Tag Archives: Funimation
Mirai Nikki, Future Diary.
From the get go I’m gonna call this the standout anime for 2012. Although it was done back in October through April, it’s the show that got me excited and entertained for hours. I pretty much watched this show in a few days. I haven’t done that since Death Note. And Death Note is my favorite anime, so you can see what that says about this one. Mirai Nikki (known in English as Future Diary) has an interesting concept, a wide array of characters (one for everyone to choose and root for), and great animation. I don’t know where the Japanese come up with ideas for shows like this, but these intricate plot anime are where it’s at.
Mirai Nikki is the story of Yukiteru Amano (Yukki for short) and his apathetic life of recording things around them. He never hangs out with anyone or does anything remotely social. I guess you could
You crazy, ninth…
count hiding under his blanket and speaking with Deus, the god of this world. One day Yukki visits Deus and Deus decides to give him a new phone diary, one that can tell the future of things around Yukki. Using this to his advantage over the next several days, Yukki finds himself being chased down by a serial killer. In the course of running away, Yukki runs into somebody he didn’t expect. Yuno Gasai, his obsessive stalker. Learning that there are other participants in this “game” with future diaries, Yukki must fight against others, even kill, in order to become the next god of this world. The game is on.
Some of the other characters of Mirai Nikki (they’re kinda better…)
Just from that last paragraph’s description of the story, don’t you want to watch this intricate plot to figure out what happens? And, for me, it’s all about exploring and discovering the world of this wide ranging cast of diary owners. I have to say something right here to speak to that. This show is about “dead ending”/killing the other owners of the diaries. Every owner has their own reason for participating, and, I’ll say, to a fault, Yukiteru doesn’t. It seems, throughout the entire show, that Yukiteru is only playing this game to not die. He had no aspirations of becoming god, and I guess that’s a reason for playing. But that is a faulted reason. Yuno on the other hand… is a bit more complicated.
But this is the first anime I’ve ever watched where I liked all of the other supporting characters, and absolutely hated the two main characters from start to finish. Yukiteru is apathetic and weak. He has nothing to fight for and no way to fight for it. Minene Uryu (the 9th diary owner) is a terrorist, and although she may want to make the world better, she goes about it all wrong. Every character I did like and I thought had a good
This is what Yukki sees under his blanket fantasy world.
reason for winning isn’t given enough time to do so or the means to do so. This constantly was thrown in my face and was quite frustrating. Yuno is manipulative and never allows Yukki to decide if he loves her or not. With such flawed main characters, I guess it’s okay to hate them to an extent. They have to redeem themselves after all.
And that’s why I was okay with liking this show, despite hating the characters who got 80% of the screen time. I don’t think any show has to adhere to the good/bad dichotomy between protagonists and antagonists. And they don’t have to be a good person to be a hero either. So that’s well done in itself. Nothing in life is black and white.
Pretty PC for 9th Graders…
But the plot! The plot, the plot, the plot! Every episode ends with a cliffhanger, you have no idea where the story is going or when it will end! The intricacy of everyone involved in the Future Diary game is complex and not so easy to decipher. No one is safe and everyone is at risk, even those people outside the game. Betrayal, complex love stories, murder, this show has it all (and not without a bit of sexuality and boobs you wouldn’t expect on 9TH GRADERS). Everyone is out for themselves and it is up to you to side with who you think is right. This show would function perfectly as a choose your own ending game (point and click, preferably) in which you take each character to their limits. And praise Jeebus that Funimation got ahold of this show for dubbing, although I think a Death Note cast would’ve worked just as well.
So watch this show if it’s the last thing you do. It is well worth it and brings a whole lot of genres of anime together into one storyline. Anyone who enjoys good adrenaline pumping television, great character driven stories, and an all around game of cat and mouse with human lives at stake, watch this. You won’t regret it. And I stand firm in this being one of the best anime of 2012, maybe the last few years. Mirai Nikki, I may not like Ninth, but this deserves a 9th out of 10.
Beware the love triangles…
Leave a comment | tags: 2012, 9th, 9th graders, adrenaline pumping action, amazing plot, anti-social, apathetic, betrayal, black and white, boobs, brings genres together, cat and mouse game, character driven story, choose your own ending game, cliffhangers, complicated characters, danger around every corner, dead ends, Death Note, Deus, diary owners, discovering a world, dubbing, English title, exciting and entertaining, faulted, favorite anime, fighting, flawed main characters, frustrating, Funimation, Future Diary, game, god of this world, good bad dichotomy, good person, great animation, great ideas, hate main characters, interesting concept, intricate plot, Japanese, killing, likable supporting cast, love story, make the world better, manipulative, Miene Uryu, Mirai Nikki, motives, murder, no aspirations, obsessive stalker, phone diary, pick a side, point and click, protagonists versus antagonists, recording things, redeemable, serial killer, sexuality, standout anime, tell the future, terrorist, warped love, weak hero, wide array of characters, Yukiteru Amano, Yukki, Yuno Gasai | posted in Anime/ T.V.
