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anime and manga
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Griff
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June 7, 2012 - 7:58 am
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ok, so as you all may know by now, I am "one of those people", people who like those crazy, hyperactive and perverted Japanese cartoons and comic books

 

it's not a hip hobby these days, not like your Captain Americas, your Spider Mens and your Batmens or your Games of Thrones or your Breaking Bads, but dammit, I'm still proud to let my freak flag fly 

 

am I alone here? is anyone else into it?

 

well I am currently in the midst of an anime marathon, right now I'm watching Outlaw Star, which is pretty good, but the pace is surprisingly slow, I'm already half way through it and yet it still feels like it's just getting started 

 

for anyone who's reluctant to try anime, I would recommend anything by the late, great Satoshi Kon, Cowboy Bebop (which is coming up on the re-watch list) and the movie Memories, which is seriously underrated and mindblowing, there's also of course my favorite anime franchise of all time, Read or Die

 

as for manga suggestions, I would recommend 20th Century Boys, I haven't gotten very far, but it's very good, there's also Gantz if you're in the mood for hyperviolent, hypersexualized action and angst 

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Stu
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June 8, 2012 - 2:59 pm
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I'm not a frequent reader viewer, just due to the rarity of it on TV and how expensive the DVDs are in the UK. Also I'm really hesistant to try newer stuff for fear of getting something that substitutes plot and story for wangs, as many things seem to.

I'll recommend the following Series:

Cowboy Bebop

Outlaw Star

Hellsing

 

Movies:

The Castle of Cagliostro

Ninja Scroll

Spirited Away

The Streetfighter 2 Animated Movie. Not ALPHA though. That whole thing builds up fight between Ryu and Akuma that never happens.

Manga:

Gunsmith Cats (which also has a decent trilogy of OAVs)

Ironfist Chinmi if you can find it.

Also not quite Manga, but very influenced by the style are a number of things written/drawn by Adam Warren(http://adamwarren.deviantart.com/), including his version of manga characters the Dirty Pair who are agents for a galactic peacekeeping force who keep inadverdantly causing massive amounts of destruction and death in their wake. He's currently doing the "sexy superhero comedy" "Empowered" for Dark Horse, which comes in a manga-like format of graphic novel volumes and features a lot of references to not only Superhero genre tropes, but manga and anime things, including the main protagonist having an appreciation for Yaoi Doujins based on her male team mates. Her best friend's also a ninja from New Jersey. It's a really great series. A lot of fun with all the hilarious gimmicks and personas heroes and villains have(for example, the Empowered Universe's equivalent of Batman is a guy dressed as a maid, who despite the outfit is a total badass who criminals are actually afraid of) but with real heart and some serious and darker elements to it(there's a horrifying supervillain made of flame who...does not kill people quickly), not least of all with how the various negative aspects of being a female superhero(having to wear a revealing costume while having issues with her own body, getting captured all the time, being thought of as a joke because of it etc) have a real affect on Empowered's self esteem. A lot of the characters are messed up for various reasons and while the series is a comedy, those issues are given real weight.

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karlos
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June 9, 2012 - 4:41 pm
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Adam Warren is a genius.

I'm an old git so remember the "manga boom" hitting the West back in the early 90s - stuff like AKIRA, CYBER CITY OEDO, SILENT MOBIUS, APPLESEED, WICKED CITY and a bunch of other titles, all dubbed and over-priced on VHS.

Mostly, I loved it.  Lak of cash meant I was doomed to fall behind and I did.

Lately, I've picked up a ton of series like NINJA SCROLL, CITY HUNTER (and it's sort-of sequel, ANGEL HEART), STREET FIGHTER V, BURST ANGEL, HELLSING, and a few others in order to catch up but it's impossible, there's just so much out there.

If anyone has any recomendations for new stuff that I should be looking at, please let me know.

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heimp
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June 9, 2012 - 8:24 pm
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I hear Redline is pretty amazing. Anyone seen it yet?

