Sorcerous Stabber Orphen – Anime Review

Does anyone else remember when a fantasy anime did not also have the tag isakai? Back in the day when must watch fantasy anime were series like Berserk, Slayers, Twelve Kingdoms and there was only the occasional isakai show with shows like Fushigi Yuugi and Escaflowne. There is one fantasy anime from the early 2000s that has everything a good fantasy story needs, swords, sorcery and of course dragons. That series is Sorcerous Stabber Orphan. Now I must confess I was really surprised when I found out not many people remember this anime, especially here in Australia because back when we first got the Adult Swim anime block it was one of the shows on there alongside Cowboy Bebop and Initial D.

From Studio J.C. Staff and released in Japan in the late 90s with the English dub airing on Adult Swim in the early 2000s for western audiences Sorcerous Stabber Orphen is a 24 episode fantasy series that had a follow-up season titled Sorcerous Stabber Orphen Revenge which even though it has the darker title is a lot more light-hearted than the first season which is the subject of this review. A lot of fans such of myself of the first season really do not enjoy the second season because of how silly it can get compared to the first.

The first season tells the story of Orphen a former student of the most powerful and prestigious school of dark magic in the land, the Tower of Fang who is on a journey to find the mysterious dragon known as The Bloody August. Alongside his traveling companions Cleao and Majic they search for the dragon who it turns out used to be a beautiful woman that was the only family Orphen has ever known. Orphen wants to save his friend, but the Tower of Fang wants the beast destroyed as it is a blemish on their record. Will Orphen find a way to save his friend or is this journey too much for even him to handle.

The first season’s story draws you in right from the start with the mystery surrounding the Bloody August and though after the opening two episodes the next few episodes are there for world building and to help the audience get acquainted with the cast of characters it is the second half of the series where the story of this series really shines. I want to keep this as spoiler free as possible but if you are a fan of tragic love stories you are really going to enjoy the second half of the series when the drama reaching a heart-wrenching pinnacle that will have you on the edge of your seat with a conclusion to the main story that is a happy ending of sorts that is tragic and beautiful all wrapped into one.

One of the biggest draws of this series is the amazing world building throughout. Yes, the main characters are on a journey in search for the Bloody August but along the way, they meet some pretty cool and scary characters and monsters. All the main cast are pretty cool. Orphen at first comes across as the cliche brooding hero type but as the story moves forward you see growth in him as he learns to let others help him. Majic comes across as such a sweet and almost innocent teenage boy, but then certain incidents happen that make you remember ‘he is a teenage boy’ and the sweet boy turns out to be quite the ladies man throughout the series. Cleao was my least favorite character at the beginning of the series. She starts out as a brash and loud tsundere type character but even she gets some really awesome growth throughout the series. There is also a pair of short brothers who serve as comedic relief for the series named Volkan and Dortin. Volkan’s ego is his own worst enemy and throughout the series, I could not help but feel sorry for his brother Dortin having to put up with his brother’s antics.

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While on the subject of characters within the series there is a side character I think is really worth mentioning. Stephanie is an old traveling buddy of Orphen’s who helps the heroes near the beginning of their journey. She is a very intelligent and beautiful woman and this will count as a small spoiler but at the end of the arc she is introduced in it is revealed by Orphen to his traveling companions that Stephanie used to be a sorcerer named Stephan when they were traveling together. Stephan used their magic to become Stephanie and as such was the first transgender character I ever saw in an anime and I love how nonchalant Orphen treats this fact about his friend, whether they are  Stephan or Stephanie they are still his friend. I do not know about you guys but if this does not count as a positive representation of an LGBTQ+ character in a 90s anime I do not know what does.

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For a 90s anime, I think this series has aged well… as long as you do not watch the sequel. That series did not age as well as the first. I know I am harping on the sequel series a lot in this review but there is a very obvious drop in quality between the first and second series it just really felt very phoned in and the truth is even though I am a fan of the series I have never finished the second season. I find myself wondering if the second season is the reason why people don’t remember how good the first season is, but if I was to go by that logic then that would mean all those Disney sequels destroy the legacy that came before them and that is just not true. It just seems Orphen has become an anime lost to time for a lot of people which is really sad because those who give the first season at least a chance are not usually disappointed.

The series came back on my radar just a couple of months ago due to the announcement of a new adaptation of the light novel that the series this series is based upon. I try really hard not to get overhyped for new shows, especially when they are a new adaptation or long-awaited sequel to an old show, but with this one well. I’m just hoping it won’t be as bad as Orphen Revenge, I mean it can’t be right? (please do not let these be my famous last words for this series I really want the new anime to be good)

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Space Battleship Tiramisu – Anime Review

Set in the time of Space Era 0156, the human race has extended its life and greed to the vastness of space itself, but all is not peaceful for humans in space for like in many mecha series a war has broken out between all the humans colonies in space and it is up to the brave team aboard the Battleship Tiramisu to change the tide of battle and things could go their way because they have mech pilot Subaru amid their crew and he is one of the best pilots out there. This, however, is not the focus of this short run comedy series, it is only the setup. The real plot of this anime revolves around Subaru and if you have come into this anime looking for an epic space opera you will be disappointed, this is because Subaru is an idiot who really loves his cockpit.

I put off watching this series from spring 2018 for a while because well it initially did not really grab me. See in my younger days of being an anime fan before I discovered the joys of boys love, yaoi and sports anime my genre of choice was mecha and my introduction to this genre came in the form of two anime that I still love to this day. These anime were Zoids: New Century and Gundam Wing, the latter of which I would later learn had a huge fujoshi following back then and though it has slowly died off over the years it is still there but can you really blame us when you see the promotional material for this series? I grew a big love of the mecha genre after Gundam Wing which saw me watch a lot of mech shows through the years. But then as it can happen with some genres I began seeing the same stories over and over again, change the character names, the mechs and sometimes put in some special way they are piloted throw in some political drama and bam you have a generic mech show. Then recently I watched the first episode of Dragon Pilot on Netflix which sparked my interest in mech shows once again and then I remembered seeing the promotional image for Space Battleship Tiramisu and I remembered the two guys on it looked cute and I found myself thinking. This feels a bit like fujoshi bait with characters looking like that.

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Yeah, I’ll admit I came for the cute space boys, but I stayed because I was laughing so much!

So upon seeing that it had a short run time of about five minutes per episode I decided to marathon the first season and I do not regret that choice. As I said in the opening of this review if you are looking for some space epic you are going to be very disappointed with this series. If however like me you like watching characters suffer due to their own stupidity while the series makes fun of the usual tropes and trappings of a mech series than you just might enjoy this series. If I was to describe the humor of this series I would say it is very self-deprecating towards its characters but also a bit of a character study to at watching a guy survive a dangerous life on sheer dumb luck half the time. Humor and comedy are hard to recommend at times because what leaves me rolling on my bed laughing might leave you just sitting there rolling your eyes, but if you enjoyed anime such as Gakuen Handsome and the recent Magical Girl Ore and these shows had you laughing then I would recommend checking out the first season of Space Battleship Tiramisu and there is also currently a second season screening so now is a perfect time to jump right in and join the crew!

Chasing Those Yaoi Feels Through ASMR and Mukbang – Featuring DICKHUNTERšŸŒ¶

Those yaoi feels, it is something that is brought up in many a discussion with fans of yaoi and boys love and why they like it, I even briefly touched up it in one of my older posts. That post being Why Yaoi?Ā In this post, I discussed what it was about the yaoi and boys love genre that I loved so much and went a little bit into my journey into becoming the fujoshi I am today. I never could quite put into words though completely what exactly those yaoi feels are, until now and of all places to figure it out it was within one of the weirdest communities on Youtube, the ASMR community.

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This post is going to get weird, but trust me on this one ok?

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response or as it is most commonly known as ASMR is that pleasant almost pleasurable for some, tingling sensation over your skin and down one’s spine that comes when you are exposed to certain sounds and you know what this is also a perfect way to describe what many within the yaoi community refer to those yaoi feels that one gets when watching a good BL or yaoi anime or reading a really really great yaoi story, it’s for the plot I swear. It never occurred to me however until my recent discovery of aĀ  Korean Youtube channel called of all thingsĀ DICKHUNTERšŸŒ¶Ā that these yaoi feels and ASMR with a little Mukbang thrown in could bring about these same feelings within this yaoi fan. I thought I was crazy to have this thought so I decided to post the following video on my Twitter to see if any other fujoshi would get those same feels I did.

