Posts Tagged ‘steel angel kurumi’
It was announced this morning that Crunchyroll has signed a deal with Japanese production and distribution company Pony Canyon to stream some of their titles on the site. The first series to be announced as part of this deal is the Steel Angel Kurumi series (originally released in the US by ADV before the licenses expired). In the press release, Crunchyroll states that three of the Steel Angel series will be made available for streaming viewing and download to own including the two TV series and the three episode OVA ‘Steel Angel Kurumi Zero’ which has never been made legally available to American fans until now.
Online Media Distribution Giant Partners to Begin Online Streaming, Subscription and Download-To-Own of Anime Titles
San Francisco, CA (December 15, 2008) — Japanese based multi-media entertainment company, Pony Canyon Inc., strikes a partnership with online media distribution giant, Crunchyroll, to provide streaming and subscriptions for some of the company’s most popular anime titles. More information can be found at www.crunchyroll.com
Pony Canyon Inc.’s Deputy General Manager Hideyuki Saida states, “Crunchyroll helps create a new business model for online monetization and we are looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship with them. We want fans abroad to know that we are here for them and want to bring them great anime titles for years to come.”
Vince Shortino, Crunchyroll General Manager comments “Crunchyroll is proud to be working with Pony Canyon Inc. We are working hard to bring more amazing anime titles to the users of our community and we are thrilled to have a company like Pony Canyon Inc. join our family.”
STEEL ANGEL KURUMI
An erotic, boisterous comedy starring the absolutely obedient and perfectly invincible “Maidroid” Kurumi, a product of science and magic. A boy named Nakahito, the hero of the story, accidentally kisses her to find he has somehow hit her starting switch. And they manage to get into all sorts of trouble…
STEEL ANGEL KURUMI ZERO
It is the time in the future. There is a girl named Kurumi (not as The Steel Angel) living in the world of gradually ruining. These episodes are stories about Kurumi’s first love and with support from Saki and Karinka and new character Exilia. Revealing a secret story about Angel Heart.
STEEL ANGEL KURUMI 2 SHIKI
Once upon a time, in the “Taisho” era (1912-1928), there were some totally invincible, beautiful girl-shaped androids, called the Steel Angels, who obeyed their master’s orders absolutely. Time has passed since then and in present day Japan…
A bespectacled junior high school girl Nako, the beautiful shrine maiden, comes across “Canwan”, the steel android dog, in the basement of her home. By accident she also unseals the android, STEEL ANGEL KURUMI 2 SHIKI.
Nako’s pal from childhood, Uruka is a daughter of Tenkai Sumeragi, leader of the great Sumeragi group which even controls the Prime Minister of Japan. Uruka is secretly in love with Nako and she has been waiting for her chance to steal Nako’s first kiss, but Kurumi the android, beats her to it, much to the dismay of Uruka.
Uraka’s father promises to take revenge on Kurumi and he employs all means possible to do so. During these battles, Uruka accidentally uncovers another Steel Angel called”Saki 2 Shiki”, then yet another Steel Angel called “Karinka 2 Shiki” which somehow follows after Kurumi and Saki.
A series of severe battles over Nako take place, marking the end of any semblance of a peaceful life for her. Nako wonders “How come I am their master?” “What are the Steel Angels, anyway?” “Who made them, for what purpose?” “Is Kurumi really an angel to me? What else could she be?”
About Pony Canyon Inc.
Established in 1987 from a merger between Pony and Canyon Records. Pony Canyon Inc. has been playing a leading role in the Fujisankei Communications Group-the group established Fuji Media Holdings Inc. in October 2007 and Pony Canyon Inc. is one of subsidiaries categorized as Video & Music Group. Currently, the company dedicates itself to the development and nurture of various types of entertainment software including production, manufacture and sales of diverse packaged software in addition to digital distribution services mainly for mobiles (under the five-division system focusing on music entertainment, motion picture and home) and visual entertainment. More information can be fount at its Japanese website http://www.ponycanyon.co.jp or its English wesbite http://www.ponycanyon.co.jp/Intl/.
Headquartered in San Francisco, California – Crunchyroll is hailed as a leading online entertainment brand with the largest international online community and destination focused on Asian entertainment including anime, drama, music in addition to electronic entertainment and auto content. Crunchyroll’s distribution channel and partnership program delivers content to over four million passionate fans worldwide. Crunchyroll is funded by the premiere group Venrock. More information can be found at its website http://www.crunchyroll.com.
The statements made in this press release that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements.” These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. The Company cautions readers of this press release that a number of important factors could cause Crunchyroll.com’s actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in any such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation, product delays, industry competition, rapid changes in technology and industry standards, protection of proprietary rights, maintenance of relationships with key personnel, vendors and third-party developers, international economic and political conditions. The Company may change its intention, belief or expectation, at any time and without notice, based upon any changes in such factors, in the Company’s assumptions or otherwise. The Company undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
Steel Angel Kurumi Vol. 2 – The Trouble With Angels
Released By: ADV
Release Date: 7/16/02
Steel Angel Kurumi keeps up it’s feverish pace and officially becomes absolutely addicting!
Another six short episodes are shown on this volume. Now that the good doctor has been kidnapped and the shrine has been rebuilt, it’s time to go find him and the best place to start looking would be his secret laboratory in Izumo.
