Dub Yourself into an Anime – and have a maid serve you parfait while you do it

Maid Cafe

According to Anime News Network:

While you’re making that otaku pilgrimage to Akihabara, you can hit up maid cafe Popopure and live the seiyuu dream. Two animators produced a three-minute anime called “Popo no Boken” or the Adventures of Popo, which you can dub yourself and some friends into for a small fee. The anime has three characters and if you don’t have enough friends the maids will fill in the roles. The DVD you receive has your performance as well as a recording of your dubbing session.

Sounds like a great idea to me, and a sure-fire attraction when hitting Akihabara. I can see studios getting in on this idea and possibly producing short OVAs for cafes to generate buzz about a new series. What I wouldn’t give for a Soul Eater version…

Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 1:35 pm  Comments (3)  
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Library War – First Look

Library War…confuses me. It’s a series that can’t decide whether it wants to be a military/soldier story, a romantic drama, or a slice of life tale.

Library War takes place in the near future where the Japanese government has enacted a “Media Improvement Act”. This is supposedly to monitor books for content that’s not appropriate for the youth of Japan. Shortly after this happens libraries create their own resistance forces, which are signed into law by the same government, making each library essentially its own sovereign state with a military task force. If this sounds compelling and dystopian in any way, it’s not. (more…)

Kaiba – First Look

Kaiba was not originally on my list of shows to watch this season. I admit, I saw a couple of screenshots, dismissed it as a simple Japanese kids’ show and went about my business. How wrong I was.

Kaiba is now the second star of the season in my opinion. A tale about an amnesiatic boy who awakes in a world where human bodies are harvested by the rich for spare parts, and his only clue to his past is a locket around his neck with a blurred picture of a girl. Kaiba is one of those stories which drops us in the middle of a strange, exotic world and asks us to trust and hold on. And oh, what an exotic world it is. The art style reminds me of Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince (a story dear to my heart) and French science fiction art of the 60s and 70s. This aesthetic was clearly a conscious decision as it informs every aspect of the world: a strange, eyeless ostrich creature with a bubble-encased head rescues our hero, Warp; the “guns” look like rayguns out of 1950’s Buck Rodgers; Warp’s friend and savior Popo dresses like a spaceman from the alien vista of a 70s disco album. It’s strange and otherworldly, exotic and terribly charming.

Needless to say, this show comes with my highest recommendation. We really have something special here this season.

Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 11:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Soul Eater – First Look

Yes. This is what I’m looking for. This is the quality that dried up last season and it’s good to see it’s back. Soul Eater really works with its wacky style, super-slick animation, great characters, and excuse-to-kick-ass story. To be quite honest, the story in Soul Eater isn’t all that deep: pairs of young students at the Shinigami academy defeat monsters, demons and witches to turn their weapon-partner into an ultimate weapon. But the story doesn’t always need to be vast and epic, as Soul Eater kicks ass on its charm alone. That’s the real appeal of the series: the massive, MASSIVE amounts of attitude and snark. I’ve heard comparisons to FLCL and it’s because of that attitude (and the occasional wacky art transitions). I’m definitely going to be following this series this season, and if you like fun, I recommend you do too.

Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 10:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Mnemosyne – First Look

Mnemosyne wasn’t on my Spring List, but I still thought I’d give it a look. Series description from Anime News Network:

Rin Asōgi may look like an ordinary office lady on the outside but she is actually a private investigator taking on any jobs, from finding a stray cat to infiltrating a high-security corporate lab. What’s more, she appears literally indestructible, supernaturally healing any injuries and mutilations. Together with her partner Mimi, Rin delves into the darkest secrets of the society but the ones she hides herself are by far more sinister…

Mnemosyne is a rather dark series and gruesome. From the beginning montage of bleeding, naked women nailed to a pole, you know the tone of the series. The main character Rin is appropriately no-nonsense, not afraid to use violence or sex to get what she wants, and recalls all the best female spy/assassins of popular culture. The jobs she accepts are dangerous and dark, and she never shirks from them in any way. (In fact it almost seems she prefers the danger when in the first episode she accepts a particular job instead of looking for a stray cat.) There’s some slight brevity in the interactions with her assistant Mimi, but nothing to take away from the overall tone.

All in all, I could do without the torture/gore parts of the series, but all in all it’s a solid, gritty detective series. I’m certainly looking forward to more episodes, and if you’re not squeamish I suggest you give it a look too.

Nabari no Ou – First Look

Off to a decent start. Nabari no Ou centers around a main character who doesn’t really care that he’s this supernatural savior of the ninja world, while surrounded by a small group of guardian ninja who pledge themselves to protect him from attack. He cannot initially control the power within him and so these guardians must teach him to become a ninja and harness it.

I’ve seen the first two episodes so far and there was some good action, fun dynamics between the main characters, and an interesting premise. Quite honestly I can’t help but draw the Naruto comparison, and it feels like a more substantial, short-form Naruto. I’m not so sure I’ll be following it as that’s not quite my cup of tea, but should I get a recommendation a bit farther into the season I may check it out again.

Published in: on April 29, 2008 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Druaga no Tou – First Look

Hmm, well all you really need to know about Druaga no Tou is that it’s based on a video game. A very, very old video game. …It’s basically as if Dragon Warrior for the NES was turned into an anime, with no fleshing out of the story at all, and flat humor inserted. The band of heroes get an order from on high to clear out the ultimate tower with the monsters in it. They fight some monsters, the earlier fights are absurd and the later fights serious, and crack some jokes along the way.

However, even though I did not care for the series, I will reiterate that I’m very proud and pleased with Gonzo for releasing Druaga online, ready to watch.

Published in: on April 16, 2008 at 10:54 pm  Comments (1)  
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Special A – First Look

Special A is definitely more the type of romantic/comedy series I was looking for. They play up the jokes with some funny animation styles, and the romance is second to the comedy in the neverending struggle between the two main characters, Hikari and Kei. (Though I have a feeling this may change throughout the series.) The “Special A” in the title is the top class at their high school, and consists of seven students. There’s comedy between these characters as well, and I particularly enjoyed Akira and Tadashi, Hikari’s adoring friend and the unmannered rude student who’s only in Special A because his father’s the school chairman. Looking forward to the next episode.

Itazura na Kiss – First Look

Well, there’s nothing particularly bad about Itazura na Kiss it’s just not for me. If you remember from my initial review, I was hoping for another Nodame Cantabile/Lovely Complex. Itazura na Kiss definitely has a degree of comedy to it but it focuses more on the love story aspect than those series. It’s a shojou love story first and a comedy second. Nothing wrong with that model, just not what I was looking for going in. I’m not going to follow the series, but if it sounds appealing to you definitely check it out as it’s a quality show.

Kure-nai – First Look

A good first show of the season to pick up. Kure-nai successfully delivers on the tone I was hoping for; serious and honest, not wacky with the comic relief only coming from the real way that Kurouhin acts. I’m a bit worried that it might become overly sappy, or Shintaro’s mysterious power/illness will become the focus, or it might drift off into overly precocious episodes with Kurouhin if the writers get sloppy. For now, it’s off to a great start and I hope they continue with the evil-father-hunting-down-his-escaped-daughter angle. The characters are all real and don’t feel forced or overly wacky, and the harem angle isn’t quite there. It’s odd that Shintaro doesn’t have a meaningful male friend or meaningful male characters around him, but so far it just seems women seem to be around him in his life. The opening and ending have bright, upbeat songs and art styles, both enjoyable.

All in all, a decent series that I’ll keep following and recommend you give a look.

Published in: on April 10, 2008 at 10:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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