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!

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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! 

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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!

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30 Day Anime Challenge – Day 20: Anime Character that Gets on Your Nerves

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

This one really made me think, but in the end I’ve decided to choose Yuka from Elfen Lied because not only is she annoying, but she’s also jealous, incestuous, and definitely whines far too much! I can’t stand her – even her voice winds me up! I’ve never wished death on a character before but when it came to Yuka I really wanted Lucy to kill her. If she’s not clinging to Kouta, she’s crying or nagging or just generally being a pain in the ass!

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SO ANNOYING! Yuka, Elfen Lied


 

Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

My choice for this post may be a little controversial as she’s such a fan favourite, but bear with me. The character that gets on my nerves the most has to be Asuna from Sword Art Online.

Double Asuna Sword Art Online

Double Asuna = Double Annoying! Sword Art Online

Some characters are annoying from the very start of a show and your opinion of them never really changes. You sigh every time they come on screen, and you’re pleasantly relieved when they don’t get any airtime for a while. Is there anything worse than a constantly irritating character? Well, how about a character who starts off as your favourite only for you to grow to hate?

Let’s be real here: Sword Art Online started out as a refreshingly original, philosophical, and breathtakingly animated show, but by the end of the first series it’s ideas became tired and some of its characters’ suffered from disappointing arcs. Asuna is one of those characters. Beginning as one of the strongest players in the entire game, Asuna was tough-talking and crazy talented with a sword – even giving Beta tester Kirito a run for his money. As an inevitable but nonetheless sweet romance blossomed between them, Asuna’s vulnerabilities started to come out more and more – as did Kirito’s. But the difference between Asuna and Kirito was that whilst he continued to go from strength to strength in the game, Asuna’s strength and agency fell further and further back, until she seemed to be more a of simpering damsel than the once powerful knight she began as. Eventually, through strange plot contrivances, Kirito leaves her behind altogether and continues adventuring with a different partner.

If you compare Asuna’s character development to that of her nearest equivalent – Cecily Campbell from The Sacred Blacksmith – you can see how nonsensical this regression really is. Cecily is a lone female knight in a fantasy kingdom who begins as an untrained, clumsy novice and grows to overcome the inherent sexism of her faux-medieval setting; her own personal weaknesses; and a traumatic sexual assault to become a well-respected warrior.

Cecily Campbell battling on even with a broken sword.

Cecily Campbell battling on even with a broken sword.

This is not only a satisfying arc for a ‘strong female character’ stereotype, but just generally a satisfying and straightforward arc for any heroic character; making Asuna’s comparative strong-to-weak transition look even more bizarre for the action-fantasy genre that I thought the show was supposedly updating.

Asuna sword art online 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Asuna battling in an early episode…

sword art online asuna 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

…and Asuna later on in the series.

Honourable mentions: Misa Amane (Death Note), Tea Gardener (Yu-Gi-Oh!), Nunnaly Lamperouge (Code Geass), Suzaku Kururugi (Code Geass), Eren Jaeger (Attack on Titan).


 

Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

Although I certainly don’t hate this character, her choices annoy the hell out of me. My most annoying character is Chi Chi from Dragon Ball Z.

Chi Chi

Chi Chi, Dragon Ball Z

Chi Chi didn’t always bug me. She started off as a cute kid, then at the end of Dragon Ball she was a fiery individual and the perfect match for Goku. It was in Dragon Ball Z that Chi Chi really started to anger me. Her dreams and aspirations for Gohan were for him to knuckle down with school and one day become a great scholar. However, it is clear from episode one that Gohan was born with great power lying dormant, and he is clearly destined to follow in his father’s foot steps of becoming the world’s next savior.

At the end of the Cell Saga we think that’s going to happen: Gohan becomes a beast, and the very first to master the Super Saiyan 2 transformation. Below is a clip of the final blow he hits Cell with, named the ‘Father-Son Kamehameha’ as Goku (his father) is the one that finally gives Gohan the inspiration to release his full power, and with it he annihilates Cell, and becomes the most powerful Dragon Ball character.

However, Chi Chi destroys this and makes Gohan go to school and he becomes and absolute lame person! Gohan fights back by training in secret, and taking on the identity of the ‘Great Saiyaman’ to fight crime. It makes you think though: what would Gohan’s power be like if he continued on the path he was on during the Cell Saga?