So Nakahito, Kurumi, Saki and Dr. Amagi all leave to go find the lab. Unfortunately, they have to stop soon after when Nakahito comes down with a bug while traveling but the doctor that they meet is more interested in studying Kurumi and learning what the secrets of her powers are!
At the next stop, we learn one of the hardships of living in the Taisho era is that if you want to go somewhere, chances are you only had one way to get there and if that way was blocked, you just had to wait. Well, that’s what happens to our party when they discover that a huge boulder is blocking the train tracks and no one seems to be able to move it.
After they get past that though, it’s smooth sailing for awhile as the town that the group lands in next is about to have their annual fireworks festival. Unfortunately, the group doesn’t get to enjoy them as much as they’d like because the lead villain (whom we still don’t know the name of) has sent three more steel angels after Kurumi and as bait they kidnap Nakahito! Kurumi must then face three powerful steel angels and I’ll tell you right now that the battle is fierce and long!
In the final two episodes, Kurumi experiences jealousy for the first time as she catches Saki and Nakahito in a couple of completely innocent yet compromising positions. Bad feelings arise but it comes at the worst time imaginable as yet another steel angel is sent after Kurumi! This angel is a young blonde named Karinka and she’s ruthless in getting the job done and the job in question is destroying Kurumi!
The Good And The Bad
When I watched volume 1, I found the 15 minute episodes very annoying and thought it was a pretty terrible idea. But once I finally had a chance to fall in love with the characters and really get into story, I didn’t even notice that the episodes were so short anymore. I barely noticed anything at all to be honest! Once I put in volume two, I was off in my own little world that contained only this anime! I was absolutely engrossed and couldn’t stop watching.
This anime has absolutely got me hooked with it’s wonderful story and absolutely wonderful characters. If the wonderful relationship between Nakahito and Kurumi isn’t the center of my attention, then Kurumi takes over by just making me laugh at her antics and innocent attitude!
I am so in love with the opening theme song to this series! I swear that I’ve listened to it dozens of times and yet I never get sick of it and never once has the thought of skipping it crossed my mind. It’s a great song and just so catchy!
The music within the episodes is good and while at times it can be slightly distracting (such as the intro music used in the previews), overall it’s enjoyable and adds a lot more to the episodes then it hinders.
The closing theme is also a good theme and even though it’s no where near as catchy as the opening theme, it’s still worth listening to.
Dub vs. Sub
While both tracks are enjoyable I have to say that the dub has completely won me over. Kelli Cousins just does too good of a job as Kurumi. The voice casting is wonderful and I couldn’t even imagine Kurumi sounding any different.
Once again this DVD is absolutely packed with extras. The first of which would be the first half of a video capturing a photo shoot done with the four main actresses of the series (Hilary Haag, Kira Vincent Davis, Kelli Cousins and Monica Rial) with commentary done by the ADR director, photographer and art director. Personally, I found this really entertaining to watch (though I’m a major fan boy for at least two of the above actresses) but some of you may feel the need to skip this one.
Also on this DVD are some great production sketches and original Japanese artwork (including DVD/LD/VHS and Manga covers). These were good to take a look at since the artwork in this series is just so gorgeous!
The most informative extra on this DVD is the translator notes. While there aren’t as many notes as there were on volume one, there are still plenty to fill you in and give you lots of info about the time period.
The last two on this DVD would be the extended episode previews and Original US Teaser but if you have a DVD rom there is one more extra for you which would be another fortune teller that you can print out. The last one was themed after Kurumi and this one is themed after Saki.
I’m in love with this series and it has already won a place on my top ten list and very possibly within the top 5 of all time! It’s everything that I love in a series and can only get better from here!
Five stars and highly recommended!
Steel Angel Kurumi Complete Collection
Released By: ADV
Release Date: 6/1/04
NOTE: This review is a continuation of my reviews of this series. If you have not seen any of the volumes or my previous reviews, you risk spoilers by continuing.
A couple of months ago I was feeling pretty low and needed to pick something up (gotta love retail therapy!) and so on a whim, I picked up the complete collection of Steel Angel Kurumi, a series that I had only seen one volume of at the time and it easily became the best purchase I made in 2004… Which probably goes to show that I don’t make too many purchases.
Before I continue, I would like to note that I will be avoiding revealing too many details in this review as I have reviewed most of the collection individually. Instead, I will try to give a brief overview of the entire collection. If you are interested in hearing about the DVDs in this collection in more detail, please visit the reviews of each individual disc via the links provided below.
Three separate seasons of Steel Angel Kurumi are included in this volume…
Steel Angel Kurumi: In the first incarnation of this series, we are quickly introduced to Nakahito, a young boy of 13 who is a studying Onmyou priest, who after being bullied by his ‘friends’ into visiting a supposedly haunted mansion has his life turned absolutely upside down when he accidentally awakens a Steel Angel with a kiss.
The Steel Angel in question is named Kurumi and now that she has been awakened by his kiss, she is his loyal servant and has fallen instantly in love with the young boy. Unfortunately, things are not as they seem as this Steel Angel has more secrets and hidden powers than even she knows about and a very mysterious enemy known only as ‘The Academy’ will go any lengths to conceal and destroy Kurumi.
Steel Angel Kurumi Encore!: In this four episode OVA, we pick up with our characters right where the first season left off. In these four episodes, all four of the main characters (Kurumi, Saki, Karinka and Nakahito) get to have their time in the spotlight and we get to see them in an entirely new light and see what anime characters really do with their lives when they aren’t on some incredible mission that seems beyond realistic.
