Anime Today #40: Talking Japanese pop culture with Patrick Macias, editor of Otaku USA Magazine!

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Episode run down:

Yesterday, Right Stuf announced that we’ll be offering our customers several classic anime titles, which will also be airing soon on ImaginAsian TV. Last week, Rich and Nick were lucky enough to talk to the Manager of Strategic Development for ImaginAsian TV, Justin Sevakis, about the first three series in the “TMS Presents: Anime Classics” programming block.

But first, Chad’s got What's Hot in the World of Anime and Manga, with the latest Uso Deshou mystery plot coming up next. Shawne’s current attempt at taking over your wallet will be wrapping up this weekend and he’ll be back with a few last minute Tokyopop temptations. Next, join Rich and Nick for the first half of our interview with Justin Sevakis from ImaginAsian TV.

Kris and Judy return in the Anime and Gamers Guide to Japan, and continue their discussion on Japanese schools. We’re wrapping up our Fukubukuro contest this episode, and Rich and Nick will be bringing you all the winners. Lisa Marie will be bringing us her review of the action packed Highlander: Search for Vengeance DVD. Justin then returns with Rich and Nick for the second part of his interview. Judy-sensei returns to her classroom, and will be teaching you more school-related phrases. Rich and Nick will be wrapping up this episode with a DVD and book reviews that were submitted by our customers.

Justin Sevakis, the Manager of Strategic Development for ImaginAsian TV

Justin Sevakis, the Manager of Strategic Development for ImaginAsian TV

ImaginAsian TV: http://www.iatv.tv/
TMS Anime Classics: http://www.iatv.tv/animeclassics/ (coming soon)

What's Hot?

It’s been two years since “The Major,” Motoko Kusanagi, left Section 9. In that time, the team’s roster has grown considerably, and Togusa is now in charge. When the expanded team of counter-terrorism and anti-crime specialists confronts a rash of complicated incidents, their investigations reveal an ultra-wizard hacker may be behind them all. But will they also encounter an old ally in their pursuit of this cyber criminal? Find out when the movie follow up to the popular Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series finally makes its North American debut. Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society will be available on July 3rd in both regular and limited-editions.

Aliens, time travelers and ESPers… Kyon used to believe none of them could possibly exist. But now everything he used to believe was confined to TV specials, comic books and overactive imaginations has come crashing into his life – and apparently, it’s all because of Haruhi! The thing is, although these fantastical beings are appearing right under her nose, she’s bored. And you don’t want Haruhi to be bored... because… things start to happen! The second volume of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya streets on July 3rd in two versions: a regular edition and a special edition with extras including a pencil board, iron-on, Brigade Leader cosplay armband, audio CD and bonus DVD featuring the first five episodes in broadcast order! (It’s sure to sell out just like the volume 1 limited edition, so get your pre-order in today!)

Risa’s the tallest girl in class, and the very last thing she wants is the humiliation of standing next to Atsushi, the shortest guy. However, fate (and the whole school) have other ideas, and the two find themselves unwillingly cast as a bizarre romantic comedy duo. Rather than bow to the inevitable, they join forces to pursue the true objects of their affections. But in the quest for love, will the budding friendship these allies share become something more complex? The shoujo manga that inspired both a live-action movie and an anime series hits North America when Love Com, Vol. 1 streets on July 3rd.

Just when it looks like smooth sailing for Keiichi and his goddess Belldandy, trouble comes along to rock their boat! First, Keiichi gets a mysterious love letter from a beautiful stranger who accidentally unleashes the hound of hell! Then, when Peorth, a new, First-Class Goddess comes to town, Belldandy finds herself in competition for his affection! Will Belldandy’s jealousy cause a heavenly upheaval? Find out when Ah! My Goddess, Season 2, DVD 2 arrives on July 10th, in regular and art box versions!

When 14-year-old Koyuki rescues a funny looking dog from a bunch of kids, his life is turned upside down. The owner of the dog happens to be an amazing guitar player, and the chance encounter leads to Koyuki becoming a member of his band! Join them as they kick off their quest for fame and fortune when Beck DVD 1 takes the stage on July 10th with both a regular edition and a “starter set” featuring an exclusive “amp-style” box and stickers.

Masahiro Abeno is the grandson of the great sorcerer. Unfortunately for him, his grandfather did such a great job in the past that he really hasn't needed to perform any magical duties. As a result, Masahiro has lost his sixth sense and the ability to see spirits. One day, a demon drops from the sky with a dangerous challenge: Masahiro must continue his grandfather's work or perish in flames! Is the young sorcerer up to the task? Find out when the anime Shonen Onmyoji makes its North American debut on July 10th.

Save 25% or more on these titles by preordering them from RightStuf.com at least 10 days before their street dates. Get another 10% off by joining the Got Anime purchasing club for Frequent Buyers.

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

Shawne's Specials and Amp Up Your Savings Sale!

Shawne's Specials and The Great Wallet Takeover Sale!

Another week has come and gone, and as the dark lord passes another birthday milestone, he only becomes more interested in wallets and the contents therein.

Just when you thought it was safe, we're back to take over your wallet with deals on graphic novels and books from TOKYOPOP - from graphic novels and art books, such as Beck, Dramacon, Fruits Basket, Sgt. Frog and Welcome to the NHK, to novel series, like Trinity Blood and Twelve Kingdoms.

Through Sunday May 27, take 33% OFF the retail price of books and manga from Tokyopop. (This includes pre-orders!)

Just use the reusable coupon code takeover when you check out through RightStuf.com:

As always, if you're a Got Anime member, you can stack your discounts for even more savings! Check out www.gotanime.com to check out this great purchasing club!

If you’re not sure which products are included in the sale, you can click on the "Tokyopop Takeover" graphic on the upper right hand corner of our main page: It will take you to a list of which products are eligible! Bargain bin, weekly special and closeout items are not eligible for the coupon, however, because they're already awesome deals.)

Rich has made a great change to the search results and shopping cart for you this week. When you do a search, you can order directly from the search results, and then pop right back to the search by hitting the "Return to Previous Search Results" link to grab other items. This will save people lots of time, especially if you’re ordering multiple items from a studio sale or from a specific search. It’s all part of the sneaky plan to make it easier for us to separate you from your hard earned cash.

The specials have some great items this week approaching the 50% off mark, including box sets of Cromartie High School, Kaleido Star and Cyberteam in Akihabara. Also, check out the great deal we have on Noir and Excel Saga lunchboxes. These collectable tins are just the things for your knickknack shelf. Here’s the quick link directly to the specials for you: www.rightstuf.com/specials.

With the holiday weekend coming up, I’m sure that many of you have travel and party plans. Enjoy and be safe! We’re coming up on the end of my spring wallet assault - are you prepared?

 

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

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

Elementary school students at Himeji Castle.
Elementary school students at Himeji Castle.

Japanese high school students wearing the sailor fuku uniform.
Japanese high school students wearing the sailor fuku uniform.

An article on the Japanese education system:
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2150.html

 

Suzuka DVD 1 (Hyb) + Artbox

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

GravitationSeven is the lucky number for the next contest! (As in, there are seven Gravitation keychains up for grabs!) A little Bad Luck can be a good thing, so stop by gravitation.rightstuf.com and click on the contest link for your chance to win before June 7th! The winners will be announced on the next Anime Today podcast.

Fukubukuro Fun ContestCongratulations to the winners of our “Fukubukuro Fun” contest!

- Our first four runners up will each receive the Mahoromatic Summer Special CD/DVD set: Jason M of Birmingham, Alabama; Debbie B of Marshall, Missouri; Maurice F of Syracuse, New York; and Janan C of Riverwoods, Illinois!

- Our next four runners up each will get the Paranoia Agent Original Soundtrack CD: Don S of Whitman, Massachusetts; John P of Auburn Hills, Michigan; Natalie M of Flint, Michigan; and Terri G of Ligonier, Indiana.

- And finally a congratulations goes out to our three “grand prize” winners, who will each receive a gift package including the Mahoromatic Summer Special CD/DVD set, plus Samurai 7 storyboards AND the Tenjho Tenge Soundtrack CD: Kim M of Pensacola, Florida; Scott S of Litchfield Park, Arizona; and Elizabeth B of Spartanburg, South Carolina.


.hack//Roots DVD 1 PLUS art box, soundtrack CD and T-shirtGet ready to discover the virtual adventure of “The World” with our next big contest: Four lucky winners will each receive a gift package that includes .hack//Roots DVD 1 PLUS art box, soundtrack CD and T-shirt AND the .hack//GU, Vol. 2: Reminisce PlayStation 2 Video game, courtesy of Bandai Entertainment!

To enter, check out our Contests page , under “What’s Hot” at RightStuf.com and get your entry in before June 21! We’ll be announcing the winners on our June 22nd episode of Anime Today!


Marie's DVD Review: Highlander

If you’ve been in anime fandom long enough, you’ve probably had a conversation where a non-anime fan claimed that all anime was about guns, blood, and scantily clad women and you attempted to tell them they were undeniably wrong. Highlander: The Search for Vengeance isn’t going to help you win that argument, but on the plus side, it’s full of guns, blood, and scantily clad women. Sometimes, you just have to go with what works.

Going into Search for Vengeance, I knew a grand sum total of two things about the Highlander franchise: that somebody involved was Scottish, and that all commercials for the VHS tapes used the tagline “There can be only one.” Fortunately, it turns out that that’s about all you need to know to thoroughly enjoy a man’s 2000-year-old quest for revenge.

Search for Vengeance opens by telling the tragic backstory of Colin McLeod. A Celt born in the 2nd century, his one true love Moya was murdered by the ruthless Roman leader Marcus Octavius on the eve of a battle that resulted in the slaughter of Colin’s army of warriors. Understandably upset, Colin swore revenge on Marcus and attacked him, only to fail miserably and have his head sliced open. Undeterred, Colin sought out and attacked Marcus again… and again… and again for 2000 years. How is that possible? Both happen to belong to a group known as the Immortals, people destined to live forever – or at least, until another Immortal cuts off their head and their neck starts shooting up a lightning and fireworks display.

Colin’s current attempt at revenge takes place in the year 2187 in a dystopian New York City. A deadly virus runs rampant in the streets, and access to the vaccine is carefully guarded by the city’s ruler, Marcus, via a multitude of heavily armed forces. Colin, of course, has no interest in the virus, but finds himself partnering with the hot-headed Dahlia to break into the city’s inner fortresses. She’ll get the vaccine, and he’ll finally get revenge or die trying. Again.

The Search for Vengeance has an unusual pedigree for an anime film spanning both sides of the Pacific. The script was written by original Highlander TV series and movie writer, David Abramowitz, lending authenticity to the new canon and respect for the original source material. Meanwhile, the film was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, famous for directing and writing Ninja Scroll and Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Who better to handle a property steeped in violent mythology?

Further reflecting the bi-Pacific split, everything was animated by well-known anime studio Madhouse, but the voices were cast and dubbed in North America, not Japan – which only makes sense, because I can’t begin to imagine what a Japanese take on a Scottish accent would be. There’s even an extra on the disc devoted to the extraordinary amount of cooperation between everyone involved. The result is a seamless blend of an American franchise with anime sensibilities, and if you didn’t know its origin, you’d never guess it hadn’t been completely conceived in Japan. Well, unless the mullets tipped you off.

But for all of its blood and guts storyline, Search for Vengeance is no vacuous plot crafted simply to carry the audience from explosion A to swordfight B. The violence underscores the only way Colin has left to deal with his despair, and acts to contrast his savage-like nature to Marcus’ more cultivated one. Humor is well-sprinkled throughout the film – dark humor, of course, but any other kind would have seemed out of place. And between Colin’s devotion to Moya and Dahlia’s determination to acquire the vaccine for her family, there’s a surprisingly poignant amount of humanity weaved into the plot.

Bear in mind, though, Search for Vengeance was given a mature rating by Manga Entertainment for a good reason. Between heads getting cut off and all-out attempts at seduction from the women, this one’s definitely not for the kiddies, but don’t think that means it’s a guys-only title. It’s not shojo by any possible stretch of imagination, but it’s not trying to alienate girls, either. The guys are just as likely to run around half-dressed as the women, and Dahlia’s no wilting violet – she’s pretty handy with a machine gun almost as big as she is.

Highlander: The Search for Vengeance is a callback to the violent, sexed-up anime of the eighties and nineties updated with crisp new animation techniques and English dubbing standards, and really, that’s about all you need to know to figure out if you’ll enjoy it. It’s everything you enjoyed from those first heady days of anime fandom combined with the best advantages of the modern market.

Mini Japanese 101 with Judy-sensei!

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