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Viz Media

Impressions: Golden Kamuy Manga Vol. 1

Jun 24 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35706:6207:0[/embed] Golden Kamuy takes place in early 20th century and it introduces us to Saichi “Immortal” Sugimoto, a Russo-Japanese War veteran, who has become a miner in Hokkaido to provide for the widow of his dead comrade, Toraji. When he stumbles across a map to a fortune in hidden Ainu gold, he sets off on a journey to find it. As expected, Sugimoto isn’t the only one interested in finding the fortune, and everyone who knows about it is willing to kill to possess it. During his quest, he meets an Ainu girl named Asirpa, who helps him survive the harsh conditions of the northern wilderness, ruthless criminals, and rogue Japanese soldiers. The story starts with a flashback/dream where Sugimoto was still in the Russo-Japanese war and mercilessly attacking his enemies, showing how he earned his nickname as “Immortal Sugimoto.” Then the story fast forward a little bit and we see Sugimoto talking to a man while scraping for gold, with no luck, however, and that’s where he learns about the gold rush that happened back then in every river of Hokkaido. At the same time, there was a group of Ainu secretly gathering funds to build an army so they can fight back the Japanese and ban them from fishing and hunting. They managed to gather a lot of gold, however, a man was able to steal all of it and kill all the Ainu guarding it. Then the police were pursuing the man for quite a while until he's sent to prison and sentenced him to death. Before then, the guards, just like everyone else, were trying to figure out where he hid the gold. But because he couldn't send letters to his friends, the prisoners that shared the same cell with him tattooed the location of gold stash hid into their bodies If he reminds me of someone, it would definitely be Gold D. Roger from One Piece — it's probably why I enjoy it a lot, since aside from the Nakama bond and epic fights, I really enjoy stories revolving around the quest for treasure. Speaking of epic fights, while they are more realistic, they still keep you at the edge of your seat as he's been on the verge of death in a few encounters. He's also battle smart, as expected, so that's fun to see. If you want to explore new series, especially seinen, then Golden Kamuy is a great series to pick up. It offers a suspenseful story that keeps you at the edge of your seat as you flip every page and interesting story. If you enjoy stories about journeys with a resolution to find a fortune, but in a mature setting with badass and interesting characters, then Golden Kamuy is for you.  
Golden Kamuy photo
Call Me Immortal Sugimoto
One of my favorite things as an Otaku is being introduced to series that I had no idea they existed. When receiving my Dragon Ball Super manga volume from Viz Media, I got Golden Kamuy alongside it. J...

Impressions: Dragon Ball Super Manga Vol. 1

Jun 22 // Christian Chiok
Dragon Ball has always been alive in Japan as we always got video games here and there, and a few specials such as Episode of Bardock, Yo! Son Goku and his friends return, and the Plan to Eradicate the Saiyans remake, in addition to the Dragon Ball Heroes manga by Toyotaro. Then in 2013, comes Battle of Gods, which took the Dragon Ball fan base by surprise—we were finally going to get new material. Afterward, it led to 2015’s Resurrection of F movie and finally the announcement of a new series, in both anime and manga forms, which we know as Dragon Ball Super, the latter which is aso being made by Toyotaro. For those who don’t know, Toyotaro was previously known as Toyble, and was known for creating a Dragon Ball AF manga in the 2000s. Though the manga is still behind, I’ve been enjoying it much more than the anime and I’m really liking the touches Toyotaro is adding (or removing) from the story. The first arc was adapted much better as well. There’s also some things that they added that I really like, like giving Vegeta a Super Saiyan God transformation, and things I didn’t like as much, as Goku not having Super Saiyan Blue Kaioken transformation. Overall, I feel like the manga offers a more cohesive structured storytelling, though I recommend keeping up with both regardless. Dragon Ball Super’s manga, just like the anime, starts with an adaption of Battle of Gods, and it’s much better. Not only does it straight to the point, stretching the movie for no reason like the anime did, but the artstyle was much better. I felt like it highlighted the most important points of the movie well, minus the Bingo scene, sadly. A huge difference from the movie is that this arc introduces us to Champa and Vados—siblings of Beerus and Whis respectively. Considering the manga already expects the readers have seen both Battle of Gods and Resurrection of F, we are only given a few panels of the latter before it moves into the Universe 6 arc. If you’re watching the anime and have yet to read the manga, please do so. Even though the manga is behind the anime, and from the surface both the anime and the manga are the same. You’re missing out on an interesting perspective of the series and doing yourself a disservice if you’re not reading the manga.  
Dragon Ball Super photo
Subarashii Ningen!
Dragon Ball has been one of the most popular franchises in Japan during the last three decades, and with good reason, and when it finally ended, it really makes you feel empty, at least it did for me when I finished watc...

