ANIME TODAY #101: Previewing the New York Anime Festival 2009 With Organizers Peter Tatara & Kim Mueller

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Episode run down:

The New York Anime Festival is only a few weeks away and this episode, we'll be chatting it up about all the excitement that awaits this year's attendees. And for those of us rocking the “stay-cations” this summer, we'll clue you in to a few ways you can keep up with this year's NYAF events and announcements right from your home computer.

Another way to get involved is just by listening to this episode. The music we'll be sampling is from one of this year's NYAF musical guests, Swinging Popsicle. We've sampled from their second full length CD, Go on, in episode 60, and their first, transit, in episode 76. Now we'll be sampling from their latest full length CD, LOUD CUT, which was just released yesterday at JapanFiles.com. Be sure to head over to JapanFiles.com if you like what you are hearing. We've posted a full list with the times each song was played at the bottom of this episode’s show notes at AnimeToday.com.

What’s Hot in the World of Anime and Manga is up first and then Christy is “Making Time for Bargains” with amazing deals on videos and manga from Section23 Films.

The New York Anime Festival is right around the corner, and we asked Peter Tatara, the Programming Director, and Kim Mueller, the Programming Coordinator, to join us this episode. Then you’ll find out the winner of the Castlevania Judgment Wii game when I return with the winner of this week’s “Year of the Otaku” contest. Nick and Rich run down upcoming conventions, followed by Marie’s impressions of the Phantom Dream manga. To wrap up this episode, we have a few customer reviews from RightStuf.com.

What's Hot?

When Yuta Takemoto enrolls at a Tokyo art college, he has no idea what life has in store for him, but he quickly finds out that things won’t ever be dull. Takemoto and his classmate Shinobu Morita get entangled in a love triangle with shy, artistic prodigy Hagumi Hanamoto. And architecture student Takumi Mayama deals with his own love troubles as he pines for an older woman, while ceramicist Ayu Yamada secretly pines for him. Romance and friendship are intricately linked in the bittersweet world of Honey and Clover.

Get drawn into the circle of Honey and Clover DVD Box Set 1 on September 22nd.

When a platoon of amphibious invaders’ plan to conquer planet Earth goes awry, Keroro, Sgt. Frog, finds himself abandoned. The former warrior now spends more time wielding a vacuum than weapons of war. Even so, while his glory days as a soldier seem to be all but gone, Sergeant Frog still occasionally dreams of overcoming his karaoke addiction and reassembling his scattered troops.

Prepare for the amphibian takeover when Sgt. Frog DVD Season 1 Part 1 hops in on September 22nd.

Born from a wooden statue carved by Jin, Nagi is the physical incarnation of the town deity, Kannagi. With nowhere else to go, Nagi lives with Jin and orders him to help her clean the “impurities” plaguing the land.

Besides struggling to deal with his new, uninvited roommate, Jin’s life gets even more complicated with rumors going around about his relationship with his friend, Daitetsu. And Nagi seems to be going through an existential crisis as she questions her own divinity and suddenly disappears when she goes looking for answers.

Will Nagi find her own reason for being? Find out when Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens DVD 2 arrives on September 24th.

Tadayasu just wants to be a normal college student, but despite his bright, fresh-faced appearance, he’s hiding a strange secret: he can see germs with the naked eye. Between eccentric professors bent on unlocking the power of the microbial world and his fellow students’ doomed agricultural experiments, Tadayasu finds that university life is a little different from what he expected.

See how Tadayasu’s “gift” affects his life when Moyasimon Graphic Novel 1 hits shelves on September 29th.

In the long-awaited sixth volume of Yotsuba, the titular green-haired imp gets a bike, learns about recycling and sticky notes, and faces everyday adventures with a loveable smile.

Find out what antics she gets into next when Yotsuba&! Graphic Novel 6 and re-releases of volumes 1 through 5 street on September 30th.

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

Shawne's Specials and the Make Time for Bargains Sale!

Shawne's Specials and the Make Time for Bargains Sale!

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

Peter Tatara and Kim Mueller from the New York Anime Festival

Peter Tatara and Kim Mueller from the New York Anime Festival

New York Anime Festival: http://www.newyorkanimefestival.com/
MediumAtLarge.net Blog: http://www.mediumatlarge.net/
Streaming Medium Podcast: http://www.streamingmedium.com/
Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2): http://www.c2e2.com/

On Twitter:
@NY_Anime_Fest: http://twitter.com/NY_Anime_Fest
@petertatara: http://twitter.com/petertatara
@lfensterman: http://twitter.com/lfensterman

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid DVD Complete Series (Hyb) Remastered

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

Congratulations to our Otaku Week #23 winner: Cheyl V of San Ramon, California, will soon receive the first and second volumes of Hiro Mashima's popular manga, Fairy Tail.

And congratulations to our Week #24 winner, Leslie B of Houston, Texas, who will soon receive a copy of the Wii game, Castlevania Judgement!

This week, one lucky video game fan will win the PS3 game, Soul Calibur IV.

To enter for this week’s contest – and see a picture of the prize – visit otaku.rightstuf.com for more information and get your entry to us by the end of the day on September 17th, 2009. And keep checking back: The next contest after that kicks off on September 18th, 2009! We’ll announce both sets of winners via Twitter and on the next episode of Anime Today!

Enter the "Weekly Prize Blitz" Contest!
Enter the "Weekly Prize Blitz" Contest!

