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  Jin-Roh The Wolf BrigadeJin-Roh The Wolf Brigade - Special Edition
Written by Mamoru Oshii (the director of the cult favorite Ghost in the Shell) and directed by Hiroyuki Okiura (a key animator on Akira), Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade offers a violent but compelling vision in animation. The story is set in a fictionalized version of the recent past, when a repressive Japanese government is battling the Sect, a violent revolutionary organization that uses adolescent girls they call "Red Riding Hoods" as couriers.

During a raid...During a raid, Capitol Police Constable Kazuki Fuse (pronounced "foo-seh," voice by Michael Dobson) balks at killing Nanami Agawa (Maggie Blue O'Hare), one of the Red Riding Hoods. She commits suicide with a powerful bomb. While Fuse undergoes retraining, he meets Nanami's older sister, Kei (Moneca Stori), and initiates an odd romance. Soon both characters are caught in a web of plots and counterplots that center on the possibility that Fuse may be a "wolf," a member of a secret cabal within the Capitol Police.

Jin-Roh is drawn in a comic book style that recalls the work of the popular graphic novelist and film designer Jean "Moebius" Giraud; Okiura's skillful cutting and striking imagery transcend the limited animation. Although anime continues to grow in popularity in America, it's rare for a Japanese feature to receive even a limited theatrical release, as this one did: a dark, brooding film of exceptional power, Jin-Roh deserves to be seen by a large audience.

Princess Mononoke!Princess Mononoke
One of our favorite anime epics, Princess Mononoke was created by Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service), an acknowledged anime pioneer, whose painterly style, vivid character design, and stylized approach to storytelling take ambitious, evolutionary steps here.

The Princess in Action!Set in medieval Japan, Miyazaki's original story envisions a struggle between nature and man. The march of technology, embodied in the dark iron forges of the ambitious Tatara clan, threatens the natural forces explicit in the benevolent Great God of the Forest and the wide-eyed, spectral spirits he protects. When Ashitaka, a young warrior from a remote, and endangered, village clan, kills a ravenous, boar-like monster, he discovers the beast is in fact an infectious "demon god," transformed by human anger. Ashitaka's quest to solve the beast's fatal curse brings him into the midst of human political intrigues as well as the more crucial battle between man and nature.

Transformers - Complete Season 1 Boxed Set
There are robots ... and then there are ROBOTS IN DISGUISE! When the Transformers was introduced nearly 20 years ago, it popularized a unique concept - vehicles that kids can change to robots and back again. For a generation of fans this show served as an introduction to anime, so we are pleased to see the series come out on DVD.

A robot not in disguise!At its heart, the tale of the Transformers is a simple one: living mechanical beings from the planet Cybertron are engaged in a civil war, with heroic Autobots warring against the evil Decepticons. In cartoons, comic books, and – most importantly – the imaginations of the fans, the battles are told with action, drama, comedy, pathos, cunning, tragedy, betrayal, and high-flying adventure. This special set features all 16 episodes are in chronological order digitally remastered from original 35mm negative on 3 discs, plus a special 4th disc which features everything from Japanese bumpers to highlights from a 2001 Transformers Convention.

Vampire Hunter DVampire Hunter D
The classic 1985 “goth meets anime” film is now out on DVD. While the style and film techniques seem somewhat dated, it is still worth the viewing for anyone interested in a good action packed gothic thriller. The DVD features both English and Japanese language soundtracks with optional English subtitles. It also has a documentary featurette, deleted footage, and an artwork gallery by Amano among its supplements.

Pre-production sketch of DVampire Hunter D takes place in 12090 AD, where werewolves, mutants and vampire roam the world. The movie stars “D”, a haunted half-human, half-vampire warrior, wanders the countryside of a feudalistic future, hunting his own kind while battling his own evil nature. Like a rogue samurai, the silent, solitary hero wanders into a small hamlet terrorized by the all-powerful Count, a monstrous vampire lord, and his demonic minions from a castle that casts a long shadow over the countryside. The Count has claimed the human Doris (who wields a mean cutlass herself) as his bride. D becomes her protector and–when she's captured by the Count's shape-shifting minions–her savior. Designed in slashes and sharp, angular images and directed with abrupt explosions of lightning-fast action, Vampire Hunter D is violent and bloody in the mode of a samurai adventure.

