ANIME TODAY #66: Interview with Vertical Inc.’s Ioannis Mentzas

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Episode run down:

Golden Week has wrapped up in Japan, and we’re well on our way towards summer. If you’re already working on planning your summer vacation, why not pickup some classic manga to pass the time with? In this episode, we’re going to talk with Ioannis Mentzas, the editorial director and executive vice president of Vertical Inc. During this two part interview, we’re going to talk about the classic works of Osamu Tezuka, including Buddha, Dororo, and MW, how they’re encouraging newcomers to the manga world to check out the classics, light novels, and their upcoming releases including Black Jack (which is coming in September).

If you've been looking for other fans of anime and japanese live action movies in the Washington DC area, you're going to want to listen to our interview with Chris Wanamaker, the president of the DC Anime Club, later in this episode.

This music for this episode is from’s fantastic starline and Limited-trax CDs by maria gadget. We’d like to thank for letting us feature music from their CDs, a full list with the times each song was played will be posted at the bottom of this episode’s show notes at

Starting us out this time is Chad, with What’s Hot in the World of Anime and Manga, and then another Uso Deshou mystery plot that will test your anime knowledge. Shawne will then join us to give you the rundown on our Sail into Summer sale with Tokyopop that kicked off this week. Ioannis Mentzas of Vertical then joins us for the first part of his interview.

Rich and Nick have the latest contests including a way to score some tickets to the fast-approaching theatre screening of the Death Note Live Action Movie. If you’ve been though Akihabara and are still looking for more places to shop in Tokyo, then Kris and Judy will give you the scoop on Nakano Broadway in this episode’s Anime and Gamer’s Guide. Next, Alison and Nick talk with the president of the DC Anime Club and then Judy tackles a listener question about oral hygiene and how anime doesn’t always give you an accurate glimpse into all Japanese households. Marie spotlights Tokyopop’s release of the Aqua graphic novels as well as the sequel Aria and then pick back up with our interview with Mr. Mentzas from Vertical. Judy-sensei’s got a brand-new Mini Japanese 101 lesson and then catch up with some of the latest customer reviews from our online store.

What's Hot?

As the Pirate King Gold Roger was executed, he revealed that his treasure, known as "One Piece," was hidden somewhere on the Grand Line. Monkey D. Luffy dreams of finding the legendary treasure and becoming the new Pirate King, and after eating the Devil's Fruit he gains the power to do so. But first he must find a crew, some much needed supplies, and a sturdy ship. Experience the newly dubbed, unedited version of Luffy’s epic adventure when One Piece Season 1 Part 1, featuring the first thirteen episodes on DVD, sets sail on May 27th.

From days long ago... from uncharted regions of the universe... comes a legend. The legend of Golion, the original Japanese show that would become known and loved by audiences as Voltron. The pilots, robots, and settings may look the same, but their names and the events that shape them are light years apart from the series you remember. This first-ever U.S. release of the Japanese classic will answer fans’ burning questions: Were people evacuated safely? Can robots die? And what really happened to a certain main character? Experience the first 18 episodes of the classic series as you’ve never seen them when the newly restored and uncut Beast King GoLion DVD 1 arrives on May 27th.

Insurrection will not be tolerated! To prove that point, the government has set a big, bad bomb to blast the planet Graceland right out of the sky. To make matters worse, the Pirate King Bruce hid billions in stolen loot on the doomed planet before he died. Now, the galaxy’s most infamous criminal - a man known only as "Mister" - has busted out of the slammer to get his hands on the booty before it gets obliterated! Join Mister, and his ragtag band of “Coyotes” on their adventure as they sidestep government agents, dodge sexy investigators, and fend off Gothic Lolita androids programmed to kill!, Kill!, KILL! when the Coyote Ragtime Show DVD Complete Collection takes stage on June 3rd.

All-around average teenager Tsukune can't get accepted in to any high schools except one... but on his first day he finds out the student body isn’t exactly what you’d call normal. Weirdest of all, the cutest girl on campus can't wait to fling her arms around his neck! Wait a minute - are those her teeth around his neck too...?

Tuskune's going to have one heck of a hickey when he gets home from Monster High! But does he stand a chance at raising his grades in a school where the turf war isn't between the jocks and the nerds, but the vampires and the werewolves? It’s one scary education, in Rosario + Vampire Graphic Novel 1, opening for classes on June 10th.

Save 25% or more on these titles by preordering them from 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 the Sail Into Summer sale!

