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Anime DVD Reviews
Jyu Oh Sei: Planet of the Beast King
Anime DVD Review by Brian Cirulnick

Jyu-Oh-SiOkay, so... it's lord of the flies. Sorta. On an alien planet. With a complex set of rules between several rival factions. Oh, and there's a zillion man-eating plants. And into all of this is thrust a 12-yr-old boy and his twin brother, who've been cast to this incredibly harsh planet of convicts by a ruthless dictator, and the only way to get off-world is to become the ruler of the world... aka, The Beast King.

And like many anti-heroes before him, our protagonist, Thor, must learn all the rules of this planet while he single handedly proceeds to break every one of them on his way to the top.

Below: The opening title of of Jyu Oh Sei.

Coyote Ragtime ShowCoyote Ragtime Show
Coyote Ragtime Show
Anime DVD Review by Brian Cirulnick

Coyote Ragtime ShowWe're not precisely sure what the hell this show is about, but it's still damn fun. Basically, we're along for the ride while a bunch of stuff blows up. Stemming from some of the success of Outlaw Star, Coyote Ragtime Show follows a similar premise; a group of pirates are gallivanting across space to reach a treasure, while everyone else in the universe is out to kill them.

Oh, but there's a few other little problems also: For starters, the planet the treasure is hidden on is only a few days away from being blown to smithereens, and the man with the plan, the only one who can save the day is currently in prison. He has gone by so many aliases at this point that now he's known only as "Mister". Step one involves his breakout from prison. Read More...

Coyote Ragtime Show

Darker Than BlackDarker Than Black
Darker Than Black
Anime DVD Review by Brian Cirulnick

Darker Than BlackDarker Than Black feels like Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, as seen from the other side, and in this case, the criminals are always one step ahead of the police. Mix in some Supernatural Beast City, and sprinkle on some Spiral Zone, and that's what comes out of the oven after baking.

Darker than Black is set in a rather bleak future Earth (although it looks much like modern day Tokyo), in which abnormal/supernatural territories have appeared (10 years before the start of the series) in both Tokyo and in South America, called "Hell's Gate" and "Heaven's Gate." Read More...

Darker Than Black

The Chosen OneThe Chosen One
The Chosen One
Animation DVD Review by Brian Cirulnick

The Chosen OneThe Chosen One keeps the animation simple, but the themes are complex. A slacker named Lou (voiced by co-scripter Chad Fifer) stumbles through a bizarre assortment of escapades only to discover that he's a benevolent deity with super-powers. Or is he the devil? And, if he is, does that make him a bad person?

The story questions themes of God and "Organized Religion" without being overly religious — in fact, a Catholic Cardinal (voiced by Lance Henriksen) and other spiritual leaders are portrayed as zealots (watch out Tom Cruise!). The post-modern keyboard soundtrack and the effectively lean animation are supported by an all-star voice cast that includes Tim Curry, Chris Sarandon, Laura Prepon and Traci Lords (!). Read More...
Our Favorite Toys, Models and Gizmos
Naruto Ultimate NinjaNaruto Ultimate Ninja
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm (PS3)
Anime Videogame Review by Brian Cirulnick

NarutoWe've played Naruto fight games before. We've played a lot of Naruto fight games before....

But none that looked like *this* — holy hannah, never before has a videogame looked more like the anime series, in fact, we'll go as far as to say that it looks better than the anime series! Played on a PS3 and viewed on a 50inch Sony LCD HDTV, we were totally blown away by the level of detail and the absolute attention to accuracy regarding the characters and situations that make up the universe of Naruto. Read More...

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Recommended Books:
Dororo Volume 1Dororo Volume 1
Manga Review
by Brian Cirulnick

When I went to film school, we had to study the film pioneers like Chaplin and D.W. Griffith because they essentially created the language of film, that is, they created concepts like closeups, dramatic lighting, pans, zooms, etc., to help move the story along and increase the drama. Read More...

Below: Panels from the manga Dororo.
Panels from the manga Dororo.

GOTH A Novel of HorrorGOTH A Novel of Horror
Goth: A Novel of Horror
Japanese Literature Book Review by Carolyn Whu

Word through the grapevine was: there is a new book out that I must read. It's good but read at your own peril. No one would tell me why but they warned me it will mess with my head. I would not recommend this book if you are not old enough to buy books with money you earn yourself. I would not recommend this book if you have a weak stomach, heart, or mind; there is ABSOLUTELY NO SWEETNESS here to save you. I would not recommend this book if you have a problem with keeping up with convoluted timelines and plots. If you are not ready to graduate from lots of pictures, very little reading to pure unadulterated reading, get your butt into gear; I'm graduating you anyway just for this book. Relatively light in weight, Goth is still not hardcore reading, so don't worry; no 500+ pages for you yet. I don't need to torture you when the book will do it so much better than I ever can. Read More...

Basic JapaneseBasic Japanese
Pimsleur Basic Japanese
Japanese Language Audio Book Review
by Brian Cirulnick

I've been using this audio CD to teach myself some basic Japanese while driving in my car. I enjoy the friendly way it's presented and it doesn't get too complicated too quickly. For those of us with trouble learning languages and/or simply no time to sit down and read a book, this is a wonderful alternative and it allows us to learn at our own speed (i.e., only while I'm in my car!). Read More...

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Nine Crazy Cool Japanese ‘09 Calendars
Our hand picked selection of the nine most interesting calendars from Japan. Shown below is the My Neighbor Totoro 2009 Calendar:

The latest anime meme sweeping the net is Very Melon! from the anime series Konjiki no Gash Bell:

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