Anime Today #11

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Episode Run Down:

Starting us off today is Chad with What’s Hot followed by Uso Deshou where we give you a mystery anime plot and you get to guess if it’s real or not. Kris and Judy join us to talk about the Tokyo International Anime Fair and Tokyo Big Sight. Then Marie gives us her personal review of Aishiteruze Baby. Judy-sensei is back with this episode’s Mini Japanese 101 lesson. Right Stuf has a new sale starting this week on Tokyopop manga, and Shawne’s going to be joining us with a few highlights from the sale along with his Weekly Specials. Rich then returns with the winners of the Right Stuf Fullmetal Alchemist and Boys Be… contests. For our production feature in this episode, we have Kris and Judy introducing a clip from our release of Comic Party. And finally, one of our listeners wrote us asking about Japanese culture around Right Stuf’s headquarters in Iowa.

What's Hot?

…the first DVD of Fantastic Children which will be available Tuesday, April 11th. A strange group of kids called "The Children of Befort" are searching for the girl who is the key to their happiness. For 500 years they wandered from life to life seeking for her reincarnation. Tohma is a kid on a small island reaching out to find friends. Helga is an orphan seeking a place where she can truly belong. When they both meet, their lives will change forever.

On April 11th, the 13th Graphic novel in the Fruits Basket series will be released.  The time for Yuki's parent-teacher conference has finally arrived, and Yuki must learn how to make his own decisions. Also, Tohru sets off on a quest to find out if Kureno Sohma is the same person Arisa has been in love with all this time. Along the way she will discover the tragic relation of Momo and Momiji.

The Boogiepop phenomenon continues on April 24th with the release of the first book in the Boogiepop Doesn’t Laugh graphic novel series!  Filled with Kouji Ogata’s gorgeous artwork, it follows the grim legend of the mysterious shinigami, and features all-new scenes not revealed in the original novel!  Uncover the mysteries of Shinyo Academy and piece together the true order of disturbing events in the first volume of this prelude to the anime series Boogiepop Phantom!

Blue skies, endless beaches, and tons of pretty girls!  On April 25th, the second volume of Boys Be… begins a new season, Summer!  Makoto and Kyoichi are surrounded in sun and surf as they take up their new summer jobs at the Marine House Nitta.  Makoto especially, is in beach bunny heaven, and has his sights set on the lovely Nao; but first he’ll have to get past Daisuke, her hyper-protective hulk of a brother!

For months fans have been waiting, and on April 25th, it will finally be here:  Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children!  A mysterious illness rapidly spreads and old enemies stir as the solitary hero Cloud must once again step out of his self-imposed seclusion and stand against the dark forces converging on his world!  In the wake of the climactic events played out in one of the most successful RPGs of all time, Cloud, Tifa, Cid, Vincent, Red XIII... the whole gang is back in a visually stunning, heart-stopping action movie sure to please. This release will includes a making-of featurette, behind-the-scenes footage, and more!

And don’t forget to preorder from RightStuf.com more then 10 days before a title’s release so you can get 25% off its everyday retail price.  If you’re a Got Anime member, you can save even more with an additional 10% off these great preorder savings!

Check out the PREORDERS and the Got Anime? Purchasing Club!

Kris and Judy Part 11: Anime and Gamer's Guide to Japan

Tokyo Anime Fair (“TAF”)

Final Attendance: 83,076! That's up 15.4% from last year!

Tokyo Anime Fair (“TAF”)
http://www.taf.metro.tokyo.jp/en/

Tokyo International Exhibition Center (“Tokyo Big Sight”)
http://www.bigsight.jp/english/

Marie's Manga Review: Aishiteruze Baby Graphic Novel 1

Aishiteruze Baby, which translates to “I Love You Baby,” is the rare harem title with one boy surrounded by dozens of willing girls marketed for girls. In fact, it’s one of the most unabashedly shoujo series out there, and it hits its target demographic dead center. Naturally, I loved it.

The basic premise behind Aishiteruze Baby is that Katakura Kippei is hot. No, really. And because Kippei is not only hot but also a  pretty nice guy, almost all of the girls he meets flirt with him like mad and Kippei is more than happy to oblige and flirt back. Of course, there’s an exception, and that’s Kokoro, a stony-faced girl who doesn’t seem to like Kippei no matter how many winning smiles he throws her way.

But just when it seems like Kippei’s set in his playboy ways forever, his aunt disappears, leaving behind her five-year-old daughter, Yuzuyu. The rest of his family are too busy to look after her, so Kippei is given the job of being Yuzuyu’s substitute mother until whenever her own returns.

Surprising everyone, Kippei takes his new role very seriously, but he quickly discovers that he has absolutely no idea what he’s doing. Fortunately, he also discovers that he loves his little cousin very much, and is soon making bento lunches like a pro while learning that there’s a whole lot more to girls than he’d ever guessed. 

