Saturday, September 8, 2007

Full Metal Alchemist Review

Plot synopsis:

When they were little, Edward and Alphonse Elric lived happily with their mother, but one day, quite suddenly, she died. Using alchemy, a magical-like science based on the law of equivalent exchange ("To receive, you must give something of equal value"), the two attempt to bring her back to life--with disastrous results. They accidentally open a door to the spirit world that tries to pull them both in. Ed loses an arm and a leg (later getting them replaced with a sort of magical robot limb called automail), and Al nearly dies, but Ed is just able to bind his spirit to a suit of armor so that he can survive, using the armor in place of a body. Astonished by their potential, state alchemist Roy Mustang decides to take them in and helps Ed get a position with the state alchemists, where the two hear about a mythical Philosopher's Stone that allows you to do alchemy without obeying the law of equivalent exchange--meaning they could use it to repair their bodies.

Review :

Full Metal Alchemist is way too complicated to stuff into one little synopsis. If you've somehow never heard of this show, you probably have no idea what I was going on about up there. That s okay--I never stop giving away details about the show in my reviews, and this is one time where it ll be a good thing.

To begin with, the science of alchemy in the show is based on the real-life alchemy done from the 15th to 18th centuries. Its main purpose was to use nature's law of equivalent exchange to find a way to transform other metals into gold by adding to them some of the essence of something as superior to gold as gold was to the other metals (gold was thought to be the perfect metal). This "more perfect than perfect" substance eventually became known as the Philosopher's Stone (and if you re wondering, it is the same thing that was in the first Harry Potter, which was changed to "Sorcerer s Stone" in the US because they thought American kids were too stupid to pronounce "philosopher"). Full Metal Alchemist takes place in essentially what late-19th century Europe would have been like if alchemy had been a real science, with everything from technology to environments to architecture to characters' names fitting within this setting.

Any show that gets that involved with its subject matter must have had a lot of work done on it, but none of that would mean crap if the rest of it was worthless--which it's not. What allows this show to get so complicated is the fact that its main storyline is so simple; essentially, it's just a quest for the Philosopher's Stone, but with more stops along the way than any bus could reach. Along the way, villains, tenuous friends, sticky situations, and socio-political issues with relevance much closer than such a fantastic setting would indicate are thrown in front of our two heroes. The only ones Ed and Al can really trust are each other (and maybe Winry, but I don't know--she had an evil look in her eyes when she handed over that tool).

The themes are what really drive this show, but there are two ways to present themes: the boring way, where you just kind of throw them out there in boring, pointless conversations and monologues, or the good way, where each character expresses a different theme through their pasts and personalities. Full Metal Alchemist chooses the good way by using characters to show different mistakes people make or problems they encounter. Heading up the cast is Ed, a completely atypical main character for a shounen anime. Unlike other shounen heroes who are either angsty, easily shaken bleeding hearts or straight-out evil themselves, Ed is confident, intelligent, and knows himself and what he values down to the last drop. When villains attempt to compare themselves and their goals to his, Ed doesn't look down at his hand with wide eyes and go, "No....could it be true? Am I them?" He's immediately ready with a valid, logical reason that sets them apart. And when confronted with the option of continuing life limbless or joining the state alchemists, Ed isn't deterred by the fact that state alchemists have to carry out the government's orders because he knows that he is strong enough not to go against his values and become their machine. Al is Ed's calmer half, who helps him out a lot; but you can easily see that neither can function without the other, unlike other shows where the hotheaded main character is useless without his more cool-headed friends. Al, you see, has no initiative and less will than Ed; so without Ed, Al would never get anything done, but Al is around to see that Ed does things right. Al is also Ed's main motivation to keep going; Ed doesn't mind having automail so much, but he is determined to return Al to a real body--despite being told by a number of characters that Al is really better off living as armor.

Most of the other characters are Ed's colleagues in the state alchemists: Colonel Mustang, Lieutenant Colonel Hughes, Lieutenant Hawkeye, and Major Armstrong. Only Mustang and Armstrong are actually alchemists; Hughes and Hawkeye (I m pretty sure) are just normal people. Hughes becomes quite important to the plot towards the end of Season One, but even I won't ruin that. In contrast, Armstrong and Hawkeye never really become important; Hawkeye is Mustang's stalwart vassal and Armstrong is basically the comic relief, although he's actually one of the strongest alchemists and does have a few fights. (It sometimes seemed like Armstrong was in the manga and they had to have him for the fans, but there wasn't really a place for him within the plot of the anime). Armstrong's power, aside from his giant muscles and the spiked knuckles he wears, is to launch big rocks and stuff at people. I never found out what sort of alchemy that's supposed to be, though.

My favorite character in the show is Roy Mustang, the Flame Alchemist. Mustang is arrogant; he wants to become the Fuhrer (the ruler of the country where the show takes place) and isn't shy about saying so. He's also eminently informed on Ed and Al's doings while they search for the Philosopher's Stone and makes this known at every opportunity. For both these reasons and more, Ed doesn't like him, and he's presented like a villain in the early episodes. But about halfway through Season One, it turns out Mustang has some emotional baggage connected with things he did during a controversial war about ten years ago, and this later connects with his reasons for wanting to become Fuhrer and even with Winry.

Winry is Ed's automail mechanic and the boys' childhood friend. After their mother died, the two lived with her and her grandmother. Winry isn't a character with much depth, but she does have a few moments. The other important characters are Sciesca (pronounced 'Sheska'), a bookworm with a photographic memory who reproduces some documents for Ed and Al and later becomes involved with Hughes; Izumi, Ed and Al's alchemy instructor; Dante, a mysterious old lady; and the seven Homunculi, each named after one of the Seven Deadly Sins: Lust, Gluttony, Envy, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, and Pride. Each of the seven have different powers (except Pride, as far as I can see), but all share the feature of working towards some unknown purpose and being impossible to kill.

Compared with the incredible story and characterization, the technical aspects aren't much to speak of. The animation is clean and generic-looking, but the budget was big enough for them to squeeze a few truly awesome fight scenes out of it (like the battle between Ed and Greed in Season Two) and the character designs are original and mostly good-looking (although watchers of the subtitled version might confuse Ed for a girl--he's short, not very muscular, has a blonde braid, and in the Japanese version is played by a woman). The background music wasn't really my favorite. A lot of sites have complimented the music, and they're all done by well-known j-pop bands (although I've never heard of them), but most of the openings and endings weren't really that good. The first opening, Ready Steady Go, is only okay, and all the endings except the first are pretty mediocre too. My favorite song was definitely the first ending, Kesenai Tsumi, and I did also like the second opening, Rewrite.

The dub voices are all excellent. It's one of those dubs that makes you forget about the difference between dubbed and subbed. The dub was done by FUNimation, but only a couple voices were recycled from their other dubs: for example, Lust was played by Laura Bailey, who also did Keiko in Yu Yu Hakusho and Tohru in Fruits Basket, and Armstrong was played by the same guy who did the voice of Piccolo in Dragon Ball Z. I don't really like it when they use voices from Dragon Ball Z in other shows, but other than that it was a pretty good voice.

Full Metal Alchemist is a huge show, and with good reason. It combines all the elements a good anime should have--an original plot and powers, great fights, excellent characters, drama and comedy, and some (but not too much) social commentary. The last show I enjoyed this much was Rurouni Kenshin, and Full Metal Alchemist is even better.

source :

Cowboy Beebop Review

Plot synopsis :

In the not-too-distant future of 2071, Earth is a bit of a mess as a result of an accident testing a new transportation system, and now nobody is left on it but folks to poor to get away. But, humanity has colonized and terraformed the rest of the solar system, so things are going just fine. Taking advantage of the frontier spirit of the day, there is a new breed of bounty hunters, known as Cowboys, living a loose life, traveling between worlds, and hunting down the most wanted criminals for enough money to keep doing it. Two of the best (if unluckiest) of these folks are the owners of the good ship Bebop, Spike and Jet, both leaving behind pasts they'd rather forget. When they get joined by a couple of unwelcome companions--Fay, a gambler with a huge debt, no past, a penchant for cheating, even worse luck than Spike and Jet, and a lot of people after her, and Ed, a rather odd young hacker (plus the genetically engineered dog Ein)--we get the unusual tale that is Cowboy Bebop.

