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Anime DVD Reviews
  Perfect BluePerfect Blue (DVD)
Get ready for an entirely different type of anime film. This one has no giant robots and no space battles. Instead, this mind-bending psychological thriller takes place in modern-day Japan and is chillingly realistic in its portrayal of a pop-idol turned actress losing her grip on sanity as she is stalked by a fanatic-turned-killer. The director does an outstanding job of blurring the lines between her delusions and the TV role that mirrors her real-life problems — so much so that you begin to suffer from the same problem she does — which is that you cannot tell what is real and what's not.

Perfect Blue: Not for the kids...And believe us, you won't be prepared for the ending — well, we don't want to give it away. Let's just say that we were shocked. This is fantastic example of how anime can be used to tell an adult, dramatic story that doesn't have to involve a toy tie-in. Groundbreaking and innovative, you'll definitely find this film to be far above the usual fare. Attention, Anime Studios in Japan - please make more films like this one!

The Big OThe Big O (DVD)
The Big O has been often described as 'What if you combined Batman and Giant Robo?' But it is way more than that. It is pure, hardcore, literary-quality science fiction wrapped in style and sophistication, referencing everything from Isaac Asimov to Kurt Vonnegut. Meet Roger Smith, a man who fights crime in a double breasted all black suit, and he's got a giant robot (but does he control it, or does it control him?). Roger's companion is a female android who is more like MTV's Daria than anything else. She's like nothing you've ever seen in anime before. Be in awe of Dorothy, her power, her magnificence, her improbable size to mass ratio, her sardonic monotone comments, and her hidden, but deeply felt emotion.

The Big O: Outstanding!Simply put, The Big O is everything that we admire about Anime. It has taken American pop culture references and made them its own. Then it augments satire with some brilliantly executed scripts that actually make you think. Combined with one of the most intense, dramatic and downright gothic soundtracks ever recorded, (and one of the most hysterical opening theme songs ever), The Big O is both parody, homage, and something unique all it's own. It may be one of the best anime series ever made, and at a mere 13 episodes, it ends with you screaming for more.

Robotech Macross SagaRobotech Macross Saga Legacy Boxed Set (DVD)
Robotech exploded onto the American scene and inducted entire legions of anime fans into our ranks. Next to Star Blazers, it may be the single most relevant TV series in terms of how many people call it the first "true" anime they ever experienced. Combined from three different TV series in Japan, given a makeover in terms of script and a whole new soundtrack, the producers at Harmony Gold blended together some of the best anime had to offer at the time.

Our kinda robot show!And included in this set is the best of the best - Macross, which spawned imitations, sequels, and really gave us the entire 'transformer' craze in the first place (thanks to the ever-popular transforming Valkyrie mecha - still one of the most convincing concepts ever designed). And then there's the Macross itself, certainly the most giant of giant robots, using aircraft carriers as arms and holding an entire city inside of it. Macross proves that excess is success, and very few have ever done it this well on this scale.

Kiki's Delivery ServiceKiki's Delivery Service
Seriously, how can you go wrong with Phil Hartman voicing the cat! For that alone, this is worth watching. Plus, Kiki is voiced by none-other than Spiderman's sweetheart, Kirsten Dunst. Overall, this is one of the best dubbing jobs ever done for an anime film that has come to America. And of course, the film itself is pure Miyazaki. Beautiful execution and animation, enchanting Jo Hisaishi musical score, and the subtle, slow-burning to boil story that is the trademark of every film from Studio Ghibli.

Meow!The master storyteller weaves a magical world where witches are part of the community, and Kiki, a witch in training, has to start using her broom and flight powers in a delivery service role to help make ends meet. Through this premise, he builds a girl-to-woman coming of age story, with all the requisite problems of life on your own, and learning to rely on yourself, and learning about self-confidence. The struggles Kiki deals with are the sames ones we deal with every day, they are just a little bit different - because, after all, this is a Miyazaki film. There's something for all of us to learn from Kiki, and what it teaches us are the things we should carry in our hearts forever.

Captain Scarlet DVD Box SetCaptain Scarlet DVD Box Set
Of all the Gerry Anderson Supermarionation shows, Captain Scarlet has the most realistic looking figures, the most imaginative scenery and equipment, and it's just generally the coolest looking of all of them. The Japanese have a serious love-affair with Thunderbirds, but Captain Scarlet has a special place in our hearts - the show is just so damn bizarre and with those South Park overtones (the main character dies every episode - except that he comes back - because he cannot be killed!), you'll see here where everyone else stole their great ideas from.

