Total Pageviews

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another Anime Convention Has Come And Gone...

No, seriously...AAC, otherwise known as Another Anime Convention, ended today.

I had a great time this year.  There was a lot to see.  Four panels/workshops alone on "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic."  I'm still trying to understand this, but I will be writing something up on about it tomorrow night.

(Speaking of which, stories will be a little slow going this week because I'm booked all week at my other job as a substitute teacher, so having time to write and bring my son back and forth to different sitters this week is going to be a challenge to writing.)

Right now at I have some great pictures up from the con, as well as a starter story -- sorry for the lack of detail, but I'm going to be touching base with the chair at some point this week to get more details to add to it, and I needed something to be up there for the time being.

I was happy to see some "Madoka Magica" love there -- I bought a whole six pin set of the characters from the show, and took a picture of someone dressed as Kyubey.  She told me that people have been stopping her to get pictures telling her she looks "cute," not realizing that the character is "evil."

I do have some Masquerade videos up at the YouTube channel, although not all the skits because my camera died, and I have to check to see if the footage from the last two sketches that I took from my cell phone is still going to have sound towards the end of it -- I was having issues with the cell phone cutting the sound out towards the end of videos that I was taking, so I took the footage just in case it actually did work out. Another sketch/walk on will be up as soon as I re-edit it to be able to put it back up on YouTube -- first the download stopped, then it was rejected as a "duplicate."  Eventually I will have all the sketches either up or re-directed.

At some point in the next few weeks I will have interviews up for the voice actors that appeared at AAC this year -- Robert Axelrod, Quinton Flynn (of which I have some hysterical footage from his "Shenanigans" panel on Sunday that I will be posting up soon), Chris Cason, Christopher Smith, and Cynthia Cranz.  I'll be doing e-mail interviews with all five of them, so those will be up once the interviews have been conducted.

Overall, great con.  I love hanging out with fellow geeks. :-)  I will most likely be attending Queen City Kamikaze next, then Anime Boston in April.  So keep an eye out!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Another Anime Convention This Weekend!

Good news is that I will be at Another Anime Convention in Nashua this coming weekend, and you will see a lot of reports coming from the convention since I'm planning on being there for the entire three days.

I wasn't able to get my panel, though, which is a bummer.  But expect a series of stories on a non-anime property that seems to have the attention of the anime community, judging from the planned panels: "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic."

On Friday, there is a panel planned as of this writing called, "Calling All Bronies!" (male fans of the show)  Saturday has two planned panels: Why Ponies are Awesome, and right after that in another room a panel with the title Survivng the My Little Ponypocalypse.  So I figured this fandom was ripe for a story package.

Whether I cosplay or not will depend on whether I can get my costume together in time -- most of the pieces I need still need to be purchased, so I have to get to the store this week and see if I can find them.

I'm still trying to perfect the technology for video, audio and such, so be patient as I try to put something together afterwards.  Plus, now that I'm a substitute teacher work is starting to pick up a bit.  So I will try to get something together afterwards by the end of the week.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Final Impressions: "Tiger and Bunny"

Warning: SPOILERS!

Last Chance: There will be spoilers in this post, so if you haven't watched it yet (as I encourage you to do), don't read this post!

25 episodes later...I stuck with this show, and was glad that I did.  A lot of excitement in its two halves -- while the first half focused on Barnaby's search for his parents' killer, the second was solely on Kotetsu's dealing with his powers declining and subsequent frame up by the true bad guy of the series -- his and Barnaby's boss, Albert Maverick.  And I felt like I didn't want to miss a moment of it.

The non surprise for me was how Kotetsu's daughter Kaede discovered she was now a NEXT.  I knew that was coming.  I thought that she would inherit her father's Hundred Power, but instead she can copy the powers of other NEXT she touches, which plays a huge part in later conflicts when she goes into the city to look for her father.

There were several avenues that I would have liked to have seen them explore in the series, such as getting more into the lives of some of the other superheroes that weren't featured in the show, such as Rock Bison, but they did a good job with this series.

The creators have said they have another project in the works.  Don't know if it's another anime or what, but we will see in November.  I hope it is, preferably one that focuses possibly on Kaede and her possible decision to be a hero like her father.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Apologize for Not Writing Much Here...

Unfortunately in the real world I was kind of forced to panic about not having any type of work for awhile and was searching for a job.  So basically grown-up responsibilities kind of got in the way.

However, I got some cool stuff planned.

In a few weeks, I'll be going to Nashua to Another Anime Convention (AAC) for at least two days to cover it for, and I am hoping to also be able to host a panel on legal places online to watch anime.

I will also be covering Anime Boston for'm waiting for the request form for press passes to go up.  So my arrangements for that are going to be determined by a few factors that I am not going to reveal here until it gets closer to the time.  It may involve another story for Examiner.

In the meantime, I think starting in October I'm going to dedicate a whole month to "Neon Genesis Evangelion."  That's right, I said it -- a whole month dedicated to "Eva!"  Why, you may ask?  Because I can, that's why!  And also, I just watched the entire show for the first time this week, so I have a lot to discuss in regards to the show.  I'm not one to get heavily into mecha shows, but this one I liked because it went deeper than that.