Steel Angel Kurumi 2: In this, the most horrid and painful incarnation of the series, we run into Kurumi a few years in the future where she has fallen asleep once again but once again, she is awakened by a kiss‚ but interestingly enough, this time her master is a girl!
The Good And The Bad
I’ve been a fan of this series ever since the first moment that I put disc 1 into my DVD player and this collection is an excellent way for the anime collector to get his hands on it all in one big lump sum.
Seven discs are included in this collection which break down into four discs for the first season, one disc for the OVA and two more discs for the dismal second season.
One of the big drawing attractions to this series is the incredible mix of artwork that takes place within each episode as it easily goes from traditional animation to Super Deformed (or SD animation) for comedy spots, it works and flows easily from one episode to the next.
But the big selling point with me has always been the incredible writing and very interesting plot lines which just draw you in and make you want to watch more to see how it ends.
The music in this series is another point in this series that really shines and stands out to me. It’s very easy to become addicted to music in an anime because of their traditional and poppy beats but this one really brings you in with not only great music but also very sweet lyrics.
The only time the music in this collection falters is during the second season when someone got the incredibly bright idea to make the wonderful opening theme tune into a techno song!
Dub vs. Sub
The dub cast was stellar from one disc to the next in this series and really had me enjoying it. There are tons of stand out performances but if you wanted to choose the ones who made you sit up and pay attention then you need to look no further than the stars of the show… Kelli Cousins as Kurumi, Kira Vincent Davis as Nakahito, Monica Rial as Saki and the incredibly talented and hilarious Hilary Haag as Karinka.
From disc 1 to disc 7, this series is packed full of extras that it’s amazing that ADV didn’t have to create a separate collection just to fit all the extras in! I won’t go into details here about them all but here is a list of all the extras you will find in this collection…
•Behind the scenes feature Conversations with Angels
•Historical background of Tashio era Japan (1912-1926)
•Extended Next Episode Previews
•Fortune Teller PDFs
•Behind the Scenes Photo Shoot
•Original Japanese Artwork (including DVD/LD/VHS and Manga covers)
•Original US Teaser
•Text Interviews with Japanese Staff and Manga Artists
•Preliminary Character Designs
•A Kurumi Travelogue
•Commentary with the English voice actresses
I bought this collection from Best Buy for around 40 bucks and I realized soon afterwards that it was one incredibly sound investment. For 40 bucks, I was able to get 7 DVDs (that’s less than 6 dollars a disc for those of you who are wondering) as opposed to spending 30 dollars per disc and from that I’ve received hours of enjoyment.
The only real downside to this collection is that it includes the horrid second season (which I have yet to review because I have yet to force myself through it in order to review it) but you can always just skip those DVDs can’t you? Fans of this series owe it to themselves to pick up this collection. Deals like this don’t come along everyday!
Steel Angel Kurumi Vol. 5 – Encore!
Released By: ADV
Release Date: 3/11/03
Just when you thought that it was safe. Steel Angel Kurumi comes back with a four episode sequel OVA!!
Steel Angel Kurumi was huge when it was aired in Japan. I’m talking big! And when it came over to the US, there was no change… fans loved Kurumi! And so in an effort to capitalize quickly, the creators of this anime released four additional episodes as sort of an epilogue to the first season.
Four additional episodes are on this volume, all of them taking place right after the end of the first season. Now that the enemy has been defeated, what’s a group of heroes to do?? Relax at home of course!
In the first episode, Saki and Kirinka are both working at a restaurant as waitresses (visions of the episode from volume 3 suddenly float to mind) to get away from home simply because it seems that ever since they got home, Nakahito and Kurumi have been very lovey-dovey with each other but this is a day unlike any other as Saki is discovered and becomes the next big star of the big screen!
In the second episode, it’s Karinka’s turn as she receives a letter from a secret admirer. She actually is reluctant to meet up with him but after some ribbing from Kurumi, she decides to do it. At the very least, she figures that maybe it’ll help her get over her crush on Nakahito since he is officially off the market. Unfortunately, a case of mistaken identity causes problems and over the course of a day, Nakahito’s older brother teaches Karinka a valuable lesson about life.
The third episode is one of the best as the group gets a visit from an old friend and Kurumi decides that the reason why Nakahito still isn’t entirely comfortable with kissing her is because he isn’t as attracted to her as he is to say, A traditional Japanese woman. So, in an effort to become more attractive to her master, she changes herself and starts taking lessons in how to be a traditional Japanese woman. This unfortunately has some bad side effects on her system! This was a hilarious episode and easily my second favorite simply because it was so cute to see Kurumi trying so hard and then learning her lesson about just being herself.
The final episode though is the best episode of not only this volume, but the entire series! In this volume, we start off in the fallen Academy where the Angels are trying to rebuild but rumors are flying around that Nakahito has the magic kiss. One kiss from him and an Angel will become more powerful than they ever dreamed! Well, that is just too much temptation and so every single Angel in the Academy decides that they want his kiss!
All the Angels show up at once and then it is determined that the only fair way to decide who gets Nakahito must win a competition and everyone must compete. Including Kurumi! This episode had me absolutely rolling with laughter and I could easily watch it over and over!
