• One Piece: 10 Times Luffy Was Smarter Than He Lets On

    Monkey D. Luffy is the protagonist of the long-running One Piece manga and his journey sees him set out to sea in search of the Pirate King, Gol D. Roger's treasure, the One Piece. Luffy is often considered to be dull-witted, which while true in some cases, doesn't always apply to his character. Since the beginning of the story, Luffy is shown to have a keen understanding of people.

  • Discover the Top 10 Must-Watch Anime Series of All Time

    Anime has become a global phenomenon, captivating audiences with its diverse genres, compelling storytelling, and stunning animation. Whether you're a seasoned anime enthusiast or just starting your anime journey, there's a world of incredible series waiting to be explored. In this post, we'll introduce you to the ten best anime you should watch to experience the magic of this medium. Get ready to embark on a thrilling anime adventure!

  • Is Luffy Stronger Than Zoro ?

    The Straw Hat Pirates are a crew led by Monkey D. Luffy, the protagonist of One Piece and a fearsome pirate of the Worst Generation who hails from the East Blue. Luffy aims to be the King of the Pirates, and while his crew dedicates their lives to see him accomplish this dream, they also have dreams of their own.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Demon Slayer's Entertainment District Arc Finally Gets Toonami Release Date

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc's Toonami release date has been officially revealed.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba's latest season hits Toonami on Jan. 13, 2024. The official X (formerly Twitter) account for the anime announced the news on Nov. 18. The Entertainment District Arc covers the second part of Demon Slayer Season 2, which spanned from Oct. 2021 to Feb. 2022, immediately following the Mugen Train Arc. Aimer performs both the opening and ending themes, "Zankyo Sanka" and "Asa ga Kuru," respectively.

Also revealed to be coming to Toonami in the new year is Lycoris Recoil, which lands on Jan. 20, 2024. The popular action anime features the government-sponsored spy force 'Lycoris' and first aired in July 2022 for 13 episodes. In recent times, Toonami has seen the premiere of Immortal Grand Prix as well as the last of its involvement in the FLCL franchise, with the latest and final FLCL Shoegaze ending in October.

The news marked a welcome announcement for Demon Slayer fans, who got the first season in October 2019 before the Mugen Train Arc in early November 2023. Next for the series is the upcoming fourth season, the Hashira Training Arc, first announced in June 2023. New information for Season 4 will be revealed in mid-December.

Demon Slayer adapts the Koyoharu Gotouge's manga of the same name, published in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump. Season 4 news will be quickly followed by big reveals regarding other Shonen Jump titles. Jump Festa 2024 will return from Dec. 16-17, with last year's event seing the announcements of Mission: Yozakura Family and the Spy x Family Code: White film. Both have released more information in recent weeks.

Crunchyroll streams Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Entertainment District Arc and describes it as follows: "After an emotional mission aboard the Mugen Train, Tanjiro and his comrades join Sound Hashira Tengen Uzui on a mission in a city that shines brightly in the night: the Entertainment District. They soon learn that Uzui has lost contact with his three wives, who infiltrated the Entertainment District to gather information after suspecting demons may be inhabiting the city. Hoping to discover their whereabouts, Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke begin their investigation…"

Source: X (formerly Twitter)


One Piece Confirms [SPOILER]'s Real Age

The following contains spoilers for One Piece Chapter 10908, "Bonney's Birth," by Eiichiro Oda, Stephen Paul and Vanessa Satone, available in English from Viz Media.

The One Piece fandom has had a sneaking suspicion about Jewelry Bonney for a long time. Her age-altering powers have led people to believe that she used these abilities on herself in order to transform into a twenty-something woman. This could mean that Bonney's age differs from what she's been telling people. Some believe that Bonney was an older woman who was using her coveted power to stay young and beautiful forever. Alternatively, Bonney could be a little girl who uses her power to make herself older in order to begin her pirate voyage sooner.

One Piece chapter 1098, "Bonney's Birth," finally confirms the latter theory to be the truth, at least the first part of it. Bonney was only born ten years before the start of One Piece, which makes her 12 in the story's present. It's also been confirmed that Bonney is the biological daughter of a Celestial Dragon, not Bartholomew Kuma. Seeing the theory confirmed may be satisfying for some, but now fans need to figure out what to do with the information. Bonney's origins need a way to influence her character arc and her role in One Piece's overarching story to be relevant.

Evidence That Bonney Is A Child

One Piece Confirms [SPOILER]'s Real Age

Fans found a few potential signs that Bonney wasn't what she made herself out to be. Of course, this evidence remained inconclusive until more was revealed about the Big Eater's backstory. Now that the truth is out, these hints can be looked back on as clever foreshadowing. One of the first signs of Bonney's true age is her Devil Fruit power. Bonney can make herself and others as old or young as she wants. The former means that she can use her powers to become a twenty-something woman. More evidence of Bonney altering her age comes from out-of-story material. Bonney is listed as 22 and 24 before and after One Piece's time-skip. However, those numbers were only estimates because of her Devil Fruit powers. This implies that Bonney was much younger (or older) than she made herself out to be.

Fans have also been tipped off by the way that people talk about Bonney. Characters like Dr. Vegapunk, Admiral Kizaru, and St. Jaygarcia Saturn refer to Bonney as a child and treat her as such. However, these are all men who are at least in their late-fifties who are talking about a girl who deceives everyone into thinking that she's in her twenties. It's entirely possible that these older men treat Bonney as a child because she still is one, at least relative to their ages.

Another potential clue comes at the start of the Egghead Arc when the Straw Hats save Bonney from drowning in Chapter 1060, "Luffy's Dream." When they fish the Supernova out of the water, Bonney is mysteriously in her child form, but she returns to her adult state once she's back on dry land. Fans suspected that the seawater undid Bonney's powers and revealed her age. Bonney's personality during this incident is also worth noting. Many point out how Bonney has the attitude, patience, and demeanor of a bratty, immature child. She also gets pretty emotional at the thought of harming a Pacifista that resembles her "daddy." However, this could all be attributed to Japan's standards for ideal women, who must be cute and youthful like a little girl, or beautiful and refined like a mature woman. Bonney could have aimed for the latter kind of beauty since she was still, presumably, in her early twenties.

The best evidence to rebuff the Bonney-child theory was when she fainted in Chapter 1067, "Punk Records." Most Devil Fruit users' abilities come undone when they're knocked unconscious or faint. The latter was exemplified when Sugar's Hobby-Hobby powers came undone when Usopp made her pass out from fright; Bonney similarly fainted when she was swarmed by insects attracted to her laser sword. If her powers were anything like Sugars, then passing out should have undone her powers and turned her back into a child. Instead, she remained in her adult form until she regained consciousness in Chapter 1070, "The Strongest Form of Humanity."

How the Bonney-Child Theory Was Confirmed

One Piece Confirms [SPOILER]'s Real Age

The best sign that Bonney wasn't born 24 years ago came in Chapter 1097, "Ginny." This chapter covered significant events from Kuma's life 30, 25, 22, and 14 years before the present. He was notably proposed to by Ginny, who would (presumably) give birth to Bonney in the future. If Kuma had said yes, this would have put the two on schedule to conceive Bonney. However, the clergyman was worried his Buccaneer blood would lead his wife and child down a path of pain and suffering. It would be like the enslavement he and his parents were forced to undergo. If Kuma and Ginny got married and had Bonney anyway, it wasn't revealed in Chapter 1097. This was a possibility, but if Kuma were the father, his backstory would have been the place to present the birth of his biological daughter.

Unfortunately for Kuma, Bonney isn't his child. Fourteen years before the present, Ginny gets abducted by a Celestial Dragon and forced to become his wife. Two years later, she returns to "the lower world" with baby Bonney; fans shudder to think of how she was conceived. The Big Eater's mother dies of Sapphire Scales, which leaves Kuma to look after her daughter. Tragedy aside, this confirms that Bonney was chronologically ten years old when she debuted in One Piece. Bonney should be 12 by the series' present. What's curious about this is that Bonney contracts the same disease as her mother, Sapphire Scales. The doctor who confirms this also says that Bonney won't live past ten. With this information, the new question that replaces Bonney's age is how she manages to live long enough to see her manga debut.

A common guess among fans is that Bonney's Devil Fruit powers save her. If she is supposed to die at ten years old, then the use of her Devil Fruit ability to make herself into an adult might allow her to bypass this fate. This way, Bonney won't have to worry about her disease anymore, even if she turns back into a child. A few more theories have been crafted regarding how Bonney survives her Sapphire Scales. Some suggest that Kuma has passed the illness on to someone else with his Paw-Paw powers. Others speculate that Dr. Vegapunk was involved and that he might have even been the one to give Bonney her Devil Fruit. Whatever the answer is, it has to have happened by the time Bonney shows up in Sabaody, before the Straw Hats, since she was ten by then. Bonney might have even started her voyage around the same time as Luffy, albeit after she's aged herself up. There shouldn't be any One Piece contradictions here, as long as Bonney's "cure" is found before this point in the story.

How The Bonney News Will Influence The Story

The truth about Bonney's origins might say a little more about her father than it does about her. If these two are related by blood, this would make Bonney the successor to the Buccaneer race, which presumably committed a great crime in the ancient past. Ordinarily, things in the ancient past that the World Government condemns as sinful or as threats to humanity (the Ancient Weapons, the Ancient Kingdom, the Poneglyphs) are also expected to be what will end their corrupt rule and, in this regard, save the world. This may also apply to Zunesha, Joy Boy, and of course, the Buccaneers. If Bonney is Kuma's biological daughter then she will be responsible for fulfilling the destiny of her people and doing her part in what will likely be One Piece's climactic final arc.

Now that Bonney is confirmed to be a Celestial Dragon's daughter, the duty of the Buccaneer tribe rests on Kuma, who remains their sole survivor. However, Kuma can only do this if he finally gets the happy ending that Bonney has been fighting for. This means that Kuma must live past the Egghead Arc and maybe even get his humanity restored. If Kuma dies, so does whatever power the Buccaneers have, which has left the World Government so frightened. As for Bonney, her Celestial Dragon heritage won't do her any favors. This flashback arc leaves the ongoing series with St. Saturn as he orders the Marines to shoot Bonney dead. If the Godhead of Science and Defense doesn't see a reason to keep this noble-blooded girl alive, nobody in the World Government will.

