ANIME TODAY #106: Discussing the ART OF OSAMU TEZUKA With Writer & Anime Expert Helen McCarthy

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Episode run down:

For this episode, we’re very pleased to welcome back Helen McCarthy as our guest. During this and the next episode, she’s going to chat with us about two of her most recent projects, The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga and Manga Cross-Stitch. If we manage to peak your interest in her new books, we have them on sale this week at Helen was also our guest in episode 84, where we talked about her book, 500 Essential Anime Movies. If you enjoy the interview this time, you should go back and check that one out as well.

We’re going to be featuring a couple tracks from in this episode: “Stand up!!” from Blue Trike’s CD Daydream, and “folksonomy” from nanocycle’s CD something burning. Check out the bottom of this episode's show notes at for links and more info. Purchasing your own copy of these tracks is a breeze and not only are you getting legal and DRM-free MP3s, but you'll also get them for only 99 cents a piece.

Chad’s leading off this episode with What’s Hot in the World of Anime and Manga, then Shawne’s working on getting everyone in the Spirit to Save on DVDs and more from Media Blasters. Rich then return with our continuing YA Entertainment Boys Over Flowers contest, as well as our Year of the Otaku Weekly Prize Blitz winners.

Ms. Helen McCarthy joins us next for the first of her latest three part interview with Alison, Rich and Nick to chat about her beautiful new book The Art of Osamu Tezuka: The God of Manga. Next, we'll listen to the song “Stand up!!” from's artist Blue Trike followed by the conclusion of Best Wishes, Stuf. Christy enrolls with an all new If Gakuen Alice, Then... segment followed by the latest conventions update. In part two of Ms. McCarthy's interview, we'll continue our discussion on the incredible life of Dr. Tezuka and then we'll wrap up this episode with some new customer reviews from The third and final 25 minutes of Helen's interview will be aired in two weeks on Anime Today #107 where we'll get creative with her latest Manga Cross-Stitch book.

What's Hot?

Back in 1969, a boy named Kenji and his friends wrote The Book of Prophecy – an adventure story that cast them as heroes fighting against an evil organization bent on destroying the world.

Almost three decades later, a series of catastrophes mirroring their childhood play begins to occur, but how is it possible, especially when only Kenji and his friends know about the book? And what if the long ago conclusion they created comes to pass – that on December 31st, 2000, a giant virus-spreading robot will attack Tokyo resulting in the annihilation of mankind?

Will Kenji and his friends unravel the mystery connecting the real world with the imaginary landscape they designed as children in time to save humanity? Watch the mysteries begin to unfold when the live-action adaptation of Naoki Urasawa’s manga, 20th Century Boys DVD 1: Beginning of the End, arrives on December 15th.

Toraji is a sad excuse for a Kendo instructor, and his club is running low on members. But he has a plan to turn things around – convince pint-sized, lightning fast Tamaki to sign-on as his star pupil.

Though it will be challenging, once Tamaki feels like she’s really a part of the team, she has the ability to turn even the sorriest group of misfits into a true sisterhood of the bamboo blade!

Get ready to strike when Bamboo Blade DVD Part 1 streets on November 24th.

The epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms lives on in a modern setting, where Japanese high schools and the students who lead their populations struggle for dominance. Though most are skilled fighters, the two strongest are about to awaken with abilities beyond what anyone’s seen before.

Watch the battles rage in Ikki-Tousen Dragon Destiny DVD 1 on November 24th.

The Divine Empire’s rule seems insurmountable until a critical error is made by one of the organization’s savage priests during an attempt to resurrect a demon lord. Instead of aiding their vicious grab for power, the resurrected Lord Arawn bands together with Riannon, the woman they’d planned to offer as a human sacrifice, and her brother Arthur. Together, they organize a scheme to bring down the Divine Empire once and for all.

Join the resistance with Tears To Tiara DVD Collection 1 on November 24th.

Psychic brothers Naoto and Naoya are cast from their parents’ home and imprisoned in an exploitative research lab. But after they manage to escape, an even greater danger appears when Naoya envisions a coming plague with the power to wipe out humanity.

Can their foresight save the world? Find out when Nighthead Genesis Graphic Novel 1 appears on November 24th.

After her family’s bankruptcy, Choko Kuze becomes an office lady and starts working for a real estate company only to discover that her new boss was the servant boy she knew when she was a child. Though he’s a tyrant at work, in their off hours, he insists on waiting on her as though she was still a woman of means. Can the two find romance despite their change in circumstances?