The Good And The Bad
I think that it was great to see this volume. The episodes were hilarious, the writing was very good and the whole concept of getting to see what happens to the characters after the main story has ended was a great touch since this is something that you don’t get to see very often.
The only bad thing about this volume that I can really think of is that I would have loved to have seen more than just four episodes but I guess beggars can’t be choosers as I should feel fortunate that I got this much extra.
The music was great in this volume and it even includes a brand new ending theme. Very poppy and cute, it has it’s own unique charm and while it’s not better than the original ending theme, it’s still not something to be skipped.
Dub vs. Sub
As always, both the dub and sub track were excellent but the dub track won me over a long time ago and there is no reason why this would change now. I can’t even choose a standout performance since everyone did so well on this one!
So this time it’s a three way tie between Monica Rial as Saki, Kelli Cousins as Kurumi and Hilary Haag as Karinka.
As always there are tons of extras on this volume to make up for the very short episodes starting with production sketches and extended episode previews. Then we quickly move on and find the clean opening and closing animations followed by Steel Angel Kurumi trailers.
The best extra though is the Commentary with the English voice actresses. The actresses and director decide to give their thoughts on three of the four episodes. These are always amusing and this one is no exception!
Just like the rest of the series, this volume is a smash hit! If you enjoyed the series, you’ll be laughing until your stomach hurts with this great encore OVA. 5 stars and incredibly recommended!
Steel Angel Kurumi Vol. 4 – Fallen Angel
Released By: ADV
Release Date: 10/8/02
The final volume of the first season of this series comes to a stunning climax leaving behind the comedy that has been very apparent throughout the entire series but can it work as a drama after making us laugh for so long?
In the final six episodes, we learn the answers to all of our questions. Who are the enemies? Where do they come from and why do they want to kill Kurumi so badly? The answers might shock you!
Kurumi heads into her biggest battle yet against an angel with seemingly unbeatable amounts of power and it pushes Kurumi over the edge causing her to become a dark angel that no one can control, bent on nothing but world destruction. Everyone pitches in but in the end, it’s up to the young Nakahito who up until now, has dealt with problems of feeling useless.
The Good And The Bad
I was a little concerned going into this final volume because I wasn’t sure that this series could pull off such a sharp dramatic turn but my worries were soon laid to rest as after the first episode of the volume, I was absolutely hooked and just HAD to know what happened to Kurumi and Nakahito. It was then that I learned the lesson that it’s not the humor that makes this anime great, it’s the story and characters! (ug, I hate it when I learn a moral from anime.)
The climax builds up quickly but is absolutely incredible with how much it just sucks you in! Plus throw in the fact that the last two episodes or so are incredible tear jerkers and you got yourself a winner.
As you can guess, the opening theme is actually skipped a couple of times on this volume simply because the incredibly happy and poppy tune just wasn’t appropriate for what was about to be seen within the episodes. There is some wonderful background music used though and it really helped to add to the mood.
Dub vs. Sub
Once again, the dub track completely won me over with Hilary Haag and Kelli Cousins being the ones that stood out the most. While the sub track was definitely good, it wasn’t nearly as good as the dub.
Lots of extras on this volume just like the others starting with the second part of the interview segment that was started on Volume 1 called ‘Conversations with Angels Part II’. This was an incredibly interesting segment for me, especially the part with Claudia Black as this was her first experience with doing anime dubbing (fans may know her better from her part on Farscape).
Next up are some very nice character bios though I found that these could’ve been better if they were placed on an earlier volume and re-written to not include any major plot spoilers.
After that, take a look at the Kurumi Travelogue which is a wonderful feature for those of us who want to know about the different cities that Kurumi and co. visit on their travels and what they were like during the Taisho era.
For the art nuts in the crowd, there are plenty of production sketches for you and for the rest of us there are the translator notes and extended episode previews.
And finally there is another Fortune Teller for those of you with a DVD-Rom, this time themed after Nakahito.
From beginning to end, this series has been nothing but funny, entertaining and approaching levels of flawlessness that is rarely seen in modern anime. The premise is good, the characters are fun and the story is incredibly engaging. I can’t recommend this series enough and I am absolutely thrilled to have seen it.
Four stars and highly recommended!
Steel Angel Kurumi Vol. 3 – Where Angels Fear To Tread
Released By: ADV
Release Date: 8/27/02
Steel Angel Kurumi jumps head first into it’s third volume with the biggest fight thus far in the series and also takes us deeper into the history of the Steel Angels and even shows us a darker side to Kurumi that no one knew existed.
When we last left off in this series, Kirinka had just absolutely demolished poor Saki in a fight that she didn’t see coming. Finally the group catches up to her and Kurumi and Karinka fight but this fight goes much different than anyone ever thought that it would.
The rest of the volume after this fight is actually spent with Kirinka joining the gang and trying to use subterfuge to pry the secret of Kurumi’s power out of her and also trying to steal Nakahito away from Kurumi. This makes for some absolutely hilarious scenes since the only thing Kurumi cares about is having her master around her to do his bidding.
The final episode however launches us out of comedy anime and into dark dramatic anime as finally the group reach the secret lab that they have been searching for but that night, Nakahito is once again kidnapped by a mysterious boy with a strangely hypnotic power.
The Good And The Bad
This volume started to take a real turn in terms of genre style. Up until now, it has been nothing but non stop laughs as the gang made their way towards Izumo but very slowly, this volume started to turn towards becoming darker and more dramatic with hopes that it would turn just enough to launch itself into that category at the start of the next and final volume of this series and it did a wonderful job at doing so!
