The Mike Toole Show
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The Mike Toole Show - Let's Talk It OVA

Mike takes a tour of obscure OVA releases from the early 90s. Hammerpants not included. ― Twenty years ago, everything had started coming up Tenchi Muyo!. The series actually kicked off in Japan in 1992, but went global in ’94, and just kept on truckin’. There was an OVA series, then another OVA series, then a TV series and more OVA stuff and a movie and another TV series and another movie and anothe...
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The Mike Toole Show - Strike Up The Dandy

Mike's got an entire column about Space Dandy, Baby! ― Some years back, I was talking to my friend Carl Horn about interesting anime directors. Mamoru Oshii was mentioned, of course, as was Hiroyuki Okiura, Mamoru Hosoda, and Mister Cowboy Bebop himself, Shinichiro Watanabe. At this point, Carl made an interesting observation: the anime business seemed to be awfully good at training up these impressi...
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The Mike Toole Show - A-Mazinger Stories

You've got a serious Mazinger deficiency and Dr. Mike is here with a giant robot injection. ― What was the first cartoon giant robot that was not a robot, but a robot-shaped vehicle? It's kind of an awkward question, but I'm aiming to highlight an important distinction here. After all, the classic concept of the robot involves it being at least semi-autonomous. The first few waves of anime's robot he...
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The Mike Toole Show - Live-Action Traction

The world of tokusatsu and anime have clashed many times over the years, and Mike's here to give you the rundown. ― Like so many other columns, this one was originally gonna be about something completely different. I'd like to do another artist spotlight, maybe on Buichi Terasawa, but I really need to see more of his work. I just worry that I can't be totally informed if I haven't watched that garbag...
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The Mike Toole Show - Test Pilots

Mike ventures in to the wild world of anime pilots (not the flying kind, the TV kind). ― A couple of weeks back at Otakon, we learned about Under the Dog, an interesting new crowdfunded anime project. The producer's weird editorializing aside, I'm intrigued by Under the Dog, not least of which due to the involvement of Masahiro Ando, the best action animation director working at the moment. They're i...
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The Mike Toole Show - YAS Hands

Mike takes a stroll through the work of illustrious character designer Mr. Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. ― A couple of times a year, I'll go to a convention and run a few panel presentations—usually jaunts through the career of a certain artist or studio, explorations of a particular genre, or one of my mainstays, Dubs that Time Forgot. A few of these have even been featured here on ANN, and the gist is pretty...
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The Mike Toole Show - What's The Criterion?

Mike wonders aloud which anime would be a good fit for the prestigious Criterion Collection. ― Earlier this year, Criterion did something they hadn't ever done in the DVD age: they released an animated movie as part of their Criterion Collection, an imprint known for exacting special editions with exhaustive supplemental materials and bonus features. Was that animated masterpiece a modern classic of ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Mainstream Anime

Mike takes a stroll through anime for ordinary folks. ― I'm writing this column at the kitchen table of a lovely little house in Sao Paulo, which, after two days of wandering around, comes off like a mixture of every megalopolis I've ever visited-- New York, Toronto, Tokyo, Shanghai, Los Angeles, there's a little of all of them happening at once in Sao Paolo. The place is a riot of high-end departmen...
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The Mike Toole Show - In Between Cups

Mike takes a break from World Cup fever to ponder the changes in his life as an anime fan since the last World Cup. ― When I first took this gig, I spent a merry stretch of days furiously pumping out a bunch of text, because I was just about to jump on a plane to the World Cup. Four years and over one hundred columns later, here I am, furiously pumping out a bunch of text because I'm just about to ju...
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The Mike Toole Show - Jojo's Mojo

Mike, like the rest of the internet, just can't stop talkin' about Jojo's Bizarre Adventure! ― I squinted at the image on the screen, planted my feet, and got ready. Around me, the other students shuffled nervously, making preparations of their own. Next to the projector, our instructor wished us well on our final project, and then counted down. When she reached zero, I pivoted at the hip, brought my...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Musical Suspects

Mike wonders aloud: is anyone still talking about K-ON!? ― It wasn't until the second or third episode that I realized what was bothering me about Super Sonico: The Animation. Yes, I watched all twelve episodes of that fanservice-laden snoozer, and I'm not sorry. I'll explain why in the coming paragraphs. But what I kept noticing was the opening song, and the way it depicts the headphones-wearing tit...
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The Mike Toole Show - Seiun, Say Me

