Category “Anime News”

Most Valuable English Language Manga?

Friday, 19 June, 2015


Via some Ebay research I just realized yesterday that the hardcover Lone Wolf & Cub volume 1 manga is quite probably the most valuable of all English language manga by a very wide margin. Evidently hardcover copies of Dark Horse’s first graphic novel were a limited retailer incentive and now cost as much as $300. However, 230 copies were hand-numbered and autographed by Kazuo Koike on a bookplate featuring an exclusive illustration by Goseki Kojima. Those 230 numbered copies run $1,200 to $1,300 apiece. Mine is #98. I’ve owned it for 15 years and never realized how valuable it was.


Gamba Who?

Friday, 12 June, 2015

The first trailer for studio Shirogumi’s full CG Gamba: Gamba to Nakama-tachi (Gamba & Companions) movie has appeared online. The design and animation do look attractive, and I don’t know exactly how faithful this adaptation is to Atsuo Saito’s original novel, but anyone that’s watched any of Osamu Dezaki’s beloved 1975 anime TV series adaptation knows instantly that this isn’t the Gamba no Bouken that we remember. It’s not even close.


A Few Moments at Metrocon

Friday, 12 June, 2015

Metrocon 2015

Thanks to the friendly folks at St. Pete’s Anime Fix, I had an opportunity to roam this weekend’s Metrocon convention for a few hours yesterday on the first of its four days this year.

Anime Fix at Metrocon 2015 Anime Fix at Metrocon 2015

The second floor of the Tampa Convention Center, outside of the vendors room is the large artists’ alley.

Metrocon 2015 Metrocon 2015 Metrocon 2015

The word I heard was that the first day seemed more successful than anticipated.

Metrocon 2015 Metrocon 2015 Metrocon 2015 Metrocon 2015 Metrocon 2015

I saw a few bargains, compared to typical American prices. I was surprised to see a couple Nendoroid figures priced as low as $30 each.


On the other hand, I also spotted a dealer asking $30 for a single Japanese issue of Weekly Shounen Jump magazine.

The first item I found for my own collection was this Lynn Minmei doll gachapon figure for $12.

Minmei doll

Then I found exactly one dealer that had the “giant” Danboard figure. Since I have the big vinyl Yotsuba, I wanted the Danboard to match her. “Big Danbo” was $38.


My last purchase was this $7 Violinst of Hameln TV series shitajiki.




2015 Anime Research Survey Now Open

Thursday, 4 June, 2015


The annual “Anime Research” academic poll is open once again. Scholars from Texas A&M University, Niagara County Community College, and Renison University College have collaborated to compose the survey. This year’s questions have been completely renewed to delve deeper into fans’ psychological and sociological engagement with anime and help answer questions raised by fans regarding the results of last year’s survey. The survey is anonymous and should take less than 30 min to complete. Participants are eligible to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Chances of winning are 1 in 200; winner selection will be confidential and not associated with survey responses. The poll will be open from today, June 4, until July 4, 2015.

The results of the 2014 survey are available on the Anime Research homepage.


Little Witch Academia 2 Teaser Released

Wednesday, 3 June, 2015

Studio Trigger has just released the first trailer for its Kickstarter funded short film Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade. The sequel to the 2013 OVA will get a limited Japanese theatrical release in October after its initial distribution to its 7,938 Kickstarter backers.


Aquarion Evol Volume 2 Excels

Wednesday, 3 June, 2015

Aquarion Evol 2

While creator Shoujo Kawamori’s Aquarion Evol manga continues to exhibit its quirky defining characteristics, it’s with pleasure that I report that the manga’s second volume improves upon all of the weaknesses of the first book. Uneven pacing and tone, opaque narrative, and obscured battle choreography all plagued the introductory volume of the manga. All of those attributes are addressed and improved in the second book.

The second volume of creator/writer Shoujo Kawamori and illustrator Aogiri’s Aquarion Evol manga expands the cast on the human side and also begins to expand the story’s romantic interests beyond just primary characters Amata Sora & Mikono Suzushiro. As the absent leader of Neo Deava returns to duty, the legendary leader of Altair, Mykage, awakes, and the Altairians focus on Earth becomes more specific and refined. In volume 2, rather than continuing their mass abduction strategy, the Altairians mount two robotic attacks against Neo Deava and one more personal, intimate offensive
specifically targeting the mysterious girl Mikono Suzushiro. In the face of the mounting aggression, Neo Deava decides that shackling the Aquarion robot is no longer an option even while releasing its full capacity could be catastrophic.

The blurring in the image is due to my poor scanning, not the manga.

The blurring in the image is due to my poor scanning, not the manga.

Aquarion Evol is an odd hybrid of dramatic sci-fi action and subtly goofy comedy. While the tonal swings from silly to serious in the first volume felt schizophrenic and abrupt, the merging is smoother and more effective in the second volume. Comedy emerges naturally from character personalities and ironic plot developments like the Neo Deava school deliberately organizing co-ed encounters as a means of teaching hormonal teenagers to restrain their natural impulses, and the rhetorical comparison of Mikono Suzushiro to a donut hole. The definition, or more accurately categorization, by exclusion is technically appropriate yet in context seems laughably maladroit. The second volume is arguably a bit expository, finally explaining the goal of the Altairian incursions and the tragedy of Aquarion that was hinted at throughout the first volume, but expressing so much setting detail without blunt exposition would require extended flashbacks that would fundamentally alter the focus and feel of the story. The biggest weakness of the book remains the framing of the mecha battle scenes. But since the second volume contains fewer, shorter robot fights, the geography of the battles is a bit easier to decipher in the second volume. Like the first book, the second volume again still has a tendency to make big jumps in narrative without clear transitions, but the confusing shifts in narrative are fewer and more obvious, therefore easier to comprehend, in the second book than they were in the first.


One Peace Books’ translation of Aquarion Evol volume 2 contains chapters 5-9 plus three supplemental “4-koma” comic strips. The translation includes two typos and three punctuation errors but is also more natural, organic, and easily comprehensible than the volume 1 translation was. Sound effects are retained in Japanese and translated. The book’s introductory four pages were seemingly published in color in the Japanese version but are reproduced in monochrome for the English release. Printing throughout the book is sharp and clean, suggesting that the manuscript was transferred from quality original elements rather than second-generation scans. The book is pleasantly entirely free of ads although it also lacks even a copyright/printing history page. With the exception of just one blank leaf, the 142-page book is all content. The book is relatively all-ages friendly, containing a few panels of non-graphic nudity and a few usages of the noun “bitch” in proper, if derogatory, linguistic context.


Clearly fans interested exclusively in Aquarion Evol’s mecha battles, free of characterization and story, would be better served to just watch a highlights reel of the anime. But readers that enjoy the Aquarion Evol story, and readers that may have been hesitant about the uneven introductory volume of the manga, can rest easy knowing that the second book is a significant improvement on the weaknesses of the first book. The second volume develops slower but more comprehensively, providing readers with a more complete and in-depth perspective of the story and universe of Aquarion Evol. This second volume also exclusively presents the only existing English language translation of manga chapters 5 onward, progressing past the work done by unofficial fan translators.


I Must Be Getting Old

Thursday, 28 May, 2015

KonoSuba anime announcement

Kadokawa has announced that Natsume Akatsuki’s light novel series Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku o! (Give Blessings to This Wonderful World!) will be getting an anime TV series adaptation. The story revolves around a goddess who says to a Japanese schoolboy, “I’ll take you to an alternate world. You may only bring one thing you like with you.” So the boy responds, “I’ll bring you.”

Among the 22 responses to the news on the Anime News Network forum, the title is compared to Sword Art Online, Gate, Nagi no Asukara, Shinsekai Yori, and D-Frag, yet none of the responses mention Ah! Megami-sama. My first reaction upon hearing the “KonoSuba” plot summary was, “schoolboy selects the goddess to stay with him'; that’s Ah! My Goddess being combined with the traditional Leda/Rayearth/No Game No Life “transported to an alternate world” trope.


Dragon Ball Z: Fukkatsu no F Mini Review

Saturday, 9 May, 2015

A friend living in Tokyo sent me this brief review of the latest Dragon Ball Z movie:

I went out today and saw the Dragonball Z Revival of F film. Received a wrapped copy of the script as a present. Probably won’t open it. Saw previews for Ultron, The Beast and the Boy, Tensai Bakabon and a teaser for a new Ghost in the Shell film. Happily, the film shows the most intense fighting in DBZ put to film to date. Unfortunately, the pacing and the dramatic tension of the film are off, so the middle of the film is the most exciting whereas the climax doesn’t have the natural impact it should. A couple of choices seem quite odd – there’s a big tie-in to the story with the Galaxy Patrolman Jaco, which has never been animated before; Trunks and Goten are absent entirely; and Beerus and Freeza have to know each other because of the previous film’s retcon. There are also strange gaps in the plot such as Freeza’s off-screen training and Pilaf and co. meeting Freeza’s lackeys, which seem to scream “deleted scenes kept for Blu-Ray release.” Still, there are some nice little touches to this film, like Krillin being a police officer with hair and having One Piece‘s theme song as his ringtone (Tanaka Mayumi is the seiyuu for both Krillin and Luffy), Piccolo uneasily rocking Pan’s crib, and Vegeta not wanting to teleport to Earth with Goku because that means he’ll have to hold hands with him. Whereas Battle of Gods could have been a stand-alone DBZ revival, the somewhat unsatisfying F film feels like DBZ can’t end like this, there has got to be another film…. It looks like there may not be another film yet, but at least we’re getting a new DB TV series called “Dragonball Super.” The last DB TV series with original content was GT almost 20 years ago.


What is Manga Adventure #1?

Friday, 1 May, 2015

Manga Adventure #1

Anybody know exactly what this is? It’s an American comic book published in 2002. Is it translated Japanese manga or American comic art? I just acquired a copy for a dollar, but since it’s still sealed in its original polybag, my fanatic collector instinct won’t permit me to cut the bag open to find out.


Coluboccoro Kickstarter Campaign is Live

Wednesday, 1 April, 2015

Despite my belief that Santa Company turned out to be a highly compromised work, Coluboccoro still looks promising enough that I committed to a $100 donation.