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First Impressions: Attack on Titan: Junior High episode 1

Oct 05 // Soul Tsukino
AOT: Junior High was first produced as a comedy parody spinoff manga that got many  people's attention for being the exact opposite of what AOT was known for. It's silly, adorable, and made for a zany side series. Could the anime version do the same? Right off the bat you know something is different when you see the familiar opening, only with more cute chibified characters with big heads standing in a stark field covered in blood. However that is only a bad dream as the main character of this series, Erin, wakes up in a field with his friends during lunch break.  That scene right there was a cute little nod that this was not the original series. We get to follow Erin, Mikasa, and all their friends as they go to the first day of Junior High. Gone is the start quasi-European world of a walled-in village and we are taken to modern (if made extremely adorable) Japan. We get introduced to more of Erin's friends like the eating machine Sasha, the friendly Christa and her over protective friend Ymir, along with Jean, who seems to be Erin's foil for the series. We also get introduced to the titans, who go to the school next door. Oh, These titans are hungry all right! But their tastes in this series tend to be a little more benign. This series is not here to make you think, it's here to make you laugh. It's a silly comedy show much in the vein of Puni Puni Poemy or The Adventures of Haruhi-chan. Although it's hard to tell how deep the writing will be from just the first episode, it seems that this show uses a lot of sight gags and spoofing of anime troupes, including poking fun at its own source series, for its humor. While that kind of humor may not play to some. I think this show is hilarious! For fans of the original material, you will get a laugh of just how adorably reimagined your favorite characters are in this series. For those of you that aren't familiar with attack on Titan can still enjoy the series as it does a good job at introducing the characters and the things they do are so silly, you won't need to have a prior knowledge of things when watching this to enjoy it. Attack on Titan is currently streaming on Hulu and Funimation's website, so go ahead and check it out!   AOT: Junior High was first produced as a comedy parody spinoff manga that got many  people's attention for being the exact opposite of what AOT was known for. It's silly, adorable, and made for a zany side series. Could the anime version do the same?
Attack on Titan: Jr. High photo
The D'awww will eat you alive!
Attack on Titan is one of those series that it doesn't matter what they do, people pay attention to it. The graphically violent and gruesome series shot to popularity first as a manga and then as an anime series. Soon all kin...

Gundam photo

Simulcast GET: Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans heads to and Hulu

New Gundam series for everyone!
Sep 30
// Salvador GRodiles
It looks like there's another good reason to be a Gundam fan this year, since the upcoming series, Mobile Suit Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans, hits and Hulu on Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Japan Standard Time/3:30 a.m. Pacifi...
FUNimation photo

Rejoice: FUNimation plans to stream anime outside of North America

In which FUNi's streams travel to new lands
Jan 06
// Salvador GRodiles
Are you upset over the fact that FUNimation's anime streams are only available in North America? Luckily, the studio's help section has revealed that they're planning to expand their digital content to other regions this...
Cowboy Bebop photo
Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop HD will be right on time for Christmas

You know what to buy me right?
Oct 06
// Hiroko Yamamura
What is probably one of the most anticipated Blu-Ray remasters in a long time, is set to be released just in time for Christmas on December 16th. The video from FUNimation looks fantastic, with the colors and details looking...

Dragon Ball Z photo
Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods has 20 extra minutes and a new trailer

I felt like a kid again
Sep 12
// Hiroko Yamamura
Our friends over at FUNimation have shared the newest trailer for the DVD/Blu-Ray release of one of last year's surprise pleasures, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods. I went into seeing this movie with very low expectations, and...
Licensing photo

FUNimation to simulcast Ping Pong

Licensing! Anime! Simulcasts! You know the drill!
Apr 05
// Ben Huber
Briefly: FUNimation has announced their latest nab this season. They'll be licensing and simulcasting Ping Pong, Masaaki Yuasa's upcoming Noitamina show, so you'll be able to catch it on their site and Hulu. The simulcast beg...
Selector Infected WIXOSS photo
Selector Infected WIXOSS

Funimation acquires spring anime Selector Infected WIXOSS

Cute girls play card game from hell.
Apr 03
// Dae Lee
FUNimation is starting to show their licensing cards, and among them is the upcoming spring series Selector Infected WIXOSS. An original show, the series composition will be done by Mari Okada (Tora Dora!, Nagi no Asukara) an...
PUCHIM@S! 2 photo
[email protected]! 2

[email protected]! FUNimation streams second season of mini idol comedy

This is the kind of anime that debuts on Apriil First.
Apr 02
// Jeff Chuang
Producers rejoice! FUNimation is now streaming the second season of the short anime series [email protected] The series of 3-minute episodes is actually called Petit [email protected], but nobody calls it that! Following the gag comedy anim...
Space Dandy S2 photo
Space Dandy S2

Second season of Space Dandy will air in July

In Japan, at least
Mar 22
// Chris Walden
If you're ready for more adventure, pompadours and space boobies, you'll be pleased to hear that Space Dandy has just had it's second season confirmed, and it'll be coming as soon as July. You may remember that the show was d...
Attack on Titan photo
Attack on Titan

First look at Attack on Titan in English

Take your dubbing like a man
Mar 19
// Karen Mead
To build excitement for the official premiere of the Attack on Titan dub at Anime Boston -- and to tear the geekier portions of the internet asunder with talk over whether certain voices are "too deep" or "just deep enough,"...
Blood-C photo

Blood-C summed up in 60 seconds

Yep, that looks right
Mar 03
// Pedro Cortes
You may remember that I wasn't too hot on Blood-C or its sequel, The Last Dark. It really suffers from a listless plot that doesn't do much with its interesting lead character. However, it does have interesting moments, many...
Funimation photo

Funimation gets home video rights for four series

RDG, Karneval, Code:Breaker and Date A Live
Feb 21
// LB Bryant
This morning Funimation revealed via their official blog that they have acquired the home video rights to four series that were previously simulcast on their website: Date A Live, Code:Breaker, Karneval and Red Data Girl. All of the series will be released in June of 2014. What's that? You don't remember any of these series? Well that's why you have me here to refresh your memories silly!

