Anime Today #32: interview With Carl Macek!

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Episode run down:

First up is Chad with What’s Hot in the world of anime and manga followed by another mystery plot in Uso Deshou. Shawne’s cybernetic implants are on overload, and he’s going to be kicking off the Good Things Come in 3’s Sale this week. If you’re looking for some great deals on titles from Manga Entertainment, here’s your chance.

This week, Alison and Rich sat down with Carl Macek, who is perhaps best known to anime fans as the executive producer of Robotech. We’re going to cover a little bit of Robotech history, his experiences with Streamline Pictures, and the new projects he’s been involved with recently – including Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles.

We’ve got some great contests running on the Ninja Nonsense and Gravitation sites right now, and Rich will be back to give you the run down on them. Vic’s back for this episode with his cut up of the Divergence Eve series. Much like the gals of Shibuya, Judy-sensei has clothes on her mind for this episode.

Marie introduces you to the secret world of war mages and their summoned servants in her review of Fate/Stay Night. In Japan, January 8th was Coming of Age Day, and Kris and Judy will be talking about some of the traditions surrounding this national holiday. After that, Alison and Rich return with the second part of our interview with Mr. Macek, and finally, we’ll have a few recent DVD and CD reviews, by our customers on RightStuf.com.

Interview with Carl Macek!

Carl Macek


Carl Macek's Personal Website: http://www.carlmacek.com/

Anime News Network: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/people.php?id=3952
Wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Macek
IMDB: http://imdb.com/name/nm0532146/

What's Hot?

Paris, 1742. A coffin floats in the River Seine and on its lid a single word is written in blood… Psalms. Inside lies the body of a beautiful woman, Lia de Beaumont. It is now up to her brother D’Eon to uncover the reason for her mysterious murder. In the process, he will find an evil that reaches from the palaces of kings to the dark alleys of Europe. A force so powerful that it brings Lia's soul back from beyond to seize the only weapon she can possess to avenge her death: her own brother. The stage is set and the mystery begins to unfold when the first DVD of Le Chevalier D’Eon debuts on January 20th.

Gainax’s classic sci-fi action series is back! For years, fans have been waiting for the release of Gunbuster, and Honneamise delivers with a premium DVD set featuring all six episodes spread across three discs. Plus get 30 minutes of bonus clips and a 24-page color booklet all wrapped up in a beautiful art box. If you’ve seen the series before, prepare for a reverential treatment of an old favorite, and if you haven’t, check out this early, great work from the studio behind Neon Genesis Evangelion and His and Her Circumstances. Gunbuster makes its North American DVD debut on February 20th!

Hatsumi lives in a typical company housing complex with her seemingly typical family, but her life is about to become anything but typical: Her younger sister Akane is WAY to popular with boys. Her childhood friend Azusa – now a hot male model – might want to ruin her life. Her dreamy, big brother Shinogu might not be what he seems to be at all. And her stuck-up and super-mean neighbor Ryoki is blackmailing her into becoming his “slave.” Or his girlfriend. (Does he even know the difference?) What’s a hapless heroine to do? Hot Gimmick S, the novel based on the hit shoujo manga by Miki Aihara, is available on February 20th.

She may be famous, but her life is anything but perfect! From classroom bullies to family dramas, “School Girl Superstar” Sana Kurata is up for the challenge! (But is the world ready for her?) Find out when the Kodocha DVD Box Set 1 – containing volumes 1 through 6 of this frenetic anime comedy – is released on February 27th!

Bounty hunter Rally Vincent and her frequent collaborator Minnie-May Hopkins are experts in their respective fields of firearms and explosives, but they’re so cute you’d never know… unless you’re one of the unlucky perps who finds himself in their sights! The re-release of this seminal “girls with guns” manga by Kenichi Sonoda will soon be available to North American readers for the first time in the authentic Japanese format – action-packed and un-retouched! Hit the streets of Chicago with this two-woman wrecking crew when Gunsmith Cats Omnibus Graphic Novel 1 is released on February 21!

