ANIME TODAY #81: Talking BACCANO! With FUNimation ADR Director Tyler Walker

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Episode run down:

The music for this episode is from the CD Ni do to arukoto wa by the innovative duo Twenty Four Page. We’d like to thank JapanFiles.com for letting us feature music from this CD, 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.

If you love backdoor bootlegging booze joints, alchemy, immortality and gansters, then stay tuned for our interview with Tyler Walker, the director of FUNimation’s upcoming series Baccano! In this two-part interview, Alison, Rich and Nick chat with Tyler about researching and casting for such an energetic and eclectic show and how you can check out the first episode for free on FUNimation’s Baccano! series website. Here’s a hint, check this podcast’s show notes for the site link and the password.

Chad’s got his latest picks in What’s Hot in the World of Anime and Manga and then Shawne’s still serving out incredible deals for you to gobble up on almost everything at RightStuf.com. Next, listen in on the first half of our phone call with Director Tyler Walker as we discuss the highly anticipated release of Baccano! followed by the latest contests and contest winners.

Kris returns with Judy in this episode for another Anime and Gamer’s Guide to Japan where they’ll be covering new video games that have shown up in Japan and the US. Nick and Rich will then run down upcoming conventions, followed by Lisa Marie’s spotlight on the Mars graphic novels. We’ll then rejoin our interview with Tyler Walker, and then we’ll wrap up the episode with some new customer reviews from RightStuf.com.

What's Hot?

Though the destinies of Arusu, Sheila, and Eva have already been revealed, many of their adventures in the Magical Realm still remain untold. Rejoin the trio of apprentice witches in wonderland as they experiment with ancient spells, face a powerful witch and her looking-glass self, and find a legendary fairy. The origin of Dragon House, the grand master's past and a wacky romp with Atelia's subordinates Mileth and Miletis are also explored in these charming side stories on the Tweeny Witches OVA DVD, which casts its spell on January 6.

Around the offices of Tozai News, Shiro Yamaoka has a reputation for being over-blunt, under-ambitious, and generally an all-around slacker. So why has he been given the important job of coming up with the "Ultimate Menu" to celebrate the newspaper's 100th anniversary? Because he possesses qualities his other colleagues don't: an exquisitely discerning palate, an encyclopedic knowledge of food and drink, and a masterful touch in the kitchen. Find out what’s cooking when Oishinbo A La Carte, Graphic Novel 1 is served on January 13.

Stuck living in a dystopian society, hotheaded Zed and his brainy friend Noah dream of a release from their troubled existence. Both discover a magical world that seems to offer them their longed for escape, in addition to powers neither had ever dreamed of… but at what cost? Harness the power and join in the fight with the Kiba DVD Collection 1, on January 20.

After years of sponging off a fabulously wealthy older woman, four ridiculously beautiful boys are confronted with the most horrifying challenge ever: use their bishi skills to turn their benefactor's socially challenged niece into a beautiful young lady or start paying rent! This isn't just any ugly duckling they're facing, either; she's a psycho, paranoid, neurotic, horror-movie-obsessed goth chick with a fetish for anatomical dummies, bad skin, and a total ignorance of all things feminine! But hey, rent's expensive and job openings for pretty boys are scarce, so our poor heroes are going to have to suck it up and attempt the ultimate makeover from hell when The Wallflower DVD Complete Collection Part 1 arrives on January 20.

Don't let anybody tell you there's no future in a life of crime, because some rackets… well, they can last forever. A mafia turf war is raging on the mean streets of the Big Apple - a place where regular joes bounce between backdoor booze joints and the breadline. But this caper isn’t about a simple gangland brawl. It's about hoods who can't seem to die after catching a bullet--or five--between the eyes, sadistic hit-men and the dames they love, mad bombers going boom, monsters going bump and soul sucking alchemists bootlegging an elixir of eternal life. Watch as lives, myths and crime collide in Baccano! DVD 1, available in standard and artbox edition on January 27.

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 Gobble Up Incredible Deals Sale!

Shawne's Specials and the Gobble Up Incredible Deals Sale!

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

Tyler Walker, ADR director of FUNimation’s Baccano!

Tyler Walker, Director of FUNimation’s Baccano!


