Anime Today #35: Talking TO HEART with actor Rich McNanna!

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Episode run down:

Welcome to a very snowed-in edition of Anime Today! As we’re sitting here watching the abundance of snow come down outside, there couldn’t better time to start our ADV Abundance of Savings sale!

Early last week, in conjunction with the launch of the To Heart website, we had a chance to sit down with voice actor Rich McNanna! Keep listening to hear how the voice of Shuichi Shindo mellowed out to transform into Hioryuki Fujita.

With his sights set on Spring, Chad has the run down of some exciting April releases in What’s Hot in the World of Anime and Manga. Test your anime knowledge with Uso Deshou coming up next, followed by the Dark Lord himself bringing you his weekly specials. Then Rich, Alison and Nick celebrate the upcoming release of To Heart with the first part of our interview with Rich McNanna.

In the Anime and Gamer’s Guide to Japan, Kris and Judy will be talking about what to do if you become ill during your trip to Japan. Nick and Rich will then give you the run down of all the latest contests from, along with a couple winners of our Gunbuster, Aim for the Top contest. Judy-sensi is then going to rejoin us for Japanese 101, and tell you how to tell the doctor where it hurts. We’re then going to rejoin the Rich McNanna interview, and get his reaction to being a part of the English cast of To Heart. Vic’s back this episode with his cut up of Burn Up Excess and Burn Up W. And we’ll follow that up with a few of your reviews from our website.

Rich McNanna Interview!

Rich McNanna


Anime News Network:

What's Hot?

Chiyuki is a 17-year-old girl with a chronic heart condition, and her doctors say she won’t live to see the next snow. Touya is an 18-year-old vampire who hates blood and refuses to make the traditional pact with a human, whose blood will allow them both to stay alive for a thousand years. Can she share her passion for living with him, even as her own life is ending? The first volume of Millennium Snow, an earlier manga series by popular Ouran Host Club creator Bisco Hatori makes its debut on April 3rd.

Eva pilot Rei Ayanami sacrifices herself in combat against the latest Angel. Kaworu takes the opportunity to advance his own agenda. And Shinji is forced to deal with the secret behind Rei’s origin. Character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto is back with his manga interpretation of the Eva story when the long-awaited next volume, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Vol. 10 is released on April 10th.

In a world of mercenary agents, Kurau is one of the elite. She’s a master swordsman, a martial artist and a thief so skilled that no secret or objective is beyond her grasp. But the biggest secret of all, is her own. A freak mishap during an experiment with a new kind of energy fused her body with a binary alien life form called Rynax. Every second Kurau lives is experienced twice, and now that her secret has begun to leak out, neither of their lives may last for very long! The ultimate agent becomes the ultimate target, when the anime series Kurau: Phantom Memory makes its North American debut on April 10th.

The tragedy that continues to smother the Sohma family seems to be spreading to those connected with them! Kyo’s past includes meeting Tohru’s mother and memories of Tohru’s birth. Is she ready to hear the truth about her mother and father? And how will the head of the family, Akito, react when Yuki takes a stand and declares his independence from the actions of others? The next volume of Natsuki Takaya’s popular manga, Fruits Basket, Vol. 16, tackles these revelations on April 10th.

The “Para Kiss” crew works feverishly on their entry for the school fashion show. Will their design take the first-place prize? And as graduation looms, George and Yukari must determine if their futures include each other… especially when their personal goals and professional aspirations pull them in opposite directions. Experience the emotionally charged conclusion of Paradise Kiss when the anime’s third and final volume is released, in regular and special editions, on April 17th.

The war between vampires and humans rages on. While a group of vampire extremists manipulates events to ensure the continuation of the conflict, the Vatican’s own special ops group, the AX, must use all of its resources to protect the peace effort… including a vampire who feeds on the blood of other vampires! The Japanese “light novels” that inspired the Trinity Blood anime and manga make their English-language debut with the release of Trinity Blood, Novel 1: Rage Against the Moons on April 10th.

Momo is a modest, lonely girl: misjudged by her classmates as a party animal, when, in reality, her bleached hair and tan skin are the results of long hours of training on the swim team. As she struggles to fit in at her new school, she is befriended by a backstabber, pursued by a playboy and seemingly unable to catch the attention of her long-cherished crush! A favorite shoujo manga melodrama makes the leap to anime when Peach Girl DVD 1 is released on April 17th in both a standard edition and a collectors’ edition with artbox.

