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Jul 26

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.

Jul 25

Sentai Adds Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun


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Sentai Filmworks Logo Sentai Adds Monthly Girls Nozaki kun

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SENTAI FILMWORKS LICENSES “MONTHLY GIRLS’ NOZAKI-KUN”

HOUSTON, July 25, 2014 – Tales of unrequited love are as old as time itself, but there’s never been a tale drawn out quite like this in Sentai Filmworks’ latest acquisition, Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. This romantic comedy series is directed by Mitsue Yamazaki (Hakkenden: Eight Dogs of the East, Kampfer) with series composition by Yoshiko Nakamura (Hiiro no Kakera – The Tamayori Princess Saga, Junjo Romantica), art direction by Jirou Kouno (AMNESIA, Sacred Seven) and animation production by Dogakobo (Majestic Prince, Natsuyuki Rendezvous).

Love is the spirit that motivates an artist’s journey. Or, rather, it can and should be. Of course, for mangaka artist Nozaki… he’s clueless when it comes to those special feelings of love coming from his own classmate. It’s the age-old tale: the girl’s into a guy that barely knows they exist. And it’s no different for Sakura. While all she can think about is him, all he cares about is the publication deadline looming over his head. Unfortunately, this all came about because Sakura didn’t share her true feelings with Nozaki. This all leads to a huge misunderstanding – and, as a result, Sakura becoming his assistant. Little did she know, but she now works for one of her favorite mangakas. Only she’s a he! And that’s the strange part; Nozaki is the creator of the popular shojo manga, Let’s Have a Romance!,under the alias of Yumeno Sakiko. So, how could such a stubborn numbskull such as Nozaki be so in touch with a girl’s wants and needs to create such inspiring stories that Sakura loves?  And will she spoil their working relationship to finally admit how she really feels about him? Time can only tell as this rom-com tale unfolds in MONTHLY GIRLS’ NOZAKI-KUN!

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun 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.

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Sentai Adds Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun
Mike Ferreira


from Sentai Adds Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun

Sentai Filmworks Acquires Momokyun Sword


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Sentai Filmworks Logo Sentai Filmworks Acquires Momokyun Sword

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SENTAI FILMWORKS LICENSES “MOMOKYUN SWORD”

HOUSTON, July 25, 2014 – Big things come in small packages, but no one expected anything quite like Momo in Sentai Filmworks’ latest acquisition, Momokyun Sword. This comedy adventure series is directed by Shinsuke Yanagi (A Certain Scientific RailgunRo-Kyu-Bu! SS) with series composition by Tsuyoshi Tamai (Ladies Vs. Butlers!, Strike Witches), art direction by Chikako Shibata (Azumanga Daioh, KINMOZA!) and animation production by Project No. 9 (Ro-Kyu-Bu!) and Tri-Slash (Yowamushi Pedal).

It was written in the stars the day Momoko came down the river, floating inside a giant peach found by an old childless couple. Although her fate might not yet be known to her, she was brought to this village to defend it. Now that she is all grown up, Momoko is prepared to fight. And while she might not be the sharpest sword in the sheath… what she lacks in smarts, she makes up for with her unwavering determination! Evil lurks in the distance as an army of ogres are planning to invade. Along with her talking pet dog, monkey, and peasant – who just happen to also be gods – Momoko must protect and recover the Michimi Peach Fragments that are scattered all over Japan before its pieces fall into the wrong hands. Fragments of a holy peach of incredible powers, these powers could be harnessed and used for evil – - and exactly why the army of ogres are coming to invade. Luckily for our she-ro, Momoko has teamed up with a bevy of beauties that call themselves the Celestial Maiden Squad. Maron, Suika, Ringo, and Karin, too, have a bone to pick with the menacing monsters. Together, the girls join forces as loli-warriors in order to stop the pillaging. Will they have what it takes? And will Momoko get the “on the job” training she needs, or fail in the process? Either way… prepare for a battle like no other as beautiful babes must battle in a Feudal Japan fantasy world in MOMOKYUN SWORD!

Momokyun Sword 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.

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Sentai Filmworks Acquires Momokyun Sword
Mike Ferreira


from Sentai Filmworks Acquires Momokyun Sword

Jul 24

The Shredder: Karneval


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Karneval Boxart 218x300 The Shredder: KarnevalEvery so often, a series comes about that seems to excel on every technical level, though it falls short in the finished product. It’s a show that, while engaging, and even interesting, lacks that certain “oomph” that just pushes it to become more than a sum of its individual parts.

Sadly, Karneval fits perfectly into this category.

Karneval is a sci-fi action series that was produced by Manglobe (Samurai Flamenco) and directed by Eiji Suganuma (Kodomo no Jikan, Ninja Cadets). The show tells the tale of Nai, a naive lad who seeks a man known only as Karoku. Nai has no idea on where to even begin his search, and his only clue is a mysterious bracelet that was left behind on the day Karoku disappeared. In his travels, Nai is somehow captured by a mysterious woman of means named Miné.

His captivity is short-lived, though, as the most unlikely of saviors comes to the rescue. Gareki, a street-smart thief with a dead aim, was robbing the manor. Miné, who obviously isn’t the most giving of people, takes this poorly, and sheds her human facade to become a monstrous beast. While the two are able to escape, their fortune is short lived. The two hop onto a train, in the hope that they can get out of the city before all hell breaks loose.

Yeah, that doesn’t happen.

