Posts Tagged ‘gurren lagann’
Oh come on, try to guess… bet you’ll never get it. Not in a million years with a billion guesses. Wait, did you just say delay their June releases to July? Man, you sure take all the fun out of this.
Bandai has poked their head out of the shadows once again this week to announce their latest set of delays:
Kurokami the Animation Vol. 2 (DVD / Blu ray): Moved from 6/8 to 7/20
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam I: Heirs to the Stars: Moved from 6/22 to 7/6
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam II: Lovers: Moved from 6/22 to 7/6
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam III: Love is the Pulse of the Stars: Moved from 6/22 to 7/6
Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam Movie Collection: Moved from 6/22 to 7/6
For those of you who are keeping track at home, this is the second time Bandai has re-scheduled Kurkokami Vol. 2 this year from its original release date of of March 4th. Then again, it took over a year for them to get the first volume released so if you’re one of the few remaining fans who want to complete the collection you might want to get comfortable.
While we’re on the subject of things to come, Bandai has also announced a Gurren Lagann Anime Legends Complete Collection for July 6th which coincides with the movies being released exclusively through the Bandai Store on July 1st. At least, it will in theory. I’ll post a new update once Bandai sends out their latest update with the new release date for the set when it’s available.
This has been a really weird month for me in terms of posts and keeping up to date. The Early Impressions are coming along at some kind of pace but the news has been slow up until recently. This week had new simulcasts but the name Haruhi Suzumiya is the subject that seemed to come up the most often with Bandai’s recent movie acquisition. Here’s what else happened that I missed:
Gurren Lagann Movies to be Available in US: The previously unreleased Gurren Lagann movies, Childhood’s End [Japanese title: Guren-hen) and The Lights in the Sky Are Stars [Japanese title: Ragan-hen], are now going to be available in the US this summer. While a couple of screenings have taken place in San Francisco and Chicago, this will be the first time that the movies will be actually released for domestic sale. The movies will be released directly by the new American branch, Aniplex of America, and will be for sale exclusively through Bandai’s new Online Store but neither release will have a dub track. Trailers can already be viewed on the official Aniplex of America YouTube channel.
In an interview with ANN, it was also noted that Aniplex plans to release five more series before March 2011 so we’ll see how this goes.
Dentsu Opens American Branch: Frequent anime sponsor, Dentsu has opened a North American office which will be responsible for handling various licenses here. At the moment these are titles such as Doltora Quest and Mameshiba so this is kind of more of an FYI than anything that will really reach you directly… well, I suppose if you have children who would be interested in these types of titles and collecting the toys.
Single DVDs Finally Go the Way of the Buffalo (Points if you can identify the silly obscure reference): Media Blasters has announced that Kanokon will be the final series released by the company as single volumes and from there out the company will switch to box sets. One by one companies have been dropping this model but I think we may officially be done with that era of anime releases.
Speaking of Media Blasters and Kanokon, a few days ago Media Blasters CEO John Sirabella confirmed that both Kanokon and Queen’s Blade were being released with dub tracks. Kanokon Vol. 1 will be released May 25th and Queen’s Blade Vol. 1 will be released May 18th.
Producer Apologizes for House of Five Leaves: Despite being placed in the valued noitamina time slot, the first episode of House of Five Leaves premiered to 1.5% ratings. Rating so low, the producer of the series Koji Yamamoto apologized and took full responsibility on his Twitter account. When was the last time you saw a producer who thought he had the next hit reality show apologize for subjecting people to it after it fails?
As a reminder, Funimation also announced recently that they have obtained the rights to stream the noitamina block on their website which includes House of Five Leaves and The Tatami Galaxy every Thursday. I haven’t personally checked out the first episode for myself yet but I hope to this week.
That’s it for tonight I think. Keep checking back as the week passes though as I plan to get a series review up and hopefully more Early Impressions from the spring season which I’ve been doing a pretty lame job of covering this year.
So back in November I came up with an idea for a monthly salute and then quickly realized that perhaps I could have prepared it a little better. So after some re-tooling, Otaku Review Salutes is back and better! If you missed the first feature, the point here is that we all love anime but sometimes we need to stop (or momentarily pause on our way to the next thing in our Google readers, rss feeds, etc) and smell the… um, themed image galleries of characters that we’ve enjoyed. Hm, maybe I should start thinking these introductions though a bit more carefully.
After my review of El Cazador, the theme for this month was an easy pick. So without further delay, Otaku Review salutes… Babes with Bullets!
