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Seraph of the End :Vampire Reign Review

Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign is an action fantasy Anime based off the Manga “Seraph of the End” created by Takaya Kagami. In Vampire Reign much of humanity was instantly wiped out by a mysterious virus only children under the age of 13 are immune to the virus. At the same time monsters called the Four Horsemen of John decimates what is left. This apocalypse left Humanity in the hands of vampires who use humans as cattle in exchange for protection from the Four horsemen of John. Humanity’s only hope is the Japanese imperial demon army which fights against vampires with cursed weapons however, these cursed gears have some dark secrets.Screenshot (651)

The story and the dynamic between the two main characters Mikaela and Yūichirō are the strongest parts of Vampire Reign. See Yu’s man motivation for wanting to kill all the vampires is seeing his family, including Mika, slaughtered by a vampire while they were trying to flee from the vampire controlled orphanage (which was more of a blood farm). Yu’s only desire in life is to gain enough power for his revenge. Mika only survives due to the vampire queen (who happens to be a loli) who turns Mika into a vampire against his will. Personally, I find Mika’s situation a lot more interesting than Yu’s. Not only has Mika become the thing that he and Yu hates the most, but Mika must work, live and serve under these vampires all while fighting the urge to consume human blood. While Yu only lives for revenge Mika seeks to liberate Yu from the humans and their experiments.Screenshot (641)

The show looks great, the action scenes have great direction and the effects are cool. The backgrounds look as if they were all hand painted. This gives the show a unique look and keeps it visually interesting. The music is nothing to write home about I frankly forgot the show had music at times and the English dub is only passable and I stuck with the sub. The anime was produced by Wit studios and Directed by Daisuke Tokudo.Screenshot (639)

My biggest gripe with the Vampire reign is Yūichirō. Yu is an Impatient brat that who’s selfish and Impulsive fits become annoying quickly. The supporting cast is average, (Guren is pretty badass though) but no matter what they often take a back seat to Yu’s fits and he often jeopardizes himself and his entire squad because he “doesn’t want to lose any of his family”. But if you can look past Yu’s childlike behavior you’ll find a couple of decent characters.Screenshot (657)

My favorite part of Vampire Reign was its world building and lore. It’s not often that humanity isn’t at the top of the food chain. And combine this with the morality of human experimentation for the sake of survival and the humanity of Mika are all concepts that keep Vampire Reign from being an average anime. The world crafted here is ugly as vampires kill children and innocents alike with no thought to it. Soldiers are forced to witness their comrades killed and eaten alive and this show pulls no punches and shows the brutality of Mankind struggle to survive. This show is not for the weak of heart.Screenshot (659)

Overall, I enjoyed Vampire Reign the deeper I got into the story and the dark dealing of the Japanese demon army. The show left on kind of a cliff hanger but the source material is still ongoing so what do you expect? I wouldn’t say this is a great anime but if you’re hungry for a good action show this might satisfy your appetite for a while.

All images used in this review are screen shots of the anime Seprah of the End: Vampire Riegn. All rights to their respective owners

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Anime

The hell is anime vibe?

The relationship between anime and hip–hop music

About a week ago I was listening to music with a friend and the song “passing me by” by the paracyde came on Pandora. This was my friends first time listing to the track but he recognized it because it was sampled in another song. This is very common with hip hop music as sampling is the bread and butter of hip-hop. He couldn’t remember the name of the song that sample the phracydde but I later found it on YouTube. The song is called “affection” by an artist named JInsang. The song was paired by clips “Garden of words” romance anime movie. Now just by listening to this track and many others recommended by YouTube I thought to myself what is the association to anime and these instrumental tracks? Few anime have hip hop based soundtracks, however this Anime vibe style videos are becoming more popular and more hip-hop producers are sampling anime in their songs so I decided to see where this culture diffusion took place.

So, for those who may not know sampling in hip-hop is a practice where a producer takes a part of a song that has already been created and incorporates it into a new work of music. Music from every genre has been sampled in hip hop. If you are curious about what your favorite song sampled or who may have sampled your favorite song.

One trend that I’ve seen throughout the songs featured on Anime vibe is a slow and laid-back tone that could best be categorized in the lo-fi hip hop genre. But why are lo-fi hip-hop songs often paired together with visuals from anime? Well my best guess is that a calm and relaxing art style goes well with a calm and relaxing song. I believe one of the things that drew me to anime originally were the colorful images and soft and rounded facial features common in anime. I feel that watching anime is a good way relax so combining relaxing and calming visuals with a song could increase the effects that a song may have on an audience as many seek out slow instrumental tracks to relax and study to.

