Summer 2008 Picks

Boogiepop Phantom DVD TV Series + Movie Thinpak Collection Boogiepop Phantom DVD TV Series + Movie Thinpak Collection
Submitted by Shawne, Dark Lord (a.k.a. President and CEO)

I like the way that this series puts together pieces of a puzzle by showing what each of the characters is doing, and how it relates to events and things happening in the overall story arc. Seeing the same segment from another character's point of view opens up the puzzle a little at a time, and I think people will enjoy how the story develops. The included live action movie is actually a "prequel" to the animated TV show.

Gundam 08th MS Team DVD Complete Collection (Anime Legends) Gundam 08th MS Team DVD Complete Collection (Anime Legends)
Submitted by Alison, Marketing & Public Relations

I enjoyed GUNDAM WING, but this was the first Gundam that had me waiting eagerly for the next volume and round of episodes. Although it takes place in the Universal Century, its story focuses on more “average” soldiers, rather than the rivalry between Amuro Ray and Char Aznable. If you’re just getting into U.C. Gundam, this is a nice way to start with a fairly self-contained – and very solid – story.

Spirited AwaySpirited Away
Submitted by Nick, Web Designer / Podcaster

I love Miyazaki's entire catalog of work but this one's special because it was the first anime that really captured my attention. I saw it in the theatre back in 2002 and as I watched Chihiro take on a whole new realm of spirits and beings, my imagination soaked it all in like I was a kid again. This is truely a magical show and the Disney dub was pretty good too.

Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 DVD CollectionAvatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 DVD Collection
Submitted by Nathan, Purchasing

Avatar might be the most grown-up kids show I've ever seen; although the main characters are children/young adults and the story can be understood by children, it still has a lot of appeal for grown-ups. The characters have a lot of depth, and learn and change over the course of the series. There are no flat and uninteresting characters in the series.

Twin Signal DVD Twin Signal DVD
Submitted by Judy, Production

This is an oldie, kind of obscure, but I really enjoyed it. It's about a boy, his blue-haired robot, and the blue-haired robot's long-lost prototype, who has lasers for eyes and knives on his arms and has come back for revenge. If that sounds goofy, it is, but the show's just so much fun. It was actually recommended to me by a friend, who also got me hooked on the manga. (So I guess I recommend the manga too!)

The Third: The Girl With the Blue Eye DVD 1 (Hyb): EncounterThe Third: The Girl With the Blue Eye DVD 1: Encounter
Submitted by Shawne, Dark Lord (a.k.a. President and CEO)

I like the way that the story unfolds in this program, giving you some insight into what "The Third" is, and how Honoka, the strong female lead, is connected to it. Good storytelling makes this show, which is more than just an action title - it's a character driven program which draws you in.

Fullmetal Alchemist Season 1 DVD Box SetFullmetal Alchemist Season 1 DVD Box Set
Submitted by Mary, Fulfillment

This is a great get-to-know-anime show. I allow my older sons (ages 11 and 13) to watch this show. Lots of action and subtle intrigue going on!

Scrapped Princess DVD Complete Collection (Anime Legends)Scrapped Princess DVD Complete Collection (Anime Legends)
Submitted by Megan, Customer Service

I really liked this show. I felt like there was a little bit of all different kinds of genres in it! This has a solid story with twists and turns that will keep you interested throughout. This title really does deserve to be in a collection called "Anime Legends."

Mushi-shi DVD Box SetMushi-shi DVD Box Set
Submitted by Nick, Web Designer / Podcaster

I tend to be drawn towards fantastical stories with supernatural themes that are still heavily rooted in the natural world. Mushi-shi definitely fits smack-dab in the middle of that category. Mushi-shi means "Mushi Master" and this is the story of the Mushi-shi Ginko as he travels through rural Japan helping troubled individual, and sometimes entire villages, from the effects mushi. There's definitely an X-Files "mysterious-phenomenon-of-the-episode" kind of feel about it but each self-contained story draws the theme of the enigmatic mushi further towards a rather satisfying ending.

Marie from our ANIME TODAY podcast did an excellent job spotlighting this series in episode 54 and she hits it spot-on when she says that Mushi-shi is "drenched in atmosphere and genuinely Miyazaki-like in its sense of wonder at nature and spirits." In fact, she's the one who recommended this show to me since I liked Spirited Away so much!

Naruto Uncut DVD Box Set 6Naruto Uncut DVD Box Set 6
Submitted by James, Fulfillment

This has the Chunin Exam finals with an awesome Naruto vs. Gaara battle. It also has the Hokage battle with Orochimaru that will knock your socks off. This is one of my all time favorite battles. Check it out.

Monster (Naoki Urasawa) Graphic Novel 1Monster (Naoki Urasawa) Graphic Novel 1
Submitted by Alison, Marketing & Public Relations

With some series, I’m compelled to read each volume as it is immediately available, but others are best consumed in batches — partly to head off the withdrawal symptoms that accompany the inevitable gaps between releases. MONSTER falls into this second category with its cat-and-mouse game “times two.” I’m consistently amazed by the array of characters that pass through the pages and the impact each one makes upon readers. They become real, and the inventive ways Urasawa weaves them into the overarching plot never cease to amaze me.

Boogiepop Phantom: Original Soundtrack 2-CD SetBoogiepop Phantom: Original Soundtrack 2-CD Set
Submitted by Shawne, Dark Lord (a.k.a. President and CEO)

I like to listen to this in my car as I'm zipping down the road in the Darklord-mobile. It puts me in the right mood to provide anime savings to the masses.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Season 1 DVD Set (Anime Legends)Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Season 1 DVD Set (Anime Legends)
Submitted by Nick, Web Designer / Podcaster

I got into this series about 2 years after watching the first Ghost in the Shell movie and it was great to jump back into the fray with Section 9 again. Motoko is freaking awesome and even though I'm not a big fan of her attire, or lack-there-of in parts of season 1, her ability to draw you in and to keep you guessing about her next move is riveting. The thought-provoking nature of this sci-fi adventure is what really got me hooked on the whole Ghost in the Shell franchise and with the introduction of the Tachikomas in season 1, the exploration of consciousness takes on a whole new level with their artificial intelligence.

The characters are engaging, the music's excellent, the animation is great and the story is captivating, intense and action-packed. I really can't say enough about everything related to Ghost in the Shell so just take my word for it. This is a fantastic series, even if you haven't watched the movies yet, and the ending of season 1 is definitely worth the emotional rollercoaster ride!

Naruto Uncut DVD Box Set 7 Naruto Uncut DVD Box Set 7
Submitted by James, Fulfillment

Yes I am trying to let everyone know that Naruto is a great watch. Can you say Sasuke vs. his bro Itachi preview and another amazing battle when Jiraiya & Tsunade team up against Orochimaru. Wow, don’t miss it.

Rumbling Hearts DVD Box Set - Viridian CollectionRumbling Hearts DVD Box Set - Viridian Collection
Submitted by Megan, Customer Service

This is a really sweet series, that shows the drama within 4 friends lives. I think it is a little different then most of the drama/romances out there because it is not 100% revolving around school life. The story does start in school but shows the characters lives over 3 years, through a tragedy. I really like this series because it was sweet and heart-felt. I would recommend this for anyone who likes drama/romance.

Fullmetal Alchemist Season 2 DVD Box SetFullmetal Alchemist Season 2 DVD Box Set
Submitted by Nathan, Purchasing

Where does one begin trying to describe Fullmetal Alchemist? The show is full of great characters, battles, mysteries, plots and villains. It strikes a great balance between light & fluffy scenes, and dark & edgy plots.

Slayers Season 2 DVD Set Uncut (Slayers Next)Slayers Season 2 DVD Set Uncut (Slayers Next)
Submitted by Judy, Production

I'm singling out Slayers NEXT because it's my favorite, but really, all three seasons are fun. I love this show so much that, back when I got the final VHS volume in the mail and it was damaged, I couldn't bear the thought of returning it - I pulled off some crazy, Macgyver-esque stunts with tape, screwdrivers and gum wrappers, and got to see the ending. Great story, great characters, I can't recommend it enough.

Dragon Ball Z Season 1 Uncut DVD Set: Vegeta SagaDragon Ball Z Season 1 Uncut DVD Set: Vegeta Saga
Submitted by James, Fulfillment

This describes the whole Saiyan relation with why Vegeta comes to earth while showing Goku’s true Saiyan past on planet Vegeta. Great battles all around in this one. Check it out.

Tramps Like Us (Kimi Wa Pet) Graphic Novel 1Tramps Like Us (Kimi Wa Pet) Graphic Novel 1
Submitted by Alison, Marketing & Public Relations

There are some josei manga I read because they remind me of my life and others I read because they are guaranteed to put me in a good mood. TRAMPS LIKE US falls into the second category, but its cast of characters — and the very real awkwardness behind their sometimes goofy actions — sets it apart and transforms it into *meaningful* fluff. I just finished the last volume a couple months ago, and its ending very much lived up to my (high) expectations for it. I foresee this one staying on my unwritten list of favorites for a long, long time.

Rurouni Kenshin Graphic Novel 1Rurouni Kenshin Graphic Novel 1
Submitted by Judy, Production

Rurouni Kenshin has always been one of my favorites, both because of the characters (I'm a sucker for stories with a humble hero), and the incredible artwork. It's beautiful from start to finish, but what's interesting is that you can really see the artist's style change as the series progresses, slowly shifting into something new.

If you're looking for a good read, Kenshin won't let you down.

Tylor, Irresponsible Captain OVA Series DVD Collection RemasteredTylor, Irresponsible Captain OVA Series DVD Collection Remastered
Submitted by Shawne, Dark Lord (a.k.a. President and CEO)

The OVA series for Tylor provides a good deal of insight into the individual characters and shows how they have frown to respect each other and Tylor after the main TV series.

PaprikaPaprika
Submitted by Nick, Web Designer / Podcaster

Directed by Satoshi Kon, who's past works include Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress and Paranoia Agent, this movie is a gooey little mind-trip that will have you hitting the rewind button more than once because you'll think you missed something. And odds are, you did.

With the creation of a psychotherapy treatment device called the DC Mini, trained users can enter other people's dreams. And when it gets stollen, the story twists and shows how this device not only let's people enter dreams but can also alter them into nightmares. Any story that deals with dreams will obviously have a lot of fantastical visuals but when you toss in the option to lucidly manipulate dreams, the rules of reality get even more warped and make for incredibly complex, and often absurd situations.

Check this out if you like a good psychological thriller with supernatural elements limited only by the imagination.

Princess Tutu DVD Complete CollectionPrincess Tutu DVD Complete Collection
Submitted by Mary, Fulfillment

This show has a great story line with a princess who can't tell her prince "I love you" without turning into a poof of light. In the bonus features on each of the discs is a thing called "Etude." I highly recommend watching it before you go into the episodes.

Naruto the Movie DVD: Ninja Clash in the Land of SnowNaruto the Movie DVD: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow
Submitted by James, Fulfillment

A story about a princess and a hero (Naruto) that shows some of Naruto’s nine-taled fox’s power. Great action as well as storyline. A movie that I would watch time & time again.

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children DVD Gift Set Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children DVD Gift Set
Submitted by Megan, Customer Service

As a long time fan of the Final Fantasy games I felt that this move did Final Fantasy VII justice due. The game was amazing when it was first released and I was nervous if this movie would live up to the legend the game off. It was well worth it, this movie makes every character seem to come alive, the detail is astounding! If you have never played FF VII before in your life and you think you will be lost in the story (or if it's been a while since you last played) there is a really cool "Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII" Featurette included with a recap of the plot of the game. I love this movie for all the graphics, story, extras, everything I would recommend this for anyone who likes Action movies with insane fighting sequences.

Here is Greenwood DVDHere is Greenwood DVD
Submitted by Judy, Production

"Greenwood" is the name of a high-school dorm that's filled to the brim with social misfits. Among them is our hero Kazuya, a kid who's desperately trying to remain normal, but it's hard to tell if he's succeeding.

This show has so much charm. It reminds me a lot of my college dorm days (I was eerily close to being the arcade kid...). Greenwood's a wonderful OVA, I hope more people discover it.

Tokyo GodfathersTokyo Godfathers
Submitted by Nick, Web Designer / Podcaster

Another movie directed by Satoshi Kon, but instead of a rich fantasy land, Tokyo Godfathers is lush with character personality and growth in everyday Tokyo. The unlikely homeless trio, a drag queen, an alcoholic and a teenage runaway, discover a baby in the trash on Christmas Eve. As they try to find the baby's parents themselves, the story rushes on in a comical, yet dangerous and often touching adventure.

If you're looking for an anime without robots, magical girls, demons or a harem of ladies and is packed full of charm and wit, then pick up this DVD.

Planetes DVD Complete Collection Planetes DVD Complete Collection
Submitted by Nathan, Purchasing

Planetes has a great story and is a very realistic look at the future of space travel and exploration. Anyone who enjoys learning about space travel, or the space program would enjoy Planetes.

Eureka Seven DVD Complete Collection 1 - Anime LegendsEureka Seven DVD Complete Collection 1 - Anime Legends
Submitted by Alison, Marketing & Public Relations

I’m a big fans of BONES – if I had more picks this round (and more time), I would have also written up WOLF’s RAIN – but for now, I want to recommend EUREKA SEVEN. A lot of series ambitiously try to be all things to all people. This is one case where it all comes together: the characters, the story, the music, the action scenes, the sci-fi settings, the romance and the humor. On the very surface, it’s a typical, shonen-style coming of age tale, but by the end, it’s even more of a statement about growing up and having the bravery to accept change – and the challenges that present themselves – throughout life.