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Scout Regiment Members Get Their Wings (of Freedom) In Latest Attack on Titan Dub Clip

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For those who aren’t aware yet, Attack on Titan is kind of a big deal, nowadays.

The manga dominates the sales charts in both Japan and North America, and the anime has gained a truly astounding following the world over. So, whenever news on the franchise breaks, everybody stops to listen. Even a dub cast reveal is handled with a sense of breathless excitement, as FUNimation trickles out dub clips and names to stoke the passions of the fans.

Earlier today, FUNimation unveiled the latest round of players in the English dub cast. The new members, who make their début in the second half of the show, don’t have the same presence as Eren or Levi, or the other major cast members. Still, to discount them would be utterly careless.

The new cast members are as follows:

  • Cis: Eric Vale
  • Ness: Jonathan Brooks
  • Zachary: John Swasey
  • Boris: Micah Solusod
  • Dennis: Andrew T. Chandler
  • Hitch: Brittney Karbowski
  • Jurgen: Justin Cook
  • Miche: Jason Douglas
  • Nanaba: Lydia Mackay
  • Peer: Philip Weber
  • Oruo: Chris Smith
  • Gunther: Brett Weaver
  • Beane: Cris George
  • Sawney: Jonathan C. Osborne
  • Darius: Brian Mathis
  • Dieter: John Burgmeier
  • Marlo: Todd Haberkorn
  • Moblit: Jerry Jewell
  • Nick: Francis Henry
  • Waltz: Kyle Phillips

To commemorate the announcement, FUNimation published another dub teaser clip. This time, the company opted for the moment when the new Scouting Regiment members receive their uniforms, which include the iconic green cloak emblazoned with the Wings of Freedom. There isn’t much dialogue, but the scene is still enough to send shivers through fans and newcomers alike.

Scout Regiment Members Get Their Wings (of Freedom) In Latest Attack on Titan Dub Clip
Mike Ferreira


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Let Hatsune Miku Protect You From UV Rays

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Miku Racing 2014 20140820 300x300 Let Hatsune Miku Protect You From UV Rays

(C)おぐち / Crypton Future Media, INC. http://ift.tt/1yVW3Li designed by コヤマシゲト

Because really, who doesn’t want a little protection from a virtual idol?

Kazuma glasses, in collaboration with the Good Smile Racing team, will release the official Racing Miku 2014 sunglasses. These sporty shades will feature a white to Miku Teal gradient along the arms, while the frames themselves will be white with a pink accent line. The lenses will be mirrored green.

The color scheme was designed with the virtual idol’s Miku Racing team in mind. The frame itself, which is made of poly-resin, are intended to give off the feelings one gets when he gazes at a high-performance racing machine.

And, like most high-performance racers, these sunglasses are sleek, streamlined, and expensive! Fans seeking a pair can expect to pay ¥19,440 after sales tax.

Still, that may be a decent price for the Miku fan that has everything…!

Pre-orders will close on August 30, for a mid-September delivery date.

Miku Shades 001 20140819 150x150 Let Hatsune Miku Protect You From UV Rays Miku Shades 002 20140819 150x150 Let Hatsune Miku Protect You From UV Rays

Let Hatsune Miku Protect You From UV Rays
Mike Ferreira


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Viz To Release Kazue Kato’s Time Killers On 9/2/2014

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VizMediaLogo Viz To Release Kazue Katos Time Killers On 9/2/2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE SEPTEMBER RELEASE OF NEW MANGA STORY COLLECTION TIME KILLERS FROM THE CREATOR OF BLUE EXORCIST

Acclaimed Creator Kazue Kato Takes Readers To Locales Familiar And Foreign, Whimsical And Realistic, With Collected Manga Short Stories Published For The Very First Time In North America

TimeKillers Cover 20140819 189x300 Viz To Release Kazue Katos Time Killers On 9/2/2014San Francisco, CA, August 18, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, delivers a noteworthy new manga title to fans with the release of Kazue Kato’s TIME KILLERS on September 2nd.

