Friday, July 31, 2009

Personal Update: Law School This Year?

Hey out there in blogo land! It's your Navigator Richard J., servant of some guy who keeps talking about people dying when they are killed. Funny man.

Just wanted to let everyone know that I'm preparing for a deluge of reviews in August. I had hoped to get out my first anime review this month but it looks like I'll have to push it back a bit. I applied to law school a few months back and I'm currently in the final running on the wait list for Georgia Law! (This would be the University of Georgia's Law School program, one of the best if not the best in the South.)

Had to send them some more info and discuss living arrangements with various parties today so I couldn't put the finishing touches on my first anime review.

However, tomorrow I will be uploading another exciting review! (Well, I hope it's exciting to someone!)

I'll be introducing a standard review feature as well. My personal odd version of a star meter.

And no, there are no panties.

Just thought I should give a quickie update on why you're not able to read another review here yet. Hopefully, you'll think this one was worth the wait.

In other news, a certain anime company that certainly dubs all of it's certainly awesome library of titles is kicking ass and taking market share. Gee, I wonder who I could be talking about?

At least one company is still giving this hopefully-soon-to-be-going-to-law-school-otaku what he wants!

Bye-ni!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Inuyasha, Vampire Knight and Kekkaishi licensed by VIZ.

Greetings my devoted fans! (I know you're out there I can hear you breathing! I CAN! I'M NOT HEARING THINGS!)

I'm Richard J., Navigator of this blog and planner of saving money until the day he can dub Lucky Star's OVA. Today I'm going to chatter about some good news in the world of anime, we need more of that right? And it is that the new Inuyasha anime, Vampire Knight and Kekkaishi have all been licensed by VIZ.

Now, I personally am thrilled by this news though not perfectly joyous as English dubbing has not been fully confirmed. However, I hear that Kekkaishi's dub is already being worked on and it would seem foolish to not dub Inuyasha. Vampire Knight is less certain but unlikely to go sub-only as well.

Take note: to date, VIZ has not done a significant sub-only release and though I have not fully researched it, I do not believe they have done ANY sub-only releases.

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Inuyasha is the first long-running shonen anime I ever saw. In fact, it was my sister who got me into the series after she purchased the third movie, Inuyasha: Swords of an Honorable Ruler on a whim. Since then, I've come to love it very much and fully understand why it was ranked 20 in a Top 100 best anime in 2006 poll in Japan. I personally have derived a considerable amount of pleasure from watching this series, though it really didn't click for me until season 2 when all of the cast had finally come together.

To see a continuation announced in Japan and now to have a hope that I'll hear the great VAs that brought these characters to life for me is a joy.

Thank you VIZ from the bottom of my otaku heart.

For those who have never seen the series, Inuyasha is a half-demon who seeks to become a whole demon. He grudgingly allies himself with Kagome, a high-school girl who has found herself in a demon-infested feudal era. Together, they must overcome demons and each other's flaws to protect the Shikon Jewel, AKA the Jewel of Four Souls, which is the key to Inuyasha's goal and the goals of countless monsters. Things are complicated by Kagome's purpose to keep the jewel safe and pure, the machinations of the terrifyingly powerful demon Naraku and his web of intrigue and the feelings in the hearts of the two lead characters.

Inuyasha is a great start-up series for non-fans of anime and an epic adventure tale that will finally get it's final chapters told. Many people believed that the series wouldn't be continued but fans have shown their will matters! Unfortunately, no release date has been announced but that hopefully means they are arranging to get the whole cast back.

In case you haven't sampled Inuyasha at all yet (what, you living under a rock?) VIZ has announced that Hulu will have the first 32 episodes, subtitled, right now.

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Onto this anime which surely will appeal to me for my love of vampires. Vampire Knight is a tale of emotion about Yuki Cross, whose earliest memory is of being attacked by one vampire only to be saved by another. Kaname is her savior, whom she protects and is protected by. Zero Kiryu is her childhood friend who hates vampires and believes those claiming to have changed are not to be trusted.

Are the vampires Yuki wants to help sincere in their claims to want to peacefully coexist? Can the feelings she begins to have for Kaname be returned happily? Will Zero's fears be realized and his friend lost to vampiric evil?

Can this show have hotter character designs? ;)

Vampire Knight shows that harems aren't just filled with cute girls and that vampires are always awesome. Also that shojo doesn't have to be just for girls. This series is coming in 2010.

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This anime is a mystery to me so I'll be brief. It's coming in 2010.

Okay, that's too brief. Kekkaishi's about Sumimura Yoshimori. He's 14, your average descendant of Kekkaishi, an exterminator of monsters. He wants to be heir to the family but Yumikura Tokine, his elder and a childhood friend, stands in his way. She's his rival.

Saving people, getting stronger and kicking monster butt are the themes of this anime. Shonen show is shonen; in other words that just means we know we can kick back and enjoy the action.

Well, that's it for this entry into the blogosphere's perpetual pollution! I'm Richard J. signing out and looking like this over all the good news we've been getting lately from companies like VIZ and Funimation:
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Monday, July 20, 2009

Blood+ Part Two FINALLY COMING???

Hello once again and welcome to my blog. This is your Navigator Richard J, here to inform, infer, infuriate and generally interface with you the reader.

Well, we've heard a lot of interesting and in some cases frustrating news from Otakon this year but one thing you may not have heard about is that Sony may have fially gotten a clue about Blood+! Kai may have had something to do with it.

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Everyone needs a good Clue Bat. Read here the words of Robert of the Anime Corner Store from his newsleter:

Check this out! At the AniPlex booth they were saying that Sony will be releasing the second half of Blood+ this October to coincide with the DVD release of the live action Blood movie. Now that's music to my ears, though I'll be happier when we hear it directly from Sony - aka, an announcement and a set date.


*EDIT: He's added this info to his blog.

Amazing! Simply amazing. We may finally get the rest of the series after all.

This is great news for fans of the series and the dub, which though lacking in some areas features fan favorites like Crispin Freeman, Kari Wahlgren and a personal favorite of mine Lara Jill Miller.

Now might be the time to finally pickup that Blood+ boxset you've been wanting.

Maybe Sony hasn't completely failed us yet! In fact, perhaps they always intended to tie the second release in with a related release like this and were frustrated by some delay.

Okay, that might be giving them too much credit but hey, as long as we finally get the goods!

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Bye-ni!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Spice and Wolf + Nabari No Ou dub cast lists = LOVE!

Greetings and salutations! I am your reject from San Angeles, your Navigator through the streams of anti-dub despair and a lazy bones too! Richard J. here with a bit of positive English dub news.

Today, Funimation announced the English dub cast lists for Spice and Wolf and Nabari No Ou!

First Spice and Wolf:

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Holo–Brina Palencia
Lawrence–J. Michael Tatum
Chloe–Jamie Marchi
Nora–Leah Clark
Weiz–Eric Vale
Zheren–John Burgmeier


Now, Nabari No Ou:

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Miharu-Brina Palencia
Yoite-Joel McDonald
Tobari-Eric Vale
Koichi-Chris Burnett
Yukimi-Rob McCollum
Raimei-Kate Oxley

I know what you're thinking: That's too much of Brina Palencia's awesomeness right? Our heads asplode from the sheer awesome!

There's lots more good news from Funimation out of Otakon but you probably already know about their new licenses!

Now, go pre-order some great anime that's English dubbed from Robert's Anime Corner Store!

I'll send you off with a little fanservice.

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I know, short and lazy blog is short and lazy but I've got some plans in the works. Hopefully, they won't suck.

Bye-ni!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bandai Entertainment: NO MORE DUBS!

Welcome to another bad news addition of this blog! I'm your Navigator Richard J., the seething evil at the bottom of your sneakers has nothing on me.

So, as you may have heard, Bandai Entertainment has licensed Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens. Of course, they didn't license it for you dub fans out there. Just for sub fans.

Shh, Bandai doesn't want you to know they're in financial trouble and sources say they'll be under in less than two years! (Note: Those sources are the voices in my head.)

See this article for some gibberish on the subject.

I'll summarize for you with quotes (and commentary) here:

Ken Iyadomi, President of Bandai Entertainment Inc. says the DVDs will be sold exclusively at Rightstuf.com and Amazon Marketplace. (Note: This is because they'll be producing extremely small runs, so expect EVEN MORE of disc failage as they seek the least expensive producers!)

“We hope fans will support our effort to bring this series to them on the day we announced the acquisition.”

Yeah, you're not supporting me as a fan so, I won't support you!

“This is our way of answering the challenges of a changing marketplace to see how streaming episodes helps DVD and we are making both available at the same time to beat bootleggers who are hurting the industry just as much as the illegal downloaders.”

Translation: We're desperate and we're selling legal versions of the cheaper sub-only bootlegs, hope you like our subs better than that subbing group you've been watching all along!

“North American anime companies have suffered unexpected heavy returns from general market retailers in recent years but if we can sell moderate quantities exclusively online where no sales returns exist, I believe we can acquire more anime for the US market to be released in this pattern. This is a very different business model and a new challenge."

Translation: As long as the idiots at the online retailers don't start cutting back on their orders we can. . . oh shit!

Yeah, take a moment and think about this my friends. This is literally a top officer of a company saying that they will be relying on minimal sales and orders that won't be shipped back to them. Now, take a moment and ask yourself this: What's to stop Rightstuf and Amazon from simply cutting the size of their orders? What if Bandai doesn't sell "moderate quantities?" What if the online retailers go "hmm, this companies stuff isn't selling like it used to, lets cut our orders?"

What happens to Bandai Entertainment then? Well, I'm sure Mr. Iyadomi doesn't quite know since apparently he doesn't realize sales will be even less without dubs.

Of course, I know lots of people are swooning over this move! NO MORE DUB TAX!

Those fans, of course, will largely just stick to fansubs and "imports." This is the problem, catering to fans who aren't buying already. Makes sense in an insane way I guess.

Let me run down a list of things Bandai Entertainment has done wrong lately. Not couting Bandai Visual being allowed to exist since that wasn't their choice, though it damaged their brand.

First: Inconsistent dub choices. Bandai used a variety of studios for dubbing, some favored by fans some not so much. They also changed studios for several projects related to earlier ones. For instance, the use of Ocean for the Ghost In the Shell: Stand Alone Complex compilation DVDs. Not a big deal at the time but telling.

Second: DVDs that didn't work. I think we can all remember discovering multiple Bandai DVDs that just plain didn't work. I was fortunate enough to have a simple and basic enough DVD player that I didn't have most of the problems others did. However, we remember the Code Geass DVDs that wouldn't play and that's just one series. One series with many releases. Which brings me to my next point. . . .

Third: Multiple SKU releases of the same title (Note: This is why they got so many of their titles returned from retailers.) Bandai released standard editions, limited editions and even re-releases of the same series at the same time. They flooded retail shelves at a time when anime fans weren't even sure their DVDs would play! (Also remember that the Geneon Panic was going on not too long ago.)

Fourth: LE items people didn't want. Lucky Star comes to mind instantly. Now, I bought the Lucky Star LEs because I wanted the CDs and the crayon art covers. (Wow, I got screwed in the end didn't I? No volume 6 LE at all! Thanks Bandai!) The T-shirts were horrible. I have yet to see anyone who liked the T-shirts.

And all of these things are only related to DVD releases. Behind the scenes, we know they had to absorb the financial problems of Bandai Visual when the two were merged and that Bandai in Japan is in trouble. (Note the creation of a specific department at the parent company just for Gundam. The rest of their anime will eventually cease to exist, mark my words.)

Essentially, Bandai Entertainment, in my opinion, screwed themselves and is now saying to English dub fans "screw you." Well, personally speaking, I say "no sale" to them.

Which, given the state they are in, might be a death sentence.

I admit, I'm going to be a little bit of a hypocrite and finish some English dubbed Bandai titles like Lucky Star (just volume 6, if I can't fight the urge to see it I'll DOWNLOAD the OVA! Hah! Take that Bandai!) Code Geass R2 and assorted Gundams.

I'm sad and disappointed I won't get to buy Haruhi's new episodes from them (trust me, they won't be dubbed without a TV deal unless they sold a lot better than I think they did.) I'm depressed that yet another anime company has decided to marginalize themselves.

Apparently, this dub will never talk about any anime that isn't coming out of Funimation or VIZ the way things are going. (Heck, if rumors turn out to be true, I could end up talking more about Media Blasters than Bandai Entertainment! How twisted is that?)

Well, that's it for this ranting rant of rantiness edition of Blog of a Heritcal Dub Lover. Let me know what you thought of my thoughts and if you think I'm being too harsh or not harsh enough. (Before anyone starts crying "niche is niche and must be sub-only, I point you toward Funimation. You just try and tell me Sasami Magical Girls Club is mainstream.)

Bye-ni!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Manga Review: Bamboo Blade.

Manga Review # 001
Title: Bamboo Blade
MSRP: US $ 10.99 (CAN $ 11.99)

Hello again my few and scrappy fans! I'm your Navigator Richard J., deranged and twisted as ever.

Today I am reviewing Bamboo Blade by writer Masahiro Totsuka and artist Aguri Igarashi! This one is a lot of fun and quite lovely. Here's the manga front to back!

The front cover features our heroine, Tama-chan!

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The back cover does too as well as Kojiro-sensei but more on him later!

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Now, on to the main event! As you know, we here at Blog of A Heretical Dub Lover like to have special guests for reviews and this one is no exception!

However, my guest reviewer is late getting here. (She probably overslept.) So I'll start us off!

First, let me tell you about this manga! Bamboo Blade is the story of Kojiro, a teacher at Muroe Private Senior High School. He's lax, not very pulled together and, as a fellow teacher describes him "an enthusiastic, sort of dim-witted teacher" who may be able to "shake things up."

Kojiro is also the comedy relief of the series. In spades.

The series starts, however, with our heroine Tamaki Kawazoe. After showing off her Kendo skills briefly, we switch to Kojiro as he makes a bet with his sempai, a fellow teacher. They will take their respective Kendo clubs' female members and conduct a match. If Kojiro wins, he gets a year's worth of free-sushi from his sempai's father's restaurant! (What does Kojiro give up if he loses? You'll have to read to find out!)

Realizing only afterward that he has only two girls in his Kendo club, the hyper Kirino Chiba and the ever-absent Saya, he quickly comes to the conclusion that it's time for new recruits! Unfortunately, his sudden EXTREME enthusiasm for Kendo scares people more than anything else but he soon learns of Tama-chan from Nakata, a boy who wants to join! She's a childhood friend and someone he's tried to get to join school Kendo clubs before.

Tama-chan lives at a dojo and sees Kendo as more of a chore than anything else. However, it's a chore she's mastered. Without breaking a sweat, she can take down anyone. Kojiro tries to gain her membership but her complete lack of interest early on may mean his dream of easy sushi might not come true!

Bamboo Blade is a well-balanced mix of slice-of-life, comedy and Kendo badass-ary. The fight scenes are extremely energetic and very well drawn in my opinion. The humorous moments with Kojiro are spastic enough to easily draw a laugh. However, what makes this series worth reading are the quiet moments.

One of my favorite scenes is a simple one. Tama-chan had tried to record a show but recorded a comedy routine instead. As she watches it anyway, she gets a little smile on her face. It's just a few panels but that smile tells you so much about her. It's also a decided contrast from her Kendo stance face, which would be at home on Musashi Miyamoto.

This is a Yen Press title so you can expect color pages. This series is no exception from the norm. Here's the lovely color page (the next page is also color but it's a table of contents, not a nice shot of Tama-chan so who cares right?)

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Also, the paper quality is good, the pictures are very clear with stand out ink, even in shade and line heavy scenes of Kendo. The writing is fluid and easy to get into. Another quality product from a quality company.

The character designs are distinctive within the manga, meaning you can easily tell characters apart. More attention is given to the cute girls in this manga but don't underestimate the men. Kojiro and Nakata each get to look good and the first not-so-nice character gets multiple images of his SADIST face.

The contrast between expressions in general in this series is quite well done. The characters are very expressive, even Tama-chan in her own stoic way.

I already mentioned that the writing can pull you in. It also has a flowing plot that advances at a natural pace. The jokes don't feel out of place and the characters have plenty of personality.

Ah! My special guest has just arrived! What the heck kept you?

Yurie Hitotsubashi: Sorry. I fell asleep.

Richard J.: Why do you have a cat in your hands?

Yurie: This is Tama-chan. I thought you wanted to review her.

Richard J.:. . . .

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Yurie: I'm just being silly. Please, let me start by introducing the characters now!

Richard J.: Well, I kinda did that but okay.

Yurie: Thanks! Here is Kojiro-sensei. He's in it for the sushi. He's our debt-ridden hero.

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Yurie: This is Tama-chan. She's our disinterested heroine and goddess of victory!

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Yurie: Here with have Kirino. She reminds me of my friend Matsuri. She's our energetic heroine!

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Yurie: Oh, here's a Kendo scene from the manga.

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Yurie: That's all!

Richard J.: Wait, aren't you leaving out a character? Where's Miya-miya?

Yurie: Oh. . . um. . . do I have to? I do, don't I.

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Yurie: I'm glad I'm on this side of the manga. She scares me. She's our dark goddess of victory?

Richard J.: Thanks for the helping hand Yurie!

Yurie: Thank you for inviting me! Kamichu!

Will our heroine's heroic fighting spirit be awakened? Will she join the club and use her bamboo blade to kick some villain's butt? Will any other girls join? What does Kojiro's sempai want if he loses? Who is the mysterious Saya? Who is Miya-miya?

Find out most of the answers in the first volume of Bamboo Blade!

Also, check out the anime when Funimation releases it! 26 episodes of Kendo and cute girls! (You can also find more of Yurie by checking out Kamichu!, once available from Geneon but now coming at you from the same awesome company bringing us the Bamboo Blade anime!

The first volume of the manga is available now Robert's Anime Corner Store, The Right Stuf, Amazon and Books-a-Million! Don't hesitate to buy this one folks!

Oh, since no one entered, no one won the contest for the Afro Samurai Resurrection DVD.

Bye-ni!