And as always, you can save 25% when you preorder these great titles and more from at least 10 days before their release date. Got Anime purchasing club members can save even more with an additional 10% off these preorder prices..

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

Shawne's Specials!

While you are building up your backlog of titles with our current sale, don’t forget to check out the great bargains that we have in the weekly specials too! Every week on Thursday, we add a new batch of great items for your buying pleasure.

We want to be your anime destination of choice! If you have any suggestions on what we can do to make your buying experience a better one, or what we can do to earn your business, feel free to email them to me directly at

Didn’t the groundhog say we’d have an early spring? Perhaps since he hasn’t panned out this year, we’ll fry him up and eat him.

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

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

Anime and Gamer's Guide to Japan

Copyright © J-List

Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO)

Essential Emergency Info:

Medical Facilities with English or other language-Speaking Staff: Useful Phrases (including

Medical Emergencies:

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

Gunbuster DVD (S) Congratulations to the winners of our "Aim for the Top!" Gunbuster contest: Renee K. of Hadley, Alabama and Ben L. of Nashvilla, Tennassee! Each of you will be receiving a super-deluxe copy of Gainax’s sci-fi action classic Gunbuster, just recently released by Honneamise ("Oh-Nay-A-Miss") and featuring all six episodes spread across three DVDs, plus 30 minutes of bonus clips and a 24-page color booklet all wrapped up in a beautiful art box!

Gunbuster DVD (S) Do you love rock'n'roll? Well, this month's contest may be for you: Courtesy of Viz and Shojo Beat, we're giving away three awesome gift packs celebrating the upcoming May release, Linda Linda Linda! This live-action film centers around four aspiring rock chicks who are determined to play at their school's annual festival, and the title refers to one of the three songs on their set list!

Each pack contains:
- an advance copy of the Linda Linda Linda movie (and you’ll be receiving it more than a month before it's available anywhere1);
- a copy of "Meet the Blue Hearts," a Japanese import CD by the band whose song inspired the film's title;
- a Linda Linda Linda movie poster;
- and a copy of February's music-themed issue of Shojo Beat with all you need to know about the film!

Check out our Contests page , under "What’s Hot" at and get your entry in before March 29th! We’ll be announcing the winners on our March 30th episode of Anime Today!

To Heart To gear up for our spring release of To Heart, we've just launched a brand-new series Web site and a cool new contest! Go to, and check out the "Extras" section before March 30th: There, you can enter to win 1 of 3 "three-volume" sets of the out-of-print, English-language version of the To Heart manga! Don’t forget to check out the video clip, grab some avatars and read about this series that is a fan favorite on BOTH sides of the Pacific!

Gravitation If you’re all about the rock, check out, and click on the contest link: Four lucky winners will be randomly rewarded with either one of two "Bad Luck" wallscrolls or one of two wallscrolls featuring Eiri and Shuichi! Just be sure to get your entry in before March 15th!

If ninjas (and nonsense) are more your speed, get over to We’re giving away two of our newest wallscrolls featuring Shinobu and Kaede! Again, fill out the entry form in the "Extras" section before March 15th for your chance to win!

Mini Japanese 101 with Judy-sensei!

Vic Annato's Stuf That Cuts: Burn Up W & Burn Up Excess

In a world where action-based anime has become totally random, one man stands above the others to put things back in prospective. Double the drama, triple the excitement. Live to go, right steady and rough. Here comes the “Stuf That Cuts”.

Hey there everyone, Vic Annato doubling the stack, right here on the attack. Podcast-downloading, critic-defying, action-based-anime review segment. “Stuf That Cuts” this week, checking out the futuristic neo-Tokyo, with a splash of color here and there, and plenty of cutie-honey SWAT cops that would make the crimes worthy of the time. Buckle up, check your mag, and scope those dopes. It’s time to light-it-up with this week’s double series re-view lockdown: Burn Up W & Burn Up Excess.

These two particular incarnations of the Burn-Up franchise contain some great comedic plotlines, sugary-sweet characters, and a good slice of action-drama getting serious when it needs to be. Seriously explosive; that is.

Burn Up W and Burn Up Excess have an unusual knack going for them. If you’ve even seen one of the Burn Up titles, then you pretty much know the direction of the story’s plot:

For the uninitiated: start with three or four cute, young, buxom gals joining up with the local future-police task force (each with some kind of perky character-specific quirk). Then add, an underlying foreshadow to the series’ conclusion, and wrap-it-up with a knock-down, drag-out, gun-fight finale that’ll keep you jumping; all night long. Voila! Instant action-comedy-drama, that keeps the audience cheering and the guns a-blazing.

Simply put: the story is easy to understand and packed full of comedy. Characters feel vibrant and sharp, and the action packs in enough weapons and explosions for some great cel-shaded, shoot-em-up, eye candy. The formula works plain and simple, making it a wonder why similar series tend to complicate their action-sequences with such over-detailed plotlines. In the style of W and Excess, characters say what they need to, and the events of the story keep your pulse moving. Short, and to-the-point. You’ll know exactly what’s going on.

Throughout the two series, viewers follow the day-to-day lives (and calamities) of four hapless but perky, novice officers; in a futuristic Tokyo-setting. Introducing, the main characters: Rio, the blonde bombshell of the office, keen with nightstick, and can’t pay the bills to save her life. Maya, the trigger-happy, arsenal-toting munitions expert, whom never gets the chance to express that, um…passion. Lilica, everyone’s favorite computer-savvy, cute-little-hacker girl, and Nanvel, the resident gizmo and gadget gal with a slight tendency to make her inventions go ‘BOOM’; in a not-so-short order. Add in a head-over heals, love-struck, hopeless romantic officer named Yuji, and there you have the guys and gals of Team Warrior.

The cast of characters really tell the story, and the acting is so well done from both the Japanese and English dubs, that all the elements make it an excellent blend in shaping the overall look. Naturally, with a production company like AIC on the design team, quality and comedy are nearly a given. Particular shout-out goes to Amanda Winn-Lee, whose range of vocal skill and inflections (for the character of Rio) are very well-done. For as lively as Rio tends to be, doing a vocal performance as Winn-Lee has, is nothing short of phenomenal, and deserves exceptional recognition for her work on the character.

While both series detail the seemingly every-day lives of Team Warrior, that’s not to say there’s no variety in some of their unique case assignments. From tracking-down stolen jewels, virtual drugs, and royal abductions, to common bra-and-panty bandits. Yes, there really is an entire episode devoted to just that subject. Suffice it to say, the ADV “Jiggle Counter” makes an appearance for the Excess side of the series, thanks to the girl’s curvy character design.

What holds true with the comedy and storytelling, also works the same way for the much of the action; in the series. Since both stories use the same main characters, viewers will start having a favorite after just a few episodes. There are all kinds of over-the-top action sequences here, but the endings really shell it out.

Caught in the act? Well then, let’s factor it down.

Burn Up W and Burn Up Excess bust up the bad guys, with the license to laugh, shoot-first, and ask questions later.

The comedy will definitely tap your funny bone, and the gals and guys of Team Warrior all work together so cohesively, that their individual narratives run seamlessly throughout the main story arc. Rio’s pretty much at the center of the action, but the series’ are well-balanced enough, that each character gets an individual spotlight; on a fairly regular basis. The action is slick too. Maya’s got her personal armory-on-call, Nanvel’s got her Mechs, and Rio’s set with her handgun and nightstick. It all leads straight to the break-out, action-packed series’ finales. These two, are definite winners.

Can’t decide which saga to view first? No problem. Both series are so well-scripted, that watching either one first won’t deter you from seeing the other; thereafter.

Burn Up W presents the original introduction to the characters and their adventures. However, it’s only a four episode OVA, and focuses more on a classic structure of: intro-filler-cliffhanger-finale. Also, the extras are a bit lacking with only a few character sketches; to round it out.

Burn Up Excess capitalizes on the success of W, and easily brings back that familiar feel to an already great comedy & action franchise. You can still meet the characters from scratch, follow a similar case-by-case storyline, and conclude with a knock-down, drag out, fire-fight at the series conclusion. Excess feels more like a dedicated series though, with 13 episodes spread-out across four DVD’s. The extra content is much more plentiful as well, including: character artwork, clean openings and endings, Yuji’s extra classes, and ADV’s quirky trademark – “the jiggle counter” – for those of you that tend to keep track of such things. Nicely done.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust, we’re off the case and back to the rush. Book em’ Rio, that’s a look at the “Stuf That Cuts”.

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