I’m a huge sucker for anime that involves martial arts. Heck, for anything that involves martial arts. I dream about one day becoming a disciple of a certain martial arts form, but that day may be behind me (my only training was trying lethal moves out on my sister, in a joking manner of course). But the adrenaline and inspiration that martial arts injects into me makes me feel like I can do anything. And a character like Kenichi: History’s Mightiest Disciple proves it.
Although this anime boasts 50 episodes (and OVA’s to come), it is rather simple and extols the teachings and techniques of martial arts. Kenichi “Weak Knees” Shirahama (Josh Grelle) is just what his nickname suggests. Picked on all the time at school and always outcasted, Kenichi joins the school’s Karate Club in order to become stronger. After being
Kenichi and the masters of Ryozanpaku!
threatened by the biggest kid in the club, Kenichi is worried for his life. And his alien looking friend Haruo Niijima (Todd Haberkorn) confirms this.
Until one day when Kenichi’s entire life changes. Rescued by a new transfer student to the school, Miu Furinji (Carrie Savage), Kenichi discovers a way to fight back against all those bullies. Joining the Ryozanpaku dojo, Kenichi becomes the sole disciple and strongest hero by story’s end.
Miu, the boob action in the show. Pretty ridonk fighter though.
What I liked most about this show, other than the martial arts, is the sensei’s of the dojo. There’s Hayato Furinji (R. Bruce Elliott), the wizened leader of the gym who is basically unstoppable. Although he’s not around, he supports Kenichi and his granddaughter Miu. There’s Shio Sakaki (Christopher Sabat) the drunken comedy and Karate master. His punches are fierce and so is his standoffish personality. He likes Kenichi like a father (although he already has one) and pushes him to do better. Apachai Hopachai (Sonny Strait) is the dumb guy in the group. He’s lovable and friendly, but he doesn’t know his own strength. Always kicking Kenichi into the atmosphere, he loves calling out his name when he performs Muay Thai (my favorite. Period.) Shigure Kosaka (Trina Nishimura) is the weapons expert of the group. She doesn’t talk much, but makes up for it with quick sharp wit with her blade. Kensei Ma (Vic Mignogna) is an interesting old man. Bald and brazen, he brings the pervert aspect into the anime. Always taking pictures, he still finds time to teach Kenichi Chinese Kenpo (softer martial arts). And last but not least, Kenichi’s main teacher, Akisame Koetsuji (Kent Williams). His intelligence and artful technique pervade every aspect of his life. He can usually be seen forcing Kenichi to tow him around on a tire attached to a string through the city streets.
The Shinpaku alliance!
And there are far more characters than that that add spice to this show. As I mentioned before, Niijima is a wonderfully slithery character. His art of running away never fails, and his PDA never fails on recon. Todd Haberkorn brings a wildly raucous character to life with his evil alien features. And then there’s Ragnarok. Considered all to be Kenichi’s arch rivals, Kenichi must defeat them in order to keep from dying (or anything else terrible). One of my personal favorites is Hermit (Eric Vale) this solemn and quiet character has a masterful technique and an iron will. Eric Vale does a wonderful job as usual as a character who never gives up with a great dramatic voice. Jerry Jewell plays a ferociously sinister character I can’t really talk about, but he’s worth waiting for. And J. Michael Tatum does a voice I didn’t recognize at first with Ikki Takeda, the boxing beauty with shiny blue hair.
With all of these wonderful Funimation voice actors and so many characters, nothing could be better. And then you get down to all the fighting. Although some of it may be unrealistic and come with explosions of light and unheard of power with your fists, the technique is there. I’ve learned more from watching Kenichi than I have from anything else. I know moves, fluid techniques, and trick moves too. I know their names and why they’re significant, I might as well have just
Niijima and his wonderfully alien good looks.
watched a Discovery Channel show on it. And from so many different countries! China, Japan, Thailand, and any other Asian country that may have been mentioned. This show displays a sort of U.N. like congregation of the wonders and majesty of martial arts and brings them together in one wonderful show.
This show may floor you.