Karneval 002 20140724 300x168 The Shredder: KarnevalThe train the two board becomes a crime scene, as terrorists storm the executive cars, and take a wealthy industrialist hostage. To make matters worse, the train is rigged to explode, if their demands aren’t met! The day is saved, when Circus, a super-secret group of government-issued defenders, makes their grand entrance, to save the day. And, whether he likes it or not, Nai finds himself on the radar of the group. Will they be able to help Nai find his lost companion, while keeping the world safe from the genetic monsters that are walking among the rest of humanity?

To summarize that mess of text, Karneval is a series about a pair of kids who get dragged into a group of super-powered, monster-fighting carnies. Nai, for reasons disclosed later in the series, has the ability to draw out the monsters, known as “varuga.” Since Circus is the best lead he has, Nai lends his gifts in exchange for their aid in finding Karoku.

It’s a bit silly, but it works. Karneval is able to deliver a decently compelling experience, though it offers little in the realm of surprises. It’s pretty much a given from the beginning that Nai, Gareki, and Circus will have their goals converge. Likewise, there is little surprise as to who the major antagonists are, and major plot points seem to occur mainly as a matter of course. There’s no real drive, no real push that drives the characters. Rather, the whole series just coasts along on autopilot. It moves from point A, to point B, and so on with little real purpose, as everything builds up to an ending that could be described as ambiguous, at best, non-existent at worst.

Karneval 010 20140724 300x168 The Shredder: KarnevalAnd, really, that’s Karneval’s cardinal sin. The series delivers itself with the enthusiasm of an old man diving into a bowl of lukewarm soup. Dialogue, character interactions, and even playful banter feels like it’s being delivered half-heartedly, like the cast really had little investment in the series as a whole. And, unfortunately, this kills the suspension of disbelief and limits just how much a person can get into the series as a whole.

It really is a shame, since Karneval excels on all of the technical aspects. The series is, visually, quite stunning, with gorgeous character designs and slick animation. The environments make wonderful use of color and shading, and the camera work is impeccable. There is a wonderful use of framing and mise-en-scene to sell the atmosphere of any given scene. The fight choreography is top-notch, with wonderful pacing and flow. Possibly the most impressive, though, are the few scenes where various members of Circus actually put on a circus act. These segments are simply a joy to watch, as characters glide effortlessly through the air, and the world just draws the viewer in.

Then harsh reality rears its ugly head, and the viewer is pulled back into the realm of unenthusiastic delivery and mechanical progression.

It’s a shame that this really is a factor. Karneval hs all of the trappings of a fantastic show: a great setting, an intriguing story, interesting characters (on paper), and a genuinely gorgeous aesthetic. In many cases this would be the type of series I’d be all over, praising to high heavens. The generally bland and lifeless delivery and cruise-control plot progression, though, just squander so much of that potential.

I won’t say that Karneval is a bad show. On the contrary, it’s interesting and there are a lot of elements that are incredibly enjoyable. Unfortunately, though, it falls just short of being good.

Thanks to FUNimation for providing a review copy!

 Gallery

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The Shredder: Karneval
Mike Ferreira


from The Shredder: Karneval

Jul 23

Your Bad Anime Night Needs: Wild Cardz


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What Is It?

Wild Cardz Boxart 191x300 Your Bad Anime Night Needs: Wild CardzWild Cardz is a two-episode OVA by BMG Victor and Studio OX. It was directed by Yasuchika Nagaoka(Crest of the Stars, Idol Project), and released in the west by Central Park Media under their U.S. Manga Corps label.

You’ve been warned, so buckle up.

The series is set in the Card Kingdom, where peace reigns across the land. This tranquility is maintained by the efforts of a special team of magically powered girls, known as the Crown Knights:

Simply riveting.

That said, the Crown Knights use their card-based powers to deliver four suits of justice to anybody that would harm their homeland. This time around, though, the enemy isn’t the typical criminal. It’s not an assassin, a thief, or even a petty thug (though they do take out some asshole named Red Lobster in the beginning of the first episode). Rather, it’s a UFO. Shaped like a gigantic white pawn.

The mysterious craft appears on a day that began like any other, destroying a bridge into the kingdom in the process. This wouldn’t be a problem, right? I mean, there are four magical superwomen just waiting to deal with something like this… right?

Not quite.

As it turns out, the craft is indestructible, and advancing toward the capital. The situation turns from difficult to dire, though (Oh, who are we kidding? It’s already dire!), when a second magic chess piece of death appears, in addition to all of the damn crazies in the kingdom. So, not only do the Crown Knights need to save the kingdom from two indestructible objects of absolute destruction, they also need to deal with a crazy chick that thinks she’s an agent of God, a gaggle of ninjas, and an incredibly offensiveblack marketeer named Chee Chu Kai. I kid you not, his name is Chee Chu Kai. And, as one would expect this guy’s a walking Chinese stereotype with buck teeth, tiny eyes, and a tendency to speak in incredibly broken English. Seriously, if they went any further, this guy would be chucking egg rolls at people, and everybody line would be something along the lines of “Ching Chong Wing Wong.”

Clearly the paragon of great writing.

No, really. What the hell is it?

Wild Cardz is one of those titles from the earlier days of the bubble. The series was released on North American VHS at the beginning of the anime bubble. Specifically, it hit the market in December 1999, amid a number of far better releases, like Cowboy Bebop volumes 4 & 5, Saber Marionette J Again, and about sixteen different Ranma 1/2 releases.

