Shiki News

Shiki is a franchise comprised of 1 anime series, 1 manga series
From Anime Vice
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The first time i wrote a ‘best manga/anime of 2013 (http://katmic.blogspot.com/2013/03/top-five-anime-and-manga-of-2013-so-far.html)’ blog post, it was sometime in February, and i remember thinking that it was a little early to talk about the best anything of 2013, not when the year was just beginning. I considered postponing such a blog post until a few months later when a considerable amount of material had passed before my eyes. But i changed my mind and realized that the reason i wanted to rank the anime and manga material i had encountered so far so early in the year was because it was that early in the year. IN other words i was curious as to how that list would change with time.
Given the fact that we are at just about the half way point in the year, it seems like a good time to take stock of all the manga and anime material i have seen so far and determine which of them was the most superior. I should elucidate that by ‘best manga and anime of 2013 so far’ i am not referring to manga and anime that was released in 2013, even though it is included, merely anime and manga that i have watched since the year began as far as my slightly poor memory is concerned.
I should also point out that my list of best five manga does not include Naruto and one piece because i watch rather than read these two series and as such i could not say where exactly they fall.
Anyway, my ranking is as such:

BEST ANIME SERIES OF 2013 SO FAR---

1. Shingeki no kyojin-
Basic Premise--- Attack on titan takes place in the kind of world i would never want to live in, where giant beings called titans have for hundreds of years hunted the human race to near extinction. Naked, seemingly mindless and violent, requiring no sustenance to survive but instead feasting on humanity for no discernable purpose, humanity has had to adapt to the
threat by hiding behind mighty walls and attempting to prosper within an impregnable defense that hasn’t been broken in a century. The story starts on the day that all this changes, when two new titans emerge with power the likes of which has never been seen and breach the walls. Yeager Eren is the primary protagonist of the story, seeking to unleash the tides of vengeance he has slowly been gathering within him against the titans ever since the tragedy years ago. He will not stop until they are all destroyed even if humanity is basically helpless against them and the titans are continuously gaining ground.
I am going to call SNK a blockbuster, not in the holly wood sense though, simply referring to the fact that this anime busted my mind open when i first watched it three weeks ago. If you have not watched SNK you have not watched a
nime this year, period. There is nothing that i have seen in 2013 that has even come close to being as good as SNK. This series is pure genius, maddeningly genius. No matter how great each episode is, it will keep you lusting for the next one. There is no such thing as simply watching a bit of SNK and then deciding to give it a break. Once you start, you will not stop. I watched all nine episodes in my possession within the space of one day. THIS ANIME IS AWESOME. So intriguing, so nail bitingly exciting, literally throwing surprises at you with each and every episode. If you think you have seen it all and nothing can surprise you, watch SNK. It will blow your mind. Oh and it’s also beautifully animated. i am still speechless about episode five. if your jaw doesn’t drop after seeing this episode, then you are not human.
Rating: 10/5, i do not care what other anime comes out this year, it will not be better than this show. Exceeded expectations several times over. I am hooked. I want this anime now.

2. Suisei no Gargantia-
Basic Premise---Ensign Ledo operates as one of humanity's soldiers in the front line of the fight against the Hidiazu, vile alien beings hell bent on destroying man’s colonies scattered through out space. Ledo, as with his comrades, was manufactured in a wholly changed and evolved society for the sole purpose of fighting the Hidiazu; however an accident sends him hurtling across galaxies to the lost
planet of earth, a world humanity abandoned eons ago during a cataclysmic event and which was believed to be lost.
The world that Ledo finds is a wholly different one from his own, one where the earth is largely covered by water with all remainders of man’s old advanced civilization buried beneath and the race’s existence continuing to live upon water vessels. It is on one such vessel, Gargantia, a collection of several vessels, that Ledo finds himself stranded, unable to contact home and unable to find the meaning of his life in a world that is largely peaceful and not in need of the kind of
massively destructive power contained within his mech, Chamber.
I found this show to be peculiar in that i did not expect to enjoy it. Or rather i didn’t realize that i was enjoying it and was viewing it more casually than anything, until i got to the end and wanted more. This show makes little sense to me because i cannot really pin it down. I am never sure which direction it will take. The initial minutes of the first episode will deceive you into thinking that this is an action series, revolving around giant robots fighting aliens. That is not true. This is mostly drama. Basically imagine you have a giant robot with the power to annihilate entire countries with ease, and you had spend your entire life in constant battle against a vicious alien race. Then you found yourself in a backward villagewhere their is literally no sight of aliens, or really any enemies that could be considered a threat. It is literally one day of normal life after another, trying to catch food, dealing with the harvest and all that. That is what this series is. Ledo though human is on a planet that he no longer understands, with value systems that make no sense, with a race of man that operates with a mindset that makes little sense to him. The simple idea that they care for the disabled shocks him. Where he is from if you are of no use to society and are lacking in anyway, both physically and mentally, you are eliminated.
Rating: 5/5; another one of Gen Urobuchi’s masterpieces, this is a fun little show. The cultural topics and points it tackles are fascinating to watch, especially in the context created. I do not know why but i really liked this show, besides SNK, it is my favorite show of the year so far. I like the subtle yet intriguing character development, and the musical scores are superb, along some impressive animation sequences.

