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Sep 01

FUNimation’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Is A Little Quirky, And A Lot of Epic


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As many of you know, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been a thing spreading across the internet. As a way to spread awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (better known as Lou Gherig’s Disease) and to raise money toward finding a cure, people have been stepping up to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is exactly as the name implies. Participants dump a bucket of ice-cold water over their heads, and nominate other people to do the same. Those who don’t want to do the challenge can forfeit by making a donation toward ALS research. However, as of late, an increasing number of participants are also making donations to the cause, while encouraging viewers to do the same.

Since it began, the challenge has become a viral phenomenon. Naturally, YouTubers like the Game Grumps, Markiplier, and Boogie2988 (in his “Francis” persona) have doused themselves in the name of charity. Outside of the YouTube sphere, we’ve seen the phenomenon spread into the mainstream, with celebrities like Bill Gates, Conan O’Brien, and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl.

Heck, the Ice Bucket Challenge has spread so far that even fictional characters, like Homer Simpson, Kermit the Frog, and the cast of Bungie’s Destiny have taken part!

As one would expect, it was just a matter of time before we’d start seeing this hit the anime world. On August 29, FUNimation’s Justin Rojas responded to accept a challenge from voice actor Tom Haberkorn on the behalf of the company.

Rojas delivered on the challenge in true FUNimation fashion. The actual video, titled “The Most EPIC ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!”, is over the top and simply ridiculous in its execution. Really, the entire checklist for “internet epic” was ticked off with a sweeping soundtrack, dramatic camera angles, time-lapse footage, and slow motion reaction shots. It’s quirky, over the top, and just plain fun.

For their own nominations, FUNimation nominated their friends at Viz Media, Aniplex of America, Sentai Filmworks, and Crunchyroll. And, to be honest, it’ll be interesting to see how each company responds!

Those interested in donating to ALS research can do so at the ALS Associaton’s website. You don’t need to be a challenger to help knock this disease out of existence!

FUNimation’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Is A Little Quirky, And A Lot of Epic
Mike Ferreira


from FUNimation’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Is A Little Quirky, And A Lot of Epic

Fans Celebrate Hatsune Miku’s 7th Birthday With Amazing Art


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Have you heard? Today is Hatsune Miku’s seventh birthday!

Seven years ago today, Crypton Media rolled out the first version of their uber-popular vocaloid software. Since then, Miku’s taken on an identity of her own, gaining a distinctive look, several albums, and a fanbase that would make Sharon Apple blush.

Seriously, she’s packed stadiums with fans, and even opened for Lady Gaga on multiple occasions. To say that’s anything less than amazing is a freaking lie.

Anyway, with Miku’s birthday came a massive outpouring of affection. Throughout the day, we’ve seen countless Tweets, Facebook posts, and YouTube tributes flood onto the internet, as fans delivered their fondest wishes to the virtual diva.

Hatsune Miku Birthday 002 20140831 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art

That’s not to mention the truly quirky things, like vocaloid covers of “Happy Birthday” or the Beatles’ Birthday.

What’s been most impressive to see, though, is the fan art. Countless illustrations of Hatsune Miku bubbled onto the web across the day, each bursting with sheer adoration for the electric idol. Some were amazing, others were adorable, but the entire reaction has been simply awe-inspiring in its scale.

We’ve posted a number of our favorite illustrations below. Do you have a personal favorite that we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Miku 7th Birthday 001 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 002 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 003 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 004 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 005 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 006 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 007 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 008 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 009 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 010 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 011 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 012 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 013 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 014 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 015 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 016 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 017 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 018 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 019 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 020 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art Miku 7th Birthday 021 20140831 150x150 Fans Celebrate Hatsune Mikus 7th Birthday With Amazing Art

Fans Celebrate Hatsune Miku’s 7th Birthday With Amazing Art
Mike Ferreira


from Fans Celebrate Hatsune Miku’s 7th Birthday With Amazing Art

Aug 31

AniWeekly, 8/31/2014: Love And Virtual Idols


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Batten the hatches and bar the doors, it’s time for another volume of AniWeekly!

It’s about romance, but for grown ups! Lauren Orsini at Otaku Journalist published an article detailing her experiences with romantic anime aimed at the over-18 set. It’s personal, touching, and just a great read.