The OVA itself was sold primarily on its dub. The title starred “living anime girl” Apollo Smile. At the time, she was a pretty big deal.

That said, Wild Cardz is simply dire. The plot it utter nonsense, offering no context, and no real explanation about anything. The villains aren’t exactly explained to the viewer, and the good guys get zero backstory. Plot elements are thrust at the viewer with zero warning, and the pacing just feels generally sloppy and rushed. To make matters worse, the characters simply don’t develop. The cardboard cutouts of popular archetypes that viewers see in the beginning are exactly what the cast members will be when the final credits roll.

Oh yes! That highly touted dub starring Apollo Smile? It simply blows, and not in that hilarious Garzey’s Wing way. The script is poorly adapted, which leads to a number of simply awkward lines. The acting is poor, even by 1999 standards. Characters speak with that ham-handed monotone that would be unacceptable in amateur theater, and the vocal ranges are all over the place. A number of the more awkward lines are spoken an a clunky, slow pace to match the mouth flaps.

And you want me to watch this WHY?

Wild Cardz is a title that will get a reaction out of any crowd. This isn’t like Jewel BEM Hunter Lime or Cosplay Complex, where there’s the hope of a decent time. Likewise, this isn’t Garzey’s Wing, where the awful dub becomes a main comedic driver. It’s 50 minutes of concentrated horrible, seems to just get worse as each episode progresses.

Your audience will laugh, they’ll jeer, they’ll even boo and beg to make it go away. While the reactions will differ, there will undoubtedly be a few people squirming in their seats as they behold the craptacular adventures of the Crown Knights.

When and how long should I screen this for?

Wild Cardz is a title that’s best placed at the very beginning of a Bad Anime Night. It can set the stage for an evening perfectly, and completely demolish any illusions that things can’t get that bad.

As for length, never, I repeat never show a full episode. Forcing your audience to sit through the full 25 minutes will just lead to a crowd tuning out for the rest of the evening. Hosts would be better advised to show about half of the first episode, then cut to something whimsical and fun like the pilot for The Governator, or Hellsing Ultimate Abridged.

Gallery

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Your Bad Anime Night Needs: Wild Cardz
Mike Ferreira


from Your Bad Anime Night Needs: Wild Cardz

Jul 22

Fairy Tail, Episodes 1-48


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Fairy Tail Part 1 Boxart 20140722 Fairy Tail, Episodes 1 48As I looked into the abyss of the Herald’s comment section, I couldn’t help but notice a question in one of our podcast posts. “Why do we dog out so much anime,” the reader asked. Mike replied, commenting that we see so many bad titles, that it’s easier to recall the bad shows than the good at times. The commenter asked about Fairy Tail, to which Mike noted that the show has strong characters. It made me curious. As the show was on Netflix, I figured I’d watch and see how it was for myself.

I’m actually glad I did.

The series follows Lucy, a wizard and huge fan of the Fairy Tail wizard guild. During her journeys, she’s tricked into believing a con man named Salamander is a member of Fairy Tail. As it turns out, though, Salamander is actually a member of a slavery ring, and he intends to sell Lucy (and many other women) as part of his organization’s wares. She is saved at the last minute by a mysterious lad named Natsu, who informs Lucy that he can take her to the real Fairy Tail guild. What follows is one journey after another with Lucy, Gray, Natsu, and Erza as they explore the all they can, from the epic sights of the world, to the depths of their own lives.

Fairy Tail Part 1 005 20140722 300x169 Fairy Tail, Episodes 1 48On a visual level, Fairy Tail is a typical shonen show. The man all sport six-packs and the women are busty, skinny and generally gorgeous. As one would expect, the cast itself tends to be visually uninteresting, outside of a few stand-out villains and side characters. There are a few interesting touches here and there,  but the overall style tends to be fairly same-y.

Coming into the series, I thought the animation was going to be “okay.” You know, stiff movements and  a few cheap tricks to save on costs, since the show runs for over a hundred episodes. And, while this is indeed present to a degree, the animation tends to be more than tolerable during fight scenes. A number of fights surpass even this, and present themselves as quite attractive.

The characters themselves tend to be the one of the brighter aspects of the show. The major players start out as fairly generic archetypes. As the series progresses, though, they begin to grow into strong, charming individuals. Gray, for example, starts out as the token “handsome male.” Natus is the strong, yet dimwitted guy. Lucy is the  smart girl who lacks the brawn of her male counterparts,  Erza is the super tough girl.

As the show continues, these characters begin to show some depth. Layers and motivations are revealed to viewers as the story digs up the past of the major cast members.  Through these early episodes, Gray, Lucy, and Erza get the most development, mostly in the form of flashbacks. Here’s the kicker, though: the flashbacks are done well! Unlike other shows in the genre, like Bleach or Naruto, Fairy Tail tends to work these segments deftly into the main narrative.

Fairy Tail Part 1 010 20140722 300x168 Fairy Tail, Episodes 1 48Most of the show’s story arcs in these first 48 episodes were relatively short. They tended to clock in between 4 and 9 episodes in length, which is refreshing when coming off of Bleach or Naruto, whose major story segments run for far longer. If there were any complaint that could be made, it would be that the writers, for some reason, start setting up the next major plot arc too early. Plot points and foreshadowing tend to be dropped midway through the current arc, which tends to kill the tension of some of the higher-stakes battles.

