Anime Review

Yasuke Review

Netflix’s Yasuke takes cues from history by telling the story of Japan’s first African samurai while also telling an original tale. Created by LeSean Thomas, it follows the story of Yasuke (LaKeith Stanfield), a man from Africa who served under the feudal lord Nobunaga Oda, known as the great unifier of Japan. Much of the show draws from Yasuke’s life, like his first meeting with Oda who has never seen an African person before and was intrigued with how dark his skin was. Even though there weren’t many records of Yasuke after Oda’s death, the series attempts to tell a new story filled with fantastical elements. The show depicts 16th century Japan with not just samurais, but also with sorcerers, beasts, and even mechs roaming the lands.

We follow Yasuke, who has lived in isolation since the death of Lord Oda as he lives the remainder of his life as a boatsman. He drinks his sorrows away to forget his painful past as a formidable samurai in Oda’s court decades earlier. The country is at war with a powerful Daimyo, who has decimated Nobunaga’s army in her wake. Much of the series displays some flashbacks of Yasuke’s life living under the feudal lord’s roof and serving under him as his top warrior despite being considered an outcast by those around the court. We see Nobunaga’s attempts to bring Japan forward from its old ways by accepting an African man and a female samurai into his military. 

After Oda’s defeat, Yasuke feels guilty of how he died and the betrayal of his female comrade, Natsumaru. Yasuke’s undying commitment to save the Japanese community reawakens when he encounters a young girl named Saki, who holds an extremely powerful supernatural gift. Yasuke is tasked with bringing her to someone who can help her harnest these gifts to be used against the Daimyo. Much of the series follows their journey filled with fantastical fight sequences and interesting characters they meet along the way like werebeasts, sorcerers, and giant robots. 

What works here is the stunning animation thanks to Studio MAPPA, who has worked on other anime series like Jujutsu Kaisen and Attack on Titan. The incredible action sequences should keep audiences engaged with the individual fight scenes with Yasuke as well as the huge action pieces during the flashback scenes with Oda’s army fighting against the Daimyo. Even the music done by Grammy-nomimated artist Flying Lotus. The music blends some R&B and electronica that perfectly matches the style of the series. 

Even though the series takes inspiration from other anime series, the show does seem to struggle with finding its own footing. The storytelling follows a similar formula like other animated series on Netflix, where shorter seasons would build up a story arc and lead into a big showdown. However, Saki and Yasuke’s relationship is perhaps one of the strongest components of the series. Saki shows off what she can do with her gifts as they become powerful each time she uses them. Yasuke has shown how much skilled he is as a swordsman and fighter. Despite all the incredible fights we see here, the stories are something that we are all too familiar with.

Deep down, Yasuke proves to be worth a watch thanks to the superb animation and the incredible musical score. Creator LeSean Thomas has crafted something that shows his appreciation of anime as a great storytelling platform by giving audiences a historical tale that will break down barriers, following in the same footsteps as Afro Samurai, another anime series with a black lead character. Yasuke very much tells the age-old story of good versus evil that works when it comes to exploring feudal Japan through the eyes of an African samurai, but exploring more of the deep overtones of an outsider in a strange land would’ve been interesting as well. Nevertheless, Yasuke is definitely a series that will grab anyone’s attention thanks to the unique concept of a familiar style of storytelling.

Yasuke is available to stream now on Netflix.

TOP FIVE: How to Turn Your Children into Weebs While Also Giving Them an Education (or 5 Edutainment Anime to Show Your Kids )

Dear The Millennial Weeb Generation,

The year is 2021 and long gone are the days when we had to hide our generic Naruto-nin headbands and plethora of body pillows. No longer do we feel pressured to sheepishly private a playlist of our favorite fan amvs, nor must we steal away from judgmental eyes to the school bathroom during lunch hour to read the latest issue of Shonen Jump. The continued globalization of pop culture over the last ten years has done wonders for us weeaboos. Anime has more and more become a commonplace leisure activity…it has become accepted and, dare I say, even prized and cherished in this new world order. No longer will we be so casually stereotyped as junk-eating freeloaders lurking in the dark of our mother’s basement. Gone are the dark days of our ostracization. We may now step into the light, openly in our multicolored wigs and gothic Lolita dresses. 

…Congratulations, fam. We have come a long way. We have made it to the promised land. 

All jokes aside, this wide acceptance of anime as an entertainment and art form by the general public has been years in the making, and it will only continue to grow exponentially with time. Chances are, by the time y’all younger millennials and teeny-bopper gen Z-ers finally have kids (or if you already have kids), they will have significantly more anime and or western cartoons heavily inspired by anime at their fingertips. The market is going to be oversaturated, yo! And not all of it will be good content. That’s why it is important we don’t forget the landmarks of our time. You can bet I’ll be showing my kids all the anime classics.

But also, I want my kids to have a proper education (it’ll makes me feel less guilty about letting my kids watch TV all day, ahaha). And so, without further ado: my current list (soon to be growing) and breakdown of the best edutainment anime classics to show your weeaboo children!

1. This one is a no brainer: Cells at Work!

Subject (aka Synopsis): “Inside the human body, roughly 37.2 trillion cells work energetically 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Fresh out of training, the cheerful and somewhat airheaded Sekkekkyuu AE3803 is ready to take on the ever-so-important task of transporting oxygen. As usual, Hakkekkyuu U-1146 is hard at work patrolling and eliminating foreign bacteria seeking to make the body their new lair. Elsewhere, little platelets are lining up for a new construction project.

