ANIME TODAY #84: Talking Anime Movies & More With Writer & Anime Expert Helen McCarthy

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Episode run down:

What better way to kick off the new year than to find out about a new book that’s being released in the US, 500 Essential Anime Movies. Helen McCarthy is going to join us this episode, and talk about her newly released book, and how she worked to narrow the list down to “just” 500 shows. We’re also going to cover how writing about anime has changed over the years, how the growing international audience for anime is changing its production, and the impact of Hollywood’s interest in anime. Towards the end, we’ll even talk a little bit about an upcoming project of hers that stitches together two seeming different worlds.

The music for this episode is from’s CD Shiawase no Elephant by MIX MARKET. 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.

Kicking off this episode is Chad with What’s Hot in the World of Anime and Manga, followed by Shawne bring you a rundown of our “Uncover a Dossier of Deals on DVDs & More” sale. After that, we’ll have the first part of our interview with Helen McCarthy.

Rich and Nick have the latest contests and updates and then Kris and Judy return to recap their rabbid-filled holiday game playing. Helen returns to discuss the target audience for her latest book before jumping into some great discussions focusing on Hollywood's interest in anime and how writing about anime has evolved over the years. Christy's back roaming the halls and rubbing elbows with the beautiful young hosts of Ouran High in an all new If.../then segment. Next, Rich and Nick recap the latest conventions coming up near you followed by the last bit of conversation with Helen where we chat about her upcoming projects. We'll wrap up this episode with new customer reviews from


What's Hot?

Mahoro, a 19-year-old combat droid, happily acts as Suguru’s housemaid and protector. Domestic bliss, however, doesn’t reign supreme as they are forced to deal with the arrival of another droid sent to spy on them, badminton duels to the death, and holidays celebrated by clonking one another over the head!

Fan-service has never been quite as over the top as it is in Mahoromatic’s second season, Mahoromatic: Something More Beautiful, which will be released on February 17.

Nina always dreamed of meeting the proverbial white knight. Little did she know that two potential knights would fall from the sky and turn her life upside-down! Zero and Ichii are sorcerers from another world taking part in a test to find the coveted Crystal Pearl – which, rather inconveniently, was mistaken for a piece of candy and eaten by Nina!

Others are searching for the jewel, too, and some will stop at nothing to capture it. So Ichii and Zero vow to protect Nina until the coveted bauble can be reclaimed. Her fantasy of a devoted guardian has come true…but there's a chance this dream might end up a nightmare when the Save Me! Lollipop DVD Box Set is unwrapped on February 24.

Nozomu Itoshiki is depressed…very depressed. Though certifiably suicidal, he's also the beloved schoolteacher of a unique class of students: the stalker; the shut-in; the obsessive-compulsive; the girl who comes to class every day with strange bruises; and Kafuka -- the most optimistic girl in the world, who knows that every cloud has a silver lining.

It's a critical point in time, and the right teacher could have a lasting, positive effect on their lives. But is that teacher Itoshiki, a.k.a. Zetsubou-sensei, who just wants to find the perfect place to die? Find out on February 24, when Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei Graphic Novel 1 hits shelves.

Kaneda is the leader of group of delinquents who spend their nights tearing through the urban wasteland and racing their motorbikes against rival gangs. One night, while riding with his comrades, Kaneda’s friend Tetsuo suddenly encounters a strange boy - the product of human experimentation - and is injured in the ensuing crash. Shortly thereafter, a military squadron takes the boy and Tetsuo away to an army research lab.

Determined to free Tetsuo from captivity, Kaneda sneaks into the lab. However, a regimen of extreme experimental procedures has awakened a new power in his friend, who is now consumed by madness...

See Katsuhiro Otomo’s legendary film with a newly remastered, high-def picture when the AKIRA Blu-ray Edition streets on February 24!

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 Uncover a Dossier of Deals Sale!

THE Year-End Clearance Sale!

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

Helen McCarthy

Helen McCarthy
[ Photo by Steve Kyte ]

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

Claymore DVD 1 (Hyb)Congratulations to the winners of our Claymore contest! The following five winners will soon receive their own copy of Claymore DVD 1, courtesy of FUNimation: Jennifer B of Santa Clarita, California; John D of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Chris C of Catonsville, Maryland; Kerri R of Council Bluffs, Iowa; and Chris S of Fargo, North Dakota! If you didn’t win this time around, don’t let it stop you from checking out this dark, medieval fantasy: DVDs 1 and 2 are now available and DVD 3 is scheduled to street on February 3rd.

The Grand Chef ContestNext up, YA and Right Stuf will be offering listeners the chance to preview the historical drama The King and I! Three runners up will receive gift packages containing the first three episodes of The King and I, plus the series poster, and one grand prize winner will receive a K-drama goodie bag featuring the first three episodes of The King and I and The Grand Chef, along with posters of each, PLUS a bonus preview disc! To enter – and see the prizes – check out the Contest page in the “What’s Hot” bar at – before January 29th. We’ll announce the winners during the January 30th episode of Anime Today!

And finally, Right Stuf and Bandai Entertainment are excited to offer up five pairs of tickets to the theatrical screenings of Sword of the Stranger, a new film from the creative team behind Cowboy Bebop, on February 5th! 

Visit the contest page and follow the links to see if the movie will be screening in your area, and then get your entry in before Wednesday, January 28th. We’ll be announcing the winners during the next episode of Anime Today!

