The Mike Toole Show
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The Mike Toole Show - Jump-ing Ship

Big changes are coming to the way Shonen Jump gets distributed in the US - but this wouldn't be the first time! Join Mike on a journey through the history of Shonen Jump in America. ― The summer of 2002 was an inflection point for anime and manga in North America. Hamtaro debuted on Cartoon Network in June, positioned as a new kids' favorite, complete with toys at major department stores. Tokyopop we...
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The Mike Toole Show - Sanrio Grande

Mike charts the deep and fascinating anime industry history of Hello Kitty purveyors Sanrio, from their first lavish feature films in the late 70s through their most recent smash, Aggretsuko. ― This past week, after filling our faces with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pie, and the occasional scrap of actual nutritious green vegetable, my friends and I ventured forth to a sprawling, suburban arca...
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The Mike Toole Show - Off the Grid, Man

Mike digs through Trigger's dusty reference bin to discover the influences that led to SSSS.Gridman, along with some of the studio's other most idiosyncratic works! ― A couple of years back, I was a guest at Anime Next, a fun, lively event that takes place in Atlantic City each June. Anime Next is part of a rare, kinda disappointingly small group of North American events that put the priority squarel...
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The Mike Toole Show - Little Pitch Academia

A World Series-addled Mike leaves the usual spooky October stuff in the dugout - it's time to explore the rich and fascinating history of baseball anime! ― It's October, and you know what that means: time for a spooky, creepy discussion of the haunted world of… baseball, because I've spent the last two weeks staying up way too late to watch my beloved red sock-wearing Red Sox march towards a seemingl...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Shonen Jump Formula

The My Hero Academia movie prompts Mike to consider the deep and fascinating history of the "Shonen Jump Movie", the self-contained side-story theatrical events that've been around for decades. ― A couple of weeks back, I joined approximately half a million other anime dorks across the continent, who dutifully bought tickets and attended screenings of the new My Hero Academia movie. I've said several...
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The Mike Toole Show - On Your Maruko

The passing of creator Momoko Sakura prompts Mike to dive in to the charming world and incredible impact of Sakura's masterwork, Chibi Maruko-chan. ― In Japan, the Heisei era began in 1989 when Akihito, son of the Emperor Hirohito, ascended to the throne. That era is coming to an end. Now, some might say that this is because Emperor Akihito has announced his abdication of the throne, scheduled for Ap...
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The Mike Toole Show - Canada's Anime Legacy

Mike embarks on a voyage to the Great White North to discover Canada's history of English anime dubs both great and terrible! ― One of the best things about anime being a fairly hot ticket in global entertainment is the multitude of ways it just suddenly shows up, be it in theaters, on TV, or online. Once upon a time, you could keep track of pretty much everything that was being aired and screened in...
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The Mike Toole Show - Irrational Treasures

Mike celebrates his favorite shocking, controversial, or just plain oddball episodes of anime, ones that launched enduring memes or years-long divisive fandom arguments, from Haruhi Suzumiya to School Days! ― Earlier this week, The Ringer ran a fun little feature about their writers' irrational favorite episodes of the 21st century so far; rather than being about the more widely acknowledged best stu...
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The Mike Toole Show - J-Pop vs. America

After The Pillows' comeback tour across the U.S., Mike Toole is inspired to revisit the history of Japanese artists' attempts to make it big in the west, and how American music has affected anime in kind. ― Last week, I did something I'd been meaning to do for about sixteen years – I saw the Pillows perform live. The concert, at Boston's Royale nightclub, was part of a tour the storied alt-rock band ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Spinoff City

This season's Kaiji spinoff Mr. Tonegawa: Middle-Management Blues sets Mike off on a journey through the long history of anime spinoffs - the good, the bad, the confusing and the sublime! ― Five years ago, I wrote a column about some of the works of Nobuyuki Fukumoto, a manga artist sometimes affectionately called FKMT by his fans. It was a celebration of milestones like Akagi and Kaiji, and several ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Anime's Best Eleven

In the spirit of the World Cup, Mike digs through the wide world of soccer anime & manga to find his eleven best, most compelling, occasionally downright weirdest players for a winning team. ― You just can't separate anime from soccer. I'm not just saying this because we're right in the midst of the pageantry and drama and sporting skill of another World Cup, but because it's literally true—and it cu...
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The Mike Toole Show - Yo, Joe!

