State of AnimeRetroGames Affairs

Hi, my name’s Randy Hsiao. I’m a huge anime and video games fan. I watch anime while exercising, and I play games when I have free time. I especially have a soft spot for retro games. I spend more money on figures, goods, and games than I care to admit. Otaku inside out. I used to put hobby-related posts on my personal blog Air Combo, but I’ve decided to create a dedicated website, hence is born. I’ve transferred a few relevant posts from my old blog to this site as a start. Another reason for the site is to get to know people who share similar interests, so please leave comments in the blog. Also feel free to introduce yourself at I’d love to hear any suggestion and make friends!

In addition, AnimeRetroGames is on Instagram and Twitter. I post pics of my personal collection, as well as news and sales of the latest. Follow me if you like, you know, that kind of stuff.

Bummed I didn’t attend Anime Expo this year (first time in many years). I watched a lot of anime at home over the July 4th weekend to make up, and this is another all-anime post. Few words on where we left off (here, and here). To get our blood pumping, let’s start with the sports genre.


Yowamushi Pedal (YowaPeda) season 3 will air in January 2017! To get a refresher, there are 3 movies (2 compilations) to check out. Additionally, there’ll be a film adaptation of the Spare Bike spin-off manga in September.


No words on season 4 of Kuroko’s Basketball, but 3 compilation movies, one per season released so far, are coming: Winter Cup Compilation ~Shadow and Light~ on September 3, ~Beyond the Tears~ on October 8, and ~Crossing the Door~ on December 3.


Season 2 of Haikyu!! (Haikyuu!!) has concluded (sooo good), and season 3 is scheduled for October. Does Karasuno really have a chance against Shiratorizawa? Can’t wait to find out!


In other anime news, Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! season 2, Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! LOVE!, has started; so has the next arc of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, subtitled Diamond is Unbreakable. While I still like it, I think this arc is a bit weak compared to the phenomenal Stardust Crusaders. The main characters just don’t seem to have as much personality. Ushio and Tora has concluded with season 2, while Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma season 2 started on a high note with fantastic and funny cook-offs. Fairy Tail‘s latest arc, Fairy Tail Zero (detailing the origin of the guild), concluded a while ago and was pretty good, but it’s a long wait while they work on the next season. Assassination Classroom season 2 has also concluded, but I’ve yet to watch it, so don’t spoil it! Lastly, apologies for ending on bad news. Attack on Titan season 2, which was supposed to have aired already, has been postponed to next year 🙁 At least there are 2 compilation and 2 live-action movies if you can’t get enough like me.


Let’s look at some new series. Only 3 to recommend this time. First is KONOSUBA (God’s blessing on this wonderful world!). The series follows a teenager who died in the real world and was transported to an RPG world. He found party members in a narcissistic goddess, a stubborn magician, and a masochist crusader. Misadventures ensued. It’s meant to be a comedy, and when it’s funny, it’s really funny, but most of the time the jokes felt cliche. Maybe I’m just jaded. Still, the story and characters are interesting, and it has introduced the term NEET to me, so I’m gonna keep watching. Season 1 (only 10 episodes) has concluded, and season 2 airs in January next year.


Next up is GATE (The Self-Defense Forces Fight Like This in That Place). A portal “gate” appeared in modern day Tokyo, and soldiers and monsters from a fantasy world emerged to attack the city. With unquestionably superior technology, Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) easily pushed back the enemy through the gate and forced the empire of this other world to open peace negotiations (hmm, still holding a grudge against Matthew C. Perry after all these years?). Main hero, a 33-year-old otaku and a JSDF soldier, is of the unwilling-hero-answering-call-to-greatness trope. Despite lacking ambition in his career, he has leadership qualities that draw people both within JSDF and from the fantasy world to him, and he has a knack of getting into and out of sticky situations. Honestly, the series feels a bit like shameless self-promotion for JSDF — I mean, seriously, in what world can JSDF possibly defeat elite forces from western nations (around ep. 9 or 10)?? But propaganda aside, the show has a good story and very memorable characters. Demi-goddess Rory Mercury alone turned every fan into a gothic lolicon. Contains some mature content, with a generally comedic vibe. 24 episodes, concluding a story arc but not the main story. Don’t know if there’ll be a next season.