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Griff
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June 10, 2012 - 2:29 am
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heimp said
I hear Redline is pretty amazing. Anyone seen it yet?

unfortunately, I have not

 

however I did start re-watching Cowboy Bebop tonight for the first time in a long time and DAAAAAAAMN, I forgot just how excellent this series is

 

seriously, EVERYONE should see Cowboy Bebop, whether you care anything about anime or not 

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karlos
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June 10, 2012 - 12:51 pm
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REDLINE is good stuff, but not quite as great as I was led to believe.  It suffers from a ponderous middle section where everything slows right down.

Totally worth seeing, though.

COWBOY BEEBOP!  I forgot that existed!  Yeah, great, great stuff - and without it we wouldn't have FIRELY/SERENITY.

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renfield
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June 12, 2012 - 12:22 am
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Dude I just typed up a lengthy reply, with tidbits on all my favorite anime shows, and the internet obliviated it.  

Sigh.  I'll do it again sometime.  Anime is fucking awesome.

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Griff
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June 12, 2012 - 2:56 am
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renfield said
Dude I just typed up a lengthy reply, with tidbits on all my favorite anime shows, and the internet obliviated it.  

Sigh.  I'll do it again sometime.  Anime is fucking awesome.

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Griff
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June 14, 2012 - 2:05 am
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so I finished re-watching Cowboy Bebop and ....*MAJOR SPOILERS FOR ANYONE WHO HAS NEVER SEEN IT*

 

 

 

man, what a downer of an ending, I knew how it ended but I forgot just how sad it is, I'm all bummed out now, now don't get me wrong, I appreciate that they decided to give a definite ending instead of the usual "an they went oon to have many more adventures!" of many anime, but it's still quite depressing after you feel like you've really gotten to know the characters, I mean what happens to poor Ed, Faye and Jet? they're left hanging 

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Stu
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June 15, 2012 - 7:40 am
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Yeah, when I watched it the first time, I expected them to go "fuck it" and show up anyway to help.

Also, do you not think there was a missed opportunity not doing a full episode about Spike's past, rather than just the fragmented flashbacks they snuck in from time to time?

 

Still, at least we got Knockin' On Heaven's Door later.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....raynIk34eY

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Griff
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June 15, 2012 - 2:51 pm
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Stu said
Yeah, when I watched it the first time, I expected them to go "fuck it" and show up anyway to help.

Also, do you not think there was a missed opportunity not doing a full episode about Spike's past, rather than just the fragmented flashbacks they snuck in from time to time?

 

Still, at least we got Knockin' On Heaven's Door later.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....raynIk34eY

 

yeah Spike's past is always pretty vague and it is surprising that they didn't do a prequel episode, it almost makes me wonder if they intentionally left it vague with the intent of doing a prequel series but obviously that's yet to happen 

 

and man, that would have been awesome if Faye and Jet showed up to save him at the end 

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Stu
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June 15, 2012 - 3:48 pm
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You know what could use more anime?

 

BATMAN!

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Griff
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June 19, 2012 - 3:29 am
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so I just finished re-watching the Neon Genesis Evangelion tv series (for the first time since Adult Swim played it in 2005) and for the very first time...The End of Evangelion 

 

and....wow, what can I say about this one? I mean whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, End of Evangelion is one of the weirdest movies I've ever seen (and this is coming from a guy who has seen Eraserhead and Holy Mountain), no one can fuck with your head like the Japanese, my jaw literally dropped at several moments 

 

now the series is not perfect, I find the characters Asuka and Rei, who have gone on to spawn endless merchandise and figures, nowhere near as interesting as some of the obsessive fanboys think they are, Asuka is just kind of an irritating bitch (what are you? STUPID?) and Rei doesn't even talk much at all and of course there's no getting around the fact that Shinji is a whiny nancy-boy

 

but even so, the series' mixture of cool sci fi action, surreal Biblical imagery and human melodrama creates something that is fiercely unique, at times exciting, creepy as hell and a total mindfuck 

and let's not forget, Gendo, the best anime dad ever!