FUNimation: http://www.funimation.com
FUNimation’s Baccano! site: http://www4.funimation.com/baccano/
Watch the first episode with this password: Flying Pussyfoot

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

My SantaCongratulations to the winners of our FUNimation My Santa Contest – Barbara L of Levittown, New York; Jesus O of Fort Worth, Texas; Elyse W of Dallas, Texas; Peter S of Fox Point, Wisconsin; and Priscilla P of Crossville, Alabama! Each of you will soon be receiving a stocking stuffed with the holiday OVA My Santa, from the mind of Love Hina and Negima creator Ken Akamatsu!


Emma: A Victorian Romance Website

To celebrate next week’s release of the EMMA: A Victorian Romance – Season 2 DVD Collection, we’re teaming up with CMX manga for another contest that offers a few lucky fans the chance to immerse themselves further in Kaoru Mori’s Victorian world! FIVE runners-up will receive a gift-package featuring the first volume of the EMMA manga, as well as the SHIRLEY manga! And ONE grand-prize winner will receive an exclusive high-quality replica of EMMA artwork, illustrated by Kaoru Mori! To enter the contest, visit our Contest page in the “What’s Hot” bar at RightStuf.com before December 17th. We’ll announce the winners during Episode 82 of Anime Today! And to find out more about all things EMMA, be sure to check out emma.rightstuf.com, where you’ll find trailers, downloadable goodies, manga previews and much, much more.

 


Black Jack postersAnd in honor of Vertical’s release of the excellent Black Jack manga by Osamu Tezuka, we’re offering Anime Today listeners the chance to win one of THREE Black Jack posters! To enter, visit our Contest page in the “What’s Hot bar at RightStuf.com before December 18th. We’ll announce the winner during the next episode of Anime Today!


Hell Girl DVD Box Set (Hyb)

Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

Official Japanese websites:
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: http://www.capcom.co.jp/tatsucap/
Dissidia: Final Fantasy : http://www.square-enix.co.jp/dissidia/
Gundam Musou 2 : http://gundam-musou.jp/
Densetsu no Stafi : http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ds/yssj/index.html

English websites:
Chrono Trigger : http://na.square-enix.com/ctds/
Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories : http://na.square-enix.com/khrecom/
Prince of Persia : http://prince-of-persia.us.ubi.com/intro/

Animecons.com

Marie's Spotlight: Mars

The holiday season has officially begun, and I consider that as good an excuse as any to revel in nostalgia and review one of my favorite older shojo titles, Mars. Not only is it a fantastic character drama, but there’s totally a Christmas reference in volume ten, so why not?

Mars begins innocuously enough when local bad boy Rei Hoshino gets lost on his way to the medical center and asks a nearby girl for directions. Without saying a word, she silently draws him a map. Rei takes off again without a backward glance, and it’s not until he gets to the center that he notices the picture of a mother and child on the other side. Struck by the image, he saves it, wondering what had prompted her to give it away. Too bad he won’t see her again… Except the girl is Kira Aso, fellow student at Rei’s high school, and she’s known by her classmates for two things: her timid and silent avoidance of others, and her beautiful artwork.

While Rei might not have recognized her, Kira recognized him, and she doesn’t approve of his loose way with girls, his smoking, or anything else about him. But fate lands him in the seat next to hers at school on the following day, and to the surprise of everyone, he slowly coaxes her into talking with him. However, Rei’s isn’t the only eye Kira’s caught, and things get dramatic early on when Rei saves her from being sexually assaulted by a teacher. After that, Kira finally gets up the courage to blurt out that she’d like him to model for her, and from then on the two are nearly inseparable. Rei introduces Kira to his free-spirited world of motorcycles while she in turn softens a few of his rough edges. But things are never that easy and when their pasts come back to haunt them, their future is threatened by bitter enemies.

While NANA may get all the gritty drama attention these days, Mars was one of the very first examples of the genre to be published in English. Back when Tokyopop first began releasing the series in 2002 at the beginning of their “manga revolution,” you better believe the series was a revelation for many an American manga fan. Sex, violence, suicide, abuse, spectacular motorcycle accidents – Mars had it all. True, the sex and violence were mostly verbalized or implied rather than shown, which is how Mars got away with a 13+ rating, but if you were 13 yourself it was delightfully adult. And if you were older, you were hooked on the soap opera-esque plot complete with twists at a rate on par with Vampire Knight – that’s very fast, for those of you unacquainted with the series.

