I am going to be honest and admit that I am not a fan of western comics. Just in general, I am repelled by western art as a whole, like the works of Vincent Van Gogh with his weird textures, direction, and colors. I see western comics having terrible plots that keep getting retconned. For instance, this little completely out of context quote from New X-Men “Magneto: No, that was actually Xorn’s twin brother possessed by the sentient mold Sublime, pretending to be me, pretending to be Xorn.” In fact, I highly doubt I would have been any more miserable if I continued never reading one. Of course, in comes Franklin Raines to change all that and slaps a request to cover a comic book, bless his soul. To be fair, he did at least let me choose what I would cover. So, I went with the puniest thing I could find in his library, which is why today I am reviewing 2012’s Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse.
Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse was written by Nate Cosby who also worked on The Storyteller and Immortals: Gods & Heroes. Chris Eliopoulos drew the art for Cow Boy, as well as Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius.
1990′s Flight 005 Conspiracy was directed by Toshifumi Takizawa who also directed the Crusher Joe’s OVA’s and Blue Remains. Character design was done by Tsukasa Dokite, who also worked on the Dirty Pair anime and oh boy, I haven’t heard this name in a long time, the bizarre hentai Cream Lemon (link is SFW).
Flight 005 Conspiracy involves Kei and Yuri investigating two seemingly unrelated cases involving an exploded space flight and a missing researcher. What has started as a strange case quickly evolves into an interplanetary conspiracy, involving organized crime and an experimental compound named Ignoal fluid. While they are at it, they receive the help of handsome detective Danny and grizzled grandfather Dick, who is looking to save his daughter and grandchild. All of whom are endangered by the crossfire of an intelligence agency split between factions of government and previously mentioned organized crime in the form of Dirty Pair mainstay Lucifer.
As of late, it would appear I have been getting paired with nothing but war story Anime, (see my last review of Now and Then, Here and There). But anything is better than having me watch Grave of the Fireflies, so I am not about to complain. What I write here today is a very different story from my last review, and whereas NTHT left a half-assed taste in my mouth, I can feel a little more proud when I tell you all about 2007’s The Sky Crawlers.
Directed by Mamoru Oshii of Ghost In the Shell fame and character designs by Tetsuya Nishio who has also worked on a great deal of Ghost In the Shell and Naruto films
I would tell you more but it seems Tetsuya Nishio’s chief job and portfolio is key animation. It was originally based on the novels by Hiroshi Mori, who so far, have yet to be released in English. The Sky Crawlers, however, was released by SONY pictures for the English language.
Some stories tell us that war is a horrible thing, where a few others tell us that war is filled with glory and honor. Most of us, I am sure, realize that war is not a pretty thing, and yet, we still have it. Do we perhaps secretly enjoy war in its bloody, painful glory or is it perhaps that bashing heads simply is the easier choice? Sophistry aside, war stories are far from uncommon, but they all usually try to tell us something about cruelty, and 1999’s Now and Then, Here and There is no different*.
Now and Then, Here and There was conceived and directed by Akitaro Daichi, who also directed anime such Jubei-Chan and Kamisama Kiss. Hideyuki Kurata was the writer, who also worked on Kamichu! And The World God Only Knows.
I rarely ever stumble upon works of fiction that take place in a remote planet that has been colonized by humans. I am not saying that the kind of story is rare, but rather that my own experience with the Sci-Fi genre is rather lacking. Off the top of my head I can think of two works, similar, yet vastly different that qualify as colonizing stories. The first work is The Knife of Never Letting Go series, which I read while in high school. This is a coming-of-age story about a boy named Todd Hewitt who lives in a world where microbes cause all men’s-and only men’s-thoughts to become audible. It is a dramatic story involving war, racism (of the fanatic variety), and what it would be like for someone to be able to hear your every thought. The second work is 2006’s Kieli, which I will discuss today.
Kieli is based on a series of light novels by Yukako Kabei who also wrote Endo Roll Made Ato. The Kieli novel was then adapted into manga by artist Shiori Teshirogi, who worked on Saint Seiya – The Lost Canvas and Dear My Doll.
