The 2nd Dimension

Friday, December 30, 2005

Ed Elric jeans

I don't know if you remember way back when I had talked about Youmacon, I had mentioned meeting Vic Mignogna, who does the voice for Ed Elric in the english dub of Fullmetal Alchemist. Well, when he was at the con he was wearing these jeans with a picture of Ed on them and everyone was commenting on how cool they were and were asking where he got them.

You can now see the quasi-famous jeans below. If you are interested in seeing more of the artist's work, her stuff is can be seen via her gallery at CheshireNeko INK. (Source: Risembool Rangers)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Frank Miller's "300" movie

I know this isn't anime, but just like with Sin City, I just have to mention this because I'm such a huge Frank Miller fan.

According to ICv2, Frank Miller's historical epic 300 is going to hit the big screen some time in 2006. 300 is "a ferocious retelling of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which King Leonidas ... and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes and his massive Persian army. Facing insurmountable odds, their valor and sacrifice inspire all of Greece to unite against their Persian enemy, drawing a line in the sand for democracy." [Source: 300 Production Blog] And as an interesting piece of trivia, the graphic novel is actually an adaption of a 1962 movie called The 300 Spartans.

According to the ICv2 article:

Zack Snyder, director of the film adaptation of Frank Miller's 300 graphic novel, has completed nine weeks of filming and expects to have wrapped up principal photography on the movie before the end of January.

In several interviews concerning the making of the 300 film, Zack Snyder has talked about his desire to recreate the visually rich tapestry Miller fashioned for his retelling of the legend of the 300 Spartans, who held off the Persian hordes at Thermopylae in 481-480 BC, and from the looks of the early stills that have been released from the film, it will hew closely to Miller's vision.

You can view the early stills as well as a short making-of video at the movie's Production Blog. There's also quite a bit of updated info including cast and filming locale at this fan blog.

2006 looks to be the year of Miller as the Sin City 2 movie is also scheduled for next summer. I love it!

Ergo Proxy trailer -- Cool!

This one looks really promising. Gotta love that blue eye shadow. From AnimeNation News:

The Ergo Proxy website now hosts a new "Half version" trailer, and a 3:30 "Full version" trailer. The series is scheduled to premier in Japan on February 25, and in America at an undetermined future date.

Satoshi Kon interview

Home Theatre has an interview with anime director Satoshi Kon (Perfect Blue, Paranoia Agent, Tokyo Godfathers). It covers topics such as the creative process, his sources of inspiration, his favorite anime, his take on CG animation, and anime's relation to Eastern culture in general.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Viewing Journal: Live action Initial D


Being a fan of the Initial D anime, I was excited and a little anxious about seeing this live action adaption. Of course, I already knew the basic storyline: Tofu delivery boy Takumi Fujiwara has an innate talent for downhill street racing, but is more or less oblivious to his own abilities. Eventually the local street racers recognize his talent and proceed challenge him to a bevy of matches where he refines his techniques and learns the ins and outs of the sport.

The live action movie compiled storylines from the first two seasons of the TV series. With so much material to work with, you might think the story would end up being rushed or disjointed. But to my surprise it all seemed to flow pretty naturally.

That's not to say that there weren't a few deviations from the original series. The biggest changes had to do with two of the main characters: Itsuki and Bunta.

In the anime, Itsuki is an overly-energetic, but lovable goof who was obsessed with joining the local racing team. In the movie, Itsuki still has the same racing obsession but now he is the rich, arrogant, bratty son of Yuuichi the gas station manager. Although I don't think I really like how they changed him, it was probably necessary to change his character somehow since the anime-version of Itsuki probably wouldn't transfer very well to live action. All his energy -- while entertaining in the anime -- would have seemed downright ridiculous and unrealistic in live action.

Bunta -- on the other hand -- has many of the same qualities as in the anime (he's still as squinty-eyed as ever), but he now has the added characteristic of being an abusive drunk. At first I was upset by this because it made Bunta seem like such a jerk. But after a while, I realized that the physical abuse was meant to be a way of toughening Takumi up for his eventual foray into the racing world. It was the same kind of indirect training that Bunta used when making Takumi drive with a glass of water without spilling any. Not that that justifies abuse, but at least it makes his motives a bit more understandable.

Even with these changes though, I thought the overall character and relationship development in the movie fell a little flat. The most disappointing of the relationships had to be between Takumi and his girlfriend Natsuki. The movie did little more than follow what was presented in the series, but in the end wasn't able resolve the conflict between them. Maybe the director was trying to relay some deeper message by leaving this plot point untied, but regardless, I was still disappointed.

Despite how lackluster the character developments were, it all took a back seat (pun intended) to the sweet racing scenes.

When I first heard they were making a live action version of Initial D, my first thought was how cool it would be to see the drifting techniques done with real cars. And in that I was not disappointed.

The great thing was that they didn't use special effects to take the place of the stunts. They used real cars and drivers. Sure there were some transitions (if that's the right word) that used special effects, but all those drifting manuvers (like Takumi's gutter technique!) were the real thing. I heard they trashed eight AE86's in the process of performing the stunts, which to me is just more of a testiment to how realistic the racing was.

The special effects that they did add worked really worked well and paid some homage to the anime. For instance, there was one effect where the camera moved from the driver seat of one car, through the windshield, then through the back window of the next car and wound up in that car's driver seat. Simple but very effective. There were also a few parts that used the split screen effect (which was used liberally in the anime) to show both drivers on the screen at the same time. All in all the coolness of the racing scenes was more than enough to make up for the movie's shortcomings.

In summary, I would definitely recommend the movie to anyone who is already a fan of the anime. And for those who are not, you may still enjoy watching those cool racing scenes; but overall I'd say that you're better off watching the anime first.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Blog Update: Messed up template

If you've ever visited this site before, you probably noticed that the template and general structure is different and some of my sidebar features are missing. That's because I forgot to save all my special features before changing templates. Needless to say, I will eventually get back all the original features and links.

