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On my top ten places to visit at some point in my life, Japan definitely makes it onto my list. The plane ride would be long yes, but thanks to my psvita, I know exactly what game to play on the plane, Samurai Shodown. Also known as Samurai Spirits in Japan, Samurai Shodown is a 1993 Neogeo game developed by SNK that focuses on 2D fighting with traditional weapons based around the time the game takes place in.

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So basically it’s like a combination of Street Fighter and Soul Calibur but a little more ridiculous and a little more addicting. Most characters are from Japan and are based on several typical people found around the time the game takes place such as Ninjas, A Kabuki performer (who can breathe fire for some reason), a miko, and of course Samurai. But there are also some characters from other countries, such as France, South America, China, and Unfortunately America. Its funny how SNK, a company based in Japan, views Americans in the game. One of them is just a blond guy with no real personality that pretty much just throws on a ninja costume and calls himself an American Ninja (which really doesn’t exist by the way) and basically stole some fighting moves from the other fighters, lame. And the other American fighter is a giant fat guy who pretty much hogs half the screen. Very funny SNK I see what you did there. Everyone else is actually pretty cool.

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Each character has a unique fighting style and plays differently with their own combos and special moves. There is also a thing called a “rage meter” which I have yet failed to figure out how it works. The actual fighting plays well too, and feels pretty smooth, but the AI will also kick your ass a got part of the times which makes it feel as though you are actually playing an actual person. Also each character has his or her individual personalities and costumes which make them really stand out. I mean the amount of detail that actually went into designing some of the costumes and backgrounds are really noticeable. Different things will move in the back ground and most of the attention comes from the Japan stages which gives you a look into the past to see several areas that really puts you in the middle of an older Japan.

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And the costumes seem to reflect the cheater’s personality and there culture as a whole. What I like about the female characters, well you know how in fighting games the female characters are usually wearing offensively inappropriate costumes that serve no real purpose. Well the game hopefully ignores that trend and instead gives them something more practical. Like one of the female characters wears a blue tunic covered with a metal breast plate and shoulder pads with matching boots and gauntlets. And I think she has chainmail too.

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Lastly there is blood in the game and depending on what button you push will either knock your opponent out or deliver a fatality. But here’s the weird part, if you are playing the U.S. version of the game then the violence is censored and is instead the blood is white for some reason? So I ended up having to switch the settings on the main menu to the Japanese region in order to uncensored it. All in all the game is fun, addicting and artsy especially when it comes around to the Japanese bits. 

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So there are tons of stories about massive multiplayer online roleplaying games that suck the player into the game and if they die in the game they die in real life. I can name several off the top of my head but I have never truly enjoyed them as much as I  have this recent anime called Sword Art Online.  It is one of my favorite new animes. It has not yet been finished in Japan. They currently have 18 episodes online that have been subbed. They also have a RAW episode that was just released a few days ago. Rumor has it that the show is only going to be 24 episodes long and that it may see an english dub release. It also has a video game being made of it that will be released sometime in March 2013.
 
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In the year 2022, the Virtual reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG), Sword Art Online (SAO), is released. With the Nerve Gear, a virtual reality helmet that stimulates the user’s five senses via their brain, players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds. It focuses on a boy named Kirito who was originally a Beta tester for the game. He is able to go through the game solo though at times he does form guilds, leaves guilds. Essentially what most people do in mmorpgs except it is real life for him.
 
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I have only gotten to the third episode of the show. So far you have pretty much almost met the entire cast. My favorite character so far is Asuna, she is a loner that joins up with him to defeat the first boss of the game. They are actually able to leave the game, they are not stuck there forever. In order to leave the game you must head to final level, there are 100 levels in this game. It has it’s moments when it is sad because of characters you love dying but it is enjoyable to watch.
 
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So Okami Kakushi (a Japanese visual novel) or Wolfed Away is a play on the words Okami (wolf) and kamikakushi (spirited away). If you could not tell from the artwork it is another Ryukishi07, creator of Higurashi: When They Cry, masterpiece. The plut features a 15 year old boy who recently moved into a new town in the mountains, quite similar to Higurashi in fact. There are two factions of the town, the old and the new. He is warned not to go into the old part of town by Kushinada Nemuru.
 