The dramatic turn was exactly what this series needed as it has been very entertaining thus far but lacked character depth and now we’re starting to see the deeper part of the Steel Angels and learn more about their history and what makes Kurumi so special.
As always, the music in this series is sensational with an incredibly catchy opening theme, wonderful music used throughout each episode and finally a closing them that, while not perfect, is still not something that I ever skip unless I’m in a real rush. This is what anime music is meant to be like!
Dub vs. Sub
Once again, I openly admit that the dub track has won me over. While the sub track is very entertaining in it’s own way, I just can’t get over how funny Kelli Cousin’s delivery of Kurumi is! Her high pitched squeals of delight just ring in my ear, long after I have taken the DVD out of the player but then again, maybe I’m just weird like that. After all, I am a grown man reviewing cartoons as a hobby.
The standout performance on this volume however easily goes to Hillary Haag in an absolutely brilliant and hilarious performance as Karinka. Karinka is so unlike any other Steel Angel in this series in that her personality is that of someone that doesna’t have a master. She follows orders but she’ll do them when and how she pleases. It’s quite hilarious and Hillary was the perfect choice for this role!
As with the previous volumes, there are a ton of extras on this volume and almost all of them (if not all) are worth viewing at least once. Starting with part two of the photo shoot from last volume, this time it’s the four actresses wearing rather beautiful and flattering black cocktail dresses. It’s about 20 mins long and really has nothing to do with the series but does a fan boy like me really care that much? That would be a big no.
After I got done drooling over that photo shoot (um did I say drooling? I meant viewing, yeah that’s it), I took a look at the text interviews with Japanese staff and manga artists. This was a really informative read as it gave you an idea of how the series was originally created and how it was transferred into an anime. It’s quite interesting to read about some of the behind the scenes stories that you would never get to hear otherwise.
Finally we have the same extras that have been with us since volume 1 (don’t take that as a complaint because it’s not) starting with the translator notes which are once again very informative and helpful and then the production sketches along with the preliminary character designs. If you’re into art you’ll want to check those out.
Lastly on this volume are the ever popular extended episode previews and for those of you with a DVD rom, there is another Fortune Teller, this time themed after Karinka.
As I’ve said before and will continue to say in the future, this series wasted absolutely no time in jumping onto my top 10 list of all time anime favorites. It’s funny, it’s beautiful, it’s got wonderful characters and an engaging story. I think the only real complaints I have about it is that it’s so very short with only 24 episodes in the original series.
It’s definitely worth watching though if you’re into anime that is very cute and hilarious while still being for adults only. This volume gets 5 stars (it would’ve gotten four but the performances of Hilary Haag and Kelli Cousins pushed it just barely into 5) and very highly recommended!
Steel Angel Kurumi Vol. 1 – Angel On My Shoulder
Released By: ADV
Release Date: 5/21/02
After watching Volume 1 of this absolutely delightful anime series, I have to say that if I didn’t understand what ‘Sci Fi Romance’ meant before‚ I sure do now!
Our story begins in the Tashio era (1920′s) of Japan with 11 year old Nakahito being drug off towards a mansion by his ‘friends’ as they are trying to get him to enter an old mansion that was rumored to be the home of a man who killed his wife in it and her head is still inside yelling out for someone to help her. Well, since Nakahito is the smallest and is also a member of a family that studies mysticism, he is the one that is elected to be pushed into the mansion and find this head and bring it out for everyone to see.
Nakahito isn’t exactly pleased with this but he does his best to find his way around inside only what he finds isn’t a disembodied head at all. Instead he finds a beautiful maid who appears to be completely unconscious. So, there he is in the basement of a creepy old mansion with this beautiful unconscious maid in front of him when the army above (oh yeah, did I forget to mention that the entire mansion is supposed to be off limits because the army is right outside??) causes some shaking to happen which causes the maid to fall forward and plant her lips right against our young hero’s for his very first kiss. But that one little kiss is all it takes as suddenly she is brought back to life.
Soon after we learn that her name is Kurumi and now that Nakahito has kissed her, he is her master and she must follow every single one of his commands! Things only get weirder from here as soon we get introduced to the doctor that made her, the army that wants her as a weapon, the rival doctor who just wants the technology and the rival maid who is a lesbian.
The Good And The Bad
When I first popped this disc into my player, I already knew that I was going to like it. I have this weird sixth sense about anime. Almost always, I can just put a disc into my player and know right away on if I’m going to like it even before I’ve watched any of it and in this case my anime instinct was right on! I watched, I loved!
Originally airing in 1999 (and lasting until 2000), this anime has absolutely gorgeous animation that constantly switches in style depending on what is going on in the scene and the mood that is being set by the character’s actions and words. The characters and story is great as well, I am absolutely loving Kurumi already and can’t wait to see more of her. Saki and Nakahito are also very quickly gaining love from me as they have yet to show me any real unforgivable flaws. Both characters are showing absolutely wonderful room for growth and there is plenty of time for them to do it in!
The biggest complaint I have about this series is that each episode is only 15 mins long! Just when they reach that big huge climatic scene of each episode that you’ve been waiting for. The ending credits roll and you gotta wait for the next episode to start. This series is already incredibly addicting and so this is incredibly frustrating for me at times but I am willing to wait because I have found a series that I absolutely adore in this one.