I'll probably be doing some posts on another show that I have just been so inspired that I've been drawing fan art around it -- "Puella Maji Madoka Magica," or just "Madoka Magica."

So stay tuned to this space!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Trailer: "Eden of the East: Paradise Lost"

If I can get my hands on a copy of the film, you better believe there will be a review.

FUNImation has released a trailer for the last film in the "Eden of the East" series, "Paradise Lost."

"Eden of the East" is one of my favorite series right now, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it all ends.  The film will be released as part of a DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack on August 2.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Attention: Interview with Spike Spencer is Now Up!

You can find it here and here.

It took a long time to get this interview, primarily because of schedules not meshing.  But we were finally able to do it this afternoon (Spike's morning).

There was one answer that I wanted to include in the second interview, but I felt my notes on it weren't good enough for me to quote him accurately.  I asked him about his part in "Excel Saga" as Shioji, the scientist with a "lolita complex." One thing I learned is that voice actors sometimes don't remember all the roles right away, especially when they are as busy an actor as Spike Spencer is (he also wasn't aware that Funimation was re-releasing it soon).  I felt that this was a safe enough spot to put it where I didn't have to quote him directly but at least give a flavor of where the conversation went on this.

I asked him about whether Shioji would be considered controversial now since the uproar over "Dance in the Vampire Bund" and the Tokyo Youth Ordinance Bill, and whether American audiences would go along with it.  He pointed out that he saw several people dressed up as Pedobear, so he's got a point there.

But it was a great overall conversation with him.  Make sure to read the articles over at The Examiner.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Attention: Interview with Brina Palencia Is Up

You can read parts one and two at Examiner.

I have to keep the articles short over there, so I didn't follow up about the prank she played on voice actor J. Michael Tatum at Anime Central 2010, and I figured that the song she sang was somewhat sort of self explanatory as to what exactly happened.

This is her telling the story behind what happened.  You might need to bring the volume up on your computer to hear what she's talking about.

Pretty funny story. :-)  But then voice actors are apparently known for pranking each other.

Here's one about voice actor Christopher Sabat (well known for doing various voices in "Dragonball Z" as well as "Speed Grapher," "Sgt. Frog," and others) playing a prank on another fellow actor:

Right now I'm in the process of making arrangements to interview with voice actor Spike Spencer, so hopefully you'll see that interview soon up at Examiner.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Newest Acquisition From Funimation I Can't Write About At Examiner...

But I can certainly write about it here!

Yes, you are reading that right. The name of the film is "Big Tits Zombie."
Here's the UK Trailer for it. Not Safe For Work.

I would say this sounds almost like a rip-off of "Stripper Zombies," but I don't know if that film ever got picked up for Japanese distribution.  The look of the film from the trailer looks almost like an old 70s style grindhouse film.

Funimation just announced on their website and on Facebook that they acquired the rights to this one. The reaction so far on Facebook has been more along the lines of, "What the ****?" just based on the title (which was pretty much MY reaction), others getting a kick out of it.

It's coming out this Fall, so once it's up on Netflix you bet yoru sweet bippy there will be a review of this one.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Catch-Up Review: "Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt"

I had heard about "Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt" for the past few weeks from people referencing the show.  Because the names of the characters all reference some piece of underwear in some way, I thought that someone created a show with anthropomorphized underwear similar to what "Hetalia" did for countries.  My curiousity was further piqued when Funimation announced a few days before Anime Boston and on the day they launched their new beta site that they had picked it up.

So, of course, I had to check it out.

Reaction: Oh. My. Gosh.

If you have a demented, sick sense of humor, this is definitely the show for you.  Do you laugh at poop monsters?  This is your show.  Do you find "South Park" or "Drawn Together" funny in any way, shape or form?  Then this is definitely your show.

The basic plot goes like this -- Panty and Stocking Anarchy are fallen angels who are tasked to fight ghosts with the assistance of the priest Garterbelt.  Panty, the blonde who wants to live a superstar lifestyle, is obsessed with sex.  Stocking, the lolita goth and more responsible sister, is obsessed with sweets.  Garterbelt often gets mad at the sisters over their obsessions and the fact that they don't seem to care about their jobs.

The animation is very much influenced by American style of design, and actually uses several styles at different points.  When the angels transform, it's one style of animation. When the angels do different things, sometimes you don't know what kind of animation you're going to get (one episode had a scene done in South Park style).  And when the ghosts are defeated, it cuts to a live action papiere mache model getting blown up.

A lot of the situations involve Panty's obsession with sex, and the men's willingness to go along with it. This can get old after awhile, although I'm hoping that a second season won't focus so much on it.  In fact, a lot of the dialogue involves sex in some way or another, with different characters revealing different fetishes.

And the one thing I don't think I could really get used to -- the characters swearing in English.  That's right -- you'll be reading the subtitles, and all of a sudden you realize that what they are saying is VERY clearly in English and didn't really need to be subtitled.

Is the show funny?  It is if you have a dark sense of humor.  And it can get very, very dark at times with the humor.  It's definitely a show for adults.  There were times when I was watching the show that I couldn't believe what I was watching. But then it had some really funny parts in it.

