Tuesday, December 31, 2013

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: KILL la KILL & Nagi no Asukara (Nagi-Asu: A Lull in the Sea)

Disclosure: Actually posted January 17, 2014, originally scheduled for December 31, 2013 as that month's "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick", hence the date. My apologies…

While I try to avoid popular titles for Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month (particularly current titles), I may make an exception for those of note (see the Monogatari Series and Little Witch Academia). This is one of those exceptions, as well--only this time, I am highlighting two series that I feel are showcasing the power and potential of animation at its highest level, albeit in two very different ways.


Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Crunchyroll*, Hulu, DAISUKI*, Aniplex Channel
*Multi-language subtitle options available

The first of these is perhaps second to only Attack on Titan as the most rabidly-popular title of 2013: KILL la KILL. From the very moment it was announced, it was certainly the most anticipated title around, and it has not fallen short of that hype since its October debut. It is Hiroyuki Imaishi's first full directorial work at his new studio, TRIGGER, since leaving GAINAX (whose first work was the aforementioned LWA), and true to the sheer creative potential and imagination it possessed, it is as artistically-free as one might hope.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

:anime: Final Impression:: A Certain Scientific Railgun / S

Disclosure: Actually posted January 5, 2014, originally scheduled for November 30, 2013 as that month's special "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick"/anime review hybrid, hence the date.

Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun / S
Alt. Titles: To Aru Kagaku no Railgun / S, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun / S

Official Sites: Japanese [Railgun] [Railgun S], English
Additional Links: ANN Entries [Railgun] [Railgun S], MAL Entries [Railgun] [Railgun S]
Video: Hulu (Japanese w/ English Subtitles, English Dubbed), FUNimation.com

A Certain Scientific Railgun

When jumping into a new series or franchise, it can be difficult to get into it if you are starting off with a sequel or a work later down the line. The same can be true for spinoffs, due to the fact that if a title tries to separate itself from the original or tries to establish its own path, it may still make references or nods to it that may go over the viewer's head (and God-forbid a character from the original shows up with no explanation of who they are or what significance they have…). It is in the midst this where A Certain Scientific Railgun's greatest strength may lie.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Another


Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Crunchyroll, Hulu

"Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month" first started in October 2009 with the anime short series TRIP TREK. For each October that has followed, I like to pick anime with thematically befitting of Halloween, so for this edition, I am selecting one of the best horror titles in recent years, Another.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

:anime: HardDoor's Seasonal Anime Preview 2013-14 Special:: noitaminA (Autumn, Winter)

After an abnormal spring/summer session, Fuji TV's noitaminA block returns with a vengeance-and-a-half, opening the fall season with one series by the helmsman of one of their recent darlings and the other by the most unexpected--but certainly among the most welcome--of talents.

Monday, September 30, 2013

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Blue Submarine No. 6

Blue Submarine No. 6

Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Hulu

In the four years of doing "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month", I never had the chance of spotlighting the landmark OVA, Blue Submarine No. 6. Not only was it among the earliest anime I had watched in my burgeoning fandom, but it was also the subject of HardDoor's first feature post (spoiler warning)! That's because it was never posted online during that span (perhaps ever, though it may have appeared on Toonami's website before), but all of that changed a couple of months ago, when Bandai posted the anime uncut--and for free--on Hulu!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

:boxing: Double The Pain…:: Mayweather vs. Canelo & Garcia vs. Matthysee

2013 has been a bountiful year of good bouts and key match-ups and September 14th plays host to likely its biggest fight night. Boxing's hottest commodity in Saul "Canelo" Alvarez finally gets to meet its biggest money-maker in Floyd Mayweather, Jr in a long-awaited match, and as an added bonus, the not-so-beloved Danny Garcia is set to fight one of the sports most feared fighters in Lucas Matthysee.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Black Lagoon (+ The Second Barrage & Roberta's Blood Trail)

Black Lagoon (+ The Second Barrage & Roberta's Blood Trail)

Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: ANN Entries [S1] [S2] [OVA], MAL Entries [S1] [S2] [OVA]
Video: Hulu [S1 & 2] [OVA], FUNimation.com

With the end of August and Labor Day comes the unofficial end of summer, and with both coinciding on the very same weekend this year, that distinction has become all the more definitive. This time of the year often represents the end of the summer movie business, as well, so it perhaps only makes sense to recommend a title that is as close to your typical summer action blockbuster as any anime, or show for that matter.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Monogatari Series Second Season