The plot is simple and straightforward, pulling no punches (pun-ch intended). Kenichi must systematically defeat and conquer enemies and his fears in order to become the best. What more of an archetypal story do you need? Throw in a whole lot of comedy, boobs, and amazing fighting technique, Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is one of the best shounen out there. Get some of that kick ass. 8.3 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 50 episodes, action anime, add spice, adrenaline, Akisame Koetsuji, alien, Apachai Hopachai, arch rivals, archetypal story, artful, bald, become stronger, become the best, blades, blue hair, boobs, boxer, bullies, Carrie Savage, China, Chinese Kenpo, Christopher Sabat, conquer, conquer your fears, defeat, disciples, Discovery Channel, doesn't know own strength, dojo, dramatic voice, drunken comedy, dumb guy, Eric Vale, explosions of light, father figure, fierce, fighting, fists, fluid technique, friendly, Funimation, granddaughter, Haruo Niijima, Hayato Furinji, Hermit, History's Mightiest Disciple, huge sucker, Ikki Takeda, inspiring, intelligence, iron will, J. Michael Tatum, Japan, Jerry Jewell, joking, Josh Grelle, Karate Club, Karate master, Kenichi Shirahama, Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Kensei Ma, Kent Williams, kicks, lethal moves, life changing, loveable, Martial Arts, martial arts teachings, masterful, Miu Furinji, moves, Muay-Thai, names, never give up, nickname, old man, outcast, OVA, PDA, pervert, picked on, pulls no punches, pun, punches, R. Bruce Elliott, Ragnarok, raucous, runs away, Ryozanpaku, sensei, sharp wit, Shigure Kosaka, Shio Sakaki, shonen, shounen, simple plot, sinister, sister, slithery character, soft martial arts, solemn and quiet, Sonny Strait, standoffiish personality, straighforward, strong hero, systematic, takes pictures, technique, Thailand, tire, Todd Haberkorn, transfer student, trick moves, Trina Nishimura, UN, unheard of powers, unrealistic, unstoppable, Vic Mignogna, voice actors, Weak Knees, weapons expert, wise old leader | posted in Anime/ T.V.
I’d like to classify this movie as an anime, but that would be a straight up lie. But, when you watch this, you’ll see what I mean. The plot, the action and special effects, everything in this movie is set up to be an anime. The stylistic violence explodes off the screen and Goemon skirts building tops at a Flash-like pace. There’s love and betrayal, there’s status, loyalty, and duty. Brotherhood plays one of the bigger roles in this movie to a point that really took over the movie. Goemon and Saizo, two ninja brothers at odds, rival and play to each other’s strengths, recognizing each other as friends in the end. And this is all supplemented by an amazing English dubbed cast from the Funimation studios that actually did a good job at dubbing a foreign film. Imagine that.
In a very overly dramatic style, this movie tells the story of a young ruffian who found the ways to honor and strength
The cast and its wonderful costumes that won it some awards.
through the teachings of his slain master, Nobunaga Oda. Slain by who you may ask? Well, the evil lieutenant, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (acted by Eiji Okuda, voiced by Chistopher Sabat). In a power move that succeeds, Hideyoshi plans to take the Princess Chacha as well (strange name, but all the same…) and all the power he can grab. With the exchange of a small box that was stolen from the royal coffers, Goemon is set on a chase that will reunite him with his sparring partner, Saizo (played by Takao Osawa, voiced by Troy Baker) and the aforementioned brotherhood is rekindled.
The rivalry rekindled!
What ends up happening leads to three huge fight scenes and the dramatic death of someone in the film. There’s some major slaughter, tastefully done I may add, and some traditional face-off scenes between Goemon and the big baddies. With a bigger political and army related plot at hand, the multi-layered elements of the plot may or may not be lost on you when you check this movie out. But, it also begs the question why a lot of the scenes in this movie weren’t as choreographed as I would’ve liked them to be. The special effects were geared more towards destruction than any sort of blood and kill scenes. It does leave you asking for a bit more than was offered, but the plot makes up for that lack of action sequences.
And for those American audiences who complain, “Why do I have to read a movie? I’ll miss stuff!” Whine no more. This is an actually well done dub. Yes, it’s always awkward to watch a film knowing that the foreign actors can hold their own and don’t need a voice actor trying to translate their feelings and emotions into another language, but this film does it differently. These aren’t any old voice actors. These are some of the best from the most well known English anime/voice acting company in America. Funimation. If you were a kid in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, you’ll know of their talent from Toonami. Dragonball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, all these anime and more from Toonami were voiced by those Funimation voice acting wonders.
The stunning visual effects at play in the film.
Set sail on this epic tale of battle.
Other than that, this is a well done live action… action movie. It has all the elements of an epic and almost feels like an overdone Japanese play or something similar. The special effects give a heightened stylistic element to it and may leave those of us more keen to a Tony Jaa film wanting a bit more fight oriented element to it. But for entertainment value, this movie delivers quite well. The music was well done and the comedy was on cue, and you may actually shed a tear at one point in the movie or another. Either way, check this out dubbed and let me know what you think. It’s at least worth a watch. 7.5 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: American audiences, anime like, army, at odds, bigger role, Brotherhood, comedy on cue, destruction, Dragonball Z, dramatic deaths, duty, Eiji Okuda, English anime, English dubbed cast, entertainment value, epic film, face-off, feelings and emotions, foreign actors, foreign film, friends in the end, Funimation, Goemon, good dub, good score, honor and strength, Japanese play, less blood, love and betrayal, loyalty, major slaughter, movie delivers, multi-layered, ninja brothers, no kill scenes, Nobunaga Oda, not choreographed, over the top action, overly dramatic, political, Princess Chacha, rivals, royal coffers, Saizo, shed a tear, small box, special effects, status, stylistic violence, Takao Osawa, The Flash, three huge fight scenes, Tony Jaa, Toonami, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, voiced by Christopher Sabat, voiced by Troy Baker, young ruffian, Yu Yu Hakusho | posted in Movies
I don’t know how long this review may turn out to be, but I have so much to say on the topic of Fullmetal Alchemist/Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. In what I would consider, and what others would consider to be one of the greatest and most well known anime of all time, Fullmetal Alchemist delivers on so many levels. It has so much going on and so many characters to follow and love that it’s going to be quite hard in keeping this short (that’s what she said).