You got your Pokémon in my Tekken! Last week, Nintendo and Namco announced Pokkén Tournament, a 3D fighting game starring Nintendo’s famous battle monsters. The title is being developed by members of the Tekken team, and will be co-headed by Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada.

As of press time, the game is an arcade exclusive (though we won’t be surprised to see it hit Nintendo’s WiiU before too long!)

Hatsune Miku partners with Hachioji-P. Japan’s top virtual idol will star in Carry Me Off, an addictive electronica track with a thumping bass line and a gorgeous composition. The track will be included in Twinkle World, a 14-track album that features the entire collection of Vocaloids.

Haruhi’s coming back… kind of! The latest issue of Kadokawa’s Young Ace magazine announced that the anime adaptation of The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan will begin airing next year. The announcement comes almost a year after the show’s official reveal via a viral campaign on the SOS-dan website.

A sad day for anime fans, Anime director Sunao Katabuchi revealed (via Twitter) that director Toshio Hirata passed away on August 25. He was 76.

Hirata was a truly gifted director, who helmed classics like Barefoot Gen and Pet Shop of Horrors. We’d like to offer his family and friends our deepest condolences.

The world’s most famous feline suddenly… isn’t? It’s true. According to Sanrio, Hello Kitty isn’t really a cat!

Anime Boston 2014 Cosplay 032 153x300 AniWeekly, 8/31/2014: Love And Virtual Idols

A heartwarming social media session. Earlier this week, the mother of a recent anime fan went to /r/anime for advice on shows they could watch together. And, barring the usual jerks that pop into this sort of topics, everything went better than expected!

Hideaki Anno: Eva creator, brilliant director, the next Miyazaki? Maybe! Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki pointed to the director as the next thought leader in anime. Suzuki was quoted as saying that “only people with talent can create. I would like him to cherish the god-given talent and keep producing.” 

That doesn’t mean Anno will suddenly jump over to Ghibli, mind you! The Evangelion creator is hard at work at Khara, at the moment.

AniWeekly, 8/31/2014: Love And Virtual Idols
Mike Ferreira


from AniWeekly, 8/31/2014: Love And Virtual Idols

Aug 30

The Shredder: Code: Breaker


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Code Breaker Boxart 220x300 The Shredder: Code: BreakerBefore we begin, I’d like to take a moment and say that Code: Breaker is on my proverbial “shit list.” It’s a series that goes beyond the pale in the name of shock value, as it depicts a dog being beaten to death in its first episode. For me, that’s a definite deal breaker.

That said, I’ll still treat the series as evenly as possible for the purpose of review.

Code:Breaker is tells the story of Sakura Sakurakouji, a strong-willed high school student with an unshakable sense of justice. She’s a mistress of martial arts whose strength is rivaled only by the depths of her stomach. She speaks like a samurai, and lives the honorable lifestyle. Girls want to be her, and guys want to be with her. Still, she shies away from just about all of her admirers.

Basically, she’s a stereotypical “cool girl”. But I digress.

The series begins on an average night, like any other. Sakura’s riding the late bus home, past the same old scenery in the same old city. The air hangs with a usual stillness, that comes as the traffic dies down and people retire for the evening. The peace isn’t meant to last, though. Through the bus window, Sakura spies a giant blue flame out the window. Well, several blue flames, actually. From people. Being set on fire. By a mysterious pretty boy.

No, she’s not on meth.

Anyway, by the time Sakura convinces the bus driver to stop, finds a cop, and rushes to the scene, she finds that she’s a bit late. All that remains of the scene is a series of scorch marks on the ground.

Code Breaker 007 20140830 300x168 The Shredder: Code: BreakerThe next day, much to Sakura’s chagrin, the Human Torcher transfers into Sakura’s class. The mystery man’s name is Rei Ogami, and he quickly wins over his fellow classmates with his cool guy charms. Well, everybody except Sakura. Still, he is a charmer. By the his first day, it seems that everyone is in love with the mystery man from another land, even a homeless man’s dog that Sakura’s been trying to befriend for ages!

Even Sakura begins to think a bit more highly of Rei, until she his sunny façade melts away to reveal the monster below. While Rei calls himself a “garbage man,” he’s what the government calls a Code Breaker. He is a super-powered warrior, who is tasked with ridding the world of the government’s most dangerous threats. His touch is deadly, and he kills without remorse.