Shawne's Specials and the Sail Into Summer sale!

Spring is turning into summer, and it’s time save on graphic novels, books and more from TOKYOPOP! Pick up great manga and art books for series such as Aria, Fruits Basket, Gakuen Alice and Peacemaker, and novel series like FLCL, Full Metal Panic!, Good Witch of the West and Slayers!

From now through May 18th, take 33% OFF the retail prices of graphic novels and books from TOKYOPOP!

Be sure to check out all the product listings that extend into Fall 2008 because this sale includes pre-orders!

Just use the reusable coupon code sailing when you check out through!

To start your bargain shopping, just click on the "Sail Into Summer With Savings" graphic on -- It will take you to a list of all of the TOKYOPOP items we carry! Items which are in the bargain bin are not eligible for the sale offer, and you’ll note these will state "not eligible for additional discounts" in the product listing.

Don’t forget if you’re a member of our Got Anime savings club, you can stack your discounts and get another 10% off of eligible items -- this gives up up to 40% OFF the retail price on books from TOKYOPOP. For more details, hit and learn about how you can start saving with your very first order!

The Dark Lord took off for a long weekend to the north to enjoy one of his favorite things - caving. There's nothing like being underground in the cave, experiencing total darkness, exploring where few have visited before. But that didn’t stop me from spinning open the big Nozomi safe to reveal our newest license, Aria. This great series has beautiful visuals and I’m excited that we have the first season coming as a series set with a release in September. Check out for more information!

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

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

Ioannis Mentzas, Editorial Director and Executive V.P. of Vertical

Ioannis Mentzas, Editorial Director and Executive V.P. of Vertical


See all the Vertical books in our online store:,c=right-stuf,g=bookpub-VERTICAL

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

Dark Wraith of ShannaraNext 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 – before May 22th. We’ll announce the winners the May 23rdof Anime Today!

The next contest requires you to think – and get your entries in – fast! Viz Pictures and Right Stuf are excited to offer up three pairs of tickets to the theatrical screenings of the Death Note live action Movie on May 20th and 21st.

Visit the contest section at and follow the links to see if the movie will be screening in your area, and then get your entry in by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 11th. (That’s THIS Sunday.) Be sure to give us accurate contact information. We’ll be drawing the three winners’ names on Monday morning – and if we can’t get hold of you (or you don’t return our call 6 p.m. Monday evening) – we’re drawing another name!!!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Contest!
NEW CONTEST - Death Note Live Action Movie Tickets! (click banner above)

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

Nakano Broadway:

Burst Angel (Bakuretsu Tenshi) DVD Box Set (Hyb) - Viridian Collection

Chris Wanamaker, DC Anime Club President

Chris Wanamaker, DC Anime Club President

D.C. Anime Club screening of Vexille at the Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan on May 29, 2008

How to RSVP:
The event is free and open to the public.
Reservations are required.
Seating is limited to a first come, first served basis.
To RSVP, email
Mention Vexille screening in the email.

Japan Embassy location and info (where the screening will take place):
Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan
3 Lafayette Center
Washington, DC 20036

DC Anime Club info:
DC Anime Club
3612 Bangor St SE
Washington, DC 20020

Anime Today Q & A

If you have a question for us, call 1-800-338-6827, extension 7424. Also, you may send us e-mail at If your question is selected, you will receive a $10 gift certificate to Right Stuf’s online store!

Like what you hear? Give us a shout out! If you use iTunes, take a few moments to write a quick review and tell others what you think the show.

Marie's Spotlight: Aria/Aqua

As I was peering over the shoulders of our production team, admiring the pretty water landscapes of our next license announcement, Aria, it occurred to me that I could learn about the show a lot faster by reading the already available manga then wandering in mid-episode on the subtitling process. And I’m glad I did, because the manga is great. On the downside, now that I’m caught up I’m back to hounding the production department for anime updates during lunch.

The year is 2301, and 15-year-old Akari has just arrived on Mars, now rechristened Aqua after the melting of the Martian ice caps flooded the planet with water. Akari’s been hired by the Aria Company to be an undine, or gondolier, in the city of Neo-Venezia. Just like current-day Venice, Neo-Venezia is a city best navigated by the water canals that make up its streets, and undines serve as prestigious guides to the city. Akari, an apprentice who is just starting out, has a long way to go before earning the title of “prima,” or full-fledged undine. But that doesn’t keep her from exploring her beautiful new home or making friends with customers and other undines across the city.

