Funimation and Sentai Filmworks made big announcements just today at Otakon over titles they license rescued from Bandai Entertainment. It was reported by Anime News Network back in May that both companies were in talks with Sunrise to acquire titles that were formerly distributed to home video in the North American market since Bandai's closure last year. It appears the major acquisitions have begun of Bandai's old license library. Here are the titles that Funi and Sentai had acquired from their dealings with Sunrise.
Anyone else who hasn't followed news on Bandai titles, Funimation had also announced earlier in the year that they acquired several titles in the .hack franchise with Sign, Legend of the Twilight, GU Trilogy and Roots.
In addition, Discotek picked up a couple former Bandai titles with Blue Submarine No. 6 and Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade. Blue Submarine will be getting a DVD and Blu-Ray release later in the year, while Jin-Roh will be released sometime in early 2014.
Also, RightStuf announced earlier in the year that they have acquired video distribution rights to Gundam Unicorn, as they plan to release the series to DVD in four volumes with the first three volumes consisting of two episodes each and the fourth containing the hour-and-a-half long final episode that will be released to video in Japan in Spring of next year. The first and second volumes will be released later this month on August 20.
Queen's Blade: The Exiled Virgin was a 12-episode ecchi/ action anime that aired from April 2 to June 19 of 2009. While airing uncensored during its broadcast run on AT-X, the series was heavily censored on other channels it aired on in Japan. The series was based on a manga series franchise made for several seinen magazines like HJ Bunko and Comp Ace, which were published from 2007 to 2011. The series was released to DVD for American audiences by Media Blasters in 2010.
A battle tournament called Queen's Blade is held every four years within the Continent's capital, Gainos, between various female warriors to crown a new Queen who will rule the Continent. A young woman named Leina, heiress of the acclaimed Vance family, travels to Gainos to take part in the tournament and encounters several warriors along her journey who have differing reasons for being involved in the tournament.
If there's a fetish or character type that appeals to the otaku crowd, Queen's Blade is likely to have it. For the most part, the series is one big excuse to show off the attire of its scantily-clad fighters and the perverted quirks that a number of them indulge in. There are plenty of boob and ass shots to be seen throughout the series, along with a nice amount of nudity and sexual predicaments that come along thanks to the antics of a number of this title's characters.
The first season of Queen's Blade is meant to introduce many of the characters who will be competing in the tournament. While many of them do get their focus to explore why they are participating in the tournament, it is hard to get attached to their characters when their personalities are paper-thin archetypes and the most prominent aspect that fans tend to focus on will be either their well-endowed figures, the fetish that they personify and/or the notable sexual quirk that they have. The series is also intentionally left open-ended for the second season of Queen's Blade, which would focus on the progress of the tournament.
Genocyber was a five-episode cyberpunk OVA series animated by Artmic Studios and Bandai Visual and released in Japan from May 24 to July 21 of 1994. The series is based on an unfinished manga series written by Tony Takezaki and illustrated by Byakuya Shobo. The series was licensed for American video release in the late 1990s by Central Park Media, who released it on VHS and later on DVD. Both releases of the series are now out of print.
Genocyber is notable for having a couple notable figures in anime involved in its creation. Koichi Ohata, whom some of you may know as the director of another infamous anime dud called M.D. Geist, was responsible for directing and writing on the series. Shou Aikawa, a screenwriter notable for his future involvement in writing Twelve Kingdoms and the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, was also involved in Genocyber’s writing.
In a near-future setting, the world’s nations are beginning to make moves in establishing a global government and corrupt corporations are trying to take control of them through their private armies. One such corporation known as the Kuryu Group is in development of a powerful weapon called Genocyber that combines cybernetics with powerful psychic abilities. To complete its creation, the corporation seeks out a psychic girl named Elaine who escaped the Kuryu Group’s confines and befriends a homeless boy.
Genocyber is quite infamous among older anime fans for its ultra-violent content and nihilist direction it takes to exploring the futuristic society it takes place in.
Sporting worst violent content at points than even M.D. Geist, Genocyber features a good number of gory scenes such as disembowelment, dismemberment and exploding heads. Two notable graphic scenes that stick out in the series include a detective whose skin on much of his body is completely torn off to expose all his internal organs while still alive and some kids getting mowed down by helicopter gunfire in graphic detail.
The series also comes to increasingly glorify its nihilist direction in later episodes, best shown through the degrading quality of the series as episodes progress, which are divided into three arcs and take place in differing settings and time periods. While the first episode is somewhat decent focusing on Elaine’s bond with a homeless boy and the evils of genetic engineering, the series quality increasingly tanks in later episodes with greater focus on the depravity of many in the show’s cast, limiting depth on characters and some confusing elements in the show’s narrative involving timeskips and Genocyber that don’t get much focus thanks to the title’s rushed pacing.
Because of the limited depth of characters in this series and a good number of them being depraved scumbags, you are likely to care less for them as many of them will inevitably be killed in a bloody or graphic matter from either the depraved characters within an arc of the series or Genocyber destroying everything within the setting of the arc towards its end.
Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie is actually a two-episode OVA series animated by Studio Pierrot in 1996, being based on Sega’s popular video game character. The anime was picked up for American video distribution by ADV Films in 1999, who released the series to VHS and DVD. The 1999 release of the OVAs had some censorship to edit or remove scenes considered objectionable to a young American audience, but had an uncut re-release done in 2004. All versions of the OVA are out of print.
Dr. Robotnik unleashes his latest robotic creation, Metal Sonic, to destroy his arch-enemy, Sonic the Hedgehog with Metal Sonic having the ability to match the abilities of Sonic and think like the blue-haired speedy hedgehog.
Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie is another case of a 90s OVA used to promote a popular video game series. The plot, for the most part, is just an excuse to feature Sonic and Metal Sonic’s extended battle in the title’s second half as it doesn’t really add anything new plot-wise to the Sonic mythos with its plot being rather simple and forgettable.
The OVA does take a number of liberties with elements to the characters from the video game, which make its relevance to Sonic fans even questionable. Examples include Knuckles shown to be capable of flight despite only gliding in the games, Metal Sonic having similar personality quirks as Sonic despite it being more hostile and self-centered in its intentions and Robotnik desiring a romantic partner despite being self-absorbed in his plans of global domination and destroying Sonic in the games.
The visuals to the OVA are quite subpar with simple and crude details on scenery and character designs, washed out colors and plenty of animation shortcuts implemented with reused animation frames and speed stripes being the norm in action scenes.
ADV’s English dub for Sonic is also worth mentioning as it has a good amount of infamy for how the voice actors portray their characters as their acting is laughably awkward with Tails sounding like a sick 4-year old child, Knuckles sounding too perky and Robotnik sounding quirky and comical. In Robotnik’s case, this should come to no surprise considering the movie reduces him to a comical loon, somewhat similar to how the American “Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog” cartoon portrayed him.