SHUT UP CHI CHI

SHUT UP CHI CHI.

She’s bossy, she’s complains all the time, she doesn’t see the bigger picture, and she’s controlling. The worst thing is that she wasn’t always this way, she used to be adorable and understanding, so I try to remember the good times. Like in this adorable picture:

Aww

Awww!

But now all I see is this annoying woman who tries to make the two most powerful individuals in the world do homework, go to parent evenings, and take driving lessons… but I guess if that didn’t happen we wouldn’t have these hilarious moments:

Brum, brum, beep, beep

Brum, brum, beep, beep!

And Goku loves her, so I guess she can’t be that bad…

Family fun

Family fun

Just let Gohan punch bad guys for crying out loud!


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 19: Most Epic Scene Ever

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 are some spoilers in this post about character deaths and the results of epic battles!]

Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

For me, one of the most epic scenes I’ve ever seen in anime is in The Irregular at Magic High School, in a scene in which Tatsuya Shiba is challenged by Hanzo Gyoubushoujo Hattori when he is proposed to be added as a member of the School’s council. Because Tatsuya isn’t a particularly strong magic user Hanzo believes defeating him will be a piece of cake… and then Tatsuya kicks his ass:


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

To love anime is to love its preoccupation with melodrama and exaggeration, I think. Everything from Ichigo Kurosaki fighting on after losing half his body weight in blood in Bleach, to Light Yagami furiously writing in his room and manically laughing to himself in Death Note. Whenever someone mentions epic moments in anime to me, there’s a bunch of scenes that spring to mind, but the very first one nearly every single time is the opening 6-minute battle scene from Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo featuring Asuka battling an Angel in space.

Neon genesis evangelion 3.0 film poster

Film poster for Evangelion 3.0

Evangelion is packed full of WTF and epic moments – both quietly devastating and irrepressibly loud – but this battle, rendered in gorgeous HD and cinematic scope from the Evangelion rebuild series of films in 2013, truly left me gobsmacked when I first watched it. It’s fast, furious, intense, and one of the best pieces of animation I’ve ever seen.

It starts off with nothing but the blackness of space and whispered voices over multiple telecommunications devices. Then, slowly, Asuka’s ship fades into view. The camera follows it, the voices get louder, and the ship becomes clearer. We see Asuka housed in the cockpit – fingers flicking at switches and her breathing raspy and meditated. Then we are swung downwards to see a shot of the eerily red sea of Earth. Asuka begins to lock in on her target, and then suddenly it zooms into a view – an Angel – screaming as though it were human.

Asuka tears through the Angel’s A.T field as though it were jelly, and then rips off her own helmet to scream through her intense exertion. This is when the real fight begins, and you can watch the full 6-minutes and 38-seconds here in all its insane glory – trust me, it’s worth it!

Asuka battle GIF Evangelion 3.0 you can not redo 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Asuka in battle, Evangelion 3.0: You Can (Not) Redo

Honourable mentions: Asuka’s death (End of Evangelion), Tetsuo’s end (Akira), Titan reappears behind Eren (Attack on Titan), Allen Walker fights the Earl and saves Lenalee (D.Gray-Man), “YOU’VE GOT MAIL!” (Digimon – The First Movie), pretty much everything in Death Note, the reveal at the end of Full Metal Alchemist, the Takihoma sacrifice themselves (Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex), Cloud vs. Sephorith (Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children).


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

One Piece is one of the most epic anime out there. Everything is big: big moves, big people, big countries, big boats…it’s crazy. So it’s no surprise to me that I turn straight to One Piece in terms of epic scenes. For my most epic scene though it has to be the final moments of Whitebeard.

Edward 'Whitebeard' Newgate

Edward ‘Whitebeard’ Newgate

This is Edward Newgate, otherwise known by his pirate name of ‘Whitebeard’. He is one of the most powerful pirates in One Piece, classified as one of the ‘Four Warlords’, and he and his fleet are seen as one of the biggest superpowers in the world. Back in the day, he was rival to Gold Roger, the King of the Pirates, and was constantly battling him for the title.

