ANIME TODAY #82:Talking ASTRO BOY & Anime With Fred LaddPosted on: Friday, December 19, 2008
Episode run down:
The music for this episode is from JapanFiles.com’s MUSIC CD by girugamesh. 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.
In this episode, we’re going to be talking with Richard Kekahuna, veteran producer of projects including The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, the Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny OVA’s and, recently, the TV version of Toward the Terra, along with Brian Cutts, the assistant producer on Toward the Terra, Anthony Foronda, the Marketing Coordinator, and Robert Napton, the Director of Marketing.
Starting us out this time is Chad with What’s Hot in the World of Anime, and then Shawne will bring you some Charming Deals on Del Rey Manga & Books. Following that, we’ll have the first portion of the interview, then Nick and Rich will bring you the winners of our The Girl Who Leapt Through Time contest along with a new My Santa contest just in time for Christmas.
Rich and Nick chat it up with Judy about the various walking assist devices being developed in Japan in a new Anime and Gamer’s Guide. Rich then reports on the latest upcoming conventions and then get random and crazy when Lisa Marie’s checks out the Gin Tama manga. In the second part of our Bandai interview, Rich and Alison discuss some highlights from the Toward the Terra TV series, the extras on the DVDs and future projects for Bandai. Finally, we’ll feature a few of the newest customer reviews from our online store.
Jewel Seeds, artifacts from an ancient, magical civilization, have been spread across the galaxy. In order to seal the Jewel Seeds away and protect the Earth, Nanoha Takamachi becomes Lyrical Girl Nanoha. Before she can complete the job, another girl appears who desperately tries to collect the seeds for a far more dangerous purpose. Who will succeed? Find out when the Lyrical Nanoha DVD Box Set arrives on December 9th.
.In 2032, the line between humans and machines has blurred almost beyond distinction. Batou, a cyborg detective, has only vague remnants of his humanity left - traces of his brain and the memories of a woman called The Major. As he investigates the murder of a man by his hyper-realistic female robot, questions arise about humanity’s need to immortalize its image in dolls. Together, Batou and his partner must take on violent Yakuza thugs, devious hackers, government bureaucrats and corporate criminals to uncover the shocking truth behind the crime. Dive into Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence on January 13th, in bilingual standard, limited and Blu-ray editions.
Porn obsessed, college dropout Sato has decided that a sinister broadcast company known as "The NHK" is trying to transform its viewers into jobless, societal recluses by showing cutesy anime girls. His world turns madly on its axis, however, when Sato has a chance encounter with a beautiful girl named Misaki, who claims that she can cure him of his perverse ways. Is she really an angel of mercy? Or is she a devilish agent of the NHK? Swimming in a sea of corruption, Sato prepares for the battle of his life. You’ll be Welcome to the NHK! when Parts 1 and 2 hit DVD shelves on December 30th!
An odd string of suicides surrounds a private institution on Roosevelt Island. On the night a classmate dies, Kate, Rachel, Rose and Claire wake with no memories of the evening’s events. The next night, the four girls are drawn together by mysterious red butterflies only they can see. Converging at Central Park, the girls are approached by a strange woman who tells them they are dead. Now, they must work together to learn the secrets of their death - and the means to return to their previous lives. Horror and intrigue bloom with the arrival of Red Garden Parts 1 and 2 on December 16th.
And fans who have been collecting Red Garden, Welcome to theNHK! and Pumpkin Scissors since their initial release dates will be happy to know that FUNimation has decided to release each series’ respective sixth volume on December 16th. These final volumes can, of course, be found right here at RightStuf.com.
Shawne's Specials and the Charming Deals Sale!
The Team Behind Bandai’s Toward the Terra
Right Stuf Contests and Updates
We’re getting a leap on Bandai Entertainment’s upcoming DVD release of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time! Congratulations to the FIVE lucky winners, who will receive a full-sized theatrical poster featuring artwork from the movie! Silvia B of Phoenix, Arizona; Heather B of Lewiston, Maine; Regina K of Pearland, Texas; Lasheena E of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Brandon H of Ada, Michigan!
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.
And FUNimation is gearing up to celebrate the holiday season and is offering Anime Today listeners the chance to win one of FIVE stockings stuffed with the holiday OVA My Santa, from the mind of Love Hina and Negima creator Ken Akamatsu! To enter the contest, visit our Contest page in the “What’s Hot” bar at RightStuf.com before December 4th. We’ll announce the winner during the next episode of Anime Today!
Rental robotic suit helps disabled walk
Honda’s experimental walking assist device, now with extra crotch support and built-in seat
Japan's 'Cyberdyne' robot suit ready for hospital
Honda develops walking assist device to aid elderly/disabled
Japanese Build Robotic Suit For Mobility Impaired
Honda Unveils Experimental Robot Legs, Human Cyborgization Not Far Behind
Marie's Spotlight: Gin Tama
Over the years here at Right Stuf I’ve read an awful lot of blurbs on the back of an awful lot of manga. But when I say the blurbs on Gin Tama have always stood out, realize I’m not just talking about the extra HTML formatting the list format they use requires. Always funny but also always strange, I continually wondered why Viz didn’t just use paragraphs like everyone else. Having now read Gin Tama, the answer is clear: because no paragraph could possibly do the series justice, and you’re better off just listing the facts, bizarre as they are, and letting the manga speak for itself. Too bad I can’t get away with that for this review.