The single-volume standalone collection of manga shorts from the creator of the bestselling BLUE EXORCIST manga series will be published under the Shonen Jump imprint, is rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens, and will carry an MSRP of $14.99 U.S. / $17.99 CAN. TIME KILLERS also features 13 pages of full-color artwork as well as a fold-out, full-color gatefold poster.

A digital version of TIME KILLERS will launch digitally on September 2nd for $10.99 (USD/CAN) from VIZManga.com and through the VIZ MANGA App for the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod® touch, Android-powered smart phones, as well as through the store fronts for comiXology, Nook, Kobo, Kindle, iBooks and GooglePlay.

Explore fantastic realms of imagination in this stunning collection of short stories by Kazue Kato. With her amazing and distinctive art leaping from the page, TIME KILLERS includes Kato’s first work, Boku to Usagi (Me and the Rabbit), and also features the stories and character designs that would become her breakthrough series, BLUE EXORCIST. Take off on a flight of fantasy with TIME KILLERS!

“This exciting new release offers a collection of captivating stories and a comprehensive look at Kazue Kato’s earlier work that preceded her current smash-hit manga series, BLUE EXORCIST,” says Mike Montesa, Editor. “The stories in TIME KILLERS move at a quick pace and feature unique characters drawn in the exceptional style that has garnered Kato substantial critical acclaim and a strong international fan base. We invite readers to enjoy this new release from the Shonen Jump imprint in September!”

Manga creator, writer and illustrator Kazue Kato was born in Tokyo in 1980. In 2000, at the age of 19, she won the prestigious Tezuka Award for her work Boku to Usagi (Me and the Rabbit), which was published in Akamaru Jump. From 2005 to 2006 her series Robo to Usakichi, a sci-fi adventure featuring a rabbit (again!), was published in the monthly magazine Shonen Sirius (Kodansha). Her latest series, BLUE EXORCIST, began serialization in Japan Jump Square magazine in April of 2009 and is also published in North America by VIZ Media.

Catch the BLUE EXORCIST manga series available in-print and digitally from VIZ Media on VIZManga.com and other partner platforms as well as the BLUE EXORCIST anime series which streams on HULU and Neon Alley as well as a host of other digital platforms available throughout North America.

For more information on TIME KILLERS, or other shonen manga titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan.  Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages.  VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products.  Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

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Viz To Release Kazue Kato’s Time Killers On 9/2/2014
Mike Ferreira


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Release Teardown: Lost Universe Litebox

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Lost Universe is often seen as the black sheep of Hajime Kanzaka’s works. While it’s set in the same pseudo-continuity as his more famous Slayers franchise, it never really reached the same level of popularity.

Actually, that’s a bit of a lie. The series gained a great degree of infamy over its “Yashigani” episode. That said, though, the rest of the show was pretty much left in the dustbin of time.

To be fair, the show didn’t have the same “oomph” as its fantasy-themed predecessor. The visual presentation was a bit less polished, with stiff animation and a lot of cheap CGI. At the same time, the narrative lacked the energy and narrative pull. The end result was a series that felt more like a pretender, than a full-fledged member of the Kanzaka-verse.

For those willing to look beyond the shortcomings, though, Lost Universe is a fun show that, while far from a masterpiece, does a decent job in delivering the laughs and the feels. The characters are charming, the setting is an intriguing blend of sci-fi and sorcery, and the plot is decently delivered.

The series was originally released in the west by ADV Films. After ADV closed up shop, Right Stuf acquired the series, which they released under their Nozomi Entertainment label in 2007.

In July 2014, Nozomi released the series in Litebox format. We were fortunate enough to receive a review screener for the show and, since we received the full product, I felt that it was only right that we do a full teardown.

(Click images for larger versions)

Packaging

The set ships in a single Scanavo DVD case. The front cover features a piece of key art, which places the major cast members in front of a “deep space” background. Kain takes the front and center spot, as he poses with his Sword of Light, as he’s flanked by Canal to the upper-right and Millie to the lower-left. The show’s logo occupies the whitespace in the upper left corner of the case.

The back of the case features a two-pane design. The general appearance is modeled after the computer monitors on Kain’s Ship, with a green grid background, and gray “windows” containing the relevant information. The left half of the cover features a series of shots from the show, while, the right contains a synopsis, and a list of extra features.

