ANIME TODAY #76: Discussing the State of Anime on TV with ICv2.com V.P. Tom Flinn

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Episode run down:

This music for this episode is from JapanFiles.com’s Transit CD by Swinging Popsicle. 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.

Cartoon Network’s announcement that they’re ending Toonami surprised many people, and has been a hot topic on discussion forums and among bloggers. We’ve asked Tom Flinn, the Vice President of Content for ICv2 to join us this episode, and give us some insight into this decision and resulting trends for anime that we may see happening on American TV.

Kicking off this episode is Chad with What’s Hot in the world of anime, followed by another Uso Deshou mystery plot that will test your anime knowledge. For a few days, you can Sink Your Teeth Into Savings with our sale on Geneon DVDs, and Shawne will be joining us to give you the details. Then, in the first portion of our interview with Tom Flinn, we’ll get a historical perspective of the trends in anime on American TV, how television trends impact the shows licensed by the North American publishers, and the impact television has had on introducing new fans to anime.

Kris and Judy check out Webkare, the new virtual boyfriend social dating site in Japan and then Lisa Marie goes back to high school by checking out the shojo manga Monkey High. Judy-sensei continues your schooling with an all new Mini Japanese 101 lesson and then get ready for the second part of our interview with Mr. Flinn as we tackle the most recent news about anime on TV. Rich and Nick have the updated rundown of upcoming conventions and taking us out this episode are some highlights from our customers reviews from our online store.

What's Hot?

After unidentified beings known as "Blanks" start popping up, they are soon followed by a Soul Reaper named Senna, who makes them disappear. Puzzled, Ichigo and Rukia set out to learn more, but uncover an evil plot when a menacing clan tries to kidnap Senna. Banished from the Soul Society long ago, the clan's leader is sending the World of the Living and the Soul Society on a collision course… and Senna seems to be the key to his diabolical plot for revenge. Can Ichigo and his fellow Soul Reapers save the two worlds from annihilation? Find out when the first Bleach movie, Memories of Nobody, arrives on October 14th.

School is out for the summer, and Yukari Morita has big plans: She's off to the Solomon Islands, in search of her long-lost father. Unfortunately, the archipelago stretches over 28,000 square kilometers and boasts a population of about 500,000 people. With odds like that, what's a girl to do? Luckily for Yukari, the local Solomon Space Agency is in desperate need of new recruits. With their promise to help find her father, Yukari begins her part-time job as an astronaut! The anime Rocket Girls blasts off – with a complete collection that contains the entire series – on October 21st.

It’s the year 2009. Ten years of furious conflict and frenzied construction have turned an alien wreck into a human triumph: the colossal space battleship Macross. On the day of the ship's launch, the world waits with bated breath to witness mankind's next giant leap. But hovering above the planet, a merciless warrior race known as the Zentraedi seeks to advance its agenda of destruction and conquest... Rediscover an anime classic when the Macross Complete DVD Collection, the series’ first-ever bilingual thinpak, arrives on October 21st.

The handsome (and enterprising) members of the Ouran High School Host Club are dedicated to selling their charms to their female classmates. But when Haruhi, a bookish scholarship student, stumbles into their lair – and breaks an expensive vase – there’s only way to repay the club for the damage. Haruhi will work as a host! But there’s just one problem with that… Haruhi’s a GIRL! Based on Bisco Hatori’s hit shoujo manga, get ready to get spoiled silly by Ouran High School Host Club – Season 1, Part 1 on October 28th.

While Emma resolves to put her past behind her and starts a new life as a maid at the Molders estate, William does his best to uphold his father’s wishes as the Jones family heir back in London. Try as he might, he can’t forget Emma. Yet, whenever he feels at his worst, Eleanor is there to comfort him. Could the answer to his broken heart be right before his eyes? The anime based on Kaoru Mori’s acclaimed manga concludes with the Emma: A Victorian Romance – Season 2 DVD Collection on October 28th.

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 Sink Your Teeth Into Savings Sale!

Shawne's Specials and the Sink Your Teeth Into Savings Sale!

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

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

Tom Flinn, the V.P. of Content for ICv2!

Tom Flinn, the V.P. of Content for ICv2!

ICv2: Inside Pop Culture: http://www.icv2.com/

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

My Girl DVD (S) LiveActionCongratulations to the winners of most recent K-drama contest with YA Entertainment! Phil M of Honolulu, Hawaii; Sharon M of Hammond, Louisiana; Wanda F, of Mebane, North Carolina; and Lisa D of Denver, Colorado each will soon receive an “I Love K-Drama Bag” with sample episodes from My Lovely Sam-Soon, Stairway to Heaven and Damo: The Undercover Lady Detective! And grand-prize winner Pat C of Alton, New Hampshire will receive a goodie bag that includes a box set of the fan-favorite, romantic drama My Girl!

Also, with the New York Anime Festival kicking off today, we’d like to extend our congratulations to each of our five lucky winners who received weekend passes to the big show: Stephanie M, of Mount Vernon, NY; Juan R, of Tenafly, New Jersey; Harriet G, of Fishkill, New York; Mary C, of New Tazewell, Tennessee; and Johnny C, of New York, New York!

I Really, Really Like YouRight Stuf and YA Entertainment kicking off a new, month-long contest centered around the newly released series I Really, Really Like You, which stars the K-pop music superstar Eugene! THREE lucky winners will receive a copy of I Really, Really Like You, Vol. 1 – a DVD box set that contains the first 18 episodes of the series! PLUS, three runners up will each receive an “I Love K-Drama Bag” with that includes the first three episodes of I Really, Really Like You and sample episodes from My Lovely Sam-Soon, Stairway to Heaven and Damo: The Undercover Lady Detective!

