Ride Or Die: The Most Iconic Vehicles In Anime And Manga

Ride Or Die: The Most Iconic Vehicles In Anime And Manga

Nobody can deny the appeal of a powerful motorcycle or a fast sports car. These vehicles turn heads wherever they go, often inciting both jealousy and admiration. Whether you’re driving a powerful muscle car, a sleek sports car, a slick sports bike, or a souped-up big bike, there’s no denying the prestige that comes with owning one of these vehicles.

The same goes for anime and manga characters, of course. There are some anime that can’t be talked about without discussing the sweet rides that are as much a part of the cast as the characters are. While some are real cars, the others are fictional. Take note we aren’t just talking about powerful vehicles like Ferraris or Harley Davidsons, but rather iconic ones that make an impact on the viewer and the story.

Kaneda’s Motorcycle from Akira

Akira is a post-apocalyptic anime about a boy who develops psychic powers that make him virtually godlike until he loses control of them and he becomes a threat not only to all of Japan, but to himself as well. Known for its dynamic animation, stunning and disturbing imagery, and amazing storytelling, Akira is widely regarded as one of the best anime movies ever made.

One thing in particular that most people will remember first about the anime is the motorcycle owned by the main character, Kaneda. A sleek red sports bike with a very distinct design, the bike is more memorable to a lot of people, even surpassing some of the movie’s characters in terms of popularity. In fact, if you do a search for Akira, chances are most of the top results will feature the motorcycle in them!

Tachikoma from Ghost In The Shell

One thing that can make a cool ride even better is a cool ride that’s sentient. This was proven in western shows like Night Rider and Herbie, and reinforced in anime by the extremely popular tachikomas. Serving as police vehicles, tachikomas are small, personal tanks that have wheeled spider legs instead of treads and a pair of arms they can use to manipulate objects.

What really sets them apart, however, are their cute personalities. Often very perky and positive, tachikomas are shown as cheerful and friendly, providing a counterbalance to their often-grim pilots. They’re so popular that they have their own toy line, and in the animated series, little sketches at the end of the episode featuring their misadventures. It’s almost impossible to watch the series and not want a tachikoma of your own!

AE86 Trueno GT-Apex from Initial D

From the anime that started the drifting craze around the world, Initial D, the Trueno GT-Apex is, unlike the other entries on our list, an actual car. Manufactured by Toyota, the Trueno GT-Apex has no special powers, transformations, or artificial intelligence that we know if. In Initial D however, it’s the iconic car driven by the main character as he makes his deliveries up and down the mountains of his hometown.

The car became iconic because despite being an affordable car that wasn’t known as a particularly fast or powerful car, its handling and stability made it a popular choice for actual drifters. The fact that this car is also used in the anime to outperform more expensive, more popular cars also helped it reach its iconic status in the anime world.

Rage Against The Machine: Cyberpunk Anime You Need To See Before You Die

Rage Against The Machine: Cyberpunk Anime You Need To See Before You Die

One of the best things about anime as compared to western animation, was that anime wasn’t afraid to go beyond the popular genres. While western animation restricted itself to basic sci-fi and fantasy, anime dared to push itself beyond the basic and explore the sub-genres of those themes as well. One of the first genres that anime really dove into was the cyberpunk genre.

Characterized by futuristic dystopias with advanced technology, a large rift between the wealthy and the poor (often with no real middle class), and a bleak landscape dominated by cities and empty wastes, cyberpunk was a theme that had been explored in western movies, but not animation so it’s largely unfamiliar territory to a lot of western viewers. Here are our picks for the best cyberpunk anime available today:

Ghost In The Shell

Masamune Shirow’s masterpiece, Ghost In The Shell remains to be one of the most iconic cyberpunk anime to this day. While it doesn’t have some of the grittier elements of the cyberpunk setting, it still has the advanced technology as well as a visible rift between the wealthy and everybody else. Packed full of police action and high-tech mystery solving, Ghost In the Shell remains relevant and exciting up to today.

One element that makes the anime such a standout is the defining philosophies within the narrative that isn’t present in so many others in the genre. The philosophies about “the ghost in the shell”, the “stand alone complex”, and other philosophies with roots in technology and cybernetics elevate the series beyond a simple high-tech action series.

Battle Angel Alita

Heart-pumping action, cybernetic assassins, class warfare, a floating city where the rich live, and slums on the ground where the poor are exploited for labor and organs, Battle Angel Alita hits practically all the checkboxes for a cyberpunk story. As one of the earlier strong female leads in anime, Battle Angel Alita stood out from most of the other anime in its time.

It was also one of the first anime that didn’t have the entire story revolve around a romantic relationship. While the first arc did have the main character fall in love, the romance was secondary to the character’s development. The second story arc did away with romance entirely, focusing on the main character becoming a star in a fictional, extremely violent sport.

Psycho-Pass

Another cyberpunk police anime, Psycho-Pass introduces viewers to a world where the government constantly monitors its citizens. There are cameras everywhere that monitor the “psycho-pass” of the civilians. This “psycho-pass” determines the mental state of the civilians and how likely they are to commit crimes which are handled by the police force and their “hounds”.

What makes it interesting is that these “hounds” are actually criminals armed with special weapons that are non-lethal so they can’t be used against their handlers. When aimed at someone whose psycho-pass fails to meet the set standards, these weapons become highly lethal. This questionable method of enforcement is challenged when the police are faced with a unique criminal: a madman whose psycho-pass doesn’t register on the monitors.

Revival Time: Masakazu Katsura Works That Are Due For An Anime Series Or Revival

Revival Time: Masakazu Katsura Works That Are Due For An Anime Series Or Revival

When it comes to anime writers and illustrators, people now are more familiar with studios rather than the individual writers. While there are still a few standout writers, only hardcore otaku would know them by name. From the older generation of writers however, there are a few standouts that deserve recognition. One particular standout is Masakazu Katsura.

Known most for anime like Video Girl Ai and DNA2, Katsura had a distinct art style that made his work distinct. Lately, a lot of older anime have been getting revived much to the delight of older audiences. With anime like Sailor Moon, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Voltron making comebacks, we believe it’s time for Katsura’s work to be brought back for modern audiences. Here are our top picks:

DNA2

A time travel anime, DNA2 is about a young man who has a violent reaction to women: he throws up violently whenever he’s sexually aroused by one. This makes him highly unlikely to succeed at ever getting a girlfriend. One day, a woman from the future shows up in order to stop the first “mega-playboy” from messing up the future by shooting him with a “cure”. Problem solved, right?

Turns out she shot him with the wrong thing. What she shot him with was actually the DNA code for her ideal husband thus turning the main character into the very mega playboy she was trying to stop in the first place. As one of Katsura’s more popular works, we think that the series is due for a revival. It would be interesting to see how the characters would fare with today’s technology, like social media.

Tiger & Bunny

Relatively new having been aired in 2011, Tiger & Bunny would still fit in well with today’s other popular shows and movies. Set in a fictional New York, Tiger & Bunny is about a world where superheroes exist, but rather than being the secretive superheroes we’re familiar with, most of them are attached to popular brands, with their uniforms showing off the brand’s logos.

With the meteoric rise in social media since 2011, it would be interesting to see how the heroes would work with social media as a marketing tool. Would they be required to have Instagram or Snapchat accounts? Would they have to live-stream on YouTube or Twitch while working? It would definitely create a fresh dynamic between the veteran Tiger and the younger Bunny.

Wing-Man

Another entry from the sentai genre, we believe Wing-Man would do well in today’s anime scene. There have been some very popular anime in the past few years about ordinary people, usually nerds or geeks of some sort, finding themselves in amazing situations where they can be heroes, such as Re: Zero, Konosuba, and In Another World With My Smartphone.

Wing-Man focuses on a young student who loves superheroes, and has created his own superhero named Wing-Man. One day, he comes across a princess from another dimension with the power to make dreams come true. This power allows him to become the character he created, Wing-Man. As Wing-Man, he helps the princess fight off the invaders who conquered her realm.

Any Way You Cut It: The Best Slice Of Life Anime And Manga You Should See Right Now

Any Way You Cut It: The Best Slice Of Life Anime And Manga You Should See Right Now

Anime has covered a lot of different genres like action, fantasy, and adventure. Anime has also introduced genres of its own such as mecha and moe. One of the best genres that anime has really brought to life, however is the genre known as slice of life. A lot of people aren’t familiar with the genre, despite what the genre covers. So what exactly is slice of life?

Slice of life is one of those genres that usually overlaps with other genres. Since it’s about the everyday lives of the main characters, it can overlap with genres like fantasy or drama as long as the main focus of the story is the daily lives of the characters, rather than just elements that focus only on the exciting elements or on points of action or tension. With that in mind, here are some of the best examples of the genre:

Gabriel Dropout

In Gabriel Dropout, we learn that angels and devils have to go to school. After going through grade school, they’re sent to earth to learn more about humans and to spread good (or evil) in the world before becoming full fledged angels and demons. The story revolves around the former top student, Gabriel, and her friends: a devious angel, an incompetent demon, and a demon that’s more angelic than the angels.

Gabriel, or Gab-chan, isn’t very angelic anymore though. Having discovered the world of videogames, Gab would rather play video games than go to school or do her chores. The series covers their misadventures at school and at home as they try to cope with how the human world is bringing out the best (or worst) in them, often with hilarious results. A great casual watch for people who want something light.

Clannad

If you haven’t seen this anime yet, you’re missing out on one of the best drama slice of life anime ever made. Originally a visual novel style game, it was adapted into an anime. Unlike most slice of life anime which covers a year or so in the life of the main characters per season, Clannad spans years of the characters lives, with the first season covering their school lives, and the second covering their adult lives.

Be warned, however, that despite how light the first season feels, with a lot of humor and light fun throughout the episodes with only a few major hits to the feels, the second season is an emotional rollercoaster that affects most people who have seen the series, no matter how many times they’ve seen it. A hallmark of a great slice of life series!

Daily Lives Of High School Boys

One of the shows that’s most true to the concept of slice of life anime while remaining entertaining, Daily Lives Of High School Boys features no supernatural or fantasy elements other than for a joke in the first episode. Rather, the show is very true to the sort of scenarios one would expect from teenage boys in high school. There’s a bit of romance, but for the most part, it’s a comedic look at the lives of teen boys.

Puchipuchi Power: Bubble Wrap Simulators And Other Small Toys We Didn’t Know We Needed

Puchipuchi Power: Bubble Wrap Simulators And Other Small Toys We Didn’t Know We Needed

For decades, Japan has been known to produce some of the strangest and most confusing things to come out of the modern world. From crazy game shows, to cartoons about cute girls who also happen to be battleships, to used underwear vending machines, Japan always seems to come out with new products that are equally absurd yet interesting to people around the world. The same holds true of their toys.

Here in the west, we kind of went nuts with the idea of fidget spinners and fidget key chains to occupy our time when we’re bored. Japan, however, in true Japanese form has gone above and beyond anything we could have come up with here. From tactile treasures to digital doodads, here are our favorite small Japanese toys that we didn’t realize we needed in our lives:

Mugen Puchi Puchi

Everybody loves popping bubble wrap, right? The only downside to popping bubble wrap is that eventually, you’ll run out of bubbles to pop. Japan, of course, has the answer: Mugen Puchi Puchi is a small keychain toy that simulates the sound and feeling of popping bubble wrap. The best part is that it’s unlimited fun which keeps the bubble popping fun going on without end!

