Posts Tagged ‘fullmetal alchemist’
Please refrain from actually touching the Elric, thank you.
Over the last couple of years, Funimation has made January into a special month for anime fans with their annual string of license announcements. This year is no different with Funimation already promising a string of license announcements starting later today at noon Pacific (2pm CST). Unfortunately I will be at the day job when this announcement is made so my write up will have to wait until I get home. Cursed real life getting in the way of things that I enjoy. *shakes fist at air*
Luckily it’s not a complete miss for you (or me for that matter) thanks to a press release sent out this morning announcing a new partnership between Funimation and Appliya. You might remember the name Appliya from last year when they released a string of apps centered around Evangelion last year. In the new partnership, Appliya will be the exclusive provider for brand new anime iPhone/iPod touch apps based around Funimation licenses starting with Fullmetal Alchemist available exclusively on iTunes.
Priced at 1.99, the first app to be unveiled is the Fullmetal Alchemist: State Alchemy Exam. Featuring over 100 trivia questions about the series, fans will have the chance to win free wallpapers and compete against other fans to get the highest score. Also promised in the press release are future apps which include a FMA action game and apps which center on other Funimation licenses such as Crayon Shin-chan and Afro Samurai.
Alright, so a $2 trivia game isn’t exactly Earth shattering news but it is showing that Funimation has zero intention of resting or slowing down in the coming year. Within a week of the New Year starting, Funimation is already pushing towards a virtually untouched mobile market of fans. While I don’t see Funimation creating a brand new mobile app division by the end of the year, it wouldn’t shock me to see industry experts in 1-2 years pointing towards this period of time as when the groundwork was laid out for mass mobile marketing and viewing.
Full press release below the cut
<Image via Pixiv>
As promised, earlier today at their Anime Boston panel Funimation announced the dub cast for their upcoming release of ‘Evangelion 1.0: You Are [Not] Alone’. So let’s just get right down to it since there are a few surprises:
ADR Director – Mike McFarland (Also playing Hyuuga and Eva)
Misato – Allison Keith-Shipp (A reprisal from the original series)
Shinji – Spike Spencer (Also returning)
Ritsuko – Colleen Clinkenbeard (Yuko in xxxHolic, Éclair in Kiddy Grade)
Ibuki - Caitlin Glass (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist, Haruhi in Ouran Host Club High School)
Rei - Brina Palencia (Ai Enma in Hell Girl)
Fuyutsuki – Kent Williams (Mao in Darker Than Black)
Kensuke – Greg Ayres (Kaoru in Ouran Host Club High School, Negi in Negima)
Toji – Justin Cook (Chiba in Beck, Akio in Desert Punk)
Aoba - Phil Parsons (Kajima in Baki the Grappler)
Kiel - Bill Jenkins
Hikari – Leah Clark (Nodaka in Negima, Eri in School Rumble)
Kaworu – Jerry Jewell (Rin in Shuffle, Jimmy Kudo in Case Closed)
Yui – Stephanie Young (Sophia in Aquarion, Clare in Claymore)
So, all in all I don’t think this cast looks that bad and there are some castings that has me actually looking forward to giving this series another chance. It is nice to know that Shinji and Misato will retain their original castings. As for Rei, I specifically mentioned that role from Brina Palencia because of how direly sullen it was all the way through ‘Hell Girl’.
Evangelion 1.0 will be released to DVD later this year by Funimation but will get its premiere at this year’s Anime Expo.
FUNimation Entertainment Acquires Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood for North American Release
Anime Leader to Stream Episodes of Highly Anticipated Series Within Days of Japanese Television Debut
Flower Mound, TX – April 3, 2009 — FUNimation® Entertainment has acquired digital, broadcast, DVD and merchandising rights to the megahit anime series “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” from Aniplex and debuting on Japan’s MBS and TBS nationally at 5:00 pm on April 5th.
Starting Thursday, April 9 at 10:00 a.m., FUNimation will deliver high-quality, free, original Japanese dialogue accompanied by English subtitles, streaming episodes of studio Bones’ new Fullmetal Alchemist via www.funimation.com as well as key video-sharing partners.
It’s been awhile since I’ve had a trailer roundup on the main site but I have decided to bring it back in much smaller doses. I will do my best to keep up with the trailers for upcoming DVDs but if I miss a few than you’re more than welcome to send along a tip to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get it in the next update. Today’s update is pretty easy though as Funimation has uploaded five trailers to their blog (or YouTube channel) for fans to see including Darker Than Black, Paniponi Dash, Fullmetal Alchemist and others.
~ Also released today for those of you who are looking forward to the upcoming ‘Dragonball: Evolution’ movie (yes, all four of you) were new clips from the movie. Sankaku Complex has all of the new trailers uploaded (rest of site, NSFW) which includes some fight scene footage.
Updated to add Dragonball: Evolution link
Fanboy Review posted a few tidbits to the site this morning which included the news that Funimation has acquired the FMA Premium Collection OVA. According to their anonymous sources, dubbing for that project began before the new year began along with dubbing for the upcoming ‘Eva 1.0′. In a statement to ANN, Funimation said they hope to be able to make a FMA related announcement later this month at Ohayocon.
With these episodes serving as a build up for the climax, will xxxHolic have enough time to even build a climax?
In episodes seventeen through twenty, the series will develop a bit more while Yuko will grant a couple of wishes. The volume starts with Watanuki meeting a girl named Nurie while running an errand for Yuko. Nurie has a problem with accepting happiness and has a pattern of purposely sabotaging herself to keep herself away from things that could bring it to her. Bringing her to Yuko though, she makes a wish to overcome.
In the next two episodes, Watanuki and Doumeki will get their time in the spotlight. In episode eighteen, Watanuki will receive a special gift from one of Yuko’s spiritual friends. Using the item, Watanuki and Doumeki will travel to a new plane where they will take part in the annual monster procession while Doumeki learns some new truths about Watanuki and what role working in the shop will have on him. After that, the mood is lightened a bit by a huge snowfall. Getting into the spirit of things, Yuko will challenge everyone to a snowball fight that takes on epic proportions after Yuko adds her own twists into things.
The volume closes with another woman who needs a wish granted from Yuko. It’s Valentine’s Day and while Watanuki is more worried about chocolates and Himawari, the woman who enters the shop is more concerned with a photograph. More importantly, making the photograph disappear and never return. It seems that there are some truths that you can’t get away from no matter what and as xxxHolic has taught the audience, every wish has a price.
Good and the Bad
Readying the audience for the final four episodes of season one, xxxHolic shows four different stories. All of them told in four very different ways. Episode seventeen, for instance, is so simple in its presentation and story that it’s amazing that it is a part of this series. While the first half of the episode comes across as normal in its presentation and pacing, the second half of the episode is so different from usual. Instead of a strong build up towards a complicated pay off, the episode trails off into Yuko and Watanuki just quietly talking. And for half an episode, Watanuki quiet learns a few things while Yuko talks. I really wish that the presentation of this episode didn’t leave me so surprised but it does and pleasantly.
Changing things up right away, the series moves into the format that it has used in previous episodes when dealing with a more spiritual theme. Episode eighteen does everything right in a single episode that xxxHolic has made attempts and half successes at previously. The artwork in this episode really stood out as amazing with details on all the different types of monsters. During the episode, Watanuki makes a comment about being in a world of drawings and the statement isn’t far from the truth.
All of the monsters drawn in this episode have a very simple hand drawn quality to them. The audience will not be able to help but be drawn into the details that are included and while not everyone in the audience will be able to actually name many of the monsters, they are fascinating to look at none the less.
The naturally frustrating thing about this episode however is the standard method of storytelling for xxxHolic: give the audience just enough and then stop. While the episode shows a lot of great things and even develops on a couple of relationships, the actual amount of new information that the audience gets about Watanuki and where he is headed is next to nothing. With the first season so close to being completed, I really thought that I would have more information by now about where the conclusion of the season was headed.
The animation in this volume has wonderful examples throughout the volume. Episode eighteen with the process of monsters is very well done. The sheer amount of detail paid by the animation staff is very noticeable. Also well done in this volume is episode twenty. The early CG animation during the photograph sequence looks amazing and the transition to the smooth still frame animation later is incredibly smooth.
Around the fifteen minute mark of episode seventeen, there is a short sound effect to indicate Watanuki’s eyes growing wide. It only lasts for two seconds but felt amazingly out of place. The soundtrack of the scene is ambient night noise and this random sound effect, which I never recall hearing before, just felt very cartoony for lack of a better term. Especially with the dark theme of the scene and Yuko’s speech.
Beyond that though, once again xxxHolic does a remarkable job with its music. Two themes in particular will make the audiences take notice almost as soon as they start playing. The theme that plays during the monster procession is very well done and has a wonderful quality to it that almost feels haunting but not evil. It’s hard to describe but the tone of the scene when Doumeki and Watanuki first see the procession is aided very well by the music.
The creepy theme that plays in the photograph scene of episode twenty is also very well place and composed. The episode has multiple scenes that are well aided by music though. The closing theme during Yuko’s monologue is equally nice in how well it matches the scene and dialogue.
Dub vs. Sub
With this volume, many of the Japanese terms are translated into English. This eliminates the issue that the series has run into previously with words coming from characters not sounding natural. The dialogue remains strong on both language tracks though and the performances are strong. Brina Palencia as Zashiki-warashi and Kate Oxley as Amewarashi were fun as always in their recurring roles.
There aren’t any glaring issues to keep audience members from enjoying either language track. There are a couple of small typos in the subtitles. Just misplaced letters but momentarily noticeable anyway.
Sticking with the same trend, just clean animations and an image gallery. Though if you are a fan of the Fullmetal Alchmist series, this volume does contain Funimation’s first trailer for the FMA Blu-ray release.
With only four episodes left in the first season, I’m finding myself really reaching to find reasons why I want to see the final volume. The series has done its best to create fun characters that you want to see develop it something more than what they started as but they sure haven’t made it easy. With only hints dropped in these twenty episodes, I am no closer to knowing what fate awaits Watanuki or even Doumeki than I did during episode one. With not even a cliff hanger to keep me interested, I don’t imagine that I am going to go out of my way to watch the conclusion to xxxHolic season one.
Final Grade: B-
Mania.com is reporting that Funimation has begun advertising an upcoming release of the Fullmetal Alchemist movie on Blu-ray. A trailer for the release is being attached to the upcoming release of xxxHolic Vol. 5 and will show box art for the release at the end of the trailer. There is no firm release date that I am seeing but it is being released in Japan as part of a box set in January 2009.
After missing out on my chance to interview Brina at SakuraCon face to face, it became a priority of this website to get an interview with this up and coming voice actor out of Texas. During the interview I had the chance to ask her about some of her previous work, acting in and directing School Rumble, playing Ai Enma in Hell Girl and much more.
~ Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer some of my questions. I was disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to talk with you at SakuraCon this year. I’d like to start with going back a bit though. You studied classical music in college and have found yourself in the voice acting booth. When did you first decide that acting was the right path for you?
It was never really a conscious decision. I’ve always enjoyed both acting and music. I chose to get my degree in music versus theatre because I enjoyed music theory so much. I got very lucky with the anime industry, and had a lot of opportunities presented to me that I couldn’t pass up. I still do music. I still sing. I still write. I just don’t get paid for it.
~ You’ve been having kind of a whirlwind ride over the last couple of years starting with Fullmetal Alchemist in 2004 and now you’re directing and landing choice roles such as Ai Emma (from Hell Girl). Has it managed to become overwhelming yet?
I have been very lucky and blessed to get so many opportunities in this business. It can get very overwhelming at times, trying to balance my schedule with directing and voice acting. I know all of us at Funimation have been extremely busy since we moved into the new studios, but we all love our job. The stress is worth it.
~ You were in some Illumitoon releases last year, what was the atmosphere there in those early recording sessions? Was there any sort of excitement at seeing a new anime company starting?
It was exciting for me as a voice actor to have new opportunities with a new company so close to home. The studios were very nice as well.
~ At SakuraCon this year, you took part in a ‘Guests Uncensored’ panel which had you and two other guests taking questions from fans that were normally off limits. Without revealing anything that is actually said at these panels, do you enjoy doing these types of panels where you can be slightly more relaxed about filtering your comments?
I love uncensored panels. In my day to day life I curse like a sailor. It’s a comfort to me to be able to drop the F-bomb. I feel much more relaxed.
~ During Beck, you recorded the song ‘Follow Me’ with Greg Ayres. You mentioned that both of you recorded your parts separately. Did you record first and not have the second voice to work with or did you have his part to work with while you recorded? Was it difficult to not have the second part there working live on it together?
I recorded first, so I didn’t have anything to go off of. I already knew the song really well. Chris Bevins had given us all the Japanese soundtrack to practice with in advance. So it wasn’t very difficult to do. It would have been more fun to record it with Greg, though.
~ With a credit on your resume as a composer for the 2005 film ‘Bachelor 37’ to go along with your Funimation singing credits such as the closing themes from Beck and Shin-chan. Are there any music projects coming up that fans should listen for?
I am currently writing some songs with a friend of mine. I have the intention of making an album eventually, but I don’t know when that will be.
~ Ok so let’s talk about that… any chance you can give fans an idea of what kind of sound and song writing your fans are going to get to hear on your eventual album?
It’s sort of pop-folk, and each song will be a story told in the third person.
~ Along with your music and voice acting credits, like many other voice actors, you’re also an experienced theater performer with roles in ‘Suessical’ and others. What challenges and rewards do you get from voice acting that you don’t find with theater?
Wow! I’m shocked you even know about that. I miss doing theatre. The biggest difference between theatre and voice acting, to me, is being able to play off of another person. We never read with the other characters in anime. It’s a fun challenge in theatre to work with the energy of another person. It’s also a fun challenge in anime trying to guess what the other person in the scene will do. As a director, that’s one thing you always have to think about.
~ In 2007 you took a seat in the ADR Director chair with School Rumble, what made you decide that it was time to take that new step in your career?
I didn’t really decide it – my producer, Colleen Clinkenbeard, decided for me. I hadn’t expressed any interest in directing at all, and Colleen asked me out of the blue if I would like to be her assistant director on Tsubasa. After getting over the initial shock of how random it was that she would ask me of all people, I said yes. I then went on to direct episodes 21-26 of Moon Phase, and then started School Rumble.
~ Do you think that having a couple of years experience in the booth as an actor has helped you when you’re directing and doing casting for a new series?
It’s definitely helpful to already have an idea of what the overall process is like. Having done it for that long, I also had a good idea of who other voice actor’s were and their experience – which was helpful in the casting process.
~ Did you find it difficult to juggle directing and performing your role as Mikoto?
Directing yourself is a very difficult thing to do. It was extremely hard at first. I almost recast myself, but Colleen assured me that wasn’t necessary. It’s gotten easier, but it’s still a challenge for me.
~ Are you able to judge your performances critically or do you find it easier to have a second person listen in for feedback?
I tend to judge myself too critically. My engineers are helpful in letting me know that I’m being too hard on myself. Also, Colleen reviews and approves all of my episodes, so she sometimes gives me feedback on whether or not Mikoto is going in the right direction.
~ Along another vein, you also did the lead role of Ai Emma in the amazingly dark series, Hell Girl. What were your initial reactions to it when you first started to learn about the series and its characters?
When I heard what the series was about and saw the artwork, I fell in love. I’m a huge horror movie fan, so anything creepy and dark like Hell Girl is guaranteed to make me happy. I was ecstatic when I heard I got the part.
~ After the first few sessions when you got to know the character a bit more, how did you get into the proper mindset to play the role?
For some reason it was a lot easier for me to record that character with my eyes closed. I don’t know if it was the need for darkness or what, but the first few episodes were done almost completely with my eyes closed. I would have to open them to see the mouth movements and what kind of timing each line had, but when we would actually record the line, my eyes were closed.
~ At this point, I’d like to ask you about a few characters that you’ve played and I’d like for you to tell me what you liked most and least not only about the character but performing them in the booth:
~ Eve in Black Cat:
The coolest thing about Eve was getting to do scenes with Brandon Potter. We have been friends for 9 years (since high school), and that was his first role at Funimation. I was super proud of him and I loved Sven and Eve’s relationship. Having Brandon voice Sven made it extra special for me. The only thing lame about Eve was that she never talked, so I wasn’t in the booth very much at all.
~ Mikoto Suo in School Rumble:
Having to direct myself was waaaay lame, but I learned a lot from it. I really love Mikoto because she’s a very real and down to earth character, but can still be extremely goofy when she’s with her friends.
~ Ralph in Glass Fleet:
Ralph was the most complicated character I have ever played – emotionally speaking, and that is what made him so much fun. His relationship with Vetti was so messed up and so sad. It was really fun to do a British accent, too.
~ Ai Emma in Hell Girl:
She’s creepy which is always cool, but she had the same problem as Eve. She never talks, so I wasn’t in the booth very much.
~ Honoka Sakurai from Suzuka:
It was really fun to play Leah Clark’s (who played Suzuka) rival. She’s my best friend in real life and we played best friends in Negima, so it was cool to play enemies.
~ Finally I’d like to close with some simple questions that have nothing to do with anime. If you were any fruit or vegetable, what would you be and why?
I’d be a star fruit ‘cause they’re pretty.
~ If you were stranded on a desert island and you had all basic needs taken care of (food, water, and shelter), what three things would you want to take with you?
A boat, captain of the boat, and search and rescue squad.
~ What would you consider the best performance in an anime ever done that wasn’t done by you?
Cripsin Freeman as Alucard in Hellsing. Huge fan.
~ On that note, what’s your all time favorite anime?
~ What are you most looking forward to that’s anime related this year?
Finishing the second season of School Rumble.
~ Speaking of, what is your favorite anime related memory?
When I found out I got the part of Maho in Beck. Anytime I audition for an anime I typically don’t care what part I get. I just want to be in it. That wasn’t the case with Maho. I have never wanted any part so badly not even since then.
I was on a road trip from Seattle, down the West coast, back down to Texas. We were somewhere in Oregon. It was about 7 or 8 in the morning. We hadn’t slept. We’d been driving forever. I desperately needed to go to the bathroom, but all we could fund was a port-o-potty that was covered in fecal matter. I was hungry, but everywhere we went had crappy vegetarian options. It had been raining nonstop for a few days. I was ridiculously cranky when I got a call from Funimation.
They said they needed to schedule me for some time for Beck. Anytime Bevins auditioned me for a show and didn’t cast me (which was almost all of them to this point), I would be one of the first people he called in for a WALLA session (which is just bit parts and crowd scenes).
Being in the cranky mood I was I said, “Oh, for WALLA, I guess.” “No, it looks like you have a part.” My heart starts to beat faster, “Wait, what? What part?” “Um, I don’t know let me check.” Long pause. Papers shuffling around. My heart pounds faster. “Here it is. It looks like your playing the part ooof…Maho?” “Wait, wait, wait. Are you sure? It says I’m playing Maho?” “That’s what it looks like.” I proceeded to freak out and yell multiple profanities. Needless to say, my day was much better after that.
~ What’s next for you in terms of projects that you can reveal?
There are a couple of things coming up, but I can only talk about one. I’m currently working on directing the 2nd season of School Rumble. Its uber fun and I’m happy to be working with the cast again.
~ Finally the obligatory question that I end every interview with, do you have any words that you’d like to share with your legions of fans?
Thank you guys for being so awesome and supportive. You guys give our job meaning.
Thanks again to Brina for taking the time out of her schedule to answer my questions. If you’d like to keep up to date with Brina, you can check out her MySpace page.