1990’s Otaku No Video is a mockumentary on the life of otaku, you know, those sad little souls that Americans believe are addicted exclusively to anime and manga. But wait! Maybe there is a little more diversity to these weirdoes than what most people relegate them as collectors of cutesy (or not so cute depending on what they are based on) figures, model-kit builders, and wall scroll hangers. And do not forget about those body pillows. Let’s see how “real” otaku live their lives. .
This is one of studio GAINAX’s earliest works, it was directed by Takeshi Mori (Vandread, Gunsmith Cats) with character designs by Kenichi Sonoda (Bubblegum Crash, Cannon God Exaxxion).
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland have had a hand in captivating people for a long time, as well as inspiring a great deal of work based or influenced by the two books. And Japan is no slouch on borrowing themes or ideas. Among the many things spawned between Japanese media and Alice is a series of video games that inspired a manga series, said manga has crossed the Atlantic with the name Alice in the Country of Hearts, which I am reviewing today.
2007’s Alice in the Country of Hearts originates from a series of Otome (Maiden) games, a genre where female protagonists are aimed at an exclusively female audience. Being part of the already obscure subset known as visual novels, Otome games are so rarely put out in the western markets that we are aware of only two to three of them, namely Hakuoki and Jo Jin Bo. The point of such a game is for Alice to build up relationships with many male characters standing in for characters in the original (with the exception of the queen of hearts for which I feel somehow forced to expel a sigh of relief) ultimately Alice will be able to go back home once she has interacted with the full cast.
It is a rare occurrence for short animations to be released on this side of the Pacific. While this is not a tragedy I have personally suffered over; I can see why it is not a readily viable business proposition. Very few people would spend money on a work that they know nothing about, and are offered only a single episode of something that could be great, or terrible, it is a gamble, and not one that would appear cost-efficient. Therefore works like these are often bundled together to make a sweeter deal for the consumers. Such is the case for OVA’ such as 2010’s Coicent and 2011’s Five Numbers.
Coicent was directed by Shuhei Morita, director of the film Freedom and the original creator of the manga Kakurenbo, who had a heavy hand in its film adaptation from being its director to one of its producers.
Usually, my cruel taskmaster Franklin will hand me something expecting me to write a review of it. I, in turn, will examine the material and after much arguing and griping (a benefit of which comes from being paid in stuff instead of money (Editor’s Note: I consider the relationship to be based on a bartering system)) I will eventually decide to indeed write a review of said material. This time, however, Franklin decided to take something newly acquired by myself and told me to write a review on it. I was not too pleased about having to write a review about something I wanted to enjoy at my own leisure, rather than critically. But, oh well, I shall stop stalling and tell you that today I bring you a review of the 2008 manga Inukami!
Inukami! was originally a series of light novels by Mamizu Arisawa whose other titles include his debut novel Infinity Zero, Lucky Chance!, and a novel related to the World God Only Knows. The manga adaptation was illustrated by Mari Matzusawa, illustrator for Sanbun no Ichi and Hinadori Girl. There is also an anime adaptation that you may be able to find online, as it was never brought overseas.
When I first started writing reviews for Children Of the Blazing Fist, Franklin Raines (otherwise known as my taskmaster and evil overlord), confessed to having no way of paying me for my time. He would instead introduce and loan me awesome Manga and Anime. I think he finally paid me with 2005’s Love Roma, a comedic love story about a boy, who says exactly what he is thinking, a girl, who will whack him for ignoring social cues, and their friends, who get a good laugh from their shenanigans.
Love Roma is the first work by Minoru Toyoda. He then went on to publish Flip-Flap and Tomodachi 100-nin Dekiru kana.
Hajime Hoshino is well, there is no other way of describing him as other than blunt. Hajime Hoshino is not only blunt, but clueless. How clueless? He confessed to a girl who did not know him, in front of her classmates, during lunch break. The person on the receiving end of Hajime’s confession was Yumiko Negishi, an ordinary girl who did not expect to be confessed to in public by someone who decided to discard everything they know about Japan’s rules of socialization. Hoshino was about as successful as you would come to expect. However, due to a combination of niceness on Negishi’s part and expectant peer pressure from those surrounding the two; she agreed to walk home with him in order for them to get to know each other. And the rest is history! A pure, innocent, love story about two people as they struggle to understand their feelings in a plot full of drama and deceit. No, Love Roma is the slow, easy-going story about a boy and girl, who grow closer as they get to know each other, spend time with one another, and where one hits the other, when said other completely ignores the time, place, or appropriateness of his words and actions.