Fairy Tail seems to have its heart in the right place, though the show tends to be light-hearted to a fault. There’s hardly any weight when trouble arises. Characters proclaim that a certain thing, be it an object or some other MacGuffin, could destroy the world (or at least kill thousands of people), but it’s just not really felt half the time.

Overall, though, Fairy Tail has many of the same trappings and tropes as so many of its shonen brethren. What sets it apart is its ability to cut down on the groan factor associated with it. The show usually sits on the south end of the “wow” spectrum, but interesting characters and plot arcs more than make up for this. Fans of shows like Naruto, One Piece, or Dragon Ball Z will find much to enjoy in Fairy Tail, though others may be better off skipping this one.

Gallery

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Fairy Tail, Episodes 1-48
Dorian Chadwick


from Fairy Tail, Episodes 1-48

Section23 Announces November 2014 Releases, Sentai Adds Jewel BEM Hunter Lime


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Section23 Films Logo Section23 Announces November 2014 Releases, Sentai Adds Jewel BEM Hunter Lime

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SECTION23 FILMS ANNOUNCES NOVEMBER SLATE LOG HORIZON Available November 25th

HOUSTON, July 22, 2014 – Home video distributor Section23 Films today announced its November slate of releases; including the swords and sorcery series LOG HORIZON which will be released on both DVD and Blu-ray.

Product details follow, in order of release

Coming November 2014

Title:                 HIDAMARI SKETCH: HOSHIMITTSU BLU-RAY

Published by:    Sentai Filmworks

Distributed by:  Section23 Films

Run Time:         350 min.

Street Date:      11/4/2014

Format:             BD

Language:         Japanese with English Subtitles

SRP:                $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Some say that life is like an unfolding tapestry, but living at the Hidamari Apartments is more like being part of a patchwork quilt, one that constantly changes as bits and pieces of the lives and dreams of the young artists who make this extraordinary residence their home are added to the ever-expanding pattern.  When we first met Yuno, she’d just been accepted to the prestigious Yamabuki Art School and it was up to her new neighbors at Hidamari to help her find her way in the big scary world.  Now a seasoned vet of the Hidamari Apartments herself, Yuno’s newest challenge is to help the latest arrivals, Nazuna and Nori, acclimate to life on their own.  Of course, since it IS Hidamari, there are still lots of trials and tribulations ahead, and nothing will ever go quite as expected. But with friends like Miyako, Hiro and Sae ready to lend a hand, there will always be a ray of sunshine at the end of every storm in Hidamari Sketch x Hoshimittsu – Blu-ray.

Title:                 HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD COLLECTOR’S EDITION

Published by:    Sentai Filmworks

Distributed by:  Section23 Films

Run Time:         315 min.

Street Date:      11/4/2014

Format:             Combo – DVD/BD

Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles

SRP:                $149.98

SYNOPSIS:  The lockers are splattered with blood, the student bodies are piling up and that’s not mystery meat they’re eating in the cafeteria… it’s the faculty!  And that’s just the start of the worst day of school ever when a nightmarish virus is unleashed, turning humans into flesh eating zombies and converting Fujimi High School into a literal hell on Earth.  Now it’s a crash course in survival, and the only test or skill that matters is the ability to keep moving, breathing and fighting.  Because if nerds, jocks and the surviving staff can’t find a way to work together to escape this carnal house of education, they’re all going to end up on the menu.  And that’s assuming there’s anyplace safe left to escape to.  At the sound of the school bell, the Zombie Apocalypse will begin as Kumuro, Saya, Rei, Busujima, Hirano band together in the ultimate collectors’ edition of the wildest anime about reanimated corpses ever:  HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD!

Title:                 JEWEL BEM HUNTER LIME

Published by:    Sentai Filmworks

Distributed by:  Section23 Films

Run Time:         90 min.

Street Date:      11/4/2014

Format:             DVD

Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles

SRP:                $19.98

SYNOPSIS: The Magic Spheres are incredibly dangerous and powerful magical artifacts, capable of absorbing negative emotions and transforming everyday objects into monstrous BEMS (bug eyed monsters).  So when a demon manages to scatter six of them through the gate between the World of Magic and Earth, someone’s got to get them back.  Unfortunately, that job falls to master of disguise (and fan servicey costumes) Lime, the sometimes monstrous and generally lecherous monster hunter Bass and their ooey-gooey shape-shifting slime companion Poogie, none of whom are probably the best choices for a task of such monumental importance and urgency.  On the other hand, the whole situation is sort of their fault to begin with, and while their decision to infiltrate a Japanese High School may seem a bit oddly timed, at least it gets them a new friend in the form of cute but clueless schoolgirl Miyuki!  Will this motley band of would be BEM hunters be up to the task of fingering panty stealing pocket purses, pinning down living syringes with nastily pointed agendas and turning up the heat on malevolent candles intent on snuffing out entire cities?   The hunt is on in JEWEL BEM HUNTER LIME!

Title:                 NATSUYUKI RENDEZVOUS BLU-RAY

Published by:    Sentai Filmworks

Distributed by:  Section23 Films

Run Time:         275 min.