Super Supermarionation!Plus the episodes contain a veritable whos-who of British cinema behind the scenes. Both Derek Meddings (special effects guru) and Barry Gray (musical genius) went on to contribute to the James Bond films, and of course, Gerry and Silvia went on to produce epics like Space:1999 (best art direction - ever!). But every episode is not to be missed. Like some kind of GiJoe doll heaven come-to-life, action figures in action, toys that go boom, this is every 7 to 70 year old boy's dream come true. Recommended Books:
 Hey Cowboy!CowBoy Bebop Complete Anime Guide Volume 1
If you loved Cowboy Bebop on the Cartoon Network the only problem you will have with buying Volume 1 of this series is that you will want to buy the next five. The book is packed with basically anything anyone would want to know about the first five episodes of the series, from basic information about the characters to tidbits about seemingly minor incidents and the lyrics of the songs in English and phonetic Japanese. There's a small section after the overview of the episodes which gives bios of Spike, Jet, and the rest of the gang (even Ein gets his own character bio). Of course our favorite feature was the pull-out poster of Spike! By the way if you are a Faye Valentine fan you may just want to skip to Volume Three in the series.

Hong Kong Manhua
Hong Kong Comics : A History of Manhua
Most Anime fans know everything about Manga (Japanese comic books), however very few fans know that much about Manhua which is the Hong Kong counterpart to Manga. Like Manga, Manhua covers a wide range of genres. While there are a few good English books on Manga, there hasn’t been much coverage of Manhua - however author Wendy Siuyi Wong is off to a good start with this voluminously illustrated book which examines the history of this genre from its beginnings in the early twentieth century to its most influential contemporary practitioners, and in the process traces the origin of a unique Hong Kong style. Over one thousand color manhua (each with English annotation) introduce the reader to this rich and varied form of Chinese popular culture. Wong examines a wide range of comic types, from political cartoons, to "lighthearted" humor comics, children's stories, and violent kung fu fighting works.

The Emperor and the Wolf
The Emperor and the Wolf: The Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune
At first you love Anime, but then you take the next step exploring everything related to Japanese culture. It doesn’t take one long to stumble upon the powerful samurai films of Akira Kurosawa which feature the actor Toshiro Mifune. The Emperor and the Wolf is a great book about these two cornerstones of Japanese cinema. Kurosawa and Mifune made sixteen feature films together, including Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo, and High and Low -- all undisputed masterworks of world cinema.

This book is long overdue: a well-researched study of how a great director and a great actor fired each other up; an informative history of how high profile Japanese films were received at home and abroad; a surprising genealogy of the modern action hero; and a fresh look at sixteen Kurosawa movies-at least six of them all-time classics. Kurosawa has been the subject of numerous critical works, but no English-language biography predates this book. Furthermore, most of Mifune's 126 features remain unseen in the U.S. As one of world cinema's leading figures, Kurosawa is the more important subject here, but the information on Mifune is most welcome, too.

Music and Soundtrack Selections:
 Laputa: The SoundtrackLaputa: Castle In The Sky - Soundtrack
Statement of Bias: We think the music for every Miyazaki film is perfect, astounding, beautiful, majestic, and awe-inspiring. There aren't enough superlatives in the English language to describe the works of Jo Hisaishi. But even within his collected works are stand-out selections and Laputa is, by far, his best work.

The film has a strong link to the experiences and emotions of flight, and the sountrack enhances those feelings, with an air to it that lifts you up and makes you feel the wind rushing around you, while at the same time, wrapping you in the softness of a cloud. The title track alone will bring you to tears as you experience it's magical ability to make you float.

But the overall soundtrack is a mixture of styles and influences, smoothly flowing from one to the next, using a variety of instruments. The electronic "flapter" music is a far cry from the classical sound of the title, and the action music is complemented by the softer tracks of piano which echo the main theme. The variety of emotions and the clever ways these emotions are presented through the composition and orchestration make this soundtrack more impressive than any other we have ever heard for any film, of any genre, ever. Current Issue | Sitemap | The Anime Wallpaper Guide

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