You have been warned.

The show can currently be viewed on Crunchyroll.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: "Eden of the East: The King of Eden"

My Examiner review is here.

It's tough sometimes to expand on the Examiner site because they want us to not go too long with what we write.  But here I can go into a little more depth.

I've been a fan of "Eden of the East" since I watched it on Netflix a few weeks ago.  It's a great spy mystery/espionage/cultural commentary type of show that addresses several types of issues, including getting the audience to thinking about how they would improve their own nations.  It's a very universal theme.

On the animation -- very rarely do you see an anime that actually gets an American city right as far as locations and placement. They did an excellent job with not only drawing the landmarks the way they really look in New York City, but the signs are all also in English.  Gramatically correct English, too.

The end of the film definitely leaves you hanging and wanting more.  Not going to spoil it, but if you didn't know that there was a final film already out there you would be screaming at the screen, "That's IT?"

And I was disappointed that the "Air Communication" film was only available as a sub on the DVD.  Primarily because my stepkids, for the most part, won't watch subbed animes -- I wanted to at least give them a condensed version of the show so they could follow the film.

Overall, a definite pick it up title in the store if you're a fan of the show.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Anime Boston: The Aftermath

Well, technology was not working for me yesterday.  We weren't able to charge my phone overnight because we were charging four other phones, and one of the phones used the same charger as mine. And I had to use the phone as my GPS on the way down there -- the phone is weird in that it won't charge unless it's completely off, and I had it plugged into the car charger on the way down.

I also learned another valuable lesson -- "smart phones" use a lot of juice.

What I did get I will put up soon.  I just need some time to sort through what I have that I took pics of.

If you have pics you'd like to submit, let me know and I'll post them.

But overall, had a great time.  I don't think I'd want to try to do it all in one day again -- next year's plan is for the entire weekend. I found myself rushing from here and there just to get to panels.  The cell service in the building was a little spotty at times, so keeping track of the kids I had with me at times was a challenge.  But overall, the experience was great, and I can't wait to do it again next year.

Highlights -- Masquerade was great, and the Evangelion panel was a blast.  And if you weren't able to get into the "Kuroshitsuji" panel, you missed out -- what I saw of it, Jackie Grande did a great job with the information and organizing it. When I got there, there was a line starting at conference room 309 and ending at 301.

Next year, we're going to make a contingency plan in case of low coverage areas. And with being there over the three days instead of just one, I think I can take some time and just relax instead of feeling "rushed."

Friday, April 22, 2011

Anime Boston: Coverage Update

Well, I just got news from my husband that the only laptop I could take with me needs a new power adapter, and he asked if I could just run it off the battery only.

Unfortunately, for the best option on coverage I'm not going to be able to do that.  So, no posts while I'm at AB tomorrow.

Good news is that I will have my husband's Android phone on me, so I will be twittering from there.  You may have noticed the new little addition I put up on the site tonight -- "Twitterings from Anime Boston."  Although I won't be able to do full length posts, I will be tweeting while I'm there so you can follow along on the feed.  Ignore the current posts -- I also run the ConChrist blog which is more politically motivated, so those twits are related to my more political interests.

And also remember that I'm going to be posting videos at my You Tube channel throughout the day, as well.

Anime Boston Starts Today!

Starting today and ending Sunday, otakus all over New England will be meeting at the Hynes Convention Center to discuss important matters in relation to anime, mangas, J-pop, and other aspects of Japanese culture. Yippee!

I am going down with four teenagers first thing Saturday morning (yikes!).  The three middle schoolers will be dressed as Akatsuki ninjas, while my 16 year old stepson will be Sebastian from "Black Butler" in the peacoat.

So today, no reporting from the convention, unfortunately.  But expect some posts from the event starting tomorrow afternoon.  And I'm also going to be putting up some raw videos up on YouTube, as well, throughout the day.

So stay tuned!

Update: Here is the You Tube channel that I will be posting video to tomorrow.  There will be a finished package up there within the next week after I get all of it together, but at least you'll get an exclusive look at the video before it's edited.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reviews: "The World God Only Knows" and "Blue Exorcist"

These are more like season previews than actual reviews, but out of the shows I've seen so far online that are premiering, I'm liking so far how this season is turning out.

Warning: There are some spoilers

Let's start with a show that some of you may already be familiar with from last season.

If you've never seen it...shame on you! It's a comedy that breaks the fourth wall on occasion and also makes fun of the cliches of dating simulation games.

"The World God Only Knows" tells the story of a dating sim otaku named Keima Katsuragi.  He prefers his dating sim women over the real ones in his school, even going by the name "King of Conquests."  He gets what he thinks is an invitation to join in another game, but instead finds himself paired up with a chibi demon named Elsie who tells him he has a task -- to capture loose souls from the hearts of girls by "conquering" them.  Problem is, Keima has never actually "conquered" a girl in real life.  But if he doesn't, both he and Elsie could lose their lives.  So now he's forced to rely on what he knows from dating simulators to figure out how to "conquer" the girls and capture the loose souls.