There is tons of great music used in this series including one of the best opening themes I’ve heard in a very long time. The opening theme is called ‘The Miracle That Starts With A Kiss’ and is sung by three of the voice actresses and is done very well. I’m already getting to the point where I am trying to remember enough of the lyrics that I can sing along in my own mangled Japanese.
The songs played during the episodes themselves are also very well done and were a welcome addition. They were somber in all the right moments and really played up the relaxing moments when needed.
Another fabulous job was done on the closing theme simply called ‘Steel Angels’ which was sung by three of the voice actresses again. I’ve really enjoyed the music thus far and I am looking forward to adding them to my collection!
Dub vs. Sub
I listened to both volumes of this DVD and I really had no problems with either. I did myself a bit more entertained by the English track because of Kelli Cousin’s wonderful, enthusiastic performance as Kurumi but I did notice that there were a couple of jokes that just kind of fell flat and were much funnier in the Japanese language. So, it’s kind of a win some, lose some situation but both tracks are enjoyable and I had no problems with either one.
This DVD is just packed with extras! Starting with Behind the scenes feature Conversations with Angels. In this behind the scenes feature, we get to talk to the director of the English language version plus 5 of the voice actresses (Kelli Cousins, Monica ‘my goddess of voice acting’ Rial, Hilary Haag, Kira Vincent Davis and Claudia Black) about their characters. This feature is over 30 minutes long. If you’re into the VA’s at all or if you find yourself really liking this series and want to know more about the voices behind the characters, you’ll love this extra.
Next up would be a Historical background of Tashio era Japan (1912-1926) and Onmyou Information. These were also very cool to read as they provided so much background information, not only about the time period that this anime is set in but also the belief system of Nakahito’s family.
Then of course we gotta see the Production sketches. I do like seeing these occasionally but often times they bore me.
The last extras would be the traditional clean opening, extended episode previews and translators notes. These were also good to watch and I found them all entertaining and helpful.
The very last extra though is something that you can only look at if you have a DVD rom on your computer. It is a Fortune Teller PDF file. Remember those little fortune teller things that you would make when you were in grade school that would fit over our fingers and you would count out a little rhyme? Well, this is the same thing and it’s actually kind of cute though I’m curious to know how many people actually printed theirs out and used it since this series is obviously not meant for anyone under the age of 15 or so.
Because of the short episodes, I can only give this volume 4 stars but I still highly recommend this to anyone who likes their anime to be sweet and funny with a bit of a sci fi twist. If you enjoyed World Of Narue then I’m sure that you’ll enjoy this series as well!
| It has been far too long since I’ve gotten to conduct an interview and thanks to Jay Hickman (the man helps me so much he should be on salary), I was able to interview one of the most talented voice actors in the industry today, the adorable Hilary Haag.
Since 1999, Hilary has voiced dozens of characters from Milk Chan in Super Milk Chan to Karinka in Steel Angel Kurumi to Karen in Sister Princess to Nene in Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040. In the interview, we talk a little about everything including her career and the American Anime Awards.
~ I’d first like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this interview. I know how busy you must be. So, for those readers who do not know much about you (all six of them), please summarize your life story in five sentences.
In five sentences. I was born in San Antonio, TX. I grew up in Houston, Texas. I have one brother. I went to Texas A&M and studied English Rhetoric. I moved to Los Angeles for a while after college, but I have lived in Houston and worked at ADV for 9 or so years now.
~ Starting at the beginning, when did you first discover your love of acting?
I think I discovered my love of acting when I was the Gingerbread Man in the 1st Grade Play.
~ According to my research, your first roles at ADV were in 1999. How long had you been acting before you stepped into ADV?
I feel like I had a role before 1999 at ADV, but that could be correct. My first show was Master of Mosquiton, and then I quickly did Nene in Bubblegum Crisis 2040 and Yuki (I think) in Nadesico. Before I started voice acting at ADV I had acted in Los Angeles and taken classes there after I graduated from college.
~ So, let’s ask the most common question that I’m sure you’ve already answered a million times, how did you get started in voice acting and what led you into ADV to audition?
When I lived in Los Angeles several agents told me that I had an unusual voice and that I should consider voice acting. When I moved back to Houston, I saw an ad in a local paper for “Cartoon Voice Auditions”…and the rest is history.
~ It is fairly well reported that you were going to become a lawyer but then changed your mind. What kind of law were you studying?
I never really went to Law School. I was preparing for the LSAT when I decided that I did not want to be a lawyer, but an actor. That was part of the problem actually…there was no area of law that really interested me.
~ In a 2002 interview, you said that you traveled to California to find work as an actor. How long were you there before moving back to Texas?
I lived in Los Angeles almost 2 years.
~ What was it like for you in California? Was it harder than you imagined or were you able to find work easier than you thought?
I had a lot of fun and it was a great learning experience, but it was a lot harder than I expected! I soon learned that most people start in their own region/city and build a resume then move out there. That was part of my decision to move home to Houston…I knew I needed more experience.
~ Unlike many other voice actors, you actually maintain a day job that isn’t acting. How do you balance your acting work and VA obligations with your main job?
Balancing my life can be very challenging at times, but I am glad that I have the day job. Contrary to most fans’ beliefs…voice actors don’t make that much money. I guess at one point in my life, I could have lived on my acting money that I make now, but I have very expensive taste and I need more money than I make acting. Don’t get me wrong… there are some voice actors who are doing pretty well…but not most.