Madlax: At least one Bee Train girl was a given to be on this list and for my money, Madlax is THE Bee Train poster girl. Capable of killing you in fatigues, a cocktail dress or nothing at all; Madlax could wipe the floor with Nadie, Ein or Michelle!
Rushuna Tendo (Grenadier): So Grenadier isn’t exactly a masterpiece of animation but I can’t think of another character that has a better one motion reload sequence! They don’t call her the ‘Smiling Senshi’ for nothing.
Yoko Littner (Gurren Lagann): Every list needs an easy pick but in this case it’s more obvious than easy: Yoko! I didn’t love Gurren Lagann but it’s hard to think of a girl who can handle a rifle better than her. Though in my mind the eternal question will always be ‘She lives freakin underground so why does she only wear a bikini and hot pants?’
Rosette Christopher (Chrno Crusade): So she doesn’t shoot bullets but how can any list like this be complete without at least one demon killing nun? It can’t and I’m glad that we’ve come to agreement here.
12 Sisters (Coyote Ragtime Show): So this is my grey area entry for this list since technically only a few of the sisters actually carry guns (and my personal favorite is actually July who can slice you in half without even messing up her hair) but come on… it’s 12 android, gothic loli assassins! Are you really going to deny them this? Didn’t think so.
No honorable mentions this month but who do you think should have been included on the list? Who are your favorite girls with guns? What little slice of anime would you like to see Otaku Review salute in the future? Share your favorites in the comments!
Recently over at 2ch, users created a new thread in order to decide on the most unforgivable acts in anime history. Naturally the first reply was to nominate the Nagi-sama non virgin scandal from last year. Luckily people who actually have a brain ignored that answer and started submitting some interesting choices:
~ Gurren Lagann Episode 4
~ Nice Boat School Days Finale
~ Katsukawa Katsushi sues Nippon TV, Tatsunoko Pro and Kuri Ippei for allegedly plagiarizing character designs.
~ Endless Eight (naturally)
~ The 17th episode of Ronin Warriors is accidently aired two weeks in a row causing the series to be shortened by one episode.
~ Hetalia forced off air by Korean protests (yeah, that was pretty lame)
I think my favorites are the suggestions that the mere existence of certain series is a crime against anime humanity. Some of the unlucky series to get that honor included Idolmaster, Final Fantasy: Spirits Within (wow really? It was a bad movie but an unforgivable act?), Rebirth of Buddah and Minami ke: Okawari. But really, if we’re going to be over dramatic and hyperbolic about this let’s really go for it.
So what do you think are the most unforgivable acts in anime history? For me, Geneon taking their ball and going home in 2007 is one of my big ones. Most of 2009 for Kyoto Animation and Kadokawa still bugs me (Yes, I understand the whole marketing thing but still… pain in the ass!). Then I think I would top off the list with the existence of Debutante Detective Corps, Sailor Moon Super S and the lack of a Sailor Stars or Higurashi: Kai license and a second season for Princess Nine.
<Via Welcome Datacomp>
I’ve been a fan of seiyuu Marina Inoue (Yoko in Gurren Lagann or Alicia in the currently annoying… err, airing Valkyria Chronicles) for quite a few years now. When I say fan, I’d like to qualify that with I mean that I enjoy her voice acting and have since I first heard her perform in the far too often overlooked ‘Le Portrait de Petit Cossette’. So while I can’t claim to be a complete encyclopedia of her works, I do enjoy seeing interesting news about her pop up. Sankaku Complex posted some images to their website yesterday which were supposedly drawn by the popular seiyuu… and it turns out that she’s actually quite talented. While her artistic range isn’t exactly epic, she does know how to produce some cute anime artwork. I’ve borrowed one of the images from the feature to show you here but if you want to check out the rest of them, you can see them here.
The nominees for this year’s SPJA awards have been announced via the official site and it looks like it’s going to be a big year for ‘Gurren Lagann’ and ‘Death Note’. ‘Gurren Lagann’ leads the nominations this year with nominations in eight different categories (including ‘Best Television Series’) with Death Note a close second with nominations in six categories.
Familiar names are also spotting this year’s list with Jun Fukuyama picking up his second Best Actor nomination for his role as Lelouch in ‘Code Geass‘ (Fukuyama was nominated last year in the same category) while Michelle Ruff managed to escape with two separate Best Actress nominations for her roles as both Yoko (Gurren Lagann) and Rukia (Bleach: Memories of Nobody). The full list of nominations is below the cut and later tonight I’ll be posting my winner predictions. If you want to get a head start on your own picks though, voting has already begun here.