3. Shiki-
Basic Premise---A small village in the mountains is plagued by a noxious disease that, seemingly initially innocuous, soon starts reaping through the small community like death itself manifest
ed. It
takes the hard work of a young doctor and those who support him to realize the truth beneath the facade, that behind the seemingly biological virus is a force of supernatural capabilities, hell bent on consuming the village and morphing it into a new paradise for its kind, the shiki.
This anime blew my mind. The way it was paced, the constant surprises, the intriguing characters driving each mini plot within the major plot, they all contributed to make this one of best horror/mystery series i have ever come across. I watched this show over several weeks unlike SNK but that was because i wanted to savor each episode. Each and every episode of this anime felt, well, deep, never repetitive and always working to evolve the plot in one way or another. Basically impressive story telling skills and a plot that was written to be divisive in terms ripping the boundary between hero and villain apart.
Rating: 5/5, the anime looks good and the music is great; the series attempts to stand out with the design of the characters, especially the shiki. I like it

4. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica-
Basic premise---This one is a little hard to explain because i do not remember all the details. Basically this little ferret like creature can make one girl’s wish come true but they then have to become magical
girls, girls with magical powers somewhat crafted by their fulfilled wish and who must use this power to fight witches. Making a wish though comes with a price and the life of a magical girl is not an easy one and Madoka must decide whether or not she is willing to make this ultimate sacrifice because once she becomes a magical girl their is not turning back from the hard, misery fraught life that awaits her and all those that bear the title.
Without giving too much away, i will say this; this is a magical girl series, it is also shoujo. I am not a fan of either. Yet Urobuchi took a normally fluffy genre and completely flipped it over its head, creating a series that is dark, and shows the ugly life of magical girls and the horrors they must deal with. I had some problems with it, specifically madoka herself, the primary protagonist, but in the end, it was a brilliant series, not the best i have ever seen, far from it, but most likely to go down as a classic. And unlike many people i actually liked the action scenes with the witches; they had an artistic look to them; the animation was great and the music creative.
Rating: 4/5, i recommend this to everyone, definitely worth the watch, no matter your interests with regards to the genre.

5. Psycho pass-
Basic Premise---In future human beings are judged not for their actions but based on the word of the sybil system, an advanced system that runs the city. However a new criminal element has emerged on the scene, one that can outsmart the system. This element makes preparations to wreak havoc upon the nation and it is up the enforcers, latent criminals that have been rejected by the Sybil system to repudiate this element’s schemes and save the city that sees them as nothing more than criminal garbage. But as always their is always more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye.
Rating: 5/5, really there is nothing much about this series that i can say. You simply have to see it yourself. It can best be described as CSI in the future. Really, it’s ridiculous how many of these shows are done by Gen Urobuchi.
Notable Mentions:

--Devil survivor- The world will be destroyed in six days if the human race cannot fend of the attacks of the demonic horde executing an incursion against humanity and, more importantly, defeat six powerful creatures known as sempterion that will make an appearance within those final six days. The secret lies in an app called nicaea which endows those that download it with the ability to
summon demons of their own to fight against the invasion. There is something about the app’s ability to relay images to people of the death’ their friends are about to experience, availing one the chance to change that destiny, though i am not sure how it relates to the demonic summons acquired. It’s the first major element that happened in the first episode and i remember thinking that these three characters could summon demons because they had survived their fates. Now i am not so sure.
Anyway, this show has shown quite a lot of potential. seven episodes in, i am not really sure what i think about it. While the premise seems interesting, there are flaws that have occurred in the execution of the story, and i am not a big fan of the cliché’ main character or his friends.
The villain/hero/villain, depending on whose side you fall has proven to be more interesting than the three primary protagonist. Devil survivor so far seems like a basic ‘monster summoning’ type series, but with a little more deaths than you would expect. The action is great and i love the effects. This isn’t an endless fight against demons. They have six days to win or the world ends. It doesn’t say that the demons will win or they will destroy the world, merely that if they cannot beat the demons, the world will end. It makes the situation all the more grim.
Rating: 3/5, i am waiting to see more to make my mind up.
N:B- Okay, so i wrote this two days ago and i have just finished watching some more devil survivor, which has changed my mind. This is more like number six than a notable mention; i still have a couple of issues with it but i would give it a 5/5 rating now.

--Legend of the legendary heroes- i am ambivalent about legendary heroes. On the one hand i know it is a pretty great show, with an impressive cast of well developed characters and an interesting story. Yet it is one anime that i feel that i have been watching for a very long time, never indulging in more than one episode each time i get down to watching it. It is almost like there is nothing encouraging me to watch it. It does not excite me the way other shows do, none the less i acknowledge that it is a good show. maybe once i move past the half way point, it will finally hook me; for now though it has not. None the less it is worth recommending.