All that being said, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (And its original show I’ve watched as well, and own) is the story of Edward (Vic Mignogna) and
Too many great characters to count.
Alphonse (Aaron Dismuke/Maxey Whitehead) Elric. These two brothers are into alchemy, the mystic version of what we today call science. In a world apart from our own, Ed and Al delve into the inner workings of things like equivalent exchange (In order for something to be gained, something must be lost of equal value.) and alchemic circles. Seeming to be something of the occult, these two delve into what is common practice of the early 1900s.
Living happily with their mother and father (for a time, until he leaves) Ed and Al become engrossed in the world of Alchemy. Taking every opportunity they can to learn about its secrets, the two become formidable alchemists in their own right at a very young age. And then, tragedy strikes.
Ed and Al, two brothers on an adventure.
Struck down by some unexplained illness, Ed and Al’s mother dies at an unexpected and early time in her life. While the two of them are still young (7 and 9), they attempt the taboo. The attempt to perform human transmutation. With what appears to be a straighforward procedure, the two attempt to create life from the makings of a human (i.e. water, carbon, trace elements, etc.). What they don’t account for is what costs them. Taking Ed’s right arm and left leg and Al’s entire body, Ed barely saves Al’s soul by attaching it to a suit of armor in the corner of the room. Debilitated and with no family left except some loving family friends, Winry Rockbell and her grandmother, Pinako, these two burn down their family home and leave Risembool.
This leads Ed and Al to pursue the only other alchemic object that readers of Harry Potter will be familiar with. The Philosopher’s Stone. This magical object, in the context of FMA, can circumvent the need for equivalent
Always leaving Winry behind to cry...
exchange. This object, they believe, will allow them to get their bodies back and return to a life of normalcy. But with the heavy prices and hardships in store, it won’t be that easy. Providing his services to the military state of Amestris as a “dog of the military”, a state alchemist. With Al along, the two must discover just what it means to put it all on the line for the Philosopher’s Stone.
Alchemy. It's hip.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about the later workings of the plots that go down in FMA and FMAB. After a certain amount of episodes, the two diverge in plot. Fullmetal Alchemist doesn’t follow the original plot of the manga, while Brotherhood follows it exactly. Never having read the manga (I’m an anime person, sorry.) I didn’t have a problem with either. There is some big debate and divisive opinions on the matter, but I feel the two shows stand apart, despite being about the same things. Both are quite satisfying in the end.
Great characters, old and new.
In any case, the characters in this show are wonderful. So is the voice acting. Actually, if I may be so bold, the English voice actors are just as popular with this show as the Japanese ones. Funimation did things right when they got the rights to this show and casted accordingly. But enough about that for now. We have to talk characters. I guess I’ll have to talk about characters without revealing anything about the plot. Hard to do, but I’ll manage.
Well, there’s Ed and Al, of course. These two drive the plot and give
Armstrong. Always good for a shirt rip.
wonderfully heartfelt and considerate characters to the show. Ed can be a bit hotheaded (and therein lies the comedy) but his stubborn attitude and realistic view of the world really shape our view into the world of Fullmetal Alchemist. With Al, who’s just as important, comes the caring and gentle giant (because of the suit of armor) character that I secretly admire greatly. His only flaw and greatest strength is that he cares too much. Winry comes across as the weeping damsel in distress, one of the only female characters in the show to do so. Functioning as a sort of love interest in what is collectively called a shounen, this girl can pack a punch… comedically, whenever she needs to.
Kimblee. Badass. All in white.
And then there are some of my favorite characters. There’s Zolf J. Kimblee, the most badass villain and coolest alchemist to grace the series. With the power to alchemically turn anything into a bomb at his whim, he lays waste to everything in his paste. His nonchalant attitude about life and the love he holds for chaos is something I find to legit to quit in villainous characters. There’s Scar, the Ishballan priest turned freedom fighter. After his people were destroyed in a civil war, Scar ditches his name and uses the powers granted him by his brother in order to kill those alchemists who wronged him. He’s a bit of a conflicted character who really jumps around in the series, but he’s well worth rooting for. Roy Mustang and his surly crew of officers. Mustang is a high ranking officer among the military and effectively rules it with his ability to set anything on fire. Mirrored in his fiery attitude, he has the ambition to rule the country as Furher someday. (Amestris is basically Germany in the early 1900s. Almost hard to swallow that they’re reflecting Nazisms in this show, but it’s a choice.)