Dealing with wounds and allergies, getting lost on the way to the lungs, and bickering with similar cell types, the daily lives of cells are always hectic as they work together to keep the body healthy![Description via myanimelist.net]

Report Card (aka My opinion): I mean, the name really just says it all. This is basically the anime version of Osmosis Jones, except rather than a buddy-cop vibe, its tone exudes that of a comedic slice of life. Our cast of characters consists of a crew of cells, all cleverly athropomophosized to look aesthetically pleasing AF. Seriously. Check out how cute this platelets are:

But this show isn’t just pleasing to the eyeballs. It’s also incredibly informative, presenting facts about the cells in our body in a way that is both entertaining and easily digestible. Every episode features a different scenario revolving around a conflict in the body — sometimes several at once. Each storyline represents an event that triggers the body’s autoregulated immune system. For instance, when it’s under attack from invading bacteria, the white blood cell and killer T cell characters arrive on the scene to exterminate them; or when outside forces like fever or heat stroke threatens the body’s homeostasis, the cells in charge of the sweat gland send sweat missiles into the air (an allusion to our bodies “sweating bullets”). In addition, the show’s narrator explains what is happening on a scientific level all throughout the action. This show really does do a fabulous job depicting the different cells’ functions!

Grade Level (MPAA Rating): I give this show a PG rating. There are regular depictions of heavy combat in this show, e.g. white blood cells chopping down bacteria, but it’s honestly fineee. It’s meant to be comedic, not scary! So y’all are good to show this to your kids and future kids, people. Oh, but make sure you’re watching Cells at Work and not its weird cousin Cells at Work: CODE BLACK. That…that’s the much, much more violent spin-off…

2. Holy moly — Heaven’s Design Team?!

Subject: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He also sought after a wide variety of animals to populate the planet. However, he felt that it was too tiresome to think of new ideas within his criteria. To address this problem, God appointed an organization—the Heaven’s Design Team—to do the work instead!

Shimoda is a newly-hired angel who serves as the mediator between God and the design team. As he steps into his role, he witnesses his coworkers conceive interesting ideas for many unique life forms according to God’s desires. From giraffes and snakes to birds, anteaters, and everything in between, the possibilities for different animal species are endless!” [Description via myanimelist.net]

My Opinion: All right, y’all — I cannot express enough how much I love this little gem of a show. Seriously, I’ve already written an entire article dedicated to all the reasons why “You Need To Watch Heaven’s Design Team”. Now here I am, back again to shove this show down y’alls’ throats. All the reasons for watching Heaven’s Design Team go far beyond its educational value — read my previous piece to find out just why— but for the purposes of this list, I will stick strictly to its edutainment qualities.
This show can largely be summed up as a graphic design meets National Geographic gag comedy. The episodes follow the general formula of God assigning the designers an animal prompt and the designers scrambling to fulfill it. Through this process, we are able to see how the, often completely illogical seeming, combination of animal traits proposed by God actually comes to life — through SCIENCE! This anime presents in-depth explanations of the strange intricacies of animal biology by showing us the multiple stages of the design process. With every failed and successful prototype of a new animal, we discover how each feature (such as wings or horns or webbed feet) contributes to a species’ survival. We also learn, through the designers’ failed concepts, why certain features are less evolutionarily successful and why the actualization of certain mythological creatures, such as unicorns, just wouldn’t work! There’s also an informational section of the episode that provides real life pictures and more detailed introductions of the animals’ qualities. 

Grade Level: With a rating of G, general audiences are all welcome here. This is the perfect show to watch with your kids. The humor can be enjoyed by humans of all ages — which means your kids can easily understand what is going on and you can supervise without feeling trapped in a kiddy snoozefest! Have fun laughing at all the unexpected crazy traits of these animals, folks — it’s gonna be one w i l d ride. 😉

3. YEEHAW! Buckle up, Cowboy — it’s Golden Kamuy:

Subject: “In early 1900s Hokkaido after the Russo-Japanese war, Saichi Sugimoto tirelessly pans for gold. Nicknamed “Sugimoto the Immortal” for his death-defying acts in battle, the ex-soldier seeks fortune in order to fulfill a promise made to his best friend before he was killed in action: to support his family, especially his widow who needs treatment overseas for her deteriorating eyesight. One day, a drunken companion tells Sugimoto the tale of a man who murdered a group of Ainu and stole a fortune in gold. Before his arrest by the police, he hid the gold somewhere in Hokkaido. The only clue to its location is the coded map he tattooed on the bodies of his cellmates in exchange for a share of the treasure, should they manage to escape and find it.

Sugimoto does not think much of the tale until he discovers the drunken man’s corpse bearing the same tattoos described in the story. But before he can collect his thoughts, a grizzly bear—the cause of the man’s demise—approaches Sugimoto, intent on finishing her meal. He is saved by a young Ainu girl named Asirpa, whose father happened to be one of the murdered Ainu. With Asirpa’s hunting skills and Sugimoto’s survival instincts, the pair agree to join forces and find the hidden treasure—one to get back what was rightfully her people’s, and the other to fulfill his friend’s dying wish.” [Description via myanimelist.net ]

Report Card: This THE historical anime of all historical animes! The anime’s creator, Satoru Noda, does an amazing job of making his story historically accurate. Okay, so technically, this is a work of historical fiction, but it does feature characters based on real figures in Japanese history who play pretty big roles in the show’s plot. While education isn’t the anime’s main objective, its portrayal of Japan’s Meiji Era, the era it is set it, is incredibly informative. From the depictions of the character’s clothing, to the characters’ weapons, to the battlegrounds and other landmark locations, this show is seeped in the richness of its setting. It’s also a landmine of information regarding the Ainu, an ethnic minority group of Eastern Asia who are indigenous to northern Japan’s area of Hokkaido. Soda pays special attention to the Ainu, intricateily showing and explaining the people’s culture, such as their attires, their cooking and hunting methods, and their ancestral and marriage customs. While there are plenty of anime out there that celebrate the history of Japanese heritage as well as European heritage, it isn’t usual that we can engage with a story that centers around a minority group, much less one that is so culturally sensitive and expansive. It’s so invigorating getting to broaden your cultural knowledge while watching such a captivating story!

Grade Level: I’m gonna say PG-13, recommending Teens and up to be safe (or recommended parental guidance). This ain’t the anime for the younglings. There’s some adult humor (aka gratuitous usage of the word ‘penis’), depictions of violence, as well as discussions of physical torture, such as skinning (which is pretty dang important to the plot, so it’s not like you can avoid it). Buuuut, it’s still an awesome story with awesome characters. If your kid isn’t easily perturbed, then this one is a go! Better yet, adults should watch it with them and get edu-ma-cated. 