I wanted to change the template because I was getting sick of looking at all those dots and black background on the old template. I wanted to try and switch to something that was a little easier on the eyes. I know it looks kind of plain at the moment, but I'm planning on jazzing up the header (at least) to look more attractive. The new header will hopefully make the site easily recognizable as an anime-related blog. That way readers will automatically know whether or not to take interest.

Hopefully these changes will not upset all my loyal readers too please, both of you, be patient. ;)

Media Play going out of business

Well this is just no good. According to Anime News Network:

Media Play has announced that it will close all of its retail stores in January, after the holiday season. The subsidiary of Musicland has failed to turn a profit in several years. Musicland's Sam Goody and Suncoast stores will not be affected. More details are available here and here.

Where am I going to dispense all my anime and manga money now? I've been buying my stuff from there for like 5 or 6 years. I guess I'm going to have to just shop online now. Any suggestions?

Website design process as presented by anime toys

If you are into website design, love the anime toys, or are just interested in cute and entertaining things, make sure to check this out.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Richard Taylor wants to produce live action Evangelion

According to Oscar-winning visual-effects supervisor Richard Taylor of Weta workshops wants Weta to produce the live action Evangelion movie (as opposed to just doign the visual effects). Says Taylor:

"I think [Evengelion] is the great untold story to the world. It is sublime. It is arguably some of the most beautiful and poignant animation ever created, and a huge percentage of the pop culture world now know it, but only through a live-action feature film will it transcend that and receive the recognition for the art piece that it is.

"...Technologically, sure, it's doable. But at an esoteric, universe level, it is an unbelievably impacting and dramatic story concept...But we've got the endorsement of GAINAX, the original creators, and with the right director I think it could be a very beautiful movie. I think it's a story worthy of telling. And that's my big pursuit at the moment. I've put an awful lot of energy into it."

Witchblade anime website open

From AnimeNation:

The official Japanese website for the Gonzo produced Witchblade anime television series, based on the American comic book series from Top Cow Productions, is now online.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

US Newspapers to carry manga-style comics

According to an Associated Press article, several North American newspapers are going to be carrying manga-style comics in an effort to attract younger audiences.

"We thought if teens and young kids are reading manga, then why don't we get something in the paper that teens want to read?" said John Glynn, vice president at Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes comics and columns globally to newspapers. "Newspapers are being seen as their parents' medium."

The Los Angeles Times, Denver Post, Vancouver Sun and Seattle Post-Intelligencer have already signed on to carry two strips: Van Von Hunter and Peach Fuzz. Both strips are created by American writers/illustrators and are currently being published by TOKYOPOP.

The Detroit News (my hometown newspaper) is also planning on carrying manga, but it's unclear whether it will be the same ones or something different.

"I know how popular manga and anime are among a young demographic. Go to any bookstore and there are kids swarming around the manga shelves. And by kids I mean everyone from high school into their 30s. There is even a local store devoted to manga paraphernalia [Where?], which is always packed," [Martin Fischhoff, assistant managing editor at The Detroit News] said in an e-mail. "But this trend clearly hasn't made itself felt in newspaper comic sections."

[Source: Slashdot]

The real test will come when/if newspapers actually start carrying strips that are original to to Japan, like Azumanga Diaoh. Now that would be cool.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Casting call for Cameron's Battle Angel

According to movies online, Mali Finn Casting is looking for an actress to play the lead roll in James Cameron's live action Battle Angel movie.

SEEKING FEMALE LEAD: 16-mid 20s. Any ethnicity, including Caucasian. She moves and behaves with confidence and a sense of nobility. Lithe as a cat. Athletic and agile. She is a warrior. Graceful movement and an ear for languages and dialects are essential.

One interesting thing to note is that the casting call is for the character of "Gally". "Gally" is the name used in the Yukito Kishiro's original manga. But when the manga was translated to english, the character's name was changed to "Alita". So will Cameron keep all of the original names? If so that would be very cool. But on the flip side it may confuse those who have read the US version but are not familiar with the original names. The other explanation -- I guess -- is that the writer for this particular article used "Gally" of his own volition.

Another interesting thing is that Cameron has previously said that he plans on haveing Gally's character be completely CG. So does that mean that the actress is just going to be used to do Gally's movements (like Andy Serkis did for Gollum and King Kong) or is she actually going to physically be in the movie?

Two very impressive trailers from Gonzo

Wow! Gonzo's first theatrical anime -- Brave Story -- looks to be spectacular. The trailer is now available on the movie's website. It's scheduled to be released in Japan on July 8, 2006.

Also from AnimeNation News:

Japan's Yahoo Movies has opened a website about Gonzo Studio's upcoming first theatrical anime film Gin-iro no Kami no Agito. The site features the 2:10 movie trailer in streaming small, medium, and large resolutions, a 12:25 "making of" documentary in small, medium, and large resolutions, and the 6:30 promotional music video for KOKIA's ending theme song "Ai no Melody" in small, medium, and large resolutions. The movie is scheduled for Japanese theatrical release on January 7, 2006.

Fortune article talks about live action Evangelion

Summary provided by

In discussing otaku (extreme anime fanatics) [in the Fortune article], Daniel Roth gives brief mention of the live action evangelion situation:

"Since 2003 [Ledford’s] been shopping the idea of making a live-action version of Neon Genesis Evangelion, […] Ledford signed on the Weta Companies, […] to come up with plans for what the Evangelion world might look like. But instead of micromanaging the project, Ledford had Weta answer to two Evangelion fanatics at his company."

Through badgering and extensive communication with Weta it shows that ADV are taking this film very seriously. This isn’t going to be a cheap knock off; ADV simply cannot afford to offend the great majority of their customers. And to that means it seems they want to do things right, with or without Hideaki Anno.

"Richard Taylor, Weta's co-founder, says he's never experienced anything quite like it. Twice a week he'd have a conference call with the fans at ADV, sending them renderings of his designs for things like the 100-foot-tall robots and getting in return their encyclopedic take on the interpretations. "These are people who could be considered scholars on the world of Evangelion," says Taylor. "We had to appease them and find their approval."

It follows on to mention a meeting between Taylor and a proposed producer at the San Diego Comic-Con in an attempt to ‘jump-start’ the production. Budgeting is also mentioned and it seems ADV has raised [about half of the $100m to] $120 million they need.

