Posts Tagged ‘what you need to know’
Originally published on Ani.meToday is a special day for anime fans because Funimation has re-released the classic parody comedy Excel Saga back onto store shelves. While I consider myself one of the lucky ones who still has my ADV Imperfect Collection, there are many others out there who aren’t so fortunate. Based off the manga, the 26 episode series first premiered in 1999 before making its US DVD debut in 2002 leaving fans in a fit of laughter each time.
Finally though, Funimation is releasing this series to a brand new generation of unsuspecting fans. The fools will never know what hit them. Muhahahahahaha…. ahem, ah right, sorry. Where was I? Oh right! Now there are some of you reading this who have no idea what Excel Saga is; well among other things the main idea behind this series involves aliens named Excel and the kidnapped Princess Hyatt working for Il Pallazzo in their quest to dominate Earth. Only a team of plucky young adults on the surface can stop them despite most of them hating each other. Sounds simple enough right? Right well, you keep on thinking that.
Before you crack open that box set though, there are a few things you should know before you get started.
Bone up on your pre-21st Century anime and Japanese pop culture
This is a parody comedy that relies heavily on references to other series or events from the real world. However it’s still parody series that originally aired in the very late 90′s which means all of the references are aimed at series from the 90′s and earlier. Where Lucky Star might have been happy to take aim with moe jokes, <b>Excel Saga</b> will hit you with hardcore Leiji Matsumoto references. If you’ve never watched an anime more than 10 years old this entire series is going to fly over your head.
Every story has its place
At certain points throughout the series, the story will go on very long, winding, seemingly meaningless tangents that make no sense whatsoever. I promise that all of these scenes have a meaning and a purpose so don’t ignore them.
Dub change halfway?
If you’re listening to the English dub and are even vaguely perceptive, you’ll notice that Excel’s voice changes around the halfway mark. The character of Excel speaks at such a fast pace and for so long that the original voice actress, Jessica Calvello, damaged her vocal cords and had to be replaced with Larissa Wolcott. The change isn’t significant but if you’re paying attention you’ll definitely notice the change.
You will never see everything in this series.
Well, that’s probably an overstatement but this is a series with a very high replay value. As with many parody series, this is another great series that only gets better as you see more series and understand more of the references.
Hyper anime alert!
The pace that this series delivers its jokes and dialogue is some of the fastest to ever come out. There is NO such thing as a slow paced joke in this series and if you can’t keep up with the initial episodes you’re in for a world of hurt later. Trust me, this isn’t something to watch in the background if you expect to keep up with all of the jokes and the humor.
Well that’s it, if you haven’t already checked out this series and you consider yourself hardcore otaku than this is one series that needs to be on your checklist. Filled with insane humor and off the wall writing, this could arguably be considered one of the greatest works of Shinichi Watanabe but be ready because this one is in a class of its own.
Today Funimation has re-released a little horror/action series called Chrno Crusade for fans to buy, enjoy and savor. And believe me, there is a lot within this series to become completely lost in. Produced by Gonzo in 2003, Chrno Crusade managed to find life and rave reviews within the shores of region 1 thanks to ADV in 2006 (though not really the legions of fans that it deserved) before disappearing from radars and store shelves quietly. Finally though, a brand new audience can discover the demon fighting thrill ride that is this series.
Taking place in late 1920’s New York, Chrno Crusade focuses on a demon fighting nun named Rosette Christopher (Hilary Haag in the English cast) in the Order of Magdalene and her demon partner, Chrono (Greg Ayres), as she searches for her missing younger brother Joshua (Chris Patton). As she continues to search however an enemy appears bent on bringing Hell to the surface and it turns out that he requires Joshua to do it. An amazing series all the way through, here the things that you should know ahead of time before starting in.
Taking place in 1920’s New York, the staff behind this series really wanted to reflect that through the language. This is particularly true of the English script which is filled with references to ‘apple Sauce’, ‘the bee’s knees’ and other references appropriate for the period. This can sometimes be annoying though more often than not I found it to be a really nice touch that helps to create the world.