4. Here’s a throwback for sure…Hetalia Axis Powers:

Subject: “What if nations were people? What traits would they have? What would this mean for historical events?

Hetalia Axis Powers takes these questions and runs with them, personifying countries into characters. The show takes a comedic and light approach to politics and historical events while educating the viewer.

Taking place primarily during the events of World War I and World War II, the story focuses on the Axis Powers and occasionally throws the spotlight onto the tumultuous relationship between the Allied Forces. The Axis Powers feature the titular character North Italy, who is clumsy, carefree and loves pasta; Germany, who is very serious but easily flustered; and Japan, who is stoic but has bizarre interests.

Based on Hidekaz Himaruya’s widely popular webcomic turned print manga, Hetalia Axis Powers is a historical comedy that pokes lightly at culture, examines the relationships between nations and breathes fun into history.” [Description via myanimelist.net]

Report Card: Wow. It’s been a while since anyone has mentioned this show. In part, it’s because it came out a whole freaking decade ago. As for the other reason…well, the general public has criticized its humor for aging poorly. This is in part due to its culturally stereotypical portrayals of each personified country and its depiction of LGBTQ+ characters. So why is this title still on my list of recommended edutainment if it’s been facing all this retrospective backlash, you might ask? Before I go into that, it’s important that we get something straight regarding the accusations hurled against this anime. First of all, this show. Is. A. Satire! Every country is personified in an oversimplistic and stereotypical manner because to poke fun at World War II politics. The countries are larger than life; they aren’t supposed to be realistic, nor are they supposed to be representative of their peoples. The characters are over exaggerated to highlight the childishly convoluted relations between countries. It’s a spoof comedy about world politics! It’s not meant to be taken seriously! No one country gets special treatment. They are ALL caricatures on purpose, because caricatures are funny and satirical. As for the show’s depiction of queerness, a majority of the characters are either queer or coded as such. Sure, one could argue all day that using queer characters in a weird spoof comedy is a case of problematic humor. However, that once again misses the show’s intention: to satirically portray the relations of countries in the context of WWII (in addition to other historical events). The character’s queerness is largely incidental to the humor and the show. The slapstick comedy is funny because it is bawdy, sarcastic, and inconceivable, not because the characters are queer. Additionally, there are plenty of poignant moments between characters. It’s not always one big joke. The queer characters who are in love are portrayed to genuinely care for each other. The show may be comedic in tone, but it doesn’t mean that all the relationships are a farce.
Ok. Long rant aside, let me be startlingly clear: I didn’t learn a single thing from this show. That being said, however, Hetalia is still the sole reason I was able to pass middle school history. Look, this anime is not incredibly informative. As I previously stated, it is meant to be a spoof. However, while watching this show in addition to studying for my world history classes, my memory for historical events greatly improved. By picturing the personified countries in my head, I was able to remember which countries had roles in each world event much more easily. Sometimes, there would be an episode that tied directly into what that I was learning about! My recall ability was aided even more through humor. Pro tip: laughter and fun times helps retention. Huh. Who knew?

Grade Level: Teen and up recommended due to humor and hijinks. If you read my rant, well… you get it. The humor can be quite raunchy at times and if you’re young and don’t know any better, the satirical stereotypes could be misconstrued.

5. Growing up is hard…Koe no Katachi:

Subject: “As a wild youth, elementary school student Shouya Ishida sought to beat boredom in the cruelest ways. When the deaf Shouko Nishimiya transfers into his class, Shouya and the rest of his class thoughtlessly bully her for fun. However, when her mother notifies the school, he is singled out and blamed for everything done to her. With Shouko transferring out of the school, Shouya is left at the mercy of his classmates. He is heartlessly ostracized all throughout elementary and middle school, while teachers turn a blind eye.

Now in his third year of high school, Shouya is still plagued by his wrongdoings as a young boy. Sincerely regretting his past actions, he sets out on a journey of redemption: to meet Shouko once more and make amends.

Koe no Katachi tells the heartwarming tale of Shouya’s reunion with Shouko and his honest attempts to redeem himself, all while being continually haunted by the shadows of his past.” [Description via by myanimelist.net]

Report Card: Ok, so its technically not a show, it’s an animated film. It’s also not your typical edutainment title, but I swear I can explain! This story is mainly a character study of Shouya and Shoko as well as an exploration of their relationships. While this film doesn’t necessarily teach your typical school subject matter, there’s so much we can extrapolate from their journeys and apply to our own lives. This is especially true and important for children or teens coming of age. The film deals heavily with the relatable subject matter of bullying, showing characters on all sides of the situation. I’m willing to bet that all of us, at some point in our childhood, have witnessed or experienced some type of bullying, whether we were the frightened bystander, the helpless victim, or the misguided aggressor. It’s a realistic and nuanced portrayal of the lasting repercussions of bullying that can carry long past childhood, some of which can be rather dark such as depression and suicidal thoughts. Despite the discussion of heavy topics, this movie ultimately sends a message of hope for emotional healing and forgiveness. It reminds us that people can change if they genuinely work at it. It’s also just a general lesson to actively combat bullying when you see it happening — in a way that also doesn’t destroy the bully’s life, of course! Think of this film as investment in your child’s interpersonal skills. I guarantee it will remind them to treat people with kindness and be more conscientious of other’s feelings. I mean, what more could you want for your kid as you send them off to school?

P.S. I also recommend reading the manga it’s based off. It’s a short read of seven total volumes total. Some details are more fleshed out, there’s an epilogue, and I feel like story is really well suited to the pacing of comic panels.

Grade Level: This show does deal with some heavy topics, but it is a coming of age story and extremely relevant to a kid’s school life. That being said, I will rate this a hard PG to soft PG-13 with an additional trigger warning. I also suggest you watch this with your kid (or at least be on standby), so you can provide emotional support if anything triggers them.