The basic concept of Gin Tama, not that it will tell you so in the first volume, is that in the mid-1800s Japan was forced to open its borders not to Commodore Perry but to the Amanto, space aliens from all over the galaxy. Several wars and quashed pockets of resistance later, the aliens wrapped up their conquest by taking nearly every available job and banning all swords. Samurai suddenly found themselves the lowest of the low, desperately clinging to any job they could get and living in cardboard boxes on the street when they couldn’t.
One such former samurai, Gintoki - aka Gin, Gin-chan, and a number of other names I won’t repeat, has resorted to becoming a “freelancer,” complete with business card. In-the-manner of poor but skilled anime characters everywhere, he’ll take on almost any odd job if it means he can occasionally pay the rent. Working with him – sort of – are Shinpachi, the son of a dojo master who is theoretically studying the way of the samurai under Gin, and Kagura, a freakishly strong alien girl who has no regard for feminine niceties and mooches off of Gin’s landlady.
If that plot reminds you of, oh, Cowboy Bebop, that’s because you haven’t yet read Gin Tama. Utterly crazy, weird, and often vulgar, Gin Tama is not trying to be a rousing adventure story or a referendum on friendship. No, Gin Tama’s number one goal is to be as funny as possible, a goal it reaches frequently. Meta humor runs rampant, from characters commenting on the page layouts to jokes about the sound effects. Fourth wall? What fourth wall? And there’s absolutely no missing what magazine Gin Tama originally ran in because, like Sgt Keroro, Gin is easily distracted by the latest volume of Shonen Jump, much to his allies’ disgust. Spoofs are innumerable, and those with a knowledge of Japanese culture will definitely get the most out of the series. For a quick jumpstart, I would suggest watching Kenshin or Peacemaker to brush up on your Shinsengumi history. Or, I suppose, you could look it up in an encyclopedia just to make sure you’re historically accurate. But Gin Tama sure doesn’t.
Gin Tama is, by far, one of the weirdest mishmashes of history, sci-fi, and everything else I’ve ever come across, and I’ve seen both Excel Saga and Ninja Nonsense. The historical setting is merely a springboard which manga-ka Hideaki Sorachi himself admits wasn’t really important. It’s the aliens and their technology which allow for absolutely any plot he can dream up, and the manga-ka’s imagination is obviously limitless. It’s very reminiscent of Futurama’s broad palette of plotlines and crazy alien races. And to keep up with the Western examples, the main trio of protagonists even remind me of Looney Tunes characters. Each has a well-defined personality that can still easily fill whatever role is required and with whatever exaggerated expressions are needed to properly yell at each other this time. Don’t try to glean anything but laughs from the author notes – they only emphasize the indiscriminate hyperactive weirdness of it all in-between Hideaki Sorachi insulting his editor and drawing inappropriate pictures of himself as a monkey.
One of Hideaki Sorachi’s side goals seems to be seeing just how far he can push the envelope and still get published in Shonen Jump. The series veers into the crude far more than once, but for all that Gin Tama frequently plays to the lowest common denominator, it has a lot of heart behind it and can’t quite let all of the heart-warming Shonen Jump cliches go. Nearly every story arc’s foundation rests on a moral of some kind, such as the importance of honor, the worth of family, or the need to be self reliant, even if that moral is built around a morally dubious premise. For example, a chapter about a pop princess and her creepy fans included a side story about a felon doing his utmost to keep a promise to his daughter. The main cast are no strangers to vice, but despite having enough faults to give California competition, they let enough of their own good sides shine through to quickly become sympathetic to the reader, something many comedies fail to ever achieve.
It’s not too difficult to figure out if you’ll like Gin Tama – just count up the number of hours per week you spend watching Comedy Central, and if the answer is more than one, you’re good to go. Fans of Sgt Frog, Ninja Nonsense, and Excel Saga will all especially enjoy the series, as will anyone who thought Peace Maker could have used a few vicious leopard-headed aliens to spice things up. Just be careful of how you pronounce the title on your next trip to Japan – if you swap out the “G” for a “K” it becomes borderline obscene. Hideaki Sorachi did that on purpose, of course.
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This episode features music from:
00:00 --- 03. ULTIMATE 4
02:23 --- 06. evolution
05:46 --- 11. Ishtar
07:52 --- 05. Angry juice
24:29 --- 12. Enishi
27:38 --- 07. inst
34:29 --- 04. FREAKS
37:07 --- 08. puzzle
44:11 --- 05. Angry juice
52:02 --- 09. Asking why
54:40 --- 01. INTRO
55:27 --- 02. BreakDown