» March, 2010

DVD Releases This Week

News - by - March 29, 2010 - 09:00 Europe/London - Be first to Comment!

Eureka Seven Screenshot

It’s the beginning of the working week, this week is short thanks to Good Friday – so no work or school on Friday! As with almost every Monday there are some new releases for us to sink our teeth into and this week’s releases are all fairly lengthy and will help us all kill this holiday weekend. The two releases are:

The RRP of both is £24.99 so that’s a tenner off but title, which both happen to be 5 disc boxsets. We’ve linked through to the cheapest place we could find above, so that you can get the best deal.

Ghost in the Shell 2.0

Features - by - March 28, 2010 - 16:12 Europe/London - Be first to Comment!

A remastered version of the classic film.

Ghost in the Shell 2.0

Reviews - by - March 28, 2010 - 16:10 Europe/London - 3 Comments

Even three lustrums ago Production I.G was a forced to be reckoned with. It takes a long period of time to become recognised and at this point Production I.G were nearly a decade old. It was during the fateful year of 1995 that Production I.G released a new film, directed by Mamoru Oshii, based on the hit manga by Masamune Shirow – Ghost in the Shell.

Over the years Ghost in the Shell has managed to achieve the legendary status that is normally only granted to films from Studio Ghibli. The popularity of Ghost in the Shell in the past fifteen years is such that a sequel was released nearly a decade later, Ghost in the Shell Innocence, although not a direct and before that the anime series – Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. To further prove the popularity of this show, Ghost in the Shell 2.0 was released in 2008. GitS 2.0 is a re-release of the original GitS film, but it has been entirely reproduced, from the digital scenes right through to the voice acting and soundtrack.

It’s some years into the future, in a world that looks essentially the same as our own today. The major countries in the world still exist, political turmoil still exists and the corporate and public backstabbing that occurs through all companies and governments have intensified due to the revelation of new technologies. In these government agencies, there are an increasing number of people who used to be human and are now part cyborg with only parts of their humanity remaining – mainly their consciousness, which is referred to as the Ghost.

Two of Japan’s top agencies although to the public appear to be working together, are actually bitter enemies and only keep the façade up to ensure that the status quo is maintained and all out warfare doesn’t occur. However, they are equally as suspicious as secretive as each other and this is seen from the very first scene in the movie. Our heroine, or even anti-heroine as many would argue, is on a stakeout mission where she has to kill one of the contacts of Section 6, which she manages to do with ruthless efficiency.

It doesn’t take long for some of Section 6’s plans to go a bit astray and Section 9, the section where our heroine works, finds out and sends out the team to find out why Section 6 have access to robotic technology that they have no need for. Whilst they investigate Section 6, some truly incredible information falls into their possession around Ghosts and Ghosts evolving from nothing – something that was once thought of as impossible as part human part android people.

Unfortunately Ghost in the Shell 2.0 does not wrap everything up nicely, there’s a huge cliffhanger and this leaves a lot open to interpretation. Naturally this leaves the viewer desperate for more – a sign of a truly great film.

The characters are all clear and distinct, with plenty of questions raised on the morality of creating people and interfering in the human body and there’s loads of character development from the two main “androids”, something which a lot of anime manages to miss. The film itself is very grungy and has echoes of cyberpunk from the very start. However, this does not mean the film has been done on the cheap, or looks cheap, the backgrounds and characters are well drawn and the colours – although dark – are distinct and accurately reflect the mood of the film.

The voice acting of the English cast is brilliant, with all of the characters completely distinct and recognisable even when not looking at the screen, which is a very rare occurrence. The acting of the English voice cast is also top-notch with affection, sadness and melancholy being expressed with truth. The Japanese voice cast are also amazing, as is the actual soundtrack to the entire film.

Ghost in the Shell 2.0 is going to be contentious for many fans, those who saw the original or the Special Edition a few years ago will notice some significant differences in the films that they are watching. 2.0 has a lot more CGI, with some scenes entirely redone and unfortunately some of the CGI scenes jar painfully with the original drawn scenes that it sits next to, it’s more than just a juxtaposition, it’s a little off-putting. However, the rest of the upgrades are perfectly done, the majority of the scenes have been improved with more distinction in the characters and with more effective colours. Between the original and the remastered version the colour palettes have changed significantly as well, there’s a lot more orange and lighter hues than the original blue and greens, this update is done very well and doesn’t jar or look out of place with modern anime – although the original colours give the film a different feel.

