takashichea (Level 25)

Finish wiki/image moderation. I am sorry I am late. Today was a busy day. Same for Saturday because I have to help my club w/ the potluck.
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Welcome everyone to the Anime Vice's Naruto Manga Roundtable! Whoo, are you ready to hear some of our folks' thoughts on the manga series and its ending? Our speakers are ...

  • Dream - Battle Mod, Ani Crap Reviewer, and a fan who has seen over a hundred different anime series
  • Taichokage - Toriko Wiki Expert, Shonen Connoisseur of all sorts, and Hall of Famer
  • Katmic - Claymore, Magi, and Seven Deadly Sin Reviewer
  • UsaChanMan - Lover of Romance, Shonen, and Shoujo genre and a closet nerd writer/artist

Questions were written by me.

Which character is the most memorable?

UsaChanMan:
Of all the Naruto characters, Jiraiya was the most memorable character for me. I feel that he played such a big role in Naruto's life, and quite arguably, one can say that he was one of the key characters that made him into the ninja he is. From training Naruto to harness the Kyuubi's chakra, to teaching him the Rasengan and finally, inspiring him to become a sage - he truly was both Naruto's greatest teacher and the closest thing to a father figure he had.
Dream:

Nagato/ Pain in my case. Unlike many of the major Naruto villains who only got their back story told just as they were about to die, the series devoted time to focus on how his character came to be and what led him to be part of Akatsuki and desire to gather the Jinchuriki.

Taichokage:
Hard to say really. I guess for me it would be Orochimaru. He was the longest lasting villain in the series and the earliest major one.
Katmic:
Gaara- He has one of the most complete stories in the entire series alongside Neji; Neji's death was timed perfectly because his story had ended back in the first part of the series. Even after his impressive storyline in Part 1, Gaara remained rather prominent in the series and his battles against the former kages were among the more impressive.

Where did the manga series perform well?

Dream:
It's high point came during the middle of its run when Akatsuki became more active. Unlike Orochimaru who was the apparent villain before the title's timeskip, the Akatsuki were a more convincing threat since their plans affected many of the major characters and involved the many ninja countries. Their presence led to some major characters in the series to be killed off that offered a more serious edge to the story compared to its earlier chapters.
Taichokage:
Part one. I even liked the majority of part 2. Where it fell starkly for me was the early stage of the 4th Great Ninja War. I remember the last good arc and great fight to me was the Kisame Arc (if you can call it that). Love the villain and the final fight between he and Guy was amazing.
Katmic:

The first part was of Naruto was one of the best, which is why i am looking forward to the new series. Kishimoto clearly shines when it comes to working with kids. It's with the adult elements that he seems to falter. The first part of shippuden was pretty well paced in reintroducing the characters and all the changes they had gone through over the years even while giving a spotlight to lesser known characters like InoChikaCho, the Sand Siblings, Itachi and the rest of the Akatsuki and even Tsunade. This trend culminated in the Pain Arc, the best and most coherent arc to date.

The Second portion of Shippuden faltered, starting with the Five Kage Summit Arc on wards; certainly the series shined with the 'Taming the Nine Tails' mini arc, in between the Summit and War arcs, but other than that, the second part of Naruto Shippuden was Hit or Miss.

To my own surprise, I would Disagree with about the beginning of the Great Ninja war. A few months ago i would have downgraded it as one of the worst sections of the Naruto series; rewatching it, however, completely changed my perception, making me realize that what i thought failed to deliver, and what i was quick to complain about was the lack of action, at least to the level that i expected. And this is the advantage of watching the anime over the manga. Watching over a few weeks what manga readers would have read over a period of months to a year provides an understanding manga readers simply do not enjoy.

Certainly Madara rocked the second part of the war. But the first part of the war has a level of depth that most of the series hasn't seen in quite a while; from Gaara to Mifune to that sand shinobi no one remembers, the first part is actually the most memorable of the war, packing whole years worth of character development into a select few moments. Gaara vs the former kazakage could have been a storm of sandy battles, and i personally would have preferred that approach. But the action wasn't essential to achieving Kishimoto's purpose for unleashing Edo Tensei, which was to bring character plots and storylines to a solid and final close even while raising new questions.

It is easy to dismiss the Mifune vs Salamander clash as one of the worst clashes of the war, only to realize that it might not have provided the awesome samura/shinobi clash we wanted, but it was filled with fairly interesting back story and depth regarding human determination, the regrets that emerge from failing to reach one's ambitions and the strength they can eventually generate.

Admittedly Kishimoto squandered even this opportunity, choosing to ignore most of his undead shinobi; none the less the complaint has about the second part of the war, the unfortunate focus upon Naruto and Sasuke, he has to admit Kishimoto tries to deal with in the first part before the pair arrives on the battlefield, by basically spreading the action around. Again, this perspective comes from watching that entire portion of the war as a whole.

What are its flaws?

Dream:

The series started going downhill following Pein's defeat and never really recovered with the really lazy means employed to undo much of the drama that affected Konohagakure when Pein appeared in the village. It dragged really badly in the Great Shinobi War arc with Madara being a pretty overpowered character, power upgrades galore being milked and a poor attempt at introducing a "true" final villain in the form of Kaguya.

