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JapanaFive: The best moments from AJIN's first season

Sep 14 // Karishma Roy
The Showdown between Izumi’ and Tanaka’s Black Ghost (IBM) Okay, my eyes were just as wide as Izumi’s when she gets impaled by these massive black claws. I screamed along with Erito because I thought she was a goner. But, DUN DUN DUN, she is an Ajin as well. Our cute, seemingly timid and often blushing Izumi goes all fierce revealing her very own Black Ghost Kuro-Chan #GirlPower. The fight was kickass and we learn that a black ghost can destroy another by delivering a deadly blow to the head. Was Tanaka covering his eyes because it helped him concentrate better when controlling his IBM? Not sure. I was worried for Erito 'cause I was sure Satou would've killed her but I'm glad she's sticking around.  This Torture Scene I put my Oreos aside and tried not to be sick as I watched this. Kei was brutally tortured as part of the experimental process on Ajins. Clinical equipment including a frickin' drill and a surgical saw was used as a machine measured his brain activity in reaction to the excruciating pain being inflicted upon him. Clearly these surgeons need ethics 101: don't cut off someone's arm for no legit reason. The xenophobic nature within this society is obvious in the face of fear driven atrocities such as this. Kei’s muffled screams made me wish I had my own black ghost and could barge in there and save him. Despite everything, he decided not to kill the surgeons because he was afraid to lose his friendship with Kaito. That moved my heart. Bring me more Kaito and Kei please! Do you guys think these experiments have valid reasoning? Who are the real monsters in this situation: humans or Ajins? Satou's rescue mission Satou is a misanthropic badass. His one man show where he destroys all the armed security guards in the lab to save Kei is so much fun to watch. The dude cuts off his own arm and shoots himself before the tranquilising darts take effect. Killing people is a game to him and he is winning. It was interesting to note that memories can be exchanged between IBM's during Kei and Satou’s showdown on the rooftop. The performance that Satou gave in front of the media following this was remarkable – he can cry on cue! Plus it was an incredibly smart move to announce a protest against the Government so publicly to gather more Ajins in the country. Love him or hate him, you got to be impressed with him. Team Satou demolishing Grant Pharmaceuticals This was the most EPIC scene in the whole of season 1. I laughed when I noticed the name “Clean Fox Company”. You are indeed as cunning as a fox, hat man. Satou arranges an explosion in a nearby skyscraper so it falls on the pharmaceutical building and crushes it. His manic laughs as he rode the falling building gave me chills. And it was kind of cool how he loses his hat when going down, but then a drone delivers another one to him as soon as he is ready to move. Kei watches this whole incident on TV while enjoying a chocolate- chip cookie. Remind me, who is meant to be the hero again? Props to the humans for deploying some smart tactics but despite their numbers and combat experience were defeated by the evil genius. Kei and Kou's escape Firstly, a huge shoutout to the Obasan that protected Kei in the village and was ace at pretending to be a hostage. Most old ladies would've had a heart attack. Heck, I would've peed myself! I was surprised that Kei went through the trouble of saving Kou but it makes sense for two people to take on Satou. Or perhaps Kei was just in the mood for a benevolent act. There was yet another cool action scene between IBM’s. Kuro- Chan has got some mad skills to defeat four of Kei’s IBM’s. Is she just incredibly strong or are Kei’s black ghosts weak since he produces so many? The end of this struggle was almost romantic. Sunset painted the sky with brilliant hues of orange and red as both boys tied each other together to avoid separation before jumping off a cliff into the deep waters *Cue "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion* Although that means drowning time and over before washing up somewhere.  I've got more to say about Ajin's second season coming up, but it's safe to say: Do not judge this anime by your first look at it. Yes, the CGI did initially hurt my eyes as well but the show is thrilling, fast-paced, and before too long, you're too invested in the plot to even notice it.
Ajin photo
Let's break down the highlights
Would you want to live forever? Even if it meant that practically the entire human race wanted you imprisoned? I’m talking secret government agencies who want to torture experiment on you, bounty hunters and national pr...

