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Naruto Shippuden finally returns to its main story after five months of filler!
"Now that Wish Upon the Pleiades has given every main character an episode of her own, hopefully we can move on to the bigger conflict with Minato."
"As usual, a series of happy accidents wrap up the plot for a lively half hour with a few good laughs."
"After all of Eruna's grand speeches about wanting to surround herself with cute girls, it might be fun to see how poorly she handles having two people actually fight for her attention."
"Big loves, small loves, unrequited loves, and even self-love were all on display this week, as the members of the orchestra club chose who would join them at the upcoming Agata Festival."
Zapp's master has arrived to teach him a lesson in hard knocks, and we take a listen to Funimation's new broadcast dub!
"The characters need to stop a disaster before it happens, and the show needs to take a new storyline from beginning to end in just one episode."
"This episode resolved a lot of plotlines, but created even more mysteries."
"This week's installment does viewers a disservice by rushing the plot point set up at the end of the previous episode."
"This episode features a full-blown, out-of-left-field stunner, one which completely leaves me wondering how in the heck the series is going to explain it."
"It feels a bit as if the writer of the first episode of this season has made a return for this eighth one."
"This episode of Kuroko's Basketball is very much about establishing a mood of uncertainty that revitalizes old characters."
Uh oh, we're heading toward the tail end of Gunslinger Stratos: The Animation, and the plot is unraveling faster than we'll ever have time to resolve.
Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer finds its footing in a pair of volumes full of new characters and new adventures. ― I couldn't really figure out Biscuit Hammer within its first couple volumes. The plot was fairly simple - the Mage is planning to destroy the earth with the titular hammer, and the Princess and her twelve Beast Knights are meant to stand against him. To this you add the cynical personali...
"This episode is preoccupied with the question "Can Giftia bodies regain their previous inhabitants' memories after they've been erased?""
"After a few weeks of easy vampire slaying, it's refreshing to see the cast encounter a real threat."
"This is a tie-up episode with a farewell to fallen comrades and Suzi Q's Bizarre Adventure."
"In the episode's second half, in a sequence marked by a beautifully building soundtrack and likely the best character animation this show's ever seen, Hikki told the truth."
"So based on this episode, Haru is going to fulfill the role of the girl who sees Raku as the Enemy of Womankind but still winds up falling for him anyway."
An evil organization, a crowd of unwilling contestants, a bloody battle to see who will survive; it's a familiar setup, but these stories find new ways to keep it fresh. ― When Resident Evil was released for PlayStation in 1996, many video game fans caught their first taste of survival horror. The game, and the many that would follow, places players in deadly situations where they have to be fast on...
Warning: Black Lagoon may contain violence, law breaking, running with scissors, adult situations, parallel narratives, government spies, and just about everything else you've been warned against. And it's totally worth it. ― It's been a long wait for the crew of the Black Lagoon last sailed into our bookstores, but it looks like it was worth the wait. Volume ten of the violent (yet human) action ser...
"This week the kids of Polaris head off on their special training camp, and as you might have guessed, this isn't a "test of courage" kind of place."
"If you want to see the Literature Club indulge in an old anime standby played perfectly straight, you've come to the right place."
"Watching Bell improve before our eyes is impressive, to say the least."
This week, Justin takes on the old shojo/shonen categories, whether Section23 should still keep doing their own dubs, whether the Japanese will ever get on Spotify, and why anime based on American stuff so rarely shows up here. ― It's Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start of summer! I hope you all have something fun planned. I try not to go anywhere this weekend, because everyone inevitably tri...
Another love interest gets added to the Nisekoi pile, but is it enough to inject some life into this standard harem comedy? ― Anime romantic comedies commonly depend heavily on regular infusions of new characters to sustain and periodically revitalize themselves, and so far the first Nisekoi series has been pretty good about pacing itself on this. In its second quarter the addition of Seishiro shook ...
"Ninja Slayer has pivoted back towards the weird comedy of previous episodes, after a whole episode that failed to use this gag even once." PLUS: a look at the new dub!
"After twenty long weeks, the anime-original chunin exam arc has come to an abrupt end."
"If episode 6 was the Big Reveal episode then episode 7 is the Big Reveal Part 2."
"Takeo joins a school club so he can use his strength to help them win. Along the way, we get to see what makes the show so special among shojo romances."
Founder and owner of FAKKU.net, Jacob Grady, stops by to discuss the one subject we've never broached on ANNCast: porn. FAKKU is going legitimate; we discuss that transition, porn's place in anime fandom and pop culture, and much more. ― ANNCast Episode 226: The Porn Ultimatum Get the Flash Player to see this player. Founder and owner of FAKKU.net, Jacob Grady, stops by to discuss the one subject we...
An old man becomes a cybernetic killing machine courtesy of the author of Gantz. Just don't get between him and the early bird special. ― Inuyashiki “When I see old men eating beef bowls alone, late at night…lonely old salarymen…I wonder what their joy in life is. Why are they eating alone? Don’t they have families to be with?” I almost read a YA shojo manga for this week, but instead, somehow, I'm ...
Before Sword Art Online, before Log Horizon, there was .hack//SIGN. Is the original MMO adventure worth revisiting? Nick Creamer investigates. ― In a time when Sword Art Online and Log Horizon have both become relative titans of the “genre,” it's interesting to return to the grandfather of MMO anime. .hack//SIGN is different from those shows - in contrast to Log Horizon's focus on worldbuilding and S...
"Paced well and fraught with (humorous) tension, the conclusion of this storyline pulls off a near-perfect landing."
"It's apparent that Rumiko Takahashi came up with her ideal formula back in the '90s, and she isn't budging from it."
This month, crowdfunding tales of flashy brawls, undersea dangers, and helpful bats! Plus Nintendo’s new competition, more of The Last Story, and the best video-game gun ever. ― I mentioned Data East's arcade library a while ago. I tried to recall truly amazing Data East games, and I couldn't come up with any besides Boogie Wings. This past week I noticed one more great neglected Data East game. It'...
There's rarely a dull moment in this tale of a rogue Game Development Club and the hapless wannabe thug they rope into joining their ranks. ― Some people take their games more seriously than others, be they boardgames, video games, or old-fashioned role-playing. The girls in this particular Game Development Club take it a step further – they live their games, and not just in a LARPing sense. All of t...
The man behind some of anime's biggest science fiction - Psycho-Pass 2, Mardock Scramble and more - has been handed the reins to Ghost in the Shell. We talked with Tow Ubukata about his career, the challenges of taking over a huge franchise, and more. ― Tow Ubukata is one of Japan's premier science fiction novelists and screenwriters, known for his work on Mardock Scramble, Le Chevalier D'Eon, Fafner...
"The episode drags along lazily as it stretches a minute or two of content into ten."
"The characters ended this week all shifted slightly, more secure in some friendships and more committed to some choices."
Justin makes the transition from fan to professional in the only way he could: subtitling Japanese softcore on VHS. ― Welcome to “Tales of the Industry,” a column where we will share stories from real working professionals in the anime business. This week, we return to an autobiographical story by the author. Are you a current or former member of the anime business or convention staff? Do you have a...
Fantastic Detective Labyrinth combines a lot of genres in a bid to be an interesting mash-up of mystery and fantasy, but someone during production got lost along the way. ― There are times when the title of the series is just too ambitious for what it turns out to be. Fantastic Detective Labyrinth is one of them. Based on the manga of the same title by Meito Manjo and Seiji Wakayama, the plot limps a...
"This otherwise transient episode is bookended by great weights of plot."
"Rather than just allowing the show to do cool things, the powers become a way of adding depth to new characters."
"This episode introduces not only several exciting plot lines, but also multiple characters with instant viewer appeal."