Butterflies, Flowers Graphic Novel 1 hits shelves on December 1st.

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

Shawne's Specials and the Get in the Spirit to Save Sale!

Shawne's Specials and the Get in the Spirit to Save Sale!

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

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

Congratulations to the winner of our Otaku Week #33 contest: Anthony H of Thayer, Missouri, who will soon receive a copy of the digitally remastered, uncut Dragon Ball DVD Box Set.

And congratulations to our Week #34 winner! Janette O of Poquoson, Virginia, will soon receive a Nippon Ichi Software, Inc. gift set that includes a Prinny plushie and uchiwa (fan).

In the next Otaku Weekly Prize Blitz contest, two lucky anime fans will each receive a water bottle from Viz Media.

To enter this week’s contest – and see a picture of the prize – visit for more information and get your entry to us by the end of the day on December 3rd. We’ll announce both winners on the next episode of Anime Today!

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

Boys Over Flowers, Part 1 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, and get your entry in before Thursday, December 3rd. We’ll announce the winners during the next episode of Anime Today!

Rental Magica posters To gear up for Nozomi Entertainment’s release of Rental Magica, Part 1 on DVD and to mark the grand opening of, we’re excited to offer fans the chance to win one of 10 Rental Magica posters from Japan! Visit to find out more about the series and get in your entry before the end of the day on December 3rd. We’ll announce the winners during the next episode of Anime Today!

Helen McCarthy

Helen McCarthy
[ Photo by Steve Kyte ]

Listen to Ms. McCarthy's previous appearance on Ep. 84!

Ms. McCarthy's site:

A Face Made for Radio: Helen McCarthy's Blog:

Manga Cross-Stitch Fan Page on Facebook:

Spice and Wolf Season 1 DVD Complete Season 1 (Hyb)

Best Wishes, Stuf – Part 3

Best Wishes, Stuf Best Wishes, Stuf Best Wishes, Stuf Best Wishes, Stuf

If…/then with Christy

Gakuen Alice is a little hard to classify. It is a shoujo series, and a great deal of it is lighthearted and giggle-inducing, but it also has some serious quirks and a tone that vacillates from charmingly sweet to dark and occasionally melancholy within the space of a single episode. With Mikan and her perpetually upbeat personality as the center of the story, even the darkest moments never turn to melodrama, but it’s the interwoven contrasting moods that make this show far more interesting than your average schoolroom tale. The well-paced plot not only tickles your funny bone, but also tugs at your heart.

From the somewhat abusive, axe-wielding teddy bear with an unshakable devotion to his creator to Mikan and Hotaru’s hot-and-cold friendship – the series is full of intriguing elements. It’s no wonder the show has found a place amongst anime fans.

I am also a major fan of Tachibana Higuchi’s Gakuen Alice manga, and I strongly recommend it to fans who enjoyed the anime. There’s so much to the story that couldn’t be covered in just 26 episodes, and the manga gives the characters (and twisting plotlines) room to breathe. Even with the additional room for development, though, the pacing is still even – each new volume is as excellent as the last.

If you’re looking for other layered series that are far more than what they may seem on the surface, then you might want to check out Fruits Basket and Kodocha.

Fruits Basket centers on Tohru Honda – a character whose sunny disposition rivals that of Pollyanna, but somehow manages to keep from ever being particularly annoying. She’s dropped into what at first seems like a comical situation involving a curse and the Sohma family, but along the way, the story ends up being a fairly epic drama that spans 26 episodes of anime and 23 volumes of manga. Though cute and fluffy at first glance, there are some real moments of menace to the story and characters who are truly damaged individuals.

It’s those complexities that have kept fans of the series coming back for more over the years.

And like Gakuen Alice and Fruits Basket, Kodocha toys with the juxtaposition of seemingly warring tones – waffling from an almost frenetic mood to a heartbreaking one. The hyper-cute character designs seem to make the darker moments all the more effective by being somewhat jarring to see on screen.

Do you have a suggestion for fans of Gakuen Alice? Make sure you head to our Anime Today discussion forums on, and make a post in the Gakuen Alice If…/Then thread.

Or, if you want to get a head start on making recommendations for next time, we’ve also posted the thread for our next If…/Then feature, which will cover Ghost Hound Collection 1.

You’ll also find rec threads for other potential If…/Then segments.

We love getting feedback, and you never know -- you just might hear your recommendations on a future episode.

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