Crunchyroll Adds More Titles to Its Streaming Catalog

Crunchyroll has added the following new shows and episodes from FUNimation Entertainment to its catalog:

  • The Mystic Archives of Dantalian (U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands)
  • The Betrayal Knows My Name (U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands)
  • Ikki Tousen (Crunchyroll has not revealed the territories of availability)
  • D.Gray-man Season 3-4 (episodes 78-103)
  • Shakugan no Shana (United States, Canada)
  • Shakugan no Shana Second (United States, Canada)
  • Shakugan no Shana III (Final) (United States, Canada)
  • Ghost in the Shell: Arise (U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, South Africa)
  • Ghost in the Shell: Arise Alternative Architecture (U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, South Africa)
  • Tokyo Ravens (United States, Canada)
  • Trigun (United States, Canada, South Africa)
  • Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine (United States, Canada)
  • My-HiME (United States, Canada)
  • Outlaw Star (United States, Canada)
  • Moeyo Ken (U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa)

The site also added the second extra episode for Space Battleship Tiramisu.

Source: ANN

Tokyo Ravens Manga to End Serialization in July 2017

The August 2017 issue of Kadokawa’s Shōnen Ace magazine has revealed that Atsushi Suzumi will end the Tokyo Ravens manga in the magazine’s next issue in July 2017. The manga adapts Kouhei Azano’s Tokyo Ravens light novel series.

Suzumi launched the manga in Monthly Shōnen Ace in 2010. BookWalker has released 11 volumes of the manga digitally in English.

Source: ANN

Tokyo Ravens Manga to Resume in December 2015

The January 2016 issue of Kadokawa’s Monthly Shōnen Ace magazine has announced that Atsushi Suzumi’s Tokyo Ravens manga will return from its hiatus in the next issue on December 26, 2015. The series went on hiatus in the November 2015 issue in September 2015.

The manga adapts Kouhei Azano’s Tokyo Ravens light novel series.

Suzumi launched the manga in Monthly Shōnen Ace in 2010. Kadokawa published the manga’s 11th compiled book volume on March 25, 2015.

Source: ANN

Tokyo Ravens Manga Goes on Hiatus

The October 2015 issue of Kadokawa’s Monthly Shōnen Ace has announced that Atsushi Suzumi’s Tokyo Ravens manga will go on hiatus starting in the next issue.

The manga adapts Kouhei Azano’s Tokyo Ravens light novel series.

Suzumi launched the manga in Monthly Shōnen Ace in 2010. Kadokawa published the manga’s 11th compiled book volume in Japan on March 25, 2015.

Source: ANN

2014 In Review: Winter 2014 Season

Over the next few days, I’ll be publishing posts looking back at 2014. This first post takes a look back at the shows that I started watching during the Winter 2014 season. This post will also include series that I started watching in the Fall 2013 season that were still running with Winter 2014 started.

Log Horizon: This is a series that started during the Fall 2013 season and carried over into Winter 2014. This was a series that I admit to not being sure about when it first started in October 2013, but fortunately, I stuck with it and was rewarded with a series that made itself stand out from other anime series about characters who get stuck in a video game. I fell in love with this series by the time it finished airing in March 2014, and was overjoyed when the end of the final episode announced that there would be a second season that would begin airing in Fall 2014. I spent a lot of the year eagerly anticipating the second season because the first season had built such a strong foundation for the characters and their story.

Noragami: Noragami ended up being a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed the first four episodes, but then with Episode Five, I started feeling like the series wasn’t as strong as it was when it first started. My opinion improved a bit with Episode Six, and it kept improving through Episode 11. However, I was never entirely sure how I felt about Episode 12, because I couldn’t tell if it was meant to be a series finale or a season finale. As of this writing, there has been no word about a second season for Noragami, so I have to believe this was meant as a series finale. Unfortunately, there were enough loose ends that were left hanging which made it an unsatisfying note to end a series on. The manga for Noragami started being published during 2014, so I may need to start reading it at some point  and see if it might improve my opinion of the series.

Tokyo Ravens: This is a series that started during the Fall 2013 season and carried over into Winter 2014. When I first watched this series, I thought it had a slow start; however, enough elements were established in the first episode to interest me enough to come back to see more. With the second episode, I felt it was a little heavy on the “info dumping” side, but I was still willing to come back because the story that was developing showed a lot of promise. By the time I hit episode five, I found myself genuinely interested in Tokyo Ravens and decided that I’d see it through until the end. I ended up being interested in Tokyo Ravens for most of its 24 episode run; unfortunately, I started becoming a little disappointed in the series after a particular plot twist in Episode 23. I also ended up feeling rather let down and disappointed with how the final episode ended. FUNimation Entertainment, who had streamed the series as a simulcast, has recently announced that it has acquired the home video rights for Tokyo Ravens; unfortunately, I have no plans to purchase their release to add it to my anime home video library because of my disappointment with the final two episodes of the series.

D-Frag!: This is an anime I watched because the previews made it look like it’d be really hilarious. While there was humor in the first episode, there wasn’t as much as I had expected. And from humor I did see in the episode, I saw the potential for the series to rely on the same gags every week; unfortunately, I ended up being right with that assumption. And the gags that the series relied so heavily upon weren’t terribly funny the first time they showed up, and they wore out their welcome rather quickly. With episode two, I saw that maybe D-Frag! had potential with its story, but sadly, that potential never materialized. It also didn’t help that the series already started feeling stagnant by Episode Four. When I reached the halfway point, I decided I’d stick it out, but that the second half of the series really couldn’t go fast enough for my taste. The final episode didn’t feel like an episode to end a series on. Nothing has been resolved at all, and little to no progress had been made on the loose threads that were out there. I found this to be an unsatisfying ending for a series that had worn out its welcome for me several episodes earlier. And the final episode was the worst of the drudgery that I saw for that show. After that episode ended, all I could think was, “Thank God D-Frag! is over!”

Yowamushi Pedal: This is a series that started during the Fall 2013 season and carried over into Winter 2014. After watching the first episode, I thought I could see some potential in the series. Even though I’m not a fan of cycling, I found myself getting hooked on Yowamushi Pedal the more I watched of it. I especially found myself being riveted to the action that takes place during the racing scenes. I also liked how the characters developed over the course of the series. The main focus of the first half was on developing the members of the Sohoku team, with occasional development on members of the other two teams. However, the development for the other two teams tended to take place during the Inter-High race. The main selling point of this series to me ended up being the characters and the development they go through. While the pacing of Yowamushi Pedal was pretty typical for a shonen sports anime, it’s something I got used to with each race that appeared in the series. I was happy to hear that there would be a second season for the series in Fall 2014, especially since this season ended before the winner of the second day of the Inter-High was determined.

Hamatora: After watching the first episode of Hamatora, I felt that the series showed a bit of promise; however, I was little turned off by the character of Hajime, because it appeared her gluttony was going to be a major source of humor for the series. It turns out we learn later on why Hajime is such a glutton, and it also turned out that there was more in the way of humor than just Hajime’s gluttony. It was ultimately the second episode that sold me on Hamatora. I enjoyed seeing the various mysteries that came Hamatora’s way, and how several of the episodes were able to take what appeared to be two unrelated plots and find a way to weave the two together rather successfully by the end. Overall, I enjoyed the series except for Episode Five and Episode Eight. But when I saw that there was a cliffhanger ending and that there would be another season of Hamatora coming in the future, I was looking forward to seeing more episodes in order to find out how the story continued from the cliffhanger.

Nagi no Asukara: This is a series that started during the Fall 2013 season and carried over into Winter 2014. I have to admit that after watching the first episode, I had some mixed feelings. On the one hand, I kind of liked the story, although I was finding Hikari to be a bit on the annoying side. However, I was having problems with using my willing suspension of disbelief about people being able to live underwater; it turns out that the concept of Ena, which allows them to breathe underwater, hadn’t been properly introduced by the end of the first episode. I decided to continue watching the series, and went into the second episode using my willing suspension of disbelief and focusing on the storytelling. It’s a decision I’m glad I made, because I found myself being more impressed with the series and becoming genuinely interested in the characters and their stories. I’d become so riveted with the series that when the first half reached its climax with the Ofunehiki, I was a little frustrated that I had to wait two weeks in order to find out what happened. When the second half of the series started, I have to admit that it was a bit of an adjustment to get used to the fact that a five-year timeskip had happened between the two episodes and that some of the cast members were noticeably older. I appreciated how there was a focus on the confusion for both those who returned from the surface after a five-year hibernation and those who stayed on the surface and aged five years. There’s a lot of raw emotion that’s prevalent in the second half of the series, but I found these emotions and reactions to be believable. I have to admit that for the most part, I had basically predicted what directions the various relationships would go in. However, I still found the conclusion of the series to be satisfying and enjoyable.

Samurai Flamenco: This is a series that started during the Fall 2013 season and carried over into Winter 2014. At the end of the first episode, I thought that between the animation and the storytelling, there seemed to be enough there to keep my interest and make me want to come back week after week to watch more of Samurai Flamenco. I have to admit that when the King Torture arc was introduced and caused the major tonal shift for the series, I wasn’t entirely sure that I liked it. It didn’t help that it was also at that point that the animation quality went down noticeably, and that “off model” shots started becoming more prevalent and noticeable. By the end of the King Torture, arc, though, I had become so accustomed to the change in tone that I started enjoying the series a bit more again. Overall, though, I did enjoy Samurai Flamenco when all was said and done.

Magical Warfare: After watching the first episode, I thought the series had some potential. After the second episode, I thought it plodded a bit due all of the exposition included, but I still thought that the overall concept still showed promise. At the end of episode three, I said that while Magical Warfare wasn’t one of my favorite series of Winter 2014, I couldn’t say that it was the worst one I was watching, either. By the end of episode four, I was already at a point where I wasn’t looking forward to watching the series week after week. As the series continued to progress, I became frustrated with how the series was paced, the fact that the villains weren’t very well defined by the halfway point of the series, and how the character development wasn’t where it needed to be for me to truly care about these characters. The final episode was a major letdown, due to how little was explained for what was happening throughout it. The ending of the final episode was so vague that the viewer was left having to make a lot of assumptions just to figure out what the heck was going on. Honestly, the way Magical Warfare ended was just so vague and bizarre that it makes the ending of Neon Genesis Evangelion seem like it makes sense. And considering the reputation the ending of Neon Genesis Evangelion has, it’s really saying something. All in all, I have to say that Magical Warfare ended up being a steaming pile of poo and I think it was easily one of the worst series I watched during 2014.

Strike the Blood: This is a series that started during the Fall 2013 season and carried over into Winter 2014. I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely sure about Strike the Blood after watching the first episode, but I decided to give it a chance and continue watching it. After watching the second episode, though, I was more impressed with the series than I thought I’d be. The cliffhanger ending for episode three ultimately sold me on the series. As the series progressed through the various story arcs, more characters were introduced. Most of them seemed to have an importance to the series, although there were a couple of characters who were only truly important for one or two story arcs, and then basically all but vanished from the series. After making it through all 24 episodes of Strike the Blood, I have to say that overall, I was satisfied with how the series progressed and ultimately came to its conclusion. It was a series I came to look forward to watching.

Wizard Barristers: At the end of the first episode, I thought that Wizard Barristers showed a lot of promise. As the series went on, the story kept me interested in what was going on and made me want to come back and watch week after week. My least favorite part of the series was the animal familiars, because for the most part, they didn’t seem to truly add anything to the series. By the time I reached the final episode, I was overall rather satisfied with how the series progressed. My biggest disappointment with the series was the fact that we don’t learn what happened to Cecil’s mother. The viewer was left with the responsibility of assuming what happens.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha: I have to admit that at the end of the first episode, I wasn’t entirely sure if I was going to like Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha. However, I decided to keep watching to see if the story would improve. After finishing episode two, my opinion of the series started becoming more favorable. As the episodes went on, I continued to enjoy the series more and more; I’m so glad I didn’t let my initial unsure impression keep me away from this series. Overall, I thought the series was good, although the last couple of episodes felt a bit rushed compared to the other episodes; I have to say that Episode 10 had more issues with being rushed than Episode Nine did.  The action in the first half of Episode 10 felt stretched out, and then the story in the second half ended up feeling rushed. In the final episode, I appreciated the fact that it demonstrated just how much Inari has grown as a character over the course of the series. In a lot of ways, when Inari returned Uka’s divine power at the end of Episode 10, it symbolizes that Inari had grown up and no longer needs the “crutch” that she thought the power was giving her. In a lot of respects, though, there is some vagueness at the end of the final episode. Do Inari and Koji ever end up together? Is Touka still able to see Uka even though Inari no longer can? It appears that the manga series is still ongoing in Japan, so that might explain why the ending of the anime is a bit ambiguous.

Additional 2014 In Review posts:

Kadokawa’s English BookWalker Manga App Launches

Japanese publisher Kadokawa has launched its English BookWalker app, adding some manga volumes, as well as titles from VIZ Select and Dark Horse.

Kadokawa has added the following titles: Ga-Rei by Hajime Segawa, Magical Warfare by You Ibuki and Hisashi Suzuki, Riddle Story of Devil by Sunao Minakata and Yun Kouga, and Tokyo Ravens by Kouhei Azano, Atsushi Suzumi, and Sumihei.

BookWalker’s library currently includes:

  • Chibi Vampire 1-14 by Yuna Kagesaki (Viz)
  • Deadman Wonderland 1-5 by Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou (Viz)
  • D.N.Angel 1-13 by Yukiru Sugisaki (Viz)
  • Fate/stay night 1-10 by Dat Nishiwaki (Viz)
  • Future Diary 1-7 by Sakae Esuno (Viz)
  • Ga-Rei 1 by Hajime Segawa (Kadokawa)
  • Kyo Kara Maoh! 1-2 by Temari Matsumoto (Viz)
  • Lagoon Engine 1-4 by Yukiru Sugisaki (Viz)
  • Legal Drug omnibus by CLAMP (Dark Horse)
  • Lucky Star 1-4 by Kagami Yoshimizu (Viz)
  • Mad Love Chase 1 by Kazusa Takashima (Viz)
  • Magical Warfare 1-2 by You Ibuki and Hisashi Suzuki (Kadokawa)
  • Million Tears 1 by Yuana Kazumi (Viz)
  • Miyuki-chan in Wonderland by CLAMP (Viz)
  • Riddle Story of Devil 1-2 by Sunao Minakata and Yun Kouga (Kadokawa)
  • St. Lunatic High School 1-2 by Majiko! (Viz)
  • Suki: A Like Story 1-2 by CLAMP (Viz)
  • Tokyo Ravens 1 by Kouhei Azano, Atsushi Suzumi, and Sumihei (Kadokawa)
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by Ranmaru Kotone (Viz)
  • Trinity Blood 1-8 by Sunao Yoshida and Kiyo Kyujyō (Viz)

BookWalker also plans to add light novels in the future. The app is available for Android, iOS, and browser viewing.

Source: ANN

Anime Spotlight: Tokyo Ravens

Tokyo Ravens is a 24-episode anime series based on a light novel written by Kohei Azano and illustrated by Sumihei. The anime is produced by 8-bit, and is directed by Takaomi Kansaki. The series aired on Japanese television from October 8, 2013-March 25, 2014.

As of this writing, FUNimation holds the North American streaming rights for Tokyo Ravens.

The main character of Tokyo Ravens is Harutora Tsuchimikado, a young man born into an onmyo family, but has no power whatsoever. He is a member of the Tsuchimikado branch family, and the branch family is expected to serve the members of the main family. When Haruota was younger, he promised to become the familiar of Natsume, his cousin in the main branch of the family.

Harutora is pretty much a slacker, and he prefers to spend time with his friends, Touji and Hokuto. Hokuto keeps trying to convince Harutora to become an onmyo mage, but he keeps telling her that he can’t be a spirit seer because he can’t sense spiritual presence. He also points out that Natsume has already been declared the next head of the family, and that it feels nice that no one has any expectations of him. Throughout this scene, it’s very obvious that Hokuto is in love with Harutora, but he’s too dense to figure it out.

Harutora has a chance meeting with Natsume, who has come home on break from her school in Tokyo. After some small talk, they get into an argument. Touji later tells Harutora that he thinks Natsume was trying to tell him that she’s lonely.

During the last bit of the first episode, Harutora, Hokuto, and Touji go to a nearby summer festival. While at a shrine, Hokuto makes a wish for Harutora to become an onmyo mage. Harutora gets upset with her, and Hokuto runs off, crying. After she leaves, a young blond-haired woman named Suzuka Dairenii approaches them; she’s one of the Twelve Divine Generals. For some reason, she thinks that Harutora is Natsume, and she is wanting Natsume to participate in an experiment. After she learns Harutora isn’t Natsume, Suzuka tells Harutora to let Natsume know or else. She also kisses him, which catches him by surprise and angers Hokuto.

Harutora has tried contacting both Hokuto and Natsume, but neither one is responding back. Touji tells Harutora he’s done some research and believes Suzuka is wanting to perform the Taizan Fukun Ritual, which some believe that Yakou Tsuchimikado had tried to do it in order to “reincarnate” himself. Just then, Harutora gets a text from Natsume.

Natsume and Harutora meet face-to-face and we learn that the altar for the Taizan Fukun Riutal is at the main house, so she came back from Tokyo to protect it since her father left to go to Tokyo. Natsume and Harutora get into an argument over protecting the altar, and Harutora suddenly heaves something out of his stomach. It turns out to be a familiar that turns itself into a hornet and stings Natsume, sucking out her spiritual power. Harutora tries to get Natsume home, because she has tools at the main house that can help her restore her power; however, their way is blocked by Suzuka being detained by the Magical Investigation Bureau. During a confrontation with Suzuka, Hokuto is killed. After this happens, Harutora becomes Natsume’s familiar.

In episode four, Harutora and Touji elocate to Tokyo to attend the Onmyo Preparatory School in order to be near Natsume. At school, Natsume has to pose as a boy, and she ends up getting a bit of unwanted attention due to the belief that she is the reincarnation of Yakou. During their time at Omnyo Prep, Harutora meets several new people: classmates Kyoko and Tenma, as well as instructor Jin Ohtomo. Harutora also gets his own familiar named Kon.

As the series progresses, Touji discovers he’s able to become an ogre, Suzuka tranfers into Onmyo Prep, Harutora meets Suzuka and Takiko, and quite a few secrets are revealed both about things in the onmyo world as well as about Harutora himself.

At the end of the first episode, I felt that the series had a little bit of a slow start. However, by the end of the episode, enough elements were established to make me interested in coming back to see more. With the second episode, I felt it was a little heavy on the “info dumping” side, but I was still willing to come back because the story that was developing showed a lot of promise. By the time I hit episode five, I found myself genuinely interested in Tokyo Ravens and decided that I’d see it through until the end.

As the series progressed over the course of its 24 episodes, it became quite an expansive story. While the main focus was on Harutora and his friends, there were still interesting backstories and stories for many of the adults they knew or interacted with. There was so much going on, both at Onmyo Prep and at the Onmyo Agency, that the adults needed to be as integral to the story as the students were.

Overall, I was rather satisfied with the series until I hit the final two episodes. In my writeup for Episode 23, I complained that Kyoko’s sudden awakening of an ability that helps to convince Harutora to take a particular action felt too much like a “deus ex machine”; it really made me think that writers couldn’t figure out how to progress the story without this new power awakening at just the right time so Harutora could be given the final push he needed to go through with his plan.

