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 8: Favourite Anime Couple

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 for me is a no brainer! My favourite anime couple is Kirito and Asuna from Sword Art Online.

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Kirito and Asuna, Sword Art Online

Not only do they make such a good couple, but they’re both bad-ass fighters – especially when they are fighting together to take down Bosses. I love how intense and serious their relationship is and how they are willing to die for each other. I really can’t think of any other anime relationship I’ve seen that compares to the one they have!


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

Considering how much I’ve sung the praises of CLAMP over this Challenge series, it will probably come as a surprise to no one that my favourite anime relationship is between the adorable Sakura Kinomoto and Syaoran Li from Cardcaptor Sakura.

Sakura Syaoran Li Cardcaptor Sakura Cardcaptors anime manga couples romance 30 day anime challenge cosmic anvil

Sakura & Syaoran, Cardcaptor Sakura

Syaoran is first introduced in the show as Sakura’s rival, and as the true heir to Clow Reed’s (creator of the cards) mantle, believes Sakura to be woefully ill-equipped to take on the difficult task of capturing and mastering all the Clow Cards. Over the course of the 70 episode run, he competes with Sakura to capture each card with varying degrees of success. Sakura – being a loving and kind-hearted girl – welcomes Syaoran’s assistance, whilst he grumpily struggles to not befriend her.

Syaoran is definitely a kid with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Raised in a prestigious Chinese family to become Clow Reed’s successor, he hasn’t had much of a chance to be a real child, and as a result is serious, mature, and stiff around children of his own age. He almost acts like a grumpy old man trapped in a child’s body. But that’s also what makes him so endearing.

Grumpy Syaoran is grumpy.

Grumpy Syaoran is grumpy.

Of course, he warms up to Sakura slowly but surely, and as she grows stronger and stronger to become the cards’ true master, Syaoran admits defeat and decides to return home to Hong-Kong. Except… He doesn’t. What is it that is still keeping him tied to Japan, he wonders to himself? It’s Sakura, DUH! We all know this by now, but it takes him – and Sakura – the rest of the series and two tie-in films to realise their love for each other.

A love so strong in fact, that it carried on in the sort-of-spin-off-series, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles:

Sakura & Syaoran, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles, Clamp, romance, couple, manga, anime, 30 day anime challenge, cosmic anvil

Sakura & Syaoran, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicles

I always think the strongest relationships in fiction (and in real life I suppose) are characters who enrich and change each other’s lives for the better. Sakura imparts sensitivity and the ability to forge meaningful friendships onto Syaoran so he can learn to be less work-focussed; and he in turn teaches her maturity and strength through competing with her for the cards. Even if their love had been unrequited in the end, they still would have both been better-off people for being in each other’s lives.

Honourable mentions: Takumi Usui & Misaki Ayuzawa (Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama), Yukito Tsukishiro and Touya Kinomoto (Cardcaptor Sakura), Howl and Sophie (Howl’s Moving Castle), Tamaki Souh and Haruhi Fujioka (Ouran High School Host Club), Luke Ainsworth & Cecily Campbell (Sacred Blacksmith).


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

Most popular fictional couples are ones that come together after a long period of time through the ‘will they won’t they’ kind of cliched story arc. For me, however, the best couple in anime came out of nowhere, yet makes perfect sense. The best anime couple for me has to be Bulma and Vegeta from the Dragon Ball franchise.

Who would you pair up with a rich and spoiled young woman? Why not an overly proud Prince with a self centered attitude? It makes perfect sense. Yet Bulma and Vegeta’s romance was a huge surprise for fans when it emerged. There were hints of flirtation after the fight with Freeza but nothing concrete, nothing until Trunks showed up from the future and told Goku who his parents were.

Bulma and Vegeta was meant to be a curve ball, but it makes sense in the story: Yamcha and Bulma were never going to work, they were always on and off, and Yamcha was slowly getting sidelined as the story went on. And it figures that the most stubborn male character would end up with the most stubborn female character – they were made for each other.

Love is in the air.

Love is in the air.

Bulma and Vegeta are also perfect on a comedic level as well, always bickering about something, and Vegeta is always putting up a wall in front of the love he clearly has for Bulma and his family. At first we think that maybe Trunks was the product of one night of passion never to be rekindled again, but as the story goes on we discover on three occasions that Vegeta is indeed in love with Bulma, and cares deeply for his son.

He does care, trust me.

He does care, trust me.

Firstly, we see Vegeta burst into a rage to seek revenge against Cell for killing Future Trunks. Then Vegeta also makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the world form Majin Buu, stating that he’s doing it for Trunks and Bulma. And finally we see Vegeta almost reach the level of a God when Lord Beerus hits Bulma, and we get this amazing scene:

It may not be the most harmonious relationship, but Vegeta and Bulma obviously love each other dearly, and though Vegeta might not show it often, when he does… watch out!

