Anime Today #14

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Episode run down:

Starting us off once again is Chad with What’s Hot followed by another mystery anime plot in Uso Deshou.  Next, in the Anime and Gamer’s Guide, Kris, Judy, and David talk about some of the big announcements from E3.  RightStuf.com started a new sale this week and Shawne’s here with the details.  This episode’s Q and A discusses why some series have OVA’s and the reasons behind studios’ decisions to produce them.  Marie’s review this week is on one of the classics, the first Patlabor Movie and it’s stunning new Collector’s Box Set.  Judy-sensei continues her shopping lessons by teaching larger number in this episode’s Mini Japanese 101.  Then, Rich and Nick briefly talk about the current contests and new Right Stuf announcements.  Finally, the Production Team tackles the subject of translating a Japanese script and preparing the subtitles for our releases. 

What's Hot?

May 31st will see the first release in the Shinobuden graphic novel series.  Do you like ninjas?  How about cute girls, psychotic spherical headmasters, talking alligators, or adorable ninja trainees who constantly screw up, but never give up?  If you answered yes to any of these, then you need to check out Shinobuden!  With the anime version just around the corner, the manga version should tide you over with its own special brand of cracked-out comedy!

On June 6th, the classic comedy from creator Rumiko Takahashi, Urusei Yatsura, is finally coming to an end!  The 50th DVD in this series contains the last episodes plus some excellent extras!  Fans can finally finish collecting one of the longest anime series released in America!

Also on June 6th, the 10th graphic novel in the Naruto series will be released.  Gaara and Rock Lee face off in what’s certain to be a spectacular fight!  But there’s a certain ominous feeling to Gaara… his eyes are filled with an unimaginable bloodlust.  One of the top manga releases this month, you won’t wanna miss out on this one!

Rounding out the June 6th releases will be the second graphic novel in the Claymore series.  Yoma… terrible monsters that take human form, have been stalking the priests inside the cathedral and are virtually undetectable until they kill.  The only thing capable of stopping them are the Claymores: half-human, half-monster killing machines.  Claire is a particularly skilled Claymore, but with every step she takes, she feels herself being drawn closer and closer to her darker half.  This fantastic new action series is perfect for the Shonen Jump crowd!

It's the end of the road for the Bebop on June 13th with the release of the 6th DVD of Cowboy Bebop Remix.  Faye is still searching for the missing pieces to her past, but it seems that someone else is having better luck at putting her life back together. Amidst all the partings, Spike will finally be reunited with his one true love, Julia. But now, facing down their former friend Vicious, they are playing a dangerous game where the stakes are not only their happiness, but their very lives.  Find out how it all ends in the shocking conclusion.

Finally, on June 13th the 6th DVD of Mars Daybreak will be released.  The crew of the Ship of Aurora has finally found the treasure they've been searching for, but trouble has also found them in a big way! Not only do they have to fend off an entire assault fleet from the Earth Forces, but they realize that they've been betrayed by one of the men they truly believed in.  A pirate's spirit is indomitable and love, hate, and plenty of action find a their way into the concluding volume of this high seas pirate saga.

And, if you want to save 25% on these great titles and more, be sure to preorder them from RightStuf.com at least 10 days before their release date.  If you’re a member of our Got Anime purchasing club, you can get another 10% off the preorder price.  If you’re not a Got Anime member, check out gotanime.com to find out how to join and start saving.

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

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

Electronic Entertainment Expo

E3 Related sites:  
E3 Insider: http://www.e3insider.com
E3 Expo: http://www.e3expo.com/default.aspx
Nintendo's Official E3 Web Site: http://e3.nintendo.com
Playstation's E3 Site: http://www.us.playstation.com/E3
Xbox.com E3 Coverage: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/community/news/events/e32006/default.htm

Shawne's Specials

The Dark Lord does not own a fighter jet, well, as far as anyone knows. Certainly, some may say that I drive my car like a fighter jet.