 

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Griff
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June 27, 2012 - 3:53 am
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after years of it being on my "to watch" list I finally got around to watching Baccano!

and damn, it's good, REAL good, it's also a hell of a lot more violent than I was expecting

 

what it's bout is, picture a mildly Tarantino esque story involving gangsters in early 1930's America, but with supernatural elements

 

and holy crap are the characters of Miria and Issac hilarious 

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renfield
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August 17, 2012 - 3:59 pm
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So here's my second attempt at plugging the anime I like, typed up in a word processor so the net can't annihilate it again.

Some obvious ones:

Cowboy Bebop - duh. Saturated with authenticity, spiked by fractal logic (which is appropriate b/c actual jazz bebop worked the same way, taking a theme and permuting that shit), genuinely in love with its noir/western/gothic tropes, hilariously funny, packed with memorable central and minor characters who possess tickling and/or devastating backstories. Color scheme's like Faye's outfit. The graphics associated with Hacker Ed's hacking (weird icons of her face with different expressions splattered across the victim computer). Vicious is a good villain but Mad Pierrot is about the coolest thing ever seen in anything.

Samurai Champloo - Watanabe's follow up to Bebop; I actually prefer this one. Spike's alternately reckless and goofy/somber and quiet persona split into two brilliant characters, the Two Swordsmen Mugen and Jin. Fuu's a little silly compared to Faye but it's a joy to watch the series tiptoe around her plight as it emerges as the central narrative thread. What's most impressive is how much Watanabe's style adapts to the two series. Iconic impressionism abounds in Champloo; the hip hop anachronisms never detract from moments that seem culled from ancient Japanese paintings or something. On artwork alone this series trumps everything else. The funny episodes are easily identifiable favorites (the baseball episode, the graffiti episode) but when shit gets serious it's never a chore but a well-earned reward for our carefully honed and cultivated attachment to the characters. A surreal montage where Mugen lingers at the grave never fails to make me fight tears, and the episodes about the blind lady assassin are delivered with sobering devastation.

 

Paranoia Agent - A perversely tantalizing escapade in neurosis and fractal synchronicity. Every weird surreal visual gesture a harrowing clue in retrospect. Lil' Slugger is a punishing angel/demon collectively hallucinated into (maybe) existence by the ensemble of profoundly damaged characters, a skateboard punk who prescribes curative concussions by crooked golden bat. But so might a collective hallucination be Miromi, a cutesy anime-within-anime dog thing and cultural icon and (foreshadowed by end credits) creature of sinister incarnation. Opening credits feature the hapless ensemble floating in various vistas (underwater, in the sky, among skyscrapers) cackling madly as they engage you in staring contest. Each episode details the psychological woes of this or that persona and their need for Slugger's intervention, while the ongoing investigation ever threatens to propel the two detectives on Slugger's trail into the unreal. And though it takes you pretty far out there, it never gets Lost, but all coheres into a satisfactory and definitive conclusion. Lynchian bugs-beneath-the-grass suburban dysfunction, modern-tech info overload paranoia, a muted visual palette that throws into relief the forays into the colorful wonderlands creeping on the fringes of our bent subconscious ... a truely tragic loss for the anime-allergic.

 

Those are my three upper-tier series. Other series I like/love:

Elfen Lied - Some hard-ass sci fi. An extended prologue features nude woman, head encased in a fucked up metal helm, escaping from a Science Facility slaughtering dozens of would-be captors/experimenters with her not-yet-defined telekinetic powers. If that sounds cool to you then watch this immediately. Woman escapes and washes up on shore, amnesia-stricken and babbling cutesy nonsense, into the care of two young cousins sharing that weird Japanese unrequited cousin love thing. A little tedious on the cousins' relationship as we wait for the amnesiac's past to creep up on them. But creep up it does, and rank awesomeness ensues. Devastating violence, extraordinary stakes, etc. A flashback featuring a puppy-involving unpleasantry registers as both a total betrayal of the audience's trust, and a perfectly appropriate payoff to the festering damage we suspect has been visited upon our heroine.

Gankutsuou - A 26 episode, surprisingly faithful adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo, set in the future. Even though it enjoys the luxury of far more screen time than other Cristo projects, it skips the whole backstory and cuts right to the Count's return from exile. It reverses expectations further by recruiting Albert as the central character/audience surrogate, relegating the Count to the status of mysterious Other who's both tantalizingly awesome and perilous. The show is done in a completely unique visual style: hard to describe, but the characters clothing are like outlines moving through impossibly vibrant/detailed static textures. It knows what the fuck it's doing: the horrific juggernaut-like totality of the Count's lust for vengeance seems all the more devastating when seen from the perspective of Albert, who watches his family/loved ones get annihilated for crimes of which he had no experience/firsthand knowledge. Ridiculously awesome stuff.

Death Note - All concept and plot intricacy, this one unfortunately spirals out of control somewhere over the course of it's ponderous 37 episode length, but is a taughtly constructed mind game for a worthwhile stretch. A book from hell lands into the lap of blase everyman student Light which allows him to murder anybody in the world, should he possess knowledge of both their name and face, and inscribe their name in its pages. Light sets about reimagining himself as a vengeful god, meting out judgement on those he deems wicked. Mysterious uber-detective "L" decides that the sudden rash of criminals dropping dead from mysterious causes is all connected and begins investigating. But how the fuck is he going to catch this dude who can kill in total remote anonymity? That's where all sorts of ticklingly clever shit in the form of an extended battle of wits ensues. Really cool and unique stuff.

Furi Kuri - The beginning of wikipedia's plot summary sums up the lunacy of this treasure: "FLCL revolves around Naota Nandaba, a 12-year-old working class boy living with his widowed father and grandfather. His life in the city of Mabase is interrupted by the arrival of Haruko Haruhara, who runs over Naota with her Vespa scooter, gives him CPR, then hits him on the head with a blue vintage Rickenbacker 4001 left-handed electric bass guitar. Later, Naota finds Haruko working in his house as a live-in maid." If you're not sold by that, I can't help you. Oh yeah, and there's crazy battles between giant robots. Also check out "Panty Hose and Stocking with Garterbelt" for more of this sort of thing.

Trigun - Unfairly maligned as a lesser Cowboy Bebop. The comparison stems from the fact that it's a sci-fi spaghetti western, but the tone and intent is quite different. Vash the Stampede is public enemy #1, thought responsible for the wake of destruction he trails behind him on a dying desert planet. A chicken-and-egg conundrum is at work here as we see various bounty hunters sent to capture Vash, resulting in absurd levels of property damage as he tries to defend himself and evade his pursuers. Vash is a winningly affable lunatic, the mystery of his dark past and memorably titled nemesis Millions Knives eventually culminating into a central narrative as the show progresses into serious territory.

Full Metal Panic! - Not to be confused with Alchemist. Sagare Sousuke was raised amidst the horror of guerilla warfare, a soldier himself from a tender age. He's eventually recruited by futuristic anti-terrorist mercenary organization Mithril, who among other things tracks a group of individuals called Whispereds who telepathically receive broadcasts of forbidden technological knowledge. Because of his age, Sousuke is sent undercover to keep tabs on one such Whispered, a high school female whose personality I won't even attempt to describe here. The primary issue with the show is watching hardened military badass Sousuke's clueless attempts at acting like a high school student. Hilarity ensues. Meanwhile, shit gets serious with Mithril and its enemies: there's a solid overarching military/future tech plot to involve oneself with, the juxtaposition against high school comedy making an irresistable combination.

Last Exile - Steampunk world-building. Early industrial praxis in a futuristic world wracked with perpetual warfare and intricate politics. Claus and Lavie are a duo of amateur airship racers who find themselves sucked into the turmoil. Shoots for strident emotional gravitas and often hits. The center of attraction is the depth with which the series builds its air combat scenarios upon the rules and physics established by the technological inventions. Plow through the mid-series lull for the fantastic climax.

