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WXIII: Patlabor The Movie 3 (anime review)

Patlabor-WXIII-Movie-3Title: WXIII: Patlabor The Movie 3 on Blu-ray

Director: Takuji Endo and Fumihiko Takayam (chief)

Screenplay by: Miki Tori

Studio: Madhouse

U. S. Distributor: Maiden Japan, Section 23

U. S. Release Date: September 8th, 2015

Format: Blu-ray / Feature Film / 107 minutes & 38 minute extra

Genre: Sci Fi, Mecha

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating B+

Synopsis:

The SV2’s giant Ingram Patrol Labors may be the ultimate in crime-fighting technology, but there are never enough to tackle every pending case. So when a mysterious series of deadly attacks targets Labor operators across Tokyo’s harbor region, the job goes to “conventional” detectives Hata and Kusumi.

After all, just because it looks like a giant robot-created crime doesn’t mean that it is a giant robot-created crime, and deep inside a web of half-truths and government cover-ups, the detectives uncover a secret biological weapons project called WWXIII. But while this secret may have been buried, it’s still very much alive. And that’s when having the armored force of the SV2 as backup may become a literal lifesaver for the entire city!

Commentary:

The last of the Patlabor franchise films is something very different then the rest of the series, but it is not detached. The one thing that is very consistent is the high quality of story development. One thing that may lose people is the strange concept behind the story. Although the Japanese are not too afraid to take on the issue of monsters derived from mutations and experimentation.

I can say that I was drawn into the story right off the bat and continued to stay with it all the way trough. I loved the way they wrapped it up but I would have liked to see more Patlabor. As a police drama it is solid.

The animation was a let down for me. Almost 10 year passed from Patlabor 2 and the production quality just doesn’t match up. It almost felt older than and lacked the special visual prescience the earlier film had.

Overall Grade: B+

Patlabor the Movie 3: WXIII is a fine film but maybe its title should not have been Patlabor the Movie 3 because of the lack of the Patlabor Mecha and team. Maybe it should have been called the Promise from Space and Death.

Honestly I found Patlabor the Movie 3 to be a wonderfully strange and at the same time a little disappointing. It is telling how production ideals and approaches changed over the years and also the interest that is given to some of the small details. This alone is a simple pleasure that comes with much beloved dramas. I have always marveled at how the Japanese can take some of the strangest story lines and make them interesting and good.

If you are trying find that real “diamond in the ruff” then WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3 is what you might be looking for.

Patlabor 2: The Movie (anime review)

Patlabor 2Title: Patlabor 2: The Movie on Blu-ray

Director: Mamoru Oshii

Studio: Production I. G.

Written By: Kazunori Ito

Orignal Release: August 7, 1993

U. S. Re-Release: July 21st, 2015

U. S. Distributor: Maiden Japan, Section 23

Format: Blu-ray / Feature Film / 107 Minutes

Genre: Police Drama, Mecha, Action, Suspense, Sci Fi

Age Rating: TV 14

Overall Personal Rating: A+

 

Synopsis:

A rogue military jet bombs a Tokyo bridge. The city is in panic. But is it a real terrorist attack, the first stage of a coup, or the opening gambit of an even more Machiavellian plot? As the military attempts to take control and Martial Law is declared, the task of untwisting the complex web of secrets, lies, and betrayals falls to the convoluted mind of Captain Kiichi Goto.

But when the Defense Forces have been turned against each other and government itself may be suspect, who can he depend on as his ground troops in a bid to pull the country back from the brink of oblivion? The men and women of the SV2 and their mobile force of Ingram patrol robots, of course.

Commentary:

Wow! Here a anime film that stands out for where awesomeness. This 1993 production shows off everything great about having a outstanding animation crew and a superior script. I have sat through this film several time and every time I am blown away by what I see.

At first blush I thought I was watching something from 2005 or later then as the story progressed I was convinced that it must have been written by a zen master. Patlabor 2 is a stand out film in the world of phycological dramas. It takes you down several paths to have you end up standing on an Island of Sea Gulls.

Overall Grade: A+

Patlabor 2 is a tour de force of both writing and anime production. From some of the simple attention to detail to the depth of each character, Patlabor 2 takes us on a ride that will not be forgotten any time soon.

With all of the tough provoking monolog to the movement of the characters while they go about their activities. We get to see it all. I must warn you that his film was produced in 1993 and even in todays standards it is a very high quality show. This may be one of the few older shows that should be reproduced on Blu-ray because of the original production quality of the film. It is awesome to see a small licenser like Maiden Japan bring this series and film back to us. It is easy to forget the past and even forget how great it was when most of what is remembered is the simple stories that we lived with in our childhood, but it is always wonderful to get a glimpse of what was at the top of the game over 20 years ago.

