ANIME TODAY #65: Interviewing SHIN CHAN Writers Jared Hedges, Joel Bergen and Alex MunizPosted on: Friday, April 25, 2008
Episode run down:
FUNimation’s release of Shin chan is currently airing in it’s second season on Adult Swim and Alison, Rich and Nick were brave enough to invite the writers behind these fart jokes to the show for an in-depth interview. Ok. So they do write more than fart jokes. Often times touching on hard-hitting subjects like domestic abuse, politics and homosexuality, Jared Hedges, Joel Bergen and Alex Muniz discuss updating Shin chan for the Adult Swim generation.
Throughout this episode, you’ll be listening to tracks from another great JapanFiles.com CD Sokokara Detekinasai by Budo Grape. Thanks again to JapanFiles.com and a full list with the times each song was played will be posted at the bottom of this episode’s show notes at AnimeToday.com.
Chad’s got what’s hot in the world of anime and then test your knowledge with a new Uso Deshou mystery plot. Spring has Shawne in a good mood to help you Stock Up on DVDs and other items from Media Blasters and then brace yourself for the first part of our Podcast-MA rated interview.
We’ve drawn the five winners of our Del Rey Manga Fairy Tail contest, and we’re going to be announcing them next. Marie’s going to be spotlighting the Prince of Tennis manga for this episode. In our last episode, we talked with Shawne about the Tokyo International Anime Fair, and among the many fliers he returned with, were a few for maid cafes. Kris and Judy will be talking a little bit about the culture surrounding them during their Anime and Gamer’s Guide to Japan. Nick and Rich will then bring you a rundown of upcoming conventions, followed by the second part of our interview with the writers behind Shin chan. Judy-sensei then joins us for Japanese 101, and then we’ll be highlighting a few customer reviews that have been submitted through our store at RightStuf.com.
An invisible world exists, a world that can only be accessed by the mind: the Wired World. A place of freedom, adventure, and sometimes, death. Souma Toru knows the Wired World well, for he and his gang of hackers were once powerful enough to do whatever they wanted, without fear of being caught. However, tragedy struck, and the group was disbanded. With nowhere to run and the authorities hot on his tail, Toru was forced to join the ranks of FLAK: a military organization in charge of protecting the hidden data paradise deep within the Wired World. Now, wracked with guilt, torn between new duties and old friends, and living in two worlds, Toru has only one question: What is real? Get your reality check when Baldr Force EXE logs on to DVD on May 20th.
In the near future, Japan's scientists have succeeded in merging biotechnology and robotics, greatly increasing the human lifespan. However, the United Nations sees the technology as a potential threat. Refusing to abide by the U.N.'s demands to halt research, the rogue nation isolates itself from the world. Enter Vexille, a young female operative of S.W.O.R.D., a specialized military unit charged with policing the potential misuse of robotic technology, sent to infiltrate the neo-isolationist Japan to prevent a potential biotechnological nightmare! Discover Japan’s shocking secrets when Vexille, the newest all-CG anime epic from the creative team behind Appleseed, arrives on May 20th.
Like many girls her age, Kuu Shiratori often fantasizes about her "prince." Daydreaming her way through an ordinary school she longs to meet the boy she imagines, and one day…she does! When a young man named Kyoshiro, who looks exactly like the prince in her dreams, transfers to her school, she is elated. Her hopes are shattered however, when his personality doesn’t turn out to be anything like she’d imagined. But one day, Kuu is caught in the fighting between two mechanical creatures she has never seen before, and Kyoshiro rushes to her rescue. Watch as Kuu and Kyoshiro uncover their feelings and unraveling the mystery behind the attack when Shattered Angels DVD 1 arrives on May 20th.
Rona Fauna, a member of The Third, holds the world hostage. But what is her true goal? Is she even who she claims to be? Meanwhile, Honoka continues her mission to rescue Joganki from Rona's clutches. Cut off from help and with the mechanical assassin Blue Breaker as her only ally, she must venture even further into the nanomachine-infested fortress. If she can't reach Rona in time, it could mean the end - not only for Joganki, but for the entire world! Watch the exciting conclusion of The Third: The Girl With the Blue Eye, when DVD 6: Final Confessions, streets on May 27th.
Shawne's Specials and the Stock Up For Spring sale!
Stock up on your favorite catalog anime titles and more from Media Blasters, Tokyo Shock and Kitty Media. Everything released on these labels before 2008 is on sale - like Twelve Kingdoms, Rurouni Kenshin and Ah! My Goddess Season 1!
