For a long time the North of the UK has lacked many anime and manga events, with the majority of all conventions occurring in the Sout East and London there’s a strong urge of fans in the North of the country to have an event that doesn’t cost hundreds of pounds to get to – this is where the latest convention from the Anime League comes in – NemaCon and the Anime League are working together to create a new event in the North East for anime fans.
This event, that will be for up to 1,000 people will have a Manga Masterclass, Japanese Culture talks, videogame room, Anime screenings, Yu Gi Oh Tournaments, Cosplay and Emma Viceli and Sonia Leong will be appearing as well.
Where: Middlesbrough Town Hall
When: Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th June 2010
Age?: 14 years and above
You can check out Nemacon’s official website for further information by clicking here.
Can cross dressing ever have a happy ending?
Ouran High School Host Club is a school for the rich, famous and beautiful and in the case of Haruhi Fujioka a scholarship student who is unfortunate enough to break a several million yen vase and end up being forced to work as a man in a Host Club. This is not a hard-hitting exposé of the life of cross-dressing hosts, but a lighter than life comedy about an unfortunate girl who stumbles across more than fortunate boys.
Part 1 of this acclaimed anime series left us on a high, Haruhi had just been through a vision roughly based around Alice in Wonderland where she was being tried for various crimes before she realised that she was in a dream. We catch up with the unlikely group of people back at school and the school newspaper is suffering from a decline in readership and need the Host Club to help them get back on their feet.
The next twelve episodes of Ouran High School Host Club mange to continue with the high quality that was experienced throughout Part 1, with fun being poked at class, gender and many facts of life for “normal people” as well as expanding into areas of emotion and divide whilst maintaining the easy going flow of the show. There is hints of a complicated storyline being developed by the latter episodes of Part 1 and Part 2 only go to expand upon that. Whereas many animes attempt to have multiple plots running at the same time end up being a mess of random episodes tied together, Host Club effectively manage these plots and subplots throughout the entire series. There are some references that only the “otaku” culture may understand, such as growing mushrooms in a dark corner, but for the most part the universal humour that was seen in Part 1 has translated through to the remainder of the show.
Granted Host Club is entirely unbelievable in almost every aspect – super rich kids essentially enslaving a poor person at a school where apparently no work is done and teachers allow half naked boys running around empty music rooms. But the character development is strong, for the entire cast, not just the two lead characters. This is a rare occurrence in any form of media, let alone anime. Based on the first volume of this series it would be easy to believe the characters to only be 2.5 dimensional, a bit flat with a tiny bit of history. This volume really fleshes the characters out from the twin’s insecurity, Kyoa’s inferiority complex, Honey and Mori’s extensive history to Tamaki’s less than pleasant relatives. These issues are also all dealt with, but in a manner that leaves other issues open for the characters to inhabit and dwell in, of course this is a comedy show and all issues are dealt with in amusing ways. Fake feuds, exaggerated worry and various other techniques are used to keep the viewers attention but keep the emotional undertones in full view.
To maintain this level of detail the script needs to be next to perfect and fortunately the same high quality writing has managed to be marinated throughout the entire series. This has led to no filler episodes and even fewer duds. As this is only a 26 episode series with nothing on the horizons for a Series 2 the writing and plot has had to be very tight and this attention to detail shines through.
The animation quality also remains very high, with every character being bright, distinct and easily recognisable. There are a few scenes where characters are doing fiddly jobs and the animation is smooth – the temptation to simply have music playing the background whilst there’s a freeze-frame on the character has fortunately been ignored.
In terms of voice acting, the Japanese cast is best; however, the US voice actors have done a superb job at getting much of the maniacal laughter and emotion across. All of the characters match their voices and it’s all performed very well – just unfortunately they’re not as good as their Japanese counterparts.
In terms of extras, well last time I managed to get a copy of the US disc and there were some amazing specials that didn’t fly across to the UK release which is a huge shame. Those extras really made the DVD super special. Unfortunately the extras again have been missed off of the second volume for the most part. Maybe next time eh?
