Monday, September 30, 2013

Autumn 2013 Anime Preview

I'm back bitches~!I have been back in the warm embrace of my PC & wonderful internet connection for three weeks now - it's been a strange experience.For a start Ireland feels bloody tiny, but the crap public transport means that I am sorely missing not having a car.I am pretty much bankrupt thanks to my trip (which was loads of fun) so had a frantic first week home of job searching.Thankfully I got a temporary 2 month contract to tide me over for a while .which meant very little time being a NEET and catching up on things.

Being the obsessive fan I am, I did manage to keep up with a choice selection of shows from the seasons I was AWOL, but still have a lengthy list of things I want to check out - will get round to them eventually.But anyhoo, you're here for the Autumn Preview, so lets get cracking! (Can't tell you how much I missed doing these things - exhausting, but satisfying~!)

Toonami Lineup Changes: Double IGPX, FLCL, and Ghost in the Shell

Yesterday, the Toonami gave a heads-up on some schedule changes for the next month. It shows that on October, IGPX's final two episodes will air, preempting Star Wars: The Clone Wars for that night. Schedule is as follows:

12:00AM Bleach

Top Five TV Series For Getting Into Anime

Anime. It seems interesting to many folks, but then they get turned off by its reputation for creepy juvenile fantasy. And that's really too bad, because the genre has a lot to offer if you know where to look. Like many folks, my first introduction to the anime genre was via popular films by(, , etc.) and then later with lesser films such as or film adaptations of TV series. But when I first tried to expand my awareness of the anime genre into the realm of television, I was immediately struck by how many of the highly-recommended shows seemed to be rather childish and really struggled to compete with live-action sci-fi/fantasy for my interest. Was anime simply not for me? I didn't want to write off an entire genre of film, and so I continued sorting through the dross until I was able to identify the sort of anime series that I actually liked. This list is intended for casual viewers who find themselves in a similar position.

The difficulty with coming up with Top 5 lists is that they are often so subjective. Elements that can make a show a favorite can also be deal-breakers for other viewers. Since I came at this list from the perspective of a sci-fi fan rather than an anime-lover per se, I'm quite sure that some of my reasons for excluding veteran shows will be anathema for some. For example, this list is mostly composed of newer shows since I don't feel that the animation and characterization of many older anime has aged well (like /). Cue vitriol.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

100th Post Special Part 2: Top 10 Anime Heroes

Last week, I gave you my favorite anime villains. So it only makes sense to turn things around and discuss my favorite heroes.

10) Naruto Uzemaki (Naruto and Naruto Shippuden) Whether you've given up on Naruto like me or you're still watching, one thing is certain: Naruto is a kid you can't keep down. Back when I actually liked the show, I loved watching Naruto beat seemingly impossible odds. Just make him the Hokage already!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Anime Music Tournament 2013 Bracket Naota

A little late to the party, as the is already completed, and the second one is about ready to finish. But I'll still keep pushing on.


Dead Horse Attack! Attack of the Clones

"We've got some leftovers. Reheat this and put on some 3D to mask the flavor".

Sure enough, everything's coming up Star Warsfor the foreseeable future.The New movies, along with the 3D-fiedre-releases that got canceled the fuck out because Disney don't play nice with competitors and now writing this seems a smidge more pointless but it's already written, are gonna have us quoting Yoda until our tongues bleed.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall 2013 Anime Season

I'm back from the dead! Stuff has happened this summer, like moving and new job hunting, but the real reason for my hiatus here (given that I have continued blogging during other wonky periods) is that I am selfish and just got burnt out. I feel up to doing it again, so if you want to read my thoughts on nerdy crap I like, I hope you enjoy it. (Especially my favorite nerd, who encouraged me to write again.)

As always, most of what's airing this season is bad, but there are some good-looking choices. I opted not to include seiyuu lists this time (although I note seiyuu a few times- I just don't feel like giving an exhaustive list of noteworthy seiyuu for the tenth horrible harem show of the season), but otherwise it's the same as previous season posts.

Cosplay Photography #2

We hope you enjoyed our first COSPLAY PHOTOGRAPHY collection a few months ago wherein we feature some of the most outstandingphotos of Final Fantasy's . Today we present to you our second collection of photos from talented photographers and cosplayers - today we are not featuring a character from a video game but from a popularseries by SHIROW MASAMUNE - MAJOR MOTOKO KUSANAGI of .

Meanwhile, theis back with an all-new prequel tetralogy series "GHOST IN THE SHELL: ARISE" with the first episode, "Border:1 Ghost Pain", premiered in Japan last June 22. Check out this coolphoto collection. What do you think?