Now in the early 2000’s anime boomed in America along with hip hop songs that sampled anime tracks. Now this could be because of the anime boom or because of the release of samurai Champloo which is known for its hip-hop soundtrack. Samurai Champloo came out in 2003 right in the middle of the anime boom and saw lots of exposure due to being featured on adult swim. It’s very likely that samurai Champloo got many anime fans into hip-hop music and inspired them to produce their own hip-hop beats. It just goes to show that art inspires more art.

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What is bad?

One of the great things about life is that everyone is different. Everyone has their own ideas, tastes, and needs. What might be awesome for you might be terrible for me. Shoes, food anime, music and almost everything that we do can be up to personal choice whether we enjoy something.

In the game of basketball, the most personal piece equipment to a play is her or her shoe. Some NBA players are known for changing out their shoes in the middle of games. We have come a long way from the Chuck Taylor and Nike, Adidas, under amour, come out with tons of different models each year just for basketball. Personally, I like a supportive high-top with good cushion. One of my favorite models are the Lebron zoom Soldier 9, they have great traction, support, and awesome cushion for my wild and out of control play style. I’ve made a lot of buckets and got some awesome dunks and I’ve enjoyed them the entire time. One day I saw another player with the same model shoe and I asked “hey we’re wearing the same shoe. How do you like them?” he replied, “they’re all right they’re just too heavy.” Personally, I never noticed how much the shoe weighed when I started playing in them, I still felt fast, and I was still able to perform my high-flying dunks and blocks just fine. But it made me think. “if one person likes a shoe but another person doesn’t, does that make the product good, bad or just average?

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Image provided by zash shoes

Let’s move to another example, Anime! On my anime list, I was looking up “His and her circumstances” and when I was giving it a near perfect rating I saw a review of the show that criticized the animation of the show calling it limited and ugly. Now personally I love the animation in “His and her Circumstances” I think that the studio did a great job of expressing the character’s emotions and keeping the viewer interested in what’s happening.  I know many people don’t like how bad some older anime looks but others love the nostalgic look of old anime so it all comes down to personal taste.Screenshot (257)

So, the question that we are left with is, how does one judge if a product is truly bad?

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What can you learn from the first episode?

 

They say that the best impression is your first impression. That remains true in anime. In anime, the first episode is crucial to hook viewers and maintain their attention. So, I decided it would be fun to take a look back on my favorite anime; Trigun, Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop and see what a viewer could learn and expect from these premier episodes.Screenshot (494)

In cowboy bebop’s premier episode, we are shown a tragic story about a criminal and his fiancée trying to outrun their past. This criminal, Isamov is being hunted by his old gang syndicate and bounty hunters from all the reaches of space and is only able to survive by using the drug “red eye” to give himself leg up on the advancing hit crews. Spoiler alert but this story ends tragically as isamov and his fiancée are gunned down by police. The episode ends where it began with spike working out as this tragic day was just another day in the life of a bounty hunter. Screenshot (508)

Multiple times you see how goofy and resourceful Spike can be, not only stealing food but a vial of red eye from Isamov. Ultimately this episode does a great job of showing what you can expect from the rest of Cowboy Bebop. Most episodes in Cowboy Bebop are standalone stories with their own characters that have their own back story and personality but they will never make another appearance in the show.

 

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For Samurai Champloo, In the interest of time I will skip the story of the first episode. What you get in the first episode of Samurai Champloo is an introduction of the Mugen, Fuu and Jin who will become the main trio of the series, however out of the three of them Mugen is best characterized in the first episode. Mugen can be best be described as a wondering dog looking for a good fight and causing trouble everywhere he goes. From his hair to his fighting style Mugen is just brutal and wild and you can see all of this in the first fight he has with Jin. This first episode is a good way of introducing the main cast while setting them out on their journey to find the samurai who smells of sunflower.

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In Trigun you learn about the 60 billion double dollar man Vash the stampede the humanoid typhoon. He has a reputation as a deadly force killing anyone that stands in his way, this reputation is juxtaposed to this kind hearted and goofy character that we see. At the end of the episode Meryl is still not connived that this dude could be such a killer.

So, from the first episode from these anime we all have violent fights in a bar or tea house that leave the building destroyed and bodies everywhere. In samurai Champloo we get to meet the main cast while in cowboy bebop we don’t even see half of the bebop crew, in Trigun we meet ¾ of the main characters. Out of all three, Cowboy Bebop had the most dramatic premier episode and Trigun feels more like a comedy than anything else

Rest in peace to all of the bars and tea houses destoyed in these episdoes.

If you are intrested you can stream these shows at hulu.com here.

All of the pictures used are screenshots taken from Trigun, Samurai champloo and cowboy bebop all rights are to the respective owners.