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Sound of the Sky photo
Sound of the Sky

Bring out the trumpets: Nozomi's Sound of the Sky Blu-ray set launches this June

Music will triumph over war
Mar 12
// Salvador G Rodiles
If you've been holding out on getting Sound of the Sky, then you can look forward to the show's Blu-ray release on June 6. Of course, this new collection will include the special episodes and features from the DVD set Nozomi ...
Turn A Gundam photo
Turn A Gundam

Moonlight Butterfly: Right Stuf to release Turn A Gundam on Blu-ray

DVD owners are in for a sweet deal
Aug 14
// Salvador G Rodiles
Right Stuf has been on a good roll with their plan to release the older Gundam titles on Blu-ray. During their Otakon '16, the company mentioned that Turn A Gundam is getting the Blu-ray treatment next year. For those who bou...
Gundam photo

AX '15: Right Stuf to release Zeta Gundam, Victory Gundam, and more

Believe in the Sign of Zeta
Jul 05
// Salvador G Rodiles
Good news, everyone; during Anime Expo '15, the gang at Right Stuf have revealed the next phase of their Gundam distribution deal with Sunrise. This time around, the company plans to release Victory Gundam, Gundam X,&nbs...
Anime photo

Right Stuf reveals Turn A Gundam and Please Teacher's release date

Two announcements are better than one
Mar 12
// Salvador G Rodiles
I may be a little behind on this thing, but I thought that this set of announcements were worth mentioning around here. For the first order of business, Right Stuf and Sunrise have announced that Turn A Gundam Part 1 com...

Right Stuf Contest! photo
Get free stuff from Right Stuf!
[Update: The contest is over, and congratulations to Japanator Community Member Gnikdrazil! We'll be contacted soon at the email address you used to register to Japanator with more details!] It's January 9th, but sometimes it...

Gundam photo

Rejoice: Right Stuf to distribute more Gundam shows in North America

More Mobile Suits are heading your way
Oct 11
// Salvador G Rodiles
At long last, Right Stuf's deal with Sunrise has expanded outside of Gundam UC, as the company's been given the rights to release the original Gundam series in North America. On top of that, Right Stuf is distributing Gu...

Review: Princess Nine

May 13 // Karen Mead
Princess Nine DVD Complete Series Publisher: Nozomi/Lucky Penny Release Date: April 1, 2014 MSRP: $39.99 Ryo Hayakawa is the daughter of a great baseball pitcher, although she doesn't know it. She's just minding her own business, playing in a casual sandlot baseball team whenever she's not needed at her mother's tiny restaurant, only to suddenly be offered a scholarship to a prestigious high school out of the blue. Keiko Himuro, the wealthy and dignified president of Kisaragi Girls High School, is deadset on forming an all-girls baseball team, and she wants Ryo in her lineup -- but is it just for her pitching arm, or is there another reason? And will the team see the light of day when not only the school administration, but even Himuro's own daughter, are against it? Princess Nine starts off its 26-episode run with lot of intriguing questions, and in that respect, it doesn't disappoint. I was very impressed with the writing in this series; while it did follow the predictable route of a sports anime in many respects, there were enough deviations from the norm to keep things feeling fresh and exciting. What's interesting is that instead of being a typical shonen sports anime, this is truly a shoujo sports anime; baseball often takes a back seat to relationships. Part of the reason why the story feels fresh is because it deviates from the game to explore the characters for surprising amounts of time, but for that very reason, baseball lovers might be disappointed with the relatively small amount of actual baseball played. While some characters are cut from familiar molds, including Ryo, others have surprises in store. I found Keiko Himuro to be a fascinating character; a rare adult female who has a character arc that has nothing to do with her children. Coach Kido, while basically being Tom Hanks' character from A League of Their Own (which Princess Nine bears many superficial resemblances to), ends up being a lot of fun. Every girl who joins the team adds something new to the table, and even background characters like the regulars who frequent Ryo's mother's restaurant end up having memorable roles to play. While not every character has loads of depth, quite a few of them do, and finding out what makes them all tick is a big part of the appeal of the show. Production-wise, this show is a mixed bag in a very particular way I don't think I've ever seen before. While the art is typical, low-budget '90s anime TV series fare, it seems as though incredible care was taken with the music and the sound design in general. The score, by Masamichi Amano, was performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, and the pedigree shows. While the music adds an almost palpable sense of gravitas to the show's more dramatic scenes, I found there was often a disconnect between the art and the music; you would have this amazing, truly epic orchestral score in the background, only the art looks like it could have been taken from any low-budget show circa 1998. That's not to say the animation is poor; it's at the very least adequate, and occasionally even dynamic and exciting during the baseball scenes. It's just that it's usually very typical, workmanlike art and animation (complete with shortcuts like repeated stock footage use) that seems at odds with the high-quality score. Other than this disconnect (which is only a problem insofar as the music is actually so much better than expected), I only have one problem with the show, but unfortunately, it's a doozy. As befitting a shoujo show, there's a dramatic love triangle between the earnest Ryo, snobby genius Izumi Himuro (Keiko's aforementioned daughter), and Hiroki Takasugi, a batting prodigy for the Kisaragi Boys High team. Early on, I didn't mind the love triangle and found that it added an interesting tension to Izumi and Ryo's rivalry. However, by the end, the love triangle completely overwhelms the show and it all degenerates into melodrama; romance tropes that seem beneath the level of the writing on the rest of the show start to rear their trite heads, and baseball gets sidelined in pursuit of the answer to the all-important "Who does Hiroki like?" question. But that's not all; the fact that the love triangle becomes more prominent may be a negative for many viewers, but that's not what made me want to destroy the discs. No, the real problem is that the way the love triangle is depicted seems to undermine the entire message of the show. While Ryo and Izumi's performance on the field becomes increasingly compromised due to their feelings for Hiroki, there's no indication that Hiroki's own athletic performance is ever affected by the romantic turmoil in his life. This double standard ironically serves to reinforce exactly the kind of sexist stereotypes that the rest of the show seemingly exists to challenge. Maybe it was unintentional, but the implication seems to be that while girls may be talented at sports, they can't keep their pretty little heads in the game once romance is involved, while guys have control over their feelings. Given the overwhelmingly progressive nature of the rest of the show, I found this development infuriating. Your mileage may vary; after all, Princess Nine has been out for over a decade and has a pretty stellar reputation, so obviously, not all viewers have the same problem with how the love triangle developed that I do. After all, Ryo and Izumi are depicted as unquestionably two of the best athletes around, of any gender; how strong do they have to be for the show not to be sexist? Still, the fact remains that the way the whole thing played out left a sour taste in my mouth, and I have to be honest about that. If you put aside possible issues with the story, this release from Lucky Penny is pretty flawless. Not only do you get the entire series for under $40, but for once, the set is full of extras. May of them, like the History of Baseball in Japan feature and the voice actress stats, are just some extra text, but the features devoted to the performance of the music by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra are fascinating. Keep in mind, you need to have subtitles turned on to see the subtitles on the special features; if you're watching the dub, the features will play unsubbed. Speaking of the dub, I thought it was adequate without being memorable. Hilary Haag turns in a strong performance as Ryo, as do some of her teammates, but I thought Vic Mignogna's Hiroki lacked the suave quality of Takehito Koyasu's performance and left the character devoid of his original charm. Some of the other performances, like Jennifer K. Earhart as team manager Nene, are kind of grating and made me want to switch back to the Japanese track. In short, if you're a dub-only watcher a few strong performances make watching Princess Nine in English a worthwhile endeavor, but all else being equal I recommend the original language track. So, where does that leave me? I love Princess Nine; I also kind of hate Princess Nine. But I only hate it because I got so invested in the story, which means it's a good show, right? But it can't be that good, otherwise I wouldn't have wanted to use the discs for skeet shooting practice after it ended, right? I have no idea; I'll probably still be puzzling this one out for a while. In the meantime you may want to pick up this series if you'd like to see the interesting combination of a hardball story with a decidedly softball aesthetic; it has an awful lot going for it, and the price is certainly right. And maybe when you're done you can join my new club, where we burn effigies of Hiroki Takasugi and talk about the Princess Nine that might have been if only the dumb love interest had never existed. 7.0 -- A show with many fantastic qualities that drowns in its own melodrama by the end, and seemingly undermines its own premise at times. Nevertheless, when it's good it's very, very good, and the score is peerless.
Princess Nine photo
Dirt, fastballs and romance
At the beginning, I loved Princess Nine. It may be a cliche to say "I laughed, I cried!", but the fact is, I really did laugh and cry. The show seemed to be capable of doing something nigh-impossible: present a story unabashe...

Review: Space Adventure Cobra Part One

Apr 03 // Pedro Cortes
Space Adventure Cobra Part 1 [DVD]Studio: TMS EntertainmentLicensed by: Nozomi/Lucky PennyRelease Date: March 4, 2014MSRP: $49.99 Johnson is your run-of-the-mill schlub. He goes to work, clocks in, does his time, clocks out and goes home. He'll occasionally go out for a drink, but he's otherwise as boring as can be. In need of some excitement and lacking in funds, Johnson hits up the TM Corporation to get some sweet dreams implanted in his head; it's certainly a lot cheaper than a trip abroad. In his dreams, Johnson is a legendary dead space pirate named Cobra who travels the stars in search of adventure and /or pretty ladies. While it wasn't exactly what he wanted, Johnson leaves satisfied, but finds that he can't let go of his dreams of Cobra. After suffering a near-fatal attack, Johnson realizes that he's actually Cobra in reality. Having gotten some heavy heat on his tail, the pirate altered his face and buried his memories to stay safe. With the news out that he's alive, Cobra abandons his old identity, grabs his sexy gynoid Lady Armaroid, finds his space ship and leaps back into the stars for more adventure. I dug Cobra's initial premise, as it's straight out of Total Recall/We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. The concept of repressed memories that come back to bite you is an old idea, but one that I'm fond of. When you have the collected force of an entire Pirate Guild after you, drastic measures are necessary. Besides what you see here, little else is explained about Cobra's past, and that's fine by me. It's enough of a premise to get me interested in what new adventures and trouble a lead guy like Cobra can get into. Speaking of Cobra, it's hard not to like the guy. Suave, capable, clever, he's a laid-back and fun-loving guy that just wants to have a good time. He likes pretty ladies and money. Imagine a bumbling Golgo-13 with a sense of humor and less murder and you're on the right track. He's a good foil against the strange members of the Pirate Guild that are hounding his every step. The standout villain is a cyborg named Crystal Bowie, named for his see-through exterior and for the original mangaka's affection for the English rock star. The guy's got enough menace to make up for most of the other weak-sauce pirates that try and take out Cobra on an episode-by-episode basis. Cobra's designs definitely show their age. Everything from Cobra's look to the ladies he comes across to the ships that he encounters in space all look like they're from the early '80s. People who are used to newer sci-fi designs may balk, but I find it rather charming and it only adds to the show's personality. Actually, for a show that's over 30 years old, this release looks and sounds really good. I'm not sure if Nozomi used remastered audio and video, but the quality of the animation is quite sharp on a 1080p screen. There's no dub with this release, but that's no surprise for a show this old. I'm fine with the Japanese language track, as is.  The only negative things I can think of are that Cobra doesn't really develop. He's rather static and doesn't change, but I think that's also inherent to the character. He's supposed to be one of the baddest pirates around, so there isn't any room for him to grow here; he's just trying to get the rust out of his joints. Some may find the copious amount of scantily clad '80s chicks a bit much, but it didn't bother me. I actually really like the female designs, as they're rather attractive in that Weird Science/Kelly LeBrock kind of way. Especially Lady Armaroid: I'm quite fond of her sleek, robotic curves. I'd recommend the first part of Space Adventure Cobra to fans of classic science fiction and '80s anime. While those that are used to the sterile look of a lot of modern anime will likely cringe in spots, I feel that the hand-drawn nature of the show adds to its personality. And believe me, this show has plenty of personality between its goofy protagonist, the dastardly Crystal Bowie and the galactic treasure hunt that makes up a lot of this first part. There isn't a ton of depth, but the show doesn't pretend to be anything but a fun, sci-fi romp around the galaxy. 7.5 – Good. Films or shows that get this score are good, but not great. These could have been destined for greatness, but were held back by their flaws. While some may not enjoy them, fans of the genre will definitely love them.
Space Adventure Cobra photo
Total recall has never been this good
'80s anime had a fondness for cribbing from classic sci-fi. You can see the influences of authors like Issac Asimov and Philip K. Dick and movies like Terminator and Alien in multiple shows from the era. Hell, the influence o...