The first season of the show was a fun ride.  Season 2 has started, and is promising more of the same.  The first arc focuses on a female karate club captain (who is now the only member thanks to the rest of her club quitting two days after she took the position) who is trying to conquer her own personal demon -- she secretly likes cute things.

It's already starting some of the fun humor that the first season had -- the first episode set the tone where we get a recap of what the show is about, then Keima comes into the frame and asks the audience, "Didn't you watch season one?"

Keep an eye out this season.  It's now simulcasting on Crunchyroll.

Do we really need another shinigami-type show? Why, yes.  Yes, we do.

Rin lives with his twin brother Yukio and Father Fujimoto, the man he's called Dad for as long as he could remember.  In this first episode, Yukio is about to go to the Blue Cross Academy to study, while Rin is facing a possibility of going from job to job and not being able to do anything with his life.  That changes when he saves a little girl from a demon in a grocery store, and when he discovers that he has powers he never heard of, Fujimoto finally tells him the truth -- he's the son of the Devil.

From the preview for next week, I'm assuming that we discover Rin makes the decision to be an exorcist himself. Or else the title would be just silly.

The show actually has some good things going for it.  It has some great effects animation, the writing is sharp, and you really get into it.  I plan to keep watching.

The show is currently simulcasting on Hulu, Crunchyroll, and Anime News Network.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

One Week Until Anime Boston...

Updated Schedule Below

And I did the deed last night...dyed my hair blonde for the week.

Here are some pictures that I took of myself in the full Julia Silverstein costume.

I think I might have to find a way to adjust the top a little more when I put it on the day of...just a LITTLE more cleavage than I really want to show in this shot.

I should probably iron a few things before going anywhere.
I'm going to be there on Saturday, and am planning a few special surprises in the coverage of the convention.  So keep on the lookout on this site.

In the meantime, expect to see me attending these panels:

11:00am -- Kuroshitsuji, Demons, Shinigami and Horror -- Oh My!
12:00pm -- Last half of the Funimation Sneak Peek Panel
4:30pm -- Autograph session for the English voice cast of Evangelion 2.0 -- I'll be taking pictures
5:00pm -- The Dark Side of Pokemon (time was changed)
7:00pm -- Bad Anime, Bad!

Feel free to say "Hi!" when you see me.  I don't bite.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tokyopop To Close North American Publishing Division

Anime News Network is reporting that the North American division of Tokyopop is closing their offices, but continuing their film division and their operations in Europe.

Current manga titles that may go out of print (so pick them up now, unless they go to another publisher) include classics such as "Fruits Basket," "Great Teacher Onizuka," the ".hack" series, "Love Hina," and "Sgt. Frog."

This is kind of disappointing, although the manga and anime worlds have been going into a bit of a decline for awhile. So it's not a shock.  But it's disappointing, so hopefully another publisher will pick up these titles for republication.  I know that Dark Horse has started picking up certain manga titles for "omnibus editions" (three volumes at a time put together) so hopefully more publishers will follow the lead to preserve these titles.

Hulu Reviews: "Tiger and Bunny" and "Toriko"

This is not the "Tiger and Bunny" we are talking about...   
Heh.  I had to use this was one of the first results you get when you look up "Tiger and Bunny" images.

Now this is what we are talking about....

Despite the unusual title, it's refreshing to see an original anime come out of Japan that wasn't based on a manga or light novel or another source.

So you're probably wondering what this is about.  Well, it looks like it could be a mecha show, but it's actually a superhero show. Well, more like a parody of a superhero show. And reality shows.  And corporate sponsorship. It's got heart, and some goofy stuff.  But it's one to watch.

In the world of "Tiger and Bunny," 45 years prior, the NEXT started emerging -- people with various superpowers. The most popular of these NEXT, all sponsored by different corporations, are competing on a reality show for the title of "King of the Heroes." The story follows Kotetsu Kobaragi, known as "Wild Tiger," who has a super strength power that only lasts for five minutes, and seems to cause more destruction than he does saving lives.  After the corporation he's sponsoring gets bought out, he not only gets a new suit but also a new partner -- the younger Barnaby Brooks, Jr., who also happens to have the same power that he does, but also has a lot of arrogance.  Neither one wants a new partner, but are forced together by the corporation, so now they have to learn to deal with it.

Now, as I noted in my review on, the idea of superheroes being sponsored by corporations is not a new concept.  If you've ever seen the film "Mystery Men," you know that they touched on the idea with Captain Amazing (the ever wonderful Greg Kinnear) under risk of losing his sponsorships because there hadn't been a major supervillain attacking the city in a long time. But in "Tiger and Bunny," they take the concept to a new level, with each superhero working for a different corporation, which is emblazoned on their costume somewhere.

The characters in "Tiger and Bunny" are fairly likeable.  You kind of feel bad for Kobaragi, especially when they get more into his home life -- he has a daughter who doesn't know that he's a superhero, and he just wants to do the right thing, but just can't seem to get there after so many years as a superhero. Barnaby, or "Bunny" as Kobaragi calls him in the second episode ("Because you hop around like a bunny and you've got bunny ears!"), we have a sense he has a dark past, which I'm sure we'll get more detail on in further episodes.