Street Date:      11/4/2014

Format:             BD

Language:         Japanese with English Subtitles

SRP:                $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Hazuki may be near-sighted, but he knows true beauty when he sees it and the delicate form of flower shop owner Rokka draws him in like a bee to honey.  So, hoping to cultivate a relationship between them, Hazuki takes a part time job at her shop, only to discover two huge thorns preventing the nurturing of any romance.  The first, the fact that Rokka is still grieving for her late husband Shimao, would be enough to snip most men’s ardor short, but it’s the second that really threatens to make Hazuki’s forlorn hopes wilt.  Because while Shimao is most definitely deceased, he hasn’t yet departed and his spirit is still living in Rokka’s apartment!  Except only Hazuki can see him, which leads to a very strange romantic triangle indeed.  Are Hazuki’s chances with Rokka as dead as the man who still lives in her house?  Or can he somehow make love blossom even though there’s an interloper pushing up the daisies between them?  One way or another, the ground’s going to be rocky and someone or something’s likely to get nipped in the bud in NATSUYUKI RENDEZVOUS!

Title:                 MY MENTAL CHOICES ARE COMPLETELY INTERFERING WITH MY SCHOOL ROMANTIC COMEDY

Published by:    Sentai Filmworks

Distributed by:  Section23 Films

Run Time:         275 min.

Street Date:      11/11/2014

Format:             DVD, BD

Language:         Japanese with English Subtitles

SRP:                $49.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Due to a strange curse called Absolute Choice, Kanade Amakusa’s life has turned into a “choose your own adventure” game from Hell.  Series of options that seem designed to cause him the maximum possible duress and/or public embarrassment randomly appear in front of him, and if he doesn’t choose one he suffers agonizing pain.  Needless to say, his resulting bizarre behavior has already branded him as one of his school’s five worst social misfits, and things get even weirder when he chooses one of the strangest options yet: “Have a beautiful girl fall from the sky.”  Because not only does the adorable Chocolat drop on him like a bag of bricks, but she seems to have been sent to help remove the curse!  Only she can’t remember how because she has amnesia.  But it has something to do with missions he has to perform, and if he fails to achieve the objective of any of them, he’ll be stuck with the curse for life!  Prepare for the ultimate multiple-choice test, where even the best answers are usually horrifically wrong, as Kanade attempts to survive MY MENTAL CHOICES ARE COMPLETELY INTERFERING WITH MY SCHOOL ROMANTIC COMEDY!

Title:                 STELLA WOMEN’S ACADEMY BLU-RAY

Published by:    Sentai Filmworks

Distributed by:  Section23 Films

Run Time:         325 min.

Street Date:      11/11/2014

Format:             BD

Language:         Japanese with English Subtitles

SRP:                $59.98

SYNOPSIS: When Yura Yamato’s roommate Sonora asks her to join her club, it quickly becomes clear that the girls of Stella Women’s Academy are VERY different. It turns out that she belongs to a club known as C3 (which stands for Command, Control and Communications) who’s main after school activity is playing survival games! It’s not a typical teenage girl pastime, but Sonora and her trigger happy friends are seriously into it. The question that puts her in the crosshairs of a dilemma is if she has what it takes to join up, stand up, and deliver in the face of friendly fire. Scope out the insanity as Yura pulls the trigger and throws everyone’s battle plans into total disarray in Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3!

Title:                 TARI TARI BLU-RAY

Published by:    Sentai Filmworks

Distributed by:  Section23 Films

Run Time:         325 min.

Street Date:      11/18/2014

Format:             BD

Language:         Japanese with English Subtitles

SRP:                $59.98

SYNOPSIS: The last year of high school is always a time of both looking forward and looking back.  Ahead of you lives the future, alternately bright and scary.  Behind you lie memories, both happy and sad.  And somehow, in the course of one year, you have to reconcile those two and decide where your life is going to go.  For Wakana Sakai, who had started studying music, it’s time to face the tragedy that made her abandon that path.  For Sawa Okita, it’s about her dreams of riding professionally.  And for Konatsu Miyamoto, it’s about bringing her friends together through the magic of song.  Can something as simple as the formation of a chorus club really help solve the hurts and pangs that come with growing up?  Can music bring people together despite their differences?  Join in the chorus, pick up the rhythm and discover the answers in TARI TARI!

Title:                 I COULDN’T BECOME A HERO, SO I RELUCTANTLY DECIDED TO GET A JOB

Published by:    Sentai Filmworks

Distributed by:  Section23 Films

Run Time:         325 min.

Street Date:      11/18/2014

Format:             DVD, BD

Language:         Japanese with English Subtitles

SRP:                $49.98, $59.98

SYNOPSIS: Raul Chaser never wanted to work in retail, but when the war against the Demons ended unexpectedly, the Hero Training Program he was in shut down.   But although combat-trained Raul may feel out of place dealing with customers in a department store instead of dealing out death with hardened steel, his newest co-worker’s culture shock is even worse.  Because while Fino Bloodstone is ready, eager and willing to please, she’s also the daughter of the now deceased Demon King!  So not only are her social skills a little challenged, but it’s going to be up to Raul and the staff to teach her the finer points of the human concept of a “pleasant shopping experience”… not to mention when it’s proper to wear what kind of clothes and whose bed you can sleep in.  And they’ll have to do it quick, because there’s a sinister major retail chain moving into the area with plans for global domination.   Their job isn’t to do or die, it’s to make the customers buy, buy, buy when the ultimate swords, sorcery and sales counter attack ensues in I COULDN’T BE A HERO, SO I RELUCTANTLY DECIDED TO GET A JOB!

Title:                 AMAGAMI SS SEASON ONE COMPLETE

Published by:    Sentai Filmworks

Distributed by:  Section23 Films

Run Time:         600 min.