Logo © Barbican Centre
The Barbican Centre in London is well known for it’s love of anime. The Barbican has ran a season called Japanimation since 2006, which has been spearheaded by the co-author of the Anime Encyclopaedia – Helen McCarthy. Recently there have been some new developments at The Barbican Centre which has led to many rumours floating around the internet – such as the end of Japanimaion.
These rumours are so strong that they have even managed to penetrate the national, mainstream media such as The Guardian. There is an understandable concern that with these changes at The Barbican that unique cinema experience will be impacted and different cultures’ entertainment will be ignored and fall back away into obscurity.
Fortunately this is not the case and Helen McCarthy has gone on record on her blog saying:
Japanimation, like everything else on the Barbican Cinema schedule, will adapt to changing circumstances. We may have to fit around the builders, but we don’t intend to disappear.
This is great news to the anime community at large as it means we will continue to see Ponyo, Mai Mai Miracle, GitS and various other anime that Helen kindly organises for the viewing populace. The most vital part about the Barbican is that it’s not a seedy, back alley, underneath a huge store indie cinema, it’s a well known, respected and Government funded institute. This means people have confidence in it and what’s being shown.
Source: A Face Made for Radio: Helen McCarthy’s Blog
Able to improve on the past?
In a world surrounded by heat, sand and hate, one man stands alone. His wish is simply to be the best, the very best at what he does; which is anything – so long as it pays well enough. Desert Punk is a missionary, but not in the religious sense and in the post apocalyptic world he inhabits just trying to meet ends and survive is a daily challenge. With his new apprentice Kosuna in tow he’s starting to try and mend his battered reputation.
Various people sent his once perfect reputation into ruins, but in his mind the lead perpetrator of his downfall was Junko. With her ample assets and her ability to manipulate she’s managed to appear back on the scene with another job for Kanta. However, for the briefest of moment’s he’d learnt his lesson, until the figure for the job came into conversation. Within a few seconds he was on hand with his apprentice to help Junko help the richest man in the desert find some more hidden treasure.
This storyline manages to run across two episodes and is crucial to the storyline of Desert Punk, not only does it confirm that the world was once somewhat habitable but it also confirms that there was some form of huge disaster. Additionally it also manages to show that there are people who still want this new world, which is less than ideal, to have the same mistakes repeated – war. Of course there is double-dealing throughout these episodes and they only go to highlight the lengths that some people will go to survive. If this were a more serious anime it would be easy to discuss the morality of humanity; however the “right” thing is done and next episode puts Desert Punk back on crass humour track.
In the next episode involves the Desert Punk decides that Junko’s initial betrayal was far too much and manages to capture her and put her in an adult “Big Brother” style house. She wakes up to find that she has next to no clothes on, but is in an ample sized, but completely secure, apartment of sorts. The one thing she doesn’t know for certain, but suspects, is that Kanta is not only behind this but is actually watching her. Before long the episode takes a somewhat expected twist but leaves the viewer wanting more at the very end.
With kidnapping, implied masturbation and sexual scenes throughout the episode is so close to the verge of hentai it’s embarrassing this episode manages to take the show to an entirely new level. Of course, there is a degree of humour involved and Junko certainly gets her “just deserts” on Kanta but the actual content is more than simply risqué.
Kanta is left battered, in a physical sense and his reputation as well. After not really succeeding with Junko’s job, or with Junko everyone thinks that he’s a bit of a joke and money’s tight. A job appears to rescue a rich little girl from some kidnappers – he thinks this is a perfect job. Unfortunately Kanta and Kosuna don’t realise that this little girl is beyond demanding and arrogantly stupid. The kidnappers are far more advanced than he expected and the little girl doesn’t take too kindly to being rescued by an inept team or kidnapped either.
Throughout the episode Kanta is abused by this little girl and is pushed to his limits by her behaviour and the kidnappers. This episode is easily the most forgettable on the disc as it’s very bland. “Nasty rich girl wants to be rescued but doesn’t want to do anything” has been used in anime and in films from all over the world and it does very little to inspire enjoyment from a viewer. Not only that but the episode is easily the darkest in terms of palette and strange compression artefacts appear far too frequently. Fortunately the majority of the episodes are relatively free of these and the episode being so dark only highlights these further.