Finally, we have Re:ZERO (Starting Life in Another World). Again, main character is a young male otaku in the real world, who was mysteriously teleported to a fantasy world of swords and sorcery (circumstances unclear). The twist is, when he dies in this new world, he wakes up to a previous point in his adventure, retaining all his memory up to his death, while everyone else is none the wiser. It’s akin to a “check point” in a video game. It’s then up to him to find a solution to avoid the certain “death” and get to next check point. Of the 3, I think this one is the most interesting. The fact they like to end episodes on cliffhangers makes it even more compelling to continue watching. Similar to GATE, the show has some dark moments, but it’s generally upbeat. Only 15 episodes aired so far, and believe me, you won’t want to stop after you start watching.

It’s interesting all 3 series involve a guy otaku who finds himself in a familiar fantasy world because of all the games he played, manga he read, and anime he watched. In the fantasy world, he can use his otherwise useless knowledge to his advantage. That just seems to be a popular trend in anime right now. Probably resonates with most anime fans. Certainly does with me. BTW, all 3 series have fan service.. well, maybe not as much in Re:ZERO, but you’ve been warned.


That’s it for now. Do you like my recommendations? Please add yours in the comments section below! Oh, I also want to mention that One Piece and Naruto Shippuden have become good again. The Dressrosa arc of One Piece had been dragging, but I really liked the concluding episodes. There were moments that brought tears to my eyes, as the theme of freedom was revisited. It’s one of the big reasons I fell in love with the series. It’s also good to see Naruto can still be humorous in the middle of an epic battle, and now we’re onto the story of how the ninja world got started, which is at least a lot more interesting than the usual filler episodes. I do hope the series concludes this year. It’s been long enough. :p


Another 12 Anime to Watch

Happy New Year!

Thing with next to no readers is I don’t feel pressured to write. Nonetheless, it’s enjoyable to consolidate thoughts into a cohesive post. Juggling a handful of exciting projects, life continues to be interesting. More shall be revealed in time. As for this post, I think more anime recommendations are in order.

First, a few words about the top ten list published in my lonesome 2014 post. Since that post, Yowapeda has concluded its season 2 (Grande Road). The heart-warming, feel-good trope has worn thin a bit, but the series continues to keep me, literally, at the edge of the gym cycling machine seat. It’s one of the better anime to watch while working out. I don’t know if there’ll be a season 3, but there’re compilation films of the seasons, with extra footages, for those who want more.

Similarly, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has concluded its third story arc – Stardust Crusaders. If you haven’t checked the series out, I recommend watching this arc at least. I pray to the anime gods that there’ll be more seasons, but I’m not holding my breath.

Kuroko’s Basketball also concluded its third season, and it was as spectacular and exciting as one could expect. The show has more or less become basketball players with superpowers duking it out, but it’s just popcorn-worthy fun watching those abilities getting revealed and countered. The last episode hints at a new season, and I’ll definitely be courtside when it airs.

On a slight down note, Hunter x Hunter has concluded, and I have to say, regrettably, that everything since my post has been a let down. As mentioned previously, the whole Chimera Ant arc has been head-scratching, and while the ending is a little cheap, at least the story’s complete. The worst is the Hunter Chairman Election arc that follows. It introduces whole bunch of new characters, raising my expectation way high for some interesting and intricately weaving storylines, only to end abruptly, leaving me high, dry, and unsatisfied. Well, At least the second-chair lead, Killua, to whom I’ve taken a liking more than the main character because of his more believable characterization and motivations, gets a chance to shine. The manga is of course on-going and seemingly never ending, but honestly, if the later story arcs are as weird and disappointing as these last two anime ones, I don’t think I’m missing much if they don’t do further anime adaptations.

Lastly, I want to issue a rare correction. Upon further reflection (and some rewatching), I’ve concluded that I’ve given Kill la Kill a much lower rank than it deserves. My reasoning at the time was that it contained too much blood, nudity, and general craziness to be recommended for the “mainstream.” However, I think a unique characteristic that separates anime from other entertainment media is its liberal use of silliness and hyperbole, so if you’re an anime fan, the outrageousness of this show shouldn’t bother you. I hereby officially change its rank to #2. It’s a show that simply shouldn’t be missed.