This was legit.
Then there are these creatures in the world known as Homunculi. I can’t say anything more about the topic (it’s too damn important), but I can say that they’re named after the 7 deadly sins. Their powers and personalities reflect that, and look out for Greed, Gluttony, and Pride, three of my favorites. Wrath used to be one of my favorites, but he/she is two different characters in FMA and FMAB. All of the Homunculi are key in the plot and well worth picking your favorite for how diverse and interesting their characters are. With two different explanations as to their origins, you can pick your favorite.
I enjoy this.
Now that I’m thinking about all the things that FMA/FMAB has to offer, I am starting to wish I had done a separate blog on Fullmetal Alchemist. These shows are two worlds apart, and similar in so many ways. There’s just so much to go into in detail and scope, and just not enough time to discuss it in. I don’t want to bore anyone with a long winded review, but if you do have questions you’d like answered or a specific topic I should review on my blog, let me know via comment or something. I’d love to talk about it!
Oh, all the characters and the plot I can’t get into and all that good shit. I’m now seeing this review as more of a teaser than anything. The intricate plot and reveals of both versions are well worth it. The dialogue and emotions will enrapture you in joy and sorrow. I can’t talk this up enough, can I? Well I wanna mention voice actors in English before I give this show the 10 out of 10 it deserves.
Can't even explain what's going on here.
Vic Mignogna is as iconic and well known for his voice as Edward Elric as the Japanese voice actor. Loved by many, he may always be recognized as Ed. Aaron Dismuke, one of the youngest voice actors to grace Funimation, got his start from a very young age as Alphonse Elric. With a voice that began to change as the show went on, it was all too unfortunate that Aaron could no longer fulfill the part. Maxey Whitehead did a good job in her own right, but there was
Here's a little throwback Greed.
a distinct difference in Al’s soft spoken voice. Travis Willingham delivers well as Roy Mustang, the fiery commander of the Amestris military. In what I would consider an improved performance from the original FMA, he really allowed his character to come out in Brotherhood.
Caitlin Glass does a phenomenal job as the constantly emotional Winry at all the right points. I must say though that I liked Dameon Clarke far more as Scar than J Michael Tatum. The gruff demeanor of Scar, I feel, leans more towards a man of few words than a gruff sounding religious freak. Just saying.
You beat them back, Scar, you religious freak you.
Both good, just drastically different. Who else should I mention… Eric Vale was badass as Kimblee with his, “I don’t care, I’m nuckin’ futs crazy. I’ll kill you.” attitude. Enough said there. Laura Bailey is as sexy as ever as Lust, the sexiest of the Homunculi. Troy Baker, more than Chris Patton, in the original, provides a great “I want the world and I’ll do anything to get it” voice as Greed. And, exclusively to Brotherhood comes Lin Yao, a prince from Xing with one of the best scenes and deliveries in the entire show, done by Todd Haberkorn. The goofiness of Todd disappears behind the character of Lin Yao and become something entirely different. And, of course, Christopher R. Sabat is amazing as with everything he does as Alex Louis Armstrong, the Strongarm Alchemist.
So with all these great things all in one amazing anime, why haven’t you already seen this/are watching it now? There’s no need to read this review when all I could have said is watch this show. Watch Fullmetal Alchemist and tell your friends about it. Subbed or dubbed, it doesn’t matter. Watch both versions and compare, let me know which one’s your favorite. Bask in the glory that is FMA/FMAB. It’s all good so trust The Abyss and jump right in. It’s worth it. 10 out of 10.
It all comes full circle. Full alchemy circle.
Leave a comment | tags: 7 deadly sins, Aaron Dismuke, Al's body, alchemic circles, alchemy, Alex Louis Armstrong, Alphonse Elric, already seen anime, amazing character development, amazing voice acting, ambitious nature, Amestris, badass villain, big debate about which is better, bombs, Brotherhood, Caitlin Glass, cares too much, Chaos, Chris Patton, Christopher R. Sabat, comedy, compare versions, conflicted character, constantly emotional, create life, Dameon Clarke, damsel in distress, death, delivers on all levels, different Al voices, divergent plots, diverse and wide ranging characters, dog of the military, drive the plot, dubbed, Ed and Al, Ed and Al's mother, Ed's right arm and left leg, Edward Elric, english voice actors, equivalent exchange, Eric Vale, fire, FMA, FMAB, freedom fighter, Fullmetal Alchemist, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Funimation, Furher, gentle giant, Germany in the 1930s, get bodies back, Gluttony, Godlike, great characters, Greed, gruff demeanor, hardships, Harry Potter, heartfelt, heavy price, Homunculi, hotheaded, human transmutation, intricate plot, Isballan, J. Michael Tatum, Japanese voice actors, joy and sorrow, Laura Bailey, Lin Yao, love interest, Lust, manga, Maxey Whitehead, military state, mystic version of science, Nazisms, one of the greatest anime of all time, original, origins, Philosopher's Stone, Pinako, Pride, prince of Xing, Risembool, Roy Mustang, Scar, sexy, shounen, stand apart, state alchemist, Strongarm Alchemist, stubborn attitude, subbed, suit of armor, taboo, teaser review, The Abyss, Todd Haberkorn, tragedy, Travis Willingham, Troy Baker, two brothers, Vic Mignogna, well known anime, Winry Rockbell, wonderful characters, Wrath, youngest voice actor, Zolf J KIlmblee | posted in Anime/ T.V.