All righty, that’s it for this time, folks! Make sure to follow for my next roundup of edutainment anime 🙂

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Need coverage? Please send an email to allagesofhr@gmail.com.

T. Wu is a contributing writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow T. on Instagram @kata_the_clown.

Yasuke Premieres April 29 & A NEW Visual!

“In a war-torn feudal Japan filled with mechs and magic, the greatest ronin never known, Yasuke, struggles to maintain a peaceful existence after a past life of violence. But when a local village becomes the center of social upheaval between warring daimyo, Yasuke must take up his sword and transport a mysterious child who is the target of dark forces and bloodthirsty warlords. Premieres April 29, only on Netflix

MAPPA’s latest anime series premieres on April 29th on Netflix. Here is the new visual the dropped today:

Find more information HERE

Anime Movie Trailer: Beauty of Mamoru Hosada’s BELLE Lives Up to Its Name

The Belle of the Ball

Buckle up animation geeks, creative genius Momoru Hosada’s next film Ryu to Sobakasu no Hime (“The Dragon and the Freckled Princess”), or simply Belle, is just around the corner! First announced in December 2020, Hosada’s Studio Chizu has officially set its to release to July of 2021.

Belle marks Hosada’s ninth project and follows the protagonist Suzu as she traverses between reality and a virtual world called ‘U’. Suzu is a 17-year old high school girl who lives with her father in the rural town of Kochi as Japan’s countryside population continues to decrease. Seeking comfort and direction after the loss of her mother, Suzu finds and enters an online world called ‘U’, where she becomes her avatar “Belle,” a famous singer in this alternate reality. As Belle increasingly becomes the center of attention, a mysterious and infamous dragon-like creature appears before her. Amidst the ever blurring boundaries between reality and the virtual, the two of them must embark upon a courageous journey of challenges, discovering love, friendship, and perhaps who they truly are along the way.

via [ YouTube]

Mamoru Hosada and His Belle

Hosada’s previous work, Mirai, which premiered internationally at the Cannes’ Directors Fortnight in 2018, garnered an overwhelmingly successful reception and was nominated for both the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. The film went on to win the 46th annual Annie Award for “Best Animation of the Year.” 

Hosada is not by any means new to this degree of positive reception. His worldwide recognition had been amassing long before the success of Mirai, winning over many an animation fan’s hearts and staunch support with his prolific storytelling. The most notable of his past work includes The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children, and The Boy and the Beast. Known for their deeply emotional and thought-provoking narratives, Hosoda’s stories have a penchant for drawing extraordinary experiences from seemingly ordinary characters living worlds touched by hints of fantasy. From the first looks of Belle, it certainly looks like Director Hosada aims to continue that trend.

In his official statement released by Studio Chizu, Hodsada said “BELLE is the movie that I have always wanted to create, and I am only able to make this film a reality because of the culmination of my past works. I explore romance, action, and suspense on the one hand, and deeper themes such as life and death on the other. I expect this to be a big entertainment spectacle.

“I have directed films in the past, exploring the implications of the Internet and how our younger generations will transform the world with their own amusement. At the same time, the Internet has a more negative side to it, where people slander others without a second thought, filling it with misinformation. In spite of this, I believe that it is marvel that will expand the possibilities of humanity. I wanted to depict this massive shift in our relationship with the Internet in a way that would pave a path towards our future.

“The unprecedented events of last year have accelerated the paradigm shift in our online interactions with one another, be it the workplace or our personal lives. As this era continues to change, unbound from the shackles of yesterday’s common sense, capturing this global phenomenon felt like an inevitability.

“Yet, the things that we must cherish, largely remain the same. Legacies we have inherited from generations past will continue to exist and adapt to the new age and new tools that will now shape it. This shift is more apparent than it has ever been because of the era in which we currently live.

“I hope you can enjoy our world that is now evolving at the speed of light while savoring those things that really matter to us, in this film.”

Studio Chizu has assembled an impressive team of Japanese and international creatives for crafting Belle’s stunning visuals. Among the long list of creatives working alongside Dir. Hosada is Jin Kim, the artist who designed characters in some of Disney’s most iconic features such as Frozen, Big Hero 6, and Tangled. Both artists have greatly admired each other’s work for a long time from afar — and it’s no wonder why! They have great taste; each artist’s respective style is stunning.  Belle marks the first of, hopefully, many more collaborations to come. Another creative who joined the project is Eric Wong, a visionary architect-designer from Britain, who constructed the 3D landscape of ‘U’, conceptualizing from Hosada’s original design. Ross Stewart and Tomm Moore, big-time animators of the Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon, are involved as well. They are known for creating The Secret of the Knells, the Oscar-nominated feature Song of the Sea, and this year’s Oscar nominee Wolfwalkers. For anyone who has seen any of the aforementioned movies, you will know that their animation style is distinctly enchanting and incredibly different from Hosada’s. It is incredibly exciting to imagine how this will all mix together. An international collaboration of this scale makes Japanese animation history as the first of its kind. The amalgamation of all these different styles, I can imagine, could dramatically alter the course of Japanese animation to come!

My Thoughts On the Trailer:

First off, I cannot express how excited I am for this movie to drop. The trailer is absolutely stunning with its visuals — from its color palette to the mixture of 3D and 2D animation, to the shifting of art styles as we move between realities. It gives us a glimpse of how each creators’ distinctive style will look meshed together.

The contrast between Suzu and Belle is striking and translates well to the screen, creating a rift between how one wishes to appear and how one actually appears to the world. While Suzu and her classmates in the real world largely reflect Hosada’s more simple design, Belle shines with Jin Kim’s iconic Disney flair. Suzu looks like your average girl with brown eyes, brown hair falling below chin length, and light freckles dusting her face. Belle, on the other hand, is ethereal: her eyes are unrealistically huge and crystal blue, her luscious pink hair flows down to her legs, and even her freckles form the most beautiful and intricate patterns on her face. She truly looks like a princess.