Get 25% off these great preorders and more from RightStuf.com at least 10 days before their street dates. Add an additional 10% in savings by joining the Got Anime purchasing club for Frequent Buyers.

And that’s what’s hot in the world of anime and manga!

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

Shawne's Specials and Good Things Come in “3’s” sale!

Shawne's Specials and Good Things Come in “3’s” sale!

It’s the kind of math anime fans can really appreciate:

From now until January 28…

Get 1/3 off all titles from Manga Entertainment. (We’ve reduced the prices for you on each item’s page.)

PLUS

Buy 2 Manga Entertainment titles, and get a third for FREE* with our latest coupon! (* All items must be from Manga Entertainment, and the “free” item is the lowest priced item of the three.)

EQUALS

A potential, total savings of more than 55% off -- or even more if you’re a Got Anime member – on hot new titles like Noein, Karas and Tactics or fan favorites such as the Castle of Cagliostro (Lupin 3rd), Blood: The Last Vampire or Macross Plus!

How? 1. For the 33% off, just add the item to your cart. 2. To get your “third item free,” use the following reusable coupon code when you check out through RightStuf.com: Coupon Code: mangathree

REMEMBER: If you’re a Got Anime member, you can stack your discounts for even more savings! (This means you have the potential to save up to 59% OFF on Manga Entertainment DVDs and UMDs. Check out www.gotanime.com for details.) Not sure which products are included in the sale? Just click on the “Manga Entertainment Sale” graphic on the upper right hand corner of our main page: It will take you to a complete list of what DVDs are marked down and eligible for the “Buy 2, Get a 3rd Item FREE” coupon!

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

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

Ninin Ga Shinobuden (Ninja Nonsense) Graphic Novel 1 (160 pgs)At the end of this month, our friends over at Inifinity Studios are releasing the second volume of the Ninja Nonsense manga, Ninin Ga Shinobuden, and to celebrate, we’re giving away 2 copies of Volume 1! Get on over to ninja.rightstuf.com, and fill out the entry from in the “Extras” section before February 1st for your chance to win!


GRAVITATION We’re kicking off the new year with just a little more Bad Luck! Our Gravitation giveaway continues, and this time two winners will each receive a Gravitation “Bad Luck” wallet and a metal keychain featuring Eiri and Shuichi! Go to gravitation.rightstuf.com, and click on the contest link for your chance to win before February 1st!


To Heart DVD 1 (Hyb): New Feelings Unfortunately, we've had to reschedule the first volume of To Heart for March 27 due to the restoration and our commitment to quality control. We appreciate the support of the fans who have waited so patiently for this series, and your dedication reinforces our commitment to putting together the very best release possible.


Super Gals Season 2 DVD Box Set (S)It's been a long road to get here, but Super Gals Season 2: Heart of Shibuya is now shipping!


Dragon Ball Z Season 1: Vegeta Saga

Vic Annato's Stuf That Cuts: Divergence Eve

Yo, yo, yo, yo. Pop a pocky, and check your plushy. It’s cut-up time. Hey everyone, Vic Annato, here. Dubbin’ the tracks and on the attack. 2007 is off its eve, and for this episode I’ve got a sharp-sided review of a sci-fi action title that’s sure to make you go “whoa”. Load up, lock-in, and take aim: This is, the “Stuf That Cuts”.

Sharpen your senses anime fans, this one’s going to take some focus. It’s not your typical action series, but dang if it doesn’t pack some super-intense CG, colorful character designs, and lightning-fast action. Sounds like just the ingredients you need to make a series called: Divergence Eve. Log-on action fans, here comes the cut-up review for Volumes 1 through 3.

Divergence Eve combines colorfully cute characters, a Xenosaga-like future, and a great deal of technical jargon. Blend all these elements together, and you end up with a series that seems bigger than it actually is.

At its core, Divergence Eve is basically a sci-fi action-drama that involves: A giant space-station located in the far reaches of the cosmos; regulating a gateway for intergalactic travel. A group of distorted aliens (known as “GHOULS”) attempt to slip through the gate and destroy everything. And, a group of all-girl, voluptuously-curved, rookie cadets with big guns and supernatural powers fight to stop them.