But I think the biggest criticism I have towards the series is that it got too focused on Naruto and Sasuke for later chapters. The other Konoha ninja we were introduced to at the start of the series got little focus as the plot progressed further after the timeskip and the series did a poor and unconvincing job at trying to make it seem like Sakura was as important to things in the series as Naruto and Sasuke when her character development grinded to a halt long before the Great Shinobi War arc started.

Taichokage:
Kishimoto forgot or neglected far too many cornerstone characters for far too long. You could tell he was trying to force their relevance towards the end but it was too late. In some cases like Rock Lee I don't feel that Kishimoto even tried very much. Everyone was waiting for the 8th Gate to happen. I think Lee is one of the few prominent characters that did not scratch the surface of surpassing his master. It could have been Lee's chance to shine since part one had it been he that entered the 8th Gate not Might Guy. Lee is just a prominent example though. This applies to many formerly notable characters.

Even more than that however is Kishimoto's unreal failure to follow the logic that he established within his own story. The last year of Naruto had more plot holes than probably the prior 10 combined. I could make a whole blog on this but I don't wan't to hate on a series that I won't deny has some sentimental value for me.

The main issue with Naruto for me is that I think Kishimoto really was trying to cater to a younger audience from the get-go got a bit darker when he realized there was an older demographic that appreciated his work, then went full circle at the very end. An everyone lived happily ever after minus Neji Hyuga, all the dead aside from him forgotten, all the villains still alive are either forgiven (Sasuke) or not elaborated on (Orochimaru and Taka), and the romance is skipped completely and just cuts too the end results. Very childish in my opinion. However, it was not without it's pros. I would not have stuck with it for years had it been all faults. I have dropped series' before and Naruto is not among them. I caught up over 6 years ago and first saw it over 9 years ago. It was not for nothing that I saw it through to the end. I also think that a marathon of Naruto would be more enjoyable. The dragged out parts will not seem very dragged and the plot holes are easier to miss.

Katmic:

Manga readers are always quick to complain about the so called Talk no Jutsu as the series' primary failing; and i have always defended the series in this arena. This is mostly because even the most surprising villain transformations are never as 'out of the blue' as people make them out to be. There is no so called BS on the part of the plot because previous revelations and character developments always provide a rational explanation for the change.

Pain was never more than an Obito puppet, merely twisted by his own grief but never truly evil.

Obito was, well, crazy; listen to him speak long enough and you will realize that his monologues display some disturbing levels of denial. None the less, even explaining away some of these elements doesn't change the fact that Naruto has waaaay too much talking. I personally find the Jubito elements of Naruto's Talk no Jutsu to be the series' lowest point, a waste of a villain and an anti-climatic end to a very messy battle. Sometimes, even if it makes sense, a story works better when fists do the talking, like Naruto vs Sasuke part 1.

The unnecessary focus upon Naruto and Sasuke, basically the failure to capitalize on its large cast, is the only arena in which One Piece, at least in my eyes, supersedes Naruto. An interesting issue to note to though is the fact that, had Kishimoto made this war about all the rookies and peripheral shinobi, rather than just Naruto and Sasuke, it might have run longer than four years, albeit a more entertaining four years. Then again maybe not.

I would however dispute with other Naruto fans about the abundance of logical flaws; Kishimoto does ignore his own rules in some case, but these instances are very rare if one takes the entire Naruto series into consideration and what Kishimito stated or showed can and can't happen. Again, the insight of an anime viewer.

For Naruto, should it end early? Which arc?

Taichokage:
I felt it would have been fine even up to the the final arc. The issue is the Great War Arc took well over 4 years to wrap up. It could easily have been done in 2-3. I would have personally shaved about 18 months off. The pacing of 2013 and early 2014 in particular were nothing short of a snails pace. Unbelievable re-telling of events we already knew or had seen. It was the only period since I caught up to Naruto that I considered dropping it.
Dream:

They should have wrapped things up with the Great Shinobi War arc much earlier and then devoted time to properly wrap up ongoing developments with characters, the latter they didn't even bother addressing thanks to the lazy "what are they doing now"-style ending.

Katmic:
The First Naruto/Sasuke fight could have been a great enough place to end. Once it hit shippuden the series couldn't have ended early though. There were way too many loose plots to close and questions to answer. The War arc could have been shorter by a year. In utilizing his entire cast rather than stretching Naruto's presence, Kishimoto could have allowed for more memorable battles to emerge even while wrapping up most of his plots at a faster pace. This as opposed to focusing on a single large never ending battle. I wouldn't say that the last fights were dragged out, because they actually kept things fresh with each new chapter. Things were changing, new strategies were being tried. This wasn't just Ichigo throwing Getsuga tenshou over and over again. But i can see how some people might have found it tiresome.

How does Naruto distinguish from its fellow Shonen series?

Dream:
I wouldn't say it sticks out too greatly from other long-running shounen titles I've seen. It has a gimmick that appeals to its target audience and employs the typical cliches and character types used for it. Seemed to work well enough for it to be as popular as it was the past 15 years.
Katmic:

I am going to suggest something controversial and say that Naruto isn't as cheesy as One Piece and maybe those elements of depth in its Story lines have transcended through to new shonen series. Calling One Piece cheesy isn't negative in itself. The reason so many people compare One Piece to Fairy tail is because they share the spirit of adventure. However Fairy Tail takes those elements to the extreme and comes off as very cheesy with its nakama elements.

