Before there was anime…

Posted by Neko Kyou in Random Fun on April 28th, 2008

Chances are before any of you started watching anime, you were or used to be entertained by “regular” cartoon shows, such as those from Disney and Warner Bros. I used to love shows such as Duck Tales (which still ROCKS btw), Ghost Busters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and much, much more.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably find some this to be a trip down memory lane, and even realize that you’ve watched something which you didn’t even knew you watched. Heck I didn’t know I watched Legend of Zelda and Dungeons & Dragons until after watching this YouTube video showcasing cartoon openings from the 80’s

While I can’t name every series shown in the video above, I can more or less recall and name all of the openings from this 90’s cartoon openings except a couple.

You can really see that Disney classics are truly timeless and are still good to watch even now… Most of them, anyway. No wonder Osamu Tezuka took his inspirations from Disney.

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My Chronicle: Journey Through Anime IV

Posted by Neko Kyou in Personal on October 30th, 2007

You can find the previous post for this here:

It’s time to end this, at least for now. This is the final part of My Chronicle: Journey Through Anime series. The 3 series I mentioned in the previous part had turned me into an anime fan, but there were a couple more anime which were, and still are, important to me that significantly influenced my perspective on anime.

Rurouni Kenshin

Kenshin HimuraAlso known as Samurai X, I remembered this as my first “serious” anime. As with most of the other anime I’ve caught on TV, I skipped quite a few episodes here and there, especially at the beginning. It wasn’t until Shishio’s arc that got me hooked.

Probably due to the influence of Ninja Senshi Tobikage (in part 2), I’ve always viewed ninjas as being way superior to any boring old samurai. But Kenshin changed all that, and even flipped it around. Samurai were starting to make ninjas look weak.

Who knew that sword fights could be so dynamic with so many different moves, and unlike most others, the moves were adaptable and you almost never see the exact same battle twice. Doryuusen and Ryuutsuisen might have been commonly used, but you’ll never catch any recycled cells (which was a normal thing to do then) and there’s always something different about the execution of the techniques.

The battles were smooth and well choreographed, even by today’s standard. Surely a sign that it was extremely well done when it debuted in 1996. I only wished the anime stayed truer to the manga as it got a little boring from Amakusa’s arc onwards.

Rurouni Kenshin

The main cast of Rurouni Kenshin

Ranma ½

Ranma ½Besides Cardcaptor Sakura, this is my other top favourite anime of all times. The anime lasted 3 years, from 1989 to 1992, with 161 episodes in total. This is excluding the 12 episode OAV, 2 movies and a whole collection of other CD and DVDs.

Of all my anime collection, I easily spent the most on Ranma (at least more than a thousand) for the DVDs, manga, CDs, and a whole bunch of merchandise.

With the craziest bunch of characters you’ve ever seen and the whackiest of plots and twists (as well as plotholes) it’s pretty hard not to like it once you’ve started watching it.

It is also because of Ranma ½ that I started to like Rumiko Takahashi’s other works, especially Inuyasha.

Ranma ½ DoCoI was so deep into Ranma that thinking back, it almost became an unhealthy obsession. Each episode was repeated 3 times a day, and I never missed a single one. I even skipped classes (and I actually failed a couple of subjects) and shut myself up in the room just so I could watch it in peace. Thankfully, I didn’t hit a point of no return and made sure that I was never anywhere near that kind of obsession again. Sure, I still get my crazy moments, but it doesn’t happen that frequently and I always make sure that I’m fully aware of any consequences.

But Ranma ½ is still one of my favourite anime and whenever I’m bored without any new anime to watch, its one of those “oldies” that I would pull off my shelf and start an anime marathon to entertain myself.

Like Rurouni Kenshin, it’s kinda amazing when you realize that Ranma’s anime first appeared in 1989. The OAV aside (since it’s newer), the animation for Ranma ½ can really be considered top notched as I find it even superior to some anime from the late 90s and early 2000s.

Ranma ½

“Huh? What’s this? It says…”

That’s it for now!

After my obsession with Ranma a few years ago is when I started searching for new anime more actively rather than just depending on satelite TV networks and CDs/DVDs that could only be found locally. In fact, my first anime site (which is long gone) was a Ranma ½ fansite that gained quite a bit of popularity but could not be maintained due to heavy bandwidth usage *ahem*.

