Friday, March 30, 2012

The JManga 13: The Publishers & Potential Manga Part 1

[2017 ADDENDUM: Since this list's creation, JManga had died out, making this list effectively pointless. Still, it shall stay here for posterity's sake, as well as for the sake of the manga I mentioned.]

I've already talked about online manga portal JManga before when I reviewed 60s manga Devil King by Takao Saito, and how the site's variety of titles that have never been brought over before is its greatest asset. This time, though, I'll be talking about the potential this portal has, because there are 39 different Japanese publishers involved with JManga. Now, I can't really talk about all 39 publishers, but I can at least bring up 13 of them, as well as mention a title or two (or three, in some cases) that I personally wouldn't mind seeing made available on JManga. Just like my "Twelve Animes" lists, this will be split up across two parts, so with all of that explained, let's take a look at what I call "The JManga 13".

Akita Shoten [Giant Robo: Chikyuu no Moetsukiru Hi & Giant Robo: Babel no Roujou]
When it comes to pushing boundaries, Akita Shoten is one of the most notorious. Weekly Shonen Champion magazine has been the home of titles like Baron Gong Battle, Kakugo no Susume (a.k.a. Apocalypse Zero), Eiken, and the Grappler Baki series, all of which have either enough violence or extreme fanservice (in Eiken's case) to make foreign manga fans think "This is for young boys?!" Akita Shoten's catalog is filled with all sorts of titles, but what I'd love to see on JManga is actually a reboot of a fairly beloved 90s mecha OVA: Giant Robo. I've brought up the Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still anime before on the site, and I personally can see why it's so well-loved: It's technically a mech anime, but the real stars are the crazy super-powered humans who are fighting on both sides. Unfortunately, Giant Robo took nearly the entire decade to be fully released, and we end up finding out that it was actually not the entire story. Well, in 2006, director Yasuhiro Imagawa decided to reboot Giant Robo in manga form by teaming up with artist Yasunari Toda (S-cry-ed [manga], Gundam Seed Astray R), creating Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Burned. The manga lasted 9 volumes, and with the end of that manga came the very interesting news that Giant Robo's story would finally be continued in manga form, as last year was the debut of sequel manga Giant Robo: The Siege of Babel, which is still being serialized. It seems no manga company will ever pick up these Giant Robo manga (Ed Chavez of Vertical outright told me that he'd never license it, even if they had access to Akita Shoten's catalog), so I can only hope that JManga will be the home for Giant Robo in English.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fuma no Kojirou: Fuma Hanran-hen: Apocalypse of the Fuma

This anime has since been re-reviewed in a more comprehensive & detailed manner, alongside the other OVAs in this series, via Retrospect in Retrograde, which you can read at this link.

I had hoped to get to this last week, but a series of illness & excessive allergies kept me from feeling comfy to even watch this... When watching anime "raw" you need to pay attention, and feeling unwell, coughing, etc. gets in the way of being able to do so properly. Anyway, I finally have gotten well enough to finish the Fuma no Kojirou saga, and after the nice improvement that was Seiken Sensou-hen, how does the last piece of the story work out?

Unlike Seiken Senou-hen, which came out a year after Yasha-hen, the last OVA, Fuma no Kojirou Saishushou: Fuma Hanran-hen/Kojirou of the Fuma The Last Chapter: Fuma Rebellion Chapter, didn't come out until November 21, 1992, about two years after Seiken Sensou-hen finished up. Also, Fuma Hanran-hen is a single 50-minute feature instead of a six-episode series, like the two OVAs before it. This is likely why the Japanese often consider the Kojirou anime a 13-episode series, with Fuma Hanran-hen simply being the last episode. Though there are ups & downs to this production, it still ends the series in a fairly concise way.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

News Flash! Discotek Media's Licensing Storm of Awesomeness Continues!

Extra, extra, read all about it! Discotek Media might just be the best anime licensing company in North America right now!

Man, it's been a while since I did a "news story" on this blog, hasn't it? Well, that's usually because it takes a truly awesome news story to make me take the time to write up my own thoughts on it; usually, a forum post or a small tweet on Twitter is enough. But Discotek Media has just been on a roll for the past half-year, and what was announced today has finally made me decide to talk about why Discotek might just be the best thing in the North American anime industry right now.

Last time I talked about a license of theirs was back in July of last year when they announced their license of the original Lupin the 3rd TV series, coming out June 26, 2012... My birthday, no less! Anyway, since then Discotek Media has announced a smörgåsbord (yeah, we're going full-on Swedish!) of anime licenses, so let me list them off:
The Fantastic Adventures of Unico & Unico: To the Magic Island
Panda! Go, Panda! & Panda! Go, Panda!: Rainy Day Circus
Locke the Superman
Venus Wars
Space Adventure Cobra the Movie
Retro Game Master/Game Center CX
Casshan: Robot Hunter
Samurai Pizza Cats & Kyattou Ninden Teyandee
Shin Getter Robo vs. Neo Getter Robo

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fuma no Kojirou: Seiken Sensou-hen: A Much-Improved Second Act

This anime has since been re-reviewed in a more comprehensive & detailed manner, alongside the other OVAs in this series, via Retrospect in Retrograde, which you can read at this link.

Back in the first month of this blog's existence I reviewed as many anime adaptations of Masami Kurumada manga that wasn't called "Saint Seiya" as I could at the time, and I got close to doing them all. Since then I've reviewed what I had missed back then, including the Seiya movies & most recently with B't X Neo, but there was always something keeping me from doing it all: The rest of Fuma no Kojirou. In fact, the first OVA series based on what I called "Masami Kurumada's Fourth-Most-Well-Known Title", Fuma no Kojirou: Yasha-hen, was the very first Kurumada anime I ever reviewed. Due to a lack of English translation of any sort I had to watch it "raw", which looks to be a necessity if you're an English-speaking Kurumada fan, and though I had acknowledged that it was still enjoyable I also found it a little lacking compared to Kurumada's other major works. Then, last October, I mentioned that the rest of Kojirou was one of the "Twelve Anime I Want to Review... But Can't" due to me not having the second OVA series. Luckily, I did say that those titles were ones I couldn't review "Anytime Soon, at Least", because now I finally was able to get the second Kojirou OVA series! Does this series improve after an enjoyable-but-somewhat-lacking start?  Let's find out...

The six-episode Yasha-hen was released on VHS & LD from June to August of 1989, debuting literally two months after Saint Seiya TV ended, and a year after that finished the second OVA series, Fuma no Kojirou: Seiken Sensou-hen/Kojirou of the Fuma: Sacred Sword War Chapter, started its release, lasting from September to December of 1990 and lasting another six episodes. It features a few returning characters, has the same main staff & cast, and brings back NIGHT HAWKS for the theme songs, but it also brings with it a tighter story and an overall epic feel that Kurumada is so well known for.

[SPOILER WARNING FOR THE END OF YASHA-HEN... But that should be obvious]