I’ve seen Akira Kurosawa’s film, 7 Samurai. The second that I saw there was an anime dedicated to it (and supplied with the voice acting talents of Chris Sabat as Kikuchiyo) I had to see it for myself. In what I would call a very honest and original ode to Kurosawa, this 26 episode anime series follows the classic tale of the mighty vs. the meek. I saw this film quite a while ago in my film appreciation class and found it to be quite cinematic for its time (1954 in fact). With great characters and a good helping of action, nothing could be wrong with this film and anime classic.
The basic plot of Samurai 7 is that of David vs. Goliath. In a small rice village named Kanna, field workers and peasants must fulfill quotas of rice production to be paid to the bandits. These bandits are former
The cast of Samurai 7.
humans who have encased themselves in the wave of the future. In these new Gundam like bodies, the bandits hold sway over the lives of the peasants and demand rice in exchange for the peasants lives. And yet, despite their payment, the bandits take women to the imperium to become slaves.
After years of this slavery and menial servitude, the peasants decide to secretly do something about it. The village elder sends Komachi (Luci Christian), Rikichi (J. Michael Tatum), and Kirara (Colleen Clinkenbeard), the village’s water maiden. With her divining skills, the three peasants seek out the help of human samurai to fight the samurai encased in metal. Over the course of the show, 7 samurai are recruited in order to defend the rights of the lowly peasants of Kanna. Within this plot comes another plot (NOT INCEPTION B.S.) unlike the Kurosawa film. With an imperial plot by the merchants of the city, the 7 samurai must find the strength to fight off multiple enemies.
That's a legit battle right there.
What I really loved about this anime was the character designs of the 7 samurai. Shimada Kanbei (Robert Bruce Elliott) is the leader of the clan of samurai, wielding the most power. His brusque attitude can come off as disconnected, but he always has the goal in mind to help the peasants in any way he can. Okamoto Katsushiro (Sean Michael Teague) is the timid member of the group with a hidden power that is not revealed until the opportune moment. He also provides the majority of the love interest in the story for Kirara, although it becomes convoluted towards the end. Katayama Gorobei (Bob Carter) provides the easy, laid back man of wisdom with a protective attitude. Shichiroji (Duncan Brannan) plays the right hand man to Kanbei’s leadership in an almost transparent role. He never contradicts or creates any conflict with Kanbei, as I sort of expected. Kikuchiyo (Christopher R. Sabat) plays the outcast of the group as the robotic samurai, out to prove his worth to the humans around him. He plays a great comedic element in the show and provides an endearing character who, despite his buffoonery, inspires hope. Hayashida Heihachi (Greg Ayres) is the quiet, well to do good guy who only wants a good living and nothing more. And Kyuzo (Sonny Strait) plays the no nonsense badass turncoat. Great characters all around.
No words for this awesomeness.
And the animation was, I thought phenomenal. Interesting fact. To produce each individual episode, 32,500,000 Yen, ($300,000) were spent on each episode. The fluent switch between animation styles and the fighting scenes really stood out to me. The robotic digital animations were well coordinated with the samurai fights and the picturesque backdrops of different areas of the world created by Toshifumi Takizawa was a sight to behold. AND THE MUSIC. The keyed up traditional Japanese music with every fight scene and the melancholy tones of the peasant workers were just as good as the music from Kurosawa’s film. Funimation did a fantastic job with the dub and it all came together for a good two weeks worth of watching this on Hulu. I gotta hand it to Hulu, but they stream some quality looking entertainment. So hands off to all those involved with Samurai 7 and hell, how about it for Hulu? Best anime I watched in 2012 so far. 9.4 out of 10.
Will they be saved? Watch to find out!
2 Comments | tags: 1954, 23 episode anime, 7 Samurai, Akira Kurosawa, amazing score, anime version, badass, bandits, big budget, Bob Carter, bumbling comedic element, Chris Sabat, Christopher R. Sabat, cinematic, classic tale, Colleen Clinkenbeard, David vs Goliath, digital animation, dubbed, Duncan Brannan, Funimation, good quality streaming, great characters, Greg Ayres, Gundam like suits, Hayashida Heihaci, hidden power, honest and original, Hulu, imperium, J. Michael Tatum, Kanna, Katayama Gorobei, Kikuchiyo, Kirara, Komachi, Kyuzo, leader, love interest, Luci Christian, merchants, Okamoto Katsushiro, peasants, phenomenal animation, rice village, right hand man, Rikichi, Robert Bruce Ellliott, robotic samurai, samurai, Samurai 7, Sean Michael Teague, Shichiroji, Shimada Kanbei, shounen anime, slavery, Sonny Strait, soundtrack, Toshifumi Takizawa, turncoat, water maiden | posted in Anime/ T.V.
