Spirit would be and how I would fight with it.

However, the end of the show has Yoh, our protagonist, defeating Hao/Zeke during the Shaman Tournament, and due to this disruption the tournament get’s cancelled. The gang re-group after some time and they all start talking about what they are going to do now that the tournament has either been put on hold or cancelled altogether. We then get a shot of Yoh’s Oracle Bell (a device used by tournament participants to receive information about the tournament), and the screen glows as a notification pops up. And that’s it. END.

An Oracle Bell.

An Oracle Bell.

Sooooo… is the tournament on? Are there more episodes? Nope! I’m not too sore about it as the manga is better and has a way more satisfying ending, but this still bugs me. There was clearly going to be more, the set up was there, all they had to do was continue, but no, they just didn’t.

Never mind. (Except I do!)


 Written by The Cosmic Anvil Team.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page!

Kickstarter age of revolution volume one cosmic anvil new reward tiers added 

30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 29: An Anime You Wished Was Real

This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.


Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

Who hasn’t wished this anime was real? What would be better than going on an adventure with your best friends to train and fight pet like creatures? Of course, I’m talking about Pokemon.

Realistic Pokemon If Pokemon were real

Realistic Pokemon

Ugh. Maybe not if they looked like this!


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

Pokemon was the very first thing that sprang to my mind too. I’ve been playing the games since they were first released and so I kind of feel like I’ve been living in them for about ten years of my life now anyway. I mean, it’s just the perfect fictional world to inhabit: close enough to our reality to be familiar, but different enough to be new and exciting; you can start your adventure from childhood into senility and have life-long, loyal companions; there are multiple jobs outside of being a trainer you could take on that still involve Pokemon; aside from past wars and eco-terrorists it’s relatively peaceful; and there are aliens, and dragons, and ghosts and…. POKEMON. FUCKING POKEMON. YEAH!

But, so as not to repeat Jess’ pick, I’m going to go for something completely different. Aside from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and all the rest, my other favourite anime environments have to be High Schools/Academies/Guilds. Especially if they involve magic or some other weird specialist theme. And so in that vein, I think it’s a close toss-up between the Shibusen Academy from Soul Eater; True Cross Academy from Blue Exorcist, Binan High School from Cute High Earth Defence Club Love!, and the Fairy Tail Guild from Fairy Tail.

You know what? When I started writing this I was sure I was going to go with the Shibusen Academy, but on second thought the Soul Eater world – as cool and gothic as it is – also has a high chance of making you mentally unstable and/or getting you brutally killed by psychotic witches. So, for a more pleasant quality of life, I think I’m going to have to go with Fairy Tail.

Fairy Tail Guild

Welcome to the Guild!

I mean, the Fairy Tail Guild is just like one big happy clubhouse. With magic! And adventures! And BFFs! And talking animals! And Gray’s abs…

Gray Fullbuster Fairy Tail

Oh, what were you saying? I got lost in your six-pack…

And as much as I’d love to think that I would be a kick-ass, tough-talking Knight like Erza Scarlet, in reality I think I would wield far less physical magical abilities that relied on summoning other things to fight for me, like Lucy’s ability to use keys that summon Zodiac-themed creatures. Or maybe I would just choose to be an adorable animal sidekick like Happy. After all, cat’s do have the best lives, right?

Happy Fairy Tail

AYE, SIR!

Honourable mentions: Soul Eater, Blue Exorcist, Ouran High School Host Club, Cute High Earth Defence Club Love!, Cardcaptor Sakura


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

One of my favourite things to do it muck around with my mates, so now imagine if all my mates had superpowers, or are just stupid powerful, and now imagine we are all pirates. Yes, I would choose One Piece world to be real.

Squad goals = The One Piece.

Squad goals = The One Piece.

Yes the world is kind messed up, but no more than this world. Just imagine what it feels like when you and your squad are out. It feels great, doesn’t it? Now imagine that but you’re also kick-ass pirates with superpowers taking down corrupt governments and living a life of freedom on the waves! Sounds like bliss to me.

Of course I would be constantly terrified of crossing the path of the wrong pirate, but as long as I have my crew with me and I learn at least one type of Haki, I’ll be sound. Plus, pirate ships are dope. *Drops mike.*

The Thousand Sunny.

The Thousand Sunny Ship.


Written by The Cosmic Anvil Team.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page! 