Quick review :

Rating: 4.5 / 5
Reviewer: Marc
Review Date: 2003-08-25

Cowboy Bebop is a whole collection of classic genres, all mixed into one series and all done right, to the point that it breathes new life into a very stale genre. In one episode it may be dark, stylized, and serious, and in another light and filled with offbeat humor and antagonistic banter, but in every case it's done right. Back that up with a great cast and writing (in both the dub and original Japanese, no less), fine visuals, cool retro-high-technology, and some of the most varied and well written music I've ever heard in a series--Yoko Kanno's score covering everything from heavy metal to worldbeat--and you've got good anime. Cowboy Bebop isn't deep, but it has style and little bits of creativity everywhere to make up for what it lacks in substance, and from start to finish it's a marvelously well-built production.

Massively popular with good reason, Cowboy Bebop is worth at least a chance from almost any anime fan, and is almost guaranteed to be loved by fans of stylish action and sci-fi, as well those into not-too-serious space shows.

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Afro Samurai countdown Directors Cut DVD to hit the UK in October

Fans of Afro Samurai in the UK will be pleased to hear that on 15th October 2007 the directors cut DVD of the show will be available in the UK. It includes 15 minutes of extra footage, unedited dialogue, features with the voice actors of title too and much more.

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Battle Angel [Gunnm] review

Plot Synopsis :

Scrap Iron City is a city of scavengers below the mysterious floating city of Zalem. Among the residents is a kindly and highly skilled cyber doctor, Ido. One day, scavenging the mountain of scrap dropped by Zalem, he finds what's left of a young cyborg girl--and she's still alive. He rebuilds her body, and, since she has no memory, gives her a name--Gally--and a new life as a sort of daughter for him. However, Ido isn't quite what he seems, nor is Gally, when she discovers that her calling is to become a Hunter-Warrior--a bounty hunter for The Factory--which she mysteriously has the skills for. But Scrap Iron City is a brutal place, and before long she and the hardworking young Yugo that she takes a liking to are trapped in the web of corruption of a Factory boss Vector and an old flame of Ido's, Chiren.

Quick Review :

Gunnm (or Battle Angel, if you prefer) has everything you could ask for in such a short OAV series--gorgeous art, engaging plot, nuanced storytelling, and characters as developed as the compact runtime allows. Based on the opening parts of the lengthy manga series by Yukito Kishiro, the only disappointment about Gunnm is that there isn't more of it. Though the series never resorts to lengthy exposition or unnecessary narration, the characters feel fleshed out beyond their basic stereotypes--the good doctor, the kid with a dream--and it clearly establishes the world as a decaying, corrupt place ruled by greed, inequity and the darkest parts of human nature. This is contrasted with bits of humanity and hope in the face of despair, and while the story is not uplifting, it does make its point. The visuals are simply beautiful--in particular the polished linework faithful to Kishiro's manga--as is the terse musical score. A quality Japanese voice cast supplies the finishing touch.

In all, whether you call Rusty Angel and Tears Sign Gunnm or Battle Angel, the pair are a masterwork among OAVs. Whether you like cyberpunk, dark action, or sci-fi drama, it is a singularly well crafted series that comes with my highest recommendation.

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A Wind Named Amnesia Review

Synopsis :
n the very near future, a mysterious wind sweeps the earth, erasing the memory of every human on the planet. All but one--a young boy with an experimental computer implanted in his brain, assisted by the computer's storage, has retained his memories of the way the world was. Before passing on, he educates a young man he dubs Wataru. Left alone as the only educated being in a world populated by humans reduced to their animal instincts, Wataru takes it upon himself to travel across America in an effort to begin rebuilding the great civilization whose ruins still cover the land. He is joined in his journey by a mysterious woman, and they are pursued by an automated war machine left over from past times. They meet meet an interesting array of people and are involved in an unusual series of adventures, but even as he tries to recapture some of the past glory of human civilization, Wataru ponders the question raised by his traveling companion--is this civilization really worth saving?

Quick Review :

Weighty and cerebral, A Wind Named Amnesia is classic science fiction--not space ships and interstellar war, the real "what if" deal. The film makes a real attempt at asking deep questions about the point of civilization and the things that mankind has accomplished. On the down side, coherent plot and believability are frequently sacrificed to make a point, and the whole thing is so heavy on metaphor that it ends up feeling a little like an essay cut together with an action movie.

I usually wouldn't complain about a movie having too much action, but here it's a questionable decision. The heavily metaphorical plot, although far from subtle, would feel more consistent and be easier to suspend disbelief and get absorbed in if it weren't for the periodic bursts of action interrupting it.

The end result is that A Wind Named Amnesia is either a hard-core sci-fi movie with too much action, or a normal sci-fi movie with too much metaphor. There is some sexual content near the very end that also seemed entirely unnecessary as best, and gratuitous and oddly out of place at worst.

On the technical end of things, A Wind Named Amnesia is not particularly noteworthy, though not bad for a film of its age, either. The art is fair to good, and the animation isn't too bad, although the backgrounds are a bit on the simple side and the animation is a little rough. The action is about par for an older OAV, meaning not particularly good.

Fans of philosophical science fiction should love A Wind Named Amnesia, but for more general taste it seems to have either a little too much plot or a little too much action. Certainly not bad, but too many awkward parts to highly recommend unless you go for this kind of thing.

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End of the London Anime Club?

London anime Club is facing one of bad situation of anime iclimate in London, it seems like there is a sign of fatigue for anme fans because there are a lot of anime event and media, make it more less exclusive

Full Story
The London Anime Club has been running for 14 years now. If it keeps running the decision it seems will be down to attendance, so if you can, go on the first Sunday of the month to keep it running!

The Otaku News Crew believe that this is a sign of fatigue for anime fans. Lots of new events have sprung up in London for fans to do, such as the London Expo, the Japan Expo, several new conventions around the country, film screenings and so, as a result many anime fans have less time and money to go to all the events, so the London Anime Club (being a monthly event and not a once a year or seasonal event like the others) is bound to have an attendance drop if people assume they can go to the next one, along with people arranging on forums to meet up in London instead of at the LAC. We hope that the London Anime Club can continue, as we do enjoy going, and have made a lot of friends there and met interesting people, and used it to network and meet other organisations that would be hard to meet elsewhere.

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Source: London Anime Club

Death Note Cast Selected

The English cast for Death Note has been selected... with 12 episodes already in the bag.
Full Story
VIZ Media, one of the best known and longest running distributors of anime in North America, has announced the cast for the English dub on its upcoming release of the hit horror series Death Note. Even better for fans, Ocean Studios, the folks behind the dub, have already recorded twelve episodes for the series, the first volume of which will be released on November 20.

Voicing main character Light Yagami, the sociopathic high schooler who finds a notebook (death note) that allows him to kill anyone whose name he writes in it, is Brad Swaile. A well-known voice actor, Swaile has been a staple of the Gundam franchise, voicing Quatre in Gundam Wing, Dearka in Gundam Seed and Amano Ray in the original Mobile Suit Gundam. He also recently voiced Rock in the series Black Lagoon. With a record of playing "nice guys", it’ll be a switch to hear Swaile play the somewhat disturbed Light, who sets out to create his own idea of a perfect world by killing anyone he thinks is evil... and anyone else who gets in his way.

The character of L, the mysterious detective whose mission is to stop Light, will be voiced by Alessandro Juliani. Having done voice work in numerous cartoons, video games and anime, Juliani is probably best known for his recent live action work, playing Lt. Gaeta on the hit sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica. L’s determination to prove Light is the cause behind so many mysterious deaths is probably not that much different from Gaeta’s need to do what’s right on Galactica, thus making Juliani the right choice for the role.

And then there’s the rest of the cast. Voicing Ryuk, the shinigami (death god) who drops the death note that Light finds into the human world just to see what would happen, is Brian Drummond (Allen in The Vision of Escaflowne and Andy Waltfeld in Gundam Seed). Shannon Chan-Kent will voice Misa Amane, the pop celebrity who has her own death note and becomes Light’s follower and girlfriend. Colleen Wheeler (Luchs in Saber Marionette J) will voice Rem, Misa’s own shinigami, and Chris Britton voices Soichiro Yagami, Light’s father and the chief investigator who refuses to believe that his own son could be involved. Other actors will include Vincent Wong as Matsuda, John Murphy as Mogi, Michael Adamthwaite as Raye Penber, Trevor Devall as Aizawa, Jeremy From as Ukita, Tabitha St. Germain as Naomi Misora and Brian Dobson as Ide. The characters of Near and Mello, the pair competing against one another to catch Light and become L’s successor, have not yet been cast.

