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Semi-Essentials: Birdy the Mighty

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What Is It?

Birdy the Mighty OVA 1 Boxart 20140730 Semi Essentials: Birdy the MightyBirdy the Mighty is a four-episode OVA based on the 1985 manga of the same name by Masami Yuuki (Patlabor). The series was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust) and animated by Madhouse (Summer Wars, Trigun). It was released on Japanese video in 1996, with a home video release by U.S. Manga Corps in 1999.

Yes, the same U.S. Manga Corps that put out “classics” like Garzey’s Wing and Wild Cardz. But I digress.

Birdy the Mighty is a tale of two people, brought together by circumstance. Tsutomu Senkawa is a dorky high school student, whose one real goal is to get into a good high school. Birdy is a gorgeous space cop who travels across the galaxy to take down the most vicious of criminals.

To be honest, it’s kind of a crap job. Long hours, dangerous duties, and little vacation.

Anyway, Birdy’s duties eventually lead to our little backwater planet. During the pursuit of her target, Birdy accidentally kills Tsutomu. It’s not the typical case of friendly fire, either. She, quite literally, electrifies the poor kid until he’s little more than a quivering husk.

Oops.

Anyway, since Tsutomu’s body is completely ruined, the powers that be decide that Birdy’s wrongs must be righted. To do so, she’s forced to time-share her body with this unremarkable geek. To make matters worse, a criminal organization has nearly perfected a drug that will turn humans into psychic-powered monsters. Will the two be able to get along long enough to find the mastermind and save humanity from the alien menace?

Why Was It Passed Up?

Birdy the Mighty was first released on VHS in early 1999. While Pokemon had begun airing, it didn’t yet translate into the phenomenon we now call the “anime bubble.” The series made a pretty big splash upon its release, due to its pedigree. It was featured in magazines like Animerica and Wizard, and certainly was seen as “required viewing” by many.

Time is a cruel mistress, though. In the years that followed, the series would be buried under a crushing tide of releases. When the series finally hit DVD in 2004, it was the height of the anime bubble. The first DVD hit on March 9, 2004, among 91 other releases in the month. The calendar was stacked with heavyweights like Sailor Moon S, .hack//SIGN, and Comic Party. At the same time, over a dozen niche-centric titles like Plastic Little and Super GALS hit stores in the month.

Birdy the Mighty was doomed to fade into the background.

In 2008, the OVA was effectively replaced in the eyes of the market, when Birdy the Mighty: Decode began airing. Birdy the Mighty: Decode is a reboot of the franchise, which was based on Masami Yuuki’s 2008 manga. It was a larger, more ambitious story that tied many loose ends that remained in the original.

Why This Show?

Birdy the Mighty is one of those rare gems that really defined what an OVA should be. Every scene is lovingly crafted, and makes brilliant use of colour and camera to set the mood. Kawajiri makes magnificent use of mise en scène to give the world a distinct “lived-in” feel that seems to spill beyond the boundaries of the screen.

The visual style is given that extra “oomph”, though, in the animation department. Characters move well, and expressions are spot-on, whether it’s Birdy getting plastered at a wine tasting, or Tstutomu fighting to chase the sleep away. Fight scenes are well-choreographed, and pull the viewer into the action.

The narrative, while a bit simple, does an amazing job of playing on the intrigue of the viewer. While the core plot is pretty well explained, there are countless hints and teases scattered through the series that hint at something far greater, far more grand than just the OVA. Whether it’s Hikawa’s ties to the criminal organization, or Crystella Revi’s real motivations are, things are left vague enough to fuel the imagination, rather than frustrate. The plot is complimented by the fantastic cast, who continue to find ways to charm the viewer. The chemistry between players is fantastic, as characters deftly play off one anothers’ quirks.

It’s a rare title of its age where even the dub was fantastic. Central Park’s dub for the series pulled in a surprising degree of talent from the New York pool, including Alex McCord (Sex and the City) and Kim Carrell (The Fighter). It was one of the aspects that a number of outlets highlighted, including Anime News Network, who called the dub “nearly perfect.”