So then, how could a colorfully-clad, action-packed, fanservice-accented series go wrong? It’s easier than you might think.

From the first episode, it’s clear that something isn’t right. Unfortunately, there’s virtually no explanation as to why. For the first few moments, you’re going to be wondering just what the heck is going on. The series actually starts with an episode entitled “mission 2”. After seeing this, I thought I’d missed a chapter on the DVD and went back to check, but this is actually what the first episode is titled. Taking place somewhere closer to the end of the story, it’s not what most fans would call a clear introduction.

It isn’t about until episode five, that things start making some sense. The general direction of the story seems to move backwards in time, as it details the life of one of the young recruits “Misaki Kureha” and how she became part of the elite Seraphim: Tactical Squadron alongside her fellow officers; as well the development of her genetically-altered GHOUL-like alter-ego.

Content-wise, Divergence Eve is a mixed bag. It’s one of very few series, with a completely non-vocal opening theme. Instead, the intro contains a type of synth-techno-guitar riff that seems more suited to a video game; rather than anime. From the first percussive wail, you’ll probably be thinking that this is something straight out of the R-Type or Gradius series. In actuality, Divergence Eve has more in common with the Alien movies; than something like Robotech.

Load it up! Does Divergence Eve match-in on the sci-fi anime hit-list? “ACT FACTOR” program is online. Let’s find out.

Okay, this one’s going to be tough. Divergence Eve has some good elements going for it. The character design is bright and bouncy and will definitely get your attention away from the rather dark landscape and storyline. The sound effects for the series are also crisp and clear. Terminals beep and flash, weapon-fire has that electrically discharged echo, and space stations and mecha have that epic “heavy-bass” feel; to them. If you’ve got surround sound, you’re in for an auditory treat.

The music though, is a bit of a toss-up. That same style of synth-tehcno-guitar rock carries throughout the show. So if you didn’t enjoy the opening theme so much, be prepared for more of the same.

Also, the character design seems to be at odds with the darker tone of the series. For a title that uses a more vivid style and colors than other sci-fi anime, you’d think that some of these characters would be more peppy and/or dynamic. However, this is not the case. Even the previews for the next episode, are shrouded in philosophical thought.

Another note is that the series gets progressively more violent in later episodes. It’s not anything over the edge, but if you don’t have the nerves for such things, be prepared for this change in tone.

The English cast and crew commentary tracks are a good bonus for extras. Volume one’s commentary focuses on the process of dubbing anime in today’s ADR format, over the traditional “CHASE” method. Volume three’s commentary discusses more about the characters’ personality; but not so much about the story itself. These extras are a unique glance into the production process and actor perspectives, but you won’t be hearing much explanation of the series plot..

Overall, Divergence Eve has a very unique design to it that makes it one of the more eye-catching sci-fi anime series; in recent times. Don’t be misled by the colorful character designs, though. This series is action-sci-fi anime at its core, so understand that this is what you’re getting into. What it really comes down to is this: Cute girls in outer-space wear colorful outfits and battle monsters. Buy it for the cute girls, stay for the action-packed, cool sci-fi storyline.

If you’re interested in a more technical plot and colorful design that other sci-fi anime seem to lack, then Divergence Eve might be worth a shot. However, without being based on a manga, video game, or any other kind of previous origin - the series might be just for hardcore fans only. If you can walk into a show like this, without expecting too much in the way plot-development and enjoy it for the action-based elements alone, then Divergence Eve is seriously worth owning. Any other considerations, the check out the first volume for a trial run.

An advisory: if you’re prone to rapidly flashing lights and/or effects with quick scene-cut progression – it would be recommended to first consult a physician before viewing this series. The CG sequences sometimes contain elements that use effects of this nature, and may potentially be harmful to some viewers.

If the hardcore sci-fi action of Divergence Eve isn’t your cup-of-tea, you might want to check out the follow-up to the series: Misaki Chronicles. While taking place after the events of Divergence Eve, this “sequel of a prequel” deals more with time travel and can still be enjoyed without entirely viewing the original series; and/or understanding it.

