What is anime filler? And can you avoid watching it?

I recently had a conversation where I bemoaned the inevitability of filler episodes in popular anime. After a while, it was clear that not everyone in the conversation knew what filler was and why they were often a necessary part of any long-running anime series. More importantly, most people didn’t realize there are easy ways to avoid watching filler for the most popular shows…

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[Manga Review] Robot x Laserbeam: A Rollercoaster of Sports Tropes and Writing Pivots

Hatohara Robato, nicknamed “Robo” by his classmates due to being as methodical and expressionless as a robot, is seemingly friendless until entering Eiai Academy, where he meets Tomoya Nakata, an extremely friendly fellow first-year. Nakata instantly attaches himself to Robo, and in the process, recruits Robo into the high school golf club. While highly reluctant in the beginning, Robo soon develops an interest in the sport (likely his first interest in anything…) after meeting prodigy golfer Youzan Miura.


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[Manga Review] Investor Z – Grooming the Next Generation of Finance Professionals

Have you ever wanted to learn how to invest in stocks? Or do real estate? Or engage in day trading like the pros?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should probably go buy a textbook on the topic and start reading up.

For anyone who’s not sure if they’d be interested in any of that stuff, though, I’d recommend you check out Investor Z. Written by Mita Norifusa, the author of the acclaimed Dragon Zakura series about preparing for college entrance exams, Investor Z covers the adventures of protagonist Zaizen Takashi, a middle school student who is suddenly whisked into the high-risk world of stocks and investing.

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[Manga] DICE: The Cube that Changes Everything Review

DICE title

The conclusion of the Liar Game Kdrama left me searching for another story like it, another world with a psychologically intense plot and interesting characters. That’s when I stumbled upon DICE: The Cube that Changes Everything. The written summary for this manhwa speaks of a game that can change a player’s life and a bottom-of-the-social-ladder main character who is given the opportunity to play this game. While DICE isn’t as intellectually intense as Liar’s Game, it does have some strong story elements that make it a good series in its own right.

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Korean Drama Adaptation of Liar Game Airing October 20th – Thoughts and Reactions

Exciting news: Liar Game is becoming a kdrama! Here is the teaser:

For those who might not know, Liar Game originally began as a manga series by Kaitani Shinobu (who also wrote the psychological baseball manga One Outs). It tells the story of Kanzaki Nao, an extremely honest and naive girl dragged into the titular Liar Game Tournament, where all the players repeatedly lie and manipulate one another in order to improve their chances of winning outrageous sums of money. Losers often go into debt, and the dark organization behind the game will collect this debt by any means necessary. Naturally, Nao gets into a dire situation fairly quickly and ends up seeking the help of ex-swindler Akiyama Shinichi, who later decides to participate in this game for his own reasons.

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[Manga] Tenkuu Shinpan: Why the Battle Royale Genre Can Still Be Fresh

Richard Connell, in “The Most Dangerous Game,” declared that the ideal animal to hunt “must have courage, cunning, and above all, it must be able to reason.” In other words, a human. This thinking resonates throughout human history and across all cultures, giving us Roman gladiators, Battle Royale and The Hunger Games.  In the past decade, Japanese media especially has been over-saturated with dystopian horror stories depicting people forced into “play or die situations”–Gantz, Mirai Nikki, Doubt, Deadman Wonderland, Btooom, Sword Art Online, etc. Tenkuu Shinpan, a new entrant on an old scene, is another example.

tenkuu 2

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[Manga] Shokugeki no Souma

shokugeki no souma 1


Yukihira Souma’s dream is to become a full-time chef in his father’s restaurant and surpass his father’s culinary skill. But just as Souma graduates from middle school, his father closes down the family restaurant to cook abroad, leaving Souma with a do-or-die challenge: reach the top at an elite culinary school where only 10% of the students graduate … or don’t even dream about catching up to him (the father). Can Souma survive?

Read Shokugeki no Souma here.

First Impression

First off, Shokugeki no Souma hooked me on the first page by delivering great artwork, a fast-paced storytelling style (sorry no slice of life manga/anime for me folks), and all the key elements of a great shounen manga.

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