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Anime DVD Reviews
Warning: Absolutely NOT for kids! Kite is one of the nastiest, grisly and gruesome tales ever done in anime. It explores some of the more disturbing aspects of the human psyche. With its La Femme Nikita-style story line, this film rivals the live-action works of Luc Besson and even John Woo.

KiteThat said, the characters are flawlessly executed, with fantastic art and animation, along with it's darkly compelling plot. Like watching a car-crash, you just won't be able to turn away from the screen, despite the horrors being presented. Kite is simply excellent in every aspect.

Photon - The Idiot Adventures
We remember when anime was stiff, and how blown away we were by Crusher Joe when it premiered because the characters "acted" instead of "reacted". Photon may be the first in a new revolutionary trend in anime where the characters are actually animated in slightly different styles to emphasize their personalities. Just as no two humans move the same way, you'll find differences in the way the characters look and move.
And this excruciating attention to detail isn't lost on other aspects of this feature-packed DVD. The story, music, action, pacing, humor, characterizations and overall direction are astounding. This is easily one of the best titles ever produced by AIC. There is some nudity and violence, so it's not for kids, but it is for everyone else.

Boogiepop Phantom -
Boxed Set (Evolutions 1-4)

Wacky, weird, different and insightful are some of the adjectives we could use to describe this unique piece of work. But words fail to do justice. Using a variety of film technique, director Takashi Watanabe abandons the rollicking comedy of Slayers for a series that meticulously feeds you little pieces of a broadening horizon.
The goal of all this is to transfer an idea into the viewer's mind and make them think. And when the story does unfold in your mind, you will get a chill down your spine. It's intriguing, mysterious, and creepy up to the very last episode. If you liked Serial Experiments: Lain, you'll love this.

Key the Metal Idol - Awakening
Take the concept of Pinocchio and then totally turn it on it's ear. That's what's behind this brilliantly insightful story of a little-girl-robot who desperately wishes to become human. This sets the stage for a serious drama-action-adventure with some unique social commentary on the subversive way the idol singer industry in Japan takes advantage of young girls and exploits them for profit (not unlike Perfect Blue).

KeyAfter you watch it, you feel like you've had some beautiful, yet terribly tragic dream that you can't quite remember. Dig Deep. It's "Fight Club" for anime. Only on the 4th or 5th viewing will anything make sense. But by then, you'll have your perception of anime altered forever.

Cat Soup
Cat Soup
Not since Pi have we seen anything that twisted our perception of reality quite like this. Anyone who's suffered a really good hallucinogenic experience will immediately identify with Cat Soup.

Cat SoupWinner of the "Best Short Film" at The 6th Fantasia Film Festival and "Excellence Prize" at Japan's Media Arts Festival, Cat Soup features the psychedelic imagery of the late artist Nekojiru. From the director of Nadesico, Tatsuo Sato's Cat Soup tells the story of a little kitten, Nyaako, who embarks on a bizarre journey with her brother Natta, to get her soul back, which has been stolen by Death. In the surreal dreamscape of the Other Side, they encounter many fantastic characters and embark on various remarkable and disturbing adventures.

Central Park Media has done a good job reworking the film with subtitles, as the few bits of dialog in the film are done as word balloons. Although children may enjoy it, it does contain some ghastly imagery, so take it with a grain of salt. Recommended Books:
Rising Stars of Manga
Rising Stars of Manga
This book is a result of the “Rising Stars of Manga contest” which was sponsored by TokyoPop. We have to admit that at first we didn’t have much hope for a collection of manga drawn by gaijin! However this collection had a few nice surprises, and would be well worth adding to your comic book collection. The volume features quite a bit of good storytelling and artwork, and there is that special bonus of knowing that you may be looking at the work of a future Tezuka (well we can always hope).

Frank Miller's gothic graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns may be the best selling comic book of all time, but Alan Moore's Watchmen is certainly the greatest. Thought-provoking, inspired, revolutionary and very very deep, you'll find yourself reviewing the issues brought up within this story over and over again. Vigilantism is outlawed, costumed characters who fight crime are weirdoes who have "issues", and someone is wiping them out, one by one.

Clearly, some of the salient points of story do relate more to the time they were written for (the late 80's), but the premise is still so compelling that the story remains solid. Dave Gibbons' art is cinematic and detailed to the extreme. This is the book that forever changed the way the comic book industry thought about the art form. Have it, read it, love it. Watchmen is it.

The Art of Finding Nemo
The Art of Finding Nemo
If you're interested in a "real" behind-the-scenes look at the making of a animated movie (in this case a clever and amazing Pixar animated movie), or are into cartoon design, want insight into what's being done or want to get into the field yourself, then look no further. The Art of Finding Nemo celebrates the talent at Pixar, featuring concept and character sketches, storyboards, and lighting studies in a huge spectrum of media. Unlike many so-called "making of" books, this one contains zero stills from the final film. Instead, the reader is treated to actual making-of art, from napkin drawings to elaborate conceptual pastels.

Music and Soundtrack Selections:
Osamu Tezuka Collection
Osamu Tezuka Collection (Anime Score Compilation)
Having a good clean copy of the Tetsuwan Atomu (Astroboy) theme makes this album worth the price alone, but hey, we love all these classics! "Dr. T" made so many kick-ass shows that almost all of these will ring a bell with you, particularly if you are over 30 and remember Kimba the White Lion or Princess Knight.

Anybody who knows anything about anime at all knows that manganokamisama didn't just inspire the legions who followed him, he quite literally invented the entire genre as we understand it today. This album brushes the tip of the iceberg with 33 tracks of some of the more well known theme songs to his vast expanse of works.

Upcoming Events and Cool Links:
 Anime Projects
John Willis has put together a great fan website which features desktop pictures and overviews of anime series like NieA_7, Boogiepop, and Onegai (just to name a few). Current Issue | Sitemap | The Anime Wallpaper Guide

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