A fan even consulted Taylor during his meeting with the producer, asking whether or not anything was being done about the movie:Taylor turned to the producer and said, "This is why we have to do this movie."

Fortune Magazine covers anime and fansubbing

Fortune recently put out an article titled Anime Explosion which mainly discusses the success of anime distribution company ADV. The most interesting thing though (other than the live action Evangelion movie which I'll mention in another post) was the description of the process of fansubbing (although that may also be inaccurate for all I know):

This is open-source TV programming. "Fansubbers," as they're called, can spend more than a dozen hours collectively just to get a half-hour show ready for English speakers. The process is as orderly as an ant farm, with each fansubber having a specialized task. TV watchers in Japan start the process by recording an anime show and uploading it to the Net, typically a few hours after it airs. Bilingual fans around the world download the show and start writing out translations in text documents, which they post online or e-mail around. The first drafts have all kinds of mistakes—words are translated too literally or just wrong—and other translators make refinements. At this stage, self-appointed editors ask questions and make changes, then fan typesetters plug in the subtitles as well as the translations for words that pop up on signs or characters' T-shirts. Finally someone somewhere encodes the completed version—and here there's competition to see who can encode it with the fewest glitches and the best filters—and runs it through BitTorrent, a piece of software that allows large files to be downloaded quickly. Typically the fansubbers organize themselves in teams to make the process move more smoothly. All this is done for free.

It goes on to mention how the anime industry not only tollerates, but takes advantage of this form of piracy by considering it a type of market research. If a series generates a buzz among fansubbers then ADV is more likely to consider it for licensing. So in that way "With anime, almost more than any other medium except maybe music, the hard-core fans drive everyone else's interest."

Live action Blue Submarine #6

From AnimeNation:

In a new interview published in the first issue of Kadokawa Shoten's NewWORDS Magazine, Gonzo Digimation founder and president Shouji Murahama has revealed plans to create a new production company called "Gonzo Revolution" which will film live action movies. Gonzo Revolution's first project will be the live action Afro Samurai motion picture starring American actor Samuel L. Jackson (first announced last July). Gonzo Revolution's second project will tentatively be a live action film adaptation of the Blue Sub No. 6 anime series (itself an adaptation of a novel by Satoru Ozawa). The Blue Submarine no. 6 movie will be directed by Yukikaze director Masahiko Okura.

The Funimation Channel website now online

The Funimation channel -- a 24-hour cable channel that will be distributed by OlympusSAT -- now has its official website available.

I checked to see if it would be available via my Comcast cable service and got this message:

Congratualtions, you're lucky enough to have a cable subscriber in your area that is capable of carrying the FUNimation Channel. Now, we need your help. If you'd like to see these cable providers carry the FUNimation Channel, we need you to tell them about how great the FUNimation Channel is, and let them know that you would like to see them carry it. Simply give them a call, fax them a letter, or contact them online and PLEASE LET THEM KNOW!

I guess that means my area won't have it yet. But do I actually have the initiative to call?

A comic history of Aeon Flux

Although Aeon Flux isn't technically an anime, here's a history of the original series as told through a comic strip. It's funny and informative and a good refresher as it's been a while since I've seen the original annimation.

Blood+ Free Online Chapters

This doesn't do you much good unless you read Japanese, but at least you get a taste from the visuals. From Anime News Netowork:

Production I.G has placed the first chapters from two Blood+ manga on their official Blood+ website. The first chapter from yet a third different manga will be posted on December 5th. Each manga appears in a different manga anthology.

Interviews on the live action Evangelion

From TrivialBeing:

This past October, at Supanova, Australia's pop culture convention, Matt Greenfield of ADV Films, and Richard Taylor of WETA Workshop spoke about the prospects of Live Action Evangelion. You can download podcasts of the panels below:

Richard Taylor

Matt Greenfield

Some of the more interesting highlights:

  • The most interesting thing both panels mentioned is that Weta may (hopefully) start working on Evangelion after they're done producing Halo.
  • Richard Taylor said that he has never been more excited over a project other than Lord of the Rings.
  • Richard also said that for every email Weta gets about Lord of the Rings, they get 25 for Evangelion.
  • Richard -- just by happenstance -- bumped into Evangelion anime director Hideki Anno while visiting Gainax studios one day. They got into a discussion about their mutual facination with steam trains, and through that conversation also built up excitement over making the live action movie. So I guess Anno's on board with the project.
  • Matt Greenfield mentioned that they are pretty committed to creating a trilogy of movies.

Live action SaiKano trailer

I wasn't totally crazy over the anime, but trailer for the live action SaiKano movie looks pretty interesting. It's apparently scheduled to open up in Japanese theatres on January 28, 2006. [Source: AnimeNation]

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My Youmacon experience

I know this is a little late in coming considering that Youmacon was over a week ago, but here you go anyway. I attended the convention all three days and all in all I had a blast. It was awesome being around people who were as passionante as me or more about anime and manga. Here's some of the highlights:


Came and went. There weren't many people there and I didn't really see much that I was interested in. After we got our registration taken care of, we went in to one of the video games rooms and played some of that dancing video game (what's it called?). I of course sucked at it, but my little nephew was busting a groove to everyone's amusement. That was about as good as it got on Friday though. I wanted to see the Kristine Sa concert (a blog commenter pointed me to her website some time ago so I was interested in seeing what she was like), but it had been pushed back from 8:00 to 9:30 and I was with my wife, brother, his fiance, and his son and among the rest of them they were not too keen on staying for an extra hour and a half with nothing to do. So we left.


This day was much better. I got some choice viewings in including Fullmetal Panic: Second Raid and a bunch of Bleach episodes.

But the real highlight of the day was seeing the panel discussion with two English voice actors from Fullmetal Alchemist Caitlin Glass (who plays Winry) and Vic Mignogna (who plays Ed). They were both incredibly cool to listen to. The really weird thing was that Vic reminded me so much of my brother! My wife (who's not an anime fan but went anyway just to share in my joy -- what a trooper!) noticed right off the bat, and I had in inkling at first, but after a while it was just uncanny.