Review: Blessing of the Campanella

Mar 17 // LB Bryant
Blessing of the Campanella Complete Collection (DVD)Studio: AICLicensed by: Right StufRelease Date: 2/4/14MSRP: $49.99 Let's dispense with this right away... this is a moe harem series through and through. All of the characters are designed to be cute and lovable and the fan service is plentiful. This is a series where you are meant to find at least one character to attach yourself to and feel something special about them. Not that this is a bad thing; not in the least. I'm just letting everyone know ahead of time that if you're looking for some sword-clanging Record of Lodoss War-style fantasy action, you're going to be very disappointed.  If you're going into this series realizing that what you're getting is pure fluff, you'll find that this isn't a bad release at all. It's actually quite fun once you dispose yourself of the notion that Blessing of the Campanella is going to deliver anything particularly hard-hitting or deep. This is twelve episodes (thirteen if you count the OVA episode bundled as an extra) of cute wrapped up in adorable.  As you go through it you're bound to notice all sorts of fun little treats and tidbits. For instance, this is a surprisingly musical series, filled with various theme and insert songs. None of the songs are particularly wonderful (this series isn't trying to be K-ON after all) but they are certainly catchy and so don't be surprised if you find yourself whistling or humming one or more songs from this series long after you've finished watching it.  The big complaint that I have with Blessing of the Campanella is that it relies way too much on fan service to sell the female characters to the audience. Breast shots and bathing scenes are common throughout the series to the point of being pointless and distracting. Hell, one of the extras included on each disc are various 3D animated bathing scenes of the different female characters, which are nothing more than two minute nude scenes. Seriously.  Ignoring that one complaint though, Blessing of the Campanella has a solid story progression all the way through the series. The first few episodes are dedicated to introducing the characters and developing their personalities. We eventually learn everything we want to know about where Minette came from, and why the villain named Aberdeen wants to kidnap her and use her for his own nefarious purposes. The climax has everyone coming together to fix a major problem with their world, and wraps up in a satisfying manner. Overall I enjoyed this series though. It's fun and never takes itself too seriously, which is exactly the right attitude to have when watching this. Go and pick this one up if you're looking for a lighthearted fantasy romp.  Score: 7.0 – Good. Films or shows that get this score are good, but not great. These could have been destined for greatness, but were held back by their flaws. While some may not enjoy them, fans of the genre will definitely love them.
Review: Campanella photo
Fantasy world boobies
In 2010, Funimation simulcasted a fantasy series called Blessing of the Campanella and then, once concluded, it quietly went away. For months no one brought it up again until 2013 when Right Stuf revealed at a summer convent...

Right Stuf photo
Right Stuf

Save big with the latest sale at Right Stuf

Pick over the drawn & quartered corpse of ADV!
Feb 24
// Pedro Cortes
Hark, what is that sound? That's the sound of money not flooding out of your wallet. It's a sound that comes with sales, like the one currently going on at the RightStuf. The retailer's current big sale features titles from M...
Ah My Buddah photo
Ah My Buddah

Right Stuf's Lucky Penny label to release Ah! My Buddha

Ah... ok
Feb 12
// LB Bryant
While it's not the license that everyone was hoping would be announced today, Right Stuf revealed via a press release earlier today that they have licensed the series Ah! My Buddha and will be releasing it as a complete 26 ep...
Outreach  photo

Buy anime, make a donation to help kids learn to read

Right Stuf partners with Reach Out and Read Iowa
Feb 01
// Karen Mead
If you're like me, you always intend to give more to charity, but the mystery of where your money really goes holds you back. Some charities are great about spending your money for the benefit of the populations they serve, b...
Manga sale photo
Manga sale

Yaoi imprint SuBLime celebrates its anniversary

50% off select bundles for a limited time
Jan 18
// Tim Sheehy
If you're big on boys love, or just feel the occasional urge to stock up on some yaoi, Viz Media has got you covered. Their specialized Yaoi-centric manga imprint, SuBLime -- oh, the BL is capitalized... I see what they did t...
Video photo

Right Stuf! teases Sailor Moon fans; someone laughs

Pretty sure this was suppose to be funny
Dec 04
// Tim Sheehy
If you've been desperately waiting for news about the upcoming uncut Sailor Moon blu-ray sets, you can keep on waiting. The folks over at Right Stuf! thought it'd be cute to tease everyone with a release date by tweeting a l...
Sankarea Recall photo
Sankarea Recall

FUNimation changes Sankarea replacement to recall

FUNi and your retailer will work it out
Oct 04
// Jeff Chuang
Not too long ago FUNimation posted a public service announcement regarding their release of Sankarea. The teenage zombie romantic comedy featured a gruesome scene with Rea, who gets, well, turned into a zombie from a nasty fa...
Gundam UC Part 3 photo
Gundam UC Part 3

Right Stuf launches a release date for Gundam UC Part 3

Three release dates down, one more to go.
Jul 31
// Salvador G Rodiles
If you don't mind owning Gundam Unicorn in standard definition, Right Stuf has revealed an actual date for Gundam Unicorn Part 3. The actual date for the next DVD set will be on the 5th of November.  I know I'm being del...
Right Stuf's new goodies  photo
Right Stuf's new goodies

AX 2013: Right Stuf grabs Princess Nine and more

A former ADV series is back on the field!
Jul 06
// Salvador G Rodiles
Oh good, it seems that a Princess Knight riot didn't occur during Right Stuff's Friday panel. Seeing how all of Right Stuf's divisions have announced something, we can assume that no one got injured during the presentation at...
Nozomi panel at AX 2013  photo
Nozomi panel at AX 2013

YES! Nozomi is having an acquisition panel at Anime Expo

I think I'm going to be punished for the reasoning behind my excitement.
Jul 01
// Salvador G Rodiles
I will admit that I'm am over reacting on my view towards Nozomi's latest announcement, but I'm actually more curious about the scene that's going to appear at the panel. On the good side of things, they're going to talk abou...
Gundam UC DVD release  photo
Gundam UC DVD release

Colony drop: Right Stuf to distribute Gundam UC on DVD

Feast your eyes on a cheaper option for Gundam Unicorn.
May 14
// Salvador G Rodiles
It looks like the hope in the form of Gundam is still around in North America, since Right Stuf has signed up with Sunrise to release Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn on DVD. Long story short, the series is going to be re...

