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Shelf Life - Mobile Suit Gundam Part 2

Gabriella straps in to her mobile suit and conquers the second half of the original Mobile Suit Gundam series, along with all of this week's new anime releases! ― I spent most of this past weekend stuck in bed with a cold, but I did at least get a valuable life lesson out of the experience. While reading manga can be a good way to kill time, think twice before opening a volume of Monster Musume when...
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ANNCast - Supernerds: Civil War

Daryl Surat and Mike Toole return to Supernerds headquarters to chat about Turn A Gundam, Evangelion 3.33, Fullmetal Alchemist and much more! PLUS: a license announcement from Discotek! ― ANNCast Episode 251: Supernerds: Civil War Daryl Surat and Mike Toole return to Supernerds headquarters to chat about Turn A Gundam, Evangelion 3.33, Fullmetal Alchemist and much more! PLUS: a license announcement ...
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Answerman - Why Are Americans In Anime Always Blonde?

One reader wants to know why Americans in anime are almost always portrayed as blonde-haired and blue-eyed. Justin Sevakis, a non-blonde American, explains. ― Dana asks: My question is how Americans are labeled in anime. I have read and seen a lot of anime and manga. In all of them, Americans are all drawn being blonde and blue eyed. This just irks me sometimes. I'm American and I have brown hair an...
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The X Button - Hard-Boiled Detective Pikachu

This week: imports join the yakuza, the Asterisk War, and a Dragon Quest construction crew! Plus Detective Pikachu, 7th Dragon, a shooter with a great title and a DBZ game contest! ― I have the winners of my recent games-as-art contest, but I'll save them for this column's last stretch. That's because I have another contest to run! Bandai Namco's mobile game Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle starts up its...
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Answerman - Why Do Guys In Yaoi Claim To Be Straight?

Justin navigates some of the fantasies and realities of the way men behave in yaoi manga and doujinshi, which, in a surprise to everyone, isn't particularly realistic. ― Quinn asks: Recently I stumbled upon "Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi - World's Greatest First Love" and all though I didn't know it was a yaoi title when I first started watching the show I did enjoy its story. However, one thing kept nagging ...
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Shelf Life - One Piece: Season 7 Part 4

Paul hops onboard the Going Merry and wonders why the Straw Hat Pirates didn't need an anime critic onboard. PLUS: This week's big new releases, including Evangelion 3.33! ― I've been having fun watching Dagashi Kashi this season, but I have found one problem with the show. It's the same issue I ran into back when I was doing episode reviews of Gourmet Girl Graffiti: I simply cannot watch a series a...
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The List - 7 Manliest Bromances

Everyone has found themselves inspired by a deeply-felt friendship between two big manly men; here are seven of them that will bro you away! ― Valentine's Day (also known as Singles Awareness Day) is sneaking up. If you're one of the many without a significant other on the sugar coma-inducing holiday, have no fear. Even if romance isn't on your to-do list for the 14th, there's plenty of room for bro...
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ANNCast Episode Two Hundred and Fifty - Outlaw Star

Zac, Hope and special guest Karl Olson reach into the pantheon of Toonami classics and return with Outlaw Star, seemingly everyone and no one's favorite sci-fi action-adventure. Beware of psychic cacti. ― ANNCast Episode 250: Outlaw Star Zac, Hope and special guest Karl Olson reach into the pantheon of Toonami classics and return with Outlaw Star, seemingly everyone and no one's favorite sci-fi acti...
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Answerman - Should FUNimation Be On NASDAQ?

One questioner thinks it's time for anime companies like Funimation to go public on the stock market, along with all the risk and reward that could entail. Justin has a few thoughts about that. ― CastMember1991 asks: Now with Funimation launching a streaming service that serves as the anime industry's answer to Netflix, I think it's time for Funimation (or its parent company G1200 Media) to file for...
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The X Button - Delay of Games

This week: what happens when games like Mighty No. 9 get delayed, and why it matters! Plus Super Mario discoveries, Fire Emblem problems, and a new Mistwalker RPG hint! ― The deadline for the latest X Button contest draws near, as you all have until midnight Friday to submit your entries! It's for the sake of art, after all! We've all heard arguments about how video games are Art With a Captial A, s...
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Answerman - What Do The Changes To Oscar Rules Mean For Anime?

They're making a bunch of changes to the rules for Academy Award voting, but what does that mean for the anime that occasionally gets nominated? Are anime's Oscar chances changing? ― Bill asks: I've been hearing a lot lately about changes to the rules for voting in the Oscars. What does this mean for anime? Will this make it easier or harder for anime to get recognized by the Academy? Indeed, much a...
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Answerman - What Does Darker Than Black's License Withdrawal Mean?