No, Aria isn’t especially action-packed. But it’s not boring, either. Instead, it feels incredibly nostalgic and full of wonder and magic, much like My Neighbor Totoro and Whisper of the Heart. The cheerfully mundane and the amazingly fantastic combine together in an impeccable blend. After all, Aria does take place 300 years in the future, replete with all the seemingly magical technology that that implies. It’s a bit historical as well, since most of the cities of Aqua are based on “old” Earth cities and cultures, and the undines outline a little of the corresponding history of each.

Aria works predominantly because of its beautiful art and light touches with characters. It’s very difficult to properly convey the full nuances of water in print, but manga-ka Kozue Amano has perfected the art. Waves, floods, showers, puddles – you get the feeling that you’re in the city along with Akari, enjoying the cool water between your toes or gliding along a grassy bank. And the art doesn’t just stop with water. Beautiful shrines, a forest of falling leaves, flying with the birds in a see-through spaceship, a mysterious cat lair hidden away in the old part of town… Every set evokes scenic beauty. And not only does Kozue Amano design superb backgrounds, but also proves a pro at making them feel three dimensional and guiding us through them, even including some inventive panel angles.

The characters are almost as refreshing as the scenery, and remind me of the cheerful cast of Cardcaptor Sakura, albeit all with names that start with “A.” Alicia is Akari’s mentor at Aria Company, and one the top undines in the city. She moves with an admirable grace and makes even mundane tasks like hanging laundry seem like a leisurely pleasure. Aika is another apprentice undine at a rival company, and Akari’s best friend, whether Aika wants to be or not. Blunt to a fault, she serves as a foil for Akari’s boundless optimism, but even Aika can’t help being enthralled by both the city of water and Alicia. I’d go so far as to say it would be impossible to pick a favorite among the girls, since they’re all so remarkably likable, but I’m sure I’d be proved wrong two comments into an internet forum discussion.

Plot and background information are slowly doled out over the course of the series, allowing the reader to discover new pieces of the world at the same pace as Akari. For example, those islands floating in the sky that just seem to be a pretty part of the landscape at first, are later explained to control the harsh Martian weather. Or when an unexpected turn in a gondola suddenly leads Akari to old buildings from the first terraforming projects, we learn more about the history of Aqua. Twining through the narrative is a subplot about Akari’s encounters with the cats of Aqua, which are just as intelligent as humans even though they can’t speak – especially their leader, the Cait Sith.

A bit of background on the title: I’ve been uniformly referring to the series as Aria, but you’ll actually want to read Aqua first. Aqua is considered the prequel to Aria, but in reality they’re the same series. Aqua started in the Japanese anthology Monthly Stencil, and ran for the length of two volumes. The series then switched to the anthology Comic Blade to run for another 12 volumes, and changed its name along with its venue. Aria is a direct continuation of Aqua, and its first volume would have been called Aqua volume 3 if not for the name change, so you really ought to start with Aqua first if you’re going to read the series.

Aria is a manga for relaxing to and feeling good about the world. If you enjoyed My Neighbor Totoro or you’re the type who enjoys a leisurely stroll on the beach or hike in the woods, you’re bound to find Aqua and Aria enchanting.

Mini Japanese 101 with Judy-sensei!

What our customers are saying

This episode features music from:

  • fantastic starline by maria gadget

    fantastic starline by maria gadget

    0:02:51 --- 06. gravity (fullmoon mix)

    0:25:33 --- 05. seselawala (back to mars mix)

    0:26:59 --- 03. rescue me from dark (ICQ mix)

    0:32:51 --- 06. gravity (fullmoon mix)

    0:46:49 --- 05. seselawala (back to mars mix)

    1:08:01 --- 01. hibikiau music laboratory

    1:12:44 --- 08. bloom in beach, bloom in sky

    1:15:06 --- 01. hibikiau music laboratory

  • Limited-trax by maria gadget

    Limited-trax by maria gadget

    0:00:00 --- 08. dependence (80's mix)

    0:04:35 --- 01. deeper into discotique (progressive house extended)

    0:06:49 --- 05. deeper into discotique (anastasia mix)

    0:08:49 --- 03. baby I cant stop love you (party-house mix)

    0:44:10 --- 07. somebody loves you baby

    0:52:22 --- 03. baby I cant stop love you (party-house mix)

    1:09:29 --- 06. memai

    1:13:55 --- 09. deeper into discotique (happy sunday club mix)

  • Fresh Cuts from Japan CD 1

    Fresh Cuts from Japan CD 1