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Brad Stephenson

Anime Blog

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Anime Review: 'Royal Space Force: Wings of Honnêamise'

Wednesday October 23, 2013

Is twenty-five years time enough for something to be considered a classic? I think so.

I'm normally leery of throwing around the C word, if only because it's been so broadly abused. Too many things are called "classic" without them having been allowed to stand the test of time; no wonder the oxymoron "instant classic" came into use at all.

But consider Royal Space Force: Wings of Honnêamise (compare prices), originally released in 1987 and now being re-released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD in 2013 by Sentai Filmworks. A lot can, and has, changed in twenty-five years.

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Is The 'Black Butler' Live-Action Movie an Adaptation Or a Spinoff?

Tuesday October 22, 2013

Over at Crunchyroll images has surfaced from the set of the live-action adaptation of Black Butler, the mixture of Gothic horror and dark fantasy that's built quite a fanbase outside of Japan.

But the article with the images in question also features a blurb about the plot of the film which seems to hint that this has less to do with the original material than we might believe:

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Anime Review: 'Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Lost Tower'

Friday October 18, 2013

I have a theory. Any anime franchise, if it persists for a long enough period of time, will eventually turn to time travel as a plot element. In Naruto Shippuden's case, it's finally happened with Naruto Shippuden The Movie: The Lost Tower, the fourth film from the Shippuden portion of Naruto and the seventh Naruto movie overall.

Here, the time slip in question is only two decades -- but a lot can happen in two decades, as Naruto finds out when he journeys back to stop a renegade ninja from altering history. And he'll have to do so by joining forces with some people he's never met -- and some who'll only meet him after he's actually born.

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'Samurai Flamenco': This Is Not Just Your Average Anime Superhero Story

Tuesday October 15, 2013

Every anime season there's at least one show which makes me sit up a little bit straighter in my chair and realize something truly interesting is going on. Samurai Flamenco wins that medal this time around, and that's just on the basis of its first episode. If it doesn't turn out to be one of the better shows this season, I'll be over in the corner eating my hat.

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New Feature: Best Sports / Competition Anime

Monday October 14, 2013

Anime is large; it contains multitudes. One of the jokes made by many newcomers to anime is how there's an anime series for just about every hobby, sport, or special interest on the planet -- and if there isn't now, that's only because we haven't heard of it yet.

Consider sports -- or, to be more broad-minded about it, "competitive activities" of all kinds. Boxing? There's an anime for that. Ditto soccer. Ditto drift-racing, ditto the ancient game of go (as shown here, compare prices). Ditto on and on. But which of those are most worth the investment of time and effort to watch? Read More...

'Gargantia' Sequel is On the Way

Friday October 11, 2013

One of the better shows of the past streaming season was Gargantia on the Verduous Planet -- a bit-of-a-mouthful of a title for a show that combined high-flying science fiction with a vision of a ramshackle future where mankind lives as a confederacy of tribes on the surface of the ocean.

The show -- an original creation for the screen -- must have done well enough, for the Twitter account and website for the show has announced production has commenced on a sequel.

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Anime Review: 'Sakura Wars: The Movie'

Thursday October 10, 2013

If Sakura Wars: The Movie (compare prices) is even the slightest bit accurate, Tokyo in the 1920s must have been one fantastic place to visit. Steam-powered cars, psionically-powered suits of armor driven by women who moonlight as performers at a lavish music hall, skies filled with demonic creatures ... like I said, fantastic place to visit, but I'm not sure I'd want to live there.

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Anime Review: 'Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II: The Battle for Doldrey'

Monday October 7, 2013

Q: How do you follow up a flawed masterwork?

A: With another flawed masterwork.

That's been the assessment so far with the all-new animated version of Berserk, a re-adaptation of Kentaro Miura's ongoing manga. The story was originally adapted for TV in 1997, and suffered from a fate common to anime adaptations of ongoing stories: it ended right when things were getting good. But despite its issues, that original adaptation is still one of anime's brightest lights.

Berserk dealt with Guts, a lone-wolf swordsman selling his services to the highest bidder in a world vaguely analogous to the Europe of the Thirty Years' War. He comes under the command of the charismatic and ambitious Griffith, leader of the mercenary band known as the Hawks, and soon Guts finds his destiny inextricably bound up with the other man's -- and not for the better.

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Anime Review: 'Blood-C: The Last Dark'

Sunday October 6, 2013

The amount of material spawned by Blood: The Last Vampire, originally just a fifty-minute movie, is getting a little intimidating even for seasoned fans. Aside from the original movie -- which is still a phenomenal experience -- there's a live-action adaptation, a two-season TV series (Blood +), and now a whole new franchise, Blood-C, created in collaboration between the original movie's production company, Production I.G, and the manga collective known as CLAMP, responsible for everything from Cardcaptor Sakura to ×××HOLiC.

I reviewed the TV series of Blood-C a while back, and the first two-thirds of it are terrific -- until it ends with what amounts to little more than a messy segue into Blood-C: The Last Dark (compare prices), a feature-film follow-up to the TV series. Now I've seen The Last Dark as well, and can answer the question: To what extent was the movie worth waiting for as a follow-up to a show that fascinating and flawed at the same time?

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New Feature: Best Original, Not Adapted, Anime

Saturday October 5, 2013

If you picked at random one of the biggest and most widely-watched movies or TV shows of recent years, odds are you'd have picked something adapted from another medium: Game of Thrones, Dexter, True Blood, or the endless comic-book adaptations in theaters all come to mind.

Anime's the same, too. A great many hit titles, from Fullmetal Alchemist to Naruto, are all adaptations of equally popular manga. Some are from video games (Steins; Gate); some from light novels (Shangri-la, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, Shiki); and some from even more esoteric media (Hetalia).

But there are just as many anime created directly for the screen -- maybe adapted into other media from that, but which begin as an entirely original creation. And some of those original titles may well surprise you, like Cowboy Bebop (shown here, compare prices) or Tiger & Bunny.

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