Aniplex

Kaden Shoujo photo
Kaden Shoujo

Puzzle/RPG Kaden Shoujo turns washing machines into school girls


What if my kettle was a female?
Mar 05
// Anthony Redgrave
In school it was required I took French for a few years. During this time I learnt that sometimes inanimate objects have a gender, which was probably the philosophy behind Kaden Shoujo. Except in this case everything is ...
IM@S CG photo
IM@S CG

Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls anime trailer sure is pretty


Flowers, flowers everywhere
Sep 22
// Jeff Chuang
The era of warring idols continue with The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls turning into an anime next year. Above is the first real trailer for the TV series with a massively profitable, idol-raising mobile game behind it. It also looks gorgeous.
Gurren Lagann photo
Gurren Lagann

Aniplex finally brings Gurren Lagann to Blu-Ray in the United States


How many copies of this do I need to buy?
Sep 15
// Hiroko Yamamura
If you ended up buying the imported version of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann last year, I'm sorry. It looks like Aniplex USA has heard our wishes, and is finally bringing the beloved anime series Stateside, with a muli-part rele...

Review: Persona 3 The Movie: #2 Midsummer Knight's Dream

Aug 27 // Elliot Gay
Persona 3 The Movie #2: Midsummer Knight's DreamStudio: A-1 PicturesDistributed by: AniplexRelease Date: June 7, 2014 Much like Movie #1, Midsummer Knight's Dream cuts off a lot of the fat from the Persona 3 story so that it can make its way to the end goal within the allotted run-time. What this means is that there are zero social link side stories, and ultimately very little of the school-life portions that help to make the game's so endearing. That being said, I think in the name of letting the full Persona 3 narrative breathe, these were necessary cuts. The film already suffers from how chopped up the original storytelling was, and bringing in the optional content would have only made the pacing suffer more. Unlike Spring of Birth however, the portion of the game that Movie #2 covers is both eventful and ties into the larger plot at large. The film essentially kicks off with Aigis' entrance, and it ends on a huge story beat that also happens to serve as a strong cliffhanger. In my Persona 3 The Movie: #1 piece, I noted that in order to give the narrative a proper through-line, Yuki was given an extremely apathetic personality. The goal was to show his gradually growth into a person who could depend and care about others by the end of the movie, and it works. This time around, the underlying theme becomes “do we really want to go back to everyday life?” The notion of a fear of normality is shared across most of the cast: Yuki is afraid of losing his place, Fuka wants to be useful to the people she cares about, Ken has finally found a new family. The list goes on, but ultimately the heroes now have a true objective (destroying all the large Shadows), and are unsure as to whether they actually want to see it through or not. The seeds of confusion are planted by the primary antagonists, the Persona-users that comprise Strega, who would see the Dark Hour continue eternally if they had their way. Much of the film's focus is on Aigis and her super powers, but the emotional core rests in Ken and Shinji's laps. If you despised Ken in the original game, this isn't going to change your opinion, but I for one never had much of a problem with his character. He's an emotional elementary school kid who has no family to turn to, is given a powerful weapon, and is jarringly made aware of the tragic truth behind his mother's death. After barely appearing in Spring of Birth, Shinji gets plenty of screen time here and happens to have one of the funniest moments across both films thus far. My biggest complaint yet again is the general disjointedness of the movie. Often times the characters will go from hanging out at a restaurant to fighting a main boss Shadow back to back with only a calendar transition to let the audience know that time has passed. On the one hand, the film series has finally introduced its main antagonists and end goal, so it actually feels as though the characters are working toward something. On the other hand, that hasn't erased the fact that due to the nature of the source material, lots of time gets skipped over frequently. That being said, I understand that this is a unique problem that's present when adapting the Persona franchise for TV or film, and I'm willing to accept that these films aren't going to try and find an alternative. It's just something that bares mentioning regardless. On the technical side of things, A-1 Productions has taken over animation duties for AIC ASTA, and it certainly shows. Aigis gets the brunt of the great animation cuts, with her introductory action sequence being a real showstopper. There's still some off-model wackiness that goes on here and there, but on the whole it's solid across the board, and a decent enough step up from the first movie. It's certainly leaps and bounds better than the original animated cutscenes in the Persona 3 game. Shoji Meguro's soundtrack is an electric mix of music from the game and new themes which blend together nicely. His work is rarely ever anything less than great, and I'm looking forward to grabbing the soundtrack CD whenever it's made available. I also want to give a quick shout-out to the best use of the Persona 3 battle theme ever: you'll know it when you see it. Persona 3 The Movie: #2 had the monumental task of not only introducing the core story for the remaining films, but also its primary villains and the rest of the cast. Despite thr brief run time of 93 minutes, it manages to do that as well as impress with some great action sequences and some drama to boot. I wasn't sure what to expect with the studio switch from AIC ASTA to A-1 Pictures, but clearly it was the right move. I had my doubts about trying to adapt Persona 3 into a series of films. It's a huge game with a massive cast, lots of various subplots, and way too much content to tackle in such a short time span. To my surprise however, the movies have been doing a noble job of it. While nothing can replace the experience of actually playing the original source material, Persona 3 The Movie: #2 Midsummer Knight's Dream is a great watch for fans of the game. If you have friends who have always wanted to dip their toes into the franchise without the time investment, you can do a hell of a lot worse than sitting them down with the films. 8.0 – Great. A great example of its genre that everyone should see, regardless of their interest.
Persona 3 The Movie: #2 photo
Baby baby baby baby baby
Despite its pacing problems and general lack of an overarching story, I enjoyed Persona 3 The Movie: #1 Spring of Birth. As far as animated film adaptations of long games go, I think it did a novel job of compressing hours of...


