Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bastard!!: D.S. is too M***** F****** Awesome...

When it comes to fantasy anime & manga for adult audiences, specifically ones with a large amount of violence & gore, there are only two titles that I can full-heartedly recommend: Berserk & Bastard!!.  Naturally, Berserk is a world-renowned name and is even getting those new movies soon (which I hope can deliver), so I'm going to talk about the latter here...  And I better do so before Dark Schneider finds out and kills me for not putting his title in front of Berserk's.


Kazushi Hagiwara's Bastard!! Ankoku no Hakaishin/Dark God of Destruction debuted in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump back in 1988 (roughly a year before Berserk's debut).  It's crazy action, fanservice, violence, gore, continual breaking of the fourth wall (usually by Dark Schneider himself), and downright raunchiness was extremely popular & something that Shonen Jump had not really seen before...  And it wasn't long until Bastard!! went from weekly serialization to being a seasonal special for the magazine due to it's content to running irregularly & then finally being moved to the seinen-oriented Ultra Jump magazine in 2001, where it still runs irregularly to this day.  Honestly, Hagiwara is one of those rare manga-kas in the industry who is allowed to effectively publish his manga whenever he feels like it, which means that new Bastard!! chapters do not appear in every issue of Ultra Jump, and considering that Ultra Jump is a monthly magazine fans sometimes have to wait a while for the story to continue.  At the same time, though, whenever a new tankouban/volume comes out, which still carries the Shonen Jump label, it's an immediate best-seller...  And, damn, does the art look beautiful ever since the move to Ultra Jump.  But let's backtrack a little to when Bastard!! was still in Shonen Jump's pages, as from 1992 to 1993 an OVA series based on the manga's first story arc was created by AIC.  Does this OVA maintain the "Heavy Metal Dark Fantasy", as Viz puts it, stylings of the manga?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo Gets a New DVD Release Scheduled? Could Illumitoon be Making a Comeback?

I still wasn't sure if I was going to do a review today, but imagine my surprise to go online this morning, go to The Fandom Post's forums, and see this topic on the North American DVD/BD Industry board, plus a cover art to go with it:


Yeah, it says what you think it says: "Shonen Jump's Bobobo-bo Bo-Bobo The Complete Series, Part 1".  Someone is releasing Bobobo's TV series on DVD again, four years since Illumitoon's attempted DVD singles release bombed.  If you go back to my first August 2011 post I talk all about Illumitoon Entertainment's poorly-done attempt at entering the North American anime industry, which started and ended in 2007 in terms of DVD releases.  But there is now one question that remains: What is this release?  On The Fandom Post forum topic I have linked above, forum poster WTK has done great work in linking to the online shops that list this collection release, so here's the info we can gather:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Joe vs. Joe: A "Joe" By Any Other Name is Still Not Joe Yabuki

Though he welcomed in the New Year on January 1, Hisao Maki unfortunately died the next day due to undisclosed causes.  Maki was the younger brother to the late Ikki Kajiwara (creator of sports manga Ashita no Joe, Tiger Mask, & Star of the Giants), but that's not to say that the littler brother didn't have a fair resume of his own; his main mark in Japan is as the writer of the hard-boiled action manga WARU, which spawned a multitude of live-action movies, two of which were directed by Takashi Miike, and he was also helping produce the upcoming live-action movie based on Tiger Mask...  Which, to go on a tangent, seems to not truly understand what Tiger Mask is actually about, turning a man who donned a mask and wrestled for the orphanage that he lived at into a man who wears a "power suit" and becomes a masked superhero; hell, the movie was green-lit due to a string of donations orphanages in Japan received during the 2010/2011 holidays and actually had a revival during this holiday, yet the movie doesn't seem to understand what Tiger Mask really stands for.  But, to get back on topic, Hisao Maki was also the creator of a boxing story inspired by Ashita no Joe, which in 2003 was adapted into a 6-episode OVA...  Which in 2008 was then released in North America by a hentai distributor!  I give you Joe vs. Joe.


Joe vs. Joe, originally called Futari no Joe/The Two Joes in Japan, was a story Hisao Maki co-created with Koichi Kimura.  Though ANN does credit it as being an Ashita no Joe spin-off, I feel that it's an incorrect description and rather the story is simply influenced by Kajiwara's legendary boxing drama.  It focuses on two main characters who become rivals and the story climaxes with the eventual battle between the two, much like how Joe Yabuki and rival Tohru Rikiishi meet up, become rivals, and then finally battle in the ring.  Unfortunately, that minor connection to Ashita no Joe leads to a comparison that really shows off how inferior Joe vs. Joe is to the "original" Joe, but on it's own this OVA is still a neat enough boxing story.