Kickstarter age of revolution volume one cosmic anvil new reward tiers added

 

30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 28: Favourite Quote From Any Anime Character

This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.


Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

I had to think to REALLY think about this one, but I think in the end it has to be this amazing quote from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood:

“Everything we see, everyone we meet, is caught up in a great unseen flow. But it’s bigger than that. It’s the entire world, the entire universe even. And compared to something as big as that, Al, you and I are tiny, not even the size of ants. Only one small part within a much greater flow. Nothing more than a fraction of the whole. But by putting all those “ones” together, you get one great “All”, just like Teacher said. The flow of this universe follows laws of such magnitude that you and I can’t even imagine them.” – Edward Elric


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

I could go with something beautiful, epic, or philosophical here, but instead I think I’m going to go with a line that always makes me chuckle, and that I frequently drop randomly into conversation or just say to myself and chuckle like a weirdo.

It’s a quote from a film that I know so well I could probably recite all the dialogue off the cuff like a 40s radio play – Howl’s Moving Castle from Studio Ghibli. Howl is a young, beautiful, powerful, and rebellious wizard, but he also wears his flaws very prominently on his fancy silken sleeves. His house-guest-come-cleaning-lady Sophie (a young woman aged by a witch scorned by Howl’s rejection) spends hours doing some much needed scrubbing and re-organising of the Castle, including the bathroom’s bewitched hair products – unbeknownst to Howl.

Howl's Moving Castle Dirty Bathroom

Bachelor Pad = GROSS.

The rest of the characters are in the castle’s kitchen and dining area, and Howl suddenly comes running downstairs screaming and dressed only in a towel around his waist, clutching his hair which is magically morphing from it’s usual blonde into a multitude of strange colours.

Howl's Moving Castle Hair dying Scene

Bad Hair Day?

He scolds Sophie for mixing his potions up, and when she tries to comfort him by putting his misery into perspective – you know, because there’s more to life than just great hair…

Howl's Moving Castle Sophie: 'You should look at it now, it's even better.'

… he comes out with this priceless reply:

Howl's Moving Castle:

It’s not a snappy retort or a sarcastic quip. It’s a genuine, melancholic whine from an absolute drama queen who really does think you can most definitely judge a book it’s well-conditioned and magically coloured cover – and that’s why I love it so much. Who doesn’t want to look beautiful every day of their life? I feel you, Howl. I feel you.

Does it also make it even funnier that it’s Christian Bale (the voice of Batman) who says this in the English dub? I think it does.

Honourable mentions: “YOU’VE. GOT. MAIL.” Izzy (Digimon: The Movie)


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

Dudes. My favourite anime quote comes from a source that most wouldn’t go to for epic/profound quotes, but it does have one of the most well-known and well-written quotes ever.

My favourite quote is from Mewtwo’s speech at the end of Pokemon: The First Movie. Don’t judge – just read it:

So wise.

So wise.

This quote can apply to so many people, as it resonates with all kinds of race, class, sexuality etc. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what family you were born into – it’s what you do with your life and your actions that are the things that define you. Something we can all relate too, no matter who we are. We all have the need to show that world who we are, and what it means to be us. Powerful stuff for a kids show, am I right?

Here is the quote, spoken by one of the best voice actors ever, Jay Goede who sadly passed away in 2001:

R.I.P Jay Goede.


Written by The Cosmic Anvil Team.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page!

Kickstarter age of revolution volume one cosmic anvil new reward tiers added

30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 27: Most Bad-ass Scene From Any Anime Character

This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.


Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

For me one of the most bad-ass scenes from a particular character is a scene featuring Tatsuya from The Irregular at Magic High School. He reminds me a lot of Kirito from Sword Art Online especially when he taking down bosses single-handedly! In the particular scene I’m talking about Tatsuya takes down a whole bunch of terrorists on his own without killing them in the episode “Enrollment Part VI”.

Tatsuya the irregular at magic high school badass fight scene

Tatsuya: Badass.


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

To me, a bad-ass character can only be truly bad-ass if they’re unaware of how bad-ass they really are. Otherwise, they just become cocky or obnoxious. You know, that kind of walking-in-slow-motion-out-of-an-explosion thing that X-Men Origins: Wolverine perfected to a ridiculous tee. Then there are also those moments when characters who are not normally bad-ass have incredibly bad-ass moments out of nowhere. (Have I said ‘bad-ass’ enough times yet?)