Bonney also likely considers the Celestial Dragons to be her enemies for what they did to the person who she still views as her father. Bonney is already fighting the one who commissioned Vegapunk to make the Warlord into a mindless cyborg. She may also eventually fight the World Noble who turns out to be her biological father. If Bonney is the daughter of a Holy Knight (like Shanks), then this could create further implications for whom the rest of the Holy Knights are and who will have to fight them. The knowledge that Bonney is a child also confirms why everyone who personally knows her treats her like one. This should affect how people feel about Bonney and why they act the way that they do while in her presence. In the case of Dr. Vegapunk and her crewmates who know Kuma, they're protective of her because they rightfully still see her as a little girl. Her enemies, like Kizaru and St. Saturn, think little of Bonney for the same reason. This could cause one of them to underestimate Bonney and take a hit for it as a result. This also questions whether the Straw Hats will treat Bonney any differently when they find out her truth, although they probably won't.

In any case, those who guessed that Bonney was a child can give themselves a pat on the back and continue to trust their instincts. What was once deemed circumstantial evidence can now be viewed in hindsight as hints to Bonney's ongoing story. The rest of how this twist will affect the plot should make itself clear as One Piece's story progresses.

One Piece Confirms [SPOILER]'s Real Age

Crunchyroll and Crocs Collab on Jujutsu Kaisen Clogs Featuring Gojo and Yuji

Crocs and Crunchyroll have dropped a new collaboration footwear line with Jujutsu Kaisen involving exclusive Gojo and Yuji-themed clogs.

The collaboration, available at Crocs.com, contains two pairs of clogs, a pair of slides and five themed Jibbitz accessories available for purchase. The collaboration features fan-favorite characters Yuji Itadori, Megumi Fushigoro, Sukuna, Gojo Satoru and Nobara Kugisaki, with both Yuji and Gojo receiving their own themed clogs.

The Yuji clogs, priced at $49.99 and released in children’s sizes, come in navy blue with light blue details and feature exclusive Yuji Jibbitz, including Yuji’s face, the Tokyo Jujutsu High emblem, the infamous finger box and others. The Gojo clogs, priced at $59.99 and released in adult sizes, come in black with purple detailing and feature Gojo-themed Jibbitz, including a Gojo figure, his classic peace sign and the Tokyo Jujutsu High emblem. The slides, priced at $40.00 and released in adult sizes, are only available at select retailers and some international Crocs locations but are navy blue and feature Yuji, Megumi and Nobara Jibbitz. A separate five-pack of Jibbitz featuring chibi versions of Yuji, Megumi, Sukuna, Gojo and Nobara is available for $19.99.

Jujutsu Kaisen, created by Gege Akutami, first debuted as a manga in Weekly Shōnen Jump in 2018. It follows the story of Yuji Itadori, a high school student who becomes involved in a world of curses, sorcerers and supernatural powers after coming into contact with a powerful cursed object. He joins a secret organization of Jujutsu sorcerers to learn how to control cursed energy and protect people from dangerous curses. The series is known for its dynamic action, well-developed characters and intricate power system.

Jujutsu Kaisen has gained international acclaim for its engaging story and intense fight sequences, becoming one of the best-selling manga of all time with over 80 million manga copies in circulation as of July 2023. After an anime adaptation by MAPPA premiered in 2020, the series has only grown in popularity. The Jujutsu Kaisen anime has also been widely praised for its animation quality and faithful adaptation of the manga. Both the anime and manga are still in production and continuing to grow in audience size, especially with apparel collaborations with brands like Uniqlo and now Crocs.

Crocs has previously teamed up with other prominent anime series, including Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba and Pokémon. The Crocs x Jujutsu Kaisen collaboration stands as yet another testament to the series’ acclaim and its dedicated fan base. The collection can be found on Crocs.com, as well as shoe retailers Journeys and Champ’s.

Jujutsu Kaisen is available to watch now on Crunchyroll and Amazon Prime Video.

Source: Crunchyroll


Dragon Ball Fans Get Hyped For Daima After Learning It Will "Lean Into OG's Roots"

The latest updates about Dragon Ball Daima have restored the fan base's hopes for the series.

Toei Animation's NYCC Daima announcement was met with a lukewarm response from many Dragon Ball fans bewildered by the series' unusual premise, which revolves around the Z fighters and their companions being turned into children. On Nov. 16, an alleged list of Daima staff members dropped on X (formerly Twitter), revealing a potential screenwriter, series director and character designer. Upon Toei's recent confirmation of the same staff members, Dragon Ball fans breathed a collective sigh of relief, noting that many of these creators were involved with the production of Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai. However, a new video from DBHype has ignited hopes that Daima will follow in the footsteps of the original Dragon Ball anime and manga.

Dragon Ball Fans Get Hyped For Daima After Learning It Will Dragon Ball Fans Get Hyped For Daima After Learning It Will Dragon Ball Fans Get Hyped For Daima After Learning It Will Dragon Ball Fans Get Hyped For Daima After Learning It Will Dragon Ball Fans Get Hyped For Daima After Learning It Will Dragon Ball Fans Get Hyped For Daima After Learning It Will Dragon Ball Fans Get Hyped For Daima After Learning It Will

In later installments like Z and Super, Dragon Ball shifted away from standard martial arts techniques in favor of more fantastical fighting styles. According to DBHype, "Daima will showcase more hand-to-hand combat as well as weapon-based battles, instead of becoming a key-centric show." This direction makes sense, as the character's diminished stature has likely impacted their power levels to some degree. In October, Akira Toriyama put out a statement explaining his role in the creation of Daima, as well as what fans could expect from the show's fight scenes: "Since Goku has to make up for his petite size, he uses his Nyoibo (power pole) to fight, something not seen in a long time." Toriyama himself is creating Daima's story and designing its characters.

Daima's return to the franchise's roots has renewed fan's hopes that the series will live up to the legacy of its predecessors. At the time of writing, the top-rated comment on DBHype's video says, "At first, I absolutely hated the idea of them going back to kids (I still dislike it), but the idea of going back to traditional martial arts and the adventures like OG Dragon Ball has me very excited." This opinion is echoed by many other viewers who are looking forward to a series that "leans into its OG roots." However, a few users also voiced reservations at the fact that the Dragon Ball Super anime remains unfinished, and that Toei has not clarified when the series is due to return.

While the complete staff and cast list has not yet been revealed, Toei has confirmed that Yoshitaka Yashima (Dragon Ball Super) and Aya Komaki (One Piece) will both serve as series directors for Daima. Yuuko Kakihara (Urusei Yatsura 2022) is credited as scriptwriter. Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru (Dragon Ball Z) designs the characters alongside Toriyama. Masako Nozawa, who has provided the voice for Goku since the original 1986 Dragon Ball anime, is reprising the iconic role.

The Dragon Ball anime collection is available on Hulu and Crunchyroll. Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball Super manga is available in English from VIZ Media.

Source: YouTube


Tuesday, November 21, 2023

One Piece Teams Up With the LA Rams for a Special Football Collab Game

This December, the LA Rams and One Piece will host a special collab football event at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

According to SoraNews24, Los Angeles Rams and One Piece Collaboration Day will mark the first time that the popular football team has integrated a Japanese franchise into one of its games. On Dec. 3, the Rams will face off against the Cleveland Browns, while major One Piece characters appear on digital signage around the stadium. One Piece posters will also be posted outside the venue. As a playful nod to the series' bounty system, the staff at SoFi will select random spectators to feature on 30,000,000-berry wanted posters on giant monitors around the stadium.

Game attendees will receive a number of exclusive freebies to commemorate the occasion. Each spectator is guaranteed to take home an LA Rams x One Piece body towel. Additionally, the first 10,000 spectators who arrive will receive special tote bags featuring images from One Piece's latest mobile game, Bounty Rush, along with the official One Piece card game. As an added bonus, SoFi stadium will treat the fan base to an exclusive video showcasing One Piece's unique and expansive world, which will be shown on the venue's massive 70,000 square foot Infinity Screen.

One Piece's Collaboration Day caps off a year filled with major developments and milestones for the beloved franchise. Earlier this year, One Piece's first live-action series adaptation launched on Netflix to overwhelming success, quickly becoming one of the streaming service's most-watched original series of Summer 2023. One Piece's showrunners have already confirmed Season 2's production and are currently considering potential new cast additions, including Oscar-winner Jamie Lee Curtis, who intends to lobby for the role of Dr. Kureha.

Meanwhile, Toei Animation's long-running anime adaptation recently celebrated its 25th anniversary on air, which coincided with the completion of the "Wano Country" arc. This storyline is perhaps best known for the unveiling of Luffy's legendary Gear 5 form. To commemorate the anime's success, Toei released a brand-new logo spotlighting Luffy's childhood encounter with Red-Haired Shanks, the pirate captain who gifted Luffy his iconic straw hat. 2023 will also mark the first time that Luffy joins the lineup at Macy's Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. Toei recently showcased Luffy's balloon, which features a super-deformed version of the beloved character as he prepares to launch an attack.

The One Piece anime series is available to stream on Hulu, Netflix and Crunchyroll. The manga is available in English from VIZ Media.

Source: SoraNews24


One Piece Teams Up With the LA Rams for a Special NFL Collab Game

This December, the LA Rams and One Piece will host a special collab football event at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

According to SoraNews24, Los Angeles Rams and One Piece Collaboration Day will mark the first time that the popular football team has integrated a Japanese franchise into one of its games. On Dec. 3, the Rams will face off against the Cleveland Browns, while major One Piece characters appear on digital signage around the stadium. One Piece posters will also be posted outside the venue. As a playful nod to the series' bounty system, the staff at SoFi will select random spectators to feature on 30,000,000-berry wanted posters on giant monitors around the stadium.

Game attendees will receive a number of exclusive freebies to commemorate the occasion. Each spectator is guaranteed to take home an LA Rams x One Piece body towel. Additionally, the first 10,000 spectators who arrive will receive special tote bags featuring images from One Piece's latest mobile game, Bounty Rush, along with the official One Piece card game. As an added bonus, SoFi stadium will treat the fan base to an exclusive video showcasing One Piece's unique and expansive world, which will be shown on the venue's massive 70,000 square foot Infinity Screen.

