The 2nd Dimension

Monday, January 23, 2006

Sony gets Blood+

From C21Media:

A new animé series that debuted in Japan in October is being launched on to the international market at Natpe [National Association of Television Program Executives] next week, courtesy of Sony Pictures Television International (SPTI).

SPTI has picked up television and home video distribution rights to Blood Plus within Asia (outside of Japan), Latin America, North America, Australia and New Zealand, after a deal with Aniplex Inc. Distribution on DVD for the series will be handled by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE).

Based on the animé video title Blood the Last Vampire, the 50-part toon focuses on the conflict between two groups: the evil shape-shifting Chiropterans and the Red Shield, a secret organization whose goal is to track down and exterminate them.

In true animé style, the story is told through the eyes of a mysterious high-school girl, who was once kick-ass warrior before losing her memory. The series airs on Japan's Mainichi Broadcasting System and Tokyo Broadcasting System.

Blood Plus is directed by Junichi Fujisaku, whose credits include the anime classic Ghost in the Shell, and produced by animation studio Production IG, the company behind both Blood the Last Vampire and Ghost in the Shell.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Types of women in manga

Here's some more food for thought... An analysis of how -- in the author's opinion -- women are portrayed with no more or less sexism in manga than US comics; and how this has lead to the author's decreased interest in manga. Debate amonst yourselves.

Source: fortuna

If you're an Evangelion fan, Read This

If you are an anything like me and you've watched the full Evangelion series, movies, and "director's cuts", after doing so you were left with an odd feeling of being a combination of overwhelmed, very confused, and just a bit disappointed. Overwhelmed because there was just so much to absorb, confused because very little of it seemed to make sense, and disappointed because although it came to a definite conclusion, it didn't really seem to properly explain how it got there.

Usually when I come across this kind of situation I end up figuring that most everything had some kind of symbolism that was way over my head and was never meant to be taken as a literal story. The show's Christian imagery and terminology made things all that much more confusing: Is Adam supposed to somehow reference the actual Adam from the Bible? Are the Dead Sea Scrolls supposed to reference the real ones? And what about the Lance of Longinous? What the hell was that thing supposed to be and how does it relate to the Third Impact?

Enter Reichu and her Revelations. Thanks her attempt to fill in the gaps and make certain connections, I've learned that the story isn't just an alagory. It can make perfect sense if you know how to put all the pieces together. For example, among her revelations:
  • Adam and Lilith are not "gods" in the literal sense. They are sources of life that were intentionally planted by an advanced extraterrestrial race of humans in order to propigate their species and knowledge.
  • Rei has the cloned body of Yui and the soul of Lilith.
  • Kaoru has the cloned body of...sombody (possibly Misato's father) and Adam's soul.
  • Yui is very very aware of exactly what she is doing, even as she exists as the soul of Eva-01. She is the one who is running the whole show.
  • Among other things, the Lance of Longinous is Lilith's substitute for an S2 organ.

Below are the links to the forums where the info is posted, discussed, argued, dissected, and developed. There's a lot of info to absorb so it'll take a good few days of free time to root through it all. But if you are an Eva fan and have been struggling to make sense of it all, this will at the very least give you some good food for thought.

Here's some of the main threads (though there's plenty more in the general Evangelion forums at AnimeNation):

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Japanese lessons online

I've been trying to sign up for Japanese classes with some of my family members for a while now, but not much has come of it so far (J and T -- what are we waiting for?). Maybe this will be a good primer.

From AnimeNation News:

The fan run site Omoshiroigame now hosts free kanji, hiragana, and katakana study quizzes, flashcards and games for people interested in learning Japanese language. now offers free Japanese lessons for the anime otaku in a weekly podcast.

Death Note movies announced

I love Death Note. Even though the title may put some people off, I highly recommend this manga for all those who enjoy intelligent writing with characters that face off in a battle of wits instead of fists. I heard that some of the later story arcs go downhill in terms of quality, but who cares? Right now I love it!

And according to Manga News, there are two live action movies in the works. I definitely think live action is better suited for this story. (Although, maybe it could be a good animated movie if Satoshi Kon directed it. Not that that will ever happen. I'm just saying...) The first movie is due out in June and the second in October. No word on directors or anything yet.