Familial similarities aside though, they did have some interesting and informative things to say. For one, they revealed that Funimation was hoping to give the FMA movie a theatrical release before it goes to DVD. Cheers abounded for that. They also had a bunch of hilarious stories to tell, and all-in-all you could really tell that they were probably more in love with Fullmetal Alchemist than most other shows they work on. They even have their own fan site called Risembool Rangers.

After the panel, I quickly went to the dealer area to get the first volume of the FMA manga to bring to the Vic and Caitlin signing. I'm not sure why I didn't get the DVD, but that problem was rectified on Sunday (see below). So I stood in line, all the while hating myself for not having brought a camera. I got the book signed but unfortunately couldn't think of anything witty or charming to say at the time, so I probably just looked like another otaku geek to them (which I am, so I guess it's just as well).

From there I went on to see when Tsubasa Chronicles would play but didn't get a chance to watch it because the schedule for viewings was so off. Eventually we went home but I came back around midnight to watch the first 10 episodes of Bleach and didn't leave until around 3:30am. I went home tired but satisfied.


Sunday was way too short, but was the most fun out of all the days. I mainly wanted to go to watch the 11:00am showing of Fullmetal Fantasy. However, we got there just as the charity auction was finishing up. Vic ended up personally auctioning off a signed copy of the FMA Volume 1 DVD, which I snatched up for no other reason than I regretted not getting it the day before -- that and the money was going to Katrina relief.

After that he introduced the film: Fullmetal Fantasy. FF was a short (about 20 minutes?) film made by Vic which chronicled his fictional transformation from a FMA fan into Edward Elric himself and his subsequent run-ins with the various characters from the show (who were mostly played by their corresponding English voice actors). It was really well done and everyone in the room laughed uproariously as each character popped up on screen. I suppose it would mean nothing to the uninitiated, but for those who are loyal followers of the show it was a real pleasure. After the showing he opened the floor to questions. As it turns out, the film is not for sale or availability even on the internet. He only shows it at conventions. But he said that Funimation is working with Aniplex to include as an extra on a future FMA DVD.

He also mentioned another FMA fan film project that he's working on using Ed Elric and Roy Mustang action figures. Some of the ideas he described sounded hilarious. For instance, the opening will mirror the opening of Napolean Dynamite but instead of a GI Joe action figure he throws Roy Mustang out the bus window and drags it along behind. After the string breaks Roy gets up. Ed pulls along side in his shiny red convertible, Roy gets in, and their story begins. The film will eventually be available via the Risembool Rangers site. I'll make sure to let you know if I ever see it.

After the Q & A, I decided I wanted to go watch the Otaku Family Feud. This was a game where two teams of four would compete in a Family Feud style game with anime-themed questions. I was planning just to watch, but another group of three was looking for someone else to join up so they had enough players so I stepped up. Somehow we made it to the top two teams. And as an added bonus, Vic and Caitlin each played as a fifth player for one of the teams. (I just couldn't get away from them!) Caitlin was on our team, and sat right next to me! Sweet! We didn't end up winning and I felt I contributed pitifully little, but it was so much damn fun I didn't care.

That concluded our convention experience, but I left more excited about anime and manga than ever before, and I am definitely looking forward to going again next year.

Wings of Rean Trailer

This looks cool, and it is going to be released on the internet, though I'm not sure if it will be translated or not. From Anime Nation:

A 1:30 streaming trailer for the Wings of Rean anime series is now available from the show's official site. The series will be broadcast on the internet beginning December 16th.

Mamoru Oshii's next film

The director of movies such as Ghost in the Shell, Innocence, and Patlabor has announced his next project. From Anime Nation:

Production I.G. has formally announced development of director Mamoru Oshii's next anime film, a movie titled "Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters" ("Tachiguishi Retsuden"). The film will be a unique view of contemporary Japanese history told relative to the rise and fall of people who steal fast food. The film will be released in Japan next spring.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Viewing Journal: Avalon

Overall =
So I just saw Mamoru Oshii's Avalon the other day and I have to say that I think I have the same reaction to just about every one of his movies. When I first watch it, I don't like it. It's not until after I've had a chance to think about it for a while, and maybe watch the movie a couple more times, thatI actually realize that it's not all that bad after all.

I think the trouble is that when you watch the movie it seems like it's a lot more complex than it actually is. I mean, Ghost in the Shell, Innocence, Jin Roh... they all have pretty strait-forward plots. But because Oshii tends to spend a lot of time on single scenes and show a lot of detail in a character's daily life, you (or at least I) become convinced that there's more to it than there really is.

Avalon had that same complex-but-simple feel, especially at the end. When the movie finished, I was convinced that the ending was so baffling that I would never understand it. Then, while driving later that night, my wife (who had watched about 3/4 of the movie with me) said, "So did you understand the end of that movie?" My first response was "Not at all". But then as we talked it out, we started to connect all the pieces and within the span of maybe two minutes I suddenly realized that it wasn't all that complicated after all. You have to put two and two together, but ultimately it's not rocket science to understand.

I even had an general idea of the movie's theme... (spoiler warning)... That being essentialy that this world that we live in ("Class Real") is as good as it gets, so appreciate what you have. (end spoiler) Whether or not that's the intended theme, I don't know. But that's what I got out of it.

Other than the actual story itself, there were a couple of other things initially confused me when watching. The first is that the characters are all speaking Polish, not Japanese as I thought would be the case. It's kind of obvious once the characters start talking, but I didn't know this going into it. From watching the director interview, there were a lot of reasons why Oshii filmed in Poland, but the most amusing reason was that he likes "Polish actresses".

The other thing that didn't have so much to do with Oshii as with Miramax: When watching the movie in subtitles, I noticed that occasionally text would appear when there was no dialogue. Eventually I realized that Miramax had added extra narration in the english dub version to provide additional plot explanation. The subtitles followed the dub so even though there would be no dialogue in the original polish version, the subtitles would show up anyway. I have no idea why Miramax did that, especially since they had a second english sub option for "hearing impared". Plus, Neil Gaiman did the translation, and you'd think a guy that like would have enough respect for the director to avoid that kind of thing. Regardless, I tried to just ignore the extra subtitles, but it was still really annoying.