I also have a particular weird fondness for when characters jump/fall off of really tall things and don’t seem to give a shit about whether or not they’ll land safely and just make a survival plan on the way down. Legolas from The Lord of The Rings films, Hawkeye from The Avengers, and Robin from the Teen Titans cartoon series are serial performers of this bad-ass cliche. It’s difficult to pinpoint just one scene, but my favourite bad-ass anime character who seems to do this a lot is Major Motoko Kurasangi from the Ghost in the Shell franchise.

Motoko Kurasangi Ghost in the Shell Bad ass

Motoko Kurasangi from Ghost in the Shell

As a cyborg, Motoko seems to live her life as a futuristic law-enforcer free of pesky human problems such as personal safety and fear. She’s ruthless, analytical, powerful, well-respected amongst her peers, and – as previously mentioned – doesn’t give a shit about jumping off of buildings as this fan-made montage demonstrates:

During the opening credits to the 1995 Ghost in the Shell film, we see her body being assembled in a sequence called ‘The Making of a Cyborg’, which is probably the most intimate introduction to a character I’ve ever seen. However, the chase sequence that follows is where we really get to know her as a character: from her great aim with a gun; her commanding voice; her superb physical fighting skills; her brutal strength, and her dry sense of humour. We also learn that her disregard for the well-being of her body extends to not really feeling any shame/discomfort at being naked in public, as she unflinchingly stands there in front of the criminal she has just apprehended stark naked after uncloaking herself from her invisiblity mechanism. How much more bad-ass can you get?

Honourable mentions: Vincent Valentine’s fight scene (Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children), Roy Mustang saves Riza Hawkeye from Lust (Full Metal Alchemist & Brotherhood), Levi fights the female Titan (Attack on Titan), Kanda Yuu fights Skin Bolic (D.Gray-Man), Sebastian Michaelis fights with cutlery (Black Butler), Erza Scarlet transforming into her Heaven’s Wheel armour of the first time (Fairy Tail), Ichigo Kurosaki fights Grimmjow (Bleach).


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

A bad-ass scene for me must contain two things: an event or action that causes shock, and a character that give zero fucks about what he/she just did. And that’s why I think the most bad-ass scene is when Luffy punches a Celestial Dragon in One Piece.

BAM!

BAM!

In the world of One Piece there are a group of noblemen and women called the ‘Celestial Dragons’. The reason behind their status is due to them being the descendants of the original Kings and Queens that joined together to form the World Government. These guys are the worst. They all believe that they are above everyone, to the point that they wear glass around their heads, so that they don’t breath the same air as everyone else.

Celestial Dragons.

The Celestial Dragons.

This isn’t even the worst bit though – they also deal in slavery by buying and selling the lives of humans, fish people, and mer-people alike. Once you are bought by a Celestial Dragon, you are branded with their symbol – a dragon’s foot – constantly reminding you that you are underneath their heel.

Luffy meets his first Celestial Dragon at a slave auction (unsurprisingly). The greed, lack of humanity, and shocking treatment of one of Luffy’s friends that the nobleman shows drives Luffy to do the most bad-ass thing ever. Here is the scene:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjmKy-Rcp6Y

Everyone in the room knows the cultural and political status of this guy, and so everyone is shocked at the statement that Luffy is making, but not Luffy. Luffy is just doing what comes natural, and that’s standing up for his friends. Luffy doesn’t care who this man is, he just wants to punch him for shooting his friend, and so he does. This scene is so good because one: for what is represents to the other characters in the show, and two: for how little Luffy cares about all that, and three: for being one of the best punches in all of anime.

AARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!

AARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!


 

Written by The Cosmic Anvil Team.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page

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Kickstarter new reward tier £15 pledge cosmic anvil

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30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 26: Best Anime Fight

This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.


[SPOILER ALERT: The results of battles/finales will be discussed in this post!]

Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

My favourite anime fight is without a doubt between Titan Eren and the Female Titan in Attack On Titan. It’s absolutely epic and intense:

Honorable mentions: Edward vs. Father (Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood) Kaneki vs. Jason (Tokyo Ghoul)


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not massively into shonen fighter anime like Dragon Ball and Naruto that specialise in big OTT fights that go on for ages, so my picks for this one are largely motivated by emotional intensity. And in that vein, I find myself really stuck between two particular fight scenes that come right at the end of two of my favourite anime series’, and both happen to be the brainchild of the great Shinichirō Watanabe.