Whitebeard may be old now, but he still rightfully deserves the title of most powerful man. He is able to use a technique known as ‘Haki’ which enables him to battle the strongest of the strong. He also boasts a Devil Fruit power which enables him to manipulate vibrations. These vibrations are more like quakes, and with them he can create tsunamis, earthquakes, or just blast through the air and destroy anything in his path.

Ka-Boom!

Ka-Boom!

However, when he goes to war against the whole of the World’s Navy to rescue Luffy’s brother Ace (who has becomes like a son to Whitebeard) he is pushed beyond his limits and is killed in action. However, its what he says and how he dies that makes this scene so epic.

In the world of One Piece, there are a growing amount of people who stop believing in the grand treasure called the ‘One Piece’, and it would seem that the Great Age of Pirates may be coming to a close. However, Whitebeard’s final words are an announcement to the world, to those who are watching the battle that the One Piece is most certainly real. After he says this he dies…standing up. I know this is a cliche in anime and Eastern mythology, but you can’t help but admit that it’s the coolest thing ever. This was also the first time I saw this cliche, so for me it will always be amazing and unique.

So boss.

So boss.

But it doesn’t stop there. The narrator lists the amount of injuries he sustained in the war, and how many scars he bears on his body: two-hundred-and-sixty-seven sword wounds, one-hundred-and-fifty-one guns shot wounds, he took forty-six cannon shots, he was punched through the torso twice, but as the wind blows his jacket off his back, it is revealed that he has never sustained an injury on his back, as he never retreated or surrendered.

So three epic, epic, points for this scene showed Whitebeard to be a boss, not once, but twice! But not only that, his announcement led to a new era in the Pirate Age, an era in which everyone believes in the ultimate treasure – the One Piece.


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 16: Anime With the Best Animation

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 this has to be something from the collection of Studio Ghibli films I’ve seen: Kiki’s Delivery Service, Spirited Away, My Neighbour Toroto and Princess Mononoke. I think that renowned director Hayao Miyazaki‘s animated films have some of the best animation in the industry, and I also think the fact that the animation is largely hand-drawn makes me appreciate the art and skill that goes into the creation of his works. I admire that his films’ stories are beautiful and symbolic.

No Face, Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli, 30 Day Anime Challenge cosmic anvil

“Uh?” No-Face, Spirited Away

I think out of all the Ghibli films though, I’m going to pick Spirited Away as the best in terms of animation, just for the attention to detail that was given, how colourful it is, and how diverse the characters designs are.


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

Like Jess, and probably every other anime fan in the world, I am a huge admirer of Hayao Miyazaki’s signature style of animation, and the fact that Studio Ghibli is known as the ‘Disney of the East’ tells you just how well-respected they are in the industry. In fact, you can see Disney/Pixar’s John Lasseter pay homage to Miyazaki by including a Totoro plushie in Toy Story 3:

Totoro Toy Story 3

Totoro plushie in Toy Story 3

However, I’m actually going to give my favourite animation pick on this occasion to a completely different anime – Soul Eater. It’s not because I think that the quality of the animation itself is superior, but because Soul Eater was one of the first anime series’ I watched that had such a dramatically different visual style to most others. The opening title sequence remains one of the best I’ve ever seen:

Quite often, when a manga gets adapted from page to screen, it loses the artists’ distinctive style in favour of something more mainstream and easier to animate – i.e. Death Note, Tokyo Goul, Gangsta, etc. – but Studio Bones (one of the best animation studios in my opinion) who picked up Soul Eater, thankfully decided to try and replicate Atsushi Okubo’s fantastic Tim Burton-esque style:

Soul Eater Moon Manga

The Soul Eater Moon in the Manga

Soul Eater Moon Anime

The Soul Eater Moon in the Anime

As the world of Soul Eater is so nutty and surreal, the style of the art really does marry itself completely into the feel of the story and the character of that world. It serves as far more than just an aesthetic flair – it’s a vital tool in Okubo’s storytelling technique and one of the reasons why Soul Eater has remained so popular after the anime series ended all too quickly.

Honourable mentions: Any Studio Ghibli film, Neon Genesis Evangelion (reboot films), End of Evangelion, Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, Ghost in the Shell (film), One Piece, Final Fantasy XII, Metropolis (anime adaptation), Summer Wars, 5 Centimetres Per Second.


