The Daily Almanac: Damaged Goods

February 2nd, 2010

Kotaku writes a very lengthy and very fascinating article on how an event on the message board 4chan in 2006 gave birth to a very unusual amateur video game called Kawata Shojo, or “Disabled Girls.” The game is a Japanese-style visual novel about, you guessed it,  psychically disabled girls.

This article really surprised me because I haven’t stepped foot on 4chan in years. But I was active on the boards in 2006 and I vividly remember the night Damaged Goods began. I found myself fascinated with the poster’s highly detailed narrative. I didn’t believe a word of it, but still, I was hooked on the story. I couldn’t help but to think at the time that this was going to be the American version of Densha Otoko.

Well, it didn’t become the American version of Densha Otoko, and I thought the saga ended shortly thereafter. But apparently it still lives on after all these years in this video game, so be sure to check out the full story over at Kotaku.

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The Daily Almanac: A Brand New Feature!

February 1st, 2010

Hey Peeps!

So in my quest of ever expanding this blog and gaining new readership, I occasionally try out something different to test out the waters a bit. Last month, I experimented with the whole comments thing, since people have been telling me for years that it is necessary for every blog to have comments. But honestly, it didn’t make a difference at all in the month I had them open. So comments are gone again, and for the next month, I’m testing out a new feature on the blog: The Daily Almanac.

If you’ve been following my Twitter feed, then you pretty much know how I like to do anime news bits. I link to a webpage with a worthwhile news item, and then provide a line or two of my witty, thoughtful, and often sarcasic analysis. The Daily Almanac will essentially be the same thing, only not broken into 140 characters. These posts will be shorter and far more casual than my normal reviews and features.

Many other blogs do this type of reporting, and they all do it very well. Will my unique take of the day’s news stand out among everyone else? Well, we’ll find that out a month from now. So let’s get this started with all the news from today!

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Bandai has begun their huge Gundam push today by streaming a number of the classic series on various anime video sites. Crunchyroll will be running the original Mobile Suit Gundam series and ANN has the Z Gundam series. Bandai had already been streaming the Gundam 00 series on YouTube for the past year.

All this promotion is for the upcoming release of the newest OVA series, Gundam Unicorn. UC will be seeing a global release on March 12, and fans in America can buy the first hour long episode on Blu-ray from

Yup, one episode with MSRP of $50. And that’s actually really cheap compared to the normal price of Blu-ray anime in Japan. That’s like the cost of an R2 anime DVD.

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iPhone App Review: Fullmetal Alchemist State Alchemy Exam

January 28th, 2010

Well, since the entire world has been abuzz over the recent announcement of Apple’s new iPad yesterday (which, by the way, I am totally buying as soon as it comes out). I decided to finally sit down with the latest official anime iPhone app and put it through its paces. After all, this app will also be available on the iPad in a few months.

The Fullmetal Alchemist State Alchemy Exam (iTunes link) is the second anime franchise coming to the iPhone from Japanese developer Appliya. A year ago, they released a series of novelty Evangelion apps, such as a clock and sticker app I was able reviewed on this blog last February. Now Appliya has partnered with FUNimation Entertainment to bring a number of the company’s top properties to the interactive small screen, and the first one up to bat is the very popular FMA franchise.

The State Alchemy Exam is essentially a trivia game that combines questions about the first FMA anime series (“What is the last name of Edward and Alphonse?”) with questions about Physics (“What is the process of changing a liquid into a gas?”) and Chemistry (“The bubbles in soda are caused by what gas?”). You begin at the easy level and when you can answer all 10 out of 10 questions correctly, you can move on to a more difficult level.
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Manga Review: The World I Create

January 21st, 2010

In order to be a “Projectionist,” you must be able to create worlds and objects using only your imagination and a magical lantern. It is a unique talent that very few possess, but those that can do it well can become famous and make a fortune out of “projecting” in front of a paying audience.

But you gotta learn how to do it first, so students hone their craft in the Projectionist Department at their regular high schools. The World I Create is a series of short stories about these type of magical high school students. They find love and friendship with each other while still trying their best to make the grade and pass their classes.

The World I Create is a one-volume shonen title out of the CMX / Flex Comic partnership, and it is the first work of artist Ayami Kazayama to be released here in America. And while one might be expecting a whimsical tale about the magic of these projections, all we get is a sappy and overly-generic romantic snoozer instead.

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Anime Review: RIN ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~

January 18th, 2010

Rin Asogi and her partner, Mimi, run a “consulting firm” in Shinjuku. It is all just a front, of course, as the two girls are actually private investigators who specialize in the dark and paranormal. While pursuing a missing cat, Rin runs into Kouki, a mysterious man with his memory erased. But when she decides to take on Kouki’s case of missing identity, she goes down a deep dark hole of a major conspiracy, and eventually she ends up dismembered into a bloody mess.

But there’s a catch. Rin and Mimi are actually immortal, so no matter how many times Rin is gunned down or dismembered, she sprouts right back to life. So sets up RIN ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~, an epic 6-episode OVA* thriller spanning over 65 years and multiple generations.

And it is the first “must watch” anime series of 2010.

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Anime Review: Linebarrels of Iron (Part 1)

January 11th, 2010

Middle schooler Kouichi Hayase has always wanted to be a hero, an “ally of justice” as he likes to go around saying. Well, his wish comes true when a naked girl,Emi Kizaki, suddenly comes crashing down on him, killing the boy instantly. Emi has no choice but to revive the boy by infusing him to Linebarrel, a big ass battle mech.

Now with the power to call on Linebarrel and pilot the machine, Kouichi becomes of interest to JUDA, a weapons manufacturer working with the United Nations to fight off a global mysterious alien threat. But after Kouichi joins JUDA, he quickly finds out the truth behind their enemy, and how closely these aliens are connected to Linebarrel and Emi.

When I announced that I would be reviewing Linebarrels of Iron over Twitter, I could hear the collective groans of everyone following me. Clearly this was not a very popular series. So while I did not particularly find it to be the worst thing I have ever seen, it sure did not win me over in these first 13 episode.

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Manga Review: King of RPGs (vol. 1)

January 7th, 2010

I might call my blog “The Anime Almanac”, but it is not really an almanac, an extensive reference book of general anime information. Such a thing does not really exists in written form, at least not in English. But there actually exists a manga almanac that came out late in 2007. Jason Thompson and a group of manga enthusiasts put together Manga: The Complete Guide, a book containing reviews and information about every single manga series ever released in America at that time. It is one of the most impressive books to have ever hit the American manga industry.

So now the man who (literally) wrote the book on manga in America is entering the genre himself with King of RPGs, the brand new OEL series that Del Rey will be releasing this month.

Shesh loves his MMORPGs. I mean, he really loves his MMORPGs, like dangerously loves them. And after a seven day marathon of “World of Warfare” left him hospitalized with months of therapy, he was forced to give up on his obsession cold turkey.

But on his first day after moving into his college dorm, he and his pal Mike are coaxed into giving tabletop role playing a shot in the school’s gaming club. But after a few rolls of the die, all of those old feelings begin coming back to Shesh. Before you know it, he has turned back into the King of RPGs, an unstoppable (and potentially dangerous) force in all of gaming.

Although I have been around a ton of geeks who play RPGs, I have never gotten into role playing culture myself. I’ve never roll the die in Dungeons & Dragons, played my deck in Magic the Gathering, or do… whatever the hell you do in those Munchkin games.

But that didn’t stop me from absolutely loving this comic.

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Movie review: ICHI

January 4th, 2010

Riffing off of the legendary story of the blind samurai, ICHI portrays a female (Haruka Ayase) in the title role as the ronin warrior wandering from village to village in search of her former master. Along the way, she encounters bumbling bodyguard Banki (Shido Nakamura, voice of Death Note‘s Ryuuk), who takes credit for taking out a gang of men slain by the blind female samurai. But when Banki takes a job protecting a wealthy family from a rival gang, it may just lead the wandering girl to the man she has been searching for.

I think that ICHI is facing an identity crisis as to what type of film its supposed to be and just who FUNimation thinks it is going to appeal to.

But whatever it is trying to be, it really does not do it well.

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Top Ten Anime Releases of 2009

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 (4 out of 10) this year.

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

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Manga Review: Only One Wish (vol. 1)

December 28th, 2009

Rumor has it that when you send a text message to a certain email address, a dark angel will appear and grant you one wish. Only One Wish is a series of short stories about young girls who email the dark angel and then get their wish granted. Their wishes range from hooking up with a cute guy, to seeking revenge on someone they don’t like, to even bringing the dead back to life. But like most stories of this kind, the girls learn very quickly that the wish does not turn out quite as planned.

Only One Wish comes from Mia Ikumi, the artist behind the popular Tokyo Mew Mew magical girl series. But like Mew Mew, this series suffers from some serious issues that prevents it from being enjoyable.

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