This follow-up series is designed with a much brighter and playful tone, than Divergence Eve and might be more appealing to fans that prefer their action with a little more pop and humor. In fact, it might make you more interested in checking out Divergence Eve; to see how the events of two storylines tie together.

Even in space, you can still look cute and kick some serious tail. Target in sight, and locked on for the strike. That’s a look at the Stuf That Cuts.

Mini Japanese 101 with Judy-sensei!

Ninja Nonsense Vol. 1 - 4, "Now available at Best Buy!"

Visit the official Ninja Nonsense website.

Marie's DVD Review: Fate/Stay Night

Remember back when Pokemon was the coolest, most innovative thing ever, and it had a whole bunch of different critters you could make battle each other in thousands of different combinations? Now, take out all of the cutsie kiddy stuff, throw in some magical warfare borrowed from X and a bit of history, and substitute a host of pretty guys and girls armed to the teeth for Ash and Pikachu. The end result is the surprisingly good new anime Fate/Stay Night.

For centuries, battles have raged between seven mighty mages for possession of the Holy Grail. The signal to start the war anew comes when each of the mages, called a “master,” has summoned a mythological hero, or “servant,” who will fight for and protect them in the battles to follow. To hide their true identities, they use their fighting class as a code name, calling themselves things like “Archer,” “Rider,” or “Berserker.” Battles commence whenever and wherever the servants happen to meet each other, or, in the case of the more bloodthirsty participants, whenever they’ve managed to hunted their opponents down. When only one pair is left standing, they win the Holy Grail – and a wish of whatever their heart desires.

It has been ten years since the last clash of these magical titans and most of the populace has no idea that these wars even take place, let alone that magic even exists. Enter high school student Shirou. He secretly knows how to use a bit of magic to fix machines, but he’s certainly not what you would call a talented mage – which is too bad, because Shirou’s greatest dream in life is to be a hero for justice. He’s not quite sure how he’s going to go about accomplishing his goal, but in the meantime, he’s happy simply helping others out - whether it’s fixing the student council’s heater or cleaning a dojo. But simple contentment does not an exciting anime make, and Shirou suddenly finds himself in over his head when he’s attacked by a servant and, on the brink of death, inadvertently summons one of his own. Her name is Saber, and fortunately for Shirou, she’s a much, much better fighter than he is. With Saber's appearance, Shirou finds himself drawn unwillingly into the war for the Grail. But when he discovers that the prize might go to a winner intent on destruction, he resolves to win the Grail himself just to keep it out of evil hands, if he can manage survive that long, anyway.

Believe it or not, Fate/Stay Night actually started life as a dating sim in Japan, but you’d almost never guess it just from watching the show. The main romance doesn’t start up until well into the series, and meanwhile, the only hints of the genre are Shirou’s rather bland appearance and Sakura, Shirou’s classmate who has a not-so-secret crush on him. They’re both stereotypes of the genre I could do without, but the rest of the cast is so varied and well-designed it’s hard to hold anything against Sakura and Shirou at all.

The main highlight of that cast and, indeed, the entire show, is the servants. Far from being mindless automatons who exist only to serve their masters, they each have their own reasons for wanting to acquire the Holy Grail - not to mention they all have outstanding individual character designs. I found myself anxiously looking forward to each new introduction, and ended up greeting every single one of them with the same excited litany of questions: “Ooh, who’s that? What’s their weapon? Which figure are they? Would I look good cosplaying that outfit?” If you ever wondered what mythology might look like given a complete anime makeover, here you go. Hercules becomes a giant hulking berserker, while an Irish hero becomes a crazy homicidal bishounen. Best of all is Saber, but I’ll leave her history to be revealed by the anime. Just remember: there are very few legends who could look and fight as well as she does in a giant skirt while still retaining a warrior’s air at all times.