You Won’t Be Saved But…
All of the main characters from this series are connected to the church in one way or another but do not let this scare you off. Within the 26 episodes Chrno Crusade explores religion from new perspectives while asking questions that will leave audiences with something to think about for days afterward. Even if you’re not interested in western religion at all, the points that this series raise make this series much more thought provoking and thoughtful than anyone would suspect.
Moe Before There Was Moe:
Satella is easily, hands down the best fiery German redhead since Asuka and Azmaria is one of the cutest sidekicks in anime history. This is just another point to Chrno Crusade that completes the entire picture. While the foreground is never lacking in interesting events or situations, the background is equally filled with the side stories of the easily likeable supporting cast.
I don’t own a big home theater system so this is hardly an issue for me but if you do own one, get your ear plugs ready. As Rosette remembers moments from her past with Joshua there will be moments that constantly shift from soft whispers to blood curdling screams. Sometimes it even happens within the same sentence.
Get Your Tissues Ready:
If you take nothing else away from this article just remember that you’re going to need to stock up on tissues. I’m not interested in spoiling how it ends but this is one of the best climaxes of the decade. No major open questions, just satisfaction and buckets of tears.
One of the most underappreciated series of the last few years, Chrno Crusade is one of the titles that I worried no one would ever release again. Thanks to Funimation though, a brand new wave of anime fans will get to see one of the best series to be produced by Gonzo (possibly ever). If you weren’t watching anime a few years ago or you were but didn’t check this one out, I cannot let this end this without urging you to change that. A classic to be appreciated, if you like action, demons and wonderful writing this should be in your collection. If you’d like to check it out yourself, the series is available in a brand new collection on Right Stuf and Amazon.
Good news, earlier this week Kaichou wa Maid Sama began its streaming premiere for subscribers of The Anime Network! Better news, now it’s available to all registered members! I haven’t made much effort towards hiding how much of a fan I am of this series. I even consider it one of the best shows of the spring and was surprised when a simulcast wasn’t announced. Once May had passed I had pretty much given up on it happening and shifted my hopes towards a DVD release down the line instead. So thank you Anime Network for picking it up!
But for those of you out there who aren’t familiar with the series or aren’t sure what to expect, here’s what you need to know:- Misa and Usui = Extreme Power Play
Kaichou wa Maid Sama thrives on the relationship between its leads. Luckily for everyone it works. With the two personalities serving as such polar opposites, Usui gets to play the perfect deadpan punch line to Misa’s hyperactive setups.
- Just pray that it doesn’t get repetitive.
I’m an open mark for this one but even I can admit when it gets repetitive. Certain elements such as Usui’s ability to be heroic and the amount of time it takes Misa to get to something even vaguely resembling a point can be difficult to sit through.
- J.C. Staff doesn’t slouch (well, at least here they didn’t).
From the studio who brought us Azumanga Daioh, Cat Soup, Excel Saga, The Familar of Zero, A Certain Magical Index and its spinoff A Certain Scientific Railgun; Kaichou wa Maid Sama is a well put together series just chock full of moe goodness. You’d think that the maid theme would get tiresome after awhile but it’s amazing how tame something can become once you attach the word ‘job’ to it.
- Push through the filler.
It doesn’t take long before the series feels the need to kill some time with a couple of filler episodes. Do yourself a favor; push through it and know that better things are waiting for you on the other side.
- Romantic Progression, it exists!
One reason why I don’t watch more anime romantic comedy is because of the lack of actual romantic story progression. If I’m watching a series about a guy and a girl finding feelings for each other for the gods sake can they please just find them and do something about it?
Thankfully for viewers, Kaichou wa Maid Sama appears to be going somewhere even early on. No promises on where it ends up but early on at least the story looks like it’s actually moving in an intentional direction.
- DVD Release
It should have one. Please?
There! Everything you need to know early on to enjoy one of the better (best?) shoujo series of the year. Now go watch and come back to share your thoughts on episode 1 in the comments!