Aishiteruze Baby is set up to be the perfect fluff piece, what with its pretty boy learning the ins and outs of child-rearing, and it doesn’t disappoint in the feel-good fuzzies department. But author/illustrator Yoko Maki isn’t content to stop there, and layers plenty of rich emotional drama beneath her fluffy whipped topping.

That drama comes in many forms, and much of it is surprisingly topical. Most obviously, the main plot centers around child abandonment, but issues like stalking and child abuse also make extended appearances. In another twist, Yoko Maki takes the unconventional view that no character should be an enemy, and presumed villains turn into sympathetic characters. Rather then taking away from all of the drama, this actually adds to it, because with two characters on opposite sides it’s not unusual for one to end up heartbroken, and it’s a lot more wrenching when you can’t unilaterally place blame.

Another very big and welcome surprise in Aishiteruze Baby is that Yuzuyu actually acts like a genuine five-year-old and not like a very short adult. She gets excited about onigiri for lunch and braids in her hair. She likes to color. Sometimes she hops out of a room because she likes to hop. She’s the perfect vehicle to add all the cuteness Yoko Maki could possibly want to her manga, so of course she uses that cuteness to ratchet up the drama another notch. For example, if Kippei is late picking up Yuzuyu from Kindergarten, Yuzuyu thinks like a child would, particularly one that’s been abandoned once already, and that’s to think that maybe being late means never coming at all. The idea of walking home alone is a lot more scary when you’re shorter than a mailbox, and suddenly Kippei being late is a major crisis.

What’s really impressive about this plotline, though, is that it’s not drama for the sake of drama. The characters grow through each storyline, Kippei most of all. He learns that you simply can’t tell a five-year-old something and then go back on it and expect them to understand, no matter how good your reason, and that things like certain lunches or hats can actually be crucial to social acceptance even in Kindergarten. And once he makes the connection with Yuzuyu, he starts to realize that maybe all of those girls he’s been flirting with for so long occasionally think about something other than him.

In terms of presentation, the artwork is mostly your typical wispy shoujo with big eyes designed to show every emotion, but it’s used to its best advantage here where the focus is on character interaction. The translation is good, with sound effects cleanly translated in place. In a slightly unusual move, Viz has included a sort of bonus note diary/sketch book from Yoko Maki in the back. Deciding writing chapter notes in side columns would interrupt her flow of writing, Yoko Maki simply jotted down notes in a side diary instead, all of which are presented here along with some rough sketches.

If you’d like to indulge your shallow side while feeding your deep soul, Aishiteruze Baby is a pretty good pick. While it’s heavy on the drama, there’s a lot of levity and cuteness to balance it out, and when it comes to character development it shines.

Shawne's Specials

Spring is coming, and the April showers have already begun for us! While rain can sometimes be a little dreary, I’ll still take it any day over snow! To celebrate, we're having a little Tokyopop book sale! Curling up inside with a good book is the best way to spend time on a rainy day!

From now until April 9th, 2006 - get at least 33% OFF the retail price on Tokyopop Graphic Novels, Novels, and Art Books! Place the eligible items in your cart, and use the reusuable coupon code SHOWERS when you check out through our online store. Plus, don’t forget that your Got Anime Membership stacks for additional savings!

Not sure what products are included in the sale? We've made it especially simple, just click on the small graphic reading "Tokyopop Sale Items", located on the right-hand side of our main page and you'll be able to page through the item listings with ease!

I’ve just returned from Tokyo, and I’ll admit that I’m still suffering from quite a bit of jet lag. So, when I set the specials this week I went a little overboard, so there’s a huge number of items on sale - more savings for you! Check out the whole list and see if there’s anything that you might find of interest. I also added several items to our closeout and bargain bin sections this week!

Certainly, I’ll tell you that although I enjoy travelling to Japan, I’m happy to be home. Once I can get settled back into normal time, I can get back to what I enjoy the most - figuring out how to entice you with great anime deals!

Showers of Savings!

What's included in the sale? Check out the Tokyopop Sale Items button on the right-hand side of our homepage.

See all of Shawne's Weekly Specials!
Check out the Bargain Bin!

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

Fullmetal Quest for a Contest!
Fullmetal Quest for a Contest!
Congratulations to our first drawing winners:
Michael P. of Roseville, CA
Jack H.
of Omaha, NE
Khoa D.
of San Jose, CA
John H.
of Toronto, ON
Bao V.
of Boyds, MD

Boys Be...
Check out the Boys Be... website! Volume 2 video and audio clips added and Volume 3 episode write-ups and character bios added!
Congratulations to our first contest winner:
Clayton W. of Broomfield, CO

Like what you hear? Give us a shout out! If you use iTunes or browse Yahoo! Podcasts, take a few moments to write a quick review and tell others what you think the show!

Right Stuf Productions

Check out the Comic Party webstie to see the trailer and snag some cool wallpapers!

Comic Party

Anime Today Q & A

If you have a question for us, call 1-800-338-6827, extension 7424. Also, you may send us e-mail at animetoday@rightstuf.com. If your question is selected, you will receive a $10 gift certificate to Right Stuf’s online store!

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