The Mike Toole Show

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The Mike Toole Show - Follow the Melos Brick Road

Run! Melos is a greek story known to Japanese schoolchildren, which means there are a ton of anime adaptations of it that have almost never seen the light of day in the US. Sounds like a job for Mike! ― The air's getting cooler, the leaves are turning, and in my neck of the woods, the kids have all gone back to school. Fifth-graders are probably discussing their summer reading - popular fare, no doub...

The Mike Toole Show - Love Live! The School Idol Column

Mike takes in the Love Live movie and gazes starry-eyed at the wonder, the excitement, the passion, and the disposable income of Love Live fandom. ― “You are awake and about to head to the theater, yes?” my wife, Prairie, texted me. I turned to the four women in front of me. “Hey, can I take your photo?” I asked. They quickly agreed. So I texted back this picture of (left to right) Starlightslk as El...

The Mike Toole Show - Toriyama-rama

Mike inhales a bunch of nouveau Dragon Ball movies in anticipation of Dragon Ball Super and winds up coming to a conclusion about an old Toriyama character that needs to appear in the show. ― Last week I strolled the streets of Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood, taking in the hipster ambiance-- the charmingly refitted former factories, the flea markets, the dive bars, and of course, the anime conv...

The Mike Toole Show - Ai Am Legend

Mike takes a very fashionable journey through the world of anime based on the manga of Ai Yazawa, including Paradise Kiss and Nana. ― This week, the anime director Osamu Kobayashi fired off some tweets in English. When asked if he'd done anything new lately, since his last project, an episode of Dantalian, was several years ago, he replied, “I directed the 13 episodes of the new Lupin III. And Garow2...

The Mike Toole Show - The Cat's Meow-nga

On the anniversary of welcoming two cats into his home, Mike takes a look at some of the most famous and beloved cat manga out there, including Chi's Sweet Home! ― I'm a cat person. I've always had cats around-- and in fact, seven years ago this week, my wife and I made a trip to the SPCA to get our current pair of cats, Roku and Nana. (Yes, my cats are named 6 and 7. My previous cat, a temperamental...

The Mike Toole Show -The Worst Anime of All Time

Fresh from his panel at Otakon, Mike runs down the absolute worst anime he's ever seen, and wonders what you might consider to be worse. ― Goku and Superman tangle furiously, then get caught up in a tender embrace; bystanders swarm them, holding up mobile phones to capture the moment. A massive line of kids, teenagers, and adults in an assortment of wigs, hats, and other odd clothes starts moving, it...

The Mike Toole Show - A Low-Down Dirty Pair

Mike's memory of the classic sci-fi fan favorite Dirty Pair is triggered by a couple of outstanding cosplayers, and so a look back at the sexy action franchise is in order! ― Once again, I'm spending the weekend surrounded by the riotous color and noise of an anime convention. This one's Anime Next, taking place in central New Jersey, not far from the weird, unsettled beauty of the Pine Barrens. It's...

The Mike Toole Show - Nintendo Power

Hey, Paisanos! Mike finds the secret warp zone to a world full of anime based on classic Nintendo games, for better and worse. ― It's been a Nintendo kind of month for me. My brother surprised me with a Wii U for my birthday, but see, my birthday was in March. Being a perpetually distracted person, I let the damn console sit in the corner of my living room, unopened, for a good six weeks. But May is ...

The Mike Toole Show -The Astro Boy Next Door

Mike fires up the jet engines in his behind and goes on a journey through all the different anime versions of everyone's favorite superhero from the 50's, Astro Boy. ― I've been watching that new Heroic Legend of Arslan TV series lately. The show was an easy sell for me-- I like the works of original creator Yoshiki Tanaka, who gave us Legend of the Galactic Heroes. I like the Arslan OVA series from ...

The Mike Toole Show - SNK-Hole

Mike dons his red trucker cap and takes a journey through all the various shlocky and unique OVAs based on old SNK fighting games. ― It took me ages to track it down. I'd been after this particular OVA for something like eight years, and for a long time, the hunt just didn't go well. First of all, the show wasn't a “true” OVA, it was an ONA that was briefly broadcast online, but region locked to Japa...

The Mike Toole Show - Club Hosoda

Mike goes in-depth with two of beloved director Mamoru Hosoda's lesser-known films, a One Piece movie that's an unsubtle allegory for his time at Ghibli and Digimon: Our War Game. ― Every once in a while, someone asks me why I haven't written too extensively about One Piece, Eiichiro Oda's sprawling saga of straw-hat pirates. The simple fact is, I haven't had the time to absorb enough of it – I've go...

