Posts Tagged ‘nozomi entertainment’
Super Gals Complete Collection
In Shibuya, the town may have a government and police in place. If you were to ask someone though they’d tell you that the streets are really protected by a high school girl named Ran Kotobuki. Ran is the #1 gal in the area with her only concerns being the latest fashions and having a good time. Of course that’s only in between having adventures in town and fights with her rivals, Mami and Kusumi, teachers and anyone else interested in causing problems in her town.
Good and the Bad
So I haven’t posted a DVD review in awhile and that would be because I have a certain rule that if I start a review DVD set I have to finish it before I can review it. Sometimes this rule can be a major pain in the ass when you have a series that’s not quite good but not so bad that it can be dropped. Such as with the case of Super Gals. At its heart, this isn’t actually a really terrible series. Once you start getting used to the characters, the jokes can be fun and worth an occasionally laugh. But that sentence right there should cause alarm; why on Earth should I have to get used to the characters? Once you realize that, it’s only a matter of time before you realize this is going to be a struggle.
This is the closest example to a Saturday morning American cartoon in anime form that I’ve seen since Heroman (though this series premiered years before). In every episode, there is a new story to get through with some elements continuing as running themes throughout. Over two seasons, the entire series is one of the most shallow to be released in the last few years. Sometimes this can be a strong point when you need mindless entertainment but it has to be willing to make certain sacrifices and still find a way to be good. In this case, the sacrifices comes in the form of flat writing to match its equally flat characters that have one set of personality traits and sticks with them the whole way… and then it forgets to be good.
In the first few episodes, the series establishes things very cleanly. If you had enough free time, you could literally count the number of times that a character acts in a way that is out of the norm. Which if you’re telling simple stories that rarely last for longer than a single episode makes them perfect for stories and situations that are never going to be particularly deep. The series is all about Ran avoiding all of the inconvenient things in life in order to have the most amount of fun and that’s a story that is presented very well.
However as much as much as I’d love to praise Ran for having such an amazing attitude towards life, the characters are the biggest hurdle to climb over while watching. As every character has their own template that is rarely broken, the series rarely allows anyone any real growth. There are exceptions to this but oddly its all regulated to the supporting cast. As with other elements though these moments are way too few and far between with many of them marred by poor writing. This just becomes another joining the list of tragic victims left in the Super Gals wake. To be entirely fair, there are times when the sadder of these moments could almost be touching in the right circumstance. It’s just that using these characters does not constitute the ‘right circumstances’.
It’s very rare for this to happen but there isn’t a single character in this series that I can’t name something about them that annoys me. Every character sits in their comfortable boxes over two entire seasons. Occasionally one (particularly Aya, Miyu and Mami) will peek their head out and make an attempt to break out of that box but that’s about as far as it ever goes. And after 52 episodes it just becomes so easy to pick them apart and find something to dislike about all of them. Yuya, just to pick a random example, is the number 2 male high school idol in Shibuya. He’s also so stereotypically whiny that he eventually ends up in an accidental relationship. All because he is too much of a wuss to simply clear up the wacky, romantic misunderstanding. It’s like a PSA against apathetic guys.
The one place that I have to praise Super Gals is in how wonderfully its aged over the last decade. Despite first premiering in 2001, the first season of this series looks clear and clean. There are few signs that the series is really that old until they drop a clue (‘Alright kids, now we’re going to learn about email’). As the series progressed into the second season though, it seems as though the staff at Studio Pierrot just stopped caring about how the series looked. Characters change hair color from episode to episode while single frame shots will suddenly lose their proportions eliminating any real charm that the series had earned in the first 26 episodes.
It’s hard to believe that the same man who composed the amazing CANAAN and Chrono Crusade scores, Hikaru Nanase, was behind this series as well. With the setting being a vibrate neighborhood like Shibuya, the music in this series really plays this up with many electronic para para themes (Ran’s an expert at it after all). Beyond these moments though, the music tends to stay in a much more typical cartoon department. There are even plenty of sound effects to accompany the cheesy themes to match the situation of the moment.
I will say this though… if I have to listen to that stupid Junior Detective theme song one more time I will scream.
Dub vs. Sub
With their release, Right Stuf is able to include the original ADV English dub with the first season while the second season remains subtitles only. Listening to the two casts really proved to be an interesting dynamic. As I switched back and forth between the two casts, I found that I much preferred the natural sound to the Japanese cast. There are a number of references and language jokes that rely on the Japanese that never allows the English cast to sound natural.
On every disc are liner notes for each episode to explain some of the harder references and jokes along the way. What I found frustrating about these notes though is that they were programmed as one long extra. This means that you either had to watch each episode and then go back to read the notes before continuing or read all the notes at the end of the volume and hope to remember what was happening in each episode. As a counter to this problem, the first season discs also contain the ‘Gals Explains It All’ segment. In these short segments (usually around 5 minutes), one of the English voice actresses gives the audience an abridged version of the liner notes with fewer details. I personally preferred the text notes which went into much better detail.