Death Note has already proven to be a hit among North American anime fans, thanks to both the original manga by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata and the subtitled episodes released online through IGN’s Direct2Drive service. With its dark themes, unique characters and suspense thriller-like intrigue, there’s no doubt that the DVD release with its new dub will help make Death Note into a bigger hit.

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Source: Anime News Network

Anime set to invade UK TV! Is anime going mainstream?

Nargis's article

My first encounter with anime was when my little brother dragged me to take him to see the Pokemon movie. That little electric fur ball, otherwise known as Pikachu, was a joy to watch as he zapped the baddies all to the chime of “Pika Pika.” Being the doting older sister, I was stuck with the somewhat impossible task of trying to find those elusive trading cards. Thinking about it, back then I didn’t even know that that was anime. Fast forward to 2007 and anime has moved on: a new anime channel coming our way, the rise of fan subs and video streaming websites, the anime community is accelerating at an alarming rate. Naruto has captured the hearts of a new generation and is encouraging kids to check out the manga originals. You only have to go to conventions and see grannies wearing ninja headbands to realise that something unique is happening - is anime going mainstream?

To find out the answer Anime UK News recently spoke to the UK's first ever dedicated anime TV channel "Anime Central", UK DVD publishers Beez and an every-day anime fan (in Darren Richardson) to investigate what the future could hold for anime and to discover what it means to be an anime fan in these changing times.

As anime invades the small screen, AUKN talks to Anime Central brand manager Mark Buchanan to find out what viewers can expect to see on the new anime channel heading on UK TV screens in September '07.

Anime UK News: How was the idea of "Anime Central" conceived and what convinced Chart Show Channels it was a concept worth supporting?

Mark Buchanan: Originally, I was brought in to research a bunch of concepts for entertainment channels that had been floating around the company for a while. Having enjoyed anime down the years, I was desperate to include an anime block regardless of what channel it would eventually become. Luckily my bosses had a decent awareness of the material and they knew it was strong. It wasn’t difficult to convince them that anime warranted more than just a slot.

Anime UK News: There have been a few short-lived UK TV channels that aired anime, so why do you feel the time is right to launch Anime Central now? How will you attract an audience?

Mark Buchanan: I think you only have to look at the phenomenal work that companies like Manga, MVM, Beez, Revelation, and ADV have done in promoting the discs in the UK to know that interest in anime has grown in the last decade. My hope is Anime Central will be both passionate and all-inclusive, appealing to the hardcore fans while catering to folk who are completely new to it.

Developing the channel’s look has been key along with continued cross-promotion that will occur on channels such as Scuzz, The Vault and Flaunt.

We’re going to have an exciting web presence at where we hope to build a strong community of viewers and fans.

Anime UK News:
The vast majority of anime lined up for Anime Central is aimed at the young adult demographic, could you explain to us why you decided to go down this route instead of attempting to tap in to children’s anime instead?

Mark Buchanan: The diversity of anime out there is staggering and I truly believe that the ‘grown-up’ shows in our line up like GITS: SAC or Planetes rank up there with the best of American television. With such strong content available, I really wasn’t interested in doing a kids channel. The little folk are already well served with a decent amount of anime on other stations and I feel that it’s time for the big ‘uns to get a look in.

Anime UK News: Anime Central has plans to air a lot of highly acclaimed anime TV series. With this in mind, how do you go about selecting what to air on Anime Central?

Mark Buchanan: I watch absolutely everything that’s sent my way. By far the most difficult part is selection and I’m cursed with taking programming too personally at times. I often have to take a step back and ask myself if this will play well to large audiences. That’s not to say we won’t be broadcasting more challenging titles, but if the channel’s ever going to stand a chance we need to introduce a launch with a line-up that is going to appeal to as many people as possible. As it stands, I‘m immensely proud of the collection and I believe it balances my selfishness with the requirements of the casual viewer!

Anime UK News:
Given the recent popularity of fan subs and video streaming sites like You Tube amongst anime fans, how does Anime Central plan to tempt fans away from their computer screens and back in front of their TV sets?

Mark Buchanan: The picture’s a lot better!

Next up, AUKN had a chat with Darren Richardson, an anime fan from Swindon to discover the joys and perils of being an anime fan and to find out what more anime on TV could mean for fans across the UK.

Anime UK News: How did you get into anime and what's it like being an anime fan?

Darren Richardson: I got into anime at university back in 2002, I was living with a few guys and one night we all came back from the pub drunk and Paul one of my housemates put on a series called Trigun. We ended up watching the first 10 episodes that night and since then I have been hooked on anime. I love being an anime fan especially discovering new series, like Lovely Complex or Air Gear, they just make me smile and I want to watch them again and again. Also I love to go to anime conventions, talk to other people about how they are finding the latest series and trying out new things like cosplaying. There are some downsides, which includes work mates making fun of anime when I watch DVD’s in the office or my girlfriend not being a fan but these don’t really affect me.

Anime UK News: Do you feel there is enough anime on TV? What would you like to see more of?

Darren Richardson: There is no such thing as enough anime, the anime currently on TV is the more mainstream series like Pokemon, which lets face it is designed to sell vast amounts of merchandise hence the addition of hundreds of new characters every series so the trading cards can never be fully collected. Or we have the other end of the spectrum with channels like Film4 showing the Studio Ghibli films, which are some of the best movies around but are still very mainstream in my opinion.

Anime UK News: More anime will soon be on it's way to UK TV. With the rise in popularity of fan subs and video streaming websites, will you be persuaded to switch over to watching anime on TV?

Darren Richardson: Unfortunately I doubt I will switch over to anime on TV, although as a fan I am happy to see more series appearing on satellite and terrestrial TV but there are still way too many problems with the releases. Take Naruto for example, the UK edit is appalling, the violence stripped away and the dubbing is awful. The story is about a ninja’s personal growth through missions and battles, however with the cuts in certain scenes (blood and death mainly) the story begins to lose it’s meaning and becomes just another happy little series to please the masses. I in no way wish to sound elitist but anime is a hugely varied medium and series don’t appeal to everyone, I am not a fan of Evangelion (ducks to avoid bricks being thrown) but I love Bleach and Love Hina, I hate it when series are edited to suit the majority. In a way I feel it cheapens the medium as a whole.

Another huge problem with UK TV over online services is the release schedules, just looking at the UK magazines advertising the latest series I can already say I have seen them all online or bought them using R1 import websites so I find that the UK is very backward when it comes to available releases.

Anime UK News: Obviously anime is dubbed on UK TV, will this deter you from regularly tuning in?

Darren Richardson: This is another problem for me, the voices in the original releases are picked to best suit the characters personalities. For example Full Metal Panics lead character Sosuke Sagara has a rough voice in the original release designed to show that since a young age he has been fighting in wars all over the world, but in the dubbed version he sounds plain and boring, like he has spent his life working as an accountant. I am a huge fan of subbed anime, I find that the original Japanese dialogue adds to the experience of watching a series. Yes I will agree there are exceptions, for example the Studio Ghibli films are excellently re-dubbed and I am a huge fan of the UK version of Porco Russo and The Cat Returns.

Anime UK News:
Anime has often received negative press in the last few years. Do you think having more anime on TV will change people's perceptions of anime?

Darren Richardson: It can only help to increase both its fan base and its popularity, Pokemon has done a great job laying a fan base for anime but what it would really need is for people to actually realise that it is anime. Unfortunately a lot of series are aired on channels very few people have heard of or even have access to. True we are getting more anime on the Jetix and Cartoon Network channels but they are edited and sliced up to suit the younger audience and this ruins the original works. Someone has to tell the people running these channels that just because a show is animated it doesn’t mean it can be cut up to suit young audiences. Yes Bravo brought us Afro Samurai but until more mainstream channels start to bring us unedited anime it will remain predominantly an internet medium with fans having to rely on fan subs and video steaming for their fix of their favourite shows.

Finally, AUKN spoke to Andrew Partridge from Beez (UK anime DVD distribution company behind the likes of Cowboy Bebop) to see what kind of an impact more anime on TV will have on the UK anime industry.

Anime UK News: It's interesting how the vast majority of anime airing on Anime Central is from Beez, are you tightly affiliated with the new channel or was it simply a case of right place, right time?

