What time is it, everybody? GOLDEN TIME!!!
Actually it isn't, it's time for the latest episode of Jtor AM, but Golden Time is involved, so it's kind of true. This week: the Toonami people try to get us hyped about a new anime... | subscribe
As a Sailor Moon fan, or "Moonie" of 15 years, it's kind of amazing that I never got around to reading the entire manga until now. I guess it's not that weird when you think about it; early on, I was all about anime and had l...
A girl and her werewolf. It's a tale as old as the setting sun, right? Or at least as old as the twilight.
Mamoru Hosoda has had a solid career so far. He's covered a variety of subjects and each film has been released to critical acclaim. What could he tackle next? Well, Wolf Children is the tale of a single mom, essentially. A woman who's raising her two children in the best way she can despite the world being against her. And it's harder than you'd think, because these two children are part-wolf.
Wolf Children follows a young woman named Hana who falls in love with a man who has been sneaking into her college classes. He's cold at first, but soon warms up to Hana and reveals his deep dark secret to her: he's a werewolf. The myth basically plays no role here-- he's just a guy who can turn into a wolf. They eventually have two adorable "pups" together, Ame and Yuki, who gain his abilities to swap between human and wolf. However, before they're even out of diapers, he passes away in an unexplained accident, leaving Hana to raise the children on her own.
Despite all the hours I've spent with it, I still feel like I've only scratched the surface of what you can do in Manga Studio 5. I've used art software to make comics before, but this is the first time I've ever used software that was specifically intended for comics, and it makes a big difference. Using various illustration and photo-editing programs to make comics can be done very well, but you're always kind of jury-rigging those programs to get them to do what you need them to do; it never feels natural. It's so nice with Manga Studio to have a program that's actually tailored for making comic pages, with specific tools for panels and dialogue balloons that make life so much easier.
Of course, I didn't want to just tell you about my experience with Manga Studio 5 when I can show you instead, so I made a little comic page. The good news is that it stars everyone's favorite Japanator mascot, Ai-Fi! The bad news is I've decided that I'm really bad at using screen tone and should probably never touch it again, but that is absolutely not Manga Studio's fault.
Not even original light novel scribe Reki Kawahara could have predicted how big his Sword Art Online franchise would eventually become. Since the first novel was published in April of 2009, Kawahara's creation has seen 12 sequel novels, five separate manga series, a video game (with another one the way), a spin-off light novel series, and a 25-episode anime. I'd say he ended up doing pretty well for himself.
Yet Sword Art Online's success has not been limited to Japan. Indeed, the show has somewhat crossed over into the mainstream through airing on Cartoon Network's Toonami block. Aniplex has decided to give the series quite the deluxe BD treatment, but the question is whether or not these box sets are worth their relatively high asking price for fans.
Hayao Miyazaki's latest movie, The Wind Rises, is a story about a historic person: the project lead on the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane. It's decidedly unlike the imaginative, family-friendly adventures that Studio Ghibli is best known for. Instead, this is a film for adults, with deliberate pacing and lengthy decisions that reflect the gravity of the subject matter.
The aging animator has called it quits (again) after his movie debuted in France, so this may very well be Miyazaki's last full-feature film. I say aging, not only because Miyazaki's particular style and exacting needs over his animators and his animation process gets harder on him as the years go by, but also because he is a survivor of World War II: a first-person witness to the events that happened behind Japan's battle lines. It is in that way which The Wind Rises documents the legacy of someone whose creations were bore out of his imagination, but with deadly consequences.
We all get depressed sometimes. It's not an easy thing to deal with, in any way, shape, manner or form. Whether we've gone through it ourselves, or watched a love one spiral into hopeless despair, Sickness Unto Death is a title that grabs you with all those familiar feelings.
Sickness Unto Death is a two-volume release from Vertical, and title that flew under the radar for me. I picked it up at New York Comic Con after some insistence from the Vertical people. On the train ride home, I flew through the manga at a breakneck pace. I suspect you will, too.
Follow me after the jump, and I'll go into just what a manga about absolute despair is like.
I never thought any of the Senran Kagura games would make their way overseas, but I admit I was pleased to learn that XSEED would be localizing the title. Not because I'm a huge fan of the series, but rather that I hate it when publishers overlook a game simply because they've deemed the content too edgy for the international audience. I believe in the free market, and letting gamers decide for themselves whether or not a game is worth their money. Unfortunately, I know there are other news outlets who don't necessarily share my point of view, but I digress.