One piece maintains the perfect balance in its presentation of an action shonen series; yet, to an extent it is just an anime, mostly rooting its plots in basic action and entertainment. Naruto can get tiresome with all its talk about the will of fire and friendship (and Naruto's endless speeches about Sasuke). Yet the series has always presented a more philosophical message to its audience, with interactions between many of its characters providing a lot of insight into humanity as a species, the concept of death, sacrifice and grief. It was shonen at its heart, and yet Kishimoto would often speak with an adult, very grounded voice, with the shortest lines of dialogue often speaking mountains. Not to offend anyone, but when i think of One Piece, i see Luffy shouting or crying at the top of his lungs in an exaggerated manner, running after meat and fighting to become the strongest. Sure his spirit to explore makes One Piece a joy to watch.

Yet in watching Naruto fight, not to become the strongest, but to find an answer to world peace, an answer that three generations of shinobi had failed to locate and which simply came down to endurance and perseverance throughout the hardships of life, made Naruto a much more somber anime, one whose will i can see emerge in new shonen, many of which are placing less emphasis on fighting and more on plot progression. Hopefully they can find a better balance than Naruto, which sacrificed waaay too much of the action in favor of talking.

As one of the HST, do you believe Naruto affects upcoming Shonen manga series in the last decade? And how so?

Katmic:

Naruto, One Piece and Bleach didn't create their respective formulas; but they popularized them and breathed new life into the shonen genre. I can see how many upcoming shonen series might pick a leaf or two from Naruto, particularly in telling the same old thing better. We knew from the first page that Naruto would become the final and greatest hero of the series. Yet Kishimoto meandered and detoured so much along Naruto's story that readers were kept on the edge of their seats about how the final story story would play out and whether Naruto would really triumph.

After all, it was until 200+ chapters later that Naruto finally acquired the power to finally stand against the lowest members of Akatsuki and even then, all he had was a truly scary attack. It would take another 100+ chapters before he came into his own, at a point where heroes from previous manga were already giants of their series.

We knew that the fox would become Naruto's final weapon; yet the way Kishimoto cast it aside and had Naruto seek out alternative sources of strength kept the mystery of this dark power hidden long enough to have readers doubt the future of this plot. IN other words it has become a thing, for new shonen manga to do the same old think but in a new way, keeping readers interested with plots that some would consider overdone. One might impute some credit to manga like Naruto that, rather than being extremely original, focused upon simply telling a good story.

Which battles were your favorite? Your least favorite?

Taichokage:

  • Kisame Hoshigaki vs Might Guy
  • Naruto in 4 tailed Kyubi mode vs Orochimaru

I'm probably forgetting something though......

My least favorite was a toss up between Obito Uchiha vs the Shinobi alliance and Kaguya Ohtsustuki vs Team 7.

Katmic:
Faves
  • -The Pain Arc Battles were all great.
  • -Itachi vs Sasuke
  • -Naruto vs Sasuke (both battles, even if the final fight was a little rushed).
  • -Jiraiya vs. Pain.
  • -The masked man vs Minato.
  • -InoChikaCho and Kakashi Vs. Hidan and Kakuzu.
  • -Taka vs Killerbee
  • -Obito vs Konan

Least Favorite

The Jubi/Jubito battles simply got too big, with too many players on the field for the fight to make any sense. Kishimoto would have been better off splitting Madara and Obito, and having the pair face off against different enemies.

Same for Story Arcs

Katmic:

The Fourth Great Ninja War. It was hit and miss

Dream:

Favorite story arc was the Pein arc since it properly explored a clash of ideologies between Pain and Naruto based on their differing tragic pasts and got us quite the big major character death with Jiraiya.

Worst story arc for me was Great Shinobi War arc. Was really dragged out and Madara was a poor excuse of a villain for the arc with how overpowered and shallow he was in terms of character.

Taichokage:
Unfortunately my least favorite was the Final Arc, the 4th Great Ninja War Arc.

My favorite is is either the Sasuke Retrieval Arc or the Pain Invasion Arc. Probably the former if I had to choose.

How do you feel about the ending?

Rushed. Was there some Editor at Shonen Jump demanding that Kishimoto end his manga at 700. Because their was a clear obsession to end at 700. The final Naruto/Sasuke fight was alright, provided equal amounts of large scale battle and hand to hand combat (which is preferred). But it could have been so much more. The series needed an entire arc to close all its loose threads. However with a third series we just might get all the answers we need.
Taichokage:
Not bad but tremendously rushed. Many of the relationships is not most of them had no basis within the context of the story. Even the main character did not have any on-panel romance or bonding with his "to be".
Dream:
A big waste of time. The Great Shinobi War arc was already dragged out enough and they did a poor job incorporating Kaguya into the title's storyline. While Naruto and Sasuke's final battle was an expected development by many for Naruto's finale, the buildup to it was horrible and the whole "what are they doing now" style final chapter is something that has been done to death in long-running shounen titles like this.

Are you a shipper? Did your dreams come true in the ending?

UsaChanMan:

I’ll admit I can be a shipper at times; however, my dreams did not come true in the end. I found it a little unrealistic that most of the girls ended up with the guys they wanted… and I did not like how the match-ups seemed to be based off of very shallow romances. I definitely did not like the Sasuke and Sakura pairing whatsoever, and the fact that Sakura still has feelings for Sasuke still baffles me to this day. As stated by a lot of Naruto fans in various forums, the Naruto couples looked like they came right out of fanfiction stories.