Review: Kamisama Kiss

Feb 21 // Karen Mead
Kamisama Kiss DVD/Blu-Ray Complete Series (Hyb) TMS Entertainment Publisher: FUNimation Release Date: February 11, 2014 MSRP: $54.98 Kamisama Kiss is a very skillfully done supernatural romance done in the shoujo style, and really, that could be the whole review right there. If you like the combination of shoujo aesthetics and supernatural characters, you will eat this show up with a spoon like it's chocolate pudding. Mmm. Sweet, sweet pudding. What's more difficult to say is whether or not this show has much appeal outside of shoujo fans who already know what they like. While the plot moves at a good clip (no lazy filler episodes here) and the story remains engaging throughout, it's still a very shoujo-y tale filled with breathy songs, impossibly leggy characters, and plenty of luminescent blushing. Furthermore, while it's not a true reverse-harem show, the fact that main gal Nanami has several attractive, supernaturally-gifted guys vying for her attention might give some viewers cause to roll their eyes. That said, I think the strength of the main character may be enough to win over some viewers who are new to the charms of shoujo. Poor Nanami gets kicked out of her house due to her absentee father's debts, and finds herself homeless at the start of the series. Through a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger, she becomes a supernatural creature called a "Land God" and inherits a shrine to live in. Unfortunately, the previous Land God's familiar-- a silver-haired fox demon, Tomoe-- isn't impressed with the idea of having a down-on-her-luck teen as his new God. What's a newbie divinity to do? What's refreshing about Nanami is that she's very active, taking control of her own story rather than just letting things happen to her. True, becoming a Land God in the first place is something she kind of stumbles into, but that takes place in the first five minutes of the show; after that, she's all about making choices and moving forward. She makes mistakes from time to time, but her errors always feel age-appropriate rather than the result of stupidity. She's a fairly realistic heroine whose bullheaded determination is a great source of strength, yet it's often her biggest problem as well; it's hard not to root for her. Naturally, handsome fox-spirit Tomoe is more cool and detached, and while his warming up to Nanami over the course of the series was something I fully expected, the way it's done isn't strictly predictable. In true "defrosting Ice King" fashion I expected Tomoe to talk down to Nanami and treat her basically like dirt until the final episode, at which point he would reveal that he's actually in love with her. I guess that's still kind of what happens, but in practice it's a little more nuanced and interesting than I anticipated, with more give and take. There isn't a ton of action, but Tomoe is a very hands-on kind of familiar and takes insults to his mistress very seriously, so don't be surprised to see some supernatural brawls go down. The magic is all mined from Japanese folklore, so be prepared for plenty of talisman-throwing as well. As a romance primarily, fight scenes were never going to be a big draw here, but I felt the series found a good balance between action and talking-head scenes; a liberal dose of humor helps keep things interesting as well. As is my habit, I watched the series subtitled, where a lot of the usual suspects abound if you're used to watching your shows in Japanese. However, I checked out an episode or two of the dub to assess its quality, and I don't think you can really go wrong with either option here; the dub is well-cast and it seems like some care was taken with the translation. I found Tia Ballard's Nanami to be a bit too loud, but then again, if I were in Nanami's position I might find myself yelling a lot too. This set is pretty light on extras, featuring only a few commentaries from the English ADR director Jerry Jewell and members of the cast. I could complain about the lack of bonus stuff, but this is the bare bones release; fans who want the whole Kamisama Kiss experience, complete with postcards and hair pins and what have you, should pick up the Kamisama Kiss Goddess Edition box set, MSRP $129.98. But these 13 episodes are strong enough on their own to warrant the reasonable asking price here without the need to guild the lily. I've attempted to elaborate on it, but what I said at the beginning of this review still stands: this is a really good shoujo supernatural romance. If you like that, jump on this. If you're not the biggest shoujo fan, but you like your heroine's feisty and your shows filler-free, Kamisama Kiss may be worth checking out anyway. It passed "The Wilson Test"-- by which I mean, my husband actually started watching it (and laughing along with the jokes) even though I didn't ask him to, and let me tell you: not every shoujo series passes that test. Score: 8.0 – Great. A great example of its genre that everyone should see, regardless of their interest.
Kamisama Kiss photo
Doing the God thing
When I dream of becoming God, these fantasies usually don't involve a white-haired pretty boy with fox ears who follows me around and does my bidding; clearly, I've been doing it wrong. Now that Kamisama Kiss has taught me th...

DBZ Kai news photo
DBZ Kai news

New episodes of Dragon Ball Z Kai to premiere this Spring

English dub remains in question
Feb 17
// Tim Sheehy
Excellent news for Dragon Ball fans who may have felt short-changed following the decision to nix the Majin Buu saga from the recently-remastered Dragon Ball Z Kai. New episodes are finally scheduled to air this Spr...
Attack on Titan photo
Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan dub debuting at Anime Boston

It's about time.
Feb 15
// Brittany Vincent
Attack on Titan, as I'm sure we're all aware, is a pretty huge deal. If it weren't clear by our awesome valentines and Karen going back to check out the episodes, a lot of us are fans. Some of us are not, but personally, I'm ...
Ben-to Funimation photo
Ben-to Funimation

FUNimation teases us with a Ben-To website

Yes please!
Feb 06
// Chris Walden
[Edit: It seems that FUNimation have secured the streaming rights. One step at a time!] Well, who honestly saw this coming? Ben-To, the anime that depicts the atrocities of discount bento combat, might finally have been licen...
FUNimation @ events photo
FUNimation @ events

FUNimation posts up their 2014 convention schedule

Stalking that isn't illegal
Feb 01
// Kristina Pino
In case you're making your convention plans for this year already, save some room for FUNimation in your schedules. They're attending a lot of the big ones, of course, like San Diego Comic Con, Otakon in Baltimore, SXSW Gamin...

First Impressions: D-Frag

Jan 19 // LB Bryant
Growing up, Kazama was a fairly normal kid with fairly normal friends. Once he entered high school however, he and his friends changed into delinquents who were only interested in causing trouble. Oh yeah, they're bad asses who march to the beat of their own drum, play by their own rules and they think they're the baddest of the bad. What they don't know though is that compared to the girls of the Game Development club, they're small potatoes.  The girls of the Game Development club have a problem though; they do not have enough members and because they have failed to report any kind of accomplishment they are in danger of being disbanded. Throughout the first half of the episode, the story centers on these girls doing everything in their power (including torture... no seriously!) to get Kazama to join their club.   Before the season started I did not have D-Frag on my radar. I had never read the manga and honestly knew very little about the series other than what I had read in short plot synopsis' and saw in some trailers. After watching the first episode though, I am wondering how something as crazy as this ever managed to sneak past my radar. Simply put, D-Frag is the comedy that you have been waiting for. In the beginning, it's easy to mistake this series as 'just another comedy'. The elements are all there and you could easily go through the first couple of minutes thinking that the series is just setting up another rom-com but that's when the other shoe drops and the girls of the Game Development club make their presence known by setting a fire in their club room which Kazama heroically puts out. From there the episode becomes a blur of chase scenes, enhanced coercion and laughs until he finally agrees to join the club.   As much as I laughed at this first episode though, I am forced to admit that there are problems right off the bat which one has to hope are addressed in future episodes. First off, the pacing for this episode felt lightning fast to me. Don't think for one moment that D-Frag is ever going to wait for you to catch up. The jokes are going to come fast and hard and if you're not ready to keep up with their pace, you're only going to be left behind eating dust.  The other issue that I feel is a problem with this first episode is that they might have tried to do a bit too much with their allotted time. For the first 18 minutes or so, the story is completely centered on the girls convincing Kazama to join by any means necessary and honestly I felt like that could have been the entire episode. The story was solidly delivered and once he hands over the signed club application, the episode could have ended. I would have been very happy and satisfied.  Unfortunately D-Frag goes another route and decides to squeeze even more into the episode by introducing another character and a story about the boys getting antagonized into peeking into the second floor girls changing room. It's not that I didn't laugh at this second story but by the end it did feel like it was a bit too much. In an ideal world future episodes will pace themselves a bit more and let the audience take a breath here and there. Despite those complaints D-Frag is a series filled with great little moments that come together to create a fantastic whole. Is it perfect? Of course not. What it is though is funny and a very nice distraction from the real world. This first episode put a smile on my face for over twenty minutes and I'm willing to bet it's going to do the same for you. This one is recommended. 
FI: D-Frag photo
Very busy but oh so funny!
I really enjoy moe, but I also really enjoy comedy. So what do you get when you sit me down in front of a solid combination of the two? You get one happy little camper who is ready to say please sir, may I have some more!