The world in which the two exist are drastically different too. We see glimpses of the idyllic countryside as Suzu ambles through her rural town: clear waters sparkling under the setting sun, to the monolithic clouds floating against the devastatingly blue skies, to the sweeping empty fields passing outside a moving train. The natural landscapes are dense and full of vibrant detail, a stark contrast to the landscape of ‘U’. Virtual reality looks to be composed of block-like skyscrapers resembling the green and gold chips one would see inside a computer’s motherboard. While it seems to be full of geometric complexity, the world simultaneously feels hollow as well. It looks one-dimensional in comparison to the vivid images of the countryside. It is interesting to see the juxtaposition between Hosada’s simpler-looking Suzu living in a more intricate-looking world, and Jin Kim’s extravagantly detailed Belle existing in a more empty looking world. I’m excited to see how Hosoda synthesizes these visual elements throughout the movie in relation to the plot and more importantly the film’s theme.

What captured my attention the most, however, was the song featured in the extended trailer. With Belle set to be a famous singer of ‘U’, I’m willing to bet that the music will play a big role in the film. The trailer’s evocative song paired with its astounding visuals was genuinely enough to move me to tears — even without a clue of what was going on! If the music in the trailer is reflective of the soundtrack to come, then I’ll be prepared to cry at multiple points throughout this movie!

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Need coverage? Please send an email to allagesofhr@gmail.com.

T. Wu is a contributing writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow T. on Instagram @kata_the_clown.

Dragon Ball is Deep and Here’s Why

Dragon Ball is a series that everyone needs to experience once in their life. Growing up I thought Dragon Ball was just a bunch of grown men punching the life out of each other. It’s why I never decided to get into the series until now. Experiencing it for the first time as an adult opened my eyes on how brilliant Akira Toriyama is and allowed me to wholeheartedly say that “Dragon Ball is my all-time favorite anime”.

Aristotle’s 12 Virtues

There are many themes to Dragon Ball that stand out from the crowd, being the King of all Shounen Anime. After analyzing OG Dragon Ball and recording the entire experience from start to finish (still need to get into the fillers) I finally noticed how the entire series represents Aristotle’s 12 Virtues which are:

  • 1) Courage
  • 2) Temperance
  • 3) Liberality
  • 4) Magnificence
  • 5) Magnanimity
  • 6) Ambition
  • 7) Patience
  • 8) Friendliness
  • 9) Truthfulness
  • 10) Wit
  • 11) Modesty
  • 12) Justice

Behind a comical anime that made nose bleeding the norm, and having an animal companion as a best friend, here’s looking at you Puar and Yamcha, there can be so much more meaning to it if you look hard enough. Anime doesn’t have to be overdramatic to tell a good story. You don’t need shock value or the extremes to have interesting characters. Dragon Ball doesn’t rely on drama, but when there is drama it hits you in the gut harder because you don’t expect it to happen.

All 12 Virtues are present in Dragon Ball. I’ll be digging deeper into this for an Analysis Video one day, but as of right now think about what each virtue might represent for each character, even the villains heading toward redemption/atonement.

Life Values and Morals

Dragon Ball has morals and values behind its crazy dialogue and world. Comedy can do that. Sometimes comedy can hold core values of a story together better than a series focused on values. Much of its values come from the dialogue exchange between the characters like Bulma and her relationships or even Pilaf and his ambitions. Good writing relies on strong characters, but even stronger dialogue. And Dragon Ball does just that with not just wit and humor but with a heavy focus on the values of life.

One scene that was perfectly fleshed out was when Goku reunited with his grandfather Gohan. The exchange between that scene was so heartwarming because it was “real” and not overdone. While there was excitement behind that scene, the warmth you felt from the reunion was as if you were there in the moment.

Another scene that will always stand out as a perfectly fleshed out scene is Tien Shinhan winning the 22nd World Martial Arts Tournament. How he looked on with awe as people cheered and surrounded him while Master Roshi told him to take responsibility for his new “fame”, it all was so natural and humble that you were there in every second of the scene.

Dragon Ball is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a series that will always stay near and dear to my heart as my #1 Favorite Anime due to many reasons, but mainly the reasons above. Coming up I’ll plan on creating video essays about the themes of Dragon Ball and taking that series apart piece by piece. You can also expect to catch our Dragon Ball Reactions on Patreon and also our Dragon Ball Z Reactions (that we just started).

So let us know, why do you love Dragon Ball?

Winter Anime Wrap Up: You Need to Watch Heaven’s Design Team

Have you been desperate for a rush of endorphins to lift your zombie brain out of its quarantine haze? Perchance you’ve been craving a sprinkling of some good ole’ wonky Japanese humor to break up your monotonous life? Or maybe you are a disgruntled employee in need of reprieve from dealing with the all-too-vague demands of your stress inducing higher-ups? Or perhaps you are a wildlife enthusiast who loves looking at cute cuddly animals…as well as slimy ones… and scaly ones…and even downright creepy ones?

Listen, if any of the aforementioned qualities even slightly applies to you (honestly, even if they’re completely irrelevant it doesn’t matter ) you need to watch Heaven’s Design Team. Oh, goodness, for the the love of Kami-sama and all things holy, please do yourself a favor and watch this lovely show if you haven’t already!

To give you all a little background, the anime is based on a manga of the same name written by Hebi-Zou and Tsuta Suzuki and illustrated by Tarako.

The story’s premise revolves around a team of ethereal creatives known as Heaven’s Design Team. God, too tired from building an entire world by himself to make its inhabitants, outsources the design of the animal kingdom to an eclectic group of designers. Shimoda, the angel assigned to oversee the designers’ enterprises (and our designated audience surrogate), relays God’s often vague yet specific descriptions to the designers. Hijinks and shenanigans ensue as Shimoda attempts to help (though more often than not, he just ends up standing by dumbstruck) as the designers scramble to actualize a functional design that meets God’s outlandish descriptions.