I got a reply from a fellow fujoshi and we ended up discussing what we had just watched and needless to say, I was not the only one getting those yaoi feels from this video. From the flirtatious conversation between Dickhunter and his guest, the obvious inuendoes as they ate the chicken and those adorable fits of giggling the two go through throughout the video, just close your eyes and let the tingles begin.

Now, this is a weird video to enjoy believe me I know, and if you are one of those people who just can not stand the sound of people eating this will not be for you. But looking at the sub count he has it is obvious that DickHunter knows what he is doing with his videos, fujoshi bait or not if you are not grossed out by the sound of someone eating give this a go, at worse you will be grossed out by the sound of someone eating and at best, well who knows could this perhaps be classed as a new fetish perhaps for the yaoi fandom to get on, figuratively of course.

The Cutest Anime of the Fall 2018 Season No One is Talking About

Now I have a confession to make, as I have grown older I will admit I find it hard to find the time to always stay up to date with the latest of anime, this is why I usually put a day aside when I can to veg out and catch up on some anime watching. For me, this as of late falls on either a Friday or Saturday. Being time poor I am always happy when I find those short little anime that I can put on and know will put a smile on my face. In the past, it has been anime like Gakuen Handsome which always had me laughing within seconds of that ridiculous theme song starting or This Boy is a Professional Wizard which within it’s short run time told a story of relatable loneliness and love. In the current airing anime season, I have found yet another hidden gem within the realm of the short run time anime series and it is the most adorable series I have seen in a long time.

This short run less than five minutes an episode anime tells the story of unpopular manga artist Daisuu who takes home a stray cat he finds in the rain only for that cat to turn into a very cute human, only he can not look completely human, his cat ears keep showing! This premise alone is adorable and each episode seems to outdo just how cute the previous episode was.

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The web manga the series is based on is very adorable too!

AND IT SADDENS ME THAT NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT!

Other than the following article on Crunchyroll’s website back in August no one is talking about Hey! Your Cat Ears Are Showing! Which is a shame because with all the dark anime I am watching at the moment with series like Banana Fish and Goblin Slayer putting on a short episode of this cute little anime is enough to make me smile. One of the big reasons I can put this down to is that very sadly it does not seem like this series has been picked up by any of the big legal anime streaming sites, so if you are not looking elsewhere to watch anime you might not know about it. Now I am not going to get into the argument on the legality of unofficial anime streaming sites but I will say this. I personally only use these sites when an anime I want to watch is unavailable to watch anywhere else and this can be for many reasons including what’s available to view in my region, heck I am currently paying for an Amazon Prime account just so that I can watch Banana Fish each week. Not every anime every season is lucky enough to be picked up by a streaming site. Especially when you a fan of a niche genre like, yaoi and boys love. I will fully admit I did not watch Yarichin Bitch-bu through legal means but this was only because there are currently no means for me to do so.

This is also however why I try to when I can afford it to buy anime on DVD when it is released over here in Australia and is a series that I really love, hence why I bought my copy of the Dramatical Murder anime a few months ago (a review of this series will be on the way as soon as I sit down and watch it again). Even though I was not the biggest fan of the anime when I first watched it the fact that a company over here released a boys love anime on DVD was enough for me to support them in the hopes that the company will in the future release similar anime.

Remember the Vendetta, Remembering V

Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

Every single year without fail, since I bought my copy of V for Vendetta on DVD on November the fifth no matter what I am going through I will put this movie on, because the message of this movie is something that still stands strong with me. The following post is not a review of the movie, at this point I do not think I could write an unbias review of the movie because of how ingrain the movie is within me at this point. Instead, I want this to be a discussion of the movie and what it means to me.

There are two comic book movies in my top ten favorite movies of all time, or at least they would be there if I ever made the list. These movies are Watchmen and V for Vendetta. Don’t get me wrong I love a good comic book action movie but these two movies stand out the most to me because they speak to me on more than an enjoyment level. They make me think. In Watchmen and spoilers ahead if you have not seen the movie we get a story asking one simple question. Who polices the police? Are those who protect really as righteous as we believe them to be? Do they deserve to be placed up high on the pedestals we put them on? And lastly, does the world really end if the bad guy wins? V for Vendetta has a similar message with its story in that it asks the question, can a villain be the hero we need?