BEST MANGA OF 2013 SO FAR-

1. Claymore- Claymore, claymore….i do not even know how to describe this manga other than the fact that it blew my mind this year. I dropped claymore last year around August, the idea being that i
was tired to reading five chapters every few months and instead decided to wait till i could consume a considerable amount of claymore to satiate my hunger for it. And for a while , especially early this year, i could not figure out why i thought claymore was such a big deal, until i read it last month and…wow. i do not think i have read anything anyway nearly as good as those 20 or so chapters of claymore this year. Reading claymore this year was like being electrocuted constantly for three hours straight, which is how long it took me to wrap it up. It is the kind of excitement i crave from manga, to get so engrossed in it that i am barely aware of the fact that it is dark and i was planning to eat lunch what seems like just a few minutes ago.
Everything i wanted from claymore was delivered this year, at least as far as chapter 135 where i stopped. We finally wrapped up the battle between the reawakened former number ones and the ghosts and oh how it delivered, with several of the former number number ones awakening, not into awakened beings, but abyssal ones. The battles between these giants things was spectacular, the hair raising contest of speed between phantom Miria and the trio of awakened beings facing her was…i am getting excited just recalling these events, especially the moment when Miria realized the peril she and her friends were in, then realized that she had grown so strong that if she awakened she would become an abyssal one, long enough to rescue her friends before ending her own life lest she destroy everything. I loved the tension it created, the fact that these elite warriors were surviving second by second, barely.
The revelations came in droves, with new mysteries being woven even as the old mysteries were unwrapped and finally unpackaged. We finally understood who yoma and claymore were, their relationship with each other and even got to see the descendants of both creatures in two breathtakingly drawn pages.
But none of that, not even the battle against the former number ones can compare to what happened back in the city. The stalemate between Clare, Priscilla and the destroyer was finally resolved and i think it was done brilliantly. It was one of those situations which didn’t seem to have a solution. Here we had the two most destructive forces in existence and they had somehow taken each other out, solving a problem no one had the answers to. And yet Clare is
stuck in there with them. That is an eternity of suffering that she has been sentenced to unless she is removed from the mold; but that would mean releasing these two forces once more, forces that no one can stop. Personally i would have been happy with any solution that solved the stalemate without any plot holes, and Nagi did just that. The introduction of a slew of new creatures and characters, claymore so old that they once walked with Isley himself, male awakened beings, former number ones from the ancient era, massing to witness the birth of a new creation; i just loved the entire situation that was created, the arrogance of the new arrivals, the power they displayed, the crazy transformations that were so vile yet so beautifully drawn, the finally showdown between…everything.
I thought claymore peaked during the Priscilla destroyer incident, but it seems like with each new chapter, Nagi raises the stakes. I think i am so hyper about claymore because unlike regular single chapter readers, i read nearly 20 chapters of awesomeness in a go. We finally got to know the mystery behind the claymore’s chests, clare and raki finally met, and…just the fact that Clare finally came back into play after so long, seeing her release her yoki after 7 years, the reunion of the ghosts after what seems like forever…I LOVE THIS MANGA.
RATING: 7/5; Hands down the best manga i have read all year and i would be surprised if anything beat it. And i think i will stop before this runs on any longer than it was supposed to. Just writing about claymore has a tendency to me all excited.

2. Bleach- I am one of those people that has never been shy about disparaging Bleach. I mean, Kubo has made it a little too easy over the years to insult his work. But what bleach is doing so far, all i
will say is that if you dropped bleach for any reason, be it recently or as far back as the soul society arc, then i suggest you get back on the bandwagon with the other
fans, because this manga will amaze you. It doesn't matter if you have 400 chapters to get through to finally catch up, if it is just to finally read the thousand year blood war arc, then it is worth your time.
I am not giving Kubo all the praises i would normally give him because i believe he has it easier than naruto or one piece because this is his last arc. So of course he doesn’t have to worry about the future, such as ensuring consistency in this arc with what’s coming up next and so on. He can just go crazy, and that is what he is dong. The story so far is amazing. I reached a point in bleach where i didn’t merely dislike it, i hated Ichigo as a main character. As far as i was concerned, Kubo’s determination to make it all about him ruined the series. Now however ichigo seems to have made a comeback as far as getting back into my good graces is concerned. Bleach is finally what it was long ago and should have been all this time; we have a great story that is completely unpredictable which is something bleach has always failed at; Kubo is actually giving a lot of the characters the stage to shine, and actually developing their stories. The action is, well, bleach has always done well in the action sector.
Rating:6/5; beach is on fire,completely exceeding my expectations. I actually have faith that things will only get better.

3. The Breaker: New waves- Breaker follows the story of Li shion and his attempt to not only survive and thrive in the ferocious world of Murim after his fortuitous encounter with the legen
dary nine
arts dragon. At a casual glance, breaker sounds like basic shonen marital arts stuff, till you give it a read and realize that it is indeed just another basic marital arts story, but one that is executed brilliantly. Shion is the kind of primary action protagonist that you do not encounter in other shonen manga, the underdog of underdogs, the one for whom things never come easily and usually if anything can go wrong it will go wrong several times over.
This year breaker continued to prove why it is such a monster, with the story continuously taking twists and turns in the most unexpected ways. Here is what i will say about Breaker, if you think you know what is coming, you will most likely be wrong. The art is great, and the action is unparalleled. more surprising is how much story is injected into what should be mindless fighting.
Rating: 5/5; at 121 chapters, this manga is showing no signs of slowing down. Every time i think there isn’t much story left to tell, the manhwa does something new that i didn’t expect.