To enter – and find out more about these titles – check out our Contest page in the “What’s Hot” bar at RightStuf.com – before October 23rd. We’ll announce the winners during episode 78 of Anime Today!

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

The Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy
Copyright © 2008 LINKTHINK INC. All Rights Reserved.

Webkare: http://web-kare.jp/

Ouran High School Host Club DVD (Hyb): Season 1 Part 1

Marie's Spotlight: Monkey High

It’s September, and there’s no excuse like the back-to-school season to review Viz’s latest shojo series set in high school. This year, I’m seizing it to talk about Monkey High, which, like Love*Com, takes great delight in both subverting the clichés of the genre and embracing them at the same time. No prizes for guessing whether or not I loved it.

Just prior to the beginning of Monkey High, Haruna’s politician father has been caught taking bribes and sent to jail in disgrace. In response to the backlash, she and her mother have moved, and Haruna’s transferred from her elite academy to a run of the mill public school. She figures that there’s no point in trying to make friends and dismissively refers to school as a “monkey mountain.” In Haruna’s eyes, it’s just a pointless, endless cycle: everyone groups together in cliques, fights, and then they all get back together as if nothing happened. Confirming her theory, the very first boy she meets at the school is named Masaru (“saru” is Japanese for monkey, though he’s nicknamed Macharu for reasons as yet unexplained). And, indeed, he acts just like one – specifically, the constantly clowning around baby monkey of the group! But for some reason Haruna can’t explain, hanging out with the constantly cheerful Macharu tends to melt away her cynicism. The two even start dating, much to the surprise of the entire student body.

Monkey High’s main selling point is that these are not your old-school protagonists. Macharu is not tall, traditionally handsome, especially good at any particular sport, or a loner only the heroine can become close to. In fact, it’s more the other way around. Haruna isn’t particularly interested in having either friends or a boyfriend, and yet she still finds herself with both anyway. Drama is present, but it’s nothing extreme, and the angst is kept to relatively minimal levels thanks to Macharu’s earnest ability to instantly cheer anyone up – almost anyone, anyway. Atsu, Macharu’s pretty boy best friend, is vain and initially hits on Haruna without reserve, but rather than becoming the typical two-faced manifestation of high school evil trying to break up the main couple, he backs off and takes his place as prime instigator of silly monkey hijinx instead.

If you regularly listen to these reviews, you may remember me bringing up Monkey High when discussing some other shojo titles, especially in regards to the art. I figure it’s been a good four months or so since I last declared my love for the style, so it’s high time I brought it up again. Like High School Debut and Love*Com, Monkey High’s characters all have those incredibly expressive faces with wide grins that I absolutely adore. The panels are laid out to best capture the reactions of the cast rather than to showcase, say, fighting moves. It’s fun, cute, and full of energy, but still sweet and tender at all the right moments. Incidentally, if there is a name for this style, please write in and let me know. It would be handy to have a key word to use for categorization.

One thing that really makes me curious about Monkey High is the plot and direction of the series. Volume one is practically a self-contained story; it covers Haruna’s transfer, meeting Macharu, the get-together, and even the standard confrontation of the ex-boyfriend. The series wasn’t picked up for regular serialization in Japan until around late volume two/volume three, so the first chapters don’t leave a lot of plot ends dangling. But at eight volumes and counting, I can’t wait to find out what else author Shouko Akira decides to throw at Haruna and Macharu. In the meantime, the story’s initial episodic nature makes it feel like a very good sitcom. For example, there’s a plot about breaking the principal’s prized vase and entering a competition to try and win the money to get a new one and – get this – it’s actually very clever. And then there’s the Valentine’s chocolate story which is one of my favorite takes on the Japanese version of the holiday. It would be perfect for a J-Drama. Someone should really contact Japan about that.

The end of each volume includes various omake from Shouko Akira explaining where the idea for the volume’s stories came from, talking about her fans, and so on. I absolutely love her commentaries; they’re right up there with the ones from Kekkaishi and Land of the Blindfolded for informative and funny author notes. I’m particularly amused whenever she complains that she hates having to draw crowds – and then discovers she’s written each chapter to include more of them then ever. The commentaries can be surprising, too, like when she said she was surprised at how many fans wrote in to say they loved Macharu, even though he’s no where near the usual shojo hero archetype. Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how ingrained shojo rules are in Japan, since we generally only get the top tier titles here in America.

A sweet and charming romantic comedy, Monkey High is perfect for fans of the aforementioned Love*Com, High School Debut, or Land of the Blindfolded. While not groundbreaking, it’s a highly enjoyable read, and I always look forward to the release of the next volume. Macharu and Haruna are great leads, the art and comedy are riotous fun, and the plot just the sort of thing to break up the doldrums as school starts up again.

 

Mini Japanese 101 with Judy-sensei!

 

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Music this episode featured from:

  • transit by Swinging Popsicle

    transit by Swinging Popsicle

    0:00:00 --- 02. Snow Ism

    0:02:43 --- 09. Q

    0:06:25 --- 10. Dakou suru

    0:08:51 --- 07. Course Out

    0:22:45 --- 04. Mijikai Kousatsu

    0:24:59 --- 05. Girl meets Boy

    0:32:14 --- 06. Blind Touch

    0:38:36 --- 03. Nietzsche

    0:41:41 --- 07. Course Out

    0:56:46 --- 08. Cinemani

    0:59:07 --- 11. Veranda Neko

    1:01:21 --- 12. Don't let me down

    1:02:40 --- 01. I just wanna kiss you