Mike fires up his burning strength for a one-on-one match with Tomorrow's Joe, the hard-punching boxing epic that won Japan's heart before spawning this season's MEGALOBOX! ― I've been thinking a lot about Tomorrow's Joe lately. It's because there's a new series on TV called Megalobox, a TV anime that's billed as the 50th anniversary project of the legendary boxing manga and anime. But it's an intere...
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The Mike Toole Show - Orbots Almighty

Mike dives deep on the exciting history of a largely-forgotten, little-seen but totally awesome 1980s giant robot franchise called Mighty Orbots that only recently finally saw DVD release. ― Back in the 1980s, some folks at Walt Disney Televison Animation had a little saying. After the script, designs, and storyboards were finished up for an episode of something like, say, Gummi Bears, the next step ...
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The Mike Toole Show - All Dogs of Flanders Go to Heaven

Mike takes a look back at one of the most influential and pervasive sad children's stories in anime history, from remakes to references to parodies, all about a Dog of Flanders. ― Isao Takahata passed away last week, which means that everywhere you look, there are tributes to and retrospectives of the great animator's work. This is wholly appropriate, and it gives me considerable pleasure in the sad ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Poster Children

Theatrical anime poster art isn't just unbelievably cool, it's also a part of history. Mike takes us on a tour of his personal collection that doubles as a fascinating exploration of the form. ― Think of that moment when you realized that you weren't some dumb kid anymore; that revelation that you could no longer be truly carefree, but instead had to at least pretend to be a grown-up. I don't think i...
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The Mike Toole Show - Z is for Zoids

With Toonami on his mind, Mike flies back in time to the early days of Beast Wars-alikes in anime with the cult favorite kids' anime Zoids! Is there anything worth remembering about this quaint little vehicle to sell plastic toys? ― I've been helping out a little over at Discotek's anime vats on the 2001 version of Cyborg 009. From afar, you might think that getting a show like this together is easy—...
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The Mike Toole Show - Rocket from the Script

Mike digs into the legendary and idiosyncratic career of Ryousuke Takahashi, from Cyborg 009 to Armored Trooper Votoms to Phoenix. ― A few weeks back, the Right Stuf folks were running some sort of cheap-o blowout sale, and one of the items for sale, along with a still-absurdly-large quantity of Geneon and ADV Films DVD backstock, was this hat. Yep, for just one dollar, you could be the proud owner o...
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The Mike Toole Show - Stuck Between Sequels

When there are decades in between sequels - like with Card Captor Sakura and Digimon - is it possible to recapture that old magic? Mike examines this fascinating phenomenon. ― Since it still hasn't quite left theatres yet, everyone's still talking about the latest Star Wars movie. I've been enjoying these newer films, because even with some messy storytelling, they're taking some risks with what are ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Farting Around

Mike goes on a treasure hunt for short-form anime and uncovers a show about a sentient fart, which means the hunt was an enormous success. ― It's January, which means that I just killed the mid-month holiday weekend off at Arisia, Boston's largest science fiction and fantasy convention. This year, not only did I sit on panels on the furious Evangelion debate, fanservice, and other anime-related topic...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Resident Evil That Men Do

Now that 3DCG is the new hotness, Mike takes a look back at all the strange Resident Evil CG anime films that have been produced over the past few years. ― The year has turned over, the ‘best of 2017 anime’ lists are out, and a humble little series from Orange called Land of the Lustrous is on a great many of them. A lot of the commentary I've been reading about this genuinely excellent show is how f...
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The Mike Toole Show - Lastman, Standing

Mike devours a few episodes of the genre-smashing French action cartoon Lastman and wonders - is this anime? ― Earlier this year I was at the Crunchyroll Expo, where I hosted a bunch of discussion panels and presented a couple of my own. The homogenous look and omnipresent Crunchyroll branding took some getting used to, but it was ultimately an energetic and well-run show, a deft mix of the stuff I l...
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The Mike Toole Show - Stream Warriors