 

Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

You know what’s the hardest thing to animate? WATER!

7.8 too much water.

7.8 too much water.

Ponyo has a load of water, and it looks freaking beautiful:

I’ve never seen the Ocean like this.

Damn straight! The water in Ponyo crashes, splashes, flows, swells, sprinkles, spreads, bulges, and foams. And the water in Ponyo has different textures as well, as well as just looking wet as you’d expect, it also looks weirdly gelatinous, hard, heavy, light, sharp… It’s crazy.

This guy is a mad man.

This guy is a mad man.

Not only is it beautiful, but this film was hard graft: The whole thing – like most Studio Ghibli films – was HAND-DRAWN.

In a canon of filmmaking that has made Miyazaki’s name synonomous with great anime in the same way that the Beatles’ name is synonomous with great music, Ponyo is probably the most impressive example of his immense talents.

Hayao Miyazaki stories are told with the precision of a master filmmaker. As a director, his visual vocabulary and specialized storytelling are like fellow stylistic auteurs Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton or Quentin Tarantino — directors whose aesthetic sense is so strong and storytelling so unique that every film they make, even the small ones, are worth exploring.

Ron Barbagallo, Animation Art Conservation.


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 15: Favourite Animal Sidekick, Pet, or Summoning From Any 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.


Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

With most of the anime I have watched featuring sidekicks and pets this was a hard choice for me. Do I go with lovable Gatomon from Digimon? Food-mad Kero from Cardcaptor Sakura? Or maybe even the evil Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magika? So many choices… ARGH.

Okay, so I’ve decided to go with Psyduck, my favourite Pokemon, and my favourite episode of Pokemon is the one with all the baby Psyducks: “The Psyduck Stops Here”.

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Awww!


 

Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

This is a no-brainer for me. Cardcaptor Sakura is one of my top three favourite anime of all time, and therefore Kero-chan (or Kerberos in his true form) has to be my favourite non-human sidekick character.

Kero chan Kerberos Cardcaptor Sakura Cardcaptors clamp anime manga magical girl 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Kero in his cute form and in his true form as ‘Kerberos’.

Whereas some anime sidekicks are often (excuse the pun) sidelined as just cute little pets, Kero-chan plays a crucial role in Cardcaptor Sakura as Sakura’s guide, teacher, friend, and battle coach. Whether he’s giving her sage advice on capturing the Clow Cards, or helping Tomoyo prepare new matching battle outfits for he and Sakura, or teasing Syaoran, or demanding pudding, he’s an irreplaceable part of the story, and totally loveable!

I mean just look at his adorable bedroom in Sakura’s sock drawer:

Kero chan Kerberos Cardcaptor Sakura Cardcaptors clamp anime manga magical girl 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

EVERYTHING IS SO SMALL!

Or the ‘Leave it to Kero-chan’ segments after each episode of the first series where he inexplicably had his own tiny office!

Kero chan Kerberos Cardcaptor Sakura Cardcaptors clamp anime manga magical girl 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Leave it to Kero!

OR JUST LOOK AT HOW HE EATS CAKE OMG:

Kero chan cardcaptor Sakura Cardcaptors clamp manga 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

KAWAII!

Honourable mentions: Happy (Fairy Tail), Mokona (Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle & xxxHolic), Jiji (Kiki’s Delivery Service), The forest spirits (Princess Mononoke), The Baron (The Cat Returns), Ein (Cowboy Bebop), Timcampy (D.Gray-Man) Pikachu (Pokemon).


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

The best creature sidekick for me needs to embody the bond between man and beast – the whole ‘man’s best friend’ thing. It needs to be your best friend, and most reliable support. It needs to be loyal, fast and powerful. It needs to have a skill that only an animal can have as well, otherwise you might as well just have another human friend, and finally, even though your animal friend needs to be powerful, it needs to also have adorable tendencies as well. This is anime, after all!

My favourite anime animal that comes to mind when thinking of all these qualities is Terry Cloth from Toriko.

