Category Archives: Anime News

Haibane Renmei Available for Purchase Today!

Once upon a time, a young man watched a series that moved him profoundly.  He immediately went to the web to seek it out and purchase it, even though he rarely bought DVDs anymore.  Finding that it was  out of print, he began a quest to find a copy at a reasonable price.  He scoured the Internet and spent a good chunk of time at his first anime convention simply searching for the DVDs.  Unsuccessful and discouraged, he nevertheless continued as he read or heard stories of lucky boys and girls who’d found copies on the cheap.

One day, this man received an email from one of the most interesting writers in the aniblogosphere.  Out of the kindness of his heart, this gentleman among gentleman offered to send him the DVD collectionfor free.  Overjoyed, the searcher beamed for near a week or more at both his coming receipt of this gift and at the generosity of the giver.

That DVD was Haibane Renmei.  And the man on that quest was Clint Eastwood.  Er, okay, it was me.

A short time after I received the copies, FUNimation announced that it was going to first stream the series, then release it on DVD.  They recovered Geneon’s license of the show after that company floundered, and had gotten around to processing it.

Today, the very reasonably priced collection is officially available.  It is a stunning series and one that pierced my heart.  Go show FUNi some love and buy it – I think you’ll find that it’s more than worth the money.

But maybe before that, try to get it for free.  You have until midnight tonight, central time, to enter to win a free copy of the collection.

 

FUNimation to Re-Release Haibane Renmei

Finally, it looks like FUNimation is going to release Haibane Renmei!  Previously issued by Geneon, the series has been out of print, though the property was picked up by FUNimation in 2010.  Since then, fans have been clamoring for a new release by the company (this writer was blessed to receive the DVDs as a gift).

Recently, FUNimation opened a page for the series, which includes streaming video for the first two episodes for subscribers.  It also features a new trailer, which ends with this image captured by a member of the Fandom Post forums:

Haibane Renmei DVD

It’s wonderful to see the folks at FUNimation streaming this classic and, more importantly, releasing it on DVD.  Now, let’s see if everyone put their cash where their mouths are and shell out what I’m sure will be a reasonable price for this amazing series!

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Catholic Mecha, Japan’s Yokai, and the Future of Saint Young Men

This week’s look at posts and other items in the anime blogosphere related to religion and spirituality.

Comic Book Resources interviewed Thundercats writer Brandon Easton, whose graphic novel “Shadowlaw” arrives in November.  With an art style influenced by manga, the work is an interesting concept involving the Catholic church (excerpt taken from the interview):

It’s a world where the Catholic Church has become the dominant political power with an army of giant mech armors to enforce their status at the top of the food chain, battling vampires who roam freely in their own mech armor — the world of “Shadowlaw.”

Asahi.com reflects on the place of yokai in Japanese culture, tracing its evolution into modern culture, including features in manga and anime.

Reported by Lost in America, among others, the new Rurouni Kenshin anime announced a couple of months ago will be a remake of the Kyoto Arc.  I mention this news because Kenshin is among the anime I recommend for Christian viewers, with its emphasis on themes that are celebrated in Christianity.  While Kenshin fans may generally not be happy with the announcement, I think it’ll be great to see one of best anime arcs ever reanimated (the original series has aged poorly) and possibly pave the way for an OVA or series based on the Jinchu arc in the future.

In the world of manga, Saint Young Men, Hikaru Nakamura’s critically acclaimed series about Jesus and Buddha living together as roommates in modern Tokyo, will go on hiatus.  Nakamura is starting pregnancy leave (congratulations!) and will be back as soon as possible.  Meanwhile, John of AnimeNation opines on the likelihood that the manga will be animated one day and if the work will ever be published on these shores.

Also on the topic of manga, the latest from the folks at Manga Hero, Many Are Called Volume 1, is now available for purchase.

Although not necessarily spiritually-themed, TOKYOPOP founder Stu Levy’s press release for the spiritually-titled documentary, “Pray for Japan,” went out this week.  Although strangely and almost overwhelmingly self-promoting, the press release nonetheless publicizes what seems to be quite an amazing film that is in need of funding.

Finally, I can’t help but mention El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron, Takeyasu Sawaki’s recently released game featuring character designs influenced by anime and a storyline influenced by the apocryphal Book of Enoch.  Reviews have been mostly very positive, with recent ones including those by PikiGeek and TIME.

Rurouni Kenshin to Finally Be Completed?

