In Anime Ichiban, we take a look at our writer’s totally personal, totally subjective, possibly biased, and possibly stupid opinions regarding anime associated affairs.
If you’re an anime and/or manga fan, chances are you’ve stumbled across Weekly Sh?nen Jump. Hordes of acclaimed Sh?nen manga, from Dragon Ball to One Piece, reach their vast audiences via the pages of this weekly manga magazine. The recently unveiled Jump Force, courtesy of Spike Chunsoft and Bandai Namco, sees our favourite Weekly Sh?nen Jump icons battling it out in visceral bouts of power.
Us anime nerds here at Goomba Stomp asked ourselves who we’d love to witness facing off against the likes of Goku and Luffy. From the predictable to the unexpected, here are our picks for the characters we hope to see stepping into the Jump Force ring next year.
Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo (Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo)
Every good fighting game needs a troll character. Super Smash Bros. has Mr. Game & Watch, Skullgirls has Peacock, and Jump Force can have Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo. The man famous for mastering the Fist of the Nose Hair, Bo-bobo has a wide variety of attacks the team at Spike Chunsoft could pull from. Long range nose hair whips? Check. Close range kicks and punches? Yep, those are found throughout the series too.
However, the thing that makes Bobobo-bo the perfect troll character is his complete disregard for logic. Bobobo-bo can literally change the rules of his universe at will. He’s done everything, from transforming into different objects, to turning into a Super Saiyan (yes, you read that correctly). He’s been known to fight traditional tough guys with silly, totally nonsensical things like incessantly ringing phones and confusing math equations. If Spike Chunsoft wanted to, there’s a chance that every fight with Bobobo-bo could feature different gags and moves from the manga and anime.
Of course, Bobobo-bo not relying on logic could easily make him overpowered. If we’re being realistic, he would need to have a distinct moveset that players could learn to counter. Nonetheless, seeing Bobobo-bo twirling around the screen and defeating Sasuke by beating him in a fishing contest would be the best thing ever.
Kurapika (Hunter x Hunter)
Hunter x Hunter carries many faults, from its speed of a snail pacing, to its underutilization of Leorio, Hisoka, Canary, and other such endearingly entertaining characters. One such neglected character is Kurapika, where beyond his prominent feature during the Yorknew City arc (the strongest arc of Hunter x Hunter’s 148 episode anime), is granted disappointingly little screen time.
Gon and Killua’s inclusion in Jump Force boasts a 99.9% probability, given they’re center stage faces of the super famous franchise. However, the inclusion of Hunter x Hunter’s non-primary cast members would serve as a pleasant surprise. With a compelling backstory, and some nifty whippy chain skills to boot, Kurapika is a reminder of the potential that Hunter x Hunter squandered, alongside a captivating selection for some potential Jump Force ass-kickery.
Masashi Rando (Pretty Face)
Masashi Rando is one of the rowdiest guys out there. With a black-belt in karate, a mouth that would make even a sailor sick, and a “no bullshit” kind of personality, he’s about as confrontational as an anime or manga character can get. Yes, that is him featured in the picture above. No, he was not genderbent into a girl.
Pretty Face is a rather unique and unknown comedy manga series that, despite being one of my personal favorites, I had no idea was even a Sh?nen Jump title until I was looking through the list for this article. Poor Masashi finds himself in a bus accident that leaves him unrecognizably burned. Without any sort of identification on him at the time, a genius(?) plastic surgeon assumes the picture of Masashi’s crush that he carried with him must be his appearance and sets out to reconstruct his body to match (with the one exception that Masashi is still a male). Hilarity and misunderstandings ensue that eventually lead to Masashi assuming the identity of his crush’s long lost sister, Yuna. Thus, Masashi’s new life living as his crush’s sister begins.
Being a martial artist, it’s not too difficult to imagine how Masashi could fight in Jump Force. Despite his new form he still retains all the skills and force he had prior, meaning he can still pulverize anyone in his path. The catch is that Masashi is always worried about blowing his cover. He may let his emotions get the better of him and introduce someone’s face to the ground, but he always tries to backtrack and play it off as something any normal high school girl could do. It’s this dichotomy between his male instincts and female facade that creates some truly hilarious situations.
Translate this to Jump Force, and you get a character of great comedic potential in addition to just being fun to play as. Having him pummel opponents, get carried away, then realize what he just did and immediately turn around an apologize in an overly cutesy, almost cringe-inducing way is a recipe for awesome fun, especially with the potential of amping that dissonance up to eleven with his special finishers.
Master Roshi (Dragon Ball)
Jump Force is gonna have all the big warriors from Shonen Jump’s extensive manga history. Of course, this means Son Goku and his most iconic foe, Frieza, from Dragon Ball. I imagine Goku’ll be front and center on the box, next to Luffy and Naruto. Still, there’d be no better way to honour their most iconic franchise than including the one true OG: Master Roshi.
Master Roshi was one of the first characters to be introduced in Dragon Ball. Initially introduced as comic relief, Master Roshi would go on to become Goku’s first teacher (unless you count Grandpa Gohan, offscreen). Roshi is the creator of the iconic Kamehameha, which took the old man decades of work; much to his chagrin, Goku copied the technique in a few minutes.
Master Roshi’s inclusion in Jump Force would show that the game’s developers respect the roots of one of Shonen Jump’s most internationally popular series, and his humorous nature might serve as a much-needed foil to some of the darker characters in the game.
Saitama (One Punch Man)
How would Spike Chunsoft effectively and fairly implement Saitama into Jump Force, taking into account that the fundamental staple of his existence is he’s infinitely, jaw-droppingly, unbeatably powerful? Simple: make him infinitely, jaw-droppingly, unbeatably powerful! Saitama, true to form, should be overwhelmingly stronger than every other character on display, with a moveset bolstered by near flawless defence, speed, and strength.
An intentionally overpowered joke fighter, and a perfect pick for fighting game newbies looking for an easy ride (just ban the bombastic baldy from tournaments).
Anime Ichiban 24: Forecasting the Anime Awards
Matt and Kyle have some fresh hottakes on Makoto Shinkai’s newest film, Weathering With You.
Matt and Kyle have some fresh hottakes on Makoto Shinkai’s newest film, Weathering With You. The Crunchyroll Anime Awards are also a thing happening which means it’s time for the crew to demonstrate once again how off their tastes are.
13:41 – Satoshi Konposthumously honored
18:14 – TRIGGER’s Brand New Animal project
28:20 – Netflix adds the entire Ghibli library to their catalog!… in some places
31-37 – Weathering With You impressions and thoughts
1:02:33 – Crunchyroll Anime Award Predictions
1:38:36 – Closing remarks
Intro – “Kiss Me” by Vo.Nai BrXX＆Celeina Ann (Carole & Tuesday opening theme)
Outro – “Drown” by milet (Vinland Saga ending theme 2)
‘Weathering With You’ Isn’t Quite the Storm It Wanted to Be
Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering With You delivers a gorgeous film that doesn’t quite resonate as much as it wanted to.
Climate change and global warming have been topics of concern and discussion for years now, with melting ice caps and rising ocean temperatures being some of many signs. Director Makoto Shinkai — acclaimed the world over for his 2016 work Your Name — aims to show just how at the mercy humans are to the weather with his newest animated film, Weathering With You. Although he presents a visually stunning depiction of Mother Nature in all her various moods, Weathering With You ultimately lacks the storming power it seeks to bear upon its audience.
Tokyo has been having a particularly rainy year, seeing precipitation almost every day and nary a sight of the sun or clear blue skies. It’s during this unusual time that high school boy Hodaka arrives in the metropolis seeking escape from the suffocating life he had on his island. The young teenager naturally has trouble finding his bearings on his own in the oftentimes unforgiving hustle and bustle of the city. It’s in these early scenes that Weathering With You has some of its strongest moments, depicting the uglier side of Japanese society not often seen in anime, while also highlighting Hodaka’s strength of character to make it on his own.
As Hodaka gradually carves out his own place in the city, he eventually has an encounter with a young girl named Hina. Matching her sunny and cheerful disposition, Hina has the ability to make it stop raining and have the sunshine in very localized spots by praying to the sky. In a place where the rain never ceases, it’s easy to see why Hodaka latches onto Hina to use for the greater good (while also making a little pocket change along the way).
“The hand-drawn rain is downright mesmerizing in all its forms — fierce and calm — while the sunshine that follows seems to hang in the air caught by the leftover humidity.”
Gloomy skies and damp grounds can take their toll on one’s mood and psyche, which someone who lives in such a climate can surely relate to. Even the briefest moments of sunshine revitalize us and give a glimpse of the “light at the end of the tunnel.” Hodaka and Hina’s “100% Sunshine Girl” services to those in need of that light boldly underscore that fact, and make for a strong argument for how the weather affects us all beyond its objective physicality, along with providing some much-appreciated levity to the story.
That power of weather is beautifully illustrated by CoMix Wave Films’ stupendous animation efforts. The hand-drawn rain is downright mesmerizing in all its forms — fierce and calm — while the sunshine that follows seems to hang in the air, caught by the leftover humidity. Tokyo itself isn’t to be outdone either, with its streets running the gamut between peaceful neighborhoods to grimy and dark back alleys with dilapidated buildings. The animation is punctuated by the return of Japanese band RADWIMPS, who create numerous memorable tracks to complement the wild swings in mood that weather can elicit.
That makes it all the more unfortunate, however, that the greater narrative is so weak.
The progression of Weathering With You is made painfully obvious right from the outset of the story — so much so that it’s hard to wonder if it’s actually the set-up for a bait-and-switch. As a result, much of the first half of the film is simply waiting for the other shoe to drop, making it difficult to really settle in and become intimate with its characters.
This would be less of an issue if the cast had smaller interactions that were a delight to watch, but they fall short in that regard as well. All of the characters have a charm to them for sure — with Hina’s younger elementary school brother, Nagi, putting modern playboys to shame being a particular standout — but the story never quite makes a compelling case as to why they are as close as they are, especially Hina and Hodaka. They’re fun enough to watch be together, but don’t quite make that emotional attachment with the viewer that the story wants to create.
That lack of an emotional connection is distinctly felt in Weathering With You’s second act, when unnecessary confrontations and bizarre plot directions converge to create an artificial sense of stakes amidst a central conflict that would have been fine on its own. What’s meant to strengthen the impression of the characters’ bonds instead cheapens it, undermining the already faulty progress the first half did make. The result is a narrative that’s hard to care about, although its ending does leave the viewer with some potentially interesting questions to ponder.
Weathering With You is far from a bad movie, however. It has a clear direction and vision with a message to say about our climate crisis. The characters are endearing enough, and there are a handful of heartfelt scenes because of that. It also cannot be understated just how drop-dead gorgeous the animation is. The story, however, is simply too straightforward for its own good, resulting in an experience that is at times enjoyable, and at others plain boring.
And that’s only when being judged in a vacuum on the movie’s own merits. When compared to Shinkai’s recent masterpiece that is Your Name, it’s hard to see Weathering With You as anything but a disappointing follow-up. That’s perhaps the film’s greatest weakness, but fortunately, it’s one that Shinkai’s next work won’t have, and we can still look forward to it because of that fact.
How Rimuru Tempest Changed the Game for Isekai Protagonists
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime shines within the vast sea of generic isekai thanks in no small part to protagonist Rimuru Tempest.
The core premise of the isekai genre–a character being transported from their everyday life on Earth to a parallel universe–has become wildly popular for a reason: it’s an immensely appealing fantasy. Just as audiences everywhere fell in love with the seminal Spirited Away in the early 2000s, it’s still exciting to fantasize about discovering a new world and going on all manner of crazy adventures. However, the incessant flood of new isekai every season to capitalize on this trend has resulted in some of the most generic, overly-manufactured protagonists in any genre.
Though this sea of formulaic main characters is vast, it makes it all the easier to recognize when one bucks the typical conventions and actually proves that there’s room for unique takes on the genre. That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime adheres to a few cliches, but it also manages to set a new bar for what a captivating isekai protagonist can be.
Breaking the Mold
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is as wholesome and optimistic an anime as they come. The tone can be deceptive at first; when Satoru Mikami is suddenly stabbed when trying to protect his junior, his dying wish is for his computer’s hard drive to be destroyed. But after being reincarnated as a slime–and gaining the new name Rimuru Tempest–his true desires become clear: world peace and a simple, comfortable life with friends.
What’s immediately striking about Rimuru as the main character is that he starts off as an average 37-year-old man. He spent his life working hard and appeasing his higher-ups to climb the corporate ladder. Shady hard drive aside, he lived a respectable and long life compared to the vast majority of protagonists in the genre. This significant age difference is evident in nearly every action and major decision Rimuru makes; he looks at situations practically before jumping headfirst into conflict.
When Rimuru gets a drink poured on him by a noble in a bar, for instance, he quells his anger in consideration of the bar and the friends around him. When someone asks for his aid in an impending battle, he pauses to go over all the available information and reaches a consensus among everyone before agreeing. And when protecting a goblin village from a pack of wolves, he doesn’t just mindlessly slaughter all the wolves; he looks for the way of least resistance (killing the leader of the pack) before ultimately integrating them with the goblins as equals. Though his human form looks young, it’s the wisdom behind his actions that makes those around him respect his leadership.
This is especially impressive considering just how overpowered Rimuru is. His transformation into a slime came with resistances to fire, cold, electric currents, pain, paralysis, and the ability to absorb, analyze, and take the form of anything he wants. In other words, he could go down the path of the typical shounen protagonist and solve his problems with his fists, but he never lets his overwhelming power dictate his decision-making process.
Leading a Nation
That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is as much about Rimuru’s adventures as it is about the rise of the independent monster nation he helps establish. Instead of running off in search of adventure, the little slime decides to nurture the goblin village he protected at the outset. He helps the goblins and wolves “level up” by naming them, shows them sustainable ways to gather food and build makeshift defenses, and even brings back dwarves to introduce blacksmithing and carpentry.
Through expansion, industrialization, and conflict, Rimuru manages to orchestrate the creation of his country in a way that’s genuinely believable. His ambitions for a peaceful and integrated world play out in his willingness to accept other goblin tribes, ogres, lizardmen, and even friendly humans in his country. Being able to rationally read situations makes forging alliances and negotiating with neighboring nations possible. When a major calamity threatens all life in the forest, Rimuru wastes no time in holding a summit and allying with other forest dwellers over a common interest.
None of this would be possible without the uncanny, Luffy-like ability to inspire a sense of trust and reliability in those he comes across. Just like the members of the Straw Hat Pirates follow Luffy out of respect and loyalty, Rimuru’s commanders follow him because of his sound judgment and dedication to seeing everyone in his nation be happy. It’s satisfying seeing members of Rimuru’s guard take personal offense when others talk poorly of him because it’s clear that he’s earned the respect he’s given.
If isekai is to continue growing in popularity and thriving long-term, room must be made for different types of protagonists. Be they depraved, refreshingly honest characters like Kazuma or upstanding yet easygoing leaders like Rimuru, both demonstrate how valuable it is to shake up the formula and try new approaches to the genre. If the constant barrage of isekai has bittered your tolerance to it as a whole, That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime is well worth giving a shot.
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