Terry Cloth

Terry Cloth

Now, I know what you’re thinking: it’s just a wolf, but Terry is no ordinary wolf. Terry is a Battle Wolf. Battle Wolves are the largest and most powerful wolf species in the world of Toriko; a previously presumed extinct species native to the Gourmet World. One of its survivors has been revealed to be a member of the fearsome Eight Kings (The Eight Kings are eight beasts, each from a different ‘King’ species, individually regarded as the most powerful beings in the world). Terry, however, is the offspring of a Battle Wolf clone that the International Gourmet Organisation (IGO) created.

Toriko and Terry meet and after Toriko saves Terry’s life, the pair then bond, and Terry becomes his official Animal Partner which is rare as Battle Wolves are not known to like humans.

This battle was awesome.

This battle was awesome.

Now to tell you why Terry is awesome. Like all things in Toriko, Terry is huge. You see that orange dot on Terry’s head in the image above? That’s the seven-foot Toriko. Also bear in mind that the image above is Terry as a pup, he gets a lot bigger. And at that monstrous size anyone can ride him, making him an awesome steed for all.

But the best thing about Terry is his loyalty to Toriko. He is so loyal that he has undergone training to improve his strength and speed so he can stand by Toriko for any fight. The training pays off as well, Terry is naturally strong and fast but his training has taken him to crazy levels.

Scary...

Scary…

He can be a scary beast, but he’s also a loving companion. Look at these cute pictures of him. Look at them!

Oh

Oh

my

my

GOD

GOD


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 14: Anime That Never Gets Old No Matter How Many Times You’ve Rewatched It

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 this is a toss up between some of the anime series’ I watched when I was younger, including: Pokemon, Digimon and Cardcaptor Sakura. But I think my choice for this challenge is going to have to be Cardcaptor Sakura as it’s the one I’ve re-watched the most and always enjoy.

Some of the Pokemon episodes annoy me – especially when Ash can’t remember having a Butterfree – and with Digimon I never watched all of the series as I hated the one with the train… *Googles what series is called* Ah yes, Digimon Frontier. So Cardcaptor Sakura is a no-brainer!

Cardcaptor_Sakura_BD_volume_1_cover (1)

Carcaptor Sakura


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

My original choice was going to be Cardcaptor Sakura, as it’s the only series that I’ve re-watched 3 whole times, and I will almost definitely watch it again and again in the years to come. However, as I thought it would be better to pick something different to Jess, I’m going to with a Studio Ghibli favourite of mine: Howl’s Moving Castle.

Howl's Moving Castle Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Howl’s Moving Castle

This film is like a classic Disney movie to me – I know all the words, I know the story back to front, and yet I never get sick of revisiting it, and it never ceases to make me feel exactly the same feelings I did upon first watching it. Films like this feel as good as a hot drink on a cold day – nurturing and fulfilling every time.

The story is essentially a fairy tale in which each character must learn a valuable lesson: selfish but talented wizard Howl must learn self-sacrifice in order to find true love; and shop girl Sophie must conversely learn to love herself before she can love another; the villainous witch must learn to let go of unreturned affections; and the King must learn to abandon a self-serving and pointless war… I could go on through the entire cast, but I won’t. Howl and Sophie are the missing pieces in each other’s lives – but they must overcome societal and personal obstacles before they can prove it to the other.

Moreover, like all Studio Ghibli films, it’s filled with vibrant and interesting characters, humour, magic, brilliant world-building, anti-war rhetoric, and breathtakingly drawn scenes like this one:

Howl's Moving Castle Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Howl in his bedroom with Sophie by his side.

The little digs at Howl – the fabulously vain ladies man – are also really funny. One scene in particular that I quote constantly is when Howl dyes his hair with the wrong potion (due to Sophie rearranging everything in an effort to clean the Castle) and laments about how hideous he looks. Sophie – who has been cursed with an ageing spell – tries (and fails) to comfort him:

(Sorry for the poor quality – that was the only clip I could find!)

Honourable mentions: Cardcaptor Sakura, Death Note, Princess Mononoke, Ouran High School Host Club, D.Gray-Man, Black Butler, Neon Genesis Evangelion.


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

I don’t re-watch this anime often, but when I do, I love every episode all over again. The anime I that never gets old for me is Outlaw Star.

