ANIME TODAY #68: Interview with AnimEigo Founder & C.E.O. Robert Woodhead

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Episode run down:

In this episode, we’re going to be talking with Robert Woodhead, the founder and CEO of AnimeEigo. We’ll be discussing what’s drawing them to what many fans consider “classic” anime, their upcoming release of Yawara, and what we can expect to see from them in future live action releases.

This music for this episode is from JapanFiles.com’s Bright, Fun & Rock N Roll CD by Trash Box. We’d like to thank JapanFiles.com 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 AnimeToday.com.

Chad’s going to be kicking off this episode with What’s Hot in the World of Anime, followed by another Uso Deshou mystery plot. Shawne will then join us to kick off the Dive into Savings sale, where you’ll find select Geneon DVDs for as little as $5 each. Robert Woodhead is up next with the first portion of his interview.

We’ve got 4 terrific contests running and Rich and Nick will have the scoop next. Marie checks out the High School Debut graphic novels from VIZ and then Rich and Nick return with a quick list of some upcoming conventions. Then tune in to the second part of our interview with Robert Woodhead from AnimEigo and finally catch up with a few of the latest customer reviews from our online store.

What's Hot?

In 19th-century London, class lines are sharply drawn, and the social standing to which people are born dictates the path their lives will follow. Emma, an honest and hardworking young maid, never felt her place in life to be a burden. But then she met William, a member of the gentry and the eldest son of a wealthy family. His warm smile and earnest affection threaten to capture her heart... but can love truly conquer all? Find out when Emma: A Victorian Romance – Season 1 DVD Collection arrives on June 24th.

As a little girl, Miu Nomura loved to play the piano. Now an introverted teenager, Miu has become too shy to express her feelings - even through her music. Her playing has suffered and her piano teacher, Mr. Shirakawa, has become impatient with her inability to reach the next level. When Miu develops a crush on upperclassman Takahashi, Mr. Shirakawa also notices something... a sudden and remarkable change in Miu's playing. Follow Miu’s journey to rediscover the joy of the piano and find the courage to share her heart when Piano: The Melody of a Young Girl’s Heart DVDs 1, 2, and 3 are released at their new low price on June 24th.

A digger, Simon, toils daily in his skyless cavern of a village until one day he makes an extraordinary discovery: a small glowing drill-bit and the man-sized mech it activates. Before he can give it a second thought, Simon's dragged into a plot to break through to the surface by the local gang leader Kamina, only to have the ceiling come crashing down on top of them under the weight of a giant monster! It somehow falls onto the boisterous Kamina and cowardly Simon to defend their village - but once they defeat the monster, what awaits them on the surface world? Pierce the heavens with your soul when the subtitle-only Gurren Lagann DVD 1 and DVD 1 Special Edition break out on July 8th.

From cutting classes to brawling in the streets, Yusuke Urameshi is not your typical role model. In fact, this kid's nothing more than a fourteen-year-old delinquent with a talent for trouble. But in a single selfless act, Yusuke dies while saving another. For his noble sacrifice, he is given a second chance at life, but one far different than the life he left behind. Now a Spirit Detective, Yusuke must track down demons and humans alike who desire to rule over the three realms of reality. Witness the start of the epic supernatural series, Yu Yu Hakusho, when the Season 1 DVD Box Set streets on June 8th.

Kyon thought that when he entered high school, his days of believing in aliens, time travelers and Espers were going to be over. That is, until she introduced herself. Claiming to be interested in only aliens, time travelers, and Espers, Haruhi Suzumiya was the strangest girl he’d met in a long time... Now he’s been dragged into her weird club, called the “SOS Brigade”, along with three other students who don’t seem to be quite so ordinary themselves. Follow Kyon, the SOS Brigade, and Haruhi in their quest to search for all things extraordinary when the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya DVD Complete Collection is available on July 15th.

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 the Dive Into Savings sale!

Shawne's Specials and the Dive Into Savings sale!

Start your summer the right way at RightStuf.com -- dive into savings on selected individual DVDs and CDs from Geneon Animation -- now marked down to just $5, $10 and $15 each!