Last night, high on the laughters from watching this season’s finale, I compiled a shortlist of all the fantastic reasons why you need to start watching this show — right now:

9. Easy-breezy Episodic Episodes

You know how sometimes you just need the kind of show where the plots are by and large wrapped up within the span of one episode? The storylines of Heaven’s Design Team are what one could call “inconsequential” — the conflicts of the story do not carry over into multiple episode encompassing arcs, nor do they have long enduring consequences on the characters’ psyche. Instead, they are pretty easily resolved despite how complex they seem to be initially. Seriously, the tension is borderline nonexistent that it’s almost farcical… which is exactly what makes this show so fantastic!! We all need a feel good piece once in a while, and oh, does Heaven’s Design Team deliver! You’re able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the wild antics and even wilder ideas of the designers scrambling to fulfill one order after another. 

8. The art style and animation

Wow, wow, WOW! The animation in this show can be summarized simply by three words: bold, bright, and beautiful. The characters are drawn in a style of lineart that’s noticeably thicker than your typical anime, giving them a distinctive, more cartoon-like quality that just pops right off the screen! Coupled with the heavenly (pun entirely intended)backgrounds and vibrant color schemes, you get this gorgeous amalgamation of images that one would expect to cause sensory overload. But actually? It’s really soothing — like taking a hypnotic stroll through a candy store. 

7. Charming Cast of Characters

So the reason why this show is so adorably funny? It’s not only due to the humor and the animation style. The cast is quirky and charming — and what a diverse bunch they are! The characters all have their own quirky traits that make them distinctive from one other, whilst also complementing each other when put into a group. And seriously, watching these characters collaborate and compete with their designs is what makes this show so fun to watch! There is no dynamic duo situation; you end up enjoying the unique interactions and rapport between all the different character combinations. 

6. R-r-r-r-representation?! 

This show already subverts gender expectations by creating a well-balanced, gender-norm defying cast, but it goes the extra step in including a transgender character. One of the designers, Venus-chan, happens to be a trans-woman. The show never goes out of its way to outright state it, as it is incidental to the show, but it does highlight it through the clothes she wears and the pronouns with which the other characters address her. It’s just… lovely that there is this open, unquestioned acceptance of her identity. There is never a moment of othering when it feels as if it needs to be justified or explained ad infinitum; her gender expression doesn’t define her character. Honestly, I feel like I’m doing the show a disservice here by even mentioning this tidbit, but it’s truly a wonderful thing to watch a character simply exist as they are. 

5. Productive Edutainment! 

If you ever needed justification for watching anime, here is one! There’s hardly ever a moment you’re not learning something new from this show. The designers dive deep into the biology of real life animals, providing detailed explanations of why they are structured the way they are, illustrating how certain traits benefit their survival and how other traits impede it. They also break down the illogicality of mythological creatures like unicorns and dragons…with SCIENCE! Oh and in addition, all of this information gets presented in a demonstration of the designing process, featuring concepts such as prototyping and testing!

4. The animals UwU…But also…the animals o_0 : 

By God, is the drawn otter freaking ADORABLE. Yes, there is a river otter. If that isn’t enticing enough, I don’t know what else will be. Also, animals are freaky, dude. Just freaky.  I definitely can’t look at some of them the same way again…like, did you know there is an animal that eats its own poop???

3. Warm and Funny

This show just makes you feel happy, dude. What’s so interesting is that the comedy is simultaneously straightforward and easy to understand but also mind boggling with the downright weirdness of scenarios characters find themselves in. Usually, the weirdness stems from seeing God’s inconceivably strange descriptions come to fruition… life is weird, y’all…

2. Catchy opening: 

For all you J-pop fans out there, this one is for you. Why is this so high on the list of reasons, you ask? “It’s just a song,” you say? No, no; it’s not just a song. Seriously, the opening to this show is the peppiest, the cutest, the most adorable opening song out there! I actually think its humanly impossible to resist smiling like an idiot when listening to this song. For anyone out there who is looking for new music to improve their mood, this is the one (and therefore this show is alsothe one because if you end up liking the opening, then you’re gonna have to watch the rest of the episode to get to the adorable ending)! 
…P.S. I also recommend this as a less annoying alarm clock. 

1. Comedic Slice of Life Escapism:

I think this is the most obvious reason for watching this show, and it basically encompasses all of the aforementioned points. 

Look, in such wild and crazy times as we are in now, we’re all in need of some good old binge watching and escapism from our boring two bedroom apartment. Whether it be the bright colors, the zany humor, or the adorable animals, I guarantee there is something in this show that’ll bring you joy. Either that, or the low stakes will relax you into a meditative mood right before bed.

Oh, and also, Heaven’s Design Team features vacationing to the Galapagos islands, so at the very least, look at this as an opportunity for you to travel vicariously. 😉

Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Need coverage? Please send an email to allagesofhr@gmail.com.

T. Wu is a contributing writer at All Ages of Geek. You can follow T. on Instagram @kata_the_clown.

A Review of RWBY Volume 8 [Spoilers]

With Volume 8 of RWBY wrapped up last week, I now share my thoughts with certainty about my feelings. As mentioned in the title of this article, there will be spoilers ranging from the beginning of this Volume, to the finale of this Volume.


RWBY Volume 8 was honestly one of my favorites, easily in my top three. Now, were there thing in the Volume that I did not care for? Of course. You cannot create the perfect show that everybody loves. The way I see this is it was like asking for chocolate ice cream, but getting vanilla. It’s not what I was expecting, however I still like vanilla ice cream and chocolate is a nice surprise. If there is one phrase I said to myself while watching this Volume it was ‘I did NOT see that coming!’. The characters were great for the most part, same goes with the fight scenes. The three things I say were the best part of the Volume was the new Grimm, the music, and the plot.