Eureka SeveN multimedia release

I'm really looking forward tot his title; especially since it's animated by my second favorite animation studio, Bones. From AnimeNation News:

Bandai Entertainment has officially announced plans for a domestic release of Eureka Seven anime, manga, and music. Bandai will release the first Eureka Seven DVD on April 25th in a $24.98 disc only edition and a $59.98 disc with collector's box, t-shirt, manga with exclusive cover, and CD soundtrack.

In addition to the DVD release set for April 25th, Bandai Entertainment Inc. has plans to release two manga series, a four volume adaptation of the series storyline and a two volume series based on the Eureka Seven video game prequel story, as well as a stand alone soundtrack. There are also plans in the works to broadcast the series on a premier TV network.

New Hellsing OVA TV Commercial Released

From AnimeNation News:

The official Japanese Hellsing OVA website now hosts a new 20 second TV commercial in streaming Windows Media and Real Media formats.

FUNimation licenses xxxHolic/Tsubasa movie, Tsubasa TV series

From Anime News Network:

In the February issue of Anime Insider, FUNimation has announced the R1 license to both Production I.G's XXXHolic/Tsubasa feature film and Bee Train's Tsubasa Chronicles TV series. No mention has yet been made of Tsubasa's second season or the XXXHolic TV series yet.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

UPDATE re: Shinichiro Watanabe lecture

The Detroit Film Theatre website has been updated and now shows the the date of Shinichiro Watanabe's lecture to be Wednesday February 8 at 7:00.

This sucks because I have a concert that day at 8:00. Maybe I can attend the lecture then rush over to the concert?

The only other possibility is that there will be a second session on February 9, as was hinted at in an Anime News Network article. God, I cannot miss this!

Blog Update: New Header

Well, look at me and my bad self. I just finished the new header for the site. The main idea for the update was that this way, people will be able to immediately recognize the site as being anime-focused, so they'll know whether or not they want to check it out. The picture of Rei was taken from Gainax's webite. I'll probably put a note in the footer giving them credit, just to cover my butt, and -- oh yeah -- because they deserve credit.

Maybe some day, I'll update other aspects of the site, but for now I'm happy with how it is. And I prefer not to just add stuff just for the sake of doing it. Simplicity has it's value... plus, I'm just lazy.

Let me know what you think about the header. Not that I'd change it, but still, some feedback would be nice. Thanks.

J-pop and anime music online at Keichii EX^2

For great Japanese music check out Keichii EX2. Best of all: it takes requests!

And, of course, don't forget that you can get Japanese and anime music at AOL radio. The anime music is under the soundtacks section.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Shinichiro Watanabe in Detroit!!!!!

One of my all-time favorite anime directors EVER is coming to my hometown! The master behind Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo is going to be giving a talk at the Detroit Film Theatre on Thursday February 9 at 7:00pm. Here's the details from the Detroit Film Theatre website:

Thursday, February 09, 2006 7:00 PM

Special Event

The critically acclaimed animation (anime) director Shinichiro Watanabe will make a very special appearance at the Detroit Film Theatre, sponsored by the Japan Foundation in cooperation with the Consulate General of Japan in Detroit, the Japan America Society and the DIA Friends of Asian Art. Best known for his Cowboy Bebop television series (1998), which combined elements of traditional American westerns, 40's crime films and a classic jazz score, Mr. Watanabe will discuss the aesthetic and technical aspects of this work, and show clips from Animatrix (2003) and Samurai Champloo (2004). This newest series tells the story of a ronin samurai, a womanizing warrior and a teahouse waitress who band together to search for a "samurai who smells of sunflowers." Samurai Champloo harnesses the kinetic poetry of classic “chambara” sword epics, but is also wildly anachronistic with a musical score recorded by contemporary Japanese hip-hop artists. The evening will be a rare opportunity to meet one of the world's most innovative and important anime directors working today.

Click here to purchase tickets.