Before I start this review I have to admit that I check Wikipedia before I get too deep into a show. I wanna know the characters I’m looking out for and the basic premise before I dive in. I did this for Ga-Rei: Zero. And boy, was I surprised. There was no Kensuke Nimura (Todd Haberkorn). Although he was in the last minute of the last episode. Every other character was present in this anime, and I finally understood after all 12 episodes that this was a before the manga story that explained how the characters got to where they are. So much more sense now.
So thisstory is about Kagura Tsuchimiya (Leah Clark), a spirit hunter who fights off demons with her samurai blade. She is descended from spirit fighters like her parents and it is one day that her mother dies and passes on the family’s spirit,
Yeah, this show's pretty ridonkulous.
Ga-Rei Byakuei. Going to live with her family’s relative, Yomi Isayama (Alexis Tipton), she hopes to become stronger for her father, but not without resentment. Months pass as the two fight different level classifications of demons until one day everything goes wrong. And then that’s kinda where the anime ends. It’s left open ended for the manga arc to pick up where this built upon, but who knows?
The fighting in this show is rather bloody and intense, quite interesting to see for me not having watched many shounen (is that what this is?) with female protagonists. It just gives credence to the idea that girls can kick just as much ass when it comes to shows like this. (They really are the dominating forces in this one.) The subject matter is rather dark, owing to the fact that nothing good comes out of this situation. I mean shoot, the first episode establishes a group of characters you expect to follow the entire show and then subsequently eliminates them with Yomi. Pretty redonkulous.
Girls with Duel Monsters. Pretty B.A.
Other than that, it was a decent show for its brevity and promises of a continuation. The voice acting was decent from a group of as not well known voice actors from Funimation. I was really happy for the establishment and buildup with a new, interesting way of looking at the spiritual side to “exorcism”/demon fighting in anime, which I always appreciate (although I’m a huge fan of Bleach and am excited for the new season dubbed). I can’t say enough that I liked this show and hope for a continuation visually. I’d give this show a solid 7.5 out of 10.
2 Comments | tags: 12 episode anime, Alexis Tipton, basic premise, Bleach, bloody and intense fighting, brief, dark subject, demon fighting, demons, different level demons, exorcism, female protagonists, Funimation, Ga-Rei Byakuei, Ga-Rei: Zero, Kagura Tsuchimiya, Kensuke Nimura, last episode, Leah Clark, manga arc, manga story, mother dies, new season dubbed, samurai blade, shounen, spirit hunter, spiritual, Todd Haberkorn, visual continuation, voice actors, wikipedia, Yomi Isayama | posted in Anime/ T.V.
So based on my new obsession with anime, my mom picked this little anime film up for me from the library. I had not expectations and I was delightfully surprised. This anime film, which got positive reviews across the board in 2006, is an anime about dreams. In my opinion, anime is one of the few mediums that can accurately depict dreams. (Nice attempt Christopher Nolan, but this film came 4 years earlier than your Inception.) If I had seen this before I had seen Inception, I would’ve considered Inception a rip-off (sort of is). But it’s comparing apples to oranges. And that’s the way in which this anime stands out.
Paprika is a story that appears to take place in modern day. A Japanese technology company has created a piece of technology known as the DC Mini. These apparatus is used by psychologists to analyze the dreams of patients firsthand in order to diagnose and treat their patients. The one problem? The machine hasn’t been finished. And then it’s stolen. So the members of the company must go on what appears to be a wild goose chase in order to find who stole them before dreams become fused with reality.
That’s what makes this film unique. At any moment, the characters in the film could be dreaming, awake or asleep, and the
What's going on here? Probably why it's rated R...
mind-bending elements that present themselves in this film as the characters navigate the dreams is done beautifully. The film incorporates a love of parades, movies, and the thrill of flight all in one. Although I myself do not dream in terms of surreality, I could appreciate the elements of dreaming used that most people experience. The vivid colors and feeling of a warped reality and drawn beautifully and the movements of the characters are animated fluently and gracefully, something I’ve found that some anime have trouble with. (I guess it all depends on the budget and skill of the artists…)
Yuri Lowenthal. Fat, but good.
The voice actors are decent, most notably is Yuri Lowenthal. I didn’t pick up on his voice immediately, but he is one of those A-list voice actors that get a lot of work today. I think now would be a good time to explain voice acting in terms of skill. In the past (1970’s to 1990’s I believe) voice actors were picked more often for the sound of their voice rather than their acting skills. (It’s like choosing a sports announcer.) But in recent decades, voice actors are being chosen for their versatility and their acting skills. It’s this change that has given a lot of credit to an industry that is not seen as all that credible in America. In a more dramatic sense, in comparison to cartoon voice actors, these actors can perform dramatic as well as comedic and everything in between. And this gives us a better viewing experience because sound is half the battle in anime. Big league hitter companies in anime dubbing are ones like Funimation and Aniplex.