The Characters

The Characters in Volume 8 were great for the most part. Let’s get certain character out of the way first: General James Ironwood. Personally, I did not care for Volume 8 Ironwood. However I cared about Volume 7 Ironwood. The difference between them was that Volume 7 Ironwood looked like a morally grey character. Volume 8 Ironwood is a straight up villain that we really aren’t supposed to like. In Volume 7, Ironwood had a heart. In Volume 8, he threw that heart away when he killed that Councilman in cold blood. Personally, I love morally grey characters. Characters that even the characters in the show don’t know what to think of them. Here’s some good news though, that’s my only character gripe! The main cast is good, the Happy Huntresses I grew to enjoy, the villains were great. I even enjoyed the Ace-Ops. The spirit inside the Relic of Creation, Ambrosius, is one of my favorite new characters. I love how his personality seems to be more lacks then Jinn.

The Fight Scenes

The fight scenes in the Volume were so well choreographed. To be honest, my favorite fight is a tie between Hazel vs Salem and Cinder and Neo vs Team RWBY and Penny. Hazel vs Salem was a fight scene where I knew the inevitable result, but I still cared and got invested into. I knew Hazel wouldn’t make it out alive, but I still hoped that it would give the team in the whale enough time to escape. It wasn’t a fight to win, but a fight to stall Salem enough, and I loved that. While the Cinder and Neo vs Team RWBY and Penny was flashy and I loved every minute of it.

The New Grimm

Ok, I’m going to say it, The Hound scares me. The Hound was strong, smart, fast, and overall just superior in every way except looks. Then there’s the Centaur, which has to be the ugliest Grimm and it spits acid and has scythe talons. I love these Grimm and I do not want them anywhere near me, my house or anyone I know. Rooster Teeth has been on the ball with Grimm designs ever since the first Beowolf showed up.

The Music

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Jeff Williams and Casey Lee Williams ALWAYS have good songs for RWBY. There are songs that hype me up, songs that made cry, songs that STILL make me cry. Personally, I don’t think there is one song that they have written that I don’t like.

The Plot

This Volume was set over two days and those two days were stressful to watch. From Salem’s arrival to Ironwood getting ready to bomb Mantle. At no part was I NOT on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed every second of seeing the story unfold.

In Conclusion

Personally, if I was using a star system of rating, I’d give Volume 8: 4.5/5. For the most part, it was amazing, but there were a few things that I thought held it back.

Pacific Rim: The Black Review

The world of Pacific Rim expands as the franchise makes a jump from the big screen to anime in Netflix’s original animated series Pacific Rim: The Black. Just like the films, the anime series also follows the fight for humanity as they fight against colossal monsters from another world called Kaiju using big mecha soldiers called Jaegers. The story focuses mainly on two siblings as they wander among a barren wasteland in order to find out what happened to their parents after leaving them behind to find help over five years before the series starts.

The Black takes place sometime after Pacific Rim: Uprising as it takes the action to Australia, where most of the Kaiju have invaded. Siblings Taylor and Hayley live in isolation among a community just surviving while waiting for their parents to return after venturing off with a Jaeger to find help. Five years later, they never came back and it seems all hope is lost. However, Hayley stumbles upon a Jaeger beneath the grounds of their safe haven, giving her and Taylor a fighting chance to find out what happened to their parents. Their journey begins as they discover the world beyond their home as they discover more Kaiju and what’s left of civilization.

The good thing about this show is that it doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of life and death. We see characters die early on in the series, usually in gory fashion. In a world where giant monsters exist, heroism is hard to come by, and sometimes there no room for it when it comes down to survival. It is one of the harsh lessons that the siblings must learn when they venture out on their own after a Kaiju destroys their community. The Black shines when it grasps on the more mature themes and the price for living in a dangerous world such as theirs. We get to see some amazing Jaegar action fighting against the Kaijus, but it doesn’t always work for the inexperienced.

The first season does a great job expanding on Pacific Rim with new information on the war that we got to see briefly in the first two films. Viewers get to learn more about the Drift, a technique used to link the minds of pilots in order to control the Jaegers. We get to see the benefits as well as the dangers that come with linking two minds together. We also see Kaiju that we’ve never seen before, even if we kind of has to stretch our beliefs in certain areas like ones that can be artificially made. It seems like the writers are trying to give us something new rather than show us a lot of the robot-versus-monster fights that we have seen in the films.

The only problem comes into the second half of the season when The Black kind of goes off-track by focusing on another human settlement that Taylor and Hayley discover. When we see these other characters enter the picture, we don’t get to see enough of them. It keeps our heroes away from the Jaeger a lot more than it should. Despite giving us some time to get to know these characters outside the mech, it seems like the time wasn’t well spent on them. We learn a lot about Taylor and Hayley throughout the season, but we don’t get to learn much about the other people who show up in their lives like the assassin Mai or her hard-boiled boss Shane.

Structure and writing aside, the animation looks top-notch, to say the least. Each of the designs with the characters, Jaeger, and even the Kaiju look great. The show blends the 3D-style animation with traditional anime, which is what most of the Netflix shows are going for these days. They look pretty well in stills, but they can look a little dicey at times when it comes to movements. The Drift sequences give a better understanding of what the pilots go through when their minds are linked together. Sometimes the action can be a little choppy, where oftentimes it kind of takes you out of some battle scenes. 

Pacific Rim: The Black brings us back to the franchise while expanding on the world of Kaijus and Jaegers. With every new idea presented in the series, it does get messy in dialogue as well as its pacing. It brings in more of a darker tone and less of the humor and goofiness that the first two films brought. While the movies focused a lot on the spectacles of giant machines fighting monsters, the anime series brings a cohesive story into view. Even though the story needs some polishing, the visuals, and the fights are just about sufficient to keep you entertained during its first season. 

Pacific Rim: The Black is now streaming on Netflix.


Have a tip for us? Want to discuss a possible story? Need coverage? Please send an email to Allagesofhr@gmail.com.

Mufsin Mahbub is a Writer and the host of The Geekoning Podcast at All Ages of Geek. You can follow him on Twitter @MufsinM

Top 10 New Anime on Netflix (2020)

2020 may have been a rather depressing year, but for us anime fans, the stupid amount of new anime that we got in 2020 were a treat. 