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Now if you know anything about Ryukishi07’s work it is essentially a mystery plot that involves murders. Kuzumi strangely becomes the most popular boy in the town. This is odd because there is nothing particularly interesting about this young boy, he is average in everything. Through learning the lore and traditions of the towns, the secret will be revealed by the end. However the show could have either gone for a much longer season than the twelve episodes or wrapped it up by I believe episode 10. After that episode it feels like OVA episodes. However this is a very interesting show. it is less bloody than Ryukishi’s other work. It also does not have the same creepy vibe that Higurashi: When They Cry gave off.
 
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All in all it is a good show and worth watching. But since it was never released in the United States it might be a bit of a search for you if you are interested. But I definitely thought it was worth searching for.

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There have been many anime over the centuries that I have been alive. And I have seen some good and some bad. But once in a blue moon you’ll find one that makes you smile when you think of it, and laugh out loud by remember a certain part of the episode. This one is so new that I have to wait for it to air on Japanese television and who has it licensed to simulcast to crunchyroll.com to air it in the United States and else where. Now when I ask about tanks that is a superpower in tanks?

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Now most of you would say the United States and you’ll be right there are today but back-in-the-day they weren’t, the Nazis from Germany were for their Panzers what so much stronger than ours and the Brits combine. Both of ours were lightly armored and fast and the Germans where heavily armored and slow. So this brand new anime is titled Girls und Panzer. It is set in the near future where Panzer warfare is a known a martial art for women Sensha-dō and they participate in war games with vintage WW2 tanks the M3 Stuart, 38(t), type 89 I-Go, Panzer III and IV. They fight with modified shells there it won’t destroy the other tanks. When the tanks are hit from a shell and are knocked out a white flag pops out of hiding to signal to the official that the tank is out of commission. And that is what I got so far from the 3 episodes I have seen, and I’m interested to see more!

Higurashi no naku koro ni or Higurashi: When They Cry is a murder mystery anime. The story follows a 15 year old boy named Keichi Maebara and his recent move into the peaceful village of Hinamizawa (based on actual real town named Shirakawa, Gifu). He quickly  befriends a group of girls, leading some to label this a harem anime but it really isn’t. His friends are Mion (16), Shion (twin sister of Mion), Rena Ryuugu (15), Rika Furude (8 or 10), and Satoko Hojo (8 or 10) The group engages in club activities ranging from card games to games at the local Cotton Drifting Festival.

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Now as I have previously stated this is a murder mystery anime. Hinamizawa has a dark past, the town was once a site for a dam project that would have benefited the country of Japan. However the villagers protested the project and got it shut down and every year after the project has been shut down “Oyashira-sama’s (the God of the village) curse” occurs. This curse consists of one person dying and another person disappearing, which in every four-five episodes occurs. It is up to you as the viewer to raise the questions as to why it is occuring and in every arc there is an answer and another question. The second season, which was never produced in the United States, Higurashi no naku koro ni kai is the end all of all questions and gives you the ultimate answer for every question that arises in the first season. 

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Now I must warn you this is a bloody show with at least two Yandere girls, Shion and Rena. It should also be noted that the youngest girls in the group of friends are about 8 or 10, so not only is it violent but those girls will ultimately be killed as well. I actually really enjoy this anime, not just because I love horror, because it is based on a visual novel game in Japan (you can get an english copy of it on J-Box). It is a well crafted game and anime. However like most animes it is heavily edited from it’s manga form. The manga is much creepier but has various different artists working on it. Also the anime art style changes in the second season, this was due to a murder in Japan that occurred. The female murderer killed her father with a cleaver, which is a weapon that is used by a character named Rena Ryuugu. So the creepy snake like eyes that are present whenever someone is screaming Usoda(Liar) at someone else are gone from Kai.