Lost Universe Teardown 001 150x150 Release Teardown: Lost Universe Litebox Lost Universe Teardown 002 150x150 Release Teardown: Lost Universe Litebox

The bottom of the case contains the “feature grid” that’s a mainstay for Right Stuf’s releases, as well as the bar code.

Inside the case, the discs are stored on a paged setup. Each of the discs contains a piece of key art from the show, set against a starry background. The show’s logo, disc number, and standard branding are arranged along the top 1/4 of each disc.

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Menu Structure

Note: Since the release has a consistent look & feel across the discs, I will only be covering the first disc of each edition. Further dissections would be redundant.

The front menu is presented as a “splash” screen. The right side of the screen is occupied by a piece of key art, while the left contains the show’s logos, and the list of options. The options consist of white text contained in a green “computer matrix” styled box. The cursor is a yellow hexagon.

The episode menu is modeled after the computer monitors on Kain’s ship. The episodes are arranged in vertical “tabs” on the left portion of the menu, while the actual chapters occupy the right half. The “Part A” and “Part B” halves of the show are displayed as screenshots. The “Main Menu” option takes up a small square block in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Both the Languages and Bonus menus follow the same motif as the Episodes menu. However, these consist of a single-pane, with the options presented in the center of the screen. The “Main Menu” button occupies the same bottom-right position as it does in the Episodes menu.

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Video Quality

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Overall

Nozomi’s Lost Universe Litebox set is an attractive, clean release. The packaging design, while a bit on the generic side, is still eye-catching, with great use of color. The “computer screen” motif in the back of the box and the menus is charming and functional, with smart layouts and text that’s incredibly easy to read.

The visual quality does suffer, due to the show’s age and the generally low budget. Still, the technical presentation is strong, with no clear artifacting in the video or distortions in audio.

Release Teardown: Lost Universe Litebox
Mike Ferreira


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Sentai Filmworks Acquires The Ambition of Oda Nobuna

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Sentai Filmworks Logo Sentai Filmworks Acquires The Ambition of Oda Nobuna

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SENTAI FILMWORKS LICENSES THE AMBITION OF ODA NOBUNA”

HOUSTON, August 18, 2014 – In an alternate past where the armies of Japan are led by female warlords, one woman’s dreams will shape a nation in Sentai Filmworks’ latest acquisition, The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. This historical action comedy series is directed by Yuuji Kumazawa (Sunday Without God, The Irregular at Magic High School [Assosicate Director]) with series composition by Masashi Suzuki (Kanokon: The Girl Who Cried Fox, Koe De Oshigoto!), music by Yasuharu Takanashi (Fairy Tail, Smile Precure!) and animation production by Studio GOKUMI (A-Channel, Koe De Oshigoto!) x MADHOUSE (Death Note, High School of the Dead).

Thrust into the past, the young and ambitious Sagara Yoshiharu longs to fulfill an old man’s last wish. Yoshiharu is a curious high schooler who suddenly finds himself making an important promise to a wise elder, Kinoshita Tokichiro, who has just been hit by a stray bullet. Before Tokichiro dies on the battlefield, he describes the glorious world of his dreams to Yoshiharu. His fantasy was to be surrounded by women and living in a giant castle. Luckily, in this version of the notorious Sengoku period where Yoshiharu finds himself, all of the important Samurai lords are cute girls who can help this dream come to life and satisfy those desires.  In this world he meets a stunning young girl, Oda Nobuna. Strong-willed and beautiful Nobuna gives him the nickname “Monkey,” while he learns the ropes.  During battle, it’s every man for himself, but what if the most impressive warriors are girls?