Anime at the Leeds Young People Film Festival

News - by - March 27, 2010 - 21:13 Europe/London - Be first to Comment!

It’s recently been confirmed that at the Leeds Young People Film Festival that the following two anime’s will be showing in April:

Chocolate Underground
Based on the hit book Bootleg by British author Alex Shearer.  The Good for You Party has won the election by promising health and happiness for all, but now they are in power they have announced the Prohibition law and chocolate, sweets and all things sugary are now illegal! Two boys, Huntley and Smudger, along with some friends, won’t accept this new law and, although it means risking capture by the robot enforcers and imprisonment, they begin to bootleg chocolate.

When: Saturday 3rd April
Time: 1900
Where: Hyde Park Picture House
Price: Under 19 – £2.50, Over 19 – £4.50, Over 19 with an under 19 – £3.50

The Sky Crawlers
From one of the most acclaimed manga filmmakers of all time comes Sky Crawlers, a story set in an alternative history where the world is at peace and realistic dogfights are staged to appease an aggressive population. Genetically designed Kildren are created to be the fighter pilots in these displays, never ageing until shot down in air battles. When his beautiful commander is reluctant to discuss what happened to his predecessor, new pilot Yuichi becomes determined to find the secret behind the Kildren and the battles.

When: Sunday 4th April
Time: 1900
Where: Hyde Park Picture House
Price: Under 19 – £2.50, Over 19 – £4.50, Over 19 with an under 19 – £3.50

This is great news as both are brilliant films and the second one is due out very shortly in the UK.

To book tickets and for more information, visit the Leeds Young People Film Festival’s website here.

Via Anime UK News

Gravitation Boxset

Features - by - March 27, 2010 - 18:16 Europe/London - Be first to Comment!

Can it really live up to the hype?

Gravitation Boxset

Reviews - by - March 27, 2010 - 18:14 Europe/London - Be first to Comment!

Initially a very successful twelve volume manga, Gravitation has now been adapted into an anime series that’s thirteen episodes. It’s been released as four separate volumes and now available as a single boxset. Directed by Bob Shirohata and distributed by MVM Entertainment in the UK, this anime is primarily about one young man keen to become Japan’s next successful Pop Idol in a band called Bad Luck. However, this simple plan runs into a few problems when the lead character meets another young, sexy, cool and bad tempered man who gets in the way of his plans.

Shuichi, the lead character, is a cute, ambitious young man with dreams of becoming a world renowned Pop Idol with his band: Bad Luck. Yet, in the first episode he finds himself in a bit of a rut, uninspired, struggling with his lyrics and on top of this, he’s got studio deadlines to meet. Bad Luck or good luck, whilst taking a walk with these lyrics he stumbles into a far darker, cooler and sexy young man named Eiri Yuki, who just so happens to be a famous and grumpy novelist. He sees these lyrics and has got plenty of things to say about them, and not all of his feedback is positive or seen as constructive. Despite this unfriendly start, Shuichi becomes a victim of the nasty side of Eiri and the clearly infatuated Shuichi has his emotions ripped apart by Eiri. Whilst all of this is happening, his music career isn’t exactly moving forward either. The storyline isn’t the first of its kind, but it still gets a thumbs up for originality due to its unusual love story.

There is a fairly large cast of characters, all ranging from humours to serious. A lot of the auxiliary characters are very generic and it’s mostly the main characters that have any form of character development and even that is on that slim side. Shuichi is a typical lolli-shota character, young looking, happy-go-lucky and wears his heart on his sleeve; whereas Eiri Yuki is a darker, more distant character, full of maturity and great one-liners. Their relationship could be compared in many ways to that of Hunni-chan and Mori from Ouran High School Host Club; except for the “adult” relationship between Eiri Yuki and Shuichi. The two are opposite ends of personalities yet form a confusing and unbreakable bond. Even by the third volume, Eiri Yuki’s personality is confusing. He never lets on what he is truly thinking and to make him all the more mysterious he has a hidden past that’s not revealed until later episodes, a hidden past that holds some very deep, dark secrets. The rest of the characters are completely forgettable and for a band that’s attempting to be the next big thing, the rest of Bad Luck are dull and characterless.

