Dream (Level 20)

Time for crap to fly again. Shall reveal what I've got in store in two weeks.
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Figured I'd cover this in case no one has gotten word of it. The Weekly Shonen Jump manga publication has announced that the manga series, Assassination Classroom, will be getting an anime adaptation that will air on Fuji TV late night in Japan every Friday starting in January. A commercial commemorating the new anime series will be hosted on the title's web site in the near-future and Weekly Shonen Jump will be releasing a still of the characters in the series in anime form at Fuji TV's headquarters.

The anime is based on Yusei Matsui's popular and ongoing comedy manga series of the same name focused on a middle school that has a classroom full of misfit students whose teacher is an alien octopus with psychic powers. Said alien has destroyed the moon and plans to destroy the Earth unless his students can succeed in killing him by the end of the year. The Assassination Classroom manga series has been licensed by Viz Media, who plan to release the first volume of the series for American readers in December.

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Expect this blog posting to be regularly updated throughout this weekend to account for any later announcements made by American distributors throughout the weekend at Anime Expo. Outside of licensing announcements, I will also add in details on other announcements made by distributors during their industry panels:

NIS America

  • NIS announced two upcoming Blu-Ray releases for the anime, Hanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home and Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W (which will be released under the title Nyaruko! Crawling with Love Second Season). Home Sweet Home will be released on October 14 and the second season of Nyaruko will be released on November 4. Both sets will be released in Premium Edition sets.

Funimation

  1. Colleen Clinkenbeard as Luffy
  2. Luci Christian as Nami
  3. Sonny Strait as Usopp
  4. Eric Vale as Sanji
  5. Christopher Sabat as Zoro
  6. Brina Palencia as Chopper
  7. Stephanie Young as Robin
  8. Patrick Seitz as Franky
  9. Ian Sinclair as Brook
  10. Jeremy Schwartz as Z
  11. Lauren Landa as Ain
  12. Matt Mercer as Bins
  13. Brian Mathis as Garp
  14. Ed Blaylock as Sengoku
  15. Andrew Love as Akainu
  16. Jason Douglas as Aokiji
  17. Ray Hurd as Kizaru
  18. Mark Fickert as Mobston
  19. Micah Solusod as Coby
  20. Mike McFarland as Helmeppo
  21. Juli Erickson as Tsuru
  22. Tia Ballard as Young Z
  23. Angela Chase as Purin
  24. Darryl Roberds as Kibin

Rightstuf

Sentai Filmworks

Aniplex of America

  • Aniplex plans to release a Blu-Ray box set of Valvrave the Liberator's first season on September 23 and will accept pre-orders of the series beginning Monday. The set will be priced at $149.98 USD and will have Japanese audio with English subtitles. Special features and bonus content with the set will include creditless opening and closing sequences, trailers, commercials, postcards and a collectible poster signed by character designer Katsura Hoshino.
  • The company plans to hold a contest where it will award two winners the opportunity to receive a paid trip to attend the AnimeJapan convention in Tokyo on March 21 and 22 of next year. More details on the contest will be revealed on Aniplex's official site.

Dark Horse Comics

  • Dark Horse announced their acquisition of the one-volume Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt manga and an Art of Satoshi Kon artbook. Both will be getting releases in May (Panty and Stocking) and August (Kon artbook) of next year.
  • The company will be resuming their printing of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service manga starting in August 2015, by releasing the first 13 volumes of the series in sets of three-volume omnibus publications and resuming the printing of individual volumes starting with the 14th volume of the series afterward.

