If you’re a Crunchyroll subscriber, you may or may not have heard about the site’s Passport to Japan contest. The basic concept is, watch anime and you could be entered to win a trip to Japan!
From now until the end of the month, Crunchyroll subscribers who are over the age of 18 and residents of the United States, Canada (except Quebec), and the United Kingdom are eligible to enter the Passport to Japan sweepstakes; it really is just as simple as watching anime. When you go to the Passport to Japan site and log in to your Crunchyroll account, you will find a blank passport with eight spots – one spot for each of eight new simulcasts on Crunchyroll this fall. Each show you watch will put a new stamp on your passport. Once your passport is full, you are automatically entered to win a trip for two to Japan!
The eight shows on the Passport to Japan are Black Clover, Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World, The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Food Wars! The Third Plate, Urahara, Recovery of an MMO Junkie, Juni Taisen: Zodiac War, and Dies Irae. You only have to watch the first episode of each show (or maybe just one episode, not necessarily the first) to get the stamp. I actually had three of these eight on my “to watch” list for this season anyway, and thanks to the contest I’ve added another two to my queue!
I mean, sure, the contest is awesome, and I’d love to win a trip to Japan. I’ve wanted to go to Japan since about the fourth grade; in fact, I’m very surprised I didn’t get into anime earlier, considering how obsessed I was with Japan as a country. But, as someone new to anime, I’m much more interested in watching all of these new shows. I’m still falling down that rabbit hole and eager for recommendations and directions as to where to go now. Let’s talk about the eight shows featured in the Passport to Japan sweepstakes.
In a world where magic is everything, Asta and Yuno are both found abandoned at a church on the same day. While Yuno is gifted with exceptional magical powers, Asta is the only one in this world without any. At the age of fifteen, both receive grimoires, magic books that amplify their holder’s magic. Asta’s is a rare Grimoire of Anti-Magic that negates and repels his opponent’s spells. Being opposite but good rivals, Yuno and Asta are ready for the hardest of challenges to achieve their common dream: to be the Wizard King. Giving up is never an option!
This was one of the three shows I already had on my list (which I came up with after reading this article from Nerdist), and I’m really enjoying it so far. I like fantasy and magic and things like that, so this seemed right up my alley. Plus, I’m not ashamed to admit that I add a lot of shows to my queue based on my extensive spreadsheet of voice actors, and Yuno is voiced by Nobunaga Shimazaki (aka Haru from Free!). Anyway, I like the friendship between Asta and Yuno, and I’m really intrigued by the idea of a world where everyone has magic.
Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World
“The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.” A story about Kino, who travels around the world with nothing but her guns for protection and talking motorcycle Hermes. Kino travels to many mystical worlds, each with its unique customs and people, and learns about the world through their stories, at times conjuring humor and inspiration or other times piercing cynicism. However, Kino has her own custom, to stay no longer than three days in every town without exception, as it is enough time to learn almost everything important about the place while still leaving time to explore new lands.
So the idea of a talking motorcycle is kind of cool, but I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that so far everyone can hear the motorcycle and no one thinks it’s weird that it talks. Is this a common thing in this universe? Do all the motorcycles talk? The first episode was kind of interesting, but it didn’t really grab me, and though I’m intrigued by the idea of all of these different countries with all these different customs, I don’t think I’ll be sticking around.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Chise Hatori, 15 years old. Lost, without hope, and without family, she is bought for money – not by another person, but by a non-human sorcerer named Elias. Though she hesitates, she begins life anew as his apprentice and future wife. She moves on with her new and peaceful life, slowly but surely, until one day, when she finds a Japanese picture book among the many sent to her from London by Angelica. It is a fateful book that discovered her in her younger years, when she was still troubled and lonely. This piece is a prequel to Chise’s encounter with the Thorn Sorcerer.
This is another one that was already on my list to watch, and though I’ve still only seen the first episode, I’m really liking it so far. As I mentioned before, I’m very much into fantasy and magic, and in addition to an intriguing premise, the animation in the first episode was absolutely beautiful.