The animation is very much an American style -- you probably couldn't tell the difference between this show and any action animation for kids out there now.  And it works in the show's favor -- very well done CGI, and some great character designs.

If you haven't started watching this one yet, you can catch it on Hulu or Anime News Network. Episodes are posted on Saturdays.

The first episode of "Toriko" went up on FUNImation's website as well as Hulu last night after being announced earlier this week that the rights were acquired for the streaming from Toei Animation.

My impression based on the first episode? It's...goofy.

Nothing wrong with goofy. But I might have to watch a few more episodes before I make a final impression on the show.

I'm only vaguely familiar with the manga it's based on -- I've seen chapters featured in "Shonen Jump" on occassion (which reminds me -- I still have two back issues I have to catch up with). For those who aren't familiar with it, Toriko is a Gourmet Hunter -- he hunts down the best of gourmet ingredients in order to create his ultimate Full Course Meal.  In this first episode, he's hired to hunt down the gararagator for a gourmet party, but might have gotten in over his head.

The show is typical of a lot of shonen shows -- lots of action, and lots of jokes.  The premise opens itself up to that -- the idea of a muscle bound "Gourmet Hunter" is goofy (there's that word again).  And it doesn't take itself seriously in that regard.

What the first episode did was get me to want to watch more of it.  Which I intend to do -- along with a lot of the other anime I have on my list....sigh.  But at least I can watch at a different pace.

Episodes of "Toriko" are simulcast on Thursdays at 6pm PDT.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Weekend Project: The Akatsuki Cloak

This weekend was a time for me to get another Anime Boston project done.  And I think I might have set myself up for this one because now my stepdaughter's friends want me to do stuff for THEM ,as well, before we go down.

This was the weekend project: The Akatsuki cloak for my stepdaughter Rachel.

I had decided not to do the dimensional paint on it when I realized the clouds didn't really need to be outlined, and it would have added to the cost of the project.

I worked on the clouds first, which you can find the details on in a previous post.

Instead of using a pattern, I did it a way that I saw at a few sites where one wasn't required.

1) Measure from the shoulder to mid-shin, and add 2 inches. Cut the black and red fabric at that length, then sew the two pieces together at the sides only.  Sew only at the sides and turn inside out.

2) Measure from one side of the collarbone to the other, then add an inch.  Cut this hole on the middle of the piece you just sewed.  You will probably want to sew the neckline at this point to reinforce it..

3) Using your wearer as a mannequin, measure from the edge of the fabric to the tip of the fingers.  Add 2 inches.  Then measure around the wrist to where you want the sleeve cuff to hang, and add an inch. Have your mannequin take off the cloak.

4) Cut the lining and sleeve and sew together on the short edges.  Sew with black side facing on the middle of the fabric piece on either side.

5) Have your mannequin put the cloak on again, and pin together the sides and sleeves.  Sew and turn around.

6) Cut down the middle of the front. of the cloak.  Baste lining and outside together.

7) Measure from the nose to the collar on the wearer, and add an inch. Cut a rectangular piece from both outside and lining as long as the collar and as high as the nose to collar measurement, adding an inch.

8) Place the fabric on fusible interfacing, using an iron on medium heat to fuse the interfacing to the fabric.  Cut from the interfacing.

9) Sew the two pieces right sides facing each other, interfacing facing out, along the top only.  Turn inside out and iron. Sew on to collar area.

10) Doing a reverse hem facing out, fold over on the outside about a 1/4 inch, then fold over another 1/4 inch, then pin.  Sew with red thread.

11) Hem the bottom about an inch, then sew.

12) Iron on the clouds in the placement in the previous post, then sew around the edges to keep from curling.

13) Wash, dry, and you're done!

If I ever have to make this cloak again I'm going to try it with a pattern next time, because I think I actually found it harder doing it without one.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Obligatory "4Kids Being Sued" Post

I know this is one topic that is going to have mostly a mixed reaction judging from the message boards over at Anime News Network on this topic.  But since it’s gotten 8 pages worth of mentions over there I thought I would put my thoughts about this down to blogosphere.

4Kids Entertainment is currently facing a lawsuit in regards to possible business infractions when it came time to paying those who own the Japanese rights to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise.  The lawsuit accuses 4Kids of hiding profits as “service fees” when making hidden deals with companies such as Funimation in regards to distributing the show on DVD and in developing video games.

For those who aren’t familiar with 4Kids Entertainment (all 3 of you), the company started in the 1970s, but didn’t start television distribution until 1990.  It was around that time that they acquired what would become one of the many anime properties under their wing – “Pokemon.”  Most notably, the first 8 seasons of the show.  In that time, they added such titles as “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” “Sonic X,” “Shaman King,” and “One Piece.”

However, when acquiring these properties, 4Kids also earned the ire of anime fans by editing the shows to make them more “Americanized.”  Not simply making minor edits to make them more American kid friendly, 4Kids has made some very, very weird choices when it comes to their edits on the show.

As prime examples:

“Pokemon” – food for some reason seemed to be a victim of the “Americanization” treatment.  Because most Americans wouldn’t be familiar with what “rice balls” were, early dubs called them “donuts” (while clearly showing rice balls on a plate), while others replaced the rice balls with either a sub sandwich or a cracker or some other “American” food.

“Yu-Gi-Oh!” – Instead of focusing on the original story, 4Kids decided to shoehorn into the dubbed version messages about friendship. So a whole plot about a character’s amnesia is abandoned so that Yugi can talk about how his friends helped him out in yet another tight situation.  No wonder true fans complained about the show being repetitive.

No One Dies On Our Watch! – 4Kids seemed to think that kids couldn’t handle the topic of death.  There are numerous examples in the licenses that they acquired where they would replace someone’s death with either saying they were “taken away,” “imprisoned,” or just simply “disappeared.” Guns wer forbidden in 4Kids edits, as well.  They were either replaced with water pistols, something that didn’t look like a gun, or just simply disappeared.  Thankfully they didn’t seem to resort to the Steven Spielberg/”E.T.” re-edit treatment of turning any of them into walkie talkies.

The most infamous of their license edits was that of “One Piece.”  Some anime fans blame 4Kids specifically on why the show never became more popular here in the U.S.  Along with editing out blood, guns, and generally anything that they deemed inappropriate for American kids, they also changed the opening theme song to something more “rap styled,” and re-edit episodes in ridiculous ways, changing the order of how some things happened in the show.  Funimation managed to get the license back from them, and is now releasing new dubs of “One Piece” in its original broadcast edit.

What’s sad about this is that many of today’s generation get interested in anime because of shows like “Yu-Gi-Oh!” and “Pokemon,” edited by 4Kids.  I’m a little older, so my interest was sparked by a show that I didn’t realize how badly it was edited and dubbed until years later – what was formerly released in Japan as “Gatchaman,” but was known here in its heavily edited form as “Battle of the Planets.”  I can understand some edits – in “Battle of the Planets,” one of the characters was a cross-dresser, but they turned him into 2 characters in order to avoid the topic altogether.  I was re-sparked when I was doing my undergraduate studies and my father had Anime Network on Video on Demand, and bored I would check out what was there and got hooked on a few shows.

But back to the topic at hand.

4Kids, to the chagrin of anime fans, has been losing money over the past couple of years.  They were delisted from the New York Stock Exchange last year. And now with this lawsuit and the loss of Yu-Gi-Oh! From their licensing, it’s possible that now 4Kids will go under because no Japanese company will want to work with them to license work in the United States. So it’s possibly the end for them as far as anime licensing goes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cosplay Assistance: Akatsuki Clouds

My next immediate cosplay project is coming up this weekend.  Now that I'm done with my costume except for a few minor fixes, I'm working on my stepdaughter's next.  She wants to go to Anime Boston as an Atkatsuki ninja from "Naruto Shippuden."

So naturally, one of the things I had to look for was a pattern for the red and white clouds on the cloak.  The first thing I found was a guide for placement, which I thought would be a big help once I found the patterns.

Created by Apocali at deviantART
So even after a Google search, and after finding one person's clouds weren't going to help me, I finally decided to cut the cloud outlines from the side of the tutorial from a printout that I made earlier and increase the size of each of the pictures.

So here are the templates that I made:

What you'll want to do is right click on each of these pictures, choose "Save As," and save them to a file.  Use a photo program to either increase the size of each picture to 8.5" by 11" or choose "Full page" as a printing option.  What I used was HP Photo Essentials that came with my printer and chose "Full Size" when printing.  If for some reason it doesn't print out to the full size of the paper, trace the image in pencil and then follow the pattern around it.

Here's a good tutorial on how to make the clouds once you have your patterns.  I plan on adding black dimentional paint as an outline to make them "pop" more and to hide the stitching a little bit.

I hope that helps some people who are making the cloaks.  This weekend I'll take pictures of the progress on the cloak itself.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I've Been Busy

I haven't posted as much as I would like, but I assure you that will change once Anime Boston comes around.  Because of budgetary issues I'm only going to be there on Saturday, but I will be sure to get some good interviews since I've been approved for a press pass.

But here's a picture explaining why I've been so busy as of late.

Welcome to my cosplay costume for Anime Boston!

I still have to fix some things on the coat and the skirt, but otherwise expect to see me in this outfit if you happen to be there.

For those who aren't aware of who I'm supposed to be, it's Julia Silverstein from "Blood+."

I decided to go as her because despite going to two previous conventions this will be my first time cosplaying, so I wanted something that would be simple enough to put together.

The lab coat and the skirt were both made by me.  It was my first time sewing clothing, which is why I have to make some minor changes to it such as topstitching along the top of the skirt and fixing one of the facings on the lab coat.  There's also no interfacing on the collar or the facing, so it's kind of flopping around.  But that's something I'll think of for the next time I make this lab coat.

If you look at Julia's profile picture, you'll notice that the skirt is pretty short.  Since I'm just south of 40 and have "mommy legs," I wasn't about to go that short with the skirt, so I made it just long enough for me to be comfortable, which is just above the knee.  And that would be my intention with any skirt that I make for cosplay from this point on.

I tried to make a top, but every time I tried to fix something, it would get screwed up, so as I was about to try again I found a bathing suit top that fit the costume.  And since I needed a new bathing suit anyway, I picked up some bottoms as well.  I just have to tighten up the top a little more when I wear it so that "the girls" don't make a sudden appearance when I have to bend over for anything.

I'm going to point out that the picture of me is just of the outfit, no accessories except for the clipboard (which will not only serve as a convenient place to put my notes from interviews, but also will hopefully help in identifying my character because there will be a "medical profile" of the main character Saya on there).  I still have to get the following items: black pantyhose, high heeled shoes (but not so high that I can't walk in them), a belt, a red hair tie, and some costume jewelry.  I will most likely make the necklace(es?) that she wears because it looks ridiculously simple. But I have a friend who is going to look through her costume jewelry for some clip on earrings that I can possibly wear. I'm planning on wearing my own glasses, since that was part of the point of why I chose this character was so I wouldn't have to go without my glasses.

The last thing I'm doing is dying my hair. It just so happens that my natural hair is roughly the same length and style as hers, so I'm going to go to a salon the week before and have my hair bleached and dyed to her hair color.  I don't want root showing before we go down.

When the whole costume is done, I will post another picture up here.

My stepson is planning on going as Sebastian from "Black Butler." He's already got most of what he needs for that.  My stepdaughter's costume is next.  Since I don't watch "Naruto," when she told me she wanted to go as an Akatsuki (I had to ask her to spell it for me), I thought it was a particular character.  Didn't realize it was a whole group. So that's going to be this coming weekend's project.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On Netflix: Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl

"Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl" is one of a number of Japanese gore filsm that became popular around the height of the movement, although this one has a bit of a lighter touch than previous films in the genre.  Based on the manga by Shingiku Uchida, the film is very gory, but it's also very, very silly.

The plot (what there is of it) involves a vampire named Monami who falls for the handsome Mizushima, who is already in a forced relationship with the vice-principal/science teacher's Lolita-dressing daughter, Keiko. After Monami turns Mizushima into a half-vampire, she kills Keiko during a fight.  But what no one knew was that Keiko's father was secretly a kabuki-dressing mad scientist who had the school nurse as his lab assistant, so he puts Keiko back together Frankenstein-style, and now it's the ultimate battle for Mizushika's affection, regardless of how he feels about the whole thing.

Like I said before, this movie is high on the gore factor, typical of this genre.  But it's also high on the goofiness, making fun of several different subcultures such as lolita and ganguro cultures.  Ther is also a group of girls who are participating in a wristcutting competition.

The budget on this film looks like it was done on a shoestring at times -- the blood doesn't look real most of the time.  But then that's part of the charm of this film. It allows you to laugh along with this film, because it definitely is not meant to be taken seriously at all.

If you are looking for something that's reminiscent of "Dead Alive," I highly recommend this one.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our Thoughts And Prayers Go To Japan

Art by Noizi Ito, illustrator for the Haruhi Suzumiya light novels
I am sorry that I haven't written more here about it, I've just been trying to wrap my mind around it.

So far, over 10,000 feared dead, with 1,800 confirmed as of last night. Nuclear reactors are in danger of meltdown.  And a volcano just erupted earlier today, which may or may not make it difficult for planes to come in for assistance. Food and water is scarce at the moment.

Anime News Network is keeping a running list of anime/manga/industry members who have checked in online.

American simulcasts have been postponed until further notice, since right now it's news 24/7 over there.

Japan has one of the lowest rate of blood donations in the world, so if you can give blood at your local American Red Cross donation center or scheduled blood drive.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

So What's Going On With "Dance In The Vampire Bund?"

@NebsTV on Twitter posted on today being the one year anniversary of when FUNImation made its announcement that they would release Dance In The Vampire Bund censored because of concerns about violating US child porn laws, and the outcry from anime fans about the decision. This forced FUNImation to make another announcement that they would take the episodes on a "case by case" basis before making a final decision.

So now, it's a year later.  The show was simulcast on FUNImation's website, and is scheduled for its DVD release this summer.

Is it going to be censored or not?  Don't know yet.  FUNImation hasn't said either way.  I posted on their forum earlier tonight to see if I get an answer.  If I do, I'll post it here.

But when they made the announcement, I didn't fault them for the decision.  It's still their company, and if they have to censor in order to make sure they comply with US laws, then they have to do it.  The sensibilities in Japan are different than they are here in the United States, so I don't think what FUNImation was planning was a bad decision.

Think about when Seven Seas Entertainment acquired the rights for Kodomo no Jikan, a manga that was controversial because of its subject matter involving a nine year old who was infatuated with her teacher and did some rather adult things to get his attention. After going with the title "Nymphet" (because it turned out, "Kodomo no Jikan" was also the title of a hentai anime), Seven Seas made the decision not to publish the title after looking at further chapters in the series and deciding it was getting rather close to lolicon.