Andrew @ Beez: It's true that the vast majority of titles are from Beez. We have been working closely with CSC since they first approached us - but the venture itself is one that belongs to the CSC group! As a result they approached us during talks for one of the licenses on the channel - so in a way it was a case of right place and time. Ever since then though, we have had a very close working relationship - they're fantastic people to work with!

Anime UK News: Did Beez specifically offer the likes of Planetes to Anime Central? Or did they cherry pick your catalogue for the best anime?

Andrew @ Beez: That's an interesting question, really! I would say that in all negotiations there are titles that one company would like to see on TV and others the other side of the table would like. In the end it comes down to a matter of what fits for the channel given the screeners provided.

In the case of Planetes though, I know Mark is a big fan of space related shows though - as am I - so that title was a no-brainer really as it is a very much underrated series!

Anime UK News: Anime Central has appeared in the wake of ADV's own Anime Network – is the relative success of Anime Network one of the major reasons behind Beez's own "invasion" of UK TV?

Andrew @ Beez: That one's a resounding "No." Really - it's a natural question to raise though. In reality both projects began at about the same time conceptually really - with the launch dates being different. I think it's been all of our goals in the industry to get anime onto TV for a long time though - so we're all incredibly lucky that two excellent stations have come along to air series.

In a way you would hope the two channels would help fuel one another really too - as they compliment each other nicely - you can watch both without missing any content from either!

Anime UK News: Following on from the last question, does having anime on UK TV give a major boost to other areas of your business (DVD sales, OSTs and so on)?

Andrew @ Beez: You would hope so - we're one of the few companies who had titles in the last decade to have had shows like Cowboy Bebop, Escaflowne and Gundam Wing and I have to say, despite being "old" licenses - they are still strong sellers to this day! However - as with a lot of things it depends on the kind of exposure the channel gets as well as the focus of the channel as well!

I would say a channel like Anime Central will more importantly raise awareness and suck in a new audience hopefully too! Which indirectly, over time, gives a boost to other areas of business!

Anime UK News: Will Beez one day have the power to commission their own dubs and licence whatever they want rather than waiting for an American license first?

Andrew @ Beez: Unlike several of our counterparts, we're in the unusual situation of having to produce our own dubs already for France (as well as on occasion Germany) so it's a bit of a tough one to answer there. As the cost of the dub easily costs more than the cost from start to finish of mastering a DVD including the encoding process, materials etc.

In a perfect world I would like to see that happen one day! However it all depends on the fans out there supporting our releases and tuning into channels like Anime Central and Anime Network to create a market for the DVD releases as well as a desire for UK dubs!

Anime UK News:
Many people think that part of the appeal of anime is that it is not part of mainstream culture in the UK and that if anime became too popular, it may diminish the original appeal. Andrew, as an anime fan yourself, what do you think?

Andrew @ Beez: *laughs* Now that is an interesting question! I came from the other side of the looking glass so to speak - I was a fan before I started working for Beez and I'm the first to admit my views have changed over the past few years.

I think it's natural for people to feel uneasy at the idea of something that wasn't mainstream before becoming popular. It kind of feels like it would lose what made it special really - and those who can't adjust to it normally can find some new niche area of J-culture to move into! That being said it's worth considering the film industry for a minute, as the easiest comparable situation to what is the view you describe above.

Although Hollywood churns out film after film every year, fans of films still pride themselves in knowing films that weren't big budget or distributed widely. It means there's still plenty of anime out there not many will know about - so fans will always be able to pride themselves in educating new generations of anime fans about the "hidden gems" that are only available on DVD as well as make yet new friends in the process!

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New Evangelion movie scores big at Japanese box office

The first (out of four) of the new Evangelion movies (titled "Evangelion: 1.0 You Are [Not] Alone") opened in Japan late last week and wasted no big in impacting on the national box office - it went straight in at number one, in the process collecting 2.4 million US dollars!

Many have essentially described the apocalyptic mecha movie as a re-animating of the first six TV episodes, while the now hugely anticipated second movie (due for release in 2008) is said to feature new characters and a fresh narrative direction.

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Live action male lead in Negima! to be played by female

In an amusing twist the lead male role for the soon to air (October-due) live action TV version of "Negima!" has gone to a 13 year-old girl (Yukina Kashiwa)!

Being an adaptation of the popular Ken ("Love Hina") Akamatsu manga, the main character, called Negi, is a young magician from Wales teaching English at a Japanese all-girls school, where romance and adventure inevitably ensues. There are no intentions to change the sex of the Negi character, so Kashiwa shall be crossing genders and playing Negi as a male!

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Makoto Shinkai animated TV commericals

Anime auteur Makoto Shinkai has turned his talents to a TV advertising campaign, having recently produced two animated TV commercials for the Shinano Mainichi Shinbun (Japanese newspaper).

Shinkai is the popular creative force behind several nostalgic-sci-fi anime films, including both Voices of the Distant Star and The Places Promised.... His most recent movie was "5 Centimeters per Second", a romantic drama released in Japan during 2007 that has already been licensed for Western release (US and presumably, UK too) by ADV Films.

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Reported by Michael Aronson 09-01-2007

It's the hottest thing you might not pronounce correctly. With over $125 million in sales in 2006 alone, the Japanese word for comics known as “manga” is a major hit with American teens and tweens as well as adults. It’s also one of the fastest growing genres in American publishing and a widely popular comics category. Tyndale House Publishers is pleased to release an authentic manga series starting with Manga Messiah in September 2007 as well as the Manga Bible in November 2007.

Offering an eye-catching rendition of the Gospels, Manga Messiah combines cutting-edge art with a fast-paced story to deliver biblical truths in a compelling and relevant way, targeting those that might not have interest in reading a traditional Bible. Features of Manga Messiah that provide context of the four gospels include illustrated character profiles and family trees of key Biblical characters, as well as maps of Galilee, Samaria and Judea.

Manga Messiah contrasts with secular manga and also stands out in the Christian marketplace. Unlike general market manga, which may reveal a Shintoist influence or contain erotic elements, Manga Messiah offers positive content with accurate Biblical messages. And unlike the “manga-style” art offered in other books in the Christian market, Manga Messiah features art made by some of Japan’s most popular manga artists.

“We’re thrilled to offer the greatest story ever told, about the most controversial man who ever lived, in the most popular graphic novel format on earth,” explains Kevin O’Brien, Director of Bibles and Bible Reference at Tyndale House Publishers.

Four additional titles in Tyndale’s manga series will roll out in four consecutive years. Fans can look forward to Manga Mutiny (Fall 2008), Manga Metamorphosis (Fall 2009), Manga Malech (Fall 2010), and Manga Messengers (Fall 2011).

Tyndale House Publishers has purchased exclusive English language rights for all of the titles in the manga series from NEXT Inc., a nonprofit corporation formed in 2006 to produce and distribute biblically based manga materials worldwide. Behind NEXT is a group of dedicated professionals with years of experience in Japanese printing and publishing. For additional information, please see
Manga Messiah[/b]
978-1-4143-1680-2, 5 ½ x 8 ¼ , 288 pages
Softcover, $12.99, September 2007

In November 2007, Tyndale House Publishers will release the Manga Bible. This New Living Translation SlimLine edition features three 32 page four-color manga tip-ins designed to give the overview of the narrative sections of the Bible and encourage readers to delve in and read it for themselves. While targeting the tween/teen market, the Manga Bible may appeal to comic lovers of all ages.
Manga Bible[/b]
978-1-4143-1679-6, 5 5/16 x 7 5/8, 1098 pages with three 32 pg. tip-ins
NLT SlimLine Edition, sale price $14.97 (reg. $19.99), November 2007

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Poison Candy v1 Review

Reviewed by Robert Murray

David Hine is one of my favorite comic book writers, scripting such quality work as District X, Daredevil: Redemption, and the current run of Spawn. So, when I heard that Mr. Hine was taking his considerable talents to the realm of manga, I was both excited and nervous considering the possibilities. Nervous, you may ask? Well, in the manga circles I roll with, American manga writers (with the exception of Fred Gallagher and a few others) are seen as little more than poseurs, albatrosses diminishing the unique talents of Japan’s elite scribes. Yeah, I think it’s kinda short-sighted too, but we all know you can’t drastically alter a fanboy’s comfort zone without a lot of resistance. So, looking at this first volume of Poison Candy, I thought about the possible reactions some of my mates might have toward this foray by a man better known for his work with Marvel mutants. In general, I think most American manga fans (particularly those that interlace their reading with American comics) will enjoy this vibrant, action-packed first volume. However, the hardcore otaku out there will despair the lack of some traditional Japanese conventions, as well as Hine’s attempts in making his dialogue and human interactions more manga friendly.

In my opinion, these attempts by Hine to make his dialogue more manga-like is evidence of his playfulness as a manga writer. He’s gently poking fun at the conventions of translation that would make an average English reader chuckle, such as overly descriptive soliloquies that don’t follow the patterns of normal speech or short exclamations of surprise such as ‘Huh’ and ‘Wah’ that normally accompany anime. Plus, the inclusion of nosebleeds, a teenage rock band, and a serene drop of water for scene transition illustrates the many Eastern influences that have gone into this first volume. But, there are some Western influences thrown into the pot as well. Take, for instance, the final chapter of the first volume (SPOILERS AHEAD!). Sam Chance has been cryogenically frozen so that an organization run by the mysterious Henry Raven can find the cure for the SKAR virus, the deadly mutagenic strain that has infected Sam and other teenagers throughout the world. Sound a little like an X-Men storyline? Well, stay with me... When Sam is awakened, one of the first people he sees is his old buddy Yusuf, who is a 1950s-obsessed video game greaser (Well, that’s unique!). The only problem is that Yusuf now appears to be elderly, looking life the older Biff in Back to the Future II, completely with cane and crotchety attitude (Hey, I wonder if he’ll give Sam a sports almanac?). We all know what happened without Yusuf saying it: Sam has been frozen for much longer than he expected. Actually, he’s been frozen for 100 years. Yipes! Of course, the normal questions are asked by Sam, regarding his parents and his girlfriend, Donna. When Yusuf informs Sam of Donna’s fate, he explodes with grief, rending a circle of destruction a la Akira. Lot’s of pop culture candy to taste in this first volume! Here’s hoping it’s not poisonous!

Illustrating the action is Hans Steinbach, whose work I am totally unfamiliar with. Judging from this volume, he is a capable artist who lacks a lot of the flash of other mangaka. This is not really a criticism, but it certainly doesn’t make Steinbach stand out as an artist of merit. The characters and the actions of the characters are illustrated in the least distracting way possible for Hine’s story, creating a look that is probably very close to what Hine has imagined with this series. Hine is creating both an homage to a comic form he truly loves and a parody of this same art-form. As we have seen from such entertainers as Mel Brooks and Tom Stoppard, parody is the sincerest form of flattery. True, this isn’t parody in the same vein as the two aforementioned examples, but Hine is definitely having some fun with the manga genre, and I think most readers will have just as much fun reading this series. High manga art it’s not, but it is a skillfully presented graphic story with thrills aplenty.

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Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle v14 Review

Reviewed by Dan Polley

It’s hard to not hear or read about CLAMP, the collection of female manga-ka. But “Tsubasa: Resevoir Chronicle,” volume 14, was my first foray into their manga world.

The title is a collection of their characters from other books, but “Tsubasa” posits those characters — with a little revamp, of course — into an alternate structure. In that structure, Princess Sakura has powerful memory feathers. After the group, which consists of Syaoran, Kurogane and others, collects one of those feathers, they are able to transport to another dimension, where the process starts anew.

Together the group needs to master its magic and martial arts mastery in order to take down those who stand in the way of them collecting another one of the princess’ feathers.

At first glance, it’s quite odd how the characters are drawn: Humanly un-proportionate and gangly, almost like a spider with half as many appendages. However, all pretenses to the seemingly unrealistic art configurations were soon forgotten once the first page cracked open.

The plot was whimsical and fun. It also felt new — at least in part — which helped to push the volume forward.

However, the characters felt as though they lacked originality. For groups, they seemed to fit in with niches that had been worn out long before. There was the princess who was key to the journey, but was hardly able to fend for herself. There was also a dark and mysterious man who filled the hero’s position, but who still seemed to be holding back.

The 14th volume of “Tsubasa: Resevoir Chronicle” was good, not great. There were some interesting points, and those outweighed the non-interesting points, which is always good. Yet there were parts that seemed to be a retread off of group fantasy adventures, which didn’t help the volume elevate higher than a moderate flatness.

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Lunar Legend Tsukihime, Volume 5 street date announcement

San Jose, CA, September 2007. DrMaster Publications Inc. has just announced the street date of volume 5 of the popular series Lunar Legend Tsukihime. Fans of the hit Japanese anime, not to mention those of you lucky enough to play the import PC game, will revel in the thrilling continuation of Tsukihime.

A childhood accident has left young Shiki Tohno with a very special ability. He can now see the hidden lines or weak points in all things- be they organic or inanimate. By striking or cutting along these lines Shiki can slice through virtually anything like a hot knife through butter. Unfortunately the gift comes packaged with a nearly irresistible urge to kill using this new ability.

After rescuing Shiki from his dangerous encounter with Roa, Ciel warns him in vain to stay away from Arcueid, who may have an ulterior motive. Meanwhile, Shiki cannot shake off the feeling that he knows Roa, and a visit to the garden of his house jolts his memory, piercing him with visions of Roa as a child, along with a voice telling him that he will become a "true monster" someday.

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Random House has taken position as Distributor of DC Comic rather than Warner Bros

Publishers Weekly reports that DC Comics is switching its book trade distribution from Warner Books/Hachette to Random House Publisher Services:

DC Comics is switching its book trade distribution to Random House Publisher Services after more than 20 years using Warner Books/Hachette for bookstore distribution. The switch will take place in spring 2008.

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Learn Online Gaming Etiquette By Reading Manga Online From CESA

Impress GAME watch is reporting that CESA (Computer Entertainment Suppliers Association), which organize TGS (Tokyo Game Show) and used to be responsible for gaming rating age has already released a free online manga on online gaming etiquette.

You might want to try to get the manga

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Eiichiro Oda Reveals Weekly Shonen Jump's Secret Ranking Formula

Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump is well known for canceling its series (even the 2ch Early Sales info is called the "Cancellation Survival Race"). Each issue of Shonen Jump comes with a survey postcard that asks its readers to vote for their favorite series. Every week, manga serialized in Jump are ranked from most popular to least popular. Usually the less popular series tend to enjoy a very short lifespan.

Jump does not order the manga based on popularity from the week before. It's true that popular series are in front, but the actual order is decided from week to week by the editor-in-chief.

Basically, it may show the postcards do affect ranks, but it's mostly up to the editor himself.

Interview with TOKYOPOP Publisher Mike Kiley

Pop culture news site ICv2 recently got the chance to interview TOKYOPOP publisher Mike Kiley about the growth of manga, and TOKYOPOP's place in the manga market. The interview is divided into three parts, each dealing with various manga-related topics. Here's a brief excerpt:

Can you talk a little about some of the components of that growth--specifically we're interested in your thoughts on different rates of growth between Japanese, Korean and original English language content.

That's a really interesting question. I don't know that I typically look at it in quite those terms. Cleary the blockbusters in the category continue to be extremely well-known Japanese licenses. Even more specifically, they tend to be more often than not to be Japanese licenses that have multiple incarnations across different formats. I think specifically the Naruto's and Fruits Basket's and Tsubasa's continue to be the market leaders in terms of unit sales. I believe the growth in those areas is still significant--every new volume in each of those really high profile series tends to chart a little higher than it did before, so I think there's a lot of growth there.

You can read the entire interview at the following links:

Part 1: The over-all manga market and its breakdown by country of origin.

Part 2: Manga releases coming up this fall, the market in Japan, and digital distribution.

Part 3: TOKYOPOP's fiction program, the differences between Japanese light fiction and the U.S. market, and what’s next after Fruits Basket.

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"Akihabara Enta" Hosting Manga Festival

The Akihabara Entertainment Conference has added a four-day manga festival to its list of pop culture festivities. The manga festival will take place from October 25th to October 28th.

According to ANN, "The festival will focus on the international popularity of manga, digital content, copyright issues, and other topics."

A full schedule for the event (which is co-hosted by Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the organizing committee for the Tokyo International Film Festival, and the Japan Institute for Film Development) has yet to be announced.


[Source: Anime News Network]

Aoi House in Love review

Title: Aoi House in Love!
Volume: 1
Author/Artist: Adam Arnold and Shiei
Genre: OEL, Comedy, Drama
Published by: Seven Seas
Price: $9.99 (US)

Aoi House in Love! continues to follow the story (started in Aoi House) of Alex, Sandy, and their pet hamster, who have made themselves residents at a live-in club at their college. However, what they believed to be an anime club turned out to actually be the infamous Yaoi House, its true nature hidden by the missing letter "Y" on their sign. Run by yaoi-crazed fan-girls, the three guys have been at their mercy ever since. With a well-written synopsis at the front of the book, people who have not read Aoi House will not be stopped from enjoying this book to its fullest. In this first volume of the two-part series, Alex, Sandy, ‘Echiboo,’ and the five fan-members are off to an anime con.

Aoi House in Love! is a perfect balance of anime stereotypes, humor, and human drama that pokes fun at all aspects of anime and yaoi fandom. It never goes so far as to feel offensive and at the same time never takes itself too seriously. The pages are littered with anime character cameos via numerous cosplayers that really make readers feel like they're viewing something done by a true fan. With appearances by popular characters from Inu-Yasha to the dancing-sensation Haruhi and all the way down to the con-popular Man-Faye, there will someone noticeable in this book for everyone.

What makes this book’s humor work so well is it never needs to stretch itself far to make a joke funny. It gives you the truth of various aspects of the anime fan-community’s antics and behavior, leaving it up to the reader to take what they will from it. Moments such as the group’s yaoi panel will have yaoi fans and non-fans alike laughing, sighing, and shaking their heads at the seemingly ridiculous, yet completely accurate, accounts of the world of slashed characters and male on male stereotypes flourishing in the online community. This scene in particular really feels like a perfect homage to aspects of the present-day crazes flooding the internet, all the way to Harry Potter slash and beyond. Underlying drama and character relationships will help hold all the gags and laughs together in this nicely balanced plot.

A well-written story also benefits greatly from its art and this is no exception. The artist clearly knows what she's doing with the attractively laid out panels and vibrant characters. Moments of humor are well expressed through the ‘super-deformed’ style that never seems out of place and truly aids in bringing attention where it’s due, from comedic expressions to moments of sheer fan-girl-chaos. It's one of the most clean and solid original English language releases currently available today in the anime-style. All together the book is a smooth read and scenes seamlessly flow from one to another so well that one could envision this transferring over to the animated medium easily, panel to panel.

The cover art is bright and colorful and I’m sure would catch the eye of any who happen to spot it. It’s an excellent representation of the joyful-mayhem readers will find inside. The book itself is well put together with no notable errors and has solid binding. Included at the back of the book are full colour comic strips previously featured in NewType USA, a nice bonus for fans who enjoyed reading them in the monthly magazine. Notes from the creators also do well to finish rounding out this release.

If its predecessor Aoi House is as entertaining, well written and superbly drawn as its follow-up release, then it’s certainly the next thing to hit this reviewer's shopping list, right next to volume two. If you have a sense of humor and want something fun and simple to read, then Aoi House In Love! may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Reviewer: Kurishojo
Proofer: mjules
Editor: Firedog

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The Way of Tea review

Title: Koi Cha no Osahou
Mangaka: Sakuragi Yaya
Serialized in: Asuka Ciel (Kadokawa Shoten)
Genre: Yaoi, School life
Licensed by: BluManga

Koi Cha no Osahou (The Way of Tea) is, perhaps, my favorite yaoi series at the moment... as it has been for the last few months. (Don't tell anyone my whole LiveJournal is themed after it, okay?) It was available in scanlations, but the big news of my afternoon is that the title has just been licensed by BluManga!

The series begins with our uke, Tokumaru Madoka, showing us exactly how much he can stand up to his little sister, Nagomi -- that is to say, not at all. It seems he's just broken one of her favorite photo frames (again) and she's had enough of his clumsy, rough-housing ways. To teach him a little finesse and some basic etiquette, she orders him to join the tea ceremony club at high school that she is also a part of. Grumbling the entire time, he does as he's told. It's at the club meeting that we -- and Tokumaru -- first lay eyes on Hasune Kazuma, the president of the club. Hasune is the son of the Tea Ceremony School's headmaster and he's also our devilishly handsome seme.

Tokumaru makes quite an impression right off the bat: the kind of impression bound to give Hasune a migraine. From his first gulp of bitter ceremony tea, Tokumaru shows he has a lot to learn about the way of tea... and the way of love. Good thing for him, Hasune's just the guy to teach him... not that Hasune doesn't learn a few things along the way himself.

Koi Cha is one of the cutest yaoi manga I've read in a while. The characters feel well-rounded and three-dimensional, and you can actually see how compatible they are with each other without the idea being forced, with something like lust or out-of-control teenaged hormones -- though those are present as well. Tokumaru isn't a doe-eyed "prettier than a girl" girl-substitute. He's a rough and tumble high school boy, tall and lanky, who's very athletic -- the star of the baseball team and a student teacher at a dojo -- and not once would you ever mistake him for a girl. He's got very male thought patterns, unlike most ukes, and bungles things up as often as he gets them right... though he does get a lot of things right.

Hasune is... well, I kinda want him. He's a deadpanned, cold-hearted bastard -- but actually very sweet. It takes a little bit of getting to know him to realize that the uncrackable expression doesn't really show much of what's going on behind the scenes. His "turned on" look is barely distinguishable from his "irritated as hell" look. But Hasune isn't mean to Tokumaru, which also sets it aside from a lot of yaoi mangas. There's not a single scene that involves uke-tears and rape. In fact, the only time Tokumaru cries is over losing the baseball championship. They have issues, of course, and rub each other the wrong way just as often as the right, but there's an undeniable "give and take" to their relationship that makes it feel wonderfully real.

There are two bonuses that go a long way to putting this on my favorites list. One is the shoujo-ai relationship between Hasune's sister Kotoko and Tokumaru's sister Nagomi. They're rivals in their karate competitions and while Nagomi sees the other girl as an arch-rival and competition (being the only girl to ever beat her), Kotoko, with the same unfortunate deadpanned expressions as Hasune, is filled with secret "squee" at Nagomi's cuteness. She even skips important family functions for the sake of her competitions, just because she can't pass up a single opportunity to see her adorable little competitor. I'm waiting for the omakes just as anxiously as I am for the real chapters, just to see if the sisters get together.

The other bonus is that the first time Hasune and Tokumaru have sex holds the record as the hottest oral sex scene I have ever seen in any yaoi manga, hands-down. I don't generally like oral sex scenes in yaoi, as they often feel contrived and stilted in the way of the worst porn videos, but this one was ... well, it was hot, yo. Ahem.

Sakuragi's artwork is well-proportioned and expressive, her storytelling is witty and wry, but her real talent lies in her characterization. These are not genre cliché characters in stock situations, even though they are everyday people in an everyday kind of world. Her characters grow and evolve with each chapter, all the while remaining consistent. She's good at this kind of thing; another of her series -- a smaller tale called Calorie -- shows the same kind of dexterity at making her characters and storyline seem familiar and common without seeming worn and trite. I wish Sakuragi a long and prolific career with many, many US-licensed titles.

In the meantime, do yourself a favor and take a glance at Koi Cha no Osahou, where sarcasm is the language of love and finding your own path in life is the name of the game. It's a hot, funny read with a little bit of relationship advice thrown in for free. You could do worse in picking out yaoi, but in my opinion, you'd be hard pressed to do better.

Reviewer: mjules
Proofer: Iliana
Editor: Jiji

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The History of Green Lantern Comic Books

Green Lantern, the famous fictional superhero, is one name I am sure you all must be aware of. Hal Jordan and Gil Kane were among the most popular.

Now, the super power of these superheroes comes from the “power ring” they posses. They get control over the material world with the help of this “power ring” but they need to have their willpower also.

One may wonder about the roots of their existence. So, this article focuses on their history and how the Green Lantern came into being.

When and how were they created?

The birth date of Green Lantern dates back to the year 1940 with creation of the first superhero – Alan Scott, who was crafted by Martin Nodell and Bill Finger. Green Lantern came into existence after World War II.

Super Hero Comics book sales declined after the World War II and then DC Comics Universe stopped publishing Alan Scott Green Lantern’s new adventures.

But then at the commencement of the “Silver Age of Comics books”, Julius Schwartz, editor of DC, and Kane, the artist, revived the Green Lantern as a completely new character and a new series of Green Lantern came into existence.

