Starting March 5th, we will be hosting the Second Annual Global Shinkai Day Film Festival. Global Shinkai Day brings the acclaimed works of CoMix Wave Films director/creator Makoto Shinkai, back to CR for 48 hours of viewing. Last year's event was a huge success, garnering much attention.
For those who are interested, our friends at Cherry Blossoms Falling will be sponsoring several contests where you could enter in a chance to win Makoto Shinkai autographed movie posters. Cherry Blossoms Falling will also be hosting around-the-clock audio chat for fans to meet and discuss these wonderful films.
Anime no Chikara (literally the Power of Anime) is a name not everyone may be familiar with, but it’ll soon be a name every otaku knows. It is the alliance under which some of the greatest names in anime production have gathered to create an anime of epic proportions. The result of their efforts is Sora no Woto, meaning Sounds of the Skies, and it certainly does not disappoint. Sora no Woto takes place in the distant future where wars have caused life to dwindle and modern technology to vanish. Fifteen year old Sorami Kanata signs up naively for the military to learn to play the trumpet rather than to fight for her country. She was rescued as a child from an abandoned building by a solider, whose beautiful trumpet playing forever inspired her to learn to play it herself. However, Sorami’s platoon turns out to be the black sheep of the army for being essentially useless; they’re stationed right by No Man’s Land, so nobody would ever dare to attack them or the area. Even so, as Sorami learns to play the trumpet, she also learns more about her fellow platoon members and what the trumpet means to her.
Immediately upon watching Sora no Woto, one can see that the background art is absolutely gorgeous. The amount of detail is stunning, and it almost seems as if you could reach out and touch the landscapes. Every stone, crevice, and cloud is visible, and they were animated with great care. The fictitious town where the story takes place, Seize, looks fantastic as well, and the style of it is certainly fascinating. Seize is a town in Western Switzerland, which is why the houses are very European and the main language spoken is French, but a set of Japanese masks can also be seen for sale in the first episode. Seize has its own culture and beliefs, and with its unique, detailed look, it almost seems like a real place. The opening is very stylistic and clearly influenced by the work of Gustav Klimt, a notable symbolist artist. The usage of gold is quite striking as well; it enhances the imagery of the opening and sticks out in a positive way. In combination with the interesting poses and placements of the characters, the opening is distinct, memorable, and beautiful.
The music of Sora no Woto is magnificent and fresh compared to that of other anime. Music plays a significant part in this anime because of Sorami’s goal, and the background music communicates its importance. Each piece not only reflects the atmosphere of each scene, but also enhances the underlying emotions of each character. In combination with the artwork, Sora no Woto can provide a breathtaking experience. One’s desire to see Sorami succeed in learning the trumpet may increase because of this, and thus give one a better connection to the story. However, it’s not just the instrumental and classical pieces in Sora no Woto that make it so striking, but also the inset, opening and ending songs. The first inset song heard in this anime is a beautiful piece sung in French, and it easily conveys the feeling of the entire show. The opening song is far off from your traditional J-Pop; it has a mysterious feel to it, and it expresses that there is something deeper to Sora no Woto then one may think. The ending song does happen to be bubbly J-Pop, but as the mood of Sora no Woto can be quite melancholy, having a lively song for the credits balances out the atmosphere.
The story and characters of Sora no Woto are quite a creative mix of moe and the military. Moe, a “turn-on” factor anime where beautiful females have stereotypical personalities and give out fan service, turns off many people, but there is an exception with Sora no Woto. Not only is there no fan service, but the stereotypes are only the bases for the girls’ personalities. As the anime goes on, the vulnerabilities each character possesses begin to show, and they all have more complex personalities than one may think. This form of moe makes the series gender neutral and more enjoyable than with regular moe. Also, despite how the initial artwork may seem cute, Sora no Woto is actually quite gloomy. It is Sorami’s positive outlook that maintains a balance of depression and cheerfulness. Because it has both it’s somber moments and positive moments, it’s easy for a large audience to like Sora no Woto. As well, the military factor makes it different from any other anime because most military anime include a lot of fighting, action, and guns, but Sora no Woto is far from that. It’s a story about friendship, music, and achieving your goals. The fact that the characters are a part of the army is what makes the overall background story more interesting. Since the last war killed many creatures and people, some automatically hate these innocent girls for “killing” their loved ones, even though they are a part of the army to protect everyone. It gives the show much potential for circumstances like having Sorami be forced to fight, as well as test the strength of their characters.
Anime no Chikara turned out to be a good investment for TV Tokyo and Aniplex, the companies who collaborated to make all of this happen. The combination of the utterly beautiful backgrounds and opening, exquisite music, and a captivating cast and story created this alluring piece of art known as Sora no Woto. It’s rare to see an anime that has mastered so many elements of an anime with such ease, and it’s certainly something you’ll never forget.
A flash of neon blue petals dominate the screen. The distinct resonance of a guitar rattles the room. Then, growing from the darkness, there is a familiar sight; a Gundam soaring through space. The lyrics begin, and the opening visuals careen to the vibrant sound. This is Mobile Suit Gundam 00, and you are listening to Daybreak’s Bell.
Debuting at Number 1 in the Oricon Singles Sales Chart; “Daybreak’s Bell” is the 32nd single from the Japanese Alternative Band, L'Arc-en-Ciel (French for “the Rainbow”). The song discusses the ramifications of war and violence, and its place within humanity. Is war an inevitable aspect of the human condition? Or can it be halted if the will of the combatants are strong enough?