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This anime is not for the faint of heart but definitely worth checking out.

Usually in this case I would have talked about an anime I found while watching Netflix during the summer, but this time I would like to talk about something different, Japanese candy known as “Hi-Chew”.

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For those who do not know of this amazing candy, it basically the Japanese equivalent of “Starbursts”, only better. Like “Starbursts” they are fruit-flavored candies that come in little packages and you get several fruit flavors like strawberry, grape, banana, watermelon, etcetera, but unlike “Starbursts” they are gluten free and made with all natural flavors. But is this candy really Japanese? The answer is most 100% yes.

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The story goes that in Japan, it is considered taboo to take food out of your mouth after you have already chewed it, so gum was pretty much banned in Japan altogether. So knowing this a man named Taichiro Morinaga decided to create a candy that you could chew as much as you want and then swallow it when you were done. The result was is now called “Hi-Chew” and it has become Taicho’s best selling product, in Japan. In the states however, I have come across it several times but I have had a lot of trouble getting my hands on them. They are sold in select stores on the west and east coasts and so far I have only been able to buy them in the Japanese part of the world showcase in “Epcot” in Florida, a store called “Anime Kid” in Cambridge Massachusetts, and in a small grocery store in Hawaii. Yeah okay you can also buy it online, but half the fun of buying “Hi-chew” in the States is actually being able to find it because the satisfaction is so much better. So if you able to find some “Hi-chew” then good for you just make sure you lock up your house so I do not end up stealing whatever amount of “Hi-chew” you manage to buy from some sort of magical store located on the surface of Mars. 

Hi and welcome to new students, and welcome back to old students! I’m Erica and the I’m the president of the anime club here at Franklin Pierce University. I’m a senior now and majoring in European History with a minor in public history and I am also the vice president of FPU’s GSA chapter. My favourite anime and manga titles without a doubt is Fullmetal Alchemist, cue the groaning of my entire club. I’m also a huge fan of Marvel and DC comics, especially Batman and Captain America. I do a lot of cosplaying from FMA and Supernatural and you can generally see me rocking it out at AAC and Anime Boston every year! I’m hoping this year will be another great year and we’ll get to enjoy a lot of great trips and activities!

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Hello! I’m Sarah Moore, and I am the vice president of the FPU anime club this year. I’m a junior who is majoring in Biology with minors in Anthropology and Chemistry. I am a member of several other clubs on campus and I love to spend my free time going on walks and listening to music. My favorite anime is Puella Magi Madoka Magica and I am hoping to cosplay as Homura at some point in the near future. My favorite anime club trip so far is our annual trip to the Cherry Blossom festival in New Jersey. I look forward to seeing you guys at the club meetings! 🙂

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Hello, my name is Kristina — but just call my Chibi (it makes life SO much easier). I’m in my senior year at FPU studying Music Technology. I’m also the secretary of Anime Club. Typically I can be found on campus in Cheney Hall or just running around to and fro doing random things. I’m also in L.O.T.U.S. and GSA – both clubs are awesome and filled with amazing people. My favorite anime (at this moment) is probably Madoka Magica. Seriously, so much love for it. 

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Your Treasurer here. My name is Nathan, Amyas or Kitsune, whichever you prefer. I’m a Senior developing a major in Psychology and interest in Counseling. For the most part, I’m very quiet most of the time and try to keep the club running smoothly, or as smoothly as it can get. My favorite anime is [C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control (or known and [C] Control). My favorite Manga I’ve read fully is Chobits, one cause I like the idea and it’s nine volumes long. The best trips I’ve gone on are the one’s that go to the Japanese Mall and the Cherry Blossom Festival. I love taking pictures while I’m there and getting food from the mall. If you haven’t noticed by name, I’m very big into the mythology of Kitsune and my favorite animal is the fox. I hope this year is a good one and I will try to make it the best for us!

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I’m Amanda; a sophomore with a major in Psychology! I don’t do much on campus besides the Anime Club… My favorite manga include Dorohedoro, Vinland Saga and Naoki Urasawa’s Monster! As for anime, I love Fate/Zero, Trigun and G Gundam. I was lucky enough to get to go on the Cherry Blossom Festival trip last year and it was awesome!~ We didn’t get to see the actual festival but getting to see the blossoms and going to a Japanese grocery store was still amazing! Besides that, I’m a Taurus… and I love to nerd out on things I like so feel free to talk to me about things if you like what I like~ Usually I’m open to new stuff too! I just want to be friends with all the members. ;3 

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I enjoy watching anime; however I have an odd relationship when it comes to watching it. I usually start watching a series when I am in the mood to watch something imported from Japan and I only continue watching the series if a couple of criteria are met; the voice work is really good, the artwork astonishing to me, and the characters and plot is enjoyable.   When I came across the anime called Samurai 7, I was amazed to find that it managed to fulfill all of my criteria. The story is very enjoy as it takes to through a science fiction  version of the tale of seven samurai where a group of farmers are sent to find help after a group of bandits continuously raid there small village. The group that is formed finds and bring back with them seven samurai to aid them in order to stop the bandits once and for all. The story takes place in a future that is almost like futile Japan but only with futuristic technology such as robots, computers, and giant flying ships. Each character has a different a unique personality that develops as the anime continues through the story, especially the seven samurai themselves.  Lastly the anime’s artwork is beautiful and matches the atmosphere and action sequences that works very well with the mood and the atmosphere. Every building to a character’s attire are heavily influenced by Japanese culture as the animators wanted to try and make the anime more futile Japan influenced side than its science fiction side. If you want to watch an anime with great writing with a lot of drama, great artwork, and very likeable characters, I seriously suggest watching Samurai Seven. However, if you’re looking for something with a lot of comedic moments, then I would subject something else.

After looking for new anime to watch for I have watched all I have multiple times and I was using a certain website to watch this new to me Anime called Rideback. Rideback is set in the future where the citizens of Japan are taken over by a paramilitary organization called Global Government Plan or the GGP the main enemy to the GGP was the terrorist organization Borderless Military Alliance or BMA.

Moreover, they introduction of the new type mecha called the rideback which is a cross breed of a robot and motorcycle. I have never really seen a mecha of this type before and I found it enjoyable to watch. The main character is name Rin Ogata; she is former ballerina who was injured during a performance and then when on to a college where she found the universities rideback club by mistake by the weather forced her into the garage to get away from the rain. Through the chain of events, that leading to great shows conclusion with a huge battle.

There is a website you can find at the stroke of midnight by one who harbors a desire for revenge against another; it is Hell Correspondence. At the stroke of midnight, the site will appear with only a place to type the name or names of those you want to take revenge and send it to Hell Girl. The user will receive a confirmation email or text that Hell Girl has received the names.

Translation: We will take revenge on your behalf.

 

Soon after, Hell Girl would inform the user of the conditions of their revenge: that though whom they hold a grudge against will go to Hell, the user too will go to Hell. The user would then be given a black straw doll with a red string tied around the neck and are given the choice to send their tormentor to Hell or not, by removing or breaking the red string.

 

Voodoo doll with the red string attached

 

Then the doll, who is Wanyudo, one of Ai Enma’s companions, would disappear from the user, and reappear near the tormentor. The tormentor would become the tormented, while Ai Enma and her companions Wanyudo, Ren Ichimoku and Hone Onna, would punish them and exploit their flaws and crimes.

 

Left to right: Ren Ichimoku, Ai Enma (Hell Girl), Hone Onna and Wanyudo

 

Before she ferries them to Hell, she inquires whether the condemned understand their crimes and recites this rite:

“Oh, pitiful shadow cloaked in darkness

Looking down on others and causing suffering

Thy soul drowns in sinful karma

Want…to try dying this once?”

 

Though the tortured are ultimately given the final choice to condemn both their tormentor and themselves to Hell, none of them decide against the damnation. Even Hajime Shibata, a former journalist who makes money by blackmailing celebrities, cannot escape damnation to Hell.