Tag Archives: Monica Rial

Soul Eater: The Nightmare Before Anime

Ever since my girlfriend and her sister cosplayed the Thompson twins from Soul Eater, I had developed a growing

Liz and Patty. Yes.

interest in watching Soul Eater. I didn’t realize at the time what this show would hold in store for me. (Added bonus if Christopher Sabat does any voice in an anime.) As I began watching this 51 episode anime, I found myself falling in love with the characters and caring for what would happen to them (although I had the ending ruined for me by complete accident.) It didn’t detract from the pulse-pounding episodes of battle after battle that ensued, and I found a new love in this Halloween-type anime that sent chills down my spine and laughs throughout my body as I spent a week watching this amazing anime. I was enraptured.

This anime follows the story of three “Meisters” and their “Weapons.” These duos of weapon and wielder take on what are known as Kishins, the tainted souls of creatures that have become monsters and feed on other people’s souls. Once 99 Kishin souls are collected, and one witch’s soul, then the weapon is deemed worthy of being used by Lord Death. This grim reaper is the essential Headmaster of the DWMA, also known as the Death Weapon Meister Academy. He installed this school to battle Kishins, and it has done a good job up to this point.

The doom and gloom of Death City.

It is at this point that things begin to go downhill. The evil witch Medusa (Luci Christian) and others have made plans to bring down the DWMA, and it is up to three brave Meisters, Maka Albarn (Laura Bailey), Black Star (Brittney Karbowski), and Death the Kid (Todd Haberkorn) to defeat the evil plot of the witches and Kishins. Teamed up with their weapons, Soul Eater (Micah Solusod), Tsubaki (Monica Rial), and the Thompson twins Liz (Jamie Marchi) and Patty (Cherami Leigh).

So it may seem weird that Meisters, who are people, are fighting using weapons who are also people. But these people are born with the ability to change into weapons at will. These weapons are special as well. A Meister and its Weapon have a special bond known as Soul Resonance. This bond allows Meister and Weapon to combine into one soul and creates a higher power in which to defeat enemies. But these three are not on the level of the Professors or Lord Death himself at the DWMA. And it is the school’s purpose to train these Meisters and Weapons in order to make them formidable opponents against Kishins.

The one thing that stands out about this anime, to me, is the style in which the plot is set. The doom and gloom of death and souls is combined with the comedic

Soul Eater. With some pizazz.

drawings of the artists. This gives it an anime meets Nightmare Before Christmas feel to it. The grinning Sun and Moon with blood dripping from their teeth give it that comedic element, mixed with the morbid. The grim reapers and monster encountered, drawn in what appears to be Jack the Ripper Whitechapel area sets up one of the best environments I’ve ever encountered in an anime.

Black Star. Badass.

And there are some great english voice actors that are in this anime. It would take too long to give a whole list, so I’ll just highlight a few. I thought Micah Solusod gave a great performance as Soul Eater, Maka’s weapon scythe. His grave voice and determined attitude comes across great through Micah, although I’ve never heard of him before. Brittney Karbowski was amazing as the cocky Black Star, my all time favorite ninja child and all around badass. John Swasey was great as Lord Death. His goofy voice gave the anime a Jack Skellington element with his personality and outlook. Vic Mignogna was hilarious as Maka’s father and Death Scythe Spirit. His obsession with seeking his daughter’s approval was always worth a laugh. Chuck Huber was fantastic as the madness induced Professor Doctor Franken Stein. His tormented character fought back and forth, and this was amazingly done by Huber. Maxey Whitehead was great as the insecure, gender-bender Crona. The duo of Crona and Ragnarok against the world and the lack of acceptance was heart wrenching to say the least. And yes, Troy Baker was amazing as Excalibur, the useless, fool dueling weapon of legend and lore.

And that’s about it. To get too much into the story might ruin the anime with spoilers, so I’ll leave you with this. If you’re looking for a light-hearted shonen with gore, guts (courage/bravery), and glorious fighting, this anime is for you. I give Soul Eater a 9 out of 10.

And here’s a taste of the show with a tribute to Death the Kid and the sexy Thompson Twins. Hooray.

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My Bride is a Mermaid

Let me start off by saying that this is now one of my favorite humorous comedic anime. Hands down. It’s simple, it’s hilarious, and it encompasses an all star cast of voice actors that bring the humor up to a whole new level. I recommend dubbed before subbed, naturally, as I feel anime that we can’t really glean a good delivery from due to subtitles suffers in the delivery. But this anime really stands out to me as one of those anime that comes along for purely a comedic purpose and nails it. Yes, there are quite a few sexual innuendos and reference and most of the characters are drawn in a sexual manner, but it doesn’t detract from the awesomeness that is My Bride is a Mermaid.