Review: One Punch Man Blu-ray Set

Jun 21 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35704:6206:0[/embed] One Punch Man (Blu-ray)Studio: Mad HouseLicensed By: Viz MediaReleased: April 25, 2017 (NA)MSRP: $29.99 (Standard) and $34.99 (Limited Edition) If you read my past reviews, you know that I really enjoy the shonen genre, especially battle series. However, I especially appreciate series that can action-packed but at the same time not take itself seriously—exactly like Dr. Slump, which shares the same premise of a main character that can outclass their opponents effortlessly, though Arale can stop Saitama easily, as someone who can play soccer with planets, or even making cracks with playful punches, but I digress. The premise of One Punch Man is much better as it involves superheroes saving the planet from strange monsters and supervillains have been mysteriously appearing and causing disasters. Saitama, who is one of these superheroes, can easily defeat these monsters and villains with a single punch, hence the name. Naturally with that much power, as become of it and only gets truly excited when fighting strong opponents that can challenge him. Throughout the series, he encounters various superheroes, supervillains, and monsters and gains a disciple named Genos, who is a Cyborg with various modifications. They eventually join the Hero Association in order to gain official recognition. Expected from Madhouse, the animation is quite amazing, especially the battle scenes. Seeing Genos activate his Arms Mode or especially using his Incineration Cannons was nothing short of amazing, and its really shows how much talent the studio has. The artstyle was great, especially the change in Saitama depending his mood, which was goofier looking when he wasn’t serious, and more muscular and detailed when he engaged in battle. Throughout the years, English dub has somewhat grown on me. Naturally, I still prefer the original Japanese track, as I always enjoy the original language in any form of media. Having already seen One Punch Man when it was released in Japanese, I decided to watch it in English to experience the series in a different form. Both Max Mittelman, who voices Saitama, and Zach Aguilar, who voices Genos, did well voicing both characters. I felt like perhaps Genos voice could have been softer though it didn’t feel too unfitting, and I thought that Max sounded a bit too serious for Saitama. Nevertheless, both of their works were enjoyable. There are certain characters that I prefer their Japanese voice by far over their English counterpart, but the dub was overall enjoyable. One of the gripes I have with these Viz Media releases, as the same happened with the Boruto film, is that the English subtitles featured on this set it’s the same as the original Japanese option, and not it’s own, so, for the most part, the dialogue in the English dub doesn’t match the subtitle track. They are minor differences and you still get the overall idea of what is being said but it still feels a bit lazy on their behalf and hopefully it isn’t a problem in future releases. Though I didn’t include it in my Top 5 Anime of 2015 last year, One Punch Man was still up there for me. If you loved the series, consider investing in the Blu-ray set—it comes in a standard edition which comes with Blu-ray discs of the series, or the limited edition with comes with two Blu-ray discs, two DVD discs, 96 page full-color Booklet including Chapter 1 of the smash-hit manga, and six art cards, which can be used as the cover of the set. Definitely worth the purchase. 
One Punch Man photo
Okay
It really doesn’t feel like too long ago when One Punch Man first aired back in 2015, as I still remember it like yesterday when I was watching it alongside other Fall seasonals, like My Love Story. Honestly, not only b...

Impressions: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Manga Vol. 1

Dec 13 // Christian Chiok
For those unfamiliar with Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure, it all starts with the legacy of Jonathan Joestar, the protagonist of Phantom Blood, the first part of the series. In short, the series consist of his struggles with his adoptive brother Dio Brando, which ends with Dio being defeated, or so we thoughts. A hundred years later, we are introduced to Jotaro Kujo who is the grandson of Joseph Joestar, the protagonist of Part 2: Battle Tendency and grandson of Jonathan Joestar. The volume starts off introducing Jotaro, starting off with his childhood years then transitioning to his present teenager years. During a school fight with four delinquents, he discovered that an “evil spirit” possessed him so when incarcerated, he decided to stay. Then comes Joseph Joestar, who already knew the “evil spirit” that possessed Jotaro when Holy mentioned it to him over the phone. This “evil spirit” is known as Stand, which will be a common thing throughout the series. A stand us a powerful apparition created by one’s energy and because it stand’s next to the user, it’s called a “Stand.” With Holly being part of the Joestar bloodline, just like her father and son, she gained the power of a Stand, but unfortunately because of her gentle and non-violent nature made her lack the mental strength necessary to control the Stand, slowly making her ill with a harmful high fever and putting her life at risk. Knowing that, Jotaro and Joseph decided to make a trip to Egypt to defeat Dio and stop the curse. As soon their trips began, Dio’s lackies already started assaulting them and intervening with their trip to prevent them from finding Dio’s hideout.   From beginning to end, I was definitely satisfied with how Viz Media handled the first volume. If you’re a huge fanatic of Jojo prior the new wave of fans that just discovered the series due to the 2012 anime, you probably already have it, but if you’re part of the latter and never read the manga, then I would recommend you to do so. It’s better to start from Phantom Blood, but since you are already up to date with the series, it should be fine to start your manga collection from Stardust Crusaders and experience the series in its original form. 
Stardust Crusaders photo
A Very Bizarre Adventure
If I have to name my favorite Shonen series, more specifically battle series, then I would have to say Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure.  If you been keeping up with Japanator and read my Top 10 from last year, you’l...


