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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My AnimeNEXT Panel is Confirmed for Sunday, June 10!

Remember a month ago when I mentioned that I'll be doing my very first panel at AnimeNEXT? Well, if you're following my Twitter feed then you should know that my panel, 25 Years of Burning Blood: Masami Kurumada Anime, has a confirmed day & time! But for those of you who don't know, here's a quick update.

Oddly enough, B't X has no representation in this group shot...  Poor Teppei.

Admittedly, it's not the most ideal day & time in my opinion, but that's not going to deter me in any way & if you're going to AnimeNEXT next weekend then be sure to go to Panel Room 4 at 11 AM on Sunday, June 10, and join me in taking a truly comprehensive look at the animes based on the works of Masami Kurumada. Saint Seiya TV, the Seiya movies, Fuma no Kojirou, B't X, the Saint Seiya Hades OVAs, the multitude of Ring ni Kakero 1 productions, and even Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas & Saint Seiya Omega will be covered. I just timed the script I have written for the panel, which will hopefully remove any & all chances of me not knowing what to say next, and it will leave me with plenty of time for video clips, at most 5 minutes for each of the major anime productions, and I'll probably even show the Ring ni Kakero 1 Pilot Film in its 5-minute entirety if everything works as well as I hope they will.

Above is a small sample of what's in my slides, as that image is front & center on my very first slide, showcasing the man himself & his many creations. So remember, Sunday, June 10, from 11 AM to 12 PM, AnimeNEXT will be going into a hot-blooded & awesome world in the detailed & enjoyable way that I usually try to handle this blog. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Golden Wings: LOGH by Way of Yaoi Star Wars

With the two Legend of the Galactic Heroes movies out of the way, let's go back a few months to December of 1992. The main OVA series ended its second season at the beginning of the year, but that didn't mean that LOGH would be in hibernation. In between the end of Season 2 and Overture to a New War a 60-minute OVA was made... And, boy, does it both please & disappoint. LOGH: Ougon no Tsubasa/Golden Wings is a good idea that overall does work but at the same time is marred by some questionable production choices.

Yeah, they finally got the German correct for this OVA!

A young Siegfried Kircheis notices that new neighbors have moved in next door to his home: The Musel family. Siegfried instantly falls in love with the daughter, Annerose, and quickly becomes best friends with the son, Reinhard, giving the three a seemingly perfect childhood life. But that soon changes when Annerose is sold to the Kaiser of the Galactic Empire for 500,000 credits by her father, who hasn't been the same since his wife's death, and Reinhard decides to become a soldier so that he can rise up in the ranks and one day save his sister. Kircheis joins Reinhard in order to help him out, as well as for his own personal feelings towards Annerose. After graduating the academy, Reinhard quickly becomes the captain of a destroyer at the age of 16, with Siegfried being his second-in-command. But many higher-ups in the Empire doubt Reinhard's abilities, and Susanne von Benemunde, one of the Kaiser's women, becomes jealous that Annerose is the new "Countess" and plans to have Reinhard killed with the help of an officer named Krumbach. And among all of this is a coming invasion by the Free Planets Alliance to take over Iserlohn Fortress, this being the fifth attempt by the FPA.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Overture to a New War: War Sucks, But This Movie is Amazing

So let's say you watched the first Legend of the Galactic Heroes movie & your interest is piqued, but you aren't sure if you still want to get into the actual 110-episode OVA series. Well, in December of 1993, five years after the OVA series debuted and during the break between Seasons 2 & 3, LOGH returned to theaters with Die Ouvertüre eines neuen Krieges/Aratanaru Tatakai no Overture/Overture to a New War, a 90-minute retelling of the first two episodes of LOGH. Most LOGH fans who have watched this movie consider it the definitive version of this part of the story, and after watching it I really can't argue that.

The Free Planets Alliance's attempt at taking Iserlohn Fortress from the Galactic Empire ended in a stalemate, and soldiers from both sides return to their homes for a needed rest. Yang Wen-Li and his friend Dusty Attenborough arrive and meet back up with Jean Robert Lap, Yang's old friend, who asks Yang for permission to marry Jessica Edwards, who had been a friend to both of them, and though Yang (& Jessica) looks hesitant at first, he gives Lap permission. Meanwhile, Reinhard von Musel (soon to be promoted to Count Reinhard von Lohengramm) & Seigfried Kircheis head to the mansion where Reinhard's older sister Annerose lives and pay her a visit. The rest only lasts so long, though, as some of the Empire's higher-ups still doubt Reinhard's abilities and have him attempt to take over a part of FPA territory, but this time without his proven officers Mittermeyer & Ruenthal; in their place will be potentially untrustworthy officers that could mess with Reinhard's strategy. The higher-ups also allow this attack to be made known to the FPA, and with Paeta, Yang's commander, wanting to prove his worth after the failed Iserlohn attack, Yang, Attenborough, & Lap become involved as well. After a small confrontation at Iserlohn, this will be the first real battle between Yang & Reinhard.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: My Conquest is the Sea of Stars: Epic Right From the Start

Legend of the Galactic Heroes... Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu... Heldensagen vom Kosmosinsel (even though that translates to "Heroes of the Cosmos")... No matter how you say it, this is one of those anime that you've heard of, period. Whether it's because of its record as the longest OVA ever produced or simply the occasional talk of how epic & awesome it is, LOGH is one of those animes that is nearly-100% agreed to be a "masterpiece". But when you consider that the main 1988-1997 OVA series itself is 110 episodes long, not to mention that there are two side story OVA series (1998's A Hundred Billion Stars, A Hundred Billion Lights & 1999's Spiral Labyrinth) that add another 52 episodes, it's natural that many anime fans might be a good bit hesitant to get into a 162-episode epic like this. If only there was a production that was short enough yet very accessible for potential newcomers to watch... Oh wait, there is! The main OVA series started in December of 1988, but on February 6 of that same year the very first LOGH anime was released, and it's a 60-minute movie that not only makes a great entry point for newcomers but is actually the first piece of LOGH that should be watched at all. This is LOGH: Waga Yuku wa Hoshi no Taikai/My Conquest is the Sea of Stars.

In the 35th Century war has spread out to the infinite vastness of space. For the past 150 years the Galactic Empire has been fighting the Free Planets Alliance for control over the galaxy, and there looks to be no end in sight yet. Within the Galactic Empire a young man by the name of Reinhardt von Musel has been promoted to the rank of Admiral, a move that many higher-ups believe only happened because his older sister is the wife of the Kaiser of the entire Empire, giving Reinhardt the nickname "The Admiral in the Skirt". Within the FPA there is a Commodore called Yang Wen-Li, the "Hero of El-Facil", who currently is the strategic adviser of a FPA admiral, though Wen-Li's unconventional strategies are usually ignored. After a battle in the gaseous planet of Legmiza resulted in the destruction of a FPA fleet at the hands of Reinhardt, save for the flagship that Wen-Li was on due to his realization of Reinhardt's plan, the FPA decides that Legmiza was a fluke Empire victory and still decides to attack Iserlohn Tower, one of the Empire's strongholds. This battle will be the first true war confrontation between Reinhardt & Wen-Li, a confrontation that is only the beginning of everything.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fullmetal Alchemist: Reflections: Uh, FUNi, You Missed One

The reviews are coming back, and this entire month will have a theme: Obscure Entries in Popular Anime. Not every popular, or at least well-known, anime has these, but every now and an entry in a popular series is ignored, forgotten, or simply not talked about as much as the other entries. These obscure entries are generally extra material, hence why they aren't talked about, but to start this month off I'm going to go with the sole obscure entry in one of my favorite anime of all time: Fullmetal Alchemist.

The original FMA, which aired from October 2003 to October 2004 in Japan, lasting 51 episodes & then airing in North America on [adult swim] from November 2004 to March 2006, is one of "those" titles: A "gateway anime" that more than likely brought in a good few new fans to the medium. As for myself, I had seen anime on TV previously knowing that it was anime (G Gundam & Rurouni Kenshin) & I had already watched anime via official DVD before FMA (Arc the Lad...  Which I should review, shouldn't I?), but FMA was the first anime I ever watched via fansubs, so I could argue that it was my "gateway" into that definite grey area. In fact, one could argue that, without me ever watching FMA, I might have never started this very blog. Anyway, how can I possible include FMA into a blog focused on the obscure? FUNimation released the TV series, the sequel movie The Conqueror of Shamballa, & even the short "Premium Collection" OVAs, not to mention the manga-accurate anime reboot Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood & it's various movies & OVAs, after all. Well, there is one FMA (2003) production that, to my knowledge, FUNimation never licensed: 2005's Fullmetal Alchemist: Relfections.