It was known as “SatAM Anime”, so if you’ve been there before do let me know 😀 (out of curiosity)

My Chronicle: Journey Through Anime ends here, at least for now. If I feel there’s something new that should be included in here, it would probably be done on a later date.

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The Father of Manga and Anime – Osamu Tezuka

Posted by Neko Kyou in Legends on October 1st, 2007

Father of Manga and Anime - Osamu TezukaEveryone knows that manga and anime goes almost hand in hand together – like siblings. But how many actually knows the truth behind it? Modern day manga and anime are indeed siblings, more so than you might believe at first. They both have the same father, Dr. Osamu Tezuka.

He was born as the eldest son of 3 on November 3rd, 1928 in Osaka. He grew up in a family exposed to manga and animation, which explains his deep passion for the subjects.

Because of World War II, Osamu decided to get a medical degree. He managed to get his license, earning him the Doctor title, but never put it to practical use. Instead, he chose to follow his dreams to do manga instead after his mother encouraged him to do what he loves best. However, he did put his knowledge to use while he was working on what would be one of his most well known series up to this day – Black Jack.

Osamu is also known as Japan’s equivalent of Walt Disney. This comes as no surprise as he was a real big fan of Disney’s animation; watching Snow White 50 times and Bambi at least 80 times.

His style revolutionized the manga world and was the first to use the big eyes style in his drawing which we’ve all come to know and love. Thus, he became the Father of modern manga. According to himself –

“I felt [after the war] that existing comics were limiting·. Most were drawn·as if seated in an audience viewing from a stage, where the actors emerge from the wings and interact. This made it impossible to create dramatic or psychological effects, so I began to use cinematic techniques·. French and German movies that I had seen as a schoolboy became my model. I experimented with close-ups and different angles, and instead of using only one frame for an action scene or the climax (as was customary), I made a point of depicting a movement or facial expression with many frames, even many pages·. The result was a super-long comic that ran to 500, 600, even 1,000 pages·. I also believed that comics were capable of more than just making people laugh. So in my themes I incorporated tears, grief, anger, and hate, and I created stories where the ending was not always happy.”

The big eyes were actually an inspiration from the cute and innocent look in many of Disney’s animation. Osamu also found that with big eyes, it was easier to portray and exaggerate emotions.

It’s also interesting to note that while Osamu drew inspirations from Disney, it’s kind of ironic that many accused Disney’s Lion King of plagiarizing one of his earlier works, Jungle Emperor. While the similarities were quite noticeable, Tezuka Productions took it as a complement and did not pursue the matter.

He created more than 700 manga during his life, some of the more popular ones you might recognize such as Astro Boy, Jungle Emperor, Black Jack and Metropolis.

Osamu Tezuka's Astro BoyOsamu Tezuka gave birth to modern anime through Astro Boy, released in 1963. Not only was Astro Boy the first to show the anime-qualities we are spoiled with today, it was also the first animation utilizing Osamu’s new system of limited animation. In a nutshell, its basically reusing certain cells such as expressions and poses. The main idea was to cut cost and improve production time and was adopted as the industry standard in Japan even up to now. Although, anime fans nowadays can be pretty sensitive to studios who keeps reusing the same cells. I know I’m one of them.

There is a common theme in all of Osamu Tezuka’s work; the preciousness of life. He was greatly influenced by the war and wanted to portray to everyone that life is precious through his works. That was the reason why he had initially studied in the medical field to become a doctor, but realized that his true passion lies in drawing and that he could send his message out to a greater audience through them.

Jungle Emperor (Kimba/Leo) was possibly one of my first anime experience. I could also recognize Astro Boy easily since many of my older cousins were always reading and watching it at the time, although I never really bothered with it.

Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack and Metropolis

Black Jack and Metropolis

Besides Jungle Emperor, other Osamu Tezuka works I’ve read/watched are Black Jack and Metropolis (2001). Although I don’t really follow the entire series, I do watch it whenever I see an episode of Black Jack on Animax and whenever I do, I’m reminded of the man who brought us modern day manga and anime.

The Father of manga and anime passed away on February 8th, 1989, at the age of 60. Even though he was no longer there to watch over his “childrens”, both manga and anime had continue to grow and evolve thanks to his original revolution. I think he would have been proud.

