Archive for February 2008

New Season of Slayers Announced! The return of Lina Inverse!

February 28, 2008

I thought I was seeing things when I saw the headline on ANN today.

“New Slayers Fantasy TV Anime Series in the Works”

But upon further reading, it’s true! And there is not only going to be one, but TWO new seasons of Slayers!! It’s confirmed, alright! *(^_^)/*

What is most definitely confirmed is there will be an anime-exclusive story, which is split across two seasons, and with the same director as the original anime. The official title and the cast have not been confirmed yet though, though J.C. Staff will be the studio animating it. *Awesome*

If you don’t know what Slayers is, you must be fairly new to anime. Because it is one of the greatest anime hits in the 90s, and was the series that propelled Hayashibara Megumi (She voices the main character Lina Inverse) to seiyuu lore.

slayers poster

The story behind Slayers is very simple. It is set in a medieval type world, and chronicles the adventures of a sorceress named Lina Inverse, and her ragtag bunch of companions accompanying her on her journey.

Though she may be a powerful sorcercess, she has two favourites – eating and money. Doesn’t sound very glamourous does it, lol. And it may seem a bit crude by today’s standards, but if you can overlook the 90s animation, it is extremely funny, and Lina’s amusing short-temper, self-deprecating humour and wit makes the series an absolute ball to watch.

Lina’s charming in an oddly cool way, and I have been an ardent fan ever since the first time I saw this series…which spans 3 TV season, 5 movies, 2 OVAs, and a gazillion other merchandise. Two of my most treasured Slayers possession is this Slayers encyclopedia and a figure of Lina (with Chibi Gourry to boot) below. They’re so rare and took me so much trouble to secure. But the joy I have received from all the Slayers series is priceless.^^

slayers encyclopedialina figure

When talking about Slayers, one person cannot be ignored and she is none other than the seiyuu queen of the 90s, Megumi Hayashibara. Some of you may be familiar with her as the voice of Ayanami Rei in Evangelion, Faye in Cowboy Bebop or more recently in Paprika, but she shot to fame with her voice for Lina.

megumi hayashibara 01

No disrespect to Mitsuishi Kotono, Kikuko Inoue and the others, but Megumi-sama ruled the 90s, and in Slayers, her voice brings out Lina’s personality perfectly. Plus, she also sings the main bulk of all the Slayers songs, together with Masami Okui (Okui also sang the awesome op and ed for Utena).

I LOVE all the songs, and would listen to them endlessly. Here’s the charming opening of the first season with Megumi and Okui singing together, and gives a pretty good idea how the slayers anime is like.

And here’s the opening for season two. Great song again!

I believe I wouldn’t enjoy Slayers as much as I did without Megumi-sama in it (And they better get her to voice Lina again! -_-) . Till today, I am still a fan of hers, and hope I can meet her one day… She was the one that started my seiyuu craze too. ^^;

Anyway, I am so so so looking forward to this series! A quick glance at the future anime line-up for next season throws up nothing promising, but now I have something, finally, to be really excited about. At least with the original director, there’s a higher possibility that it’ll retain the quirky and irreverent charm that made it great. =)

Chibi Lina Inverse 01

So my wishlist for things I want to see in the series:

- The return of the Dragon Slave!!! The signature spell of Lina and just too cool to be true. See youtube link below to view Lina casting the Dragon Slave. I used to memorize and recite the entire spell too, lol. You can recite it if you want too. ;)

- Extended appearance of Luna Inverse, the almightly older sister of Lina. There are only two things Lina is afraid of, slugs and Luna, and it’s just wacky and funny when Lina’s terrified.

- Naga the serpent makes a special appearance. I’m not sure why the OVAs weren’t as popular as the animes, but I thought Naga was a excellent foil for Lina. Their chemistry was great (when they were working together), and if she made like a guest appearance, it would be just fantastic.

- More Lina, more Lina, more Lina!!! Anything is good, her training days in the magic school, etc etc…

Bring it on! ^o^

Lina Inverse 01

Kodomo no Jikan – Loli gone too far?

February 27, 2008

Loli has never been as blatant as Kodomo no Jikan. Seriously. Take a look at this if you’re unconvinced.

kodomo no jikan

WTF!?

I count myself as a fairly open-minded person.

Hentai is fine, yuri is alrite, yaoi doesn’t bother me, and loli (or rori in Japanese) is awfully innocent, sweet and cute when done correctly.

Think Ichigo Mashimaro.

But Kodomo no Jikan is in a league of its own. There isn’t any reason to animate it, they could have left the manga (it was based on the original manga) as it is – a fun, though subversive piece of work. Manga-wise, Kodomo no Jikan is just a tiny insignificant drop in the sea of eroge out there.

But with it being animated, as with most shows, it has shot into the limelight (as anime adaptations of obscure usually does).

However, in this instance, it seems like Kodomo no Jikan is not the underground, subversive manga that it was, and has now become a full-fledged loli symbol. When you think of loli, it pops to mind. and eeky loli at that.

And with the range of merchandise surrounding it, some as distasteful (in my personal opinion) as the mousepad above (which cost a whopping SGD78 too), it seems to suggest that there is a market for such items. Frankly, it’s disturbing to me.

I’m not the paragon of virtue advocating clean, sanitized anime (I do enjoy Ikkitousen), but Kodomo no Jikan is pure exploitation.

It’s animes like this that give anime an absolutely bad name, further propagating the stereotype of otakus being weirdos.

I seriously wish they will can it. It’s not entertainment anymore.

But as with such things, the opposite could happen and there’ll be a season 2.

I can’t imagine the merchandise.

The Cute, The Yummy and The Creative – Anime Bento

February 25, 2008

If you have ever lived in Japan for a short period, or watched any anime that features high-school life, the concept of Bento (or lunchboxes) would not be foreign at all.

And the bento is not simply a throw-away lunch pack, but contains some of the most creative food artistry I have ever seen.

Case in point, this Totoro Bento looks gorgeous, and absolutely yummylicious. (And it took the poor mother 2 hours to put together)

totoro bentou

Awesome, isn’t it. This just take the cake for the most beautiful and realistic anime bento.

And if you want more pictures of anime bento, the Japanese anime magazine Animage occasionally features an anime bento based on a major anime of the season.

Some of them are really wild and creative and I’ll scan in some to show you guys for sure.

In the meantime, if anyone you have attempted to make any anime bento, do share the results with me. :)

Fate/Stay Night ~ Saber and Irisviel pack by Alter from Wonderfest ’07 + Cute Nendoroid!!

February 24, 2008

While casually browsing online for anime figures today, I saw this:

saber wonderfest 1

OMG! I want it!

saber LE 2

It just looks cool, period. And Irisviel is gorgeous as well.

So imagine when I found out it was a limited edition item from Wonderfest 07, with only 5000 sets produced…

azumanga speechless

I was seriously kicking myself for living under a rock the past year…

It’s probably going to cost a bomb now. I can only blame myself for not noticing this sooner . >_<

My wallet’s gonna bleed again, but it would definitely make a really nice addition to another Fate/Stay Night Saber figure I’m planning on purchasing.

saber tux 1

This is a really cool Fate/Zero figure (thankfully not a limited run edition) by Max Factory featuring Saber in yet another black tuxedo, looking mightily suave and spiffy.*^^*

While I’m at it, maybe I’ll try snagging the exclusive Wonderfest 07 Saber Nendoroid as well.

saber nendoroid 1saber nendoroid 2

It definitely looks way better than the other mass markets Saber nendoroids. ^^

There are always two sides of a coin, and this is most definitely one of the *Ugliest* Saber figures I have ever seen.

ugly saber

Yuck. Where is her charm??

And not to end this unpleasantly, here’s a Fate Stay Night Set that is 100% candy. The whole gang, at the beach, no less. :p

FSN beach figure

And lastly, this…

saber black tie

would be a delectable Saber figure too. ;) *Hint Hint, Alter*

Manga Spotlight ~ Seizon – lifE; a gripping tale you cannot put down

February 22, 2008

Good things usually go unappreciated until you lose them, or they just stay unappreciated forever.

Which is a saying that always flashes through my mind each and every time I come across a real gem of an anime or manga.

And I would like to share one such treasure today – the superb and seriously underrated manga, Seizon – LifE. (生存―LifE)

seizon 1seizon 2seizon 3

A collaborative effort by two accomplished mangaka – Nobuyuki Fukumoto (previous winner of the Kodansha Manga Award) and Kaiji Kawaguchi (previous winner of both the Kodansha Manga Award and the Shogakukan Manga Awards), this three-volume thriller details the gripping story of a father’s search for his daughter’s murderer, while gradually coming to terms with his failure to do his parental duty while she was still alive.

The story hits straight to the heart at the beginning.

The main character, a aged typical workaholic salaryman named Takeda, is told he has cancer and he has only six months to live.

takeda

Takeda’s wife has died years ago and his only daughter is still missing for fourteen years. Unable to accept that his life is gradually fading away, he attempt suicide.

But at that exact moment, his phone rings, and it is the police informing him that his daughter’s corpse has been found.

sawako

Although his world shatters at that moment, he resolves to use the remaining time he has left to find his daughter’s killer.

And the catch, the amount of time he has left to live equates to the amount of time he has left to prosecute the murderer. If Takeda fails to find the murderer before the deadline passes, under Japanese law, the killer walks free forever.

And with this premise, the manga takes us on a roller-coaster ride depicting Takeda’s frantic search for the unknown person who murdered his daughter.

The art is certainly nothing to shout about. There is none of the typical bright colours and clean lines seen in the majority of shoujo manga, nor the beautiful and smacking cool characters in some shounen manga. There is no comedy, no silliness, nor any of the over-exaggerated, distracting background art found in some other manga.

Instead, what it is… is one word, realistic.

seizon 5seizon 6

Takeda is middle-aged, worried and most certainly looking like the desperate character he is. The backgound is nothing more than efficient. It shows what it needs to show without embellishing anything.

But it is probably this roughness that sincerely and accurately brings out the sense of urgency and growing depair that Takeda faces.

And believe me, the quality of the manga ensures that the reader will be sucked and thrown into the thick of action.

It was very difficult to not be drawn into Takeda’s emotional turmoil while reading, as there is a most definite sense of direness and dread as you flip each page knowing that his time is slowly ticking away from him.

seizon life 4

The authors also weave in the emotional aspect smoothly, with Takeda’s guilt at his past neglect of his family adding to the weight of the story.

All-in-all, this is definitely one excellent manga I have read, and would highly recommend to anyone who appreciates a good, tight and fast story.

It may not be earth-shattering nor ever command the legions of fans like some other titles, but Seizon – lifE gives me a firm reminder that an entertaining and enjoyable manga need not be about pretty girls and dashing boys. :p

Sometimes, it’s the story that counts…and this was a seriously good one. So do give it a try. :)

It’s a pity they don’t make much manga like this anymore.

enma ai

Kung Fu Dunk – It’s not a Slam Dunk but it’s surprisingly enjoyable

February 21, 2008

jay

For a movie starring mega-superstar Jay Chou, and billed as the most expensive Taiwan movie to date, my expectations certainly were very high when I sat down to catch the movie today…mostly because I’m a huge fan of Slam Dunk and Takehiko Inoue, and was hoping this would be a worthy live-action to the legendary classic.

And well…let’s just say although it certainly didn’t live up to (my perhaps unrealistic) expectations, it was certainly a enjoyable movie. I was very impressed by how they managed to weave some absolutely jaw-droppingly ridiculous scenes and ludicrous characters into what is a relatively fast-paced and palatable 100 mins. Great job. ^^ If Kung Fu Dunk was an animated feature, it would probably not veer too far from this.