The first scene I have to talk about as my top honourable mention is the finale of Samurai Champloo, in which wandering samurai Jin and Mugen square off against Shogun Kariya who has come to kill them for aiding Fuu in finding her father – a declared traitor by the Japanese Government. Mugen’s flashy breakdance-inspired moves are no match for Kariya’s minimal but effective swings, and soon it comes down to a classic one-on-one show-down between the two most-measured and skilled warriors: Jin and Kariya.

Samurai Champloo Jin vs Kariya

Jin goes up against Kariya.

You know this set-up so well it’s probably a cliche by now, but it’s none-the-less intense when replicated here. It has all the pacing and tension of a cinematic Western quick-on-the-draw fight, climaxing so quickly, you literally have no idea who the victor is at first:

But as brilliant as this fight is, I have to give my actual pick to the finale of Watanabe’s 1990s intergalactic adventure series’ Cowboy Bebop. Just like Samurai Champloo‘s ingenious blend of hip-hop with samurai cinema (‘chanbara‘), Watanabe feeds influences as diverse as film-noir, John Woo, jazz, sci-fi, and cyberpunk into Cowboy Bebop, making it one of the most original, stylish, and influential anime series of all time.

The final fight – as though a precursor to Samurai Champloo – is also a classic stand-off between our rogue hero Spike Spiegel and his friend-turned-enemy Vicious. At the top of the Red Dragon Syndicate skyscraper, the pair slug it out in a quick flurry of swords and guns, dancing in and out of the shadows. Both are furious, desperate, and resolved to end their feud once and for all – you can see it in their screwed-up expressions and hear it in their grunts of exertion. Spike is eventually victorious – but at a great cost.

Cowboy Bebop Spike and Vicious confront each other for the final time

Spike and Vicious confront each other for the final time.

As he slowly limps out of the building, the shadows are dispelled by a bath of golden light pouring over him, and as his body crumples to the ground, the camera slowly zooms out until his body is almost too small to see, lifting up out of the city to the sky. This sudden contrast in light and tone somehow lifts the tension of the brutal fight into a peaceful ambiguity, and Yoko Kanno’s ‘Blue’ playing over the credits just completes it perfectly. We’re not completely sure if Spike is dead, but either way – his psychological turmoil that he has wrestles with throughout the series seems to have been resolved. I still haven’t gotten over the goosebumps it gave me years after first watching it!

 Honourable mentions: Kanda Yuu vs. Skin Bolic (D.Gray-Man), Edward Elric vs. Greed (Full Metal Alchemist & Brotherhood), Roy Mustang vs. Lust (Full Metal Alchemist & Brotherhood) Levi vs. Female Titan (Attack on Titan), Kirito & Asuna vs. Level Boss (first team-up) (Sword Art Online), Sebsatian Michaelis vs. Grell Sutcliffe (Black Butler), Ichigo vs. Grimmjow (Bleach), Cloud vs. Septhorith (Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children)


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

I’ve talked a lot about Dragon Ball and One Piece already over this blog series, so I want to talk about an epic fight that isn’t apart of the gallery of epic DBZ and OP fights for this one.

The fight I want to talk about is Cloud vs. Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. Advent Children might not be a traditional anime, but I still regard it as an anime none-the-less.

Slice and Dice.

Slice and Dice.

This fight scene has everything you want from an epic anime battle: Huge swords, high jumps, crashing buildings, and glorious hair. The action is fast and fluid, and almost a little too fast for the eye providing a god-like quality to the combatants. My favourite part of the fight is when Sephiroth and Cloud are falling with the debris of a crumbling building that Sephiroth cut up, slicing chunks of the building to either dodge or attack and colliding mid-air, sword against sword, all happening while Sephiroth’s theme plays. Cloud’s final move is awesome as well, ripping Sephiroth to shreds. So cool.

Here is the full fight:


Written by The Cosmic Anvil Team.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page

Kickstarter age of revolution volume one cosmic anvil new reward tiers added

Kickstarter new reward tier £15 pledge cosmic anvil

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30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 25: Saddest Anime Death

This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.


[SPOILER ALERT: Obviously, there will be death scenes discussed in this post!]

Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

One of the saddest deaths I’ve ever seen in anime is the death of Maes Hughes in Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood. I was genuinely distraught by his death, especially as we get to know his wife and young daughter who are left behind, and considering how much he also takes care of everyone including Edward, Alphonse and Winry😦


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

As I’ve said before during this blog series, I’m a complete wimp – I cry very easily at nearly anything, from TV adverts to just watching the news sometimes. That’s why for this post I decided to go with a death scene that I that I didn’t expect to make me as sad as it did, and also one that I never see come up on ‘saddest deaths in anime’ lists, and that’s Ciel Phantomhive’s death in the season one finale of Black Butler, or Kuroshitsuji.

Ciel Phantomhive's death, Black Butler

Ciel Phantomhive’s death, Black Butler

I was completely hooked on this anime when it came out in 2008 from the very first episode. In a genre that is totally over-saturated with cliche, Yana Toboso’s Black Butler breathed new life into the Supernatural, ‘monster-of-the-week’ structure of story-telling with it’s gothic style, ghoulish humour, endearing characters, and new twists on British legends and history.

Set in a Victorian-era England, the story follows orphaned thirteen-year-old Earl Ciel Phantomhive, who after witnessing his parent’s murder at the hands of a mysterious occult group, vows revenge on their killers. Hearing his cries for vengeance, a demon offers him a contract: assistance in helping him reek his revenge in exchange for his soul. Ciel accepts, and the demon takes the guise of Sebastian Michaelis, his loyal and extraordinarily skilled butler.

Black Butler Anime

Sebastian and the Phantomhive Mansion staff protect Ciel from harm.

But the path to attaining Ciel’s precious revenge isn’t a straight one. As well as heading up the Phantomhive’s toy company (which is clearly intended to be ironic considering Ciel has no interest in childish pursuits) the young Earl must also fulfil his family duties as Queen Victoria’s ‘Guard Dog’ and protect the Queendom from ‘abnormal’ threats. Werewolf attacks, Jack the Ripper, child prostitution, royal ghosts, rogue angels… These are all dangerous missions that Ciel and Sebastian take on together through the first series.

All the while, Sebastian attends to Ciel’s every whim and need with delicate precision to little to no expression of gratitude from his stoic master. It seems that Ciel’s heart has been hardened by the early trauma he has had to endure, to the point at which he has completely abandoned his own childhood. Instead of playing with other children he attends business lunches and signs documents in his study. Sebastian endeavours to melt his frostiness with a strange gentile touch, strange because every act of kindness his performs for Ciel is always tinged with that underlying feeling of hunger for the soul he is fattening up. You see, Sebastian doesn’t just want any old soul: he wants one he has grown and nurtured until it’s just right to eat.

Black Butler ending Sebastian carries Ciel to his final resting place

Sebastian carries Ciel to his final resting place.

This all reaches an inevitable climax at the end of the series when Ciel’s soul is indeed ripe enough for Sebastian’s tastes. But what caught me completely off-guard about the final sequence is how moving it was. I was expecting something bloody and monstrous, but it turned out to be strangely tender and peaceful. Sebastian rows Ciel to a strange deserted island and lays him down on a bench in an abandoned ruin. He removes Ciel’s eyepatch that hides the eye inscribed with the demonic contract, and Ciel smiles up at him – not fearful, or in pain, but relieved and satisfied. Sebastian leans in with a fanged smile towards his lips… and that’s it. I don’t know why it choked me up so much. I guess I didn’t realise how invested I’d become in these two over such a short episode run, or how cathartic a death I knew was inevitable would feel. Rather than a hunter consuming its prey, it felt more like a close friend helping anther to find a much-needed release from life.

Such a shame then that such a satisfying ending was kind of ruined by a bizarre second season:/ At least the manga is still going strong though!

Honourable mentions: L (Death Note), Maes Hughes & Nina Tucker (Full Metal Alchemist & Brotherhood), Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop), Asuka Langley Soryu (End of Evangelion), Koworu Nagisa (Neon Genesis Evangelion) Seita and Satsuma (Grave of the Fireflies), Kikyo (InuYasha).


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

I’ve already talked about two deaths during this series, so in order to not repeat myself, I’ve had to really think hard about another anime death that left me feeling emotional. One of my saddest anime deaths (apart from the ones I’ve already talked about) is the death of Wizardmon in Digimon Adventures.

Wizardmon and Gatomon (left to right).

