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Harry’s Anime Picks – The ‘Cool Kids’ list

Wow!!!   Has been a month already??? Yep, so I have been a bit busy, ya know collecting Gundam figures, adding to my Figma collection, attending KatsuCon and so on! So as you can see it’s about ‘the cool kids’.  This entry is for returning fans, like myself, as well as new fans coming into anime and trying to understand the hype around some of the more popular shows in anime. The shows listed below are some of the most talked about anime in recent history. So if you want to understand what a quirk is, know why sometimes walls are bad or even get a deeper look at the psyche behind Death Gun, then give these entries a try.

Attack on Titan

On all platforms…but more on that in a second.

The Plot (from Funimation): From the director of Death Note comes Attack on Titan. Many years ago, humanity was forced to retreat behind the towering walls of a fortified city to escape the massive, man-eating Titans that roamed the land outside their fortress. This is their story.

The Good: This is one of the most talked about anime in the past decade which has spawned a spin-off (Attack on Titan: Junior High) and a live action movie. This show is to anime what The Walking Dead is to American television. While the threat as the large mostly mindless Titans, a greater threat comes along when the people trying to survive living in this setting find that some among them can turn into these terrors. It delves into how many of the characters try to hang on to their sanity as it feels as if they are slowly losing this war against these nigh unkillable monsters. If you aren’t caught up, you really need to watch it all as jumping directly into season two will leave you lost in the sauce!

The Bad: Depending on how big a fan you are, the first season is 25 episodes and while watching, it felt a bit Game of Thrones-ish in its presentation. There were a few filler episodes in which nothing happened but you didn’t want to skip them as you feared missing a key plot point in the series. Then season 2 was only half of that and then so much was crammed into that season, it left you with more questions than answers at the end.

The biggest bad is the platforms needed to watch it on. In order to watch seasons one and two, you need to have a Crunchyroll account. Funimation has all of season one and a portion of season two for those who want to watch the dub, I believe you have to pay extra to watch season 2 on Amazon Prime, while Hulu only offers season one. This means depending on how you want to watch will be limited by the platform that you use.

The Bottom Line: This show is brutal, at times the situation seems hopeless but the stories of survival and how people adjust feels real. Just like most good series, the moment a question gets answered, several more questions may arise and makes you come back for more. The show is tense and emotionally charged thus many of us can see why it’s a hot property right now.

My Hero Academia

Crunchyroll and Funimation

Plot (from Funimation): In a world where eighty percent of the population has some kind of super-powered “quirk,” Izuku (Midoriya) was unlucky enough to be born completely normal. But that won’t stop him from enrolling in a prestigious hero academy. Now, the promising freshman class is making its debut at the world-renowned U.A. Sports Festival! It’s Quirk versus Quirk as our young heroes face off in the ultimate showdown.

The Good: The show is right up there with AoT is one of the most popular anime to date as many are eagerly anticipating season 3 which debuts on April 7th, 2018. It’s a hero’s journey like many others as Midoriya learns much about the classmates at U.A. High and more, he learns about himself. What’s even better is as the show goes on, the time that’s taken to tell the stories of the secondary characters and shows how they relate with Midoriya as well.

The Bad: I don’t have anything bad to say except that I am hoping that the quality of this series stays high. The reason being is if you pay attention to Midoriya’s narration, we are still a long ways away from where he is presently as he tells his story. If the interest stays, I can see fans getting at least another three to four seasons of this show. If not, we may never find out how he succeeded as AllMight’s successor.

The Bottom Line: My Hero Academia is a fun show about watching the under dogs grow. Some do well and some don’t but what’s important is watching the development over time as it relates to all characters. Even some of the villains you may find yourself rooting for because they have relatable motivations as well.

Sword Art Online and Sword Art Online II

Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Hulu

Plot (from Hulu): In the near future, a Virtual Reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) called Sword Art Online has been released where players control their avatars with their bodies using a piece of technology called: Nerve Gear. One day, players discover they cannot log out, as the game creator is holding them captive unless they reach the 100th floor of the game’s tower and defeat the final boss. However, if they die in the game, they die in real life. Their struggle for survival starts now…

The Good: I enjoyed the show’s premise with season one’s story about gamers being trapped in a virtual reality. What made it more intriguing is the many concepts and tropes regarding online gaming that was pivotal to season one. The second season focused on the survivors of SAO season one who were being picked off by a mysterious player killer, but what was a nice touch was a new story arc began which found the main characters meeting up with a new group of gamers and forming a bond with them. That is until a devastating secret is revealed that could change everything. Yes, sounds cheesy, I know but the ending is probably one of the saddest and poignant ones I have seen in an anime.

The Bad: The first season got a little creepy towards the middle arc as one of the villains got a little rapey and the same thing occurred in the second season. Your enjoyment may vary depending on how those concepts play into your enjoyment of the series. Also there is an incest undertone that showed up as well.

The Bottom line: Sword Art Online may be a bit old having aired between 2012 and 2014 with season 3 coming sometime this year. It’s been a good series because it just doesn’t explore just the gaming aspect but some of the psycho-social aspects of life as a gamer as well.

OK that’s it for me! I promise I won’t leave you hanging so long! I got a few other series that I will talk about soon!

Add your suggestions below!

About Armand (1271 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
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