Anime

Anime, or Japanese animation, along with manga is becoming increasingly popular outside of Japan. The latest DVD releases, new series announcements and other goodies can be found here. Dattebayo!

Fullmetal Alchemist OVA Collection

Fullmetal Alchemist Premium OVA Collection

Fullmetal Alchemist Premium OVA Collection

After the Fullmetal Alchemist animated series ended in 2006, alchemy fans had to hold their breath until the series was relaunched earlier this year as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. As the Elric brother’s journey is retold closer to the manga’s storyline, a set of short (sorry Ed!) clips from the previous series was available only to those in Japan. These brief videos featured a chibi party of the movie cast, the Elric brothers and their friend Winry, an interactive experience with the viewer as a State Alchemist, and finally a live-action clip of Alphonse Elric in armor form making his way to the Bones animation studio. At last, the alchemist inside all of us can catch up with the reunited English voice cast in Fullmetal Alchemist: Premium OVA Collection.

Unfortunately, as these clips are short, there’s not much else on the DVD aside from previews showing what other goodies FUNimation has available. It’s almost a sort of reunion for the voice cast, but most will notice that Al’s voice has changed –¬† considering that Aaron Dismuke, the voice actor, has aged slightly.

Interactive Experience
You’re treated as a new recruit to the state and given an introduction by Fuhrer Bradley himself before being assigned to Colonel Mustang’s regiment. Your brought along on a mission to hunt down the strange homonculi who’ve kidnapped two other alchemists, who are none other than Ed and Al. Once Envy ruins Greed’s chance at getting the secret of sealing a soul to a suit of armor, an all out battle ensues between the homonculi and the State Alchemists.

Live Action Featurette
Al Elric, still with his soul attached to the suit of armor, is in modern day Japan looking for his brother. Al makes it to Bones’ studios in Tokyo only to find out that he can’t make it through the door because of his size. If only Ed had this problem.

Chibi Wrap Party
After the movie, Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa, the entire cast, in chibi form, take over a restaurant to celebrate. Some surprises are to be had, but not limited to Envy wearing a costume, Scar and Lust disguised as metal-sheathed extras, and Riza Hawkeye insulting Roy Mustang.

Kids – Short
The title of the last clip on the DVD is accurate: it’s short and about kids. A young Ed (minus the automail), Al (sans armor) and Winry wander through modern day Japan (again) on their way to visit their great-great-grandfather, which turns out to be someone very familiar.

There’s nothing new to be gained from the DVD, and it doesn’t answer any questions or add further to the storyline. Personally, instead of releasing these on a seperate disc, these clips could have been packaged in as bonus features on the existing Season 1 and 2 box sets already available. If you do decide to go out and purchase Fullmetal Alchemist: Premium OVA Collection, shop around, but don’t spend more than $10 on it. I’ll go back and continue to watch Brotherhood.

Conan does anime

Conan O’Brien of the Tonight Show stopped by Bang Zoom! Entertainment to try his hand at some voice acting.

Haruhi Suzumiya on YouTube

Haruhi SuzumiyaKadokawa Shoten has posted full length English subtitled episodes of the popular The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya series on YouTube. There are eight episodes online so far, but will only be available until July 5th (July 6th if you’re in Japan). Kadokawa Shoten usually streams each episode a week after its been on air. Go check it out.

Source: Anime News Network

Naruto: Shippuden DVDs

The first Naruto: Shippuden DVD is set to be released on September 29th, 2009. The disc will have the first four episodes, similar to how previous DVDs were setup. There’s no word on any box sets yet, but those will probably appear in time for Christmas, if not soon after.

Watch Fullmetal Alchemist online

FUNimation has the latest episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood online. The episodes are subtitled with the original Japanese voices. Not a Fullmetal fan? FUNimation has episodes of Phantom, Blassreiter and Digimon Adventure 02 available, all subtitled, just to name a few. The best thing is, usually most sites that run full episodes of TV shows are restricted to viewing within the United States (usually for licensing and other legal issues). Fortunately, Canadian viewers can watch these series through the website without getting the “this video is not available outside of the US” message.