Street Date:      11/25/2014

Format:             DVD, BD

Language:         Japanese with English Subtitles

SRP:                $69.98, $89.98

SYNOPSIS: Junichi Tachibana has never been lucky in love, and ever since his date stood him up on Christmas Eve two years ago, he’s pretty much given up on the whole idea.  However, there are quite a few girls who would all make wonderful partners for Junichi if he would only open his eyes.  Could he have struck up a meaningful relationship with any of them if he’d done the right things and said the right words?  Well, it’s time to find out as Fate steps in and decides to see what would happen if Junichi were to snap out of his funk and take a chance.   It’s a whole new twist on the idea of love at sixth or seventh sigh, and if one boy and a whole lot of different girlfriends-to-be sounds like a lot of wishful thinking… Well, it is!  But wishes have a habit of coming true and the statistical odds are definitely on Junichi’s side as the guy without a date’s luck with the ladies goes from bad to multi-verse in AMAGAMI SS – THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

Title:                 LOG HORIZON COLLECTION 1

Published by:    Sentai Filmworks

Distributed by:  Section23 Films

Run Time:         325 min.

Street Date:      11/25/2014

Format:             DVD, BD

Language:         English & Japanese with English Subtitles

SRP:                $59.98, $69.98

SYNOPSIS: Elder Tales has become a global phenomenon, immersing millions of players in its online fantasy world.  However, something goes wrong with the twelfth expansion pack. Eight year veteran Shiroe and 30,000 other players suddenly find themselves trapped in the game’s no longer fictional universe!  Except it’s not even exactly the game they knew:  things are in different places, the portals don’t work, and if a gamer was playing an avatar who wasn’t a physical match for their real self… well, let’s just say that everyone who’s been playing is going to have to make some serious adjustments to their new world view.  Add to that the fact that the former Non-Player-Characters are now self-aware and working towards their own ends. This collision of the Elder Tale people and players with seemingly impossible skills, abilities, and knowledge promises to be cataclysmic.  Get ready for heroes to rise and new legends to be forged as Shiroe and fellow players Naotsugu and Akatsuki discover what happens when sword and sorcery becomes real in LOG HORIZON!

About Section23 Films:

Section23 Films provides home video marketing and distribution services for a variety of companies, including Sentai Filmworks, Switchblade Pictures, Maiden Japan, Kraken Releasing and AEsir Holdings.  With its special focus on genre entertainment, Section23 Films distributes some of the very best anime, martial arts, and horror titles on the market today.

Section23 Announces November 2014 Releases, Sentai Adds Jewel BEM Hunter Lime
Mike Ferreira


from Section23 Announces November 2014 Releases, Sentai Adds Jewel BEM Hunter Lime

Perfect Square Reveals 2014 Comic-Con Schedule & Exclusives


Anime Herald
Anime Herald - We’ll talk nerdy to you.

Perfect Square Logo 300x300 Perfect Square Reveals 2014 Comic Con Schedule & Exclusives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VISIT VIZ MEDIA AT COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL, BOOTH #2813

VIZ MEDIA’S PERFECT SQUARE IMPRINT ANNOUNCES FUN EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES FOR 2014 COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL

All-Ages Imprint Celebrates The Launch Of CATBUG And The HELLO KITTY Brand’s 40th Anniversary With In-Booth Artist Appearances, Photo Opportunities, Advance Copies Of Forthcoming Titles And Much More At The Nation’s Largest Comics And Pop Culture Event

Viz Comic Con 2014 Hello Kitty Hello 40 20140718 263x300 Perfect Square Reveals 2014 Comic Con Schedule & ExclusivesSan Francisco, CA, July 22, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, prepares to delight the young and young at heart with a variety of engaging activities, in-booth artists signings and other fun events presented by its Perfect Square imprint and aimed at fans of all ages at the 2014 Comic-Con International.

Comic-Con International is the nation’s biggest comic book, science fiction and pop culture event, and takes place July 23rd-27th at the San Diego Convention Center, in San Diego, CA. VIZ Media will be located in Booth 2813. Complete details on Comic-Con are available at: www.comic-con.org.

Perfect Square will present a range of activities and attractions each day throughout Comic-Con. Fans will also be able to purchase advance copies of several forthcoming Perfect Square titles ahead of their scheduled release dates later this summer. Notable titles that will be available during Comic-Con at the VIZ Media booth include BRAVEST WARRIORS: THE SEARCH FOR CATBUG ($30.00) a special Comic-Con limited edition with foil-accented cover and gilded pages – only 250 made – don’t miss the chance to have it autographed by many of the CATBUG artists, including official Bravest Warriors comics artist Ian McGinty, Codename: Kids Next Door creator Mr. Warburton and Ben 10 Omniverse artists Jon Chad and Corin Howell (and more!) at exclusive in-booth signings; BRAVEST WARRIORS: CATBUG’S TREASURE BOOK ($13.00), a pictures-and-words journal, will be sold with a limited edition poster; HELLO KITTY, HELLO 40, a commemorative art book ($50.00) a special Comic-Con limited edition with foil-accented cover and gilded pages – only 250 copies printed – don’t miss the chance to have it signed by HELLO KITTY artists at the exclusive in-booth signing. Fans can also catch a variety of freebies and promo item giveaways throughout the convention along with manga samplers, posters, temporary tattoos, posters, postcards, buttons and more. Also don’t miss the return of the VIZ MEDIA convention tote bag, FREE with any purchase and available in four amazing colorful designs, including HELLO KITTY and UGLYDOLL!

