ANIME TODAY #105: Talking PLUTO With Translators Frederik L. Schodt & Jared CookPosted on: Friday, November 6, 2009
Episode run down:
For today's show, we've got a terrific three part interview with the co-translators of Naoki Urasawa's Pluto manga Fred Schodt and Jared Cook! Mr. Schodt is a very well respected writer and manga historian who was on the podcast a couple years ago to talk about his latest book, The Astro Boy Essays. Mr. Cook has been his long-time friend and translation partner on other projects such as Tezuka's Phoenix manga and excerpts of Tezuka's Princess Knight for Shojo Beat.
Our two featured tracks from JapanFiles.com this episode will be J-punk inspired covers from U.S. artists: MORNING GLORY's “Time After Time” off their new mini EP Remember and ketchup mania's “Welcome to Paradise” from their latest Best of album. You'll find links to both artists download pages at the bottom of this episode's show notes at AnimeToday.com. JapanFiles.com makes purchasing your own copy of these tracks a piece of cake and not only are you getting legal and DRM-free MP3s, but you'll also get them for only 99 cents each.
The latest What’s Hot in the World of Anime and Manga kicks off year 5 followed by Rich with the remaining 4 days of our current Revolutionary Savings on DVDs, Blu-ray and more from Bandai Entertainment! Next, we'll dial up Fred and Jared on the west coast for the first part of their joint interview and then get your head boppin' to the beats of MORNING GLORY with “Time After Time.” Nick and Rich continue our tour of Right Stuf with our next installment of Best Wishes, Stuf. We’ll be chatting with our wonderful customer service department, visiting accounting, and starting to take a look at what happens in our warehouse. Then, we’ll continue our interview with Fred Schodt and Jared Cook, followed by Marie aiming her spotlight at the first Karakuri Odette graphic novel. ketchup mania’s “Welcome to Paradise” is up next, followed by Nick and Rich giving you a rundown of upcoming conventions. Fred and Jared return for the last portion of their interview, and then we’ll finish up this episode with some customer reviews from RightStuf.com.
Still stinging from an embarrassing childhood defeat, Hikari Hanazono has made it her goal in life to beat Kei Takishima at something – anything! Though years have passed, Hikari finds herself always failing to wrest first place from Kei’s hands. She’s even unable to best him at being named top student at their exclusive high school. Unbeknownst to Hikari, Kei’s been in love with her all this time.
Will Hikari manage to one-up Kei without trampling his heart? Find out when Special A (S.A) DVD Collection 1 arrives on November 10th.
No matter what the consequences, high schooler Jandi refuses to back down from defending the rights of others. But when her principles clash with the school’s reining clique - the Boys of F4 - she might be in for more than she can handle!
To everyone’s surprise, when Jandi fights back without hesitation, she ends up turning their scorn into respect, and in the case of F4 leader Joon Pyo, maybe something even more.
A live-action adaption of Yoko Kamio’s Hana Yori Dango manga, the Boys Over Flowers DVD Box Set 1 streets on November 17th.
Tokyo-3 still stands after most of civilization was decimated in the Second Impact. Now the city endures the ceaseless onslaught of the deadly Angels, bizarre creatures bent on eradicating the human race. To combat this strange and ruthless enemy, the government agency NERV constructs a fleet of towering humanoid machines - the Evas - and Shinji Ikari is called into action, reluctantly taking his place at the controls of Eva Unit 01.
Director Hideaki Anno’s new big-screen adaptation of his most famous anime, Evangelion, Neon Genesis: 1.01 You Are (Not) Alone DVD launches on November 17th.
Composed of a motorcycle-organ hybrid riding musician and an ageless spirit resembling a young girl, the Tsuge Divine Music Players Office is at your service. Following the song of the open road, the duo makes a living righting the wrongs they come across as they travel – from fixing random broken objects to orchestrating rescue missions.
They're not just musical partners—they’re professional troubleshooters who provide their own theme music!
Join in the song and dance of Polyphonica DVD Complete Collection on November 17th.
Destroying supernatural monsters... Dispelling dark magic... It's all in a day's work for the mages of Astral! However, after the mysterious disappearance of the company president, they're left in a lurch. His son, Itsuki Iba, begrudgingly fills in, but Itsuki's unfamiliarity with magic could spell bad news for Astral - especially with their rival Goetia vying for the very same contracts. As the jobs grow ever more dangerous, they soon find that staying in business is the least of their worries!
Discover if Itsuki has what it takes when Rental Magica DVD Collection 1 clocks in on November 24th.
Kagome is your average, modern Japanese high schooler – that is, until she’s pulled out of her own time and dropped into a magic-filled ancient Japan! As she ventures into the world of the past, Kagome discovers that more than a few of the old myths and legends are true. With her destiny strangely linked to Inuyasha – a dog-like half-demon – the pair must gather the scattered shards of the mystical Shikon Jewel before the tiny pieces fall into the hands of power hungry demons everywhere.
See how the much-loved anime series got it start when Inu Yasha BIG Edition Graphic Novel 1 hits shelves on November 10th.
Shawne's Specials and the Revolutionary Savings Sale!
Jared Cook & Fred Schodt
Right Stuf Contests and Updates
Congratulations to the three winners of our Otaku Week #31 contest: Linda A of Milford, Connecticut; Angela W of Frederick, Maryland; and Jacob L of Helena, Montana! Each of you will soon receive a copy of the PS3 game, Mobile Suit Gundam Crossfire.
