ANIME TODAY #119: Talking About NINJA ATTACK! with Authors Hiroko Yoda & Matt Alt

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Episode run down:

This is the last long format show of the Anime Today podcast. And whether it's your first time downloading us, or your 119th, welcome to the show.

For episode 119, Alison, Christy and Nick rang up co-authors Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt, who also run Alt Japan Co., Ltd. In this new 35 minute interview, we'll be focusing on their latest written venture Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assassins, Samurai, and Outlaws. We'll also discuss its precursor, Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide. The first of Hiroko and Matt's two-part interview will be up shortly but first let's go through the rest of the final episode's rundown.

The Geneon Music featured will be the Samurai Deeper Kyo CD Soundtrack: Capriccio, which is available in our online store for only $5.00. The featured JapanFiles.com tracks will be from the artists DECO 27, Sizima, Aozorafantasii, and the Caraway.

First up will be the song “Bye-Bye' By My Ai” from DECO 27 and then on to Chad with What's Hot in the World of Anime and Manga. Then tune in to some “Rockin' Deals” from Yen Press followed by the next JapanFiles.com track “Indian Summer” by Sizima. We'll call up Hiroko and Matt next followed by the latest contests and updates, including a new contest. Marie's back to shine her spotlight one more time on the anime Sengoku Basara followed by the gorgeous voice of Aozorafantasii with her cover of the Beatles song “Across The Universe.” Next we'll continue our interview the authors of Ninja Attack! and Yokai Attack! and then we'll check out some of the latest customer reviews from our online store. Taking us out for the last long episode of Anime Today will be the Caraway with a bouncy little ditty called “Hasta luego!”

What's Hot?

Have a ghost problem, but no one believes you? Then you need Ghost Sweeper Mikami, the paranormal detective agency dedicated to disposing of the supernatural beings most people don’t believe exist.

While the buxom Reiko Mikami and her loyal (though slightly lecherous) henchman Tadao Yokoshima might seem a little on the abnormal side, they’re top notch professionals dedicated to finding solutions to your problems concerning everything that goes bump in the night.

Find supernatural solutions when Ghost Sweeper Mikami DVD Collection 1 takes the case November 23rd.

Yui Hirasawa has never picked up a musical instrument before, but for some reason, she and three other girls step up to keep the school pop-music club from going under. Unfortunately, it turns out playing the guitar is a lot harder than just posing with it and looking cute, but with everyone’s determination, they may be rocking out in no time.

Turn up the volume when K-On Graphic Novel 1 plugs in November 30th.

In a devastated world overrun by monstrous bugs and ravaged by outlaws, there's only one person to call when you really need a job done right: Honoka. With a sixth sense for danger, sword skills second to none, and a smart-aleck A.I. tank by the name of Bogie, she's ready to tackle any job and solve any problem for her clients. But while crossing the desert one night, she finds a young man alone in the wasteland. It's the first step of a journey that will challenge even Honoka's amazing skills to their very limit!

The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye Thinpak Collection arrives December 7th.

Mangaka Y-naga lives a cyclical life. She works, and then she sleeps. And then she works again, and then she sleeps again. What pulls her out of her never ending cycle of deadlines and sleeping like the dead? Food!

Y-naga and her cohorts visit restaurants all over Tokyo to satisfy their culinary curiosity, and along the way, they explore their friendships and lifestyle choices as well as a banquet of creative and exquisitely developed dishes.

Not Love But Delicious Foods Graphic Novel is served on December 21st.

Boredom leads to very bad things when brilliant high school student Light Yagami finds the Death Note – a supernatural book dropped by a rogue Shinigami. Any human whose name is written in the book comes to an unfortunate end, and Light finds himself with a new pastime – ridding the world of evil one name at a time. He’s vowed to use the Death Note only to extinguish those who commit terrible deeds, but can he stay true to his goal, or will having such enormous power turn him into the very thing he fights against?

Death Note Black Edition 1, which contains the first and second volumes of the original manga, hits shelves on December 28th.

The seven magical Dragon Balls are at risk again! This time around, greedy King Gurumes is set on collecting the cursed Blood Rubies, but he must harness the wish-granting power of the Dragon Balls to succeed. Goku, Bulma, Master Roshi and a ragtag team of allies will join together to face off against Gurumes and his dastardly plans.

Get psyched for another action-packed adventure when Dragon Ball Movie 1: Curse of the Blood Rubies bursts in December 28th.

Shawne's Specials and the Rockin' Deals Sale!

Shawne's Specials and the Rockin' Deals Sale!

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

Hiroko Yoda & Matt Alt

Matt Alt & Hiroko Yoda

AltJapan: http://altjapan.typepad.com/

Right Stuf Contests and Updates

  • Congratulations to our Otaku Blitz #68 winners! Samantha G of Gulfport, Mississippi; Geoffrey R of Rex, Georgia; and Bobby H of West Monroe, Louisiana each just won grab bags full of anime related goodies - from T-shirts and squeeze toys to keychains and sampler discs!.
  • For our new Otaku Blitz contest, we're giving another 3 lucky contestants each the chance to win one of our grab bags full of anime prizes.

     

    To enter, visit otaku.rightstuf.com for more information, and get your entry to us by the end of the day on November 10th. We'll announce the winners on the next episode of Anime Today!

Enter the "Otaku Prize Blitz!"
Enter the "Otaku Prize Blitz!"

 

Enter the "Kyotofu Contest"
Enter the "Kyotofu Contest"


Kyotofu East meets West in all the tasty treats that can be found at award-winning Japanese dessert bar and bakery Kyotofu. From Double Chestnut Macarons to Yuzu-Vanilla Cupcakes, everything on the menu is worth sampling! We're teaming up with Kyotofu to offer anime and manga fans the chance to win one of (3) $25.00 gift certificates, which can be redeemed at Kyotofu's online store or at their Midtown West, New York City location. Kyotofu currently ships anywhere in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, Canada, and Puerto Rico, so even if you don't live in the New York City area, you can visit shopkyotofu.com to find a delicious assortment of sweets certain to please even the most discerning of dessert lovers.

To participate, visit rightstuf.com's contest page before the end of the day on December 1st.


Detroit Metal CityFor our new giveaway, we've partnered with VIZ Pictures and lined up a special contest celebrating the upcoming DVD release of the Detroit Metal City live-action film adaptation! Enter now for the chance to win 1 of 5 Detroit Metal City prize packs, including posters and stickers featuring images from the movie.

To participate, visit rightstuf.com's contest page before the end of the day on December 1st.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Blu-ray Part 3
Blu-ray

Marie's Spotlight: Sengoku Basara

I must admit, I had trouble deciding how to start this review. It’s the last episode, after all, so it should be something poignant and meaningful and witty and all sorts of other adjectives I’d like to see made synonymous with my name. On the other hand, I’m reviewing Sengoku Basara, which is none of those things – but is the absolute most fun I’ve had watching an anime since the first season of Code Geass knocked my socks off. In the end, I can only ask: Are you ready guys?! Put ya guns on!

As you might infer from the title, Sengoku Basara takes place during Japan’s Sengoku period in about the 16th century or so, also known as the warring states period when everyone was at war with everyone else and samurai fought in great battles over the land. Reputations were made, lives were lost, and inordinate numbers of references would later appear in modern-day manga. In Sengoku Basara, our primary players are Date Masamune, the fierce one-eyed samurai who leads his group of cavalry across the country in his quest to either rule over all Japan or just look awesome – exactly which is up for debate – and Sanada Yukimura, a righteous youth full of honor, determination, and fierce loyalty to his commander Takeda Shingen, who also wants to rule over all Japan for the noble goal of establishing peace and look cool as a by-product.

During a fateful clash in the mountains, Masamune and Yukimura meet for the first time, and as sword meets spear an intense rivalry is immediately sparked. They’ll have to settle who’s the best later, though, because the sinister Oda Nobunaga and his malevolent followers have begun conquering territory without regard for either honor or civilian causalities, and it will take an alliance of every clan and army to put a stop to his evil campaign – if they can work together long enough to pull it off.