On with the new recommendations!

12. Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! (Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE!)
12 episodes (season 1 complete).
I’m a huge comedy fan, so we begin the list with this silly show about five beautiful and magical high school boys, each with a nature-based superpower granted by a pink wombat from outer space, forming the “Earth Defense Club.” Their mission: prevent the “Earth Conquest Club” (run by other weirdly colored cute animals) from conquering Earth. If this sounds like Sailor Moon, that’s the whole point. If this doesn’t sound like something you want to watch, you’re wrong and missing out. Parody at its best. Season 2 has been announced.

11. Mobile Suit Gundam SEED
50 episodes (complete).
Yes, an oldie. I’ve always had an interest in Gundam (you — or I for that matter — don’t want to know how much money I’ve spent on Gundam models and toys), but I’ve only watched a few Gundam series in entirety. I found this full series subbed on YouTube with decent quality, so I gave it a look. If you can get over the cliched whiny main character, who refuses the mission at first but reluctantly accepts his calling later, the story’s surprisingly good and mature. Similar to other Gundam series, there’s a general theme of moral ambiguity, and characters aren’t always clearly delineated as good or evil. The apparent “bad guys” don’t seem so bad once viewer is introduced to their side of the story and given a chance to understand their motivations. Yes it’s a long series, but there aren’t really any filler episode like other long-running shows. Give it a try. By the way, probably due to its popularity, there’s a sequel series called Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny that furthers the story. I’ve watched a few of its episodes, but I find it too similar to the original that it has become boring. Maybe in a few years, after I’ve largely forgotten about the original, I’ll return to it.

10. Ushio and Tora
26 episodes (season 1 complete).
While there have been few OVA adaptions in the 90s, this is the 2015 TV series based on the eponymous manga, which, if I remember correctly, has been around since I was in elementary school (some 25 years ago). It’s about a boy, Ushio, who by chance (or fate?) frees the “Beast Spear” and unleashes a monster called Tora (tiger in Japanese). Ushio and Tora form an uneasy friendship and unlikely bond, as they take on other enemies, be they monsters or humans. The monsters are usually based on Japanese folklores, giving the show a very oriental theme. Season 2 coming in April. Title song is pretty metal.

9. Arpeggio of Blue Steel (Aoki Hagane no Arupejio)
12 episodes (complete).
Fleet of Fog Military naval vessels personified as girls. The concept is similar to Kantai Collection, a popular Japanese web game and franchise. There’s even a canon KanColle anime, but that show is trash. Arpeggio is far superior. The main character, the typical high school boy genius who excels at military tactics (if Japan had all these high school boy geniuses, how could they have lost the war), is bland if not annoying. However, the supporting cast, especially the “mental models” (personifications of the vessels), are terrific. The plot is gripping too. A lot of times an episode ends on a cliffhanger that leads to the “just one more episode” phenomenon. Fantastic animation and great character designs (I love you, Takao). The story of the anime differs from that of the manga, even has an alternate ending. There’re also two movies.

8. Akame ga Kill!
24 episodes (complete).
A boy travels from the countryside to the city to make money, only to be brutally awakened to the truth by the cruelty of the city folks. One thing leads to another, he joins the assassin group Night Raid, whose purpose is to end the current regime and its corruption. There’re few moments of comic relief, but overall it’s a pretty dark and mature show (both theme-wise and content-wise… you’ve been warned). Great action and fight sequences. Colorful and memorable cast, with one of the more sadistic yet beautiful antagonists in anime history.

7. Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon (Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka, DanMachi for short)
13 episodes (complete?).
Story revolves around a boy adventurer, the sole member of the Hestia familia, who works hard in the Dungeon making ends meet. He falls for a fellow elite adventurer, while oblivious to the affections of other women toward him. Especially that of his own patron, the goddess Hestia. Plenty of references to mythologies of various cultures, most notably Greco-Roman. Yes, it’s yet another anime with the typical one-guy-many-girls trope, but the main character is hardly noticeable next to the tenacious and ever-so-cheerful Hestia, otherwise known as “lolipai,” or “loliboobs,” or “ribbon boobs” (you’ll get it first time you meet her). Don’t worry, the show has more meat than the apparent fan service.