Despite my disappointment, I won’t pass judgement just yet, seeing that the last Naruto movie still hasn’t been released and I have a feeling a lot of loose-ends will be tied up then.

Katmic: Not a shipper. But Naruto and Hinata worked for me. It made the most sense. One is right to question Sakura's character and her obsession with Sasuke despite all that he did to her. Sasuke didn't actually do anything to Naruto. But, for lack of a better term, he was pretty mean to Sakura.
Dream: Was never big on shipping with this series. Romance was never Naruto's major focus and this was reflected in the lack of proper relationship developments between couples.
Taichokage: Unfortunately no. I was glad that a certain young man achieved his dream but otherwise no. I have never been a fan of major time skip endings or little ones running around at the end. That's why I dislike the manga ending of Full Metal Alchemist more than the 2003 anime version.

How do you feel about the upcoming movie?

Taichokage:
I look forward to it a good amount actually. To me it looks more promising that the manga ending and very refreshing in general.
Dream:
No different from how I feel about other movie tie-ins for long-running shounen titles. Judging from the trailer, the movie exists as both a final attempt at a cash grab for the series and to satisfy shippers of Naruto x Hinata, despite the little interaction Naruto has had with her throughout the whole series.
Katmic:
The Last in supposed to be a love story so i suppose it will be something different; considering that it will answer a number of important questions, i am looking forward to it. Specifically watching Naruto's growth. He doesn't even look like Naruto. A hair cut can't make that big of a difference.

Which was more enjoyable: anime or manga?

Taichokage:
I dropped the anime some years ago but I think perhaps the anime, filler content aside was more enjoyable. Naruto is not a dark series nor is the art it's forte so very little needed to be censored and the animation did not drop the quality of the manga art most of the time in my opinion.
Katmic:
If anyone has the option, i would advise that they simply stick with the anime. Ignoring the fillers, events do not drag as much in the anime, which covers numerous events at a go, where the manga will naturally struggle to provide as much material a week.

How did Naruto fail to become mainstream? Does Naruto represent the generation of anime and manga today?

Dream:

At least in the mainstream for America, the series came to the states just as the anime boom fizzled out thus it never got much traction to be able to attract a wider audience. Toonami in the 2000s was on its way out and this was rather obvious with its reduced lineup and attempting to kill off anime programming from the network. By the time Toonami in the 2000s folded, Naruto was at its lowest point for its first series with the large number of filler arcs that were aired following the Sasuke Retrieval arc.

But among anime/ manga fans, it still attracted a large fanbase as such where it is among one of the top 5 all-time selling manga titles to sell internationally as it has sold over 205 million issues (surpassed only by One Piece and Dragon Ball) and was one of Weekly Shounen Jump's top 3 best-selling titles. It is an easily identifiable series for many anime and manga fans of this current generation thanks to its large popularity and regardless of its quality, Naruto will likely be a remembered series for fans of this generation years from now.

Taichokage:
Naruto DID become mainstream. It was superseded by One Piece however. I personally don't think a repeat of Naruto would be as successful though. Just like I don't think a Dragonball copycat can beat Dragonball.
Katmic:
Naruto is Mainstream, to an extent. One Piece is the biggest manga in the world (no matter what people say about Attack on Titan's hype driven rise) but there are countries with anime fans that have never heard of One Piece but who cannot get enough of Naruto. Here in Africa, the only anime that is as well known as Naruto is Last Air bender/Korra, which is actually even more popular. After years of bad press (from some badly informed Anime fans) people here are only now jumping onto the One piece train (though those who loved it initially can see nothing beyond One piece). If we are talking globally, Naruto is the dragonball Z of today. It is the face of anime and manga. One piece's domination is still largely rooted in Asia.

Closing Remarks

UsaChanMan:

The Naruto franchise is very close to my heart. . It’s safe to say that Naruto was what reintroduced me to anime during my teenage years. The first manga I’ve ever read in my life was the first volume of Naruto, which I came across at my high school library. I remember being hooked instantly and marathoning Naruto episodes the night prior to my grade 10 math exam.

I definitely recommend the anime and manga, not only because of its popularity, but because of its underlying theme of never giving up on your dreams or your friends.

Taichokage:

I should close by saying.....

Thank you Kishimoto Sensei for 15 years of Naruto. I was there for most of the ride. At the end of the day, I'm glad Naruto was in my younger years up to the current time.

Katmic:

I agree with about Naruto struggling to find its identity. It is, in fact, similar to Doctor Who. Doctor who has what it takes to create some really dark and enjoyable arcs and seasons; except it always seems to catch itself halfway, remembers its young audience and chooses to gear its efforts towards pleasing the kids, which is where it fails.

Naruto could have been so much more if it had kept its trajectory of growth and transformed with its audience into something much more serious, with lasting consequences; instead Kishimoto chose to settle for something in between.

None the less it has been quite a few years of fun and excitement. There will never be anything quite like it. Even if better anime and manga emerge, they cannot replace the spirit of Kishimoto's story. We can only hope that the mangaka can learn from his mistakes and provide us a true masterpiece in his third manga series. Because that is what it is, a manga series set within the Naruto Universe. It won't be Naruto.