~ Since you do maintain a day job, do you feel comfortable referring to yourself as an actor or do you prefer to maintain that acting is a “hobby” or “outside interest”?
That is an interesting question, and I think it depends on who I am speaking with. If it is a “day job” associate, then it is definitely a “hobby” or “creative outlet”…as I refer to it. With personal acquaintances it is an “and.” I am in sales and an actor.
~ So, how aware of your anime work are your ‘day job’ co-workers? Are you able to keep the two professions completely separate or have you had to work with anime fans in the office?
My ‘day job’ co-workers are aware of anime work, but I am not aware of any of them being anime fans. That could be a little awkward.
~ Last year you participated in a ‘Babes of ADV’ photo shoot for IGN. In an interview, you mentioned that you hadn’t done anything like that before so what was the experience like?
To be honest…I was actually very upset about that shoot. I did not feel it was an accurate representation of me. I was really uncomfortable wearing “slutty” clothes and posing with “forks.” I went home and cried after it was done.
~ You had a decidedly ‘Elektra’ look which many fans were very pleased with (I’ll admit to being one of them right now). What was your first reaction when the idea was presented to you?
Thank you for the ‘Elektra’ comment…I actually had to go google it to figure out what you meant. I was very excited about the concept when I was presented with it. I was told it was going to be very “glamorous.”
~ Did you get any tips from some of the other VAs before the shoot or did you just kind of go with the flow and listen to the photographer?
I had done stuff like this before for ADV for shows like Steel Angel Karumi and Super Milk Chan, so I sort of knew what to expect (except the outfit). I just tried to follow what the director and photographer told me to do.
~ Speaking of firsts, your first credit as a guest at an anime con was ACen 2002 which has a notorious reputation for being very large and filled with hardcore anime fans. Was this intimidating for you?
Yes!!! I was terrified at my first convention. Luckily it was a first for me, Kira, and Jason Douglas, so we sort of stuck together.
~ What do you remember most about your first con experience?
I think that was the convention that I had a popped blood vessel in my eye which I called “hamburger eye.” Every now and then I see a picture from that weekend pop up, and I see the red eye and have to laugh. I also remember that Kira Vincent Davis and I went to dinner with a friend of hers, and I really liked Atlanta. I would like to go back there one day. Oh…one more thing! I remember the “Wash your Fanboy” t-shirts and bars of soap they were selling. VERY HUMOROUS!
~ I love asking this question to everyone but how did you react the first time you were asked for an autograph?
I was flabbergasted! I couldn’t believe somebody actually cared who I am!
~ One title that I’d really like to single out (as I have with many others) is ‘Super Milk Chan’ which had to be one of the most hilarious anime titles released in the last few years particularly because of the backstage skits. The skits with yourself and Taylor Hannah were some of my favorites, what do you remember from those days of filming?
I remember hating her because she is tall, beautiful, and half my age!!!! She is actually really; really sweet and wonderful…we had a lot of fun on all of the Milk Chan shoots! I miss working with that whole cast!
~ Any fun memories from the Milk Chan wrap/cast party that was going on in the background during the final commentary track? Sure sounds like with all the alcohol flowing, there would have to be some funny memories.
There was too much alcohol for me to remember! Just kidding. There were too many things going on for me to single out one. I remember we were actually all exhausted and ended up watching some movie on the ride home…I can’t remember what movie, so I may have even fallen asleep. How is that
for a party animal?
~ Ok, let’s get down to another role that you will forever be known for… dying by a fork to the neck in the Madlax hidden sock puppet theater. Many fans mourned your ‘death’ there; did you ever once think that your death would come from a wayward fork? *laughing*
Well, that whole Madlax skit was based on my character, CHLOE in NOIR, so I had died by fork before…I am sure I will die by fork again somewhere!
~ During ‘Sister Princess’, the cast got to do something a bit special with the anime by singing a translated version of ‘The Miracle Is Forever’ in the Christmas episode, including yourself. As far as I can remember, you’ve never sung in an anime before. So, what was this experience like and how long did it take to get everyone into the booth and harmonize it all? The end result was beautiful in my opinion, were you happy with how it turned out?
That is VERY FUNNY that you ask. Scott actually brought in a “pinch singer” for me because I canNOT sing. I have sung in Full Metal Panic (I think), SuperGALs, and a few others, but I am definitely not known for my singing!!!! I am not sure who sang the Karen part in Sister Princess, but I
guess she must have been fantastic.
~ Yet another famous first that will forever cement you in anime trivia history was when you were chosen to not only co-host the first annual American Anime Awards but were also nominated in the ‘Best Actress in a Comedy’ category. What was the experience like?
That was an AWESOME experience!!! I think it made me feel like a legitimate actor!
~ Is that to say that you didn’t feel like a legitimate actor before the awards or am I just reading too much into that?
Well, yeah, I guess I did not feel legitimate before. Anime Actors don’t get too much acknowledgement in a public forum for their work. It was really flattering and excited to be nominated. And, I was thrilled to make it into the top 5 nominees! I didn’t expect that.
~ What were your favorite parts of the whole event? I know it’s hard to narrow it down but is there anything that sticks out more than others? Was there anything about the event that you felt could’ve been a bit better even if it was the first time the event was held?