One Piece's Collaboration Day caps off a year filled with major developments and milestones for the beloved franchise. Earlier this year, One Piece's first live-action series adaptation launched on Netflix to overwhelming success, quickly becoming one of the streaming service's most-watched original series of Summer 2023. One Piece's showrunners have already confirmed Season 2's production and are currently considering potential new cast additions, including Oscar-winner Jamie Lee Curtis, who intends to lobby for the role of Dr. Kureha.

Meanwhile, Toei Animation's long-running anime adaptation recently celebrated its 25th anniversary on air, which coincided with the completion of the "Wano Country" arc. This storyline is perhaps best known for the unveiling of Luffy's legendary Gear 5 form. To commemorate the anime's success, Toei released a brand-new logo spotlighting Luffy's childhood encounter with Red-Haired Shanks, the pirate captain who gifted Luffy his iconic straw hat. 2023 will also mark the first time that Luffy joins the lineup at Macy's Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. Toei recently showcased Luffy's balloon, which features a super-deformed version of the beloved character as he prepares to launch an attack.

The One Piece anime series is available to stream on Hulu, Netflix and Crunchyroll. The manga is available in English from VIZ Media.

Source: SoraNews24


The 10 Most Well-Animated Episodes Of Dragon Ball, Ranked

Dragon Ball is a legendary anime franchise that has been running since 1986. Because of this, the franchise has seen the animation industry dramatically change around it, with new technologies becoming commonplace and specific styles coming into and falling out of fashion. Because of this, Dragon Ball's house style has changed dramatically over the years.

However, this doesn't mean the show has ever rested on its laurels, as every installment of Dragon Ball has featured beautifully animated episodes, each using clever animation tricks and approaches to enhance the already excellent plot. And these episodes, even the older ones, still hold up today, showing how powerful animation can be when it is in the right hands.

10 "Signs of a Turnabout! The Autonomous Ultra Instinct Erupts!" Captures Ultra Instinct Sign's Majesty

The 10 Most Well-Animated Episodes Of Dragon Ball, Ranked

The 116th episode of Dragon Ball Super sees Goku battle with Kefla, forcing him to push himself to the peak of his power, finally gaining control of his Ultra Instinct Sign form. The highlight of this episode is how it visually illustrates how terrifying fighting a Saiyan would be due to their sheer, ungodly power.

But the episode's most memorable animation comes near the end when Kefla launches a barrage of energy at Goku. Using his new form, Goku surfs along the wave before firing his Kamehameha at Kefla's face in a beautiful slow-motion shot that captures both the meditative nature of Ultra Instinct and Kefla's shock at Goku's counter, making it highly memorable.

9 "His Name is Cell" Has Some Excellent Body Horror

The 10 Most Well-Animated Episodes Of Dragon Ball, Ranked

The build-up to Cell's reveal is expertly handled, with the series leaning heavily on horror tropes to sell the new villain. Nowhere is this better seen than in Dragon Ball Z's 143rd episode. The episode wonderfully conveys Cell's strange and alien nature and how confused and powerless Piccolo feels while caught in Cell's grip.

But the disgusting highlight comes when the monster starts to drain Piccolo's energy. Seeing Piccolo's arm shrink as it is drained is harrowing, clearly telling the audience how dangerous this new fighter is. Something made all the more impactful by the episode's moody and atmospheric flashback sequence that shows how Cell came to be.

8 "Goku's Trap" Is Early But Creative

The 10 Most Well-Animated Episodes Of Dragon Ball, Ranked

While original Dragon Ball episodes have dated due to their age, many are still visually memorable despite the limited technology used to create them. This is very true for the 146th episode of the series, which features some clever visuals that still hold up today.

The battle between Piccolo and Goku is stunningly animated, and the close-ups of them getting hit are really expressive, capturing both the pain of the blow and the bubbling rage each man feels toward the other, which works well with early Dragon Ball's more grounded fights. Plus, the animation really enhances Piccolo's character, capturing his cocky nature and built-up anger in a way that makes the story much more intense.

7 "Another Super Saiyan?" Is A Triumph

The 10 Most Well-Animated Episodes Of Dragon Ball, Ranked

Introducing a new character is never easy, but the 120th episode of Dragon Ball Z does a fantastic job of introducing Future Trunks, with the animation making him instantly memorable and a fan favorite. The shot composition and Trunk's facial expressions give him an undeniable aura of coolness, making him look totally unphased by Frieza's attempts to attack him.

Many of episode 120's shots call back to classic samurai movies, further upping the character's cool factor while establishing his character. This is all capped off with one of the most memorable scenes in Dragon Ball history. Where Future Trunks slices Frieza in two with a single stroke. This scene features excellent stylized animation and shading, letting viewers drink in Future Trunk's coolness and enjoy Frieza's fear as he realizes he's been bested.

6 "Power of the Spirit's" Animation Makes It Iconic

The 10 Most Well-Animated Episodes Of Dragon Ball, Ranked

There are several reasons the Spirit Bomb has gone down in history. But one of the biggest reasons is that the animators worked hard to make the moment look and feel iconic. While the episodes leading up to it feature many memorable moments, the episode when it is fired, the 94th episode of Dragon Ball Z, has some of the franchise's best visuals.

The lines of sparkles rising up from the rivers and plants really help show that something magical is happening, and Goku's pose, from his gritted face to his tense muscles, shows how hard he is struggling to maintain the bomb. Plus, the monochrome shots that follow the Spirit Bomb hitting are stark and stunning, capturing the sheer destructive power of this new move.

5 "Showdown! The Miraculous Power of Unyielding Warriors" Has An Intense But Visually Gripping Battle

The 66th episode of Dragon Ball Super features Goku, Vegito, and Future Trunks going head-to-head with Fused Zamasu, and this series of fights is one of the best visual spectacles to ever hit screens. A big part of this is how Dragon Ball Super handles the franchise's iconic energy blasts.

In this show, they are brightly colorful and move like fire, constantly shifting and changing shape, with little whisps coming off them, capturing the sheer raw power the fighters are outputting. Something that is made even better by the volume of debris thrown up when one of these blasts hits the ground. On top of this, Vegeta and Goku's body language during the fusion debate perfectly conveys their love-hate relationship.

4 "Counting Down" Features Great Body Language

The 10 Most Well-Animated Episodes Of Dragon Ball, Ranked

While Dragon Ball is known for its fights, its quieter moments can also feature stunning art direction. This is perfectly seen in "Counting Down," the 21st episode of Dragon Ball Z. After training with King Kai, Goku realizes that he will return to Earth after the Saiyans have landed, rendering his training pointless.

This leads to a wonderfully animated sequence where Goku's body language expresses his frustration at King Kai and his terror at letting his friends down. The episode also features a beautifully atmospheric Shenron summoning that captures the wish-granting dragon's dark majesty and shows why the Dragon Balls would be sought after.

3 "Union of Rivals" Uses Animation For Comedy And Action

The 10 Most Well-Animated Episodes Of Dragon Ball, Ranked

The 268th episode of Dragon Ball Z sees Goku debating how to defeat Super Buu. The episode's shot choices do a great job of making Super Buu feel intimidating, especially when Vegeta fights him later on. During this fight, Vegeta's projectiles bounce off the creature, hanging in the sky until Buu sends them crashing to the ground, causing explosions to sweep across the landscape, in one of the franchise's most stunning sequences.

The episode also features fantastic animated comedy, as when Goku thinks about whom to fuse with, viewers are treated to glimpses of what the fusions would look like. Each is very amusing, helping to add some light to an otherwise dramatic episode.

2 "The Greatest Showdown of All Time! The Ultimate Survival Battle!" Is Built Around Excellent Combat

One thing that Dragon Ball Super perfected is the battles between higher-level beings. Visually depicting attacks that can decimate whole galaxies in a way that conveys their sheer power is tricky, but Dragon Ball Super nails it, as seen in the 130th episode. The battle between Jiren and Ultra Instinct Goku is full of fast-paced action and explosive attacks, showing both men's raw power.

Despite this, the animators do a great job conveying the calmness that makes Ultra Instinct so unique, with Goku having unusually stoic, muted body language and movement during the battle. Plus, the reveal of Frieza at the end is beautifully orchestrated, making it feel like a massive moment. This moment draws fans in and builds excitement for what is to come, letting viewers know that the next battle will be even bigger and more exciting.

1 "No More Rules" Features Z's Best Fight

The 10 Most Well-Animated Episodes Of Dragon Ball, Ranked

In the eyes of many fans, the 179th episode of Dragon Ball Z features the best fight of the series, seeing Goku finally go toe-to-toe with Perfect Cell. The animators for this episode worked hard to make this fight feel impactful, capturing how hard they are fighting to come out on top. Plus, when the battle takes to the air, the animators use the vast landscapes to increase the epic atmosphere, helping the audience buy into the idea that this is two titans fighting over the fate of a planet.

However, the highlight is the final Kamehameha that takes off the top of Cell's torso. Every second of this sequence, from Cell's terrified face to the explosion, the kicked-up dust, and Goku's exhausted expression and body language, helps convey the sheer brutality of the Kamehameha without resorting to gore, making all future uses of the attack more impactful.

The 10 Most Well-Animated Episodes Of Dragon Ball, Ranked

Evangelion, Demon Slayer, Ultraman to Be Featured at Christmas Drone Show

Anime fans have good reason to visit Japan this Christmas just to gaze at drone show "constellations" of Evangelion, Demon Slayer and Ultraman, set to light up the island and evening sky in Yokohama.

Yokohama's Sea Paradise Resort visitors are in for a special treat, as the island resort, which also boasts one of Japan's biggest theme parks, will light up the sky with five-day weekend drone shows for Christmas in December. The light shows start in the early evenings and will feature formations of fan-favorite anime franchises Neon Genesis Evangelion, Demon Slayer and Ultraman. Dubbed "STARDANCE," the attraction will be held over Tokyo Bay, making for truly magical sights and inspiring people to imagine what lies beyond by merging moving "constellations" with the star-speckled sky.

STARDANCE will deploy 1,000 drones equipped with LED lights during the orchestrated performances. The formation displays stretch as high as 482 feet against the night sky, and while the event promo video does not tease a glimpse of these performances, the show will likely depict the most recognizable characters and symbols from the featured anime franchises. Each show will have three 15-minute sequences dedicated to an anime franchise, along with a special Christmas-themed fourth show saved for Dec. 24. STARDANCE runs on Dec. 23, 24, 29, 30 and 31, with daily performances scheduled at 5 p.m., 6:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The Mainstream Appeal of Drone Show Spectacles

Drone shows have become popular event highlights, orchestrating massive spectacles unique from more traditional fireworks displays. Drones are also favored as safer, environment-friendly alternatives to fireworks, which create bursts of light displays but can't form shapes like the ones showcased in Lady Gaga's Super Bowl LI performance. Drone shows have been used as well in franchise promotions, such as the Avengers pyrotechnic show at Disneyland Paris and in a promotional stunt for The Flash's theatrical release. One Piece fans were also treated to a live drone show in August as a preview of Netflix's live-action adaptation series.

Evangelion, Demon Slayer and Ultraman were likely chosen for the STARDANCE event as representatives of three generations of anime franchises. Ultraman first appeared in the 1966 Ultra Q and the eponymous TV series, with the latest film adaptation Ultraman: Rising dropping on Netflix in 2024. Neon Genesis Evangelion also first aired as a TV series between 1995 and 1996 but has since developed into an ongoing saga depicted in video games, manga and films. Demon Slayer is a relatively new franchise, first serialized as a shōnen manga in 2016 and later adapted into a highly successful anime series.

STARDANCE tickets are now available on the event website for ¥4,300 (about US$29).

Source: Sea Paradise official website


Anime Fans Can Join Real-Life Spy x Family Cruise

The Tokai Kisen shipping company decks out one of its passenger ships in Spy x Family-themed decor as a treat for fans eager to roleplay the anime's "Cruise Adventure" story arc.

Japanese shipping company Tokai Kisen announced that passengers of its ship Salvia Maru are in for a special treat from Nov. 25 to Feb. 25, 2024, teasing that the vessel will showcase decorations inspired by the Spy x Family franchise. Each "Tokyo Bay Night View Cruise" tour also comes with a novelty ticket, participation token and Spy x Family Mifune stamp. Fans will have an opportunity to play out the anime's "Cruise Adventure" arc during the themed tour, which departs weekend evenings from Yokohama to take the scenic routes between Tokyo Takeshiba and the Tokyo Islands. More collaboration goods will be announced, to be sold on the ship and at the Shimapochi online shopping site.

The themed cruise is evidence of Spy x Family's strong following even outside the franchise’s fan base. It has garnered critical acclaim in a short period, earning Best Comedy and Best New Series of 2023 at the 7th Crunchyroll Anime Awards. Tatsuya Endo's manga now has 30 million copies in circulation since its 2019 launch in Weekly Shōnen Jump, and aside from the anime, has since inspired fashion trends, household goods and novelty merchandise. Its main characters have also become icons in their own right, with Anya Forger and Becky Blackbell sporting winter wardrobe ensembles on the cover of Japanese magazine Non-no.

A Quirky Spy Anime for Shonen Series Fans

The Spy x Family anime series is now on its second season run, offering a steady balance of smart humor and intrigue that advances the Forger family's endearing arcs from Season 1. Fans are also anticipating Spy x Family Code: White, which premieres in theaters on Dec. 22. The film adaptation is described to have the same quirky humor of the series: "During the family trip aboard the train, Anya discovered a suspicious trunk case. Inside for some reason was chocolate... As she curiously peered in, the case's owner returned, startling Anya and causing her to accidentally swallow the chocolate... However, that chocolate contained a momentous secret that could shake the foundations of world peace—!?"

Nintendo has also announced it will launch a Spy x Family life simulator video game on the Switch next year. Titled Spy X Anya: Operation Memories, the spinoff game lets players experience Anya Forger's daily life in between her adventure escapades. The game will likely be positively received among fans, building on a well-developed franchise that has since endeared itself to young people and adults alike.

Spy x Family Seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming on Hulu and Crunchyroll.

Source: Tokai Kisen website, X (formerly Twitter)


Monday, November 20, 2023

10 Most Conniving Naruto Villains

Naruto: Shippuden's final episode aired over six years ago, but the series is still frequently mentioned as one of the most beloved anime franchises of all time. Naruto Uzumaki's journey to become a prolific Hokage has defined a generation of shonen anime, but Naruto's many adventures also feature encounters with a variety of memorable figures.

While many of Naruto's best characters are virtuous, straightforward individuals, there are also many conniving villains that repeatedly threaten the stability of the shinobi world. These crafty antagonists range from up-and-coming ninja to ancient beings, but they're all as deceitful as they are dangerous.

10 Sasuke Uchiha Isn't Afraid To Manipulate Those Close To Him

First Appearance: Naruto, Episode 1

Sasuke Uchiha's role changes drastically throughout the Naruto franchise, but despite his benevolent actions as a member of the Hidden Leaf Village, there's no denying that he's a bona fide villain at important points in the narrative. Sasuke never struggles during his time as an antagonist whenever it comes to the manipulation of other individuals to carry out his wicked deeds.

Sasuke spends most of Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden pursuing revenge against his brother, Itachi. Sasuke repeatedly proves that he'll stop at nothing to accomplish his goal. Although the broody Uchiha Clan member often abandons strategy for a more direct approach, he purposefully manipulates characters like Naruto, Sakura, and Karin — all of whom have strong feelings for him — enough to qualify as one of Naruto's most conniving villains.

9 Kakuzu Has Survived Since The Era Of The First Hokage

First Appearance: Naruto: Shippuden, Episode 71

The Akatsuki is full of mysterious villains, all of whom play major roles in the events of the grander Naruto franchise. However, no member goes more overlooked than Kakuzu. Kakuzu is a powerful shinobi who first rose to prominence during the reign of the First Hokage, which makes him one of the oldest characters to appear in the series.

The fact that Kakuzu is still alive after so many years is a testament to his resourcefulness. That being said, what's even more impressive is that he survives a clash with Hashirama Senju himself. This, coupled with Kakuzu's greedy habits, easily qualifies him as one of the series' most insidious figures.

8 Madara Uchiha Devises The Plan That Led To His Reincarnation

First Appearance: Naruto: Shippuden, Episode 130

When it comes to Naruto villains, none exert a more devastating impact on the series' narrative than Madara Uchiha. The legendary character once stood as a pillar of the Hidden Leaf Village, but his rivalry with Hashirama Senju eventually proves too strong to ignore and causes Madara to turn his back on the village.

Madara gets dealt a devastating defeat by the First Hokage and he decides to play the long game by bringing Obito Uchiha into the fold. This decision ultimately allows Madara to be reincarnated several decades later, at which point he successfully enacts the Infinite Tsukiyomi and becomes the strongest human in Naruto's history. Madara would likely reflect even greater long-term strategic skills and conniving tactics if not for the character's intense pride as an Uchiha.

7 Nagato Leads The Akatsuki From The Shadows

First Appearance: Naruto: Shippuden, Episode 128

Revenge repeatedly proves to be one of Naruto's most powerful motivators. In Nagato's case, this even leads him to form the Akatsuki. Characters like Obito and Madara Uchiha might try and take credit for the villainous group's actions, but Nagato plays a major role in its success.

Nagato successfully conceals his true identity for many years as he faithfully leads the Akatsuki, now as the Six Paths of Pain. This alias helps Nagato take down the legendary Toad Sage, Jiraiya, as well as demolish the Hidden Leaf Village. These destructive acts solidify Madara's status as one of Naruto's craftiest villains.

6 Sasori's Knack For Espionage Rivals Orochimaru's Expertise

First Appearance: Naruto: Shippuden, Episode 2

Sasori's first appearance helps kick off Naruto: Shippuden with a bang. The enigma initially appears to be a short, squatly figure with a long, bladed tail. However, the Akatsuki member quickly reveals that this form is merely a puppet who serves as a protective shield, which leads Sasori to eventually unveil his true form. In an effort to transform himself into the perfect puppet, Sasori reduces his living flesh to a cylindrical core. This allows Sasori to fight most opponents without risking damage to his actual body.

Sasori's grotesque technique is actually a crafty way to minimize risk against shinobi, but it's also a surprisingly helpful tactic to conceal his identity whenever he communicates with his spies. There may technically be more conniving villains than Sasori, but the fact that Orochimaru and Kabuto are wary of his knowledge speaks to his cunning nature.

5 Obito Uchiha Uses Revenge To Fuel Multiple Devastating Plots

First Appearance: Naruto: Shippuden, Episode 32

Obito Uchiha is one of the Hidden Leaf Village's most promising young shinobi before he tragically falls into the clutches of Zetsu and Madara Uchiha. Unfortunately, Obito's time with the elder Uchiha member leave him radicalized and Obito ultimately transforms into an incredibly dangerous figure in his own right.

Obito initiates the Nine-Tailed Fox's attack on the Hidden Leaf Village, sews the seeds for the formation of the Akatsuki, and conspires with Kabuto to reincarnate Madara Uchiha. These feats alone are enough to qualify him as a notably conniving antagonist, but they're made even more impressive by his ability to maintain his goofy "Tobi" persona around a group that are as dangerous as the Akatsuki.

4 Kabuto Yakushi Is The Franchise's Most Successful Spy

First Appearance: Naruto, Episode 23

Kabuto Yakushi would easily be the most conniving villain that appears on-screen in most anime, but Naruto is cut from a different cloth. The talented medical ninja doubles as a ruthlessly effective spy. Throughout the Naruto franchise, Kabuto also works alongside powerful entities like the Hidden Leaf Village, Sasori, and his despicable leader, Orochimaru.

Kabuto's affinity for espionage makes him virtually impossible to trust. Even when Orochimaru seems destined for death, this white-haired subordinate somehow finds a way to save both of their lives. Kabuto's resourcefulness and willingness to betray others would make him the series' most deceitful figure, if not for the rare displays of compassion towards shinobi that occasionally come forward.

3 Zetsu Waits For Hundreds Of Years To Initiate His Plan

First Appearance: Naruto, Episode 134

Zetsu is technically an extension of Kaguya Otsutsuki's essence. However, since they're routinely treated as separate characters, they feel safe to qualify as their own villain. Considering this, Zetsu's actions are more than enough to warrant his status as one of the most dangerous villains in anime history.

After falsifying the Uchiha Clan's records, Zetsu lays a centuries-long trap to free Kaguya through initiating the Infinite Tsukuyomi. Zetsu's immortal nature allows them to play the long con and trick even the likes of Madara Uchiha into doing their bidding. Zetsu's lack of true agency and singular goal limits his capacity for deception. However, Zetsu is incredibly motivated whenever he sets his mind to something and even the most impossible goals become within his reach.