Anime Talks: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

This weeks Anime Talks is going to be a mini review of "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex". This 2002 anime series which follows the exploits of Major Motoko Kusanagi ( simply refereed to as the Major most of the time ) and her team from the Japanese anti-terrorism crime unit "Public Security Section 9. The series is set in the fictional Japanese city of Niihama during the mid 21st century, where cyber crime, and cyborgs are common and the setting is very cyberpunk in it's feel.

It is worth noting at this time that there is also a Ghost in the Shell movie, and a Manga series however while the characters are more or less identical within these there medias each is independent of each other with vastly different plots. I like Ghost in the Shell ( both the SAC series and the movie ) because I find the characters interesting, and while it has plenty of action with tons of violence the show is more about detective work and mystery solving though it can get bogged down at time by the heavy political commentary which can be a turn off to some viewers.

Fall 2013 Preview

Let me first say this season does not look like it will save what has been a poor year in terms of anime in general (yes there have been some good series but still some really shitty ones). I will only give a brief overview of what I (Wilco) might be watching this season.


Monday, September 23, 2013


Knowing nothing about Continuum, beyond in my (Facebook) timeline, I was expecting no better than Jean Claude Van Damme, ricketing down a tunnel o'time in a two seater Sinclair C5 ("Timecop" 1994), with an irritatingly clashing flavour of causality in each successive episode.

But Continuum is far more grown up, with unexpected attention to detail. We're not talking "Primer" (2004) level mind strain, but more grounded than the "Back to the Future" (1985) style paradoxical paradox resolutions in "Looper" (2012). Of course there wasn't a blockbuster budget here, so the CGI is relatively light and tasteful, with all singing/dancing views of the future carefully rationed. Action/fight scenes aren't it's forteither, but are always passable, without any cringe-worthy flaws.

Dark Horse Previews PIcks: December 2013

So there was an article on last week talking about a new way for publisher marketshare to be measured that Marvel and Dark Horse have been pushing for.This new system would track retail share per item sold by Diamond.So rather than just a flat percent for "unit share" and "dollar share," we'd get an idea about how the titles from each company perform in relation to one another.While Marvel and DC still dominate using this new system, the gap between the two is more pronounced.Also, even though IDW has a bigger marketshare than Dark Horse at the moment, this new system shows that the latter company does better per item than the former.It's something to consider.That even as the raw numbers show the company's place in the market to be diminished, there's still life in their careful approach.

47 Ronin HC:Dark Horse Publisher Mike Richardson's take on the classic Japanese legend with art from "Usagi Yojimbo's" Stan Sakai.I don't really need more than that to convince me to pick this up.Onlyafter the awful misfire that was Richardson's work on "Crimson Empire III," I can only hope that he took the time with his script to produce something closer to his work on "Cravan:Mystery Man of the 20th Century" with Rick Geary.Now that was a fun piece of work.As for this, I'm actually not too familiar with the specifics of the legend so I'm going into it with an open mind.If nothing else, it should be more accurate than the upcoming fantasy film version starring Keanu Reeves.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Book Museum

"I have always imagined that heaven would be some kind of library." -Jorge Luis Borges LeVar Burton must be God, right?

The Milestone

Thus have I not only fairly neglected my albeit casual duties as a blogger, I have also neglected my obligation to thank those who follow a man's simple, humble yet passionate words in which it is my aspiring career to give to all the world. Thank you. Furthermore, this new post is two fold. I first wish to admittedly advertise that, as I myself am unaware as to whether or not I have mentioned this, my first book shall be up for sale nation wide come the twenty-fourth of September: three days! The title of the book is The Rudimentum Series: Aeon Eternal. This is the first book of a four part chronicle in which the fifth shall be a sort of "stand-alone", slightly apart yet very much congruent with the happenings of the created tales. Any person may purchase my book via or head to a major book retailer wheresoever they may dwell. This is assuredly the milestone of my life in which marks perhaps the advent of a career I have little doubt will engender success. The series itself is entirely fantastical with adventure, battles, love, betrayal, conspiracy, animosity, war and even a fair amount of politics. Just think kings and queens, their sons and daughters and plots to either take over the world, to save the world or to prevent the world from being destroyed by entities of titanic proportions. Include also the supernatural, A.I. and a plethora of science fiction mixed with magic and you have the basic ingredients for the concoction of which the Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Schrodinger's Cat, String Theory, Minority Report, the movie Artificial Intelligence, Blade Runner, I, Robot, the Planck Scale, Dark Matter and Ghost in the Shell have inspired within my Autistic mind. I tell you, I can muster but the shadow and echo of my thoughts as my fingers manipulate my mental chaos into words in gross inadequacy. I pray one day my conscious has the capacity to articulate what transpires like hundreds of billions of images passing before my imaginative eyes at no less than eight hundred trillion light years per yactosecond. How do I retain and perpetuate my sanity you may ask? Any way I can. The most effective method I have found is to release my thoughts into oblivion thus in fact sacrificing mental processes for the sake that I might be engaging amid a social situation. Moreover, as I work my current job, the more I endeavor to keep the ferocity of my rampant thoughts at bay within the confines of my mind in substitute for the rather elevated reality and importance of my job, the better my motor functions permit a good work in the plane of my physical existence. However, not all days allow for such ease in work. There have been many occasions in which, pushing hampers in a warehouse at Quest Drape (my current job) and setting up jobs via exact number calculations and management, have afforded what only ensues to a downward spiral of cogitations ranging anywhere between the next evolution in information gathering and beyond to the concept of morality and ethics in conjunction with the theory of A.I. and its current advances thereto. Again, as these notions are merely written in words of the English language, the credibility to which I fail to convey upon a gravity far too heavy for a primitive dialect to allow makes me feel frustrated. The worst in relation to all for which streams through both my conscious and subconscious on the planck scale as well as upon a universal scale is the idea that nearly all for which I ponder and all for which lies in my mind like a myriad of papers scattered helter-skelter in a room littered with detritus millions of years old-all seemingly useless-I hardly ever come to any conclusion upon every matter. Thus, my thoughts sit incomplete and eons away from any possible resolve. Ergo, I immensely enjoy writing as a way of at minimum "painting" my ruminations on a paper of black and white as a sort of ham-handed means to portray again the merest of shadows and echoes of my thoughts. Lastly, I hold back. I hold back a lot. My fear as to what would happen if my conscious control of writing was omitted of its filter is that all for which the reader follows with his or her eye path upon the page stands as a conundrum of nothing less than psycho babble. I myself have re-read the tiniest form of my pushing the edge of the proverbial envelope to the slightest of augmented degrees only to discover my own wanting comprehension! Perhaps one day, as my success in writing grows, I shall crack the door of what I call "Agony" ajar to the point where I can peer in just long enough to acquire if not an iota of substantial knowledge I struggle to possess, then the satisfaction of knowing that I tried and will be damned if I ever try again!

I have encountered fragments of Donnie Darko the movie, I sat through Fight Club (willingly) and repeatedly let myself watch films such as the Manchurian Candidate, They, Boogeyman, Saw and other psychological thrillers and horror flicks I abstain from with the epitome of what my constitution bemoans to have to still remember: to remember the sounds, the sights, the music, the dialogue and the insanity provoking stories my only regret was to become addicted to. For any who knows of one who is autistic, is autistic themselves or is in anyway related to one upon the spectrum, use extreme caution in the exposure to stimuli of a psychotic nature. When I drink alcohol my body reacts. When I drink coffee my body reacts. When I take my meds my body reacts. When I watch a heartwarming movie my emotions react. When I am exposed to either a movie, t.v. show or any such drama of a psychological or horrific theme-especially when my guard is dropped-my emotions and psyche react in always a negative fashion. I watched Perks of Being a Wallflower with my friends when it first came out. My therapist had to assure me that my reaction to the film was merely PTSD; that I was not actually again psychotic. Shortly after I recovered and engaged "normally" within my life. Why did I write all this? I wrote the aforesaid because as I sat here in Starbucks and update my blog, the theme song, "Mad World" came on the atmospheric speakers of the store and even in the shortly lived duration to which my mind and ears exposed themselves to the monody, it was adequate to make me, as I have coined in my subjectivity, "weird". When I become "weird", I am technically not sane. Outlets of channeling such feelings so as to prevent me from "stripping naked and squawking like a chicken" (so to speak I assure you) takes its precedence in this very action I now evoke: writing. Often, however, at least some sort of "weirdness" takes place and my behaviors are simply a little off. I pray that my followers and those later to come might at least consider my book so as to read it. I open up to thee all now under the notion that the release date of my book is in fact the twenty fourth of September, 2013 and no small amount of my soul was engraved upon its pages. This first book is the quantum level of thoughts within my mind. I myself am eager to read what shall follow and to what I even now create: the sequel. Thank you those who read my entire blog. If I am not addicted to substances and if I am not addicted to work or even sex, then I am truly addicted to writing. I could effortlessly write upon this dull white-wash board of rigid left-brain oriented interfaces evermore yet of course fail to ever again "paint" the kaleidoscopic vision of a paroxysm of sight and sound that, even now, my internal pictography portrays like a highly anticipated and high-budgeted movie.