Wizardmon and Gatomon (left to right)

Wizardmon is the best friend of Gatomon, the Digimon partner to Digidestined Kari – sister of original Digidestined Tai. Gatomon is introduced to us as a Digimon who works for Myotismon, one of the many villains of the series, and one of her redeeming qualities is her friendship with Wizardmon, showing that maybe these two aren’t as evil as their master.

It is revealed to us that Kari is a Digidestined, and that Gatomon is her Digimon partner. Myotismon learns this and battles the Digidestined now including Kari and Gatomon, he tries to attack Gatomon, but Wizardmon takes the hit, sacrificing his life for his friend. I remember watching this as a kid on my VHS tape that I used to record Digimon on, and crying my eyes out. The most touching part of his death is how zen he is. Gatomon says sorry and blames herself, but Wizardmon calmly says that he has had a happy life, and the reason for that was Gatomon’s friendship. He thanks her for it and passes away.

Here is Wizardmon’s death scene for you to watch… you know, if you’re into that sort of thing:


Written by The Cosmic Anvil Team.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page

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30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 24: Moment That Shocked You The Most in An Anime

This post is part of The 30 Day Anime Challenge Series alongside the Cosmic Anvil Kickstarter campaign. Click here to read the introduction, and click here to check out and support the campaign to help us fund the printing and distribution of our first collected volume of our manga-inspired comic series, Age of Revolution.


[SPOILER ALERT! There will be some tragic/death scenes and plot twists mentioned in this post.]

Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

What shocked me the most out of all the anime I’ve seen so far has to be the surprisingly dark themes in Puella Magi Madoka Magicka. I went into the series blind only knowing it was about magical girls but it turned out to be a hell of a lot grimmer than that!

Even the cute cat-like creature, Kyubey, who initially appears to help and guide the magical girls turns out to be an emotionless, scheming alien that has a total lack of regard for the girls’ lives! Mainly as he doesn’t tell the girls that once they become Puella Magi, if they fall into despair they become the very witches that they are fighting!

kyubey turned around

I mean… how could this cute creature be so evil?!

Honorable mentions: L’s Death (Death Note), Maes Hughes Death (Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood), Lucy killing Kouta’s Dad & Sister (Elfen Lied) and Eren becoming a Titan (Attack On Titan).


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

Until recently I would have had a hard time choosing between moments for this one. That was until I saw the feature-length anime Perfect Blue at the Kotatsu Japanese Animation film festival in Cardiff a couple of weeks ago, and am still trying to get over it weeks later! [Just as a warning, this film is rated 18 (R-rated) and I will be discussing some very NSFW content.]

Perfect Blue Film Poster

Perfect Blue Film Poster

Perfect Blue is a psychological thriller about a J-pop idol called Mima who, after enjoying some success as part of a pop group called ‘CHAM!’, is encouraged by her management to try and channel her talents into acting instead of music. She unhappily complies, taking up a small role in a TV crime series. Unfortunately, following this break she starts to become pushed into doing more and more ‘mature’ work, supposedly to be considered as a ‘serious’ actress, involving a hideously gratuitous rape scene on her TV show, and nude photo shoots. Whilst this is going on, Mima also becomes the victim of online stalking in the form of a blog that claims to be written by her called ‘Mima’s Room.’ The blog tells Mima’s fans how unhappy she is with her new life whilst detailing with creepy accuracy everything that Mima did each day. Moreover, people around Mima who could be seen to be taking advantage of her keep ending up dead.

Mima performing with CHAM!

Mima performing with CHAM!

As Mima becomes more and more unnerved by the attacks, the stalking, and being forced into uncomfortable situations for her new line of work, her mental state becomes more and more fragile. She is haunted day and night by a ghostly projection of herself in her J-pop persona who mimics that words of the blog, making Mima question her own identity and image. Is anything in her life real anymore? Who is the real Mima and who is the performer? As the film shifts between her real life, her TV life, and the waking nightmares in Mima’s head, we as an audience also become less and less sure of what is real and what is fantasy, to the point at which all three blur incomprehensibly together.

Which is the real Mima?

Who is the real Mima?

