Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Daisuki Deluge: Underlooked Anime That Deserve The Chance Part 5: Nihon Ad Systems

We've finally made it... It's the end of "The Daisuki Deluge"! This series of posts easily took a month that was lacking in posts & turned it into one of the busiest months for the blog, since my first two months. Anyway, last on the chopping block is NAS, which is short for Nihon Ad Systems (the "Ad" itself is short for "Animation Development"). Much like Aniplex, until 2005, they don't do animation themselves, but they are involved in the production of titles, & therefore they have the main rights over some anime. Overall, NAS doesn't have a big list of titles in general, though there are some noticeable ones, like Kuroko's Basketball, Ginga e Kickoff!! (i.e. the sports anime from Spring 2012 that CrunchyRoll didn't pick up), Crayon Shin-chan, Akazukin Cha Cha, Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, Medarot (a.k.a. Medabots), Full Moon wo Sagashite, the Yu-Gi-Oh! Series, Bomberman Jetters, cultural icon Doraemon, & even non-anime titles like Kamen Rider Wizard... But, naturally, none of those titles were listed on the surveys! Instead, NAS listed exactly five titles on the surveys (not even six!) so unlike the other companies I covered, where I chose the titles that personally interested me, I'll instead just be covering all the titles NAS is (presently) willing to offer to Daisuki at some point or another.

WARNING: NAS uses really small images!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Daisuki Deluge: Underlooked Anime That Deserve The Chance Part 4: Aniplex

Toei, TMS, & Sunrise may be the only animation studios supporting Daisuki, but that doesn't mean that there isn't any more anime to choose from. Sure, those three studios are big enough to have the main rights behind their own shows, but for many other studios those rights belong to other production studios, and probably the biggest one of them all right now is Aniplex. Originally called Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) Music Publishing Inc., before changing to SPE Visual Works Inc. & then Sony Music Entertainment (SME) Visual Works Inc., Aniplex handles the planning, production, & distribution of any & all anime that Sony Music Entertainment Japan is involved in. The company is so successful that, in 2005, they opened up their own animation studio, A-1 Pictures, & opened a North American division, Aniplex of America. Nowadays, Aniplex of America is known for, essentially, doing what Bandai Visual USA did in terms of releasing anime in North America with Japanese Region 2 DVD & BD pricing... But they are able to actually make money with this method! Anyway, out of what Aniplex is willing to offer for Daisuki, most of it is either already available on DVD/BD or, at the very least, can be watched via streaming; that makes me unwilling to list titles like 009-1 & Nerima Daikon Brothers (i.e. titles that desperately need more appreciation). Luckily, there is an unavailable title every now & then.

If Anime Sols has the works of Osamu Tezuka at their hands via Tezuka Productions, then Daisuki should be there with Tezuka's compatriot, Shotaro Ishinomori. I've already mentioned 009-1, but another Ishinomori title Aniplex has is 2000-2001's Android Kikaider - The Animation, based on the 70s manga of the same name. Whereas Tezuka's Astro Boy was heavily influenced by Pinocchio, Ishinomori's Kikaider was both Pinocchio as well as a Frankenstein variant, with lead character Jiro being made with the ability to understand the difference between good & evil as well as the concept of being human. The anime adaptation, made by Radix & Studio OX, was most-definitely a dark robot tale, with its 2001-2002 sequel OVA, Kikaider 01, taking some even darker twists. Bandai Entertainment licensed & released Kikaider from 2003-2004, & even got it aired on [adult swim] (where it obviously bombed), but the DVDs are now getting pretty rare & expensive to get a hold of. Also, in September 2003, Japan received a final OVA, Guitar wo Motta Shonen/The Boy with the Guitar - Kikaider vs. Inazuman, which put a much more concise & upbeat ending to the Kikaider anime series. Unfortunately, Bandai licensed the show before this OVA was made, so they were never able to release it, though the complete collection box coincidentally had an open DVD spot left over. It may not be the kind of series for those who want fast-paced action, but Android Kikader could definitely use a second chance now.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Daisuki Deluge: Underlooked Anime That Deserve The Chance Part 3: Sunrise

So far in this look at "The Daisuki Deluge", we've checked out Toei Animation, who's offering a wide variety of titles, & TMS Entertainment, who's taking the other path & holding back on offering everything. Well, the third wheel of this coalition, the venerable Sunrise, is taking Toei's lead by (potentially) offering as much as possible. In fact, whereas Toei's biggest restriction seemed to be that nothing from before 1980 was offered, Sunrise is opening their entire catalog, outside of some of their most-recent titles. From Zambot 3 to VOTOMS to Metal Jack to Gundam AGE, this company is willing to offer so much that they may be offering more than Toei! So what could we see on Daisuki from these masters of mecha at one point or another?