For those unfamiliar with the Gundam franchise, a common motif throughout the series’ is that war is not a game, but a defining trait of the human race, and an unfortunate side-effect of the undefinable, metaphysical entity known as “humanity”. Daybreak’s Bell compliments the Gundam philosophy with its powerful lyrics and message. However, much like in the Gundam metaseries, despite the ominous themes, there is a sense of fun and excitement that emanates from the piece. While listening to Daybreak’s Bell, one never finds themselves overwhelmed by the issues, or too consumed by bleak, philosophical contemplation; rather, the song keeps the listener engaged and enthused with its upbeat tempo and widely-appealing melody.
To the band itself, L'Arc-en-Ciel first formed in 1991, in Osaka, where they gained something of a cult status. In 1993, the band recorded their debut album “Dune” with the independent publisher, Danger Crue. In 1996, L'Arc-en-Ciel released their first number 1 album; “True”, selling over 1 million copies. Since then, the band has enjoyed increasing success, but also endured disheartening lows, such as drummer Sakura’s departure in 1997.
Nevertheless, L'Arc-en-Ciel has persevered, rising through the Japanese music industry, and in doing so, delivering “Daybreak’s Bell”; a masterful work that reflects the series that endorses it; Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
Dragonball Z Kai English dub announced:
After months of speculation, the official English dub for Dragonball Z Kai has finally been announced. According to ANN, the cast is almost entirely unchanged with the exception of a few roles. One of the more significant changes is the part of Gohan, switching from Stephanie Nadolny to Colleen Clinkenbeard. Other changes see the inclusion of Monica Rial (Bulma), Doc Morgan (Narrator) and Brina Palencia (Chiaotzu and Puar) replacing the likes of Kyle Hebert, Tiffany Vollmer and Monica Antonelli. Whether Hebert will return for Adult Gohan later on the series remains an uncertainty at this point.
The first season of Dragonball Z Kai should be released on DVD and Blu-ray in the middle of May 2010.
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Saki tops the anime DVD chart: Saki, the story of a high school girl skilled in mahjong, has reached the top of the DVD charts in Japan. According to Oricon the series, which premiered on Crunchyroll last year, topped the chart for the week of 14th February beating the likes of Ponyo and Valkyria Chronicles. Volume eight of Saki contained episode 20-22 and is the penultimate release for the series before next month's final release penciled in for the 3rd of March on Amazon's Japanese site.
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Trigun shoots over to Funimation:
According to Anime Vice, the classic anime series Trigun has been given a new lease of life after being acquired by Funimation Entertainment. The news was announced at this year's Katsucon convention in Maryland. A release on DVD is planned for later this year, marking the first new addition of content for Trigun since 2003 when the license was under Geneon and Flying Dog.
All 26 episodes, says a press release from Funimation, will be available in the 2010 Fall season.
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Haruhi is God...of the box office:
Despite considerable criticism of the second season of the Haruhi TV series, her fans have rewarded the anime icon with a very strong showing at the Japanese box office this past week. The Vanishment of Haruhi Suzumiya, reported by News2u.net, has taken upwards of 200 million yen (2.2m USD) in its first week of release. Hundreds of fans waited in line in freezing conditions just to be to the first to witness the three heroines Haruhi, Mikuru and Yuki take part in their first cinematic outing from Kyoto Animation Studio. The animation house has risen to prominence in recent years with successful adaptations of such series as AIR, Kanon and Clannad.
Durarara!! Episode 3
At first blush, Durarara!! seems very carefully paced, with a few slow, introspective moments to help establish a few of the characters, such as Mikado's awkward arrival at Ikebukuro and how he sticks out as a newcomer to the scene. Suddenly, the show flops over onto its head and blows raspberries at the viewer when a huge fight breaks out, one that more-or-less starts with Shizuo punching a guy out of his clothes. This has, for me, defined the fascinating unpredictability of the show.
Did you know that Masashi Kishimoto never intended to create Sasuke Uchiha when he first penned the Naruto series. His editor suggested that Naruto needed a rival character to act as his foil, and thus Kishimoto took several tries before he got Sasuke's look down. To this day, Sasuke remains the most challenging character for Kishimoto to draw, yet it is also the character he has the most fun with.
Yamato and Sai recognize their opponents as trackers from the Hidden Mist Village, but Naruto attacks without questioning. The Hidden Mist demands Utakata be handed over to them in exchange for Hotaru.
The mysterious Kuesu Jinguji appears before Yuto and Himari wielding powerful magic. Like Yuto, she is a demon slayer. Himari becomes agitated when Kuesu forces herself on Yuto and kisses him. Meanwhile, Shizuku decides Kuesu the demon slayer must be killed, and sets out in search of her.
It’s raining in Kabukicho. As Gintoki curses the rain for going against the weather forecast, a woman comes up to offer her umbrella. Feeling bad, Gintoki declines, but the woman hands him the umbrella and tries to leave, revealing herself to be none other than Ms. Ketsuno the weather girl. Due to viewer complaints for reporting the wrong weather, she has been dropped from the show. It is said that rather than using technical data, Ms. Ketsuno reads the stars to predict the weather. However…?
Word of the Day
こんなところ来とうはなかった（加藤清史郎：子役、天地人） (pronounced: kohn-nah to-koh-roh key-tou-wa nah-kah-tah) This is a famous quote from NHK taiga drama "Tenchijin"," meaning "I didn't want to come here!"