ANIME TODAY #103: Tokyo Game Show Special

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Episode run down:

With the changing of the seasons comes a slight change in our podcast music. We now are going to highlight more than one JapanFiles.com artist per episode AND with full length tracks without interruption. First up will be the track “Burn Me Away” off GUARDIAN HACKER's CD FLARE IN REVERBERATION. The second track later in the episode will be “Aurora” from Furil's CD ether. Check out the bottom of this episode's show notes at AnimeToday.com for links and more info. Purchasing your own copy of these tracks is a breeze and not only are you guaranteed legal and DRM-free mp3's, but you'll also get them at more than triple the audio quality of this podcast for only 99 cents a piece.

Throughout the entire episode, however, you'll be sampling tracks from two Yoko Ishida CDs from Geneon, which can be found in limited quantities in our online store for only $5 each! You may recognize a few of the tracks from her CDs All Of Me and Sweets because a few of them are from hit anime series like Ai Yori Aoshi, Ah! My Goddess and Pretear!

Highlighting some of the bigger announcements from the Tokyo Game Show will be Kris and Judy with their new two part Anime and Gamer's Guide to Japan. All gamers should listen in, especially if you're a Final Fantasy addicts like the two of them.

Getting us started is Chad and What’s Hot in the World of Anime and Manga, followed by Shawne with Supernatural Savings on manga and books from VIZ Media. Catch up on our latest contests and then sit back and enjoy the melancholic rock of GUARDIAN HACKER.

Kris and Judy are talking about several of the new games introduced at the Tokyo Game Show in this episode’s Anime and Gamer's Guide. Marie will then aim her spotlight at the first Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee graphic novel followed by the beautiful melodies of Furil. Nick and Rich return and rundown a few late-October and early-November conventions. And finally, we’ll wrap up this episode with a few customer reviews from RightStuf.com.

What's Hot?

In an alternate Germany, mechanized monsters stalk the land and brutally slay those unlucky enough to cross their paths. Possessing the ability to fuse with technology, these creatures are known as Demoniacs and are virtually unstoppable.

Joseph Jobson is perhaps civilization’s last hope for salvation. Swathed in mystery, he, too, can combine with technology and uses it to join together with his battle-tested motorcycle. But the same blood-born plague that created the Demoniacs runs through his veins and threatens to take control of his soul, leaving behind only a murderous monster.

Can evil be pushed back? Join the fight when Blassreiter DVD Complete Series Part 1 attacks on October 20th.

Demons have infested Earth and only one warrior stands between the dark and the light: Saya, a half-human, half-vampire samurai who preys on those who feast on human blood. Joining forces with the shadowy society known as the Council, Saya is dispatched to an American military base, where an intense series of swordfights leads her to the deadliest vampire of all. After 400 years, Saya's greatest hunt is about to begin.

Watch Saya’s epic battle unfold when the Blood: The Last Vampire Movie DVD and Blu-ray street on October 20th.

The long anticipated anime Blood+ DVD Part 2 also arrives on October 20th.

Tomoya Okazaki led anything but a charmed life, and because of a series of tragic events, he’d grown difficult and sullen. Labeled a delinquent by his school, Tomoya saw each day as one more dull experience after the other. That is, until the morning he mets the odd, yet intriguing Nagisa Furukawa. Their chance meeting shifted into a friendship, which leads Tomoya’s life in a whole new direction.

Picking up where Clannad left off, After Story follows Tomoya and Nagisa over the next ten years of their time living together as a family.

Revisit Tomoya and Nagisa’s world when Clannad After Story DVD Collection 1 streets this October 20th.

Memories of painful childhood trauma give three teenage boys the mystical ability to slip through time and space into a parallel dimension called the Unseen World. But something goes horribly awry when ghosts from the Unseen World begin appearing in the real world.

Start to unravel the mystery when Ghost Hound DVD Collection 1 lands on October 20th.

When she was a small child, Sakura Mamiya disappeared in the woods beyond her grandma’s house. She mysteriously returned whole and healthy, but the experience left her with a mystical power – an ability to see ghosts!

Years later, Sakura is a teenager and just wants to live a normal life sans-spirits. Even stranger things begin happening when her always-absent classmate, Rinne Rokudo, finally shows up at school.

Far more than what he seems, Rinne is about to draw Sakura even deeper into the amazing world between life and death.

Get ready for a new adventure when RIN-NE Graphic Novel 1 hits shelves on October 20th.

A dream recaptured. A life on a new track. The absurdity of death. Laughter in the face of reality. Through a series of intersecting stories, Inio Asano explores the complexities of modern life.

Get drawn into What a Wonderful World Graphic Novel 1 on October 20th.

Shawne's Specials and the Supernatural Savings Sale!

Shawne's Specials and the Supernatural Savings Sale!

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

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

Congratulations to our Otaku Week #27 winner: Ken R of Keyport, New Jersey, who will soon receive a Rumbling Hearts DVD box set, including the original art box and volumes 1 through 3.

And congratulations to our Week #28 winner: Nanette O of Santaquin, Utah, who will soon receive a copy of the Nintendo DS game, Away: Shuffle Dungeon.

This week, we’re offering the chance to win a limited-edition Hellsing Ultimate bust!

To enter 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 October 15th. And keep checking back: The next contest after that kicks off on October 16th! We’ll announce both sets of winners both via Twitter and on the next episode of Anime Today!

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

Suguri Perfect EditionRight Stuf and Rockin’ Android are teaming for a new contest that offers gamers a chance to win one of five copies of the Suguri Perfect Edition game for Windows PCs, one of the most acclaimed side-scrolling shooter/fighter titles to emerge from Japan’s indie gaming scene! Each Perfect Edition DVD includes two complete games as well as the games' original soundtracks!