Mike straps in to the wayback machine for a tour of the earliest days of anime streaming, with services like Toonami Jetstream and something called "Joost". ― One day a few months back, I was wandering around Boston doing some shopping, and decided to hunt for used video games. I spied the anime shelf at the local CeX store, and made my way over, because first of all, I can't resist checking out the ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Gothicmade in Japan

Mike digs into Mamoru Nagano's lost anime film from 2012 to ask just what was up with Gothicmade and if we'll ever get to see what it would have been. ― There's a short list of anime movies, OVAs, and TV episodes that you can't watch. The majority of them are from the 1960s, and are episodes of fare like Perman and Robotan and Big X, which were either inadvertently destroyed or intentionally tossed o...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Anime-Ville Horror

Everyone knows there's a whole lot of horror anime out there, but what about HALLOWEEN anime, specifically? Mike's on the case! ― As the Andy Williams song goes, it's the most wonderful time of the year, because it's October and Halloween is right around the corner! Yeah, I know that the song is actually about Christmas, but tell me this: why are there thousands and thousands of Christmas songs, but ...
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The Mike Toole Show - When Anime Was "Cool"

The Blade Runner 2022 anime short sends Mike back to the early 2000s when everyone was very excited about both The Matrix and the internet, and anime was a very specific kind of "cool"... ― There was a brief period of time in the early 2000s when anime was cool. It wasn't just cool with dorks like me and you, the true tastemakers, but also cool with the general entertainment-consuming public in North...
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The Mike Toole Show - All About 'I Give My All'

Mike's quest for unlicensed anime leads him to the strange case of "I Give My All", a racy OVA from the 80s that was very nearly released here... until it wasn't! ― As part of the work I do with the Discotek gang, I occasionally work on some cool shows that were once licensed, but never really released on video in the west—you know, the really good anime, like Fighting Foodons. As the years pass, the...
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The Mike Toole Show - Alternate History Makers

Mike takes a tour through the wild world of alternate history anime where everything from World War II to the British Invasion gets scrambled up. ― For the past couple of anime seasons, everything's been coming up “isekai,” with a plethora of stories about regular people crossing over into bizarre fantasy worlds. We've had kids causing trouble with their smartphones, dimension-hopping family restaura...
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The Mike Toole Show - Holding Out for a Heroman

The Reflection is only the latest in a long and zany history of anime and manga projects involving Stan Lee. True Believer Mike is ready with a history lesson. ― A few months back, I was at Sakura-con out in Seattle. There was plenty to see and do at that convention—I got a close look at the adroit and skilled puppeteers of Pili International, the wizards who cooked up Thunderbolt Fantasy. I caught u...
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The Mike Toole Show - Gundam of the Century

With Gundam MS IGLOO finally arriving on Blu-ray, it might seem like the entire UC library is finally at Western fans' fingertips, but Mike Toole has thoughts on some Gundam gems you might still be missing! ― Last month, MS Igloo, the oddball 3DCG member of the Mobile Suit Gundam family, came out on Blu-Ray, finally replacing the long out-of-print Bandai Visual USA release. I mentioned this on my Twi...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Magnificent 1997

Mike straps in to his time machine for a trip back to the year 1997 to revisit some of his old favorites, from Battle Athletes to a little show called Berserk! ― This week, I'm finding myself stuck between stations. I've got a couple of pieces in the early stages, and one column that's almost done but just needs a little more detail to really make it work. Retrospective pieces are always good in a pi...
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The Mike Toole Show - Searching for Star Blazers

It's a top-shelf, lavish remake of a smash hit sci-fi anime series many Western fans would love to get their hands on - so why did Mike have to import it from Italy to watch it legally? ― I tried to be patient for Star Blazers 2199. I skipped out on pirating the series; that's not really something I do anymore, unless the title in question only ever came out on VHS in 1988. When Voyager Entertainment...
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The Mike Toole Show - By the Book

Mike devours the Sound! Euphonium and Legend of the Galactic Heroes novels and then can't help but compare them to their anime adaptations? Which is better: the book or the movie? ― You can tell what a big anime nerd I am because of all of the books I've been reading lately. Just in the past couple of months, I've killed off the first of Hayao Miyazaki's essential two-part essay collection, Starting ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Hollywood Blues

Mike picks over the bones of the Hollywood Ghost in the Shell, catalogs the best adaptations so far, and wonders where live-action anime might go after this. ― This year's convention season is rockin' and rollin'. This week, I'm on show number three of 2017, enjoying the sights and sounds of Anime North up in Toronto. I come up to Canada for this show, and it's always an interesting time. I admire Ca...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Soundtrack and the Fury

Mike dives deep on a few strange cases where the music in an anime series mysteriously changed between broadcast and home video - starting with The Big O. ― Last month, after a fifteen year wait, I finally got to see the power-pop duo Puffy (known in these parts as Puffy Amiyumi) again. They were appearing at Anime Boston, which was a good fit; they've actually supplied a good 6 or 7 anime production...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Other 100 Best Anime Movies of All Time, Part 4

The final installment of Mike's mega-countdown is finally here! Which films made the top of the list? ― FOREWORD: Alright, since this is broken into four parts, I'll lead off by re-iterating: this project is an "answer" of sorts to a generally terrific list of 100 essential anime films by Paste Magazine. You can read my reasoning for compiling this selection in Part 1 of this particular list, or chec...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Other 100 Best Anime Movies of All Time, Part 3

Mike gets terrifyingly close to #1 on his countdown - Mamoru Oshii, Studio Ghibli and Type-Moon all make an appearance! ― FOREWORD: Alright, since this is broken into four parts, I'll lead off by re-iterating: this project is an "answer" of sorts to a generally terrific list of 100 essential anime films by Paste Magazine. You can read my reasoning for compiling this selection in Part 1 of this partic...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Other 100 Best Anime Movies of All Time, Part 2

Mike's back with Part II of his list of the "other" best 100 anime movies of all time, counting down 75-50! From Fullmetal Alchemist to Dr. Slump, how many have you seen? ― UPDATE: Alright, since this is broken into four parts, I'll lead off by re-iterating: this project is an "answer" of sorts to a generally terrific list of 100 essential anime films by Paste Magazine. You can read my reasoning for ...
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The Mike Toole Show -The Other 100 Best Anime Movies of All Time, Part 1

What if you made a list of the 100 Best Anime Movies of All Time and DIDN'T include Miyazaki, Satoshi Kon or any of the expected favorites? Mike Toole did it - here's part I. ― When I see articles like Paste's Top 100 Anime Movies of All Time, I grit my teeth a little, because I know what to expect, and it's hard not to get a little frustrated. List articles, so-called “listicles,” are the junk food ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Where to Be-GIN with Gintama

This week, Mike explores the weird and wonderful world of Gintama, a smash hit in Japan with a slight barrier of entry in the West. So what makes this action comedy so special? ― Earlier this week-- actually yesterday, if you go by column publication date—it was Anime Day at the video games retailer GameStop. This wasn't a major event; honestly, it was just an excuse to hawk some anime-related games ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Comic Market Sweep

Mike braves the massive crowds of Comiket, Japan's gigantic doujinshi show, and lives to tell about it - with plenty of photos. ― My wife and I pushed through the crowded, unending streets of Tokyo, still hauling our luggage from the plane trip. The first major stop of our journey was a little café over in Takadanobaba, right on the outer edge of Shinjuku, and we'd skipped dropping our crap off in or...
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The Mike Toole Show - Binge Benefits

Mike weighs the pros and cons of binge watching, the act of watching entire anime series (or huge chunks of episodes) all at once. Is the binge good, or is the binge bad? ― Every January, I visit Arisia, a science fiction convention here in Boston. For me, it's a fun change of pace – the convention is smaller and lower-key than the anime events I appear at, and while I'm on the speaking program, the ...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Amazing World of Anime Arcade Games

Mike straps you into a time machine and takes you back to an age when you'd walk into an arcade, pop in a quarter, and play through an anime. ― I was back in Japan a couple of weeks back, looking to experience my first Comic Market (it didn't disappoint) and do some other festive nonsense. After ringing in the new year at Kanda Myojin (the official Love Live! shrine, dontcha know), it was time for my...
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The Mike Toole Show - Christmas Special Forces

Mike runs down some of his favorite authentic holiday anime straight from Japan, like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Stingiest Man in Town and more! ― A couple of columns back, I talked about how I don't really listen to podcasts, which means that I'm about to tell you about this podcast that I've been listening to. It's a comic talk show featuring the gravel-voiced, filthy, childish comedian Gi...
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The Mike Toole Show - What's "Teekyu" Anyway?

Mike takes a tour through the weird, wild world of Teekyu, a long-running cult favorite that'll melt your brain inside only a few animated minutes. ― It's been a banner year for short anime series, to the point that you could make a pretty creditable top 5 just using shorts that range from three to twelve minutes per episode. My personal favorite is a toss-up between Please Tell Me! Galko-chan and Sp...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Strange Saga of Star Anime Enterprises

Mike details the long, odd and twisty tale of Star Anime Enterprises, a little-known anime company that released a whopping two titles in America. ― There's a pretty simple, obvious Thanksgiving tradition in my household. We get up early, we go to our pals' place (they host), and as we start to prepare for the multi-hour eat attack later in the day, we put on the big parade in New York. You know, the...
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The Mike Toole Show - Japan's Superhero Legacy

An encounter with My Hero Academia in Shonen Jump sends Mike on a whirlwind tour of Japanese superheroes like Golden Bat, 8 Man, and even Batman himself! ― I was at lunch when I got the notification: somebody had bought that Yu-Gi-Oh! card I had on eBay. I don't play Yu-Gi-Oh!, but I get a couple of cards every year as part of my Shonen Jump digital subscription. The cards are immediately placed on e...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Poll Vault

Anime popularity polls have been around for decades, and they've been creating slapfights for at least that long - Mike takes a survey of anime polls through history and what they all mean. ― It's election season in the US! Are you exhausted with the whole thing yet? I sure am—pals, I am completely full up on election news, speculation, and scandal. I have hopes about the outcome of my country's nati...
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The Mike Toole Show - Two Princes

Mike compares the two versions of The Heroic Legend of Arslan: the gorgeous 90s OVA and the recent Hiromu Arakawa series. Both have their charms - and a ton of different English names between them! ― I've been in work hell lately, which means I haven't had time to play the video games I was enthusing about last time. No Super Robot Wars, and just as importantly, no Arslan: Warriors of Legend. It's fi...
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The Mike Toole Show - All-new Originals

Mike takes a journey through the long and storied Super Robot Wars franchise, a mashup of strategy, action and beloved classic giant robot anime. ― Getting the game took longer than I expected. Just ordering it was complicated, a procedure involving an inquiry on Twitter, a few exchanged emails with a vendor in Malaysia, and a PayPal invoice. Then I was treated to a fairly long wait, which is my faul...
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The Mike Toole Show - gdgd Gravy

Mike's attempt at creating his own animation leads him to an encounter with gdgd fairies, one of the strangest cult comedy anime in recent memory. ― Did I ever tell you all how I myself became an animator? It's true! I am totally someone who has made original animation that has appeared on television. If you follow me on twitter or keep tabs on my incessant nerd behavior in general (lately: playing S...
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The Mike Toole Show - Touched By a Galaxy Angel

Mike sings the praises of Right Stuf's recently resurrected space comedy, Galaxy Angel - and ruminates on the genre as a whole. ― Last week at Otakon, I somehow ended up in the audience at the Right Stuf's panel. There were some technical challenges, but we won't get into that—my big takeaway from the event was company head Shawne Kleckner extolling the virtues of a genre he simply referred to as spa...
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The Mike Toole Show - Anthology Chronology

With the release of the newest film in the Project Itoh series, Mike takes a look back at the history of other anime anthologies from the Animatrix to Gotham Knight. ― While I sat there trying to digest the second installment of the Project Itoh film series, Studio 4°C's Harmony (note: it didn't sit well), I kept remembering a conversation I'd had with its director, Michael Arias, way back when he wa...
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The Mike Toole Show - Shirobako Prime

Animation Runner Kuromi, which tackled the anime industry long before Shirobako, sends Mike on a stroll through the work of innovative director Akitaro Daichi. ― Out of all the great men and women steering the production of Japanese animation, Akitaro Daichi is probably my favorite director who I never, ever think about. For something like twenty years, he's been omnipresent; from Nurse Angel Ririka ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Youth in Re-Voltes

Netflix's brand-new Voltron series has Mike remembering Voltes V, another giant robot show with an incredible and bizarre production and release history! ― In a couple of weeks, we'll see a brand new version of Voltron hit Netflix, bringing forth yet another iteration of World Events Productions' localization of Toei Animation's super robot series Golion. This latest version has caught my interest fo...
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The Mike Toole Show - Night of the Hunter x Hunter

The beloved shonen adventure anime Hunter x Hunter is coming to Toonami, which prompts Mike to launch into a full appreciation of this often undervalued action masterpiece. ― A few years back, the 2011 version of Hunter x Hunter was appointment TV for me. I watched it every weekend (and later, every Tuesday), eager for its thrills, plot twists, and the fun chemistry between heroes Gon and Killua. Lat...
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The Mike Toole Show - Food Wars for Thought

Mike tries out the flashy shonen cooking action of Food Wars, but an enticing aroma leads him further to Oishinbo, the series that really catapulted food manga into popular consciousness. Let's eat! ― I've spent the last couple of weeks commuting back and forth to the library, in pursuit of a particular manga series. You may remember, from my Monster Girl Hoedown column, that I'm quite fond of levera...
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The Mike Toole Show - Macross the Universe

A search for the Macross: Do You Remember Love bluray in Japan's DVD shops sends Mike on a trip through the storied franchise's history and all the weird legal problems that keep it out of American hands. ― Over a week into my Japan trip (yep, I'm still talking about that damn trip! Don't worry, it's almost out of my system), I still hadn't managed to figure out how alphabetical order worked in DVD a...
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The Mike Toole Show - Grudge Match

All the ruckus over Batman v Superman gets Mike thinking about all the crossovers and team-ups anime has attempted over the years, including the new Cyborg 009 vs. Devilman! ― Since the movie came out a couple of weeks back, the entire nerd section of the internet has been buzzing about this new Batman v Superman film. Is it good? Is it really bad? Is Ben Affleck Batman better than Ben Affleck Darede...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Gerry Anderson's puppet adventure show Thunderbirds had an enormous impact on anime; Mike takes a tour through some of the franchise's weird, wild and occasionally successful anime adaptations. ― When I'm lucky enough to hit the road and head overseas, I often find myself looking for two distinct experiences. Of course, I'll seek out completely new things—unfamiliar food and drink, and local art and ...
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The Mike Toole Show - Dark Side of the Moomin

If you've been an anime fan for a long time, odds are you've seen these weird creatures called Moomin at some point. If you've ever been curious what they are and where they came from, Mike's got the full report. ― I'm jetting off to Japan in a couple of weeks, the better to cover Anime Japan for this here website. This isn't purely a work trip, though—my wife is joining me, and we're building a vaca...
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The Mike Toole Show - The Glitter Force Awakens

Netflix's Westernized version of Precure, the beautifully-named Glitter Force, sends Mike on a mystical journey through other bowdlerized versions of anime like One Piece and Cardcaptor Sakura. ― The last couple of times I've been down to visit my brother and his family, I've had the pleasure of talking to one of my nephews about anime. See, he's right in the middle of that sweet spot after first rea...
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The Mike Toole Show - Monster Girl Safari

Mike dons his pith helmet and goes on an expedition to observe one of the most unique (and suddenly popular) species of anime character: the Monster Girl. The journey will change him... forever. ― Lately I've been cruising up and down the aisles of my public library almost every day, because the library is a good place to go and do important research of a critical, academic nature. It's also a good p...
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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 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 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 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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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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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 Mike Toole Show - The Secret of Mr. Osomatsu

In the wake of the success of Osomatsu-san, Mike takes a look at that show's source material and its connections to other eternally-popular gag manga from the 60s, like Doraemon! ― There's a new TV anime running at the moment called Osomatsu-san ("Mr. Osomatsu," natch), which is actually based on a gag manga and anime about six dumb brothers from the 1960s. It should come as absolutely no surprise to...
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The Mike Toole Show - It's Always Tsuneo

Mike takes a grand tour through the work of the late great Tsuneo Kobayashi, he of Midori Days, Twelve Kingdoms and Naruto -The Last- fame. ― It's getting to be that creepy time of year when I put “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett on repeat. Halloween and the Day of the Dead are closing in, so what better time to do a big list of spooky, scary anime—hey wait a minute, I hate making lists like t...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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!...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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 ...
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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...
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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 ...
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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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