ANIME TODAY #108: Holiday Special: Part 2 of “Anime & Gamer's Holiday Guide”

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Episode run down:

With Christmas right around the corner, we’ve decided to pack this episode with some great holiday music, and a few last minute gift recommendations.

Nick’s picked out 4 great tracks (actually 5 with the ending bonus track "Silent Night") from Swinging Popsicle’s single “At Christmastime,” “Christmas Ha Holy Party” from Vlidge’s CD HIP POPs, “Christmas Night” from Blue Trike’s CD Kimi wo Omou , and finally “Merry Merry X'mas To You” from Sista Five’s CD POWER TO THE PEOPLE. 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.

Kris and Judy are back this time with the second part of their Holiday 2009 Buyer's Guide for otaku and gamers. In the last episode, they talked about anime, gadgets and knick knacks for your favorite otaku, and this time, they’ll move onto some of their favorite video game picks for the XBox, PS3 and Wii, as well as a few other game systems, along with a random assortment of stocking stuffers.

Going into the New Year, we also have a change to how we’re going to be publishing Anime Today. For over four years, we’ve been publishing the podcast every two weeks. In 2010, we’re going to move to a once per month schedule. We’ll still have all your favorite segments including Kris and Judy, Marie’s spotlight, and interviews with people in our industry. And also, if we have extra stuff, we’ll publish an occasional bonus episode. Our first episode for 2010 will be on January 20 and then every month on the third Wednesday following.

Chad’s kicking off this episode with What’s Hot in the World of Anime and Manga, and then Shawne’s going to give you the rundown of our Merchants of Savings sale featuring books from Yen Press. Swinging Popsicle starts off this episode's Christmas music and then we’ll be back with our latest weekly contest winners. Next up, grab your holiday shopping list for the next part of Kris and Judy’s Holiday 2009 Buyer's Guide. Our second Christmas song adds a backtrack beat to the season and then Rich and Nick rundown the latest list of upcoming conventions from Christy gets the shivers with her brand new If Ghost Hound, then... segment followed by a sweet Christmas ballad from Blue Trike. Finally, Kris and Judy wrap up their Holiday 2009 Buyer's Guide and then catch the rhythm of the holidays with Sista Five. Customer reviews close out the last episode of 2009 so on we go with Chad and What's Hot in the World of Anime and Manga.

What's Hot?

After his orchestra disbands, cellist Daigo Kobayashi returns to his hometown with wife Mika in tow. Through a misunderstanding, he ends up taking a job preparing corpses for burial. Fearing the reaction of his family, Daigo struggles to keep his new position a secret, but unexpectedly, while working in the presence of death, he rediscovers the joy and wonder of life.

The Academy Award-winning Japanese film Departures, with music by composer Joe Hisaishi, arrives on January 12th.

When Yuno leaves home to attend Yamabuki Arts High School, it takes a little bit of an adjustment period to get used to living with her new neighbors and fellow art students at Hidamari Apartments. There’s the hyperactive Miyako, the always helpful Hiro and Sae, and a somewhat masculine landlady, just to mention a few of the eccentric new people in her life. But once she begins to bond with those around her, Yuno builds her own makeshift family and support system, as she strives to reach her goal of becoming a great artist.

Find yourself drawn into the warm world of Hidamari Sketch Season 1 DVD Collection on January 12th.

Life onstage is filled with both unbelievable opportunities and terrifying risks. Maya Kitajima’s remarkable acting talent is discovered, by chance, by legendary actress Chigusa Tsukikage, who offers Maya the opportunity to pursue a future in theater. Also longing to be an actress, Ayumi Himekawa struggles to find recognition that’s not tied to her celebrity parents.

To hone their skills, Maya and Ayumi seek out every acting challenge they can find and push their talent and endurance to the limit – all in pursuit of the titular role in The Crimson Goddess. But for one of the girls to win, the other must fail.

The curtain rises when Glass Mask DVD Collection 1 takes the stage on January 29th.

Bearing a grudge against the world, the beautiful Morte is on a quest to avenge her brother who was slain in the war. When she meets Kyrie – a wandering cook who just might hold the key to unlocking a mysterious orb that will end the world – Morte believes she’s found the means to end her vengeful journey. The fate of the world hangs in the balance, but these two aren’t your average heroes.

The end is nigh when Sands of Destruction DVD Complete Series bursts onto the scene on January 26th.

Yukiko is a salarywoman in her thirties who still lives with her mother, Mari. But when Mari decides to marry an ex-host and aspiring actor who’s even younger than Yukiko, their relationship undergoes a drastic change. Yukiko’s convinced her mother’s fiancé has less than noble intentions, but what can she do?

Fumi Yoshinaga, the author of Antique Bakery and Ooku, weaves together five short stories exploring the lives and relationships of Yukiko and her friends in the graphic novel All My Darling Daughters, which hits shelves on January 19th.