Review: Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

Aug 21 // Josh Tolentino
[embed]35209:5798:0[/embed] Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XVStudio: Square Enix Visual WorksDirector: Takeshi NozueLicensed by: Sony PicturesPremiere: August 19, 2016 (US, Asia) , July 9, 2016 (Japan) Have you ever seen a "game movie"? The term refers to a subgenre of game Youtube videos wherein players capture recordings of various video games' cutscenes or story sequences, to be viewed by audiences removed from the context of actually playing the game. Some more ambitious versions try to edit the clips together in a coherent fashion, potentially removing the need for players who can't finish or don't own the game in question to actually play it at all, leaving only the narrative to bring things home. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV feels like an extremely expensive, fabulously ambitious iteration of that particular trend. It's not quite the same, of course. Players who pick up Final Fantasy XV in November won't see much of Kingsglaive's actual events onscreen, as the film is a two-hour-long setup and prequel to the events of the game.  The Kingdom of Lucis is in danger. Ruled by the wise King Regis (played by Game of Thrones' Sean Bean), Lucis is the last place unconquered by the Empire of Niflheim. Its defenders are the titular Kingsglaive, a squad of soldiers that wield magic channeled to them by Regis, from a magic crystal that is the source of Lucis' power and the only thing standing between Niflheim's technological prowess and world domination.  Unfortunately, the war is coming to a close, with Regis aging and the crystal's power flagging in the face of "The Nif's" magitek weapons and demonic thralls. It's in this spirit that Regis accepts a peace deal, to marry off his son (and the game's protatgonist) Noctis to Lunafreya (played by Game of Thrones' Lena Heady), princess of the Niflheim-ruled province of Tenebrae. When all is not at it seems on the eve of the treaty signing, it's up to Kingsglaive's star fighter Nyx Ulrich (played by Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul) to save the day and have a hand in kicking off whatever's set to happen in the game proper. While the plot is barely coherent and its relevance to Final Fantasy XV is largely confined to explaining why Noctis and his buddies are on the other side of the world in the first place, Kingsglaive's most solid achievement is visual. Produced by Square Enix's legendary Visual Works studio, the film succeeds at visualizing the setting of the game, creating the kind of mental space in future players' minds that can reconcile the stylistic absurdities of typical Final Fantasy and the more grounded, modern aesthetic of the real world. The world of Kingsglaive (and by extension, the game) is the kind of place where it makes sense for contemporary office buildings, cellphones, TVs, and product placement stands comfortably alongside the overdesigned costumes, massive creatures, and elaborate magical spells and effects. To its credit, it's the most convincing iteration yet of the series' penchant for techno-fantasy flourish. Beyond that, though, Kingsglaive is hardly essential. Despite initial misgivings, the core cast do credible work in their roles, elevating the otherwise cheesy and overly self-serious script. Supporting characters, however, come across as a bit too cartoonish, the delivery never quite overcoming the tension between the realistic facial designs and otherwise very "anime" words coming out of the characters' mouths. The action itself, though, is well-rendered, if a bit difficult to follow. The Kingsglaive members all use some variation of the game's combat, wielding teleporting knives and plenty of flashy effects to burn, shock, and blast the HP off of an assortment of classic Final Fantasy beasts. Unfortunately, some ill-conceived zooms and use of "shaky-cam" effects during some fight scenes make what should be the most pivotal moments of the film an exercise in trying to puzzle out just what's happening. Final Fantasy fans can also expect some clever fan service, sighting cool callbacks to timeless franchise easter eggs, some subtle, and some overt. In the end, whether Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV will be worthwhile largely depends on one's anticipation for Final Fantasy XV. By its very nature it's skippable, but fans who plan on immersing themselves in the game come November will likely find something to appreciate.
Kingsglaive: FFXV Review photo
A Clash Royale
Let's be honest here: Few people were expecting very much from Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV. Not only is it a multimedia tie-in to a game, a JRPG no less, but the long shadow of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within continu...

Kingsglaive Final Fantasy photo
Kingsglaive Final Fantasy

Here's some Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV to salve your pain


Magic v Magitek
Aug 16
// Josh Tolentino
Final Fantasy XV the game may not be in the cards for another few months, but that won't stop some of the other stuff scheduled to happen. The CGI film Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is still on track for a late Augu...
FFXV: Kingsglaive photo
FFXV: Kingsglaive

Here's your new look at the Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV CG movie


Advent...bodyguards?
Jun 17
// Josh Tolentino
Call me negative, but this hype campaign for Final Fantasy XV feels like it's getting a bit out of hand. I mean, look, the game is out in late September, and I'm sure it'll be fine but now we've got a new CG movie set to...

