Why are cutesy, adorable, totally not my thing but I can’t stop watching it, anime so much fun to watch?

Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Maxed Out My Defense, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level anime

I love anime! It is an art form unto itself. There are some lines that anime crosses (Redo of Healer, for example… and I will never understand the brother/sister love thing) but overall, I can’t stop watching it. My wife doesn’t understand my obsession either (what spouse does) but I feel the same way about her obsession with “90-day Fiancé” so, we’re even.

I usually watch the more intense anime (Attack on Titan, Space Battleship Yamato, DemonSlayer) and love Isekai (transported to another world for those uninitiated) anime (Overlord, Reincarnated as a Slime, Jobless Reincarnation) but lately, I found myself drawn to cute anime. It’s weird, but I like watching it, mostly because they make me laugh… And yet, watching it feels so wrong.

I mean, here are cute, adorable characters put in hilarious situations that just makes me laugh. Their cuteness is almost sickening, and yet, I can’t take my eyes off of it. Take the tale of Maple in Bofuri: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Maxed Out My Defense… The main character, Maple, is so OP (over-powered for any non-anime watchers) that its hilarious as to what trouble she gets into and how much more powerful she gets to get out of said situation. I mean, in a fantasy VRMMO (Virtual Reality Massively Multi-Player Online), she can transform into a giant monster or super-mech. Its so ridiculous its laughable, and I can’t help but enjoy it.

Another favorite of mine is Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and its just as adorable as it is catchy. I mean, the opening theme song alone is one of those mind-numbing tunes you can’t get out of your head. All of the dragons are so OP that even a simple game of four-square becomes competitive and dangerous (for the humans that is). I love it! In this one, I think its the heart-warming relationship between Miss Kobayashi, Tohru and the others. The dragons (in human form) don’t understand humans but they are learning about them through Kobayashi and her friends. And, for goodness sakes, who wouldn’t want a little dragon like Kanna for a daughter. She is so freakin’ adorable it isn’t funny!

Like I said, I know this is weird and I would probably be labeled a freak (or something worse) in most cultural norms, but it’s a fun addition to have. These anime are even more of an escape than the regular ones. In Attack on Titan or even My Hero Academia, there is a hint of surrealism within the fantasy element that puts you into these life or death situations. Even Sword Art Online, in all its fantasy video game world, make life and death real for the viewer. I dare you watch the death of the Moonlit Cats in Episode 3 (Red-Nosed Reindeer) and not cry even a little. Sachi just breaks your heart.

These cutesy anime are the breath of life, a little fun to escape the harsh reality of the world we live in. The violence, political sniping, racial tensions, and pandemic are swept aside when I watch anime like these. I laugh, and we all need to laugh to make our bad days brighter. Watching anime like these do that for me. The characters are relatable (at times) and yet human. For example, Fafnir in Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is this all powerful dragon of darkness, willing to exterminate all human life. And yet, he is content to sit and eat curry (mild) and play video games all day and night with his roommate (Kobayashi’s otaku co-worker). The relationship between the two is a breath of fresh air and fun to watch.

They’re not cutesy, kid anime like Pokemon or Digimon. Even when my own children were small and watched these shows, I never got into them. They don’t have the same appeal to me as the anime today. I think, as my wife likes to remind me, I’m still a “big kid inside” and these anime bring that spirit out in me. She doesn’t like the fact that her husband still watches “cartoons” but this is different. Anime is on a whole other level and I believe I associate with it more, as many people today do. Like I said, to me, anime is an art form and should be appreciated and enjoyed.

So now, I’m waiting patiently for Season 2 of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and in the meantime, I found a new one to watch… an Isekai anime called I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level. I don’t know what it is, maybe the big, floppy witch’s hat, but this anime makes me laugh. I mean, she’s reborn in a new world as an immortal witch and just takes it easy by killing slime monsters for 300 years. Now, she’s so OP that her easy life is now fraught with danger. I love it, it’s freakin’ hilarious!

There are others like Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun, KonoSuba, and How Not to Summon a Demon Lord that are just as idiotic yet hypnotic to watch. Like I said, I don’t know what it is specifically about these anime but I just can’t get enough of them. You should watch them too! They’re good fun, and we all need that once in a while!

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Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon fantasy book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides: Book 2 of the Forever Avalon Series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from iUniverse Publishing and at Amazon, and other booksellers. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook from Austin Macauley Publishing, and at Amazon and other booksellers. His next two fantasy novels, The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart and The Prometheus Engine: Book 4 of the Forever Avalon Series are being released in 2021.

My favorite anime of 2018, and there are too many to name

I have to say, I really loved a lot of the anime that came out in 2018. Overlord III, My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan, Cells at Work, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord, Violet Evergarden, and The Seven Deadly Sins were just a small part of the many successful animes that came out last year.

The year ended with a bang with Goblin Slayer, Sword Art Online: Alicization, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, A Certain Magical Index III, and the final season of Fairy Tail. There is not enough time in the day to binge watch all the anime I need to watch.

I know there is a lot of anime I’m not going to talk about here. I’m a big sci-fi/fantasy fan. So please, let me know your favorites from 2018 in the comments.

First off, I have to admit, Cells at Work was my guilty pleasure of 2018. It was fun and educational. It was better than Osmosis Jones, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask), and so many other TV shows and movies that tried to demonstrate the inner workings of the human body. All the cells have such unique personalities you would expect from cells and viruses. Cells at Work did it in a fun, captivating way that taught me something new. And those platelets are so darn adorable.

Goblin Slayer was an emotional journey I never expected. I played D&D for years, and I never thought of goblins the way they are represented in this anime. I mean, capturing women and brutalizing them was never something I even considered in all my fantasy writing and roleplaying. It shocked me, but in a way I never expected. It gave me an appreciation that goblins are not a throwaway monster that many stories and games treat them as. They’re evil and viscous and need to be wiped out. Beyond that, the show had some of the best characters I’ve seen in a fantasy anime. They were believable, and that’s what made this anime so special. I cant wait for Season 2.

One of my favorite sequels released in 2018 was A Certain Magical Index III. I have always loved the idea of bridging magic and science and this anime does it for me. I love the parallels between the two in Academy City and how religion plays a big part in all of it. Additionally, the anime has great characters that you either want to root for or kill outright. There is no gray area in this series. Some might consider this a “harem” anime, as there are more females after the main character, Kamijou Touma, than you can shake a stick at; but I’m rooting for Misaka.

One other great thing about 2018 anime is the theme songs. I have an entire playlist on my phone of just anime theme songs, and most of them are from 2018. The music is vibrant, toe-tapping, and out of bounds. Even if I don’t understand the lyrics, I love it. It has been a great year for anime music.

I’ll close this by saying I loved the emotion behind Fairy Tail, the over-powered characters of Overlord, the spirit of My Hero Academia, the beauty of Kakurio-Bed and Breakfast for Spirits, the humor of Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs, and the story of Violet Evergarden. There are times I wished I lived in Japan, so that I could watch these anime when they come out. That would be awesome.



Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.

Saturdays are the best day for anime because of My Hero Academia and GGO

dlbu_d0uiaagos5-1Most people would look forward to Saturdays because it meant the weekend, a day off, etc. Me… I look forward to Saturdays because that’s when the new episodes of “My Hero Academia” and “Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online” (GGO) air via Funimation and Crunchyroll, my two favorite anime channels! It’s like having my favorite Saturday Morning Cartoons like when I was a kid. These anime’s have heart, soul, and can be funny as hell. It’s amazing as to how entrenched I get into these shows, especially My Hero Academia.

I’ve been reading comic books since I was a kid. I actually wanted to be a comic book artist/writer when I was growing up. I wasn’t a good enough artist, but I still got to be a writer. Anyway, I’ve been reading teenage superhero stories, like forever, from The Legion of Superheroes to The New Mutants. Teenage superheroes dealing with their emerging powers and fighting super-villains has been a staple of comics for generations, but not like My Hero Academia.

First off, their powers are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Sure, there are some mainstays like super strength, fire and ice creation, etc., but there are some unique ones too that this shows makes out to be quite powerful. I mean, shooting tape out of your elbows, causing people to become immobile when you taste their blood (gross) are pretty out there. But the characters are rich, so much so that you want to know more about them. The stories are so intense and gripping, it’s hard to turn away from them.

42159On the opposite spectrum is GGO. Sword Art Online was the first modern anime I fell in love with, especially the GGO section in SAO2. The new GGO has so much more spunk than the original. The little “pink devil” known as Llenn is a munchkin with an attitude. In real life, she is a tall teenager, wanting to be shorter like the other girls her age. She gets her wish in the virtual world of GGO. There she meets another female player, Pito, who she finds out has a death wish she’s trying to fulfill.

GGO is so much fun. Yes, because it’s an anime about a VR world full of guns, shooting, explosions, and bloody mayhem, it can be rather violent… But in a good way. It does it with such fun and irreverence to death and dying. Plus, the action scenes are pretty incredible sometimes, almost like watching The Matrix fight scenes. I mean, one of the first action sequences was Llenn popping out of a suitcase and taking down five opponents in seconds. That was awesome.

And just like My Hero Academia, it has great characters and very distinct storylines that make the anime flow perfectly. That’s what makes anime so much more than a cartoon. Yes, a lot of the characters in anime are kids, but to me, they remind me of me in so many ways:  Vulnerable, a little dense sometimes, wanting to do what’s right. It’s what makes them so much fun to watch.

My Hero Academia is a place where heroes exist and GGO is a world where anything goes. As a writer, it gives me plenty of inspiration for what I do. That what draws me in and makes them so much fun to watch! Tune it Saturday! It’s a blast!


51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a book/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.



Superheroes have powers we would love to have, no matter how ridiculous



Superheroes, to me, are the most versatile and amazing fantasy characters. You have your “Holy Trinities” in the main two comic book universes–Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman in DC; Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America in Marvel–but the fact that you can virtually create and hero or villain with any type of power imaginable is wonderfully adaptive for writers and artists alike.

One of the first comic book series I collected was DC’s Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes. I liked it exactly because of that variety of powers. It was especially fun to read the storylines where they had tryout for new Legionnaires. You would get some of the most weird and wild powers, costumes, and names. I mean Double-Header, Esper Lass, Calorie Queen, Antenna Lad, Color Kid, Infectious Lass, and Porcupine Pete, just to name a few.

I see a lot of that wild variety in the anime My Hero Academia. While the show has some of the weirdest powers I’ve ever seen in comics, the concept behind it is so cool. A world where everyone has superpowers, or quirks as they call it. Some people have over the top, extraordinary powers, others have basic, simple powers.

For example, Shoto Todoroki has the quirk “hot and cold” meaning he can control fire and ice from each side of his body; but Yuga Aoyama, for some ridiculous reason, shoots a laser from his belly button. You know, it’s kind of out there but it makes perfect sense in a world like this. Additionally, unlike most comics, heroes are not part of the police force but licensed to us their powers to fight crime. They can’t use deadly force or even arrest bad guys themselves.

It’s such a wild ride, especially for an anime, and at times funny as Hell; but it also has a serious side. The stories cover every topic you would find in a afterschool special, but with superpowers mixed in. From teenage love to kids growing up too fast, these are the things we see in every teenage drama, but just with superpowers involved. And those powers are so freaky, and yet, they make them seem not only powerful but possible. There’s a pro-hero called Best Jeanist (yes, that’s his name) who is covered in denim from head to toe. His quirk manipulates fibers to ensnare or entangle his opponent. It seems ridiculous, yet he does it with “flair and style” like no other.

This is why superhero stories are so versatile and fun to write. It’s hard not to read a comic and find an example or inspiration in other characters. For example, if you look at DC’s Deathstroke and Marvel’s Deadpool, they’re basically the same character. Deadpool is Wade Wilson, Deathstroke is Slade Wilson. They both use every weapon imaginable, from guns to swords and daggers. Rob Liefeld, who created Deadpool, doesn’t hesitate to point out to the similarities, but won’t admit to it.

“I’ve always been in awe of Deathstroke — and “always” means since I was a child,” he said. “It might not be as obvious as it seems to me, but Deathstroke is blue and orange…and the last time I looked, Deadpool is black and red.”

Marvel did a direct ripoff from DC when they created the Squadron Supreme, an alternate world of superheroes that try to destroy the Avengers. Their superheroes mocked the Justice League with characters like Hyperion (Superman), Power Princess (Wonder Woman), Nighthawk (Batman), Doctor Spectrum (Green Lantern) and the Whizzer (Flash). Both sides admit to the ripoff, but more so as a compliment and tribute rather than a zing.

These great stories we read as kids are finally making their way to the big screen. We used to get one or two superhero movies every four to five years, but now its two-to-three annually. The technology has finally caught up to where these great hero stories can go from comic book to screen I mean, watching the finally fight in Doctor Strange looked exactly like a page of art drawn by Steve Ditko in the 70’s.

I have always loved superheroes. I even created a few of my own as a kid (Vulcan, Moonbeam, and the Speed Demons to name a few), and brought them to life in the City of Heroes video game (see my blog for more on that). We love these stories because it shows us the best, and worst, humanity has to offer in the form of entertainment.

Admit it, when you saw Captain America fending off Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet in the new trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, you were psyched. It’s why we love them!

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51nd6H6sATL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_SKU-000941753Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a book/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a book/ebook at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and iUniverse publishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon.