Archive for Features

Anime Review: Strike Witches

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Dude.

They are cute girls who walk around with no pants on.

… and oh yeah, they have animal ears and fluffy tails when they go flying. Some of them are even cat girls!

Do I really need to say any more about it?

* * *

The Good: Everything.

The Bad: Nothing.

Final Verdict: Strike Witches is the best show ever made.

Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment.

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The Daily Almanac: As Funny as a Heart Attack

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

This was originally going to be part of my Katsucon report, but I feel that there is enough content here that it deserves its own post.  I’m going to have many unfavorable things to say about this convention in tomorrow’s post, but the truth is that my weekend actually started off on a positive note as I attended a panel for voice actor Greg Ayres.

My long time readers probably remember the controversial interview I did with him two years ago over the issue of fansubs. I approached Ayres before his panel last weekend, and much to my surprise, he remembered me very well. We actually got into a very friendly, and somewhat gossipy, conversation prior to the panel. Then I sat with the rest of the audience to hear his interesting story.

And this time, it really had nothing to do with fansubs.

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Top Ten Anime Releases of 2009

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Well, I said that I was going to post a new “Best of 2009″ list for every week in December, and darn it, I did it! (^_^)  It sure was a lot of work, but of course, I had to save the best list for last. Ladies and gentlemen, here are my ten favorite new anime releases of 2009.

Now, the word “new” can most certainly mean different things in the world of anime fandom these days. There are the new series that are coming out in Japan each season, and then there are the new series that are just being imported in America this year. So just for clarification on why Series X doesn’t appear on this list this year, let me outline the three ways I consider a series to be “new” in 2009:

1) Anime series had to have had its first volume released on R1 DVD in 2009. (no continuing series or re-releases)

2) Anime series had to have its first episode legally available online for American viewers in 2009 (no fansubs)

3) Anime film had to have had a nation-wide American theatrical release in 2009. (no festival screenings)

Now it’s obvious that one company dominates the list this year. It is not just because of my own personal bias, there is certainly a logical reason for this. FUNimation is monopolizing the anime industry here in America, so most of the new releases this year have been from them. Five out of my top ten are FUNi titles, which is consistent with the top ten lists put together from Chris Beveridge (5 out of 10) and Amazon.com (4 out of 10) this year.

But enough talk and disclaimers, let’s get to the list!

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Top Ten Anime / Manga Companies of 2009

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Yeah, I know that a lot of people tend to only care about content when it comes to anime and manga, but personally, I am just absolutely fascinated by the industry behind it. Something about taking a foreign niche product, adapting it for Americans, and then marketing it to that geeky audience completely interests me.

So because I do keep a very close eye on everything that goes on in the anime and manga business in America, here is my annual list of the ten companies I feel made the biggest difference for the industry and for the fans out there in 2009.

10) Tokyopop

Tokyopop was noticeably absent from my list last year, but that is because they really hit a rough spot in 2008 and had to go off the grid for a good part of that year. But we saw them gradually recover in 2009 and really try to clear up all the loose ends that were left with their sudden departure. Series that went on “indefinite hiatus” now started to come out again, and the paper quality on their books began to improve as well. The company also started holding panels again at anime conventions and have even starting holding online “webinars” for the fans.

They’ve been doing a great job rebounding in 2009, and I look forward to an even stronger presence in 2010.

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Top Ten Manga Releases of 2009

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Ah, the Top Ten lists. My favorite time of the year. (^_^) This is when I get to look back on the past twelve months and pick out the best of the best in the world of anime and manga.

This year, I’m giving each category (manga, anime, and companies) its own special post. Along with listing the top ten new entries, I will also pick out one “No Thank You” title, a series that will probably show up on other critics lists, but I will purposely point out that it is not included on mine. Likewise, I’ll also pick one “Honorable Mention” selection, a series that is not necessarily manga or anime, but I feel really should be included on this “Best of” list.

The criteria for manga is simple – the first volume of a series had to have been released in the US at some point in 2009. This means no re-releases are included (sorry, Yotsuba&!) and neither are continuing series (sorry, With the Light).

My 2009 manga list is going to look a little different from my 2008 list. Since I started doing manga reviews this year, I got exposed to a lot of series that I probably would have never picked up on my own. I don’t think I would have normally included a shojo title, but CMX Manga has released a number a good ones this year, and I included two of them on this list.

There is also no doubt that 2009 belonged to just one manga artist who blew away all the critics this year, and I am no exception. But more on that as we get closer to the #1 spot… Let’s get this thing started! (more…)