Monogatari Series Second Season

Official Sites: Japanese, English
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: DAISUKI, Crunchyroll (Aug. 6), Hulu (see "Update" at the bottom)

In January 2012, I spotlighted Nisemonogatari as its Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick. Being the hotly-anticipated sequel to the masterpiece that was Bakemonogatari, it was only natural, especially as it was being made available for all to see, up to 1080p-quality at Crunchyroll. So I suppose it is only natural, too, to name the latest adaptation of NisiOisin's novel series as July's Pick!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Fuse: Memoirs of the Hunter Girl

Fuse: Memoirs of the Hunter Girl

Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video [Free]: Hulu

Usually for June, in which resides HardDoor's anniversary, I like to recommend something particularly special. So, come to think of it, I have never showcased a film before (last year's "HardDoor at the Movies! (Part 2)" notwithstanding, since that was more of a continuation from the previous month), so this month, I have picked a great movie that was only just recently posted.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

HardDoor--The Seventh Anniversary

Well, it's that time of the year again, where I like to take some time out and commemorate the anniversary of this little blog, HardDoor, which has gone on seven (really?!) years! As you, the reader, could probably tell from the last few months and much of last year, I have been kind of busy with work. However, that doesn't mean I have been bereft of items or things I'd like to write about. Currently, there are about 4-5 new post series I have in the pipeline (two of them pretty "major"…), and there are those outstanding episode reviews that I'd like to polish off, too, among other things. There is also certain *something* I've been updating and the boxing side of the blog could sure use more lovin', too. Of course, it all boils down to time, but I am also sure that everything will work out in the end…

Even so, there were some good nuggets to be had this last year. The most notable was the start of HD's own tumblr site, HardDoor: Screenshot Haven, which has gone better than expected (check out the nice screenie commemorating today's anniversary!). There, I post various screenshots (primarily from--but not totally limited to--anime) and the occasional illustration or work of art that I have come across on the web. I've also started to post personal rankings of simulcasted shows that I've watched on HD's Facebook Page, as well as photos of new/interesting anime disc releases I've purchased, chronicled in "Nice Box…". I've also made "Ani-Journal" a full new feature (though it practically was one from the start…), and we also saw the return of "Boxing Bits" and "Anime Kibble 'n' Bits".

I am very hopeful that there will be plenty more to come in HardDoor's 8th year. Thank you so much to the readers who have visited the blog and its other branch sites over these years, even in its more "quiet" period (ironically, some of the highest-ever views have been these times! ^^;; ). Thank you for your patience as everything comes together and thanks once again for visiting HardDoor!! :)

Goin' on eight & upwards…


Friday, May 31, 2013

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Black Jack OVA

This would've been done and posted towards the end of May, but the last two weeks of work have been incredibly taxing, long, and tiring. So, let's play "pretend" and act like this was posted on May 31st and not June 11… (It'll be our little secret… ;) ) --HD

Black Jack OVA

Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Hulu, Viki

Attack on Titan is arguably this spring's--and perhaps, so far, this year's--most popular title. It is directed by Tetsuro Araki, who first rose to fame at the helm of a certain little anime called DEATH NOTE. Though his full directorial credits run small (with HD fav Highschool of the Dead, Kurozuka, GUILTY CROWN), he has quickly gained following for his stylishness & bombast.

Monday, April 29, 2013

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Little Witch Academia

What goes up…

Little Witch Academia

Official Site: Anime Mirai Page, Trigger Page
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: YouTube, Crunchyroll

In the very same month that GAINAX announces a film version of its 2011 magical girl ONA Houkago no Pleaides/Wish Upon the Pleiades, Trigger--a new studio formed by former GAINAX staffers--streamed its own worldwide. The effort, Little Witch Academia, is its first full feature, which is part of this year's Anime Mirai slate, a government-backed initiative aimed at funding projects at anime studios that train and foster new talent in the industry.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

:anime: HardDoor's Seasonal Anime Preview 2013 Special:: noitaminA (Spring, Summer)

Normally, each season of noitaminA either has an original series or one based on preexisting material, with the occasional sequel or the even rarer short (Thermae Romae being the sole example). However, this stint of Fuji TV's venerable block is quite different from the past, as for the first time ever, a previously-broadcasted anime will be reran in it. . This show, now "retroactively" a noitaminA series, will be Katanagatari, an adaptation of NisiOisin's novel series (unrelated to his mega-hit Monogatari Series) that first aired in 2010 on Fuji TV. Even more unusual is that due to the hour-long runtime of each of its twelve episodes (one for each of the 12 volumes in the series), it will take up the allotted hour-long timeslot of the block for spring, meaning it will be the only title shown for the season.

