ANIME TODAY #55: Interview With Writer, Director & Voice of SPEED RACER Peter Fernandez

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Episode run down:

We have a fantastic interview for you this episode. The talented actor, voice actor and director Peter Fernandez, who is best-known to anime fans as the voice of "Speed" and "Racer X" from the classic 1960’s anime Speed Racer, will be joining Rich, Alison and Nick shortly but first is Chad with what’s hot in the world of anime and manga. Next, test your anime knowledge with a new Uso Deshou mystery plot, jump in to the 12 Days of Anime with Shawne, and listen to the first half of our interview with Mr. Fernandez.

Nick and Rich will then return with the winners of our Viz Pictures contest. We’re also going to be kicking off a new contest that features the first volumes of a number of series from Geneon Entertainment. If you haven’t checked out Anime Today’s and Nozomi Entertainment’s MySpace pages yet, be sure to listen and find out how you can win a gift certificate to RightStuf.com. Next up is Marie with her Spotlight on the One Piece graphic novels, published by Viz. Kris and Judy will then join us for the Anime and Gamers Guide to Japan, and talk about the changing rules for foreign visitors to Japan. Alison, Nick and Rich will return with the second portion of our interview with Peter Fernandez, where we’ll talk about how the adapting and directing of anime has changed over the years, the new Speed Racer movie and his role in it, other projects he’s involved with, and the New York Anime Festival. And finally, we’ll have a few customer reviews from RightStuf.com.

What's Hot?

As a junior high student, Haruna’s life revolved around playing softball and reading comics. But now that she's going to high school, she decides to put all of her energy toward getting a boyfriend and having the high school romance of a lifetime. To help her ditch her jock tendencies and turn herself into the kind of girl who can catch a guy, she enlists cute upperclassman Yo as her coach. Yo agrees, but there’s one catch: Haruna better not fall for him! The manga High School Debut makes its debut on January 1st.

It’s Year 70 of the Cosmic Era. Tensions between genetically enhanced humans and regular humans have escalated into full-scale war. On the neutral, orbiting colony of Heliopolis, Kira Yamato and his friends are going to school and just being kids. But when ZAFT commandos attack, Kira’s life changes forever: He is forced to take the controls of a prototype mobile weapon to defend himself and his friends… and the enemy he faces on the battlefield is his childhood best friend, Athrun! Who will survive? Find out when the Anime Legends Gundam SEED DVD Collection 1 arrives on January 8th.

Space monsters are rushing to invade the solar system and the piloting skills of two young women, in two different times, are all that stand between humanity and annihilation! The theatrical features based on two Gainax milestones have come together, with revised 5.1 audio for Gunbuster and never-before released scenes for Diebuster! A 12,000-year saga of friendship, heroism, hard work and guts achieves new heights when Gunbuster vs. Diebuster: Aim for the Top! The GATTAI!! Movie! streets on January 8th.

For genius detective L, Light's behavior is too perfect to be true. To get closer to him, he enrolls at the same university and even invites Light into the “Kira” investigation. The murders continue, but with a new twist: There appears to be a second killer at work! L has Light pose as the original Kira in order to lure out the copycat. Hoping to divert suspicion from himself, Light agrees, but he's surprised to discover that this new Kira has an ability he lacks... The cat and mouse game continues when Death Note DVD 3 arrives on January 29th in both regular and deluxe editions.

Something's wrong with Millie. While she maintains her normally bouncy outward appearance, her friends can tell it's merely a facade hiding the sadness she feels deep in her heart. In an attempt to raise her spirits, Honoka decides it's time for a short vacation! What could be more fun than exploring the strange, unexplained legends of the desert? But some myths are all too real, and Honoka's group soon finds themselves in a life-and-death struggle between three mysterious creatures when The Third: The Girl With the Blue Eye DVD 4 streets on January 29th.

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 12 days of Anime!

Shawne's Specials and 12 days of Anime!

The holiday shopping season is upon us, and with it comes what has become an annual tradition here at RightStuf.com - our 12 days of Christmas sale! 

Here’s how this wonderful promotion works:

Each day we’ll reveal an exciting new bargain.

You can buy that bargain - either for yourself or someone else you care about - or you can buy any of the previous bargains that have been offered in the days before. So, on day 5, for example, you can buy any of the "5 Volume Ones" offered, or the items offered in days 1-4, or any combination there of.

After all of the bargains have been revealed, you can buy any or all of them! Remember, this sale ends on Christmas Day, so don’t forget if you’re one of those late shoppers. (We probably won’t get it to you in time to go under the tree though!)

So, check the site each day to see what new item I have put out there to tempt you with - and check out our friendly customer service department’s rendition of our holiday song in this podcast!

Don’t forget, though, that we have other great deals also - the daily deals, the weekly specials that were just posted, and much much more in our bargain bin! Our staff is working very hard to take care of the extra volume we have right now and there’s LOTS of product going out the door, and lots more coming in the door to be processed.

I’m back to the lair - the holidays won’t last for long, and I need to brew up some deals for the new year. Must keep the minions happy, you know.

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

Peter Fernandez!

Peter Fernandez

http://myspace.com/speedracersvoice

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

Contest Winners!Congratulations to the winners of our latest contests for Viz Pictures live-action prize packages!

Erika C of Long Beach, CA will soon receive a gift pack that includes both the 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!

Andrew G of Reminderville, OH will soon receive a prize package commemorating 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!


New Contest!

Next up we have a new contest for gift packages featuring the first volumes of several series from Geneon Entertainment! Four lucky winners will each receive a package that includes the first volumes of Elemental Gelade, Bottle Fairy and Kamichu!, plus a full set of Sakura Wars pencil boards featuring art from the series!