Viz Media

  • For manga, Viz announced that they have acquired licensing rights to the second part of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure manga series, Battle Tendency, and Requiem of the Rose King. They plan to digitally release Battle Tendency in March.
  • Viz also plans to digitally release the first part to Jojo's Bizarre Adventure manga, Phantom Blood, in Sepetember and released to print in February 2015, with the printed release being a deluxe edition with color pages and new cover art. The third part, Stardust Crusaders, will be digitally released starting today with new volumes of the series coming out every week.
  • For their Shojo Beat manga line, Viz has licensed Vampire Knight: Life, Meteor Prince and The Demon Prince of Momichi House. Vampire Knight will be released as a digital exclusive, while Meteor Prince and Momichi House will have releases starting in January and July of next year respectively.
  • The English dub cast for Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet was announced. The cast include the following:
  1. Alan Lee as Ledo
  2. Cassandra Lee Morris as Amy
  3. Matthew Mercer as Chamber
  4. Marc Diraison as Kugel
  5. Karen Strassman as Striker
  6. Julie Ann Taylor as Bellows
  7. Patrick Seitz as Pinion
  8. Laura Post as Ridget

Viz plans to release the series to DVD and Blu-Ray sometime later this year, included with additional OVA episodes.

  • Viz also announced their release plans and dub cast for the upcoming re-release of the original Sailor Moon anime seasons. The dub cast will consist of the following:

Main Voice Cast

  1. Stephanie Sheh as Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon
  2. Kate Higgins as Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury
  3. Cristina Vee as Rei Hino/Sailor Mars
  4. Amanda C. Miller as Makoto Kino/Sailor Jupiter
  5. Cherami Leigh as Minako Aino/Sailor Venus
  6. Robbie Daymond as Mamoru Chiba/Tuxedo Mask

Supporting Voice Cast

  1. Johnny Yong Bosch As Artemis
  2. Michelle Ruff as Luna
  3. Danielle Nicole as Naru Osaka
  4. Ben Diskin as Gurio Umino
  5. Tara Platt as Ikuko Tsukino
  6. Keith Silverstein as Kenji Tsukino
  7. Nicolas Roye as Shingo Tsukino
  8. Cindy Robinson as Queen Beryl
  9. Todd Haberkorn as Jadite
  10. Liam O'Brien as Nephrite
  11. Lucien Dodge as Zoicite
  12. Patrick Seitz as Kunzite

Viz is planning to release the first BD/ DVD boxset of the series on November 11; with the Special Edition set including six discs, a chipboard box with space for the second part BD/ DVD set and an 88-page booklet containing artwork, character profiles and episode guides. Extras on the discs will include an interactive art gallery, behind-the-scenes voice recording, announcement panel and fan reactions, sizzle trailer, creditless opening and closing sequences and other trailers. Pre-ordering the Special Edition boxset through Rightstuf will get fans a collectible coin while supplies last.

Vertical Inc

  • Vertical announced that they too have acquired printing rights to a Satoshi Kon artbook, Dream Fossil: The Complete Satoshi Kon. The artbook will include 15 short manga stories that Kon developed and some projects that he developed during his late teen years that led to his anime direction career to start up. The artbook will be released in the summer of next year and will sell for $24.95.
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This is some pretty big news if you're a fan of the Sailor Moon anime franchise. At Anime Central just today, Viz Media announced that they have acquired licensing rights to all TV seasons, specials and movies to Sailor Moon. This licensing snag includes the fifth season of the franchise never released in America called Sailor Stars and the upcoming Sailor Moon Crystal series that will premiere in Japan on July 5. The older titles of the franchise will be released entirely unedited, include a new English dub and will be streamed in subbed format via Viz's Neon Alley service on Hulu starting Monday with its first four episodes and adding on two additional ones for each Monday afterward. Viz plans to start releasing box sets of the older seasons in the series sometime late in the year, while they will announce more details on their release plans with Sailor Moon Crystal in the future. In celebration of the acquisition, Viz plans to hold a "Sailor Moon Day" event at Anime Expo on July 5 (the day of Sailor Moon Crystal's premiere) to host panels with the new dub staff and crew, as well as try attracting a large number of Sailor Moon cosplayers.

The Sailor Moon anime franchise is a long-popular mahou shoujo series based on Naoko Takeuchi's manga series of the same name that debuted in February 1992. The anime focuses on Usagi Tsukino and several middle school girls around her age gaining magical powers based on the moon and planets to battle the forces of evil. The first season and part of the second series, Sailor Moon R, was first brought to America in an edited format for syndication in the mid-1990s by DIC Entertainment and later brought onto Cartoon Network's Toonami block. DIC's English dub was infamous for Americanizing the names of the characters, altering or cutting out plot points and editing or removing content considered objectionable to a young American audience. The later two seasons, Sailor Moon Super S and Sailor Moon Star S, also aired on Toonami which were more faithful to the Japanese script, yet altered several plot points which notably included Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune being cousins instead of lesbian lovers. The first four seasons of the series were originally released to video in the 2000s in unedited formats by ADV Films and Geneon, with the former having rights to the first season and R while the latter had rights to Super S and Star S.