History Of Their Publication Golden Era

The Golden Era of Green Lantern dates back to the days of the first super hero, Alan Scott. This superhero created by Martin, was the first to make its presence felt in the All-American Publications’ publishing “All-American Comics#16”, the Golden Age of comic books in the month of July’1940.

The super hero, Alan Scott was an engineer who possessed a ‘magic’ lantern which had to be charged once in every twenty four hours by contacting it with a lantern. It even had its limitations, among those that is it could not work on wood.

Then there was a twist in the journey of Alan Scott. All of a sudden, he became a movie star in May 1942 with the film, The Gun for Hire. Subsequently, a few other super heroes followed and in the year 1951, the characters appeared for the last time in All Star Comics #57. This marked the end of the Golden Era. Revival: Silver Era

In the late years of 1950s, DC comics moved on from the Golden Era of Green Lantern and there came along the “Silver Age of comic books”. DC Comics’ competitors tried their hands on reviving the Golden Age while the former moved on with their creativity and gave birth to new characters which could gel well with the modern age and times.

Now, the new character that followed was Hal Jordan who was a pilot and he inherited the ‘magic’ ring from Abin Sur, an alien who was dying. From there started this adventurous journey. He then became the member of an interstellar group of police, the Green Lantern Corps who were, in turn, guided by the Custodians of the Universe.

The above facts were intended to provide a concise history of the legendary Green Lantern. Their conception was truly an amazing addition to the world of comics.

Gavin Roberts has grown up with comic books and has compiled a massive comic book collection. He has also created an Online Comic Book Store that showcases thousands of constantly updated comic books. Check out some Green Lantern Comics or any other of your favorite comics at his website

Article Source:

Adult Video Games - Are They Redefining The "Adult" Segment?

Video games rule our lives and souls and there is no doubting the fact. If anywhere ever doubted this, he/she just needs to look at the collective dismay of the British public on the no show of PS3 this season. It’s as if we have not won the FIFA world cup once again. Video games are huge and the playstation is even bigger. Thank god we still have playstation 2 to give us company.

A segment of the video games industry which is seriously well poised is the adult video games division. Adult video games have fascinated adults and the number of casualties is increasing by the day. And when they say “Adult” they really mean it. With explicit graphics and an even more explicit voice over, these games are an overall delight.

If you are into the adult stuff and pornography you would love these games. If you are a serious gamer and not into the adult stuff, you would be amazed by the impact these video games create. All in all these adult video games are suitable for all (except the underage that is)

Lets for a while return to playstation 2. Playstation 2 proved to be a good improvement over the original Playstation. Such was the impact of the Playstation that Microsoft had to introduce XBOX to counter the playstation virus. None the less I am an ardent follower of the PS2 and for me nothing comes close.

Just get on to the Adult video games and play station brigade and let your senses feel the difference.

Adam Jaylin is the in house gaming expert at UK Online Market and is an authority on Adult video games. For more information please visit UK Online Market for latest online video game

Article Source:

The Top Five Worst Video Game Based Movies

Obliviously I love video games as much as the next gamer loves video games. But we don't love the film maker's that destroy our favorite titles in their quest to bring the game to the big screen.

So a list of the top five worst game-based movies has be created. Please note that there is no particular order for the list of game-based movies.

Super Mario Brothers

Super Mario Brother is the perfect example of what not to do when making a movie out of a video game. For example if a character is suppose to be Italian with a mustache don't hire a Latino actor that is clean shaven like John Leguizamo was. Or a reptile like King Koopa or Toad like don't make the characters human. This movie plot was so loosely based on the game it was a shame to even call it Super Mario Brothers.

The movie's biggest problems is it was the first of it kind, meaning the first major motion picture to be based off of a video game.


Doom is considered to be on of the great 1st person shooter computer video games ever, producing an amazing cult following. However the movie itself was boring and sad to watch.

The plot of the game is simple: "A portal to Hell has opened up on Mars and you, a space marine, have to kill everything that came out of it." But in the movie you end up killing zombie not demons from hell so it looses what makes Doom, Doom.

The film maker's forgot what made the game so good and produced another loosely base title of the game itself.

Street Fighter

I personally didn't think is would be possible to mess up a game in which all you do is fight and fight and fight, but filmmakers managed to it with Street Fighter.

The movie for one thing didn't have a whole lot of bare-knuckle fighting and replaced it with more of heavy gun play. It had virtually no plot to speak of and the two main actors, Raul Julila a respected theater trained actor and Jean-Claude Van Damme an action star should never been on the same state with each other.

The saddest part of this movie was the fact that it was Raul Julia's final motion picture. Not a good way to go as an actor.

House of the Dead

German director Uwe Boll has a vast list of terrible produced video game based movies including: “Alone in the Dark,” “BloodRayne” and “House of the Dead” -- a film that takes awful to a new level.

This was suppose to be a horror movie but it in reality had very few scary moments. The bad acting makes it more of a comedy then a horror movie. Little has anything to do with the actual game but the title, zombies and some in-game footage.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Resident Evil: Apocalypse to some degree follow the main plot of the Resident Evil series namely: "flesh-eating zombies are in control of the city and you have to make your way out of it alive". However it misses the reason people love the Resident Evil computer video games, its not scary, fun and the plot is weak and there is virtually no character development. The bad thing here is that Resident Evil Apocalypse is a sequel to an actual descent first movie.

Playstation 2 Games - Popular Titles

Gaming has taken over the entertainment field as one of the most popular forms of entertainment, both for children and adults. Over the past 20 years, there has been a drastic increase in the sales of gaming devices, like consoles and other handheld gadgets. Video games have replaced television and books as the most sought after mode of recreation. In this regard, there has been a great influx of gaming gadgets, each one more developed and including more features than its predecessor. One such gadget is the Playstation 2, or shortly, PS2. This is a gaming console which can be connected to the television, and using special discs, can be used to play games. Playstation 2 was released in 2000 as the successor to the original.

Playstation 2 games are manufactured in discs that contain the game data. With the release of many famous games as PS2 compatible discs, the demand for PS2 increased greatly leading to a major revolution in the gaming industry, bringing down the sales of computer games. Some of the famous PS2 games are discussed in the following paragraphs.

The 'Grand Theft Auto' series is one of the most popular selling games of the PS2. This game is a free form adventure-cum-action game, where the player is given control of a particular character, the name and appearance of the character varying with versions of the game. The player starts off as a normal citizen of a city, and gradually rises to become a gangster, stealing cars, and performing bank robberies. The game is versatile in the sense that there are no restrictions in the gameplay. The player needn't stick to a particular set of directions to complete the game. He can roam all over the city, do what he likes, whenever he likes. This makes the game more realistic, thus gaining great popularity among the gaming audience.

Another very famous game is the WWE Smackdown series. This series of games has been developed after the popular television show, WWE. Judging by the enthusiastic response for the WWE television show, game developers came to the conclusion that if this concept evolved into a game, it would be patronized, and rightly so. As soon as the first edition of WWE Smackdown hit the market, it was a huge success, mainly among kids. Soon, WWE Smackdown 2 was released, which tasted similar success. You can find more information on gaming at

Currently, WWE Smackdown 4 is the latest version among this series of WWE Smackdown games. All these playstation 2 games involve all the excitement of the WWE television show. The player has the option of choosing the type of wrestling match, the wrestlers involved in the match, and the winning conditions. They can perform a variety of realistic moves to bring down their opponent and win the match. Newer versions include the feature of customizing the wrestler, where the player can customize his wrestler, right from the appearance, the ring costume, the moves, special moves and entrance styles. This has made this series very popular among the WWE loving audience.

Article by Dean Forster at . For more information on ps2, xbox and gamecube home entertainment visit Video Game Rental

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PC Games for the Rest of the World

Believe it or not, not everyone owns a video game console. Crazy, huh? But for those who have yet to take the plunge, they can still get a piece of the action on their PC. Today’s PC games are exciting, interactive adventures featuring awesome graphics and sound.

When buying PC games, it’s important to pay attention to the minimum requirements and those pesky details such as RAM and operating systems. What good is owning the latest “World of Warcraft” game if your PC can’t handle it?

Most video game makers create versions for the various consoles including Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, and the PC. For example, as you mourn the release of the final Harry Potter book, you can get the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix video game for the Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, Nintendo Wii, and PC DVD.