Well, clear off the flight deck, because this week we’re having a great sale on AD Vision products! Soar and dive into some great savings on products from the ADV catalog!

From now until May 21st, you can receive at least 40% OFF the retail price on select ADV DVD Titles and at least 33% OFF select ADV Manga and Audio CDs!

Just use the reusable coupon code LOCKON when you check out through our online store. Plus, if you're a Got Anime Member, you can use your discount and capture an additional 10% off the sale prices!

If you’re not sure what products are included in the sale, click on the "ADV Sale Items" graphic on the top right-hand side of our main web page and you'll be able to review the listings with ease!

This is really a great opportunity to get massive savings off some of ADV’s recent Thinpak DVD Box collections and great recent titles such as Area 88, Full Metal Panic FUMOFFU, Godannar, Gilgamesh, Madlax, Maburaho, Macross, Nanaka 6/17, UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie, and many more!

A quick reminder that we’re currently offering free shipping for our domestic customers at $49, and for our Canadian customers at orders totalling $150 or more!

And don’t forget to check out the massive specials list again this week for even more savings!

I think I did see a MIG fighter jet on Ebay the other day. I’ll have to check that out.

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: Patlabor: The Movie 1

Every now and then a studio will re-release one of the “classics,” like the original Ghost in the Shell movie or Akira, and the old fans will stand around and debate the merits of buying the show for the third or fourth time while newer fans wonder why anyone would have any interest in anything made before 1999, let alone an anime that takes place in the near future of 1999. One such classic that has just returned from the dusty vaults is Honneamise’s new release of Mamoru Oshii’s Patlabor the Movie. And the answer to your burning question of “Should I take any interest in this new release at all?” is “Oh, heck yeah.”

First off, those of you who haven’t seen Patlabor yet, the plot is a tightly woven mystery involving a genius’ suicide, a grand construction project with biblical roots, and a legion of crazed giant robots. In the near future of 1999 – remember, this was made in ’88 – giant robots called “Labors” are being used in construction projects across Tokyo. The biggest of these is the Ark, a maritime platform and part of the Babylon project to reclaim the land in Tokyo Bay for construction by draining out the water. As the movie opens, we see a maniacal grin and a man tossing himself into the ocean from the top of the Ark.

This man is Eiichi Hoba, an MIT graduate who designed a revolutionary new operating system for the Labors called “HOS”. HOS proved to be so successful that’s it’s been installed on almost every Labor in the two months since its release. But in those same two months, a lot of Labors have suddenly started to go haywire, running amok and destroying the city around them… Now, it’s up to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s Special Vehicles Section 2 Patrol Labor, aka Patlabor for short, to investigate.

From the opening scene, the first thing you’ll notice about Patlabor is the amount of detail and artistry that went into its making. This is not the sort of movie to place chibi-fied characters in front of a gradient background and call it a day. Instead, everything is given loving detail, from a reflection in a glass window to shimmering heat in the outdoor sun. Character movements are given special attention, as are the backgrounds that set each scene. If you watch the extras, it’s amazing how the animators took their modern-day Tokyo and believably aged it ten years, blending the old, the modern, and the futuristic.

Speaking of the extras, the Collector’s limited edition set is the sort of release that could serve as an entire course (or at least a weekend seminar) on how to make an animated movie. First up, there’s the extra disc with 30+ minutes of subtitled footage of the director, sound director, art designers - really, just about everybody except the voice actors - talking about how they came up with the idea for the film, what details they added, how they chose certain foley sounds over others, and more. It’s amazing how much thought went into the movie, and the care and artistry really stand out. I mean, the character designers talk about the decision to use mid-season uniforms versus summer uniforms for the police, and how color and emblems and whatnot came into play; while the sound director discusses coming up with a noise that is “soft yet also steel-like” for a particularly crucial scene. It’s these kinds of decisions that you won’t really notice during the movie if they’ve done their jobs correctly, so it’s great to see them detailed like this.