Here is a video of Viz's announcement regarding their acquisition of the Sailor Moon franchise...

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Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned was a 94-minute TV special that originally aired on Japanese TV on August 19, 1980. The TV special was adapted from Marvel Comics' “Tomb of Dracula” comic book series and was part of a business dealing between Toei and Marvel in the late 1970s where the former gained the rights to make several animated and live-action spins on Marvel Comics characters. The TV special was released on VHS in America in 1983 through Vestron Video and was dubbed by Harmony Gold, whom some older anime fans may know as the company who dubbed the popular 1980s animated mecha series Robotech. The VHS release for Dracula has been long out of print with the tape being very difficult to obtain through legal means.

The Plot

You'd think people would question why the couple is dressed in traditional vampire garb.
You'd think people would question why the couple is dressed in traditional vampire garb.

During a ritual by a Satanic cult to summon the devil, the vampire Dracula steals away their sacrifice in the form of a young woman named Dolores and makes her his wife. Wanting to live his life peacefully with his bride and their child Janus, Dracula finds himself hunted by vampire hunters seeking revenge on him and members of the Satanic cult wanting him killed as punishment for deceiving them in taking Dolores.

Notable Characters (from left to right)

  • Dracula- The vampire of legend who gained his undead form from Satan centuries earlier due to the violent and depraved acts he committed in protecting his land from other empires. He tricks a Satanic cult in thinking he is Satan and steals away their sacrifice Dolores, whom he makes his wife.
  • Dolores- A female member of a Satanic cult whom Dracula steals away to become his wife and give birth to a baby son named Janus.
  • Janus- The baby son of Dracula and Dolores. He is killed during an attack by the leader of the Satanic cult and is resurrected into an adult body to serve God's will in slaying the creations of Satan that cause suffering on Earth, which include his father Dracula.
  • Satan- The living personification of evil dwelling in the underworld who is responsible for turning Dracula into a vampire.
  • Frank Drake- A human descendant of Dracula's who is a skilled martial artist who joins a pair of vampire hunters in slaying Dracula.

Why It Sucks

Dracula: Sovereign of the Dracula appears to be an attempt at compressing the events of its source material into a 90-minute film, resulting in really sloppy storytelling and rushed pacing of its events.

The major element of the film that was rather confusing was how the title attempted to depict Dracula. Sovereign of the Damned tries making efforts at depicting him as a tragic figure who wanted to live happily with his family, wanted to be left alone and experience life as a mortal man. Yet at the same time, he had no qualms with sucking on the blood of humans or killing others who threaten him and he tries regaining his immortality later in the film when he loses his vampire power.

Sure, join the vampire hunters when one of them is threatening you with a freakin' crossbow.
Sure, join the vampire hunters when one of them is threatening you with a freakin' crossbow.

Other sloppy elements to the film have to do with the implementation of its storytelling. The title's logic with elements to its world get messy, deus ex machina is employed quite often, questionable plot directions take place, certain characters who seem relevant in the film are actually mostly worthless, plot twists occur without any prior foreshadowing and an anti-climactic ending takes place with Dracula's fate. Adding more to this fun mess is that Toei attempts rendering a Western animation style with its character designs, yet this makes them appear more stiff and lifeless in appearance compared to conventional anime designs of the time period.

The English dub for Sovereign of the Damned is also a nice example of the rather low standards of anime voice acting in many 1980s dubs with two different types of acting from the voice cast: either bored and flat acting or over-the-top in an attempt at being dramatic, such as the case with Dracula's dub actor in many of the film's moments. Scenes in the film are also usually accompanied by a narrator who acts just as over-the-top as Dracula in attempting to give Sovereign of the Damned's events any sort of meaning or emotion.