Outlaw Star

Outlaw Star

The series takes place in the “Toward Stars Era” universe in which spacecrafts are capable of traveling faster than the speed of light. The plot follows protagonist Gene Starwind and his motley crew of an inherited ship dubbed the “Outlaw Star”, as they search for a legendary, outer space treasure trove called the “Galactic Leyline”.

SPACESHIP!

SPACESHIP!

Most anime I can re-watch happily, but even in some of my favourite anime there are episodes that I either don’t like or are impartial to. But with Outlaw Star I love every episode. I love how ‘old timey’ it feels even though it’s set in space, and every member of the crew is interesting and are genuine, fully-rounded characters. Re-watching Outlaw Star to me is like reading your favourite childhood book, just like when a Harry Potter fan picks up The Philosopher’s Stone again and is reintroduced to Hogwarts.

The Crew

The Crew

Dragon Ball is always going to be my favourite anime ever, but when it comes to revisiting it, I prefer to read the manga than watch the anime. Whereas Outlaw Star is so fun to watch, and the cast are like old friends, even the narrator sounds like a parent is reading me the tale. It’s the best.


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 13: Anime Character You Are Most Similar To

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

In terms of personality, I find definitely find similarities between myself and Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magicka as she sees herself as a person without special qualities or talents and is against fighting. She also cares deeply about her friends and family.

Madoka_Kaname

Madoka Kaname, Puella Magi Madoka Magicka


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

It’s difficult to relate to many anime characters as – less face it – they’re not exactly the most realistically written fictional characters, are they? If I had to pick a character that I identify the most with though, it would probably be Maka Albarn from Soul Eater.

Maka Albarn Soul Eater anime manga 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Maka Albarn, Soul Eater

I like that Maka is academically driven to do well in school (which I was) but also isn’t a stereotypical awkward nerdy girl – she can still kick some major butt. She’s also fiercely independent, get’s wound up easily, bottles up her insecurities, and highly values her friends and those close to her – all traits I can identify with. Plus, the Soul Eater Shibusen academy is like my Hogwarts. I’m still waiting for my acceptance letter from Lord Death.

Shibusen Soul Eater Academy

Shibusen Academy


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

This is probably the hardest question on this list for me. Anime characters are so over the top that it’s hard to pick one that I think fits me. I guess I’m an emotional guy and I love to eat…so maybe, Toriko from Toriko?

Toriko

Toriko, from Toriko

Toriko is a Bishoku-ya or Gourmet Hunter, which means his role in the world is to hunt for ingredients for the Government (International Gourmet Organisation). These ingredients are then distributed around the world and sold to the public, or IGO-owned restaurants. Toriko is an incredibly powerful fighter and loves his job.

Toriko’s personality is like mine in certain aspects. He is described as a glutton and quite rightly so, as he has one of the biggest appetites in the world, which I can certainly identify with as I have admitted in the past that I do tend to eat for fun.

EAT!

EAT!

He is very particular with his food as well, only allowing the best ingredients in the world to be added to his ‘Full Course’. When it comes to food I would like to think that I’d eat anything, but it has to be just right. Especially with fruit, I love fruit, but if I notice anything ‘wrong’ with a piece of fruit I refuse to eat it.

He is also super-emotional, just like me. He also has strong bonds with all his friends, always insisting that he and his friends take part in feasts together, and he can’t help but overreact to delicious ingredients. He’s stubborn and has tendencies to throw his toys out of the pram as well, much like me. However, I have his good stuff as well. I may tend to overreact, but I feel that I have strong bonds with all my friends, and love eating food with them all.

Just wish I had his physique...

Just wish I had his physique…


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 9: Best Anime Villain

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 spoilers about certain anime in this post!]

Jess Hardcastle Marketing Whizz Kid

Most of the anime I have seen have all had really interesting and evil villains in them so it’s hard to pick the best one, but I think I am going to have to go with Shou Tucker from Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Whilst he never actually killed anyone [SPOILER ALERT] he did use alchemy to turn his own daughter and their dog into a talking chimera – which is pretty awful! I was genuinely shocked and upset at his ability to be able to harm them. This is also after he did the same thing to his own wife and that chimera only said, “Kill me”, and refused to eat – basically committing suicide after it couldn’t deal with the pain and suffering of what he’d turned her into.