In a film that is wholly quite shocking all the way through, perhaps the most shocking scene for me – other than the twist at the end – is when Mima is attacked by her stalker (the writer of ‘Mima’s Room’) in the TV studio at night who beats and nearly rapes her before she is able to escape him. She runs away for help, only to find that his unconscious body is gone. The scene is eerily similar in lighting and placement to the one she shot for the TV show is stars on, and the disappearance of his body also reinforces the feeling of uncertainty that the attack ever happened at all.

I felt super uncomfortable watching both of the sexual assault scenes in this film, which I know is the correct feeling you’re supposed to have when watching them, but I also felt very divided about their execution. On the one hand their unflinchingly graphic nature worked to add to the film’s classification as a horror/thriller, and as both were revealed in the end to possibly not be real at all, their almost overly lecherous overtones could be fabrications of Mima’s intense nightmares. However, I am always dubious of how far rape scenes need to go in terms of graphicness. After all, rape is an expression of violence and dominance, not sex, and the constant leeriness of the camera angles as Mima’s clothes are ripped and her body positioned in suggestive poses throughout both ordeals seemed unnecessarily sexual.

Mima's rape scene in the TV show

Mima’s rape scene in the TV show.

Based on a novel by Yoshikazu Takeuchi and directed by Satoshi Kon, this film was interestingly originally supposed to be live-action direct to video, but after the studio was damaged in the Kobe earthquake of 1995 the film’s budget was slashed to the point that it could only go ahead as an animation.  It would be fascinating to see which – if any – alterations to the film were made through this transition. I can’t help but also wonder if the film’s highly graphic subject matter would be a little less shocking if they were performed in real life by actors rather than drawn figures. After all, as much as I’m used to and open to anime grappling with adult themes, it still feels quite shocking to see cartoon depictions of murder and sexual violence.

Honourable mentions: Eren gets eaten by a Titan and survives (Attack On Titan), the chimera is revealed + the ending of Full Metal Alchemist, Asuka’s death (End of Evangelion), Shinji masturbates over Asuka’s comatose body (Neon Genesis Evangelion), L’s death (Death Note), Kyon’s death (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), the ending of The Big O.


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

SPOILER ALERT! This entry is a HUGE spoiler for The Big O, so if you are watching/reading it or are thinking of watching/reading The Big O, DON’T READ ON as this is a major spoiler!

Epic Team Up

BIG O!

I think I have already mentioned Big O in this series of blogs, so I’m not going to go over the plot again, but I will say that this anime definitely makes you think.

It’s film noir style matches perfectly with it’s story, a tale of twists and turns, corrupt governments, femme fatales, and hidden identities. It’s truly a brain teaser that has a great merge of style and substance.

However, the film noir feel get’s flipped right on it’s head as it becomes ultra-Sci-Fi at the end. Yes, there are giant robots and androids in this anime, but the anime up until the end was always more of detective drama, but everything changed when the finale happened.

Angel

Angel: Femme Fatale

The final episode blows your mind. It has the standard giant robot fight take place that you’d expect of a mech-themed show, but in the final moments of the episode, Angel – the femme fatale who has been teasing the protagonist Roger – transforms into a giant robot called ‘Big Venus’. She walks toward Big O, the city vanishing with every step she takes, until there is nothing left other than Big O, and then Big Venus merge with him, and the end of the episode fades out with the same monologue that Roger gives in the first episode. This reveals that the world that Big O is set in is a virtual reality, and that Angel is the one who controls it all, once this is discovered she resets the reality to the first episode of the show, and it all just loops.

Big Venus

Big Venus/Angel deleting the virtual reality around it.

This blew my mind… It doesn’t help that the episode itself doesn’t really explain what’s going on. It feels like reading an essay without a conclusion, or a mathmatical sum without a result. You can see all the workings, but you can’t really see what it’s meant to lead to. So only when reviewing it and reading up on it did the pieces fell into place for me, and even after discovering what the final episode meant, it broke me.

Sorry for spoiling it all, but I will always recommend Big O to people, as it’s clever, it makes you think, and it has giant robots. What more do you want?


Written by the Cosmic Anvil team.

Check out our own Welsh-manga (or ‘Wanga’) series, AGE OF REVOLUTION on our official site and Comixology! And if you want to join the fight to get the AGE OF REVOLUTION Volume printed check out our Kickstarter page

Kickstarter age of revolution volume one cosmic anvil new reward tiers added

Kickstarter new reward tier £15 pledge cosmic anvil

kickstarter age of revolution cosmic anvil new reward tiers pledge comic book comic strip art commission