My favorite part of the event was hanging out with all of the actresses and actors who participated in the event. When you ask me my favorite part or something that sticks out…food will ALWAYS be involved. I got to eat at THREE great restaurants in New York. I am salivating just thinking about it. I think for the first event…it went really well. I wish there maybe would have been separate categories for TV and Video. I think it will definitely evolve to include more categories.
~ One thing that was the most apparent to me while I watched the broadcast of the awards was that I thought it was a shame that over 90% of the awards given out were given to actors and anime titles that received airtime on cable television such as Adult Swim which led to many titles being overlooked in the fan voting process. Do you have any thoughts about this?
It did appear that way, but I know a show like Full Metal Alchemist has a HUGE fan base and it would have probably won many of those categories even if it were not on TV. I personally think they should have TV categories and DVD Only categories, but nobody asked me.
~ How do you feel about the idea of a selected panel of voice actors being chosen to cast their votes along with the fans? Perhaps this would be a way to balance things or do you believe that it should remain entirely up to the fans?
I don’t know how that would work. I am not sure how many of the VAs get to sit around and watch everybody else’s work. Maybe they could be provided with specific episodes of the nominees work then vote.
~ So, now I’d like to move back into your acting. Do you have a characterization process that you like to follow when entering the booth to get back into character or do you find that it’s different for each character?
It is different for each character. If it is a particularly hard character voice that I am doing then the director will let me listen to one we did before. Sometimes I also try to pick a line that is particularly representative of the character and say it several times before we start.
~ You’ve played a wide range of characters, has there been a role that you haven’t been able to play yet that you’d like to explore?
I am sure there is, but I don’t know what it is until I see it.
~ Alright, at this point I’d like to single out my five favorite roles of yours from your incredibly long resume (not an easy thing to do) and I’d like for you to tell me what your favorite and least favorite parts were… not only about the character but also about performing the role in the booth.
~ Ryo Hayakawa from Princess Nine:
I loved playing Ryo! I loved the storyline, and I loved that show! The worst part was “throwing” all those pitches. To get it to sound more authentic Matt Greenfield gave me a fake baseball to “throw” in the booth. My shoulder has never been the same after that show.
~ Sister Rosette Christopher from Chrono Crusade:
Chrono Crusade is another one of my favorite shows! I loved being able to play the whole gamut of emotions with Rosette. The fight scenes and the screaming were definitely hard on me and Greg Ayres who was Chrono.
~ Karen from Sister Princess:
I liked playing Karen because it was such an easy voice. She was so sweet! I guess the part I didn’t like was that she didn’t have the “spunk” of a lot of my other characters, so I missed the action!!
~ Nene Romanova from Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040:
My favorite part of playing Nene was teasing “Leon Pooh.” I really enjoyed the whole process of BGC2040 because it was my first big show. I would say the hardest part was learning the process and learning to take direction well. I had to learn that when Matt said to scream…he meant really scream!!!
~ Karinka from Steel Angel Kurumi:
I had a lot of fun playing Karinka! I play a lot of sweeter characters and it was really great to get to be the bad one! I loved her spunk. I don’t remember anything being hard about that show. I know some fans didn’t like Karinka’s foul mouth, but I really had a great time performing all of those scenes. Steven and I would die laughing after every take. It was very cathartic.
~ This actually brings up an interesting point, you’ve played more than a couple of foul mouthed characters (most notably Milk-Chan and Karinka), have you ever had an experience where you’ve gotten a role only to find out afterwards that you were uncomfortable with the writing of the show or the character or are you able to keep yourself completely detached and just ‘think of it as a job’ as some other voice actors have told me?
I do think of it as a job, so I am paid to say what they tell me to. I’m sure I have read a line or two before and asked the director if they are seriously wanting me to say that or was it a joke?
~ We’ll close the interview out with some basic questions, starting with if you were any fruit or vegetable, what would you be and why?
I would be some sort of pepper…maybe a jalapeño! I like to have a little spice in my life.
~ 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?
My husband, my family, my friends.
~ What would you consider the best performance in an anime ever done that wasn’t done by you?
Mike McCrae’s performance as the President in Super Milk Chan was just BRILLIANT!!! He cracks me up…did you see him on David Letterman?? I was so proud of him!
~ On that note, what’s your all time favorite anime?
I really don’t watch anime…no time…so I’ve only seen parts of the shows that I am in. My favorite has to be a tie between Princess Nine and Ghost Stories!!
~ What are you most looking forward to that’s anime related this year?
I am looking forward to hopefully being cast in some new shows! All the ones I am in will be coming to an end soon.
~ Speaking of, what is your favorite anime related memory?
I have really fond memories of working on Milk Chan…the whole process (doing the voice and the behind the scenes stuff) was just so much fun!
~ What’s next for you in terms of projects that you can reveal?
I don’t know what is to come for me. I am still working on Best Student Council, Air Gear, UFO Valkerie, Pani Poni Dash, so there is still more of those to come.
~ 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?
I would like to thank the fans for continuing to watch anime and support all of the American Voice Actors. We are very lucky to get to do what we do, and it would not be possible without the fans. THANK YOU!
I’d like to thank Hilary for taking the time out of her very busy schedule to talk to me and answer my questions. If you’d like to keep up to date with her and what is going on with her, you can join her yahoo group below or visit her MySpace page.
Hilary Haag’s House Of Tofu Official Yahoo Group
Hilary’s MySpace Page