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

Shawne's Specials, the Merchants of Savings sale and 12 Days of Anime!

Shawne's Specials and the Merchants of Savings sale

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

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

Congratulations to our Otaku Week #36 winner: Alberto T of Cincinnati, Ohio, who will soon receive a limited edition, 16" by 20" Afro Samurai lithograph autographed by Samuel L. Jackson!

And congratulations to our Otaku Week #37 winner! Angela P of Miramar, Florida will soon receive a YA Entertainment "I Love K-Drama" pack, including screener discs of fan-favorite series Jumong and My Lovely Sam-Soon and a Jumong reference guide.

The next Otaku Weekly contest is another special one! One lucky manga fan will win a copy of Children of the Sea Graphic Novel 1, signed by mangaka Daisuke Igarashi.

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 30th. We’ll announce the winner on the next episode of Anime Today!

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

Congratulations to the winners of our Right Stuf / Nozomi sampler contest. The following fans will each receive a gift pack featuring their choice of two sampler discs from Nozomi Entertainment series, including Emma: A Victorian Romance, ARIA The ANIMATION, Maria Watches Over Us, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor TV Series, Gakuen Alice AND our most recent release, Rental Magica! Michelle B of Columbus, Georgia; Andrew R of Virginia Beach, Virginia; Aaron N of Saranac Lake, New York, Jennifer A of Westland, Michigan; Sharon M of Hammond, Louisiana.

20th Century Boys gift sets And to celebrate the much anticipated release of the live-action 20th Century Boys films, Right Stuf and Viz are teaming up for a contest that would please any Naoki Urasawa fan. Anime Today listeners have the chance to win one of three 20th Century Boys gift sets, which will each include a copy of the 20th Century Boys: Beginning of the End DVD – the first in the trilogy of live-action movies – plus a poster and button.

Just visit the contest section at to see a picture of the prizes and get in your entry before the end of the day on Tuesday, January 19th. We’ll announce the winner during the next episode of Anime Today!

Kris and Judy – Holiday 2009 Buyer's Guide Part 2

Kris and Judy – Holiday 2009 Buyer's Guide Part 2

Assassin's Creed 2:
Batman: Arkham Asylum:
Uncharted 2:
New Super Mario Bros. Wii:
Metroid Prime: Trilogy:
Wii Sports Resort:
The Conduit:
Zelda: Spirit Tracks:
Henry Hatsworth:
Dissidia Final Fantasy:

Zelda fridge magnets:
Nintendo vinyl wall graphics:
Tauntaun sleeping bag:
Aggro shirt:

Linebarrels of Iron DVD Part 1 (Hyb)

If…/then with Christy

I’d been looking forward to watching Ghost Hound from the moment I heard it was licensed here in the U.S. Two of my favorite anime series are Kino’s Journey and Serial Experiments Lain, and Ghost Hound’s director, Ryutaro Nakamura, happens to have been the director of both those shows. Needless to say, my expectations were pretty high, but I’m happy to say that I was in no way disappointed.

Within the first minutes, Ghost Hound wraps the audience in its eerie, disconcerting (in a totally good way), and oddly beautiful grasp. Like the lead characters, you’re never quite certain where the boundary between reality and dreams lies, and when that boundary seems to start slipping there’s a chilling, almost paralyzing question of what’s going to happen next.

Ghost Hound isn’t a series packed with explosions and gunfights, but there’s a steady, engrossing forward motion, even in the seemingly quietest of episodes.

If you haven’t yet given Ghost Hound a try, but are a fan of series like Kino’s Journey, Lain or supernatural and psychological stories in general, then I think Ghost Hound will be right up your alley.

If you have already seen the first part of Ghost Hound and either need something to tide you over until the second half of the series lands on your doorstep or if you’re just looking for something else in a similar vein, there are tons of options out there.

If you like the concept of kids facing off against supernatural forces, then you might also enjoy shows like Ghost Hunt. High School student Mai Taniyama, through a series of odd circumstances, ends up working for an arrogant student she nicknames Naru at his personal ghost hunting agency. In addition to investigating paranormal phenomenon, the series also spends quite a lot of time exploring the relationships between the characters, particularly Mai and Naru.

Ghost Hunt has a somewhat different esthetic from Ghost Hound – yes, it’s definitely got creepy moments, but it’s kind of fun at the same time. Eerie-lite if you will.

And both the anime and manga are readily available in North America.

If you’re more interested in darker series that play with reality, then, once again, there are plenty of choices, but two you may want to look into first are When They Cry and Darker Than Black. The two shows are very different from one another, but each has a weighty feel to it. Their heavy, somewhat off-kilter moods envelope each story and pull you in, and each episode leaves you constantly feeling unbalanced…in the best of ways.

Do you have a suggestion for fans of Ghost Hound? Make sure you head to our Anime Today discussion forums on, and make a post in the Ghost Hound 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 Big Windup!.

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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