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Welcome to this week's DVD/Blu-Ray releases! We got Miyazaki films, Death Note, and so much more.

Familiar Series

  • Tari Tari - Not much of a slice of fan, but this one had a serious theme and revolves around 5 teenagers who are finding their calling and struggling to fight to keep their school open. Some folks want to bulldoze their school for businesses.
  • Princess Mononoke - One of my favorite Miyazaki films of all time. I watched in 6th grade and immediately fell in love with it. None of the Miyazaki films even Spirited Away got me like this show. The big themes of this film is man vs nature. If you love fantasy and nature and breath taking backgrounds, try this film out.

Unfamiliar Series

  • Death Note - I haven't watched it yet. Most folks watched it either loved it or think it's overly hyped like other popular series. I'm open to anything.
  • Wind Rises - It's on my watch list because I wanted to watch all of Ghibli and Miyazaki films. These films have a message about war, nature, and such. It makes anime be an art work with a compelling message.

I would love to hear your recommendations on these series. All comments are welcome. Thank you.

Disclaimer: I'm just promoting the official release and the publishers. I'm not selling you anything. This is to combat piracy and get fans to support the official release. All summaries are from ANN.

Sources

Notes

  • Right Stuf has an adult DVD called Night of the Tentacles for this week. ANN and Amazon does not have it listed. Furthermore, there was no encyclopedia data on that show.
  • Right Stuf is releases Princess Mononoke, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Certain Magical Index, A Season 1.

DVD and Blu-ray Releases

Death Note - The Complete Series (DVD)
  • Distributor: Viz Media
  • Suggested retail price: $44.82

Description:

Light Yagami is a genius high school student who is about to learn about life through a book of death. When a bored shinigami, a god of death, named Ryuk drops a black notebook called a Death Note, Light receives power over life and death with the stroke of a pen. Determined to use this dark gift for the best, Light sets out to rid the world of evil... Namely the people he believes to be evil.

Contains episodes 1-37. Special Features: Japanese Creators Interviews, Behind the Scenes with the Japanese Voice Cast, Production Art. Spoken Languages: English, Japanese, English subtitles.

I Couldn’t Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job. (Blu-Ray or DVD)
  • Distributor: Sentai FilmworksSuggested retail price: $59.98 (Blu-Ray) $49.98 (DVD)

Description:

Raul Chaser never wanted to work in retail, but when the war against the Demons ended unexpectedly, the Hero Training Program he was in shut down. But although combat-trained Raul may feel out of place dealing with customers in a department store instead of dealing out death with hardened steel, his newest co-worker's culture shock is even worse. While Fino Bloodstone is ready, eager, and willing to please, she's also the daughter of the now-deceased Demon King! Not only are her social skills a little challenged, but it's going to be up to Raul and the staff to teach her the finer points of the human concept of a "pleasant shopping experience"... not to mention when it's proper to wear what kind of clothes and whose bed you can sleep in. And they'll have to do it quick, because there's a sinister major retail chain moving into the area with plans for global domination.

Contains episodes 1-13. Special Features: Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation. Spoken Languages: Japanese, English subtitles.

One Piece Season 6 Part 2 (DVD)
  • Distributor: FUNimation Entertainment
  • Suggested retail price: $39.98

Description:

Luffy's impulsive attack on Gecko Moria ends up costing the rubber-man something he can't live without - his shadow! When Zoro and Sanji find themselves in the same boat, the three fierce fighters must find a way to recapture what was lost, or face the possibility of death by sunlight. Luckily, their skeleton friend, Brook, knows the trick to defeating Moria's zombie army, and he'll gladly share the secret in exchange for a little help defeating a sinister zombie samurai! Meanwhile, Nami is kidnapped by an undead scoundrel who wants to make her his wife, and Usopp must rely on his natural state of negativity if he hopes to survive his encounter with a gothic Lolita and her ghostly minions. Hair-raising thrills are the story of the hour as the Straw Hats attempt to escape Thriller Bark with their shadows – and souls – intact!

Contains episodes 349-360. Special Features: Episode Commentary (352, 356), One Piece in the Booth, Textless Opening. Spoken Langauges: English, Japanese, English subtitles.

Tari Tari - Complete Collection (Blu-Ray
  • Distributor: Sentai Filmworks
  • Suggested retail price: $59.98

Description:

The last year of high school is always a time of both looking forward and looking back. Ahead of you lives the future, alternately bright and scary. Behind you lie memories, both happy and sad. And somehow, in the course of one year, you have to reconcile those two and decide where your life is going to go. For Wakana Sakai, who had started studying music, it's time to face the tragedy that made her abandon that path. For Sawa Okita, it's about her dreams of riding professionally. And for Konatsu Miyamoto, it's about bringing her friends together through the magic of song. Can something as simple as the formation of a chorus club really help solve the hurts and pangs that come with growing up? Can music bring people together despite their differences?

Contains episodes 1-13. Special Features: Japanese Blu-ray Spots, TV Commercials and Promos, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation. Spoken Languages: Japanese, English subtitles.

The Wind Rises (DVD)
  • Distributor: Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Disney
  • Suggested retail price: $29.99

Description:

Jiro dreams of flying and designing beautiful airplanes, inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni. Nearsighted and unable to be a pilot, Jiro joins a major Japanese engineering company in 1927 and becomes one of the world's most innovative and accomplished airplane designers. The film chronicles much of his life, depicting key historical events, including the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the Great Depression, the tuberculosis epidemic, and Japan's plunge into war. Jiro meets and falls in love with Nahoko, and grows and cherishes his friendship with his colleague Honjo.