2 Danzo Shimura Nearly Claims The Title Of Hokage Through Deceit And Ambition

First Appearance: Naruto: Shippuden, Episode 32

A character must truly be reprehensible to be considered the most-hated character in a franchise like Naruto that's so dense in villains. In Danzo Shimura's case, this reviled description isn't just apt, but the character has made a name for himself as one of the shonen genre's most despised figures.

Danzo leads the covert group known as Root, which conducts a variety of classified missions for the sake of the Hidden Leaf Village. However, Danzo's skewed perspective leads him to manipulate his position and he enables himself to do things like initiate the Uchiha massacre and steal the coveted position of Hokage. Danzo is the polar opposite of the virtuous Third Hokage and he'd be the most conniving villain in Naruto if not for the vile work or one slimier soul.

1 Orochimaru's Conniving Nature Has Made Him Virtually Unstoppable

First Appearance: Naruto, Episode 27

No villain is more synonymous with the Naruto franchise than Orochimaru. Orochimaru is an infamous shinobi who once played a major role for the Hidden Leaf Village. However, Orochimaru gets caught using his privileges to perform horrendous experiments, Orochimaru gets labeled a wanted criminal and forced into life as a rogue ninja. Orochimaru, under this new rogue shinobi status, enacts plan after plan in an attempt to obtain power, more ninjutsu, and revenge on the Hidden Leaf Village.

Even when characters like Hiruzen Sarutobi, Sasuke Uchiha, and Itachi seemingly have Orochimaru cornered, the serpentine shinobi slithers his way from danger, which all but guarantees that he will live to fight another day. In fact, Orochimaru comes to terms with the Hidden Leaf Village, which grants him the right to continue researching ninjutsu after the events of Naruto: Shippuden. This, coupled with the sheer volume of traps that he lays throughout the franchise, is more than enough evidence to assert that Orochimaru is Naruto's most conniving villain.

10 Most Conniving Naruto Villains

10 Best Jujutsu Kaisen Main Characters, Ranked

The hit shonen action series, Jujutsu Kaisen, is still going strong as a standout series from the Fall 2023 anime season. Jujutsu Kaisen is packed with excellent fight scenes, brutal horror elements, and more than a few fan-favorite characters. Jujutsu Kaisen, right from the beginning, draws in viewers with its wonderful characters, their engaging life stories, and it's only gotten better from there.

In broad strokes, the main cast of Jujutsu Kaisen all feel like stock shonen characters. There's the headstrong male lead and his squad mates, to his powerful mentor, his rivals, and some terrifying villains. Still, author Gege Akutami is careful to make the main characters of Jujutsu Kaisen more than basic clichés -- they are fascinating and emotionally resonant fictional characters who make the most of their general archetypes to become something more.

10 Kokichi "Mechamaru" Muta Slightly Redeems Himself In His Last Fight

Jujutsu Sorcerer Grade: Grade 3

Kokichi Muta, who usually goes by the name Mechamaru, makes his debut in Jujutsu Kaisen's sister school tournament arc as an unfriendly rival to Yuji and his classmates. At the time, it wasn't easy to like Mechamaru as a main cast member given his antagonistic ways. However, his return early on in the Shibuya Incident arc features some major improvements for the character.

Mechamaru is still understandably bitter about his lot in life, but he's also ready to fight for real and do some actual good in the world. Mechamaru climbs his way up the ladder of Jujutsu Kaisen characters by allowing Mahito to heal him, only to then fight Mahito with his giant robot as he tries to save the day. Mechamaru fails and meets a tragic end, but he concludes his arc as a hero and a worthwhile Jujutsu Kaisen character, after all.

9 Megumi Fushiguro Hasn't Yet Become Yuji's Best Friend/Rival

Jujutsu Sorcerer Grade: Grade 2

The first episode of Jujutsu Kaisen introduces Megumi Fushiguro as the Sasuke Uchiha for a new generation of shonen anime. Megumi is an edgy, dark-haired boy who takes himself rather seriously, like Sasuke before him, but Megumi is no traitor. Megumi remains loyal to his school and friends, which makes him fairly likable.

So far, Megumi hasn't been a standout star in Jujutsu Kaisen. He feels a bit monotonous as a dark, serious character who lets his actions do the talking. Even so, it's still fun to watch Megumi's annoyed reactions when his friends, Yuji and Nobara, tease him between missions.

8 Toge Inumaki Is a Gimmick, But A Fun One

Jujutsu Sorcerer: Semi-Grade 1

Toge Inumaki, for the most part, feels like a gimmicky main character in Jujutsu Kaisen. This is because Toge's actions and personality are largely centered around his unusual speech. His cursed technique can easily get out of control, so Toge safely expresses himself with safe words, like sushi ingredients.

This unique limitation keeps Toge from being a top-tier Jujutsu Kaisen character. However, Toge is still likable and entertaining to watch. Most importantly, Toge's broad style isn't just for laughs -- Jujutsu Kaisen makes it clear that Toge's speech-based cursed technique is a dangerous burden, which adds some weight to his otherwise silly character.

7 Panda Has A Sympathetic & Intriguing Backstory As Yaga's "Son"

Jujutsu Sorcerer Grade: Semi-Grade 2

Like his classmate Toge, Jujutsu Kaisen's Panda seems like a silly gag character upon his initial appearance. Panda is indeed a talking panda who uses cursed techniques in combat, but also proves himself to be far more than a gimmick. Panda happens to be principal Masamichi Yaga's created "son," which means everything to him, for both better and for worse.

Panda slightly struggles with his own identity and place in the world, which is why he relates to Mechamaru during their intense, emotionally charged duel. Panda doesn't like Mechamaru's attitude, but to his credit, Panda still tries to build a bond with his enemy. This leaves Panda better equipped to take the high road in battle. If nothing else, it's also impressive to watch Panda use his savage combat Gorilla form whenever he gets serious. He's easily one of Yuji's most eclectic cursed companions.

6 Mahito Is An Unnerving Villain Who's Cruel, Weird, & Funny All At Once

Jujutsu Sorcerer Grade: Special Grade

Some anime supervillains are memorable because they're pure evil, such as My Hero Academia's All For One or the Six Paths of Pain from Naruto. However, other anime villains are great characters because they add uncanny humor to their design. Mahito is one such villain, who's as much of a playful joker as he is a cruel monster.

This duality makes Mahito feel like two people in one. He can switch between those modes with eerie swiftness, depending on his erratic mood. Mahito also creates immense stakes for the heroes due to his agenda to rid the world of humanity so that only curses, which are supposedly superior, can comfortably rule the globe.

5 Maki Zenin Is Inspiring Because She Will Prove Everyone Wrong

Jujutsu Sorcerer Grade: Grade 4

Maki Zenin is one of those anime characters who must fight without the usual superpowers that bless the rest of the main characters, similar to Mash Burnedead in Mashle or Asta in Black Clover. Maki has no cursed power of her own, so she uses cursed glasses and weapons to see and fight curses alongside more conventional jujutsu sorcerers like Panda and Toge.

Maki is a cool, inspirational Jujutsu Kaisen main character because of her unshakable faith in herself and her mission to prove that everyone else has been wrong to underestimate her. Maki's traditional jujutsu clan scorns female sorcerers, but as a girl with no powers, she's determined to prove them wrong on all levels. It's a stressful burden for Maki, but one that she never lets corrupt her. Maki remains steadfast and stern, but is always a good person.

4 Kento Nanami Is the More Cynical Satoru Gojo

Jujutsu Sorcerer Grade: Grade 1

Jujutsu Kaisen's Satoru Gojo and Kento Nanami are treated like complementary counterparts in the anime. They're both smart, experienced jujutsu sorcerers in their late 20s who often support and coach the teenage main character heroes. Kento, unlike the carefree Satoru, is a bitter and jaded sorcerer who feels despair about both sorcery and mainstream office work.

Despite his cynical ways, Kento still dedicates himself to fighting curses and saving the day. This makes Kento a fascinating anomaly who both does his job, but also inhernetly doubts its value. Kento also causes amazement in Jujutsu Kaisen with his 7/3 fighting style, which allows him to take on even Mahito and survive.

3 Satoru Gojo Makes OP Characters Cooler Than Ever

Jujutsu Sorcerer Grade: Special Grade

Some overpowered anime characters are compelling despite the lack of tension in most of their fights, such as Saitama in One-Punch Man or My Hero Academia's All Might. Satoru Gojo, on the other hand, comes along and makes all other overpowered anime characters seem less cool thanks to his overwhelmingly charming personality and intriguing powers.

Satoru Gojo doesn't just punch hard to win. Gojo harnesses the power of infinity, which allows him to pull off dazzling feats in combat and escape any enemy attack unscathed, even when he tangles with deadly Special Grade curses. Jujutsu Kaisen fans also love Satoru's playful prankster side, which keeps him down to earth and takes the edge off his sheer cockiness.

2 Nobara Kugisaki Sets A New Standard For Shonen Girls

Jujutsu Sorcerer Grade: Grade 3

Jujutsu Kaisen fans love Nobara Kugisaki for both who she is and what she represents for batlte shonen anime as a whole. Nobara reflects the next phase of shonen heroines as she reinforces these archetypes to be far more than token love interests or simple fan service eye candy. Shonen girls can and must be just as deep, complex, and engaging as their male counterparts. Nobara shows everyone that this is easy to achieve and how it's done.

As a person, Nobara holds up well as a delightful tsundere and a vital part of Yuji's main trio of shonen heroes. She is tough, smart, loyal, and has a solid sense of humor without making a total joke of herself. She formed an excellent comedic duo with Yuji, acting like his foster sister while pranking an unsuspecting Megumi with him.

1 Yuji Itadori Has Perfected the Shonen Protagonist Formula

Jujutsu Sorcerer Grade: Special Grade

Jujutsu Kaisen's protagonist, Yuji Itadori, checks off all the boxes for a shonen main character, but does so in such a way that he remain highly compelling, rather than generic. Yuji's secret is that he refines the familiar shonen hero formula in order to carefully balance all of its elements, all while he keeps Jujutsu Kaisen fans impressed through his excellent fight scenes against curses and jujutsu sorcerers alike.