A few questions for the producer of the global smash hit Sword Art Online and the man who voices Kirito himself. ― Shinichiro Kashiwada has served as a producer on every animated iteration of Sword Art Online, and voice actor Yoshitsugu Matsuoka is the man behind the series' main character, Kirito. We had the chance to sit down with these two for a few minutes earlier this year. Producer Shinichiro K...
"A dark monster has returned to lock horns with ShinganCrimsonz, and viewers are treated to the series' second lengthy battle sequence."
We're chasing away the rainy-day blues with two comedies this week: Denki-Gai vol. 2 and D-Frag. Plus, a rundown of this week's new releases. ― Jump to this week's reviews: Denki-gai volume 2D-Frag On Shelves This Week .hack//Roots Complete Series DVD Funimation - 650 min - Hyb - MSRP $39.98Currently cheapest at: $23.28 Rakuten Synopsis: A new version of The World is out, and Haseo and his new guild...
Are you ready for the swim boys? They're ready for you. At least, they're ready in sub-only, bare-bones DVD form. Rose Bridges spends a few hours with everyone's favorite wet lads. ― In politics, there are two broad types of successfully candidates: those who appeal to a wide variety of voters in different ways, and those who pander heavily to a passionate "base." The same is true of popular anime, a...
"Tohru's world is in trouble, but it's going to take a better explanation to determine just how bad things are."
Our heroes head out on their first vampire-killing expedition, and Seraph's broadcast dub premieres its first episode! How does it sound?
"Astaroth tries to put some spice in the upcoming Ratings Game with House Gremory."
"The show might still be salvageable if it hunkers down to focus on its interesting premise for the rest of it, but that looks unlikely."
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 ...
Will Sumika and Ushio be able to find lasting love in a world that doesn't always accept them? ― There are plenty of books, manga, prose, and poetry alike, which deal with the troubles that come with adolescence, not the least of which is the issue of being “different.” That word can mean many things in the harsh land of high school, and Takashi Ikeda's Whispered Words has consistently handled its ta...
"Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works might not have enough story to fill out its runtime."
"Despite a few crumbs of lightheartedness, the fight against Cream is twenty minutes of sheer terror, and it's not even over yet!"
"Sweet as this plot is, something about the way it is carried out doesn't quite work."
"Hikki has been trying to hold on to things well past their breaking point, and they're beginning to crumble in his hands."
Almost no other classic story has been twisted by manga and anime as much as Alice in Wonderland. We're through the looking glass, people. ― There might be no other example of Western literature whose themes, plot line, and characters appear in more anime than Lewis Carroll's The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland. Quin Rose's PC game is one example that has inspired an ever growing series of manga b...
Can there be a happy ending for a zombie who is entering her terminal eater phase and the boy who created her? ― Somewhere in the back of our minds whenever we read a romance is the question, “Will this have a happy ending?” With some stories we know the answer immediately; others, like Mitsuru Hattori's Sankarea, make us question that answer constantly. The truth lies somewhere in-between in this ca...
"Unfortunately by trying to handle Usagi's (re)awakening and the initial appearance of Black Lady in one episode, other subplots suffer."
"As always, the food looks mouthwatering, and as someone who can cut herself with an apple corer, I'm impressed by the speed of the chopping we see."
"I guess I'll take “absolutely nothing happened” over last week's persistent barrage of stale gags, but “nothing happened” is still not high praise."
"This being anime, a Valentine's Day episode is obligatory for any romantic comedy which runs more than one cour in length."
"While the yellow octopus fashion show is clearly the highlight this week, there's also a decent episode hiding behind the sunglasses and beach hats."
"Forget everything you thought you knew about Ninja Slayer From Animation, because it all changes in this episode."
"For an episode with Aiz Wallenstein's name in the title, we certainly don't expand upon her character very much."
"At this point, even characters who have never met the sweat-suit-clad hero are preaching the Gospel of Uzumaki."