Review: Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy

Oct 17 // Josh Tolentino
[Photo by Hiroshi Suga] Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy (Paperback) Written By: Jiro Ono, Yoshikazu Ono, Masuhiro YamamotoPublished by: VIZ MediaReleased: October 11, 2016MSRP: $14.99ISBN: 978-1421589084 One thing should be made clear right away, for any prospective buyers of the book: Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy is NOT a recipe book. It's not even a book about sushi, at least not "sushi" in the general sense as a field of Japanese cuisine.   Instead, Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy a book about the sushi served at Sukiyabashi Jiro. Specifically. That makes a significant difference. In some ways, one could see the whole book as something of an extremely elaborate menu or catalog for the restaurant itself. The contents of the book consist of pictures of the various types of sushi served on each , with the opposite page containing information about the dish from Jiro himself. The short paragraphs - blurbs, really - are written in a more anecdotal style, conveying insights ranging from why a given piece is served before or after other types of sushi to things like cooking methods or marketing times. In essence, each entry is a window into a Sukibayashi Jiro staffer's experience of creating and serving that type of sushi. Other, more sobering impressions can be gleaned from the otherwise brief notes, such as the occasional mention of increasing scarcity of fish available for some pieces. These admissions inadvertently highlight ongoing crises with overfishing, oceanic extinctions, and sustainable fishing practices. It might not be long before some of the celebrated pieces detailed in Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy disappear from the menu. The specificity of it all makes the book feel like a journal, a series of notes rather than a carefully organized, comprehensive guide. If Sukibayashi Jiro had a gift shop so that visitors to it could pick up a memento of their reservation, this book would be on the shelf. From the cynic's view, VIZ Media is publishing and selling a promotional brochure for a restaurant that many people will never visit.  That view might hold, if not for the quality of the book itself. [Photo by Hiroshi Suga] Putting aside concerns about the nature of its contents, Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy is an utterly gorgeous physical object. Despite the fact that it's a pocket-sized paperback, the book is constructed like a decorative coffee table centerpiece. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, reading the book feels like a genuine aesthetic act, something beyond the information contained in the text and pictures alone. The endpages are carefully textured and the whole thing gives off an aura of classiness largely absent from genuine travel guides or food books. Those readers who want to make the case for keeping and buying physical books in an age dominated by screen-based readers can file this one into evidence for their side. The content also extends past just the sushi. The main section is followed by a subsection detailing best practices for eating sushi, as well as a how-to guide for making reservations at Sukibayashi Jiro itself. In all honesty, the information detailed within isn't much more than one would get on the occasional website article. That said, having it come directly from the horse's mouth gives it an air of authority and authenticity. [Photo by Kenta Izumi] In the end, we have the answers to the dilemmas I posed earlier in the review. The purpose Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy is to be an elaborate, if heartfelt and earnest, bit of self-promotion for an expensive  very earnest, heartfelt bit of self-promotion. As for its intended audience, the gift-store patron crowd are the best fit. Beyond them, perhaps a friend who's a mega-fan of Jiro Dreams of Sushi and is planning a visit sometime soon. Genuine sushi afficionados or those less enamored of a famous little restaurant may want to hold off.
Sushi: Jiro Gastronomy photo
Slice of Life
It wouldn't be too much of a stretch at this point to declare that Jiro Ono - head chef at Tokyo's Sukiyabashi Jiro restaurant - is one of the most visible Japanese culinary professionals in the world. Thanks to his and his r...

Yoshitaka Amano photo
Yoshitaka Amano

Rejoice: Viz Media to release a new Amano art book next week


Summer plus art equals a great time
Aug 10
// Salvador G Rodiles
There's something nice about companies releasing art books that feature an artist's older pieces. Not only do you get the chance to see how the person's work has evolved, but it also gives people the chance to see that creato...

Review: Death Note: The Omega Edition

Mar 16 // Christian Chiok
[embed]34843:5475:0[/embed] Death Note: The Omega Edition (Blu-ray [reviewed])Studio: MadhouseLicensed By: Viz MediaReleased: March 1, 2016 (NA)MSRP: $69.99 What makes The Omega Edition special over the standard edition is that it includes both of the Relight films, as well as the one-shot manga chapter that inspired the anime series. Between these and the inclusion of Spanish, Portuguese, and French dub options.  I had never seen Death Note in Spanish, having moved to the U.S. by the time it was airing, and after giving it a go here I was surprised by how good it was.  Personally, I didn’t try out the Portuguese and French dubs as I don’t speak or understand those languages, and I felt unable to appreciate them properly. Unfortunately, the Relight films were only available in Japanese, English and French. Naturally, I watched them in Japanese. The Omega Edition also includes interviews with the creators, behind-the-scenes footage of the English and Japanese voice cast, production art and much more. Many of these extras are lifted from Death Note's 2009 DVD release, and are of poor quality compared to the extras new to the Blu-ray edition. Regardless, it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying it if you’re curious of what went behind the creation of the series. Ever since Blu-ray made its debut decade ago, a lot movies and series prior its era has been getting remastered into this new format.  While the Death Note series released months later, it really wasn’t aired in HD.  With the series getting its first Blu-ray treatment, at least in North America, the visuals were heavily improved, and almost look as if it were a new series entirely. In 2016, I think most of us have seen Death Note, and if not, most likely you weren’t interested. I mean, it’s been a decade since its original Japanese release. However, if for some reason you,still haven’t seen the series, definitely give it a go. It has a thrilling story full of action-packed scenes, suspense, great characters, and an amazing soundtrack. Depending on your stance though, you may or may not find the ending disappointing, but it was for the best. It would have been interesting to see an alternate ending, though. If aren’t familiar with the Relight films, they are basically recaps of the original series with some extra footage. The first Relight film covers the first episode all the way through Episode 25, while the second film covers the second part of the series, which are Episodes 26 through 37.  Naturally as recaps, they had to cut a lot of stuff to fit into a 2 hours’ time frame, however I believe that they still cover most of the juicy stuff that you need to know about the series. I don’t think I would recommend watching these if you never seen the original series, but they definitely serve as refreshers if you don’t want to go through the original series again.  As an anime collector and a fan of the series, Death Note: The Omega Edition is a valuable addition to the collections of otaku who can fit it into their budget, while the standard edition still packs the crisp, remastered HD visuals that blow most available streaming options out of the water. [This review is based on a copy of the product provided by the distributor] Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Cyber Connect 2Publisher: Bandai NamcoReleased: February 4, 2016 (JP), February 5, 2016 (EU), February 9, 2016 (NA/SA)MSRP: $59.99
Death Note photo
Good show, great extras
Until recently I didn't have much interest in buying anime box sets. They were just too expensive, and I had few aside from ToraDora! and Dragon Ball Z.  Death Note: The Omega Edition is also pretty expensive, but makes a convincing pitch, thanks to some unique extras  and its comprehensive gathering of a great anime series. 