For those in the area of Whittier, CA-in the L.A. area-you may come to my book signing on Saturday, October fifth at ten A.M. Look up Half Off Books in Uptown Whittier. Tell your friends all you bibliophiles. I know that even the worst books ever written are thoroughly read by those who love to read. Heaven forbid that my passion ensues such an outcome for my book, but please spread the word. My soul purpose in writing is to make people happy, as well as all for which my followers have thence read. Thank you.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ghost in the Shell is very popular in Japan and America, but have not made a good game. It was also

Statistics Code

Unfortunately, usually from anime and manga, Japanese-made computer stop motion pro games are not a major cause of this problem is the license number and popularity in the world. At this time, only a few of them are really really good. Below you can see the games that have made the best of the anime and manga.

The manga series has been the Japanese confronted with one of the best stories in UNS3 also be able to see the good parts. Fourth Great Ninja War a fascinating and exciting form of the game is displayed. CyberConnect2 begin construction of the complex, which was believed to have broken the line between cartoon and Real-Time Graphics.

Animation for Grown-ups

Cartoons. They aren't just for kids anymore and haven't been for long time. This post will highlight some of the best adult animation Rohrbach has to offer. Each of these films is considered unsuitable for children, be it for extreme sex and violence or for themes too complicated or disturbing for most youngsters. Here are a few top picks:


Friday, September 20, 2013

Fall 2013 Anime Season Previews/Thoughts

Full Size

Hey everyone! It's been awhile and I'm still not back to writing full time or anything. Xewleer is still stuck in his own life's troubles and I in mine. I haven't totally abandoned this blog and will at least do these season anime previews for the people that look forward to that. Cheers!

Otakon 2013 : Not "Just Anime"

Every year for one weekend the Baltimore Convention Center turns into the Mecca of Japanese-inspired geek culture on the East Coast with the anime convention. . Every aspect of Otakon seems large enough to be its own distinct individual convention and for my first assignment DC Geeks tasked me with covering it.

Like any good convention, the fans are what make Otakon an experience like no other. About mid-day on Saturday I bumped into a group of Kingdom Hearts cosplayers. Each of them was in a different costume, spanning at least a dozen games. Much to my surprise they hadn't coordinated my personal dream photo opportunity, they just dressed up as characters they liked and randomly found each other. This situation accurately describes most interactions at Otakon, spontaneous and friendly.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ghost in the Shell 2.0 [Animated Movie]

A definite improvement over the original and smooth as it is sharp to look at. Some might defend and refuse to see beyond the original and I respect that. For me though this is one of the best examples in which CGI is appropriately used in animation. It isn't overwhelming and does not dilute the original spirit of the film.

One thing that is a bit juvenile and an arbitrary example are the fish in the first scene of the movie. I dare anyone to say that the original has better looking fish. Another example is that instead of a grainy cybernetic presentation in the intro we get a smooth fully fleshed out intimate look as a full prosthetic body comes into creation.

For those unfamiliar, cybernetics and full prosthetic bodies are commonplace where both the government and the general public have access. With crime and politics utilizing the technology law enforcement also steps up to ween out threats and offenders. In these times though, everyday people can be controlled/hacked and no culprit can be found. A secret government group Section 9 is a small group dedicated to protecting the peace and carrying out their peacekeeping discretely. Then enters a mastermind unlike any Section 9 has faced and they have to remain on their toes as this threat edges closer to one member of Section 9 in particular. The lead members of the group are especially invested in this one case. For the leading members of Section 9 it will introduce life-changing insight into technology and their world as the case progresses.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cool Products Wednesday, September 18, 2013

For the new update, we've got some excellent products from Japan for you. You can view all new J-List products by clicking .


Monday, September 16, 2013


ARCHAIA ENTERTAINMENT partners up with ISHIMORI PRODUCTION INC. of Japan to bring us CYBORG 009, a modern adaptation of SHOTARO ISHINOMORI's classic manga that has made its way to the hearts of many. Written by F.J. DESANTO and BRADLEY CRAMP, with MARCUS TO on the illustrations and IAN HERRING on the colors, Cyborg 009 brings back to life the sci-fi action adventure of epic proportions that has reached worldwide acclaim. For the new kids, learn more about the hero that took the world from the same legendary mangaka that has brought us Kamen Rider, Kikaider, Himitsu Sentei Gorenger and Skullman.

The story centers on Joe, the Japanese youth who's named 009, being the ninth test subject to receive cybernetic enhancements. The cyborgs were once nine normal humans from around the world who were kidnapped by the Black Ghost Organization, a secret society that aims to control the world by manipulating warfare and the flow of weapons of mass destruction. The nine had their memories erased and were put through experiments to transform them into cyborgs, living super-powered weapons each with different superhuman abilities. A project scientist who turned his back on the organization's plans helps the cyborgs rebel and escape their captors and together they set off on a mission to stop Black Ghost from bringing forth the next world war.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Ongoing Investigations: Case #227

Since Kate is currently on vacation I decided to have a Sunday anime movie marathon in place of our regularly scheduled anime watching. So I went through three very different anime movies. They were mostly titles I had been interested in seeing but sadly did not play at any of the conventions I attended this year. They certainly ran the gambit in terms of quality I will say that for sure. I wanted to love all three of them but some turned out better than others. I will try to avoid spoilers as none of these has officially come out in English therefore I don't want to blow the lid off nay surprises.

Lets us start firmly in the middle with . This is one of those shonen series movies that is not . It is not utterly awful like either. It just feels a bit workman like. It is a hard movie to hate but it is also not going to be most people's favorite story arc as well. Something about this film just keeps falling short of being great.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Beauty and The Art of War"... This is the world in whichcame of age. It was, not coincidentally, a world in which it became easy to believe that the United States was in decline. Our churches looked like recreation centers, and our rec centers looked like re-education camps. Our campuses and civic spaces were defaced by ziggurats of cement. Our cities had crime-ridden towers and white elephant shopping centers where the neighborhoods used to be. Our suburbs were filled with whatdescribed as the "junk architecture" of strip malls and ranch houses.

Then, gradually and haltingly, beauty began to make a comeback...."

From Up From Ugliness, a New York Times op-ed by Ross Douthat October 8 2011, on-line.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Patlabor 2: The Movie (1993)

DVD Cover, sourced from

For all that it is much more polished I find that I now like considerably less than Patlabor: The Movie.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Anime Music Tournament 2013 Bracket Jigglypuff

Given the nature of the Pokemon, I wouldn't be surprised if this was a sleep-inducing bracket on initial glance. Thankfully, this is not the case, as the here keep things lively in a good way.


Live Action Anime Movies

When it comes to manga and anime, there's a very, very, very big audience. Whether it be in Japan, America, or anywhere else around the world many people tend to fall in love with these Japanese comics and animation. And you can't really blame them. Most of these stories that are showcased through these two mediums are very good in terms of the story, artwork, animation, music, and even voice acting. There are people who know who voiced who like the back of their hand. And I don't know how many people I know that have been introduced to Japanese music via anime. The same can also be said for Japanese television and movies. So the general point I'm trying to make is that anime/manga has become a gateway of sorts for many things to come out from Japan, and is also a gateway into a world of wonderful stories. And this realm as stated has a very passionate fan base who only want to see their favorites get the publicity and recognition they deserve.

And it's this sort of thought which leads many people to want mangas and anime to be turned into live action movies. Once again, you can't really blame them. Many of the countless stories found in both anime and manga are prime for live action films. It's a topic of debate for a lot of fans on what they want to see get made, and how they'd want to see something done. And movie studios have obviously recognized this. Japan cranks out quite a few live films a year based on anime, and Hollywood has done so as well (although less successfully then Japan). So it's clear that the idea of turning these animated and drawn stories into real life people is becoming quite the norm.

Deadman Wonderland (2011)


Falsely convicted of mass murder, middle school student Ganta Igarashi (voiced by Romi Park(Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach) in Japanese, Greg Ayres (Gantz, Fairy Tail) in English) is set up and sentenced to imprisonment and death while he is haunted by the image of the real murderer, a supernatural figure he simply calls the "red man". So far, the story may seem like a dark, but undeniably unoriginal premise, however, this all takes place less than halfway through the first episode and events soon escalate when Ganta is taken to his new home on Death Row.

Day Two Hundred and Fifty-one

Okay, so I lied... it wasn't Hellraiser or Zack & Miri that I went to after ... it was the familiar and the safe.

It was Anime.

Ghost in the Shell ARISE 2nd episode trailer

Here's our first look at the 2nd OVA in the new Ghost in the Shell ARISE prequel series.