4. Witch hunter- In the story told in this manhwa, witches have declared war against humanity. More than two thirds of the world have fallen into chaos and destruction as a result. The witch hunter
organization exists to eradicate these witches and their hats using witch hunters, humans engineered with great abilities. Tasha god spell is a witch hunter known as the
magic marks man because of his use of two handguns as his primary weaponry against witches. Tasha stands out even among witch hinters because he was trained by a witch, the great white witch. His sister is also a witch which means that while other witch hunter are trained to brutally eliminate witches, Tasha does not kill them, this compassion causing him many problems among his comrades, especially his determination to find, defeat and save his sister, a feat he has attempted and failed at several times over.
The fact that i loved this manhwa this year has to do with the fact that i haven’t read it in ages. It has been on a break for a few years now, and only returned last year. And after reading 20 or so chapters a few weeks ago, i was reminded of how much i loved it. Few other works have art as unique as witch hunter. I just love how the people are drawn and the inventiveness with which each action is drawn, the imaginative characters and abilities…it is difficult to read this manhwa and not be blown away.
The manga this year was even more phenomenal mostly because we began digging into the mysteries surrounding the world. We finally began to understand who Guinevere (or Halloween as she was called), Tasha’s servant, was and why the round table knights and Merlin, a dubious member of witch hunter, wanted her so badly. Though this time Tasha was merely the side dish; Xing took these 20 chapters with the conclusion of his back story, the final collision with his two brothers Lee and Yue (wait, i am still confused about whether xing the witch hunter is actually xing or Yue, especially since its been a while since i read the back story chapters). The final chapter in the Bai long empire saga was refreshing. The four witches of the North south east and west have finally began to move with epic consequences, and Tasha seems to have made his decision between his loyal servant Guinevere and the witch hunter organization that is working with England to get him to relinquish her. I am impressed by how this manga gives equal attention to every character. Witch hunter reminds of one piece in that even if Tasha wasn’t the primary protagonist, anyone of several characters could feel the spot perfectly. Each is endowed with intriguing back stories, enough to run a manga plot successfully.
Rating: 6/5 unparalleled in story telling, brilliant action scenes and the art is simply breath taking and unique like few other series.
N:B: at this point i thought i will stop to point out that number 2, 3 and 4 were all so ridiculously brilliant this year that i couldn’t really tell which of them was superior to the other. I thought that bleach clearly dominated them all, till i read breaker and realized that the manhwa still had more fuel in it to create more outrageously brilliant stories. Then i read witch hunter and for a while bleach and breaker paled in comparison to its madness. Now i realize that at least in my mind, they might all as well be number 2, which is why i am doing a best 8 manga rather than best five.

5. Monster- In this manga, doctor Tenma must face the fact that in using his skills to save the life of a little boy, he unleashed an evil the likes of which Europe has never faced. Now he tasks himself
with the objective of finding and ending the life of a killer before more bodies begin to amass and Europe runs red with blood.
It has taken me ages to finish 160 chapters of monsters and that is not because of a general lack of quality on Monster’s part but because this manga was more a novel than a comic with each chapter somehow packing more content within its 30 something pages than any other manga i have read. None the less calling Monster brilliant doesn’t do it justice. Having finished it a month ago, i can safely say that this is a story that anyone that calls themselves an anime and manga fan should read. It is exciting and hilarious (sometimes) but mostly sad, yet manifesting a spirit of courage and heroism and showing to the reader what the common man can do to confront great evil in their life if only they choose not to look away and bury there heads in the sand. Tenma was just a doctor, a foreigner in fact a time at a time in Europe when race was a divisive issue; he could have looked away and determined that someone more qualified would do something to stop Johan. But he didn’t. He used his meager resources and skills to track down a killer that could have sneezed and eliminated him in the process.
Rating:5/5, i seriously recommend that EVERYONE read this manga. Despite the fact that the story is one of killers and psychopaths, well, killing, there is surprisingly very little unnecessary blood and gore, hence basically a safe story for any age (maybe).

6. The God of high School- This manhwa’s premise is ridiculously simple; a group of high school kids with incredible martial arts skills are fighting in a tournament in which the winner will have
their
greatest wishes fulfilled. What makes it work in the beginning is the wishes of those in the tournament. Characters with sick friends and family members make it very easy for you to cheer them on in battle, but as always something else is going on in the back ground. Forces are moving and it soon becomes clear that the fate of the world is at play.
GOH isn’t particularly deep, but it has actually has a compelling story.It is primarily character driven and has the best action i have ever seen drawn in a comic, even, as far as i am concerned, better than breaker. The artist seems to think in a way that other artists do not, and approaches action scenes with a unique set of angles.
Rating: 5/5, this manhwa is all about fighting. it is none the less far from mindless and highly entertaining.

7.Break Blade- Rygart is a young man that cannot use magic in a world where everyone can. He must negotiate peace between friends that have gone to war in a world where nations tend to rely on golems, giant robots controlled by magic, to deal with their grievances. The situation is worsened by his relationship with one of his best friends’ wife and queen of Krishna.
This manga is unique for me because i have never read mecha before. The art is great, exceptionally detailed; the story is one of love and loss and war and the consequences of greed, when those in power choose to reach for their own interests above the lives and safety of those citizens they swore to protect.
Rating: 4/5, i had trouble distinguishing characters and golems in battle. That made it a more difficult process to read this manga.