Not forgetting the extras, this time around there are some noteworthy extras to speak of, although for the most part they are irrelevant to the disc they are being placed on. A 19 minute feature called The Survival Game Course Part 1 which sees Misa Kikoden and Yamaken heading to a shop with Kanta not far behind to get some equipment for survival games and a short animated manga side-story that shows Sunabozu story with Japanese text and subtitles below. It’s only five minutes and lacking in content. But it’s great that we see some decent extras for once.
The independent and online only, UK based anime, videogame and general interesting store: Toymation, announce today their line-up of exclusive anime dog tags.
This limited edition will feature various anime characters across the spectrum and is being made to order by Styled By Sand. Each Tobi-Tag will have a run of 500 tags and every two months there will be two new designs announced by Toymation, to further enhance the uniqueness numbers 1-10 are available to be engraved with 18c Gold plating, although this will be for a slight premium.
For those who order more than one, the option of just ordering the tag and not the chain will be available.
The first two tags available are Optimus Prime and Naruto and will be for sale on pre-order today and on general sale from the 1st February 2010 for £29.99 or £19.99 for those who pre-order.
To find out more information, visit Toymation’s official website here.
The Japanese Art Festival is an event that is held various times a year and hosted by the legendary Akemi Solloway. Akemi is a lecturer of Japanese Culture and is of samurai descent. Her aim with the Japanese Art Festival is to promote Japanese Culture, which is far more than just anime and manga.
Japanese Art Festival
Where: Richmond Adult Community College, Parkshot, Richmond, TW9 2RE
When: 27-28th February 2010
There are no times or guests confirmed as of yet, but judging by last year’s events, we should be in for a treat. Their official website is available here.
Copyright Capcom Entertainment
The legendary videogame producer Capcom are due to release one of the most anticipated fighter games of the year exclusively to the Nintendo Wii. Tatsunoko v Capcom contains a plethora of different characters from anime and videogame pop-culture and some cross overs from Street Fighter, to keep everyone interested Capcom have today released a new trailer of this hotly anticipated game; which can be seen below.
Manga Entertainment today announced that they will be releasing of the most anticipated films of the year to the UK in September 2010. One of the most highly rated anime films of 2009, Summer Wars is the latest film from Mamoru Hosoda, the director of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time.
Kenji Koiso is a child prodigy and this mathematically minded genius spends a large portion of his time immersed in a massive computer simulated viral world, OZ. At the beginning of his summer vacation, our socially inept genius is asked to help in celebrating his crush, Natsuki Shinohara’s great grandmother’s 90th birthday.
Before he knows it, he’s the lead of a news story about the destruction of his favourite computer game OZ and has to learn how to deal with this as well as enlist the help of Natsuki’s family to clear his name.
Release: September 2010
Format: Theatrical Release
Release: October/November 2010
Format: Standard Definition DVD and Blu-Ray DVD
Yes, Manga Entertainment also confirmed today that Summer Wars will be released in both standard definition DVD and Blu-Ray DVD in September.
Manga Entertainment today confirmed that they are planning for a theatrical release of Summer Wars in September and then a DVD release in both Blu-Ray and Standard Definition in October or November time.
As we reported today, MVM’s latest release – Fate Night Stay Volume 1 has been released to the public and is now available to purchase. Fate Night Stay is an adaptation of the manga, of the same name – our review of Volume 1 manga is available here, and to wet your whistle MVM Entertainment have released a few new clips of this anime to us.
The clips are:
So it’s a new year and it’s time for some new anime to be released onto the UK market, the four new anime that are due to be released today are:
- The Slayers Try – Volume 4
- Speed Grapher: Box Set
- Solty Rei – Volume 6
- Samurai Deeper Kyo – Volume 4
- Fate Stay Night – Volume 1
So that’s a lot of great anime available for everyone to buy through all good retailers today.