And then there’s the music! The mix of thumping 80′s-style rock, moody instrumentals, and brassy horns may date the series a bit. Still, it’s a combination that works, and adds to the overall experience. The melodies are catchy and, more important, just plain fun.

Closing Thoughts

Birdy the Mighty is an interesting title, indeed. For many, it’s been replaced and improved upon by the later TV series. Still, there’s a certain charm to the original OVA that can’t be ignored.

Maybe it’s Kawajiri’s direction, that helped to make this four episode OVA feel so grand and huge. Maybe it’s Masami Yuuki’s characters, that just seem to take on a life of their own. Or, maybe, just maybe, it’s that simple cavalier spirit of the ’90s that seems to drive the series from start to finish.

Despite its similarities to its later adaptation, there is an undeniable infectious charm and affection found in the original OVA.

Gallery

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Semi-Essentials: Birdy the Mighty
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Even A Year Later, Dominos Pizza’s Miku App Commercial Is Hilarious

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Ready for your daily dose of cringe?

Last year, Dominos Pizza unveiled that they would partner with Sega and Crypton Media to co-produce an iPhone app based on the virtual idol. The app would combine the best of the Miku experience with, well, Domino’s Pizza.

It was an app that was absolutely drenched in the Miku style, from the color scheme, to the countless bits of Miku art, to the adorable Hatsune Miku map marker that’s used to track deliveries.

So far, so good, right?

Buckle up.

To promote the app, company president Scott Oellkers starred in a two-minute promotional video. From the moment the epic-sounding string music kicks up, it’s clear that this will be a far cry from anything resembling a normal product reveal. It’s clear that Oellkers is genuinely baffled by the product he’s pitching, with his generally dazed expression and awkward manner of speaking.

That’s not to mention the Chris Hanson moment, in which Oellkers holds a pizza box adorned with the virtual idol, grins, and proudly tells viewers to “have some fun with Miku!”

But hey, we got AR Miku dancing on a pizza, so everything’s cool… right?

Even A Year Later, Dominos Pizza’s Miku App Commercial Is Hilarious
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Attack on Titan Theme Gets Killer Violin Cover

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We get it. Attack on Titan is kind of a big deal.

Since it began airing, the series made its mark across the web. We’ve seen it praisedparodied, and mashed into countless unrelated media.

Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen, the first opener to the series, has become a signature for the show and a general rallying cry for anime fans everywhere. The song’s mix of thudding drums, shrieking choirs, and brassy trumpets demand attention, while the catchy melody ensures that it wedges itself in the back of the listener’s mind.

It’s been covered on everything, from electric guitars to metal rulers, and it remains endearing to those inside and out of the anime community.

Today, violinist Taylor Davis uploaded a her own version of Feuerroter Pfeil und Bogen to YouTube. Decked out in Survey Corps cosplay, Davis performs the tune with a pre-recorded bass line providing the rhythm.

The performance is simply breathtaking, and really captures the raw energy of the original work. The entire performance radiates with sheer affection for the series. It’s powerful, yet delicate; refined, though there are hints at a raw edge.

In short, it’s bloody fantastic

For those that want to compare to the original, we’ve provided the first Attack on Titan opening below.

Attack on Titan Theme Gets Killer Violin Cover
Mike Ferreira


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Takeshi Obata To Attend New York Comic Con

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TAKESHI OBATA TO APPEAR AT NEW YORK COMIC CON

Wildly Popular Manga Artist and Creative Force Behind Death Note, Bakuman and All You Need Is Kill to participate in Panels and Autographing on October 9 and 10, 2014

Takeshi Obata NYCC 2014 Header 20140729 Takeshi Obata To Attend New York Comic Con

