ANIME TODAY #56: Interview with VIZ Media's Wendy Shimamura

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Episode run down:

We hope that you’re having a great holiday season, and that you’ve had an opportunity to check our some of the great deals we’ve been offering on RightStuf.com. In this episode, we’re featuring a three part interview with Wendy Shimamura, the Home Entertainment Marketing Manager for VIZ Media. She’s going to be talking with Nick, Alison and Rich about highlights from their 2007 releases, their download to own products, Toonami Jetstream, and give us a few hints on what to look out for in 2008 from them.

We’re going to be kicking off this episode with Chad and What’s Hot in the World of Anime, followed by a test of your anime knowledge with another Uso Deshou. The 12 Days of Anime sale will be running through midnight on Christmas, and Shawne’s going to join us with the latest additions. Wendy is then going to join us for the first part of her interview, where we talk about the online communities they’re watching for feedback and highlights from 2007.

Kris and Judy have a list of the hot products in Japan for 2007 and then Rich and Nick will tell you about our latest contest and announce the winners of our Anime Today and Nozomi MySpace friends contest. Marie shines the spotlight on Her Majesty’s Dog and then join back in on our discussion with Wendy from VIZ. Rich and Nick have the latest convention listings thanks to AnimeCons.com and then check in with some of the newest customer reviews from our online store. We finish up the last episode of 2007 with an all new Japanese 101 with Judy-sensei and then we finish up our interview with Wendy from VIZ as we look towards a few of the upcoming challenges facing the anime industry.

 

What's Hot?

His name is Dante. Half demon and half human, he is charged with ridding the world of the demons that plague it… for the right price. When he’s approached by a man named Morrison to deliver a young heiress to her inheritance, he thinks it’s not a job worthy of his time. (That is, until a group of demons intent on killing her crash the party.) With guns drawn and sword ready, Dante is intent on discovering who is behind this attack when the highly anticipated anime adaptation of Devil May Cry makes its DVD debut on February 5th.

A super-cool drifter, a retired cyborg cop, a femme fatale, a super-smart Welsh Corgi and a wild computer genius… The bounty-hunting crew of The Bebop is back on the scene with a collection that features all 26 of the series’ original landmark episodes, completely re-mastered and remixed in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound. See you later, space cowboy…The Cowboy Bebop Remix DVD Collection streets on February 2nd.

A decade after the war between humans and vampires, brothers Jiro and Kotaru embark on a journey to the Special Zone, a place where they, as vampires, can live freely in peace alongside humans. But soon they find themselves in the midst of a battle between human soldiers, vampiric refugees and the Kowloon Children, a new breed of monsters that bears an infectious bite. To protect those he holds dear, the elder vampire will draw forth his Silver Blade... when Black Blood Brothers makes its series debut on February 12th.

Risa is taller than the average girl, and the last thing she wants is the humiliation of standing next to Otani, a shorter-than-average boy. Fate and the whole school have other ideas, however, and the two find themselves cast as an unwilling and bizarre romantic comedy duo. But as their friendship develops, so do Risa's feelings toward Otani... The live-action, big-screen adaptation of Aya Nakahara's hit shoujo manga, Love*Com the Movie, arrives on February 19th.

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!

There’s nothing that Dark Lord Kleckner enjoys more than surprises - and here’s one for you!

You thought you made it through the 12 days unscathed --

Then you saw the Bundle of Anime Joy for Day 13 --

And now..

It’s another Bundle of Anime Joy!

That’s right - several new items have been added to our holiday sale - and you only have until December 25 to pick them up. While they might not be there for your holiday present opening experience - they’ll show up as your "post-holiday" anime enjoyment!

So remember - you can buy any or all of the items in the 12 days sale - along with any or all of the items in the Bundle of Anime Joy - and now any or all of the items in the new extra groovy Bundle of Anime Joy 2 - now through December 25th.

Now -- the Dark Lord has been busy as all get out, and needs to do some holiday shopping, but things looking as they do, I’ll likely be amongst the throng of last minute buyers in the wee hours of Christmas Eve.

There’s new specials and deals to be had again in the weeklys and dailies - and don’t forget to check back after this sale is over -- as I’ll be back in full swing looking to tempt you with something new before the new year.

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

Wendy Shimamura, Home Entertainment Marketing Manager for VIZ Media

Wendy Shimamura, Home Entertainment Marketing Manager

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

Nintendo Wii ©2007 Nintendo. Kidzania ©2007 Kidzania. Krispy Kreme ©1998-2007 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. Mega Mac ©2007 McDonald's. Mugen Puchi Puchi ©BANDAI CO.,LTD.2007 Billy's BootCamp, Amplifier, Team Tae Bo, The Billy Blanks Club, Billy Blanks Team Central, and Billy Bands are trademarks of BG Star Productions, Inc.

Nintendo tops 2007 hit-product chart, By Mark Schreiber
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/rss/fd20071202t1.html

Nintendo Wii
http://www.nintendo.com/wii
http://wii.com/

Billy's Boot Camp
http://www.billyblanks.com/

Kidzania Tokyo
http://www.kidzania.jp/about/e_index.html

Krispy Kreme
http://www.krispykreme.com/

Mega Mac
http://www.megamac.jp/

Mugen Puchi Puchi
http://www.asovision.com/putiputi/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UU20R4O34o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZmmbyNwStw

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

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!