The plot of this show is that Nagasumi Michishio(Todd Haberkorn) is visiting his grandmother at the Seto Inland Sea. He drowns. But who saves him? A mermaid. And because Nagasumi has seen Sun Seto (Alexis Tipton), he must pay the price

Pretty serious there, eh?

with his life, for it is the mermaid law. But clever little Sun uses the “loophole” in the law and marries Nagasumi in an effort to save both their hides (or tails in Sun’s situation). This leads to a hilarious string of goofy and outlandish situations that kept me laughing through all 26 episodes.

Okay, so the voice actors that make up the cast of MBIAM is what makes the show amazing. We have Todd Haberkorn as Nagasumi, and his voice always lends a bit of geeky, endearing comedy to everything he does. I truly feel he’s always cast as the geeky character, and I have no problem with that, he’s quite amazing at it and always delivers well. There’s John Swasey, doing his gruff badass voice (he has two modes, gruff or girly) as Sun’s father Gozaburo, the leader of the mermaid mafia gang that threatens Nagasumi’s life. He is not cool with his daughter’s marriage, and makes it a point to make Nagasumi’s life a living Hell.

Now he’s a voice actor who surprised me. Christopher Sabat (AKA God) surprised me fully with his voice as Masa, the black mafia member of the Seto

Christopher Sabat???

tribe. His voice comes off as so black and sensual that you become shocked to find out that Piccolo did his voice. Great work. Monica Rial as Maki, the deranged conch shell assassin. Annoying at yet always laughably funny. Bryan Massey, as Shark, one of the funnier side characters of the anime who always speaks in the form of a question. Would love to cosplay him one day. Another shocker: J. Michael Tatum plays Lunar’s father, the Terminator spoofing hardbody who will do anything to quote one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s films. And last but not least, Eric Vale. Time and time again he has proven to play characters I connect with and admire, be it my first love of Trunks or the great snob who is Kai Mikawa, the porpoise and agoraphobic who is after Sun’s heart.

Now that we’ve gotten a little into how great the voice actors are, let’s talk about the meat of the show. So, usually, every episode pertains, in some way, to some side character always trying to break up Sun and Nagasumi. Be it Sun’s father or Lunar (Cherami Leigh) Sun’s singing and life rival, there’s always something awkwardly sexual going on. Favorite scene? Nagasumi

Eric Vale, you devil, you...

rubbing down Sun’s legs behind a bush. (Mermaids can walk on human legs, but the second they touch water, it turns into a fin.) Oddly enough, some of this show, I would venture to guess, may turn on some men, who are into mermaids, and young voluptuous girls… That are cartoons. And I think that’s where the TV-MA rating comes in. There is the occasional swear, but the sexual content is where the show really gets its fangs.

All in all, I really love this new up and coming anime. I enjoyed every minute of it and found the dub to be far better than the sub. The delivery and timing of the jokes speaks to both a American and Japanese audience. The art direction was great (weird thing with shiny unicorn blood?) and although the theme song might have been annoying and a tad too long, it didn’t take away from the fact I would get excited when they show started to play. Definitely

Come watch, won't you?

look out for this anime and, hopefully, this will become a big thing. 8.7 out of 10.


Xam’d: Lost Memories, Nice Catch

Let me just say that, until otherwise, this is my #2 all time favorite anime. My #1 is of course Macross Frontier, and I plan to re-watch it for a review on The Abyss. This is what’s known as a “Mecha-Romance Fantasy,” and I would definitely agree. It has great characters, a massive plot that seems to span ages, and art direction that just blows me away.

It all takes place, at first, on Senten Island, A little place in South (Japan?) right after the devastation of war. The island is peaceful and those that are on it have barely begun to forget the war that invaded their lives. We follow Akiyuki Takehara, our soon to be hero, Haru Nishimura, and Furuichi Teraoka (my favorite character, hands down.). Three students who get on a bus, and whose lives are changed forever. In what appears to be a terrorist attack, Akiyuki is turned into a Xam’d, the human-form (hard to explain) creature who is meant to bring about the salvation of the world. From here on, the world is broken out into chaos as we focus around three plot lines that lead to a pulse-pounding ending.