And, unfortunately for Sakura, she’s a witness that must be eliminated. Well, should be. For some reason, she’s immune to the deadly powers of the Code Breakers. That’s a small comfort, though, as a greater threat looms on the horizon. One of Rei’s former comrades went rogue. The stakes continue to climb, as Ogami finds himself tasked with stopping his former partners before Japan becomes a battlefield.

Normally, I’d say that the show is interesting, compelling even. In this case, though, I can’t give a free pass to Code:Breaker.

Code Breaker 014 20140830 300x168 The Shredder: Code: BreakerThe first episode was an absolute disaster. The plot presents itself as silly and difficult to follow, and the pacing is an erratic mess. The episode’s numerous attempts at humor are poorly executed, with jokes falling flat far more often than they land.

Through the episode, the dialogue is generally stilted and unnatural. Characters often seem to talk at one another, filling the void of silence for a moment before waiting for their turns to speak. It’s clunky, and generally feels wrong in execution.

Then there’s the tropes. At the outset, the cast feels like a collection of archetypes and retreads that were done so many times before. Rei is the stereotypical bad boy, Sakura’s friend is the well-meaning meddler, and so on. It all feels so old!

The episode’s climax, though, is what turned me off entirely. To watch the G-Falcon gang members kick a defenseless dog around like a soccer ball, laughing and mocking at the dog’s yelps and whines, was enough to fill me with utter disgust for the series as a whole. Ogami’s “merciful” finish, in which he snaps the dog’s neck (presented as a silhouette against a red background), went beyond the pale.

It felt like an attempt to be edgy and “dark” that just went way too far. After this, I had to put the show down for a few days, and really consider whether I felt the show warranted further viewing.

Despite the show’s disastrous start, though, Code: Breaker does improve significantly after the first episode. While the plot remains predictable and the general premise stays a bit silly, everything simply feels like it’s executed more competently. Plot points are delivered more naturally, and the pacing evens out. The flow of dialogue improves and, though there are still points where it feels as if the characters are talking over each other, the general flow of conversation settles into a better rhythm. Likewise, the humor really seems to pull out of its rut, with genuinely charming bits of slapstick and fun visual gags that serve as welcome distractions from the heavy-handed narrative.

The cast builds itself wonderfully, and quickly break away from the tropes that seemed to seal their identities early in the show. They have their own unique quirks and eccentricities, ambitions and dreams that seem to stretch beyond the show itself. Their hopes and goals paint the various players are ambitious, silly, and even frightening. This is especially prevalent in the case of Sakura, who is dragged from her fictional world of laws and justice into a harsh reality, where the division between cops and criminals blurs to little more than a blurred line.

On a technical level, the series is fairly competent. The character designs are generally attractive, though lacking a bit in originality. The male cast is a veritable attack of the clones, as they share nearly identical faces and body types. While there is a bit more variety in the female cast, one shouldn’t be surprised at a sense of déjà vu as new characters enter the show.

The animation is generally clean and well executed, with generally fluid movement and solid fight choreography. CGI special effects are well implemented, to the point that they blend into the on-screen action, and do not distract the viewer for more important elements on-screen.

I’d be lying if I said Code: Breaker wasn’t a solid show. The story works, the characters are interesting, and the on-screen action always manages to excite. That said, though, I’m unable to really give the show a pass, due to the shameless depiction of animal abuse in the first episode. Those who can look past this will certainly find an engaging experience that will keep viewers hooked through the last episode. Folks like me, though, would be better served looking elsewhere for their next action thriller fix.

Thanks to FUNimation for providing a review copy!

Gallery

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The Shredder: Code: Breaker
Mike Ferreira


from The Shredder: Code: Breaker

Aug 29

Wait, What? Sanrio Reveals The Hello Kitty Isn’t A Cat


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Hello Kitty 001 20140829 300x300 Wait, What? Sanrio Reveals The Hello Kitty Isnt A CatFile this one in the “what the heck” file.

To not know Hello Kitty in this day and age seems almost ludicrous. For the past 40 years, Sanrio’s mascot has adorned everything, from toys, to clothes, to high-end jewelry. Her iconic appearance and adorable design ensured that Hello Kitty would become the most famous cat in the world.