Food Wars! The Third Plate
Shokugeki no Soma centers on Yukihira Soma, a middle school student who is determined to surpass his father’s culinary skills. One day, his father decides to close down their family restaurant and hone his skills in Europe. Before leaving he enrolls Soma in an elite culinary school that is extremely difficult to enter with a graduation rate of only 10 percent. Will Soma be able to improve his skills, or will the kitchen prove to be too hot?
This is one of the shows I decided to add to my queue after watching the first episode, though since it’s currently in season 3, I have some catching up to do. Considering that most of the anime that I watch is sports or slice of life, this show really appealed to me. Also, it’s about food, and as a fat girl, that’s something that interests me a lot. Judging by this first episode of season 3, the food animation is going to be amazing and I’ll have to make sure not to watch on an empty stomach.
Harajuku…The place where culture, kawaii, and fashion come together. Three high school girls Rito, Mari, and Kotoko are planning to open a temporary store called Park. One day, aliens from space come to Earth to take away the culture of humans. That’s when a mysterious girl who calls herself Misa appears. Now, in order to protect the Harajuku that they love, these three girls must be prepared for anything!
This one was really not my taste. It’s overly cutesy, and the characters look okay but the backgrounds look kind of like children’s drawings and that’s not something I’m really a fan of — at least all the time. I hesitate to say that it’s weird, but it is kind of weird. It just really did not interest me at all, and I found my attention drifting during the episode. Honestly, if I didn’t need the stamp for my Passport to Japan I wouldn’t have watch at all.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Morioka Moriko (♀) is 30, single, and a NEET. She has dropped out of the real world. Searching for a safe place, the place she ended up… is the online world!! In this online game, Moriko starts a new life as a handsome young man with silky hair named Hayashi. However, she’s an obvious noob and ends up dying numerous times when a lovely girl named “Lily” lends her a helping hand. Meanwhile IRL, she ends up having a shocking encounter with a mysterious handsome salaryman named Sakurai Yuta. After meeting him, the real world starts to change and starts affecting her online world as well?!
This is the other show that I added to my queue after watching the first episode. It’s got a nice combination of real world and fantasy, considering much of the show takes place in the game that Moriko plays. As someone who spends the vast majority of her time online, this show really resonates with me (especially the ending sequence, which just consists of Moriko on her computer as time passes outside her window). The characters were endearing and I’m looking forward to continuing.
Juni Taisen: Zodiac War
The record of the bloody battle between the twelve proud warriors— The 12th Twelve Tournament that gets held every twelve years… Twelve brave warriors who bear the names of the signs of the zodiac fight each other for the lives and souls. The participants are twelve very strange warriors: “Rat,” “Ox,” “Tiger,” “Rabbit,” “Dragon,” “Snake,” “Horse,” “Goat,” Monkey,” “Rooster,” “Dog,” and “Pig.” The victor of this tournament gets to have one wish granted, whatever the wish may be. The one wish they want granted— Who will be the final survivor?
It may surprise you, considering I review Attack on Titan, but I’m not really a fan of blood and gore, so this show is not something I’ll be continuing. That said, it is a really intriguing premise and looks like it’s going to be action-packed with interesting characters and some pretty decent animation. [HIGHLIGHT FOR SPOILER] The woman you think is the main character dies at the end of the first episode, so you know it’s not going to be what you expect.
Ren Fujii is a normal student who just had a fistfight with his former best friend, leading him to break off their friendship. But with the help of his childhood friend, Kasumi Ayase, and upperclassman, Rea Himuro, he’s gradually returning to his normal school life. Then a series of brutal murders in which the victims are decapitated begins to strike their city. Strangely, at the same time, Ren starts to have terrifying nightmares of being beheaded by a guillotine. But these are just a prelude to the painful and terrifying battles to come.
This was another one that I had on my “to watch” list, and while the first episode is not what I was expecting, I’m still interested in the concept and will be sticking around. It will eventually go to World War II, and I really like historical settings and period pieces, so I’m looking forward to how the show will be once we get to that point.
So there you have it. Those are the eight shows Crunchyroll is featuring for their Passport to Japan contest. Have you entered yet? How many of the shows have you seen so far? Which one was your favorite?
Editor’s note: According to Crunchyroll’s website the Passport to Japan contest ends on October 31st, so if you haven’t started collecting stamps you still have time!
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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