"The story of "border:2 Ghost Whispers" takes place after Motoko gains her freedom by separating herself from the military's 501st Secret Unit. Even without Aramaki's suggestion to make her own unit, Motoko begins actions to collect members for her very own unit. As this is going on, someone has hacked into the Logicoma. As she transports the machines in order to check them for abnormalities, she is suddenly attacked by an armed unit. Not long after, she meets up with Batou, the man with the "eye that never sleeps," Ishikawa, a former member of the army who is good at finding information through the internet, and Borma, an electronic warfare expert."-

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Twenty Days of Anime Movies

Original Theatrical Poster (sourced from )

has been one of my favourites for a long time, and it is STILL an effective film despite some newly noticed flaws. This is a fairly spoiler heavy review, and note that triggering behaviour will be mentioned.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

JP:Life Size Debut of the "Mobile Police Patlabor"

Citizens of Japan got a glimpse of the "Mobile Police Patlabor" when it was transported for it's debut live filming. The news of it's sighting spread quickly over the world and pictures of it taken by the public went viral in a matter of time.During the Tokyo International Anime Fair 2013, Headgear announced that they will be releasing a live-action movie based on the series of it. And the movie will be scheduled to release next year 2014, and will involve Mamoru Oshii who directed the animated movie, Patlabor 2 : The Movie back in the 1993.Mamoru Oshii is one of the most famous animation directors in Japan, that has directed "Urusei Yatsura", "Ghost in the Shell" and "Mobile Police Patlabor" He is a great director in directing animated films but there's difference between directing in fictional movies and non-fictional movies. And his lack of knowledge and experience in directing non-frictional gives me doubts on his participation in this project.Patlabor also known as the "Mobile police Patlabor" is a series of Japanese comics and animation, the original is HEADGEAR, consists of five members of the group, including the original bill / comic form is the United States, the mechanical design of the Yuan Yu, character design Takada Akemi , Kazunori Ito script as directed by Mamoru Oshii. From 1988 Masami Yuki began comic strip to the occasion in 2009, has published works include comic books, an animated TV series, two OVA series, three animated movies.

The post appeared first on .

Dragon Con 2013: The Good, the Bad, and the...Waffles?

A Steampunk Clark Kent reveals his

true identity at the Aether Lounge

party Aug. 29.

filmbore pick of the week


Director: Satoshi KonScreenplay: Satoshi Kon, Seishi MinakamiStarring: Megumi Hayashibara, Akiotsuka, T ru EmoriYear: 2006Languages: Japanese (English dubbed)UK rental release: January 2008

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Traditional Kyoto Sake and Sweets Get an Anime Facelift

For your next trip to Japan, consider buying a bottle of sake or namayatsuhashi. Or how about -branded mochi cakes?Makers of sake and traditional Japanese sweets in Kyoto are turning to anime in an effort to rebrand their products for younger customers. For certain companies--some of which have been around since the Edo period--this marketing tactic is an opportunity to change younger consumer's preconceptions of these products. As Shiraito Shuzo sake brewery director Miho Miyazaki , "We want to change the image of sake, which is associated with an expensive drink patronized by old men, with the use of anime."Shiraito Shuzo, founded in 1773, is currently selling 300 mL bottles of sake bearing images of Tomoe-chan, the mascot for the upcoming . They're also selling a larger 1.8 L bottle with characters from the classic robot anime .For attendees going to the manga and anime fair, they can look forward to other anime-branded Shiraito products too. Their other offerings for the fair include products featuring characters from Space Brothers (300 mL bottles of sake in two varieties), (wooden sake cups), Eccentric Family (sake), (sake + wooden cups), Attack on Titan (mochi cakes), and (sake).On the sake side of things, line of sake will come in three varieties, and will feature images of the characters on the bottles. Meanwhile, the Ghost in the Shell Arise line of sake will be available in two varieties, along with wooden cups featuring a Logicoma. There will also be three varieties of Armored Trooper Votoms sake. Lastly, for all the otome game fans, while there will be two varieties of Haku ki sake, with seven labels to choose from. Each Haku ki sake bottle will also come with a love fortune-telling talisman that tells you your compatibility with one of the series characters.For all the non-drinkers, the brewery will also be selling two variants of Yamato 2199 wooden sake cups that will feature a similar Yamato 2199 image wrap-around that was used in . They will also be selling Attack on Titan-branded mochi cakes, which will come with one of 15 character stickers. The mochi cake itself will have Eren's eye stamped on it.The brewery first started making anime-branded labels last year, selling the products in a shop near Nijo Castle in Kyoto's Nakagyo Ward.Traditional sweets manufacturers have started using anime-branded packaging to help expand their customer base as well, including Shogoin Yatsuhashi Shohonten, which specializes in , a confectionery made from glutinous rice flour and sugar and other flavorings. Last month, Shogoin started selling a version of their cinnamon namayatsuhashi in packages decorated with characters from the anime Haku ki, an otome game-turned-anime historical action series set in Kyoto. So far, these anime-branded candies can only be found at the Kyoto International Manga Museum and other special outlets.Even though these sweets have only been produced in limited runs, they've been a hit. Last September, during the city's first Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair, Shogoin made 1,800 pieces of namayatsuhashi in wrappers featuring characters from Space Brothers and Chihayafuru, all of which sold out in two days.For this year's upcoming fair, they plan on unveiling a limited run of sweets packaged in wrappers featuring characters from The Eccentric Family, another anime series set in Kyoto.The Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair, also called Kyo-mafu, takes place this weekend from September 7 to 8 at the Miyako Messe, the Kyoto International Manga Museum, and a few other venues. The entrance fee is 1000 yen (~ $10) for adults, but foreigners get in for free with a valid passport. To encourage local businesses in Kyoto and the region to collaborate with the manga and anime industries, the Kyoto International Manga Anime Fair plans to feature around 50 different types of special goods, including oil-absorbing facial paper, wooden key holders, book covers, folding fans, towels, iPhone cases, and more.Via .
Full Post

Japanese Films at the BFI London Film Festival 2013

The 57th BFI London Film Festival is running from Wednesday 09th October to Sunday 20th October, a mere week after the end of the Raindance Film Festival. The London Film Festival programme was and the Japanese selection is rather good. The big news for me is that Sion Sono's latest film, Why Don't You Play in Hell? has been selected to play! Other entries include Yuya Ishii's Great Passage and Hirokazu Koreeda's Like Father, Like Son. The latter was probably the most obvious choie for inclusion but it's great to see Ishii getting noticed.

Here are the films (click on the titles for more info like dates and times):

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Yoko Kanno at Otakon 2013: "PIANO ME"

When Yoko Kanno was announced as a musical guest for Otakon 2013 a few months ago, I knew immediately that I had to go. Yoko Kanno debuted her new concert PIANO ME at Otakon. It consists of her playing piano solos alone on the stage, without any instrument or vocal backing. Yoko Kanno is easily my favorite anime composer -- her spectacular body of work include the soundtracks for Cowboy Bebop, Macross Frontier, Wolf's Rain, Genesis of Aquarion, Ghost in the Shell, and countless other incredible soundtracks that have created a huge mark in anime music.Copyright (c) 2013 . All licensed material are owned by their respective parties.

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Top Ten

My friend and fellow blogger John Muir took another science fiction related reader poll. This was one of his toughest assignments yet - to pick the top 10 science fiction films from the years 2000 to 2013. Lots of great lists were provided and you can check out the results .

This one was very difficult for me. As I mentioned to John, I haven't been as voracious with my movie watching in the last five to ten years as I used to be. Well, let me qualify that, I haven't been up on my new movies as much as I used to be. Instead I've been delving back into the past, seeking out gems and seeing if I can unearth some new favorites. I've also been delving deep (and some may say too deep) into nostalgia. Ten years ago, I would have jumped at seeing PRIMER or SUNSHINE. These days, I've heard of the films, but haven't sought them out. The sad thing is, the recent movies I have seen haven't left much more than a surface impression on me. I found it difficult to find make selections on movies I'd only seen once and didn't remember too well.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

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The Future is Now: Anime Mirai Review