6. No Game No Life
12 episodes (complete?).
The entire show is about games — not just video games but games in the most general sense. A brother and sister pair of undefeated gamers, bored by the lack of challenge in the human world, enter a fantasy world where playing games is the way of life. As an avid student of game theory, I watch this show almost as an educational program, if not for the excessive and sometimes border-lining illegal fan service. At least the art style is unique.

Now we’re moving from the “worth a watch” to “must watch” territory. Still with me?

5. Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma
24 episodes (season 1 complete).
Think: Iron Chef on steroids. Never have I seen food rendered and animated so well in non-photorealistic rendering. I mean, I get hungry after watching each episode. Anyway, the story is once again about a young boy, but this time the said boy wants to be a better chef than his old man, so he goes to an elite cooking school to improve his culinary skills. Oh yeah, there’s fan service too, in that almost every time someone tastes a good dish, he or she (most of the time a “she”) voluntarily gets naked and undergoes an orgasmic reaction, at least mentally. I know I make the show sound like a B-rated porn, but I promise, it doesn’t disappoint.

4. Haikyu!! (Haikyuu!!)
38 episodes (season 2 on-going).
This show would’ve made it to my 2014 list had I not just started watching it at the time I wrote that post. I knew it was good even back then, but I wasn’t comfortable placing it in the ranking until I watched more. Well, better late than never. It’s a sports anime about volleyball. However, unlike Kuroko’s Basketball, this is more realistic. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is life-like realism, and 10 is complete fantasy, if Kuroko’s Basketball were a 10, then Haikyu!! would be about a 3. Besides a good balance of comedy and feel-good sports theme, the animation and art direction really let the viewer feel the intensity of the back-and-forth of a match. The music is pretty good too, gotta hunt down a copy of the OST.

3. Fairy Tail
265 episodes (season 2 on-going).
Ah, one of the arteries of the anime scene. Besides Naruto, One Piece, and the waning Bleach, Fairy Tail has to be one of the bigger long-running series around. Took me long enough to finally get into this show, and I must say, it’s worth every minute! If Naruto is about ninja, and One Piece is about pirates, then Fairy Tail is about wizards. No, not the long-beard, pointy hat, Gandalf kind, but more like young, sexy, superhero style. Colorful cast (doesn’t hurt that most female characters are well endowed), good story, decent animation and music. On the surface Fairy Tail sounds like a typical long series with above-average production values. However, what sets it apart for me is the comedic timing. While series like Naruto and One Piece also try to be funny, they hit the spot inconsistently. Fairy Tail nails it. It’s so good at it that even the filler episodes are fun to watch. I’ve yet to find another similarly structured long series (i.e., non-episodic) for which I can say the same. At a time when watching Naruto feels like work (when will you end??), and One Piece drags its feet, I’m glad this show is there. I love you, Erza Scarlet.

2. Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu)
22 episodes (season 1 complete).
An octopus-like creature named Kurosei, who can move at Mach 20 (20 times the speed of sound, or more than 15,000 miles/hr), is teaching a classroom of “delinquent” students. As if that isn’t weird enough, Kurosei has destroyed the moon — making it a crescent permanently — and threatened to destroy Earth in a year. Since all attempts to kill him by the world’s governments have ended in failure, the only hope is for these students to assassinate him (now you get the title?). Besides the blatant mistake that just because most of the moon is destroyed doesn’t mean it’s always going to look like a crescent when viewed from Earth, this is a brilliant show. Again, a good mix of comedy, action, and some seriousness. Great music. But, the biggest draw is that the audience really feel the love Kurosei has for his students. He recognizes that each student is different and should be taught in a unique way (not unlike Confucius, I dare say), even though these are reject students of an elite school and abandoned to a remote classroom. It’s the underdog theme done right. Season 2 begins this week!

It’s difficult not making Assassination Classroom #1 of the list because I like it so much. In the end, though, I think my #1 pick pulls ahead just slightly because I can relate to it a bit better. So, without further adieu, here’s what I think the best show you should watch right now.