NORWALK, CT – July 29, 2014 – New York Comic Con is rolling out power-packed appearances that showcase the hottest talent from around the globe. In continuing its unwavering commitment to celebrate the vast expanse of all things pop culture,  ReedPOP, the world’s largest producer of pop culture events and producers of the event, today announced that renowned manga artist Takeshi Obata will be appearing as part of autographing and panels the Thursday and Friday of the show. Obata is the artist of the wildly popular Shonen Jump title Hikaru no Go, which won the 2003 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize: Shinsei “New Hope” award and the 2000 Shogakukan Manga award. Obata is also the artist of Arabian Majin Bokentan Lamp Lamp, Ayatsuri Sakon, Cyborg Jichan G, and the smash hit manga Death Note.  Following the hugely successful series Bakuman。 Obata’s latest work is All You Need Is Kill, a 2-volume adaptation of the novel which was also the basis for this year’s Tom Cruise blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow. Hikaru no Go, Death Note, Bakuman。and  All You Need Is Kill are all published in North America by VIZ Media. Takeshi Obata is appearing at New York Comic Con with support of VIZ Media and the Japan Foundation. “Our vision for New York Comic Con is to bring a wide range of pop culture content from all over the world to fans every year,” said Lance Fensterman, Global Senior Vice President of ReedPOP. “Takeshi Obata is one of the leading manga artists in the world and one of the best creative forces in entertainment today. We couldn’t be more excited about his participation in New York Comic Con this year.” In addition to Obata’s appearance at New York Comic Con, he will also participate in a special signing outside the Javits Center as part of New York Comic Con’s Super Week (http://ift.tt/SNnbOo).  More information about Obata’s events will be revealed in the coming weeks. New York Comic Con (taking place on October 9- 12 at the Javits Center in New York City) is the East Coast’s biggest and most exciting popular culture convention with the latest and greatest in comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies and television. New York Comic Con’s panels and autograph sessions give fans a chance to interact with their favorite creators, while screening rooms feature sneak peeks at films and television shows months before they hit either big or small screens. New York Comic Con is the second largest pop culture convention in America and the only one that takes place in the comic book, publishing, media, and licensing capital of the world — Gotham City. More exciting details about New York Comic Con, events, talent and sponsors will be revealed in the coming weeks. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit http://ift.tt/otTrNe or and New York Comic Con’s social media pages (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram).     ABOUT REEDPOP ReedPOP is a boutique group within Reed Exhibitions, which is exclusively devoted to organizing events, launching and acquiring new shows, and partnering with premium brands in the pop culture arena. ReedPOP is dedicated to producing celebrations of popular culture throughout the world that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences for consumers and fans. The ReedPOP portfolio includes: New York Comic Con (NYCC), Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Prime, East, South and Australia, Star Wars Celebration, New York Super Week, Special Edition: NYC,  Oz Comic-Con, BookCon and the UFC Fan Expo. In 2013 ReedPOP (has) added Star Wars Celebration Europe and PAX Australia to its rapidly expanding portfolio of international events. The staff at ReedPOP is a fan based group of professionals producing shows for other fans, thus making them uniquely qualified to service those with whom they share a common passion. ReedPOP is focused on bringing its expertise and knowledge to world communities in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia/Pacific (including Australia). (www.reedpop.com)

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Release Teardown: Cat’s Eye Season 1

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In North America, Tsukasa Hojo is a bit of a cult figure. He’s best known for creating the cult favorite City Hunter. Sometimes, he’ll create a blip on the news radar for lending his talents to an offbeat project like virtual idol Mana, but he rarely goes further than that.

In Japan, Hojo is a slightly bigger fish. His manga works, be it City Hunter or spiritual successor Angel Heart, have garnered impressive followings. Ryo Saeba is an iconic figure, whose mug can be found on everything from tee shirts to coffee. Most of Hojo’s titles have gone on to see long-running anime titles, and his manga never seems to lack in sales.

Before City Hunter was even an inkling, though, Hojo created Cat’s Eye: a light-hearted action series about a trio of gorgeous female cat burglars. The series was basically two parts Lupin, one part City Hunter as the trio of Ai, Rui, and Hitomi committed grand heists in the face of a surprisingly incompetent police force.

On July 1, Nozomi Entertainment released the first season of Cat’s Eye on DVD. 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 shipped in a single Amaray DVD case. The front of the case features a shot of Hitomi, Rui, and Ai standing before a brick wall, as a spotlight adorned with the “Cat’s Eye” motif shines upon them.

The back cover uses a solid maroon background. The top half of the cover features key art of the three sisters, who are all dressed in casual clothing and holding the Cat’s Eye calling card. A brief description of the show and its contents are presented in white Times Roman text beneath the artwork. The bottom of the case contains the “feature grid” that’s a mainstay for Right Stuf’s releases, as well as the bar code.

Cats Eye Teardown 002 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1 Cats Eye Teardown 001 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1

Inside the case is a Right Stuf comment card, as well as the six discs that contain the show. Each of the discs uses the same motif: white background, with a red logo that intersects a red cat head silhouette. In addition, each disc contains the disc number and the episodes contained within.

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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 main menu features the same key art found on the front of the DVD case. The show’s logo is set in the center-bottom of the screen. Beneath the logo, the disc name, as well as the menu items are lain out in a single strip. The menu options are presented as white text on a red background, with a white cat’s head silhouette serving as the cursor.

The Episode and Bonus sub menus use a stark white background, with half of the Cat’s Eye cat mark occupying the left side of the screen. Menu items are presented as white text in a red parallelogram, with the white cat’s head silhouette serving as the cursor.

The Trailer menu mirrors this setup, placing the cat head to the right side of the screen. Menu objects are presented as images of the DVD covers, set in a red parallelogram that extends to the left side of the screen.

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Video Quality

Cats Eye Teardown Screen 008 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1 Cats Eye Teardown Screen 009 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1 Cats Eye Teardown Screen 010 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1 Cats Eye Teardown Screen 011 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1 Cats Eye Teardown Screen 012 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1 Cats Eye Teardown Screen 001 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1 Cats Eye Teardown Screen 002 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1 Cats Eye Teardown Screen 003 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1 Cats Eye Teardown Screen 004 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1 Cats Eye Teardown Screen 005 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1 Cats Eye Teardown Screen 006 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1 Cats Eye Teardown Screen 007 150x150 Release Teardown: Cats Eye Season 1

Overall

While it’s certainly not the slickest set to come from the Nozomi label, Cat’s Eye is still a sound release. The menus, while a bit plain, work incredibly well and play off of the “calling card” motif. The extras are a bit bare, but this can be forgiven if we take the age of the series into account.

Visually, the show looks good for its age. The video shows the typical grain and signs of age you’d expect in an older series, but this can easily be overlooked. The colors are fantastic, and the overall visual style is simply wonderful.

Release Teardown: Cat’s Eye Season 1
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J-Pop Summit Festival Sets Attendance Record With 120,000 Attendees

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JPop Summit Festival 2014 Logo J Pop Summit Festival Sets Attendance Record With 120,000 Attendees

PRESS RELEASE                   

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

2014 J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL SETS NEW ATTENDANCE RECORD WITH MASSIVE WEEKEND CELEBRATION OF JAPANESE POP CUTURE

S.F.’s Annual Japanese Pop Culture Extravaganza Attracts Huge Crowds For Music, Anime, Film, Fashion And Ramen

 YANAKIKU J POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL 20140728 300x225 J Pop Summit Festival Sets Attendance Record With 120,000 Attendees

San Francisco, CA, July 28, 2014 – The 2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival, San Francisco’s premiere celebration of Japanese pop culture, music, fashion, games, art, food and film, broke all previous attendance records during its recent 6th annual weekend-long event. More than 120,000 people attended the two-day Festival that took place across the city’s Japantown on July 19th and 20th.

The second annual J-POP Live at Union Square concert took place on the evening of Saturday, July 19th and attracted nearly 5,000 people who filled the iconic downtown plaza and surrounding vantage points to enthusiastically welcome an array of headlining live musical performers from Japan.

The 2014 J-POP SUMMIT also kicked off the second annual Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, which ran thru Sunday, July 27th at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema, located at 1746 Post St in Japantown.

The 2014 J-POP SUMMIT presented several top Japanese artists that made their U.S. debut including pop stars and Guests of Honor former AKB48 memeber, Tomomi Itano, May’n, Una and the teen idol group, Tokyo Girls’ Style, as well as crowd favorite Kimono Cosplay pop singing duo, Yanakiku, Japanese-American pop singer Kylee, and the return of human beat box phenomenon, DAICHI. Japanese actor and star of Itazura Na KissYûki Furukawa, also appeared in-person to introduce the U.S. theatrical debut of his new film at NEW PEOPLE Cinema, “wo ai ni” (I love you) in TOKYOas well as directorMitsutoshi Tanaka who appeared for the premiere of his new historical biopic, Ask This of Rikyu.

In addition to Japantown appearances by all of these artists, fans were treated to some J-flavored punk and alternative music from the Akabane Vulgars on Strong Bypass and Pinky Doodle Poodle, who were notably introduced on-stage by Robby Takac of The Goo Goo Dolls.

Kawaii-themed fashion programming was presented in partnership with ASOBISYSTEM and gave attendees and fashionistas kinetic live appearances by iconic Harajuku models Misa Kimura, Akira, Una and Ayumi Seto, who launched her new, “Aymmy in the batty girls” apparel line. Fans also were introduced to the sexy pop color explosion of the girls of Black Diamond from Shibuya and an array of other on-stage dance and fashion contests and other programming such as Baby, the Stars Shine Bright Contest, an “ODOTTEMITA” Dance Contest, Cosplay Masquerade, J-POP IDOL Contest and the Japan Discovery Stage.

Kinokuniya Book Stores of America and SEGA® of America welcomed visual artist, KEI, who designed the character of Hatsune Miku, the world’s first virtual pop star, and made his first-ever U.S. appearance to meet Miku fans and sign his art books.

Web-based Japanese cultural channel and sponsor JAPANKURU, taken from an original coined word that implies, “Come to Japan,” showcased the country’s strong influence on pop culture with a colorful JAPANKURU x J-POP SUMMIT Festival 2014 booth that offered attendees unique products unavailable in the U.S. and insights into travel to various parts of Japan.

The POP GOURMET Food Festival also returned to J-POP SUMMIT for its second consecutive year and offered new expanded attractions that included a Sake Tasting area, produced by Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco and hosted by more than a dozen premiere sake brands and brewers, as well as RAMEN Street, and a Japanese Beverage and Bites & Snacks Area hosted in-part by Takara Sake USA, which brought the festival’s official cocktail “J POP,” as well as Sapporo USA, Azuma Foods, Meiji and ITO-EN.

RAMEN Street was a brand new attraction for J-POP SUMMIT this year and was co-presented in cooperation with the Ramen Yokocho Association. The scrumptious event drew tens of thousands who cued in hours-long lines throughout the entire weekend for a taste of authentic hearty, made-from-scratch Japanese ramen from some of the best purveyors of the dish in the world. Many of the local restaurants, merchants and other businesses in the Japantown area also benefited from the massive attendance.

“The record setting attendance for the 2014 J-POP SUMMIT affirms the tremendous popularity that Japanese pop culture has across a truly wide cross section of people of all ages, from all walks of life, and it is a direct result of the support of our sponsors, the City of San Francisco, the Japantown community, and the passion and hard work invested by our Festival staff as well as legions of dedicated volunteers that so generously contributed their time before, during as well as after this year’s event,” says Seiji Horibuchi, J-POP SUMMIT Festival founder and chairman of the J-POP SUMMIT Festival Committee. “Each J-POP SUMMIT strives to present a unique composite of the latest pop culture trends happening in Japan right now. Many of the artists and content that has been featured goes on to become globally popular. As we look forward to 2015, we reflect on lessons learned and also the energy that J-POP SUMMIT has brought to Japantown and the fun and excitement it has given to so many attendees year after year.”

2014 J-POP SUMMIT Festival sponsors included: JAPANKURU, ASOBISYSTEM, TAKARA SAKE USA, SEGA, Biken International, MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON, the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco, SAPPORO, Ma Chére Cosette?, Crunchyroll, United Airline, Kinokuniya USA, Meiji, Azuma Foods, JVTA, and the Japan Foundation.

