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Eureka Seven is currently unlicensed after its former license holder Bandai Entertainment went under leaving prices for the now out of print dvds to sky rocket. It has been under speculation by fans for a while now that Funimation would be rescuing the series after picking up the show’s sequel Eureka Seven AO.

Early copies of the new One Piece dvd (Season 5 Volume 4) that will be coming out on December 3 have shown up with a Eureka Seven trailer announcing a blu-ray/dvd combo pack. While the trailer itself has yet to surface online, fans were quick to grab a few screen shots from the disk. Funimation has yet to make a formal announcement about acquiring the show, and though they still have time before the dvd in question hits retailers, it is a little strange to see such a major license rescue slip through the cracks like this.

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Aniplex of America is looking to keep their Toonami slot filled with the announcement that their show Blue Exorcist will be premiering on Adult Swim's Saturday night anime block this coming March. Their other show Sword Art Online is projected to be finishing up its run on the block on February 15th while Soul Eater is ending on March 15th, leaving one to assume that Blue Exorcist will be taking the Soul Eater spot with yet another to be named show coming in February. With the announcement Toonami published a trailer for it on their official YouTube channel which can be seen below. Not much to say about the show outside of it being a good match to compliment an already solid line up of shonen action series. Aniplex has released the dub in two limited edition box sets earlier this year.


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Adult Swim's weekly Saturday night anime block Toonami previously announced that they would be taking a break from the normal schedule come the holidays and be airing three movies through December. The full line up of movies for the month was announced today and features a wide array of great films. Previously said to be three weeks of movies has now gone up to four, probably due to a packaging deal considering all of the films are from Funimation. Here is the line up!

12/7 - Akira

One of the most influential anime films of all time, especially in American fandom, Akira is a perfect fit for the action block with gorgeous and fluent animation that still holds up well considering it is form 1988. It should be interesting to see how they censor a certain scene, if at all, and whether they will take the newer Pioneer or classic Streamline dub. Only time will tell I suppose. The film was recently re-released by Funimation on Blu-ray.

12/14 - Summer Wars

From director Mamoru Hosoda, of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and the recently released Wolf Children fame, the family friendly film Summer Wars is a wonderful tale of family and adventure with a hint of Miyazaki flare. Not a full on action movie but a great choice to diversify the line up.

12/21 - Fullmetal Alchemist:Conqueror of Shamballa

Sequel to original Fullmetal Alchemist series. A weird choice considering they have yet to air the 2003 run and the currently running remake Brotherhood has its own movie.

12/28 - Trigun: Badlands Rumble

The adult swim classic Trigun is back, which I could of sworn aired on Toonami back in the day, with the full length movie that came out 12 years after the original series with some great animation and action.

Also promised are some amazing promos, shirt giveaways, and absolution scenes so it should be an interesting month for Toonami fans.


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As an enthusiast of several artistic mediums, I have been a part of many varying fandoms and written about them over the years. One common element in these fandoms is an appreciation for the older works in certain genres. This is something I have found very different when it comes to anime fans. Shows become less sought after the older they are and fans tend to stay in their comfort zone gravitating to the newer and more talked about shows whose art styles are clean and modern. Many shows from the early 2000’s that were staples when I first became an enthusiast seem to be lost on newer fans and aside from a few nostalgic titles from the Toonami era the 90’s are hardly touched. So what about the 80’s, 70’s or even the first wave of black & white televised anime in the 60’s? While I complain about this ignorance in the fan base, I have yet to dig too far into this area of anime myself. So I decided to take a journey and explore the origins of this medium I hold so dear.

What gets the honor of being considered the first anime? If you look hard enough there are plenty of shorts dating as far back as the 1910’s all the way through World War Two propaganda pieces that use primitive animation techniques that are by definition “anime”. There are several movies, even some in color, that were being produced by studio giants such as Toei through the late 50’s and early 60’s such as “The Tale of the White Serpent” & one of my personal favorites “Alakazam the Great”. In 1961 there was the first Japanese animated television program “Otogi Manga Calendar”, which aired short 3 minute episodes daily for almost a year. Yet when it comes to anime as we see it now, we have a lot of respect to pay to the original 1963 run of Astro Boy.

Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atomu), which was written and directed by the “god of manga” Osamu Tezuka, founded the base of anime as we see it today. One of the more noticeable of these is the adaptation of an original manga into an animated series, manga adaptations are still to this day where a good portion of our anime comes from. The structure of animation studios and how shows are produced from the idea of weekly episodic stories to opening and closing can see their seeds here as well. While there were a few oddities that had television airings before, after Astro Boy is when you start to see shows get aired on television on a regular basis with several greats airing shortly after such as Gigantor and Prince Planet and anime has continued on television for over 50 years later. For these reasons it can be safe to call Astro Boy in many respects the first modern anime. So now that we got why I’m starting with Astro Boy for this discussion let us get to what the show is.

Astro Boy first hit Japanese airways on new year’s 1963 and lasted almost 4 years with 193 episodes. Astro Boy also made short work in making its way over to the west by airing a very interesting and faithful English dubbed version created by Fred Ladd for national television on NBC starting in 1964 lasting 104 episodes. The show is more akin to what we see in traditional cartoons in many ways, but has a very dark undertone in many of its jokes that can be both psychological and social commentaries. The first episode deals with the death of the kid that Astro Boy was modeled after (cleverly named Astor Boynton) and the obsessive working of the boy’s father to create a new son in his image. When this new son named “Astro Boy” doesn’t grow or act as the other kids his father sales him into an implied slavery by a circus owner who mistreats his robot workers till the episode ends with civil rights given to robots. The mature themes do not stop there as with episode two Astro Boy has a scene that can be described as a psychological breakdown with him questioning both his humanity and abandonment issues to later on be discriminated against for committing crimes just because he is a robot. While these issues stuck out to me they are still presented in a very cartoony and comedic fashion leaving any dark undertones to be found under the surface. The creators of the English version opted out of several episodes due to being too "cruel or grotesque", considering what was aired I really want to see what had to be cut. As of yet in my viewing there is no overreaching story arch and each episode keeps with the theme of a standalone adventure where Astro Boy saves the day, sometimes with a cheesy fourth wall breaking line to end the show such as “Time to move on to my next adventure!” or something along the same lines.

Even though the show is very much a cartoon it is one of the best ones I have seen, featuring very artistically creative designs in both the robots and humans he encounters, a trait that is common through most of Tezuka’s works. The settings per episode also feature amazing art direction and range from a journey through space and Mars to a Middle Eastern desert. Characters act wacky and your suspension of disbelief pretty much has to go out the window when people hilariously survive gun shots to the head Looney Toons style. The animation chugs in quality throughout leading to very funny and humorous fight scenes with the bad guy of the week or simply lazy looking still frames. Being a very early analogue show the quality of the digital transfer varies per episode with some looking clean and crisp while others, particular when it comes to audio, are a lot muddier. Yet while mainly being a kid’s show, I can see how the next generation of animators, writers and directors who grew up with shows such as this took the underlying themes presented before to make the more mature style of anime we see today.

The original 104 episode English run of Astro Boy is currently streaming legally on Manga Entertainment’s YouTube channel and has been released on two limited edition dvd sets by Right Stuf which include several episodes in Japanese including one, the last, non-English run episode. What shocks me the most though is while the complete run in Japanese has had a dvd release, there is no notable complete fansub to my knowledge. For a show that holds so much history one would assume this would be a project worth completing for anime historians especially in a day and age where anything current no matter the quality has at least one group subbing it. The massive 193 episode count can be the reason for this as well as what hinders most fans from checking it out. While the first two episodes took a little while for me to get interested I have since been enjoying a fun adventure here and there. It is by no means a show to be marathoned, but I plan on seeing it in full at a pace of an episode a day or so. It might not be why you got into anime but it is definitely worth at least checking out an episode if for nothing more than historical context.

Astro Boy as a franchise is still coming back occasionally with remakes of the series in 1980 and 2003 as well as an American made cgi film in 2009 that while good unfortunately bombed in the box office. The same English version of the show from 1964 aired in part on Adult Swim through 2007-2008 and had one episode played to end Toonami’s april fool’s revival.

Depending on how things go I am contemplating continuing this as a series of articles, no promises!

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Toonami has been on a roll lately with some major announcements including the world premiere/dubbed simulcast of Space Dandy coming this January. On the same day as this (which is projected to be January 4) Naruto Shippuden will be taking over the original Naruto’s 12:30 spot starting from the beginning of the series. The original Naruto has aired on the block since last December and will be ending after only 52 episodes on November 30 with a 3 week schedule of movies clearing that spot through most of December. Shippuden dub premiers will continue to air on Viz’s Neon Alley streaming service. Naruto will have 168 episodes unaired from the series so completionist might want to get moving on that.


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