Congratulations to the winners of our MySpace contest, “Captain” and “The Winged One.” Each of you will soon receive a $25 gift certificate to RightStuf.com!


Anime Today on MySpace.com

Nozomi Entertainment on MySpace.com

Marie's Spotlight: Her Majesty’s Dog

It’s almost Christmas, and while my Christmas shopping may be finished, there’s still something important left to pick up: reading material for the interminable plane trip home for the holidays. Thank goodness Right Stuf sells manga. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing like an engrossing story about demon hunting and high school romance to make the miles fly by. Okay, okay, so it’s not really traditional, but that won’t keep me from packing the latest volume of Her Majesty’s Dog in my carry-on this year.

Not one but two new students have just transferred in at the local high school, but they don’t seem to be anxious to make new friends. In fact, the girl, Amane, keeps herself distant and aloof from everybody – with one exception. Said exception is Hyoue, her fellow transfer and the new hottest guy in school. Inexplicably, at least as far as the student body is concerned, he has eyes only for Amane, and they’ve been spotted kissing all over school. However, Amane steadily denies to everyone that the two of them are a couple. Surely there’s something going on between them?

Well, there is, but it’s not what everyone thinks. Amane is a manatsukai, or shaman who commands power over words and can control anyone as long as she knows their name. She also happens to be a particularly powerful manatsukai, and as such is destined to take a prominent role in her home village’s leadership. Of course, with great power comes a heck of a lot of rules and expectations she’d rather avoid. Hyoue is her koma-oni, or protective demon. In other words, as you might have guessed from the title, he’s her guard dog. Since demons need energy, not food, the kisses are how Hyoue feeds on Amane’s power. Seeking an escape from the constricting atmosphere of their home village, the two transferred to their new school where Amane hopes to just be a normal, everyday girl for once – or at least as close to normal as she can get. While she may be an excellent manatsukai, able to stop rogue demons in their tracks, she’s still not very good with people, so her overtures of friendship towards fellow students tend to get misunderstood. Complicating things further, Amane was only allowed to leave the village on the condition that no one discover her secret power or Hyoue’s true form, so getting close to anyone is a risk.

 Hyoue, meanwhile, has an even bigger threat hanging over his head from the village elders: if his feelings for his master ever develop beyond simple affection, he’ll be sent away from Amane permanently. So naturally, they already have. On the bright side, if it can be considered one, Amane’s not any better at reading Hyoue than she is anyone else, so it’s unlikely his true feelings will be revealed. They can fight off demons, dispel ghosts, and evade homicidal relations in relative peace – for now, anyway.

Odd as it may sound, the pacing is what really sells Her Majesty’s Dog. The high school girl and her pet demon gimmick isn’t entirely original, but I’ve rarely encountered an anime or manga that was able to balance the comedy and angst levels so well while still keeping the plot moving along at a good clip. All of my exposition just now covers about, oh, chapter one, and while there are some early elements of typical monster-of-the-week syndrome in the first volume, they’re only there to give us a feel for the characters and background before the larger plot lines kick in. The story doesn’t move too fast, either. Manga-ka Mick Takeuchi makes sure that every emotional note she hits, from romance to horror, has time to resonate. And despite the theoretical predictability of high school hijinx, she works in quite a number of twists and surprises, often via clever misdirection. There’s also the interesting detours into investigative work when things like dead dogs haunt the school grounds and Amane has to figure out how to exorcise it, not to mention a bevy of exploration into the binding power of words.

I also really liked the character dynamics, especially between Amane and Hyoue. Amane’s not only strong, but actually gets to show off her strength at regular intervals, and Mick Takeuchi avoids trying to “tame” her. I’ve really enjoyed the way the relationship has developed over the course of the story, too. Hyoue and Amane do their best to actually work things out when there are problems rather than simply angst over them – well, eventually. Sometimes. Okay, so Amane is very straightforward and disinclined to let things fester, but Hyoue displays just the right amount of angst about his forbidden love to make the readers happy. After all, we can’t get rid of all the angst, or else where would the “shojo” part of the manga be?

Not that Amane and Hyoue are the only characters. Far from it. Despite her reservations, Amane actually does manage to make a new friend at school, Takako, who does her best to educate her about things like boys and cell phones. Then there’s Amane’s numerous relatives who are “just checking up on her” at school while managing to throw Hyoue a dirty look or two. And then there are the other Koma-oni, who each have their own reasons for serving their masters, and dot dot dot…

Her Majesty’s Dog was one of Go Comi’s first four titles, and it’s obvious why they chose it as an early pillar of their publishing career. Its combination of light gothic horror with high school romance is appealing on multiple levels, and its emphasis on words and information as power offer a unique edge. If you liked the similarly toned Vampire Princess Miyu and Inuyasha, and/or loved the relationship in Tramps Like Us, you’ll definitely want to check out Her Majesty’s Dog.

AnimeCons.com

Fullmetal Alchemist DVD Box Set 3 (Hyb) (8-10)

Mini Japanese 101 with Judy-sensei!

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