8. Nabara no Ou- The world of nabari, basically the shinobi world and the normal world have lived along side each other for centuries, never interacting outside of the shadows. The different villages have evolved over the years to meet the new challenges of the world, some transforming from actually villages into corporations but still
keeping with their traditions and each continuing to safe guard their kinjutsu-sho. special techniques, the most powerful in each clan and which is mastered by the clan head.
The story resolves around the hijustu, a powerful form of Kinjustu-sho, known as a powerful form of wisdom, containing all knowledge and so powerful that i can fulfill any wish and change the very shape of the world if asked to. To both protect the world from its destructive power once it was determined that they could no longer control it, as well as attempt to control it, the Hijustu was sealed off in human flesh. At the start of the story five of the former Hijustu hosts have died. some gave in to its temptations, asked for a wish, which they got but in the process unleashed the hijustu. Others were killed by rogue clans who wanted the hijustu,
which only escaped to a new host.
Now the seventh host of the Hijustu finds himself in the midst of a great clash for the power held within his body. A rogue off shoot of another clan known as Kairoushou wishes to gain the Hijustu for its president, a charismatic international personality who believes he can contain its power within his body and use it to change the world for the better.
The fuuma clan will stop him while searching for a way to safely remove the Hijustu, which involves collecting all other clans' Kinjustu-shos. A select few will stop at nothing to make this fellow the king of Nabarai. This young man will either give into the Hijustu’s temptation, allow it to be removed or take the third option, master the use of the Hijutsu by mastering a new form of Kinjustu within which he can harness its powers.
I only picked this manga up because someone commented that while its starts off lazily, it becomes brilliant after 20 or so chapters. So far at chapter 22, i am impressed with what i see. The story has potential and is more than basic shinobi fights. It isn’t merely a matter of good vs. evil because there are technically no villains, merely differences of opinions with one high school teen stuck in the middle. The decisions he makes shape the story.
Rating: 3/5; great potential. I still do not know where it is going and i am still on the fence about whether it is as good as it is proclaimed to be. None the less i have been convinced to continue reading. And the art, which by the way can be considered to be rather unimpressive at the start gets better after 20 chapters, almost like the mangaka was still finding her bearings but has now found a comfortable position.
This one i recommend.

Notable mention:

1. Assassination classroom- an alien creature arrives on the world stage, not only possessing the power to destroy the world but promising to do so in one year. This creature is also a teacher of a particularity troublesome classroom in a certain high school. The students in this class are tasked with killing this teacher within
a period of one year using specially developed weapons, the only ones capable of harming the creature. The rules follow that the students can attack the creature but it cannot attack them. So the games begin.
It is because of manga like this that i am an anime and manga fan. Manga will take the dumbest ideas and morph them into gold. Assassination classroom i began reading last year and i can admit that it is indeed an incredible series, mostly because, based on that premise, you do not expect to find much in the manga. yet it is so entertaining, with a large cast of characters that the plot will slowly peal back with each passing arc. This is how i would describe this manga: think back to that old movie where Samuel L. Jackson goes into a chaotic class of delinquents and transforms them into model students, basically saving these young troubled minds from themselves. This is what Assassination classroom is.
Rating: 5/5; brilliant stuff, i recommend it highly, though i rarely grant it the kind of time i do other manga. I am not actually hooked by it yet.

2. One punch man- I am shocked by the fact that i am actually interested in this manga. I kept coming across the title on several anime sites this year and each time determined that it simply sounded like one of the most asinine manga i might ever come across. After coming across it most recently at [http://matbmangafreaks.blogspot.com/2013/06/new-manga-bookmark-list.html], i decided to finally give it a go, and for the first ten chapters, my original thoughts were
confirmed. One punch man was simply stupid as they come, a story with not particular purpose and a collection of extremely generic characters (except for the lead). At 24 chapters, i can without a doubt say that i am a fan of one punch man.
And i am not sure why. You have an eccentric hero that is so strong that he defeats all opponents with one punch. He at one point in his life decided to become a hero and fight evil. SO he trained so hard that he lost all his hair and became a great hero that no one actually knows of. He saves the world from the greater threats out their but because he doesn’t stand out, really the most basic hero you have ever seen, the credit goes to the other flashier personalities.
This manga can only be described as entertaining. And i am disturbed by how ridiculously drawn some of the chapters are. I have read four chapters so far that are basically anime waiting to be animated. The managaka has a way of wasting an entire chapter on a ten second portion of a fight, making it look so good and dynamic that the images in the comic look like they are moving. If you read this manga and think it is a little too silly, that is because the mangaka wants it to look like that, not because of any particular lack of talent.
Rating: 5/5; one punch man is one of those manga that shouldn’t be worth your time but it turns out to be entertaining.
--I have also began catching up on Beelzebub. I will admit that i am one of those fans that was still hoping that the anime would return. Now however i have finally given up hope, instead deciding to continue the story in the manga. And i must say, Beelzebub is just as good, and funny, in manga form as it was in anime. It feels good to finally return to the world of crazy delinquents and electrocuting babies.
--I am surprised by how much easier it was for me to do this ranking. The first time i tried to compile the best manga and anime i had watched in 2013, i had to first scribble everything down on paper and stare at it for a while, before figuring out what i thought was better.
This time however, things were obvious, almost like their was no question which was superior. Attack on Titan was obviously superior to anything and everything that i had come across anywhere. I had some problems with Madoka magica during its 12 episode run; psycho pass on the other hand was completely consistent, delivering a quality story from beginning to the end without, as far as i am concerned, slipping up unlike Madoka which, i believe, had a few misses. However when i thought of both shows in my head, it was clear that Magica was the superior show, without a doubt.
And in my mind Suisei no Gargantia dominated the rest of them, not in anyone field though, but simply being the kind of charming show i rarely come across.
As far as manga was concerned, when i thought about manga, claymore flashed in my mind. When i thought of best manga, claymore flashed even brighter. There was never any contest here. Same thing goes for bleach, breaker and witch hunter. They were all so brilliant and if claymore wasn’t, well, claymore, they might all share the number one spot. On a weekly basis, i have definitely enjoyed god of high school, but i was looking at Monster as a whole series, already completed and in that case, it was a clearly superior manga in terms of depth and quality to GOH.
Basically manga and anime so far has fallen into place without much resistance. What was good was clearly good and what was bad was bad. There was no jostling for places. And i can safely say that this year is turning out to be a great year for anime and manga. Now i just have to wait for Naruto to return on the 18th and improve my anime viewing experience.
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It has taken me a year to finally get down to watching Shiki; the first time it came across my table, i quickly ditched it after one or two episodes, finding the pacing of the story to be a little too slow for me. It wasn’t until i watched Another that i finally decided that i would give the series a good try, though even then, it would take me another six months and a complete and utter lack of anime to finally get down to watching this series last month.

