Posts Tagged ‘right stuf’
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
Sentai Filmworks have released their information regarding how fans can upgrade their sub only editions of Tears to Tiara for the upcoming dual language release. As per usual, the process simply involves going to the Right Stuf website, printing out a form and sending it in along with the appropriate amount to cover the change and shipping. All of the fine details have been listed below courtesy of Right Stuf:
Tears to Tiara Upgrade
(1) Redeem the completed upgrade form, the sub-only Tears to Tiara Collections 1 and 2 (sftt100 and sftt200) — all (4) DVDs, sleeve art and plastic cases — plus $30 for the DVD upgrade (or $40 for the Blu-ray upgrade) and postage [$3 postage within the USA / $6 for Canada].
(2) Or if you purchased only one of the sub-only sets — Tears to Tiara Collection 1 (sftt100) or Tears to Tiara Collection 2 (sftt200) — redeem the completed upgrade form, plus the (2) DVDs, sleeve art and plastic case and $35 for the DVD upgrade (or $45 for the Blu-ray upgrade), plus postage [$3 postage within the USA / $6 for Canada].
The offer expires February 28, 2011.
So there you have it, get to mailing before it too late to hear what Rhiannon and Octavia sound when they’re not speaking Japanese in a mythical fantasy kingdom.
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.
You have to feel bad for any company that had to compete with the excitement that Funimation generated last night by announcing 17 new titles. Despite this, both Aniplex and Viz Media managed to get a little share of that love from fans by each announcing a new anime license of their own.
At their panel last night, Aniplex finally confirmed the license that has been rumored to exist for at least the last couple of weeks, Durarara. Premiering this past spring on Crunchyroll and helmed by the same team that created Baccano, the series has been a consistent topic of discussion every week as new episodes rolled out.
Armed with details, Aniplex told fans that the series would be seeing a DVD release in January 2011 in 3 sets and will come complete with a full English dub. No cast list was available at the time of the panel but Aniplex reps did confirm that the full cast would be announced at Otakon. Quick aside, way to give a story a couple extra weeks of life with minimal effort Aniplex!
Hosting their panels this morning, Viz Media and Production I.G also showed that they are still very much in the game with some announcements of their own. Viz Media was up first and announced that they will be simulcasting the new summer supernatural action series, Nurarihyon no Mago. The series premieres on televisions in Japan on Monday but I haven’t been able to find an exact time that it will be made available for fans in the US.
Closing things out this morning, Production I.G gave fans a nice little post script to the Utena TV license announced yesterday by Right Stuf. In their panel, it was confirmed that Right Stuf also has the license to the Revolutionary Girl Utena movie. Additionally, Production I.G also confirmed that they are currently involved in the live action Ghost in the Shell adaptation being worked on by Avi Arad.
Day 3 of Anime Expo isn’t over yet though! Even as we speak, eroge localizers Manga Gamer is presenting their panel and if anything new comes out of that I’ll be sure to post it up as soon as possible!
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
We’re all pretty aware of how tough the anime economy in the US has gotten over the last few years. In just a few short years fans have had to say good bye to Central Park Media and Geneon with still others seemingly circling the drain. Over the last few months though, fans have seen reasons to feel slightly encouraged with the births of NIS America (well… expansion is more accurate for them) and Anime Midstream (well… yeah, let’s just move on) and now, one more name has been added to that list.
Based out of Atlanta, New Voice Productions has opened up a website and is ready to accept your help to get started. According to their first post, New Voice Productions wants to take the ‘by fans, for fans’ theme and run with it all the way to a license of the 2006 indie anime OVA, Hoshizora Kiseki, a 27 minute movie created almost entirely by Akio Watanabe (Character Design: Bakemonogatari, Nurse Witch Komugi, Soultaker) and Toshikazu Matsubara. The sci-fi romance features only two seiyuu in its cast, Kyouko Chikiri (Zou in Onegai My Melody) as Ginga and Yumiko Hosono (Honoka in Suzuka) as Kozue and competed in the Italy Future Film Festival in 2008 (losing to 5cm per Second).
The plan on the site is to raise $3,500 in donations over the next 60 days which New Voice says will cover the initial license from CoMix Wave, dubbing costs and distribution via Right Stuf which will retail for $9.95 upon its release. To complete the ‘by fans, for fans’ theme, New Voice also notes that they will holding open online auditions for any fans who want to attempt to become part of the production.
I’d really like to be snarky about this idea; the website is barebones, is powered by Google Sites and encourages companies to use their services because “All of our voice actors are New to the voice acting business, but not to the voice acting scene. Most of our recording is actually done through the internet,” (so they’re professional fan dubs?) and “because most of them are new to the business they are almost always non-union and much cheaper to hire.” (read: don’t know any better).
But it’s not like anyone else has tried anything zany lately so if New Voice Productions think that they can pull this off more power to them!
<Via Anime Nation>
Updated 2:36pm: I just received an email from Alison Roberts at Right Stuf Intl. In the email, it was confirmed to me that while a preliminary conversation with New Voice has happened there is actually no solid deal in place for Right Stuf to distribute, market or help produce this title when/if it licensed. Apologies for the mistake and confusion.
A couple of press releases went out yesterday which will please fans from two different generations of anime fans! In the first announcement of the day, Right Stuf announced that they have rescued the license of El Hazard: The Wanderers and will be releasing it September 7th in one complete collection (complete with original English dub)!
You want to know how old this series is? The first time it was released in the US was by Pioneer on 7 VHS tapes in the late 90’s. It did eventually get a DVD release in 2002 but has long since gone out of print. Forgotten by way too many fans, this is a very nice rescue for Right Stuf. Hopefully this will also lead into rescue announcements for El Hazard: The Magnificent World and El Hazard: The Alternative World in the near future. Like, tomorrow. That’d be good with me.
Capping off yesterday, Bandai got into an announcement mood revealing via Twitter last night that the company has picked up the parody series Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya and the net anime series Nyoron Churuya-san. Before you ask, yes they will be dubbed with the usual cast. Both series will be released together with the first DVD dropping this summer. Crunchyroll is also currently hosting both series in Japanese along with the entire first season.
Yes yes, Haruhi is big deal. Great for Bandai… so about that El Hazard box set?
Right Stuf 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