Anime Today #13

Enhanced Audio Only

Episode run down:

First up is Chad with What’s Hot followed by another mystery anime plot in Uso Deshou.  Next, the Right Stuf Production Team discusses their favorite anime and what shows inspired them to choose a career in this industry. Then, Shawne briefly talks about this Week’s Specials followed by this show’s Q and A about the various conventions that Right Stuf attends.  Next up is Marie’s review of Geneon’s new shonen title The Law of Ueki. Judy-sensei begins a series of shopping lingo in the mini Japanese 101.  We’ve got the winners for this month’s Boys Be… and Fullmetal Alchemist contests and introduce the new contests for the month of May.  Finally, Kris and Judy talk about some of the major Japanese holidays in the Anime and Gamer’s Guide to Japan.

What's Hot?

On May 16th, the third DVD of Kaleido Star: New Wings, Better Angels of Our Nature, will be released.  The best of the best compete at the International Circus Festival in Paris.  Sora wants to win it, just like Layla did three years ago.  The festival itself is a cruel place and Sora must endure betrayal and doubt. What’s worse, to make her dream come true, she will have to destroy the dreams of others. Is that the kind of Kaleido Star Sora wants to be?  It's a battle between demons and angels, and good does not always trump the devil. Sora will need more than a wing and a prayer to win this one!

May 17th will see the release of the Oh My Goddess Graphic Novel: Colors.  If you’re an Oh My Goddess fan, you must have this book – and if you’re not a fan, it might just make you one!  It’s a special edition, colorized version of four of the series’ most beloved stories, along with a new original story, an 8-page profile on the Goddesses, an 18-page “Goddess Terminology” encyclopedia, and much more!

Then the second DVD of Gundam SEED Destiny: Cosmic Era 73 will be released on May 23rd. The world is once again poised on the brink of war.  Despite the best efforts of the Minerva and her crew, terrorists set the war memorial Junius Seven on a course that will cause it to fall out of its orbit and hit the Earth. The PLANTS get ready to defend themselves from what they perceive to be an inevitable retaliation by the Earth Forces.  Meanwhile, back on Orb, the government debates about what to do in the wake of such a serious disaster, and Cagalli doesn't see eye-to-eye with her ministers.

Also on May 23rd is the release of the first YuGiOh Capsule Monsters Movie.  In a remote area thousands of miles from Egypt lies a great pyramid that contains an incredible secret: a portal to another dimension, the World of the Capsule Monsters!  It's a battle for survival as Yugi trades in his Duel Disk for a Capsule Shooter in a life-threatening challenge that is so much more than just a game!

Then, May 30th will see the release of Autumn, the third DVD in the unique series, Boys Be… a show about love and romance from the guy’s point of view!  In this latest volume, a new girl has stepped into Kyoichi’s life: Shoko, a red-haired, hot-tempered punk who dreams of auditioning for the indie band SAIL.  He’s searching for comfort, and she’s searching for support.  What will happen when they find each other?

Finally, the first Basilisk Graphic Novel will be released on May 31st.  The Iga clan and the Kouga clan have been sworn enemies for more than four hundred years.  Only the Hanzo Hattori truce has kept the two families from all-out war.  Now, under the order of Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, the truce has been dissolved.  Ten ninja from each clan must fight to the death in order to determine who will be the next Tokugawa Shogun.  The surviving clan will rule for the next thousand years.  But not all the clan members are in agreement.  Oboro of the Iga clan and Gennosuke of the Kouga clan have fallen deeply in love.  Now these star-crossed lovers have been pitted against each other.  Can their romance conquer a centuries-old rivalry? Or is their love destined to end in death?

And don’t forget that if you want to save at least 25% on these great titles and more, you need to preorder them at RightStuf.com at least 10 days before their release date.  And if you join our Got Anime purchasing club, you can take an additional 10% off and save even more!  For more information, check out the Got Anime website at gotanime.com.

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

Right Stuf Productions

A few favorites from Right Stuf's Prodution Team:

Shawne's Specials

The oddball Iowa spring weather continues, with swings from summertime 80s down to frost the other morning and sleet and snow, which thankfully melted off right away. It’s supposed to rain all weekend, so I guess I’ll be doing some work around the lair!

To combat the dreariness, I like to watch the orders roll in, and to tempt you to place orders this week I’m giving you a SUPER coupon!

Through May 3, use coupon code SHINOBU6 for $11 off your $111 order. What a great coupon to use to stock up on some of those releases you’ve been putting off, or as an incentive to add a few great merchandise items to your order!

What’s the dark lord got up his sleeve next? You’ll have to stay tuned to see!

Another great thing we’re offering - for our friends to the north in Canada, we’re now offering free shipping for orders totalling $150 or more! Domestic customers also receive the free freight option at $49 or more.

I did want to quickly highlight some great items on the specials right now which are on sale for 50% or more off the normal retail price! Check out the Area 88 TV Series Box+1, Comic Party Box Set, Gantz DVD 7+Box, Gilgamesh DVD 1+Box, Legend of Moby Dick DVD 1, Hand Maid May DVD Box Set, The Kimagure Orange Road Movie and both OVA DVDs, as well as the entire KOR TV Series, Macross DVD 1 +Box, Megazone 23 Discs 1-3, Miami Guns Discs 1-4, Otaku No Video, the Steam Detectives Thinpak Set, the Super Gals Thinpak Set, the Wedding Peach Thinpak Set.. And many more.

These are only a very small subset of the more than 200 items I’ve put on sale this week for you. Check the site for the list.

Also, I know that I say this frequently, but don’t forget to check our bargain bin! I’ve added another big batch of items and restocked many that were low in stock. This is a great way to try new shows, grab complete shows for a steal, or fill out missing volumes. Supplies on many items are limited, and remaining inventory shows on the item pages as you browse.