Congratulations to the 10 lucky fans who have each won a pair of tickets to Bandai Entertainment and Fathom’s upcoming screening of the Eureka Seven film, “good night, sleep tight, young lovers.” They include: Jesse B of Choctaw, Oklahoma; Khadijah F of Orlando, Florida; Christopher R of Amsterdam, New York; Christopher T of Kailua, Hawaii; Irving C of Colton, California; Christopher J of Huntsville, Alabama; Ariane S of San Antonio, Texas; Joanne W of Creedmoor, North Carolina; Elizabeth B of Martinsville, Indiana; and Timothy L of Middleboro, Massachusetts.

Eureka Seven good night, sleep tight, young lovers

Fruits Basket limited-edition lithograph And finally, Right Stuf and FUNimation are excited to offer one fan the chance to bring a little art from Fruits Basket into his or her life! In our newest contest, one lucky fan will receive a copy of the Fruits Basket limited-edition lithograph that is signed by the voice actors who played Yuki, Kyo, Tohru and Shigure in FUNimation’s English-language adaptation!

Visit the contest section at RightStuf.com and get your entry in before Wednesday, September 23rd. We’ll be announcing the winners during the September 25th episode of Anime Today!


Animecons.com

Marie's Spotlight

Fruits Basket may be over, but fans of Natsuki Takaya looking for something new to read won’t have far to search. Phantom Dream, Natsuki Takaya’s first manga series and now being serialized in the United States, is a fascinating look at her earlier work and a first-class read besides. But don’t go into it expecting another 20+ volumes building up characters while carefully doling out the plot. Phantom Dream cranks up the action and adds an elaborate backstory on top of her already strong character development, moving along at a breakneck pace to clock in at only five volumes – a perfectly sized adventure to curl up with on a rainy-day afternoon.

High school student Otoya Tamaki is the one and only heir to his family’s temple, though he’d really rather he weren’t. Being heir also makes him the temple’s Shugoshi, a summoner who can exorcise people who have been possessed by evil spirits called Jaki. Unfortunately, not only is exorcism difficult work that involves chasing after dead leads as often as it pays off, it may or may not cost the possessed person their life as well. Several years ago his grandfather sacrificed his life to put a stop to the evil spirits, but now they’re back in a big way.

Supporting Tamaki is the cheerful Asahi, his remarkably understanding and unspoken girlfriend, and his stern mother, who is intent on teaching her son to take the family traditions seriously. Not supporting Tamaki are the members of the temple’s branch families, who’d rather see him fail, and actively working against him are the Jahoutsukai, a demonic family just as ancient as the Otoyas and who seem to be creating the Jaki with some larger, dark purpose in mind. Each exorcism only further embroils Tamaki in murky plots and harsh choices, but with Asahi staunchly at his side, he should be fine, right? Right…?

While clearly shojo by both spirit and pedigree, Phantom Dream ventures into surprisingly unusual territory for the genre. Relationships are already established, and there’s very little drama, for example, about who Tamaki likes or who kissed who. Heck, Tamaki and Asahi are already sleeping together by the start of the series with his mother’s tacit approval. Meanwhile, Natsuki Takaya borrows heavily from shonen, what with the many face offs, focus on doing what’s right, and quick accumulation of enemies turned loyal friends. However, she’s replaced what would normally be the extensive build up and filler in any other manga series with a couple of representative chapters and skipped straight to the big exciting arc at the end, where everything is explained and then the good guys take on the bad guys in a grand finale. I’m reminded of nothing so much as William Goldman talking about his “good parts version” of the Princess Bride, which is no bad thing.

The characters of Phantom Dream have great development, as you would expect. They were the best part of Fruits Basket, and they’re the best part here, too. Natsuki Takaya's talent for creating a cast of eminently likeable people is on full display, and it’s a rare character that doesn’t become a fully fleshed out, interestingly flawed, and generally all-around sympathetic human being within a few chapters of their introduction. Of course, due to the familiar art style there’s a natural instinct to start making comparisons, and some characters do initially seem like early versions of later Fruits Basket characters. However, if you start trying to put them in boxes during volume one I guarantee you’ll be in for some major surprises by volume three.

Those surprises go double for the plot, which is packed with a number of twists I definitely didn’t see coming. Despite its setup of Jaki and exorcisms, Phantom Dream is less about good and evil and more about people with conflicting goals, though some far more ruthless about obtaining what they want than others. Recurring themes, such as family expectations and the importance of trust, twine about the narrative, adding an intriguing insight here and an ironic echo there, and many of the characters have counterparts and foils on the other side of the conflict. It should be noted, however, that it does take a few chapters before the story is established enough to start making those twists, and I’d suggest reading at least the first two volumes back to back instead of volume one on its own due to the somewhat slow start before the cliffhangers begin.

Obviously the author and characterization make Phantom Dream an easy recommendation for fans of Fruits Basket, but it’s definitely capable of standing on its own as well. Highly recommended to those who like their shojo heavily laced with action, angst, and gut-wrenching plot twists, such as X/1999, Ayashi no Ceres, and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.

What our customers are saying...

Music this episode featured from:

00:00 --- 01. Perfect Loop

02:32 --- 06. Seijyaku to Ryuusei

05:52 --- 04. UN-K.O. -Our Day Will Come-

08:15 --- 02. (a)SLOW STAR

28:02 --- 05. Kururi Sakura Hirari

30:41 --- 07. Meet U

32:30 --- 03. Good Time

33:22 --- 09. Let Me Fly -Tenshi no Uta (remastered)

39:46 --- 12. Snowism (remastered)

42:32 --- 10. 10. Afterglow (remastered mono mix)

43:26 --- 11. I just wanna kiss you (remastered mono mix)