One Piece news photo
One Piece news

Funimation snags rights for One Piece, season 6

No surprises here
Jan 18
// Tim Sheehy
Earlier today, Funimation announced that they've acquired the rights for home video distribution of One Piece, season 6. One Piece, of course, remains super popular with fans and Funimation seems to be doing a fantastic job w...

First Impressions: Noragami

Jan 17 // LB Bryant
Essentially, this is a series about Hiyori, a high school girl with a passion for watching mixed martial arts, and Yato, a minor god with not even a shrine to his name. One day Hiyori sees Yato about to be hit by a bus so she pushes him out of the way and ends up getting hit instead. Soon afterward, she discovers that she now resides in between the world of the living and the world of the dead and that her soul can and will leave her body without any warning at all. Not wanting to stay in this condition, she hires Yato to figure out how to fix her. It's unfair to say that this is a bad series or even a bad premiere episode. For what it is, it's actually a pretty decent first episode with hooks such as fights with giant phantoms, above-average character designs (Hiyori with a tail is just adorable, and I'm not ashamed to say that.) There are also some great comedic moments which made me laugh out loud, such as when Yato visits Hiyori in the hospital and appears beneath her covers; it sounds dirty and wrong, but if you watch the episode I'm sure that you'll laugh at Hiyori's reaction just as hard as I did.  Beyond the flashy action and animation however, there's a quieter side to Noragami that many people may not even notice due to how subtle it is. The background music, composed by Taku Iwasaki, is actually quite well done in this first episode. Blending into the background perfectly, it's very easy to miss these tracks but if you listen closely (or not so closely during the fight scenes) you'll find that the music to be one of the best things about this premiere. I'm not saying that I'm going to go out and pre-order the soundtrack as soon as it becomes available, but I also couldn't imagine this episode being nearly as interesting without this particular score in the background.  The major issue with this first episode is what I alluded to in the first paragraph... for some reason, it's just not that memorable. Sure, it's fun while it lasts but once it is over there really isn't a lot here to make you desperately want to see more or even remember much about it days (or even hours)later. There's just nothing to really make it stand out. I want to like Noragami and say it's going to be a fantastic ride, but at this point it would be impossible to say that and keep a straight face. Maybe it'll get better and more memorable as the series progresses, but at this point, my feelings can be summed up with a nice loud 'Meh.' If you're looking for an amazing, out of this world, supernatural action-comedy, you can probably do better than this. [See Hiyori's tail at Funimation]
FI: Noragami photo
Fun but not very memorable
For my first assignment here at Japanator, I decided to tackle First Impressions of Noragami. I had actually watched the first episode of this series right when it first premiered on Funimation's site, but in just a few short days, I had almost completely forgotten what I had seen. That's never a good sign, is it?

Review: Aquarion: EVOL - Season 2, Part 1

Jan 06 // Pedro Cortes
Aquarion Evol DVD/Blu-ray Part 1Studio: SatelightLicensed by FUNimationRelease Date: 12/3/2013MSRP: $69.98 [Amazon | RightStuf] Taking place 12,000 years after Aquarion, the humans of planet Vega are being attacked by unknown assailants from the planet Altair, across the cosmos. The populace is protected by Neo-DEAVA, an organization that sorties combining robots to fight off the invaders. Neo-DEAVA is also divided by gender, consisting of separate teams of men and women. That status quo is broken after Amata Sora and Mikono Suzushiro are pulled into the conflict during a particularly brutal attack. Somehow, Amata is able to break every Neo-DEAVA safeguard preventing men and women from combining, forming the powerful Aquarion Evol. From that point on, Amata and Mikono are drafted into Neo-DEAVA, where we slowly learn that certain elements are very similar to events that occurred 12,000 years prior. This is where a familiarity with the original Aquarion would be handy. From the first episode, a movie becomes an important plot point between Amata and Mikono, and I'm pretty sure that film recreates events from the first show. Throughout this half of the show, it becomes clear that the main antagonist from the original Aquarion and is back for further nefarious purposes. While I do feel that I'm losing something, Evol has done a good job thus far in keeping me informed about the past and its connection with the present. Viewers in similar situations should be able to keep up, though those with previous experience with the franchise will likely get more out of these connections. In this half, Evol's story has remained fairly lighthearted. Much of the show has to do with these kids finally being able to interact with members of the opposite sex, which leads to the kind of teenage antics you'd expect. Story reasons prevent any sort of romance from growing, which adds more sexual tension to every interaction these kids have with each other. Most of the kids are the kind of flat caricatures you'd expect in any rom-com or mecha show, i.e. the BL lover, the hot-blooded pervert, the protective big brother, the tsundere, etc. Even so, they're stupidity is occasionally charming and I'll be damned if I'm not sold on the Amata/Mikono relationship. Barring some stupid stuff in the first couple of episodes, their blossoming love is adorable. The Altairians are an interesting set of villains, but my lack of familiarity with the original show leaves me wondering if I'm missing something. Their plight, which forces them to come to Vega and attempt to kidnap specific people, makes you feel for them, even if their methods aren't right. The thing is, I can't tell if their plight has anything to do with prior machinations or if it's something different all together. Hopefully, the second half of the show will tell us more. Evol is a damn pretty show. With male character designs from Chinatsu Kurahana (Samurai Flamenco, Uta no Prince-sama) and female designs from Ishida Kana (Ai Yori Aoshi, OreImo), all of these characters stand out. Even nonsensical elements like Mix's single portion of dyed hair and Zessica's ridiculously exposed outfit add a certain amount of charm. The verdant landscapes of Vega are gorgeous to look at, contrasted with the dying mountains of Altair looming over old cities falling apart. My only gripe with the visuals are the Aquarion's designs; I'm just not digging most of the variations of the Evol. If it's possible for a super robot to look too garish, then most of the Evol's forms are just that. The only design that I'm digging is the slimmer Spada, which resembles a fencer and is lacking in extra ornamentation and gloss. The audio is pretty solid too, featuring music from the legendary Yoko Kanno. The over-the-top insert music used during combining sequences screams of old super robot shows, which is fine by me. The Japanese and English performances are equally good, so fans of either format will be pleased. Characters that are shrill and annoying on one vocal track are just as annoying on the other, so that's more a character issue than a performance one. Overall, the first part of Aquarion Evol is pretty fun. It isn't the deepest or most nuanced of shows, but it did entertain me. To be fair, I wasn't expecting much else. Despite robot designs I wasn't too fond of, it had the kind of good, fast paced action you'd expect from a show with super robots that make their pilots climax when combined. The cliffhanger from this first part left me wanting more, so that's as about as good a recommendation as I can give. If you need some big, honking robot action, Aquarion Evol should give you your fix.   7.0 – Good. Films or shows that get this score 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.
Aquarion Evol photo
They take gattai very seriously
When you think Shoji Kawamori, his work on Macross immediately comes to mind. It's been one of the most influential properties in Japan since it's debut. However, another major show that Kawamori worked on is Aquarion. You mi...

