Anime Lounge #13: Free!

Free -- Anime Lounge

Anime-LoungeSeries: Free!

Episodes: 1 to 12

Premise: Three friends — Haruka, Nagisa and Makoto — decide to begin a swim club after a fourth in their group, Rin, reappears in their lives after living abroad and rejects their offer to swim together again. The trio recruit another member, Rei, into their club and begin in earnest to resurrect their old swim club and try to make it to Nationals.

Is it worth watching?: Yes. It’s got competition and friendship, which is standard for most anime these days. Also, if you’re into that sort of thing, the animation used in the muscles in this swimming anime is expertly drawn.

Breakout character: Rin Matsuoka. Rin comes across as a pretty dark jerk, but he’s got his reasons for staying away from the group. He’s interesting and he’s written well because of the realistic way in which he comes back to his roots after a long absence. The struggle is there but the way he manages it makes it worthwhile to keep watching.

Funniest episode: Episode 4, “Captive Butterfly.” It’s all about teaching one of the club members to swim, which is kind of the point of having a swim club in the first place. We won’t reveal which member can’t swim, but the efforts to teach are what make the episode hilarious. Also, searching for the perfect swimsuit in the episode also end in hilarity.

Where it’s going?: The Iwatobi High Swim Club trains hard to make it to Nationals. Their efforts will not go in vain, we promise, and it remains to be seen if they can patch things up with their former friend Rin. How they go about reaching these two goals is the best and brightest part of acquainting yourself with Free!

Otaku Corner: Cosplay is not Consent

Godzilla Guy panel-Otaku Corner

Sean “That Godzilla Guy” McGuinness hosts the “Cosplay is not Consent” panel during Nashicon 2015. | Photo by Brandon Beatty

Say it loud and proud: Cosplay is not Consent

Brandon-2012-cutoutI’m diverting from the normal course of reviewing the latest in anime and manga for a new segment called “the otaku tent.” I’ll give my thoughts on issues that not only affect otaku, but also other fellow fans of geek culture. Don’t worry, Otaku Corner will still do reviews of great anime and manga. This quarter, however, is a topic that affects more than just fans of anime. I feel that as a fan and fellow con-goer, this requires an immediate call to action.

GI Editor-in-Chief Lyndsey Hicks has recently written columns about issues regarding equality in geek culture. Those articles were written not to put down the entire male geek population, but to ensure that no gamer or fellow geek is discriminated against in our diverse-yet-awesome world. After reading her columns, I felt compelled as a fellow gamer/geek to write about a movement called Cosplay is not Consent. While attending Nashicon 2015 in our hometown of Columbia, S.C., Lyndsey and I sat in a CNC panel hosted by fellow Columbian Sean McGuiness. McGuiness is a known fixture in our city’s con scene as “That Godzilla Guy,” who sets up shop at Nashicon and Banzaicon, displaying excellent drawings of the King of Monsters and his cohorts.

During his panel, I learned about CNC and why it was unfortunately created and needed. Last year, there was an attempt of sexual misconduct toward an underage Nashicon attendee. The alleged perpetrator was found and reported to con staff and police, but if that attendee had not spoken up, it would have been a different conclusion. This is sad because incidents like this one are not isolated to Nashicon. In 2013, Seattle’s Aki-con experienced a public relations disaster when a special guest DJ was charged with sexual assault against a minor attendee. Despite his capture, Aki-con’s handling of the situation resulted in Aki-con being liable and losing dedicated attendees.

After the panel, I spoke with McGuiness and learned that cosplayers (especially females) are catching inexcusable levels of hell for either dressing too provocatively or being a poser. To me, a fan is a fan be it either anime or video gamer. It takes CRAZY levels of courage to do a cosplay of a favorite character and brave their way while at cons without the side looks of either an ultra fan or bible-thumper. My fellow geeks, I need to say this: Alienating our own kindred AIN’T COOL. I also have massive beef with dudes that are perverts toward women cosplaying or not.

In my six years writing for GI, I’m VERY fortunate to have learned from a gamer that eats, breathes and sleeps video games and geek culture, and also has the intelligence to make sure that this publication is on the mark in getting to the public on time. With all of the stupidity in our society, I’m glad that people such as Sean McGuiness are stepping up to make our anime — and similar conventions — which we thrive in are welcoming to all. I’m sending out a call to all my gamers, larpers, comic book fan, bronies and all geeks: If we see harassment of another geek, whether it be inappropriate touching or putting down one’s fandom, PLEASE step in or report it to con staff so that they can do what is need to stop it. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, fellow geeks. Let’s step up like our favorite characters and fight against evil. Let’s say to the world COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT.

Brandon Beatty is editor-at-large of Gaming Insurrection. He can be reached at brandonb@gaminginsurrection.com

Top 5 on The Strip: Best X-Men arcs

God Loves Man Kills

1. God Loves, Man Kills

The mutant struggle against one of the X-Men’s most human protagonists is a tragic tale of self hate and bigotry. It’s easily one of the most sorrowful tales of the lengths homosapiens will go to in their efforts to eradicate mutantkind. William Stryker is the leader of the anti-mutant movement and stops at nothing to punish mutants in the eyes of other humans and the media.

Days of Future Past

2. Days of Future Past

One of the more recent X-Men movies, Days of Future Past shows what would happen if the Sentinels, mutant-hunting robots, took over North America and eventually the world. It’s a good look at the effects of a singular event affecting multiple realities.

Onslaught

3. Onslaught

If Professor Charles Xavier were to lose himself in the cause of fighting mutant hate and believed in the goals of his nemesis Magneto, Onslaught would be the result. The merged consciousness of two of the greatest minds in mutancy does not equal a good being and what becomes the genesis of Xavier giving up the fight even temporarily.

Messiah Complex

4. Messiah Complex

A child born with the possibility to save mutants in their darkest hour makes up the Messiah Complex storyline. Although it’s centered on a child with the name Summers, it’s interesting to see what happens when Cable – a known battle-hardened warrior – becomes slightly more human when he’s tasked with protecting a child.

Age of Apocalypse

5. Age of Apocalypse

One of the largest stories ever to come to the X-Men fold, the Age of Apocalypse is the focal point for a lot of changes in the X-Men universe, and, Marvel at large. Apocalypse manages to take over North America and kill numerous important mutants in the process. The fallout continues to rankle some storylines today.