Paprika. Worth the jump.
Other than that, there is a certain cute element to Paprika. If you watch the ending romance you’ll understand. Characters are thrown into each other’s dreams and the underlying feelings that are discovered help bring a happy ending. I do enjoy those snapshot films where a problem arises and returned to normal through understanding and conflict resolution. A “slice of life” if you will. And that’s what Paprika is. A little slice of dreams. 8.1 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 2006, A-list, acting skills, America, Anime, Aniplex, asleep, awake, cartoon, Christopher Nolan, comedic, cute, DC MIni, dramatic, dreaming, dreams, dubbing, film, Funimation, happy ending, Inception Anime, Japanese, mind-bending, modern day, movies, Paprika, parades, positive reviews, psychologists, reality, rip-off, romance, slice of life, sound, surreality, technology, thrill of flight, versatility, vivid colors, voice actors, warped reality, Yuri Lowenthal | posted in Anime/ T.V., Movies
This short little anime is a bit different from what I’ve recently been watching. Black Blood Brothers, better known as, basically, old vampires, is the story of, well, old vampires. Versus basically new vampires. It’s like Blade 2. This is essentially 12 episodes of an instance in the life of Jiro Mochizuki. He’s one of the old blood vampires that quelled the rebellion of the Kowloon Children at Hong Kong. Complicated backstory that is explained throughout the episodes. But this anime is basically about his return to Hong Kong, more specifically, the Special Zone.
Now this Special Zone is “special” because it is a safe haven for vampires. Of all sorts. Well, more vampires that are Kowloon Children. And this anime is about some Kowloon Children getting into the Special Zone. Unfortunately. Jiro is not initially allowed into the Special Zone, but he’s allowed “if” he helps quell a second rebellion. And this time, Jiro has his younger brother in tow. And with the help of a vampire mediator, we’ll
A handful of characters for you.
see what happens.
This vampire anime is a slightly different take on what it means to be a vampire. These vampires hate sun, but don’t necessarily die in it. They don’t like water either, and can die in it. They drink blood to replenish their powers, but won’t kill or turn humans who they suck blood from. Silver kills them for sure. And the humans utilize that to keep them in line. The only way humans (red bloods) can be turned into black bloods (vampires) is if vampires let humans drink a bit of their vampire blood. It doesn’t happen often, but it can happen. (Unfortunately not in this anime.)
J. Michael Tatum as Jiro.
But yes, this is the story of Jiro vs. the Kowloon Children. And Jiro is done by quite the voice actor. J. Michael Tatum, a voice actor I met at Anime Boston, voiced Jiro, the Silver Blade. He does quite the good job at an English accent, and that’s due to his speech therapist, an old English hag (Just kidding). Colleen Clinkenbeard voices Mimiko Katsuragi, the mediator between the humans (The Company) and the vampires of the Special Zone. Colleen does great work and voices good female characters, one of the best female voice actors that Funimation provides. Jerry Jewell provides the voice for Zelman Clock, a rather mischievous old blood vampire with an affinity for fire and a vehement tongue, the perfect combo for Jerry Jewell himself. Brina Palencia
Jerry Jewell. Nice.
lends her voice for a few episodes as Yafuri Chao, a direct descendant of the Kowloon King and quite the formidable opponent of Jiro. And, last but never least, Christopher Sabat lends a Piccolo like voice as Cain Warlock, another gruff supporting character of the many anime that Christopher Sabat performs in. And this is just half of a cast the lends itself to a
Oh. And they can walk on walls.
decent performance in a short vampire anime.
Now the animation/art direction isn’t necessarily my cup of tea (or blood, if you prefer), but it does justice for itself in its own way. It’s not shonen, and yet its not seinen (Check Basilisk for the reference.). This line that Black Blood Brothers blurs is where it loses me. And the way in which the anime isn’t long enough either leaves it something that it’s desperately missing. These characters have done things that we only hear about through recall. Not direct interaction. And this is where it should’ve been a longer anime. But, all the same, it’s decent in its scope and the way it deals with vampires. 6.3 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: animation, Anime Boston, art direction, back story, Basilisk, Black Blood Brothers, Blade 2, Brina Palencia, Cain Warlock, Christopher Sabat, Colleen Clinkenbeard, drink blood, English accent, female voice actors, fire, Funimation, Hong Kong, humans, J. Michael Tatum, Jerry Jewell, Jiro Mochizuki, Kowloon Children, Kowloon King, little brother, mediator, Mimiko Katsuragi, new vampires, old vampires, Piccolo, powers, rebellion, red bloods, seinen, shonen, short anime, silver, Silver Blade, Special Zone, sun, The Company, vampire safe haven, vampires, vehement tongue, water, Yafuri Chao, Zelman Clock | posted in Anime/ T.V.