1. Himouto! Umaru-chan
12 episodes (complete?).
Why would a show about a spoiled, entitled, princess-brat named Umaru be my #1 pick? Simple. she’s that game and anime otaku that lives inside all of us (well, maybe not all…). Not only does she read manga, play a game all night ’til sunrise, she even blows into the Famicom (NES) cart! Despite her age, she has an old (gamer) soul like me. She just gets it. As I get older, social and familial obligations (not to mention physical limits) kick in, so I can no longer be the carefree gamer I once was… Ah, good ol’ days… Wait, what were we talking about? Oh ya. Umaru, despite seemingly selfish, actually shows a lot of love toward her friends and her older brother, who works hard as a salaryman and takes care of her (since she’s still in high school). I also like that the show doesn’t explain every feeling or incident in narration or dialogues. Some things just don’t need to be said, you know? And, of course, being probably the most adorable anime I’ve ever watched doesn’t hurt. I really hope there’s a season 2.

BTW, the word “himouto” is a pun combining “imouto” (little sister) and “himono,” which literally means “dried fish,” but in Japanese slang can mean a woman who is proper in public but lazy at home. Learn something everyday.

There you have it. Let me know if you like these recommendations. I know I went over 10 titles this time, but gimme a break, I only post like once a year. Before you go, just two more things. First, the #1 anime of my previous list, Attack on Titan, is starting its season 2 this April, so mark your calendar!

Second, I’ve started an Instagram channel called Anime Retro Games, where I post photos, videos, and music related to games and anime, with a bias for the retro. Sometimes I go into details about a game or anime that I really love, so I try to make it informative as well as entertaining. If you use Ig, check it out and follow me! Until next time, happy anime watching.

My Top 10 Anime of Recent Years

Watching anime has been a major entertainment activity personally the past couple of years. I watch anime when I take a break from coding, and even more often right before I go to sleep. In fact, I probably spend more time watching anime than playing games nowadays. Getting a paid Crunchyroll membership is a little expensive ($11.95 per month), but I’m addicted to the ease and convenience of watching the latest anime — many of which available as soon as they’re broadcasted in Japan — on all my mobile and non-mobile devices.

Since I’ve watched a lot of anime, I want to recommend the better ones to other fans of the medium. Here are the top 10 anime series I’ve watched the last few years.

10. Chronicles of the Going Home Club
12 episodes (complete). Comedy with high school students. For those who love non-sensical, over-exaggeration style humor. And “Mohawk Seal.”


Chronicles of the Going Home Club poster

Chronicles of the Going Home Club

9. Witch Craft Works
12 episodes (complete). Starring high school students that know sorcery. Nice character design and art work. Especially the well-endowed female lead.

Witch Craft Works poster

Witch Craft Works

8. Kill la Kill
24 episodes (complete). Unique art style (slight hint of retro), over-the-top action… not that I expect anything less from the creators of Gurren Lagann. Get ready to be showered by gallons of blood, and bouncing boobies (and sometimes male butts) — of high school students. Love the music too.

Kill la Kill poster

Kill la Kill

7. Tonari no Seki-kun: Master of Killing Time (My Neighbor Seki)
16 episodes (ongoing). Each episode runs only about 7 minutes. A high school girl is constantly distracted by the boy sitting next to her in class because he’s always engaging in some weird activities (like playing Chess vs. Shogi). She really can’t blame him entirely though, as she has too vivid an imagination. Brings back memories. Funny and cute.

Tonari no Seki-kun poster

Tonari no Seki-kun

6. Girls und Panzer
12 episodes (complete). High school students (girls only) who pilot tanks and compete in mock tank warfare. The characters are adorable. Their friendship is touching at times, and it feels good watching how they overcome hardship together. Panzer vor!

Girls und Panzer poster

Girls und Panzer

5. Yowamushi Pedal (Yowapeda)
28 episodes (ongoing). High school cyclists competing in tournaments. The character designs are a bit weird, and the main character really isn’t very charismatic, but like many other feel-good sports anime, seeing the characters work hard to grow just inspires me to do the same. I’m seriously this close to getting a racing bike.