Be sure to act fast: Most of the items are "while supplies last," (some read this as "at my whim") so pay particular attention to the counters you’ll find on the item pages. While it’s possible I may restock some items during the sale, I can’t promise anything!

Best off, there is no coupon code needed for the sale! Just place the items into your cart and check out. This super special Geneon event has a few other rules to note:

* Box set items are not included in the sale.
* Quantities are limited. We reserve the right to restrict quantities purchased during the sale. This way no one customer can load up on all of the available inventory for a specific item. Fair for all, and more savings to go around.
* This sale is for end-user customers only. (No dealers or resellers.)

Not sure which products are included? To get started, just click on the "Dive Into Savings" graphic on RightStuf.com: It will take you to a list of the items from Geneon that are part of this incredible event. And remember, the sale ends June 15, so get your orders in.

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

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

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Robert Woodhead, Founder/CEO of AnimEigo

Robert Woodhead, Founder/CEO of AnimEigo

AnimEigo Web site: http://www.animeigo.com/

Yawara on AnimEigo: http://www.animeigo.com/products/yawara.t

Aquarion Season 1 DVD Box Set 2 (Hyb)

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid DVD Box Set (Hyb)It’s time to suit up and join Kaname, Sousuke and the mercenary group Mithril in a new fight against those determined to shatter world peace. Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid just came out as a box set earlier this week, and FUNimation and Right Stuf are excited to offer listeners the chance to win one of four copies of the new set!

To enter – and find out more about the Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid Box Set – check out our Contest page in the “What’s Hot” bar at RightStuf.com – before June 19th. We’ll announce the winners during the June 20th episode of Anime Today!


Emma: A Victorian Romance WebsiteLast week we unveiled the official series site for Right Stuf and Nozomi Entertaiment’s new series Emma: A Victorian Romance at emma.rightstuf.com.

To celebrate the new site, June’s release of the Season 1 DVD Collection, and the upcoming release of the SHIRLEY graphic novel, Right Stuf and CMX Manga are pleased to present a contest that offers fans the chance to win -- and immerse themselves further in Kaoru Mori’s Victorian world!

(1) Grand prize winner will receive an exclusive high-quality replica of Emma artwork, illustrated by Kaoru Mori!
and
(3) Runners-up will each receive a gift package featuring the first three volumes of the Emma manga! To find out more, visit emma.rightstuf.com, and get your entry in before 11:59 p.m. on July 1, 2008. The winner will be announced on the July 3rd episode of Anime Today!

Next up, to celebrate the DVD releases of the live-action Honey and Clover and Love*Com movies, Viz Pictures is teaming up with us to give away two gift packages featuring the movie posters and the DVDs for each film!
Each of the two gift packages will contain:

  • A copy of the Honey and Clover DVD, plus movie poster
  • A copy of the Love*Com DVD, plus mini-poster
  • A copy of Shojo Beat July Issue

To enter – and find out more about the films – check out our Contest page in the “What’s Hot” bar at RightStuf.com – before June 19th. We’ll announce the winners during the next episode of Anime Today!

Viz Pictures Contest!
NEW CONTEST - Viz Pictures Contest! (click banner above)

And finally, we have another contest for movie passes that requires you to think – and get your entries in fast! Viz Pictures and Right Stuf are excited to offer five pairs of tickets to the theatrical screenings of the Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody on June 12th!

Visit the contest section at RightStuf.com and follow the links to see if the movie will be screening in your area on this date, and then get your entry in by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 8th. (That’s THIS Sunday.) Be sure to give us accurate contact information. We’ll be drawing the five winners’ names on Monday morning – and you’ll only have 24 hours to respond to our e-mail or phone call and claim your tickets!

Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody Contest!
NEW CONTEST - Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody Movie Tickets! (click banner above)

Marie's Spotlight: High School Debut

One of the complaints I occasionally hear about shojo manga (and shonen harem manga too, come to think of it) is that “boys like that never go for girls like that in real life.” Apparently, they have the same complaint in Japan, too, because High School Debut tackles this trope head-on, making it the central focus of a remarkably engaging series.