So what will be of the summer session? It looks to be a return to normalcy (from the outset, at least) with an adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist creator Hiromu Arakawa's runaway smash Silver Spoon.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ::04.09.13:: The (Actual) Return of the News Bits…

I may have had some fun a week ago, but this here is the true return of "Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits"!!

:Fri.04.05.13: Crunchyroll Scores Score of Major Simulcast Titles

Crunchyroll, more often than not, manages to obtain the rights to simulcast a good chunk of each season's new anime, but sometimes they have to share the lot of big titles with FUNimation, who doesn't post content on the site (as opposed to Sentai, who will often place them on both their sister company The Anime Network and Crunchyroll). Spring 2013 looks to be a good one on that end for the site, though, as they managed to nab Sunrise's Valvrave the Liberator, Mushi-Shi director Hiroshi Nagahama's Flowers of Evil, and the big Kazuya Murata (Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos director)/Gen Urobuchi (Madoka Magica creator) joint project Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet. Death Note director Tetsuro Araki's much-anticipated Attack on Titan adaptation (already settled?) and Yutaka Izubuchi (RahXephon) & Akihiro Enomoto's Space Battleship Yamato 2199 are still up in the air in terms of streaming homes (if any), but with Crunchyroll's quality service and being the only one in the game with 1080p-level streaming, hopefully those good-looking efforts will end up there with the other notable series…

Monday, April 01, 2013

:anime: Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits ::04.01.13:: Return of the News Bits

For the first time in five years, "Anime Kibbles 'n' Bits" makes its return back to HardDoor! If "Boxing Bits" can return, why can't its predecessor?


GAINAX To Develop Fighting Game
Legendary anime studio GAINAX doesn't just dip its feet into animation and merchandise pimping, but they also have a game developing department, as well. Though their catalog mostly consists of sims (one of which inspired 2002's Petit Princess Yucie), they have finally taken the step of developing a fighter, which will feature anime characters from their storied history, hailing from the likes of Evangelion (apparently with Khara's blessing), Gurren Lagann, Mahoromatic, FLCL, Nadia, and Gunbuster. Details on which other properties will be represented and which characters will appear, as well as preliminary game footage, will be revealed at a future event, but I'm fairly certain that they'll indulge on everyone's desire to pound Shinji Ikari in the face…

Saturday, March 30, 2013

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Nobody's Boy Remi

Nobody's Boy Remi

Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Hulu

In the very first edtion of Ani-Journal, I heaped praise onto the classic show, Nobody's Boy Remi, which unfortunately expired on Anime News Network's video service before I could finish it. Thankfully, TMS has been making a concerted effort in making their shows available to more people outside of Japan, with Hulu being one of their primary avenues. There, you'll find episodes of both Lupin III Pts. I & II, Sherlock Hound, and Monster Rancher, as well as movies like Panda! Go Panda!, but the key title here--as you can guess--is Remi (as it is simply called), with all 51 episodes up for view!

The series follows the sorrowful tale of a young French boy named Remi, who goes from having a warm and loving home life with his mother to being sold  for money to a traveling performer by a disillusioned, estranged father returning to the scene. I went into detail over what made the series click for me in the AJ link above, but its high-quality and distinctive animation (especially for a 30+ year old series), its compelling narrative, and directorial work by the late, great Osamu Dezaki make it a very worth watch, which hopefully you will give a look, despite its age and melancholy. Even early on, it's not too hard to see why it is as highly regarded as it is.

Friday, March 15, 2013

:anime: Global Shinkai Day 2013 Is Here--Plus One More!!

Now Showing…

While this isn't the Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month--I have something else planned for that, but I guess you can consider this a semi-one --I couldn't let the opportunity slip by to mention this year's Global Shinkai Day festivities at Crunchyroll! This year's will be a little different than most, as Makoto Shinkai's most recent work, Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below, will be showing over the three-day weekend! It's a different kind of film from him, as well, both in scope and in feel, as it follows a young girl's journey through a fantastical underworld.

Friday, March 01, 2013

:boxing: Boxing Bits :03:01.13: Broner Is the Problem, & So Is Pot…

Posterizing, posturing, and pot penalizations highlighted the last few week's of boxing in this return installment of Boxing Bits!