Choosing PC games is a terrific way to get involved with gaming without having to spend a boatload of money on video consoles. Granted, you need a computer but you’ve got one of those already, right?

In addition to being entertaining, PC games can also be educational. You can build your vocabulary, sharpen your math skills, and learn about science simply by playing PC games. How cool is that? Most educational video games are geared to certain grade levels. And don’t think they’re just for preschoolers. Talking dictionaries and language courses are just the tip of the iceberg.

If you aren’t sure about buying video game consoles but want to get in on the action, choose PC games. You can get your feet wet and enjoy the latest fun and games on your computer. Warning: you could become addicted! As a new PC games fanatic, you’ll be tempted to upgrade your computer’s memory and graphics card in which case, maybe you’d be better off shopping for consoles instead!

Guitar Hero - The Origins Of Video Game Rock

Guitar Hero was originally released on the PS2 on one glorious day in November of 2005. This much anticipated video game was special in that instead of the usual control pad used to play, the game was designed for use with a life-like guitar shaped device.

This unique controller was modeled after a real guitar called a Gibson SG. Using the guitar controller was very similar to using a real guitar, albeit with a few minor adjustments for simplicity’s sake. Instead of containing several frets and six strings, the guitar hero controller had 5 fret buttons of differing colors, and a strum bar for strumming.

Originally developed by a video game company named Harmonix, it went on to receive numerous awards for its ingenuity and for the core of the game, its musical soundtrack. With 47 rock tracks by various big name artists, from the modern day to the 60s.

Due to the success of the first game, a second was released for the Playstation 2 in 2006, this time with an astonishing 64 musical tracks. Additional features included were the ability to multi-play against friends and non-friends alike. It went on to become the fifth highest grossing game of 2006 for the PS2. And due to unprecedented demand, a Guitar Hero II version was released for the Xbox 360. This version came with a special guitar and more songs.

The third in the series, aptly named Guitar Hero 3, will be released in October of 2007. The company behind it this time is Activision, who have taken over development of the game from Harmonix. But fear not, as Activision is a major power-house in the gaming industry, having churned out such classics as the Tony Hawk Series and the Call of Duty series.

The much anticipated Guitar Hero 3, has been confirmed to contain at least 46 songs, with new characters and an all new Battle Mode. Characters from the previous games to be featured in the new Guitar Hero 3 are Casey Lynch, Axel Steel, Judy Nails, Izzy Sparks, Johnny Napalm, Xavier Stone and Lars Umlaut. A brand new playable character will be Midori. Unfortunately Clive and Pandora were removed from the game. For the boss battles, there will be three. One of them being Slash, who is also rumored to be a playable character.

Guitar Hero III, also known as Legends of Rock, will be available on the PS2, Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii. Activision are also actively looking to bring the game to the Nintendo DS.

James Lunden writes for a guitar hero 3 site, where you can discover the latest on the guitar hero 3 songlist and other guitar hero III news.

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Flatout Video Game Review for the XBox, Playstation 2 (PS2) and the PC

FlatOut is a playful race car game with little realism. Like most race car games the vehicles get banged up on the way to the finish line, but this game does not alter the handling of the vehicles based on how badly damaged they become. Your car can be smoking or on fire, but it will never quit on you or explode like you might expect. It handles the same from the time you start the track until the time you complete the track. The only thing that alters the way the cars handle is the upgrades that are purchased.

You will start the game by creating a profile for your driver. There is a choice of regular or professional for the experience level and a choice of male or female for the driver’s gender. Once a profile has been rendered you can purchase the vehicle that you want to use (you will start off with enough money to buy any of the cars available). Then you can upgrade the car if you are left with enough money or race the car to gain more money. Money is given for every position that you place in; except for 8th place. You also receive money for crashes as a bonus (even for 8th place).

When you play in your particular profile you can unlock other racing tracks or bonus games by placing 3rd or better. The asphalt tracks are fairly easy in the bronze races, but some cars are particularly hard to handle on the dirt tracks. It is a good idea to buy two cars; one for speed and one for traction. Upgrades come in handy for bringing your car up to snuff for the dirt and snow tracks.

The bronze racing tracks are primarily dirt so one would think that you would become particularly adept at racing off-road, but racing in the silver or gold races is a lot more advanced and even the asphalt races usually take a few tries before you come in 3rd or better. The races are not simple even though the cars never become any harder to drive based on the damage they take. However, learning the layout of each track is very simple since all tracks seem to be markedly similar. Many of the same objects/obstacles are overused from one track to the next, a few times I exited out of the track because it looked like I was playing on a track that I had already beaten, but I wasn’t.

The graphics are solid and realistic with plenty of object to crash into. When you crash into an object your nitrous increases. By using your nitrous you can gain the ground you lost from your crash and maybe even get farther ahead. It is best to use the nitrous on the strait-of-ways though or you will inevitably crash your vehicle once again. Don’t forget to save some of that nitrous for the finish line.

The bonus games are a great comic relief. Some of them involve ejecting your driver as far and as high as you can in order to gain high score. You can also win money prizes from these bonus games to help upgrade your race car. There is a demolition game where you must destroy all of the other vehicles before your car takes too much damage and there is even bowling and darts.

FlatOut may not be very complex, but it does offer some variety. I guess you could say you get more bang for your buck. How long it holds your attention is basically up to the individual; as for me I held in there for three days. Someone else may play it for years and never get bored. Whatever the personality though, if you rent this game it won’t be a waste of money.

Miranda Stites 08/31/05
Heroes of Gaming: Video Game News
"Saving Good People From Bad Games"
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Create Your Own Video Game

The passion for video games is one that has to be experienced to be truly understood. It is not surprising when dedicated players decide to create their own video games because they have a clear understanding of what they like in a game and what they don’t. Do you too share a passion to excel in the virtual world of video games? Would you like to create your own video game? There is plenty of help at hand online to help video game players of all ages to experiment with creating a game of their own.

Basics to Create Your Own Video Game

If you ask a group of game players what is the single most important thing in a successful game they will all probably find it difficult to agree on any single factor. While some believe that it is the story line that makes a video game special others feel it is the manner in which the gameplay is designed, while still others focus on the special effects that have been included in the game.

To create your own video game it is a good idea to first decide what you find most interesting in your favorite video games and start from there. Most game players are clear about what they think a video game lacks and your video game gives you an opportunity to create what you think is a complete video game.

Once you have a great story line and characters in mind you would need to decide on the look and feel of the world in which your video game is set. Remember the more life like the virtual world the more absorbed the players become in it.

For inspiration and guidance for the style of storytelling you will find several resources online that can help you refine your narrative technique. Next you need to create the graphics for the video game and this can be done fairly easily using the varied software available for this very purpose. Most of these are free to download online and you should consider a few of them before you make up your mind.

If you don’t want to sketch out characters and textures for scenes you can use the pre-made ones that can be downloaded free of cost from the internet. Two dimensional graphics are needed to create a 3 D affect and the background scenery should also match the look and feel of the video game. Depending on your level of understanding of software you need to select one that best suits your project.

Software to Help Create Your Own Video Game

Beginners and kids, you can try to create your own video game by using one of the software available for those who have little knowledge of programming and graphics but have the interest and passion for video games. The Games Factory is a great place to begin making your first video game whilst learning some of the principles of the process. Simply drag and drop the features you want included in your game. Stagecast Creator is also a wonderful tool for kids who want to make their own video game. Just draw or import your characters and indicate what you want them to do and the software takes care of the rest. This software creates terrific 2D video game that you can play and share with friends.

For players with a little more experience with games and relevant software, and are interested in 3D video games try Reality Factory, where you can build the entire world of your video game from the blueprint upwards. You can choose to use existing textures or create your own for your virtual world. There are several tutorials for Reality Factory that clarify all aspects of the software. It is free and easy to download and provides developers a great understanding of the script, models, affects, etc.

For those who are considering a career in game development and have a good understanding of the process involved software such as DarkBasic is recommended. Working on it will provide you a good understanding of the programming required for video games. As for professionals, you can’t do better than C++ and Microsoft Direct X.

Microsoft XNA Game Studio Express allows Windows XP users to download it free and create video games on it. Soon developers on this system will be able to create, test and share their video games for the Xbox Three-Sixty.

Whether you are a beginner to gaming, an avid fan or a professional creating a video game of your own is the most satisfying experience, one that is sure to motivate you to create more games.