Archive for anime

Samurai Pizza Cat DVDs Are Coming!

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Who do you call when you want some pepperoni? Apparently, a little company called Discotek Media!

Crunchyroll made many an old school anime fan squeal with glee when they released an article saying that Discotek Media announced they will be releasing Samurai Pizza Cats on DVD! Apparently, it will come in two versions: an English dub, and the original Japanese language track with English subtitles.

For those who don’t know what Samurai Pizza Cats is, well, I feel damned sorry for you. This show was a big part of my childhood, and my little brother and I still sing the theme song to each other every now and again.

I will be picking up the English dub. Why? Well, to be honest, it’s fricken’ hilarious, and I can’t imagine watching the show without all of the jokes I remember from my childhood.

I’d love to know who else is excited about this, and what version you guys will be picking up. I’m assuming that a DVD release means that I’m far from the only person who remembers this gem of a show. I hope you all are as excited as I am!

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SNL Takes a Stab at Otaku Culture

As you may or may not have heard, last night’s Saturday Night Live, hosted by the always-funny Anna Faris, featured a skit called “J-Pop America Fun Time Now!”, which basically took a few completely overblown stereotypes about Japanese and Otaku culture and beat them to death.

I personally found the skit hilarious, but if you watch the video via Crunchyroll here and read the comments, this made a lot of anime fans very, very angry.

I can see why people would be angry at it, and I was slightly irked by it myself, but they made it very clear a little ways into the skit that this is clearly not what the culture is really like, and that the people hosting this ‘show’ were being borderline racist. Even so, most people who left comments seemed to have gotten so disgusted that they didn’t even watch that far into the video.

This skit seems to be taking more shots at American fans of anime and Japanese culture than the actual culture itself, and that is the part of it that irritates me. Either way, I don’t feel particularly offended by it.

What is your take on it? Did SNL go too far, or is the anime community overreacting? Share your thoughts, I’m very interested in hearing them!

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Recent Anime News That Matters (To Me)

It’s been incredibly slow around these parts, so to kick things up a little bit, I’ve decided to share some recent anime news that’s caught my eye, along with my thoughts on it. Feel free to comment on these pieces of news, as well as with your own!

DMI Tells Amazon to Go F**k Itself!

Okay, not really. However, Digital Manga, Inc. has decided to give some of their manga titles to Kobo Books, an e-reader service, after Amazon updated Kindle’s Publishing Terms and Conditions to say that pornographic material is not allowed on the Kindle. After changing the Terms and Conditions, Amazon took DMI’s yaoi manga off of Kindle, and then subsequently denied their other manga submissions.

It’s nice to see that manga is finding a home on any e-reader, but it still perplexes me as to why it has to be yaoi. Sigh.

Fangirl Yaoi Bait Goes Live!

I have to admit, I definitely jumped for joy on Thursday when it was announced that July’s issue of LaLa Magazine announced that there will be a live-action show based off of the popular manga and anime Ouran High School Host Club.

I’m a big fan of the show, so I’m rather curious to see how this turns out. They seem to have nabbed some quality talent, such as Haruna Kawaguchi and Yūsuke Yamamoto, who will be playing Haruhi and Tamaki, respectively, so I’m hoping it shines like it should. We won’t have to wait long to see, either; the show will be airing in July in Japan.

Shounen Goodness, MMO Style!

Sega and Beijing Perfect World Network Technology have announced that a Saint Seiya MMO is in the works! There is no word yet on which countries will be able to enjoy the game, but they did confirm that they will begin testing the game in China sometime before the end of the year.

I am extremely excited for this, but cautiously so, since I am highly doubt that this game will make it to America. However, as an avid fan of Saint Seiya, I’m happy to see so much interest in the project.

4Kids Acts Like It Matters!

Oh, you.

4Kids has submitted a motion in it’s bankruptcy proceeding to disallow the co-licensor of the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise to take control of the license, specifically for the upcoming series Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal. They want to put more work into proving that their license is still valid before allowing it to be taken from them.

Now, I work at a law firm, and while I’m not an expert, I can comfortably say that I would bet that this isn’t going to work. They pleaded to the judge to speed up the process for a hearing on their motion to protect the YGO license, which was a pretty poor move on their part, in my opinion. Each party in a court proceeding has every right to the time allotted by law to give a rebuttal to court papers that are filed, and it’s ridiculous to think that they could convince the court to ignore that in their favor.

Being that 4Kids has been on a downward spiral for some time now, I think they need to be exceedingly careful here, and they don’t seem to be doing that. Only time will tell how this pans out.

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Chu★Cast Episode 4: 2010 and Beyond: An Otaku Perspective

Brent (@OtakuNoVideo) of Otaku, No Video and Greg (@TheDigitalBug) from the anime blog Reisen Goes To School By Bus join me in the fourth episode of Chu★Cast!

We talk about what anime and video game gifts we received this year, as well as what 2010 was like for the anime industry, hitting on some of the most memorable stories and issues of the year (such as the Youth Ordinance Bill and how moe has changed in 2010), ending in our thoughts on what 2011 will bring for anime and the anime industry, as well as what we’d like to see in the new year!

