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Podcast: CCRC21: Gundam Wing

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Listen to me geek out at Jurd and Opopinax as we watch “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Episode 1: The Shooting Star She Saw.”

Click HERE to download the commentary track!

And HERE to watch along with us!

Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it. You can also support me on Patreon for bonus episodes, fiction, and more!

This podcast was originally posted at Skinner.FM on March 21, 2017.

Podcast: CCRC19: Voltron

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Watch along with Hugh, Opopinax, and Jurd as they watch the first episode of Dreamworks’ “Voltron: Legendary Defender!” It’s lion-robot-tastic!

Click HERE to listen to the commentary!

“Voltron: Legendary Defender” is available on Netflix Streaming in the US and Canada!

This podcast was originally posted at Skinner.FM on February 9, 2017.

Thanks for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please review or share it! You can support Hugh on Patreon for more great content!

 

Podcast: CCRC18: Naruto S1E1

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Join Opopinax, JRD, and Hugh as they take a quick jump in the Chronotheater to the heady days of 2002 with a commentary for the first episode of the original Naruto anime.

Click HERE to listen along.

Naruto is available to stream from Netflix, Crunchy Roll, Hulu, and Viz.com!

This podcast was originally posted at Skinner.FM on January 19, 2017.

Podcast: CCRC9-Fist of the North Star(2015)

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Watch along with the full compliment of chrononauts as we comment on the first episode of the new “Fist of the North Star.”  Times may change, but you’re still already dead.

Click HERE to listen!

And Click HERE to watch the show on Youtube!

This podcast was originally posted at Skinner.FM on July 18, 2016.

If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it or leave a review.  You can also support me on Patreon!

Hugh Likes Anime: MS Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans

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Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans
Bandai/Sunrise
Streamed via Crunchy Roll

Gundam IBO.jpg
With science fiction credentials that date back just as far as “Star Wars,” the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise has gone through its ups and downs across every conceivable kind of media.  From anime and manga, to literally hundreds of games, to more toys and models than even the most hard-core collector could hope to assume.  These offerings have varied wildly in tone, from the shocking, gritty depictions of war in the original Mobile Suit Gundam, to the “Street Fighter”-Inspired G Gundam, to the downright kid-friendly SD Gundam.
As the 40th anniversary of the franchise approaches, Bandai’s latest offering, “Iron-Blooded Orphans,” may be the most shocking and adult iteration of the series to date.  Nearly all of the Gundam series’ protagonists are in their teens or early twenties, but IBO certainly goes the farthest with a harrowing depiction of the child soldiers.
Set on a terraformed and colonized Mars, the series takes place about three hundred years after a catastrophic war that depleted Earth’s resources.  When teenage heiress Kudelia Aina Bernstein begins calling for Martian independence, she becomes a target of Gjallarhorn, Earth’s theoretically independent peacekeeping force.  She turns to paramilitary army CGS, and their unit of indentured child soldiers for protection.  After reviving one of the long-lost Gundam Frames, the children stage an uprising and form their own company, agreeing to take Bernstein to Earth, the one place where her voice can produce results.  As they travel, she begins to really learn how desperate the lives of these ‘human debris’ children really are, and grows close to Gundam Barbatos’ laconic pilot, Mika.
While Gundam has not shied away from serious issues before, this is probably the most consistantly dark and serious entry in the series, but it does an excellent job, for the most part, in addressing the themes of the show.  The character and mech designs are well drawn, and the plot, for all its darkness, is engrossing.  Season one recently finished and can be found streaming on the Crunchy Roll streaming service.

Thanks for reading this article.  If you enjoyed it, please share it!  You can also support me on Patreon for more content.

Hugh Likes Anime: Food Wars

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Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma
Studio: J. C. Staff
Streamed via Crunchyroll
food-wars
When I was a teen, I was really into Iron Chef, a competitive Japanese cooking show which might be viewed as the forefather of most of the Food Network’s current lineup.  “Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma” is another descendant.  An anime based on manga by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki, it follows the adventures of teenaged hero Yukihira Soma through Japan’s most prestigious and rigorous cooking school.  Soma is the son of a competitive and mysterious diner owner, and he’s been cooking since he was a child.  At first, he looks down the other students, who’ve ‘never served a customer before,’ but as the series goes along, he learns a lot about cooking through competing with them.
Shokugeki no Soma falls in line with many of the tropes associated with anime aimed at teenage boys.  There are lots of nonsensical rivalries, training, and challenges to overcome while forthrightly contemplating philosophical points.  And also plenty of fan service.  These are certainly the first chef’s jackets that I’ve ever seen with cleavage.  But even the fan service has its own goofy charm.  The series is constantly searching for new ways to express culinary language visually.  These range from a group of people eating a pork-roast so good their clothes explode to a panel of judges piloting a lobster rocket into space.
The first season of Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma is currently streaming online at Crunchyroll, and is coming to DVD.  While the show ends at a bit of a cliffhanger, and a second season has yet to be announced, this is an excellent series for foodies and anime fans alike.  I’d like to give a hat tip to Jason Banks of the Talk Nerdy To Me podcast for the recommendation.
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Hugh Likes Comics: Dragon Ball

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Hugh Likes Comics:  Dragon Ball
Written and Drawn by Akira Toriyama
Published by Viz/Shonen Jump

Although it is a big part of my own path through comics, I haven’t talked about manga in this space.  Manga, broadly speaking, refers to Japanese comics, or occasionally comics drawn in a Japanese style.  These comics have a visual language all their own, enjoy vast popularity the world over, and one of the best loved of these is “Dragon Ball.”
Spanning over forty volumes, spawning four long-running animated TV shows, a vast collection of movies, and enough merchandize to sink a container ship, Akira Toriyama’s “Dragon Ball” is a full-fledged cultural phenomenon.  Originally a goofy, cartoonish Sci-Fi retelling of the Monkey King legend, this is the story of Son Goku, an incredibly strong, perfectly innocent child as he travels with teenage prodigy Bulma to gather the Dragon Balls, seven mystical stones which, when brought together, will grant any one wish.  Along the way, he becomes the greatest martial artist in the universe, and saves the world a few times, to boot.
With its beyond epic length, the thing I find really interesting about Dragon Ball is that it so completely documents the evolution of Toriyama as an artist.  His style is very round and iconic, and at the beginning of the comic, much more rooted in sophomoric humor.  It certainly isn’t what you’d expect from the martial-arts action story it becomes.  While Toriyama never completely lets go of his comedic side, the series becomes more and more of an action comic as the tale unfolds, until we reach halfway through and it becomes “Dragon Ball Z.”
With its focus on space adventure and over the top martial arts, DBZ is what got translated first.  It appeared in incomplete forms on American and Canadian TV in the 90’s.  And I fell in love with it.  But now I think I prefer the original stories about Goku’s childhood.  The adventures are more fun, more playful, and less reliant on gimmicks and ‘power levels’ to keep the tension high.  “Dragon Ball,” by contrast, remains delightful and ridiculous throughout, including a cameo crossover with his earlier work “Dr. Slump,” in which just about every character tries to squeeze into a panel for a fourth-wall breaking cameo.
“Dragon Ball” comic is particularly a comic of its time and place, but like its protagonist, it mixes goofball humor, iconic visual style, and thrilling action in perfect amounts with a perfect garnish of child-like whimsy.  Go pick up a copy, and be a kid again for a few hours.

Dragon Ball on Amazon.com (Affiliate Link)

Dragon Ball on Comixology.com

 

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