Hard Boiled
Hard Boiled - VHS
Director John Woo has moved into the ranks of the American film world with hits like Face/Off and Broken Arrow, but few Americans know about his Hong Kong history. He made over thirty films in Hong Kong, amongst the best were The Killer and Hard Boiled. Criterion has done a nice job packaging this title as it includes little gems like trailers for 11 of Woo's Hong Kong films and even a student film by John Woo.

Ya gotta love scenes like this!Hard Boiled stars Chow Yun-fat (The Replacement Killers) plays a take-no-prisoners cop on the trail of the triad, the Hong Kong Mafia, when his partner is killed during a gun battle. His guilt propels him into an all-out war against the gang, including an up-and-coming soldier in the mob (Tony Leung) who turns out to be an undercover cop. The two men must come to terms with their allegiance to the force and their loyalty to each other as they try to take down the gangsters. A stunning feast of hyperbolic action sequences (including a climactic sequence in an entire hospital taken hostage), Hard-Boiled is a rare treat for fans of the action genre, with sequences as thrilling and intense as any ever committed to film. Recommended Books:
 Digital BeautiesDigital Beauties
by Julius Weidemann

This is the first book in a new series on digital culture focuses on beauty and cutting-edge computer-generated female characters. Whereas most books on digital creation concentrate on technique and include detailed "how-to get started guides", Digital Beauties is all about exploring the artistic achievements of today's best designers without a lot of complicated technical jargon.

An anime Lara Croft?Here you'll discover a host of digital beauties from all around the world and a dizzying array of styles and techniques-moody black-and-white nudes, surreal portraits, Lara Croft-style adventure chicks, sleek ultra-futuristic babes, etc. Both 2D and 3D design are covered, with an emphasis on the latter; some images are so stunningly lifelike it's hard to believe they're 100% computer generated.

Fruits: Japanese Street FashionFruits by Shoichi Aoki
Fruits is a collection of Tokyo street fashion portraits from Japan's premier street fanzine of the same name. 'Fruits' was established in 1994, by photographer Shoichi Aoki, initially as a project to document the growing explosion in street fashion within the suburbs of Tokyo. Over the last five years, the magazine has grown to cult status and is now avidly followed by thousands of Japanese teenagers who also use the magazine as an opportunity to check out the latest styles and trends.

Always wear pink cat ears with the red wig...The clothing that these teens wear are a mixture of high fashion – Vivienne Westwood is a keen favorite– and homemade ensembles which when combined create a novel, if not hysterical, effect. This extensive collection of portraits represents a unique documentation of the changing face of street fashion throughout the last decade. Colorful, fascinating and funny, this is the first time these cult images have been published outside Japan.

My New York DiaryMy New York Diary
by Julie Doucet

Yes we know it's not anime, but that doesn't mean Julie Doucet isn't cool! Among the younger generation of alternative comix artists, Doucet stands out for her engaging combination of a cartoonish style and frank realism; her autobiographical tales are tough and self-effacing, bitchy and sweet, and all peopled with her rubbery characters with goofy oversized heads. Her rich comedic style softens the scuzziness of the endless cockroaches and garbage-strewn sidewalks seem funny in her heavily littered frames. With her new beau, Julie guzzles beer by the case, begins to worry about work, and longs to move closer to the action on the Lower East Side. As her career takes off (there is a RAW party scene with a cameo by Art Spiegelman), her lovers career goes nowhere, and he grows increasingly angry and needy, a pattern that culminates in a particularly awful scene on the subway.

Music and Soundtrack Selections:
 Sushi 3003Sushi 3003
Bungalow have a reputation for releasing great music, and this CD is a good example of their work. Sushi 3003 includes better known Japanese Pop acts like Kahimi Karie who sings her big hit "Good Morning World" (which started it's life as a make-up commercial in Japan), our lontime favorite Pizzicato Five and pop megastar Cornelius. There are also other bands which aren’t as well known, but equally wonderful. Offbeat tracks like "Sweden, Heaven and Hell" by K-Taro is a nice surprise, bringing a classic Muppets song into the mix. These songs are fun, and remarkably light-hearted. Quite simply, the music is relaxing and on the converse, danceable. You won’t be disappointed. Current Issue | Sitemap | The Anime Wallpaper Guide

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