During the battles, if you’ve ever played any kind of RPG it’s impossible to keep from comparing the servants’ potential strengths and weaknesses, especially as the different classes start showing up. “Archer versus Lancer at close range? There’s no way Archer can win!” Well, no, not if he didn’t cross-class. But what if Archer had some wicked cool dual swords, too? Then you’ve got yourself a fight, likely with an excess of blood spilled on both sides – more, if Shirou gets involved without knowing what’s he doing before Saber can drag him off to the sidelines. Plus, each fight is beautifully choreographed and well-animated fight with just the right amount of “holy cow someone’s going to die” tension popping up every time.

Of course, the other side effect to the battles is you start calculating which servant you think it would be the most awesome to have, and then the Pokemon collecting gene kicks in and you realize why the original and spin-off games for Fate/Stay Night were so popular in the first place. Sure you can only have one servant at a time, but if you play the game seven times through…

Despite its roots, Fate/Stay Night genuinely contains something for just about everyone. There’s nothing like a good battle scene to get your anime club riled up, and everyone’s bound to find at least one character they enjoy looking at. Once the plot gets firmly underway, there’s even a romance. You might give it a pass if you stick strictly to slice-of-life drama, but for everyone else, it’s time to call up ten or so friends and make sure at least one of them has a big screen.

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

Anime and Gamer's Guide to Japan: Woman in Kimono

This image is being used under the GNU Free Documentation
License - Version 1.2, November 2002.

Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

His and Her Circumstances Thinpak, "Now available at Best Buy!"

Visit the official His and Her Circumstances website.

What our customers are saying

This episode features music from:

American Anime Awards

Vote for your favorites at the American Anime Awards online!

Awards will be given in the following categories: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Actor in a Comedy, Best Actress in a Comedy, Best Cast, Best DVD Package Design, Best Anime Theme Song, Best Comedy Anime, Best Anime Feature or OAV, Best Short Series (13 episodes or less), Best Long Series (More than 13 episodes) and Best Manga.

Check out some of the nominees from Right Stuf’s anime properties!

Best Actor

Touma Seguchi
Bill Rogers as “Touma Seguchi” – Gravitation

Kyoichi Kanzaki
Sam Regal as “Kyoichi Kanzaki” – Boys Be

Best Actress

Yukino Miyazawa
Veronica Taylor as “Yukino Miyazawa” – His and Her Circumstances

Yuuki
Zoe Martin as “Yuuki” – Piano: The Melody of a Young Girl’s Heart

Best Actor in a Comedy

Onsokumaru
Sean Schemmel as “Onsokumaru” – Ninja Nonsense

Taishi
Liam O’Brien as “Taishi” – Comic Party

Best Actress in a Comedy

Kaede
Zoe Martin as “Kaede” – Ninja Nonsense

Best Cast

Ninja Nonsense DVD 1 (Hyb): Enter the Ninja
Ninja Nonsense

His and Her Circumstances DVD Thinpak Collection (Hyb)
His and Her Circumstances

Best DVD Package Design

Astro Boy Ultra Collector’s Editions 1
Astro Boy Ultra Collector’s Editions 1

Astro Boy Ultra Collector’s Editions 2
Astro Boy Ultra Collector’s Editions 2

His and Her Circumstances DVD Thinpak Collection (Hyb)
His and Her Circumstances

Best Anime Theme Song

Astro Boy Ultra Collector’s Editions 1
Theme to Astro Boy (1963) by Tatsuo Takai & Donald Rockwell

Gravitation TV Series DVD Thinpak Collection (Hyb)
Gravitation TV Opening “Super Drive” - Yosuke Sakanoue

Best Comedy Anime

Ninja Nonsense DVD 2 (Hyb): Psychedelic Summer
Ninja Nonsense

Best Short Series (13 episodes or less)

Gravitation TV Series DVD Thinpak Collection (Hyb)
Gravitation TV

Ninja Nonsense DVD 4 (Hyb): Exit the Ninja
Ninja Nonsense

Best Long Series (over 13 episodes)

His and Her Circumstances DVD Thinpak Collection (Hyb)

His and Her Circumstances