In the end I give the movie a ("Eh") rating. I did like that you had to put forth a little mental effort to fully understand the ending. It kind of gives you a sense of self-satisfaction to know that you solved the riddle, regardless of how simple that riddle may be. Still, I'm not yet sure if I really enjoyed the movie overall. I'll probably have to see a few more times to know for sure. But it's pretty much par for the course for Oshii films.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Honey and Clover?

Every so often I'll go to some random anime review blog and among the hodge podge of series I'll usually see an entry for something called Honey and Clover. I didn't think much of it the first few times since at first glance at the visuals the story seems to just be a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy, which (save for Kare Kano) which I am usually not interested in. But after consistently seeing the title pop up time and time again I started to get a little curious. I've looked for places to download it but up to this point I've been having a pretty hard time.

Then just recently I saw a review at Anime News Network and suddenly I am super-interested in seeing it. It sounds like it may be the next Fruits Basket or Kare Kano in that it's mainly a shojo anime, but is mature enough to have cross-gender appeal. I haven't seen any mention of whether or not it has been licensed for US release, but I'll keep my eyes open for it.

For a more comprehensive episode-by-episode review of the series try this review on Memento.

Working through FFVII just for Advent Children

So I'm plodding my way through the Final Fantasy VII game from the beginning and my one and only reason for doing so is because I want to have the back story for the Advent Children DVD when it comes out at the end of November. That's an estimated 40 hours of my life flittered away on preparation for a movie which very well may end up sucking anyways. What the hell is wrong with me?

Yeah, I could have just read the script, but for some reason I started to think that I'd be missing out on certain visual referrences to the game that might crop up in the movie.

I guess there's a certain part of me that wants to complete this game that I started 6 or 7 years ago just to have a sense of closure, but I probably never would have gotten the initiative if the movie hadn't come out.

Turner Classic Movies to show Ghibli movies

The Turner Classic Movies cable channel is going to show 7 movies directed by Hayao Miyazaki and 2 directed by Isao Takahata throughout the month of January 2006. From Anime News Network:

Turner Classic Movies has posted their January schedule.

Every Thursday in January Turner Classic Movies will air 2 Ghibli movies (3 on January 19th) starting at 8pm. The movies will repeat a second time at the end of the second (or 3rd) movie.

Turner Classic Movies lists the English cast for each movie except for Only Yesterday, for which it has the Japanese cast listed.

Thursday, January 5
8:00 PM Spirited Away
10:15 PM Princess Mononoke
1:00 AM Spirited Away
3:15 AM Princess Mononoke

Thursday, January 12
8:00 PM Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind
10:00 PM Castle in the Sky
12:15 AM Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind
2:15 AM Castle in the Sky

Thursday, January 19
8:00 PM My Neighbor Totoro
9:30 PM Porco Rosso
11:15 PM Whisper of the Heart
1:15 AM My Neighbor Totoro
2:45 AM Porco Rosso
4:30 AM Whisper of the Heart

Thursday, January 26
8:00 PM Only Yesterday
10:15 PM Pom Poko
12:30 AM Only Yesterday
2:45 AM Pom Poko

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A leaner blog, but we still got emoticons!

Well, I've decided that I'm going to stop putting up pictures for every single thing I post. The original theory behind it was that since anime is a visual medium, I should make my site as visual as possible to attract random passers-by.

After a bit of consideration (and note that there was absolutely no market research involved) I've figured that the images might be causing more clutter than actual attraction. So I'm going to cut them out unless they fill some actual purpose or add some value to the blog entry.

Of course, another benifit of ditching the unnecessary visuals is that I won't have to spend most of my time Googling images to find that really cool one that just might convince my audience that the content of the blog is worth the effort to actually read. Regardless though, the free time will enable me to put more effort into actually posting and less on all the fluff.

I think I will keep the emoticons (used in my reviews) though. Those do have an actual purpose. It's true that I could go with a letter grading system (A,B,C,D,F) for my reviews, but I never really liked those kind of scales because anything that wasn't marked as "A" seemed to be crap to me (too bad I didn't have the same attitude while in school).

I could also go with the five star method and use astarisks as stars ("*****"), but that still seems kind of vague since 1.) you have to go through the trouble of actually counting the stars (yes, I'm that lazy) and 2.) you have to figure out what does a star actually mean in terms of how the reviewer felt about the movie.

With my emoticons the expresions are there and it's pretty clear what it's supposed to mean. At least I think so.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Saw Evangelion on Adult Swim and...

So I caught the first episode of Evangelion on Adult Swim last Thursday (Oct. 20) and I have to say:

  1. Why in God's name didn't they show the platinum edition so it didn't show its age so much.
  2. The dub still sucks.
  3. I didn't catch any edits, but the first episode is pretty tame compared to the rest. I can't help but wonder if they are actually going to show the blood spurting out of Eva's head in episode 2.

I was cruising around the AnimeNation forum to guage people's reaction to the show and I realized that there is probably one big reason why modern fans aren't going to be as impressed with the show as I was when I first saw it. It's mainly because when I recieved the initial VHS of the show, I literally had no expectations. I got it for it for my birthday (or Christmas?) from my brother in 1996(?) and had never even heard of it before that. I was impressed -- but not extremely so -- with the first two episodes, but the more I watched, the more I was blown away. And by episode 16 (the one with the shadow angel -- forgive me for not remembering angel's name) I realized this was really something special.

But today the show has been hyped up so much that I can't imagine that anyone's expectations will be met. The only hope is for someone who's not a big anime fan and stumbles upon the show one night... We'll see how that works out.

Anyway, in my search for reactions I found a couple of interesting sites. The Eva Monkey is written by a guy doing an Evangelion Undergraduate Research Project. His site is filled with everything you never knew existed involving Eva. One of those items is the Eva comic. The comic itself is basically just one big in-joke for Eva fans, so you have to have seen the series and the movies to get it; but if you have, it can be pretty funny.