It’s a good thing Mars has been completed, because it’s sinfully easy to find yourself burning through the volumes without any regard for what time work starts the next morning. While the general outcome – Rei and Kira get together – is obvious from page one, the journey to that conclusion is a master lesson in dramatic pacing, and the need to know what happens next is a difficult one to resist. Even better from a writing standpoint, Fuyumi Soryo lays down the foundation for most of her twists and turns early on, so while they come as a surprise, they never feel contrived. Re-reading the books, I was amazed at how many hints she’d thrown in.

A large number of those twists come through revelations about the characters’ pasts, which work well because of how fleshed out the characters are. While this is especially true in regards to Rei and Kira, it also includes their friends, parents, classmates, etc. Rather than simply being a “misunderstood” bad boy, Rei really is everything your mother ever warned you about, and oddly morbid besides. Why is a complicated tale about his family and a pivotal moment in middle school that Rei is still trying to cope with. Kira herself is timid to the point of a psychological disorder, and retreats into her art whenever possible. While that might just seem to be an extreme case of shyness, her own backstory emphatically says otherwise. Human foibles of all kinds take the spotlight, from the normal jealousy from unexpected places to broken coping mechanisms and the dangers of severe co-dependency. But lest that sound too depressing, human strengths like courage and kindness are also brought to light as well, very frequently in the same person harboring the worst of the foibles. This usually leaves the reader with mixed feelings – for example, what do you do with a murderous psychopath you can understand and feel sorry for?

Incidentally, when I said Rei is everything your mother warned you against, that includes riding that perennial vehicular scapegoat, the motorcycle. And Rei doesn’t just ride one to school; he actively competes at the tracks and riding practically defines who he is. I have to admit that I don’t know much about racing myself, but Fuyumi Soryo has put a healthy amount of detail into Rei’s bikes, the tracks, competition heats, and even the advertising on his racing outfit. Fortunately, even if you don’t know exactly what a Ducati is – I sure didn’t - Tokyopop has included footnotes throughout the series explaining what the characters are talking about. Usually, of course, it boils down to Rei risking life and limb by riding a monster of a motorcycle very, very fast, but it’s still nice to understand the specifics.

Having started serialization in Japan in 1996, Mars is a bridge between the old-school shojo style of giant doey eyes, wispy lines, and sparkly bubbles like Sailor Moon, with the some of the hard-edged, fashion-focused modern series like Paradise Kiss. The way Fuyumi Soryo mixes the two styles, along with a strong undercurrent of idealism despite trouble, lends the entire series a sort of modern-day fairy-tale sensibility as the lovers face trial after trial before they can finally be together. However, while I love Fuyumi Soryo’s style, I’m not nearly as fond of the artwork used for the covers. I’m not sure if the difference is in the colors vs black and white, the poses, or the general style, but the old adage is right - definitely flip through a volume instead of judging by the covers.

I was originally planning to conclude this review with something about how Mars is a good reminder that there was great shojo around long before Fruits Basket, but to be honest, that has nothing to do with why I really love it. In fact, Mars is a series I have to be careful with when I start reading it again, because regardless of whether I grab volume 4 or 15 I’m bound to end up working my way backwards until I reach volume 1 and then re-reading the whole series over again from scratch. Between the intense plot, complicated characters, and beautiful art, I find myself sucked in every time, and if that’s not a perfectly good reason for an indulgent holiday review like this one, I don’t know what is.

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This episode features music from:

  • Ni do to arukoto wa by Twenty Four Page

    Ni do to arukoto wa by Twenty Four Page

    0:00:00 --- 03. nidone bigaku

    0:02:36 --- 05. chokusya nikkou

    0:06:11 --- 09. torunitarinai

    0:08:01 --- 01. instore

    0:24:49 --- 08. utsumukikagen

    0:27:37 --- 06. zero hakken

    0:37:21 --- 02. ano koro mongatari

    0:39:32 --- 07. mienakunaru

    0:47:52 --- 01. instore

    0:57:31 --- 04. akari tomseba

    1:00:20 --- 10. home to away