IM@S toys photo
IM@S toys

So some guy has 13 Idolm@ster character standees


And I managed to get one too.
Aug 03
// Jeff Chuang
So over the past couple weeks, the internet is circulating all kinds of pictures of fans posing (or not posing) with their latest purchase. Big deal, right? It's only notable because standees are really cool, and they're rare...
Anime photo
Anime

Ufotable's take on Fate/stay night UBW looks hot


Oh, and so does Heaven's Feel
Jul 28
// Elliot Gay
In what can only be described as a "oh wait, really?" kind of moment, Ufotable revealed this past Sunday that their upcoming new Fate/stay night TV series would be adapting the Unlimited Blade Works route of the video game. ...
Music photo
Music

A Daily Dose of Music: Old School Thursdays


Your week needs a little alchemy
Jun 26
// Hiroko Yamamura
This week we travel back a little over a decade to a little known show, Fullmetal Alchemist. Ok, you know I'm kidding here right? FMA served as the entry point to anime for many people, with its unique mix of fantasy, magic,...
Video Games photo
Video Games

New Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment trailer shows off a boss battle


He's got his eye on you
Apr 22
// Elliot Gay
Dengeki Online has uploaded a new video for the upcoming Bandai Namco action RPG, Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment. With the release date right around the corner (4/24), it would make sense that Bandai Namco would start let...
Video Games photo
Video Games

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment trailer #4 is filled with gameplay footage


Time to get digital
Apr 09
// Elliot Gay
I may not be terribly fond of giant franchise that is Sword Art Online, but even I can respect something for being ridiculously popular across a wide variety of demographics. With Bandai Namco's Sword Art Online: Hollow Frag...
Madoka Magica Fone photo
Madoka Magica Fone

Complete Madoka Magica Fone series now available for Android; iPhone edition in development


Experience the world of Madoka Magica on the go
Mar 11
// Tim Sheehy
If you've been anxiously awaiting the complete collection of Puella Magi Madoka Magica fone apps for your favorite Android devices, your wait is finally over. In addition to previously released Madoka and Homura editions, the...
AA: Kill la Kill 16 photo
AA: Kill la Kill 16

Annotated Anime: Kill la Kill episode 16


In which aliens and glowing nipples
Feb 06
// Elliot Gay
And just like that, the curtain has been pulled back from many of Kill la Kill's ongoing mysteries. The exposition episode has come and gone, leaving behind a wealth of new information and revelations. Things on the show will likely never be the same, and it would appear as though the gears in the big machine are finally moving. Also glowing neon nipples. Let's do the thang.
Madoka Magica photo
Madoka Magica

Final Madoka Magica film gets a 90 sec trailer


Bad things will probably happen
Oct 24
// Elliot Gay
Some of you might not be aware of this, but Madoka Magica The Movie -Rebellion- hits Japanese theaters on Saturday. It's hard to believe that we finally seem to be reaching the end of this long, dark magical girl journey.&nb...