Read or Die - The British Empire is still a world superpower, and Yomiko Readman alias The Paper is their most badass double-0 licensed agent. A bookworm with supernatural abilities (think the T-1000 but with the ability to manipulate paper), shit gets real for her when superhuman clones of historical figures start threatening to fuck up her and the world's day. A deliriously imaginitive treasure that goes awesome places I wouldn't dare spoil for you here. I've only seen the three-episode OVA, but my fellow anime buff Griff has extolled the virtues of the full-length series as well.

Hellsing - A secret arm of the British Government tasked with containing the threat of vampires and miscellaneous supernatural assholes. Adherents to the Blade strategy, they controversially employ a few vamps themselves. A former lady cop/newly minted vampire is brought into play as their newest recruit, and she struggles with her new identity and with monster foes of horrific nature. Violent and awesome.

Tenchi Muyo - Hopelessly naive Tenchi ventures into the family's forbidden crypt and awakens an all-powerful demon who tries to murder him and then falls in love with him. Turns out Tenchi's got a storied family history pertaining to intergalactic dynasties, and various superfemales from all over space and time show up to maybe destroy him and fall in love with him as well. One of the more what-the-fucky things I've seen, boasting old-school animation and a pastel color scheme.

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Griff
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August 18, 2012 - 1:53 am
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that's a great list renfield and great descriptions, it warms the cockles of my heart to see you mention Read or Die and I couldn't have described it to a newcomer better myself 

but dude, you really need to see R.O.D The TV, it's very different than the OVA, but in my opinion it's better, featuring much stronger character work a more complex (if somewhat incomprehensible) story line 

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renfield
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August 19, 2012 - 1:05 pm
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Cheers breh.  The only reason I haven't seen the RoD series is that I'm having so much fun looking forward to it, I don't want to end the anticipation.  It's like having that one last book by my favorite author that I've avoided reading.  But it'll happen soon.

I forgot to plug a few special ones:  EARTHMAIDEN ARJUNA and BIG O.  Those would be on my list.  BIG O is the most Batmanish of any anime I've seen.  He's got a butler, a lair that houses his high-tech gear, etc.  It's a giant mech instead of a batsuit but there ya go.  

I started the universally revered PlanetES ages ago and it was a bit dry and straight for what I was looking for at the time, but I'll have to get back into that someday.

Other stuff I've seen, but wouldn't necessarily throw on the list: Ergo Proxy, Nobody, Eschaflowne, Blood+. 

I'm drastically more interested in finite material than in endless properties like Bleach and One Piece. 

I started BLACK LAGOON since I posted that list and it is absolutely fucking tits.  I plowed through 18/24 episodes in one delirious all-night binge.  I wouldn'ta reckoned it from the first 3 episodes (which are fun and silly) but it's a show of tremendous depth.  I mean you go into it for the guns and profanity and ass-baring jean shorts, but it's 100% character and ethics driven stuff.  

I also started this thing MONONOKE (no relation).  REALLY bizarre.  If you forced me to compare it to something it would be Miyazaki's style, but it's more like having a nightmare about watching Miyazaki than actually watching his shit.  The artwork, the rhythm and cadence of it, all totally bent.  If Miyazaki is like acid, MONONOKE is like acid that has itself dropped acid.

ALSO I started Steins; Gate (sic), which I suspect is no Paranoia Agent but which I'm totally won over by on the basis of the first 3-4 eps.

Other stuff that's been on my short list to watch is Ghost in the Shell: Sit Together Simple, Serial Experiments Lain, Denno Coil, Gunslinger Girl, Gungrave.  

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Griff
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August 21, 2012 - 12:54 pm
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I wathed The Big O a few months ago and yeah, it's awesome

I lobe how crazy and bizarre it gets at the end 

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Korello
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May 7, 2019 - 4:21 am
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I am quite angry about such posts. So, you think you are out of the ordinary just because you watch anime and don’t watch Marvel films? That’s so stupid! Plenty of people around the world adore Japanese culture and cartoon. They usually keep silent about it but they exist. You seem to be a schoolboy, go to custom academic writing and buy another essay because you are too busy watching anime. Meh

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