Irresponsible Rose Lions joins Nozomi's upcoming releases

Two re-releases and a new release are coming your way.
Mar 13
// Salvador G Rodiles
Yikes, I didn't think that Nozomi was going to do this to us. Don't they know the dangers that they are inflicting upon society? Do they realize that Rose Lions are the most irresponsible creatures in the entire universe? Oh ...

Right Stuf licenses Space Adventure Cobra

Jan 15
// Brad Rice
It's a good day for classic licenses. Right Stuf just announced they're bringing out the 1982 series Space Adventure Cobra, set to hit shelves in late 2013 on DVD and digital distribution channels. The series follows the adve...

Review: Martian Successor Nadesico DVD Collection

Nov 15 // Pedro Cortes
Martian Successor Nadesico Complete Collection LE [DVD]Studio: XebecLicensed by: Right Stuf/NozomiMSRP: $59.99  Set in the future, Martian Successor Nadesico revolves around a war between humanity and the mysterious Jovian Lizards. The Lizards posses superior technology, slowly forcing humanity further back toward Earth and away from their interplanetary colonies. One of those colonies is on Mars, where main character Akito Tenkawa has lived since birth. However, Akito is alone, as his parents were killed years prior to the start of the show. All by himself, he's focused on becoming a chef, due to the poor quality of the food on Mars. Since his parent's death, he's become a pacifist and wants nothing to do with the conflict between Earth and the Jovians. However, due to his connections with the new captain of the spaceship Nadesico, he gets dragged on board and quickly becomes one of the only able pilots. Based off that quick synopsis, I wouldn't be surprised if you presumed that Akito would be a sullen, angry, withdrawn child that bitches and complains more than getting the job down. While he does have his moments, that's actually pretty far off the mark for Akito. For the most part, Akito is a pretty upbeat guy. The moments where he backslides into a petulant child make sense, as they involve the death of particular characters, the revelation of his past and the identity of his true foe. He's a character that wouldn't appear in a show like this now in the era after Eva. The rest of the plot also does a good job of giving you something different. While you'll be able to figure out a couple of things, I know that you won't be expecting several twists and turns. There's an early character death that you will not see coming. It's easily the most unexpected removal I've seen and boy does it have some consequences. There's also the big twist that occurs a bit after the half way point, but I'll keep mum on that. What I will say is that a recent show attempted something similar. However, that show did little to nothing with said twist while Nadesico's characters are sufficiently rattled by their discovery.  One of the things that sets Nadesico apart is the relationship between Akito, Yurika and Megumi, one of the 'bridge bunnies.' Right from the start, you can tell that Akito and the Nadesico's captain, Yurika Misumaru, have a connection. They were brought up together on Mars and it's clear that Yurika has the hots for Akito. If you expect Yurika to chase Akito around for the entirety of the show, you'd be right, but it isn't as simple as that. After a particularly devastating event for Akito, he ends up dating Megumi, putting him in quite an awkward love triangle early on. It was quite surprising, as most lead pilots like Akito stick to the normal will they/won't they antics with their primary love interest while the other members of the harem opine about their love lost. To have him make an early move (and recognize his mistake later on) is something you rarely see period. Besides Akito and Yurika, the Nadesico houses some of the stranger characters you've seen in a space ship. You have your typical emotionless, genius loli in the form of Ruri Hoshino, but she has some of the better dramatic moments later on when she goes and investigates her past. There are also the Nergal employees Goat Hoary and Mr. Prospector, who oversee the crew and make sure that they act in Nergal's best interests. While they both do their jobs to the best of their ability, they show an adaptability later on that you wouldn't expect from proper employees. Unfortunately, I going into any further detail about other characters would start getting into spoiler territory, and a lot of the twists are pretty neat. I particularly dug Inez's past, which does a good job in wrapping up Akito's story. In terms of visuals, I felt that Nadesico holds up despite its age. While it definitely has its crappy moments, characters tend to stay on model and the combat looks good. The robots are well-designed and the space ships look great. The early Jovian units look bug-like and creepy, which fits well early on. The later designs get a bit ridiculous, but it makes sense in terms of the plot. The soundtrack is also pretty solid, lacking any tracks that made my ears bleed. What did make my ears bleed was the dub for the show. Considering when this dub was made, ADV decided to up the frantic factor by having their cast go all shrill. It's irritating and I couldn't get through more than a couple of episodes of it. The sub, on the other hand, has some great performances, particularly by Tomokazu Seki, aka G Gundam's Domon Kashuu. He's always a joy to listen to, as he's got hot-blood down to a science.  Following the 26 episode TV show is the film The Prince of Darkness, a sequel set several years after the shows end. I would love to say that the film as just as fantastic as the show, but that would be ignoring a ton of problems. First and most importantly, there's an entire chunk of the story missing. Don't blame the RightStuf, it isn't their fault. What happened was that vital information involving the goings on of the crew and the antagonists of the film was revealed in a Sega Saturn game, The Blank of Three Years. Not only that, but there's an epilogue game that came out on the Dreamcast that continues right after the film.  That right there should be enough to sink the film, but there are a couple more issues. The movie is only about 80 minutes long and Prince of Darkness suffers for it. Things start off with a bang, but quickly slow up when it's time to (illogically) bring the crew of the Nadesico back together, followed by a rushed finale. What makes things worse is that there was a Dreamcast game released afterwards which follows up on the ending to the film. Despite all that, the story can still be followed, even if you feel like you're missing about a third of what's going on. The biggest problem is the running time. If the movie were 20 minutes longer, they could've fit in the missing sections and everybody would be up to speed. The only saving grace that Prince of Darkness has is its visuals. This is one pretty movie. You'd be hard pressed to find a prettier hand-drawn movie. The final piece of the package is the one episode Gekigangar 3 OVA. A famous super robot anime within the Nadesico universe, Gekigangar plays a heavy part in the show. Framed as a movie watched by the Nadesico characters, the OVA 'recaps' what goes on prior to the movie followed by a newly animated battle. It's explosive, hot-blooded fun. If you dug the clips you saw throughout the show, you'll no doubt love this. On top of being remastered, I believe this is the first time it's available in the US. I'm sure old fans of Nadesico would like to have this in their collection. OK, so let's do a quick recap. First, the Nadesico TV show is great on all fronts. It has an interesting plot with lots of twists and turns, it keeps viewers on their toes and it holds up 15 years after its initial release. Second, the Prince of Darkness movie is not very good. The pacing problems and missing information make it difficult to keep up with. However, the gorgeous animation will keep you entertained through at least one viewing. Finally, the Gekigangar 3 OVA is a great cap to the package, what with its reverence to classic robot shows of the '80s. All three of these items are available in one package that's full of extras that include documentaries, interviews, promotional videos and clean openings and endings. This would be worth it with just the show alone. Add everything together and you have a fantastic package that you need to have in your collection.   8.5 - Great. A great example of its genre that everyone should see, regardless of their interest.  
Three products, one great package
There are some shows that come out and completely alter their genre. Classics like Super Dimension Fortress Macross and Love Hina have altered their respective landscapes to the point where future television shows and media h...