VS GAG photo
VS GAG

What if Darth Vader and Kamen Rider Black RX crossed swords?


Wake Up, the Hero!
Jan 18
// Salvador G Rodiles
Ever since Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens hit theaters last month, I was in the mood for seeing someone do a video where a Jedi or Sith fights one of the various heroes from tokusatsu who wields an energy sword. Lo...
gdgd Fairies photo
gdgd Fairies

Hilariously lame comedy gdgd Fairies gets a movie


Totally hoping for Fusako's glorious return, with Dempagumi.inc
May 02
// Jeff Chuang
When the 3DCG cartoon short series gdgd Fairies first aired a few years ago, I didn't pay it any attention. Over time it gained enough buzz that I tried it out when the second season aired, via Crunchyroll. The half-length ep...
Sonic photo
Sonic

New CGI Sonic TV series coming in fall 2014


Gotta go fast! But not too fast! Wait until 2014 at least. Then go fast.
Nov 13
// Ben Huber
Sonic the Hedgehog, what a sad fellow. He's doing his best to get back on track but none of the latest games can push over that "mediocre" barrier. How sad is it when the best game Sonic is in is Smash Bros.? Ok ok, I know I'...
Captain Harlock trailer photo
Captain Harlock trailer

Got 12 minutes for Captain Harlock? Of course you do


Captain on deck!
Jul 23
// Josh Tolentino
Oh Captain, my Captain...Harlock. September can't come soon enough for the long-awaited release of the new Captain Harlock: Space Pirate CG adaptation. I knew that this look at the show's first twelve minutes (it's curre...
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Wait, what? Miku Miku Dance program gets an anime


And is it eligible for the MMD cup?
Jan 12
// Josh Tolentino
In this week's helping "How in the world did this get approved?" news, it seems there's a new anime on the horizon. Given an opening date of February 6th, it's on a rather close horizon, to boot. Its title? Straight...
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Feast on the footage of Resident Evil: Damnation


Rookie cop Leon Kennedy!
Sep 16
// Josh Tolentino
Not enough lickers in your life? Need some B.O.W. goodness to round out your day? Curious about former rookie cops? Worry no more, for Resident Evil: Damnation is here to meet your demands for all of the above...