Funimation's license for Darker than Black recently expired, and Aniplex chose not to renew it. What does that mean for that show, for Funimation and for the industry? Justin gets into it. ― Stan asks: I heard the news of Funimation losing their license to Darker Than Black. People speculate (or is it confirmed?) that the license was taken away by Aniplex of America. So I was wondering, is this one ...
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Shelf Life - Turn A Gundam: The Movies

James finds out whether or not the Turn A Gundam movies are a decent substitute for the series, along with all of this week's new anime releases on DVD and bluray! ― I got buried under a landslide of teenage nostalgia last week. First Sentai Filmworks announced that they were planning a new physical release for Azumanga Daioh, then Discotek Media did the same with Cromartie High School. I watched (a...
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The Mike Toole Show - Awesome Unadapted Manga

Mike digs into a big pile of great manga that, against all odds, have never been adapted into anime, and wonders what some of your favorite unadapted manga are. ― Last week, amid the bustle of Arisia, Boston's biggest science fiction fan convention, I did something I'd never done at a con before: I focused on books. I met con guest of honor John Scalzi, the Redshirts and Old Man's War guy, and had hi...
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The List - 6 Villains That Saved the Day

Sometimes all it takes to save the day is a bad guy with a change of heart. Here are six anime where the villain became the hero! ― The heroes might be the stars of the show, but a work of fiction is really made by an awesome antagonist. Someone the audience loves to hate or finds catharsis through a villain's disregard for the rules in lieu of getting what they want. The audience grows attachment t...
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Answerman - Who Makes Anime Opening Sequences?

An opening sequence can be the chief way people are sold on a show and can live on long after the show's relevancy has faded. Justin explains how these little works of art get made. ― Adam asks: You've talked before about how music gets chosen for opening and ending sequences, but I'm curious about the animating side of it. I've noticed most openings and endings specifically credit a single storyboa...
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ANNCast - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Anime Magazine

Otaku USA editor Joseph Luster stops by the show to talk about his long and impressive career as an anime writer, and what it's like working for the last remaining anime magazine in America. ― ANNCast Episode 249: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Anime Magazine Otaku USA editor Joseph Luster stops by the show to talk about his long and impressive career as an anime writer, and what it's like worki...
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Answerman - What Are Japanese Student Councils REALLY Like?

Is it true that high school student councils in Japan are all-powerful organizations that rule the nation's high schools with an iron fist and limitless resources? Not quite. ― Jason asks: As an avid anime watcher and a high school student in the US, I've noticed that most student governments in anime are organized in the same way and do the same things, however they differ drastically compared to t...
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Answerman - Why Does Unfinished Manga Get Adapted To Anime?

One reader wants to know why so many anime based on manga go into production long before the manga's even close to finishing. Justin gets into it. ― Jessica asks: Hi, I don't know if someone asked this question before but I will ask anyway. I just finished watching Ao Haru Ride and its been bothering me. Why does the anime industry adapt from manga series that are already running, showing no signs o...
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Shelf Life - Sketchy Birds

Paul and Gabriella climb out from under an avalanche of this week's new releases to discuss ― The start of a new season of episode reviews has kept me distracted enough that I don't have a particularly entertaining introduction lined up this week, so I'll just point out that I'm happy to see Assassination Classroom back in action. Nothing says "fun" quite like a yellow mutant octopus monster dude. W...
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The List - 7 Manga for the Canine-Inclined

There's a ton of cat manga out there, but when do dog people get their due? Well, just wait until you get a load of these puppies. ― Cats are undeniably the darlings of the internet thanks to their antisocial, self-serving characteristics. They easily mirror the nerd stereotype and those of us who spend untold hours at our desks see them as fluffy kindred spirits. Dogs, on the other hand, are consid...
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ANNCast - Winter Wasteland

Zac Bertschy and Hope Chapman duke it out over Konosuba, gush over Lupin III and hash out the rest of the winter 2016 anime season! ― ANNCast Episode 248: Winter Wasteland Zac Bertschy and Hope Chapman duke it out over Konosuba, gush over Lupin III and hash out the rest of the winter 2016 anime season! You can listen to the show on our player here, direct-download the MP3 version here, or you can ju...
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Answerman - Is Streaming The Future of Anime Kids' Programming?

Children's programming seems to be migrating from TV to streaming services, and someone's curious if this is where anime for children is heading next. Justin gets into it. ― Vee asks: I was recently browsing through Netflix and came across "Glitter Force". It looked familiar so I went online and discovered that it's one series in the Pretty Cure franchise. But, Saban Entertainment (who've been in th...
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The X Button - See the Future

This week: Todd tells us what 2016 holds for Nintendo, Capcom, and the rest of the game industry! Plus Story of Seasons, Mario toys brought to video-game life, and a continuing contest! ― The X Button has next week off, so you'll get even more free time to enter the ongoing contest. It's all about explaining why video games are high-minded art…especially when they're not. I want your best pseudo-int...
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Answerman - Why Does CG Anime Have Such Low Frame Rates?