About JAPAN FILM FESTIVAL OF SAN FRANCISCO

Launched in 2013, Japan Film Festival of San Francisco is the first and only fully-dedicated Japanese film event for the SF Bay Area, and features a colorful mix of narratives, anime and documentary film premieres and exclusive screenings with special guest appearances at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema in SF Japantown. Additional details are available at: www.jffsf.org.

About J-POP SUMMIT Festival

Launched in 2009, J-POP SUMMIT Festival is an annual street fair held in San Francisco, CA that celebrates Japanese popular culture. By introducing the latest in Japanese music, film, art, fashion, gaming, anime, food, as well as niche subcultures, the festival has become a prominent platform to showcase the latest pop trends and creative innovations from Japan.

In addition to the original Festival held in Japantown, new attractions include the J-POP LIVE AT UNION SQUARE concert in downtown San Francisco, the Bay Area’s premier dedicated Japan Film Festival of San Francisco, and sake-tasting and fine foods events at the POP GOURMET Food Festival, which have each further enriched the experience. Additional information about J-POP SUMMIT Festival is available at: J-POP.com.

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J-Pop Summit Festival Sets Attendance Record With 120,000 Attendees
Mike Ferreira


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First Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel Movie Trailer Drops

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Did you hear that? That’s the sound of pure hype.

Last night, Aniplex released a pair of trailers during their NicoNico Live event.

The first was the third promo video for the upcoming  Fate/Stay Night TV reboot, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. This will be a retelling of the original series, as presented by ufotable (Fate/Zero, Garden of Sinners). The company’s done the franchise right in the past, and Studio Deen’s adaptation is largely seen as a misstep in the franchise’s animated lineage.

Previously, the path the series would take was unknown, so to get confirmation that the series would redo the Unlimited Blade Works branch was a huge source of excitement. The October 4 premiere date was just icing on the cake.

As you can guess, people were pumped.

The excitement was pushed to a fever pitch, though, shortly thereafter. Aniplex rolled a trailer for a previously unannounced Fate/Stay Night film. This new film, Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel, will cover a previously un-adapted path in the original Fate/Stay Night storyline.

It looks simply glorious.

In addition to the trailers, two pieces of key art for the properties have already hit the web:

Fate Stay Night Heavens Feel Key Art 20140728 150x150 First Fate/Stay Night: Heavens Feel Movie Trailer Drops Fate Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works Key Art 20140728 150x150 First Fate/Stay Night: Heavens Feel Movie Trailer Drops

While the film’s details are still shrouded in mystery, there are already high hopes for it, found in forums and just about every social media outlet from Reddit to Tumblr. Here’s hoping that the film and TV series are able to deliver on the weighty expectations when they finally hit!

First Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel Movie Trailer Drops
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Sailor Mars Makes Her Dub Debut In Fourth Sailor Moon Preview Clip

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The Sailor Moon dub clips continue to roll in!

Earlier today, Viz uploaded their fourth preview clip for Sailor Moon’s English dub. This time around, the focus is Cristina Vee in her role as Sailor Mars. The clip, which is taken from episode 13, “Girls Unite: The End of Jadeite”, showcases the climactic battle between Jadeite and the trio of Sailor Moon (Stephanie Sheh), Sailor Mars, and Sailor Mercury (Kate Higgins).

Cristina Vee nails it, kind of. Early in the clip, it seems like the voices are rushed a bit to fit the mouth flaps. however, the performances are strong on the whole, and do a fantastic job of selling the scene as a whole.

For those who want more episode 1 action, Viz also uploaded an extended edition of the second dub preview to Hulu, which covers the first meeting of Usagi and Luna (Michelle Ruff). The updated clip covers the first full transformation, as well as the moments before Sailor Moon rushes to the Jewelry store to save the day.

Sailor Mars Makes Her Dub Debut In Fourth Sailor Moon Preview Clip
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Check Out The New Trailer For Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

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Bayonetta, Platinum Games’s over-the-top action game series, is kind of a big thing. Its first game sold upwards of a million copies on the PlayStation 3 and XBox 360. It apparently proved to be popular enough that Nintendo would go on to fully fund Bayonetta 2 for release on its WiiU console.