Yuji follows the "overnight hero" concept, except the heroes' higher-ups want him dead for this newfound power. This creates unusual and serious stakes that hang over Yuji's head for the entirety of Jujutsu Kaisen. Yuji is also goofy and friendly without annoying his audience or creating scenarios that make them cringe. That being said, Yuji is no stranger to a serious and scary demeanor, albeit without ever being too edgy or brutal about it. Yuji's light and dark side are in perfect sync, which is why Jujutsu Kaisen is all about.

10 Best Jujutsu Kaisen Main Characters, Ranked

Jujutsu Kaisen's Studio MAPPA Caught in New Scandal Regarding Animator Payments

An animator has called out Studio MAPPA for repeatedly stalling negotiations over pay.

The worker in question, a freelancer for MAPPA, has worked on Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2. In a now-deleted X (formerly Twitter) post, the animator said, "When things get tough, I get flooded with work requests, but when it comes to money negotiations, it gets postponed for over a month. That's the kind of company MAPPA is. I'm tired of keeping silent about it already." The post went up on Nov. 18 before being taken down a few hours later.

The post was met with widespread support, with fans wishing the animator the best in his negotiations and others calling MAPPA out directly. One user referenced a core theme behind Jujutsu Kaisen seemingly lacking at MAPPA, saying, "Rather than exorcise the darkness of cursed spirits, please exorcise the darkness of the [anime] industry first..." While MAPPA recently increased animator pay after controversial changes to the Japanese tax system, this animator details a workload clearly above the norm and no sign that the extra load comes with commensurate pay.

Accusations of stalling payment negotiations follow the recent revelation of the brutal production schedule of Jujutsu Kaisen 0, completed in just four months. This followed a Jujutsu Kaisen episode director who posted a disturbing image on Nov. 15, sparking worries about his mental health. Another animator's post in October illustrated the impact the current production schedule is having on the staff, saying, "I've done a job that no one would appreciate, and I'm sure I'll continue to do so. Sorry." Some of the biggest names in the industry have also vowed to never work for MAPPA again after the studio's recent offenses.

Crunchyroll streams both seasons of Jujutsu Kaisen, which is described as follows: "Yuji Itadori is a boy with tremendous physical strength, though he lives a completely ordinary high school life. One day, to save a classmate who has been attacked by curses, he eats the finger of Ryomen Sukuna, taking the curse into his own soul. From then on, he shares one body with Ryomen Sukuna. Guided by the most powerful of sorcerers, Satoru Gojo, Itadori is admitted to Tokyo Jujutsu High School, an organization that fights the curses... and thus begins the heroic tale of a boy who became a curse to exorcise a curse, a life from which he could never turn back."

Source: X (formerly Twitter)


Alleged Dragon Ball Daima Staff Revealed on Social Media

The staff for the upcoming Dragon Ball Daima animated series has allegedly been confirmed after a post on X (formerly Twitter) claims to have an official staff list for the show.

X user SupaChronicles posted an announcement on the platform last week claiming to confirm the official staff list for Dragon Ball Daima, the next installment of the long-running Dragon Ball anime franchise. According to the post, the series will see Dragon Ball veteran Yoshitaka Yashima and One Piece alum Aya Komaki as co-directors, with Katsuyoshi Nakatsuru in charge of character designs and screenplay by Yuuko Kakihara.

While this information is not yet officially revealed and therefore cannot be confirmed, if the list is accurate, it would mean that Dragon Ball Daima is in the hands of genre veterans, many of whom have experience with the Dragon Ball franchise already. Komaki has worked on One Piece and several of its films as director, while Kakihara was the screenwriter for Cells at Work.

Series creator and longtime character designer Akira Toriyama is notably absent from the alleged staff list, however, leading to some concerns from fans about the show's quality if its creator is not directly involved with the anime project. In either case, trailers and promotional materials have provided fans with enough information to predict the show's setting within the main Dragon Ball chronology, placing it between DBZ and the current-running Dragon Ball Super.

The reveal of Dragon Ball Daima was initially met with some confusion and controversy, with many questioning the demand for a lower-stakes spinoff series and wondering how it would affect the main canon. However, with series veterans allegedly on the staff roster for the show as of now, some of these concerns have fallen to the wayside as fans gear up for the show's release sometime next year.

Meanwhile, series creator Akira Toriyama is currently at work on new episodes and chapters of Dragon Ball Super alongside a new adaptation of his classic manga series Sand Land, which is likewise set to premiere next year. A video game adaptation of the series is also in the works from Bandai Namco and set for a 2024 reveal, although as of this writing, no specific release date has been set for any of these projects.

Dragon Ball Daima will premiere on Crunchyroll with Englisch subtitles in 2024.

Source: X (formerly Twitter)


Sunday, November 19, 2023

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden feature many of the most iconic anime characters of all time, and thanks to the ludicrous power levels that its characters reach, they are often forced to survive in incredibly dangerous circumstances. Using chakra, characters in Naruto are capable of everything from superhuman physical abilities to elemental mastery and reality-warping spells.

The Naruto franchise is still continuing with Naruto's son, Boruto, as the protagonist of his own series, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations. With so many new characters still being developed and introduced to the franchise, it makes sense to run down some of the most powerful shinobi in Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden lore.

Update on November 17th, 2023 by Louis Kemner: this list has been updated to adhere to CBR's current publication standards so readers can more easily learn about the strongest Naruto characters of all.

35 Zabuza Momochi Was Naruto's First Jonin Opponent

Abilities: Swordsmanship, Tracking, Mist Jutsu

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Zabuza Momochi was one of the strongest characters in Naruto in the early days, embodying everything that makes for a deadly, terrifying ninja assassin. Zabuza was seen using mist-based jutsu to cloak the battlefield in a thick fog, allowing him to ambush his enemies and attack with his oversized sword.

Zabuza's strength, swordsmanship, and water jutsu made him even deadlier up close, once he emerged from the obscuring fog, though Team 7 was able to handle him after a tense struggle. Finally, Zabuza met his end when he turned on Gato and attacked all of Gato's men by himself.

34 Asuma Sarutobi Lead Team 10 Well Until His Death

Abilities: Bukijutsu, Fire/Wind Release Jutsu

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Asuma Sarutubi was Team 10's beloved jonin mentor. He doesn't rank that high among the strongest Naruto characters, unlike his father Hiruzen, but he's still a formidable Leaf ninja who's worthy of respect. Personally, he's easily likable thanks to his easygoing, caring nature and his warm, paternal ways.

In combat, Asuma can use bukijutsu, or blades infused with chakra to slash his opponents up close. He can also use wind release jutsu to levitate and control those blades from a distance, and Asuma's fire chakra allows him to breathe blistering-hot ash at medium range against any opponent.

33 Neji Hyuga Showed Promise With His Natural Talent

Abilities: Byakugan, Gentle Fist Style

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Neji Hyuga was introduced as one of the strongest Leaf ninjas in the chunin exam, and one of the strongest Naruto characters of his age, too. Neji may have been born in his clan's cadet branch, but he was still immensely talented and trained rigorously to refine his technique, which totally paid off.

Neji can use his Byakugan to see the enemy's chakra points, then use Gentle Fist to either block those chakra points or damage internal organs without even breaking the enemy's skin. Neji's eyes are equally potent on defense, ensuring he can see any attack coming from practically any angle.

32 Rock Lee Mastered Taijutsu

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Rock Lee is one of the strongest Naruto characters who focuses primarily on taijutsu, just like his mentor, Might Guy. Lee cannot use ninjutsu or genjutsu of any kind, nor does he rely on weapons or summon scrolls, so he uses just his fists and feet to pummel his opponents into submission.

Rock Lee shone in the chunin exam arc, when he released his leg weights and nearly defeated Gaara with his Primary Lotus move. After that, unfortunately, Rock Lee's importance was diminished greatly, though he did fight Kimimaro well with his literal use of drunk-fu.

31 Kimimaro Nearly Killed Gaara & Rock Lee

Abilities: Macabre Bone Pulse Kekkei Genkai

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

His time in the series was brief, but Kimimaro was one of the most instantly iconic and dangerous villains introduced in Naruto. As the last scion of the Kaguya clan, he was the sole remaining user of his family's Macabre Bone Pulse Kekkei Genkai, which has the ability to manipulate the calcium in their bodies, allowing them to use their own bones as weapons.

Kimimaro was found by the manipulative ninja scientist Orochimaru, who turned the lost youth into a powerful assassin with the help of his Curse Mark technique. Orochimaru's Curse Mark assistance helped Kimimaro become strong enough to tame the berserker Jugo, assist in the assassination of the Fourth Kazekage, and lead the Sound Ninja Five.

30 Kakuzu Used Several Chakra Elements at Once as an Immortal Warrior

Abilities: Use Of All Five Chakra Natures

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Kakuzu, the short-tempered financier of the villainous Akatsuki organization, found a way to use all five chakra elements, which isn't common in Naruto. Using Earth Grudge, Kakuzu turned his body into a shell held together by hundreds of grey tentacles that allow him to extend his reach and expand his lifespan by stealing and absorbing the hearts of others.

Kakuzu's tentacles also allow him to access the chakra natures of his victims by stealing their hearts. Additionally, Kakuzu is a keen strategist, who was capable of making the best use of his powers in any given situation. Since he technically had five hearts and his body could be restored by his Earth Grudge, he had to be killed five separate times in quick succession. Kakuzu's immortality and diverse chakra types are impressive, but seeing how relatively easily he was defeated, and his low body count in Naruto, he actually doesn't rank that high among the strongest people in Naruto.

29 Shikamaru Nara Can Outthink Any Shinobi Opponent

Abilities: Shadow Possession Jutsu

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Apart from being the series' most brilliant strategist, Shikamaru was the sole heir to one of the Hidden Leaf's most prestigious clans and inherited from their repertoire of creative abilities. His main technique was the Shadow Possession Jutsu, an ability that allowed him to control his opponents' bodies by connecting his chakra to their shadows.

Shikamaru is easily able to think ten moves ahead of his opponents and quickly weed out the most efficient winning strategy. In his battle with Hidan, Shikamaru was able to predict the course of the battle so well that he ended up manipulating Hidan into helping the Leaf shinobi kill his partner, Kakuzu.