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Suffice to say, this is a rather underwhelming way to go out on as this last title I'm covering isn't really as much of a dud as I've heard of it to be, even with my indifference on it. I don't feel like going out on this forgettable kind of note. So next weekend, I will have a better final review covering something I've wanted to cover on Ani-Crap Review for a while now that will make for a better swan song and being a fun way to celebrate my fifth year on Anime Vice. Otherwise for now, I will be tweaking my review format slightly to reflect my thoughts on Dog and Scissors.

Dog and Scissors was a 12-episode comedy TV anime series animated by Gonzo and aired on Japanese TV from July 1 to September 16 of 2013. The series is based on the ongoing light novel series that has been written by Shunsuke Sarai since February 28, 2011. The anime is licensed for American video distribution by Sentai Filmworks.

The Plot

Our novelist seems to have a bondage fetish.
Our novelist seems to have a bondage fetish.

Kazuhito Harumi is a high school student with a strong love for reading books who is killed while trying to protect a girl at a restaurant. Reincarnated as a dachshund dog, Harumi is adopted by the girl he tried to save in the form of Kirihime Natsuno, a popular novelist whom Harumi is a fan of. Unfortunately, Kirihime turns out to have a rather sadistic personality who lashes out at others with a pair of scissors.

Notable Characters (from left to right)

  • Kazuhito Harumi- A high school bookworm killed while trying to protect Kirihime from a burglar and reincarnated into the body of a dachshund. He winds up under ownership to Kirihime as he regularly puts up with her sadistic personality.
  • Kirihime Natsuno- A popular novelist with a sadistic personality who is known to lash out at others with her thick pair of scissors known as Hasajiro. She is one of a few people capable of listening to Kazuhito's thoughts and has feelings for him.
  • Madoka Harumi- Kazuhito's little sister who is a bad cook and known to wield a technologically-advanced knife that can turn into a chainsaw and cannon.
  • Suzuna Hiiragi- Kirihime's editor sporting an unstable and masochistic personality who enjoys suffering abuse from Kirihime.
  • Hami Ohsawa- Kazuhito's female underclassman who is very shy and apologetic. The two met while he was still alive where he promised to read the completed novel she would write after he came across an unfinished script for it. She is capable of utilizing several mind control methods such as suggestion and hypnosis on others through her writing.
  • Maxi Akizuki- A popular idol and writer who fancies herself as a rival to Kirihime. As a running gag throughout the series, she attempts stealing the spotlight in an episode only to be dragged away by her bodyguards.

The Review

By the looks of it, Dog and Scissors' comedy stems from milking Kazuhito's unique predicament, his chemistry with Kirihime and his encounters with the several eccentric characters that cross paths with him and Kirihime. Kirihime and Kazuhito's chemistry consists of her milking the “tsun tsun” variant of the tsundere character in her abuse of Kazuhito and the latter serving as doormat to the antics of Kirihime and others that he encounters. The antics of these characters unfold either through self-contained episodes or episode arcs running for two to three episodes when Kazuhito encounters a new character.

These beefcake guys are in the anime. I kid you not!
These beefcake guys are in the anime. I kid you not!

This looks to be a case where Dog and Scissors is attempting to make itself unique as a comedy, which I will compliment it for as it doesn't fall under any conventional premise that is peppered in recent titles like harem comedies or slice-of-life comedies involving high school girls. Yet at the same time, it suffers from the shortcoming of any pure comedy title in that the title's enjoyment from audiences stems from how receptive one is to the show's style of comedy. This is a case where I'm not really into the show's style of comedy as Kirihime's yet another variant of the tsundere archetype and the comedy of the series mostly relies on the eccentricities of its cast to carry it along. Several of the characters in the series are notable for their violent tendencies with certain weapons and abilities that the show milked for much of its run for comedy, which killed my interest in the comedy as the show progressed when I realized that it was the dominant comedic element of the series and lacked much else to offer.

This isn't to say that Dog and Scissors is a horrible title as it does have a style of comedy that is a little different from the norm. But like any pure comedy title, your mileage will vary with how well you enjoy it.

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