They may be the masters of mecha, but Sunrise also delves into non-mecha titles fairly often, but even then science-fiction tends to be something they love to do. 1998's DT Eightron was an more obscure creation of theirs, lasting 26 episodes & telling the story of Shu & the Returners, a rebel force against the nation of Datania, who rely on child labor & are on the search for DT, a mysterious substance inside humans. In true late-90s anime fashion, the opening sequence tells basically nothing about the show itself, but the little I've heard about the show has been positive & with Tetsuro Amino (Macross 7, Shiki) helming it there should be, at the very least, an interesting story behind it. Besides, isn't the fun of a site with the potential of Daisuki within it's ability to give people new & unexpected experiences?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Daisuki Deluge: Underlooked Anime That Deserve The Chance Part 2: TMS Entertainment

When it comes to Daisuki's group of studios, Toei Animation definitely is one of the bigger offerings. Toei is offering nearly every TV series they have made since 1980, totaling roughly 100 titles that they are willing to put on Daisuki. In comparison, TMS Entertainment, formerly Tokyo Movie Shinsha (also pronounced "Thomas" [rhymes with "No más"]), isn't offering anywhere near as much; across all five surveys, there were only 20 TMS titles. Also, a good amount of the titles listed, like Cybersix, Remi, Requiem for the Darkness, & Sherlock Hound, are already being streamed on sites like Hulu, because TMS is already big on streaming. Still, let's take a look at what TMS is offering for Daisuki that isn't already available.

We're going alphabetically, but at the same time let me just get the last Masami Kurumada title on those surveys out of the way. B't X (pronounced Beat X) was Kurumada's main focus during the 90s, & from 1996-1998 TMS made an anime adaptation that totaled 39 episodes (25 TV episodes & a 14-episode OVA), & has an interesting spot in the annals of Kurumada anime by being the sole title to be created without either Toei or the charcter design duo of Michi Himeno & the late Shingo Araki, not to mention be the sole Kurumada anime to have its own anime-exclusive ending. If B't X ends up on Daisuki, that would mark the third company to give this show a try, since ADV (supposedly) licensed the show back in 2002, & then Illumitoon tried their poorly-done hand at the show in 2007. I do hope that this show does get on Daisuki, especially because a special moment will happen next year. 2014 will mark not only the 20th Anniversary of B't X's debut, but also for Monthly Shonen Ace itself, since B't X was the big debut title for the magazine's very first issue. In fact, this year saw the debut of Pachinko CR B't X, an interesting pachinko/pachislot combination machine by Takao, which featured brand new animation done by TMS (while also using footage from the old anime) & even featured the return of Nobuyuki Hiyama & Jin Horikawa as the main character duo of Teppei Takamiya & B't X. With a new pachinko machine out & an upcoming major anniversary coming next year, could there be the chance of a B't X anime remake? Who knows, but getting the original series on Daisuki would also be awesome.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Daisuki Deluge: Underlooked Anime That Deserve The Chance Part 1: Toei Animation

[2018 ADDENDUM: As of this update, Daisuki is no more, and its impact on anime streaming was minimal, at best. That being said, let these lists act a reminder of the potential of this site, as well as behave like a semi-wish list, of sorts.]

Last month I covered the launch of Anime Sols, the streaming/crowdfunding site for vintage anime... Which I hope can recover from its absolutely less-than-stellar first try & work out any kinks that are still in the works. Anyway, last month was also the launch of another official anime streaming site done by the Japanese, but this one is a bit more potentially ambitious.

Daisuki is a concerted group effort by Aniplex, Sunrise, Toei, & TMS, as well as Nihon Ad Systems, ADK, & dentsu to bring anime to as much of the world as possible, with English (both subs & dubs, if possible) being the main focus right now. Upon launching, the site is likewise not exactly going forward on the best footing (the videos don't seem to be the HD-quality they were indicating & it's pretty barren right now), but one thing Daisuki has in terms of potential is absolute quantity. Just from Toei, TMS, & Sunrise alone, the amount of potential titles that can be on this site is mind-boggling, and Daisuki knows that... Which is why they have gone surveying. Starting late last month, they have done five surveys asking anime fans to select which titles they would love to see streaming on Daisuki; as of this post, the last survey (which covers from roughly Ne-Sc) is still active until June 23. How many titles have been listed on the survey? Just slightly over 300! With so many possibilities, allow me to have some fun & look at the titles that have been on each survey & talk about which titles I feel deserve the opportunity to be streamed on Daisuki, giving them the first opportunity to gain an official fanbase that they never had (or, at least, haven't had in a while). Think of this as the equivalent of a "Twelve Anime" list, only super-sized! I'll be splitting this up across five parts, one for each studio listed on Daisuki's "Anime Studios" tab, & let's start with Toei Animation, the company with, arguably, the most titles across all five surveys!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Legend of DUO: Twilight's Father's Brother's Nephew's Cousin's Former Roomate

Technology can be such a fast-moving category to follow, and one of the best examples of that is in the cell phone. Nowadays, "smartphones" can do everything from surfing the web to playing feature-length movies in "glorious HD" to playing actual video games... Oh, and they can also make phone calls, too, if you really have to. But back in 2004 & 2005, if a cell phone could play a super-low quality video it was ahead of the curve. So what does any of this have to do with anime? One word: mobanimation.

Here's a quick primer: mobanimation (obviously a portmanteau of "mobile" & "animation") is a division of production company Radix that focuses on getting anime on cell phones. Radix Mobanimation, as it's fully called, is probably most well known for being one of the companies involved in the aborted anime TV series Appleseed: Genesis back in 2008, but more astute anime fans might recognize that logo up above for another reason. On January 19, 2005, the mobanimation name appeared on an anime series, made up of twelve 5-minute episodes & made available on mobile phone site BOYS☆HIT!, that is now pretty infamous for being one of the worst in recent memory: The "imaginatively-titled" Legend of DUO.

Humanity has been in decline for the past few years because of one reason: The "Disease of Death". People are suddenly dying at random, with no indications as to when it can happen, so naturally morale has sunk. Luckily for humans, a vampire named Duo has revealed a secret that can save humanity. If humans drink the blood of a vampire, which is filled with prana, they can not only become immune to the Disease of Death, but also gain eternal life like that of the vampires. Unfortunately, this reveal has made humans into greedy "demons" who will go after any vampire they see, all with the intent of getting prana. Because of this act of "treason", Duo's clan has ordered one of their kind to kill him. The man chosen is Zieg, who Duo had turned into a vampire years ago & also has feelings for.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The "NEXT Evolution" of The Land of Obscusion Comes This June 4-6!

Manga May is over, but Con Season is only just starting! Anime Boston was an awesome experience, but it's time for me to "come home" and be a part of my local con: AnimeNEXT!

Last year, AnimeNEXT was home to my very first attempt at doing a panel, and it was a success in the way of execution, but I did only have a modest turnout when all was said & done. This year, though, I'll be back with a vengeance with the three panels I did at Anime Boston, but with some alterations here & there for the most part. Here's where you can find me:

Anime Pilots & Precursors
[Friday, 3:00-4:00 PM, Panel 4 Westfield]

This panel had a fair turnout at AB, but I'm not one to simply rest on my laurels & use the same exact clips when there's plenty of other pilots & "precursors" to show off! Expect a completely different line-up, or at least a different cast in the case of one pilot. What could I choose from? Well, if you're in the Somerset, NJ area come on in & find out!

A Visual History of Weekly Shonen Jump: Obscurities & Oddities
[Saturday, 5:00-6:00 PM, Panel 1 Ballroom East]

At AB, I did a "proof-of-concept" version of this panel & outside of one or two mistakes on my end (I lost my notes, but getting ~94% memorized is still great) the panel worked as well as I had hoped. Well, at AnimeNEXT we have a theme: Obscurities & Oddities. That's right, there won't be any Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto, Bleach, Fist of the North Star, or Yu Yu Hakusho in this panel. Instead, we'll be looking at the "other" titles that backed up those mega-hits in the magazine. Plus, I'm adding in the downright "weird" titles that have appeared in the pages of Jump, so I'll still be squeezing in a more-recognized title here & there, mainly because weird is awesome! I have 30 titles to talk about, so if you want to expand your knowledge of Shonen Jump & learn about the stuff that ran alongside the legends, then check it out! I'll be in a ballroom, so there's plenty of space.

The Burning Blood Animes of Masami Kurumada
[Saturday, 6:00-7:00 PM, Panel 3 Bridgewater]

The panel I made my panelist debut with is back, better than ever! Due to the nearly non-existent turnout I had at AB for this panel, I'll be doing the same thing for the most part at AnimeNEXT... But that's okay, because I have an excellent time slot to work with. The con is also making sure I get my cardio in for the day by putting it right after my Jump panel, and on a different floor, to boot! I've subbed the clips that didn't have subs to start with, & I've been told that it's an understandable translation, so if you want to heckle my subbing abilities then go ahead & do so, too.

I've always had fun at AnimeNEXT and I hope any of you, my dear readers, who will be in the neighborhood will check me out if possible this upcoming weekend. Time to get ready!