Let Them Eat Romance: Rose of Versailles licensed

Sep 18
// Josh Tolentino
Now here's a blast from the past. In a move I definitely did not anticipate (though this probably stems from my cluelessness regarding the genre), Right Stuf has acquired the license to - of all things - Rose of Versaill...

Bakemonogatari BD US release date and price listed

That's a lot of bucks.
Sep 10
// Elliot Gay
I know Bakemonogatari can be a pretty divisive series, but for what it's worth I really dug it. Aniplex announced earlier this year that they were planning on releasing the series on BD in America this fall, and if Right Stuf...

Japanator Recommends: Boogiepop Phantom

Jul 28 // Pedro Cortes
Boogiepop Phantom Complete TV Series (DVD)Studio: Madhouse StudiosLicensed by Nozomi EntertainmentRelease Date: June 5, 2012MSRP: $29.99Right Stuf  The story thread of Boogiepop Phantom can be a bit difficult to follow, so stick with me. The show takes place in a Japanese town that is still reeling from a string of unsolved murders that occurred five years prior. A month before the story begins, a giant beam of light shot into the night sky, starting another set of strange occurrences. People are exhibiting strange abilities, random folk are disappearing, that sort of thing. Among this, the urban legend of Boogiepop, walking the streets starts to spread among the girls of Shinyo Academy. It's like Death incarnate. That's the basic thread of the show. Instead of following a single storyline, Boogiepop Phantom changes it's main character each episode. What you have then is a series of non-linear narratives that, by the end of the show, gives you the whole story on what the hell is going in this town. You'll have characters frequently cross paths across different episodes, filling in blanks that made no sense before. Considering how frequently these characters meet bad ends, it's a clever method of story-telling that shows you how dark things have gotten in this city. One of the few problems I had was the frequent disorientation and, in my case, frustration, with how the story is presented. Boogiepop likes to jump around in its time line, which sometimes left me confused on when a particular scene was occurring. Even when I do know what's going on, I feel like I can almost grasp the whole story, but I'm missing that last nugget of information. In that way, Boogiepop feels like a David Lynch production. It's purposefully disjointed and information is just out of your grasp, but you're OK with it. However, there's still some parts that didn't make sense to me. Since Boogiepop is based off of a light novel series, I'm pretty sure that the entire story wasn't represented in the series. I'm still not completely sure what lead up to the pillar of light that is referenced so often. Enough information was given so that the overall story makes sense, but there's definitely the feeling that something has been left out. I'm not quite sure if I like Boogiepop's visuals or not. A majority of the show has a desaturated, sepia-tinged color palette. This is an interesting and unique style, but it doesn't always lend itself to looking very good. In fact, I'd hazard to say that Boogiepop as a whole has not aged well. Its stiff and limited animation makes it look older than it actually is and the limited colors don't help. Then again, most of the show has a vignette effect tossed in, so it's possible that all of that was part of establishing that great mood I mentioned earlier. Just don't expect it to wow you with its animation quality. Right Stuf's re-release features has both Japanese and English vocal tracks, with the dub featuring both stereo and 5.1 sound options. What's interesting is that I found both versions to be lacking in quality acting. Neither vocal track is particularly good, but I found the dub to be the better of the two, if only for its kitsch value. It doesn't take away from the show as a whole, but there are some comically over- and under-acted scenes. Hey, it's just like a David Lynch flick! The soundtrack is also appropriately moody, with some great Silent Hill-esque sound distortion used to great effect.  Overall, I complete recommend Boogiepop Phantom. It's creepy at all the right times and it's told in a fairly unique way. Despite the lackluster vocal performances in both languages, the mood it establishes with its story, visuals and its soundtrack more than makes up for its deficiencies. Do note that it isn't a particularly nice looking show, but it definitely does not look like anything else. If you want a something to creep you out and unnerve you, pick up Right Stuf's re-release.   Score: 7.0 - 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.  

I didn't start off as a fan of horror. When I was a kid, I was terrified of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street franchises. I hated monsters of just about any kind and stuck to safe and happy things. While my stan...


AX '12: Nozomi licenses Aoi Hana, Ristorante Paradisio

Jul 02
// Brad Rice
While Sentai Filmworks drowned us in licensed titles, Nozomi and the folks at Right Stuf have announced some really high quality licenses: Hyakko, Aoi Hana, and Ristorante Paradisio. I, a full-grown man with a growing be...

Hetalia Axis Powers Vol. 3 gets English release

May 02
// Michelle Rodanes
Right Stuf has partnered with manga publisher Tokyopop to bring us the third volume of the NY Times Best Selling series Hetalia Axis Powers in English for the first time ever. The first print-run is scheduled for release in l...

First half of Rental Magica coming to DVD in August!

Apr 19
// Michelle Rodanes
Right Stuf and Nozomi Entertainment have just confirmed that the first half of their Rental Magica DVD collection will be hitting stores on August 7th. Based on the award-winning shojo light novels by Majoto Sanda, ...

Dirty Pair Flash coming soon to DVD

Mar 29
// Michelle Rodanes
Right Stuf and Nozomi Entertainment have announced that they will be releasing Dirty Pair Flash on DVD this upcoming July 10th. For those of you not familiar with the show, Dirty Pair Flash is a 1990s reimagining of the humor...

Let Irisviel drive you mad for the Fate/Zero BD box set

Feb 28
// Josh Tolentino
Or will she drive you...loony? Either way, right after the hyper-dramatic sizzle reel (check it below) promoting the first Blu-ray box set for Fate/Zero is a decidedly undramatic set of Q&A segments run by Ms. Iris and St...

Boogiepop Phantom gets a complete DVD set

Feb 23
// Bob Muir
Boogiepop Phantom was one of those series that I always meant to watch, but never got around to for various reasons. Now, I have another chance, as the 12-episode anime is getting rereleased in a 4-disc DVD set by Right Stuf'...

Uh-oh: Media Blasters suspends Bakuman and Ikki Tousen

Feb 06
// Michelle Rodanes
Media Blasters has just announced that they will be removing Bakuman Issue 2 DVD (episodes 8-13) and Ikki Tousen Great Guardians Complete Series DVD (episodes 1-12) from their release schedule. According to the Right Stuf website, all pending customer orders for the titles are now being placed on hold. No new release dates for the two series have been revealed.  [Via ANN]

Right Stuf announces Dirty Pair feature DVD collection

Jan 26
// Michelle Rodanes
Attention 80s anime fans! Right Stuf has announced that they will be releasing a brand new DVD combo pack of Dirty Pair feature films this upcoming May 1st. Adequately titled Dirty Pair: The Original Features DVD Collection, ...

Japanator Recommends: Revolutionary Girl Utena Pt. 2 & 3

Jan 09 // Pedro Cortes
Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Black Rose Saga & The Apocalypse SagaStudio: JC StaffLicensed by: Nozomi/Right StufRelease Date: Aug. 2, 2011 (Black Rose Saga) | Dec. 6, 2011 (Apocalypse Saga)MSRP: $49.99 (Black Rose Saga) | $79.99 (Apocalypse Saga)   When we last left off, Utena defeated Touga to once again become the betrothed to Anthy, the Rose Bride. Despite throwing everything they have at her, the Student Council is still unable to properly defeat Utena. In comes Mikage, a genius who is intent on creating better duelists to defeat our plucky heroine. He makes those he can manipulate into Black Rose duelists, emotionally-drained individuals who seriously put Utena to the test. Instead of trying to control Anthy, Mikage wants to axe her and replace the Rose Bride with a sick boy named Mamiya. Obviously, things do not quite work out the way that Mikage or Utena planned, leading to sets of duels in the third volume involving duelists and their "Rose Brides." To make matters even more interesting, we discover Anthy has a brother named Akio, who also happens to be the acting chairman of the school. Despite being engaged to the daughter of the actual headmaster, there are some hefty implications that Akio and his sister are a bit, uh, closer than they appear. Another wrench appears in Utena's emotions, as she slowly falls in love with Akio, despite his machinations behind the scenes. The duels leading into and through the final episodes culminate in an incredibly emotional battle that forces everybody to examine their motives and what costs they have. Alright, once again that's a very brief synopsis for a show that goes into some pretty strange places. The second and third parts to Revolutionary Girl Utena go further into the realm of the absurd, with girls thinking they laid eggs, bells that turn people into cows and more bits of insanity. This extends to the relationships between characters, where simple incest is tame in comparison to the strange roads these people have traveled. The boundaries between man, woman, gay, straight and everything in between are blurred, so much so that you never really know a characters agenda until the end. Nothing represents these blurred lines quite so much as Akio. A pretty boy in the most literal of terms, it doesn't really matter who you are. If you are human, are useful and are at least somewhat attractive, he'll probably bang you. However, look beyond his promiscuity and you'll see a cunning mind that is willing to do anything and use anyone to further his plans. Nothing is not a tool that he can mold and shape into an instrument of his. Yet, is that pimp exterior and brilliant interior all there is to him? Look even deeper and you'll a guy who is struggling to feel something in a seriously f**ked up world. He is by far the most fascinating character in the entire show and also a right bastard. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the other highlights in these episodes. Nanami continues to bring the laughs with some ludicrous side episodes that you definitely wouldn't see anywhere else. Her brother-complex antics go awry due to revelations later, but she still remains one of the best parts of the whole show. Honorable mention goes out to poor Miki and the crap he has to put up with between the School Council and his emotionally-damaged sister. For sheer trauma, I'll tip my hat to Mikage, but he's out of the picture before he can make a bigger impact. The shadow girls who perform are also comedy gold, but you'll find that the scenarios they bring up in their skits become reflective of what's going on. Be sure to pay attention! Much like the first set of episodes, the quality of the animation comes and goes. Despite the general excellent quality of the remastered video, there is still the occasional bit of derp outside the well-animated stock footage. The audio is also pretty good in both languages, with the music properly reflecting the general oddity of Ohtori Academy. I warmed up a bit to the dub during this review, but I still prefer the original language track. Bonus points go to Crispin Freeman and Josh Mosby for their performances as Touga and Akio respectively. Speaking of the stock footage, there are some new sets in each of the box sets, so be prepared to see a long hallway filled with signs, a descending elevator whilst a character spills their heart, Akio taking a ride on his bad ass whip, Anthy enchanting Utena's blade…you get the idea. Don't get me wrong, these clips all look great and their intelligent use probably kept this show on budget. It's just that there's a lot of repetition here. It's similar to the formula I mentioned during my review of the first set, but know there are more repeated scenes. It isn't a deal breaker, but it's definitely worth noting. In terms of presentation of the final product, Nozomi/Right Stuf have done an amazing job. The boxes for the second and third sets have the same silhouette and color motif that I mentioned during my first review and they still impress me just as much as they did a couple of months back. DVDs come with the occasional commentary, which I always enjoy listening to. Each of the boxes comes with a booklet full of character art and interviews with the cast and crew, which is something I rarely see these days. You'll notice that the third set is a bit more expensive than set one and two, but that's for good reason. On top of booklet and an additional disk of extras, it includes The Adolescence of Utena film released in 1999. I'd definitely say that's worth the extra scratch right there. Those who order all three sets directly from RightStuf also get a replica of Utena's ring. Revolutionary Girl Utena is a classic that everybody should give a shot. Granted, it won't be to everybody's taste, but it's unlike any other show out there. The flawed, damaged, intriguing characters have a surprising depth to them that most shows wish they could have. It treats growing up, relationships, sex and sexuality in a mature manor. In a world where sexuality and love have become more fluid and harder to define in definitely terms, I think the fantasy world of Revolutionary Girl Utena is one of better pieces of entertainment you can find.   Score: 8.5

I began my review of Nozomi/Right Stuf's first Revolutionary Girl Utena box set by discussing the difficulty of balancing surrealism and a coherent story. Many shows attempt both and fail at them equally. Thanks to interestin...

Japanator Kinda Recommends: Gakuen Alice

Jan 04 // Kristina Pino
Gakuen Alice DVD 5-Disc Set (Episodes 1-26)Studio: Group TACLicensed by: Nozomi Entertainment/Right Stuf InternationalMSRP: $49.99 [Buy] The best way for me to describe Gakuen Alice besides calling it a show with kiddos for protagonists (something I'm not into, really), is to say it's a funny show with a slice-of-life feel to it (due to no strongly overlying plot throughout the series) and a little kiddie romance mixed in. The main character, Mikan, is a total ditz and stupidly cheerful girl who has a knack for making the people around her feel happy, motivated and wanted. When she goes looking for her friend Hotaru who'd been taken away to Alice Academy, a teacher there discovers she has a very rare Alice, that is to nullify any other person' Alice (i.e. protect herself or others from harmful Alice). The main premise isn't anything groundbreaking, and Mikan actually reminds me a lot of Kotoko from Itazura Na Kiss, which was at first tragic. I didn't really want to be subjected to a show about a dumb protagonist who turns out to be oh-so-special because of how happy she makes others feel. As it turns out, Gakuen Alice takes this a bit further by introducing a wide cast of characters, all who possess unique abilities and creating plenty of subplots to keep things balanced. Predictably, the story has a "dark side," personified by Natsume Hyuuga, a boy who is classified as a "Dangerous Ability" type user for his fire Alice. He is basically unapproachable by all the other students besides a select few, including his friend Ruka Nogi, a boy who has the kind of pheromones to make all animals love him. The two boys naturally go through some big changes when they slowly and inevitably fall for Mikan. Mikan was met with plenty of hardship when she transferred to Alice Academy. For starters, she had no clue what her Alice ability was until she was able to demonstrate it (by nullifying a fire attack Natsume had sent in her direction) in front of the other students for their acceptance. She then was subjected to the rank of "no star" in the school's ranking system which goes from none to three, and a "special" tier on top which dictates everything a student is allowed to from boarding/facility usage, to allowances and meals. Mikan eventually earns a star, but not before going through hell and back for it. When I first started watching Gakuen Alice, I wasn't immediately endeared to the characters or even willing to follow through the entire 26 episode series. It wasn't until episode 6, when Mikan catches her first break in the entire show that I felt there was some hope for the character, and therefore the show. She meets her fellow upperclassmen with abilities that can't be categorized as scientific or mental or anything like that (in other words, unique abilities, just like Mikan), has some fun, and learns more about her own Alice. Growth occurs when people around Mikan get closer to her and tell her to cut her whiny attitude, to stop complaining and realize that they're all in it together. She misses home, and this is a constant struggle for her, but then so do all the other students who've been taken from their families to the Academy where they are "protected" from the outside environment. The flip side is, some of the more stick-up-their-butt characters around Mikan loosen up when she touches their lives. The rest is all comedy and fun. There is some romance, though not too much considering they're small kids. And there's a bit of a creepy factor with one of the teachers, but overall watching Gakuen Alice is a pleasant experience. It's a feel-good show that loosely follows through a storyline, but feels more like you're just watching things happen as time passes by. There's a bit of an overlying plot point about the fact that Mikan's Alice is so special, and perhaps that she's destined for great things together with Natsume, but I didn't feel it was too prominent. When I first saw the title of the anime and the OP, I thought it would have a lot of references to Alice in Wonderland. As it turns out, it only really references it in the sense that Mikan is a dummie, and goes from her ordinary country life to this supernatural world full of all kinds of impossibly odd things. In this I was actually glad, because I wouldn't have really wanted to deal with the overuse of that sort of thing. I couldn't really draw any other similarities besides the one broad theme. The DVD set doesn't have a dub so I watched it all with subtitles. The OP is nice and energetic (performed by Kana Ueda, who voices Mikan), but the ED  (again, Kana Ueda, but joined by Rie Kugimiya who voices Hotaru) is bland and stupefying. In terms of extra features, you get the usual clean OP and EDs as well as character bios and extra info. From what I've read, the manga is actually superb and I've become interested in reading it since there doesn't seem to be another animated series in the horizon. The only real reason is because I do quite enjoy slice-of-life, and after I've invested enough time in one I'll always want to keep watching or reading just to see what happens. Does that happen to anyone else? [Score: 6.2. The show is "okay;" didn't seek to do anything too special. Some will love it (I ended up enjoying it), many will pass.]

Let's go back, far back, back to 2004 when a young girl with a delicious name (Sakura Mikan) followed her genius friend (Imai Hotaru) to a school for children with special abilities called Alices. Do you remember the story? N...


PSA: RightStuf begins its 12 Days of Savings

Nov 28
// Josh Tolentino
In this case the "S" in "PSA" means SWEET DEALS. Preeminent anime retailer RightStuf has begun its "12 Days of Savings" mega-sale. In fact, the whole sale will be going on for longer than twelve days, lasting through December...
 photo's Black Friday sale is on now

Nov 24
// Hiroko Yamamura
Can't move? Have you scarfed down so much holiday goodness that the thought of waking up in the morning to pick up a $199 PS3 or a super cheap 3DS game make you sick? I'm with you. I kind of hate going into large retail stores, not to mention the hell on earth that is known as Black Friday. Luckily, have kicked off their sale already! Aiming for anything good yourself?

Streaming GET: Watch Emma: A Victorian Romance on Youtube

Aug 11
// Josh Tolentino
It's time to be thrilled, fellow viewers, because Rightstuf and Nozomi have decided to stream Emma: A Victorian Romance to you, for free, on that You-est of tubes, Youtube. Why, you ask? It's simple, really. They're putt...

Japanator Kind of Recommends: Gravitation

Apr 26 // Kristina Pino
Title: Gravitation DVD Box SetStudio DEENLicense: Right StufRelease: January, 2011 MSRP: $59.99 I'll start with discussing the basic premise to jog your memories. It's an old show, I know. Gravitation follows the story of Shuichi Shindo, who is an aspiring artist and the singer of a band called Bad Luck. Then the fateful day comes when he meets Yuki Eiri, a romance novelist who passes him by and tells him he's got zero talent and should quit trying to be in a hit band. In the course of the first couple of episodes, Shuichi becomes quite fixated with Yuki, who turns out to be a very troubled and complicated individual with a dark past. Simple, right? That's what I thought when I was about to re-watch Gravitation for the first time. I'm going to be honest, though. I spent most of my time watching cringing and trying not to look away. There are very few movies, shows or books that make me feel so incredibly embarrassed for the main character that I don't even want to see what's coming next, even though I know it's coming and that things turn out just fine. That being said, I still enjoyed the trip. There is a reason why I so enjoyed this anime back in the day, so why shouldn't I enjoy it now? It brought back fond memories, and reminded me that I really enjoyed the manga much more than the anime adaptation that followed. Maybe it's because you don't have to physically hear Shuichi's voice, which I've always thought was way too whiny (annoying!), or all his crying and whining throughout 80% of his time on screen. I also don't recall Yuki being such a broken character. I thought it was cute that Yuki had a troubled past and trust issues, but looking back now he seriously had way too many problems. I'm surprised he didn't just croak in the middle of the story. I haven't gotten to what the box set comes with, though! With your slims, you'll get all 13 episodes throughout three DVDs and an OVA called "Lyrics of Love" which is an hour long. The bonus materials include clean openings and closings, character profiles, galleries and other notes. Of note is "Eiri Yuki Unmasked!," which covers his family and important events of his life, summaries about other characters and how they are important to Yuki's past. The other two DVDs cover "Bad Luck" and related characters, and "Nittle Grasper" with related characters, bringing together all the profiles for every person you meet in Gravitation. In the previous paragraph I mentioned "other notes". That is, side notes included in the bonus material that highlight certain aspects of the direction or events and explain them in terms of Japanese culture. There's a scene where Yuki and his ex-fiancee have tea together, and the notes in that volume have a page talking about Japanese tea ceremony, to name an example. I appreciate this in the bonus section rather than superimposed on the screen in sub titles the moment you're watching it, so you can just look for it later if you want to. If I remember correctly, the manga did this as well. One of the things I always really enjoyed about this anime is the soundtrack. I thought (and still think) it was so cool that an anime was based around a kid in a band, and they made cheesy, upbeat songs for the soundtrack. They made songs for Nittle Grasper, the rival band as well. This is a touch that a lot of shows don't bother to go for, and I definitely appreciate it here. As far as animation quality goes, it didn't change. For this re-release, just the sound was remastered. Is that a bad thing? Yes and no. The bad news is, it doesn't look all that great on the HDTV that I watched the new DVDs in, so I couldn't watch it full screen and even then the graphics got a little choppy. The good news is, it's the very same way I remember it. From episode to episode, the animation stays the same. The only times that the drawings actually go from "regular" to "spectacular", were very specific moments when the "camera" was on one of our main boys (which is to be expected, really). This isn't a drawback at all, and I didn't need it to look amazing. Also, less stock footage (that didn't bother me before but I notice now) would have been nice. Another note about the animation is that the OVA that comes in the box set is supposed to take place after the 13 episode series, but looks nothing like it. Shuichi, for example, has pink hair and blue eyes in the series, but has a darker red hair and green eyes (which I like much better, mind you) in the OVA. Other things have changed, such as Nittle Graspers' members hair and eye colors as well. The voice acting was all the same, but visually it was a completely different experience. To give you an idea, it's more on par with the style Fake was animated. It also re-animated some scenes we saw in the series in a different way than it was originally portrayed, which was a little confusing. Now the vocals! Something I caught onto now is that Mr. K, who is basically my favorite character of the anime series, talks with a hilarious foreign accent since he's American. Whenever the Japanese characters have conversation in English, it's usually quite slow, but it doesn't sound horrendous. Also, the translations highlighted with Japanese sub titles when there's English dialogue do not match what is being said, verbally, but only in context. Dub-wise, and I left this for last because I'm usually pretty apprehensive about giving dubs a chance, I wasn't really disappointed. It sounded like those videos on YouTube where people dub over cats and other animals. A couple of the characters sounded good, like K (Bad Luck's Manager) and Sakano (Bad Luck's Producer), but the rest had voices that didn't seem to match the person. As was the case with the anime, I liked Shuichi's voice acting the least, though. He's not a little kid or anything, but the voice actors make him seem much younger than he is. I think it brought the show down a little, making the age difference between Shuichi and Yuki seem so much bigger than it should be. I don't know their age difference, but Shuichi is out of school and old enough to drink, so he shouldn't sound like a high school aged kid. For the most part, this experience has ripped those nostalgia glasses off my face and let me appreciate Gravitation in a different way. That being said, I wouldn't recommend this anime to someone who isn't familiar with the story. The OVA is much better directed, but compared with most of the other BL available, Gravitation stands out in a completely different way. The couple is a totally different class than what you might be used to if you're watching or reading stuff like A Foreign Love Affair, Junjou Romantica, even Fake or Yellow. It was a pleasure re-watching, but it's so different from other stories, which are starting to become more of the same, that you'll either love it or hate it, I think.  Score: 7.5 -- Good (It's pretty good, but more than likely only fans of Boys Love will like or appreciate the series. Furthermore, it's likely that original 'Gravitation' fans will enjoy this more than others. Fans of older, hand-drawn animation and 90's style series will definitely enjoy it a bit more.)

I remember writing up a yaoi article back when we did Ero Week here on Japanator. If you read it, you may remember I shared that my very first BL was Gravitation. Back when I was exposed to it, the manga was still on-going an...


Right Stuf to release remastered Utena box set in June

Mar 15
// Tim Sheehy
Yesterday, Right Stuf and Nozomi Entertainment announced the upcoming release of their limited edition Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Student Council Saga DVD box set. The set is the first of three that'll featu...

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