From now through April 27th, take 40% OFF the retail prices of DVDs and 33% off all other Media Blasters, Tokyo Shock and Kitty Media catalog merchandise!
To figure out which items are included in the sale, go to the RightStuf.Com homepage, and click on the "Stock Up for Spring" graphic - this will give you a full list of all items which are eligible for the sale! Bargain Bin and Weekly Special items are not included - and these will be noted with a "not eligible for additional discounts" message under the item price.
Don’t forget, our Got Anime members get to stack their membership discount for even more savings! (This means you have the potential to save up to 46% OFF the retail price on select Media Blasters DVDs and up to 40% OFF the MSRP on other catalog merchandise.) If you’re not a member, join the rest of the minions today - check out www.gotanime.com for details on how you can start saving with your very first order!
It feels like springtime finally outside, with the buds on the trees and the migrating birds starting to reappear, and spring makes the Dark Lord feel festive. This means that there are more bargains yet to come, and much savings to be had.. Plus some very special news coming up shortly.
The Writers of FUNimation’s Shinchan: Jared Hedges, Joel Bergen and Alex Muniz
Official Shin Chan website from FUNimation: www.shinchanshow.com/
Shinchan on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/shinnohara
Right Stuf Contests and Updates
Next up, Del Rey Manga and Anime Today are excited to offer 5 lucky winners the chance to check out their new graphic novel collaboration with fantasy author Terry Brooks, Dark Wraith of Shannara!
To enter – and find out more about the book – check out our Contest page in the “What’s Hot” bar at RightStuf.com – before May 22th. We’ll announce the winners the May 23rdof Anime Today!
Keep your eye on all of our Web sites for all the latest contest information – and other cool stuff like the recently uploaded downloads, video clips and sound bites on the official series site for The Third – and stay tuned to Anime Today for more chances to win!
And speaking of web sites, we have two cool new things to mention! Anime Today and Right Stuf now have their own, truly dedicated forums! Visit AnimeToday.com for a link to a full-fledged community where you can discuss not only the podcast but everything about anime, manga and Asian entertainment!
Also, the clock is ticking on our countdown timer at comingsoon.rightstuf.com… Who said license announcements have to be reserved for convention appearances? (Here's a Hint: NOT the Dark Lord.) Be sure to visit it!
Congratulations to the winners of our Fairy Tail contest. Each of the following will receive a prize package that includes both Volumes 1 AND 2 of Fairy Tail, the newest manga form Hiro Mashima, the creator of Rave Master!
Liane G of Woodstock, Connecticut; Douglas V of Middletown, New York; Jonathan Z of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania; Bob K of Doylestown, Pennsylvania; and Dave L of Buffalo, New York.
Marie's Spotlight: The Prince of Tennis
Considering my penchant for sports series, it surprised even me how long I took to get around to reading Prince of Tennis, a rare popular example of the genre. In the end, it took stumbling across the first few volumes at the local library to kick start things, followed immediately by about five more trips to track down the rest of the books spread across multiple branches.
The plot at the center of this mad library dash? The students of Seishun Middle School play tennis, including Ryoma Echizen, a veritable tennis genius and the eponymous prince of the series. They play it at school during team practice, and they play it at tournaments with the ultimate goal of making it to and winning Nationals. Sometimes they play each other to determine who’s going to be the starters at the next big tournament, and sometimes it’s a quick down-and-dirty game of street tennis to teach some punks a lesson, but it’s a rare chapter that doesn’t focus exclusively on the sport. I’ve never seen a manga or anime so resolutely focused on one topic and one topic only, even in other sports manga. It’s rather impressive. But Prince of Tennis is about tennis, but in the 19 volumes I read, I don’t think the students ever once did homework, went on a date, or even visited a hot spring. Character arcs are present in full force, but strictly in relation to the game. But in spite of that, or perhaps because of it, Prince of Tennis is page-turning stuff.
A lot of the credit for that appeal has to be because of the masterful pacing and plotting of the tournaments that dominate the series. You’d think there’s only so much you can do during a tennis match to make it fresh and interesting each time. But in fact, manga-ka Takeshi Konomi has assembled a remarkable number of playing styles. He creates even more variance by choosing different kinds of opponents for each character as they advance and switching between singles and doubles matches regularly. The rules of the tennis tournaments seem purposely crafted to create drama themselves, as teams play for 3 out of 5 wins in two doubles games and three singles games, with the best players facing each other last. Sometimes, however, there’s no avoiding the fact that a top-seeded school like Seishun is going to wipe the court with some of the lower-ranked schools. Rather than slog through a game with an obvious outcome, however, the author will frequently skip over them and just announce the scores, which is what we were really interested in anyway.