Perfect Square Comic-Con Panels & Special Events:

Thursday July 24th

10:00AM & 4:00PM      UGLYDOLL PHOTO OPPORTUNITY

                                      VIZ Media Booth #2813

Drop by the VIZ Media booth for a photo with an UGLYDOLL pal!

Friday July 25th

10:00AM & 1:00PM      CATBUG VOICE ACTOR SAM LAVAGNINO

                                      In-Booth Signing & Personal Appearance

VIZ Media Booth #2813

Meet the voice of Catbug, the breakout star of YouTube hit Bravest Warriors, and receive a signed art card!

4:00pm – 5:00pm        BRAVEST WARRIORS ARTIST SIGNING

VIZ Media Booth #2813

Meet talented artists including Stu Livingston, Mr. Warburton, Ian McGinty, Jon Chad and Inori Fukuda Trant for their brand new book, a seek-and-find style artbook featuring Catbug, the breakout star of the YouTube smash-hit BRAVEST WARRIORS series and get your VIZ Media BRAVEST WARRIORS book or sampler signed!

Saturday July 26th

10:00AM – 11:00AM             HELLO KITTY PHOTO OP & ARTIST SIGNING

VIZ Media Booth #2813

Join Hello Kitty and a team of talented artists from the forthcoming HELLO KITTY: HELLO 40 commemorative art book including Eisner-Award winning team Art & Franco, Babymouse creators Jennifer and Matt Holm and Long Tail Kitty creator Lark Pien for a special signing and photo opportunity!

Sunday July 27th

10:00AM – 11:00AM             HELLO KITTY PHOTO OP & ARTIST SIGNING

VIZ Media Booth #2813

Join Hello Kitty and her artist friends for a special second signing and photo opportunity. Fans can meet artists including Brianne Drouhard, Stephanie Gonzaga, Martin Hsu, and Chynna Clugston Flores. Copies of the forthcoming HELLO KITTY: HELLO 40 art book will also be available for sale and fans can have it autographed by the appearing artists.

1:00PM – 2:00PM         HELLO KITTY ARTIST SIGNING

VIZ Media Booth #2813

Meet talented HELLO KITTY, HELLO 40 contributors Corin Howell, Susie Ghahremani, Debbie Huey and Jacob Chabot, and get your limited edition copy signed!

2:00PM – 3:00PM         PERFECT SQUARE PRESENTS – MAKING KIDS COMICS AWESOME

                                      Panel Discussion Room 32AB

Bravest Warriors Search for Catbug Cover 20140722 226x300 Perfect Square Reveals 2014 Comic Con Schedule & ExclusivesBring your kids and join creators and editors from across the industry for a lively roundtable. What are the challenges of entertaining different age levels at the same time?  Kids can also try their hand at pitching ideas, and hear how the panelists would craft those ideas into real comics, during a one-of-a-kind interactive Q&A.Featuring as moderator writer Tom Pinchuk (MAX STEEL) and as panelists, writer/artist Katie Cook (My Little Pony), writer Jenni L. Holm (Baby Mouse), editor Shannon Watters (kaBOOM!, Adventure Time), editor Sarah Gaydos (IDW Kids Comics) and writer/editor Joel Enos (BEN 10, Perfect Square).

VIZ Media’s Perfect Square imprint focuses on delivering original comics, manga (graphic novels) and other children’s books with an emphasis on strong storytelling, eye-popping graphics, empowering themes, and a dash of irreverence, that captures the imagination of a whole new generation.

Additional information on titles published by Perfect Square is available at http://ift.tt/QUMCwS.

For more information on other 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, Australia, New Zealand 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.

###

Perfect Square Reveals 2014 Comic-Con Schedule & Exclusives
Mike Ferreira


from Perfect Square Reveals 2014 Comic-Con Schedule & Exclusives

Jul 21


Anime Herald
Anime Herald - We’ll talk nerdy to you.


Mike Ferreira


from

KickColle Profile: Semi by Nezumi


Anime Herald
Anime Herald - We’ll talk nerdy to you.

Project Name: Semi Comic Book – Volume # 1 

End Date: 8/7/2014

Goal: $4,500

What Is It?

KickColle Profile Semi 004 20140721 240x300 KickColle Profile: Semi by NezumiSemi is an Original English Manga series written by Nezumi and illustrated by Eudetenis.

The title is an supernatural action comedy that revolves around Kajitsu Kura, a girl who aspires to lead a powerful gang. To make her dream a reality, though, the girl needs to find members. her first target? A seemingly fearful lad named Minoru, who has truly incredible abilities.

To make matters more complicated, a handsome stranger arrives, claiming to be both a god and Kajitsu’s father. God Dad wants his daughter to take up the family business, which involves protecting the human domain, and hunting those with the blood of monstrous beings known as Nakara. Will she be able to realize her dream and still protect humanity?

The KickStarter goal of $4,500 will cover printing, rewards, and most major fees associated with production. Notable donation tiers include the following:

Why Profile This Title?

Semi is a title that combines strong storytelling with attractive artwork. The premise is inventive, and has plenty of room to grow, while the characters are well-developed and charming. The project’s creators show a great deal of affection for the property, which shows through in each frame of every page.

The goals presented are realistic, and the staff is grounded in the realm of reality. There are no outlandish claims, and the general timetable of an April 2015 delivery is fair, as it gives leeway for the production process, and provides enough time for the project to be completed in full. Nezumi and Eudetenis built a small buffer for unforeseen circumstances, and they do seem genuinely interested in delivering the product on time and on budget.