There’s only one problem, though. Hello Kitty isn’t a cat.

Earlier today, Anime News Network reported a truly unusual turn of events between Sanrio and anthropologist Christine R. Yano. Specifically, Sanrio’s representatives stepped in during the proofreading stage of Yano’s script for Los Angeles’s Japanese American National Museum’s upcoming Hello Kitty exhibit.

“I was corrected — very firmly,” she noted in an L.A. Times article. “That’s one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.”

In addition to this, Yanno revealed that Hello Kitty is a citizen of Great Britain, who lives in London. Furthermore, the character’s real name is “Kitty White,” and she’s the daughter of George and Mary White.

Before you say anything, no. This isn’t the same family as the now-infamous Walter White.

Joking aside this really is an interesting revelation. Over the years, Hello Kitty’s been referred to as “the world’s most famous feline”, among other titles. Fans around the world commonly refer to the character as a cat, and the general consensus has always been that the character is a cat.

Since its first report, the story’s gone viral. The internet is blowing up at the news, as every outlet from Otaku USA to CNN is running the story. In addition, the news is running on TV via local and national programs alike.

To see this spread so far, so quickly is nothing short of astounding. Personally, though, I have to admit that I don’t see the hullabaloo lasting very long.

In the next few days, after the news makes its rounds, there is little doubt that we’ll see things settle down once again. The conversation about the matter will die out, and most people will stop caring once again. There will be some debate among the more dedicated circles, but to most people, the entire idea will seem silly, and Hello Kitty will again become the most popular feline on earth.

It will be interesting to see whether Sanrio ups their messaging on the topic going forward, though. Given that they are so eager to assert this, I wonder if we will begin to see a push to identify Hello Kitty as a non-cat in Sanrio’s marketing and merchandise. With the strength of the brand, the identity, and the characters, I wouldn’t be surprised if we do see some actions taken by the company to really sell their views, and their ideal image of the character.

Of course, depending on how much money is on the table, I wouldn’t be shocked if they do keep quiet and allow things to stay the course for the time being, as well. It’s difficult to predict how a company will behave in a case like this, as both outcomes are very plausible. All we can really do at this point is wait to see what happens.

Wait, What? Sanrio Reveals The Hello Kitty Isn’t A Cat
Mike Ferreira


from Wait, What? Sanrio Reveals The Hello Kitty Isn’t A Cat

Aug 28

This AMV Collects So Many Anime Cliches Into So Little Time


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Anime clichés are a dime a dozen. Don’t deny it, you know it’s true.

We’re all familiar with the many countless clichés and visual cues that pop up across countless anime titles, be it an elaborate visual feat, or the ubiquitous sweatdrop. We see them, we consume them, and after a while, we begin to just tune them out.

Video creators Monju, Sanche, and Pumpkin decided that there were far too many out there that simply shouldn’t be ignored. In a four-minute music video, the three compiled a simply astounding number of popular and fun tropes into a quirky, kinetic short that just works.

Oodles of popular standbys are present, from dramatic building poses, to acrobatic feats of battle and aerial flips. Some of the segments are familiar to a fault, while it’d be hard to blame people for thinking a few of the featured bits were unique.

The entire feature is fast and fun, and it’s simply astounding to see such a broad range of titles from so many different eras brought together.

This AMV Collects So Many Anime Cliches Into So Little Time
Mike Ferreira


from This AMV Collects So Many Anime Cliches Into So Little Time

Aug 27

Viz To Release Three Pokemon Manga Box Sets In September & October 2014


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VIZ MEDIA’S PERFECT SQUARE IMPRINT ANNOUNCES THE RELEASE OF THREE NEW POKÉMON MANGA BOX SETS

Multi-Volume Box Sets For POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE And POKÉMON ADVENTURES RUBY & SAPPHIRE To Debut In September With POKÉMON ADVENTURES DIAMOND & PEARL/PLATINUM Set For Release In Early October

PokemonAdvRS BoxSet 3D 300x300 Viz To Release Three Pokemon Manga Box Sets In September & October 2014San Francisco, CA, August 27, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, delivers POKÉMON fun and adventure to fans and readers of all ages as it prepares to release a pair of new manga box sets early next month along with a third box set scheduled to debut in early October.