A very happy, healthy, and bright New Year to all of you!

Chu★Cast is now available on iTunes for free! Get it here now!

If you want to download this podcast outside of iTunes, click on the Mevio player to go to the episode’s site, then click the down arrow on the bottom of the Mevio player to download the MP3. Enjoy!

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First Impressions: Fall 2010 Anime Season

As he does for every season, Jon Ingoglia of JanaiBlog recently held one of his Anime Samplers, where we all vote on which new shows of the season look the best, and we then watch 1 or 2 episodes of each (ending in a few extra episodes of our favorite of the night!). There were some big hits and big misses among the bunch. Here for you are my quick first impressions of some of this season’s biggest new titles!

Iron Man (Episodes 1 & 2)

This anime is based off of the Marvel character of the same name. Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, comes to Japan with the intent on finding a way to give the country clean, free energy and, in the process, announce his retirement as Iron Man. He has new Iron Man suits all built and is ready to pass the torch on when he is attacked by combat machines from a group only known as Zodiac. Now before he can retire, Tony has to don the Iron Man suit once more.

I heard a LOT of negative things about this title, but it really wasn’t that bad. The animation was great, but that was expected with Marvel behind it. The story however was average at best, and while it kept us entertained enough to watch two episodes, we were more than ready to move on when all was said and done. If you’re an Iron Man fan, you’ll surely enjoy this, but otherwise you might find it to be rather lackluster.

Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto (Episode 1)

More like Star FABULOUS!

This is about a school on an island, and a kid named Takuto that misses his boat and actually swims all the way to said island. He says he just wants to live a good school life, but he clearly has a whole other agenda involving a legacy that his father left him. A group of masked people are stealing shrine maidens from the island and ‘unlocking’ certain gates using battle mecha called Cybodies. Only chosen people can use these mecha, but Takuto happens to be a special, fabled person that will shake things up with his presence.

Sound vague and confusing? It is! This was by far the worst title of the night. The character designs were insane and the story failed to hold my interest. The only thing that DID catch my eye was the FABULOUS nature of these characters and mecha. It made for a few laughs, but other than that, this series just wasn’t worth it to me.

To Aru Majutsu no Index II (Episode 1)

This is the second season of To Aru Majutsu no Index, a story about a girl named Index who has a bunch of magical books stored in her brain and the events that surround her. Although I’ve watched a few episodes of the spin-off series To Aru Kagaku no Railgun, I’ve never seen Index itself. I enjoyed it more than I thought I was going to, and it did a decent job of explaining some of the major plot points that are needed to understand the anime without watching the first season, but in the end than that I wasn’t really thrilled by it.

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (Episode 1)

One of my personal favorites of the season! This wasn’t even on our agenda for the evening, but we watched it anyway! This anime is about two angels on Earth named Panty and Stocking who are searching for heaven coins, and they get them by fighting off demons with the help of a priest named Garterbelt. It is animated very much like an American cartoon, and each episode consists of two 15-minute stories, much like cartoons in America are.

Despite that, it has a very Japanese feel to it, and the music and art direction are unique, funky, and superb. If you can deal with the sometimes jeuvenile comedy, then you will LOVE this show!

Super Robor Taisen OG: The Inspector (Episode 1)

This mecha anime centers around humans trying to rebuild after losing a war. This is thrown into a spin as the president of the Unified Colonies publicly acknowleges the existence of aliens, and reveals a plan to get rid of the aliens so that they can continue living in peace.

Now THIS was a mind-blowing show! The mecha action was absolutely breathtaking, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It was engaging, interesting, and all-around entertaining. If you like mecha or just action anime in general, check this one out!

The World God Only Knows (Episodes 1-3)

This anime centers around Keima, an otaku who spends all of his free time (and much of his school time) engrossed in dating sims. He is known online as “The Capturing God”, and runs a blog telling people how to get every story branch in all of the visual novels he’s played. He accepts a challenge from a blog reader of his, only to find out that it was really a contract with Hell! Now he has Elsie, a demon, following him around, and he must help her get rid of all of the ‘loose souls’, or demons that reside in people’s hearts, and he can only do this by taking the evil spirit’s place in that person’s heart by making them fall in love with him! The worst part is that if he doesn’t succeed, the collars around both Keima and Elsie’s necks will decapitate them!

This was the favorite of the night! It was funny, witty, enjoyable, and incredibly heartfelt. You really fall for Keima, and as he is forced to pull away from his games and integrate into real life, you begin to see him change and grow, even in the first three episodes! I HIGHLY recommend this anime to everyone!

Samurai Girls (Episode 1)

This anime takes place during the Tokugawa Shogunate, where all of the famous warlords from history have passed on their names to young girls who are in opposing schools. The student councils are responsible for waging war against the other schools, but when one of the girls decides to rebel, it causes some major problems.

I found this show to be pretty boring. There was quite a bit of fanservice in it, however, so if you’re into that kind of thing, you might enjoy it. There isn’t much else for me to say about it other than that the music was pretty good, at least.