A Certain Magical Index Season 1 DVD/Blu-Ray

  • Distributor: FUNimation
  • Suggested Retail Price: $49.98

Kamijo is a student in Academy City, where people use science to develop supernatural abilities. The guy's got a lot of heart – luckily for a young nun named Index. She's on the run from a sorcery society that covets the astonishing 103,000 volumes of magical knowledge stored in her memory.

When Index stumbles into Kamijo's life, she finds a faithful friend and protector, and while Kamijo's easily the weakest kid in Academy City, he's got something else going for him: the Imagine Breaker, an unexplainable power stored in his right hand that negates the powers of others. With scientists and sorcerers attacking from all sides, the Imagine Breaker will definitely come in handy – but it's Kamijo's loyalty to Index that will be his greatest weapon in the fight to keep her safe.

Contains episodes 1-24. Special Features: Episode Commentary (3, 6, 14, 23), Textless Opening and Closing, Trailers. Spoken Languages: English, Japanese, English subtitles.

Princess Mononoke DVD/Blu-Ray
  • Distributor: Buena Vista
  • Suggested Retail Price: $36.99

The march of technology, embodied in the dark iron forges of the ambitious Tatara clan, threatens the natural forces explicit in the benevolent Great God of the Forest and the wide-eyed, spectral spirits he protects. When Ashitaka, a young warrior from a remote and endangered village clan, kills a ravenous, boar-like monster, he discovers the beast is in fact an infectious "demon god," transformed by human anger.

Inflicted with its deadly curse, the young warrior sets out to the forests of the west in search of the cure that will save his life. Once there, he becomes inextricably entangled in a bitter battle that matches Lady Eboshi and a proud clan of humans against the forest's animal gods - who are led by the brave Princess Mononoke, a young woman raised by wolves!

Special Features: Princess Mononoke in the U.S.A., Original Japanese Storyboards, Original Japanese Trailers, Original Japanese TV Spots, Featurette.

Spoken Languages: English, Japanese, French, English subtitles, French subtitles.

  • Distributor: Buena Vista
  • Suggested Retail Price: $36.99

Kiki is an enterprising young girl who must follow tradition to become a full-fledged witch. Venturing out with only her chatty black cat, Jiji, Kiki flies off for the adventure of a lifetime. Landing in a far-off city, she sets up a high-flying delivery service and begins a wonderful experience of independence and responsibility as she finds her place in the world.

Special Features: Introduction by John Lasseter, Ursula's Painting, Creating Kiki's Delivery Service, Producer's Perspective: Collaborating with Miyazaki, Scoring Miyazaki, Behind the Microphone, The Locations of Kiki's Delivery Service, Kiki & Jiji, Flying with Kiki & Beyond, Original Japanese Storyboards, Original Japanese Trailers.

Spoken Languages: English, Japanese, French, English subtitles, French subtitles.

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Hello everyone, welcome to the Girls MATE Vol. 2 Posters Pinup spotlight! The last blog, Vol. 1, was done in August 9, 2014. This is relatively new magazine that came out this year. I'm showcasing the posters from this magazine as well as adding a bit of commentary on the shows to promote the discussions threads. That's all I have for now.

As for content, it's not ecchi like the Megami Magazine or the Nyantype Magazine's pin ups which I share in The Ecchi Club every month. I'm not sure what the contents are in the magazine. An example would be Newtype which has posters, booklets, character profiles, articles, and manga.

If you guys know what's the content, please let me know.

Posters

The cover for this Vol. 2 is Fate/stay Night UBW theme. It's a beautiful cover with 2 extremely popular and gorgeous main heroines of the franchise who rock the winter fashion.

If you are watching the anime this season, check by the Fate/Stay Night 2014 Discussion!

Next poster features the war maidens of Lord Marksman and Vanadis. In that franchise, beauty, strength, and revealing outfits are interwined. If you love ecchi and fantasy shows, check by the Lord Marksman and Vanadis. The anime doesn't have a compelling story or much character development.

The poster has two buxom ladies and an angry loli. I think Ellen made little Ludmilia angry again with the boob jokes.

This show is based on a trading card game. I haven't seen it yet. I believe Marshal Victory is only one in the community who had watched this show. I could be wrong there. Poster has cute, little girls enjoying conversation with a trapped girl in a card?

Swing by at the Selector Infected Wixoss Discussion if you are watching this show.

This show is created by Trigger which was well known for their original anime series, Kill la Kill. My impressions on this show is just a regular comedic, slice of life show with powers that has harem-like aspects to it if you seen how the episodes play out. For the poster, it's magical just like their powers with rainbows on top. Check out the Inou Battle Within Everyday Life Discussion if you are interested!

This is an anime original series created by a new company called Studio 3Hz. It's a very cute, slice of life show about a Noel (think she's an alien) who waits for her friend's return for a long time. As for the poster, this one is the worst one in this issue. Why are the gals look scared and uncomfortable? Noel always has this big smile in the anime. Check out the Sora no Method Discussion if you are interested.