The next episode of Eva will air on Cartoon Network the night of October 27, at 12:30 am.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Anime fall 2005 preview

Anime News Network has published a preview of new shows airing in Japan this fall. It's a nice round-up of stuff that we may potentially be seeing release in the US in the near future (including Blood+!), so if you're interested in getting a jump on that kind of thing, then check it out.

XXXholic and second Tsubasa Chronicles TV series

CLAMP news from AnimeNation:

Manga creation team CLAMP has announced on its website that its XXXHOLiC manga series will premier as an anime television series next year.


CLAMP has officially announced on its homepage that a second Tsubasa Chronicle anime television series will air next year.

Trigun movie announced

From Anime News Network:

The October issue of Neo magazine (A UK Anime magazine) includes an interview with Studio Madhouse's founder, Masao Maruyama. In it he says the studio is working on a Trigun Movie that should be released in a "couple of years". The November issue of Anime Insider also confirms this news.

Considering that it's been like 7 years since Trigun first came out, this is more than a little bit of a surprise. From what I've heard, Trigun wasn't all that popular in Japan so the question becomes, is this something initiated by the the show's popularity in the US, or did Madhouse Studio just feel like re-visiting the characters. The other question would be whether or not this is going to be an original story or a re-cap of the series. There's plenty of material in the manga that wasn't covered in the original anime, so hopefully they'll use that material. We'll just have to wait and see.

Anime convention in Troy, Michigan

Finally the Detroit area gets its own anime convention!

According to the October issue of Newtype magazine, Youmacon will take place on November 11-13 at the Troy Hilton in Troy, Michigan.

I've only been to one comic book convention -- which I didn't really care much for since I don't read many US comics -- and have NEVER been to an anime convention. That being said I am pretty damn pumped for this one. I'm sure that since it is the first (of many hopefully) time they are having this, it probably won't be the best-stocked con in the world; but I don't care. I mainly just want to go to experience other anime fans; especially since I don't really know many other than some family members that I don't get to see often enough. So this should be pretty cool, at least if you are an anime otaku nut like me.

To find an anime convention near you go to the Anime-Cons website.

Viewing Journal: Completed series aplenty

Here's a quick overview of a few select anime that I have completed over the past year or so; because I'm sure you have just been dying to know:

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Take an intriguing, well-thought-out story originating from one of the great masters in manga Masamune Shirow; mix it with strong characters; add in the genius of animation powerhouse Production I.G. and the musical talents of Yoko Kanno; and what do you get? Well, if you don't get one of the best anime series ever, somebody needs to get fired. Luckily, what we end up with is a smart, visually attractive show that is something like CSI set in the world of Bladerunner. This is one of my top TV series of all time -- animated or live action.

Gad Guard

From one of the best, we now go to one of the worst: Gad Guard. The one and only reason that I kept watching this show was because I thought the mecha designs were cool. Once you get past that though, the show is just a whole lot of nothing. I think I literally fell asleep at one point or another during almost every episode. My only hope was that there would be some great pay-off at the end of the series (which is usually the reason I keep watching bad shows), but I got nothin'.


The show literally starts out with guns blazing -- which is not necessarily a good thing because if you judge it from the first episode, it seems like the show will be a whole lot of pointless action. But once you get past that, the story flashes back to a story about family and loyalty and mob wars and zombies and revenge. Actually, the "zombies" part wasn't all that impressive but was necessary -- I guess -- to tell the story. The end of the series though, while stretching the boundries of believability, was ulitimately both surprising and satisfying. Very recommended.


This show was kind of hard to get into at first as it starts out slow and initially seems to be a far cry from the original OAV on which it was based. Once you get further into the series though, and the conspiracies for world domination come more to the head, the paper sisters put their paper-manipulating powers to work and it becomes at least a little more interesting. Despite the cool action scenes, the plot was just so full of awkward holes that I was never able to get really into this series all that much.


Kind of cool, but I think I was just too confused by what was supposed to be going on to get into it at all.

Chrono Crusade

The visuals seemed kind of cool, as did the premise. But in the end, I just wasn't impressed. Again, I was waiting for a cool ending, but was let down.

Cutie Honey

A lot of half-to-fully nude heros fighting half-to-fully nude villians in a futuristic sci-fi setting. Not that that's a bad thing, but I think I've gotten to the point where I want a little bit more meat in the plot of my anime.

Paranoia Agent

A very original, dark, and weird storyline with believably crazy characters and a story that makes you think as much as it entertains. Just the kind of thing I love.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Blog Update: New rating sytem

In yet another bout of unexplained initiative (read: way too much time on my hands), I've created a new rating system for anime and manga that I post about. Forget those other guys' five star ratings or letter grading scales; I've got emoticons! Do you love it? No? Well tough luck, here's the scale:

Loved it. These are the titles that I just count the seconds until they release the next volume or episode. Not only would I recommend these titles, but if anyone attempts to badmouth these titles I very well may explode into a violent rage. Don't mess with the good stuff.

Like it. This is stuff that I've enjoyed watching and would definitely recommend, though expressing contrary opinions would not necessarily elicit my malcontent.

Eh. Indicates stuff that is okay, but did not really get any strong reaction out of me one way or the other. I'd probably recommend these titles only if you've exhausted all your better options. You might like it ... or not ... I don't know.

Disliked it. These titles are often series that I started but never finished; or if I did finish it, I regret having wasted the time. I'd suggest staying away from these ones unless you think viewing bad material builds character.

Hated it. Just look at that face. I think that pretty much says it all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Blood+ Trailer

From Anime News Network:

Japanese TV Network MBS now has three streaming trailers for the upcoming Blood+ TV series. The broadband trailers are 15 and 30 seconds each and are available in WM and RM formats. Blood+ premieres on October 7th at 2:20 am (Night of October 6th).

Eureka 7 english trailer

From AnimeNation News:

Bandai's American website for Eureka 7 is now online and hosts an English dubbed trailer.

ICv2 News has reported that when the show is released in America next year, possibly on American television, the launch will be accompanied by the release of 8 inch tall transforming robot figures. Each toy will retail at $35.