So let’s talk about the top 10 new anime of 2020 that are also available on Netflix.

Now, please not that some of them may have regional restrictions.

With that said, shall we begin?

10-The god of high school

Watch The God of High School - Stream TV Shows | HBO Max

Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Adventure, Comedy, Supernatural, Martial Arts, Fantasy

An epic anime with breathtaking animation and glorious visuals!

The story follows a young boy named Jin Mori who has an insane thirst for fighting strong people and in turn becoming stronger himself.

And as the high school tournament to decide the strongest fighter in all of Korea, officially begins… he gets his shot at doing so, sooner than later.

Now, this anime may not have a very original story but if you want some good action, you are in for a ride. 

9-Japan Sinks: 2020

Japan Sinks: 2020 | Netflix Official Site

Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama

A family named Mutou continues to live a considerable peaceful life, until the day everything changes, Japan is met with a considerable number of massive earthquakes, and the situation is as dire as it can get.

There is no choice but to survive and that’s what the Mutou family must do.

This anime definitely has a lot to offer in terms of surviving a catastrophe, together as a family… with more emphasis on the latter than the former. 

8-BNA: Brand new animal

BNA: Brand New Animal - Official Trailer - YouTube

Genre: Action, Super Power, Fantasy

Just like the previous anime, this anime’s strength is also its action, all the while portraying a darker side of things.

There are beast men, and throughout history humans have always been at odds with them. Until the day, they were ultimately forced into hiding. 

The anime sheds light on a graver side of things which makes it a tad bit more interesting to watch. 

7-Millionaire detective

The Millionaire Detective - Balance: UNLIMITED Post-poned The Outerhaven

Genre: Mystery, Comedy, Police

Money is one thing that appeals to the most amount of people.

Which is exactly what makes this anime such a fun watch. 

There is a detective who has a stupid, almost unreal, amount of cash just lying around, and it’s always interesting to see how he can solve problems and mysteries with just some handsome amount of cash.


ID: Invaded Introduces Us to the Inner World of the Serial Killer's Mind

Genre: Mystery, Police, Psychological, Sci-Fi

If we are talking about an unusual plot, this anime solos.

There is a system which allows a person to enter a place of deep complexity and multiplex, this place is the human subconsciousness. And a detective agency of the highest order, uses this system to seek out wanted serial killers.

I’d say, this anime always leaves you with just enough anticipation that you can’t help but watch the next episode, and then the next episode…

5-My next life as a villainess 

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! otome visual novel  announced - Gematsu

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Fantasy, School

Isekai genre has been rising in popularity for almost a decade, and it’s about time that we start to see some major diversity in this genre.

This anime is about a girl who gets isekaied to another world as a villainess… Be that as it may, the wholesomeness of the little moments and the cuteness of the characters are top tier. You just get the instinctual desire to smile. 

Not only that, but this anime also introduced some of the best anime waifus of 2020. And while we are talking about waifus. Have you ever wanted to try and create your very own waifu? 

Well with this waifu builder you can create yours in a few moments. Feel free to have a go HERE!

4-Tower of god

Tower of God Review | The Outerhaven

Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery, Drama, Fantasy

2020 was the year when Webtoon anime adaptions also became a thing.

And the first webtoon to get a proper tv anime adaption is Tower of god.

The story follows a bunch of chosen people who gather around to climb to the top of a tower, but what’s interesting is that the tower is basically another world in and of itself. Some people can spend their whole life and still never reach the top. 

The art style is colorful enough and the characters give you the shounen anime feel. If you like anime with some wonderful world-building, this is worth giving a shot.


Premiere Of TV Anime 「BEASTARS」 𝒮𝑒𝒶𝓈𝑜𝓃 2 (2021) Episode 1 Eng.lish  Sub (Full — Episode) | by Episode 1 - TV Anime 「BEASTARS」 | Episode 1 — TV  Anime 「BEASTARS」𝒮𝑒𝒶𝓈𝑜𝓃 2 | Jan, 2021 | Medium

Genre: Slice of Life, Psychological, Drama, Shounen

When the topic is about choosing which anime to watch, it’s impossible to not have some degree of prejudice about the anime that certain anime that you are about to watch. 

However, in this case, the prejudice falls short… the anime is not what you expect it to be. 

It’s a drama type story which addresses a wide range of sensitive topics all the while maintaining a casual tune. And it’s brilliant.

If you are into something that is out of the norm, this one may be your cup of tea.


Dorohedoro | Netflix Official Site

Genre: Action, Comedy, Horror, Magic, Fantasy, Seinen

Some anime make it absolutely clear that they are not for kids.

This anime falls into that category. 

The story begins in a dark, unconventional district, where the concept of morality is almost non-existent. There is the idea of ‘survival of the fittest’ as well as some really horrific elements in this anime. 

Yet it has just enough comedic relief to balance things up.

Indeed, this anime is a job well done.

1-Great Pretender

Netflix Anime 'Great Pretender' Part 1: Coming to Netflix in August 2020 -  What's on Netflix

Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery, Comedy, Psychological

This anime is about a group of con artists who go around scamming people, such as underground mafia bosses, as well as some other big shots. 

And it’s great!

Be that as it may, the anime’s main narrative isn’t just scamming people, it’s more like, trying to get out of unfamiliar situations while making the best of it all. 

The characters are genuinely likable, and both the art style as well as the animation is glorious. 

If you haven’t watched this one yet, you are missing out.

There you go guys, these were some of the best anime of 2020. 

I hope you found an anime or two that you haven’t watched yet.

One Piece Reached Chapter 1,000!

One Piece reached chapter 1,000! Not many mangas manage to reach 1,000 chapters but Oda Sensei reached this milestone. Fans are celebrating all over the world about this amazing achievement!

One Piece1000 Chapter Final

VIZ media Tells us where to read the chapter:

Read the 1,000th Chapter for free HERE!

And vote for your favorite character in the Worldwide One Piece Popularity Poll HERE!

Dont forget to check out All Ages of Geeks One Piece reactions here: