The Winter 2014 Anime First Week Awards!


Award season is here, and just because most Winter anime only has one episode released is no reason we shouldn't jump on that bandwagon.  Without further ado, we present the WINTER ANIME FIRST WEEK AWARDS!

Yeah, so these two are literally on the opposite sides of the spectrum - for plot, pacing, even common decency.  But I love Season 1 of both, have to tune in for Season 2.

Not on Cruncyroll?  I usually skip it.  But damn you Funimation, you're gonna make me buy you, aintcha?

  • The Are Agricultural Schools a Trend Now? Award - No-Rin!

I really don't want to see this be a trend, does everyone have to follow the herd (PUN!)?

WCW manga has amazing detail and backgrounds.  The anime...doesn't.  But I also couldn't follow the plot in the manga to save my life, maybe this will help.

I keep expecting EttU to introduce some supernatural element, but nope, nothing.  And ZVEZDA is just...odd.

This should be stupid, and it is...but I LIKE it!  Probably won't last.

This looks like a complicated, intricate plot with meaning and messages.  SNORE!

  • The 5 Minutes is All I Could Take Award - Strange+ (which is actually one whole episode)

No.  Just No.

ZVEZDA - need I say more?  Cause I can't, really.

  • The I'll Probably Get Bored With Because I Read 100+ Chapters of the Manga Award - NiseKoi

I know all the plot lines with this one.  The only hope is they actually wrap up one or two by the end, unlike the manga.

This is a card game, isn't it?

KITE!  Also, it should really be Wizard Lawyer, where are you selling more DVDs, the US or England???



Alien Brain Hemorrhage

In another episode of "Things I Shouldn't Have Seen On The Internet" is this picture of a particularly nastly looking shot called an Alien Brain Hemorrhage.  And like all things we see on the internet, my first thought is "I could do that".  Well, kinda.

First evidence that I Could Do That - there are only 4 ingredients.

None of these are very high-brow.  Peach Schnapps is the sickeningly sweet liquor of choice for people who pretend they are hard core, Baileys is the Chocolate Milk of booze, Blue Curacao is best known for being blue, and Grenadine Syrup is another mixer you always see, but never see used.  


Start with half a shot of Schnapps.  For the record, experimentation shows that it should be more like 2/3 of a shot, I'll explain in a bit.

Top off with about 1/3 of a shot of Irish Cream.  Pour very showly, I suggest down the side of the glass.  The middle one here is an example of what happens when you pour too fast, and no, it never did seperate with time.

Add a tiny splash of the Blue.  Again, gently.  The first one is right, the second one is a tad bit aggressive.  

Finally, add the syrup, and watch the magic! 

As you can see, there are plently of ways to go wrong here.  Only the first glass really came out like I wanted, and even it is a tad weak.   

And just because I'm me, a little science - the heavy syrup is pulling down the cream, and the cream and Curacao create the "veins" in the drink.  Hence the reason a little more Schnapps and a little less cream allows for a larger pallett in which to create the art.  Note also that the cream and Curacao congele a bit when the syrup is added.  So the sensation of drinking this is not the most pleasent experiance I'm afraid.  It also tastes most like Peach Schnapps, so you have that to deal with.

BONUS - I must have performance anxiety, as earlier experiments went much better!  Here is my best one, done in 30 seconds.






Home Grown Idaho Burger

Let's make a few things clear about my qualifications as an American.  I prefer hockey to football.  I don't own a gun.  And I hate McDonalds.  I expect immigration to be at my door any day now.  But thanks to reports from overseas, I have learned that the menu at many American restaurant staples do not hold true in Asia.  To that end, Japan has been introduced to The Idaho Burger, a sad mix of processed food and stereotypes.  It's only available for a limited time, so given that my plans to visit Japan require both winning the lottery and developing the ability to download a language directly into my head, I'm not going to get to sample this one any all.

But America is also know for its ingenuity, so to that end I took it upon myself to recreate this treat with home grown ingredients.  Using the review from my friends at SuperHappyAwesome as a go by, I first broke down the Idaho Burger:

Starting at the bottom, we have:

  • Bun
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Cheese
  • Burger
  • POOOOOOTAAAAAAATOOOOOO (in the form of a hashbrown)
  • Bacon
  • Onions
  • Honey Mustard Sauce
  • Bun

Elements, all of which can be acquired for the low low price of about $15, and my dignity when ordering all this stuff at once.  The American breakdown is below:

You may have already noted some weaknesses in my plan.  The bun appears to be a unique, sesame seedless bun, which ain't going to happen in the US.  Also, with no real way to sample the sauces, I had to go with McDs nugget sauces.  I will tell you right off the bat that putting this stuff on a burger is a mistake you will regret for years to come.

Since the components of an Idaho Burger are hidden within these packages, we need to breakdown the burgers.

I would like to note the good ol' American attention to detail, in that they squished the side of the Quarter Pounder with the box.

For those of you who eat at McDonalds, you have perhaps never seen a McD's burger in the buff.  I apologise for the following graphic images.


I have more than I need here, so some dissecting is required. First, the Angus Bacon and Cheese, which is used primarily for the bacon.

And that is some sad, sad bacon.  Not even full strips!  But I have acquired a bun and "bacon", so moving on.

Now, we could debate which burger to use, as the angus is actually a bit different from the quarter pounder, in texture at least.  I am assuming a real beef, All American burger would overwhelm the Japanese sensitivity, so I went for the normal fry disk that masquerades as meat in a McD's burger.

The biggest pain here is that the onions, like everything else, are drenched in ketchup.  There are no reports of ketchup on a true Idaho Burger, so I actually had to clean the onions.  Not peasant.

Much like a Voltron of sadness, the elements start to come together.




AND I'LL FORM the gastro-intestinal monstrosity that should not be unleashed on this Earth.  Dear God what have I done?

Here's the scary part - they don't look all that much different.  One of the features of a true Idaho Burger is that the meat hangs over the bun, cause everything is BIG in America!  Except it's not, so I don't get that effect.  The hash brown also doesn't look designed to fit in the burger, so in addition to the bun being different, the hash brown is more prominent in the faux version.

And the taste?  Oh the taste...

This is as far as I got.  To be fair, it's just a McDonalds hamburger with a hash brown on it, but as I predicted, nugget dipping sauce on a burger is a crime of biblical proportions.  That's where plan B is formed.

I want you, my Japan residing readers, to get me some details.  What do these sauces remind you of?  What's the feel and taste of the bun?  Let me know the details, and next time we will try to recreate this monolith with actual ingredients.  Allez cuisine!


KawaiiBox Adventures - DIY Sushi

The following delightful item came in my latest KawaiiBox shipment, a box of candy sushi, how nice! Complete with animal friends! (and a squid???)


Cute, until I turned it over and saw THIS:


Oh goody, a DO IT YOURSELF candy sushi kit. My two year study of the Japanese language has allowed me to learn a total of 6 katakana characters, so actually using the directions was out of the question. But luckily, two of those characters are Mi and Zu - which I found in spades on the box.


Looks like we have a just add water situation here people. So let s take a look at the tools at our disposal:


At little first. However, everything is color coded, so we start with the light blue - the rice for our sushi, slated for slot 1.


So let s see what happens when we add water, and...


Huh, looks like sushi rice. So far so good.

If you look closely, you can see that the two skinny rows have textures in them, one that looks to me like tamago roll (egg) and one that looks like tuna. So with full trust in the color coding ability of the Japanese, we go for it.


Starting with the egg, I would like to note everything in this kit was a white powder until water was added, leading to creepy images like the one above.

Finally, our sushi toppings are ready:


At this point, the rice is pretty much the same, but the yellow and red appear to be congealing into a gummy like texture - making me glad I did not inhale any of it during the process.