Anyway, this movie’s top draw is Jay Chou, and the director is smart enough to milk him for what’s he’s worth. This is Jay Chou’s vehicle, and any fans of him would get more than their money worth. You get to see Jay acting cute, acting dumb, acting cool, basically, acting Jay, with his requisite three claps.

But giving credit where credit is due, Jay Chou did well. *clap, clap, clap* :p

Any lesser star or better actor would fail spectacularly, but his mysterious X-factor and inherent kooky yet cool demeanor just seem to fit perfectly here. The plot and all was forgettable, but Jay saves the day.

And the best part of the movie for me? It was identifying all the similarities it had with Slam Dunk.

slam dunk

If I had 5 cents everytime I spotted a similarity, I would be a dollarnaire. ^^

The similarity that won it all…Jay smacks his head against the board! which is so reminiscent of Sakuragi, that I couldn’t help but grin like an idiot in the cinema. :)

All-in-all, it was quite enjoyable, and I didn’t feel I wasted my $8.

Although after the movie, I had this irresistible urge to go revisit my beloved Slam Dunk manga and anime again. XD

Hentai on Animax! Unbelievable? Believe it.

February 20, 2008

I was bored and surfing around today, when for no apparent reason, entered a search for “Animax” on youtube.

And lo and behold, something caught my eye.

[ LOLLIPOP ANIMAX ] Huh?

which was accompanied by the following youtube tags:

[ lollipop animax anime asian school girls hentai lolicon sex hot porn porno xxx ] Huh? Huh?

As most definitely, my curiosity was piqued. So I clicked on the video, and was brought to a screen where I had to sign up to view the video, saying that it contains content viewable for above 18s only. >_>

And the video is as follows.

shock

o_o wow. Animax grows up. It’s more Eromax, lol. ^^

If you do not already know, Animax (www.animax-asia.com) is the cable channel broadcasting anime straight from Japan 24/7.

I guess it can be considered my dream channel and one of the perfectly legal ways in which to get your weekly anime fix… since it airs anime and anime only.

But while watching the channel, I always had the impression it was very clean and sanitized….so seeing ecchi on it…なんかへんね。。。

And obviously, I had to dig further, and here’s what Wikipedia had to say.

“Animax Latin America announced a renewal in its image and projection from August 2007, as well as the premiere of a new programming block (named Lollipop) where adult-oriented series will be destinated to, including hentai (beginning with Immoral Sisters).

Wow, they are really showing Hentai on Animax. But alas, it was for Animax Latin America, and not here in Asia.

Which does made sense when you think of it. It would like something fantastically out of the ordinary if they can show Hentai.

It’s just not possible, not now, not later, not forever. period. Especially here in conservative Asia.I can imagine all the parents would immediately create a huge uproar.

But anyway, Animax Lollipop was some interesting discovery for me today.

lina

And since I’m hovering close to the topic of legitimate anime watching, I would like to say that for your legal anime fix in Singapore, either import the R1 or R2 DVDs, or watch anime on TV, with Arts Central and Animax both offering a good line-up.

But never, never, never, ever, ever, ever buy anything from Xedo, if you consider yourself a fan.

(I just had to say it; they’re been bashed to death, so one more bash to seal the coffin.)

R.I.P Xedo. *evil laugh*

Japanese otakus are seriously a freaky bunch…and please don’t call anime fans otakus.

February 17, 2008

After seeing the type of businesses that have sprung up recently to cater to the taste of Japanese otakus (and to suck their wallet dry of money), they must be a pretty pervert and subversive species.

Just check out this article on Danny Choo’s blog whereby you can pay to visit a mock-up version of a young girl and get her to play janken with you (at an additional cost of course.)

http://www.dannychoo.com/blog_entry/eng/1359/Japanese+Girls+Bedroom/

There’s a normal course, message course and deluxe course, and even a girls course for those into yuri.

It’s articles like this that seriously gives otakus a bad (and sick) image… and for an anime fan who just like anime (like yours truly), I’m also usually labelled as an otaku…which has since ceased to be amusing and instead become something of an annoyance. Can I hope that one day, anime fans are not called otakus, but just anime fans? Seems like that’s akin to telling a cow to stop mooing.

kimura

BUT at least otakus are into living girls…but not so the following guy who’s into plastic representations of girls.

This guy has like tons of sex dolls in his room. not one, not two, not three, but tons.

Hell, the story was carried by Reuters no less. He needs a mental therapist.

http://blogs.putalocura.com/mundorarito/index.php/2008/02/12/coleccionista-de-sex-dolls/

mahoro

Guess there’s a reason why Japanese’s birth rate has been falling drastically.

Maybe Japan’s eroge and bishoujo game maker should take a leaf out of Edison’s Chen’s book…and release a game called “Tokimeki Edison”.

His scandal is truly an eroge game come to life.

tokiedison

Bleach and Final Fantasy X fans rejoice – Masakazu Morita coming to Malaysia!

February 15, 2008

Ever wanted to meet the face behind the voice of iconic characters such as Ichigo from Bleach, Tidus from Final Fantasy X, Hihara from La Corda and more?

tidusichigohihara

Well, now you can…as Masakazu Morita is coming to Malaysia!

morita 01

He is the special seiyuu (that’s the Japanese term for voice actor/actress) guest appearance for GACC 08, an anime convention organised by a group of university students in Malacca.

They even managed to get Tohru Furuya last year, not bad for an event only in its third year. Their backers much have deep pockets or excellent connections, lol.

I hope we will have something similar in Singapore too, but seeing as it’s unlikely, I guess crossing the border is not a bad idea too. :p

Here’s a vid of the five male seiyuus in a recording room singing the ending theme of La Corda D’Oro Primo Passo – “Crescendo” by Stella Quintet. (Morita’s the one in red; He’s really into it. :p)

Here’s more information on the event.

http://whatisgacc.com/

Maybe I should get off my couch and organize an event in sg and bring in Aya Hirano or something…now that will BE something. Anyone else interested in making miracles happen with me?

osaka daydream

L Change the World Movie Gala Premiere Screening

February 13, 2008

I had the opportunity to attend the Singapore gala premiere of the Death Note spin-off movie, L Change the World, held at GV Vivocity today evening (Feb 13).

For a gala premiere, there wasn’t much fanfare, although I heard there was a cute young boy cosplaying as L though (A pity I missed a sighting of him). But they did gave a neat movie notecard though. Front and back picture below.

L change the World movie notecard - frontL change the world Movie Notecard - Back

The setting is immediately prior to L’s death, and let’s just say that the writers gave L the unenviable task of saving the world from a fatal contagious virus in his last 23 days. Along the way, he manages to pick up a mute boy and a young girl while attempting to prevent the spread of the virus.

With the standard stereotypical villians, requisite special effects and typical comic relief, let’s just say the movie will certainly tank if the plot is the main draw…and fortunately, it’s not.

There is only one reason to watch this movie… and it is the titular character L, the genius detective played to perfection by Kenichi Matsuyama.

Kenichi Matsuyamal_03

The irrepressible L is quirky, brilliant and just absolutely candylicious here – affirming his status as one of the hottest characters in the entire Death Note series.

For fans of L, you not only get to see L’s lighter, gentler as well as comic side, the writers even threw in a few action scenes (fanservice ^o~) which L performs to admirable aplomb too. The natural chemistry L has with his two other young leads gives their bonding and subsequent parting a real bittersweet experience.

L_01L_02

Which made me quite sad at the end of the movie, as it meant no more L. Suffice to say I am now officially an L fan. ^^

For people undecided on catching this movie, do give it a shot if you’re looking for some light-hearted fun. Go in with no expectations and you won’t be disappointed. For fans of L, you will *love* this movie.

Just a word of caution for anyone bringing a young kid, there are some bloody scenes, mostly of people dying after they were infected with the virus.

All in all, I was glad to catch L change the world…and have another excuse to revisit the manga again. ^^

P.S. i hope they release for sale the metal tumbler with the numerous L logos which L has at his desk. とてもほしいよ


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