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Anime DVD Reviews
Speed Grapher
Speed Grapher
Anime DVD Review by Brian Cirulnick

Speed GrapherIf you're looking for the killer series in the current crop of new anime out there; Speed Grapher probably meets or exceeds your needs. A plot with plenty of twists and turns, it also has a Cowboy Bebop feel to it, with a run-down look to the technology and society.

This high-caliber production, set in a dystopian near-future, tells the tale of Saiga, an ex-war photographer, scrounging for a living in Tokyo: Ten years after the "Bubble War," the city is divided between the super-rich and the wretchedly poor. Saiga stumbles onto an underground sex club where the corrupt elite meet to realize their kinky fantasies. A kiss from goddess-dancer Kagura gives him the ability to make anything he photographs explode, and he quickly puts this talent to use.

Strawberry Marshmallow
Strawberry Marshmallow
Anime DVD Review by Lawrence Sufrin

Strawberry MarshmallowNobue Ito is twenty years old going on ninety. She smokes too much, and can't hold down a job. She's beginning to look at the world with the jaded eyes of a cynic. She'd have given in to her depression if it weren't for her kid sister. 10-year-old Chika and her equally kid friends, Miu, Matsuri, and Ana don't see a rotten world yet. They're still running about getting as much play-time as possible.

There is no way you can watch these little children play and not smile. Even when their off-the-wall antics get in your hair, they still manage to give a grin. Miu, the sixth-grader, is the most annoying. She gets into everyone's business like nobody's business. Read More...

Below: The Marshmallow crew is not happy!

Strawberry Marshmallow

Broken Saints
Broken Saints
Anime DVD Review by Brian Cirulnick

Broken SaintsIn the quiet corners of the globe, four strangers, a cynical American programmer, an aging Japanese priest, a troubled Arabic mercenary and a mysterious Fijian girl, receive a series of chilling apocalyptic visions. Desperate to understand their frightening visions of the future, these four troubled souls are simultaneously drawn to a dark city in the West where their fates, and the fate of the world, are revealed to be linked together and somehow part of a global conspiracy. Amidst an epic struggle of man, machine and otherworldly fear, these reluctant heroes must be willing to sacrifice order to know the truth and save us all!

Frankenstein: The True Story
Monster Movie DVD Review by Lawrence Sufrin

FrankensteinJust in time for Halloween! The original "monster movie", and the original Sci-Fi story, Frankenstein's monster is no stranger to anime. Many an anime and manga has seen an appearance of the infamous patchwork creature. (Tetsujin 28, for example, fought a very Frankenstein-style monster in its newest series.) There are anime movies in existence that have actually adapted Mary Shelley's famous novel. Face it folks, Frankenstein is everywhere.

One of the best adaptations ever done was a two-part, three-hour TV movie first telecast on NBC back in 1973. Frankenstein: The True Story wasn't really faithful to the original novel despite what the title says. It did, however, sport a lavish production, an all-star cast, and a brilliant screenplay by celebrated writers Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy.

Our Favorite Toys, Models and Gizmos
Tamagotchi Connection
Anime Game Review by Brian Cirulnick

TamagotchiA Tama-whats-It? Tamagotchi is a virtual pet that you care for, feed, provide with love and attention and play with. It's an on-going game for kids that teaches them to be responsible pet owners (your virtual pet can and will DIE if you don't take care of it).

About 10 years ago these things were really hot toys for kids. And now they are really hot toys for kids again, but this time, they wirelessly communicate (via infrared) so you can create a friend list, exchange presents, and even marry your virtual pets to each other. Among other upgrades over the older versions are larger screen, better graphics and more advanced software that allows your pet to "grow" into something special, based on how well you care for it.
Read More... Recommended Books:
Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad
Mongolian Chop Squad

Manga Review by
Lawrence Sufrin

BeckBeck is a dog. We're not saying this as an insult. It's absolutely true. Beck is a big old dog that's been through one too many violent scraps. This has left one too many scars. So many that his body looks like a patchwork quilt. But he isn't the focus of this manga despite the title of this book.

Below: An illustration from the Beck manga.

Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad

The Notenki Memoirs
The Notenki Memoirs: Studio Gainax And The Men Who Created Evangelion
Anime Book Review
by Brian Cirulnick

The Notenki Memoirs, originally published in Japan in 2002, is a memoir by Yasuhiro Takeda, a longtime producer at Gainax. It is a tell-all account of Studio Gainax, the creators of the classic anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. The author, a member of the Gainax company since its inception, talks about everything from the untold stories of Eva to the Gainax tax evasion scandal that plagued its production.

The Notenki MemoirsThe Notenki Memoirs takes you up until the time of Evangelion, but speaks very little of Evangelion's success and the subsequent transformation of the studio. For the Evangelion fan, this is not a disappointment. In fact, this book is quite an enjoyable read, and provides a wonderful look into the life and times of Studio Gainax.

Music and Soundtrack Selections:
Appleseed - Original Soundtrack
Anime Soundtrack Review by Brian Cirulnick

AppleseedAppleseed broke new ground in advancing the art of the animated film, and the awesome soundtrack that accompanies the astounding visuals is no exception. Loaded with killer beats, the album is a standout in the electronica/techno/trance/house/dance realm.
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