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My Chronicle: Journey Through Anime III

Posted by Neko Kyou in Personal on September 26th, 2007

You can find the previous post for this here:


Pikachu I was first exposed to Pokemon when my mom bought a set of 10 VCD of the series from Singapore in 1998. Before that I was totally clueless to what Pokemon was. I just took out the CD and put it into the player with absolutely no expectations.

I remembered that I was totally hooked by the 3rd or 4th episode. From there on, I nagged my mom to buy more whenever she went to Singapore. This went on until the Orange League arc began. I can’t remember for what reason, but my mom suddenly stopped buying and I stopped watching. The reason could be because another anime had caught my attention at that time, which I will talk about after this.

During the Johto league season, the episodes were starting to become available locally and I started watching again, but that didn’t last long as well. The shops I went to never have the episodes I wanted, almost never restocks, and it was difficult for me to go around to other shops looking for it. So once again, I gave up watching the series. On the other hand, I kept up with all the movies and major events in the storyline, at least.

A few months ago when I bought my Nintendo DS, I started playing Pokemon Pearl (my first game on the DS). When I learned that a new Pokemon 10th season (Diamond and Pearl) was recently released, I started watching again although at a slower pace.

I was first exposed to Pokemon about 8 years ago, and I’m still watching it now. Unless they really screwed up the anime, chances are I would continue to watch it for a long time to come.

Cardcaptor Sakura

Cardcaptor Sakura Cardcaptor Sakura started showing on a local TV channel in 1999. I remember disliking it at first but after watching a few episodes from season 3 I began to find it rather interesting.

Luckily for me, the station re-ran the series from the first season after it ended. This time around, I never missed a single episode. If I were to name any series that got me truly started to liking anime, it would have to be Cardcaptor Sakura. Because of that, it easily became my favourite and continues to stay that way even now.

Because of Cardcaptor Sakura, I waited impatiently for Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, and from there I got to reading and watching many other of CLAMP’s work, many which became a favourite as well.

Cardcaptor Sakura was the first full anime collection I had (season 1-3, movies 1 & 2, 12 volumes of manga) and they seldom collect any dust since I still go through them quite frequently.

A magical girl series that revolves around Kinomoto Sakura, the chosen successor of the Clow Cards. Each episode shows Sakura finding or later on when she had collected them all, converting the Clow Cards to Sakura Cards. Although a mastermind exist behind most of the events, there really isn’t any villain. Despite that, it’s still very entertaining to see Sakura catching all the mischievous Clow Cards that she accidentally released and using them to battle strange happenings when Eriol arrived.


Digimon Omnimon

I didn’t like Digimon at first because it sounded looked a lot like Pokemon at first. But I did catch it on TV whenever I had nothing better to do.

It wasn’t until around the middle of the first season, the arc where Hikari appeared, that I began to pay more attention to this series. Strangely enough, I also found out that many people started to become fans because of Hikari.

Unlike Pokemon, Digimon is *cough*serious*cough* business. The world is constantly in danger due to the threats posed by some evil Digimon (except maybe Savers, but there were still those who wanted to destroy the human world anyway) and its up to a few selected children (again, Savers is an exception here) with their Digimon partners to save both the human world and the digital world from certain doom.

The process repeats itself every season and it does gets a bit boring, but I still enjoy the original 2 series (Adventure and 02) and Savers as well.

Coming Next…

The next part could be the last in this series. Around that time I started to watch many other anime on satellite TV and it became quite impossible to keep track of all of them. The next few would be the ones I could still remember that pushed me to become the anime fan I am today.

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My Chronicle: Journey Through Anime II

Posted by Neko Kyou in Personal on August 17th, 2007

You can find the previous post for this here:

Continuing where I left off, it wasn’t until this particular anime did I start to find a liking to Japanese animation. It’s blue, it’s round and it has a pocket that has everything you could ever imagine and more.


DoraemonI don’t think there’s really any need to go too deep here. I’m pretty sure everyone knows who is Doraemon. The cat robot from the 22nd century with the all useful 4-dimensional pocket filled with gadgets from the future.

It was a pity that The Doraemons story arc was never animated (at least to my knowledge) since that arc has some of my favourite stories for Doraemon.

Shogakukan recently released 5 new volumes of never before seen story in 2005. If anyone knows where I can get this (translated of course) please do let me know 😀

Doraemon was probably my first true anime experience, in the sense that I knew it was a Japanese animation. I would never miss a single episode on TV or any volume of the manga (with some exception to the long stories and The Doraemons arc).