Admittedly i can see the error in dismissing this series. Beyond merely keeping me at the edge of my seat, this series had a way of instilling a sort of deep seated anxiety in me, with regards to the events that would occur in each episode and the twists and turns that would occur with each passing arc. It kind of reminded me of the old days of Buffy the vampire slayer and Angel.Those were the days before i had access to DVDs or the internet and were, either due to the story, the characters or Joss Whedon’s genius writing, the prospect of having to wait an entire week just to find out what would happen next would not only infuriate me, but speculation and predictions of the coming episode would consume a large amount of the six days that would precede the next episode’s premier. I actually almost hated the experience, but i also recognize that it is a mark of how engrossed i am in a story that i am affected so. And shiki is one such great story, so much so that i would have force my self to put it aside for one reason or another; it has been several months since i came across an anime that did that to me.

THE PLOT:>

Sotoba is a peaceful village of 1,300 people, encompassed by a circular trail of tress, virtually sealing it off from the rest of the world. Life is good and the good

people of Sotoba enjoy a simple and peaceful existence largely devoid of modernity and development. That is until one day when a new family arrives to town, taking

up the old European style mansion at the top of the hill, not only making waves because of the kind of home they live in, but because of the mysterious vans seen moving into the home late in the night, apparently transporting the new neighbors and their belongings to their new home.

Not long after the Kirishiki house moves in, the irritatingly fashion minded Shimuzu Megumi goes missing for several days on end and when she is discovered, she is on the verge of death, barely able to speak. Treating it like a simple case of anemia Ozaki Toshio, head of

Sotoba’s most prestigious medical practice initiates a series of standard treatments. Shimizu dies shortly after, shocking the young doctor. And while he attempts to discover the mystery behind Shimizu’s seemingly simply ailment, the patients begin to pile up, each dangerously low on blood, barely speaking and, no matter the treatment provided and how seemingly effected it might be in some cases, dies a few days later. Toshio soon finds himself at the head of what can only be a plague, a plague the source of which he has yet to determine and whose workings and weaknesses he can neither identify or combat.

Finding himself at the end of his wits, one Seishin, his best friend and a priest at the temple stands between Toshio and the erratic theories that have began to form in the medical professional's mind. Yet Seishin is unable to truly refute these theories, Toshio’s beliefs, that there is more to the happenings in Sotoba than meets the eye and that with the arrival of the Kirishiki family, also came death. Not when it is becoming increasingly clear to him that Sunako Kirishiki, the youngest member of the family and biggest fan of his morbid works might be more than he can see or even fathom.

While Toshio struggles to come to terms with his helplessness and to confront this plague head on, others like Yuuki face the same contention from a different more sinister angle and it is only a matter of time before even Toshio’s logical reasoning begins to fail under the evidence presented; that the dead are no longer staying dead, and that there is something more to Sunako’s great interest in Seishin’s most recent and unfinished work, Shiki…

MY REVIEW:>

Shiki approaches the narration of its story from five specific view points that allay the events of the series to us via the happenings and experiences of four characters, namely:

#1.Toshio- Toshio, as the village’s fore most medical expert, charged with the medical well being of all those around him, attacks the primary plot of the series from his forte, through medicine and science. It was fascinating to watch Toshio struggle to conform what he knew to be truth and logic with the over whelming evidence steadily amassing to justify what he eventually had to accept as a new truth, that behind the endless deaths and the constant failures that eventually

begin to wear on his mind and conscious, as the village’s guardian that can do naught but watch as all those he knew and swore to protect die, is a much darker, less human and sinister force hell bent on reeking havoc in the name of its own selfish desires. None the less Toshio is commendable for striving on in the face of an adversary he can neither see nor fight, using the entirety of his skill to scientifically quantify what should be a wholly supernatural occurrence and eventually mastering a means of combating it, a victory that, unbeknownst to him, makes him the enemy to those whose efforts he is impeding.

Toshio is human and the fight he assigns himself to face, alone, eventually takes its toll on his mind and body, forcing him to question everything he has ever believed about his own skills and abilities as a doctor charged with saving every life that comes under his care. And when the corpses begin to pile up and he watches every effort he put in wash away in some times heart wrenching means, even his strong willed mind is bound to crack. It was exhilarating to watch the man stand up to the kind of forces that possessed the means to tear him apart, all for the sake of each patient they would attempt to claim.

2.# Yuuki – I liked Yuuki, sometimes more that Toshio, mostly because he was a child, fighting so hard against a tide of inhuman forces he had no hope of wining against. Where as Toshio led the charge for Sotoba’s future from the scientific and medical end, Yuuki leads the charge from the other side, the less logical, supernatural end.

He can see what others choose to ignore; he understands the true meaning behind the recent sightings of those formally presumed dead and he knows that the village is under siege from a force that will eventually consume them if they choose to look the other way. This puts him in a very difficult situation because Yuuki, in this case, plays the very smart child in a world full of very stupid adults.