Mike takes a magical journey down the Reading Rainbow and checks out anime based on Japanese literature (as opposed to light novels). ― Remember going to see that first Harry Potter movie, and watching carefully to see what they left out of the books, only to fly into a table-flipping rage over their omission of Peeves the poltergeist? (Try watching that stinker again, I double-dare you!) How about t...
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The Mike Toole Show - Rumiko Rundown

Upon the release of Ranma 1/2 on Bluray, Mike takes a stroll through the world of Rumiko Takahashi. ― As you get older, nostalgia will seem creepy at first. You'll watch as 80s revival fads turn into 90s revivals, wondering why both younger generations and some of your own peers are eager to dig up so much crappy music, TV, fashion, and movies from your childhood. Eventually, however, you'll notice t...
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The Mike Toole Show - Holy Terra

Mike straps in for a tour through the many versions of Toward the Terra. ― Ever heard of the Showa 24 Group? The 24th year of the Showa era was 1949, a time when Japan was still in a chaotic period of postwar occupation and recuperation, a good few years before the gears of their miraculous recovery from World War II would lurch into motion. In that year of 1949, the famous shoujo manga artist Moto H...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Last Five

Mike reflects on the last 5 shows he completed during his attempt at eliminating his anime backlog. ― At the beginning of this year, I pointed out my resolute desire to eliminate my entire backlog of unwatched, unloved anime TV shows on DVD. I'm doing this for a few reasons. First of all, it strikes me as kind of dumb to accumulate these cartoons at a faster rate than I watch them. It's like extremel...
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The Mike Toole Show - Animation Appreciation

Mike delves into the technical side of anime and discovers a whole world of knowledge. ― I didn't really think hard about the “animation” part of anime until I met a guy named Koichi Tsunoda. It was at Animazement 2000, a convention that boasted an assemblage of talent from Japan that, even today, would look extremely impressive. There was director Kunihiko Ikuhara, still beating the bushes to attrac...
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The Mike Toole Show - I've Got You, Man

Mike dons his signature birdlike helmet and cape and goes on an adventure with Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. ― Originally, the plan was to call it “Shadow Knights.” Later, it became known as “Science Ninja Team Birdman.” This title was finalized enough that it was stamped on the label of the original master copy, but in the end, that's not what Tatsunoko called the show. They called it Science Ninja ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Dropping the Ball on Anime

Mike ponders all those shows that saw a release in the US but never managed to finish up. ― Last month, me and about 2000 other anime nerds rang in the new year by heading to Las Vegas, where the veteran showrunners behind Otakon celebrated the east-coast convention mainstay's 20th anniversary by launching a brand new event, Otakon Vegas. The prospect was certainly tantalizing: just take the sensory ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Anime Gets Sloppy

Mike's eyes start drifting apart as he discusses those moments in anime that just don't look quite right. ― I'm really enjoying watching Samurai Flamenco on Crunchyroll. It's a surprising little series that started off as a wry takeoff of self-styled hero vigilante stories like Kick-Ass, as naive model and actor Masayoshi Hazama moonlights as a costumed hero, bringing justice to the people by remindi...
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The Mike Toole Show - New Year's Resolution

Mike decides that 2014 is totally gonna be the year that he's finally gonna watch all this stuff. ― I have a shocking confession to make: I still haven't seen all of King of Braves GaoGaiGar. I know, right? I may as well turn in my Anime News Network employee badge, because those definitely exist. I don't know what to tell you, guys: I kept pace with the single-disc releases some years back until abo...
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The Mike Toole Show - Anime Sunday School

Have you heard the good news about Mike Toole? ― Here we are, right on the cusp of 2014. Another year of watching anime, reading manga, and wasting lots of time reading and talking about it has passed us by. Along with the requisite feasting and absurd orgy of consumerism that signifies the passing of the holidays, many of us are in the midst of celebrating the birth of the one and only savior who wi...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Thing About My Dokes

Mike heads to the theater to check out the latest Madoka Magica movie and reflects on the experience and the franchise as a whole. ― Okay, let me tell you what going to the movies to see anime is like in the year 2013. Most of the time, the whole “booked for a week at a time” song and dance that we're accustomed to with Hollywood films doesn't happen, except for Ghibli films. It used to happen-- I'm ...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Box of Crap

Mike gets a big box of random anime DVDs in the mail and rips it open for your entertainment. ― No, this isn't a forensic analysis of the litter box for the cats that's stashed in the bathroom; that's not really an anime thing, is it? You know what this is about, because a whole bunch of us did this last year, and some of you alerted me on twitter when the sale happened again this year. Our good pals...
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The Mike Toole Show - Tales from the Bottom Shelf

Mike takes us on a wild ride back to the 1980s and looks at some of his favorite nonessential OVAs. ― It started the same way this entire column did—I saw something that just made my brain start to overheat. In this case, it was my friend Dave Merill's article on weird old OVAs. Basically, he dug up a bunch of tapes (because really, these were all tapes, even if they came out on laserdisc) from that ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Reed All About It

Mike tells the tale of Production Reed, the folks behind Minky Momo, Machine Robo and... the Ninja Turtles OVA. ― How much does an anime studio cost? I'm not talking about the costs involved in founding one, securing space and resources, and hiring workers—I mean, how much cash would you have to throw down to buy an existing studio, one with a fairly decent portfolio of shows? Arriving at that figure...
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The Mike Toole Show - Killer Queens

Mike takes a tour through a series some folks call the breast thing since sliced bread: Queen's Blade! ― We all waste time on the internet. Some people obsessively track and tabulate sports statistics. Other people enjoy photos of old trains. Still others join forums in order to discuss obscure musical instruments, or download recipes for authentic American Civil War field rations, or shop for elabor...
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The Mike Toole Show - Tiles Against Humanity

Mike straps in for a ride through the world of mahjong and gambling anime. ― Ever sit down and try to start playing a complicated board or card game after watching a round, but before studying the rules? It's terrifying, like being illiterate but trying to figure out how reading works. You'll sit there, staring at little silver tokens and trying to figure out if the scotty dog is somehow better than ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Back to School

Mike runs toward a discussion of anime's high school obsession, toast in mouth. ― I've heard a number of fans in my age group-- you know, the old farts with mortgages, kids, and car payments (note: I have none of these)-- complain to me that they've gotten kind of weary of anime that takes place in high school. I get the picture; as you get older, it gets harder to relate to the young protagonists of...
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The Mike Toole Show - Whatever Happened to Haruhi Suzumiya?

Mike wonders aloud about what happened to everyone's 2005-era waifu. ― I was there at Otakon, when both FUNimation and Sentai Filmworks announced the rescue of a number of old Bandai Entertainment licenses. We knew it was coming, because at Anime Boston Sunrise's Mr. Masayuki Ozaki dropped broad hints about the company partnering up with new North American distributors to get their classics back on s...
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The Mike Toole Show - Yokoyama Watching Diary

Mike takes a dive into the life and work of Mitsuteru Yokoyama, creator of Tetsujin 28. ― Hey gang, have you got one of those tablet things yet? You know the deal-- not exactly computers, but not simple, dumb e-readers either. They're pretty ubiquitous these days-- they got touchscreens, they light up and play music and movies and games, and about 50% of ‘em are iPads. I got my first tablet, a Dell S...
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The Mike Toole Show - Sakura Wars: What Is It Good For?

Mike climbs in his giant pink trashcan robot thing and takes a tour of the dating sim/strategy phenomenon known as Sakura Wars! ― I've really been digging the new Hunter x Hunter series from Madhouse. It's got that shonen action formula down almost perfectly-- the assortment of heroes and villains are fun, the story is twisty and briskly paced, and the action is fast, furious, and sometimes unexpecte...
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The Mike Toole Show - A Fist Tale

Mike gets in on the head-exploding action with another look at the Fist of the North Star franchise. ― Man, I am way overdue for a trip back across the Pacific to Japan. I went there in 1999, on a whirlwind tour of east Asia that also included China and South Korea. I tried my damndest not to spend my entire time in Japan at Mandarake's various outlets, with limited success. Since then, a variety of ...
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The Mike Toole Show - TAC-tical Withdrawal

Mike explores the rise and fall of an anime studio willing to take serious creative risks, and the force behind Night on the Galactic Railroad. ― Just what becomes of an anime studio? I was left pondering that question back in 2010, when the sad news came down the wire that Group TAC, the great production house behind classics like Night on the Galactic Railroad, Yadamon, and of course, the Street Fi...