Intro Video

Creator Interview

For this interview, we spoke with Nezumi over Skype on July 19, 2014. We want to thank her for sitting with us to discuss the project!

Note: Interview edited for clarity

Anime Herald: First off, I’d like to say thanks for sitting with us. It’s great to meet you.

Nezumi: Same!

KickColle Profile Semi 001 20140721 213x300 KickColle Profile: Semi by NezumiAnime Herald: For those who haven’t heard of Semi, can you tell us a bit about the series?

Nezumi: Well, it’s based on a little girl, who decides that she wants to be a gang leader. And it starts out, where, you know, that seems like that’s the only little focus. But, very quickly, we find out there’s a whole lot of supernatural things going on. Her estranged father shows up, and he claims to be a god, said he wants her to work for him.

And, from there on, everything just gets kind of complex, crazy, and, you know, fun! (laughs)

Anime Herald: Absolutely! And you chose a very interesting art style for this project. It’s very clearly inspired by manga titles, but it has its own unique spin. What led you to go with this direction?

Nezumi: Well, honestly? My first idea for this was actually a more American-styled comic. And then I went from there, and, then, you know, I’ve always been, like, a huge manga fan since I was a child. So I ended up going from there, and then changing my plans, and I started looking for an anime-type artist.

And I was having a really hard time with that because, you know, there’s a lot of people who can draw very very well. But when it comes to putting together pages? It’s not so easy. (laughs) And I ended up on my artist by chance. I can’t remember exactly how, but I was surfing DeviantArt, and I came on to one of her pages. And I pretty much fell in love with her art style! So I think it really was chance that I found her in the first place!

Anime Herald: Turned out very well, actually.

Nezumi: Yeah! A lot of people seem to really like her art style. I know I do! I’m actually happy I went with that rather than going with my very first choice! (laughs)

Anime Herald: Definitely. And why did you decide to take this to a crowdfunding platform, and why KickStarter in particular?

Nezumi: Well, Kickstarter is really, really well known. We keep hearing projects that are coming from KickStarter and they’re just getting funded, over-funded. It’s a very popular platform to use. There’s a lot of other crowd funding sites, but when you compare them all, that’s the one that’s at the top. So I went towards that one, rather than the other ones. And I decided to do crowd funding because it’s very expensive to print a book.

And there actually aren’t grants given anymore, either, like there was in the past. So this was really the only option to get it printed. It has to be through KickStarter.

KickColle Profile Semi 003 20140721 300x122 KickColle Profile: Semi by Nezumi

Anime Herald: It looks like you have a $4,500 goal for this. What would you the breakdown is that would go to the project itself?

Nezumi: A little over 3,500 goes into the print. I found an overseas printer in China. It was a very good price. The only thing was you have to print at least 1,000 copies. But in the end, it was still a better choice than printing here in America. The price here was just crazy for a lesser amount.

So I went with that, and I got a quote of around $3,500. But then I had to factor in the taxes that KickStarter and Amazon take, which is about 10%. And then I had to factor in the rewards and the shipping. So that’s how I got to the $4,500.

About $3,500 goes toward the books, around $500 or so goes toward the rewards and the shipping, and the last $500 was the taxes. I didn’t want to have a surprise. You know, it gets funded and I’m happy, and then I see that I don’t have enough money to ship out to the backers. Because that would just be horrible.

Anime Herald: Absolutely. And at this point, it looks like you’re just about halfway there. If you manage to make that $4,500 point, are you guys planning any stretch goals?

Nezumi: Yes. I have quite a few planned up! I was waiting to announce them until 75%. But I have extra prints for the first stretch goal, extra prints, extra posters… After that I was planning some bookmarks and a calendar. I really hope we can get to the calendar! (laughs)

I was planning a calendar, hardcover version of the books, body pillows, and lastly, if it just happened to really soar out of control, a copy of volume 2.

Anime Herald: And what has the experience been, interacting and working directly with your backers on this?

Nezumi: Well, I’m really, really enjoying speaking with my backers! (laughs) Especially the ones like 10Gage and Tok. There’s been about four of them so far, and they’re really, really, really great and offer a whole lot of support! So it’s really nice to meet new people! So that hs probably been the best part about it. And seeing people who actually don’t even know me, but they’re actually willing to put money down on a project that I put my all into, it makes me feel pretty good!

KickColle Profile Semi 002 20140721 300x231 KickColle Profile: Semi by Nezumi

Anime Herald: Are there any KickStarters that you have particular interest in? Anything that you’re currently following at the moment as well?

Nezumi: Yes! I am following a manga, it’s called Altar Girl. The creator is really, really, really sweet and I really liked her stuff. So I was following that.

There was one that’s already ended, and it’s very successful. It was for a game, I think it was OMORI? I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it was a very old-school looking game that was obviously inspired by EarthBound. I’m not sure if you heard of that either, but I absolutely loved the look of it, and I had to back. And I was very happy when that one succeeded. I can’t wait to get my copy!

Anime Herald: One final question: Is there anything that you’d like to say to our readers? Anything you’d like to say about the project in general?

Nezumi: Well, I have to say that it’s going to be a very, very long series, and that there’s going to be a whole lot of interesting things happening. And I’m just sure that, if they take a look at it and they’re into manga and anime, and things like that, they’re totally going to enjoy it.

KickColle Profile: Semi by Nezumi
Mike Ferreira


from KickColle Profile: Semi by Nezumi