With BBK/BRNK airing now and more and more fully-CG anime hitting theaters and the airwaves, most folks seem to agree that it looks pretty off. What's up with that? ― Scott asks: Hello! Recently I've seen some talk about anime CGI in regards to frame rates. I've read that Japanese animators tend to cut frames leading to not-so-great-looking final products. Can you explain the mechanics of this and w...
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Answerman - Did Westerners Always Call It Anime?

Unfortunately sometimes we do need to reflect on the past, which means it's time to discuss the days when someone apparently thought "Japanimation" was a great term for anime. ― Whisper asks: I have been wondering about the etymology of the terms "anime" and "manga" in American culture, particularly why Japanese animation and comics are often called a special name while, say, Japanese video games th...
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Shelf Life - Fairy Complex

Catch up with all of this week's new releases, plus full reviews of more Fairy Tail and Buddy Complex! ― A new anime season is getting started, but you wouldn't know if from looking at my streaming queues. Thanks in part to a very hectic holiday season, I'm playing catch-up on just about everything that I wasn't watching on a weekly basis for episode reviews. The good news is that by the time I'm re...
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The Mike Toole Show - Ultramanime

Just about everyone has heard of Ultraman, one of Japan's most famous tokusatsu mascots. Mike roots around in Ultraman's occasionally bizarre and always fascinating history in animation. ― Shortly after my picks for the top 5 anime of 2015 were published, the feedback started rolling in. I expected to be cross-examined for leaving out fan favorites and the deeply questionable practice of not picking ...
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The List - 7 Silly Pieces of Weaponry

Anime goes by the same code as everyone else: live by the wet towel, die by the wet towel. Here are seven of the most unusual weapons found in anime. ― Anime seasons get more crowded every year. Staff members still have to manage to somehow make their character designs distinctive. This has lead to curiouser and curiouser weaponry in an action genre already filled to the brim with katana, broadsword...
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Answerman - Why Do Some Voice Actors Like Not Knowing About Their Roles?

Plenty of English-language anime voice actors talk about how they don't like to know the story of the show they're performing in beforehand. What's behind this practice? ― Jitendar asks: In interviews and commentaries on anime discs, I often hear English VAs state that they like to be surprised regarding their characters and the story, which would be good if most of your work involved turning up to ...
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Answerman - Why Did Sgt. Frog Hit In Japan But Not America?

Sgt. Frog is enormous in Japan, but despite several full-hearted attempts by multiple US publishers, it never left the lily pad. Justin investigates. ― Tamenish asks: I've been wondering for a while now about the popularity of the anime series 'Sgt. Frog', also known as 'Keroro Gunso'. In the West few people have heard of this obscure anime, yet I have heard it is quite popular in Japan. Why hasn't ...
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The X Button - Exist Tense

This week: imports with Exist Archive, Monster Strike, and classic mecha space wars! Plus Kaga Create’s fall, Nintendo’s lesser-known Zelda offspring, and a contest to kick off the new year! ― The X Button starts off 2016 this week, and I think it's time we had another contest. This one is all about art, or at least nonsensical attempts to rationalize it. How do you enter? I want you to humorously e...
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Answerman - Why Did Shonen Jump Succeed In America?

It has a sizable percentage of the most popular manga in the world between its pages, but what exactly was it that made Shonen Jump hit in America the way it did? Justin has some thoughts. ― Agni asks: In Japan, a huge amount of manga is serialized in magazines. But in the west, the only such magazine was Shonen Jump. Why did Viz and Shueisha take this chance, how did it manage to keep running for n...
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Shelf Life - Piece of Mind

The first Shelf Life of 2016 involves talking about Dragonar Academy again, but we quickly segue into some of the most impressive shelves this column has ever seen. PLUS: this week's new releases and more One Piece! ― After two weeks without any new releases to speak of, we've finally got some new anime on the horizon this week. It may only be three things, and one of them may only be a rerelease of...
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The List - 7 Truly Gruesome Body Transformations

People sure do turn into disgusting things in anime alot. Why not take a little trip through some of the most stomach-turning? ― When you picked your New Year's Resolution this year, did you consider the possibility of turning into amorphous flesh monster? How about being possessed by an alien that restructures your cells so you can grow biological weapons at will? These are important scenarios to c...
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The Top 10 Ending Themes of 2015

You've heard the top 10 opening themes of 2015, but now the ending themes need their time in the sun. Here are our top 10 closing themes of 2015! ― Whew! I thought the openings list was tough to narrow down, but 2015 had a ton of great anison at the tail-end of shows this year too. You can check out my top ten picks for great anime ending themes in the video below, but don't forget to vote for your ...
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Answerman - What's With All The Monkeys On New Years Greetings?

Someone wants to know why all the New Year's greeting cards from the anime industry are swarming with monkeys. Justin's on it. ― Ashley asks: I recently went through the articles "Happy New Year -- Anime Style!" While looking though all of the celebration pictures, I noticed a few of them involving monkeys in one way or another. So I was wondering if you could explain to me why that is or if it was ...
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Answerman - Do Japanese Students Really Go On Huge School Trips?

In anime, high school kids go on lavish school trips overnight as a school function. Is that really a thing? Justin investigates. ― Jake asks: I have watched a lot of school anime over the years and I have always found school trips to be a bit peculiar. Most of the time they are beach trips, which is pretty normal fare. But more often than not it's to some exotic expensive local that is multiple day...
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Answerman - A Hentai Question

Justin answers a particularly frank question about a particularly NSFW feature that is usually missing when it comes to anime characters. Maybe you've wondered about this yourself! WARNING: NSFW Language. ― Hentai Tenchi asks: Why has there been so few non-hentai anime with pubic hair? I doubt TV stations would air it without it being censored, but couldn't it still be added to the home release vers...
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The Shelf Life Year in Review

Paul counts down some of the best, most interesting, coolest, or otherwise awesome and remarkable anime home video releases of 2015. ― With only a few days left in 2015, I thought it'd be good to take a short break from the usual format in order to look back on what's been a very eventful year for Shelf Life. Rather than trying to produce a definitive top 10 list for the year, I've gone through the ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Yo, Yoshiura!

The holidays prompt Mike to take a tour through the gently mindblowing films of Time of Eve and Patema Inverted director Yasuhiro Yoshiura. ― As 2015 draws to a close, let's all look back and reflect on Star Wars, and how good that new Star Wars movie was. But wait a second, what does Star Wars have to do with anime, manga, and Japanese culture? Well, if you squint and tilt your head, Kylo Ren kinda ...
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The List - The 7 Most In-Demand Japanese Voice Actors of 2015

We already counted down the most prolific Japanese voice actresses, so that means it's time to find out which male Japanese voice actors racked up the most voice roles in 2015! ― Last year we counted the most in demand English voice actors and actresses after Nikkei Entertainment published a similar list for the Japanese voice acting industry. We're keeping up the tradition by stepping into Nikkei E...
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Answerman - How Did Christmas in Japan Become A Thing?

Justin explains a bit about how Christmas became a popular holiday in Japan. ― James asks: As Christmas approaches, I have noticed that that holiday seems to be popular in Japan, despite the fact that Christianity is not widespread in that nation. How did Christmas become popular in Japan, and why do the people there enjoy celebrating a foreign holiday? It's true, Japan isn't a particularly Christia...
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The Top 10 Opening Themes of 2015

At long last, it's time for our annual video countdown of the best anime openings of 2015. Find out if your favorites made the list and vote for your picks in our poll! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! ― 2015 is nearing its end, which means our new millennium is now old enough to drive. (Pretty soon it'll just be an old millennium!) It also means a big beaucoup of new anime music, so it's time fo...
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The X Button - The Top Ten Games of 2015

This week: ANN’s video-game crew rounds up the best of the year! Plus God Eater, Tales of Berseria, another excuse to mispronounce “Ys,” and Christmas card conflict! ― The X Button has next week off for Christmas vacation, and I'll be back in the new year, stirring up debate just as I did in 2015. For one thing, I tried to goad XSEED and Natsume into a full-scale war over who had the better Harvest ...
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Answerman - How Were VHS Releases Mastered?

Justin runs through what it took to get an anime series out on that most hallowed of formats, the VHS cassette. ― Nate A.M. asks: What was mastering a VHS release like, in the dark times before NLE software and in-house video editing? What was the typical relationship between a licensee and a post-production firm? How did the technical process work? Aside from materials issues, what could (and did) ...
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ANNCast - Itsudatte My Santa! Commentary Track

Snuggle up with your loved ones next to the yule log and take in the classic Christmas anime, Itsudatte My Santa!, with your hosts, Zac Bertschy and Hope Chapman. ― ANNCast Holiday Special: The Itsudatte My Santa! Commentary Track Snuggle up with your loved ones next to the yule log and take in the classic Christmas anime, Itsudatte My Santa, with your hosts, Zac Bertschy and Hope Chapman. We ran ou...
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Answerman - What's The Difference Between BD-Rs And Regular Blu-Rays?

Justin gets in to some of the technical differences between different types of Bluray discs, and how that impacts your anime experience. ― Anonymous asks: So one thing I've been wondering about is what exactly is the difference between a BD-R and a regular BD for Blu-Ray Discs? I've been wondering since I recently went on a search for them, but all I can find is BD-R or BD-RE etc, yet companies at l...
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Shelf Life - A Glass Half Fullmetal

There are no new releases this week, so Gabriella and Paul busy themselves with Fullmetal Alchemist and Danganronpa! ― Well, the impossible has finally happened: there are no new anime releases to be found in the US this week. With the holiday countdown approaching zero, all the distributors and retailers are getting ready to settle down for a short winter's nap. Never fear, though, because the Shel...
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The List - 6 Examples of Futuristic Space Travel

Common space travel isn't here yet, but anime has come up with a wildly creative bunch of ways to hop around the universe with ease. Here are six of 'em! ― Modern space travel is largely dictated by complicated math equations. Scientists have to carefully plot the trajectories of its satellite probes to utilize gravitational forces of other heavenly bodies. How else would we get the New Horizons to ...
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Answerman - Why Do Engrish Titles Only Sometimes Get Corrected For America?

Justin explains where garbled English titles for anime like "Blast of Tempest" and, yes, "Attack on Titan" come from. ― Ben asks: My question is why are some Engrish titles in anime like "Still World is Beautiful" (changed to "The World is Still Beautiful") and "Break Blade" (changed to Broken Blade) altered for their official English releases, while other titles like "Blast of Tempest" and "Riddle ...
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ANNCast - Tutu Time

Hope Chapman and special guest Rose Bridges attempt to convince Zac that the beloved ballet-themed fantasy shojo drama Princess Tutu is the masterpiece everyone claims it is. ― ANNCast Episode 247: Tutu Time Hope Chapman and special guest Rose Bridges attempt to convince Zac that the beloved ballet-themed fantasy shojo drama Princess Tutu is the masterpiece everyone claims it is. You can listen to t...
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The X Button - Roundup Sides

This week: the X Button’s strange and new awards for 2015! Plus new Smash characters, Kojima’s next move, the latest final PSP game, and some commercial signs! ― Gravity Rush Remastered is out in Japan. I've talked before about the game and its box set, which includes Kat and Dusty figures for an apparently exorbitant amount. But I haven't talked about its Japanese commercial. It's cute enough in it...
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Answerman - Why Do Some Classic Anime Never Get Re-Released?

Justin runs down some of the reasons why plenty of anime from the 80s and 90s never saw a release in English and maybe never will. ― archivisth asks: Why have some shows, often of quite decent quality, never been reissued on modern digital media, like DVD, when all sorts of other stuff has? Some examples include OVAs like Oz, Sanctuary, Hi-Speed Jecy and Tomoe ga Yuku; and movies like 1992's Hashire...
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Answerman - Does Uncensored or Re-Animated Anime get Streamed?

Broadcast anime is frequently full of mistakes or edited nudity that get fixed later for bluray. Do these versions wind up getting streamed anywhere? ― Miguel asks: Most TV series are made on a tight schedule and because of that Blu-ray and DVD releases are usually fixed up here and there, series with nudity and gore are also usually censored because they can't air nudity on TV. My question is, if a...
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Shelf Life - Capture the Flag

This week: Gabriella straps in for some vintage 1979 Gundam action, while Paul determines what happens If Her Flag Breaks. Plus: the last big flood of anime releases for 2015! ― As far as I can tell, there's no new anime coming out on disc in the US next week. Like, genuinely none at all. Not a single, solitary disc, not even a rerelease of some obscure OVA from ten years ago. If that turns out to b...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Anime Cult

Mike gets his Thetan levels checked while perusing the wierd, wild and seldomly profound world of anime made by religious cults. ― There were some dark portents at the turn of the millennium, but I don't think any were darker than the widely-circulated announcement that the Church of Scientology had commissioned a Japanese partner to produce an anime TV series based on Battlefield Earth, church found...
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Answerman - Why Do Anime Discs Go On Clearance?

How DID that copy of UFO Ultramaiden Valkyrie wind up at $2.99 in the discount bin? Justin gets in to the whys and hows of anime DVDs going on clearance. ― Andre asks: I always scour discount video bins for anime when i get the chance. Stuff from the 00s boom haunts them, with old Geneon, ADV & Funi discs to be had for cheap. But I've noticed some stuff never turns up, like Media Blasters, Honneamis...
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The List - The 6 Most In-Demand Japanese Voice Actresses of 2015

We tallied up the six busiest, most in-demand voice actresses working in Japan right now, the ladies you heard most often during the anime of 2015. The results may surprise you! ― Last year we counted the most in demand English voice actors and actresses after Nikkei Entertainment published a similar list for the Japanese voice acting industry. We're keeping up the tradition by stepping into Nikkei ...
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ANNCast - Custom Zaku

Zac and Hope talk about One-Punch Man, Iron-Blooded Orphans, Noragami, Utawarerumono, Digimon, a whole lot of other anime, and at no point do they discuss Star Wars. PLUS: Live questions from the chat! ― ANNCast Episode 246: Custom Zaku Zac and Hope talk about One-Punch Man, Iron-Blooded Orphans, Noragami, Utawarerumono, Digimon, a whole lot of other anime, and at no point do they discuss Star Wars....
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The X Button - Expert Ease

This week: Todd unboxes the Xenoblade Chronicles X limited edition! Plus: King of Fighters returns, Final Fantasy, Ni No Kuni, Street Fighter, Sony’s PlayStation Experience, and much more! ― Xenoblade Chronicles X is the sort of game meant for special-edition packaging. It's a gobsmackingly huge journey across an alien world where the player finds towering creatures, massive robots, and a generous f...
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Answerman - Why is it so tough to buy Japanese digital media downloads?

Ever try to buy a song digitally, from a Japanese website? Ever actually succeed at doing that? Justin explains why it's so weirdly difficult. ― Vanessa asks: Hello, is it impossible to buy Japanese digital media from any website while living outside of Japan? Cds and books are easily attainable from Amazon Japan, which even will display the website in English for foreigners. While browsing mp3s and...
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Answerman - How Does Old Anime Get Remastered?

Older anime shows are coming in out in HD at a remarkable clip, but how do these shows go from dusty and neglected to sparkling and new for the bluray treatment? ― Julian asks: So I know a couple people who like to collect old animation cels, and I've read before that materials get lost or destroyed so that when it comes time to re-master a show they have to use old releases (see the new Eva BD). My...
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Shelf Life - Dragon Lagoon

This week it's all fighting and explosions as Black Lagoon and Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F get full reviews, along with a complete list of this week's new anime releases! ― I've had a pretty bad run with the holiday season post office lottery this year. Everything from presents for my relatives to review copies for this column have spent extra time in shipping limbo. Maybe we should all unite and ...
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The List - 6 Idols that Fandom Forgot

Anime idols have sung and danced their way into the hearts of otaku everywhere for years now, but here are six examples where the phenomenon failed to ignite. ― The popularity and success of the idol genre is undeniable; Love Live continues its almost unbelievable hold on Japanese otaku, and shows like Idolmaster: Cinderella Girls burn up the bluray sales charts. Unfortunately, not every idol anime ...
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ANNCast - Visual Novel Invasion

The folks from Sekai Project, who just released a little visual novel called Clannad in English for the first time, are taking the visual novel world by storm. Today, they stop by ANNCast to talk about the past, present and future of the company. ― ANNCast Episode 245: Visual Novel Invasion The folks from Sekai Project, including co-founder Chris Ling, PR manager David Bruno, and European PR manager...
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Answerman - How Is Online Streaming Doing in Japan?

Streaming video services are completely ubiquitous in America, and it's the #1 way people keep up with new anime, but how do these services perform in Japan? ― Wayland asks: So apparently everyone in US and Aust is loving streaming services, (despite issues with people trying to get on the US site). I've also heard that it hasn't really taken off in Japan, yet. Hulu wasn't really able to make a dent...
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The X Button - Net Started

This week, it’s an import watch with Shining Force fighters, knightly warfare, and a game all about Twitter squabbles! Plus Super Robot Wars, Darius, and another developer’s exit! ― We had fun last week. Koei Tecmo's Facebook page alluded to Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 not coming to North America or Europe due to potential issues over the game's ribald depictions of women, and arguments exploded. Koei Te...
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Answerman - Why Are Anime DVDs More Expensive Than Western Animation?

Your average new anime series on bluray costs about $60, while your average new American TV series costs about half that. Why is that? ― Cody asks: I have a question about retail price differences between Japanese animation and Western animation, specifically regarding series. For example, if I wanted to buy Maoyu on Blu-ray from Amazon, I'd be paying $34.77, yet season four of Legend of Korra is on...
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Shelf Life - Umi, Myself, and I

This week on Shelf Life: the second half of Turn-A Gundam and a low-key, relaxing journey through some tough adolescent feelings with Umi Monogatari. Plus this week's releases! You can't go wrong! ― Thanks have been given, turkeys have been eaten, and we're in the midst of the frenzied holiday sale season. If you went out and fought the crowds last Friday, congratulations on surviving the hordes of ...
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Answerman - Why Do Delta Airlines Flights Have Japanese Movies?

Delta flights are routinely loaded with mainstream Japanese movies, including subtitled live-action anime adaptations and often anime itself. Why is that? ― Jake asks: I recently was on a red eye Delta flight to the west coast over the holiday and was flipping through the movie section on those new tablets they now have built into the seats and found something quite surprising. I was expecting to fi...
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The Mike Toole Show - Hip to Be Square

Mike contemplates exactly how the bizarre comedy Papuwa landed on Western shores. Believe it or not, the answer may lie with Final Fantasy! Didn't see that coming, did you? ― Last Christmas, my editor, the inimitable Zac Bertschy, took notice that the Right Stuf's online holiday sales blitz included the complete set of a TV series called PAPUWA. He immediately called attention to this, so I followed ...
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Answerman - Why Is Sunday So Dead At Anime Conventions?

Sundays are usually a ghost town at any given convention, no matter how popular the show is. What's up with that? ― Chris asks: I somehow made it to three major anime cons this year (Anime Central, Anime Weekend Atlanta, and Youmacon), and every time I was surprised and dismayed by the retrenchment from the dealer's room on Sunday. At each of these cons, a number of informational booths simply weren...
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The List - 6 Times Evolution Went Horribly Wrong

Anime is overflowing with villains playing God, trying to determine the next stage of human evolution. Here are six times where mankind was the endangered species. ― They say people never change. Humanity, as a whole, seems to have reached its physical limit. We're taller and faster. We climb higher and jump further. In fact, much of the next stages seem tied to possible biotech and enhancing existi...
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The X Button - Vanishing Point

This week, Todd scrutinizes some missing pieces of Mario, Sonic, and other popular series! Plus Dead or Alive controversy, Disaster Report’s rebirth, and the quest for holiday games. ― This may be the first X Button to arrive on Thanksgiving, due to the new schedule. I'd like to use the opportunity to mention Thanksgiving-themed video games, but I've noticed a problem. There aren't any. It's rare to...
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Answerman - Why Are Some Gundam Series Getting Simultaneous Dubs?

Gundam Unicorn and Gundam The Origin both got simultaneous English dub releases, while a lot of other Gundam is released subtitled-only. What's up with that? ― Matt asks: I've been surprised how first Gundam Unicorn and now Gundam the Origin have been getting simultaneous dubs upon release. Even though Unicorn's North American release got thrown into the chaos surrounding Bandai Entertainment's clos...
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Answerman - What Made The Big Anime Conventions So Big?

Anime conventions are bigger than ever, with the largest attracting nearly 100,000 people in 2015. How'd they get that way? ― Brandon asks: I've been able to attend a few conventions, spend way too much at some, and meet new and old friends at others. However, when I look at the conventions and the news you all cover from events like Sakura-Con or Anime Expo, I wonder “What made these specific conve...
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Shelf Life - Familiar with Zero

Shape-shifting dragons, love charms, talking swords, and sentient trading cards abound in this week's Shelf Life, featuring this week's releases and full-length reviews of Familiar of Zero and Wixoss! Plus: a new reviewer appears! ― After spending more than a few Saturday mornings looking up prices for the new release section of this column, I've found that I can usually guess which shows will be ch...
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Answerman - Why Does Funimation License Shows They Won't Dub?

Funimation has said they only license shows they think are worth dubbing - so what's up with the sub-only releases of OniAi and Buddy Complex? ― Steven asks: Until recently, Funimation dubbed everything they ever released. So now that some shows like Buddy Complex and OniAi are going to DVD as subtitle-only, why do they bother? Funimation has stated outright, on ANNCast among other places, that they...
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ANNCast - A Game Show to Surpass Metal Gear

The X Button's Todd Ciolek and Fast Karate's Dave Riley once again return to ANNCast to talk all things video games: Undertale, Final Fantasy XIV, Fallout 4 and much much more! ― ANNCast Episode 244: A Game Show to Surpass Metal Gear The X Button's Todd Ciolek and Fast Karate's Dave Riley once again return to ANNCast to talk all things video games: Undertale, Final Fantasy XIV, Fallout 4 and much mu...
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The X Button - One Sleuth Prevails

This week: Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth’s producer talks about comebacks and more! Plus the latest version of Link, the return of Valkyria Chronicles, and some good Gravity Rush news! ― Oh, Xenoblade Chronicles X. You can't stay out of trouble. Mere weeks ago, the American and European versions of the game stirred controversy with entirely justified alternations of an underage character's outfits. No...
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Answerman - What's Wrong With Fan Translations?

Some champion fan translations. Others champion professional translations. Someone asks Justin to clarify his position on this. ― James asks: Why do you and the other staff of Anime News Network seem to have a dislike for (unofficial) fan translations of Japanese animation and manga? How do those media affect you and your website in any way, and do you have some personal stake in the matter? BIG STU...
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Answerman - What Will The Trans-Pacific Partnership Do To Anime?

There's an enormous trade agreement on the table right now that could impact the anime industry and, in particular, the legality of fanart and other fan-created works. Justin gets into it. ― Usakun asks: I haven't been following news about the impending Trans-Pacific Partnership very closely, but most of what I am hearing now is increasingly negative, at least from fans living in Japan and how they ...
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Shelf Life - The Ghoul, the Bad, and the Ugly

Another avalanche of this week's new releases, alongside full-length reviews of Tokyo Ghoul and Please Twins, two shows that really couldn't be more different. ― One would think that, after two and a half decades of dealing with daylight savings time, I'd be used to this time of year by now. One would be wrong, though, because I feel a tiny flash of personal outrage whenever I go outside around 5:30...
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The Mike Toole Show - Sports Anime Spikes Back

Mike lowers his sunglasses, ties up the net and gets ready for an onslaught of volleyball anime, including Attack No. 1 and the omnipresent Haikyuu! ― Earlier this year, my convention buddies the Reverse Thieves ran a panel at Otakon called “I Hate Sports,” as a vehicle to introduce fans to sports anime they might have otherwise ignored due to a lack of interest in the sporting activities themselves....
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The List - 6 Anime Based on Eastern Legends

We've been over anime based on fairytales, but what about all those anime based on Eastern myths and famous bedtime stories? Here are a bunch of 'em! ― In 2013, I wrote up a list focusing on reimagined fairy tales. A few focused on Eastern fairy tails (Fruits Basket, Saiyuki, Ceres, Celestial Legend) the other five pulled from Western staples like Cinderella, Snow White, and The Little Mermaid. Enou...
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Answerman - Why Can't I Change The Subtitles and Audio on My Blu-rays?

Sometimes when you're watching anime on an R1 Bluray you can't turn off the subtitles or change the audio while you're watching. What's up with that? ― Before we get started, a foot note to a previous column... My assessment of the English-speaking acting scene in Japan was quite scathing, but was only part of the story. There is, as it turns out, a small community of actual, professional multi-ling...
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The X Button - Eating Well

This week is an import array with God Eater, 7th Dragon, and a scary night out! Plus Street Fighter debates, Zodiac: Orcanon Odyssey, and a Project X Zone bonus! ― This column deals with video games most of the time, but I figure I can squeeze in a tangentially related piece of news once a year. I normally use my allotment when Dark Horse releases a new volume of Eden: It's an Endless World!, but th...
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Answerman - Why Is Anime Getting More Popular In The West (Again)?

Anime seems more popular than ever in the West, with merchandise and DVDs common on store shelves and convention populations exploding. What happened? ― Joachim asks: If i look around me, there's more and more people starting to like anime. and i love that. but of course those people are all of western origin and not japanese, so my question is: why is anime growing so much in popularity in the west...
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Answerman - Why Are Adapted Dubs Still Being Made?

You hear fans complain about one thing more than anything else: heavily rewritten and whitewashed English dubs of kids' shows like Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon. But why do these hatchet jobs still exist? ― Mitchell asks: So I wanna know, why do bad dubs continue to exist to this day? I find it odd that dubbing companies out there still continue to do things that they know will annoy the fans like replace b...
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Shelf Life - Full Metal Disorder

An enormous truckload of new releases appears as we head into the Christmas season, plus full reviews of Full Metal Panic Fumoffu and Inari Kon Kon! ― I feel like I've been visited by the ghost of franchises past this week. I reviewed a series that I first watched when I was around fourteen years old (see below) and played entirely too much of the newest Halo game, whose predecessors were the most w...
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The List - 6 Times It Was All Just A Dream

It's one of the most predictable and unpopular endings in storytelling history: the hero wakes up and everything you just saw was a dream. Here are six times anime went to that well! ― Considered one of the cheapest writing tactics in the book, "it was all dream" is so notoriously denounced that it occurs more often as a punchline nowadays than as an actual plot device. Classic examples include The ...
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Answerman - Why Don't I Find Anime Comedies Funny?

One reader wonders why he can't connect with anime comedy the same way so many other fans seem to. Justin gets into it. ― Jsphro asks: I'm a casual anime fan, only watching a small handful of shows a year. One genera I've had always had hard time grasping my enjoyment on is Comedy. Very few anime have ever made me laugh, which I don't know is either the fault on the creators for making something un-...
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ANNCast - Saved You a Kleck

Right Stuf CEO Shawne Kleckner returns for a round of the tough questions: what's up with Gundam in the US, the state of the industry in 2015 and much more! ― ANNCast Episode 243: Saved You a Kleck Right Stuf CEO Shawne Kleckner returns for a round of the tough questions: what's up with Gundam in the US, the state of the industry in 2015 and much more! You can listen to the show on our player here, ...
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The X Button - Long Division

This week, we talk with the creators of the new RPG Indivisible! Plus Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, NieR: Automata, and yet another potential fashion disaster. ― I didn't expect another Nintendo controversy so soon. A few weeks after the company stirred debate by replacing bikinis with Zelda and Metroid outfits in Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, a similar fuss arose over Nintendo's upcoming Xenob...
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Answerman - Does Japan Have Otaku For American Animation?

Are there Japanese fans of American animated shows like South Park, Family Guy and Rick & Morty? Do they resemble American anime fans? Justin gets into it. ― Christopher asks: With the anime/otaku industry being a fairly robust fandom in the west, I was wondering: is that mirrored for western animation/cartoons over in Japan? Are there groups that work on fansubbing new episodes of Steven Universe a...

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