The Anime Mirai project, also known as the Young Animators Training Project, was showcased this year at Otakon. Anime Mirai has been around for three years, and as a partnership between the Japanese Animation Creators Association (JAniCA) and Otakon's 20th anniversary, all three years' winning films were shown, one set per day of four films each. I had the privilege of making it to the screening of this year's films, presented by YTV producer Michihiko Suwa and Studio Madhouse director Yuzuru Tachikawa, who also directed the first short in the showcase. To quote the Otakon Press Release, for they have said it best: Anime Mirai is put together every year by JAniCA and the Japan's Agency of Cultural Affairs. "Partially a response to increased outsourcing of Japanese animation projects, the intention is to ensure that up-and-coming animators have opportunities to pursue their own works and gain experience leading projects. Each year, four studios are selected to produce short films, which play in theaters and may serve as springboards to larger projects." Each film lasted about a half hour and featured the best of what the studio had to offer. Each had a solid story of a different genre, and brought something progressive to animation as well. The first film was Tachikawa's, a Studio Madhouse work called Death Billiards. The film's setting -- which takes place in a high-class, hotel-like pool hall in what is most likely a Shinto-style purgatory -- had the "typical" finery that goes into Ghost in the Shell -- fancy marble backgrounds and soft lighting that glows. Where the studio introduced something new was the rainbow shine effects in crystal, flowing water, and piano strings. Also challenging was animating magic inside of pool balls, and the technical sophistication necessitated to reproduce a game of pool so well. The short packed a lot in -- demons, watchdogs, mysteries, plot twists, a moral message, as well as an enthusiastic fight scene between an old man and a young buck that didn't stay just on the pool table. Oh, and rampant symbolism in the form of jellyfish. It was a wonderful film to lead with, and they only got better from there. Second on the list was Alv Razul -- Mechanical Fairies, a sci-fi flick by studio Zexcs that focused on the question of souls and memory as they pertain to belonging. In the near future, a man's little sister was lost in and electronic accident something akin to Sword Art Online, but she returns to his life, hunted by establishment special ops and now able to hack near anything with nanomachines. Over the film we see their rather "close" relationship reveal itself, as well as a great deal of philosophy. "Dreams may seem like they exist to push us forward, but really they exist to help us look back and help the people behind us who are suffering," the girl, Shiki, says at one point. It's definitely a film that captures you from the first moments, and is readily inspiring. It can easily become a new series or full-length feature film, and I want to see that happen. The main punch was definitely in the story for this one, but there was some out-of-the-box elements in the animation as well: the shot size changed occasionally, mimicking manga with images cropped by black. The shadows of people were all animated with the ethereal element of pencil lines, also mimicking manga. These two elements went along with the fantasy quality of the story, and together make for a very interesting and incredibly well-made indie film. San-ban-m in the lineup was Ryo, a studio Gonzo film. It focuses on a historical Japanese figure in the Meiji Revolution named Ryoma, who was a revolutionary on the wrong side of the war. Suwa, introducing the film, said it was "based on historical facts of the man ... trying to depict who he might have been." In the film, he took in several orphans and trained them to fight for the war while maintaining a peaceful idealism; the orphan who bonded most closely to him shows the viewer a story of their time together. The short challenges convention with scenes at sea that seem aesthetically arranged similar to Ukio-prints. Like with some of Gonzo's other historical films, it's a challenge to tell characters apart at times, but the plucky rainbow of gi make for a fun time. "Take care not to become an assassin" may just be my new favorite line of anything, ever. The final film was Little Witch Academia, the adorable one of the bunch and smartly slated last, it lets the audience depart with happy feelings along with the mechanical fairy dust in their pockets. Made by Trigger Studios, the brightly-colored story follows a witch-in-training who is the incorrigible dreamer at a prestigious witchy boarding school for girls. Where everyone else holds stodgy, hardcore magicians as their heroes, Academia's model is a show performer, who brought magic to the world of normal people. Through a grand adventure of dungeon mining, a dragon, and flying mishaps, the crew learns more about themselves and overcome adversity, too. The cast of characters is the most diverse and vibrant of any of the films, and the animation style is definitely indie: it could be a cousin to Soul-Eater, with big, droopy eyes, strange color schemes, and very malleable body physics. Everything about it is fun, and definitely worth a look. It's given me great respect and curiosity for a studio whose name I had never before heard. If you ever get a chance to see any Anime Mirai showings, they're sure to be the best of the best of Japanese animation, and some of the only anime examples of that fine art known as the animated short. It's always good to promote non-commercial animation projects as well. During his presentation, Suwa hinted at a desire to make all Anime Mirai film sets available to a general audience, so keep an eye out for the chance to add these to your collection on a more permanent basis. They're definitely worth it.
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Monday, September 2, 2013

Nate Reports: Japan Expo 2013

You would hear about Japan Expo around areas in Europe as it is one of the biggest conventions in the area. Just last year, they have held a record attendance of 208,000 attendees! Wow even Anime Expo can't beat that! It's so big that they would put a subsidiary convention in the United States. And wouldn't you know it, Japan Expo's first US convention was located here in the Bay Area. Of course I would take advantage and planned to attend this convention hoping for an awesome time (before school begins for me.....)


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Anime Trailers: Kill la Kill, Space Dandy, Ghost in the Shell Arise

This past week, it seems every anime studio wanted to get their trailers out in front of the world! First up we've got out first real look at Kill la Kill, Trigger's October anime series featuring dueling ladies in a fantasy school (made by Gurren Lagann director Hiroyuki Imaishi!). A clear look at Space Dandy also showed up! This is a January 2014 series from Cowboy Bebop creator Shinichiro Watanabe, featuringwella dandy guy in space! Both look really impressive. Lastly, a short trailer for Ghost in the Shell Arise: border 2, Ghost Whispers was uploaded, which is the next chapter in the direct-to-video reimagining of the series. Check out all the trailers below!
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