Had I seen this series when it was released as single volumes, I imagine I’d have enjoyed it much more than I did. As it is, I could only take this series in short bursts and even then it was becoming a chore to watch within 3 volumes. Lacking any sort of redeemable depth, the lazy writing, stories and characters gets this series off to a slow start that are never helped by the stale and sometimes reused humor. I’m not saying that I never laughed at this series but the moments of sheer boredom far outnumbered them. Perhaps I could see myself putting this on for my nieces but anyone who is looking for a genuinely fun anime viewing experience can just keep going.
*Note: No actual cookies will be offered.
So today was supposed to be my day to completely catch up on the news and getting people informed of what’s been happening. Supposed to being operative phrase. As you can tell, the day kind of got away from me but I still have just enough time to get through a couple of press releases before I have to dash off again.
So starting in DVD land, Right Stuf/Nozomi Entertainment sent out a press release earlier this week announcing the release of Antique Bakery on DVD. Co-produced by Nippon Animation (Armored Troopers Votoms, Hyakko) and Shirogumi (Tales of Agriculture), the series originally premiered in 2008 during the summer Noitamina block. The slice of life series centers on four handsome men working in a bakery together: the owner who quit his normal office life to open a bakery Tachibana, the childhood friend Chikage, the devilish playboy Ono and the former boxer Kanda.
The series will be released in its entirety on April 5th and in true Right Stuf style will be loaded with collectable extras. Listed among them in the press release are coverage from live premiere events and a special booklet including bios, interviews and dessert recipes. It’s retailing for 49.99 and is already available for preorder.
Full press release below the cut
First announced on the ANNCast podcast a few weeks ago, 4Kids Entertainment has opened their new streaming portal today and they call it Toonzaki. In their initial announcement, the site was labeled as a place where fans could go to enjoy series licensed by 4Kids in their original uncut format which will hopefully eliminate complaints about the edits that series have to go through in order to be broadcast on American TV.
In the initial launch, 72 series have been added to the site (most of which are hosted via Hulu) though what I find interesting is that only a small percentage of them “belong” to 4Kids (Sonic X, Yu-Gi-Oh, etc). Instead most of the series available at launch have actually been licensed by Funimation (including most of their recent simulcasts) with a few Right Stuf/Nozomi Entertainment series thrown in for good measure.
Eh, it’s still another streaming portal though so yay for another place to go in order to watch free, legal streaming anime. Now give me a nudge when they can add all of the uncut Shaman King episodes so that I can finally finish that one… they still have that right? Because that’s like the only 4Kids license left that I actually have any shred of interest in anymore.
To say that Right Stuf/Nozomi Entertainment has opened up a brand new YouTube channel isn’t entirely accurate. It’s been there for awhile actually but today the company revealed plans to make it a much bigger part of their future. The process started quietly when the first two English dubbed episodes of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor was uploaded to the site. Earlier this week a schedule was posted to the main website which revealed that two more dubbed episodes would be added on Tuesday July 27th. The episodes are currently available to view in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.
In an interview with Anime on DVD, Alison Roberts from Nozomi Entertainment didn’t mention specific series that would be uploaded in the future but hinted that there would be some classic Right Stuf/Nozomi titles along with newer titles that fans have already been asking about.
So which series does that mean? Sora no Woto? I bet it means Sora no Woto. It’s Sora no Woto, right? And Super Gals and El Hazard. I bet it totally means that too. Right? Right? Am I right?… right, I should stop talking now.
Alright, almost caught up. Just a couple more of these and I can move onto… the new summer anime season? Well, guess I can get by on a bit less sleep than usual.
For the last couple of days, Right Stuf has had their countdown running on their usual Coming Soon site leaving fans to wonder what was going to be coming down the pipeline today. Lucky day for fans, Right Stuf didn’t have one but two major announcements for the coming year!
Starting with the first series to carry the Anime no Chikara (Anime of Power) label , Sora no Woto was the first title announced this afternoon. Often referred to as ‘K-ON Joins the Army’ by snarky bloggers who still think it’s funny *cough*, the 12 episode series produced by A-1 Pictures (Black Butler, Moribito) premiered on Crunchyroll in January to a lukewarm response by fans. While absolutely beautiful to look at, many fans lamented the terribly slow pacing and unoriginal character designs. There’s still a quiet charm to this series that puts it on par with other healing anime released by Right Stuf such as Aria the Animation or Piano: A Melody of a Young Girl’s Heart. The series will be released as one box set next year and will include the special DVD only episodes released in Japan!
Also announced at their panel today, Right Stuf has revealed their plans to re-release the entire Revolutionary Girl Utena TV series produced by JC Staff in 1997. All 39 episodes will be released in 3 box sets with remastered video and audio in 2011! The magical girl series has been in high demand with fans for years and now they will get to see it once again.
You know, the weekend is only halfway over but I’m just about ready to call this “The weekend of giving fans just about everything they could possibly ask for!”… eh, or maybe I can work on that title some more and get back to you.
Full press release below the cut
Alright, it’s been two days since the countdown began and now it’s finally to reveal the lucky winner. The new license from Right Stuf/Nozomi Entertainment is the original Dirty Pair!