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Shou Tucker, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Honorable mentions: Lucy (Elfen Lied), Light Yagami (Death Note) and ALL the Titans (Attack On Titan).


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

This may seem like an obvious choice, but I have go with Light Yagami from Death Note for my favourite anime villain. There’s plenty of big, bad villains out there in the world of anime to choose from, but what makes Light particularly interesting for me is the fact that he is the protagonist of the story – a role traditionally played by the hero, not the hero’s nemesis.

Light Yagami Death Note anime manga 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Light Yagami, Death Note

Just by seeing the story through Light’s eyes, your opinion of him is constantly coloured by his perspective. Despite his actions as a sociopathic megalomaniac are completely psychotic and morally reprehensible, you also find yourself kind of willing him to not get caught so you can see just how far the story will be pushed. The tension you feel each time Light finds himself cornered is ridiculously compelling, and unlike most Shonen anime – which relies on brawn rather than brain and an assured victory for the hero nearly every time – Death Note’s battles of wits and magic keep you genuinely guessing who will be left alive by the end.

Light Yagami L detective death note manga anime 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Light Vs. L

Conversely, you also find yourself rooting for his opponent – the eccentric detective known only as ‘L’, which heightens the tension even more. Whenever these two are in a room together, the thrill of watching them verbally – and occasionally physically – dance around each other is akin to that of Sherlock and Moriaty.

I always think that the strength of a hero can be measured by the strength of their villain, and Light and L are definitely two sides of the same brilliant coin, and Death Note one of the greatest crime thrillers in modern fiction.

Honourable mentions: Lust, Envy, Shou Tucker and Father (Full Metal Alchemist & Brotherhood), Medusa (Soul Eater), Vicious (Cowboy Bebop), The Earl (D.Gray-Man), Siegfried (Sacred Blacksmith), Gendo Ikari (Neon Genesis Evangelion), The Puppet Master (Ghost in the Shell).


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

A great villain for me has to be many things: they have to be evil (obvious, but true), they have to be powerful, and they have to be perfectly matched to their protagonist counterpart; and as much as you hate them, you also have to love them. But, a truly great villain for me must also have a huge impact on the story that they star in, and it’s for these reasons that my favourite villain is Frieza from the Dragon Ball franchise.

Frieza

Frieza, Dragon Ball franchise

Friza is powerful and likes to let you know that he is. His power is feared by many throughout the universe and during the lead up to Goku’s battle with Frieza, King Kai commands Goku not to fight Frieza as he will surely be killed because Frieza’s power enables him to destroy whole planets with just one blast.

Frieza isn’t alone in the planet destroyers club that is DBZ, but he still stands out. Frieza is regarded as one of the most, if not the most, important Dragon Ball villains. After all, it was Frieza who destroyed the Saiyan home world Planet Vegeta – the event that starts the whole Dragon Ball story as that was how Goku ended up on Earth. Frieza’s actions on Planet Namek were also the major catalyst for Goku’s Super Saiyan transformation, as after Frieza killed Krillin Goku’s rage and needed to be more powerful spilled over, resulting in one of the most iconic scenes in anime. Frieza himself started the trend of transformations as well:

Squad's out.

Squad’s out.

He’s powerful, he’s iconic, and most importantly: he’s also pure evil to the core. He’s seeking the Dragon Balls to gain immortality and he was willing to do anything to get them. When faced against Goku he had met his match and was willing to do anything to beat him. He will do anything, and everything he does is for himself. The worst thing of all was when he was forgiven by Goku, who also gave him enough energy to escape the dying Planet Namek, Frieza chose to use that power to try and kill Goku again. This was when Goku launched his final attack and killed Frieza. Even when he was given a second chance he still chose to kill Goku, proving that his hatred for the Saiyan race and Goku burns stronger than his need for survival.

Yet you also can’t help but like him: he’s so devilishly evil that he almost becomes a cartoonish villain in the Disney mold of Scar (Lion King) or Jafar (Aladdin). He’s so well liked that Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball‘s creator) brought him back in the most resent film, and with a new form. It’s also rumored that Toriyama was going to bring Frieza back after the Cell saga, but was advised by his editors not to. Frieza’s cool, powerful, and fabulous. What more do you want from a villain?

Come at me.

Come at me, BRAH.


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