Also, this is one of the best screen caps from Dragon Ball Super so far:

Family outing

Family outing! Vegeta, Bulma, and Trunks.


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 2: Favourite Anime You’ve Watched So Far

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

Now, this is a tough one as I have really enjoyed lots of anime I’ve been watching recently for my N00b Review posts but at the same time get really nostalgic about some anime series’ I watched as a kid. There was a lot of discussion in the Cosmic Anvil office with this one as it was really difficult to decide which one was our absolute favourite. However, I think I’m going to have to go with Attack On Titan for this one.

Attack on Titan Cover

Attack on Titan

 It was a series I went in with no expectations of, even though I know a lot of people who’d raved about it. I was really shocked even after watching just the first episode. It was also a series with very little filler and loads of action which I really enjoyed. I ended up binge watching all 25 episodes in the space of a couple of days on Netflix!

Honorable mentions: Psycho Pass, SAO (First Arc), Full Metal Alchemist and Digimon (1st and 2nd Season).


Hannah Collins Co-Founder and Artist

Oh this is a tough one! > . < Like Jess, I’m really torn between my head and heart – nostalgia and rationale. However, after a loooooong mental debate with myself, I’ve decided on Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke. Not only is it my favourite anime, but it’s also my current favourite film of all time, so how could I not pick it for this post? A favourite film to me doesn’t have to be the most perfect film ever made, it just has to be something you can literally watch forever and ever and never get bored of it, and something that you get something new out of every single time. Princess Mononoke is that film for me.

Princess Mononoke Cosmic Anvil 30 Day anime challenge blog

San and her Wolf brother in Princess Mononoke

Hayao Miyazaki’s signature art style is beautifully animated as usual, and the story is punctuated with surreal magic, humour, melancholy, and filled with a diverse and likeable cast of characters with no easy answers to the story’s ‘man vs. nature’ quandary. San (the Princess) also follows the Miyazaki tradition of strong female action heroes steering the plot that I love to see – precocious, passionate, but not without her vulnerabilities. Both the subbed and dubbed versions are equal in quality too, which is something Studio Ghibli have consistently done well over the years of Americanising their films.

Anime gets a bad wrap sometimes – usually from people who have never watched any properly – for being too violent, too sexualised, and too hard to follow. To those people I would perscribe Princess Mononoke as a shining example of how magical, unique, and universally beautiful Japanese animation can be.

Honourable mentions: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Death Note, Cardcaptor Sakura, Howl’s Moving Castle, Akira, Ghost in The Shell, Black Butler, D-Gray Man, Full Metal Alchemist, Soul Eater.


Huw Williams CO-Founder and Writer

One Piece is the best.

One Piece is also a strange show. It’s been running for so long that I both have nostalgia for it, and new experiences with it. “Ah, remember One Piece, oh wait, of course I do it’s still going!” Jokes aside, One Piece has been going on for a long time – eighteen years to be exact – but I’m still enjoying the cruise. Yes, there is a lot of filler but it’s still enjoyable, and Eiichiro Oda has created some amazing characters and watching them mess around, or crossing over with other Shonen shows like Dragon Ball and/or Toriko is fun to watch. Also, if we didn’t have filler, we wouldn’t have had this hilarious moment:

The characters of One Piece are vibrant and deep, and the world is huge and houses a rich history. In fact, if I had to describe Oda as a creator I would compare him to G.R.R. Martin – someone who has taken his medium and genre and launched it to the next level of fantasy storytelling in terms of the depths of family trees and complex and vibrant histories. Oda is the same, not only does he write about the generation that Luffy and Co are in but he maps out multiple generations of Pirates and Marines. When the Straw Hat Pirates are visiting an island or city, you truly learn everything about that place, it’s past, present, and watch how it’s future unfolds.

Son, Father, Grandfather (Left to Right)

Son, Father, Grandfather (Left to Right)

Oda’s character design is unlike anything I’ve seen as well. It’s truly his and his alone. He has admitted that he was inspired as a kid by the likes of Akira Toriyama (creator of Dragon Ball) – another artist with his own distinctive style. I love how he draws body shapes particularly – you get some really wacky body types in the world of One Piece: square torsos, long necks the same width of their heads, there is even a race of people with two sets of elbows. I don’t know why or how, but I like it.

Just look at these guys!

Just look at these guys!

