Posts Tagged ‘Articles’
Naturally, Bandai was quick to reply and in a comment to ANN, President of Bandai Entertainment Ken Iyadomi, stated that Bandai had a very good 2009. He did agree that if things didn’t change that Bandai would be forced to produce sub only releases but hoped that this wouldn’t happen. Here’s where I got a little fuzzy though, a good 2009? In exactly what way was 2009 a good year for Bandai? If Iyadomi is referring to sales figures than I have no reason not to believe him. I have no numbers to disprove that and even if I did I’m not sure I would understand them. But what if we looked at it from a different perspective… like making entertainment available to fans in the US who are still managing to purchase anime on an even semi-regular basis.
Last year there were a little over 500 anime releases in the US and 50 were scheduled by Bandai. Out of those 50, 23 different series were represented (though that number goes down a bit if you count every Gundam title as just one series) with a fairly wide range being solicited. Out of those 50, 2 were canceled not long before their scheduled release (3 if you count the limited edition Lucky Star Vol. 6 which still got a standard release). Out of those remaining titles, 25 were delayed past their original street date. Some were only delayed once or twice but some were being pushed back over 3 times! This resulted in an average of 1.6 announced delays per title averaging close to 2 months each. Some of these were a lot easier to notice than others (Code Geass R2 Set 2 was delayed from Aug until Dec) but soon it became just standard.
At first it was like a running joke to string posts together, ‘Here are the latest title solicitations from Bandai, I’ll let you know when their release dates change.’ Now we’re now almost five complete months into 2010. So far this year Bandai has put out 6 releases, 5 of them were delayed. At least they got the Lucky Star Complete Collection out on time right?
At this point I’d like to talk Bandai directly. Bandai, is it time for you and fans to have a talk about how things are going? Fans really want to support you and the great things that you continually do like supply us with Gundam, Code Geass, Kannagi, Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star, Kurokami (eventually) and many other titles and we’ve loved you for it. Sure, our relationship has been rocky at times but we’ve always managed to push through the tough times together.
Here’s the thing though; as I’m sure you’re aware times are pretty tough on all of us right now. You’re hurting, we’re hurting and it’s putting our relationship at risk. Budgets are tighter than ever and for some of us, having any kind of monthly disposable income is a luxury that comes around when paired with a week of instant ramen for dinner. Because of this quite a few of us who need to plan our anime purchases in advance. A feat made that much more difficult when those purchases have to be constantly juggled in and out monthly budgets. I bet you can see where I’m going with this about now right?
For a year it’s been harder and harder to report on, review or plain keep up with what Bandai has coming out and when. I try really hard, I do. But every time I think I know when something is coming out there’s a press release somewhere telling me that the title has actually been delayed again. I realize that the anime industry on both sides of the Pacific is highly secretive. You all do enjoy being able to whisper behind closed doors don’t you? And as fans, we’ve come to accept that. Some of us may choose to deal with this by speculating wildly about numbers, sales or how things actually work but for the most part, we’ve let you have your secrets and respected your personal bubble space.
Lately though, I’m finding myself really missing those good old days when things were still fresh and new for everyone. You’d show up every couple of months and show us the pretty new things that you saw and knew we had to have (I even still use that wonderful Please Teacher and Please Twins you showed me years ago!). After awhile though you started to come around a little more often. We never complained because you always had such nice things but then last year things started to change a little.
You were still coming around once a month like clockwork to show us all the new pretties but soon you were also showing up with reasons why we couldn’t have the new shiny toys that we had bought previously. At first it was OK because you had your reasons. A replication error? That totally happens! Just get it to us when you can. Problems with manufacturing? Oh alright, just bring it out when it’s ready I suppose. Pretty soon though you weren’t even giving us that much. You still showed up to tell us about all the pretty things that we could buy from you but that friendly back and forth we had had faded away. Come on Bandai, where’s the magic gone? We used to have so much fun together but now it’s just so empty.
Some things are still the same. Once a month you show up on our doorsteps with new shiny items that you promise we’re going to love… whenever it’s eventually released. But Bandai, do your release dates even mean anything anymore? We still love you and think you’re plenty good people. We want to help you in your time of crisis and woe but you have to meet us halfway. If just meeting basic release dates is too much for you right now, give us some reasons again? Perhaps that’s a good first step. I mean, it’s not like you’re seeing other anime fans behind our backs… right?
<Kagami image via Pixiv>
The day that at least a few of you have been waiting for has arrived: Sentai Filmworks has released Tayutama ~ Kiss on my Diety ~. A cute fantasy romance, the story is centered on the son of a Shinto priest named Yuuri. After a mysterious protection pillar is found in a construction site, he goes to investigate with his best friend. In the course of events, the seal is broken unleashing not only the evil spirits it was containing into the world but also the incarnation of the local goddess, Kikuramikami (eventually taking the much simpler name, Mashiro), in the form of a cute loli fox girl. After making an idle promise to the fox girl, Yuuri wakes the next morning married to the now all grown up goddess and joining in her fight to reseal the demons and evil spirits that are on the loose. Charming in its own way there are still a few things you should know before picking this one up…
~ Bring your cute tolerance; you’re going to need it:
Adapted from a visual novel created by Lump of Sugar, Tayutama has absolutely no problems with using cute and colorful in its artwork. It also has its moments of fan service but between the cute loli goddess with a big hammer becoming a moe wolf girl and the cute little colorful lumps that surround her, you’ll want to be prepared for bright, colorful and sugary sweet.
~ Ameri is a jealous bitch.
Yeah, the best friend character in this one is about as irritatingly jealous as they come.
You know how certain series will insert a character that after their initial presence really do nothing except for play with cool gadgets and deliver the good punch lines? In this series, that job belongs to the cute loli Nue. Whenever the characters need a new network, tracking device that she invented herself or snarky joke she’s the one to count on.
~ Trope Check!
This was the first series that animation studio Silver Link produced on their own and visually the studio puts together a series that is at least pleasing to look at. Once you get past that however, you’re going to get a story mostly held together by tropes and stereotypes of the genre (jealous best friend, gods waging war, perverted father, busybody student council president, etc, etc).
~ It’s Either Amazingly Romantic or Irritatingly Cheesy
No ending spoilers but I’ll tell you this much; if you find yourself buying into the Yuuri/Mashiro relationship the ending will come across as romantic but bittersweet. If you find that the relationships are as thin as rice paper, you’re likely going to just get the bitter portion.
Anything that I missed? What kinds of little warnings would you give to someone about to enter into this series? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or drop me a note on Twitter.
I couldn’t tell you where it first began, but for as long as I’ve been watching anime I can recall seeing interesting family relationships. From the cousin who wants to be just a bit too close orthe sister who wants to share in some constant skinship, these are the characters that will make you laugh as long as you’re ok with it occasionally being uncomfortable.
I’m also here to say that there is nothing wrong with that! These sisters have made me laugh and cry so creepy sisters who made me occasionally ask ‘Are these two seriously related?’, I salute you!
1. Minato Nagase (Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka): Such an incredible sister she can cook, clean, fight off small armies and still win her brother away from the prying rich girl that he was arranged to marry.
2. Silvia De Alisia (Aquarion): Admit it, she was always just a little too anxious to find out that her and her brother were reincarnated lovers from a past life.
3. Shion Sonozaki (Higurashi – When They Cry): Who was more yandere, Mion or Shion? It’s a war that will never have a winner but if it helps change the tides any I’m on Team Shion. Despite her not really being ‘creepy’, insane is close enough for me.
4. Sakuya (Sister Princess): In the first TV series, Sakuya was flirtatious but it was never out of hand. It wasn’t until I saw the final episode of the Repure sequel that I realized just how creepy Sakuya could be when you actually hear what she’s thinking.
5. Ako & Riko (Kiss x Sis): Some of the newest addition to the category of creepy sisters, these two know no bounds… which might explain their quickly rising and swelling popularity. It’s as though their fan base is just throbbing.
That’s it for this month! As always, share your thoughts on who should’ve been on the list in the comments. Got a suggestion for a future Otaku Review Salutes? Leave it here or on Twitter and you may see it happen in a future post.
Wow, the first month of 2010 was busy for me which left me little time to sleep let alone breath or watch on the new season. Finally I have managed to escape from the smaller than usual stack of new series to provide you with a cheat sheet to point you away from the duds.
For those who haven’t hung out on the site around these magical times of the year here’s the rundown: Every three months I scramble to watch the first three episodes of as many new series as possible and share my initial thoughts. It’s at that point that I decide if a series is worth watching (The Good), worth watching occasionally or is something I might pick up later (The OK) and the ones that made me want to hit myself with blunt objects to make it stop (The Unwatchable). Sadly there were only a few particular stand outs as the first season of 2010 started us off with a big batch of average. Luckily for viewers the ones that do stand out from the others will be talked about for months to come.
Available on Crunchyroll
Where I Started: “Baccano, only less confusing.”
Where I Ended: Sharing a lot of the same crew, Durarara comes across early as a less confusing Baccano. Taking all the best elements of one series and giving it a new modern setting, Durarara does a great job of creating solid story hooks and unique storytelling to create early momentum. It seems as though this is the series that fans are jumping on in droves this season and after three episodes it’s easy to see why. Not everyone is going to get into the format or characters but it’s still going to be hard for anyone who watches this series to say ‘no’.
Status: Watching to Halfway (at least)
Recommendation: Anyone who enjoyed Baccano or found Baccano too confusing to keep up with
Where I Started: “Alright, so it’s more Azumanga Daioh + kindergarten than Kodomo no Jikan + kindergarten.”
Where I Ended: No one was really sure what to make of this series before it premiered. Pushing trepidation aside, I went into this series and found myself face to face with the winter pick for best slice of life. Cutely designed and led by a cast of hilarious characters, this is the cute and charming slice of life series that fans are looking for this season.
Recommendation: Slice of life and Azumanga Daioh fans
Baka to Test to Shokanju
Where I Started: “This may be the best thing I’ve seen all month.”
Where I Ended: This was actually the last winter series I watched and all it took was one episode before I HAD to marathon everything that had been aired thus far. A very sharp mix of word play, visual humor, shonen battle elements and romantic angles that seem to be actually going somewhere (as opposed to 13 episodes of hemming and hawing) this is the safe choice of the season. Consistently funny, engaging and charming there’s little here for someone to be disappointed with.
Recommendation: Fans of school comedy romance
Where I Started: “Yup, K-ON joins the army.”
Where I Ended: I knew it before I started but tried to convince myself otherwise. After one episode, I felt annoyed that this was being billed as an original ‘Anime of Power’. Within two episodes I cared a little less and within three I just wanted to see more. This is a slow moving but entertaining series for the moe crowd. While it doesn’t have the same hyperactivity that some fans crave from their cute, the understated dialogue and humor keeps things moving smoothly. Add in some beautiful animation and backgrounds and you have a series that’s worth sitting through.
Status: Watching to the End
Recommendation: Fans of K-ON, Aria and other series where nothing actually happens
Where I Started: “This could be so much worse.”
Where I Ended: Chu Bra is a series that always could have been worse but still didn’t do much to impress early on. While a panty OCD female lead and her bitchy best friends forming an underwear club is vaguely intriguing, the execution is far from it. A haze of breast jokes (naturally) and dialogue that just tries too hard, Chu Bra is never going to be something with wide appeal. While I appreciate now having a better understanding of how to fit myself for a bra; I’m not appreciative enough to stick with this series any longer than I have to.
Recommendation: Teen girls and guys who like lolis in underwear
Where I Started: “Codename: Kids Next Door shows their anime side?”
In the first episode of Katanagatari, there is a lot of uncertainty in the air. The animation style is vastly different from anything else in the last few seasons and these aren’t the heroes that fans are used to cheering on. Following a dim young man and a not entirely bright military strategist through twelve episodes seems like a challenge in itself but my concerns fall more with the staff. Early momentum is strong but will this series fall into a trap of predictability? It’s not a bad premiere but time will tell if this one has the lasting power it needs to be successful.
Recommendation: When you’re in the mood for something different
Where I Started: “Cat girl and guy with cat allergy. Hilarious.”
Where I Ended: Omamori Himari has the lovely distinction of being one of the first series I wanted to drop this season. Another half baked harem story it has all the tropes you’re expecting and makes zero attempts early on to stand out on its own. Occasionally the dialogue drops a nice one liner into the mix but after two episodes, I was ready to call it quits. After three, I was relieved that my time with the series was over. Even if you like harem anime you can do much better than this.
Recommendation: Harem fans who have already seen everything else
Dance in the Vampire Bund
Where I Started: “I am so into this!”
Where I Ended: Well, that was a rather spectacular nosedive. In the first episode, characters were being introduced and a story was created using a live television format (a TV show inside of a TV show? Madness I say!). It was compelling and seemed to be setting up something amazing. Instead intriguing early story elements have led into what is already looking like a less than compelling excuse to show loli fan service.
Recommendation: Fans of dark horror (i.e. Descendants of Darkness)
Where I Started: “So, does Tomo add anything to this series besides breast milk?”
Where I Ended: While the animation looks good, the series itself is lacking in… what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh right, everything. The staff behind this one has worked to create something with merit but it’s hard to imagine anyone watching this and being able to say it’s for the ‘thrilling battles’ or ‘gripping dialogue’. After only a couple of episodes, it feels safe to assume that if you’re watching this series it’s probably for the breasts. The censorship in this series is so horrific however that it hardly seems worth it to even try. If you really want to see this series that badly, wait for it to come out on DVD.
Recommendation: People who like breasts
Where I Started: “Please be building to something, please be building to something…”
Where I Ended: Gods but did I want to like this series. I even looked specifically for as many things to enjoy and say nice things about along the way. Unfortunately over three episodes, the slow crawl fails to cast any particularly strong plot hooks. Boy moves with his family to new town with mysterious past and odd residents. Seen it before and seen it done better; don’t even start this one unless you have a bucketful of patience on standby. This one goes down as my biggest disappointment of the season.
Ladies vs. Butlers
Where I Started:
Where I Ended: This is easily the most surprising series of the season for me but perhaps not for the reasons you would expect. After the first episode, I wanted to drop this series hard and forget that it ever existed. After pushing forward into the next couple of episodes though I had a realization: Ladies vs. Butlers IS capable of being entertaining and even clever on occasion. But then the second half of the episode starts and it all goes downhill. The nudity and sex jokes are not the issues in these early episodes but more how much it feels like, most of the time, these scenes are being forced in just so that they can be there. If you can ignore these scenes, you’re bound to find a fairly typical school comedy that can even elicit a laugh on occasion. Unfortunately to ignore those scenes is to ignore half the series.
Status: Watching Occasionally
Recommendation: Fans of sexy school comedy, school comedy, sexy comedy, sexy school or any combination thereof.
Well, I know that I’m not the only one out there who had an opinion? What were your hits and misses for the winter season? Agree with something I said or disagree severely? Leave a comment or drop me a line on Twitter.
So at the time of writing, we are now almost an entire month into 2010. Things have been getting off a slow start so far with a not entirely exciting winter season. But there are still eleven months to go with a lot of unseen things waiting to happen. But while we’re waiting for the unknown to happen, there are a ton of things that we can already start getting excited about. With that in mind, here are some of my big reasons why 2010 isn’t going to suck:
Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works (Premiered 1/23): Fate/Stay Night is back! Reviving the popular franchise that started with a Type/Moon eroge in 2004, the new movie travels down the Unlimited Blade Works story arc which is much more focused on Rin Tohsaka and her servant Archer. The early trailers have looked amazing and moved it into my ‘must see’ category. So if anyone wants to license this one, I’m going on record as saying I’ll buy.
Katanagatari (Premieres 1/25): Another series based off novels from NisiOisin (original creator of Bakemonogatari), the first one hour episode premieres at the end of January. Told in twelve monthly episodes, early trailers have created a lot of buzz thanks, in part at least, to a unique art style from White Fox. Anticipation for this one is high so maybe it will even give fans a distraction which will give Shaft a little bit of breathing space from everyone who is still waiting for the last two episodes of Bakemonogatari. And speaking of the last two episodes…
Bakemonogatari Concludes (Available 3/24): It’s in 2010 that fans will finally get to see the final two episodes on DVD. Though incomplete at the time of its TV airing, fans happily consumed the story and started to grow antsy when it was drawing close to the end of the broadcast. But then from the darkness, Shaft began waving a beacon of hope and spoke loudly ‘never fear,’ (not a direct quote) ‘for we hear your pleas for more and always intended to make more so enjoy the last three episodes streaming.’ And then the first streaming episode premiered and there was much rejoicing… until we realized that the last two episodes were not coming. Despite breaking their promise to get them up on the site, listings for the sixth DVD volume are billed as including the fabled episodes 14 and 15 meaning fans can finally see how the series ends.
The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (Premieres 2/6): Last year, Kyoto Animation and Kadokawa had a field day with fans. A little information leak here, an exasperating story arc there, a sprinkle of animation delays early in the year and voila, fans who are annoyed beyond belief and yet still come back for more. Perhaps it’s a reward for sticking it out through 2009 but finally fans are getting to line up around the block for a brand new, two and a half hour Haruhi Suzumiya movie.Soul Eater US Release (Part 1 Available 2/9, Part 2 Available 3/30): The popular shonen series will finally hit the US starting in February! Originally produced by Bones in 2008, I still remember friends at my old anime club pulling me aside to tell me about this ‘awesome new series’. Filled with unique art and enough laughs along the way to keep things interesting Soul Eater has the potential to reach out to a lot of new fans this year (which means I should start preparing for lots of Maka and Soul cosplay this summer).
New Adult Swim Anime: Early in the year Adult Swim announced on air that they had lost a couple of their current anime licenses but had hopefully acquired three more with the first of which premiering on February 14th. I’ve made my predictions known but even if I’m drastically wrong, three new series on Adult Swim is sweet!
K-ON Season 2: Alright, so a certain percentage of you are nodding your head vigorously in agreement right now. Another percentage of you are rolling your eyes and/or contemplating writing off this entire list right now. Either way, there’s a good chance that if you’re an anime fan on the internet you’ve at least been introduced to this title just enough to have an opinion on it. The wildly popular moe bait series will be returning for a second season this year leaving legions of Mio fans waiting patiently to see their goddess once again. A summer premiere would be awesome for this series though a summer license announcement would be even better.
ShoDojo.com: Since July of last year, Funimation has been teasing a new project called Shodojo. Supposedly mixing the best features of your favorite social networking sites and the video player already in place, the site is meant to help anime fans from all over the country connect and bond over their favorite anime. Details on features and how it’s going to work are being kept under some pretty tight wraps but hopefully we’ll get to see the fruits of their labor before the end of the year.
PenisCam Technology: Last year, eroge studio Teatime announced that they would be taking facial recognition technology to the next level. In their upcoming game, Love Death 4, players will be able to use their webcams to show their stuff to the heroines. The penis tracking software will recognize the shape of your knob and the girls will reportedly act accordingly. Though ‘accordingly’ could mean anything from being amazed to yelling ‘pervert!’ and running away.
Black Rock Shooter (Premieres April 2010): Despite using one of the virtual idol’s songs and announcing the series at one of her concerts, the spring series has nothing to do with the Miku Hatsune vocaloid character. Other than that, there’s not much known about the story right now but the first trailer has some very intriguing artwork. The series is being put together by Yutaka Yamamoto (of Lucky Star and Kannagi fame) and his studio, Ordet along with Shinobu Yoshioka and the song’s original creators, huke and ryo.
NYAF/NYCC (10/8 – 10/10): Taking on a slightly different form, this will be the first time New York Anime Festival has taken place in October and the first time that the con will be sharing the Javitz Center with New York Comic Con. Quickly becoming one of the hottest east coast conventions to find out what’s happening over the winter (it was the third largest last year with over 21,000 paid attendees) NYAF shows no signs of slowing down for 2010. This, along with AX over the summer, will be one of the conventions that I hope to attend the most.
Angel Beats (Premieres April 2010): If you’re into moe than you’re likely familiar with the name Visual Arts/Key (Air, Kanon, Clannad). This spring, the studio returns with another series titled Angel Beats. In this world, angels have rebelled against god and are fighting to shape their own fate after death. Usually responsible for the beautiful music and theme songs attached to Key productions, Jun Medea is getting his first shot at planning and composing a series here.
King of Thorn (Premieres May 2010): Based off the sci-fi horror manga, a group put in a cryogenic sleep must survive after waking up in a world overrun by monsters. For the last year, the movie has been playing at film festivals around the world and finally will see its theater premiere later this year. I’m hoping that since the movie has gotten so much publicity outside Japan that fans will get to see a US release date announced soon after.
Real Kanojo: To this day, one of the most consistently viewed articles on this site is the initial report I did on this particular upcoming release from eroge studio, Illusion. Taking mankind one step closer towards that elusive goal of a genuine virtual girlfriend, Illusion has begun work on Real Kanojo. Featuring three different girls, realistic 3D CG animation and 3D glasses (really? All that technology and you’re going to include some cardboard 3D glasses?) the early artwork looks to set a pretty high bar for the final product to match. Unfortunately the technical specs are steep (the site recommends a Core i7 and 8GB+ of virtual memory) so I think it’ll be awhile before I pick this one up. Besides, it doesn’t even have penis tracking technology!
*For anime fans. The rest of you are on your own.
<Images ©Studio Deen, Bones, Illusion. Black Rock Shooter image via Pixiv>
As much as I love watching each new anime season, I hate how little time it leaves me to write about the daily happenings. So while I do still have a few new premieres to share my thoughts on (Ladies vs. Butlers and Ookami Kakushi are up next by the way), I’ve decided to take some time to catching up on things. So, what has been going on in the last couple of weeks of anime?
HIGHSDensetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu, Fafner and Lilpri All Go for Anime: Only three new anime have been announced recently. Starting with the earliest, the light novel series Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu (Legendary Heroes of Legend) will be getting an anime. Wow is that kind of a handful of a title. The legendary fantasy series features a legendary hero named Raina who prefers to sleep through his classes at the Roland Imperial Academy. When a legendary war breaks out between Roland and a neighboring country, Estaboole, Raina loses his friends and finds some ambition. Sent out on a legendary quest by the emperor to find legendary artifacts, he discovers a legendary dark curse which is covering the countryside. Alright I’ll stop now.
The announcement will be made official in the March issue of Dragon Magazine (that’s the announcement beneath that black splotch in the lower left) but no word on if any other details will be made such as a release date or studio.
Some of you may have noticed back in December a new series of Fafner was announced to premiere in 2010 and new details have been revealed regarding the release. Titled Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor: Heaven and Earth, the crew will include the character designer from the 2004 series, Hisashi Hirai, and animation produced by Xebec. I didn’t actually watch the first TV series so I’m not entirely sure how excited I should be about this. Yay?
Finally, the video card game LilPri will also be getting anime adaptation this year. As near as I am figuring, the series will be based on the manga series which is already based on the arcade game. In the game, you purchase real life cards which can be scanned into the console. After which you can customize your cute girl and make her do various things for your amusement such as sing, dance and put on new outfits. It’s for kids so get your minds out of the gutter because you’re blocking my periscope.
In the manga series, three girls (Ringo Yukimori, Reira Takashiro, and Natsuki Sasahara) become magical girls who can turn into idols. Wow, talk about using your powers for evil. An official website has already been opened to confirm that the title will be Hime Chen! Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri and will premiere in April. If you really want to see what this game is all about (and can handle a serious abundance of pink), here’s a four minute game trailer from the official Sega YouTube channel
New Code Geass Footage in April! : On April 23rd, a new DVD/Blu ray will be released in Japan for the Code Geass: Kiseki no Birthday event held on December 5th. Now, anime viewers who aren’t already fans of Code Geass are thinking ‘footage from a concert? Who cares?’, while fans of the series may remember that this was the concert that first revealed a ‘new Code Geass project’.
Among the 40 minutes of extras will be the latest footage from the new Code Geass project. What this is going to look like is anyone’s guess but one can only hope that it involves lots of CC. Like, lots. Tons even. Hell, just center a new series on her and call it a day. Be sure to check back around that time because I’ve already added the release to my calendar so you can bet that I’ll be doing a write up as soon as I’ve seen or have word of what it looks like. Fans have already gotten a new manga series for the year, hopefully a new TV series will be on its way.
AX Explodes and Not in a Good Way: A few days ago ANN finally posted their report on the behind the scenes drama that is happening with Anime Expo. For months, internal emails and memos have been leaked via various websites but no official confirmation was ever made to their validity. I knew early on that I would be doing a disservice to fans to try and report on this one so I waited patiently for ANN.
To get all the details, I highly suggest reading the full report but here is the gist: Over the last few months, eight staff members of the AX Convention Committee have resigned their positions with many more ready to do the same. The resignations are coming along with demands for the removal of new SPJA (Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, AX’s parent organization which oversees the con) CEO Michael Lattanzio and interim Con Chair Joyce Lim. The report goes on to state that many other staffers are ready to turn in their resignations in support of those who already have and could result in 400 or more staff and volunteers quitting. Other complaints stem from a marketing contract that many feel was unfairly terminated last fall with Bam! Marketing and concerns over certain travel expenses being put on AX’s tab.
STUFF YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED (UNTIL NOW)
Get Your Custom Anime Hugging Pillow: Of all the otaku trends from Japan to not catch on in the states, I’m still a little shocked that the anime hug pillow (or dakimakura) is one of them. I know that there is a healthy segment of American fans who love their moe characters and even 30 Rock on NBC took the time to work one into their programming.
It was shortly after that that I discovered MyPillowPartner.com. Based in Seattle, they create high quality, custom body pillow covers for individuals. After checking out their site, I asked them if they can create pillow covers using images that were already copyrighted (i.e. certain animated characters from Japan) and the reply was ‘you send the image, we’ll take care of the rest.’ Their terms & Conditions do reserve the right to reject any picture that they deem too sexually explicit so I suppose you should use your better judgment. Still, if you’ve been in the market for a dakimakura but couldn’t find one for the character you wanted, this might be a way around that. If anyone decides to get their own custom pillow cover, email a pic of your cover in. I’ll create a gallery for everyone to see all the different designs.
SINGLE OF THE WEEK
To be honest, this has been a really boring season for theme songs. It feels like every series is introduced by the same upbeat pop song filled with sweetness with a side order of kawaii. Luckily there’s one series that has stood out for some interesting music, including a very catchy OP sequence titled Durarara.
The series premiered earlier this month and is available to view each week on Crunchyroll.
Writer’s block sucks but sometimes all it takes is just a couple of sparks to get you going again. I missed last week but there really has been very little to fall through the cracks. So what has happened in the last couple of weeks? Moe loli triplets will be airing sometime in the future, Gonzo has taken one more step towards obscurity and the holiday season is fast approaching which means more merchandise that none of us actually need but will probably buy anyway simply because we can.
Second Eden of the East Movie Delayed: Fans of last summer’s hit series, Eden of the East, have been very patient when it comes to the movie adaptations. Finally, the big day was just hours away when Production I.G decided to break the collective hearts of fans just a bit more by announcing a two month delay in the release of the second movie. This isn’t entirely bad news however. Originally both movies were set to be 60 minute adaptations of the TV series but then the staff got creative and expanded the story out even further making what was supposed to a 60 minute feature into 90 minutes instead. Surely fans can wait a measly two months for at least 30 more minutes of story?
Ikkitousen Season 4 Green Lit: For those of you who prefer your anime to lean more towards the action fan service variety, a fourth season of Ikkitousen has been green lit for production. Titled ‘Ikkitousen: XX (Xtreme Xecutor)‘, the new season will feature the animation debut of the character Bachou Mouki (voiced by Aya Endo [Sheryl Nome in Macross Frontier, Cruz in Needless]) and will also feature new characters that were never featured in the manga series. Beyond that, all of the cast and crew from the first three seasons will be returning to reprise their roles.
If you’re dying to get your fix, the official website has already opened with a trailer for the special DVD 0 being released at Comiket 77. The trailer isn’t really safe for work though the nipples are censored.
Major Gets Sixth Season: The seemingly perennial baseball anime had a sixth season announced this week. The new season will be getting a spring premiere, more specifically April 3rd (just in time for baseball season naturally). I remember when this series was still relatively new and I couldn’t go more than a week without someone telling me to check this one out. Glad that’s finally over with.
Manga Gamer Editing Upcoming Release: Manga Gamer put two news updates on their site earlier this week regarding their upcoming release of Soul Link from Navel (Shuffle). First the good news, the game will be released later this month (presumably in time to spend any holiday money you have coming to you) for €36.95 (or around $55). The bad news is that the game is being willingly censored by Manga Gamer before its release. In a statement posted to their site on 12/4 the company said:
“A total of 6 CGs from the game will be removed due to having an arguably underaged(sic) looking character naked. Because we don’t want to risk getting the law in the way of our future releases, we have decided to cut this CG from this release.” They go on to note that no text was cut.
As much as I hate censorship, this has not been a good year to be an eroge fan. Between the bans put into place because of one stupid game that wasn’t even made widely available and the Christopher Handley guilty plea, I can understand why Manga Gamer would prefer to go the safe route. It’s exceedingly lame that they buckled to whatever pressure they felt like they were under but understandable. On the other hand, JAST USA proved earlier this year that a little bit of Photoshop here and there (NSFW) can go a long way towards fixing those problems.
STUFF YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED UNTIL NOW
600 Japanese Girls Saying ‘I Love You’: Alright, so it’s not literally 600 girls being shipped to you just so that you can be peppered with the same phrase over and over but how about a CD containing the same thing? For a mere $25 you can have a special two CD set titled ‘Hougen’ which will help even the loneliest of otaku feel special as hundreds of girls (including voice actresses such as Rie Tanaka [most recently known as Nyx in Queen's Blade, Octavia in Tears to Tiara, Minna in Strike Witches]). If that’s not enough, a second CD is included in the set which features the reverse: hundreds of girls telling you they hate you perfect for that post holiday depression. The set will be released on 12/23 and is available for preorder from CDJapan.
<Ikkitousen image ©YUJI SHIOZAKI・WANI BOOKS/IKKITOUSEN XX PARTNERS, Soul Link image ©Omegavision>
First premiering earlier this year, Tears to Tiara is hitting store shelves today from Sentai/Section 23 (Available via Amazon and Right Stuf). Originally a visual novel RPG, the Silver Fox animated series follows Arawn and the Gael Tribe. Resurrected after hundreds of years, Arawn is summoned to be the destroyer of the world by an evil priest. When the ritual instead leads to the priest’s death, Arawn is chosen as the new chief of the Gael Tribe and leads them in an attempt to overthrow the oppressive holy empire. A fantasy series for fantasy fans, here are things you need to know before you dive in:
If you’ve played ANY version of this game, you’ve pretty much already seen the series.
This is one of the most faithful game adaptations I’ve ever seen. Right down to the characters, chapter breaks and dialogue, Silver Fox has taken the all ages visual novel ported to PS3 earlier this year and made a few little changes for continuity. For the vast majority of you, this is not going to be a problem but for the few of you out there who actually have played any version of this game before, very little is different so look forward to fairly predictable viewing.
The theme to remember: Following oaths is good, understanding them is better.
The overall theme is revealed through Arthur’s growth as a character. Early in the series, Arthur can be a tough character to get behind sometimes. He is undoubtedly brave and loyal to his people but he can also be amazingly dense. As Arthur takes in new experiences on the battlefield and learns new lessons, the series will make sure that you are crystal clear on what the hidden message is before deciding on if the journey to get there was worth it.
Tears to Tiara loves its tangents
There are going to be a few times when Tears to Tiara is going to go on some odd tangents. You know the feeling: everything will be moving along just fine when suddenly you’re in a two to three episode side story arc. Yes, they can be a little dry but ultimately they’re worth pushing through.
The fantasy tropes are many
When I say ‘a fantasy series for fantasy fans’, I am being quite direct with my series description. Magic, monsters, swords, an evil enemy bent on destruction and domination, elves, tragic deaths, dragons, happy endings… if you really dislike fantasy and all the things that come along with it, you won’t like this series.
It’s still a stupid hat.
I’ve said this at least a dozen times: Riannon wears the stupidest hat in anime history. I stand by this statement and declare it to be among the single worst things about the entire series.
Seriously, it looks like a freakin mushroom.
With the release of Evangelion 1.01, a lot of fans of the original are finally getting to see the redone movie version. Information about the film has not been hard to find since it made its premiere now over two years ago. But finally after theatrical screenings, film festivals and convention appearances the movie is finally hitting the streets. For those of you who haven’t actually kept up with the movie, there are a few things you should know before going in…
Shinji Is Still Annoying:
If any part of your initial reasons for disliking the TV series involved the phrase ‘Shinji is annoying’ I have bad news. He’s not any better here and the vast majority of his dialogue involves him being whiny and emo. However, there is a very bright silver lining…
Evangelion Benefits Greatly From the Movie Format Switch
For me personally, one of the biggest reasons for hating the series so much was the pacing. It was bad enough that the series was just so slow but there were just so many moments that had to be filled and when there’s nothing else, there’s always Shinji to be whiny. Thanks to shrinking the first six episodes (about 150 minutes) down to a nonstop 110 minute feature, the pacing of the story is greatly improved and features much less whiny Shinji.
The Presentation is exactly Like the Original… Just Cleaner
Anyone who had fears about the movie taking the story in drastic new directions has nothing to worry about with the first movie. Though there are no promises for the next three movies of the series, Evangelion 1.0 remains a faithful adaptation of the first six episodes only looking much more impressive and defined. All of the most memorable scenes remain in place including the introduction of Pen Pen when first visiting Misato’s apartment which is still one of the few moments from the original that I actually remember laughing at.
So you may have noticed that I missed a week and didn’t get the Highs and Lames posted last week. Ironically the feature is returning today looking much shorter than it usually does thanks to a fairly low traffic news week giving me more time to keep caught up. So in the spirit of that, let me fill up some space by telling you that my advance review of Evangelion 1.01 will be going up Monday morning and surprisingly it doesn’t even resemble any sort of long rant on the evils of the series. Have I filled up enough space yet? Yeah, that looks good enough. On with the updates!
Funimation Posts First Four Soul Eater Eps and Almost Nine Minutes of Eva: Over the weekend, Funimation gave fans a reason to stay inside on Friday the 13th with new videos on their website and YouTube channel. In anticipation of the new February release date for box set 1, the first four episodes of Soul Eater are available in their dubbed format for fans to check out. The latest dark shonen series to take hold of fans, early feedback has seemed to be mostly positive. I haven’t seen the episodes yet myself but plan to later today so that I can finally have my own opinion about the series. The first box set will be released on February 9th 2010.
For those of you who are still on the fence about the picking up the new Evangelion 1.01 movie, this is also your chance to check out the first eight and a half minutes streaming. Those minutes aren’t going to take you very deep into the movie but it will at least show you a good portion of the fourth angel attack leading up to the Shinji’s first fight inside Unit 01. The movie will hit store shelves on November 17th (that’s this Tuesday) and is available for pre-order from Amazon and Right Stuf.
Moero Downhill Night Now Shipping: The physical copies have come in and are presumably now free of Scottish highland music meaning that JAST USA has begun shipping the street racing themed eroge Moero Downhill Night. The game was released under the Peach Princess label is available from Right Stuf and J-List (NSFW). Speaking of JAST, it’s been a couple of weeks since they’ve posted any new characters or artwork for the upcoming Demonbane. I know I wouldn’t mind seeing more at least.
Kaito Reinya Gets Winter Anime: The gag manga series Kaito Reinya will be getting an anime series in January. The series centers on a young girl who works as a sandwich board wearer during the day but at night is a dynamic thief who always foils the hapless police who try to catch her. The lead character was inspired (and will be voiced by) Morning Musume member Reina Tanaka. Can you imagine if a series like this tried to make it on the air here? First there would be no choice but to aim it towards children and then parents would throw a fit on a young girl working as a thief in the night and getting away with it. Ah, good times.
1212 Entertainment to Work on Anime/Manga Adaptations: Anime Vice reported on a new production company that has opened recently called 1212 Entertainment. Headed up by Joshua Long (who is already attached to the upcoming live action Cowboy Bebop movie), the company intends to work primarily on adapting Japanese anime, manga and video games into live action features. Long didn’t have any titles that he could specifically mention right away but promises big updates in the future.
Gonzo Turns Off Phone Support: Living in Japan and got a problem with the Gonzo DVD you just picked up? Good luck getting someone on the phone to talk about it! Gonzo announced recently that starting in December they will no longer offer any sort of phone support for their DVD products. Fans will still be able to contact the company via their official website. It sounds like this is just another cost cutting measure meant to keep the studio open for even just a while longer. From my fan perspective though if you’re already to the point where even turning off an extra phone line might make a difference, it might be time to start inching towards your panic button.
STUFF YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED UNTIL NOW
Subtitles Beamed Into Your Freakin Eyes Live! : The future is now! Japan based NEC plans to release a product in 2011 which is going to revolutionize international conversation (providing that the things work like they are supposed to). Looking like a simple pair of glasses, a small screen sits comfortably in front of the wearer’s eye. It then listens to whatever foreign language is being spoken and translates them into subtitles on the little screen. It’s not exactly a universal translator and hardly anyone will be able to afford the initial 80K price tag but this is the first step towards awesome new toys coming to us in the next decade.
Single of the Week
Only My Railgun – Fripside
With every new season of anime, there are two things that I absolutely have to do. I have to find the one or two series out of the dozens that I actually want to watch all the way through and I have to find the new theme songs that I enjoy. This season, I was lucky when To aru Kagaku no Railgun came out and managed to fill both of those descriptions perfectly. Debuting at #3 on the singles chart, I have yet to skip over the opening theme and animation while watching this series. I’m sure I will eventually but right now, it’s getting constantly replayed on my iPod. The single is currently available from CDJapan.