Premiering back in 1985 and based on the novels by Haruka Takachiho, the series revolves around two teen intergalactic crime fighters/mystery solvers. Unfortunately their skills come at a price. While they may have the reputation of getting the job done, they also have the reputation of leaving a path of destruction in their wake in the process (which is somehow never actually their fault).
This is actually the first time the original TV series has been released in the US. ADV released all of the OVAs and Movie throughout the last few years but never the TV series. The series will be released in two box sets with remastered animation and will include all 24 episodes of the TV series and the final two episodes which were turned into specials after the series was canceled two episodes early. The first set is currently scheduled to ship in the fall and is already available for preorder here. A release date for the second set will be revealed later but is already available here.
Full press release below the cut
I knew that this Monday was trying to lull me into a false sense of security. Things were quiet this morning… a little too quiet for a Monday in the middle of March. *cue eerie music* But real life was waiting and so I left and have returned to find a whole mess of very cool press releases in my inbox! So, starting in the order that they appear:
Right Stuf/Nozomi Entertainment Start New Countdown: Oh Right Stuf, how you do love your little countdown clock! A new timer has been started by Right Stuf over at their usual Coming Soon address but this time there’s a twist. From now until Wednesday, clues will be dropped for fans to try and win prizes. The clues will point fans towards a combination that they must figure out and the name of the series that they’ve licensed. Guess them both right and win a prize. I’ve been thinking about this for a little while now and I don’t have any initial guesses on what it might be. (Full press release below the cut)
Sentai Announces Dubs for FIVE Series: The loyal have fought hard and bought the sets that had no dub track and finally, they have been rewarded. The second press release to hit my inbox today came from Sentai Filmworks announcing that the following series will be re-released with brand new dub tracks: Clannad, Blue Drop, Ghost Hound, Legends of the Dark King ~ A Fist of the North Star Story and Tears to Tiara. Few details were made available right away but the release did say that they are working on an upgrade program for those fans who already purchased the sub only versions.
I would love to sit here and share my thoughts on this but I’m limited on space. So to sum it up: Clannad and Tears to Tiara: yay, Blue Drop and Legends of the Dark King: seriously? and if you’ve even once said ‘I won’t buy this series because it doesn’t have a dub track,’ I suggest you snatch these up. (Full press release below cut)
Viz Media Opens VizAnime.com: Viz Media has never been completely silent in the streaming market. While they aren’t busting out brand new series each and every week like Funimation and Crunchyroll, they have been holding their own with weekly Naruto and InuYasha streaming simulcasts. Today Viz took one step forward in the streaming world by opening VizAnime.com which, right now at least, hosts all of the streams that they currently have on Hulu on one site (they even use pretty much the same site navigation system).
The site also attempts to inject some functionality and social networking to your anime viewing by allowing comments and letting registered users keep track of which episode they left off on last. (Full press release below the cut)
Mangaka Strike Back for the Loli: Do you remember last week when I mentioned the proposal being discussed in Tokyo? In a nutshell they want to ban any image depicting a loli character in a way that could cause someone, somewhere to somehow become aroused (I may be paraphrasing that a bit). Well, luckily for fans there are still some good, honest, hard working folk who just aren’t going to listen to that kind of nonsense: mangaka!
Keep fighting that good fight you brave men and women!
Caitlin Glass Saves the World: Wrapping things up on a bit of an optimistic note, English voice actress/ADR Director Caitlin Glass (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist, Haruhi and ADR Director in Ouran High School Host Club) has decided to take a break from voice acting to teach English across the sea with her husband. I had the chance to interview Caitlin once and had a great time doing so. I wish her the best of luck in her travels and hopes that someday she’ll return to lend her voice to another Funimation dub! Good luck Caitlin!
Everyone sees the public figures attached to each series such as the voice actors and directors. But when you spend all day every day writing about all of those series, it’s the PR and marketing people who become your life line! Over the years on Otaku Review, I’ve gotten to interview some great guests but for once I wanted to turn the spotlight to the backstage area to some of the people who help keep all of us informed of what’s hot and new on our local store shelves; Jackie Smith from Funimation and Alison Roberts from Right Stuf.
So, as promised here are my picks for this year’s SPJA awards. Though as usual, just a couple of notes about my picks. I’ve already deleted every category that I don’t feel I can give a good enough opinion on (such as all of the manga categories). If I even tried to make a pick there I’d just be taking a stab in the dark. So here we go… here are where my votes and predictions are going to lie this year.
Right Stuf have announced that they have licensed the series ‘Rental Magica’ for release in the US. Originally released in 2007, the ZEXCS animated series follows a boy named Itsuki Iba (voiced by Jun Fukuyama) who is forced to take on the family ‘rent a magician’ business. As a very timid, shy boy who lacks any sort of magical power this is a difficult task as he must now manage a fleet of magical employees and learn to be tough with them at the same time.
Right Stuf plans to release the series in two box sets starting this fall which will include the option to watch the series in either broadcast order or chroniclogical order (based on the original light novels) and special booklets that contain 100+ pages of background information about the series and characters. The official English website and pre-orders for set 1 have already been opened complete with trailer.