Sesho's Anime And Manga Reviews
My main focus is reviewing manga and anime, but I also review Japanese literature, movies, and videogames. Basically, if it has anything to do with Japan, I'll talk about it, along with a dash of Korea and China.

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  • VAMPYBIT.ME - The official Linda Le Weblog

    Free To View Anime

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  • An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla
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  • Podcast Episode 145: Akihabara@Deep Volume 1

    Podcast manga review of Akihabara@Deep Volume 1. Written by Ira Ishida. Art by Makoto Akane. Translated and adapted by Mayumi Kobayashi. Originally published in Japan by Shinchosa and Coamix. Published in US by Anime Works, $11.99, Rated 16+.

    From the back cover:

    Akihabara@DEEP. It is an enterprise that is small but elite and organized by the legendary otaku of Akihabara. Soon, they'll be dragged into the struggle for supremacy in a world of information technology. A battle is about to begin in the Akihabara district for the future of the industry.

    My Grade: A

    Direct download: Episode_145--AkihabaraDeep_Volume_1.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:54pm CDT

    Tickets are on sale for Sword of the Stranger, a new anime movie from Bandai and the animation studio BONES.

    What is the movie about you might ask? Here's the synopsis from the website:

    SWORD OF THE STRANGER STORY SYNOPSIS:
    Hunted by the Mings from China, a young boy named Kotaro and his loyal dog Tobimaru meet a nameless samurai (“Nanashi” or “No Name”) who is haunted by his past – a memory so terrible he has vowed to never draw his sword again.
     
    Among the Mings is Luo-Lang, a ruthless Western swordsman with the Chinese name who has walked the earth in search of a worthy rival. When both groups clash with a feudal lord and monks torn between faith and survival, the truth behind the Mings’ pursuit of Kotaro tests the bond between the boy and the samurai with no name…

    The catch is that it is only showing on one night, February 5, at 7:30 PM across the nation. It is also set to feature a behind the scenes short along with some voice actor interviews. Unfortunately for me, it sounds like it is going to be an English dub. I hate dubs. Except for Bebop. But I'm willing to try to deal with it and keep an open mind. It's not often we in America get to see an anime on the big screen. I've only seen two, Howl's Moving Castle, and the second Ghost in the Shell movie. I bought two tickets tonight for $12.50 each. Here's the link to the official site:

    http://stranger.bandai-ent.com/index.php

    And here is the trailer for the movie:

    Category:News -- posted at: 8:42pm CDT

    Anime DVD Review: Project Blue Earth SOS Volume 2

    Anime DVD review of Project Blue Earth SOS Volume 2: Infiltration. Directed by Tensai Okamura (Wolf's Rain, Darker than Black). Series Composition by Ryota Yamaguchi (Cowboy Bebop, One Piece, Escaflowne). Published by ADV Films (license has been picked up by Funimation),  Running Time: 90 minutes, Episodes 3-4, Rated 15+.

    The Labyrinth Alliance, backed by the corporation run by Billy Kimura's father, has come up with the ultimate checkmate to use against the aliens. The time is right to take The Invincible, a state of the art flying battleship, out on its maiden voyage. Decked out with the latest new fangled weaponry, it will join the Sky Knight as one of only two ships that can take on the enemy's helmet worms. Meanwhile, the aliens, calling themselves Baguans, continue to wreak destruction around the globe, destroying military targets and some targets meant to hurt us psychologically, like the destruction of the Eiffel Tower. In a most insidious move, the Baguans have begun reanimating and controlling dead human captives as the means to carry out their evil plans. Penny gets quite a shock when some of the alien saboteurs end up being his long missing parents! Suffice it to say, it causes quite a conflict of interest. If that's not enough, the Baguans have devised a way to shut down anything that runs off a G-Reactor, which means almost everything on Earth. It's up to our heroes to find a way to distinguish friend from foe and find a way to turn the lights back on.  

    I really want to get behind this show and love it because of the great characters and animation, but the writing is beginning to stink. First of all, letting an overconfident brat like Billy make world changing decisions for the military is a little bit much. Billy's plans mostly consist of sending up the latest ships and planes built by his company simply to get shot down by the Baguan flying saucers. He also doesn't seem to have any compunctions about getting innocent people killed as a result of his lamebrained schemes. The fact that Penny has to confront the dead bodies of his parents at least brings him off his high horse and instills his character with a bit of much needed humility and makes him realize that this isn't just some science project he can ace at school. That people are dying in this war.

    I really like the characters on this show, at least in terms of personality, they give SOS a lot of variety. In the hands of a good writer, Project Blue Earth could have been a really good anime. While it can be fun at times, it crosses the line of goofiness way too many times to ever be taken seriously. And what's up with Lotta Brest? When the opening credits roll, it shows all the characters along with their names. When I watched them for the first time, I assumed the hot and sexy Emely was named Lotta Brest (they appear together on the credits), but ironically, Lotta Brest was the 12 year old? Who the hell came up with these names? I also thought it was kinda sad that all we've seen of the aliens so far is a Doctor Evil "Bwuh, Ha, Ha, Ha!" laughing masked villain who gives the Earth 24 hours to surrender. I mean, if the Baguans are so powerful, why don't they just invade and take over instead of all these penny ante hijinks that our own native terrorists could pull off?

    The only extra is the clean opening animation.

    My Grade: C+

     

    Direct download: project_blue_earth_2.jpg
    Category:Anime DVD Reviews -- posted at: 6:01pm CDT

    Podcast Episode 144--Edu Manga: Ludwig Van Beethoven

    Podcast manga review of Edu-Manga: Ludwig Van Beethoven. Written by Takayuki Kanda. Art by Naoko Takase. Translated by Sachiko Sato. Originally published in Japan by Kodansha. Published in US by DMP under their Educational Series imprint, $9.95, Rated All Ages.

    From the back cover:

    A true genius, Beethoven stands as one of the greatest musical minds the world has ever seen with such famous works as his Symphony No. 9 ("Ode to Joy") and the classic "Fur Elise." The onset of deafness was only one of many hardships he had to face, but his strength and desire to do battle with his turbulent life led him to create the many musical masterpieces we cherish today. Celebrate Beethoven's amazing life with Astro Boy at your side! Astro Boy is ready to show you how Beethoven created some of the most beautiful music in history while struggling with his own personal highs and lows. Watch the story behind this genius and his amazing musical work come to life right before your eyes.

    My Grade: A

    (There was a slight issue getting this episode uploaded, which should be corrected now. For some reason it was not fully uploading into Itunes and my blogpage.)

    Direct download: Episode_144--Edu_Manga--Beethoven.mp3
    Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:31pm CDT

    Well, let the awesome news begin. The first eight episodes of Naruto Shippuden are up at three different sites, www.vizmedia.com, www.hulu.com, and www.crunchyroll.com. It's completely free and legal to watch them. I have to admit, I'm not fully caught up on the anime (I'm only just now finishing the fourth uncut box set), but I am guilty of reading up to volume 41 or 42 of the manga, the only time I've ever sought out scans on the internet. So, suffice it to say, I am fully aware of what is going on in the story without having watched all the anime episodes and I am really excited. I just watched the first episode at Viz, and just to where you know, I think you can only watch subtitled episodes at this point. And the Viz feed is coming from Hulu.com. You can watch the episodes in better resolution at Hulu (480p), but I experienced a bit of lag with my DSL, so I had to go to standard resolution and the problem was solved. I have never watched anything on Crunchyroll so I can't comment on their quality at the moment. 8 new episodes will be posted each Friday until they catch up with the Japanese run.

    Here is the trailer (which is dubbed):

    And here is the first episode. Just hit the play button. You can also make it fullscreen with the button in the top right corner. Don't worry if it's a little disconcerting at first. You didn't miss any episodes. It starts out with Naruto and Sakura encountering Sasuke but then flashbacks to how they got to this point:

    Category:News -- posted at: 7:31pm CDT

    Just a funny story I picked up in the Houston Chronicle the past couple of days: Apparently, a Japanese man named Hiroshi Nohara had been living in a Mexico City airport terminal since September 2! That's 3 months! Why, you might ask? Nobody knows! It seems he was invited to stay at a local woman's house named Oyuki whose husband works in Japan on December 28th. Nohara says he doesn't intend to return to the airport. Should be interesting to see what the story is behind this.  

    Hey, whatever happened to the woman who lived for a year in somebody's closet in Japan without the resident ever knowing?

    Here's the link to the Nohara story:

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/world/6188794.html

    Category:News -- posted at: 12:50pm CDT

    Manga Review: Sand Chronicles Volume 2

    Manga Review of Sand Chronicles Volume 2 by Hinako Ashihara. Translated by Kinami Watabe. Adapted by John Werry. Originally published in Japan by Shogakukan as "Sunadokei". Pubished in US by Viz Shojo Beat, $8.99, Rated T+ Older Teen

    It's been three years since Ann's mom dragged her away from Tokyo to her small country hometown of Shimane after a messy divorce with a bankrupt husband. Ann managed to rebuild her life with some new friends, Daigo, Fuji, and his sister Shika. Over time, Daigo even became her boyfriend. She's been living in a dreamworld these past years, never contemplating or wanting to accept that situations and relationships change over time.  Now she is going to have to face reality. First of all, she learns that Fuji is moving to Tokyo to go to a prestigious high school, ruining the blissful comraderie of her circle of friends. Secondly, after being absent from her life for years, Ann's father shows up out of the blue, saying that he has reformed his ways, paid his debts, and that he wants her to move back to Tokyo with him! When her dad reveals that he had stayed out of her life because of a promise to Ann's mother, she faces a hard choice. Should she move to Tokyo to be with her dad or stay in Shimane because she doesn't want to lose Daigo? 

    Yep, Sand Chronicles is about drama. But it's good drama. Hinako Ashihara wades into themes and situations that most shojo creators would shy away from in fear. Cleverly, she set the whole series up as a flashback. When volume 1 opened, a grown up Ann was getting married and packing to move abroad. This kinda set up a mystery type question. Namely, who is she getting married to and what happened in the intervening years between the events of the manga and the present? Who does she end up with? Has the man she's going to marry even appeared in the manga? Will he ever?  Also, the fact that Ann is so aware of the inherent changeability of  human emotions over time gives her a depth way beyond other shojo heroines. And let's just set the record straight, Ann IS a heroine. Because she is dealing with emotional issues that might permanently break some people in her situation. Even though she doesn't want things to change, she does eventually make decisions, whether for good or bad, instead of waffling for 20 volumes over what she should do. Hopefully, I won't be eating dirt over this statement in the future because she seems to be showing feelings for Fuji these days. I didn't really mention it in the summary but Fuji also has a big role in this volume. Even though he is the scion of his rich family, there has always been a rumor that he was the illegitimate offspring of his mom's many affairs. In this volume, he gets to meet his suspected father, and he might just wish he hadn't. Sand Chronicles is the best shojo manga I have ever read and ranks up there with some of my favorite works, regardless of genre.

    My Grade: A

    Check out my podcast review of Volume 1 at this link:

    http://sesho.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=361894

    You can also view a free preview of the first volume of the manga at the Viz website:

    http://www.shojobeat.com/onlinemanga/sbom.php?chap=san-hi-preview&o=dn

    Direct download: sand2.jpg
    Category:Manga Reviews -- posted at: 11:49am CDT