Yowamushi Pedal poster

Yowamushi Pedal

4. JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
30 episodes (ongoing, 1 season complete). Story centers around the misadventures of the Joestars, a family of English roots, as members from different generations of the family battle vampires, zombies, or otherwise superpower beings hell-bent on ruling humankind. Based on the long-running manga of the same name that started back in 1986. Although two OVAs and a movie based on different arcs of the manga have previously been made, this is the first time they attempt to anime-ize the entire manga. We’re currently on the 3rd and most popular arc, Stardust Crusaders, where the story first introduces the series’ signature attraction, the Stands. Even though the characters over explain everything, and it’s funny to see sound effects written out on screen (in Japanese no less), as if one’s reading the manga, if you like crazy fight action with equal parts cunning and brawn (and muscular men that for some reason like to strike weird poses), then you shouldn’t miss this one. The music is also fantastic.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure poster

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure

3. Kuroko’s Basketball
50 episodes (ongoing, 2 seasons complete). High school basketball players compete in tournaments. Unlike other sports anime, the main character, Kuroko, has no athletic talent in basketball whatsoever, but he’s very good at not getting noticed, hence making him the perfect assist player. I have a soft spot for sports anime that have characters with unique and sometimes superhuman abilities, and basketball happens to be my favorite sport anyway. It’s fun watching the protagonist team struggling and overcoming opponents that seem much stronger initially. It’s like defeating difficult bosses in games. Can’t wait for the next season.

Kuroko's Basketball poster

Kuroko’s Basketball

2. Hunter x Hunter
126 episodes (ongoing). Elementary school students(?) and adults (and sometimes bugs made from humans) fight and kill each other. It’s more interesting than it sounds. Based on a manga, this is the most recent anime adaptation that started back in 2011 (previously, a 62-episode TV series and some OVAs were made). I’m pleasantly surprised that characters actually get killed (and not brought back to life willy nilly like in Dragon Ball), or in some other cases severely mutilated (physically and/or psychologically). Like many other anime I enjoy, the one-on-one fights are the main attractions, but unlike most other anime, often it’s the side most prepared — and analyzes the situation the best — wins. It’s almost like game theory applied to anime fights. I don’t particularly like the designs of the main characters (one of the reasons I didn’t watch the initial anime adaptation), but the story has me glued that I binge watched the first few story arcs. Despite it being a long-running series, each episode actually progresses the plot, not many filler episodes. However, the current arc seems to be dragging, hence losing a bit of my interest, but I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and see how it ends.

Hunter x Hunter poster

Hunter x Hunter

1. Attack on Titan
25 episodes (complete). Bunch of high school students… oh wait, maybe some are older, but anyway, bunch of people fighting human-eating giants in humanity’s desperate last attempt at species survival. Very slick fighting action, with Spider-Man style swinging movements (achieved with gas-powered apparatus known as “Vertical Maneuvering Equipment”). Dark and serious throughout, with occasional out-of-place humorous spots to break the tension. I know the story continues in the manga, but I wish they make more seasons. So much left unexplained.

Attack on Titan poster

Attack on Titan

Note the absence of One Piece and Naruto Shippuden (and Bleach, but that ended in 2012). I’m a fan of those series as well, and I’ll definitely watch them to the end. However, they’re already hugely popular that they don’t really need recommendation. And, to be honest, they have so many filler episodes that sometimes watching them simply isn’t as interesting as watching those in my top 10 list.

Strange I like so many series starring high school students. Most anime series probably star high school students, since that’s probably their target audience. Wish they make an anime about a 30-something-year-old computer programmer, then I can really relate.

There are plenty of other series that I’ve watched or I’m watching that either aren’t good enough to make this list, or I haven’t watched enough of them to form an opinion. For example, I’ve watched the entire Sword Art Online series, and while I know it’s popular, I just think the story and characterization are too flat and generic. Maybe I would’ve appreciated it more if I played an online RPG. Of the ones I’m following currently, Nanana’s Buried Treasure and Black Bullet have some potential. And, of course, I’ve been meaning to get into other popular series like Fairy Tail and Bakemonogatari (and its numerous sequels). Just a matter of time. I’ll be sure to share my thoughts later.

Do you like any of the anime in this list? If you think we have similar tastes in anime, what else would you recommend me watch?