First Impressions: Space Dandy

Jan 06 // Ben Huber
Dandy is a dandy man in space. He scoots around the galaxy in search of new and unknown life forms with his refurbished Roomba, QT, and the cat-like alien Meow they accidentally recruit. By now you probably know why Space Dandy is a big deal, but for the uninformed I'll give you the basics: Shinichiro Watanabe is the skilled director behind anime hits like Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. Space Dandy is his latest series, and it's airing on Cartoon Network's Toonami programming block prior to airing in Japan each week. This is the first time this has ever happened, so some people (read: me) are excited. I, in particular, hope its a sign of things to come. But enough about the hype surrounding the show -- is Space Dandy actually any good? I've now watched the premier three times, first dubbed on Toonami, and twice subbed via FUNimation's website. The second time I watched it subbed I got a second opinion as well as my girlfriend sat down to watch along. Let's just put it in no uncertain terms: Space Dandy is a blast. The first half of the episode throws us right into Dandy waxing philosophical about his favorite female body part: the booty. QT and the narrator reign him in with fourth-wall-breaking humor and establish what the pair does (hunting aliens). On their hunt for new species, Dandy often decides a detour to his favorite breasturant chain, Boobies (subtle eh?), would be a good idea, which today leads them to Meow. The variety in alien design is great, and reminds me of a more vibrant (and scantily-clad) Star Wars cantina. Dandy also macks on Honey, an attractive waitress who works at Boobies. The scene in the breasturant goes on for a tad too long given the low quality of the jokes here, but once Dandy, QT, and Meow leave and head towards alien hunting, the show leaps off and dives head first into a masterful action scene.  Weaving and dodging through a cacophony of gigantic alien monsters, Dandy and Meow attempt to capture one but honestly do a very poor job of it. You can really tell that the animators went all out here, as the pair fall between the creatures as they fight, get lit on fire, and then get crushed by falling debris. See if you can catch the Terminator reference! Other great moments here were Dandy completely missing with his gun, and the teleport gag (which had me laughing out loud). The physical comedy also didn't disappoint. I generally preferred the writing of the sub to the dub, but there wasn't anything particularly awful about the latter. FUNimation did a good job of altering the lines where needed to fit the lip flaps and keep things flowing. Obviously, the original dialogue will always have the advantage of, you know, being the original dialogue, but I've got to give FUNimation credit for their effort. You're not "missing out" on anything aside from the opening and ending songs by watching on Toonami. Actually, here's a quick complaint about the dub, though. In the subbed version, Dandy mentions that his profession is something that starts with a "U," after which Honey proclaims "A maggot (ujimushi)?" taunting the clueless Dandy. In the dub, the exchange begins with an "A" and Honey guesses "An asteroid belt." Not only does this completely change the tone of the scene, but it also completely alters how you see Honey. In the dub, she's just a stereotypical blonde ditz, in the sub, she's pretending to be a blonde ditz and is mocking Dandy. I understand things have to be modified in the transition from sub to dub, but this was a disappointing change. In a way though, that I can even have that complaint is amazing! We have a dub and a sub coming out simultaneously and that alone is awesome. Space Dandy is not subtle. It's not a stunning premier that will knock the entire non-anime-watching world off its feet. But you know what? It's still freaking great. Despite the slow first half, once it really starts, it's pure goofy entertainment that shows off why we love anime so much: creative characters, vibrant colors, and gorgeous animation. Over time, given that it has a platform no other currently airing anime has, it may become something as big as Bebop. Only time will tell -- but Watanabe might just wring it out of him. Also, everything must now have "dandy" attached to the beginning of its title. Dandy Impressions!
Space Dandy photo
So, how dandy is he?
It's a good time to be an anime fan. Right now, you can watch a brand new anime series on TV each week (dubbed, too!) several hours before it airs in Japan. If dubs aren't your thing, you can watch it subbed the following morning. Whatever your preferred way to watch your crazy Japanese cartoons, you can do it easily from any device you'd like. We're living in the future! And so is Space Dandy.

Space Dandy photo
Space Dandy

FUNimation drops some Space Dandy streaming science

Where to go to get your Space Dandy fix
Jan 06
// Pedro Cortes
I don't know if you've heard, but Space Dandy is kind of a big deal. With such a big release hitting both Japan and abroad in so many places, FUNimation has gone and posted where and when you can watch it. You can watch Space...

Review: Good Luck Girl

Jan 02 // Brittany Vincent
Good Luck Girl [BD+DVD] Studio: SunriseLicensed by FUNimationRelease Date: 11/19/13MSRP: $69.98 Good Luck Girl follows Ichiko Sakura, a high school student with far too much good fortune. She's beautiful, popular, rich, and intelligent. She's also a bit of a jerk. She sits on her high horse, looking down on the helpless, ugly, and penniless peons. But she's quick to put on a facade if she believes she must to get ahead. Ichiko is ruthless, and she cares not what others think of her. That all changes when Momiji enters her life -- through a toilet, no less. Momiji is the god of poverty, and she's been tasked with taking a little bit of that good luck Ichiko has in droves and spreading it out to those around her. Little by little, Momiji draws the good luck out of Ichiko using a hilariously huge needle. If she doesn't Ichiko will continue sapping it from others as their quality of life continues to decline while hers improves. Even her butler feels the effects of her sucking the luck out of the air around her, nearly succumbing to a heart attack before Momiji can balance out the good fortune Ichiko's been hoarding. It probably sounds pretty dark, right? Sometimes it can be. It's surprisingly adept at handling sensitive situations when it comes to Ichiko and her selfish ways, but overall this is a comedy that draws from the dynamic between Ichiko and Momiji. Momiji's a quick-witted loose cannon who, weirdly enough, also likes to cosplay. Think of her as a less sex-crazed version of Panty traipsing around in Lupin the 3rd outfits. There's no plan that's too out there for her to sneakily usurp Ichiko's good fortune from her, and that's where some of the funniest situations arise. Ichiko and Momiji bicker like an old married couple, though over the course of thirteen episodes they grow to bond over a strained friendship, as one slowly begins to understand the other. While there are male supporting characters (and some particularly weird ones) to speak of, the plot progresses at a nice pace while managing to focus solely on Ichiko and her personal growth. Despite disgusting monsters posing as maids and perverted monks making for some inane moments here and there, there are heartfelt and profound times as well, and that's what kept me interested beyond the laugh-a-minute script I was impressed with. It's a surprisingly poignant mixture of slapstick comedy and outlandish situations that you might actually learn a thing or two from. There can be good in the heart of the rudest person, and perhaps they can't help their rough edges. These types of themes give me the impression that Good Luck Girl could have been produced in a simpler time, before moe blossomed into the industry-enveloping shadow it is today. Even the animation hearkens back to an earlier time, and that makes it a sort of anime comfort food for me. Good Luck Girl is a dark horse you probably haven't heard of (or will hear of in the months to come) but it's an excellent series with plenty to offer: hilarious references, thoughtful character backgrounds, and an excellent script, in both the English and Japanese versions. It may be a little slow to reach a "resolution," but the journey is worth taking, especially if you like a more traditional approach to character studies with wacky dynamics like those of Ichiko and Momiji's. And you just can't say no to characters who cosplay. It's an iron-clad rule for gals. 8.0 – Great. A great example of its genre that everyone should see, regardless of their interest.
Good Luck Girl photo
Way too much luck to go around
When I first started watching Good Luck Girl, I had just finished up the sex comedy B Gata H Kei (Yamada's First Time), which was surprisingly hilarious given its lack of actual sex. I'm a big supporter of anime comedies, esp...