So was Dance in the Vampire Bund close enough to lolicon for FUNImation to consider censoring the show?  I'll give you an answer as soon as I find out what it is.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Memorable Anime Character: Minoru Kokobunji

Name: Minoru Kokobunji
Where You've Seen Him: Chobits
His Story: Minoru Kokobunji is a gifted 12 year old who has a harem of maid persecoms, but has special feelings towards persecom Yuzuki, whom he build in the likeness of his late sister. Minoru helps Hideki and Chii figure out whether Chii is one of the elusive Chobits.
Why He's So Memorable: He's not simply a one note character -- like Hideki and Chii, Minoru's character evolves over the course of the series.  In the beginning he warns HIdeki not to fall in love with her, but learns over time that his own brotherly feelings towards Yuzuki are not all that abnormal.

This is the end of the month long series, but not the end of the segment.  Did you feel like I left someone out?  Tell me about them! E-mail me at with the name of the character you feel is memorable, what show they are from, their story, and what makes them so memorable. Your character can be featured here!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Memorable Anime Character: D

Name: D
Where You've Seen Him: Vampire Hunter D
His Story: In a post-apocalyptic world, D hunts vampires.  Being half human and half vampire, but belonging to neither world, D is perfectly suited to keeping the vampires in their place.
Why He's So Memorable: He has the same powers as the vampires (Nobles), which makes him particularly dangerous to them.  Plus his left hand has a symbiote in it that talks to him.

Tomorrow -- Our last character for February.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Memorable Anime Character: Jet Black

Name: Jet Black
Where You've Seen Him: Cowboy Bebop
His Story: A former officer with the ISSP, got the nickname "Black Dog" because of his tenacity.  Now a bounty hunter and owner of the ship Bebop, he's now seeking justice on his own terms.
Why He Is Memorable: Not only his mysterious past with the ISSP, Jet is probably the closest thing to a "grown up" on the crew.  He has a cybernetic arm as a reminder of why you shouldn't rush into trouble without looking frst. Plus he's just pretty badass.

Tomorrow -- a vampire/human hybrid who hunts vampires. Not that one, the other one.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Memorable Anime Character: Maka Albarn

Name: Maka Albarn
Where You've Seen Her: Soul Eater
Her Story: Maka is a meister in training at the Death Weapon Meister Academy (DWMA). Along with her "weapon" Soul, they collect keishan souls in an attempt to become meister and death scythe.
Why Her Character Is So Memorable: Maka has a determination and spirit throughout the series that can't be denied. But she also has an easygoing spirit that allows her to connect with other characters such as Crona in meaningful ways.

Tomorrow -- a partner with a past of his own.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Memorable Anime Character: Ichigo Kurosaki

Name: Ichigo Kurosaki
Where You've Seen Him: Bleach
His Story: Ichigo, also known as "The Strawberry" because of his orange hair, can see spirits.  When Ichigo is approached by a Soul Reaper named Rukia who is too weak to capture a soul, he accidentally takes most of her Soul Reaping power to defeat it.  Now Ichigo has to be the Soul Reaper while Rukia lives as a human.
Why He's Memorable: Ichigo is a charcter that ends up growing his role as a Soul Reaper.  Although he could have been like a character in a hundred other stories out there about Shinigamis and Soul Reapers, Ichigo finds hisway around with his sense of humor and determination.

Tomorrow -- If you don't listen to her, she'll take your soul!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Memorable Anime Character: Belldandy

Name: Belldandy
Where You've Seen Her: Oh My Goddess/Ah! My Goddess
Her Story: Belldandy was sent to Earth to answer the call of college student Keiichi Morisato, who unwittingly called the Goddess Hotline.  Thinking the whole thing was a gag, Keiichi wishes that Belldandy would stay with him forever, forcing Belldandy to do so.  Belldandy makes an attempt to make the best of her circumstances.
Why Is She Memorable? Most of the time she's the standard "magical girlfriend."  But she also has an independent streak and proves that she has her own mind.  She can do all kinds of very powerful magic when necessary, especially when she takes off her ear charm.
Trivia: Why the differences in titles? This was a change made when the show was brought to the United States. Author Kosuge Fujishima said that his intention was "Oh My Goddess," but didn't mind the change in title.

Tomorrow -- a teen who sees spirits becomes a reaper.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Memorable Anime Character: Speed Racer

Name: Speed Racer/Go Mifune (Japan)
Where You've Seen Him: Speed Racer
His Story: Speed Racer wants to race, but his father forbids him from doing so.  He eventually goes on to race, however, and finds himself in a series of adventures, including racing against the mysterious Racer X.
Why He's So Memorable: Again, an early example of an anime becoming popular in both Japan and the United States, Speed Racer/Go Mifune values his family above all else. He gets into all kinds of adventures involving all types of criminals.  And he's a snazzy dresser.

Tomorrow -- A goddess on Earth

Monday, February 21, 2011

Memorable Anime Characters: Chii

Name: Chii
Wher You've Seen Her: Chobits
Her Story: Chii is a persecom -- a human shaped personal computer. She was found by ronin student Hideki in the trash one night. But what Hideki doesn't realize is that Chii has secrets of her own that even she isn't aware of.
Why Is She Memorable? Look at her -- she's just so adorable!  Also, watching Chii try to figure out the real world while at the same time unaware of her own abilities as well as discovering whether Hideki is her "someone just for her" is just a great story.

Tomorrow -- A classic 60s anime character that's recently had a live action film made form his story.