To enter, and have a sneak peek the prize packages, check out our Contests page, in the “What’s Hot” section at RightStuf.com, and get your entry in before January 3rd! We’ll be announcing the winners on the first episode of Anime Today of 2008!


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

Tenchi Muyo GXP DVD Box Set (Hyb)

Marie's Spotlight: One Piece

I hear a lot about ninjas these days (well, mostly about one particular ninja in a bright-orange jumpsuit), but not nearly enough about pirates. Yes, there’s Johnny Depp, but can he repel bullets with his stomach? I thought not. Which is why you should be reading pirate saga extraordinaire One Piece. One Piece is currently one of, if not the, most popular manga in Japan, and it deserves on every count.

Gol D. Roger was the most feared pirate on the Grand Line, an ocean on which only the strongest can sail and survive. When he was finally caught, his final words before being executed were that he had left his treasure, One Piece, hidden on an island somewhere in the famous ocean. Following his death, pirates around the world set sail in search of the treasure and to earn the right to be called the new Pirate King.

Several years later, one of these pirates, Luffy, claims that he will become the Pirate King – despite a complete lack of a crew, boat, or even the ability to swim. On the other hand, he’s determined and stubborn, and he’s made of rubber. Seriously. One of the many wonders of the Grand Line are the Devil Fruits. Very rare, each one gives its eater unique and fantastic powers - at the expense of ever being able to swim in the ocean. As a young boy, Luffy ate one called the Gum Gum Fruit, rendering him completely rubber. As you might imagine, this comes in pretty handy in a fight. And being good in a fight comes in handy when acquiring said crew members and boat, if slowly.

One Piece’s plot actually follows a very simple formula with opportunities for endless variations. Luffy and whatever crew he’s acquired (he’s up to six now in the American release) stop at an island where they find out that there’s either a treasure to be found or a bad guy terrorizing the local populace, if not both at once. Luffy then solves the problem with a combination of encouraging spirit and a killer rubber right hook, while his crew members get into all kinds of scrapes of their own. Treasure found and/or villain defeated, they all sail on again to the next island. It’s incredibly addictive.

The very first thing you’ll notice about One Piece is the art style. Almost all of the characters are lanky, with extra large mouths and eyes, and angles all over the place. Colors are bright, and everything is sort of hyper-cartoony. It can take a bit of getting used to, as there’s genuinely nothing else quite like it, but once you’re a few chapters in, you’ll discover the style is absolutely perfect for manga-ka Eiichiro Oda’s brand of storytelling. The lanky designs play into the fight scenes well, and every characters experience can be easily read in their mile-wide smiles and oceans of tears. Plus, the artwork just looks cool. Some of my favorite artbooks are the One Piece Color Walks.

It’s also an artstyle that, just like the plot, allows for a remarkable variety of character designs without ever getting stale. The number of characters is probably well into the hundreds by now, and every one of them is unique. Many anime simply use hair color to differentiate their cast – Eiichiro Oda uses noses, ears, body shapes, outlandish clothing, and every other design facet you can think of to make each character different from each other. And he doesn’t just stop with physical differences, either. Everyone in the main crew has an in-depth backstory – usually tragic – and a grand dream above and beyond just living the life of a carefree pirate. The first mate, Zolo, for example, dreams of being the world’s greatest swordsman in tribute to a lost childhood friend, while the navigator, Nami, wants to map the entire world. They’re very easy to like – or hate, in the case of the villains. Luffy and his crew may be pirates, but they’re honorable pirates who took to the lifestyle mostly just to sail the seas and have a good time. Other pirate crews are often more of the typical murdering and pillaging types, and it’s when Luffy encounters them that the fights really take off.

While fights aren’t usually my thing, I love the scraps and brawls the One Piece crew get into everywhere they go. Rather than just a series of punches and numbered power ups, each fight is totally unique and brilliantly choreographed. Every character has a different fighting style, and Eiichiro Oda comes up with a million ways to push each one to their limits, such as the cheif Sanji who uses only his feet to fight. I never would have dreamed there were nearly so many different ways to kick things and still make it interesting each time, but this is why I am not the author of Japan’s most popular manga. And lest you get tired of kicks and sword slices, the Devil Fruits add a cornucopia of fighting methods, with character attacks derived from anything from turning to smoke to paints that make opponents into puppets. Possibly the best part about the fights, though, is simply watching Luffy stand up for an oppressed village and righteously kick the crap out of someone who really, really deserves it.

The one issue you might notice is the inconsistency of a few of the names in the manga, most notably Zolo’s. In Japanese, the “r” and the “l” sound are the same, so when Viz published the first few volumes, they translated the first mate’s name as “Zoro.” However, when 4Kidz used “Zolo” in the anime, Viz changed the name to match the anime in all subsequent manga volumes.

Despite the fact I’ve been gushing this entire time, I still haven’t mentioned the exotic settings, the perfectly timed humor, or even the “Where’s Waldo”-like Pandaman who appears in crowds at random. One Piece is fantastically engrossing, and even though I’ve already read the chapters in Shonen Jump and seen the corresponding anime episodes, I’ll still find myself unable to put down the latest volume of the manga. I don’t know how it manages to be suspenseful when I already know full-well what happens, but it does. It’s easy to pick up a chapter and enjoy it, or to marathon through as many volumes as you can get your hands on. I highly recommended One Piece to absolutely everyone, regardless of age, gender, genre preferences, or stance on ninjas vs. pirates.

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

Prints rejected, scribe accepted, By Mark Schreiber:
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20071127zg.html

Landing Examination Procedures:
http://nettv.gov-online.go.jp/prg/prg1203.html

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