Say a guy has not enjoyed the privilege of having a girlfriend in a long time; or perhaps ever. He will have at some point, whether told to him or an associate, heard the allusion that his right, (or left) hand is in fact his girlfriend. Usually, this is a humorous allusion to masturbation. However sometimes this refers to when a guy actually has a hand-sized girl magically grafted onto his arm. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you the premise of 2004’s Midori Days (yes I am being serious, does my deadpan tone not sound serious?).
Midori Days is an anime adaptation of the manga series by Kazurou Inoue (Ai Kora, Aoi Destruction) of the same name. The anime was directed by Tsuneo Kobayashi (both Emma: A Victorian Romance seasons and Kurokami the Animation).
Megazone23 part 2 was directed by Ichiro Itano (Blassreiter, Gantz, Spirit Warrior) and its character designer was Yasuomi Umetsu (Yumemakura Baku Twilight Gekijō, Mezzo Forte, Kite).
Part 2 of Megazone23 starts a few months after the events of part 1. Shogo was defeated in his attempt at a final confrontation with BD (the military commander whom I affectionately call Blu-ray Disc). After his defeat, Shogo apparently went underground to lick his wounds, gathering some of the most varied assortment of lunatics out there in the world of anime (with the exception of maybe team Dai-Gurren) There is Guts, who is basically a bull in a biker’s get up and bad teeth. Lightning, Shogo’s best friend and second in command, who looks like a goofier Shogo with his multi-colored hair and an interesting attraction for Eve, which sort of made me think of an early parallel for Otaku’s obsessed, with their idols and/or waifus. With company like those two, Shogo lies in wait for an opportunity to strike back. Meanwhile, Yui, our heroine has been sitting around waiting for Shogo to appear, like a good woman of the 80’s is necessentially expected. And apparently she decided to get her hair dyed (which may not have been intentional on her part).
This is the first anthology I have reviewed in my short life as a reviewer, so meeting with some unfamiliarity was unavoidable. For my first anthology, 1995′s Memories was a bit disappointing, yet not without its achievements.
Memories is co-directed by Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira, Cannon Fodder), Koji Morimoto (Animatrix, Magnetic Rose), and Tensai Okamura (Wolf’s Rain, Stink Bomb). Now you could find this information on the reverse of the DVD box, but my tyrannical editor demands that I draw it attention, just in that off-chance any of these names mean anything to you.
On the loosest of standards, all three stories in Memories are sci-fi related; but that is where all similarities end. Because this is made up of three separate pieces that stand by themselves, I will split the review in separate parts for each clip and will make my conclusion encompassing the work as a whole.
Magnetic Rose is a story about a team of four men: Ivanov the captain, Aoshima, his co-pilot, Heinz, the more mature half of the salvaging duo and Miguel who is the stupider one of the two; their spaceship wandering the universe as they salvage old debris from older ships. The team accidentally stumbles upon a distress signal, If you have ever watched a show set in outer space, then you probably know this has been done so many times that I am not even going to bother taking off mental points. As this salvaging team moves through a dead sea of ships, they find the source of the distress signal, a giant magnetic rose made out of ship parts. When their scout team, that is Heinz and Miguel, begins to explore the innards of the rose they find themselves on a fancy European mansion owned by an Italian opera singer; this is when things start to get creepy. Despite the surroundings being full of lavish displays of wealth and taste, the film does a nice job of slowly pouring a sense of creepiness that builds over time. Slowly ever so slowly all the members of the crew are being led to their deaths in very different manners, personally I couldn’t help but sympathize with the Heinz who not only did not fall for the atmosphere of the rose but also as a loving father and husband gave us a reason to sympathize with him, yet quite possibly met with the worst possible fate imaginable.