Arc the Lad review

The Arc the Lad series is based on the Sony PlayStation games Arc the Lad I and Arc the Lad II. Although the title labels Arc as the main character, it really is Elk that holds the spotlight.

The hijacking of an airship prompts the response of Elk to sneak on board to try and save the passengers and crew. What he comes upon is a chimera, a horrible mutated monster that was once a human being. The chimera manages to destroy the airship, but not before Elk manages to get the passengers off in the escape pods.

The air ship held many mysteries, one of which a young girl with a wolf/dog creature locked in a cabin and the arrival of men in black suits just shortly before the crash. Adding to the confusion is the mention of “White House” which awakens a horrible nightmare within Elk.

The background of the storyline appears when Elk hits a flashback of his childhood as his town is being attacked for their magical power, the power of the flame.

Before Elk’s father was shot, he saw a ship land, a ship that he believed to carry his family’s murderers. It was his vow that he would not sleep until he had confronted these people… a group led by Arc. Because of this attack, Arc was labelled a terrorist after presumably killing the king of his homeland, Smeria.

However, there is a slight inconsistency in the art as the series progresses, namely as the later episodes start to slightly degrade in quality. However, the action and suspense makes up for this.

This is just a base of the plot, but it’s full of adventure, excitement and dangers. As the epic progresses, a new darker plot arises with the introduction of a few new characters. It’s something that no anime fan should miss.

Naruto

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but haven’t gotten around to it. Naruto is an anime and manga series conceived by Masashi Kishimoto focused around a young up and coming ninja struggling to be recognized. It’s a pretty cool series that has lots of potential.

Sakura, Sasuke, NarutoBasically, Naruto follows an air-headed, energetic, loud-mouthed ninja-in-training. The series starts off with him graduating from the Ninja Academy in the Village Hidden in the Leaves. The hyperactive blond is paired with the boy-obsessive Sakura and the secluded Sasuke under the watchful eye of the apathetic Kakashi as the newly formed Team Seven.

I’ll pick off the three main characters and give a brief explanation on them.

Naruto is dead set on showing everyone he can be the best ninja there is -even if there’s a prank or two involved. His yearning for attention stems from the fact that the villagers have shunned him from a young age. A violent nine-tailed fox demon is sealed deep inside Naruto making him an outcast amongst others. However, Naruto learns that others do put aside this stigma and work to teach him teamwork and friendship as he continues his journey.

SasukeSasuke leads a mysterious life which is dictated by his past and lives only for revenge as a result. At first Sasuke was not interested in being teamed up with Naruto since he considered him a loser until orange jacketed ninja saved him from a potentially fatal fight. Sasuke is an exceptionally strong fighter, trained in his clan’s ability to use fire and is not to be underestimated in battle.

Sakura is a smart girl with excellent control and an insatiable thirst for Sasuke, even though he blows her off. Sakura is good at controlling her chakra, but demonstrates an understanding in basic ninja skills. Sakura is known for one of her physical traits: an over sized forehead which garners many jokes, even from her closest friends.

Naruto's Clone JutsuThe artwork is outstanding. I love the details and designs used by Kishimoto. The story takes place in Japan, but features some modernistic styles along with contemporary Japanese architecture. Each character has their own unique look and feel. Naruto pretty much appears out of place because of his bright orange outfit. We’re all used to seeing ninjas as completely clad in black, silent and deadly, but Naruto and his teammates changes all that. Some of the designs are catchy such as Sasuke’s exam outfit (all black with white bandages) or Rock Lee’s green jumpsuit and 1970’s orange leg warmers. However, the classic ninja conception makes cameo appearances later on as the elite ANBU squad (sort of the CIA of the series).

I’ve been following Naruto since early 2005, a late start. Currently I’m watching the anime and reading the manga so it’s like a running parallel. There isn’t much deviation between the two, except that the anime has fillers. Lots of fillers, which is unfortunate since they were used to help keep new episodes from airing along with new chapter releases in Japan. All in all, it has room to grow and as the story expands, new situations arise and challenge Naruto.

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