The “basara” in Sengoku Basara roughly translates as “stylish,” and one of the first things you’ll notice about the show is how much fun must have gone into designing the characters. (The second thing you’ll notice about the show is that Engrish makes everything better, and the third thing is that you’re in for some epic fight scenes. Then you’ll realize all of that was in just the first 45 seconds, and… wait, where was I? Character designs? Right.) Every character is colorful, distinct, and full of flair, and even if you can’t remember all of their names right away there’s no mistaking who’s who. Clothing, accessories, weapons, speech patterns, motivations – every detail has been thought out to create unique individuals, and their fighting styles, designed to be exciting in the over-crowded video game fighter market, result in a dazzling array of attacks and tactics. They’re the sort of designs that make me want to buy heaps of toys or sew cosplay for, and indeed, I’ve already got a pair of Yukimura and Masamune revoltechs doing battle on a bookshelf at home.

Lest you think Sengoku Basara is all flash with no substance, however, let me direct your attention to the plot. Though not as intricately woven as, say, Death Note, Sengoku Basara’s plot is more than serviceable, and moves along at a clip that leaves you surprised to find you’re only halfway through the episode when you get to the commercial break eyecatches. In-between setting the stage for the various battles and duels, there’s time for comedy, tragedy, character building, thwarted lovers, political maneuvering, feats of unmitigated evil, and even the occasional moment of reflection while admiring a beautiful vista of cherry blossoms.

Production IG didn’t skimp on the visuals, either. The animation is fluid and crisp throughout, if a little obvious with the CGI occasionally. The voice actors are, without exception, fantastic. My favorite bit of casting is Kazuya Nakai as Masamune (he voices Zoro in One Piece), but every seiyuu throws themselves into their roles as if their lives depended on speaking each line more intensely than the last. The only exception is Takehito Koyasu as the ninja Sasuke (no, not that ninja Sasuke), who responds to his more flamboyant companions with droll deadpan and shakes of the head that he’s gotten himself mixed up with these crazy samurai.

If there’s one thing I could have wished for while watching the show, it’s greater familiarity with Japanese history and geography, the same way Hetalia left me wishing I knew more about European politics. I know a few names, thanks to Inu Yasha and other series over the years, and if you’re a fan of Tenjho Tenge you’ll have a leg up, but that’s only enough to laugh at some of the more obvious historical in-jokes and establish that the names I do recognize are probably not being portrayed with great attention to historical accuracy. That’s not to say they’re complete fabrications, however – oh no. If you bother to check Wikipedia for “Sengoku Period,” perhaps because you are writing a review and trying to remember which centuries it took place during so you can sound knowledgeable, you’ll find any number of historical details and legends that were translated faithfully into the game and anime. Kenshin’s on-going rivalry with Takeda? Truth. That ridiculous helmet with the crescent on it that Masamune wears? Historical fact. Ieyasu’s samurai Gundam? Yeah, I think they made that one up because it looked cool.

Along with the usual textless songs and trailers, Funimation has included the mini episodes featuring Mori Motonari and Chosokabe Motochika. These are in chibi style with minimal animation and seem to have only two goals: silly humor and making fun of Sengoku Basara. Think along the lines of Don’t Tell Maria-sama and the Fullmetal Alchemist Chibi Wrap Party, except these clock longer at around seven or eight minutes apiece. They’re really funny and cute, and you’ll especially like them if you’re a fan of the two main characters since they didn’t get much focus in the anime. Unfortunately, however, the running time meant that Funimation couldn’t fit them all onto the DVD release. As a result, the DVD release contains only the first three mini episodes, while the Blu-ray version contains all seven.

Sengoku Basara is over the top in all the right ways, and it’s already become my new go-to anime when I want to show a friend just how crazy and fun Japanese animation can be. While I’ll miss regularly doing these reviews as the podcast comes to an end, Sengoku Basara is the perfect anime to go out with a big, sonic-boom inducing bang. Let’s party!

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