The quality of the voice acting cast in English isn’t too bad, the key characters have got good, somewhat-unique voices and they are easily understandable. The Japanese cast are much better in this situation, with their voices matching the characters in a better way; however, both tracks are watchable. The subtitles are also well done, the positioning is good and the majority of the “extra” bits of information, such as signs, are translated for the most part as well – something that’s being dropped from a lot of releases at the moment.

The character designs are fairly good. Each character is clear, distinct and almost glows. With plenty of costume changes, close up shots and singing there’s many chances to cost-save, but for the most part they’ve avoided this. The actual quality of the animation is just about average, with a few extended “sweeping” shots where nothing’s actually moving and it’s rare to see more than one character moving at the same time.

In reality it’s all about music, it’s about sexy men, big hair, soap opera worthy relationships, bright colours and sparkles. It’s very obvious whose attention this anime is trying to grab just by its imagery. It’s funny, filled with heart throbbing moments and the occasional adult humour.

Gunparade March Volume 1

Features - by - March 22, 2010 - 20:51 Europe/London - Be first to Comment!

Yet another mecha style anime?

Gunparade March Volume 1

Reviews - by - March 22, 2010 - 20:50 Europe/London - Be first to Comment!

“Gunparade March” originally started out as ,a video game for Playstation. Due to its huge award winning success, it was later featured as a twelve episode anime series and also a three part manga. The anime version of Gunparade March was produced by J.C.Staff and broadcast on MBS in February 2003 and April 2003 in Japan and only recently made it’s way across to the UK. It is comparable with many other animes, such as: Gundamn Wing, Baldr Force EXE and bizarrely enough, Tenchi Muyo.

The opening of the first few episodes gives a brief but detailed description of what is happening in a fictional world, where alien life forms known as the Genjyu have taken over control of the world and people have been living in fear of these creatures since the late 1940s. Rather than being intelligent life forms, the Genjyu are no more than parasites, spreading across the world at an incredible rate and leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. To try and battle these creatures, all modern forms of warfare have been employed and it would appear that not even a Nuclear bomb is able to disperse the creatures and prevent full invasion. As such the use of these powerful weapons have left the planet poisoned with radiation. Yet the aliens continue to live on whilst the human race struggles to live ordinary lives alongside them.

On first impression this anime is nothing special, it could even be described as cookie-cutter. The storyline, though interesting, would only appeal to one type of audience – the sort that love guns, machines and robots thrown in for good measure. Not to forget the Genjyu, who are huge, vicious aliens that can only be destroyed by a monster fighting-weapon-laden-robot, the Humanoid Unit AMTT-500, who incidentally looks a little like Metriod. This is all discovered in the first episode and not to mention a bit of bloodshed to seal the deal for those out there that judge an entire anime within the first twenty minutes.

However, by the second episode the story widens out a little and it can entice a much larger audience. It becomes humorous, with typical characters with similarities that can be found from across the Sci-fi genre and a few others to boot, such as a cute girl like Sasami from Tenchi Muyo. The storyline has pulled on inspiration from Tenchi Muyo with a lot of action, but with a lot of comical every day life moments thrown in. There is plenty of time to get to know the history and the lives of the characters, which the first few episodes spends a lot of time doing.

The main characters are actually young adults still in a Training school where they are taught to use the Humanoid Unit AMTT-500. These students treat the Genjyu invasion like an everyday thing, laughing and discussing more ordinary concerns such as having a boyfriends and homework. The characters seem to vary from very serious, to flirtatious, Lolashota to playful. As could be expected from teenagers, some of the subject matter isn’t always family friendly and the humour can be a little crude now and again.

The artwork is nothing out of the ordinary, with a pleasing look but the characters are all a little generic however the backgrounds and the characters themselves have enough detail. The animation quality is fairly good, although there are an awful lot of still shots of space, robots and a lot of close-ups of people talking but with little movement. The voice acting is very standard, almost forgettable on the whole and the Japanese cast isn’t much different either.

AniMedia East Picnic Cosplay

News - by - March 22, 2010 - 19:36 Europe/London - 1 Comment

AniMedia East is an anime and manga group based in East Anglia, due to the lack of anime and manga events in the region. A year later and AniMedia East is one of the larger anime and manga groups in that region. Each year they organise a number of different events for their members and non-members as well, the next thing on their list to do has only recently been announced.

AniMedia East Cosplay Picnic

Saturday the 17th of April 2010!
Where: Norwich at the Chapelfield Gardens from 1000

As stated above, this event will start at 1000 on the 17th April, so hope for good weather. The even is currently posted on Visit Norfolk and Norwich Events so there may be a lot more fans than usual attending.

Not all of the events are 100% confirmed; however, the events that are pending for this event are:

  • Meet and greet
  • Quiz and mini games
  • Man-hunt
  • Cinema
  • Shopping
  • LaserQuest
  • Evening meal

AniMedia East are welcome to ideas and if you live in the area and know of any venues that would host a 50+ person event for free, or very little money then please contact Raye of AniMedia East as they’d love to hear from you.

You can find their official forum here, or go via the AnimeLeague, which is here.

Sci-Fi-London Confirm Running List for Anime All Nighter

News - by - March 22, 2010 - 11:15 Europe/London - Be first to Comment!

Sci-Fi-London frequently run a little event called the Anime All-Nighter. Each time the shows that are aired are different and this time around they’ve been confirmed as:

  • Redline
  • Musashi
  • Bleach the Movie – The Diamond Dust Rebellion
  • Fate/stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works

This is not a guarantee though as Sci-Fi-London have stated that the running order is subject to change and it’s not unusual for additions to be made last minute.

Running in conjunction with Manga Entertainment, this event is sure to be booked up very early on so make sure you check out Sci-Fi-London’s official website here.

Source: Sci-Fi-London forums via UK Anime Network

DVD Releases This Week

News - by - March 22, 2010 - 09:00 Europe/London - 1 Comment

As with every Monday there are a number of new releases from the anime companies across the UK, some weeks we have a deluge of anime and other weeks it’s a little scarce on the ground. This week, we fall into the latter although the anime that is being released in of a great quality. Those two animes are:

These two animes are now out for you to purchase from all good retailers immediately, we have listed the best price available for these shows and a link to the retailer above.

U Don’t Know Me

Reviews - by - March 20, 2010 - 22:06 Europe/London - 1 Comment

“U Don’t Know Me” is a yaoi published by Net Comics and written by the author known as Rakun. Originally published as donginji (doujinshi) in Korea, “U Don’t Know Me” is a love story where two best friends, close to brotherhood, reveal their secret desires to each other that have stemmed from childhood in a world where this is still taboo. “U Don’t Know Me” is a romantic, sexy, humorous with a pinch of violence piece of work and has a story comparable with other popular manga such as “There’s Something About Sunyool” and “Merry Family Plan”.

The two main characters, Yoojin and Seyun’s relationship blossom, as they grow older, from best friends in their childhood and become passionate lovers in their teens. Yoojin is typically tall, dark and handsome, martial arts professional and all round cool guy. Whereas Seyun, who is not only handsome, but is seen by his lover as far weaker and less cool with a hint of lolli-shota. Life is seemingly sweet until Seyun moves away with his irrational father during his childhood; however, things do not work out and years later he returns. Yoojin is still living with his parents when Seyun moves to his own place nearby. It is from here the two realise they were always more than just friends. Yoojin often too forceful and Seyun tougher then he acts, it’s a complicated relationship from the beginning and this is before the parents find out!

The quality of the artwork is decent and the actual imagery is graphic throughout the entire manga, the front cover alone is somewhat suggestive and goes much further than this giving the viewer exactly what’s hoped for. Like any good quality manga, it is easy to read. There are many double pages pretty much dedicated to the less then subtle sex scenes, picturing more passionate moments and leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. However, it’s not all seriousness as there are plenty of chibi sketches that express the storyline has taken a lighter turn and the reader is welcome to laugh. The more that one reads, the more the manga feels like an anime, which is a great sign. Darting from one box to the next ensures the entire yaoi can be enjoyed and finished well within the hour. Ideal for saucy lunch hours and bathtub reading!

“U Don’t Know Me” is a perfect read for anyone who enjoys a typical yaoi storyline. Two sexy young men sharing passionate moments that become more graphic and intense as the pages turn over. The storyline consists of a shock factor most of us born in the 80’s have long since gotten over but can’t wait to know more about. The romance coincides neatly with the heart throbbing sex scenes and the more heart breaking discussions as Yoojin and Seyun debate if what they’re doing is right.