And congratulations to our Week #32 winner! Marie A of Kent, Washington will soon receive a copy of the original Blood: The Last Vampire anime film on DVD.
In the next Otaku Weekly Prize Blitz contest, one lucky anime fan will win a copy of the digitally remastered, uncut Dragon Ball season one box set.
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 November 12th. And keep checking back: The next contest after that kicks off on November 13th! We’ll announce both sets of winners both via Twitter and on the next episode of Anime Today!
Last month, Nozomi Entertainment released Kimba the White Lion Mini Set 1, and today, we’re excited to announce the winner of our recent Kimba contest! Congratulations to William B of Portage, Indiana! You will soon be receiving an official Jungle Emperor Leo wrist watch, straight from Japan!
Next up, to celebrate the release of Boys Over Flowers, Part 1 – the Korean live-action adaptation of Yoko Kamio’s classic Hana Yori Dango shoujo manga – Right Stuf and YA Entertainment are teaming up for a contest worthy of the F4! Anime Today listeners have the chance to win one of six Boys Over Flowers gift packs: (1) Grand Prize winner will receive a copy of the first box set, featuring the first 12 episodes of the series (and a 34-page, full-color photo book), plus a poster, and (5) runner ups will each receive a Boys Over Flowers preview disc and poster!
Visit the contest section at RightStuf.com, and get your entry in before Thursday, December 3rd. We’ll announce the winner during the December 4th episode of Anime Today!
Best Wishes, Stuf – Part 2
From fanciful tales of automata in Greek mythology and mechanical wonders is ancient China to R2-D2 and C-3PO, robots and stories about them have been delighting listeners for hundreds of centuries. Japan, of course, is no exception, and wind-up-powered automatons called “karakuri” served as entertainment as far back as the 1700s in the island nation. Since then, manga and anime have picked up the robotic ball and run with it, exploring everything from the approximation of humanity in androids to which paint job makes a 60-foot Gundam look its best. It’s the former that gets attention in Julietta Suzuki’s debut work, Karakuri Odette.
Karakuri Odette’s premise is a simple one. Odette is a highly sophisticated android created by the eccentric Professor Yoshizawa and possesses an unusual amount of curiosity for a robot. While watching TV one day, she wonders at the difference between herself and the girls on the screen, so she asks the professor to let her attend school so she can learn about being more human. Professor Yoshizawa indulges her, ostensibly so he can collect data, and after some wrangling with the principal and an agreement not to let the other students catch on to her android status it’s off to hight school for Odette. However, no matter how similar she manages to act to her classmates, she’s always left with the knowledge that inside, she’s made of mechanical parts.
Defying the usual “robot in school” comedy stereotypes, Karakuri Odette is told as a series of emotionally evocative vignettes. Because Odette can’t feel, you find yourself thinking about how you would feel in her place, lingering over the panels and comparing it with her reaction. Light humor touches the stories throughout – Odette has a wicked deadpan – but the best moments are those that focus on common happiness, sadness, friendship, unease, and so on. Odette’s strong characterization helps, too. She’s innately stronger and smarter than almost everyone around her and blunt to a fault, but she’s also naïve and curious, and not yet capable of distinguishing when someone might be taking advantage of her. Sympathizing with her is strikingly easy, both for the reader and the classmates who stumble upon her secret.
Karakuri Odette uses that characterization and sympathy to delve into human nature, getting surprisingly deep before you even notice. A large amount of attention is devoted to the difference between fake and real, and particularly the uncanny valley between them. More subtly, however, several stories focus on our tendency as people to latch onto things and assign them human-like qualities even when we clearly know they’re not and never will be human. But then again, where do we draw the line, and why is it so obvious when you see it but so hard to describe? Is there a lot more or a lot less to being “human” than we think? For example, Odette notices that she doesn’t eat food like her classmates, so the professor modifies her so that she can eat. But even though Odette can now chew, she’s only going through the motions – she can’t process the food into energy and it just sits in her body until she physically removes it later. Julietta Suzuki leaves these questions open, simply presenting Odette and her actions and letting her audience work out for themselves their own ideas of what constitutes humanity.
Though marketed as a comedy and obviously shojo in design – just look at the pretty cover - Karakuri Odette goes straight into the science fiction section on my shelves. It’s not especially hard science, along the lines of Isaac Asimov, but it’s not soft either. You’ll find several similarities to Asimov’s familiar laws of robotics, such as Odette being programmed not to harm humans, and the so-called “last law,” which states robots will eventually tend to become more human. In addition, though we experience the story through the eyes of Odette, who is relatively sheltered from goings-on in the world, every now and then we are given glimpses into a larger backstory. Secrecy, android creator meetings, targeted bombings, computer viruses, robot treatment, and more all come into play, and I look forward to seeing these fleshed out in subsequent volumes.
Humorous and thought-provoking, Karakuri Odette is a fresh new take on an old genre that combines the pretty and character-oriented tones of shojo with the philosophy and wonder of mid-twentieth century science fiction. Younger children will gloss right over most of the story’s depth, but I highly recommend Karakuri Odette to all teenagers and adults.
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Featured Tracks from JapanFiles.com
Remember by MORNING GLORY
#2. Time After Time
The Best of ketchup mania - indie edition by ketchup mania
#14. Welcome to Paradise (Green Day)