Haven't seen this show yet. I was waiting for it to be legally simulcast. It never did. It's a shame. It's about a princess named Latifah who requests Seiya to help her make Amagi Brilliant Park, the best amusement park, as well as save the park from being shut down.

As for the poster, this is the only bikini and the most ecchi poster we have for this issue.

Thank you everyone, I hope you enjoy the posters. I'll upload to their wiki galleries for everyone. Please check out the discussion threads for these new shows, too.

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Welcome to this belated blog on this week's manga releases. Sorry for being late. School was heavy.

Unfamiliar Series

  • UQ Holder - I heard this series was a sequel to a harem series called Negima. Negima never interested me. In the battle forums, I was curious about UQ Holder. Sounds like it's good action manga series to try.
  • 07 Ghost - I seen this series a couple of times in the weekly manga releases. I like reading fantasy and action manga series since I started out as a Shonen fan. It is still on my To Read List.

I would love to hear your recommendations on the rest of the manga series featured this week. All comments are welcome. Thank you.

Disclaimer: I'm just promoting the official release and the publishers. I'm not selling you anything. This is to combat piracy and get fans to support the official release. All summaries are from ANN.

Sources

Notes

  • Right Stuf released Blade of the Immortal back in Oct. 29. ANN and Amazon listed this week.

Manga Releases

07 Ghost Volume 13
  • Distributor: Viz Media
  • Suggested retail price: $9.99

The paths of one evil god, two rival empires, three unlikely bishops and seven brave ghosts converge in the destiny of Teito Klein, a boy who vows to master a powerful artifact known as the Eye of Mikael in order to lay bare the secrets of the world’s—and his own—murky past. Teito joins the Black Hawks, unaware it is the very organization that has conspired to ruin his soul, end his life and revive the evil death god Verloren inside him. Using the military’s sinister laboratory, they intend to brainwash Teito into reviving Verloren himself! But Teito’s true past resurfaces when he coincidentally attends the funeral of his best friend, Mikage.

2. Volume 16
  • Distributor: Kodansha Comics
  • Suggested retail price: $10.99

A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL DOCTOR

Kokonoé’s plan comes to fruition, allowing him and Ohmori to evade execution while also creating a diversion for Sengoku and his friends to escape the clutches of Nishikiori. As they make their way back to the others, Yarai reaches Nishikiori’s camp where he comes to face the cold, hard truth about Kurusu-sensei’s condition. But seeing a chance to turn things in his favor, Nishikiori makes a deal with Yarai. Will Yarai go through with Nishikiori’s dastardly request for the chance to save the life of his teacher?

Rin-ne Volume 16
  • Distributor: Viz Media
  • Suggested retail price: $9.99

Ever since a strange encounter when she was a child, Sakura Mamiya has had the power to see ghosts. Now in high school, she just wishes the ghosts would leave her alone! When her mysterious classmate Rinne Rokudo shows up, Sakura finds herself following him into the amazing world between life and death! Sakura gets a postcard from the ghost of a boy who died years ago! Rinne and Rokumon head off to the beach to investigate…and find Ageha already there! The summer fun continues at camp, where Masato is up to his usual shenanigans. Will Rinne ever be able to enjoy his vacation?

Seven Deadly Sins Vol. 5: Signs of A Great Chaos

Distributor: Kodansha Comics Suggested retail price: $10.99

Four of the Sins have been reunited and it feels almost so good. Entering a fighting tournament where the grand prize is Diane's weapon, the unthinkable happens when the Sins and Holy Knights clash on stage! But who is the other faction of Holy Knights, dubbed the "New Generation", and what could this monstrous group of demon-like knights be planning?

UQ Holder Volume 3

Distributor: Kodansha Comics Suggested retail price: $10.99 Tota, Kuromaru, and Karin are on a mission protecting the poor residents of the slums when they come under fierce attack by powerful enemies who seem to specialize in hunting down and killing immortals. Tota and Kuromaru take a nasty beat down and in a moment of desperation, Tota finds a new power that may be great or terrible or both!

Omnibus

Air Gear Omnibus 4
  • Distributor: Kodansha Comics
  • Suggested retail price: $19.99
Ikki has officially made it in the world of Air Treck. After winning a big match against reivals Team Behemoth, Ikki and Team Kogarasumaru are the talk of the town... for better or worse. Fame brings a whole new set of challenges. Behemoth might be out of the picture, but now Ikki and his team have bigger fish to fry: overly-inflated egos, internet trolls, and legions of teams coming for their crown. Ikki and his riders might be on top of the world, but do they have what it takes to stay there?

Collects volumes 10-12 in omnibus format.
Fullmetal Alchemist Omnibus 9
  • Distributor: Viz Media
  • Suggested retail price: $14.99

As the Day of Reckoning dawns, the Elric brothers, their father Hohenheim, and all of their allies battle to the death against the homunculi's "father." The fate of the entire world hangs in the balance. To claim victory, some will have to make the ultimate sacrifice. When the dust clears, will a happy ending await our favorite characters in the final volume of Fullmetal Alchemist?


Collects volumes 25-27 in an omnibus format.
Samurai Executioner Omnibus 3Distributor: Dark Horse
  • Distributor: Kodansha
  • Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

When an execution is ordered of a man backed by hundreds whose vital services the city of Edo cannot function without, the Shogunate government seems powerless to carry out the sentence lest the city descend into chaos. And so Yamada Asaemon, the Shogun's sword tester and executioner, must mete out justice unaided in a manner that will keep Edo from exploding!