Although very enjoyable there are some scenes that feel as though they are only put in to make up the pages. Seyun has this gangster like image around him that Yoojin does not see. In school Seyun is revered as one of the toughest school kids around and is known for loosing his temper and getting into fights. However, when with Yoojin, he is described as a ‘kitten’ and only looses his temper during heated debates of which anyone could be guilty. Thus parts of the storyline seem almost completely irrelevant which leads to impatient thoughts such as “Let’s have another sex scene or a strange twist!” However the storyline is not without it’s shocking moments that render the reader unable to put the manga down before knowing what happens next.

Panda! Go, Panda!

Features - by - March 16, 2010 - 17:31 Europe/London - Be first to Comment!

Will early Ghibli creator’s work’s stand up to the test of time?

Panda, Go Panda!

Reviews - by - March 16, 2010 - 17:10 Europe/London - Be first to Comment!

Thirty-eight years ago a new fad was sweeping the nation of Japan, a somewhat surprising fad considering the origin. Pandas. Yes, China had generously donated a panda to a Japanese zoo in an attempt to increase their political and social ties and in the process the Japanese population went into a frenzy. Then Panda! Go, Panda! arrived and sent them all into overdrive.

Panda! Go Panda! is an early work of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, which predates Studio Ghibli and the pairs more famous works by many years. However, the early signs of the pair’s creativity and artistic style is very dominant throughout the film itself.

Calling this production a film is a bit of a stretch though, it’s more like a collection of extended episodes from an anime sewn together with a common theme – pandas. Not that this is a bad thing though. In the original release there were a few follow up episodes; these have all been threaded into one extended DVD with three episodes.

From the off it’s clear to see that this is not only early anime, but is also early Miyazaki work. The character designs, while distinct, lack the finesse of more recent films; however, his style has clearly been developed from this early work. This is clear to see from the resemblance between Ponyo and Mimiko for example. The pair’s work has also become famous for paying an incredible amount of attention to the scenery and being surrounded by nature, this style and theme is apparent throughout all of Panda! Go, Panda! as one is able to tell simply from the name of the feature.

The basic premise of the story is that a little girl- Mimiko has been left on her own to tend to a home whilst her Grandma goes away in Tokyo. Mimiko is a very young girl, so immediately the thought of someone of that age being left alone does strike a chord of disbelief; however, Mimiko is a very capable young girl who manages to see her Grandma off and goes home to find she’s got intruders in the house. Before she can really comprehend what’s happened, there’s a baby Panda in her home who she decides to care for with the passion of a Mother.

Mimiko is still of school age and decides to take Panpan to school with her, which understandably causes a riot as they don’t believe Panpan to be a Panda but another creature that needs attacking. Mimiko manages to secure Panpan and takes him back home only to be met by a giant Panda, Papa Panda. Mimiko takes this all in her stride and decides that they will become a larger-than-life family with a human “mother” and two Panda’s for relatives. The rest of the stories continue in a similar vein, and it’s clear that this story is a precursor to the more internationally famous Pippi Longstockings and Totoro.

Panda, Go Panda! is available in both English and Japanese. The English dub is well done, considering it’s got no Disney backing unlike the majority of Ghibli works, although Papa Panda does have a very strange, almost Jamaican imitation style voice. The subtitles are well placed and the overall quality of Panda, Go Panda! is top-notch. Considering this title is older than the majority of the people who will be watching it and as it’s clearly a “cash-cow” to try and grab some cash from a passing fad the actual animation quality and transfer to DVD is brilliant.

Code Geass R2 Set 1 Confirmed for UK Release

News - by - March 15, 2010 - 12:33 Europe/London - 1 Comment

Beez Entertainment limited today confirmed via their official Twitter page, that Code Geass R2 Set 1 will be released in the UK in May.

Code Geass R2 Set 1

Release Date: 24th May 2010
Discs: 3 disc boxset
Price: £39.99 RRP

It’s also been confirmed that unlike in the USA, the series will be released in two boxsets, currently slated to contain three DVDs a piece. Currently Code Geass R2 is only available to preorder with hmv, which you can do by clicking here for £28.99.