The June issue Jump Square magazine will announce that a new anime project involving Rurouni Kenshin will be developed.  I couldn’t be more excited.  The anime ended on a whimper, with a horrid third season of filler episodes that was so poorly received that the final arc of the anime was never animated, and a final depressing OVA released as well.  Neither came close to matching the series’ high points, which included the wonderfully weaved second season of the TV show and the first two OVAs, which this blogger calls the “most perfect anime ever created.”

Kenshin Himura

Image by Mui (via Pixiv)

As you might be able to tell, I’m hoping (and believing) that the new animation will complete the story told in the manga.  This final arc would follow our protagonist’s confrontation with Enishi, the younger brother of Tomoe, Kenshin’s first love.  The manga arc is an amazing read and I highly recommend it.  It also contains one of the most  heart-palpitating scenes I’ve ever read or seen – one that will shock you, particularly if you’re a fan of the series.

Rurouni Kenshin is also a series that’s full of ideas embraced by Christianity.  Though much more considered with Shinto practice and Buddhism (except for the aforementioned, painful third season, which centers around a “Christian” sect), themes like sacrifice, justice, grace, and redemption are ever-present in the series.  In other words, it would make great fodder for this blog. :P

I can hardly wait…and hopefully, the wait won’t take forever.

Source: Anime News Network

A Guide to the Guides: Spring 2011 Anime Series

Every three months, the anime blogosphere becomes filled with anime viewing guides for the upcoming season.  It’s an exciting time for anime fans, as anticipation is at its highest and not yet sullied by disappointing series.  It’s also the time where instead of creating my own guide, I do something which I think would much more handier – create a guide to the guides!  Below are some of my favorite winter 2010/2011 anime preview guides.

Preview Guides

  • T.H.A.T. Anime Blog
    Without fail, the writers at T.H.A.T. Anime Blog deliever excellent previews each season, including information like trailers, summaries, genres, and nifty additional details.  The shining spot, though, is the quick series of one-liners given underneath each listed series, which are often funny and written by some of the best and most knowledgable bloggers in the anime blogosphere.
    Grade A for great info and great fun
  • Random Curiosity
    This site provides a unique experience among preview guides.  In addition to giving necessary information about every series, it’s all the extras that make this guide stand out.  Divine includes additional season information (ex. how the disaster in Japan is effecting the schedule) and categorization and commentary about the shows in the concluding section.  Most importantly, the page features a table that shows when each show will air, and one for release dates of OVAs and movies.
    Grade A for being tabletastic and full of insightful and interesting reading
  • Emory Anime Club
    While the information about each show in this preview is no different from other sites, what stands out here is the commentary about each.  Tsuki and Steve write plenty about each show, providing the potential (given in percentages) for each, as well as other information, including comparisons to other series.
    Grade A for one-stop shopping and expert analysis
  • Sekijitsu
    The writers for this blog are energetic.  It’s fun to read their commentary about each show.  But maybe even better than that is how pleasing the preview is to the eye – the page is really attractive and each series is accompanied by a nicely-designed picture/information cube.  The bloggers are also smart in hiding the long commentary and trailers, which only show up when clicked.
    Grade A for design and blogger moeness

The above-linked guides were each mostly created by multiple bloggers.  I also appreciate the in-depth guides made, heart and soul, by singular bloggers.  Blogs that fit in this category (check them out!) include Otaku Life, Hashihime, Yuri no Boke, and Banana Muffin.

Charts and Other Preview-related Sites

  • The Cart Driver
    I’m not sure if Scamp was the first to create an “anime season preview chart,” but his may be the most prolific.  Frequently linked to and resposted, Scamp’s charts provide the basics of each show for the upcoming season in a clean and attractive format.
  • Moetron
    Moetron’s visual guide is very stylish and contains information about each series, as well as this spring’s OVAs and movies.  The site also gives a great TV listing schedule.
  • Countdown Anime
    This fun site provides countdowns for each of the new anime this winter.  It’s a neat way to get even more excited about the upcoming season.

Notes

I’m also looking forward to previews by Rabbit Poets and Major Arcana.  Each has excelled with their past previews, but I’m unsure if either or both will create such posts this year.

What I’m Looking Forward To

It’s always fun to look back and see what we planned to watch and how it turned out.  Last season, I mentioned that I was looking forward to Hourou Musuko and Fractale.  I’m still enjoying the first greatly, while I dropped the latter after just two episodes.  Instead, I picked up Infinite Stratos (for better or worse).