I mentioned that individual styles keep things interesting, but that’s not the only thing that makes the characters unique. Right off, I have say how impressed I am that even though there are at least 10 or so regular characters who are all guys, all wear the exact same team uniform, and all have black hair, I can tell them apart immediately. I might not always remember their names, since I tend to blank out with Japanese names of more than three syllables, but that’s my own failing. Hair style, height, eyes; they’re all different. Beyond that, they’ve each also got clearly defined personalities that are always fun to watch on the court.
The standout on the team, of course, is Ryoma, who despite being the title character is the antithesis of every shonen lead ever. He’s confident, doesn’t speak much, gets barely more time on panel than any of his other team members, and, while he is indeed determined to be the best at tennis, he’s already highly skilled and doesn’t need to work on all that much. It’d be like if Sasuke were the lead of Naruto instead of, well, Naruto, except Ryoma doesn’t lose anywhere near as much. After Ryoma there’s Kaoru, who thinks he can win every match on sheer power, Sadaharu, who uses collected data to pinpoint his opponent’s weaknesses, Kunimitsu, the team captain whoes abilities are left largely mysterious, and so on down the team line. With so many top competitors on the same team, the school practice rounds turn into formalized versions of the old who-could-take-who fights. Seeing who’s been paired up for matches or working out the best team for doubles is a large – very large - part of what keeps fans coming back for more.
As far as the art goes, the boys actually have athletic builds suitable for playing tennis, and even wear appropriate clothing. The poses on the court are pretty realistic, too. True, some of the acrobatics one of the team members pulles off aren’t exactly likely, but dramatic license holds sway even over tennis. Jumps and other quick moves are drawn with multiple poses in the same panel, so it almost appears to be like looking at several animation frames all at once. Despite his manga being theoretically for kids, Takeshi Konomi produces some remarkably sophisticated art.
The manga takes itself pretty seriously, all things considered, but despite its tennis-tennis-tennis mantra, I was laughing out loud in more places then I would have expected. Some of this was in reaction to the more extravagant tennis moves and sheer earnestness of the players – you can’t help but laugh when someone in all seriousness declares “Real men play doubles!” – but most of the laughter was from Takeshi Konomi’s own acknowledgements that no, this isn’t really quite how real tennis is usually played. You see, in-between each chapter are little illustrations or notes from the author, and these are frequently spot-on parodies of whatever’s currently happening or funny endings to the previous chapter, like the doctor patching up the players who can’t believe they got so injured playing a non-contact sport. Several of the volumes feature tongue-in-cheek bonus sections where the characters answer readers’ questions, and a running gag is when someone inevitably questions whether Kunimitsu, the team captain, could possibly be a ninth grader when he looks more like a graduate student. In the series itself, Ryoma will even occasionally joke during the games – at his opponent’s expense, of course – But most of the others are too focused, good-natured or exhausted from playing in the world’s longest tennis matches to make gibes.
Unlike some other game manga, such as Hikaru no Go, Prince of Tennis doesn’t aim to teach you tennis from the ground up. Yes, you’ll still learn something about the sport, such as how matches are scored, but there’s an assumption you already know how, say, serving works. If you had a two-week unit on tennis in PE, you’re good to go. There are some interstitials that talk a bit about things like court etiquette and you’ll even learn a reasonable amount about the sport just via osmosis.
Prince of Tennis extends its audience reach pretty far, though it’s obviously not going to be for quite everyone. There are a lot of different levels to enjoy Prince of Tennis on, from appreciating the straight up tennis matches to laughing at its over-the-top-ness to simply enjoying all the many ways for characters to interact even while separated by a net. On the downside, Prince of Tennis’ wide reach means it’s constantly checked out from the library shelves. I’m usually very happy to find manga is popular even in Des Moines, but could you kids return your books faster so I can read them? I promise I’ll bring back all the Kenshin manga I’ve been hoarding in return.
The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy
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0:00:00 --- 01. Botan wo Oshinaose
0:02:31 --- 10. Henzutsuu
0:06:08 --- 04. Yajirushi ni No
0:08:28 --- 11. Heso ga Nai
0:21:49 --- 09. Lesson 1-2
0:23:31 --- 03. Swimmer
0:32:58 --- 12. Dassen Mishin
0:38:18 --- 08. BGM
0:40:30 --- 11. Heso ga Nai
1:02:55 --- 07. Watashi wa Qurage
1:05:47 --- 06. Heaven 17
1:08:45 --- 02. Hitori ga Suki
1:09:52 --- 04. Yajirushi ni No
1:10:31 --- 14. Stalk