Now for the seaweed.


Take a Tootsie roll, squish it, and...


There we go!

The next step is where I expect things to go bad. Roe.


At this point, we got A and B, making the set up about as easy as it can be. My concern here is amount of water, so I do what I always do - guess.


"A" dissolved instantly in the water while "B" started to set up like the others. Trusting again solely in the pictorial direction, we get to work.



And surprisingly, it's pretty easy. "A" must be some kind of binder, as drops of "B" form perfect beads when dropped in. BAM! Instants gelatin roe.

At this stage, we had one package and one tray left, so in it goes!


I think this is meant to represent the topping you can sprinkle on sushi, but I never use that stuff in real life, not starting now.

So put it all together and voila!


Roe Sushi!


Tamago Sushi!


Tuna (salmon?) Sushi!

So overall, it works as advertised, much to my surprise. And the taste? It has a certain, oh, how should I express tasted like library paste.

And the topping was dehydrated sour patch kids mixed with evil.

But hey, half the fun it getting there right?



Two-view - Asobi ni Ikuyo

My philosophy is to give a series three episodes before giving up on it, to avoid that "it gets going after episode 2!" regret.  For Asobi no Ikuyo, I have to pull back and give a run down after two for reasons you shall see.

A summary of Asobi ni Ikuyo sounds like something out of a How to Plot an Anime book - cat girl alien comes to Earth to move in with high school boy to learn about Earth.  Quickly, however, you get the feeling that the previews are trying to hide the true nature of the plot.  The first 4 minutes are from a completely different anime than what you were expecting (of course they tie that in later).  Then, we introduce a world where the arrival of a cat girl alien in a small town really doesn't seem to bother anyone.  And with a quick one/two punch, I am confused, bewildered and angered by a completely incomprehensible introduction.  The rest of episode one doesn't help that opinion.

This is pretty much what I was expecting

Let's list the ridiculous elements we are supposed to accept in the first 15 minutes:

  • Boy, Kio, with absent parents, get adopted by a cat girl alien, Erisu, who moves in
  • Overly possessive neighbor girl
  • Little bit too concerned female teacher/club advisor
  • Quite classmate with a secret crush on boy

Now see where they take these in the second half of the episode

  • Neighbor girl is a surveillance otaku with ties to the CIA
  • Teacher is the leader of a paramilitary secret society
  • Quiet girl is a technologically enhanced assassin for hire

By the end of episode one, I'm so lost and confused I'm pretty much ready to pass this off as a 12 year old's fanfic.

In comes episode 2.  I was fully expecting the remainder of the series to be a run down of each of the harem members taking a shot at Erisu while Kyo convinces them one by one not to do evil stuff.  Instead, all three of them take a shot at Erisu at once, as the CIA sends the neighbor, Manami, to kidnap Erisu, Itokazu-sensei sends her alien defense buddies to take her out, and assassin for hire Futaba gets Erisu as a target.  And thus, in practice, all three of them first threaten, then regret, then assist Kio in one short 3 minute scene.  So much for the rest of the series.


Then, they take all that and pretty much throw it out the window, as Erisu reveals her alien bad-assery credentials by taking out not only her entire team of captives, but a battalion of tanks with squeaky hammers.  SQUEAKY HAMMERS!!!  We end with her ENTIRE RACE showing up to visit because Erisu told them the food was good, and a tiny teaser indicating that we will be seeing a race of dog people show up soon, and you know what happens when cats and dogs get together.  So while I thought we were going to get the combined efforts of the CIA, paramilitary alien otaku and hypertech assassins protecting Kio and Erisu from the forces of evil, we instead get a friendly alien invention who could eat any of those three groups for lunch. 

Apocalypse MEOW!

This show will go down either as one of the greatest parodies of anime tropes and stereotypes, or the biggest mess of a plot this season.  And that's a season that includes Amagami SS!