No one will listen, no one is willing to see and in many cases Yuuki is smart enough not to bother, choosing to accept that those around him, older, smarter, will only impede him in his quest for survival;especially his parents, young, supposedly modern and determined to execrate all things religious, superstitious and supernatural. They do more to harm yuuki’s physical well being that any other factor in the series. But at the end of it all yuuki knows that he has a part to play in defending Sotoba and while Toshio does his best to reverse the transformations of the infected ones, his part lies in attacking the very source of the darkness.

#3. Seishin – I am ambivalent towards Seishin. AS Toshio’s best friend, he plays the part of side kick, providing his friend with the emotional support he needs to

stand against an immovable obstacle and lending a second brain to analyzing and solving the illness plaguing Sotoba. He is also a sort of narrator, through his writings, especially his most recent work, shiki, through which he attempts to

teach us about the new force plaguing Sotoba, its intentions and the objectives driving its wave of destruction. As a Buddhist priest, he attempts to understand the spirit behind the deaths and struggles to reconcile his own beliefs of none violence and promotion of life with Toshio’s increasingly violent nature and intentions; where he seeks a solution of peace and a path of co-existence, Toshio has been pushed so far up the wall by the dark events that have befallen him that he has buried all thoughts of diplomacy and mercy under a wall of blood thirst and revenge. At one point, its almost seems like Seishin is afraid that in his quest to hunt the monster, his best friend is becoming the monster.

The actions that Seishin takes later on become a bit more understandable as you start to learn of his past and the dark places he came from in seeking death before ‘finding himself’ as he says to Sunako. But i will not lie, he grew to irritate me later on. The decisions he made just seemed stupid to me and the way in which he weighed life against ‘none life’. Then there is the fact that it took him forever to catch on with regards to the supernatural goings on in the village, long after even Toshio, the medic, the bigger skeptic accepted events. I will admit he plays a vital part in playing the voice of Kirishiki.

#4. The adults –Like i said above, the adults here are kind of stupid, yet in a way they are understandable. They are simple village people, with simple beliefs

and understanding; there is only so much that they are willing to accept. They make up a large portion of what remains of normal life in the village. They continue to drink, eat, laugh, farm, marry and so on, even as the stench of death begins to rise putridly over their households. They blindly trust in Toshio’s word of a plague and their leader’s reports that there are indeed that many people choosing to quite their lives and leave the village. In a way stupid is the wrong word. They are blind because they choose to be blind. They trust everything to Toshio to take care of, be it a sinister germ or a dark supernatural

force. They choose to not care and as thus make themselves easy prey to their hunters.

They live like sheep and choose to die like sheep; and despite how irritating they are, maybe they are not so wrong. No amount of knowledge makes the dying any easier; rather it only fills one’s remaining days with extreme terror and paranoia as seen by a number of the characters that lose their lives. Maybe it isn’t so dumb that they choose to live out lives of bliss before death takes them; maybe it is even better than the monsters they become.

#5 – The vampires – there is much to be said about the vampire like creatures / shiki in this series. Too bad most of them include spoilers. So what i will say is

that i like their characterization. They are monsters, simple as that, yet they are quite sympathetic at the same time. Most of their abilities are grounded in reality. They are beasts, more or less, with sharp teeth and a thirst for blood, a little

faster than normal, stronger, with hypnotic abilities, but no flight, elemental manipulation and the like. They are basically the creatures that used to litter our TV channels a long time ago and they can be as ruthless as they are sympathetic. After all, they didn’t choose to be what they became and once they turned, there violent actions are as much driven by blood as much as they are driven by loneliness, to allow there kin and kith to experience the ‘gift’ they have received and to accompany them into an eternity on earth.

The series does a good job of making a case for their kind and by the end of the series, you have to decide which side you fall, basically which of the two parties you think is right. personally i didn’t fall for the series’ pitch, that the shiki were misunderstood; i firmly stand in the corner that they are vile monsters that need to be destroyed. But yikes, there were times when i had to look a way as the humans became…what’s the word?…very mean. If the question is whether or not the humans themselves ended up descending into darkness, i will agree, what i saw at the end was the act of monsters. But i firmly stand in their corner in that, sure i might not support their actions 100%, but it is understandable why they acted as such. That was the fury of the hundreds of deaths they had witnessed as well as the fear and misery they had suffered being unleashed against those responsible..

I liked the dynamic this series created, in allowing you to empathize with both shiki and human and forcing you to question the truth behind your reasoning as to which of these two was the justified party in their actions. The action is intense, not in the sleekness of moves executed or mind blowing powers displayed but merely in creating tension in something as simple as a chase along a straight well lit road.

This anime is a horror and its technique lies in its ability to create, not scary monsters, but an environment of fear, an air of gut wrenching death inciting anxiety. The objective isn’t to create the most gruesome of monsters, but to hide the monsters among the none monsters, to create a feeling of paranoia and helplessness, to paralyze logical reasoning and induce despair in the characters which in turn induces despair in the viewer. I was also impressed by how the series didn’t hide from you the viewer who the monsters were monsters and all you could do was watch in terror as one helpless victim innocently interacted with what they didn’t realize was a monster.

I loved this show. This is how horror is done, yet for those anathema to the horror genre, this isn't the kind of ostentatious, blood in your face type horror, designed to gross you out rather than freak you out. There is a sophistication to it. The scares are more psychological than anything and the purpose is to tell a great story of incongruence between two somewhat similar foes rather than scare the hell out of you. Once you get into the plot, this anime will keep you glued to the screen.