The POKÉMON ADVENTURES RUBY & SAPPHIRE Box Set and the POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE Box Set 2 are scheduled for release on September 2nd under the company’s Perfect Square imprint. A new POKÉMON ADVENTURES DIAMOND & PEARL/PLATINUM Box Set will be available on October 7th. POKÉMON manga are rated ‘A’ for All Ages and each of the forthcoming sets also features a collectible full-color poster.

POKÉMON ADVENTURES RUBY & SAPPHIRE BOX SET ·

MSRP: $59.99 U.S. / $79.99 CAN · Rated ‘A’ For All Ages ·

Available Sept. 2nd

Ruby’s father Norman is the new Gym Leader of Petalburg City. But Ruby doesn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps – he wants to win Pokémon Contests! Sapphire’s father Professor Birch is the local Pokémon researcher. But Sapphire is tired of gathering scientific data – she wants to win Pokémon Battles! When Ruby and Sapphire meet, they’re more likely to hit each other than hit it off. But then Sapphire challenges Ruby to a competition! Which of them will achieve their dreams in just eighty days?! The box set contains the complete Ruby & Sapphire arc (Vols. 15-22) of the bestselling POKÉMON ADVENTURES series and a collectible color poster!

PokemonBW BoxSet02 3D 189x300 Viz To Release Three Pokemon Manga Box Sets In September & October 2014POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE BOX SET 2 · MSRP: $25.99 U.S. / $29.99 CAN · Rated ‘A’ For All Ages · Available Sept. 2nd 

His entire life, Black has dreamed of winning the Pokémon League! Now he embarks on a journey to explore the Unova region and fill a Pokédex for Professor Juniper. White has an exciting career as the Trainer of a talented troupe of performing Pokémon. She dreams of making her Tepig Gigi a star! Together, Black and White continue on their journey… What surprising new Pokémon – and people – will they meet along the way?! The manga set includes POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE Volumes 9–14 and a collectible color poster!

POKÉMON ADVENTURES DIAMOND & PEARL/PLATINUM ·

MSRP: $89.99 U.S. / $115.99 CAN · Rated ‘A’ For All Ages ·

Available Oct. 7th 

The box set contains the complete Diamond & Pearl/Platinum story arc (Vols. 1-11) of the bestselling POKÉMON ADVENTURES series and a collectible color poster! Pokémon Trainers Pearl and Diamond are starstruck! Their goal? To perfect their Pokémon comedy act. So how do they wind up as bodyguards to a pampered little rich girl on a quest to reach the peak of Mt. Coronet? Thrills and laughs are guaranteed as the POKÉMON ADVENTURES series continues with POKÉMON DIAMOND & PEARL/PLATINUM.

“POKÉMON fans are guaranteed to have hours of fun with the latest multi-volume box set releases for three of the property’s most popular manga series including POKÉMON ADVENTURES RUBY & SAPPHIRE, POKÉMON DIAMOND & PEARL/PLATINUM, and POKÉMON BLACK AND WHITE,” says Beth Kawasaki, Senior Editorial Director.“We look forward to this collection of imaginative adventures that feature dynamic characters and exotic new Pokémon complementing the late summer reading season and opening fall for readers of all ages!”

POKÉMON is one of the most successful international entertainment franchises of all time. Nickelodeon magazine gave the property its 2009 “Favorite Manga Award,” and more than 260 million POKÉMON video game titles have been sold to-date worldwide. The 17th season of the POKÉMON animation, Pokémon the Series: XY, launched January 2014, in the U.S. on Cartoon Network. VIZ Media is the official North American publisher of a variety of popular POKÉMON manga graphic novel series.

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.

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Viz To Release Three Pokemon Manga Box Sets In September & October 2014
Mike Ferreira


from Viz To Release Three Pokemon Manga Box Sets In September & October 2014

Aug 26

Semi-Essentials: Zenki


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What Is It?

Zenki Boxart 20140826 Semi Essentials: ZenkiZenki is a 52-episode action show based on the manga series Kishin Dōji Zenki by Kikuhide Tani & Yoshihiro Kuroiwa. The show was directed by Junji Nishimura (Ranma 1/2, Dog Days’), and features character designs by Hideyuki Motohashi (Fushigi Yugi, Hikaru no Go). It was animated as a joint project between Studio Deen and Kitty Film. In the west, Zenki was originally released by Central Park Media on VHS, with a Media Blasters DVD release hitting in 2001.