:Sat.02.16.13: Broner Beats Rees

Gavin Rees was as game as game could be and with heart to spare, but his body and ebbs in composure ultimately did him in versus the talented Adrian "The Problem" Broner, who stopped him within five. The final result was largely expected, but Broner's pomposity and narcissistic complacency in his own abilities has led to him allowing his opponents to land an increasingly large amount of punches on him, as if to show that he no one can do him harm. Rees, to his credit, employed some fine movement and tenacity in scoring good, flush shots on the open Broner, who shook them off but didn't exactly do much about them, either.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Love Live! School idol project

Love Live! School idol project

Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Crunchyroll

I spotlighted shows a few times last year that I personally did not like, but that you, the reader, may still find worthwhile. This month's Pick is a bit like those, but rather than the show itself not being good--to the contrary, it's surprisingly so--it, instead, revolves around two subject matters that are not quite dear to my heart: school spirit and idols.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

:anime: Love Comes & Goes…

Most of the time, when you like a show or movie, you tend to keep liking it for as many times as you watch it or, at least, continue to hold fond memories of it when you last saw it. However, there are times when second impressions make less of an impact than your first, maybe to the point that you find yourself not liking it as quite much as before. As such, it is only fitting on Valentine's Day to look back on a couple of rare occasions when an anime didn't quite stand up as well on a second viewing, as well as the rarer few that did the exact opposite…

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

:anime: Final Impression:: Teekyu

Not only is this a review, it's also the first "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month" of the year!

Review: Teekyu
Alt. Titles: Te-kyu, Teekyuu

Official Site: Japanese
Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Crunchyroll

"Four high-school girls" series are a dime a dozen these days, though that isn't to say that there aren't any bright spots in the genre, as Nichijou (My Ordinary Life) and Hyakko have shown in recent years. A popular flavor has the girls involved in a club, where they often do zany, non- club-related things. Teekyu is one of those series, which centers on straight-laced high school freshman Yuri Oshimoto, who gets sucked into the inane escapades of her three senior classmates in the school's tennis club (which, as you guessed it, involves little tennis). At the same time, there is more to this little (and I mean "two-minutes-per-episode" little) show, whose behind-the-scenes notoriety maybe as sublime as the show's most notable accomplishment--being one of the very few, if not the first, show that can out Fooly Cooly FLCL.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

:anime: Ani-Journal - For January 10, 2013

For New Year's, it was about not-so-good things. A day later, for Jan. 2, it was about the technical stuff. And now for the 10th, and closing out this trilogy of-sorts of Ani-Journal entries, let's get down to some more anime!

--(But really…I was trying really to get that Jan. 2 one completed on the 1st. Just missed it…)

--I've already touched on this on Twitter, but I can't really see why Sword Art Online has elicited the kind of emotion that it has among fans. Either it's a popular, great show, or a steaming pile of putrid crap. Personally, cliche-sacked second half and all that hate over that one character aside (see Jan. 2 link), the first half at least was a pretty good, albeit imperfect, one. On the negative side, it skipped time a bit too brusque in certain spots and the "die in the game, die in real life" hook lost some of its edge as the series drifted away from the intensity that was present in the early episodes. Additionally, Asuna, the main heroine and Kirito's main squeeze, is inconsistently portrayed throughout (even in the second half). She's either a strong, independent  and very capable warrior and woman, or she's a helpless damsel-in-distress that gets into avoidable binds (at least, for someone at her level) so Kirito can fulfill his role as the requisite heroic male--sometimes in the same scene.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

:anime: Ani-Journal - For January 02, 2013

Last year, we kicked off 2012 with an Ani-Journal entry and concluded it with one (which was, um, a day ago). So, I figured, hey, why not kick off 2013 (and a new year again) with yet another installment of Ani-Journal, now out of its beta phase! I mean, when you've barely had the chance to post anything the past year, you've got a lot of things left to say!

--In early June, I finally was able to purchase a PlayStation 3 (320 GB Slim w/ Move bundle). While, yes, you can play video games on it, I primarily bought it for its Blu-ray functionality, as well as its streaming video services. The latter was rather slim at first for anime (Hulu Plus, Amazon, and Netflix), but the timing couldn't have been more apropos, as the options exploded soon after with Crunchyroll, Neon Alley, Crackle, and YouTube.