Death Note photo
Death Note

Japanator Unboxes: Death Note: The Omega Edition Blu-ray Set


A Classic Series Now Available on BluRay
Mar 14
// Christian Chiok
I remember when I first watched Death Note in 2006. The idea of getting rid of people by killing them with a simple notebook was terrifying yet intriguing. Not only that, but the thought that the Death Note was under the powe...
Naruto x Steam photo
Naruto x Steam

Now you can get your Naruto anime fix on Steam


Jouki no Jutsu!
Feb 07
// Josh Tolentino
Rejoice, ninja fans, because Naruto has come to Steam! And no, I'm not referring to the bountiful slate of Ultimate Ninja Storm releases, but instead to a raftload of honest-to-goodness anime, courtesy of ...
Yo-Kai Watch photo
Yo-Kai Watch

Impressions: Yo-kai Watch Manga Vol. 1 and 2


A Spooky Adventure
Dec 24
// Christian Chiok
Ever since the first game released in Japan back in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS, the Yo-kai Watch franchise has captivated the entire Japanese population. While the manga was published a few months before the game officially re...

Review: Ranma 1/2 Set 7

Dec 22 // Jayson Napolitano
Ranma 1/2 DVD Set 7Publisher: Viz MediaRelease Date: September 8, 2015MSRP: $44.82 DVD / $54.97 limited-edition Blu-Ray (reviewed) I think everyone reading this probably has a good grasp on what Ranma 1/2 is all about, so to give a quick rundown, Ranma Saotome, the heir to the Anything Goes school of martial arts, is promised to tomboy Akane Tendo by their parents. The problem is Ranma is transformed into a female when splashed with cold water. Several characters are in love with male and female Ranma, and many of these characters also undergo transformations of their own, and as you can imagine, much hilarity ensues.Viz Media re-configured the episode sequence for this re-issue, so the traditional "final season" actually started at the end of Set 6, so some will already be familiar with the final opening and closing themes. It was refreshing to hear some new music included in this set for both battle sequences and moments of mystery and intrigue. The stingers that were already in place were perfect, but it's great to hear something new.All of the series standards are here: episodes that focus on grandpa Happosai's underwear addiction, others that hold promise of a "cure" for the curse that afflicts Ranma and the others that never pan out. We also see more affection between Ranma and Akane, but I'm sad to report there's no breakthrough moment or closure in regards to their relationship. So with that, I'll mention some of the standout episodes. An aforementioned "false cure" episode centers around the water pond in the Tendo backyard, which is supposedly connected to Jusenkyo, the Chinese spring where our characters acquired their curses. A ritual is held to remove the curse from those afflicted, but as usual, things go awry. A multi-episode arc focuses on a dual between Ranma and ongoing rival Ryouga Hibiki focusing on a new technique that Ryouga has mastered that becomes increasingly powerful as the martial artist becomes more miserable. Ranma and Ryouga hence focus their efforts on becoming more miserable than the other, which is fun to watch.One of the funniest episodes centers around a recurring dream that Ranma has about dating an old man while in her female form, which results in a real-life encounter with the old man that is both disturbing and hilarious. The season sees more feuding between Ranma and his unscrupulous father and trainer, Genma Saotome, enchanted food that makes characters fall in love with each other (yes, multiple episodes that follow this plot), and even vampires.Another episode sees the Tendo family making friends with the Earthly avatar of a Goddess of the stars as she seeks out her fiance, who's been wrecking havoc on local dojos. An argument between Ranma's classmates Tatewaki and Kodachi Kuno results in scandalous photos of female Ranma being posted all over school, while everyone's favorite punching bag, the black magic-practicing Hikaru Gosunkugi falls in love with a ghost. A huge cast of characters makes an appearance or a beach-side swimsuit contest, which includes the appearance of Tsubasa Kurenai who appeared in Set 2 and who seemed as though they'd be a permanent addition to the cast. The final episodes (a two-episode arc) features the return of Ranma's mother and answers a lot of questions as to why Ranma and Genma are training on their own, but I won't spoil how it all ends. Needless to say, though, there isn't any major progress on Ranma and Akane's relationship, and the series ends with a seemingly tacked-on sequence that will likely raise some eyebrows. I can say in closing that this series certainly withstands the test of time. The visuals, the music, the scenario, and the characters are as lovable today as they were when they were released in the 1990s. While the gender issues that are explored throughout the series are more relevant than ever, Ranma 1/2 only falls into trappings that may be considered sexist on occasion. It certainly could have been a lot worse.We reviewed the limited edition Blu-ray version, which includes different artwork, a postcard, a booklet with episode summaries, and on-disc interviews with cosplayers and anime industry professionals as they share kind words about Ranma 1/2 creator Rumiko Takahashi. It's a nice inclusion, even if it's a bit awkward at times, but it's a shame that Takahashi herself didn't record a message for fans.Here's hoping that Viz Media considers re-issuing the OVA and movies next. I'd very much like to see those again, and don't feel that my appetite for Ranma 1/2 is quite quenched! In the meantime, feel free to share your favorite Ranma 1/2 memories below!Images © Rumiko Takahashi / Shogakukan  [This review is based on a retail copy provided by the publisher]
Ranma 1/2 Review photo
Goodbye is Bittersweet!
We've finally arrived at the end of Viz Media' re-release of the beloved Ranma 1/2 series. Presenting the final episodes (weighing in at 161 total), this re-issue has been a Godsend, as previous DVD versions were becomin...