One last thing: the super powers in One Piece are so cool. Someone could have an awful sounding super power, but still be one of the strongest people in the world. Take the character Donquixote Doflamingo, for example. He can create and manipulate string, which sounds like he pulled the short straw, but think again. With this he is able to control people, create replicas of himself, cut through anything, swing from clouds… the list endless and bizarre. It’s almost like Oda is saying: it doesn’t matter what you’ve got, as long as you know how to use it well, you’ll go far.

Honorable Mentions: Dragon Ball/DBZ, Toriko, Kinnikuman, Outlaw Star, Attack on Titan.


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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Noob Reviews: Sword Art Online Manga

Welcome to my third post in the N00b Reviews series!

Yep another post, written by none other than the resident noob here at Cosmic Anvil. After looking at Shingeki no Kyojin last week I am going to be looking at Sword Art Online (SAO) in this post. Similarly to Shingeki no Kyojin I also watched the anime series of SAO prior to reading the manga.

First, let me give you a little back story as to why I watched SAO in the first place. For those reading this who don’t know me, since having gone to university and being a part of the video game society there, I have developed a strong interest in video gaming. And as you’ve probably guessed by its title, the theme of video games plays a big part in this series.

Kirito & Asuna

Kirito & Asuna


Summary:

Sword Art Online was written by Kawahara Reki and illustrated by Hazuki Tsubasa. It tells the story of ‘Sword Art Online’ (SAO) a virtual reality MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) released in 2022. The game uses a virtual reality helmet called ‘Nerve Gear’ to simulate the gamers’ senses through signals sent straight to their brains. This allows players to control their avatars in the game using only their minds.

On the release of the game, players log into SAO only to discover they do not have the ability to log out. They are then told by Akihiko Kayaba – the game’s creator – that they will need to complete the 100 floor tower to return to the real world again. They are also informed that if they die in game they also die outside the game as well. Survival suddenly becomes imperative in the digital world.

The main story arc focuses on the protagonist Kirito – a beta tester of SAO  – who sets up as a solo player in order to conquer the game alone.  Along the way he becomes friends with Asuna, a mysterious heroine and sub leader of the infamous guild “Knights of the Blood”. The two eventually team up both romantically and in battle to defeat the game.


First Impressions:

Looking at the art style of SAO it is quite ‘cutesy’ looking, which lightens the dark nature of the series (being trapped in a game that could kill you).  I also think Kawahara Reki wrote Kirito to be relatable to the audience and almost a stereotypical archetype of a video gamer (Keeps to themselves, awkward, and of course, competitive).

SAO cuteSAO cute 2


What I liked:

I really liked the way the characters had relatable traits and we wanted them to succeed in their mission to fight against the game and get back to the real world.  Not only did the characters have relatable traits, but there were awkward relatable scenes as well. You’ll see what I mean here….

SAO embarrass SAO embarrass 2 SAO embarrass 3

I also liked that the fact that whilst they were in the game, the distance between reality and the virtual world was blurred, for example the fact they still needed to eat and sleep in the game, and the skills gained also varied from everything between combat and domestic.


 What I disliked:

I really can’t think of anything that I particularly disliked about the manga. Whether that’s because I am already biased to really liking the anime (one of the top rated shows on my Netflix account) or the characters. In general there was nothing that stood out to me as bad.


Another WTF moment?!:

In chapter 8 I discovered a weird moment at the beginning of the chapter that made reference to the anime. This was a bit of a WTF because it made me question whether the anime was happening within the games’ universe or if something  had been added in by the translators to remind readers about the anime. (See the pages below below and make up your own mind).

SAO anime SAO anime2 SAO anime3


How did it compare to the anime:

The main arc of the Sword Art Online manga focused heavily on the relationship between Kirito and Asuna and skipped a lot of the long battle scenes we see in the anime. I did also notice after reading a few chapters of the Sword Art Online: Progressive manga that there was more Asuna backstory and more information was revealed in the anime earlier on in the series, such as the meeting with the top SAO players. Also, a major part of the anime that was skipped in the original manga chapters was the Yui arc that focuses on the NPC (Non playable character) AI within the game that almost becomes a surrogate daughter to Kirito and Asuna.


 Overall Opinion:

Whilst I did enjoy reading the manga, overall I think I preferred the anime to the manga as it was a lot more action-packed and visually interesting. Once again, I am being sucked into wanting to keep reading more of the series. From what I’ve researched there are four main stories of the manga (SAO, SAO: Fairy Dance, SAO: Progressive and SAO: Girls Ops). I think I will probably read the other stories at some point, when I get round to it!


Written by marketing whizzkid Jess Hardcastle.

Check out Cosmic Anvil’s original manga series ‘Age of Revolution’ in print here and digitally on Comixology.