28 Yamato Inherited Incredible Jutsu From the First Hokage

Abilities: Wood Style Release

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Yamato was destined to be one of the most powerful ninja in the entire series virtually from birth. As an infant, he was kidnapped and experimented on by Orochimaru, who implanted the baby with living cell tissue from Hashirama, the first Hokage of the Hidden Leaf Village. Yamato was the only survivor of the experiments and developed the ability to use Hashirama's legendary Wood Style.

As soon as his unique ability generated itself, Yamato was scooped up by the shadowy ANBU Root foundation, an elite black ops team that developed a cult-like group around Danzo Shimura. Under Shimura's direction, Yamato perfected his Wood Style to the point where he could create wooden clones from his own body among other amazing feats.

27 Sasori Of The Red Sand Had a Small Army of Deadly Puppets

Abilities: Human Puppet Technique

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Ninja puppet masters are special shinobi who utilize life-sized weaponized dolls that are controlled through chakra threads. Sasori of the Red Sand was so talented in crafting puppets that he developed the ability to make human puppets, weaponized bodies protected from decay that retained the abilities of the people they once were.

After a few years on his own, Sasori managed the impossible: turning his own body into a weaponized puppet. With his new body, Sasori could connect his puppet collection directly to his chakra system, making the number of puppets he could control at once virtually limitless. With this ability, he conquered an entire country single-handedly.

26 Deidara Can Defeat Kage-Level Opponents With Explosions

Abilities: Explosion Jutsu

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Deidara is an Akatsuki member who combines earth and fire release to create explosive clay animals in combat. Deidara can use large bombs for brute-force attacks, including models that can wipe out an entire Hidden Village. Alternatively, Deidara can use smaller, subtler explosives to take out individual targets.

Deidara single-handedly defeated and captured Gaara of the Sand by pressing his advantages, which was impressive. Later, Deidara very nearly defeated Sasuke Uchiha as well when he destroyed himself as the ultimate bomb, though Sasuke narrowly survived by hiding inside Manda the giant snake.

25 Kisame Hoshigaki Is On Par With Any Jinchuriki

Abilities: Chakra Absorption, Shark Transformation

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Hailing from the barbaric Village Hidden in the Mist, Kisame was a master of water-based techniques, particularly ones that involved the creation and manipulation of shark clones. Kisame was so proficient that he was able to create a giant, mobile water prison by spitting out an entire sea's worth of water to manipulate.

Samehada was a semi-sentient sword capable of eating and absorbing chakra and redirecting it to its master in the form of stamina and energy. Kisame and Samehada were bonded for so long that their chakra signatures eventually became identical, allowing them to merge into an anthropomorphic shark form that doubled Kisame’s strength and speed. Despite all this, Kisame ranks somewhat modestly among the most powerful Naruto characters, since his repertoire is surprisingly limited, focusing mostly on water release jutsu and sharks. Stronger characters have more unique or flexible fighting styles.

24 Mei Terumi Is An Incredibly Powerful Mizukage

Abilities: Lava Style Kekkai Genkai, Vapor Style Kekkai Genkai

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Aside from her outgoing, flirty personality, Mei was born of two iconic clans in the Hidden Mist, giving her access to two different Kekkei Genkai, and that makes her one of the strongest Naruto characters of all. With her Vapor Style, she could exhale a giant cloud of highly acidic mist that could melt through everything from flesh to metal to even the impenetrable chakra defenses of the Susanoo.

Mei's other unique ability was the Lava Style technique, a jutsu that lets her spit out bursts or a steady stream of boiling lava, which she can control at will. On top of her more specified powers, she's also a master of lightning, fire, earth, and water style jutsu, making her one of only a few ninja who can use up to four chakra natures.

23 Lady Tsunade Has Mastered Taijutsu & Medical Jutsu

Abilities: Miotic Regeneration, Slug Summoning Jutsu, Super Strength

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

A descendant of the first Hokage, Tsunade Senju was born into one of the most powerful ninja clans of all time, but Tsunade was not meant for war. Instead, she applied her skills as one of the most proficient medical ninjas of all time. Her control over her chakra was so precise that she could stitch together virtually any wound and could even use her hand as a scalpel.

Tsunade was also the first person to realize the combat potential of medical ninjutsu. She was able to divert her chakra to specific limbs, increasing her physical strength tenfold. Her strength was so monstrous that she was able to cause seismic events with her punches. Her most impressive feat is, by far, her Mitotic Regeneration, which allows quick healing but shortens her lifespan.

22 Gaara Of The Desert Is the Master of Sand

Abilities: One-Tails Jinchuriki, Sand Manipulation

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

At his birth, Gaara became the unwilling vessel of Shukaku, the one-tailed demon of the desert. Though the demon gave Gaara incredible powers, it also whispered violent advice. By the time he was introduced to the series, Gaara's control of sand was so precise that his go-to combat method was simply to encapsulate his enemy in a coffin of sand and crush them to death.

In a worst-case scenario, Gaara could give control to Shukaku and even transform into the giant demon to wreak havoc on his opponent. Even when Shukaku was eventually removed from his body, Gaara had access to a plethora of powerful abilities, such as a third eye made of sand that could connect to his optic nerve.

21 A Has Powerful, Electrifying Wrestler Moves

Abilities: Lightning Release Chakra Mode

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

A is the Fourth Raikage of the Village Hidden in the Clouds and a master of lightning style. A could use his chakra to surround his body with an electric aura that enhanced his speed exponentially, even compared to the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, who could teleport with a space-time technique. He's so fast that he was able to use his speed to beat Tsunade at arm wrestling.

Through both his speed and his incredible physical strength, A developed his own combat technique that Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto based largely on real-life professional wrestling moves. With his supernatural speed, A can move faster than the eye can follow and deliver devastating attacks before his opponents even know he's there.

20 Killer Bee Has Seven Swords & His Biju Cloak

Abilities: Eight-Tails Jinchuriki

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

When Killer Bee is introduced in Naruto: Shippuden, it's very easy to be taken aback by his aloof personality and constant rhyming. However, beneath the layers of his boisterous personality is a massively overpowered shinobi — one that even rivals the strength of the Raikage.

Killer Bee is the host of the Eight-Tails, but rather than resent his circumstances, Bee instead formed a close-knit bond with the creature. This enables him to perform feats of massive strength and speed, and as evidenced by his clash with A, he is firmly on the level of other Kage. Killer Bee's mastery of his eight-tailed beast and his sword-based fighting style makes him rank comfortably among the strongest characters in Naruto, though he fall short of various Kage and some members of Team 7 because he doesn't have as many tricks.

19 Ohnoki The Fence-Sitter Fights On a Molecular Level to Dispatch Any Opponent

Abilities: Dust Release

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

As the third Tsuchikage, Onoki is naturally a powerful ninja. However, his ninjutsu abilities start to break the physical laws of the Naruto world. Using his expertise in Earth Style jutsu, Onoki can make himself so light that he can achieve flight or make his enemies so heavy that they sink into the ground. He's also able to create rock golems, giant humanoid boulders that he can send into battle for him.

Onoki's ultimate technique — the Particle Style Jutsu — was handed down to him by his predecessor. By using three elemental types at once, Onoki can disassemble his opponents on an atomic level. As a Kage, Onoki helped to break through Madara's impenetrable Susanoo and even helped Gaara to stop the Shattered Heaven technique, which calls down a pair of meteors to strike a specific point.

18 Jiraiya The Toad Sage Can Use Rasengan & Fights With Powerful Toads

Abilities: Toad Sage Mode

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

The only person to turn down the Hokage title, Jiraiya was one of the three legendary Sannin along with Tsunade and Orochimaru. They represented the best shinobi of the Hidden Leaf during the Second Great Ninja War. Jiraiya was also the Toad Sage, a powerful shinobi capable of using sage chakra to enhance his strength and speed.

Outside of Sage Mode, Jiraiya was extremely proficient with ninjutsu and had several unique abilities, but his most powerful technique was learned from his student, the Fourth Hokage: the Rasengan. This swirling sphere of pure chakra was capable of cutting through solid wood, blasting enemies several yards away, and became the signature move of both Jiraiya and Naruto.

17 Danzo Shimura Stole All Kinds of Advanced Jutsu to Fight

Abilities: Izanagi, Kotoamatsukami, Mangekyo Sharingan, Wood Style Release

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

In battle, Danzo is a master of Wind Style techniques, specifically vacuum-based suction attacks. The Sharingan implanted in his right eye was an evolved Mangekyo Sharingan which gave him the Kotoamatsukami ability, the power to cast an illusion so subtle that it can alter the will of its victims without them even realizing it.

Danzo was also capable of summoning a powerful chimera beast to fight for him in desperate situations. He could even use Wood Style Jutsu, though he didn't have good control over it. His most powerful technique, however, came from the Sharingan in his arm, which allowed him to use the reality-warping Izanagi.

16 Hiruzen Sarutobi is the Professor of Ninjutsu

Abilities: Monkey King Summoning Jutsu

35 Most Powerful Naruto Characters, Officially Ranked

Hiruzen Sarutobi, the Third Hokage of the Hidden Leaf, was the most powerful ninja in the village for multiple generations. He was made Hokage as a young man who then devoted himself to being the protector of his people and learning how to protect them as best he could. Legend says that Sarutobi learned every non-Kekkai Genkai jutsu created in the Hidden Leaf Village, making him one of the most knowledgeable shinobi of all time.

In his youth, Sarutobi was revered as a veritable god among shinobi. By the time Naruto starts, however, Hiruzen was well into his old age, and his abilities had deadened somewhat, but he was still able to hold his own in a fight against Orochimaru. He also demonstrated his unique summoning technique, calling the Chinese folklore character the Monkey King to fight at his side.


Dragon Ball Super: How Mai Became a Child Again & How Old She Really Is

Dragon Ball Super is the most recent entry in the venerable Dragon Ball franchise, with the manga and anime continuing the story of Son Goku and his allies. Nevertheless, some parts of the series' story reach all the back to the original Dragon Ball. This has seen Emperor Pilaf's former flunky Mai become Trunks' love interest, though some fans wonder how old Mai is in Dragon Ball Super.

In truth, Mai is an adult much older than Trunks, but this doesn't explain why Mai is a kid in Dragon Ball Super. Mai's age is a little more difficult to pin down, especially considering how the timeline works in Dragon Ball Super. Determining Mai's real age will require an understanding of the series' events, and where Mai from Dragon Ball Super falls in with them.