The lair is rather dusty, I guess it really needs a good spring cleaning. You never know what I may find as I’m digging around though.. Stranger things have happened.

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

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!

Marie's DVD Review: The Law of Ueki

Everyone is born with a certain amount of innate talent, and no matter how hard you may try, you can never change what it is that you’re naturally good at.  But what if you had the opportunity to acquire any talent you wanted?  What would you choose?  That’s the question asked in Geneon’s latest release, The Law of Ueki.

Kousuke Ueki is a sleepy junior high student who happens to like trees.  He enjoys running, is good at school, and is generally well-adjusted and pretty happy with his life.  So when his chemistry teacher, Mr.  K, keeps asking Ueki about choosing a “power,” Ueki has no idea what Mr.  K is talking about and isn’t really interested anyway.  But when Mr.  K destroys a nearby tree to demonstrate a particularly explosive power, Ueki asks if there is a power to fix the tree.  Mr.  K says of course there is and gives Ueki the power to turn trash into trees so that Ueki can fix the tree, and then continues to lecture him on all the other great powers that he could have.  But Ueki just tells Mr.  K, “This one is fine,” and walks off.  And with that, Ueki sets his destiny for the rest of the series.

So why was Mr.  K so obsessed with giving Ueki some mysterious power?    Hang on, because this is where things start to get complicated.   Mr.  K just happens to be a “Celestial Candidate” and is competing with 99 other candidates to become the King of the Celestial World.  In this competition, each Celestial Candidate sponsors a junior high student and grants them a single power, such as the power to turn water to fire by gargling.  Once all of the sponsored students are chosen, a knock-down no-holds-barred fighting tournament between them begins.  The sponsoring Celestial Candidate of the winner gets to be the new King, and the winning student is granted the coveted “Talent of Blank” – a prize which allows the winner to choose any talent they can imagine for their very own.  Want to be a professional baseball player?  Choose the Talent of Baseball.  Want to be a celebrity?  Choose the Talent of Popularity.  Want to rule the world?  The Talent of Domination awaits.  But students need to be careful, because going for the prize could end up costing them all of their own natural talents and leave them with nothing at all.

What really makes this show stand out are the characters.  The cast resembles a combination of Ranma ½’s over-the-top personalities crossed with the wacky and wide-ranging abilities of One Piece’s Devil’s Fruits who just happen to have landed in a shonen fighting show.  Grand dreams, personality quirks, and one weird power after another make each character unique in their own right, while fully fleshed out characterizations and backstories bring out their humanity. 

For example, there’s Sano, a formidable fighter who can turn towels into steel and who wants to win the Talent to Dig just so he can dig his very own hot spring.  Then there’s BJ, a hip-hop loving liar who can turn pocket change into swirling tornadoes, but who really just wants somebody to be his friend.  And of course there’s Ueki, who stands out from the crowd by being the only competitor who’s not really interested in the tournament at all, and only fighting when he’s attacked first.

In a tournament-style show, there’s always the danger of repetition.  Fortunately, original manga author Tsubasa Fukuchi has plenty of creativity and it’s translated well to the anime format.  By the end of the first four episodes, Ueki’s already found several new ways to make use of his tree power, almost all of which would completely spoil the story to detail in this review.  Then there’s the unique style of the tournament.  This isn’t an organized round-by-round event.  Students fight each other wherever and whenever they meet, and each setting brings new dimensions to the on-going battle.

The leveling system also keeps the fighting fresh.  Instead of spending several episodes trying to make his sword bigger, Ueki levels by gaining talents.  It’s important to note that in Ueki, talents are different from powers.  A power is something supernatural that is granted to a student by a Celestial being, like the ability to change one thing into another simply by touching it.  A talent is something much more normal that anybody can be born with, such as the talent to play football or paint.  Just like everybody else, Ueki and his fellow competitors all have several different natural talents at their disposal.  But, unlike everybody else, every time any of the competitors use their Celestial-granted power to hurt someone not involved in the competition, they lose one of their talents.  And if a competitor loses all of their talents, they’ll disappear.  Forever.  Fortunately for Ueki, who can’t stand to watch bullying without stepping in with an oak tree-turned-baseball bat, competitors can also gain a talent each time they defeat another student.  But there’s no guarantee what that new talent will be, and they might lose something useful, like the talent to study, only to gain something useless, like the talent to talk sharply.

The voice actors in Ueki are almost all experienced veterans who you can tell are having a lot of fun with the source material as they play up their roles.  There’s Tomoko Kawakami as Ueki’s classmate Ai Mori, who manages to berate Ueki for alternately fighting and not fighting without ever losing a beat; the ubiquitous Takehito Koyasu playing the very intense martial artist Li Ho, who refuses to use his granted power in battle; and my favorite, Paku Romi as Ueki, doing an excellent job of switching from just barely awake to extremely serious in just seconds.  Of course, there are plenty more, but these reviews only go for about five minutes, so…

The Law of Ueki isn’t particularly deep, but it’s a lot of fun.  It’s got a healthy mix of comedy and action, surprisingly good characterization, and occasional positive messages about the environment, justice, and friendship.  While it’s obviously a shonen fighting show, it expands upon the original formula to create something almost everyone will enjoy.  You’ll want to watch this one with a group of friends, whether at anime club or on the couch with a bowl of popcorn.  And when you’re watching, you can ponder what you would do with any talent you wanted… Or, you know, which fight scene was totally the coolest.  The Law of Ueki’s multi-faceted that way.

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

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Anime and Gamer's Guide to Japan with Kris and Judy

Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO)
Official Website: www.jnto.go.jp
North American Branch: www.japantravelinfo.com

This episode features music from: