ANIME TODAY #54: Interview With New York Anime Festival Organizers John McGeary & Peter Tatara

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Episode run down:

We’re going to kick off this episode with What’s Hot in the World of Anime with Chad, followed by another Uso Deshou mystery plot to test your anime knowledge. You’re going to have to be quick as a ninja to get in on Right Stuf’s latest sale; we’re kicking off the holidays by giving our customers 30% off nearly everything in our online store - Shawne’s going to join us with all the details. Then, Kris and Judy are going to be talking about some of the Japanese customs surrounding gift giving between friends, and on special occasions in the Anime and Gamers Guide to Japan.

The New York Anime Festival is quickly gearing up for the weekend of December 7th and Rich, Alison and Nick will be talking with Vice President and Show Manager, John McGeary and Programming Manager Peter Tatara later in this episode. If you are fortunate enough to be attending this exciting event and were smart enough to enter our contest for a weekend pass worth $55, you just might hear your name coming up next as we announce the five lucky winners in the latest contests and website updates. Marie spotlights FUNimation’s enchanting new series, Mushishi, and then catch some recent customer reviews from our online store at RightStuf.com.

What's Hot?

Yuichi Aizawa used to visit his cousin Nayuki all the time when he was younger, but now he can hardly remember a thing about those visits. And when he returns to live with his Aunt Akiko and his cousin, for his senior year in high school, the blank spots in his memory become more and more worrisome. Bits and pieces of his past come back to him, but his memories elude him still. Why can't he remember? What is he blocking out? Find out when the fan-favorite anime Kanon makes its North American debut on January 1st.

The Earth, the Moon, and our Martian Colonies are under alien attack, and our space fleets are powerless to stop the invasion. Disgusted by the incompetence of the Terran military, an independent arms manufacturer builds its own space battle cruiser and launches a new offensive in a desperate attempt to save the Earth. Unfortunately, due to a shortage of trained military personnel, the crew is a little unorthodox...With a reluctant assistant cook as a pilot, a ditsy general's daughter in command, and the largest contingent of geeks, misfits and anime fans ever sent into orbit, the enemy doesn’t stand a chance! Rediscover all 26 episodes of Martian Successor Nadesico when the DVD Perfect Collection Thinpak streets on January 1st.

The second half of the Metropolitan Tennis Tournament begins! The doubles teams power through the toughest matches they've seen yet, and Ryoma's match with Akutsu from Yamabuki Junior High fires up the court. With all the trouble Ryoma's encountered with Akutsu, everyone's worried for his safety, but Ryoma isn't about to let up! Then the inter-team matches begin, and it's not the walk in the park the first-years were expecting! The Prince of Tennis serves up a new round of action when DVD Box Set 4 lands on January 15th.

Sumire is your average everyday schoolgirl. That is, if your average everyday schoolgirl can not only sense ghosts and demons but also dispose of them accordingly! So when she meets Lucia, a specter-fighting, eyepatch-wearing power-girl from the Venus Vanguard, it's a match made in heaven. Together, these two work to rid the world of dark forces called “Virus” that lurk amongst us. The battle for human souls rages on when Venus Versus Virus, DVD 2 arrives on January 15th, in regular and art-box editions.

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 Be Quick Like a Ninja Sale!

Shawne's Specials and Be Quick Like a Ninja Sale!

Before the holiday shopping season reaches a fever pitch, we decided to sneak in 12 whole days of extra savings – 30% off the retail prices on almost everything* you’ll find at RightStuf.com – from DVDs, books, manga, and CDs to apparel, accessories, toys, collectibles and more! Plus, you can buy new and upcoming releases too!

But you’d better be quick like a ninja and grab what you want to give -- and what you want to get – before this sale disappears on December 2!

From now until December 2nd save 30% OFF the retail price of almost everything*
on RightStuf.com!

We’re going to make it especially easy - you don’t even have to enter in a coupon code. All of the prices for all of the items on the site have already been changed for the sale - so just add the products you’re looking for into your cart and check-out to save.

And don’t forget - If you’re a Got Anime member, you can stack your discounts for even more savings! Check out Gotanime.com now to start saving today!

As always, Bargain Bin, Daily Deals and Weekly Special items are not eligible for this sale - they will state "not eligible for additional discounts" on their product pages.

I do hope that you have a great and safe Thanksgiving holiday - and our offices will be closed Friday November 23 so our employees can spend time with friends and family.

As the holidays rapidly approach, I’ll be pulling out all of the stops to bring you deals you can’t resist. Anime savings galore shall be yours this season at RightStuf.com!

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

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

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Peter Tatara and John McGeary from New York Anime Festival!

Peter Tatara and John McGeary from New York Anime Festival!

http://www.newyorkanimefestival.com/

http://www.animecons.com/events/info.shtml/1266

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

We’d like to congratulate the winners of our contest with the New York Anime Festival, which is coming up on December 7th through 9th at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City. The following five lucky winners will each receive a weekend pass to the big show! (Remember: This is admission to the show itself. You would still be responsible for your own travel and hotel arrangements.) Congratulations to David R of Paramus, New Jersey; Monte L of Friendswood, Texas; Adrienne C of North Miami Beach, Florida; Timothy M of Spokane, Washington; and Ken R of Keyport, New Jersey.

New York Anime Festival Contest!

New Contest! Our contest for Viz Pictures live-action prize packages continues!

J-rock fans rejoice! Viz is bringing the video collections of one of the genre’s most popular artists to North American fans with the release of TWO Gackt video collections! To celebrate, they’ve put together a prize pack that includes both Gackt: The Greatest Filmography 1999-2006 Red and Blue DVDs, plus a coffin cell phone charm, a copy of the Shojo Beat music issue with an article on the superstar, and a “Gackt” black vinyl totebag to carry it all!

The second prize package commemorates the recent U.S. release of the outrageous sports comedy and drama Ping Pong, with a copy of the DVD, an extra-large Ping Pong t-shirt and an athletic towel!

To enter, and have a sneak peek the prize packages, check out our Contests page, in the “What’s Hot” bar on RightStuf.com, and get your entry in before December 6th! We’ll be announcing the winners on the December 7th episode of Anime Today!

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And finally, we have a new contest for all you listeners who are also on MySpace! Both Anime Today and Right Stuf’s production division, Nozomi Entertainment, recently launched MySpace pages. Add us to your friends list, and be entered to win one of (2) $25 gift certificates to RightStuf.com. (Add BOTH Anime Today and Nozomi, and you’re entered into the contest twice!) Just be sure to do this before December 21… and if you’ve already added us to your lists, you’re already in the game!

Anime Today on MySpace.com Nozomi Entertainment on MySpace.com

Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles Special Edition DVD (D)

Marie's Spotlight: Mushishi

They say art is subjective, but there are certain cases that leave very little room for argument. I encountered my most recent example when I popped the first disc of Mushishi into my DVD player. Each episode is a work of painstakingly crafted art, and I don’t believe anyone could ever argue convincingly otherwise.

Mushishi consists of standalone episodes, each tied together by the presence of the single main character, Ginko. Ginko is a mushishi; that is, a person who deals with mushi and the problems they can cause. What’s a mushi? Well, they’re creatures from a sort of a biological seventh kingdom with an infinite number of phylum; supernatural combinations of spirits and single-celled organisms. While many mushi are harmless and even invisible to most people, some cause trouble, even if unintentionally. That’s where a mushishi steps in; helping to cure sudden cases of deafness caused by mushi that look like glowing snails, discovering the real root of a man’s “prophetic” dreams, or any other number of mysterious complications.

Beautiful and enchanting at the same time it’s creepy and haunting, Mushishi reminds me of the original Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales. I’d love to know how many of the stories are original to the series and how many came from Japanese folklore. I recognized a few, such as the link between spirals and the inner ear (which also appears in Uzumaki), but most were completely new to me. I can only imagine what kind of movies Disney would make if they got their hands on these stories. The series’ animation works to retain that storytelling atmosphere, using backgrounds painted to look like traditional ink drawings then carefully infused with life to bring lush forests and snowy mountains to a beautiful reality.

That’s not to say that atmosphere and artistry are all that Mushishi has going for it. You might think you know where a story is going, because it sounds just similar enough to something else you know, but there’s also always that hint that things aren’t what they seem. Waiting for the other shoe to drop heightens the anticipation tremendously, especially because you’re never quite sure if there is a shoe to drop or what it may be until it actually happens. There’s also the fact that while some of the stories have happy endings, or at least as happy as they could reasonably be under the circumstances, they don’t all end well. With the exception of Ginko, you can never count anyone’s life as saved.

An enormous part of Mushishi’s charm comes from the mushi themselves, and they were hands down my favorite part of each episode. Ginko describes them as closest to the center of life, like protozoa, and far away from the place where plants and animals separate to become distinct, different categories. They would be as at home in a primordial soup as they are in the forests, oceans, and air they inhabit in Mushishi. They are also, I am suddenly realizing, incredibly difficult to describe without pictures. If you played Flow, each and every one of those swirling organisms could easily be a Mushi. But they can also collect together, just like cells, to create larger entities, ranging from a human facsimile to an ancient swamp. No matter what form they take, however, they are incredibly fascinating and beautiful to watch.

The setting of Mushishi is utterly timeless, not only figuratively, but in a literal sense, too. No indication is ever given as to just when these stories take place, leaving it up to your own imagination when to weave them into Japanese history. Ginko wears a shirt, pants, and plain brown shoes that wouldn’t be out of place in a modern setting, but every other character is dressed in yukatas and kimonos, and wearing traditional Japanese sandals or boots lined with straw. There’s no mention of politics to clue the audience in as to what’s going on in the larger world, and the villages that Ginko visits are most always remote, so you could place the setting any time between 1910 and a thousand years ago without much difficulty.

I love how Funimation has captured the essence of Mushishi even within the packaging for the DVDs. The box, for example, is at first glance a rich walnut brown, like wood or earth, but once the slipcase is removed a vibrant green mass of plants is revealed. If you check out one of the several included interviews with the Japanese staff, you’ll learn that the original Japanese covers even told their own story of one of Ginko’s travels. And if you’re into voice actor spotting - of either the Japanese or English kind - you’ll also love the constant stream of vocal cameos.

Drenched in atmosphere and genuinely Miyazaki-like in its sense of wonder at nature and spirits, Mushishi is perfect for anyone whose favorite bedtime stories were fairy tales, preferably the Grimm kind, not the Disneyfied versions. If you enjoyed Spirited Away or the standalone episodes from xxxHolic, you’ll love Mushishi.

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