The Mike Toole Show - Unicorn Power

Gundam: The Origin is out, so Mike hops in his mobile suit for a tour of the last blockbuster Gundam OVA, Gundam Unicorn. Gundam! ― I sat across from the producer, picking his brain, trying to figure out how it all worked. First of all, where was Gundam AGE? Everyone knew it was flopping out of the gate, sure, but it was being streamed on Youtube and a dub was being produced for television in Southea...

The Mike Toole Show - Damn Yankiis

Mike leaps on his chopper and checks his pompadour before diving into the world of anime about Japan's rapidly-disappearing motorcycle tough guy culture. ― I was totally supposed to go to Anime Japan this week, but a scheduling conflict kept me at home, so I've had to content myself with Bamboo's exhaustive reporting. Hey, these things happen. I'd like to hit the event next year, though. I want to ma...

The Mike Toole Show - Cover Story

Mike digs into the shows that don't impress you at first blush, but go on to win your heart. ― My convention pals from the Geeknights podcast occasionally run a panel that they call Judge Anime By its Cover. The conceit is simple: dig up a key piece of artwork from the target anime, make snap judgments about the content, and check to see if you're right. Usually, their instincts are right: the show w...

The Mike Toole Show - The Anime Alphabet

In response to the AV Club's "best animated shows ever from A-Z", Mike offers up his own list populated by anime's second-best shows. ― I was browsing the web last week when something caught my eye, and dragged it in mercilessly. It was yet another one of those list articles that the entire internet is turning into, but the topic was a hard one to resist: the best animated TV shows ever, from A to Z!...

The Mike Toole Show - Imagawa Da Vida

Mike takes a journey through the life's work of Yasuhiro Imagawa, the mastermind behind the beloved OVA series Giant Robo. ― This month, Anitwitter is engaging in something called a “groupwatch.” “But wait,” you all say, every one of you, in a single roaring voice that echoes across the globe, “what's Anitwitter?” That's just a funny little portmanteau – “anime Twitter,” get it?-- used to describe an...

The Mike Toole Show - What's Up, Tiger Mask?

Mike gets piledrived AND powerbombed on the mat by an enormous load of wrestling anime. ― Last May, I hopped a bus to New York City, on a mission to explore more Japanese pop culture. I'd previously made similar trips to take in the likes of Tokyo Godfathers and Steamboy and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, so you'd think that this was some sort of anime thing. A brisk few hours later, I was in Manha...

The Mike Toole Show - Hakuna Takahata

A theatrical screening of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya inspires Mike to dust off the legendary Isao Takahata's earlier works. ― A couple of weeks back, I once again found myself sitting in the dark in an uncomfortable chair, watching anime. But this time it wasn't 2:45am, and I wasn't all alone, hunched over my home office PC, watching episode after episode of Teekyu. I was at the Brattle, a small...

The Mike Toole Show - Son of a Gunbuster

Now that Gainax's name is no longer on the Evangelion copyright, what do they have left? Well, Gunbuster, of course, and Mike's gonna take you on a tour of it. ― If you're enough of a nerd for Evangelion minutae, you may have noticed something interesting at the beginning of October: the mention of Gainax in the manga's copyright data vanished. This wasn't the first time something like that had happe...

The Mike Toole Show - What Price Freedom?

Bandai Visual's ambitious spacefaring OVA series with designs by the famous Katsuhiro Otomo was heavily sponsored by Cup Noodle, but didn't come with a chicken flavor packet. ― A couple of columns back, I mused on a set of anime productions with heavy and generally realistic themes of space flight. (Yes, I'm referencing something I published just a few weeks ago. This is the real life version of when...

The Mike Toole Show - Only Toonami?

Toonami's long and storied history is jam-packed with short-lived gems, some streaming-only, some massively ambitious, and Mike's here to run 'em down for you. ― I still remember April Fool's Day 2012, when the switch flipped and the anime dork conversation shifted from “Will they ever bring Toonami back?” to “When will they bring Toonami back? How soon?” It was because of a PR stunt, with the cable ...

The Mike Toole Show - Anime in Orbit

Bust out the astronaut ice cream, it's time to blast off with Mike on a tour of anime about space travel! ― Space is the place. Just look at some of our real-life milestones over the past few years. NASA has had an SUV roaming the surface of Mars for over two years, doing god knows what. A shipment to the ISS blew up shortly after takeoff, and a Virgin Spaceways test flight flamed out, killing one of...

The Mike Toole Show - Cult Classics

Mike takes a look at these incredibly strange films that died at the box office and became unheralded classics. ― I prick up my ears every time I hear Belladonna of Sadness mentioned. It's a grand classic of Japanese animation, part of Mushi Productions’ celebrated “Animerama” trilogy that also includes the sumptuous 1001 Nights and gloriously bonkers Cleopatra. But it's not really on par with those ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 ...

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 ...

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...

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...

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...

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 ...

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...

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 ...

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...

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...

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 ...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 ...

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...

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