Review: Ranma 1/2 Set 5

Jun 11 // Jayson Napolitano
Ranma 1/2 DVD Set 5 Publisher: Viz MediaRelease Date: March 3, 2015MSRP: $44.82 DVD / $54.97 limited-edition Blu-Ray (reviewed) I'll open by saying that 100 episodes in, Ranma fatigue does tend to set in. Fortunately for fans, however, Set 5 contains some of the most entertaining and hilarious episodes yet. That's a good thing, because at just over the half-way mark in the series, there really needs to be something compelling to keep fans wanting more, and this season rarely lets up. There isn't much that I can say is new in this season. You get the same cast of lovable characters, starring the heir to the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts, Ranma Saotome, and his fiance, Akane Tendo. The two are promised to each other by their parents, and thankfully in this season, we start to see that the two are actually starting to fall for one another. The art style holds up well, and the music ranges from appropriately quirky to downright moving. Perhaps taking some of our past reviews to heart, the episodes in this set have been cut to feature only one opening theme, "Earth Orchestra" (which first appeared at the end of Set 4) and the same closing theme, "Hinageshi." In case you've forgotten, the premise of the show is that Ranma is under an ancient Chinese curse that causes him to change from a man into a woman when splashed with cold water, and back again with hot water. Various other characters are afflicted with similar curses, and the majority of the supporting cast are in love with Ranma in either his man or woman form or Akane, leading to some crazy love... hexagons? Maybe even octagons. They're joined by a great cast of characters, including Akane's protective father, Soun Tendo, Ranma's free-loading father, Genma Saotome, Akane's sisters, and Soun and Genma's master, the creepy undergarment-stealing Happosai. So on with some of the standout episodes of the set, which includes a brand new array of bizarre martial arts styles. There's Marial Arts Tea Ceremony, wherein Ranma is kidnapped and promised to the charming heir and must fight her way to freedom, the Good Ol' Days Style of Martial Arts, a nostalgic bunch who challenge Akane and use nursery rhythms and old toys in their matches, Martial Arts Shogi, where Genma Saotome's cheating catches up with him and gets him and the cast stuck in a life-sized Shogi match, Martial Arts Dining, which is a hilarious insult to French people and Westerners in general with its outrageous eating competition, and Martial Arts Calligraphy, where Ranma is refused a challenge due to his terrible handwriting. Crazy martial arts styles aside, there are a lot of fantastic episodes. In one, the family wins a raffle for a free stay at a hot springs resort, only to find something lurking in its waters. In another, Ranma comes to use one of Happosai's enchanted bandaids that causes him to fall in love with all the show's female characters, and in the aforementioned Martial Arts Dining episodes (the only multi-episode arc featured in this set), the focus on food and the ridiculousness of the eating style the Westerners use is absolutely hilarious. Ryouga has a Western-style adventure protecting the ranch of an old man and his daughter, whom Ryouga falls in love with, Nabiki takes a joke too far and feigns affection for Ranma in a bid to steal him from Akane, and a new student, the exceedingly clumsy and akward Gosunkugi places hexes and curses on Ranma in an attempt to steal Akane away. My favorite episode of all, however, is "Case of the Missing Takoyaki," which is a who's-done-it tale where each character tells their portion of the story leading up to a hilarious conclusion. The last thing I'll note is that we reviewed the limited-edition Blu-ray version, which contains "extras." This time this comes in the form of interviews with cosplayers and anime industry professionals about their experiences collecting Ranma 1/2 paraphernalia, which is interesting, especially when multiple people bring up the SNES Ranma 1/2 game and one interviewee discusses the early days of the Internet. There are also trailers for other Viz Media products and the opening and ending themes as well. In all, this set is as over the top as ever, and that's why I think fans of Ranma 1/2 will be re-energized and ready to delve into the final two sets after watching it. I was as tired as anyone going into the 100th episode, but the latter half of this set is so good that I can't wait for more. Fortunately we won't have to wait long, as Set 6 has just been released, so watch for our review soon. Images © Rumiko Takahashi / Shogakukan  9.0 – Exceptional. One of the best things its genre has ever produced. Its example will be copied or taken into account by almost anything that follows it.
Ranma 1/2 Review photo
Just what Doctor Tofu ordered!
And onward we go! Ranma 1/2 Set 5 breaches the 100-episode mark, and as I've noted in past reviews, if you've made it this far, you've likely passed the point of no return. Watching such a lenghthy series is a serious investment, and fortunately while Ranma 1/2 doesn't really have much overarching plot to advance, it somehow continues to be wildly entertaining. Let's dig in, shall we?