#What i didn’t like – now this isn’t referring to bits that i objectively believe the anime did wrong but a subjective opinion of what i didn’t like as a matter of taste and what i wanted/expected to see. it’s sort of like saying you loved avengers but hated the fact that Tony Stark survived. you do not think it was a bad plot, but

you would have preferred his death. With Shiki, not to give spoilers away, i will say that i wish a certain short young character had died. As far as i am concerned, she should have died and she deserved to die but due to another irritating character that didn’t happen.

And the whole ‘trying to make the shiki seem sympathetic’ business irritated me. it is like sitting in a chair and listening to a man with a knife whine on about how they had no choice and they are pained and lonely and all that, and then following a lengthy soliloquy with the revelation that they had just killed you wife and children; and tomorrow they do the same thing to your grandmother and uncle. No matter how much they plead in times to come, those events keep coming back to mind and as such they come off more as pathetic animals than blameless creatures.

#Highlights: Yuuki’s relationship with Megumi was a treat to watch, especially the fact that even after death her obsession with him didn’t falter and that now he had to think of more effective means of countering her supernaturally enhanced stalking tendencies. Toshio and his wife where only slightly more entertaining and disturbingly shocking to watch than Toshio and Kirishiki Chizuru in both of their last moments. Tatsumi and Yuuki and their showdown. I will admit, I supported what was obviously about to happen to Megumi at the end, until i saw what those farmers had in mind; i flinched several times as i watched it. Talk about slow and painful.

RATING:> 5/5 – I recommend Shiki to all anime fans. While it isn’t the best i have ever seen, it is indeed one of very few anime that consumed me so.

Shiki is a 26 episode anime adapted from a two part novel by Fuyumi Ono, a novelist, and published in 1998 (though a five part series was republished in 2002). The manga, drawn by Ryu Fujisaki, ran from 2007-2011 in the monthly Jumpy SQ magazine. The anime ran from July 8, 2010 to December 30, 2010, by Daume studio.

Shiki translates as corpse demon.

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Super Duper Mini Review


 Shiki is an anime adaptation of the manga version of Shiki.  The show produced by Daume and there are 22 episodes.  The show aired from July 2010 to December 2010.
 

Show Info

 
Genres: horror, mystery, supernatural
Themes: Tragedy, vampire
 
Plot Summary via Wikipedia
 

The story takes place in a particularly hot summer in the nineties, in a small quiet village called Sotoba. A series of mysterious deaths begin to spread in the village, at the same time when a strange family moves into the long abandoned Kanemasa mansion. Toshio Ozaki, dean of the only hospital in Sotoba, initially suspects an epidemic. But as investigations continue and the deaths begin to pile up, he becomes convinced that they are the work of the undead plaguing the village. A young man named Natsuno Yuuki, who hates living in the village, begins to be pursued and surrounded by death.

 
 

Pros and Cons

 Pros:
  • A fantastic haunting atmosphere.  As the show goes it, it gets even dark and creepier, which is great for a horror show.
  • A great cast that fits with the atmosphere perfectly.
  • One of those shows that you want to keep watching and don't want to stop.  You just want to know what happens after each episode.

Neutral:
  • While the show could have ended better, it felt like a solid one as well.  It's stuck in the middle of being good and bad.
 
Cons:
  • While the show does have that addictive factor, it does take some time to get the story rolling.
 

Final Thoughts

A fantastic horror show that's a little slow at first, but wants it starts rolling, you don't want to stop watching
 

Who is this for?

If you are a fan of supernatural and horror shows, this is a must watch.
 

Sources *Spoilers Abound*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiki_%28light_novel%29
http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=11302
 

THE END


Don't forget to check out my ongoing blog for my Super Duper Mini Reviews and my written reviews.            :) 

Q&A:

Q: What's a Super Duper Mini Review?
A: Well, since I'm done with long, written reviews for now, I decided to put a short list of what I liked and didn't like about the shows I watch.  For some info about the show like genre, plot summary, etc., I borrow (mainly copy and paste  :P) some info from Anime News Network, Wikipedia or the Anime Vice wiki.  So people wont think I'm plagiarizing, I do post sources.
 
Q:  Why are these blogs so short and half assed?
A:  Well, I want to put in as little effort as possible.  Why?  Cause I'm lazy.
 
Q:  Do you care if people don't read these?
A:  Kinda.  One of the main things that keeps me making these things is so I can spread the word of shows/mangas that people aren't aware of.
 
Q: Sometimes there a few or no cons, does that mean the show is perfect?
A: No.  Usually when I make these, I like to highlight the things I liked more then the negatives.  I'm one of those people who enjoys just about anything as long as it's entertaining.  I can easily look past a show's faults if I find enjoyment from it.  Remember, nothing is perfect.

 
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  In the calm and isolated village Sotoba, in the dead of the night, a family moves to a mysterious European style house on the hills. 
After they move a series of strange deaths starts intriguing all the inhabitants, specially a local writer and monk, Seishin Muroi, the workaholic doctor, Toshio Ozaki and your typical rebel teen: Natsuno Yuuki. 
On their own manner each one of them starts to unveil the mystery behind the deaths, the family and the European house, revealing a secret that can claim their own lives. 
The secret? Well, watch it and find out!XD 
 
The suspense is really well elaborated, to the best Japanese style! The soundtrack is great and so is the animation. It's still on air and there'll be 22 episodes, total. However, having watched only half of them I can already say it's the best anime I've watched this year. 
To those who like the suspense genre I say go and watch it!XD
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