Evangelion 10th anniversary "Angel-XX" project

Also from AnimeNation News:

Gainax has opened its official Japanese website promoting the Evangelion 10th anniversary "Angel-XX" project- a series of PVC plastic figures of Evangelion angels redesigned as anime girls. The first of the figures is scheduled for Japanese release in December.

In somewhat related Evangelion news, it appears that Peter Jackson isn't going to be directing the live action movie since he has just signed up to produce the video game adaption movie Halo. Jackson's studio Weta Workshop is supposed to handle the effects for the live action movie.

Street Fighter Alpha: Generations Clips

From AnimeNation News:

Manga Entertainment will release the Street Fighter Alpha: Generations DVD on October 25th. The new anime is the directorial debut of Ikuo Kuwana, an animator for such anime classics as Steam Boy, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Blood: The Last Vampire and Dead Leaves.Manga now hosts several streaming Windows Media promotional clips for the upcoming release:

Akuma, Ryu and the darkside

Fight With Old Man

Ryu Vs. Akuma

Sakura Vs. Ryu

Extras: Kaoru on the Characters

Extras: Kaoru on the Creators

Extras: the Voice of Ryu

Sunday, October 02, 2005

New 3 minute IGPX trailer

Two words: Hot ... DAMN.

Did I mention that I love Prodution I.G.?

Live Action Evangelion non-news

From Active Anime:

On August 7 of this year, we informed all of you that the live action adaptation of Evangelion was alive and well, and that the information that we received came from ADV Films David Del Rio.

This time around, I asked the same question to Matt Greenfield right after the Godannar screening. As we all know, Matt Greenfield is the one that's heading the live action adaptation project of Evangelion.

When I ask Matt, he gave me an enthusiastic thumb up, and said "Yes". He added the he is planning of visiting Weta Workshop to find out what project they're currently working on, and to see if there are changes to be made while in New Zealand in October.

For the latest live action Evangelion movie info check out

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Final Fantasy VII Re-cap

I don't know about you, but I personally have not played Final Fantasy VII in I-don't-know-how-many years; and even when I had played it I never ended up finishing it. And from everything I've heard, you have to be familiar with the storyline of the game in order to enjoy (or at least understand) the Advent Children movie.

So with that in mind, I scoured the net in a desperate attempt to find some kind of re-cap material from the game. I ended up having some success, so I thought I'd share it here for all you who might be in a similiar situation. So here you go:

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Stand Alone Complex 3rd season???

HUGE news! From AnimeNation:

Ghost in the Shell TV series director Kenji Kamiyama revealed at the recent 9th Annual Kobe Animation Awards that Production I.G. has plans for a continuation of the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex anime. However, what format the sequal will be in has yet to be decided.

And a collective cheer is heard round the anime fan universe.

I just finished watching the first DVD of SAC: 2nd Gig, which rocked! Having more Ghost in the Shell to look forward to is a great thing indeed.

SaiKano live action movie

From Anime News Service:

Toei Animation Ltd. announced their world premiere screening for the Live action Saikano (She The Ultimate Weapon) will occur at the Tokyo International Film Festival on October 29th. The venue will be the Bunkamura theater in Shibuya. Aki Maeda (Battle Royale) is cast in the lead role of Chise, a deadly war cyborg disguised as a schoolgirl. CG technology is intricately combined with live action photography to flesh out the film's heavy SFX's. Saikano opens nationwide in Japanese theaters from February 2006.

It's been a few months since I finished up the SaiKano anime series, and I honestly am still not sure how I feel about it. I know that it was supposed to be this really emotionally intense story, but I just could not get over the premise that the girl is supposed to be this ultimate weapon who can apparently drop full-sized missles out her backside. I mean, I can accept a lot in a story, but for some reason I could never totally suspend my disbelief on that one. Still, I suppose I can understand why people like the series because if you can get over that (as well as the fact that all the characters have a cronic blushing problem) the drama is pretty easy to empathize with.

Regardless, I'll be interested to see how they pull this story off in live action.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Trigun re-released with original opening animations

From AnimeNation:

Geneon has scheduled a November 22nd release for the first of two limited edition Trigun DVD boxed sets. The first Trigun limited edition boxed set will include 3 DVDs in thin pak cases with reversible cover art containing episodes 1-14 with their original episode specific opening animation sequences (for the first time in America), an exclusive "Bullet Necklace" engraved with the Trigun logo, and bonus DVD features. The DVDs will be packaged in a metal tin featuring new art by Trigun creator Yasuhiro Nightow. The limited edition set will retail at $89.98.

The second Trigun limited edition boxed set, containing the second half of the anime series, will be released on January 17, 2006.

I've already seen all of Trigun, but it's so tempting to get this re-release anyway just for the opening animations if nothing else. Is that so wrong?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Twitch reviews Open Your Mind

Twitch has posted a review of Mamoru Oshii's new project Open Your Mind.

The film was part of EXPO 2005 which was a sort of nature-awareness endevor. (I'm sure it's much more than that, but that's as succinct of an explanation as I could glean from the concept summary.)

The Open You Mind part of the event was a fully emmersive audio/visual experience.

Through the use of one of the world's largest floor video screens (roughly 600 m2), visitors will be able to stand on the floor and walk through an experiential video space. Video images will be presented on the walls and overhead as well, so visitors will enjoy being able to freely alter their visual perspective, and the combination of audio will make this a moving experience for the human senses. [from the EXPO summary].

The film is not meant to have a plot or narrative. It is more like a series of visuals that are tied together by common themes. The review covers the DVD version of the film which "will clearly not have the same immersive effect on DVD as it would in the actual installation" but "it is still a very impressive piece of work."

Not sure when/if this is going to be released stateside, so you may have to import it if you're interested (and have a Region 2 player). It's Oshii, so I'll probably try to catch it sooner or later if I get a chance.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Gankutsuou wins award

From Anime News Network:

Gonzo's 2004 series Gankutsuou has taken the "Best TV Series" title at the Animation Kobe fair. Further details can be found here.

I saw the first episode of this show -- which is based off the Dumas novel Count of Monte Cristo -- a while ago and it looked really promising. The visuals were like nothing I'd ever seen before. I'd go into more detail, but you'll probably find better descriptions by reading this review and this other review of the first DVD volume, which is due to be released in the US on October 25.