Around this time…

It was around this time when I first caught glimpse of some anime like Ranma 1/2, Slayers and some others that I can no longer recall. I didn’t pay much attention to Ranma 1/2 and Slayers until a bit later, but there are a few that I could somewhat recall being crazy over at the time.

Isami’s Incredible Shinsen Squad

I believe the Japanese title for this is Soar High! Isami! and it was released in August 1995 and ran until June 1996. It doesn’t seem to be very popular since I could no longer find any information regarding the series on Google. I couldn’t find any decent image of it either.

The story is about 3 descendants of the Shinsen Squad that had once defended the world against the evil Black Tengu and his faction a few hundred years ago. At the start of the story, the Black Tengu Faction reappeared once more and Isami and her two friends Soshi and Toshi discovered that they have inherited the powers of their ancestors and decided to use it to defend the world against the Black Tengu Faction.

As I recalled, the ending was somewhat of a shock, when the Black Tengu was revealed to be the kindly old man who always plays with Isami. It was also revealed that the Black Tengu was in fact the very same one that Isami’s ancestors had fought hundreds of years ago. I can’t remember how he had gained immortality, but in the end the Black Tengu decided to disband his faction once and for all.


This is actually very similar to the first Power Rangers. A group of kids were given control over a mech called Go-Saurer by Earth’s ancient protector, Eldoran, to against the the Kikaika (Mechanization) Empire. The Kikaika Empire had already conquered most of the solar system and Earth was it’s next target. However, with the appearance of Eldoran and the Go-Saurer, Earth was saved over and over again.

Go-Saurer was a cool concept, and I still find it to be so even now. Eldoran had altered the school blocks to become Go-Saurer itself and everytime they had to launch the whole school started to move about and merge like some sort of jigsaw to complete the Saurer Jet.

The Saurer jet could then split into 3 different dinosaur robots; the Mach Ptera, Land Stego and Thunder Brachio. These 3 mechs could then merge into the Gosaurer.

Magnasaurer and Gransaurer were introduced later on, and they could each merge with Gosaurer to form either Magna Buster or Gransaurer.

King GoSaurer
King Gosaurer

When GoSaurer, Magnasaurer and Gransaurer combines together, they become King Gosaurer, the ultimate mech in the series. I’m pretty sure King Gosaurer had another upgrade during the final battle against the Robot God. Eldoran had used the rest of his power to transform whatever was left of the school into an armor upgrade for King Gosaurer.

If you’re interested to know more about the different mechs found in Gosaurer, you can check this link out.

Ninja Senshi Tobikage

Ninja Senshi Tobikage - Ninja RobotsFirst watched this on Cartoon Network as Ninja Robots and it actually took me a while to realize that its anime. Humans had colonized Mars by the year 2200 and the main protagonist, Joe Maya, who managed to get an ancient lion beast mecha to function and protect the alien ship, Xenos Five, that crashed on Mars. Only ninjas or their descendants could operate these war mechs, and Joe happened to be one, though that wasn’t really made clear until they got to Earth.

The lion beast mecha, Kuro-Jishi (Black Leo – a rather funny name for a yellow-orange mecha), wasn’t the only one aboard the alien spacecraft. There were 2 others – Hou-Rai-Oh (Phoenix Thunder Strike) and Baku-Ryu (Brust Dragon). Both machines were piloted by 2 of Joe’s closest friends – Reny and Mike. All 3 mechas are in a humanoid form when piloted.

But the coolest was yet to come. Tobikage, a ninja-like machine, often appeared out of nowhere when the 3 mechas are in danger and merges with one of them to form the animal version of the mecha.

The real fun began when Joe realized he could control Tobikage and began piloting Tobikage instead of Kuro-Jishi. Another highlight of the series was the final confrontation between Tobikage and Mantis near the end of the series. It’s a pity though, the story could have continued since it hasn’t really ended yet. All they did was get out of the solar system.

Coming Next…

While I’ve discovered what anime is by now, I had not become a big fan of it yet. My favourite channel at the time was Cartoon Network and Disney Channel, but since my source for anime at that time was still very limited I guess it was to be expected, really. But the few that I did managed to watch later on got me started to hunt around for anime VCDs, and some of those have become my favourites even until now. In fact, I’m still watching one of it right now :)

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