Japanator Doesnt Recommend: Dragon Age Dawn of the Seeker

Jul 12 // Pedro Cortes
Dragon Age: Dawn of the SeekerStudio: OxybotLicensed by FUNimationRelease Date: May 29th, 2012MSRP: $34.98 (BD) | $24.98 (DVD) Available at Amazon (DVD BluRay) | RightStuf (DVD Bluray) Before we get into the review proper, I'll rundown some of the history you need to know. There's a lot of stuff they could've put in here, but luckily they stuck to the basic Mage/Templar conflict and stayed away from the heavy political intrigue and racial conflicts. In the world of Dragon Age, Thedas, magic isn't a gateway to awesome. It's viewed by many as a curse that can lead people into getting possessed by any number of demons. In order to combat this, the Chantry formed the Templars, an organization that went out of its way to protect people from rouge mages, and the Circle of the Magi, towers that housed mages in order to teach them to control their powers and, you know, not harm the general populace. Unfortunately, many Templars let their power get to their heads. Instead of protecting the people of Thedas, the Templars oppress all magic users. This causes many people who would calmly join the Circles to instead run away and cause untold mischief. The Chantry thus created the Seekers, a group of agents that secretly keep an eye on the Templars and perform important activities that other arms of the church cannot. Thus, you have a circle of conflict between the Seekers, the Chantry and the Mages, both in the Circle and running about. With that in mind, let's get into the movie. Dawn of the Seeker features Cassandra Pentaghast, a young Seeker in Orlais that gets involved in a massive conspiracy. The whole thing starts with Cassandra and a group of Seekers attacking a group of mages said to be working some dark magic. They discover that the mages were prepping a young girl kidnapped from the local Orlisian Circle for some sort of dark ritual. When the girl isn't returned to the Circle upon her return, Cassandra's mentor decides to take matters into his own hands and get her to safety. Of course, things go wrong when the surviving mage from earlier returns, takes the girl and leaves Cassandra's mentor dead. With the help of Galyan, her mentor's contact within the Circle, Cassandra escapes and works out who is behind the conspiracy with the little girl and what it has to do with the Chantry and Orlais. When they find out how deep the betrayal runs, it's up to Cassandra and Galyan to prevent a massive disaster that will bring down the Orlisian Chantry. To be blunt, this is a pretty boring story. While I don't mind a tale that's been told before, I am not fond of something so utterly rote and lacking in anything original. You know that Cassandra's mentor is going to die, you know who the traitor is and how everything is going to go down. Everything is telegraphed with nary any subtlety in sight. There are a lot of interesting ideas in the world of Dragon Age as presented in the games, so it's disappointing that there's very little substance here. Then again, this is set in a world that has other criss-crossing points of fiction, so I can see why the story couldn't change the face of the land itself. This is supposed to be set before the events of Dragon Age 2, so they'd have to keep somethings consistent. Besides the general story, none of the characters are particular interesting. Cassandra is fairly cute, but there's nothing that separates her from the other characters besides her hate of anything magic due to a tragic past. She acts like you typical hot-headed tsundere. Galyan is pretty bland as well, having no sort of flair besides general human decency. None of the villains were memorable either. Hell, these guys are as cookie-cutter fantasy as you can get. The nicest thing I can say is that the English voices were pretty well done. I typically stick to Japanese language when I have the choice, but the US voices actually emote when necessary. The only positive thing I can say about the Japanese language track is that the villain is voiced by GACKT. If you dig the voice of androgynous vampire rock stars, then be my guest and give it a listen. Besides that, stick with the English voices. The visuals were also a bit disappointing. It doesn't look good in motion. In stills, it looks nice. Great, in fact. However, when people start hoping around and sword fighting, it looks like a mediocre cutscene from a game. I will say that the designs themselves look nice. As mentioned early, I found Cassandra to be visually appealing and I dug the demon and dragon designs. Besides that, it's not a good looking production. In terms of special features, you've got a tour of Bioware's studio, a backstage feature for Dawn of the Seeker, production art and your usual slate of previews. It's nothing that will sell you on the product, but they're OK. I dug the Bioware tour, but that's because I really like their games. If you aren't a big fan, then it's unlikely to impress you. Hell, if you aren't a fan of Bioware or their games, why would you even buy this?  And that there is the crux of the problem here. If you aren't a fan of the Dragon Age franchise or a staunch supporter of Bioware, there is little reason to pick up this movie. It assumes a lot of fore-knowledge that a quick tutorial before the beginning of the film cannot give. I even find it difficult to recommend this to fans of the Dragon Age games, as it adds little to nothing to the overall lore. At its best, Dawn of the Seeker is a inoffensive distraction. At its worst, it's 90 minutes you'll never have back.   4.0 – Subpar. Though not offensively bad, this one is just plainly poor. It’ll find dogged defenders, but just can’t appeal to anyone outside that deluded circle.  
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In my experience with anime and video games, it's not often that a Western property gets any sort of love in Japan. While plenty of Japanese games and media get attention in the States and Europe, it seems pretty typical for ...

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International 009 Re:Cyborg trailer is lacking in scarves


May 14
// Bob Muir
This is supposedly a new international for 009 Re:Cyborg, released on the movie's English website. But in terms of what it shows, it's pretty much identical to last fall's trailer. Oh well, for those of you who forgot that t...
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Come on you apes! You wanna see Starship Troopers anime?!


Mar 20
// Josh Tolentino
Ah, Starship Troopers. Robert A. Heinlein's seminal space marine novel is required reading for any budding sci-fi nerd, aspiring United States Marine (true!), or person looking for Filipino characters in international pop cul...
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Gon kicks up a stink this April


Mar 07
// Chris Walden
Recognise the little fella among the penguins up there? Well, his name is Gon, and you probably recognise him from a relatively unknown game called Tekken 3. It's a little known fact here in the west, but before playing beach...
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Can you handle seven minutes of Tekken: Blood Vengeance?