I also have to say that I felt rather let down and disappointed with how the final episode ended. The ending is rather vague, and there doesn’t truly seem to be any closure for any of the characters. In fact, the audience doesn’t know what happens to any of the characters at the end. When I think about how I invested my time to following this series for 24 episodes and feeling invested in the characters, the ending just felt rather unsatisfying.

In the end, I’d have to say that Tokyo Ravens has a slow start, but by the fifth episode it starts picking up the pace and develops a truly interesting story. The quality of the series was maintained from Episode five through Episode 22. By the end of Episode 23, though, the quality of the story goes down rapidly.

At the end of the first season, I thought that Tokyo Ravens would be a series that I’d be willing to buy on home video if FUNimation acquired the home video rights for the series. However, after seeing the rest of the series, I’m not sure that I’d be quite as willing to add Tokyo Ravens to my home video collection. I’m glad I was able to see it as a stream, but now I’m not so sure if I’d really be in a hurry to ever watch it again now that I know how the series ends on what I feel is a rather unsatisfactory note.

Additional Anime Spotlights:

Tokyo Ravens: Episode 24 – “to the DarkSky -Calling the Dead-“

Tokyo Ravens is an anime that follows a young man named Harutora Tsuchimikado. He was born into an onmyo family, but he had no power whatsoever. He is a member of the Tsuchimikado branch family, and the branch family is expected to serve the members of the main family. At the end of episode two, Harutora officially became the familiar for Natsume, his cousin from the main family who is believed to be the reincarnation of their ancestor, Yakou Tsuchimikado.

In episode four, Harutora and his friend Touji relocate to Tokyo to attend the Onmyo Preparatory School in order to be near Natsume. At school, Natsume has to pose as a boy, and she ends up getting a bit of unwanted attention due to the belief that she is the reincarnation of Yakou. However, her secret was revealed to several students in episode 17, and the news spread through the student body.

Harutora, Touji, and Suzuka try to make an escape from Onmyo Academy, but are pursued by Zenjiro’s familiars. Touji and Suzuka end up serving as decoys so Harutora can get away. Harutora summons the Raven Coat and escapes from Zenjiro’s familiars; unfortunately, he ends up running into Reiji. The two of them start battling, and Kon joins into the fray. Reiji stabs Kon, and it looks like she might disappear. Right after this, Reiji slashes at Harutora’s eye. Kon goes through a major transformation and is able to push back at Reiji, but is unable to defeat him; however, she gets help when the one-armed ogre arrives. Reiji realizes he’s outmatched and flees. As the much-changed Kon (who is named Hishamaru) treats Harutora, we discover that he is unlocking Yakou’s memories.

From here, Harutora, Hishamaru, and the ogre go to see Takiko. She apologizes for what happened to Natsume, and agrees to give Natsume to Harutora. The three of them find Suzuka, and the Taizan Fukun Ritual is performed.

Before the audience learns whether or not the ritual succeeded, we see that Jin asks Doman to become his familiar in order to finish paying off his favor; Doman accepts. Then the ending of the episode reveals whether or not the ritual was successful.

Quite a bit of the episode focuses on the fight between Harutora and Reiji; because of this, the rest of the episode does feel a little on the rushed side. After such a major fight, Harutora then goes and has a rather easy time getting Natsume back. I would’ve expected some kind of a fight or struggle to get Natsume back, but nope, Harutora just has to walk up to Takiko for an apology and Natsume’s return. It felt rather anti-climactic. And after Harutora retrieves Natsume, the rest of the episode feels rather rushed.

I also have to say that I’m a little disappointed in how the series ended. The ending is rather vague, and there doesn’t truly seem to be any closure for any of the characters. In fact, the audience doesn’t know what happens to any of the characters at the end. With how many loose threads there still are, I really hope there’s a chance for another season of the show. I mean, if this is the way the series ultimately ends, then it ends up becoming a bit of a letdown. Considering the audience spent 24 episodes following these characters and following such an interesting story, the ending just feels rather unsatisfying.

Additional posts about Tokyo Ravens: