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AICN Anime Report: eX-Driver; Now & Then,Here & There; Spriggan; Matsumoto; Lupin; Gatekeepers; Metropolis; 3X3 Eyes

Father Geek here to once again post our comprehensive Manga and Anime column by Scott Green, The AICN Anime Report, for this Wednesday. First off I've got a review that was sent directly to me at Geek Headquarters here in Austin that I'm sure will interest most of you...

I am writing this review as a response to the review of the animated film Metropolis from Lampbane a few days ago. I do not know what film she saw, but apparently she saw one in her head when she fell asleepat first the review was on track, even down to the details about the opening speech. Then it went south. Here's my impression:

First of all, this is the closest thing you get to gold. The source material of Metropolis is the comic from anime originator Tezuka, written before his now famous Astro Boy. The Director of Metropolis is Rintaro, who worked with Tezuka on most of his anime, including Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. The Screenplay is written by Katsuhiro Otomo, acclaimed writer of the comic and film adaption of Akira. Can you get any better than this? It is a film Directed as a tribute to Tezuka by Rintaro, a film that Tezuka did not want Rintaro to make because it was too raw, and probably close to home. I had high expectations going into this film, and it did not disappoint me a jot.

Lamp's synopsis was on point, though it was pretty much sterile. Where was the depth she asks? Character's motivations? Are you blind, girl? It was all there. And there was depth. She does not mention the plot lines involving politics, the wealthy over the the poor, the revolution, the common man fighting for the right to live above the rubble and the ruined. She mentions the class struggle plot and shrugs it off like a side note. It wasn't. She also says the climax was not therewe knew anything was possible. There was a climax, a resolution, and a parting message. The characters had depth, not grand canyon depth, but it was there none the less. The "villains" had depth too, though Lamp some how did not see it. I also hate she calls the characters cute. Some were, you a! re going to love the robot fifi. They were also more than that. Tima is more than a cute doll. I hate such pigeon-holing labels.

As for the animation, it is beautiful. Outstanding CG-enhanced backgrounds juxtaposed with characters drawn is a simple, human style that is a direct tribute to Tezuka's own art. Was is beautiful? Yes. Was it overwhelming? Yes, at first. You see, the film starts with the celebration of the opening of a towering building called the Ziggurat. It is shown as a thing of splendour amongst a city of wonders. The CG adds to this feeling, which of course serves the plot in that is shows the excess that contrasts with the squalor of the cities lower levels. The music was also quite a treat, featuring music in the vein of the 1940s and 50s. The voice acting was also great, especially since many of the characters were played by actors acting for their first time--a Making of Metropolis DVD was given out at the Fest, and was the source for that fact.

What can I say more? I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I could muse it reminded me a bit of Blade Runner(don't jump on me for saying anything can approach Scott's masterpiece) in the grandest of the city, the grit of the street, and the conflicts of the characters--maybe more glitzy and anime-esque and not noir, though. I think many people would love it. I am sorry if I sounded a bit aggressive or like I am attacking Lampbane. I just hate it when I see a something so fine, but others glance over it without a thought. It makes me sad. Well, go see it yourself and judge. You will not be disappointed.

the fuzzy hobbit

Father Geek back... I personally can't wait to experience this film on the big screen. Now, on to Scott and his great report for this week...

Anime and Manga Released This Week

This week is pretty slow for anime and manga releases.


Cardcaptor Sakura - Friends & Family (Vol. 6)

Cardcaptors - Best of Friends (Vol. 6)

Nadia, The Secret of Blue Water - Battleground (Vol. 4)

Ranma 1/2 Martial Mayhem Vol 11 Video Sub Nightmare

Ranma 1/2 Martial Mayhem Vol 12 Video Sub Kagemusha Myself


3X3 Eyes Flight Of The Demon Tp

3x3 Eyes is a supernatural tale that is sometimes a horror story, sometime an action/comedy, about last in a race of immortal tri-clops who goes to see a way to before human. He quest accidentally leads to the death of a boy who she brings back to live as her immortal servant. The anime version of the series has been released by Pioneer.

Cardcaptors is the English dubbed version of the anime series Card Captor Sakura, they was edited and re-ordered for domestic television. Card Captor Sakura is a magical girl series (series with young heroines to usually transform into another form to fight monsters ect) by the famous manga creators CLAMP.

November AnimeFringe Online

The November issue of AnimeFringe is online at The month's featured anime is ADV's new baseball drama Princess Nine, and the new Final Fantasy: Unlimited TV series.

Reviews include Crest of the Stars, NieA under Seven, Uzamaki, and Maico 2010. This month's guest editorial is by Fanboy Entertainent's C.B. Cebulski about the state of the manga scene.

November Sequential Tart Online

The November issue of Sequential Tart is online at Anime/manga content includes more enteries in the glossary, detailed looks at CLAMP's X/1999, Vampire Hunter D, Big O, and Ranma as well as anime and manga reviews.

Animated Oscar Information

There are questions of whether there will be an Oscar for Best Animated Feature this year, and is so what anime will qualify. There must be at least eight features that meet the criteria in order for the award to be given. Known candidates where Monsters Inc. Osmosis Jones, Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within, Waking Life, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Shrek and Atlantis: The Lost Empire, but there are indications that other candidates where instated before the deadline.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, six as yet unidentified animated feature films were made candidates just prior to November 1st deadline, giving the new category 13 films, five more than it was. Academy spokesperson John Pavlik addressed this new batch, saying, "It remains to be seen how many of these will qualify, but there's certainly a lot more room for maneuvering now.

Blood: The Last Vampire was rejected because its 50 minute run time falls short of the required 70 minutes.

Jerry of Bandai Entertainment sends word that their co-release with Viz, Production I.G.'s Jin-Roh, written by Mamoru Oshii has made the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences cutoff deadline. The 13 entries will not be made public until December 12th.

Gundam 0080 on Midnight Run

Gundam 0080 commercials have appeared on Midnight Run. 0080 will premiere on Monday, November 5 at 12:30AM.

CardCaptors Off the Air

For the foreseeable future Kids' WB has taken CardCaptors off the air, and replaced it with X-Men Evolution. The timing seems to suggest the move is to boost ratings for November sweeps.

Ghibli Museum Tour has posted a tour of the new Ghibli Museam at here with pictures of the museum and opening party.

More Spriggan Dates

From ADV Films
  • November 2nd Camera Cinema - San Jose, CA
  • November 17th New Falls Cinema - Bellows Fall, VT
  • January 11 thru 26 Reel Art Ways in Hartford, CT (weekends only)

These bookings are in addition to the following previously announced dates and locations:

  • November 9th Alamo Draft House - Austin
  • November 29th Red Vic Movie House-San Francisco
  • November 30th Cinefest - Atlanta

English Armitage: Dual Matrix Site

The Official "Armitage Dual-Matrix" website English version now at here. The has characters images, images of the movies, creator information, and a glossary of the terms form the Armtige universe.

Armitage: Dual Matrix follow Armitage Polymatrix, a movie edit of a four part OAV about an android that is nearly indistinguishable from humans who works as a police officer on the Mars colony. It focused on the biological implications of such a creation.

Ah! My Goddess Illustration Online

AIC's November Top Page Illustration of Ah! My Goddess is online at here.

AIC Class Online has posted "MOE Chara Doujyo*" The cell-Shading 3D "bishoujyo*" class on modeling anime characters using Animation Master online at in Japanese.

Online Class Staff : Instructor : "Dr. Iguchi" (The 3D CG animation director of "Mahou Yuugi") Speical class assistance: "Koyori" Speical student : "Akari" (who try to modeling herself)

This class is co-porduced by CG Online. All illustrations are created by Mr. Ryuichi Makino (Battle Athletess character designer) and Mr. Kami Imai.

Mahou Yuugi(a.k.a Magical Witchland) Latest News

"Mahou Yuugi" 2D online anime will start to boardcast every Friday from November 16th on Lycos Japan. Go to Lycos's "Mahou Yuugi" webpage

"Mahou Yuugi" OVA #1 with Padudu figurine DVD set will release by King Records Inc. on 29th December, 2001 in Japan.

Credits for both 2D and 3D Edition:

  • Dirctor: Mr.Hayashi Hiroki
  • Character designer: Mr. Azuma Kiyohiko
  • 3D Script Writer: Mr.Hideyuki Kurata
  • 2D Script Writer: Mr.Ohnoki Hiroshi

"Mahou Yuugi" comic is serialized on monthly comic magazine "Dengeki Daioh" in Japan by Media Works. This comic edition is created by Mr. Katura Yukimaru.

Sailor Moon S Movie Next Friday On Toonami

The Toonami Movie for next Friday (Nov 9, 2001) will be Sailor Moon S.

New Dates

From Right Stuf
  • 12/11 El Hazard: The Wanderers volume 2: The Ultimate Weapon
  • 12/18 Soul Hunter: Taikoubou's Mission DVD
  • 1/8 Saber Marionette J Again DVD Set
  • Now and Then, Here and There 1 (DUB / DVD)
  • Princess Nin: Double Hitter
  • Pilot Candidate 2: Training DVD
  • 1/15 Sorcerer on the Rocks DVD
  • 1/22 Ceres, Celestial Legend 6 (DUB / DVD)
  • Gundam 0083 DVD 1: The Ultimate Weapon
  • 1/29 Sailor Moon Super S TV 1: The Eclipse (Uncut / Edited)
  • Sailor Moon Super S TV 2: Diana's Secret (Uncut / Edited)
  • Sailor Moon Super S TV 1-2: Eclipse/Diana's Secret DVD
  • Sailor Moon SS TV Volume 1
  • 2/5 El Hazard: The Wanderers volume 3: Winds of War
  • Plastic Little DVD Adult
  • 2/19 Love Hina DVD 1
  • 2/22 Strange Dawn (DUB / DVD)
  • 2/26 Soul Taker DVD 1: Monster Within
  • 3/5 Jinroh (DUB / DVD)
  • Jinroh Special Edition DVD
  • Pilot Candidate DVD 3: Working Together
  • 3/19 Z-Mind DVD
  • 4/2 Ceres, Celestial Legend Volume 4
  • El Hazard: The Wanderers volume 4: Final Adventures
  • 4/9 Night Shift Nurses (DUB / DVD)
  • Roujin Z DVD (CPM Release)

Lupin TV Series Second DVD Box

Anime News Service reports an ad for the second Japanese DVd box set can be found at here. It's not only the best series out of all three, it's got some excellent Miyazaki-directed and produced episodes near the end. Included in the set are discs comprising of 26 episodes of the series. Extras are "specially made BOX receipt" and the 2 IN 1 tall case ×13 packs along with Luxurious 160 page booklet. Disc contents include color animation episodes with monaural / stereo soundtracks. DVD's are single sided and dual layer, 4: 3 aspect ratio. Running time approximately 380 minutes.

Lupin III is the grandson of French literary gentleman thief Arsène Lupin. He is accompanied in the series by his accomplishes, the somber gunman Jigen, the stoic samurai Goemon and his love/rival Fujiko, as well as the Interpol agent tracking him, Zenigata.

The best known Lupin III movie Castle of Cagliostro, which was directed by Princess Mononoke's Hayao Miyazaki was released in the US last year. Other movies will be released by FUNimation soon.

Otakon 2002 Date Change

Excerpted from the Otakon ML:

They made us an offer we couldn't refuse!

Otakon 2002 is moving! At the request of our facility, the spacious Baltimore Convention Center, we are packing up our bags and moving from the weekend of August 2-3-4 to the weekend before, July 26-27-28. With the entire convention center at our disposal and other big plans for all of this newfound room in the works, we are sure that this move will be worth it.

Otakon 2002 will feature:

- NEW 35mm theater located inside the convention center showing titles over the entire weekend.

- NEW 94,00 sq. ft. dealers room

- 6 anime video theaters

- 1 theater dedicated solely to live action films from all across East Asia.

- The return of Mystery Anime Theater 3000 and the pummeling of yet another (not so) beloved anime title.

- Workshops, Art Show, Cosplay, Video Gaming, Anime Music Video Contest, Modeling Contest, and all the rest that you have come to expect!

Stay tuned to our website at during the next few weeks for more details on hotels and registration! Please direct all email inquiries to

Kai Doh Maru Site & Trailer Online

The English language homepage for the latest digital anime by Production IG animation, the samurai story Kai Doh Maru Site, is now online here. The webpage includes a story summary and a 2 minute long trailer for the film.

Metropolis U.S. Theatrical Release Details

ANS has confirmed with Columbia Tristar, details pertaining to the pending nationwide release of 'Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis' directed by Rintaro and written by Katsuhiro Otomo. The film is set to go into theatrical release across the United States on January 25th (info on the dispersion number of theaters is pending) in a subtitled format preserving the original Japanese audio dialogue track. At present a possible future English dubbed version could not be confirmed or denied.

The MPAA has rated the film PG-13 with the following entry:

Osamu Tezuka's Metropolis (2001) Tristar Pictures Rated PG-13 for violence and images of destruction.

Also mentionned on the Metropolis website are the North American cities where Metropolis will be showing, thy are New York, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Berkeley, Marin/Pao Alto, Boston/Cambridge. Washington, Austin, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver and Honolulu.

VIZ to announce monthly The Big O manga

Viz announced the February 2002 release of Hitoshi Ariga's manga The Big O. This manga is an adaptation of Bandai's hit Cartoon Network TV series and will expand upon the story told in the anime version by going beyond the series finale to give the full story climax. As part of the extensive line of Viz Comics, The Big O will release in a monthly, 48 page, black and white format with a retail price of $3.50 in the U.S. ($5.50 Canada).

Paradigm City is the city of amnesia - 40 years ago, SOMETHING happened that wiped out the memories of the residents, forcing them to recreate their culture from scattered fragments. In this world only 40 years old, Roger Smith is a "negotiator" - a go-between for police, citizens and criminals in high-risk diplomatic situations. But something else survives from the forgotten past. They are the MegaDeus - giant robots created by the city's former inhabitants, or perhaps by the forgetful citizens themselves. When crime and madness strike, Roger Smith brings the guilty to justice with the giant robot called The Big O.

In the premiere issue, The Big O #1, Roger Smith becomes involved with a mysterious dark-haired woman whose lover is a hardened criminal. Breaking into a memory repository, the pair threatens to destroy the memories of the city's residents unless their demands are met. Police lieutenant Dan Daston calls in Roger Smith to negotiate a settlement, but the two criminal lovers are only pawns in a scheme orchestrated by the master criminal Beck, who, like Roger Smith, has a MegaDeus at his command.

Author and artist Hitoshi Ariga, a robot fan with a distinctively bold, cartoon style, is best known as the most popular artist of manga based on Capcom's MEGA MAN (known as ROCK MAN in Japan). His personal Japanese website, "Ariga Megamix", is at "";. The Big O Anime original story is a creation of Hajime Yatate at Sunrise, the studio that also created Mobile Suit Gundam.

The Return of Gatekeepers

AnimeFringe reports that the long silence following the release of a Gatekeepers Playstation game Studio Gonzo has announced a new six episode OAV series based on the Gatekeepers TV series. It will take place in the year 2001 instead of 1969(~ 1970), the setting of the TV series.

With the new millennium the Earth Defense agency must face increased crime pollution, and the reinsurances of the Invaders. According to information obtained from the official site, cel work for episode one was finished in July, and the staff at Gonzo are currently working on episode two and three.

For more graphics and info on the latest about Gatekeepers 21, please visit Gonzo's Gatekeepers site at:

NekoCon Flash News Report

James Politte has posted a report on the anime news from the small Con NekoCon in Virginia Beach at Anime News Network

Jeff Thompson of The Right Stuf International (TRSI) reported Kare Kano is in production right now. The contracts have all been signed for the dub. TRSI is probably to begin casting in November, with production through the holiday time period. The first disc is to be out at the end of January, "if there is a God," Jeff said.

TRSI has a "first wave" of 16 new soundtrack CDs out, including the Akira OST. In addition, another 150 discs are planned, including "some you will absolutely love," to be priced at $16.00. Mr. Thompson pointed out that this is a bargain for a licensed CD, compared to the typical $40 import CD, and is competitive with the popular but unsavory bootleg CDs.

Studio Ironcat will be publishing the original Vampire Princess Miyu manga which had been previously published by Antarctic Press, based on the OAVs from the early 1990's. All 9 volumes will be released in graphic novel format, in order to get them completely into the reader's hands as quickly as possible. The Miyu graphic novels will be totally unflipped, in the right-to-left format of the original. Steve hinted that Studio Ironcat may switch to exclusively the unflipped format on future products as well. This news was very well-received by the audience.

In regards to the Hana Yori Dango project. "We are in discussion [. . .] finally, We're at least in the door so far."

Gainax wants Studio Ironcat to publish the Neon Genesis Evangelion artbooks in English, Steve said next. Steve quickly added that Ironcat will leave some of the Japanese text intact, of course.

Invader Zim's Jhonen Vasquez

An interview with the creator of the Nickelodeon cartoon Invader Zim (as well as the comics Johnny the Homisidal Maniac and Squee) Jhonen Vasquez can be found at here. The conclusion has an interesting statement about the influence of anime.

Matsumoto Receives Award

Matsumoto Reiji has received the Purple Ribbon Medal, given to those who has provided a distinquished service to Japan. Other manga artists who have received the award include Katsuka Fujio, Hasegawa Machiko, Shouji Sadao. Matsumoto is best known internationally for his space operas such as Battle Ship Yamato (Star Blazers), Captain Harlock, Queen Esmeraldas, and Galaxy Express 999, but is work was not limited to that genre.

International Channel Anime

From Mark Holtz: International Channel viewer -

I'm sending this to you because you have expressed an interest in anime on International Channel.

The final episode of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor aired last Sunday, October 28. The final episode of Armored Trooper Votoms will air Sunday, November 4, at 11 pm Eastern time (8 pm Pacific time). At this time, the programming after tomorrow's Votoms is still undecided.

Starting Sunday, November 11, 2001, at 11 pm Eastern time (8 pm Pacific time), International Channel will air the Captain Tylor OVA's for five Sundays, through Sunday, December 9, 2001. IC will air them in the order they were provided to us by our program provider.

At this time, IC does not have additional anime scheduled after the Tylor OVA series ends. It's possible we may be able to air more anime. However, we may schedule other programming.

Many of you have written requesting subtitles on DBZ. IC will not be able to subtitle DBZ. However, the owner of the following site - - posts translations of DBZ. He tries to get the translations posted before the episode airs. You can print the translation, and follow along. If the translation is not posted before IC airs the episode, you can tape the episode, and then follow along after the translation is posted.

This site - - has a place for discussions of anime aired on IC.

Please note - the International Channel is not affiliated with the above two sites. This is not an endorsement of the above sites by IC. I am simply passing along information to you. If you visit the sites, please thank the owners for the work they have put into the sites.

Let me know if you have questions or comments.


Gary Wallace; Customer Service Representative ; International Channel Networks; 303-712-5454

Patlabor Shorts by Mamoru Oshii

Mamoru Oshii's newest project with Production I.G. is a series of three 12 minute short files of the super deformed "Mini Police Car", based on the Patlabor series. The films will be shown with the upcoming WXIII movie this spring. The full digital SD Patlabor shorts are animated to look like hand-painted cel art puppets. One 13 minute long episode and two 12 minute long episodes are now complete. One of them will premier theatrically as a bonus feature on the wide release premier of the WXIII Patlabor movie next spring. Pictures can be seen at here

TOKYOPOP's got Chobits and GTO

AnimeFringe states according to inside sources, the new CLAMP manga series Chobits and the long running GTO (Grand Teacher Onizuka) manga have been aquired by Tokyopop for release in North America early in 2002.

Tokyopop has already licenced the GTO Anime which is based on the Manga, no release date has yet to be set for the Anime. GTO was published in 1997 by KC Magazine Shounen Comics. Written and drawn by Fujisawa Tooru, GTO was a rapid success. It has been printed in multiple languages, including a Japanese and English bilingual manga translated by Stuart Atkin and Yoko Toyozaki.

It seems that clam will have a busy year in 2002, in addition to Chobits and GTO they have already announced that Initial D, Love Hina, and Cowboy Bebop would all be joining their manga lineup.

TOKYOPOP is going to have a busy year in 2002, with Initial D, Love Hina, and Cowboy Bebop all joining their manga lineup. It turns out that those aren't the only titles they're working on... According to inside sources, the new CLAMP series Chobits and the long running GTO (of which TOKYOPOP has already announced their acquisition of the anime) are also due to hit bookstores in early 2002.

First Bandai Shop Opens At Sony Metreon

Bandai's Gundam, Anime Collector toy lines, and DVD home videos to be showcased in new retail space at Metreon® - A Sony Entertainment Center Bandai America Inc. announced it will open the "Bandai Shop at Action Theatre," a 500 square-foot retail space at San Francisco's Metreon® - A Sony Entertainment Center. The new shop will be unveiled on October 27 and 28 during the first annual Metreon Festival of Anime. Housed at Metreon through the holiday season, the "Bandai Shop" will give visitors an opportunity to view and purchase items from Gundam, the 20-year-old Japanese saga, as well as other favorite Bandai anime properties.

Located adjacent to Metreon's Action Theatre, "Bandai Shop" will feature all things Gundam and anime - including a 7 1/2 foot tall Gundam head, the interior of a Gundam cockpit, video clips from the Gundam saga and a fully assembled 5-foot tall Gundam action figure model kit. Popular toys from Bandai's Anime Collector series, including Outlaw Star and Cowboy Bebop will also be available for viewing and purchase. As well Bandai Entertainment's latest anime home video series such as The Big O, Cowboy Bebop, and Pilot Candidate.

Action Theatre on Metreon's second floor is the only attraction of its kind outside Japan and is home to an ever-changing line-up of anime, animated entertainment and action features. The Metreon Festival of Anime promises to be a fun, unique opportunity for Bay area anime fans to gather in an energetic, social atmosphere. Happening in conjunction with New York City's Big Apple Anime Fest, the Metreon Festival of Anime will offer weekend participants the opportunity to view exclusive screenings, participate in interactive workshops, join lively panel discussions and purchase the latest anime and manga (comics) products.

NY Pokemon Store

According to Anime News Network determined to keep the Pokemon flame bright, Pokemon U.S.A Inc., is opening a 13 000 square foot store in downtown New York.

The store, which opens November 16, 2001 at 10 Rockefeller Plaza (48th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue), will carry a large amount of exclusive merchandise only available at the store on it's website, Pokémon 40% of the stores 2500 products will in fact be exclusive to the store.

The store will offer a vast array of sound and light shows and life-size robotic Pokemon characters in its windows. It will also have a gaming room, where consumers can try out the latest Pokemon games on both Nintendo's GameCube and Nintendo 64 platforms. The store will also feature an Ultra Pokedex, a giant-sized screen and control pad that enables users to obtain information about all 251 Pokemon characters.

Drawing from Japan: Anime and Its Influences

The 7th Annual Marc Davis Lecture on Animation Wednesday, November 14, at 8:00 p.m. Samuel Goldwyn Theater

Whether your knowledge of Japanese animation is limited to "Speed Racer" or you're a full-fledged Otaku, prepare yourself for a unique visual feast.