In addition, every 100 pops generates a special sound like an anime character or a fart. They also have special anime additions that have sound effects from the anime in question, or Idol versions that have voice lines from up-and-coming idols. Not only do you get the therapeutic feeling of popping plastic wrap, it’s also better for the environment and has bonus sounds every 100 pops. What more could you want!

Peri Peri Infinite Shipping Envelope

Another keychain toy, the Peri Peri Infinite shipping envelope simulates the feeling of tearing the cardboard seal that comes on shipping envelopes and certain cardboard packaging. Unlike bubble wrap that you can enjoy for quite a bit before it runs out, envelope and box seals are single use which makes the joy of opening them so much more fleeting!

The keychain toy gives you the joy of unlimited rips while being environmentally friendly since there’s no paper or cardboard to be thrown away. The only downside is that it can be a bit noisy if you use it in public so it isn’t quite as public or office friendly as a fidget spinner or Puchi Puchi. If you’re in the comfort of your own home, however, feel free to let ‘er rip as much as you want!

Tamagochi

The original Japanese keychain toy to make a big splash outside Japan, Tamagochi has since made a revival on mobile phones. At first glance, a Tamagochi seems rather silly. After all, the original Tamagochi pets were just a few LED pixels on looped animations. Who would get attached to something like that right?

Turns out that most people would. Despite the simple LED pixel graphics and gameplay, a lot of people quickly got attached to their little keychain buddies, us included!

Netflix And Onechan: Live Action Anime Adaptations On Netflix Now

Netflix And Onechan: Live Action Anime Adaptations On Netflix Now

Netflix is probably one of the greatest things to happen to streaming entertainment. With a wide variety of TV shows, movies, and original content, Netflix has introduced the idea of binge watching to a wide range of viewers. After all, how can you resist the urge to spend your days off camped out on the couch, surrounded by your favorite snacks, with all the blinds closed and a full Netflix queue, right?

More than just bringing us our favorite local shows and movies, however, Netflix has also done something that TV stations and local distributors have been hesitant to do for years: provide us with easy access to the live-action movies based on popular anime in Japan. While the anime itself is easy to find, the live-action movies generally get a limited release. Thanks to Netflix, we can share what’s on our queue with you!

Bleach

Based on a popular anime ang manga series, Bleach follows the story of a young man who is recruited into an organization that fights evil spirits and other supernatural horrors that plague the world. If you’re a fan of older anime like Yuyu Hakusho or Samurai X, then Bleach definitely has stuff you’ll enjoy. Fortunately, that was carried over to the movie as well.

The movie uses its special effects budget well, keeping things believable and fun without trying too hard to be hyper-realistic (which usually backfires). While you’ll lose a lot of backstory, of course, enough is carried over to the movie to keep the characters familiar to fans of the anime, but without eating up too much of the movie’s runtime so newcomers can still enjoy the action.

Kakeguri

An anime that really caught people off guard, Kakeguri is an anime about a n elite school whose social structure is based entirely on gambling skills. The better you are at gambling (whether by cheating or not), the higher you are on the social food chain. The story revolves around a girl whose cute outward appearance hides an almost insane addiction to gambling: the higher the stakes, the better!

While the actors and actresses in the live version aren’t as cute as the ones in the anime, they get the facial expressions pretty close (as close as a human face can get, at least!) to the iconic expressions in the anime. A lot of the story is condensed of course, since they have to cram a whole season into a single movie, but it’s still highly entertaining.

Full Metal Alchemist

Full Metal Alchemist was one of the most popular anime of its time. From fun and iconic characters to making what appears to be a permanent mark on memes with one of its more heartbreaking story arcs (E-e-e-Edward?), Full Metal Alchemist is a must watch anime that has a great mix of comedy, drama, action, and philosophy. The same goes for the live action version as well.

The live action version stays as true as it can to the anime, with scenes and costumes that are as visually close to the anime as they can be unlike a lot of other live-action versions that take liberties with character and costume designs. The special effects are pretty good as well; you’d believe that Alphonse Elric’s armor body was right there in the scenes with them rather than being added via special effects!