Exile - First Move (Vol. 1)
With Collector's Box
Retro-Futuristic excellence! It's as if someone decided to make a series based
on the Miyazaki created
world of Laputa and
put it about 100 years in the future. Huge warships patrol the skies, while fleets
battle it out, sailing vessel style, but in the air. Through it all, a young
duo become entangled in an aerial adventure between two embattled nations. It's
Legend of the Galactic Heroes, but centered on one world with an eclectic level
Cel and computer animation are blended seamlessly, and the show gives an enthralling
feeling of flight. Wonderful set pieces are set-up against an undercurrent of
class-struggle, honor, romance, and mystery. Last Exile may be one of the coolest
animes to come around in years, and we predict a videogame if there isn't already
D - Battle 1 -
Just as Speed
Racer introduced the "older generation" of anime fans to fast cars
driven by cartoon characters, Initial D is the version for the next generation
of anime fans.
Featuring CGI race scenes based on actual tricked-out cars, Initial
D is the Fast
and the Furious of the animated breed. Illegal Street Racing is the backdrop
against which we are drawn into the story of Tak, and how he and his Toyota
Trueno AE86 will go up against all odds as he spins out, learns to drift, and
punches through the RPMs on his way to the top.
game of the same name, the series is flashy and fast paced and gives in to
it's videogame roots. If you like fast cars and fast action, if the sound of
Type-R with NOS gets your blood pumping, then this series is
With a stiff upper lip there's plenty of good times in store with action, snappy
and a good dose suave style reminiscent of The
Avengers. Which one is "L" and which one is "R"? They
are secret agents so secret, that this becomes the running gag of the show. The
show is alive and well, and living in Japan.
Oh my! How incredibly silly, and yet, so very very funny. Dragon Half is for
those who do not take anime (or anything else for that matter) seriously. It
mocks the conventions of both anime and the fantasy genre (for example, a villain
character, dramatically surrounded by smoke, with a caption pointing to it saying
'Dry Ice' and in another shot you can see a bucket of dry ice behind him) while
intentionally poking fun at shows like Slayers (itself
a parody of Lodoss
The story (there's a story in this mess?) abounds with bizarre interactions,
insane dialogue, scantily clad women, gratuitous explosions, and ridiculous violence.
The animation style changes constantly, becoming more cartoony when things are
particularly wacky. It's as if Project
Ako took on the fantasy genre instead of Sci-Fi. Dragon Half is one of those
strange titles, like Ping
Pong Club, where you can't describe it, you just have to see it. Our only
complaint is that it's too short!
Perhaps you remember the 2002 blockbuster "The
Ring", which supposedly scared audiences from Coast to Coast. In Japan,
however, the film was a yawn -- because they'd already seen it.
is the ORIGINAL film
that "The Ring" was based on. Fans of the U.S. version will find a
less elaborate storyline and more primal fear in the original; the basic plot,
however, still has a worried reporter (Nanako Matsushima) tracking down the meaning
of the video--and, having watched it herself, she has only a week to uncover
of its origin. With a smaller budget, but a far more artistic flair, this film
builds up the suspense and becomes much creepier than the American remake. It
will have you
unplugging the TV
set at night so you can go to sleep.
Ball Z : Budokai
In America, DBZ
games have been few and far between. However, the popularity
of the TV
series has convinced ATARI (of
all companies!) to bring out this killer app of a game. Faithfully recreating
the series, not only in look, but in using the voice actors we're familiar with,
the game goes far and beyond what you'd expect. It's a fun fighting game with
a plethora of characters, but it's also a very cool interactive version of the
show itself -- the story mode summarizes everything from the Saiyan Saga through
to the Cell Games.
For fans of the series this game is a godsend because just about every character
is represented. Sure,
we all like playing Vegeta,
but how many games can you name where you can play as Tien or Great Saiyaman
or #18 (yum!)? Half the fun of the game is throwing someone into a mountain,
or performing a Kamehameha.
Videogame inspires TV Show inspires Videogame. Pop
will eat itself!
009, Vol. 1 Make no mistake, Cyborg is simply the most durable manga/anime franchise in Japan.
It never gets old, and there isn't an animator or manga artist living in Japan
who doesn't have fond memories of being a child and reading the original Cyborg
009 manga. It inspired everyone it touched and set the example of making an exciting
and original action-adventure (In this case about a team of super-soldiers fighting
against their former masters/creators).
As they battle, we learn about each character's past and how each suffers to
find his or her own humanity, while trapped inside a cyborg body. Take up this
amazing manga and discover this ancestor to everything you know about anime today.
There's so much buried in the story, it's little wonder that so much evolved
A Feudal Fairy Tale, Vol. 1
Judging by their reaction to even a week's loss of Inuyasha on Cartoon Network's
Adult Swim, Inuyasha
fans are a rabid and fanatical lot. That said, they probably hunger for all
things connected to Rumiko Takahashi's wonderful Feudal-era action-adventure
Delight to the tale as told by Ms. Takahasi, as only she could draw it. The original
manga is a joy to behold, her art and wit could not be sharper, the panels simply burst from the page. As long-time Urusei
Yatursa fans, we are certain this is her greatest manga achievement since Ranma
1/2. Those rabid
fans are right, you really can't go a day without it.
If you remember our review of this
series, you'll know we're nuts about this show. It's the smartest, sweetest,
most satisfying romantic comedy since Love
Hina. In this soundtrack cd (BGM), the juxtaposition of modern, bouncy j-pop
tunes are set against more traditional sounding Japanese music that complements
and highlights the culture-clash that is the focal point of the series.
Ai Yori Aoshi explores something most anime have dared not touch -- that while
Japan screams headlong into embracing Western values, it continues to stubbornly
hold on to it's traditional culture, to preserve what makes Japan so 'Japanese'.
We were impressed that the music alone could communicate that.
If you've ever wanted to get a taste of the many flavors of J-Pop, but didn't
want to spend a fortune collecting CD's, this is your chance to experience 15
very different tracks that all come under the heading of J-Pop. This one CD will
give you the entire experience at once. The lyrics are included in the booklet
phonetically, so you can sing along if you like, although if you want to understand
what you're singing, you'll have to go to the company's
website for the translations.
Some of the tracks are themes to anime you may recognize, others are just pure
pop-idol sensation. Pick up this CD and use it as part of your next Dance
Dance Revolution Rave.