Mai's History In the Dragon Ball Franchise

Mai's Role in Dragon Ball

Debuting in the initial chapters of the Dragon Ball manga and anime, Dragon Ball Super's Mai began as a far different character. Apparently, she and the humanoid dog Shu followed a wanted ad to become the minions of the diminutive Emperor Pilaf. Joining him on his quest for power (and the wish-granting Dragon Balls), Mai was essentially the brains of the group. Nevertheless, they were constantly portrayed as bumbling and rarely had any major victories.

Mai remained a frequent foe in Dragon Ball, especially when it came to the anime. She and her allies even played the patsy for the revived King Piccolo, but the demonic Namekian quickly turned on him when he no longer had need of their foolish services. Even at their most serious, Mai and her compatriots were never major threats in Dragon Ball, showcasing the series' initially goofy tone.

Dragon Ball Z Portrayed Mai Mostly In Flashbacks

For the most part, Emperor Pilar, Shu and Mai in Dragon Ball Z are only seen in the series' flashbacks. These hearken back to the events of Dragon Ball and the time of Goku's youth. Their adventures during this time were mostly offscreen, and an otherwise unseen use of the Dragon Balls explains when the Pilaf Gang wished to be young again.

At one point before the onslaught of the Androids, Mai and her allies found the Dragon Balls and used them to wish for their youth to be restored. Unfortunately, it had the unintended effect of the trio being reduced to mere children instead of being in their prime as intended. This is the explanation for why Pilaf is a kid again in Dragon Ball Super.

Mai Was Very Old In Dragon Ball GT

Dragon Ball Super: How Mai Became a Child Again & How Old She Really Is

Before the Dragon Ball Super manga and anime were produced, the anime series Dragon Ball GT was the only sequel to Dragon Ball Z. At the beginning of this series, Mai and the Pilaf Gang are now old and fairly decrepit, being far from their more spry selves from Dragon Ball. Seeking power once more, they search for the mysterious Black Star Dragon Balls.

Unfortunately, their wish for global dominance is accidentally put on hold when they encounter the still relatively young Goku. Pilaf angrily wishes for his opponent to be turned into a child by Shenron, inadvertently causing that wish to come true. Several episodes later, the wizened and wrinkly Pilaf Gang are ironically saved by Super Saiyan 4 Goku.

How Old Is Mai in the Dragon Ball Universe?

Mai's first given age comes from the movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. Before the events of this film, the Pilaf Gang used the Dragon Balls to restore their youth, but they were made too young, and turned into children. Despite that, when asked about her age, Mai thoughtlessly answers "41 in March." Because Battle of the Gods takes place in 778, roughly four years after the Buu Saga (Age 774), Mai's presumed year of birth is 737.

What's peculiar about Mai's age is that it's around the same age as Goku. At this point in Dragon Ball continuity, Goku was presumed to have also been born in Age 737. Despite that, by the time they meet in Age 749, Goku looks no older than 12, which adds up, while Mai looks no younger than the teen Bulma. It's possible Mai lied about her age, and that she's actually a little older than she cares to admit.

How Dragon Ball Super Further Complicates Mai's Age

Dragon Ball Super: How Mai Became a Child Again & How Old She Really Is

Dragon Ball Super makes this question even more difficult to answer. Unlike Battle of the Gods, Dragon Ball Super begins mere months after the Buu Saga. While Mai's comment about being in her forties doesn't make it into the anime, if it holds true at this point, then her being older than Goku (who should still only be 37 in Age 774) is more believable. In any case, it's safe to assume that, chronologically, Mai is either in her late thirties or early forties by this point. As for Mai's age as a "child," she's probably close to Trunks' age, if not a little older.

When she's introduced at this age, Mai is shown to be a little taller than the boy. That changes by Future Trunks' time, but that's more likely due to the difference in how boys and girls develop. If this is true, then Mai should be at least 12 by Age 778. This is further backed by a bonus chapter of the DBS manga from 2016. There, Pilaf Gang is shown wishing to be younger around the time Trunks was a baby. They are reverted to babies by the wish. Assuming this part of the anime and manga continuity line up, it proves that Trunks and Mai are around the same age.

Mai and Trunks Are Cute and Marketable, No Matter Their Ages

It's worth noting that, despite their physical ages, neither Trunks nor Mai looks any older, despite entire years going by. Trunks has looked like he was 8 years old since Age 774. That makes sense in that year, because he actually was 8. However, by the time of the Tournament of Power (Age 780), he should be at least 14. Even History of Trunks, which also took place in Age 780, knew to make Future Trunks look older based on his apparent age. Regardless, Trunks and Mai remain cute and marketable for DBS.

Whatever the cause of Trunks and Mai's lasting youth, they should be assumed to be around the same age following Mai's regression. She starts off in what should be her early forties, but regresses to around 8-12 years old due to the wish on the Dragon Balls. This holds true whether Trunks and Dragon Ball Super's Mai met in Age 774 or Age 778. That doesn't explain why they still look 8 to 12 years old by Age 780, but that's how it is.

Mai also becomes a love interest of Future Trunks in his dark, ravaged timeline. That version of the character was much different from the Mai in Dragon Ball, being a kinder and more selfless person. She's a staunch comrade-in-arms with Future Trunks, putting her ally's safety over her own. This makes everyone around the two believe that they're a couple, even if this fact embarrasses Future Trunks. The more recent stories in the Dragon Ball Super manga such as the tales involving the newest models of Androids have her attending school with Trunks, and with their romance now seemingly officially, Dragon Ball Super Mai's transformation from villain to hero is complete.

Dragon Ball Super: How Mai Became a Child Again & How Old She Really Is

Staff Cheer On Jujutsu Kaisen Animator 'Destroying' MAPPA Production Floor

MAPPA's production floor is the latest victim in the ongoing Jujutsu Kaisen and studio scandal.

Animator Sota Shigetsugu (@Hone_honeHONE on X, formerly Twitter) posted a clip on Nov. 16, revealing that the wrecked building in the latest Jujutsu Kaisen Season 2, Episode 17 was actually based on MAPPA's own production floor. "This is kind of an inside joke," Shigetsugu said, "but the building being destroyed in this cut actually exists in Shibuya. But, since I couldn't find photos or layouts of the interior, I destroyed MAPPA's production floor for Jujutsu instead, which was just the right size. The staff loved it haha." Among the wreckage, users also identified other Easter eggs from the episodes that referenced MAPPA, including a Chainsaw Man plushie of popular character Pochita.

One of the top replies to Shigetsugu's post came from a fellow Jujutsu Kaisen staff member, Kazuto Arai, who commented, "My desk got blown away." Fans appeared happy to see Arai in seemingly good spirits after the Jujutsu Kaisen episode director's distressing X post from Nov. 15, which featured a character in a graphic manner who many took to mean Arai himself.

Shigetsugu continues his incredible candidness about the conditions at MAPPA in recent times. On Nov. 11, he revealed that the Jujutsu Kaisen 0 movie took only four months to make when a standard 30-minute episode generally takes at least 1 month. Chief animation director of the film, Terumi Nishii, recently extended an invite to the United States acting union SAG-AFTRA to talk some sense into the youth. According to her and voice actor Ayano Fukumiya, the anime industry is "crumbling." However, Nishii says that nothing will change unless Japanese animators come together in a unified movement.

Crunchyroll streams both seasons of Jujutsu Kaisen, which is described as follows: "Yuji Itadori is a boy with tremendous physical strength, though he lives a completely ordinary high school life. One day, to save a classmate who has been attacked by curses, he eats the finger of Ryomen Sukuna, taking the curse into his own soul. From then on, he shares one body with Ryomen Sukuna. Guided by the most powerful of sorcerers, Satoru Gojo, Itadori is admitted to Tokyo Jujutsu High School, an organization that fights the curses... and thus begins the heroic tale of a boy who became a curse to exorcise a curse, a life from which he could never turn back."

Source: X (formerly Twitter)


Saturday, November 18, 2023

One Piece Film Director's Bloody Escape Reveals New Action-Packed Trailer

Polygon Pictures has released a new trailer for Goro Taniguchi's upcoming CG anime film Bloody Escape.

Taniguchi, the acclaimed director of One Piece Film: Red and Code Geass, is credited for the film's concept, which is not based on any existing property. Featured on Bloody Escape's official website, the film's latest promo highlights its protagonist, Kisaragi, who goes head-to-head against both vampires and yakuza members in the story. The site also reveals a new key visual along with additional cast and staff members. Bloody Escape will begin its theatrical run in Japan on Jan. 5, 2024.

One Piece Film Director's Bloody Escape Reveals New Action-Packed Trailer

Set in Tokyo, Japan, Bloody Escape chronicles the journey of Kisaragi, a human who undergoes genetic modification, equipping his body with lethal weaponry. During his flight, Kisaragi kills one of the yakuza leaders, making him a high-priority target of the organization. A vampire group called the Immortal Knights also joins the hunt, while simultaneously concocting a scheme to take over control of the city from the infamous criminal organization.

A number of prominent industry figures are involved with the production. Shingo Nagai, who co-wrote the scripts for the popular fantasy-comedy series BOFURI: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, So I'll Max Out My Defense, co-writes the screenplay with Taniguchi. Shimadoriru (Danganronpa Togami light novels) and Yusuke Kozaki (Pokemon Journeys: The Series) create the character designs. Satoshi Oyamada, who is known for their work on the Ajin anime series, serves as the film's CG director. Kotaro Nakagawa, who created the soundtrack for Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion, composes the music. Yuki Ono (The Devil Is a Part-Timer, Food Wars!) stars as main character Kisaragi.

Bloody Escape was originally announced in March this year, just two months after Taniguchi's One Piece Film: Red completed its extended Japanese theatrical run. Serving as a standalone adventure, this movie revolves around Luffy's childhood friend Uta and her dream of reforming the world through music. Film: Red has been an unprecedented success for Toei both domestically and internationally, raking in over $246.5 million in worldwide box office earnings. It has even replaced Studio Ghibli's lauded fantasy epic, Princess Mononoke, as Japan's seventh-highest grossing film of all time. Film: Red received a special Blu-ray release earlier this year, which included three additional episodes starring Uta and her infamous father, Red-Haired Shanks.

Bloody Escape will premiere in Japan on Jan. 5. Polygon Pictures has not yet specified when the film will be released internationally.

Source: Bloody Escape website