Typically, I only want to watch about two series each season, but this spring, I’m looking foward to four.  I’ve been waiting for Moshidora ever since I first heard about the concept last year – if nothing else, it should be fun and interesting.  Nichijou is the type of series that is usually hit-or-miss with me, but it’s director’s association with Key productions means I’ve got to give it a shot.  Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai has a storyline that captivates me and again, the director, who did work on Honey and Clover and Toradora!, two of my favorites, has me intrigued.  Finally, I want to check out Sket Dance, since I’ve nearly started on the manga a half-dozen times.

Enough of me, though.  What are you looking forward to this spring?

Of Kami and Buddhas: Tokyo’s Anime Temple!

CNNGo reported today about the Ryohoji Temple in Hachioji, which has become an anime temple.  That’s right: anime temple, complete with a theme song, anime character, monks praying to the anime character, and…a maid cafe.

What?!

The 16th century temple began its transformation when the chief monk tried to get young people to come to it.

Since then though, the temple has become known as “Moe-dera” (“newly budding temple”), a reference to  “moe”  — a feeling of attraction to a blossoming young girl, usually a manga character — while “dera” means “temple.

Moe Buddhism…WHAT?!

I’ve gotta say…I think I’m only surprised because of my personal connections with my faith, which I take seriously (sometimes too seriously).  In Japan, religion is a “practical religion,” with plenty of room for syncretism and, in this case, the inclusion of pop culture.  In other words, this is soooo Japan.

Go to CNNGo for the article in its entirity.  Also, check out the temple’s website, which has the to be the most commercial website EVER for a religious institution.

Edit: I’m apparently years behind on discovering this.  Please forgive me. :P

A Guide to the Guides: Winter 2011 Anime Series

Every three months, the anime blogosphere becomes filled with anime viewing guides for the upcoming season.  It’s an exciting time for anime fans, as anticipation is at its highest and not yet sullied by disappointing series.  It’s also the time where instead of creating my own guide, I do something which I think would much more handier – create a guide to the guides!  Below are some of my favorite winter 2010/2011 anime preview guides. Read the rest of this entry

NIS Licenses Working!! (or, Let’s Eat at Wagnaria!!)

Working!! is coming to America.

YES!

Working animeRobert’s Anime Corner Blog covered NIS America‘s announcement that it has licensed Working!! for release in March.  I’m really excited!  From what I gathered, the buzz for this show was low when it came out, so I had doubts it would ever reach our shores.  The show, about a group of workers at a family-style restaurant, is terribly charming.  I’m not sure what led me to watch it in the first place, but I found myself wanting more and more to see each new episode, and I was sad when its ended. 

To add to this great news, the release will apparently be similar to NIS’ awesome Toradora! releases this year.  Yep, a cool boxset-type-dealy with hardcover artbook!  The only strange thing for me is the name change; NIS will release is at Wagnaria!! (the name of the restaurant).  Ehh…doesn’t quite roll of the tongue.  Perhaps this change was made because if you google “Working,” it’s difficult to find information about he show since it’s such a common word.

Inami Working

Artist: Pixiv Member 14574128 (via Danbooru)

As for it’s connection with spirituality (after all, my blog is about anime and Christian spirituality), there’s nothing obvious in the show.  However, for all the unhealthiness of the primary relationship that develops, there’s really a sense of I Corinthians 13 love in it – patient, kind, forgiving, protecting and, in an interesting manner, pushing away evil.

Definitely consider checking this series out if you haven’t already.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

More information:
Working!! Wikipedia page
Official Wagnaria Website

Angel Beats!! Epilogue Preview is Now Streaming

TK from Angel Beats

Scrambled it trouble down!

While there’s no certainty about an Angel Beats! sequel (makes sense financially? continuity-wise, maybe not so much?), we do know that the final DVD release of the show in Japan on December 22 will bundle the last episode with an all-new epilogue.  A 30-second preview of the epilogue is now streaming.  Besides T.K.’s “Hooh,” I have no idea what’s being said/written in the “next episode preview”-like trailer.  But I know I’m excited.  Even the the episode’s title (“Stairway to Heaven”) is getting me pumped.

Can someone explain what’s being said to me?

Source: ANN

Love Your Neighbors…Even ANN

Splitter of Chocolate Syrupy Waffles just released a scathing open letter to Anime News Network addressing the company’s leak of episode two of Oreimo one day before it even aired in Japan.  The comments following the letter have been equally vicious.  The letter made some very strong points.

Now, I didn’t pay for ANN’s streaming service.  I’m not familiar with the criticisms levied at ANN.  And I have no history with the higher ups at the organization.  To sum it up, I’m ignorant and thus a very non-expert – an outsider who learned much from Splitter’s letter.

However, I am an expert in grace.  After all, I’m among the worst people I know, and I’m still loved. Keep reading…