Annotated Anime: Kill la Kill Episode 03

Oct 23 // Elliot Gay
Episode three of Kill la Kill opens with a flashback to Satsuki's childhood. A wide eye'd little girl with a single dream, she's shown a sailor uniform by her father. He goes on to tell Satsuki that eventually the uniform will be her wedding dress. The name of the outfit? Junketsu, which can and should be translated as purity. It's a creepy scene, made all the more unsettling by the lack of voiceover from the father and the 4:3 format used to frame the sequence. Furthermore, the idea that this uniform represents "purity," juxtaposed with what it transforms into later, seems like some kind of strange contradiction. Really though, the point seems to be that accepting your sexuality and accepting yourself is the truest form of "purity." It's definitely a twist on the typical idea that seems to permeate a lot of anime and even Japanese pop culture. This point is hammered in throughout the episode by, much to my surprise, Mako. Ryuko is uncomfortable with showing so  much skin when she fights; it's embarrassing and she's afraid people will look at her like she's some kind of lewd individual. Mako comments that there's no way anybody would wear something like that unless they enjoyed it, and then goes on to remark that she'd love to try putting it on. Her speech later on is what ends up giving Ryuko the courage to accept Senketsu and her own sexuality; "just rip it off and get naked," she says.  The whole show seems to work around this concept of sexuality too. Aikuro pretty much embodies this fully, as he just kind of strips off clothes without noticing or even acknowledging it. His scenes are more than a little goofy, but he's someone who has fully embraced his own sexuality to the point that he pays no attention to it. Meanwhile, Ryuko can't help but blush and get flustered when she's around him doing his thing. It's also fascinating how little skin is actually shown outside of the battle sequences; things are played fairly straight until the characters transform. We're only three episodes in and it feels like Nakashima has already presented us with the climax of his story. At this point, I'm expecting things to go even further into Utena territory. On a technical level, episode three was largely fantastic save for the very awkward use of CG characters halfway through. There's a shot of Satsuki walking up the wall of the school that, while funny as hell, sticks out like a sore thumb compared to the rest of the action. It's surprising too, considering how strong the CG work was on Black Rock Shooter. Fortunately, other attempts work significantly better; the exchange in the hallway is super dynamic and reminded me a lot of Panty & Stocking at its best. As usual, the art is consistently great, allowing Sushio's designs to really breathe.  The entire duel is filled with choice shots such as Ryuko spinning into a drill, Satsuki tapping her to send her flying into a building, and quite a few others. While Kill la Kill is not the sakuga show that lots of people seem to have initially anticipated, it looks good and has a remarkable sense of speed for something that probably has a small budget. It looks like things are set to slow down a bit next week as we settle into a more steady groove. The set up is finished and the stakes have been raised. With only three episodes down, I honestly have no idea where TRIGGER intends to take us. And I'm completely fine with that.
AA: Kill la Kill 03 photo
Time to get naked
Kill la Kill's third episode is about as climactic as anime can get without outright ending a series. It's a packed 24 minutes that devotes a majority of its run time to a large scale battle between the two leads, stopping on...

SAO: TV special photo
SAO: TV special

Sword Art Online TV special get a date and a synopsis


Swimming hijinks!
Oct 06
// Elliot Gay
You probably thought I'd never write about the anime adaptation of Sword Art Online ever again. You were wrong. The time and date have been revealed for the upcoming Sword Art Online: Extra Edition TV special. It'll be airing...
SAO: Hollow Fragment photo
SAO: Hollow Fragment

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment announced for the Vita


There's no stopping the SAO train!
Oct 06
// Elliot Gay
It should come as no surprise that Namco Bandai is eager to produce a follow up to its PSP Sword Art Online game. The release sold exceptionally well on a platform that is essentially dead, and it makes sense that they would...
Kill la Kill sketches photo
Kill la Kill sketches

Kill la Kill Instagram filled with awesome rough sketches


Trigger going in hard
Oct 03
// Elliot Gay
It's impressive how much TRIGGER and Aniplex have been pushing their brand new show, Kill la Kill. I don't just mean in Japan either; they've done a remarkable job of giving English speaking fans stuff to enjoy in the lead up...
Kill la Kill English Site photo
Kill la Kill English Site

Kill la Kill USA Official Website launches


It's to die for, or something
Oct 02
// Elliot Gay
I'm perhaps unreasonably hyped for Trigger's first original TV anime, Kill la Kill. My love for their OVA Little Witch Academia knows no bounds, and the projects that the core staff worked on prior to creating Trigger are all...
Japanator Unboxes photo
Swagolicious!
Some time back, you may remember that Aniplex rescued Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann from the depths of license limbo. This meant two things: the release will come with a bunch of extra stuff and it will be pricey. Based off Sal...

Blue Exorcist The Movie photo
Blue Exorcist The Movie

Aniplex to release Blue Exorcist The Movie on Blu-ray


Everything you wanted
Sep 28
// Kristina Pino
Aniplex have just announced that Blue Exorcist The Movie is not only coming to home video, but you'll be able to enjoy it in glorious Blu-ray format if you choose to buy the limited box set edition. It includes the film in bo...
A new Madoka character  photo
A new Madoka character

More Contracts! A new character joins Madoka's third film


Kyubey is getting those papers ready.
Sep 03
// Salvador GRodiles
It looks like I missed Kyubey's memo earlier during the day, but that doesn't mean that this is going to be huge! So what's this big event that's been getting me intrigued? Well, Madoka Magica the Movie III: Rebellion will be...

First Impressions: Servant x Service

Jul 14 // Jeff Chuang
It's going to be a thing throughout your first impression with this show:  the similarity between Servant x Service and Working! is not avoidable throughout. The show really feels like Working version 2 not only because of the source material (from the same mangaka), but also because the production team is very much the same. From the opening sequence you can tell this is the same idea, applying the same catchy seiyuu ensemble with the same upbeat direction in the visuals. Cuts after cuts, the jokes almost write themselves. And that is just the OP. The body of Servant x Service itself doesn't deviate from the same general formula. One of the main character has a set of large rack, and that gets played on repeatedly. Instead of androphobia, our main girl, Lucy (abbriv.) Yamagami has it worse than having hippies for parents. The joke here is that her given name is a series of common given names in which her indecisive parents filled in the birth certificate papers. It's a tough joke to play on but at the same time, it's hard to explain. Between this joke and the Lucy-has-large-breast jokes, I think we're already running thin on comedy by episode 2. As one of the three new hires at the office, Lucy joins Saya Miyoshi (shy quiet girl) and Yutaka Hasebe (overachieving flirt), learning the ropes. Their mentor at work, Taishi Ichimiya, for the most part, seems normal, until Ichimiya's sister Touko joins the fray as a serious bro-con, but also obsessed in Japanese welfare law. Other office co-works also includes part-timer Megumi Chihaya (otaku), who pairs up with Lucy in the same department. For fans of Working, Servant x Service may very well be a comedy that writes itself. Perhaps one distinguishing point here is that Servant x Service features an anime-in-anime in the form of Magical Flowers. There was an April Fools joke on the Servant x Service website this past April featuring the team magical girls anime, so the anime proper will likely heavily feature that. For the voice acting fans, Servant x Service is something of a new deal, hearing both Ai Kayano and Mai Nakahara in relatively unusual roles. It almost felt like the two of them stereotypically would fit each other's role better, but so far both actresses have been surprisingly solid. Finally, like Working, the laughs doesn't quite fully pour in from the start. It's only after the audience has made some connection with the characters that the jokes begin to work (coincidentally, around the time when Yamada was introduced). It might be a safe bet with Servant x Service, too, that while this particular variety of office humor might be a little foreign to us foreigners, the familiar formula will begin to cash in around the half way point. [Watch Servant x Service simulcasting on Crunchyroll!]  
Servant x Service photo
Public servants are serious business
At first glance, Servant x Service feels just like Working or Wagnaria, whichever you prefer. The diner comedy sports the same comedic timing common to 4koma adaptations, the same array of odd characters, and the same otaku-f...

Madoka Movie 3 showings photo
Madoka Movie 3 showings

YES! Madoka Movie 3 gets a US, CAN, and France showing


My prayers have been answered!
Jul 08
// Salvador GRodiles
Kyubey has made his verdict at Japan Expo 2013, and Madoka Magica the Movie III: Rebellion will be shown in the United States, Canada, and France! In other words, you can thank good old Sal for offering his soul to Kyubey to ...
Crunchyroll's new animes photo
Crunchyroll's new animes

Simulcast GET! Crunchyroll grabs Monogatari S2 and more


Simulcasts Assemble!
Jul 03
// Salvador GRodiles
I have a feeling that Crunchyroll has developed a new fetish for the summer season, since magical girls, dolls, and airsoft guns are joining their summer lineup. With that being said, Rozen Maiden Zuruckspulen and F...
Daisuki.net's new shows  photo
Daisuki.net's new shows

Streaming GET! Daisuki.net adds DBZ, One Piece, and more


Toei is finally adding things!
Jul 03
// Salvador GRodiles
I'm not sure what the hold up was with Toei in the past, but Daisuki.net has assured us that Dragonball Z and One Piece have finally landed on Daisuki's turf. As they say, better late than never. Hopefully, this is a sign tha...
Monogatari S2 on Daisuki  photo
Monogatari S2 on Daisuki

Brush your Teeth! Daisuki.net to simulcast Monogatari S2


Will they get the streaming quality right?
Jun 22
// Salvador GRodiles
This is going to make me into a big target, but I could never get into the Monogatari series. However, I will admit I did enjoy the relationship between Araragi and Hitagi, along with the fact that Karen made a reference to D...
OreImo 2 OVA stream photo
OreImo 2 OVA stream

OreImo 2's last episodes to be streamed worldwide


From fourteen to sweet sixteen
Jun 18
// Josh Tolentino
Oh that greedy imouto! We're already approaching the end of OreImo 2's TV run, but in true "modern anime industry" fashion, there are to be several more episodes intended to round the story out at a sweet sixteen outings...
Aniplex Monogatari GET photo
Aniplex Monogatari GET

Toothbrush time! Aniplex licenses Monogatari S2, Nekokuro


Streaming and discs to follow
Jun 14
// Josh Tolentino
Rejoice, fans of licensing acquisitions, for another one of those has happened! In a move that's sure to delight fans of the Monogatari franchise, Aniplex of America has announced their pickup of the latest two Monogata...
GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack! photo
GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack!

GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack! doesn't need any extra wasabi


Something's fishy with the attackers!
Jun 06
// Hiroko Yamamura
The television and theatres are overrun with zombie movies nowadays. You just can't avoid 'em. Cities infested with the evil walking dead. How about a film with some evil walking fish? You might not look at your sushi the sa...
SAO BD/DVD release date photo
SAO BD/DVD release date

NA Sword Art Online BD/DVD preorders open up


I'm sure some of you will be pleased.
May 28
// Elliot Gay
It's no secret that I didn't quite enjoy Sword Art Online. I know quite a few of you did however, so here I am with some good news. Preorders have officially opened for Aniplex's release of Sword Art Online on BD/DVD. You can...

Review: Mikunopolis in Los Angeles

May 22 // Pedro Cortes
Mikunopolis in Los Angeles (Blu-ray & Audio CD)Licensed by AniplexReleased: April 16, 2013MSRP: $74.99   Alright, so before I get started, ask yourself an important question: Do I like Hatsune Miku and/or her music? If you say no to either, you're probably not going to like this flick. Simply put, it's for fans and will not do much to change anybody's mind. However, if you answered yes to both, I'm pretty sure that this'll be your jam. Recorded on July 2nd, 2011 at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, this is the first time that Miku performed for US audiences. How is this possible, you may ask? Well, thanks to some 3D trickery from SEGA, a projection of the teal-haired songstress is projected onto a glass on the stage. Accompanied by a live musicians, Miku scampers around the confines of her screen and dances her little virtual heart out. She even "descends" for "costume changes" and hops back up with a new look for particular songs. There are even a couple of songs with some of the other Vocaloids. There are certain angles and shots that can trick you into thinking that she's actually on the stage. Unfortunately, the illusion is often broken by the shifting camera angels and closeups. I can imagine that it must have looked amazing while sitting in the crowd, but from our seats it's clear that Miku is a mere projection. That's a shame, as the actual cutting is well done, it's just that it doesn't quite work in this unique case.  Since this is a concert flick, most of the entertainment value comes from the set list. Looking here, there isn't a lot that's familiar. I'm sure bigger Vocaloid fanatics would recognize everything, but I only heard a couple of these tracks before I watched Mikunopolis. That said, I quite enjoyed the tracks they chose to play. The live renditions had a ton of energy behind them and the crowd really seemed to dig just about every track. Everything sounds great too, as the mix is pretty solid. It was nice to sit in my room and have the surround system blast the 5.1 mix into my ears and face.  As for extras, you've got a couple to sweeten the pot. On disk, there's a making of feature and the opening act for the concert. In the package is a mini-poster with the track credits on the back and a CD with the entire concert. However, that asking price is stiff for a Blu-ray and an audio CD. If you got the scratch and you want some live action Vocaloids, then Mikunopolis is right up your alley! Score: 7 - Good. (Films or shows that get this score are good, but not great. These could have been destined for greatness, but were held back by their flaws. While some may not enjoy them, fans of the genre will definitely love them.)
Mikunopolis LA Review photo
BEWARE THE RISE OF SKYNET
The best concert films go out of their way to replicate the experience of actually attending the filmed event. While nothing will ever nail what it was like to hear the pounding speakers and experience an event with hundreds ...


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