Sword of the Stranger Contest
Click HERE to enter the new Sword of the Stranger Contest!

Anime and Gamer's Guide with Kris and Judy

Rayman, Rayman Raving Rabbids, the character of Rayman, Ubisoft and the Ubisoft logo are trademarks of Ubisoft Entertainment in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party:
Raving Rabbids UK Portal:

Dragon Ball Z Season 8 Uncut DVD Set (Hyb)

If…/then with Christy

The recently released Ouran High School Host Club anime is one of those shows it’s almost impossible not to enjoy.  The series primarily takes place at an exclusive, private school where a handful of extremely pretty, ludicrously wealthy and somewhat ridiculous boys have banded together to form their very own host club. There they spend their days entertaining their equally wealthy and ridiculous female peers -- which proves that, even if money can’t buy you love, it can at least buy you a few minutes, and a cup of tea, with a handsome schoolmate.

When scholarship student Haruhi Fujioka ends up in their midst due to a mishap with a pricey vase, the lines and walls characters have drawn and built up around them, start to blur and tumble down.

Ouran is a lighthearted, silly and thoroughly charming series that also has surprising moments of real depth and character growth, particularly with Haruhi, Tamaki and the Hitachin twins. It’s that well executed balancing act that had me marathoning my way through Part 2 the moment I got my hands on a copy.

Having flown through the anime and being caught up with the North American releases of the ongoing manga, I’m going through a little bit of Tamaki withdrawal. If you, too, just finished or are anxiously awaiting the second half of the season, there are a number of titles I think will make the pain of re-entering a Ouran-less world a little less difficult to deal with.

First, if you haven’t started reading Bisco Hatori’s Ouran manga, you need to.

If, however, you’re ready to leave the Ouran High School grounds, and you just couldn’t get enough of the chemistry that came about from Haruhi and Tamaki’s juxtaposed personalities, you may want to give Full Metal Panic? Fumoffua try. Like the Ouran leads, Kaname and Sousuke come from entirely different backgrounds, and when circumstances thrust them together, wackiness ensues. Though Sousuke isn’t ridiculous in the same way that Tamaki is, he too has serious difficulty relating to the “regular” world, and Kaname is the one who has to deal with the results of his actions – often to hilarious effect.

Fumoffu is actually the second season of the Full Metal Panic! series, and it focuses on a number of comedic side stories we don’t get to see in the first season. It’s Full Metal Panic!-lite and perfect for those who love quirky characters and “the funny,” but are perhaps a little less intrigued by dramatic mech battles. And don’t worry – even if you haven’t seen the first season, you can just jump right in.

If you’re an Ouran fan most drawn to the reverse harem-esque nature of Haruhi and the host club boys, you might find The Wallflower to be a great, if oddly alternative, series to follow.

The Wallflower anime is incredibly bizarre, occasionally gross…and I absolutely love it! Following the story of four beautiful boys who make a deal with their landlady to live rent free in exchange for making-over her niece, what could have been your average makeover story is turned completely on its head. Sunako, the landlady’s niece, is nobody’s Eliza Doolittle, and while she occasionally capitulates with the boys’ plans when they offer her some incentive, you better believe that the minute she gets what she wants, she’s back in her goth inspired bedroom playing with her anatomical dummies and skeletons…don’t ask.

Though I’d say the behavior in The Wallflower is more strange than silly, there’s still the appeal of very different personalities learning to deal with one another and, like Ouran, moments of serious depth, especially with Sunako and Kyohei.

The Wallflower is also based on the manga by Tomoko Hayakawa, which is now up to its 17th volume here in the US.

While I was predominantly drawn to the silliness of Ouran, a number of our listeners focused on other themes when they posted their recommendations in our Anime Today forums.

For cross-dressing high school students, Tsunami3k recommends Princess Princess, a series where it’s the boys who have to face the challenge of dressing as someone of the opposite sex.

Exorcist Ohki thinks fans should take a chance on Kyo Kara Maoh!, which, while a fantasy series rather than one taking place in a school, shares a couple major characteristics with Ouran. Not only is the cast chock-full of handsome men, it’s also a hilarious comedy, which mocks a number of the clichés in its own genre.

Finally, Stefanie’s recs take a look at Ouran from almost every angle. She recommends fans look to manga like Pretty Face, Yubisaki Milk Tea and W Juliet along with series franchises including Fruits Basket, Here is Greenwood and Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl.

All of these titles, as well as a number of other recs made on the forums, are available now in North America.

To view all of the recommendations, or provide some of your own, head to our Anime Today discussion forums, and make a post in the OURAN If…/then thread. You’ll also find rec threads for potential If…/then segments along with a new If…/then suggestion thread where you can let us know what recent series you’d like to see featured in upcoming episodes.

What our customers are saying

This episode features music from:

  • Shiawase no Elephant byMIX

    Shiawase no Elephant by MIX Market

    0:00:00 --- 04. chiisanashiawase

    0:02:23 --- 03. Stand up

    0:05:40 --- 08. answered

    0:07:26 --- 05. broad casting

    0:25:01 --- 06. FRANK

    0:27:00 --- 02. kimitobokunoainouta

    0:36:15 --- 05. broad casting

    1:03:30 --- 07. Welcome home. Im home.

    1:08:55 --- 09. LIVE BOKURANOHOSHI

    1:11:35 --- 05. broad casting

    1:22:26 --- 10. Shiawase no Elephant

    1:24:54 --- 01. MONSTER