Considering the interviews were done in 1988, there’s also a lot of interesting discussion about computers, which were still relatively new at the time and only starting to become more widespread. So you’ll hear the writer and director talking about how they incorporated their visions of where computers would be in 10 years, and how robots might have personalized operating systems and what havoc a virus could wreak.

Also included in this set is not one, but two books translated directly from the original Japanese releases. Book 1 is called “Archives” and takes everything you learned about in the “Making Of” featurette and goes into even further detail with things like character profiles, a map of Patlabor’s Tokyo, a complete discussion on sound mixing, and, my favorite, a pictorial timeline detailing exactly when each OVA, movie and TV series of the Patlabor franchise were released.

The second book, however, is really the crowning piece of the set, especially if you’re an animation student or have even a casual interest in how movies are made. This book contains all of the storyboards and notes for the entire movie completely translated into English and with a glossary in the back for the technical abbreviations used, like CB for cut-back and SI for superimposed. It’s an amazing look into the world of cinematography, animation, planning, and movie-making in general, and gives you an idea of just what the director was thinking with each shot.

Hiding in-between the plethora of extras is another pleasant surprise: the new English dub. The translation not only sticks pretty close to the source material, but somehow also manages to make the lipflap look completely natural. On top of that, the voice actors themselves are pretty good. However, there is a change of mood between the English and Japanese tracks. The original Japanese tends to lean towards being somber and serious, and really plays up the intellectual art aspect of the film. The English cast, on the other hand, infuses their lines with a lot more energy, giving Patlabor a bit more of a Hollywood action movie feel. It’s your call which you want to watch first, but I’d recommend even die-hard sub and dub fans check out the opposite side of the fence with this one. In case you need an excuse, there’s enough detail packed into the movie that you’ll be picking up new stuff on even your tenth time through.

This first Patlabor movie is part of a much larger franchise, but that definitely doesn’t mean you need to be steeped in the series’ history to enjoy watching it. Of course, if you have seen any of the Patlabor OVAs, TV show, or other movies, you’ll be happy to see many of your favorite characters reappear, including, Noa and her Labor Alphonse.

With its deep mystery, heart-pumping giant robot action, not to mention a great cast of characters and the artistry which pervades the entire piece, it’s a challenge not to find something to like in Patlabor the Movie. And if you like bonuses, the Collector’s Limited Edition Set comes packed full of extras that any animation professor would love to surreptitiously xerox for next semester’s syllabus. Sometimes it’s hard to see why a movie is considered a classic. With others, you can never consider them anything else. Patlabor the Movie fits quite comfortably in the second category.

See all Patlabor DVDs, CDs and Graphic Novels

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Mini Japanese 101

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

Featured Enhanced Podcast on iTunes!
Anime Today was a Featured Enhanced Podcast on iTunes and we hit #40 in the Top 100 Movies and Television Podcasts! Thanks everyone for listening!

Patlabor: The Movie 1 Contest!
Patlabor fans, you're in luck! For the month of May, we'll be giving away Patlabor: The Movie 1 DVD Collector's Limited Edition Sets! Two grand prize winners, each receiving one Collector's Set, will be randomly selected at the end of May 2006.
Check the Contests page for entry details!

Boys Be... brCheck out the Boys Be... website! Enter for your chance to be 1 of 4 winners of Boys Be... DVD 1 + Volume 1 of the Boys Be... Manga!

Piano: The Melody of a Young Girl's Heart
One of the most charming shoujo series of 2005 has returned! Right Stuf is happy to announce that the Piano: The Melody of a Young Girl's Heart DVD Complete Collection will be released on July 11, 2006!
Check out the Piano website for more info on this adorable series.

Nonsense: The Legend of Shinobu DVD 1: Enter the Ninja
Right Stuf is proud to announce that on July 25, 2006, Ninja Nonsense: The Legend of Shinobu DVD 1: Enter the Ninja will be unleashed!
Check out the trailer on the soon-to-be interactive Ninja Nonsense website!

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