Japan Expo Logo
After the huge success of last year, the Japan Expo‘s 12th convention will take place between the 30th June to the 3rd of July 2011. Last year over 173,000 people turned up to Europe’s largest convention for Japanese culture at the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre and this year the Japan Expo is expecting closer to 200,000 people from all over the world to attend.
There will be a number of surprises moving forward for the expo, but so far there will be manga editors with a ton of exclusive reveals, pop culture with film’s on display, modern culture and traditional culture exhibitions with calligraphy and origami workshops being planned.
More information will be provided as and when we have it.
Copyright Beez Entertainment
Beez Entertainment have confirmed the release dates of the second volumes of Durarara!! and Gundam 00, Season 2. In only a few short weeks these volumes will be made available in DVD format only. There is currently no Blu-Ray DVD release penned for these releases.
Durarara!! Volume 2 – 28th March 2011
Gundam 00, Season 2: Part 2 – 28th March 2011
Both will be available in the usual retail outlets hmv, Amazon, Play.com.
Manga Entertainment recently confirmed via their Twitter account that they have obtained the rights to release Dance in the Vampire Bund in the UK at some point this year.
At the present time no details are known regarding the release, in the UK. As soon as information comes to light, we will let you all know.
However, Funimation are the license holders in the USA and they’ve confirmed that Dance in the Vampire Bund will be available in both DVD and Blu-Ray and will be out in the Summer.
If we are truly to expect Vampire Bund this year, we may have a simultaneous release or one in late Autumn. As it’s a 12 episode series there is a decent possibility of seeing a Blu-Ray release.
Seeing as this is a short series and there’s a fair potential for good sales on the highstreet, a Blu-Ray is a fairly likely possibility in my opinion.
Will it grow on you as fast as bamboo?
School life is pretty rubbish for most people, with hindsight many say that they would return. I for one would never return to school, not unless it was like the Japanese schools that I watch on a seemingly endless basis. Lucky Star, Azumanga Daoih, Host Club and Haruhi Suzumiya all seem to enjoy a level of freedom, flexibility and happiness that was devoid in my early life. Was I just a lonely horrible kid? Possibly, although doubtful. It’s just what we watch in or anime is happy. Now, that said, being in school is still hard and it’s made even harder when you’re bullied into joining a club that you don’t really know about, or want to join. This is the basic premise for Bamboo Blade – joining the school’s Kendo Club.
Although at first it’s easy to assume that Bamboo Blade is simply a sports anime, that assumption would be deadly wrong. Bamboo Blade, although has many sporty over-tones, is in fact a “slice of life” anime, with many of the elements that are essential for this genre to be successful displayed to us in various form – just hidden away behind Kendo. There’s the jaded, unimpressed, tired and dysfunctional teacher, there’s the over confident girl, the happy girl, the girl with a hidden side and the two boys who really aren’t that good at anything. Yes, all of the elements that need to exist to make Bamboo Blade a success are there.
Yet, just ticking all of the boxes on a particular form doesn’t make a show a success. Fortunately in the case of Bamboo Blade, the other elements that make a good anime are available by the bucket load. Bamboo Blade is primarily about a Kendo Club in a private school where the teacher no longer has the enthusiasm to care about Kendo, although he’s an ex-champion, but he is in terrible debt. His old teacher or “sensei” phones him and places a bet that his team would destroy theirs. Of course, with no team, and a bet of a year’s supply of sushi on the line, he gets a team hastily together.
There are two members who already exist, the team captain and another member who is absent for a lot of the first volume. This is then increased by a fair few by the appearance of two boys who seem to have the ability to pull in girls like it’s the last days of the earth. With a growing team, it’s very easy for the show to fall down the “Dragonball Z training” route, where everything becomes dead serious, the fun disappears and the show takes a nose dive.
To some degree this does occur and there are a fair few scenes which is just training, talking about training, talking about going to training and just surrounded by Kendo. Luckily these scenes don’t take the lead and the main element of character interaction and the dysfunction teacher, odd students and the strange relationships between all of them stay prevalent and this makes the show that bit more enjoyable.
The cast is fairly wide and somewhat varied, although it does fall into the classic stereotypes of this genre of anime. That’s not to say that they are uninspired characters, just, not revolutionary. Yet they are performed very well by both the Japanese and the American voice actors who do the characters justice in both languages.
The character designs are good, with all of the characters being unique enough to be memorable, but none of them are really out of place with the exception of one character. Yet this character is “right” in his appearance, so it makes visual sense.