I had heard a while ago that he was going to have a talk in Houston. At the time, I couldn't help but think, "Those lucky punks. Wouldn't it be so nice if he came to Detroit too?" And now he's coming. Sweet! Hmm... Wouldn't it be nice to have a cool billion dollars cash fall on my lap right now? ...

[Source: Anime News Network]

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Viewing Journal: Old stuff and older stuff

I made a deal with myself about a year ago that I would not start watching any new series until I had completed the series I was currently working on. Well, in a couple weeks that promise will nearly be fulfilled when the last volume of Samurai Champloo comes out. I just have to watch that, the last volume of Stellvia, and the last 4 volumes of Twelve Kingdoms and I'll be able to gorge myself on all kinds of new stuff (much -- if not most -- of which I've already bought at the Media Play going-out-of-business sale).

I guess you can say that there have been some acceptions to the rule. For example, I did watch some bittorrent downloads since I figured I didn't actually have to pay money for them. And I didn't count the sample DVDs that came with my Newtype magazine. And then there's the re-released collected versions of shows I've already seen (eg, Trigun and Evangelion Platinum Edition). And I don't count the free stuff I can watch on Comcast On-Demand or on TV in general. And I already started watching Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig, though I don't really have a viable excuse for that one. So I guess I wouldn't exactly call it a solid Lenten-type promise, but I still think I've shown plenty of self-restraint anyway, thank you very much.

That being said, here's what I've wrapped up watching recently:

Trigun Limited Edition 1
I forgot what a fun series this was to watch. I know some people complain about it not having a lot of substance, and that the animation quality varies, but I just think that Vash is such a great character. It's impossible not to love him. Even my non-otaku wife likes it, so there you go. This first collected edition only includes the first 13 episodes. The second set comes out January 17.

Evangelion Platinum Complete
This is worth getting if you are a big Eva fan, especially if you haven't seen the series in a while. Right from the opening credits you can tell a huge difference in sound and picture quality.

I watched the subtitled version all the way through, which I have never done before (though I had seen a few episodes subbed before). In general, I found the subtitled version easier to watch than the dubbed version. I think it's because, as in most series, the Japanese voice actors have smoother, more subtle voices. In the English dub, Asuka and Shinji's voices tend to just be annoying at best, and ear-peircing at worst. ADV also cleaned up the translation in both sub and dub which helped make some plot points easier to understand.

The only crappy thing is that since I got the "thinpak", there were no cool extras on the DVDs (like the voice actor commentary, etc). I only included the episodes (with director's cut) and some trailers. Ah well.

On a good note, though, this has re-kindled my interest in finding out the details of the background of the story. As a result I've been questioning the good people at this forum and have gotten some great insite. It's really been eye opening.

Haré+Guu Episode 1
From off of the January Newtype DVD. It's weird but interesting. I can tell there is more weirdness to come, but it has piqued my curiosity at least. Also, the english voice actors do a great job! Regardless, though, I'm undecided as to whether or not I'll continue with the rest of the series though.

Macross Episode 1
Also on the Newtype DVD. It's the series that was re-cut to create Robotech. This episode is esentially the same as the first episode of Robotech. It's a classic, and good stuff at that; but I doubt I'll be getting the rest of the series, unless they show it on Comcast On-Demand.

Misakii Chronicles Episode 2
Another one from the Newtype DVD. The story looks pretty interesting, but I just don't know if I can take the plot seriously with those monster-size boobs jiggling all over the place. It's like half the show's budget went into to animating those things! Yeesh.

Revolutionary Girl Utena (up to episode 8)
I started watching this only because I aways hear about it and how wonderfully deep it is. But I just don't like it at all. It's stupid. I don't know what else to say. But I'm going to stick with it anyway just (as with so many other disappointments) in case it was a super-cool payoff at the end. Am I a sucker or what?

Initial D Volume 14
Another series marked off my list. The storyline actually ended with volume 13; so this latest volume is just a couple of "extra" episodes that deal with the Mako and Sayuki, the chic racers in the Sil-80. It was a nice little wrap up (though there are still as-yet-to-be-licensed iterations of Initial D to come).

So with that I remove the series from my "currently viewing" list. (*Lone audience member lets out a quiet whoop*)