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


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?