Bakuman (Episodes 1 & 2)

Masahiro is a failing school student who only wants to be a manga artist, but never really tried his hand at story writing. Takagi is in his class and has the best grades in class, and his dream is to be a manga writer, but he can’t draw at all. Takagi spies Masahiro drawing in class and ropes him into promising to team up with him and create a manga. It gets even better from Masahiro when he finds out that the girl of his dreams, Miho, wants to be a voice actress! She promises to voice their heroine when they make it big, and so Masahiro goes along with Takagi on a quest to make it big so he can marry Miho and live his dreams.

This was the other big hit of the night! It was downright hilarious, entertaining, and oddly addicting; both episodes seemed to fly by way too fast because they were so enjoyable! If you’re into romantic comedies with some fairly dark drama mixed in, you will definitely want to check this show out!

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Chu★Review: Boogiepop Phantom

When I decided to review a horror anime for Halloween last-minute, I knew I needed something good and something short enough for me to get through quickly. What fit the bill was an anime that I experienced many years ago that I never got to finish. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of Boogiepop Phantom!

Story

The story of Boogiepop Phantom takes place in an unnamed town in Japan and starts five years after a slew of serial murders, and one year after a mysterious beam of light had struck the city. Now people are randomly developing some odd and rather creepy powers and abilities. This has caught the attention of a high school girl named Nagi, who decides that she must find out what is causing all of the chaos and put an end to it. Her investigation leads her to a handful of evil beings, including the Boogiepop, a goddess of death. However, it seems like she is not even a concern next to the Boogiepop Phantom, a creature who seems to be an evil and capricious copy of the Boogiepop that could very well be the key to undoing all of this insanity. In the process, Nagi very well may see how all of these supernatural occurrences play into the beam of light, as well as the rash of serial murders that took place so many years ago.

The story is engaging and addicting, but at times very confusing. I remember being extremely confused when I watched it years ago, and while I understood it a lot better this time around, I was still very confused up until the last two episodes, where they explain how several of the supernatural creatures were created and what their purpose actually was. Still, be prepared for some of the smaller questions that pop up in the series to be left unanswered. I found the ending to be slightly confusing, but satisfying nonetheless.

The characters in this anime are memorable, but plentiful. While I’m normally very good at keeping track of characters, many of them in this show look similar and I found myself losing track of who was who several times. Each of the 12 episodes of the show feature a different character, going into their past and explaining their unique power. We see how the power changes them and how they play into the designs of the Boogiepop Phantom and the other creatures roaming around the city. What is so well-done about this process is that each episodes ties into other episodes; you may see a character going crazy in the background of an episode, and then see how he got to that point in a later episode. This makes each episode stand on its own while also tieing all of them together into one cohesive story, and it works brilliantly.

Sound and Visuals

The music in Boogiepop Phantom is catchy and top-notch, as is the Japanese voice work. However, the English dub is where this anime falls short. It feels forced and cheesy, and simply doesn’t stand up to the quality of the Japanese vocal track. Another problem with the English track is that it leaves out a lot of background voices and ambient sound, which is unacceptable in my opinion.

The art is middle-ground as far as quality goes. It’s great for it’s time, but some scenes have the characters faces looking a bit odd. Also, since this is a horror anime, most of the color is drab and monotone. While this plays into the feel and theme of the anime very well, it does make watching the show a bit tiring on the eyes at times. The animation is also spiked with several scenes of live-action shots of people walking through streets in Japan. This isn’t jarring at all and actually plays very well into the art direction.

In short, the art and the sounds together make for a spine-tingling experience, so long as you stay away from the English dub. The cheesiness of it simply ruins the atmosphere of the show.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a horror anime that is short and sweet and satisfying, Boogiepop Phantom is definitely worth a try! It can be confusing at times, but that just gives you more reason to watch it a second time and enjoy it all over again. Get some friends together this Halloween (or anytime!) and have a Boogiepop marathon, I guarantee you it will be a bone-chilling good time!

SCORE: 8/10

Boogiepop Phantom was produced by Studio Madhouse, and licensed and distributed by Nozomi Entertainment.

Buy the Boogiepop Phantom Complete Series Boxset, which includes the live-action movie, via this link, and you’ll be supporting Chu★Blog at no extra cost to you! Thanks in advance!

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Chu★Cast Episode 3: New York ComicCon / New York Anime Festival 2010

The third episode of Chu★Cast is here! Jon Ingoglia (@JanaiBlog) of JanaiBlog joined me for New York ComicCon / New York Anime Festival 2010, and he was also nice enough to join me on my podcast to discuss our experience!

We delve into the good and the (very, very) bad about the merger of these two fantastic conventions, as well as share stories of all the sights, sounds, panels, and merchandise we came across during our travels. We also share some ideas for improving the convention next year, and chat about some of the hottest industry news to come out of the con. Check it out!

If you want to download this podcast, click on the Mevio player to go to the episode’s site, then click the down arrow on the bottom of the Mevio player to download the MP3. Enjoy!

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