Red Data Girl

Red Data Girl is the brain child of Noriko Ogiwara. The fantasy novel series was adapted into an anime which aired from April through June of 2013.

As the story goes, Izumiko Suzuhara is a 15-year-old girl who was raised at Tamakura Shrine, part of the Kumano Shrines World Heritage Site. She has the unfortunate disposition of destroying any electrical device that she comes into contact with.

Yearning to overcome her shyness, she chooses to try living in the city. She enrolls in a school in Tokyo, accompanied by yamabushi-in-training, Miyuki Sagara. As the story unfolds, she learns that she is a vessel for a certain deity and that Miyuki is her assigned protector

Red Data Girl is an understated and quietly rich body of work. The artwork is splendid and the characters are likeable. This is one of those series that I find myself going back to re-watch ever so often.

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The Kugali Podcast

The Kugali Podcast  is an awesome podcast where Ziki, Obito, Demi and Tolu give an African perspective on the world of comics, video games, TV shows, anime and all things geeky.

Some time ago, I was on The Kugali Podcast. In that heavily anime/manga focused episode, we touched on the portrayal of women and black people in anime and manga.

(I sounded like a blathering idiot but these guys are great!)

Check out Kugali Podcast Episode 35: Spoilers!

The Latest Episode

The latest episode of The Kugali Podcast features Regine Sawyer, founder of Lockett Down Productions, her independent media company through which she has published a number of titles such as The Rippers, Eating Vampires and Ice Witch.

Regine is also one of the founders of Women in Comics, an initiative to promote women around the world working in comics particularly independents, they have hundreds of members across five different continents and are growing still.

Listen to The Episode

Read the Show Notes

Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人 Shingeki no Kyojin) the 2013 anime was adapted from the eponymous manga, created by Hajime Isayama. The series began in Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shonen Magazine on September 9, 2009 and has been collected into 17 tankoban volumes as of August 2015. The anime was produced by Wit Studio, directed by Tetsuo Araki. (Wikipedia)

As the story goes, the surviving remnants of humanity lives in cities enclosed by massive walls. The walls are there to fend off the titans, colossal humanoids that eat people. Eren Yeager, his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackerman and their friend Armin Arlett live in the outskirts of the walled city.

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One day, a colossal titan breaches the wall and the giants come streaming into the city. The town is laid to waste. The young trio’s lives are forever changed. Bent on revenge, Eren and Mikasa vow to join the Survey Corps, an elite group of soldiers who fight titans outside the walls. (Shingeki no Kyojin – Wikia)

Attack on Titan streams on Crunchyroll, Hulu, Netflix and Funimation.

The Eerie Beauty of Mushishi

Mushishi is the title of an anime that I watched sometime ago.

The anime is derived from the eponymous manga by Yuki Urushibara. This transporting story has spawned two anime series and a live-action movie.

Mushishi occupies an imaginary timeline set somewhere between Japan’s Edo and Meiji periods, against a backdrop of lush mountains, seething valleys and quaint seaside villages.

The premise of Mushishi is eerie and difficult for me to explain.

Consider existence as a whole. Say there is a part of existence called life and another part called non-life. Between the two, there is a vague and primitive third existence which is neither alive nor not-alive.

This is as close as I can come to defining that which is called the “mushi” in my own words.

The mushi are a ghostly and ever-present existence. Diverse, ethereal and supernatural, the mimic both living and non-living things. People. Insects. Rainbows. Bodies of water. You name it.

Most humans are oblivious to the presence of the mushi. The few who encounter them are bedeviled, transformed or even spirited away.

Each poignant tale in Mushishi revolves around different characters and types of mushi.

Ginko, the protagonist, is a mushishi (a mushi master/researcher). He himself has been infected and forever transformed by the mushi. The mushi are attracted to Ginko’s existence. They gather to him like bugs to a light. For this reason, he can never remain in one place for too long.

Ginko leads a nomadic life. Traveling on foot from village to village, he renders aid and advice to some of those who have been adversely affected by the mushi.

Others, he is powerless to help, and he listens to their stories in order to gain new understanding of how the mushi interact with the human world.

 

Death Parade

One awesome anime discovery earlier this year was a series called Death Parade. Death Parade is an anime series written and directed by Yuzuru Tachikawa and produced by Madhouse.

I must admit that at first, the premise of Death Parade seemed a bit cheesy:

Whenever two people die at the same time, they are sent to one of many mysterious bars run by bartenders serving as arbiters. There, they are coerced into participating in Death Games with their lives on the line. The result of the games reveal what secrets led them to their situation and what their fate will be afterwards, with the arbiters judging whether their souls will be reincarnated or banished into oblivion.

I’m still on something like the fifth or sixth episode but so far, Death Parade seems to be spun around Decim, the bartender of on such bar known as Quindecim. Perhaps Decim’s methods are found to be lacking by the Powers That Be, in which case, he now has a new assistant–a nameless black haired woman with a potentially keen understanding of human nature.

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Each episode focuses on a different pair and you’re never quite sure how their story is going to turn out. Whether what is revealed is the depravity or the beauty of the human soul, each revelation is either surprising or provides much food for thought.

I was quickly drawn in by this series and by episode four, had shed a tear or two. I think that even if you’ve never watched an anime before, as a fan of speculative fiction, you would find much to appreciate about this series. The series started in January of 2015 and is simulcast on Hulu, where I believe you can watch episodes for free.

As an aside: if you’re familiar with popular animes like One Piece and Bleach, you will no doubt hear a few familiar voices here and there.