Another weekend has come to a close and it’s time for another con wrap-up. SakuraCon 2009 set new attendance records with all early estimates from staff members falling north of 20K. Navigating the con this year was vastly easier meaning that I have a vast amount of panel updates for everyone…
Day 1 of SakuraCon was all about the dub premiere of Heroic Age from Funimation. Hosted by J. Michael Tatum and Joel McDonald, the premiere seemed largely well received from the audience in attendance. A space opera that pits a young boy who has raised himself on a desert planet against the universe, the story seemed almost hard to follow at most points however. One of the more humorous moments of the premiere was during the start of episode three when a collective ‘oh!’ of understanding came from the audience as the story was finally explained in more detail.
If there was something important to see at SakuraCon, Saturday was the day to see it starting with the yearly ‘State of the Industry’ panel. Moderated by Roland Kelts, the panel also featured Adam Sheehan (Funimation), Carl Horn (Dark Horse) and Philip Simon (Dark Horse). A lot of optimism came out of this panel with Sheehan noting how Funimation is releasing 17% more titles this year than they did last year. Naturally fansubs and scanlations were brought up multiple times as well as Crunchyroll.
For the most part though, the comments towards these niches were largely benign in nature. The point that seemed to be hit on the most from the panel is that it isn’t so much the downloading that hurts the industry. What really hurts the industry is when those people who download do not in turn buy legitimate copies once they become available.
For those of you who stuck around for my Funimation live blog on Saturday afternoon, you saw that not much of anything came out of the panel. Lots of release dates are now available but in terms of announcements, fans can begin looking for Funimation titles on AnimeNewsNetwork.com starting later this spring.
A second premiere took place Saturday night with con attendees getting to hear the dub for Romeo x Juliet for the first time. This time the reaction from the audience came largely mixed with some fans enjoying the constant switches in dialogue styles while others just wanted to see more action. The one thing that many audience members seemed to agree on however is that ‘You Raise Me Up’ translated into Japanese is one of the worst anime themes in recent memory. The first box set will be released 6/24 by Funimation.
And that was basically it for SakuraCon this year. I did manage to snag an interview with voice actor J. Michael Tatum which will be posted later this week along with photos on the official MySpace page so keep checking back for those!
BUT… it’s not over yet; let’s break this down…
Attendance Estimates: over 20,000
Most Popular Cosplay: Vampire Knight, Gurren Lagann
Most Surprisingly Underrepresented Cosplays: Death Note, Trigun
Word of the Weekend: Girugamesh!
Lamest Panel: Oddities of the Internet
Best Panel: Anime That Scarred Me for Life
Overheard at a Con: “If it’s going in my pants, it’s going on vibrate.” – My friend Jesse
Gurren Lagann Vol. 1
Volume one of this highly anticipated series will not disappoint fans.
In this mech series, the primary heroes are Simon and Kamina. In the world they live in, the human race now lives in underground villages. Dreaming of exploring, Simon and Kamina make it to the surface only to find out that it’s not any better there. On the surface, what’s left of mankind is fighting a war against a race of beastmen. The beastmen use giant mechs called Gunmen to terrorize the humans.
After getting some of their own however, Simon and Kamina will lead a team of fighters including the beautiful beastmen hunter Yoko. In these first nine episodes Team Gurren will pick up new allies including the Black Siblings and members of two more underground villages while facing off against some of the competition from the Beastmen and their leader, the Spiral King.
Good and the Bad
On one hand Gurren Lagann is going to go exactly where you expect it to go in their own unique way. Over the top the entire way from its characters to story to animation for the first seven episodes, this series refuses to take itself seriously starting with the incredibly beautiful sidekick female character, Yoko.
Let’s spend some time talking about Yoko. She fits every single mold that an audience member could ask from this character role. She’s beautifully designed, she wears next to nothing, her breasts are huge, she can wield a gun that is longer than most guys are tall, she can be a tough warrior maiden in one minute but then cute and flirtatious the next and when the times call for it she can break the fourth wall to deliver a solid one liner. She flat out belongs in this series.
The over the top nature spills into another one of the main characters, Kamina. Kamina is presented as the tough older brother that every single guy in the world wishes that he had. Tough, brave to the point of stupid, arrogant, brash but most importantly loyal to those he cares about most. Kamina will spend most of this series either doing something incredibly over the top or reckless such as figuring out that his and Simon’s gunmen can combine by jamming Simon’s into the top of his. And when I tell you that this little notch in the storyline is one of the easier things to just take in as part of the series, you may get an idea of how far this series will go to stretch this reckless abandon.
The least over the top character is still quite bad as far as anime stereotypes go. Simon the digger serves as the primary sidekick to Kamina, the underdog that is always cheered on by his big brother. Simon is also the character that will see the most growth within these first few episodes. The change from what you see in the beginning of the series to what you see when the series leaves off is like night and day.
The first seven episodes to this series were very difficult to watch ironically because of what makes the series so popular. For these first seven episodes, the series moves at a break neck pace. The series never slows down for a moment. Even when the series tries to slow the pace down and give the audience something to focus on other than battles, the comedy between Yoko and Kamina makes the pace speed right back up.
The comedy in this series also seems to work against it more often than not. While the comedy in the series is funny enough to elicit a few chuckles, it never made me laugh out loud. The satire in the battle scenes such as the earlier mentioned forced combine makes these first episodes terribly predictable.
The one place in this first set that remained completely unforeseen is the onsen episode (episode six). While the main plot point will once again, be predicted by most audience members within a few minutes, the rest of the episode is a comedy mine field. The staff will go to incredible lengths in this episode to make the audience laugh. They will succeed on this point as well when audiences watch this episode though the occasional laugh of shock or amazement shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Most audience members are going to be able to see major plot points coming quite early on. The bickering between Yoko and Kamina provides an excellent example. Wasting little time, within one episode the series is already planting obvious seeds of interest between Kamina and Yoko making everything that happens to them down the road something that everyone has already seen coming.
The second disc will change everything though. On the second disc, the staff behind the series moves past the flashy battles, explosions and fan service and show that the series is also capable of being completely serious. While certain parts of this episode were telegraphed early, the emotional impact of the battle is certainly nothing that anyone in the audience will be prepared for.
The sudden change in mood that this creates for the series comes across very suddenly. The colors of the series are changed dramatically and for the first time the characters in this series will actually show a serious side. If this series had attempted to maintain the full speed style that it had laid out in the first few episodes there is no way that momentum would’ve lasted. By showing that this series is actually capable of different levels breathes new life into it before it even needed it.
Already though the series is showing signs that it may not provide the attention to detail that some fans crave. The very first scene of this series will be of Kamina’s father manning a ship floating in space, later in the series Kamina will learn the truth about his father and take on his mantle. The series moves on from there with very few mentions to it ever again and no elaboration. While it’s early to declare this a loose thread that won’t get picked up, it seems more than a little curious that this is a point that wasn’t played on much stronger in the early going.
For the first part of this series, the soundtrack to this series is mostly along the hard rock vein. The hard guitar riffs mixed with turntables give a lot of the battle themes a sound not unlike Linkin Park. Later in the series, the tone of the music will shift dramatically with the series settling into soft string themes. The change in tone is a really subtle shift but Gurren Lagann does a great job of keeping things smooth.
One point that absolutely stuck out though is the lack of subtitles on the opening and closing animations. At first I actually thought that there was an error with my disc or player until I realized what was going on. Subtitling the themes is such a standard practice though that it seems lazy for Bandai not to do it.
The opening and closing animations themselves are well composed. Otaku superstar Shoko Naka sings the opening theme ‘Sorairo Days’ and presents a wonderful ballad for audiences. The closing theme has a bit more of the hard rock edge that the early episode scores share. Titled ‘Underground’ by High Voltage, the song closes out each episode very strong and keeps the pace strong.
Dub vs. Sub
To get this out of the way now, I will admit that episode six is an episode that I can’t wait to see dubbed into English. Moving past that, the Japanese cast for this series does a great job. Leading the way are Marina Inoue as Yoko and Katsuyuki Konishi as Kamina. Inoue has come a long way from her debut role a few years ago in ‘Le Portrait de Petit Cossette’; she does a great job with Yoko always delivering the needed edge or tenderness that the character requires.
Katsuyuki Konishi really gets a vocal workout with his portrayal of Kamina. This role involved an incredible amount of screaming so no one can envy how much his throat must have been killing him after sessions. The end result is a strong performance with memorable scenes that really stand out.
In the future, this section will be updated when the series sees its full release. At that time I will update this section with my thoughts on the dub cast and performances.
On both discs, the only extra that audiences are going to find are clean animations. The full release of this series later on is set to contain a bunch of extras however.
What you see is what you get with this release. With this first set, Bandai released something to tide fans over until the full release of this series in a couple of months. The series itself is good. It almost lost me with the first few episodes but the change in tone late in the set sets this series up as one that I’m now anxious to see more of. It certainly hasn’t gotten me so worked up that I feel the need to buy the sub only releases right now and even the special edition can wait since that same CD will be included as well.
As mentioned, this section is also going to be updated when the full release of this series is out on shelves. At that time I will provide a more detailed view of this series.
Final Grade: B