The Ambition of Oda Nobuna will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

About Sentai Filmworks

Sentai Filmworks is one of the fastest-growing anime companies in North America, producing hit series like Persona 4, Girls und Panzer, Devil Survivor 2, Bodacious Space Pirates, Majestic Prince and High School of the Dead as well as high profile theatrical films such as Grave of the Fireflies, K-ON! and Appleseed. Sentai Filmworks’ programs are distributed through Super D, Diamond Comic Distributors, Section23Films and Waxworks through retailers Amazon, Best Buy, Fry’s, FYE, Hastings, Suncoast, The Right Stuf, Wal-Mart and other good and fine stores.  Digital product offerings may be found at Amazon, Anime Network, Crunchyroll, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, PlayStation Network, Rovi, Samsung, Vudu, XBOX Marketplace and YouTube.

http://ift.tt/QawdE4

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Sentai Filmworks Acquires The Ambition of Oda Nobuna
Mike Ferreira


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AniWeekly: A Weekly Roundup of Anime News – 8/17/2014

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All Aboard The License Train! This was another banner week for anime companies, who showcased a handful of new licenses. Sentai added Reideen and Queen’s Blade: Beautiful Warriors, while FUNimation acquired the Black Butler: Book of Murder OVA.

Streaming fans shouldn’t feel left out, though! Crunchyroll revealed that they will stream Hanamonogatari.

Attack on Titan’s coming to an end… eventually. Editor Shintarō Kawakubo revealed in an interview with the University of Tokyo Newspaper that the title’s serialization is scheduled to end in three to four years. However, that doesn’t mean the series will just fade away. He believes that “Attack on Titan is a work that will be passed down from generation to generation for a decade — no, five decades.

Attack on Titan Header 20140607 300x176 AniWeekly: A Weekly Roundup of Anime News   8/17/2014

On the note of Attack on Titan, have you heard about the big Labor Day marathon? Celebrate the United States’s labor movement with human strife with Toonami on August 30th. The network will air back-to-back episodes of the show after a brand new episode of Space Dandy. Spiffy!

If that’s not enough for you, be sure to check our podcast, where we interview Jessica Calvello, who plays Hange in the show’s English dub.

Have you heard of Under the Dog? If not, then you should! The KickStarter drive seeks $580,000 to produce a sci-fi action thriller. This won’t be some amateur production, though. The title has some major talent behind it, including Masahiro Ando (Sword of the Stranger, Canaan) and Jiro Ishii (999, 428: In a Blockaded Shibuya).

Did someone say Bebop? FUNimation sure did, when they revealed the first of their two premium editions. The Amazon-exclusive will include not one, but two art books, encased in a lovely clamshell art box. Those looking to take the plunge can grab the deal for $29.99 off the sticker price right now at Amazon.

Cowboy Bebop Amazon Exclusive Boxart 197x300 AniWeekly: A Weekly Roundup of Anime News   8/17/2014

Goodbye to a legend. The world said goodbye to a legend on August 12, when Robin Williams passed away due to suicide. Williams was a wonderful comedian, a major Zelda fan (he named his daughter after Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda video games), and a big fan of anime. His loss was felt across the world, though is legacy will live on. Thanks for so many amazing experiences, Mr. Williams.

Williams was apparently battling depression at the time of his passing. If you know somebody dealing with depression, please see that they get the help and support they need.

On a lighter note… Free! and The Village People are just a fantastic match. Wouldn’t you agree?

Featured Title: Cat’s Eye The classic series about a trio of gorgeous cat burglars is sure to steal anybody’s heart! It’s a dash of Lupin, a bit of rom-com, and just plain fun to watch. Check our review here, and get your own copy at Right Stuf!

Cats Eye 011 20140814.jpg 300x225 AniWeekly: A Weekly Roundup of Anime News   8/17/2014How can you say “no” to a cheeky grin like that?

AniWeekly: A Weekly Roundup of Anime News – 8/17/2014
Mike Ferreira


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Kousuke Sugimoto’s The TV Show Is A Gorgeous Mix of Art and Music

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I don’t care if it’s five years old, Kousuke Sugimoto’s The TV Show is still damn cool.

The 208-second film is a wonderful fusion of animation and music, that tells a delightfully skewed tale of media gone awry. It’s a love letter to popular culture that’s littered with countless references to anime, films, and video games that range from the iconic to the obscure.

What’s most impressive, though, is the way the film itself presents itself. The TV Show is composed of 19 separate threads, which all begin separately. Through the course of the film, they slowly and meaningfully intertwine with one another, until every character, every set is in a state of absolute anarchy.

It’s colorful, it’s quick, and it’s just plain lovely to behold. Every character, every scene is brimming with personality, and the plot itself just revels in its absurdity. The pacing is masterful, and the deft management of 19 separate plotlines is utter genius. We’ve posted the video above, so definitely check it out!

Kousuke Sugimoto’s The TV Show Is A Gorgeous Mix of Art and Music
Mike Ferreira


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Sentai Filmworks Adds Reideen

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Sentai Filmworks Logo Sentai Filmworks Adds Reideen

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SENTAI FILMWORKS LICENSES REIDEEN”

HOUSTON, August 15, 2014 – An ancient artifact holds the key to victory for the human race as an alien terror rains down from beyond the skies in Sentai Filmworks’ latest acquisition, REIDEEN. This mecha sci-fi action series is directed by Mitsuru Hongo (Outlaw Star, Pilot Candidate) with animation direction by Takuya Saito (Sakura Wars: The Movie, Bunny Drop), prop design by Shinji Suetomi (Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion, Robotics;Notes) and animation production by Production I.G. (Haikyu!!, ANOTHER).

Mathematically gifted, Junki Saiga is a typical high school student, until his family hears that his father’s remains were discovered. His father was an archaeologist and researcher who had disappeared during an exploration years ago. Along with his remains were artifacts and notes near Japan’s pyramid, which is a place thought to be man-made. Soon after the shock of his father’s remains being discovered, a meteor comes crashing from the sky carrying a foreign robotic life-form that immediately begins to cause havoc. This sequence of strange events simultaneously triggers a bracelet left from his father’s research to activate and merge with an ancient robot that had been hidden inside Japan’s pyramid, this is REIDEEN. To save the world Junki and REIDEEN must fight this alien threat! Faced with multiple enemies, REIDEEN and Junki must overcome those that seek REIDEEN’s power and those that want to see REIDEEN and Junki destroyed. Without the help of the nation or even his friends, Junki must push himself to succeed in piloting REIDEEN.

REIDEEN will be available soon through select digital outlets with a home video release to follow.

About Sentai Filmworks

Sentai Filmworks is one of the fastest-growing anime companies in North America, producing hit series like Persona 4, Girls und Panzer, Devil Survivor 2, Bodacious Space Pirates, Majestic Prince and High School of the Dead as well as high profile theatrical films such as Grave of the Fireflies, K-ON! and Appleseed. Sentai Filmworks’ programs are distributed through Super D, Diamond Comic Distributors, Section23Films and Waxworks through retailers Amazon, Best Buy, Fry’s, FYE, Hastings, Suncoast, The Right Stuf, Wal-Mart and other good and fine stores.  Digital product offerings may be found at Amazon, Anime Network, Crunchyroll, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, PlayStation Network, Rovi, Samsung, Vudu, XBOX Marketplace and YouTube.

http://ift.tt/QawdE4

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Sentai Filmworks Adds Reideen
Mike Ferreira


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Viz to Screen Road To Ninja: Naruto The Movie In Canadian Theaters

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VIZ MEDIA AND ELEVEN ARTS ADD SCREENINGS OF ROAD TO NINJA – NARUTO THE MOVIE FEATURE FILM TO MORE THAN 35 CITIES IN CANADA THIS SEPTEMBER

Road to Ninja Poster 20140814 195x300 Viz to Screen Road To Ninja: Naruto The Movie In Canadian TheatersSan Francisco, CA, August 14, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, in partnership with Los Angeles-based film distribution company ELEVEN ARTS, will hold special Canadian theatrical screenings of ROAD TO NINJA – NARUTO THE MOVIE (dubbed) on Sunday September 7th and Thursday September 11th. These are in addition to the U.S. theatrical screenings starting August 29, 2014.

The sixth feature film in the massively popular NARURTO SHIPPUDEN series will debut in over 35 cities across Canada, including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and more. Tickets are now available, and additional information and a complete list of U.S. and Canada theatre locations are available at: http://ift.tt/1ofmztq.

Dive into the past and take a fateful adventure in the latest NARUTO SHIPPUDEN feature film! Long ago, a mysterious masked shinobi unleashed the Nine-Tailed Fox onto the Village Hidden in the Leaves to spread chaos and destruction. But the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, and his wife Kushina Uzumaki sealed the Tailed Beast into their newborn son, Naruto, to save the village, foiling the shinobi’s plan.

Years later, Naruto and his friends succeed in driving away the infamous Akatsuki, who have mysteriously returned from the dead. Upon returning to the village, the young shinobi are praised by their families for completing a dangerous mission. Reminded of how alone he is, Naruto begins to wonder what it’s like to have parents, when a strange masked figure appears before him – the same masked shinobi responsible for the death of his parents!

The NARUTO SHIPPUDEN feature films are based on the acclaimed NARUTO manga and animated series, following Naruto Uzumaki, who wants to be the best ninja in the land. He’s done well so far, but Naruto knows he must train harder than ever and leaves his village for intense exercises that will push him to his limits. NARUTO SHIPPUDEN begins two and a half years later, when Naruto returns to find that everyone has been promoted up the ninja ranks – except him. Sakura’s a medic ninja, Gaara’s advanced to Kazekage, and Kakashi…well he remains the same. But pride isn’t necessarily becoming of a ninja, especially when Naruto realizes that Sasuke never returned from his search for Orochimaru. Plus, the mysterious Akatsuki organization is still an ever-present danger. As Naruto finds out more about the Akatsuki’s goals, he realizes that nothing in his universe is as it seems. Naruto is finding that he’s older, but will he also prove wiser and stronger?

Additional information on NARUTO and NARUTO SHIPPUDEN is available at www.Naruto.com.

For more information on manga titles available from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

About ELEVEN ARTS:

ELEVEN ARTS is the Los Angeles based film distribution company that has brought many acclaimed Japanese films, live-action and animated features, to North American audiences. ELEVEN ARTS’s major live-action titles include Japan Academy Awards winner Memories of Tomorrow (starring Ken Watanabe) and Oscar nominated director (with The Twilight Samurai in 2004) Yoji Yamada’s samurai film Love and Honor. ELEVEN ARTS is also a respected distributor of popular animation titles such as the Evangelion franchise, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, and Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie Part 1: Beginnings/ Part 2: Eternal/ Part 3: Rebellion, TIGER & BUNNY THE MOVIE: The Rising, and Short Peace. For additional information, go to www.elevenarts.net.

About VIZ Media, LLC

Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan.  Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and INUYASHA, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages.  VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products.  Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

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Viz to Screen Road To Ninja: Naruto The Movie In Canadian Theaters
Mike Ferreira


from Viz to Screen Road To Ninja: Naruto The Movie In Canadian Theaters
Cat’s Eye, Season 1

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Cats Eye Season 1 Boxart 20140814 211x300 Cats Eye, Season 1There’s a reason as to why the ’80s are often referred to as the “Golden Age” for anime. It was an age of sci-fi and super robots, where budgets were high, and hits were cranked out at a breathtaking pace. Classic titles like Dirty Pair, Macross, and Ranma 1/2 made their début, and the OVA peeked its head out for the very first time. Films like Nausicaa and Akira redefined what an anime film should be, while titles like Patlabor tried to reshape perspectives on the giant robots of previous eras.

It was during this period that Cat’s Eye paved a career for Tsukasa Hojo. At its core, Cat’s Eye was a mix of the realistic and the absurd, that presented a whimsical take on the average crime drama. It was suspenseful, but just silly enough to be endearing. It was a title that attracted countless adoring readers across 18 collected volumes, and paved the way for Hojo’s more popular work, City Hunter. The show proved popular enough to garner an anime adaptation, though, which hit Japanese airwaves in 1983.

The series revolves around Hitomi, Rui, and Ai: a trio of sisters that run the Cat’s Eye Cafe. At first glance, they’re a typical picture of ’80s life. Ai is the spunky technical wunderkind, Rui is the flirty yet sensible matriarch, and Hitomi is the streetwise middle sister. Their smiling faces welcome all that enter their café, though Hitomi particularly beams over her long-time boyfriend Detective Utsumi Toshio (Toshi, henceforth).