Copyright Beez Entertainment
Aside from Manga Entertainment, news on the anime front is a little scarce at the moment from the other big distributors. However, Beez Entertainment recently blogged about their plans for the future and what 2011 has in store for us, from them.
They want, more interaction with the average fan, release more shows but reduce and sometimes stop the delay between the US release and the UK one and to increase the volume of the Anime Legends franchise, which has been a huge success for Beez.
This is nothing new to Beez, for a long time they were one of the only companies who would openly frequent forums and Twitter and since the departure of their lead PR man they are trying harder than ever to get closer to the fan. This makes sense as customer loyalty is everything in a niche market, so let them hear your thoughts!
Beez Entertainment’s blog is located here, however, it’s full of spam as their filters aren’t great so you’re better of checking out their Facebook page, Twitter page or just talking about it below!
Logo © MVM Entertainment
MVM Entertainment are now known for releasing box sets of their older and new material and they have recently confirmed that they are going to be releasing the following shows in a box set:
- Tower of Druaga – which was previously going to be a two disc collection of the first season – it’s now going to be a complete box set release.
- Chobits – it seems a return the UK in a complete box set
- Desert Punk – released last year will see a re-release as a box set
- Shana – again released last year will see a box set collection
- Gungrave – again a recent release but will now be released again.
This is great news for bargain hunters as a box set is always more cost effective than purchasing the single releases. Not forgetting that they are a good collection of decent anime, Desert Punk especially is one worth picking up if you’ve not already got it.
Edging ever closer apart in love, in a truly beautiful looking short feature film.
Life is hard, it’s full of challenges and obstructions that will always be there. It’s how you adjust to these obstacles and who you are that will allow life to either be a pleasurable experience, or one full of regret and woe. 5 Centimetres Per Second is a collection of short stories presented in a feature film that epitomises the challenges that we must all face when it comes to life, love and the pursuit of happiness.
From the outset of the feature, it’s clear what this anime is to become. It’s certainly not a light hearted, happy tale, if anything it’s the reverse. It’s a slow, long winded tale that takes pleasure in being obnoxious and fragmented. However, this method of story telling lends itself well to the subject matter at hand. The tale centres around Takaki Tono and his relationships with girls throughout his life.
We initially see a young Takaki Tono, who is in a close friendship with a young lady and this friendship is seemingly boundless. With correspondence across the country and frequently being split up due to their parents moving to different parts of the country, their passion and friendship looked like it would never end. However, as with everything in life it must come to and end and the reason for this was not made clear. It would appear that the pair fell in love, but neither were prepared to admit it; yet, as time went on the pair grew up and became ever more distant.
In the third part of this tale, it would appear that Takaki Tono’s young love is due to be wed to someone else. Someone who is the exact opposite of what himself. Takaki is neither happy, rich or successful in life and from what we are led to believe the “other man” is and the pair meet up to reminisce about their past.
The actual story itself is nothing new, spectacular or to be honest, all that interesting. Yet, the way the feature is presented is what makes this tale so endearing. There is a clear break between the three tales and this is shown in odd ways, such as an introduction song half way through the feature and credits in unusual places. But this break in the feature clearly shows the fact that there are three separate stories being shown and then that they are all interlinked.
What really sets 5 Centimetres Per Second apart from many anime is the presentation. It has some of the most gorgeous artwork that I’ve seen in any medium in a long time. The level of detail in the scenery is truly stunning; this is why it’s so clear that people are heralding Makoto Shinkai as the next Hayao Miyazaki. Although the storytelling is no where near the standard of a Ghibli production, the artwork is on par if not surpassing the masters of anime feature films.
It’s a real shame that this release is not on Blu-Ray, as it would look simply superb. However, it’s an understandable decision made by Manga Entertainment as it’s appeal is fairly limited. Owing to the unique style it’s presented, a hybrid between individual stories and a feature film and the subject matter at hand – love and distance.
The voice acting on the Japanese side is very good, there’s emotion and passion throughout the entire feature. The English dub isn’t quite as good as the Japanese version, the voice actors, although passable, are a bit flatter and have less depth. However, both are passable and if you’ve got the feature on in the background having it in English is far more convenient.
» Final Score
5 Centimetres Per Second is a story about love, distance and regret. It’s presented in a truly beautiful way visually and story-wise it’s unique and a little arty. The feature is certainly not for everyone, as a slow and methodical story can turn many viewers off. Yet, it’s stunning to watch and is certainly worthy of being on the vast majority of anime viewers shelves.