Haruna Nagashima is an avid reader of shojo manga and was a key member of her junior high’s softball team. But this year Haruna’s entering high school, and she’s determined that instead of playing sports, she’s going to find some romance and land herself a boyfriend. Unfortunately for Haruna, she's a miserable failure at dressing up in anything other than sweats, and her flirting skills are even worse. She latches on to a single ray of hope – via a chance encounter she discovers that popular upperclassmen Yoh Kamiyama has mastered the art of this whole boy-girl thing. Inspired, Haruna decides to take a page from her softball days and enlist him as her coach. But when he agrees, it’s under one strict condition: Haruna must not, under any circumstances, fall in love with him. Haruna figure’s that’s no problem, especially since his best friend is pretty cute, too… But even with Yoh coaching her, Haruna’s still got a long ways to go.

High School Debut’s greatest strength is in manga-ka Kazune Kawahara’s writing. She takes a story that could easily have become trite and cliché and turns it into a touching character study and romance. There’s even a gentle lesson that real relationships, unlike some of the ones Haruna’s been reading about, take work, and even then they don’t always work out. Her grasp of teenagers and what makes for genuine high school drama is perfect, keeping her series firmly rooted in reality despite its outlandish setup. As a result, it’s amazingly easy to identify and sympathize with Haruna, Yoh, and their friends, which in turn makes for a thoroughly engrossing storyline.

But fantastic writing’s not the only thing High School Debut has going for it. The art, like Love*Com and Monkey High, is drawn in a style of shojo that I’m starting to see crop up more often lately, with rounder faces, wide smiles, and energetic poses instead of the more wispy, angst-oriented designs that the genre is known for. It’s like if a little bit of One Piece somehow got stirred into the shojo mix. High School Debut is also part of a trend towards happier, more positive stories that focus on personal growth and experiences, edging further into the categories of “chick lit” and general young adult rather than pure romance and drama. You could also compare them to light, high-school versions of josei.

Multiple factors contribute to that chick lit atmosphere. The series is funny in the way that almost all good manga are, using comic relief to break up the tension or as a natural extension of the story, though I wouldn’t call it an outright comedy any more than I would call it a serious drama. Haruna’s situation is played pretty straight, for example, but some of the outfits she comes up with are really, really terrible. In that vein, High School Debut reminds me the most of Love*Com, for its seemingly mismatched lovers and their difficulties in figuring out complicated relationships. There’s also some Kare Kano to it, in the way Haruna slowly finds herself surrounded with friends as she discovers a new side to herself. The supporting cast in turn finds itself the focus of a number of chapters, carrying the series just as ably as they did in Kare Kano. And of course, the romance is definitely still there, and it’s adorably sweet. Yes, I know, some people don’t like sweet things and sunshine and lollipops and all that, but that is why they made Gantz, so to each his own.

Whether you reacted to my initial plot summary with nods of identification or indifferent eye-rolling should have told you whether or not you’ll have any interest in High School Debut, but to sum up: great writing, great characterization, and cheerful art make for one happy shojo reader. The series would make a great date movie. Perhaps someday after that little Dragonball film gets wrapped up…?

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This episode features music from:

  • TRASH BOX - Bright Fun and Rock N Roll

    TRASH BOX - Bright Fun and Rock N Roll

    00:00 --- 04. Kimi ga Iru Nara

    01:57 --- 06. Kawaranaimono

    05:47 --- 05. Knife

    08:00 --- 07. Robot Factory

    27:12 --- 08. JOKER

    31:18 --- 10. I wanna be

    36:17 --- 03. HELL0, NEW SUNRISE

    37:49 --- 07. KRobot Factory

    52:25 --- 02. BE HAPPY

    55:29 --- 09. Hi no Ataru Basho

    56:50 --- 01. BRIGHT FUN AND ROCK N ROLL

  • Fresh Cuts from Japan CD 1

    Fresh Cuts from Japan CD 1