The series is set in modern-day Japan, in a small village known only as Onmyoji Town. Well, by “modern”, I mean “early 1990s modern,” before cell phones and the internet were really things in the common world. But I digress.

One thousand years before, Japan was dominated by all manner of evil beings. Demons and devils besieged the lands, and humanity was at the verge of destruction. It was only at the hands of high priest Ozuno and the mighty guardian demon Zenki that mankind was able to defeat the darkness that descended upon the earth.

While he was indeed mighty, Zenki could only be controlled by Ozuno himself. Fearful that nobody would be able to stand up and tame the demon, Ozuno sealed Zenki into a stone monument before he drew his final breath. And, of course, all was peaceful, unicorns farted rainbows, and pocky rained from the sky for a millennium… or something.

Anyway, in the modern world, the shrine’s fallen into less fortunate times, and young priestess Chiaki Ozuno spends her days doing everything possible to bring money into its coffers. Her fate is forever changed, though, when a strange demonic object known as a Seed of Evil is awakened.

Legend has it that the day the Seeds begin to awaken is the beginning of humanity’s decline. And, once again, it falls upon Zenki’s shoulders to save humanity. Leading the charge behind him is Chiaki, descendant of the great Ozuno and trusted heiress to the powers to control the beast. Will she be able to save the world from the forces of evil, or will she be overcome by the sheer will of the great beast Zenki?

Why Was It Passed Up?

Truth be told, Zenki was always a below-the-radar release. The show first hit stores on VHS on September 5, 1995. This was a period when the anime market was in its earliest days, and shows sold primarily on word of mouth. It was during this year that we saw a number of classics first hit western shores, including Ninja Scroll, Urusei Yatsura, Doomed Megalopolis, and My Youth In Arcadia.

Before I go on, let me just say this. In 1995, Ninja Scroll as pretty much the title to own. This was a film that created fans, and drove an entire generation of anime enthusiasm. It was the one show that was on every single fan’s shelf that year, and the one show that just dominated the conversation.

So, given the soft launch of Zenki combined with the magnitude of the “must have” titles of the year, the series simply didn’t have a chance.

In 2001, Zenki suffered a similar fate. The first volume was quietly released against just about every major property that could hit stores in 2001. Seriously, in the show’s release month of September 2001, the following heavy hitters had volumes hitting stores:

That doesn’t even begin to scrap what hit in the months immediately before and after! Much like the show’s VHS release, the DVD was simply doomed to fail at market.

Why This Show?

I’m going to level with you. Zenki is a monster of the week show.

That said, it’s a genuinely good monster of the week show. It’s a series that uses the format to its advantage, to continuously up the stakes, and really deliver that sense of oncoming dread. The monster designs are genuinely creepy at times, and the series continually hammers home the fact that they are little more than human hosts, who may be killed when the Seed of Evil is defeated. Battles are well-paced, and just bloody enough to deliver a taste of the brutality of a battle between demons.

At the same time, though, Zenki is utterly charming. The main cast is lively well-developed, with quirks and eccentricities that really endear these characters to the viewer. The chemistry between players is wonderful, and the dialogue is generally well written. At the same time, there’s a whimsical sense of humor through the show, that combines straightforward jokes, slapstick, and a few mild perverted gags to round out the mix.

That said, there is a perverted old monk, and he is just delightful.

The show’s plot presents itself well, with a mix of the lighthearted and the dire that allows for urgency, without becoming too heavy. The characters grow and evolve through the show’s run, especially in regards to the relationship between Chiaki and Demon Lord Zenki.

And did I mention that Zenki is an utter badass? Because he totally is.

Closing Thoughts

Zenki is one of those shows that is just plain fun to watch. It’s a series that manages deliver a darker storyline without becoming overbearing. At the same time, it’s able to be playful and silly, without really ruining the overall feel of the series proper.

The voice acting is fantastic, pulling in players like Chisa Yokoyama (Tenchi Muyo!, Sakura Wars) and Yuji Ueda (Love Hina, Rurouni Kenshin). And who can hate the show’s Hironobu Kageyama opener?