Advent Children US release date

From Anime Nation:

AnimeNation has been informed by wholesaler sources that Sony Home Video plans to release the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children movie on American DVD on November 29th. The DVD will carry a 28.95 list price, but no details regarding content or language options has been released yet.

I don't know if the US edition is going to have all this crap, but here are some extensive photos of the Japanese DVD packaging and extras.

And lastly, Ain't It Cool News has has posted a positive review of the movie. (You'll need to scroll to the bottom of the page.)

Hellsing Ultimate OVA trailer

The first volume of the direct to DVD Hellsing Ultimate, a new adaptation of the horror action which will more closely follow the original manga than the original TV series, will be released in Japan on December 9th. [Source: Ain't It Cool News]

The trailer for the show is now available on the the official website.

And no, I still have not yet seen the original series. I promise I'll get to it eventually.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Live Action Initial D on Region 1 DVD

Holy Crap! Live action Initial D movie is available on Region 1 DVD with english subtitles right now! It's not a domestic release, but who the hell cares? I'm going to order this puppy right this second.

Reading the reviews on the website makes it all seem underwealming, but having lowered expectations means I be that much likely to not be disappointed, right?


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Promising-looking Trailer

This one looks promising... From AnimeNation: now hosts a streaming Windows Media format trailer for the Noein ~ Mou Hitori no Kimi e anime TV series. The trailer is avialable in narrowband and broadband resolutions.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Anime, the Next Generation

Wired News has an article discussing the increased availability of adult-oriented anime (no, not hentai) on network and cable television. It especially focuses on the upcoming broadcast of Naruto and how it is predicted to be the popular successor of Dragon Ball.

Naruto is scheduled to premiere on Cartoon Network on Saturday, September 10 at 9:00pm.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Brave Story trailer

From Ain't It Cool News:

The official website for Gonzo Studio's upcoming Brave Story movie has posted a trailer for the 2006 movie. [Click on the middle link on the main page.] An English language synopsis can be read here.

According to AnimeNation: "The film is scheduled for Japanese theatrical release next summer. Warner Bros. acquired international distribution rights to the picture last February."

Oshii's Open Your Mind screen caps

From Ain't It Cool News:

TwitchFilm points out that screen shots of the DVD release of Mamoru Oshii's animated art installation project Open Your Mind has been posted on this blog.

On a related note, I just saw the first episode of Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig last night via my August NewType DVD. It of course kicked ass in so many ways, which goes without saying. But the real hoot was at the end of the episode when there was a none-too-subtle reference to the beginning of the first Ghost in the Shell movie. Oshii -- as you may know -- directed that movie, and also played some kind of advisory roll in S.A.C. 2nd Gig, so that explains how the reference got there. I can't wait to see how he makes his presence known in future episodes.

Production IG commercials

I love Production I.G. I just love 'em. What can I say?

From Ain't It Cool News:

AniMania points out that Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell) produced a TV commercial for the beverage Kirin Lemon 77 back in March. It is only a short animation film, but has such an elaborate background and characters revolving around the imaginary sport called "skyshoot" that everyone wanted to know who made it. with general director Ishii Katsuhito who designed anime characters for Kill Bill. With Kirin Lemon Black, came to be on sale this summer, a new version appeared on TV.

Both versions can be seen here.

I do. I love 'em.

Advent Children US release delayed

From Anime News Network:

According to the newest issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children will not be released in North America in September as previously reported.

Instead, EGM reports that Advent Children will be released "this holiday season." No further details about the date are mentioned.

Details about the release are however included in the article. There will be two releases, a single disc UMD release and a 2-disc Special Edition DVD. The 2-disc set will include extra trailers, bonus features and behind-the-scenes material, but not Last Order Final Fantasy VII. The short Last Order OAV will be included in the Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Ultimate Edition, which will retail for 29,500 yen (~US$270) and is to be released on September 14.

The only thing that bugs me about that is that you just know that Sony is going to release a Super Ultimate Collecter's Must Have Edition some time in the future that will include the Last Order feature (which, by the way, is no relation to Battle Angel Alita: Last Order. Or was that already obvious?). I'd really rather them just wait until the whole thing is ready and then release it instead of doing a half-ass job of it just so they can have something ready for the holiday season. But no one ever listens to me. Why is that?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Anime controversy of the month

Nothing gets the otaku blood boiling like a US distributor trying to re-work a title. The last big controversy was over the edits made to the Tenjho Tenge manga. This time ADV is stirring up the pot with a whole dialogue overhaul to one of it's latest anime aquisitions Ghost Stories. According to AnimeNation:

At this past weekend's Otakon convention, AD Vision revealed plans to release "Ghost Stories" (Gakkou no Kaiden) with a near totally improvised, "Americanized" English dub that is, "raunchier and hipper than the original." ICv2 News writes, "This is the first time such wholesale re-crafting of a series has been undertaken as a new artistic work... If successful, it may engender a new art form, with anime visuals and new scripts."

Anime News Network calls the original anime "the epitome of a bottom-shelf, bargain bin title", and that ADV "turned what was once a painfully uninteresting kids’ series into an absolutely hilarious show for adults that’s hard to stop watching". On the other hand, in a recent Ask John article, the anime guru says that ADV is "turning a drama from a respected Japanese ghost story film franchise into a reportedly lowbrow comedy".

So is it a "painfully uninteresting show" turned "hilarious", or a respected drama turned "lowbrow comedy". I have no idea, not having seen anything of the show before. However, you can get a taste of what to expect from a clip of the edited dub available at Galaxy Anime.

No deal for GTO live action...yet

From AnimeNation:

Media Blasters confirmed having ... encountered difficulties in trying to license distribution rights to live action Japanese television series including GTO.

I loved the GTO live action series so much I was wondering why someone hadn't snatched it up yet. All we have is the live action GTO movie, which is no where near as good as the series. At least now I know someone's trying for it.

On a related note, I heard that -- in addition to the original 12-episode series -- there was a 2-hour special. If anyone knows where I can find a good place to download the special, let me know. Not that anyone reads this stupid blog, but it's worth a try.