Anime photo

FUNimation adds Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha to line up

More fox gods equals more fun
Dec 27
// Amber Hunt
Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha has officially been added to FUNimation's winter 2014 simulcast line up! The anime is based off the manga written and illustrated by Morohe Yoshida herself. It began serialization back in August 2010,...
Evangelion photo

Evangelion 3.0 delayed

My heart, it hurts
Dec 21
// Amber Hunt
So if your a dedicated Evangelion fan like myself, you've been waiting for the third movie of the series to come out on DVD for ages. I want to own it for myself so badly, and I know a lot of other people want to as well...
Familiar of Zero photo
Familiar of Zero

Sentai Filmworks licenses Familiar of Zero Season One

Shut up, shut up, shut...oh wait, wrong series
Dec 20
// Pedro Cortes
In a move that pleased me to no end, Sentai Filmworks now has the digital, DVD and Blu-Ray to the first season of Familiar of Zero, known as Zero no Tsukaima to long time fans. Originally licensed by Geneon and then shortly a...
Space Dandy photo
Space Dandy

Party in Vegas with Space Dandy and Otakon Vegas

Special premiere event with voice actor
Dec 13
// Jeff Chuang
Las Vegas seems like the right place to celebrate the first episode of Space Dandy, and so Otakon Vegas and FUNimation are having a sneak preview on the day it airs on Adult Swim, on Saturday, January 4th. Space Dandy's premi...

Space Dandy's English cast revealed

Dec 05 // Tim Sheehy
<Character> -- <Japanese Cast> / <English Cast> Dandy -- Junichi Suwabe / Ian Sinclair QT -- Uki Satake (9nine) / Alison Viktorin Meow -- Hiroyuki Yoshino / Joel McDonald Dr. Gel -- Unsho Ishizuka / J. Michael Tatum  Bea -- Kosuke Hatakeyama / Micah Solusod  Perry -- Banjo Ginga / Kent Williams  Honey -- Yurin / Alexis Tipton  Scarlet -- Hoko Kuwashima / Colleen Clinkenbeard  Narrator -- Masaaki Yajima / R. Bruce Elliott
Space Dandy news photo
Toonami's January 4th premiere date reaffirmed
In an effort to hype us all to death -- and no, we certainly don't mind -- Bandai Visual has reaffirmed Space Dandy's January 4th premiere for Adult Swim's Toonami block. They've also passed along a short list of English voic...

Review: Wolf Children

Nov 28 // Ben Huber
Wolf ChildrenStudio: Madhouse & Studio ChizuLicensed by: FUNimationRelease Date: 11/26/13MSRP:  $34.98 [Amazon $29.73] It's refreshing to see an animated film focus on the difficulties single parents go through. Fearing the reaction of people around her, Hana moves out to the countryside, far from prying eyes and nosy neighbors. However, her new neighbors (though now separated by miles of field) are equally nosy, but offer help as well. Gardening help! The crux of the film revolves around Hana dealing with her children as they grow into their own. Is it a coming of age story? In a sense, but not from the perspective of the person growing up as per usual, but instead from that of their caretaker, who struggles with how much to allow or reign in. Do you ram it into their heads to never let their wolf side show, or do you let things come as they may? The direction is great, with lots of pulled-back static shots that let you take in the environment and watch as tiny figures dance through the forest. Generally everything is easy to read and is well-composed. There's one lengthy shot where the camera dodges and weaves between (I'm assuming) CGI trees that seemed out of place to me and pulled me out for a moment, but thankfully that was the only direction issue I had. The overall arcs of the movie felt a bit predictable to me, as I was always able to guess what was going to happen next. Yet, despite the story following certain conventions, I was still emotionally invested in the characters, which I feel is a testament to the skill of the animators. The animation is a collaboration between Madhouse and Hosoda's studio, Studio Chizu. As I'm sure most readers have come to expect from Madhouse, it's wonderful work. Ame and Yuki look positively rambunctious as they scamper around the house, changing into a wolf one second, then back the next. The transitions are natural and fluid, making them really feel like wild animals. I imagine a lot of work went into studying the movements of real wolves, and it paid off. Overall, the art is a real draw here, especially with the beautiful contrast between the painterly backgrounds and the thin lines of the characters. The only minor issue I had was with some of the wolves' faces. Giving them very human eyes and hair just results in them occasionally looking like a bad DeviantArt OC. This is in conjunction with the great lineart, though, so it left me confused. I got over it pretty quickly and I imagine most viewers won't mind it either. As far as subs and dubs go, the Blu-ray and DVD feature both as options. The English dub is perfectly serviceable, though no one really stood out to me. The sub is fine as well, and will probably be the preferred method for most fans -- just know that the dub won't embarrass you if your family or friends want to watch too. Mamoru Hosoda has completed another great film. Despite a few minor issues regarding certain designs and running just a tad too long, I really enjoyed the movie and found it heartwarming. If you're up for a bittersweet but adorable tale about kids growing up and their mother learning to let them go, then don't wait too long. Hosoda masterfully tugs your heartstrings without becoming overwrought and leaves you satisfied in the end; Wolf Children is another must-watch. 8.0 – Great. A great example of its genre that everyone should see, regardless of their interest.
Wolf Children photo
Mamoru Hosoda leads us through another adorable adventure
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 cri...

Black Friday photo
Black Friday

FUNimation reveals Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals

Save some of that skrilla
Nov 27
// Pedro Cortes
It's less than a day and a half until Black Friday, the shopping day that will likely break you. Sure you'll save a couple of bucks, but you'll likely get pushed and shoved and, in some cases, engage in fisticuffs over a chea...
Eureka Seven re-licensed photo
Eureka Seven re-licensed

Funimation licenses Eureka Seven TV series

Rescues the show from the defunct Bandai Visual USA
Nov 25
// Tim Sheehy
We really shouldn't be surprised. Today, Funimation announced they've licensed Eureka Seven. It's not unheard of for a show to be rescued long after a publisher folds. Following the dissolution of Bandai Visual USA, Funi...

Review: Akira 25th Anniversary Edition

Nov 11 // Pedro Cortes
Akira 25th Anniversary Edition [DVD/BD]Studio: TMS EntertainmentLicensed by FunimationRelease Date: 11/12/13MSRP: $34.98 [Amazon | Rightstuf] Set 30 years after the end of World War III, Akira takes place in Neo Tokyo, a hovel of a city that’s a husk of its former glory. The government is corrupt, the police are violent, biker-toughs roam the streets; all the usual signs of the post-apocalypse. While trying to fight off a rival biker gang, Kaneda and Tetsuo get caught up in terrorist activities and a government conspiracy to create powerful espers. The ensuing insanity leads to a whole lot of death, destruction and two former friends repeatedly screaming out each others names. The final orgy of destruction takes place at the stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which should be amusing to anybody that attends the real-life games in seven years. Just, you know, be sure to check under the stadium. It’s a fairly simple story if you take it at face value. Knowing that there’s a much longer manga might complicate things a bit, but when you consider it’s a “put-upon guy gets super powers and goes nuts” story at heart, it’s easy to follow. All the back story involving Akira is pretty ancillary compared to Tetsuo and Kaneda’s beef. All the talk of psionic humans and crazy cults sits behind two boys scrapping over who can ride (an admittedly awesome looking) bike. Let’s be frank, nobody is really watching Akira for the story. It’s good enough and the setting is interesting, but it takes a back seat to the spectacle of its presentation. Booming music and glorious animation are why you're watching this classic. It’s amazing that after 25 years and an excellent restoration, Akira still looks fresh. The detail in the city as it’s falling apart, the blood dripping off the bodies of Tetsuo’s victims, the buildings and lights streaming by racing bikes-- this film is a masterpiece of cinema. There are few movies even now than look as good and as full of life as this flick. This is a movie that you use to test out new TVs and sound systems. On technical prowess alone, Akira is worth owning. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s take a look at what’s in this package. Funimation has put in three language tracks: the remastered Japanese version from 2009, the remastered Pioneer/Animaze English version from 2001 and the original 1988 Streamline English version. For the sake of posterity, I put on the 1988 English dub and it provided me tons of entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t very good. I’d say it’s borderline awful. However, it has glorious amounts of 80’s cheese in it and I love that stuff. Having seen the 2001 English dub before, it’s a lot better than the trashy Streamline dub, but it lacks its crappy charm. Quite frankly, this is a film that every anime fan should own: it’s a legendary movie that has stood the test of time. It’s one of my favorite animated flicks, with a dystopian future reminiscent of the stories envisioned by geniuses like Phillip K. Dick, William Gibson and Ridley Scott. Fans of science fiction will love this movie, fans of animation will drool at the excellent remastered footage and fans of weird stuff have a mutated psi-baby in an Olympic stadium. If that doesn't sell you on Akira, nothing will. 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.
Akira photo
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 ...

Review: High School DxD Season 1

Nov 08 // Jeff Chuang
High School DxD Season 1 (Blu-ray/DVD) Studio: TNKLicensed by: FUNimationRelease Date: August 20, 2013MSRP: 64.98 Well, not so fast; how can we, for a review of High School DxD, skip over the fanservice? I think if you enjoy sexy dynamite bodies, lacking a better term, you will like this honest and straightforward boobs anime. The Japanese promo material on the second disc, available as bonus content, says as much--it's a boobie anime. If you like them knockers, this thing has it. I would even go so far as to complement on Rias Gremory's design in general--both dressed and undressed, she has a really well-done character design. It happens when the character's silhouette works so well that the shape of her hair draws your attention to her fierce, but perfect face (and on down). It's good that she's a well-designed character, since High School DxD features Rias an awful lot--both in terms of marketing material and also how the anime puts her in some pretty cool still shots. Alongside her are Akeno, the Japanese, Yamato Nadeshiko-type; Asia, the innocent sister; and Koneko, the smooth-and-flat representative of the bunch. There are others, but not as important (well, save for fellow club member/demon brother-in-arm Yuuto). While I can't hurl as many complements to the rest of the gang purely on a visual level, I think the group rounds out the fanservice elements sufficiently. For me, the lead male character often makes or breaks any kind of a harem setting. In High School DxD, I think Issei gets a pass. He's earnest and hard to dislike. The guy is humble enough and knows to play it like a shy boy when it's appropriate, on occasion borrowing the best attributes from classic playboy heroes like Kintaro Oe. For better or worse, however, High School DxD sets him in a “must get stronger” sort of story where Issei has to step up and pull his weight for the team. It's frankly kind of dull, but the simple vehicle doesn't get in the way of the fanservice, and is inoffensive for the most part. There is a consistent team theme going on throughout the story. The way High School DxD sets up the primary relationships in the first season has to do with how Rias grows her demon family. Like vampires, I guess, the demons in High School DxD can resurrect dead humans and turn them into “reborn” demons. Demons can also give birth to other “pureblood” demons. The demons fight against angels, fallen angels (who may team up with other agents, such as human demon hunters and combat priests), and among themselves, in a three-way balance of power. While season one of High School DxD doesn't get into the setting too much, one thing we do learn is that humans are randomly bestowed with "sacred gears," and all these faction fight over humans with good ones. As you've probably already guessed, our protagonist happens to have an extremely powerful sacred gear. The story focuses on how Rias establishes her family, and also Rias's own role in the society of demons, including the whole Rating Game business where fellow demons compete for societal status in a game of human (demon?) chess. By bringing in Asia and Issei into her family, Rias establishes herself not only in a way that is meaningful to her position, but also in a way that meets her emotional needs. In turn, Rias's guidance and vulnerability complement Issei and Asia's needs too. As the only romantic triangle in the first season, this is a subtly interesting angle to present. And maybe it's for the best. Unlike most harem anime, there are little reasons for High School DxD to spend time with awkward social situations between a dense protagonist and a hot haremette in order to exploit that fanservice element as a slapstick joke. Akeno and Rias simply jget naked on their own, sometimes for no good reason, and all the anime has to do is to show it. This leaves Issei focused on getting stronger (and tearing clothes off Asia). The show is probably at its weakest when Issei, along with his male classmates, sexually harasses the girls at school. We get the point that Issei's mind is full of naughty girl parts, let's move on. Actually, there is another thing that bugged me--the whole nipples-visible-through-the-clothes visual effect. It's just not my thing, especially when it happens to Rias and Akeno while they are wearing their normal school uniforms. It's also kind of random; on occasion you will see their nipples through their outfits, sometimes not. Maybe it's supposed to indicate that they don't wear bras? In any case, I feel like it cheapens the show (as if it wasn't cheap enough), and more importantly, it distracts you from enjoying the alluring character designs. As for production values, High School DxD is competent. The home video release is uncensored, as it should be. The animation quality is okay, although there has to be some praises heaped upon the ending animation. “Study x Study” is a catchy StylipS song, but, those pole dancing moves are definitely animated with more frames then usual, right? They look pretty nice. The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack comes with a good amount of on-disc bonuses. For one, the English dub cast provides commentary tracks for episodes 1 and 7. The aforementioned promo materials are available (subbed only) as well as the original Japanese bonus featurettes, in case you want to see more boobs (or tentacle udon noodles). FUNimation's own ads as well as the original Japanese ads are present, and also the credit-free OP/ED videos. For your information, this review is based on the Blu-ray disc contents, although the screencaps are from DVDs. The voice acting on High School DxD is kind of a mixed bag. The Japanese dub did a decent job of portraying Rias as a cool beauty, and so did the English dub, although the latter came across a little too matter-of-factly. The English Issei is terrific, though. The rest of the gallery sounds about what you would expect from a typical FUNimation dub, although there are a few first-timers in this cast. It's probably worth noting that the Japanese versions of Akeno and Asia sound about as exaggerated as their English counterparts. If you look a little deeper at High School DxD, you might actually find some interesting themes. The one I latched on is how Asia's feeling for Issei serves as a foil for Rias's feeling for Issei; they are drastically different yet surprisingly similar. It's exactly this kind of thing that you miss out if you write off High School DxD as a pure boobs show. Make no mistake, it still is a pure boobs show; but the boobs aren't the only thing the series has to offer. The point I realized that something else might be happening with this series was during an early moment, when Issei got into a debate about Dragon Ball Z: FUNimation's famous bumper is "You Should Be Watching." I wondered at first: should anyone actually be watching High School DXD, with its nipple protrusions? Is this really a good way to spend your time and money? And in true otaku anime fashion, the answer is “yes, but.” If you're willing to look past the surface for some deeper themes, you may be surprised to actually find some here. However, for a lot of viewers, the fanservice is all they will see, and that's okay as long as that's what you want. If nothing else, you could just watch the ED on loop for a while. 6.0 – Okay. 6's are flawed, but still enjoyable. These titles (say "titles" ten times fast) may not have attempted to do anything special or interesting, but they are nonetheless enjoyable. These typically make great rental fodder or bargain grab.
High School DxD photo
Devil's chess with fanservice
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 act...