That said, the show does have a few definite warts. The animation is fairly low budget, and there is a definite stiffness outside of the battle scenes. In addition, there are a few segments in which the humor simply falls flat.

Still, given Zenki‘s many positives, it’s hard to not recommend it to those looking for an alternative to the average weekly shonen show.

Trailer

Note: the trailer is unavailable. We’ve included the opening sequence instead.

Gallery

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Semi-Essentials: Zenki
Mike Ferreira


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Survey Corps Moves Out In Latest Attack on Titan Dub Clip


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

These Attack on Titan dub clips seem to be getting more frequent!

Earlier today, FUNimation began streaming a new dub clip for Attack on Titan. The clip, which was aptly titled “Scouts! Move Out!”, focuses on the Survey Corps, as they move out on their latest recon mission.

The real star of the clip this time is J. Michael Tatum as Erwin, whose intensity really helps to sell the scene. We’ve provided the clip above, so definitely give it a look!

Survey Corps Moves Out In Latest Attack on Titan Dub Clip
Mike Ferreira


from Survey Corps Moves Out In Latest Attack on Titan Dub Clip

Aug 25

Viz Announces Blood Lad Limited Edition DVD/Blu-Ray Set


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY AND DVD COMBO PACK FOR THE PARANORMAL ANIME ACTION COMEDY BLOOD LAD

An Otaku Vampire Obsessed With The Human World Falls For a Pretty Girl That Becomes A Ghost; 10-Episode Anime Series Also Features Talented English Dub Cast 

San Francisco, CA, August 25, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, gives fans and viewers the opportunity to add BLOOD LAD to their personal home media collections as it announces the release of the complete anime series as a special Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and also as a Standard Edition DVD set, on September 2nd. VIZ Media is the exclusive North American master licensor for the BLOOD LAD anime property.

Blood Lad Combo Pack BD DVD 20140825 300x296 Viz Announces Blood Lad Limited Edition DVD/Blu Ray Set

The 10-episode paranormal action comedy about a nerdy vampire that is obsessed with the human word is rated ‘TV-14’ and will be offered as a Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack with an MSRP of $69.99 U.S. / $89.99 CAN. The special set comes packaged in a full-color chipboard box featuring 4 discs containing the entire series as well as the BLOOD LAD “BLOOD LAD-EX” OVA short film and a 96 page premium art booklet featuring episode guides, art, interviews and more. Other combo pack bonus features include an interactive art gallery,  nearly a half-hour of English dub session outtakes, an Anime Central convention chalk art video along with series trailers and clean opening and ending segments.

The Standard Edition 2-disc DVD set for BLOOD LAD features the complete series and OVA film and will be offered at an MSRP $44.82 U.S. / $43.24 CAN. The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and standard DVD set both feature English dubbed and original Japanese stereo audio selections (with English Subtitles).

The Demon World: a place where it’s good to be bad. Werewolves, zombies, and even the Abominable Snowman fight day and night for the title of Territory Boss. The vampire Staz, however, finds the whole thing to be a serious pain. He spends his time watching anime, playing video games, and daydreaming about going to the Human World. That all changes when he meets Fuyumi, a human girl who instantly wins Staz’s heart but subsequently loses her life to a man-eating plant. Staz refuses to give up on the girl of his dreams and travels across the Demon and Human Worlds in search of a way to bring Fuyumi back to life by any bloody means necessary.

The English dub cast for BLOOD LAD notably stars Bryce Papenbrook as Staz and Xanthe Huynh as Fuyumi and also features talented voice actors such as Johnny Yong Bosch, Kyle Hebert, Cristina Vee and Wendee Lee in key supporting roles.

“BLOOD LAD was adapted from Yuki Kodama’s bestselling manga series and offers a hilarious, action packed story featuring plenty of adventure and laughable situations, and fans won’t want to miss the chance to own the complete series as a special Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD combo pack,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Animation Marketing Manager. “The combo pack also features a wealth of entertaining bonus material including the BLOOD LAD OVA which picks up right after the series’ final episode and follows Staz and Fuyumi as they journey to the Demon Acropolis. Don’t miss this special release coming next month!”

For more information on BLOOD LAD, or other award-winning anime 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 Announces Blood Lad Limited Edition DVD/Blu-Ray Set
Mike Ferreira


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