The day that at least a few of you have been waiting for has arrived: Sentai Filmworks has released Tayutama ~ Kiss on my Diety ~. A cute fantasy romance, the story is centered on the son of a Shinto priest named Yuuri. After a mysterious protection pillar is found in a construction site, he goes to investigate with his best friend. In the course of events, the seal is broken unleashing not only the evil spirits it was containing into the world but also the incarnation of the local goddess, Kikuramikami (eventually taking the much simpler name, Mashiro), in the form of a cute loli fox girl. After making an idle promise to the fox girl, Yuuri wakes the next morning married to the now all grown up goddess and joining in her fight to reseal the demons and evil spirits that are on the loose. Charming in its own way there are still a few things you should know before picking this one up…
~ Bring your cute tolerance; you’re going to need it:
Adapted from a visual novel created by Lump of Sugar, Tayutama has absolutely no problems with using cute and colorful in its artwork. It also has its moments of fan service but between the cute loli goddess with a big hammer becoming a moe wolf girl and the cute little colorful lumps that surround her, you’ll want to be prepared for bright, colorful and sugary sweet.
~ Ameri is a jealous bitch.
Yeah, the best friend character in this one is about as irritatingly jealous as they come.
You know how certain series will insert a character that after their initial presence really do nothing except for play with cool gadgets and deliver the good punch lines? In this series, that job belongs to the cute loli Nue. Whenever the characters need a new network, tracking device that she invented herself or snarky joke she’s the one to count on.
~ Trope Check!
This was the first series that animation studio Silver Link produced on their own and visually the studio puts together a series that is at least pleasing to look at. Once you get past that however, you’re going to get a story mostly held together by tropes and stereotypes of the genre (jealous best friend, gods waging war, perverted father, busybody student council president, etc, etc).
~ It’s Either Amazingly Romantic or Irritatingly Cheesy
No ending spoilers but I’ll tell you this much; if you find yourself buying into the Yuuri/Mashiro relationship the ending will come across as romantic but bittersweet. If you find that the relationships are as thin as rice paper, you’re likely going to just get the bitter portion.
Anything that I missed? What kinds of little warnings would you give to someone about to enter into this series? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or drop me a note on Twitter.
First premiering earlier this year, Tears to Tiara is hitting store shelves today from Sentai/Section 23 (Available via Amazon and Right Stuf). Originally a visual novel RPG, the Silver Fox animated series follows Arawn and the Gael Tribe. Resurrected after hundreds of years, Arawn is summoned to be the destroyer of the world by an evil priest. When the ritual instead leads to the priest’s death, Arawn is chosen as the new chief of the Gael Tribe and leads them in an attempt to overthrow the oppressive holy empire. A fantasy series for fantasy fans, here are things you need to know before you dive in:
If you’ve played ANY version of this game, you’ve pretty much already seen the series.
This is one of the most faithful game adaptations I’ve ever seen. Right down to the characters, chapter breaks and dialogue, Silver Fox has taken the all ages visual novel ported to PS3 earlier this year and made a few little changes for continuity. For the vast majority of you, this is not going to be a problem but for the few of you out there who actually have played any version of this game before, very little is different so look forward to fairly predictable viewing.
The theme to remember: Following oaths is good, understanding them is better.
The overall theme is revealed through Arthur’s growth as a character. Early in the series, Arthur can be a tough character to get behind sometimes. He is undoubtedly brave and loyal to his people but he can also be amazingly dense. As Arthur takes in new experiences on the battlefield and learns new lessons, the series will make sure that you are crystal clear on what the hidden message is before deciding on if the journey to get there was worth it.
Tears to Tiara loves its tangents
There are going to be a few times when Tears to Tiara is going to go on some odd tangents. You know the feeling: everything will be moving along just fine when suddenly you’re in a two to three episode side story arc. Yes, they can be a little dry but ultimately they’re worth pushing through.