Justin rumbles with the many versions of Fist of the North Star, ponders why long-running anime are awkwardly cut into "seasons", and wistfully remembers the HD format wars of 2007. ― I went a little too nuts with the research this week and ended up with a few really long answers, so let's get right to it. Kira asks: Years ago, most of anime I saw were long-runners like Naruto or Bleach. When lookin...
It's the second light novel in the series that spawned the popular anime. Do Bell's RPG adventures deliver, or do they just... string you along? ― The first novel of Fujino Omori's series offered Western readers an unprecedented opportunity to actually read an official English release of the source content for an anime series before it even made it on air. The second novel offers the unprecedented op...
Zac, Hope and fan guest Aidan summon their own Heroic Spirits and battle it out over the real meaning of Gen Urobuchiand Nasu Kinoko's giant smash hit fantasy action drama Fate/Zero. ― ANNCast Episode 225: Chewing the Fate Get the Flash Player to see this player. Zac, Hope and fan guest Aidan summon their own Heroic Spirits and battle it out over the real meaning of Gen Urobuchi and Nasu Kinoko's gi...
"By the standards of a series which has practically thrived on pairing revelations with new questions, this is a Big Reveal episode."
"This episode of Kyokai no Rinne presents two feline villains you just can't hate."
A plucky redheaded fairy expert gets more than she bargained for, along with a magical boyfriend. Shaenon investigates. ― The Earl and the Fairy I admit it: I feel like I'm behind on the shojo manga these days. The most popular shonen series make enough noise in fandom that even an old Dirty Pair-reading fart like myself knows more or less what's up, and anyway right now it's mostly Attack on Titan ...
Monogatari returns for a neatly self-contained arc that reveals new sides of an old friend. ― Monogatari has nothing left to prove. In the wake of Hitagi End, the show's central themes have been established, articulated, and hammered home. All of us deceive ourselves to make better, kinder worlds, all of us externalize our flaws and see demons outside ourselves, and none of us can be “rescued” from t...
"The focus of this episode is Kurokono Tasuke, the newly-introduced "phantom fifth member" of the Joi Faction's A-squad."
This week, The Lost Valley meets Story of Seasons in a knock-down drag-out take-no-prisoners cow-milking egg-picking crop-tending Harvest Moon fight of the century! Plus good Sega news, bad Sega news, and the return of Castlevania. ― This week we'll face some sad news about Sega, so I think it best to start with some good news about Sega. That good news comes from the Sega 3D Classics, a series of 3...
It's a magical girl parody show starring magical boys! Maybe, just maybe, it's a little more inspired than that suggests. ― There are two reasons this show was already hotly anticipated before it came out. One, with the rise in popularity of bishonen shows aimed at fujoshi, it was basically inevitable that somebody someday was going to riff on the magical girl genre but with boys. The only surprise w...
"At this point in the season, it's pretty clear that the show's ambitions stop at being a fun and inconsequential diversion."
" Instead of another ensemble piece, this was a very focused “character episode,” with Hazuki being the momentary star."
Hope channels the Hero of Time and counts down the best melodies from the beloved Legend of Zelda series. ― It's dangerous to go alone! The Set List is back with everyone's favorite pointy-eared elf hero, and my top ten favorite Legend of Zelda tunes, as defined by soundtrack picks from the franchise's almost thirty-year history. There's a lot of music to choose from, so I limited myself to one sele...
After seven films, there's another Garden of Sinners movie, this time exploring some side-stories from the series. Gabriella Ekens is on the case, but the film may leave more than a few things desired. ― Seven films into the Garden of Sinners experience, do we even need to spend any more time with the characters? Shiki and Mikiya's love story has seen fruition, Shiki isn't the killer that her origin ...
Attack on Titan comes to the Nintendo 3DS, and Dave Riley straps on his 3D maneuver gear to take down some titans. Whether or not he's still having fun after the first one is up for debate, though. ― Trapped behind giant stone walls of their own making, the final remnants of humanity huddle in fear of the unexplained threat of giant, gleefully stupid titans who saunter in every now and then to chow d...
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