 

V for Vendetta is a movie that there is in no way in hell would get made today. There is no way a comic movie would be made in the post 9/11 world that glorifies a terrorist as a visionary, a hero or a savior for the people. Especially in this world that we have created for ourselves today. We have created a world in the past decade where people do not stand up and question, without the approval of masses in some way, shape or form and we are creating a world and generation that is full of wimps and wusses who want to see change in the world around them, for the simple fact that they want a world where their little feelings do no get hurt.

The story found within the movie for V for Vendetta has a message that to me has more value today in 2018 than it ever did back in 2005. The citizens in the England depicted in V live in a world where the news lies to them (hmm sounds kinda like this fake news we keep hearing about today, does it not?) a government that the people are scared of because there is a madman in charge (you can pick from many different countries around the world to see the similarities here) and those who speak up and try to initiate change well it turns out they are not the kind of people you should idolize, in fact, they are criminals whose own moral judgment is far from perfect.

‘Artists use lies, to tell the truth’.Ā These seven words in this very sequence speak to me on so many levels, countless times within this blog I have written review after review after review of stories with hard subject matter to swallow. Stories that deal with abuse, rape, torture and so much more of the harshness found in this world and though none of these stories to my knowledge have been ‘true stories’ and therefore could in a sense like all fiction be considered a lie for the sake of entertainment, there is a level of truth to these stories and the writers behind these ‘lies’ are sharing truths of this world with the reader. They are giving us the opportunity to talk about these otherwise taboo or unreachable subjects in everyday conversation. In fact the latest chapters of Killing Stalking has opened up a chance to talk about another form of abuse that is very rarely talked about and you can be sure I will be talking about it here soon, though I am going to wait till the end of the current season before I open that brand new floodgate as I am very curious as to where Koogi is taking the story.

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You are a more complicated and fleshed out character than I ever gave you credit for Sangwoo

 

 

The Legend of Blue Wolves – Yaoi Classic Review

Legend of Blue Wolves which is also unfortunately known to English speaking audiences as Hot Space CowboysĀ is a yaoi OVA from 1996 that time and a large portion of the yaoi fandom has forgotten, mostly because of it’s status as an unfinished anime, for there is not exactly a complete story found within this story with a history in of itself that is hard to track down and much of what I have learned about the background behind this OVA were rumors discussed on long purged or lost forums from over a decade ago. The most prevalent of these rumors was that the OVA itself is either what was meant to be a pilot for a larger series that never got beyond being just a pilot and the other being that the series was never continued because the production company behind the series went belly up and this OVA was their swan song of sort. I have over the many years have yet to find any information that confirms or denies these rumors. What is know about the OVA is that it was directed by Yasunori Urata and if that name sounds familiar it is because they would go on to direct the 2001 anime smash hit Hellsing, as well as a few episodes of Naruto, Last Exile and Burst Angel.

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The question is though with all the mystery surrounding this almost forgotten classic yaoi OVA is it worth your time to check out? I say yes especially if you are a fan of not only yaoi anime but if you have a passing interest in the war politics found within many mech anime then it’s storyline will be up your alley. Set like many mecha anime in the distant future where humans have colonized our solar system, but things take a dramatic turn when humans reach Pluto and now the human race is at war against powerful aliens. This, however, is just the background setting for the story of this OVA. The main focus of the story of this OVA is the growing relationship between two soldiers in training. Jonathan Tyberius is a rookie wanting to prove himself and Leonard Schteinberg is a man haunted by his past. The two roommates at the barracks don’t like each other at first but when it is revealed there are enemies closer than the battlefield within their own ranks they learn to have to rely on and protect each other and those feelings soon blossom into something more.

This is an OVA that does delve into some dark themes common and not so common within the yaoi genre, these include rape, genital mutilation, abuse of power and the kind of tragic ending that can only happen in yaoi. One of the good things about this older OVA is that it is quite easy to get a hold of in the west as the licensing for the series is with Media Blaster and it can be easily picked up through either their site or a site like Amazon or eBay.

Is there an old anime OVA within any genre that you feel does not get the love you believe it deserves? I would love to hear from you guys so let me know it the comments below.