The fantasy tropes are many
When I say ‘a fantasy series for fantasy fans’, I am being quite direct with my series description. Magic, monsters, swords, an evil enemy bent on destruction and domination, elves, tragic deaths, dragons, happy endings… if you really dislike fantasy and all the things that come along with it, you won’t like this series.
It’s still a stupid hat.
I’ve said this at least a dozen times: Riannon wears the stupidest hat in anime history. I stand by this statement and declare it to be among the single worst things about the entire series.
Seriously, it looks like a freakin mushroom.
With the release of Evangelion 1.01, a lot of fans of the original are finally getting to see the redone movie version. Information about the film has not been hard to find since it made its premiere now over two years ago. But finally after theatrical screenings, film festivals and convention appearances the movie is finally hitting the streets. For those of you who haven’t actually kept up with the movie, there are a few things you should know before going in…
Shinji Is Still Annoying:
If any part of your initial reasons for disliking the TV series involved the phrase ‘Shinji is annoying’ I have bad news. He’s not any better here and the vast majority of his dialogue involves him being whiny and emo. However, there is a very bright silver lining…
Evangelion Benefits Greatly From the Movie Format Switch
For me personally, one of the biggest reasons for hating the series so much was the pacing. It was bad enough that the series was just so slow but there were just so many moments that had to be filled and when there’s nothing else, there’s always Shinji to be whiny. Thanks to shrinking the first six episodes (about 150 minutes) down to a nonstop 110 minute feature, the pacing of the story is greatly improved and features much less whiny Shinji.
The Presentation is exactly Like the Original… Just Cleaner
Anyone who had fears about the movie taking the story in drastic new directions has nothing to worry about with the first movie. Though there are no promises for the next three movies of the series, Evangelion 1.0 remains a faithful adaptation of the first six episodes only looking much more impressive and defined. All of the most memorable scenes remain in place including the introduction of Pen Pen when first visiting Misato’s apartment which is still one of the few moments from the original that I actually remember laughing at.
With the license announcement made official yesterday and DVDs going on sale via Right Stuf and Amazon this morning, it seems like now is as good a time as any to debut a new feature: What You Need To Know! Going into a new anime series is always kind of tricky, especially if it is one that has such a huge following like Kannagi. Is the series worth the hype? Is it worth your time and money? Well, for my money I’d say yes but before you shell out that hard earned cash there are a few things you should know:
~ Ignore the opening theme/animation
Alright, so it’s not a bad opening theme and the animation will eventually make sense once the series hits the halfway point or so. Regardless, it’s still nothing special and can be skipped if for no other reason than Nagi looks like an idiot while dancing on stage.
~ Zange-chan IS love!
Nagi may be the primary focus of the series but once episode three ended I knew that my fanboy love belonged to Zange-chan. The sister of Nagi, Zange-chan never really gets that great of an introduction into the series. Her role in future episodes however will completely erase this fact from your mind as she constantly acts as the flirtatious foil to Nagi and Tsugumi (also known as ‘what’s her name’ or ‘that one girl’).
~ No, the story isn’t going anywhere
Yeah, hate to break it to you but if you’re going into this one looking for a solid start and ending point you’re going to walk away very disappointed. While a fun ride along the way, the story in this one remains largely episodic. A few threads will keep all the episodes tied together but the grand moment of realization late in the series hardly qualifies as ‘tying up loose ends’.
~ Do you know your inside jokes?
Late in the series, be sure to look for an inside joke when everyone goes to sing karaoke. It’s quick and has no real meaning but is hilarious none the less. If that joke doesn’t strike you as funny there are a number of other inside jokes and background cameos that observant fans can pick out throughout the entire series worth laughing at.
~ Is it worth it though?
Kannagi walks the genre line between romantic comedy and magical girl with relative ease. I’ll always refer to the series as overrated but don’t think I’ll ever refer to it as something you should skip. Don’t add it to your collection without a sample (such as the streaming episodes already available) but most fans should be able to find something in this series worth laughing at.
Just remember that I’ve already called fanboy dibs on Zange-chan.