This tribute to the Japanese animated feature film will examine the origins, history and influences of this prolific art and industry. Clips from such seminal films as "Akira," "Ghost in the Shell," "Princess Mononoke," "Perfect Blue," "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" and "Pon Poko" plus some special surprises, will receive a rare U.S. big screen presentation. The evening will illustrate the diversity of genres displayed in Anime, the specific Japanese approach to animation, the effect Anime is having on world culture and highlight the work of several of Anime's most respected artists, writers and animators. Our panel of commentators will consist of animation historians, distributors and filmmakers from both sides of the Pacific.

Confirmed participants (subject to availability) currently include:

  • Jerry Beck, Animation Historian and Author
  • Mark A.Z. Dippé, Director - "Spawn" and ILM Visual Effects Supervisor
  • Frank Gladstone, Dreamworks SKG Animation
  • Kunihiko Ikuhara, Director - "Sailor Moon" and "Revolutionary Girl Utena"
  • Fred Patten, Streamline Pictures

      CAUTION: This program examines many different styles and genres of Japanese animation. Some excerpts may be too violent or explicit for children.

    Kikaider OVA Announced

    reports that the recent Kikaider TV series will be continued in a four part OAV series that will be released starteding November 21st.

    Problems for Pretty Sammy

    Anime News Network states while not officially cancelled, Pioneer has announced that the Pretty Sammy OVA DVD, previously announced as having a tentative february 12th release date, "no longer has a street date." Pretty Sammy is the Tenchi Muyo parody of magic girl anime series.

    Love Hina American Release Details

    ICV2 has confirmed that Bandai's release of Love Hine will be limited to the first 24 episodes of the anime series, and not the home video 25th episodes and the Christmas and Spring specials.

    eX-Driver Movie Announced

    The official Japanese eX-Driver homepage has confirmed that a theatrical feature is in the works for Japanese release next year.

    eX-Driver (pronounced "X-Driver") is the latest, recently concluded, 6 episode OAV series from Kousuke Fujishima, creator of Ah! My Goddess. In the future, when most people rely on automated "AI cars." It's up to the high-school aged (and younger) eX-Drivers to drive traditional, manual cars to catch and stop AI cars that go haywire. The comedy adventure OAV series was noted for its emphasis on authentic, accurate, real-world automobiles and driving techniques.

    Escaflowne Movie Schedule Forthcoming

    Anime News Network states Bandai will be announcing the theatrical schedule for Escaflowne this weekend at AFI during a press conference following Escaflowne's screening there.

    Anime Spotlight:

    Now and Then Here and There Episodes 1-5

    Now and Then, Here and There is a series that literally does not pull its punches. The series was produced in Japan by AIC/Pioneer. Logic and history would suggest that the series would be released in the US by Pioneer, but given its brutal nature, Pioneer made it known that they would be passing on the series. Fortunately for us, Central Park Media's US Manga Corps will be releasing it starting in January 2002.

    The series opens with an energetic boy named Shu eating breakfast with his family. He talks about his upcoming kendo (sword fighting, practiced with wooded swords) match, and is teased by his sister about girls. Typical family scene. They don't even notice Shu's continuous bursts of energy. His not just energetic and hyper, he's a spaz. However, he's not flighty, he is focused and determined. During his kendo match he continues to yell and rush at his opponent, losing easily to a small amount of strategy and ultimately knocking himself out. Shu often solves problems the brute force way, find the solution by exhausting all paths if necessary. His opponent tell him that his is not the way of kendo. To be great one must study his opponent, anticipate their moves, and be ready to count it before it happens. This is a lesson Shu will be instructed in again under less pleasant circumstances. Shu is also an optimist. After thoroughly losing his match, and embarrassing himself in front of the girl he had crush on, he vows to continuing to try because he reasons if he keeps on attempting he will eventually succeed. His earnestness and dedication make him the type of optimist that cynics and pessimists give grudging respect to. He's not just going to let the chips fall where they may, he is constantly working to advance himself.

    As the sun sets Shu notices a person on top of a nearby smoke stack. He climbs an adjacent tower and notices it is a silver haired girl. Eventually he coaxes a name out of her, Lalaru. The serenity of the sunset is broken when two mechanical snakes and a woman in a military uniform appear and attempt to capture Lalaru. Shu grabs a wood plank and attempts to stop the Lalaru's abduction with little effect.

    Lala-ru, the woman, the serpents, and Shu are transported away. The rematerialize in a tower where Shu escapes with a necklace that Lala-ru was wearing. A group of uniformed and armed children pursue Shu, and eventually capture him. The necklace is lost in the struggle.

    Shu is thrown in a cell with Sara, a girl who like Shu is from our world, America in her case, and presumably our time. Sara was captured by soldiers who mistook her for Lalaru. Since them he has been locked up, and occasionally brought to adult soldiers, most of whom appear to be horrifically mistreating her.

    Shu is viciously interrogated about the location of the necklace. He is beaten, whipped, and when they are convinced that he doesn't know the location of the necklace his is suspended from the tower's armaments while his fate is discusses.

    Hellywood is city stated located in a fortified tower in a world that is no longer mostly covered with water. It is ruled by a Hamdo, a monomaniacal king who sees his rule as humanity's only chance of survival. His mood swings between soft spoken and cajoling, to shrill and openly abusive. His lieutenant is a woman named Abelia commands the army and the actual operations of Hellywood. Its army is made up of children who have been press ganged from villages. The army of children are trained and there numbers a bolstered by a small number of adults. The children are kept in line through strict punishment and the promise that they will be returned to their villages when the conflict ends. The adults are fiercely loyal to Hamdo.

    Some aspect such as Sara's treatment are left to the imagination, but more often the full impact of the violence is shown. When Shu is beaten, he is shown bruised, swollen, and battered. When a gunshot narrowly misses him we see the shrapnel cut him. When an enemy soldier is shot, it lingers on the bullet wound in his skull.

    The series is was directed by Akitaroh Daichi, who has become known for his hyper comedies such as the Elf Princess Rane, a short parody series, Kodomo no Omocha aka Kodocha a comedy/drama about the young child actress daughter of a famous writer, and Jubei-chan the Ninja Girl. He brings an energy and density to the series. Rarely do you find an anime series, like this one that is constantly moving forward and building. Its is constantly following with the story, never trying to distract the viewer from what they are seeing. No moment is wasted, each is building on the theme.

    The animation succeeds in capturing the tone of the settings and characters. Character design is heavily influenced by the standard AIC template of Tenchi Muyo, El Hazard, ect, but it is tweaked to make the characters look unique. This plays to the strength of abstract character design. The important physical and personality traits of the character are visually present, but the viewer can mentally fill in the gaps with their projected interpretations, and more easily identify with the characters.

    The English dub of this series is excellent. It is an experience group of people who really succeeded in capturing the characters they portrayed. In order for this series to work the characters must appear credibly as people. Ed Paul succeeds in capturing Shu's energy, spirit, and the pain of his personality and ordeal in a way to make the character believable. Anime dub watchers will recognized old favorites Lisa Ortiz, Rachael Lillis and Crispin Freeman. The viewer needs to be able to empathize with them and forget that they are animated characters. The only slightly week point is Jack Taylor as Hamdo. It is difficult to portrayed a ranting mad man without it sounding cartoonish, and Taylor often does an excellent job at it, but is also slips into the unbelievable at times. The jolt distracts from character.

    The series succeeds from emotional and intellectual standpoints. Emotionally the viewer feels to the characters. Their plight is made very real. Intellectual one wonders why the characters become like they are, and what the real world implications of what the series is showing are.

    A large amount of anime is flat. It doesn't raise any questions or points of debate. It presents you with entertainment. And some flat anime series are very entertaining. Have some death to ponder the motivations of the characters. Finally some leave you with questions about the implication of what you have just seen. Can Shu's optimism develop under the harsh conditions of Hellywood, or does it need to be breed in a more peaceful setting? Will Shu's head strong tactics accomplish his goals, or will he need to take the advice to read his opponents. Whether the anime will answer the questions, or whether it will leave thing as a springboard for debate will be interesting to see.

    That's it for me this week...


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