Collects volumes 6-8 in omnibus format

Tsubasa, RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE 2
  • Distributor: Kodansha Comics
  • Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Syaoran and his companions continue their inter-dimensional travels in order to restore the memories of Princess Sakura and this time, they find themselves having adventures in two exciting and mystery-filled worlds. They first come to Jade Country - a cold, snow-covered land where the town of Spirit lives in fear of the legend of a 300-year-old princess who has been stealing the townspeople's children.

Following this, our worlds-spanning adventurers find themselves in Oto, where to earn money, they become hunters of demonic creatures called Oni. Will they be able to find more pieces of Princess Sakura's fragmented memories as they continue on through new and increasingly perilous worlds?

Adult Releases NSFW

  • A Murmur of the Heart is not available on Right Stuf this yet.
  • False Memories is listed on Right Stuf and not on ANN.
  • Apple and Honey was released on Right Stuf back in the week of October 7. ANN listed it this week.
A Murmur of the Heart
  • Distributor: Digital Manga Publishing
  • Suggested retail price: $12.95

Misawa, the physician, harbors an unrequited love for his friend and colleague Kazami, a surgeon. There's only one problem: Kazami is a known ladykiller. Misawa vows never to let Kazami know how he really feels until he meets Touno, an intern who can see right through him. Soon it's revealed that Kazami has a secret of his own. Where will this triangle lead and when will they ever find the time for love in their busy schedules?

False Memories Volume 2
  • Publisher - VIZ BOOKS
  • Suggested Retail Price: $12.99

Tsuda likes Nakano and Nakano likes Tsuda, but somehow the two keep missing each other at the pass. Amused by the awkward relationship between the two, Tsuda's coworker Saeki takes off with Nakano, leaving Tsuda to tear through the whole town in a panic to find them. But what happens when he finally does?

Also includes a short story about a fateful meeting for Saeki, the "eternal teenager."

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4K Media announced that 4 Yu-Gi-Oh! series are going to be legally available on Crunchyroll, November 15, 2014. There will be English dubbed episodes and then, subtitled and local language versions in later months.

Yu-Gi-Oh!

  • Territories: all 4K Media territories except United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, San Marino and Vatican City.

Meet Yugi and his best buds Joey, Tristan and Téa. They share a love for the newest game that’s sweeping the nation: Duel Monsters!

Legend has it five thousand years ago, ancient Egyptian Pharaohs used to play a magical game very similar to Duel Monsters. This ancient game involved magical ceremonies, which were used to foresee the future and ultimately decide one’s destiny. They called it the Shadow Games. Since the game used so many magical spells and ferocious creatures, it wasn’t long before the game got out of hand and threatened to destroy the world. Fortunately, a brave Pharaoh stepped in and averted this cataclysm.

Now, in present times, the game has been revived in the form of playing cards.Giant monsters! Powerful magic! And ancient Egyptian legends!Yu-Gi-Oh! is one action-packed adventure series that holds all the cards! It’s your move!

Yu-Gi-Oh! GX

  • Territories: all 4K Media territories excluding United States, Italy, San Marino and Vatican City.

Set several years after the previous Yu-Gi-Oh! series, GX follows a new generation of duelists at the prestigious Duel Academy—a highly competitive boarding school where pencils and books have been replaced by Duel Disks and monster cards! Still, it’s not just about making the grade for these up and coming students – it’s about becoming the next King of Games!

Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's

  • Territories: all 4K Media territories excluding United States, Italy, San Marino and Vatican City.

The future of dueling is revving up! And with it begins a new legend! Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's!

Welcome to New Domino City! Once the playground to legendary duelist Yugi Muto, this sprawling metropolis has since been transformed into a futuristic society where dueling has kicked into overdrive. With recent technological advancements made by KaibaCorp, dueling has undergone a metamorphosis that has revolutionized the makeup and pace of the game! It’s now a heart-pounding, adrenaline-filled and fuel injected competition where duelists ride supercharged hyper cycles called Duel Runners and battle it out in hi-octane contests called “Turbo Duels.” The winners and losers aren’t just separated by skill and strength… but by SPEED!

However, for five special duelists, it's not just about winning or losing anymore - it's about survival, for they are the chosen "Signers" who have been marked by destiny to uncover the secrets of the five dragons! With new cards, new players and new adventures, you’d better start your engines and get set to duel! Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's – don’t let the revolution pass you by!

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal

  • Territories: all 4K Media territories except United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, San Marino and Vatican City.

Get ready to feel the flow as Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL takes dueling to the next level of excitement!

When aspiring duelist Yuma meets Astral, a mysterious visitor from another world, it seems like the perfect match: While Yuma requires Astral’s dueling expertise, Astral needs Yuma to gather 99 Number Cards that contain his lost memories. They would be dueling’s greatest tag team…. if they could only get along!

Our two heroes better get their act together because it’s time for the World Duel Carnival – the greatest tournament in history! With Yuma and Astral facing off against the world’s most skilled duelists, the stakes have never been higher… or more dangerous! And just when things can’t get worse, sinister new enemies emerge from the shadows to plunge the world into chaos!

Unstoppable new monsters! Magical spells and traps! Secrets revealed! Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL – New Rules, New Duels!

Sources

Mandatory Network

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