Viz Media photo
Viz Media

Start off your Spring Break with Viz's upcoming digital manga titles


March is about to get crazy
Mar 04
// Salvador G Rodiles
I may be more of a fan of reading things physically than digitally, but Viz's March digital manga roster contains some interesting titles, since they resurrected a few Tokyopop titles. On top of that, Tokyo Ghoul and Spell of...
My Hero Academia photo
My Hero Academia

Rejoice: My Hero Academia to be released physically


It's time for us to don our capes and cowls
Feb 22
// Salvador G Rodiles
I don't know about you, but it seems that Viz Media is in a super good mood this week. Aside from their unexpected acquisition of the 2011 Ultraman manga, the company has plans to release My Hero Academia, the latest manga by...
Ultraman photo
Ultraman

Licensing GET: Viz grabs the 2011 Ultraman manga


It's time to witness Viz's special transformation!
Feb 19
// Salvador G Rodiles
It looks like Viz Media's tapping into their toku side, as they've licensed the Ultraman manga that's written and drawn by Linebarrels of Iron's Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi. Honestly, I'm still very surprised ...
Fragments of Horror photo
Fragments of Horror

Licensing GET: Viz obtains Fragments of Horror


Summer is about to get spooky
Dec 04
// Salvador G Rodiles
Christmas may be around the corner, but isn't stopping Viz Media from making a scary announcement. In regard to this news, the company has announced that they've licensed Junji Ito's (Uzumaki, Gyo) Fragments of Horror ma...
Assassination Classroom photo
Assassination Classroom

Assassination Classroom takes attendance on Viz Manga


Can you kill Koro-sensei?
Dec 04
// Josh Tolentino
Whenever I take informal polls as to which manga I should start covering in the wake of Naruto's closure, one of the most common recommendations I get - besides One Piece, of course - is Yusei Matsui's Assassination Classroom...

Review: Ranma 1/2 Set 3

Nov 28 // Jayson Napolitano
Ranma 1/2 DVD Set 3Publisher: Viz MediaRelease Date: September 16, 2014MSRP: $44.82 DVD / $51.99 limited-edition Blu-Ray (reviewed) I'll start by saying that set 3 offers some of my favorite Ranma 1/2 episodes yet. There are a ton of memorable moments despite the lack of overarching plots for this season. Some favorites include an episode where Ranma's fiance, Akane Tendo, consumes a bowl of "super soba" that makes her all-powerful (which is difficult for Ranma to accept), but has some rather humorous adverse effects, while another follows Sasuke, servant of the Kuno family, as he's ejected from their household only to take up service with Akane where we learn more about him and the Kunos.One episode features a trip to the beach where Grandfather Happosai (founder of the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts) tries to use magic pearls to make the various female characters fall in love with him, while another takes the cast to the past with Happosai's magic mirror, where they're surprised to discover young Happosai's relationship with another of the show's characters. There's magic soap that prevents the transformations that afflict so many of the characters in one episode, and another where Ranma intends to travel into the past to prevent himself from acquiring his curse, only to be sent into the future to make a startling discovery about what may be coming. My favorite episode of all, titled "Am I... Pretty? Ranma's Declaration of Womanhood" sees Ranma sustain an injury to his head that has him believing that his female form is his true form. It's a lot of fun watching Ranma truly play the part of his girl form rather than relying on it to get free food or woo the show's male characters.There is one story arc found in this set. Three episodes center on Ranma losing his strength and his journey and hardships trying to get it back. It's a fantastic run of episodes where we see the relationship between Ranma and his betrothed continue to grow. In fact, throughout the entire set, we see Ranma and Akane grow closer and become convincingly jealous of the shows other characters, which is really touching to see.I discussed the music of Ranma 1/2 in my review of set 2, and nothing has really changed in terms of the short stinger format used throughout. We do get a new opening and closing theme towards the end of the set as we transition into what used to be season 4, with an infectious opening theme and heartwarming ending theme that do the job.There are a couple interesting changes in art style found in this set. The first occurs in the aforementioned episode where Ranma comes to believe he's a woman after a head injury. The art style is much more fluid with an emphasis on shadow effects and a more curvy interpretation of the characters. Generally speaking, the art style for Ranma 1/2 is pretty simple, with lots of solid colors, minimal shading, and straight lines, but this episode was drastically different. There was another episode that I can't recall that also deviated a bit, leading to some particularly funny looking expressions by Ranma's father, Genma Saotome, and Ranma himself. In all, however, regardless of the slight variations, I love the style for its simplicity.Now, there is one big issue I have with set 3. It shattered my world to find that, moving into what used to be season 4, the voice actor for male Ranma changed. For season one through three, Ranma was voiced by Sarah Strange, who lent Ranma a heavily sarcastic and oftentimes indifferent vocal performance. It was perfect for Ranma's character, as he generally goes with the flow and tries to stay out of drama. Richard Cox takes over from there, and while his delivery is much more dynamic in range, I can't help but feel the youthful spunk he brings to the character takes Ranma from the cool and above-the-fray personality to a more typical angsty youth. It's taking a lot of getting used to for me, and to make matters worse, the episode resequencing puts an episode with Ranma's old voice at the very end of the set, right when I was starting to accept his new voice actor. I'll likely have to start over again warming up to Ranma's new voice with the next set. Interestingly, little to no new major characters were introduced this set. Tsubasa Kurenai, a character who was introduced at the end of set 2 and is infatuated with Ukyo was not present at all, much to my surprise. I suppose there's the new school principal, back from Hawaii, where he picked up an outrageously stereotypical Hawaiian speech pattern and new ways to annoy his students, but he only appears in a few episodes towards the end of the set, so the verdict's out as to whether or not he'll be a major character going forward (I certainly hope not, as the I can only take so much of his over-the-top Hawaiian speak). We also see an appearance by Doctor Tofu, who we haven't seen since set 1.I should also mention the bonuses included with the limited edition Blu-ray version that we reviewed this time. While I couldn't really discern any differences in the visual presentation, the disc case comes in a sturdy cardboard sleeve and includes a glossy portrait card of Ryoga and a nice booklet summarizing the series so far and offering recaps of each episode found in this set (super helpful for this review!). In terms of content on the discs themselves, the third and final disc features extras, most of which you won't care about (Viz Media trailers, clean openings and endings), but there is a nice series of interviews and commentaries from New York Comic Con 2013 with some Viz Media staff, anime industry professionals, and cosplayers talking about their love for Ranma 1/2.While I'm still coming to terms with Ranma's voice change (I almost felt like the old Ranma died and I was starting over again with a new character), Ranma 1/2 set 3 features some of the best episodes of the series yet. I wasn't able to mention them all here, but it should suffice to say that this is one of the most entertaining sets yet. I'm enjoying the dynamic between Ranma and Akane, and characters including Happosai, Genma Saotome, and Akane's father, Soun Tendo, are incredibly memorable and are some of my favorites in any anime ever. I'm eager to see what happens with set 4 next month, so stay tuned!9.0 – Exceptional. One of the best things its genre has ever produced. Its example will be copied or taken into account by almost anything that follows it.
Ranma 1/2 Review photo
More changes than just Ranma's gender this time!
After reviewing Ranma 1/2 set 2 earlier this month, I knew it was time to hunker down and dig deep. This series had a seven season run, and while this latest re-issue from Viz Media has resequenced the episodes to align more ...

Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

It's time to listen to Sailor Venus' new English voice


Leigh's performance shows some promise
Nov 13
// Salvador G Rodiles
Wow. That was fast. I didn't expect Viz to release another Sailor Moon dub clip so soon. At least this means that we can finally see Minako/Sailor Venus' new voice in action. Overall, Cherami Leigh knocked it out of the ball...
Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Sailor Jupiter brings down the thunder in Sailor Moon's new dub clip


Supreme Sundae?
Nov 12
// Salvador G Rodiles
As Viz prepares for the release of Sailor Moon's second box set, the company has uploaded a new preview that shows off Makoto/Sailor Jupiter's new voice. Also, it seems that Viz's going back to YouTube again, which might hav...

Review: Ranma 1/2 Set 2

Nov 08 // Jayson Napolitano
Ranma 1/2 DVD Set 2Publisher: Viz MediaRelease Date: June 24, 2014MSRP: $44.82 DVD (reviewed) / $54.97 limited-edition Blu-Ray At this point, viewers of Set 1 should be familiar enough with the premise of the series. Ranma Saotome of the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts and a number of other characters have been afflicted with a Chinese curse that transforms them upon being exposed to cold water. In Ranma’s case, he turns into a girl, whereas other characters turn into all kinds of cute animals. These transformations play out in often comical ways as our protagonist, Ranma, and his fiancé, Akane Tendo, each have their vast following of suitors, some of whom are in love with male Ranma and others who are in love with his female form. Those who were getting tired of the repetition featured throughout Set 1 should be pleased that the random appearance of water just for the sake of these transformations isn’t as prominent in Set 2. More so, this set is about the developing relationship between Ranma and Akane as well as the introduction of several new characters. These new characters include some of my favorites, such as Moose, a martial artist who’s followed the Chinese Amazon martial artist Shampoo from China and is desperately in love with her, and relies on weapons and gadgets procured from his massive sleeves when doing battle with Ranma to win Shampoo’s affection. There's also Happosai, the perverted and often hilarious master of Ranma and Akane’s fathers, Genma Saotome and Soun Tendo. Happosai is obsessed with woman’s undergarments, which is the focus of several episodes, and I have to say that his English voice dubbing is absolutely perfect, convincingly conveying a perverted old man ogling over womans’ bosoms and undergarments. Two more characters are introduced towards the end of the set, including Ukyo Kuonji, a childhood friend of Ranma who’s a master at cooking up okonomiyaki, and Tsubasa Kurenai, an interesting character who’s in love with Ukyo and wants to battle Ranma to win her affection. These new characters offer a new fold in the formula. Whereas Set 1 featured characters who were infatuated with the two main characters, Ranma and Akane, the addition of characters who are after the affection of these potential suitors allows for some variation in their respective relationships. Story-wise, many episodes are stand-alone experiences, although there are two major story arcs featured in Set 2. The first involves some trouble Ranma finds himself in when he’s unable to turn back into his male form, and the second follows our cast as they try to find a cure for the Chinese curse to much hilarity as all of the afflicted characters trample over one another to find the cure for themselves at the expense of their comrades. This seems like a good time discuss the episode sequencing, which is actually a tad problematic. With this re-issue, Viz Media has taken the opportunity to resequence the episodes to fall more in line with the manga series. While this is much appreciated, it has resulted in somewhat jarring transitions in the opening/ending sequences, for example (this was much more of an issue in Set 1, where episodes went back and forth between opening/ending sequences as later episodes were inserted into earliest spots in the episode sequencing). There’s also a long stretch of episodes in this set that are missing their opening sequences entirely. This resequencing also results in rather abrupt endings to the sets, meaning, in the case of Set 2, that you may be a little lost as it picks up right where Set 1 left off, and Set 2 introduces both Ukyo and Tsubasa right at the end of the set, whereas in the traditional seasons, they didn’t appear until season 3. I wish the team had been able to splice the opening and ending sequences into the episodes to create a linear progression rather than jumping around, but this is really a minor gripe. Some of my favorite episodes of Set 2 include one that explores an interesting tale about a previous engagement that Ranma was entered into by his father in exchange for a meal, which requires Ranma and Akane to take part in a ramen race (that is, all entrants must complete a foot race while taking care not to spill a bowl of ramen that they must carry across the finish line) to get out of. Another features a high school production of Romeo and Juliette with Ranma and Akane in the lead roles, which offers a great opportunity to focus on the relationship between the two characters. Finally, one of the funniest episodes involves Ranma and Happosai and their trip to the public bath house, which of course turns into a nightmare for Ranma as he tries to control Happosai’s urges to sneak into the female side of the bath house. Karen hit the nail on the head with her assessment of the art direction in her review of Set 1, so I won’t belabor the point, but I love (and miss) the attention to detail in the animation and the lack of technical magic that we often see today. The music, too, is excellent, with opening and ending themes that I rarely found myself wanting to skip, and in-show cues that accent important moments, with one dedicated to dark or mysterious moments standing out, and another comical cue that I think is really a signature of Ranma 1/2's comedic style. We reviewed the DVD set, which boasts extras such as clean opening/ending sequences and trailers, but these are unfortunately only accessible from the third and final disc, and cannot be enabled throughout the series, but rather viewed separately. It would have been nice to have included an option to turn on clean openings and endings for the entire series, but perhaps that was technically not possible. There’s some mild nudity found throughout the series and in the main opening sequence featured through Set 2 (although, as mentioned before, the opening sequence is missing in a long stretch of episodes), but it’s minor enough that I personally didn't mind watching alongside my son. I know some parents will not be as comfortable. In all, the developing story and new characters add a new dimension to the series throughout Set 2 of Ranma 1/2. While sexism and stereotypes are still rampant (they constantly note how Ranma’s female form is weaker than his male form), Ranma 1/2 doesn't take itself all that seriously; it’s really meant to be stupid, silly fun. I appreciate the fact that they’re not relying as heavily on the transformation gimmick at this point, but I know that the growing number of characters and ensuing love triangles will start to wear on some viewers in a similar fashion. With five more sets to go, watching Ranma 1/2 is definitely a huge investment, and while I couldn't be more thrilled to charge ahead into the series, I realize that some out there will likely begin experiencing Ranma fatigue towards the end of Set 2. 9.0 – Exceptional. One of the best things its genre has ever produced. Its example will be copied or taken into account by almost anything that follows it.
Ranma 1/2 Review photo
Ahh, Akane-chan no panty!
Ranma 1/2 was my first anime. Sure, I might have watched a few feature-length titles like Ninja Scroll or Akira before sitting down to watch Ranma 1/2 with my half-Japanese friend who was always up on the latest gam...

Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Rejoice! Viz is holding a Sailor Moon streaming event


Moon Makeup Party!
Sep 04
// Salvador G Rodiles
If you missed out on watching Sailor Moon's English episodes at Anime Expo and Otakon 2014, then you'll be happy to hear that Viz's having a Sailor Moon Moonlight Party where they're streaming the show's first four ...
Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Aw snap, Viz is hosting a Sailor Moon event at Otakon


In the name of the moon, Sailor Moon Day returns
Aug 05
// Salvador G Rodiles
Yikes! I almost forgot that Otakon's happening this weekend. Anyway, if you're planning to attend the con, Viz is having another Sailor Moon Day event, which happens to be almost similar to the one from Anime Expo '14. This t...
Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Feast your eyes on two new Sailor Moon dub previews


Keep up the good work, Viz Media
Jul 27
// Salvador G Rodiles
Well played, Viz Media. Right when you've gotten us used to checking YouTube for the latest Sailor Moon-related dub previews, the company decided to upload their newest videos on Hulu instead. Despite Viz's unexpec...
Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Queen Beryl and Jadeite devise an evil scheme in Sailor Moon's third dub clip


Viz Media is on a roll!
Jul 18
// Salvador G Rodiles
It seems that my prediction about Viz uploading a new Sailor Moon-related video everyday was incorrect, as the company chose to post their third dub clip today. Either way, it's still nice of Viz to show off Sailor Moon's ne...
Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon's second dub clip shows off Luna's new English voice


Michelle Ruff nailed it!
Jul 16
// Salvador G Rodiles
After giving us a quick sample of Usagi and Mamoru's new English voices for the new Sailor Moon dub, Viz  has uploaded a new video that features Michelle Ruff's take on Luna. Since I've enjoyed most of Ruff's roles, I t...
Sailor Moon photo
Sailor Moon

Let's take a quick look at Sailor Moon's new dub


Stephanie Sheh shows great potential
Jul 15
// Salvador G Rodiles
Back when Viz Media announced the English voice actors for the new Sailor Moon dub at Anime Expo 2014, I couldn't help but to be intrigued by their choices. With the first Sailor Moon boxset getting ready to hit North Americ...
JoJo photo
JoJo

Rejoice! Viz reveals their plans for JoJo: Battle Tendency


JoJo's back in full gear
Jul 07
// Salvador G Rodiles
When Viz announced that at Anime Expo 2014 they're releasing JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 2: Battle Tendency in North America, I couldn't help but to rejoice over this matter. While we're aware that Battle Tendency's ge...
Terra Formars photo
Terra Formars

Roaches beware: Viz reveals Terra Formars' release date


Viz's getting ready to combat Mars' roach infestation
Jun 26
// Salvador G Rodiles
As we're getting ready to say "farewell" to the month of June, Viz Media plans to release Terra Formars' first volume on July 15th. On top of that, Terra Formars' later volumes are getting the bi-monthly release treatment, wh...
Viz Media photo
Viz Media

Rejoice: Viz reveals their plans for Anime Expo '14


Sailor Moon fans are in for some good news
Jun 18
// Salvador G Rodiles
It was a glorious day when Viz Media announced that they licensed Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon Crystal. Now Viz’s planning an event for Anime Expo 2014 that’ll please Sailor Moon, Gargantia's fans. During the ...

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