If you are looking for a thoughtful drama that is less about the action and more about the complexities that go on when our society appears to have lost its way, then Patlabor 2 is the one for you. Better yet, if you are just looking for a anime film that will leave you speechless then this is the one for you.

Anime Now in Store

Here is a list of anime and live action that have come in. This list is only for information and not updated as an inventory.

1Aquarion

Baccano Complete Series

The Devil is a Part-Timer!

Dragon Ball z Battle of the Gods

Garden of Words

Ghost in the Shell The Laughing Man

Ghost in the Shell 1

Ghost in the Shell 2nd2

Kill La Kill Volume 2

K-ON Season 1

Last Exile Complete Series

Ouran High School Host Club Complete

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt Complete

Shangri La

Shiki

3Slayer Seasons 1-3

Space Battleship Yamato

Strategic Armored Infantry

Tamako Market

Tenchi Muyo! Complete Series

Tenchi Muyo OVA Collection

Trigun Comlete

4Trinity Blood Complete

Wolf Children

Arata: The Legend volume 16 Manga Review

Arata 16

Review written by CEVS

Title: Arata: The Legend volume 16
Author: Yuu Watase
Distributor: Viz Media/ Shone. Sunday
American release date: December 10th, 2013
Format: Traditional Manga
Genre: Action, Shonen
Publisher Age Rating: T ( for teen)
Review Rating: C
How do you fight something you cannot see?

Synopsis:
Arata and his companions are now ready to take on the six sho. His first opponent is Kikutsune. Before they can make him submit, Arata must defeat the five kagura, Kikutsune’s musicians. Since the Sho have taken power, all instruments have been banned. Only the karuga’s instruments, and the treasured “first” instruments exist.

As soon as Arata enters the town, they get a taste of the karuga’s music. A drum beat fills the air, taking the hearing of all who hear it. Arata was listening to his iPod, so he wasn’t effected, but the rest of his party was. When the drum beat stops, Arata hears another sound, a flute. He goes to the source to find a girl playing a homemade flute. She is able to restore the hearing of Arata’s friends. She then takes them to an old woman who tells them about the “first” instruments. They have been scattered, and are all hidden in their own “dungeon”. Arata and his friends have to collect the instruments before they can even think of challenging Kikutsune.

Commentary:
We’re down to the final stretch. And I mean stretch. We now have to wait for Arata to find five instruments and defeat the karuga before he can even think about the first sho. I was looking forward to the first sho battle, so I can see how strong Arata has really become, but this new mission just seems redundant. I get why Yuu Watase is doing it, but I think this is going a little too far. Luckily, this only lasts this one volume, and by the end of it we’re back on track.

I’ve always liked music, and I thought that fighting with music was kind of a cool concept. When it comes to manga however, I thought it was going to be a little too difficult to illustrate music in a way that wasn’t confusing or cluttered the page. That wasn’t the case here. Showing the characters holding or playing the instruments really helped get the point across that they were fighting with sound and not a physical weapon. I would’ve actually really enjoyed the battles if it wasn’t for the fact that most of the protagonists ended up losing most of their clothing by the end of the battle. It was very distracting and made the whole thing almost feel like a joke.

The thing that I found most interesting was at the very end of the volume there was a couple of pages of original concept art for the different personifications of the weapons.  You really could get a good look at them,  which was kind of cool.

Overall grade: C
The series is far enough along that it needs to get a little more serious. However, I did enjoy some of the new fighting concepts in this volume.

Voice Over! Seiyu Academy volume 1 Manga Review

ItemDescription-36Title: Voice Over! Seiyu Academy volume 1

Story and Art: Maki Minami

U.S Distributor: Viz Media

U. S. Release Date: Oct. 1, 2013

Genre, Format and length: Shojo manga,

Overall Personal Rating: B-


Synopsis:

Voice Over begins with Hime Kino just starting to attend Holly Academy. Although the school has many programs, she is there for its well known voice acting program. Since she was little, she has wanted to be a voice actor, specifically to become a character for the anime Lovely Blazers. See, when she was young she met Sakura Aoyama, one of the actors for the show and this became her inspiration. Now at the new school, things aren’t going as smoothly as she planned.

Hime, along with three other students who haven’t kept up with the rest of the class, end up in a group with extra lessons because they aren’t mastering their skills. It turns out the voice acting is more complicated than she expected. One of Hime’s problems is her voice! When she tries to act the cute voice she would need for being a Lovely Blazer just isn’t something she can do. She sounds more like a guy or a gorilla. It is such a problem that when she gets offered a part, it is for a male role.  Is she willing to give up her dream in order to learn and get a job?

 

Commentary

I was glad to have a new series to read. Lately it has all been waiting for the next volume of the many series I’m in. Voice Over is primed to be a cute series and Hime makes a great, although somewhat typical girl character. She longs to be cuter and is a bit unlucky, but as she works toward her goal, she is enthusiastic and isn’t giving up.

This first book was heavy on the setting up of the series and it didn’t flow smooth enough. Some of it seem forced or too rushed, leaving me unattached to the characters. I do like the setting. I like the idea of stories taking place in the field that produces them (For example: Manga about the manga industry; I’ll give it my all Tomorrow and Bakuman.) Now that the basic information is all laid out, there will be more time for serious story development.

Visually, Voice Over has a nice consistency with lots of tone and clear lines, which is a style I prefer. Hime has that cute school girl look with the giant eyes. The guys are styled in the current trend of the tall lanky guy with his hair falling over his face. The costuming and details help add to the fun and the characters. The look of the series is definitely one of its strongest points.

The gender bending element of the plot is tucked away in Hime’s voice. She so wants to be cute in looks and voice, but the truth is that her gruff voice is appearing to take her in a direction she wasn’t counting on. This is where the comedy comes from and we will see where is will all lead.

 

 

Overall Grade:  B-

 

Animeggroll Voted Best Anime Store In River Front Times Best of St. Louis 2013

8958789.40River Front Times September 26:

Best Anime Shop – 2013

Animeggroll

“Animeggroll’s walls are plastered with a mix of fresh releases and dated rarities. The curio shop of Japanese lore and Western fantasy holds no shortage of Asian comics and figures, but its collection of anime shines above any other store in St. Louis. Animeggroll caters to casual fans with value-priced box sets and used stock, but the hardcore folks can find joy in the store’s supply of special editions. The mass of Japanese anime and manga is bolstered by a trove of used games, including a glass case filled with foreign software and retro titles. Back issues of Asian pop-culture mags, novelty key chains, mascot messenger bags and gaudy wall scrolls round out a massive stack of geeky goods.”

Store Photos

Cosplaly at Animeggroll

 

 

A Devil and Her Love Song (Manga Review)

A Devil and Her Love Song 11Title: A Devil and Her Love Song Volume 11

Story and Art: Miyoshi Tomori

U.S Distributor: Viz Media

U. S. Release Date: December 3, 2013

Genre, Format and length: Shojo manga, 200 pages

Overall Personal Rating: B+

Similar titles: Strobe Edge, La Corda ‘d Oro

Synopsis:

Series overview: Maria is a seemingly unemotional and blunt sort of person. She transfers to a high school and her personality soon causes trouble while the school is involved in a choral competition. Maria has a beautiful face and a voice to match. She does makes some friends and even finds herself with a boyfriend. Her mysterious history influences  how she reacts to the others and she will need to face her past to heal and move forward.

Volume 11 starts with Maria’s voice still gone and Shin’s hand still injured and not healing well. Now that they are a couple, there is pressure to have more of a physical relationship. When Maria finds she can’t express herself with her words, things start to get serious as she uses her body to communicate. Shin slows them down, not wanting to take advantage of the situation.

In a drastic pusht to help Maria get her voice back, Shin and surprisingly Shintaro, go with her to the town where she was from. First finding her old home, they get a clue to move on to find some key people of her past. It turns out that Shintaro has known a lot more than it seems he should. He had an elaborate plan involving Maria, but his motives are as not selfish as they seem.

Commentary

There is a lot that happens in this volume, but trying to avoid spoiling the details leaves me less to talk about. It is strange the way in the beginning of the series, things seem to be at a slower pace and each story took a longer time. Now with this important trip, it all happens very quickly. Not enough time seemed to be given to the unfolding.

Communication is still a problem between Maria and Shin. They are very concerned about each other and are always trying to be protective but without expressing what they need and want, even as they are trying to figure out what is in their own hearts and minds.

Maria definitely pushes the physical relationship since her voice is gone. It is her way to express herself . Shin was really sweet the way he reacted. For me, it makes it a bit confusing about the intended age range. It had seemed okay for early teens, but now with this one scene, I don’t really think so any more. I wish it had not been put in to keep all the content at the same age level.

Maria’s character started out as sort of a loner and blunt in her manner but now she seems to have really embraced emotions. She reacts to meeting the man who appears to be her father surprisingly mild. Perhaps it was Shintaro’s influence, but it just seemed too easy, more like the writer was trying to tie things up for the impending ending, which is at least 2 volumes away. It looks like there is 13 total. So where is this quick revelation going to take us? This leaves some time for Shin and Maria to find where their relationship is going. I hope it slows back down to its original pace. All in all, it is still and enjoyable romance series.

Overall Grade:  B

 

 

News: VIZ MEDIA CELEBRATES MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO 25th ANNIVERSARY WITH NEW NOVEL & PICTURE BOOK

Totoro_novel_cvrVIZ MEDIA’S STUDIO GHIBLI LIBRARY IMPRINT RELEASES NEW MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO NOVEL AND FULL COLOR PICTURE BOOK

 

Commemorate The 25th Anniversary Of Hayao Miyazaki’s Landmark Film With MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL And An Updated Edition Of The Official Film Picture Book Featuring A Special New Cover Design

 

San Francisco, CA, September 25, 2013 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, marks the 25th Anniversary of famed director Hayao Miyazaki’s whimsical animated family fantasy, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO, with the release on October 1st of MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL and a brand new edition of the MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO Picture Book.

 

Published under VIZ Media’s Studio Ghibli Library imprint, MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL carries an MSRP of $17.99 U.S. / $21.00 CAN, and the MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO Picture Book features an MSRP of $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN.

 

In Hayao Miyazaki’s charming animated classic, eleven-year-old Satsuki and her sassy little sister Mei have moved to the country to be closer to their ailing mother. While their father is working, the girls explore their sprawling old house and the forest and fields that surround it. Soon, Satsuki and Mei discover Totoro, a magical forest spirit who takes them on fantastic adventures through the trees and the clouds – and teaches them a lesson about trusting one another.

 

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL

MSRP: $17.99 U.S. / $21.00 CAN · Available October 1st

The superbly animated classic by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki is now retold in a novel written by Tsugiko Kubo. This prestigious hardcover edition also features original watercolor illustrations by Miyazaki himself, accompanying a story written by veteran children’s book author Tsugiko Kubo. Sure to delight both existing fans and new readers!

 

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO PICTURE BOOK New Edition · Rated “A” for All Ages · MSRP: $19.99 U.S. / $22.99 CAN· Available October 1st

This companion, full-color book to MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO features artwork taken directly from the movie. The updated edition also features new cover design and allows parents and children to relive Totoro’s magical adventures with scene-by-scene illustrations and character dialogue.

 

“MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO is Hayao Miyazki’s timeless fairy tale for all ages and one of the most internationally acclaimed films to ever come out of Japan,” says Masumi Washington, Sr. Editorial Director. “MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO: THE NOVEL and the new edition of the MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO PICTURE BOOK capture the poignancy and emotion of the story of Satsuki, Mei and their loveable fuzzy forest friends and will be wonderful additions to any Miyazaki fan’s personal library.”

 

MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO was released in 1988 by Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli, which also produced SPIRITED AWAY,PRINCESS MONONOKE, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and PONYO. TOTORO is an internationally popular property that has spawned a colorful array of adorable plush characters, toys, collectables and other memorabilia. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the DVD/Blu-ray Edition of MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO earlier this year.

 

Hayao Miyazaki is one of Japan’s most celebrated anime directors. His newest film, The Wind Rises (2013), recounts the early days of aviation and the formative years of Japan’s famed World War II Zero fighter plane designer, Jiro Horikoshi. In 2005 Hayao Miyazaki was awarded the Venice International Film Festival’s Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement. Miyazaki’s other notable films include Spirited Away, which won the 2002 Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as Castle in the SkyMy Neighbor TotoroKiki’s Delivery ServicePrincess MononokeHowl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo, all of which have received great international acclaim. Miyazaki’s other achievements include creating the highly regarded manga seriesNausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Starting Point: 1979-1996, a collection of essays, interviews, and memoirs that chronicle his early career and the development of his theories of animation. Both are published in English by VIZ Media.

 

Yuru Yuri Premium Edition (anime review)

 Yuri Yuri“The Radius”

Title: Yuru Yuri Premium Edition

U. S. Distributor: NIS America

U. S. Release Date: Sept. 3, 2013

Genre: Yuri, Slice of School Life  and Comedy

Length: 12 episodes, 288 minutes

Format: Blu-ray, 2 disc, Art Book and Box

Age Rating: Teen

Overall Personal Rating: C+

A group of friends begin the academic year in an all girls middle school. Together they are the “amusement club”.

Synopsis:

Kyoko is the self appointed leader of the group of friends and their amusement club.  Yui, more serious and patient,  has been her friend since early childhood. Akari is a bit scattered brain and makes less of an impression on the world around her. Soon to join them is Chinatsu, although she was really looking for a different club when she walked in to the amusement club room. Flashback to when they were young friends in preschool give insight to their relationship. A bump on the head causes Kyoto’s personality to change for the better, but can her friends stand it?

School isn’t the only time they spend together. Yui has her own apartment (owned by a relative). She has the girls over to hang out, making a meal together. Kyoko invites herself over to spend the night. When the weather is warm, the larger group heads to the beach for the day. Swimsuits can cause some awkward moments (of course). The day is full of games, food and fun. When the night arrives, they all change into their Yukatas and light fireworks. Next it is time for a road trip. Kyoko is artistic and writes/illustrates fan manga. She take her friends along with her to a fan comic market expo. She doesn’t warn them ahead of time that they have to wear a costume! With plenty of jealousy and competition in the group, some of the others are inspired to write their own mangas. Chinatsu has an unusually bad talent that comes across as creepy. Unaware of this, she adds her artistic flair to a variety of projects.

The group often interacts with the girls from the student council. Kyoko is naturally good at getting top grades to the dismay of Ayano, student council member. A “friendly” competition begins to see who can score the best on the next exam. When Chitose, also from the council, is acting odd, Kyoto can’t get a response out of her and the reason behind it will be a surprise for the other girls. The school trip takes them to Kyoto. There is lots to see and do, but staying at a hotel is what some of them look forward to, it is like a big slumber party, with hot springs bathing.

Holidays are part of their friendship. Christmas has arrived and the idea comes up that they should have a drawing to see who will pair up and go out on a date. Since they didn’t all get who they wanted, the dates can be pretty awkward. But as time goes on, the understanding and friendships have time to grow. April Fool’s Day is also a day to note.

The season ends with a sleep over at the club room with the amusement club and the student council.

 

Commentary:

The most notable elements of this anime for me can be broken down into 4 parts; the yuri element, humor, plot/story, and the technical aspects of sound and visual animation.

The yuri element is strong throughout with girl crushes, obsessions, fan service and jokes. This in itself wouldn’t be a problem, but this would have been better suited to a high school setting or older. Using middle school students as the cast engaging in all the sexual humor was icky. They even made being sisters seem creepy.

It is a story of friendship, albeit often rather self-centered. Plot or story elements weren’t as strong as they could be. There was one episode where the first half was drowned in pointless chatter (at least it provided relief from the pointless sexual maneuvers and obsessing). The usual bath, beach and Christmas scenes/stories were there. The Christmas pairing up was the one of the more unusual holiday ideas. Some of the pluses were that the girls have some strange imaginations.

A moment on characters. Chitose was constantly fantasizing about encounters between the other girls and getting a bloody nose. Over and over. Ugh. Tedious and not funny, it was getting gross. It is not that this element can’t be used successfully, for example, Arakawa Under the Bridge does a great job of incorporating the element into Sister’s romantic thoughts.

With the enthusiastic and comically emotional characters, the humor was mostly slapstick and sexual jokes. Somethings just weren’t funny, they were just stupid. Let’s not mix the two up. Stupid can get a laugh but it isn’t really fun to watch. I did appreciate the humor of Chinatsu’s creepy art talent.

The sound is really two parts.  The music and sound effects were generally invisible. I don’t know if that is good or bad. The opening song is catchy and the cicadas get very noisy is all the impact I remember. The voices varied by character, but there was some annoying voice work which involved the high pitch squeaky little girl like sounds, too much so. Visually, it is an attractive anime. The colors were a mix of bright and gentle, lending to the  great illustration. The characters were well animated and very cute. The setting and backgrounds were well done with detail, plenty to look at and often pretty. This was the strongest elements in the whole anime. It has the cute look of Lucky Star and Everyday Tales of a Cat God.

Yuru Yuri  is not appropriate for anyone under 15. I don’t like the way they make things look enticing to younger viewers that really aren’t for them by making everyone look so cute, young and enthusiastic. I’ve always thought that slice of life anime was either pleasant, feel good stuff, or thought provoking, not something to create disappointment in humanity. I can watch the news for that.

Season 2 will be coming next January.

Extras: There is a 32 page art book with episode lists, character sketches and bios. Also, there are location sketches and color art  scenes.

Overall Personal Rating: C+

 Review provided EAV