Review: Blood C: The Last Dark

Nov 05 // Pedro Cortes
Blood C: The Last Dark [DVD/BD]Studio: Production I.G.Licensed by: FunimationRelease Date: Oct. 22, 2013MSRP: $34:98 [Amazon | RightStuf] Taking place a short time after the rather drastic conclusion of Blood C, The Last Dark begins with Saya’s arrival in Tokyo. All healed up after being shot in the face by Fumito, she’s ready to exact vengeance on the man who turned her life upside down. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple, as Fumito has managed to escape behind a pair of powerful organizations called Seventh Heaven and Tower. One controls politics in the mortal realm, while the other manipulates things in the realm of demons. Thanks to an encounter with a demon on the subway, Saya hooks up with a different group called SIRRUT. These young hackers are trying to uncover why Seventh Heaven has convinced the Tokyo government to institute a curfew for those under 21, which happens to connect with Saya’s search for Fumito. Kuroto, the money man behind SIRRUT, has a pretty big grudge against Fumito, so he's willing to help Saya find the traitorous bastard. In the end, there’s death, betrayal, a whole lot of blood and Saya gets her revenge...sort of. See, there’s the thing. Saya does get her revenge in so far as justice is delivered to all appropriate parties. However, there’s little satisfaction for the viewer in any of it. For one, the main recipient of said revenge hasn't been around long enough to make any sort of impact, and the way he's dealt with is underwhelming. Then, there’s Fumito, who explains his actions by saying he fell in love with Saya. Now, there could be a place for a creepy, obsessive love that consumed both the villain, his family and the organizations that he manipulated. That would actually be pretty neat. The thing is, that’s not how it plays out. It comes off as a tragic passion that wasn’t meant to be, one that ends with a confession near death. It’s weak, played out and boring. Done correctly, it could've been a solid ending and Saya’s abrupt exit afterwards would made sense. Instead, it peters out, like a sparkler dipped in cup of water. Besides the problems with the story in general, The Last Dark isn’t a bad flick. It looks fantastic, with Production I.G. delivering on the animation and backgrounds. The acting is solid, with Nana Mizuki depicting a bitter, angry Saya on the war path. The members of SIRRUT are pretty forgettable, but at least they don’t wear at the nerves. Mana’s missing father provides a decent amount of pathos, though a lack of time with her (and the way it neatly wraps up) keeps it from having any lasting impact. I was also surprised to find that there are several CLAMP cameos sprinkled throughout the film. There are several Mokonas, as well as an important character from one of their older works that acts as a deus ex machina. I remember from the show that there were hints to his existence, but I was still surprised to see Saya and Mana visit him. Does this mean that Blood C is set in the Blood world or in the CLAMP world? You know what? Never mind. Thinking about it makes my head hurt. I was also a bit disappointed by the lack of action scenes. Based on the show, I was expecting there to be more demon slicing, but I didn’t get that. I got one lone blood-sucker getting shanked in the opening, one truly creepy…thing that Saya fights in the middle, a very quick dog-ish demon and a huge beast at the end of the flick. This is probably a bigger issue for me considering how abrupt and unsatisfying the conclusion was, so keep that in mind. I was also surprised at the lack of collateral damage. When you look back at the slaughter that was the final episode of the show, this movie is positively tame by comparison. If this is indeed the last note for Blood C, it's not a very good one on which to exit. While pretty and decently entertaining, it does little to make up for the deficiencies of the show the preceded it. There are no revelations about Saya’s past, and few hints to her future. Production I.G. had one last chance to redeem this series and they ultimately failed; it’s a disappointing end to something that had potential.   5.0 – Average. This one’s just “okay”. It has many flaws, and just couldn’t follow through on its intentions or had ones that were simply too narrow to warrant consideration. Some will still enjoy it, but should temper their expectations, or perhaps just opt to pass. Watch more trailers and read more reviews before you decide.
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Last chance for redemption
One of my largest criticisms in my review of Blood C was that it had no definitive ending. Yes, there was a resolution involving most of the characters in town, but it was clear that the show was a 12-episode precursor to the...

Wolf Children photo
Wolf Children

Check out some adorable new Wolf Children clips

The DVD and Blu-ray arrive soon, and FUNimation wants you to know!
Oct 30
// Ben Huber
Mamoru Hosoda's film, Wolf Children, is finally popping up in the US on disc! The film will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 26th, and to promote it, FUNimation have uploaded two clips on the film to their YouTube ...

First Impressions: BlazBlue - Alter Memory

Oct 23 // Brad Rice
Have you played BlazBlue before? No? Well, sorry then. You're going to be totally lost watching this show. Right from the get-go, BlazBlue: Alter Memory throws you into the thick of things. Ragna, Nu, Rachel Alucard, and Hazama are all characters with complicated and intertwined backstories -- but you're just shotgunned with all of these characters and more over the course of the first two episodes. And good news: there's a handful more they have yet to introduce! As the show intimates but doesn't explain outright, the wide cast of characters are stuck in a time loop, fated to repeat the same events over and over and over and over again. Some people, such as Hazama and Rachel, exist outside the loop and quietly try to meddle with fate to see if they can produce a different outcome. After all, they don't want to see the Black Beast rise up and destroy the world. We follow along with Ragna and Noel as some of our main protagonists -- a wanted criminal and a young cop who have an intertwined past neither can properly remember. They have a cast of characters built around them, all of whom have connections to everyone in the show. I wouldn't call many of the characters explicitly "evil," but they all have their own motivations and drives that make them full characters. With the way the show is starting out, though, I get the feeling that the expansive web of relationships the BlazBlue will be completely ignored in favor of the main storyline. If you are a fan of the games, there are a ton of things thrown at you. The show lifts a number of interactions and scenes directly from the games, presumably as "tribute" to the show's origins. Also in tribute are scene settings that are pulled straight from the game's backdrops and frequent use of the videogame's score. Normally that would be all well and good, but the show jams these items in artificially, making them stick out like jagged edges on a cobbled-together product. For example, Ragna and Taokaka's first interaction goes straight from fight to getting a meal together. The two don't know each other, and Taokaka is in fact looking for Ragna to collect the bounty on him (she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer). In the game, you just accept that as part of a fighting game's storyline -- which is often barebones in the first place. In the show, though, you've got no idea what's going on, and it feels like there's something missing. That's not the only occurrence. Frequently characters are interjected into the story for a scene or two that make no sense if you don't already know who they are. The show might explain it down the line, but you'll have lost most people by then. One of my other big complaints is that the show's animation is inconsistent. Backgrounds lifted from the game will be beautifully detailed, as will many of the key frames for battles and important scenes. But when there's just some talking, or when it's a bridge between major scenes, the quality control goes out the window. Character designs will fluctuate wildly, and the animation gets bland and sketchy. It reminds me very much of watching episodes of Bleach in that way. I can't say I'm super happy with BlazBlue: Alter Memory. After waiting so long for something of this nature, I was hoping for a good product. It seems the show is nothing more than a quick cash grab by Arc System Works and Team KG, hoping to cash in on the game's continued success. If they took more time to flesh out the story rather than just making it a connective series of battles, this would be a worthwhile show. If you've played the game, and just want to see a little bit more of the BlazBlue world, I guess this is an okay way to pass the time. If you haven't played the games but are curious about it, don't waste your time with this. You'd be better off dropping the $20 on a copy of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger and playing through the story that way. At least I can cross this show off my watch list. [BlazBlue: Alter Memory is streaming on FUNimation, if you dare]
First Impressions photo
The fighting anime we've been waiting years for?
Ever since Guilty Gear tantalized us with wonderfully animated cutscenes, we've been begging the world to give us an anime based on one of Arc System Works' fighting games. We rejoiced upon hearing that BlazBlue&nbs...

Blood C photo
Blood C

Blood C receives animation award

Well, the animation WAS pretty good
Oct 22
// Pedro Cortes
While it isn't a perfect show, Blood C is an alright horror show that looks and sounds solid. It seems that other publications agreed, as the 12 episode program was awarded the 2013 Reaper Award for Best Animation. Presented ...
FUNimation Friday Frights photo
FUNimation Friday Frights

FUNimation has your horror fix

Tune in on weekends
Oct 19
// Kristina Pino
FUNimation updated their blog recently noting that each Friday leading up to Halloween, they'll be posting up a horror movie or series for those looking for spooky watching material on the weekends. The latest big title you c...

Final Impressions: Hyperdimension Neptunia

Oct 10 // Salvador GRodiles
When we last left Neptune, she was in the middle of defending Planeptune from Rei’s death ray, powered by Share Energy. Long story short, we’re getting our run-of-the-mill final battle where everything is at stake. Unfortunately, David Production wasn’t able to save up their budget for a big climatic showdown that would go down in anime history-- a big disappointment from the people that brought us the 2011 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure TV series. To be fair, JoJo was most likely an exception, since it was released during the anniversary of the original manga. That said, the small studio probably didn’t have the resources to ensure that Neptunia: The Animation’s fight scenes would be on the same level as JoJo’s amazingly fabulous confrontations. Despite the slight downturn in the action department, the studio still did a great job portraying character interactions. Most of my favorite segments came from Blanc’s tendency to lash out in a vulgar manner, since she's based off of the Nintendo Wii. Even the younger sisters manage to stand out by the time the show came to a close. However, their roles were still the weakest, since they were literally in the background during the first few episodes of the series. Considering that Plutia’s lazy habits and sadistic manners were well established during the few episodes in which she appeared, David Production had no excuse to not make Nepgear, Uni, Rom, and Ram stand out early on. When you take all of this into account, Neptunia: The Animation’s other issue (aside from a disappointing final battle) is that they crammed too much content into a show that was only 12 episodes. Due to the anime’s rushed structure, a majority of the serious segments went by in a manner where the viewers watching really didn't care much. While the Peashy arc was one of the few storylines that suffered from the least amount of issues, I felt that there were some loose ends in the anime that failed cover – I’m looking at you, Rei Ryghts. The major one is the way Neptunia’s main villain was put into play, since we were never given an explanation on why she was unaware of her own actions when she was in her human form. A simple split personality twist could have been a solution to this problem. But alas, Rei’s actions can only be understood by those who have completed Neptunia Victory. Even with these issues present, the video games jokes are actually the real reward hers. From Mario to Sonic, you’ll find a handful of references that will leave a huge smile on your face. There are a few segments that makes fun of the industry at large too: the illustrious R-18 Island, and the PSN hacking incident. To an extent, the humor was spread out nicely to the point where a good laugh could often relieve one’s rage over Neptunia: The Animation’s rushed segments.   Overall, I found David Production’s anime adaptation of Neptunia to be a decent diversion. However, it would be hard to recommend the show to someone who isn’t already familiar with the video game franchise, as the anime’s pacing is far more suited for viewers who are well acquainted with the world and characters. Then again, the likable characters and the random jokes might be enough for some viewers, so there's a chance that the uninitiated can still have fun with Neptune and the gang. While the action scenes were a bit bland, the show's cast gave me a reason to stick around. In fact, the show’s strong points have given me the initiative to check out the Neptunia games, so I’ll wait for the signal and hope that NIS America localizes Neptunia Re;Birth 1 and 2.  [You can help Neptunia: The Animation defeat the final boss at FUNimation]
Final Impressions photo
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