When night falls, though, the façade falls away with the sun. Beneath their squeak-clean exterior, the three sisters take on the role of Cat’s Eye: a mysterious and infamous cat burglar known throughout the city. Nobody actually knows the thief’s identity, nor have they ever seen her face. All that is known is that the thief announces her target before she strikes, and she always seems to be two steps ahead of the law, for some reason.

Gee. I wonder why.

Cats Eye Teardown Screen 003 300x225 Cats Eye, Season 1Anyway, Detective Toshio is the officer charged with capturing Cat’s Eye, by any means necessary. To him, Cat’s Eye is a nemesis, a menace that exists to make a mockery of the police force, and to pull him away from time with Hitomi. No matter what he does, he can’t seem to get ahead in his pursuit. For Hitomi, thievery is becoming a dangerous game, as every heist grows more intense, and each night could be the one where Toshi discovers her secret!

Basically, the show plays out like a cross between Lupin III and City Hunter. The whole thievery aspect, from the flash calling card warnings, to the inventive ways that the group outwits Johnny Law feel like they’re ripped straight from Monkey Punch’s opus. The pacing, the scenarios, even the sense of humor feel familiar to a fault. The series even has its own Zenigata figure in Toshi, who, despite his tireless efforts to stop Cat’s Eye, is always one step behind his target.

These segments are paced well, and the robberies themselves are always inventive. The stakes are always high, and the obstacles range from heavily armed vaults, to an army of hungry armored Dobermans, and there’s always the feeling that something could go wrong at any moment. At the same time, though, there’s this playful element that just feeds off of the energy of the moment and creates genuine excitement, whether Cat’s Eye is stealing a priceless painting, or making their brilliant getaway through the streets of Tokyo.

What really sets Cat’s Eye apart, though, is its focus on the human element. Each episode offers a glimpse into the lives of the main cast, from the Cat’s Eye sisters, to Toshi and his comrades at the police department. It’s through these scenes that motivations and insights begin to bubble to the surface, along with inconvenient truths and moments of weakness. For example, viewers are shown a relationship strained to its limits in Hitomi and Toshi, and a good officer driven to become a pill-popping husk in the police chief. And, while these segments are delivered with a humorous wink and nod, they do wonders for building the cast out as actual, living people. This carries over to the character designs which, while grounded in reality, find subtle ways to really breathe life into each character. Whether it’s Asatani’s bookish glasses and perennial smirk, or Hitomi’s flowing locks and warm smile, there seems to be something about everyone in the ensemble that brings out his or her personality.

Cats Eye Teardown Screen 008 300x225 Cats Eye, Season 1The city of Tokyo is presented as an attractive, colorful metropolis, where splashes of color burst through the seas of grey. Buzzing red and green street signs line the corners, and storefronts are presented as a mosaic of reds, blues, and greys. Trees dot the streets, and flashy signs blink ceaselessly toward streets. The entire city simply feels like it’s alive, and waiting to be explored.

If there were one real complaint about the Cat’s Eye’s visuals, it would be that the presentation can be inconsistent. Characters will sometimes change in proportion between cuts or, in the case of Rui, her makeup will magically disappear and reappear in the middle of a conversation. Mouths don’t always “flap” when a character speaks, and there are a number of cuts in which the animation is jerky and uneven.

Thankfully, the music proves to be consistently great through the season. The background music is a mix of bouncy string pieces, funky guitar riffs, and haunting piano melodies that prove to be both memorable and effective, as they set the stage for each caper. The show’s opening, “Mysterious Girl”, is a synth-heavy ear worm that feels like a celebration of ’80s pop songs worldwide. The ending theme, “Dancing With The Sunshine,” is both goofy and amazing, as it mixes a vocal track that could easily be ripped from a workout tape with a funky bass line.

To put it simply: Cat’s Eye is an absolute gem. Despite its occasional shortcomings in animation, the series is simply a joy to watch. The characters are brilliant, the plot is wonderfully handled, and the action is just plain exciting. While the show’s age may give some fans pause, they rest assured that Cat’s Eye will deliver a truly satisfying experience, from the first episode, to the final credits.

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Cat’s Eye, Season 1
Mike Ferreira


from Cat’s Eye, Season 1