In 2013, Gonzo produced a film adaptation of the first game, titled Bayonetta: Bloody Fate. The film, which was directed by Fuminori Kizaki (Afro Samurai, Basilisk). Critics and fans alike praised the film for its gloriously over-the-top action and slick presentation that really captured the feel of Bayonetta, as a whole.

FUNimation announced their license for Bayonetta: Bloody Fate in June, followed shortly by the show’s dub cast. Now, we have a release date. The series will ship on DVD and Blu-Ray on October 21, 2014. To drive home the announcment, FUNimation dropped a new trailer for the flick, which gives a tantalizing taste of the experience.

With Bayonetta: Bloody Fate and Bayonetta 2 due this October, it looks like we’re in for a truly intense Halloween!

Check Out The New Trailer For Bayonetta: Bloody Fate
Mike Ferreira


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What the Hell? Sentai Filmworks Rescues Jewel BEM Hunter Lime.

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Jewel BEM Hunter Lime Boxart What the Hell? Sentai Filmworks Rescues Jewel BEM Hunter Lime.Sometimes, a news story arises that’s just too weird to not mention.

Earlier this week, Section23 Films announced their release calendar for November. And, as one would expect, these are just release calendars that detail when new products hit the market during the month.

Over the past few years, most of us learned to take a closer look at these releases. Among the normal release date reveals, there’s usually a surprise license or announcement. It’s through these reveals that we learned of Sentai’s acquisition of shows like Sunday Without God and Samurai Bride.

However, some of the acquisitions can just seem baffling. The most recent acquisition was Jewel BEM Hunter Lime.

Jewel BEM Hunter freaking Lime. Yes, that Jewel BEM Hunter Lime. “Your Bad Anime Night Needs Jewel BEM Hunter Lime Jewel BEM Hunter Lime.

For the uninitiated, Jewel BEM Hunter Lime is a 3-episode comedy OVA that’s based on a series of PC games. It was cheesy, it was unambitious, and it ended with no real resolution. Still, when the title hit in 2001, it was seen as a decent B-grade budget release.

That said, this is a title that was first released thirteen years ago. For many, it was generally forgotten, and settled to the very bottom of the sales charts. To expect anything different with a new release is simply ludicrous. Pre-orders for the new release are struggling on sites like Amazon, where it rests below the 25,000 mark.

Still, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the move didn’t interest me.

Over the years, I’ve noticed an interesting trend in regards to Sentai’s behavior. Namely, the company is following a similar pattern to that of FUNimation a few years ago.

For those who don’t recall, back when the bubble burst, the anime market crashed in a most extraordinary way. Most of the key players, from ADV, to Geneon, to Central Park Media shuttered in the wake of collapsing revenues and declining sales.

In the immediate aftermath, FUNimation was able to amass a huge number of desirable licenses, which included titles like Trigun and Ah! My Goddess. The announcements were fast and splashy, with some containing as many as 30 shows at a time. This transitional period allowed FUNimation to really consolidate its power, gain a huge library, and become the dominant figure in the anime industry today.

We’re beginning to see a similar effect with Sentai Filmworks, who’s been quietly collecting shows from smaller parties to build a surprisingly versatile library. In addition to their newer shows, we’ve seen Sentai lining their library legends like Grave of the Fireflies and Ninja Scroll, as well as fan favorites like Lunar Legend Tsukihime and Appleseed. It’s allowed the company to really build a strong library in short order, and helped to build the brand with customers.

Perhaps Jewel BEM Hunter Lime fits into this strategy in the long run. Maybe the title was an inexpensive way to fill a void in Sentai’s lineup, or perhaps it’s a series that Sentai felt warranted a return to the market.

Whatever the case may be, we’re starting to see Sentai really position itself for a growth phase. The next moves the company makes will tell us a lot about how Sentai, as a whole, plans to proceed.

What the Hell? Sentai Filmworks Rescues Jewel BEM Hunter Lime.
Mike Ferreira


from What the Hell? Sentai Filmworks Rescues Jewel BEM Hunter Lime.