Senran Kagura Burst isn't really what I would consider edgy, though the script is often suggestive, with the visuals to match. It's a tale of two modern ninja clans, comprised of busty teens with a penchant to tear each others clothes to pieces mid-combat. Some might find that appealing, and others not so much. In that regard, I tend not to judge, but it was enough to catch my attention, and it sounds promising enough me. The question remains, does the game deliver?
Most long-running shonen franchises have theatrical releases to supplement their ongoing stories. Dragon Ball has 18 flicks between the original and Dragon BallZ, Naruto has nine movies, Bleach has four and so on. Being one of the most popular series of all time, One Piece itself has 12 entries.
See, but here’s the problem: Most of the time, they're terrible, throwaway bits of fluff. Their stories are rarely written by the original creators, so they’ll sometimes have contradictions with the original work. At the very least, these movies will have better animation, as it’s easier to dump a bunch of money toward a two-hour movie as opposed to a multi-hundred episode show. One Piece is no different, as the quality between movies has varied drastically. Some are pretty good (Giant Mecha Soldier of Karakuri Castle), some are pretty bad (Chopper’s Kingdom on the Island of Strange Animals) and some are awful rehashes of much better arcs from the show (Adventures of Alabasta and Episode of Chopper Plus). The thing is, all of these movies were left to the whims of whoever was writing and directing.
That changed with the tenth movie, Strong World. Originally released in December 2009, it was the first film in the franchise to be overseen by Eiichiro Oda, One Piece’s creator. He also provided a ton of designs, so if any movie was going to be consistent with the original universe, this was going to be the one. Now, four years later, FUNimation has finally brought it over for us to watch. Does Oda’s involvement make this a better flick than its predecessors? Hit the jump to find out!
Last week saw the release of the first volume of Sweet Rein, a Christmas-themed love story published by VIZ Media. It's a translation of Sakura Tsukuba's Yoroshiku Master, which is finished, and mercifully short (three volumes). Indeed, it's short enough that I decided that for the first time since Kimi ni Todoke I'd be giving one of these cutesy romance-type stories another shot.
Sweet Rein follows the story of Kurumi, a 17-year-old girl who was down in the dumps because she expected to spend Christmas all by her lonesome, when she suddenly encounters the lovable Kaito on the street. He bumps into her and a magical rein appears to bind them together, and thus begins a master and servant relationship in which she is a Santa and he a magical reindeer who can (and will) do anything she commands, including turning into a straight-up reindeer.
If you ask most people who grew up in the late 80s/early 90s what anime was, they’d probably say Akira. This film impacted not only the geeks and nerds, but had the sort of cross-over appeal that most shows don’t reach now. It was part of the early kick of adult-oriented, ultra-violent titles like Vampire Hunter D and Demon City Shinjuku that would appear in Blockbuster’s anemic anime shelf and would get rented over and over again, until the tape was falling off the spool.
Several years ago, Bandai released the Blu-Ray of Akira to critical praise and general adoration. Unfortunately, it went out of print fairly quick and became pricey in the after market. I know I’ve spent the last couple of years looking for a copy at a decent price. Thanks to Funimation, we’ve got a new version of the film for its 25th anniversary. Does the film still hold up or are those glasses getting rose-tinted? Well, you’ll just have to hit the jump to find out!
Before I sat down to watch Blue Exorcist, I had some flexible, but modest, expectations. I expected the show to be a competent shonen title, perhaps reminiscent of earlier episodes of Naruto and Bleach, with slick action scenes and maybe even some humor. Blue Exorcist definitely checks all those boxes, but to my pleasant surprise, there's more going on here. What I found was a surprisingly gripping tale, featuring consistently likable, well-rounded characters, with a real emotional resonance that's all too often missing from this genre.
Sometimes, companies like FUNimation license certain titles that meet a certain kind of demand. And there’s no beating around the bush for these shows: sex sells. Although these fanservice-heavy anime rarely feature actual sex; usually, it's just some nude scenes and sexual humor. High School DxD is one of these titles.
Unless you are a connoisseur of fanservice anime, however, you might not know that a lot of these types of shows go beyond the fanservice. In fact, it's with that in mind that I say High School DxD is surprisingly on the more ambitious end of the spectrum, due to its somewhat unusual harem setup. Of course, the hot and sexy bodies are the main course; the feature that attracts most viewers to the show. Remove these sensual elements and the nudity, however, and what's left to see in High School DxD?