Nov 20
// Josh Tolentino
Because that's what you're getting when you watch the preview below....if you dare! In case you were in  the dark about this whole production (a likely scenario), Blood Vengeance is a CG Tekken movie included with t...
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Studio Ghibli honors Pixar's 25th anniversary


Nov 17
// OxKing
Here's a rather cool bit of news: recently, Studio Ghibli, the company behind Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and the upcoming Arrietty the Borrower, congratulated Disney-Pixar on 25 years of working in the field of co...
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The Black Rock Shooter anime trailer has some primo CG


Oct 31
// Josh Tolentino
Really, just look at it here. You'll only catch flashes of it among the regular, less-CG'd portions depicting the life of two schoolgirls (which happened to be the conceit from Studio Ordet's earlier Black Rock Shooter OAV), ...
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.hack returns with a new 3D CGI movie


Aug 24
// Bob Muir
Proving that truly abandoning a brand will never happen even as returns continue to decrease, CyberConnect2 has announced .hack//The Movie, the latest installment of the massive multimedia franchise. The movie is set in a new...
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Despair: Appleseed maker Micott & Basara goes bankrupt


Apr 30
// Josh Tolentino
Lovers of all things Masamune Shirow may have something to lament - or celebrate, depending on their attitude towards adaptations - this week, as Micott & Basara, the studio behind the Appleseed CG movies and the upcoming...
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Be charmed by charming Fireball Charming trailers


Mar 26
// Josh Tolentino
Anime's greatest robot manzai comedy duo is back! I am, of course, referring to Drossel von Flugel and her butler Gedachtnis, the stars of Fireball. In case you didn't know what Fireball is, it was a 2008 series of two-minute...
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TV Tokyo announces Train Hero series, plus movie


Feb 07
// Bob Muir
It's been a while since we've had any train-related stories in anime or manga - not since Miracle Train, the anime where different train lines were represented as bishounen characters. That is set to change with the late...
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Cyborg 009 gets a CG remake, scarves everywhere flutter


Sep 29
// Josh Tolentino
Get your long yellow scarves out, because they're about to come back into fashion? How do I know this, you ask? I know this because Cyborg 009, everyone's favorite long-yellow-scarf-wearing cyborg series, is making a brief (b...
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Studio Ghibli and Pixar: animation giants & best friends


Dec 28
// Ben Huber
Pixar and Studio Ghibli are perhaps the biggest names in animation right now (let's ignore stuff like Madagascar right now, okay?), and in a recent news report about the release of Up in Japan, the report makes note of the ma...
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Production I.G. to help make Titan Rain CG anime


Nov 23
// Josh Tolentino
The header image I used for this post isn't actually from Titan Rain, a new international animation project, but the movie poster image provided was just too small. You can look at it in the gallery, though.In any case, I.G.,...
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Pixar's Up morphs to Grandpa Carl's Flying House on its flight to Japan


Jul 28
// Zac Bentz
Earlier today on Twitter, @miyagawa mentioned that the Japanese title of Disney/Pixar's most recent animated film Up would be hitting Japan under a slightly different, and much longer, name: Grandpa Carl's Flying House.Now, t...
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Gatchaman trailer leaked; Galactor's sexual preference still in question


Jul 09
// Tim Sheehy
Someone managed to leak a few shots of the trailer for Imagi's upcoming Gatchaman movie that was playing on the floor of Anime Expo. I stopped to watch it while I was there, and while I felt the visuals were very &q...
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New announced anime: .hack//G.U. TRILOGY


Sep 14
// God Len
A new .hack OVA, .hack//G.U. TRILOGY has just revealed itself on cyberconnect2’s website. This OVA is destined, by the Gods, to be released on the 25th of January; on both DVD and Blu-ray. This is more like a movie rat...
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Giant-Robo World War II Machines


Apr 26
// Zac Bentz
CODE Guardian is a short CG film created by Marco Spitoni envisioning an alternate world in which the major forces during World War II had giant-robot technology. Well, at least they each have A giant robot. Anyone else reminded of Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots? [via Japan Probe]
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Vexille -- Pretty CG goes boom


Apr 03
// Brad Rice
Vexille is a new CG film from the director of Ping Pong. Recently, footage from the movie has made its way onto Youtube from Japanese TV. Watching this, the film looks pretty exciting in terms of action, and the visuals are...
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BLAME! to get a film makeover, CG style


Mar 23
// God Len
Thursday at the Tokyo International Anime Fair, it was announced that Tsutomu Nihei’s manga BlAME! will be getting a feature length film made entirely with CG. Micott and Basara, a CG production company will be lending th...

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