As far as first impressions go, I’m going to have to hold off on commenting on the voice acting in this anime. I watched the first series dubbed and the second subbed, and I was thrown off quite a bit. The only two voices actors that stood out to me in this were Luci Christian and Monica Rial, but that’s not to say that there weren’t other good ones. Although I must say, if it will swing you, watch the dubbed version, if only for Tojiro Kagisu, the crazed military commander, voiced by Chris Hutchinson. I’d never really ever heard his voice before this, and he hasn’t done much, but this anime is worth hearing his voice for. Such a solid performance that I was quite surprised this guy doesn’t do movies.

But yes, what you HAVE to watch this anime for is THE ARTWORK. This shizz blew me away with how great it looked. Everything was so fluid, all of the battle scenes and motion in the anime looked like it came straight out of a video game. (Come to think of it, I hope this is a video game.) What always gets me is when Nakiami burst out of the belly of the postal ship on her Kayak and launches into the sky. So great. Along with that is the great little effect the pervades the show in which when ships take off, there is a circular rainbow that ejects from the exhaust that looks fantastic in this show. But yes, watch this anime for the fluidity and amazing look of the anime.

Great part of this show: the postal crew. Ishuu Benikawa is the quite sexy captain, the whole bad attitude with the heart of gold deal. (Quite a sight I’d like to see cosplayed.) Akushiba, my second favorite characters, plays the wise-ass worker who is actually quite secretly, yet subtlety perverted. Yunbo is the other woman of the crew who plays mother to all and balances out Ishuu’s hard-assedness (New word.) She is Hinokimaru’s mother and not a good one at that. Ahm is great as the solid rock and pilot of the ship, and Namiaki fills out the crew as the outcast who has found a home. This whole dynamic fuels the first season and carries on slightly into the second. You never get tired of seeing the crew though.

The military is great, the postal ship crew is great, and all of the main characters shine in this anime. If you love mecha, watch this. If you love insane art direction, watch this. If you just plain love good anime, please check this out. 9.5 out of 10. The Abyss highly approves.


Claymore: The Female Berserk

So we just finished watching this anime in my Anime Club, and I have to admit, it was ridiculously great. As the title of my blog suggest, it was in fact the female version of Berserk, an anime I reviewed earlier (just as equally badass.). I had really no complaints about this show from beginning to end, but let’s get into the heart of the show to start off.

What you have to know about this anime is that it centers around three species that, you could say, derive from humans. There are humans (us), Yoma (evil creatures that resemble intelligent, radioactive zombies/demons) and Claymores, badass women who go around, part Yoma, part human, and destroy the evil Yomas that take on human form. Sensing the Yoki (you could relate this idea of energy to Ki in DBZ, a lot of the fight sequences are similar, just add swords.) of the Yoma, the Claymores go to fear stricken towns and easily eradicate the Yomas.

Now here’s the kicker. Wait. I can’t give away the kicker. You’ll just have to watch. After you get through the first 8 or 9 episodes, things really start to spice up and the blood really starts to fly. I wish I could say more, but it really is a twisting and turn-filled anime ride that is worth taking.

After having watched this over such an expansive amount of time, I find it a bit hard remembering exactly the plot, but that didn’t stop me from sitting silent in my chair (mostly) and just following the plot quite religiously. The animation and drawing is fantastic. The fight scenes, although laden with unrealistic sword clashing and sparks, is quite amazing to watch. You definitely get a DBZ feel watching this as it plays out as every major goodie and baddie talk out their strategy to the “audience.” (Really, who does this? I would complain about the strangness of talking out battle plans to your opponent, but I guess there would be a lot of dead air without it…) The back stories are great and there’s next to no recap in the entire anime. A definite selling point for me.

The Japanese sub was great and I almost want to watch the dub to see if it’s just as good. I mean come on, Todd Haberkorn as Raki, a completely disposable character and letdown of the entire series? That’s great. They even get Monica Rial, (Miria) Caitlin Glass, (Deneve) and Brina Palencia (Priscilla) to play 3 of the biggest characters, and who are, coincidentally my 3 favorite female voice actors (mostly for their work in Gunslinger Girl). Even Vic Mignogna and Christopher Sabat (MY FAVORITE) make appearances in a few episodes. So yeah, might watch that…

But yeah, this show is great. Battle scene after battle scene, back stories on unbelievable characters, and big, badass bosses? SO glad that they came out with a video game for this. It came out in Japan for the Nintendo DS and should probably be here soon. I’ll let you know if I get a hold of it. (Cool feature, control Yoma with the stylus and screen.) So yes, this anime was great. 8.3 out of 10

 

… And if anybody is really paying attention to my ratings, I know I haven’t really given anything a bad review. If you feel I’m wrong, post a comment and let me know. I’d love the feedback.