Visit the contest section at RightStuf.com and get your entry in before Thursday, October 22nd. We’ll be announcing the winners during the October 23rd episode of Anime Today!


Anime and Gamer's Guide

Anime and Gamer's Guide

Final Fantasy XIII (for PS3/360): http://na.square-enix.com/ff13/
Final Fantasy XIV (for PS3/PC): http://na.finalfantasyxiv.com/
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers (for Wii): http://na.square-enix.com/ffcccb/
White Knight Chronicles (for PS3): http://www.gametrailers.com/video/gc-09-white-knight/54400
Infinite Space (for DS): http://mugen.sega.jp/
Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles (for Wii): http://www.gametrailers.com/video/tgs-09-resident-evil/56516
Ghost Trick (for DS): http://www.gametrailers.com/video/tgs-09-ghost-trick/56907
Tsumuji (for DS): http://ds.ign.com/articles/102/1027535p1.html
Joy Ride (for 360): http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/j/joyridexboxlivearcade/

Dragon Ball Z Season 1 Dragon Box Z DVD Set (Hyb)

 

Marie's Spotlight: Tegami Bachi

From time immemorial, light and dark have been synonyms for good and evil. After-twilight hours are the province of unsavory business and perpetual night a fearful existence to be avoided at all costs. But piercing that darkness has always been the warm glow of family and friends gathering at home, or, when the distance is too far, letters full of feelings sent in their place. In Tegami Bachi, or Letter Bee, the power of Heart isn’t just a running joke from Captain Planet; it’s the only thing that keeps some people going in a world with few other comforts – not to mention a powerful form of giant-bug-killing ammunition, handy in a place like Amberground.

In Amberground, the only sun is a man-made star, and it shines above Akatsuki, the capital city and home of Amberground’s elites and elites only. Farther away from the sun is the district Yuusari, where the star creates an unending twilight and the middle-class pass their days. Farther still is Yodaka, where the sun gives off only as much light as a moon in the starry sky and the poor do what they can to survive. Travel between the districts is carefully regulated, and travel in the lands outside the cities fraught with its own risks. In such an environment, letters are often the only thing connecting loved ones to one another, and it takes a special kind of person to deliver them - a Letter Bee. Charged with delivering letters wherever they need to go as long as the postage is paid, Letter Bees connect the fragmented world of Amberground, often at the risk of their lives. Their primary weapon is Heart, a sort of combination of their life energy and feelings which, when focused via amber, is the only thing that can kill the dangerous creatures called Gaichuu living in the wild lands.

Letter Bee Gauche Suede is surprised when a letter for pickup in the darkest reaches of Yodaka turns out to be a young boy named Lag Seeing. Addressed to his aunt by his mother moments before she was abducted and taken to the capital, Lag has no idea what’s going on, but he doesn’t have time to think anyway before he and Gauche are attacked by a Gaichuu and their harrowing journey to his aunt’s hometown begins. Five years later, Lag has decided to follow in Gauche’s footsteps and become a Letter Bee himself, but just getting to the Bee Hive in Yuusari to take the official test is going to be a trial in and of itself.

Tegami Bachi is definitely on the darker side of the shonen genre, fitting in neatly alongside titles like D.Gray-man, Kekkaishi, and Hunter x Hunter. There’s a sense of danger for everyone involved right from the start, and action scenes are intense not just from the choreography but because something could easily go wrong for our protagonists at any time. Amberground is a world with no mercy, not even for children, - yet, thanks to the focus on Heart and Lag’s unwavering good faith, it’s also a hopeful and optimistic world in between scenes of violence and peril.

Amberground as a setting is so strong and memorable it takes an equally strong cast to stand out against it, but mangaka Hiroyuki Asada has managed ably. Niche, a feral girl who insists on accompanying Lag as his partner and whose hair can turn into wicked-sharp swords, is my favorite thanks to her wild ways, but the others are no less interesting, especially as their backstories are slowly revealed. Lag’s innocent optimism makes him stand out in a world that introduced him to terror at a young age, and Gauche steals not only the opening chapter but even the flashbacks he appears in. It’s not hard to see why Lag would idolize him and aspire to be a Letter Bee like his hero.

As you’ll note with just one glance at the cover, the art is beautifully colored, and I’m glad Viz kept in the opening color pages as well. Hiroyuki Asada uses a rich palette of purples and blues to illustrate his eternal twilight, and the early-established atmosphere permeates the rest of the book. In black and white, his style is polished and distinct, with hard lines in the backgrounds and more rounded, soft ones for the characters, all inked in clean lines that make it easy to “read” the action, as it were. Every spread is full of details, and perpetual night and its accompanying starry sky makes for some remarkable backdrops.

Details are packed in everywhere they’ll fit, from the story to scenery background incidentals. There’s a huge amount of story behind the main plot, and as each piece is revealed the greater puzzle of what’s going on with Amberground is slowly filled in. A number of chapters are best read twice for full effect; the first time to simply enjoy the story, the second to catch the little clues leading up to the reveal. “Professor Thunderland,” a character borrowed from Hiroyuki Asada’s entry in the Robot anthology, appears at the end of each volume to talk about the new places encountered, draw a route map of where Lag’s journey has taken him, details on the different kinds of Gaichuu encountered, and so on.

It may seem a surprising combination, but Tegami Bachi reminds me most of a combination of D.Gray-man’s grim world and plucky protagonist with the sweeping vistas and Akari’s unfailing faith in the power of letters in Aria. Highly recommended to fans of either series, older Shonen Jump fans, and under-appreciated postal workers everywhere.

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