I really dig Tokyopop's ad for their Lupin III manga release, it has that simple-yet-retro feel which is so indicative of the long-running series.
Tokyopop licensed Monkey Punch's original run of Lupin III in 2002, but the first volume didn't hit shelves until January 2003, with the fourteenth--and last--volume coming out summer '04. Surprisingly, Tokyopop also picked up the second Lupin III series (Shin Lupin III), retitling it Lupin III: World's Most Wanted. Nine volumes were released between late 2004 and 2007, but Tokypop never re-licensed it, allegedly due to poor sales.
No so long ago, a friend told me that they were moving overseas and, to lighten his load, decided to give me the majority of his anime collection. Well, two-thirds of said collection turned out to be bootlegs. He said that many came from a single source he had bought from years ago. Apparently this was one big mega-purchase for him, since the prices were "too good to be true" and he was genuinely thinking they were legitimate releases. Lo and behold, they arrived at his door and were not. Now, with his impending move, either they all went into the trash (because he obviously can't sell them) or I take them. So, being the humane fellow I am, I decided to save them from the dump.
One of FUNimation's hot new titles for 2003/2004 was Fruits Basket, which ended up receiving a generous 6-7 episodes per disc, meaning fans only had to buy 4 DVDs to own the complete series. As the ad reveals the original price for each volume had been a whopping $39.99, but was lowered to $29.99. Pricey by today's full season release standards, but nothing compared to years prior when an anime VHS could cost anywhere between $25-$30 with a meager two episodes per volume!
FUNimation later released a box set of Fruits Basket in late 2004 and again in 2007 as part of their Viridian line.
The ad provides a neat look back to early 2004 as well, with the announcement of Kiddy Grade and Tenchi Muyo GXP coming soon.
Back in May 2000 Tokyopop, still using their early Mixx Manga "Pocket Edition" banner, released the first manga volume of Gundam Wing. As with most manga titles that were licensed in America around that time, it was presented in the flipped, left-to-right format common with the typical Western comic. Not long after Tokyopop changed their policy and only released manga in the right-to-left Japanese-style formatting (which they proudly described as: "100% authentic manga").
Time travel can be a captivating plot device in storytelling. However, it can also be a tired cliche that's dwells on the same repetitive conventions we've seen time and again. Lately, many modern films, television shows, and novels that tackle the subject seem to falter when it comes to their respective time travel aspects--whether it's unanswered paradoxes, liberal usages of deus ex machina tropes or, worst of all, flat-out lazy writing.
It's amazing how many spin-offs spawned from the original Bubblegum Crisis OVA series. Though only lasting 8 episodes, released between 1987 and 1991, the series gave way for a number or sequels, prequels, and spin-offs (most of which don't even feature the Knight Sabers, the main characters from the original OVAs!).
A.D. Police Files (1990) was a prequel to the original, Bubblegum Crash (1991) was a sequel, Scramble Wars (1993) had been a non-cannon crossover, Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 (1998) attempted to reboot the series, and then there was the offbeat spinoff Parasite Dolls (2003).
In 1999 A.D. Police: To Protect and Serve was released, planned as a prequel to Bubblegum Crisis.
I remember spotting an ad for this in an early 2003 issue of Anime Insider and being so jazzed (pun intended) to see the Cowboy Bebop movie on the big screen. Unfortunately, the film received a limited-release and, unless you were in select cities (like NYC, LA, etc), you likely missed out. Cowboy Bebop hit theaters in Japan on September 1st, 2001, but it didn't get a release in the US until April 4th, 2003 and, finally, a DVD release later in '03.
And for those of you who still own the DVD and haven't made the "upgrade" to Blu-ray yet, you may want to pass. While the video transfer is better, the Blu-ray only has a 2.0 stereo sound mix (the DVD has 5.1) and it's missing all of the previously released special features. Lame.
The anime convention scene definitely changed over the years. One of the things I vividly recall about convention era circa 2004/2005 is the amount of promotional goodies that companies would give out. And I'm not talking about postcard-sized promos (which this particular blog post is about), but I remember getting promo DVDs that featured an episode or two of a show, buttons, posters, and even an insanely cool plastic Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex bag featuring some nice artwork of Motoko Kusanagi in a badass pose. I'll have to dig through my collection and post some pics of those in the coming weeks. However, until then, I posted some postcard-sized promos that I stumbled upon last night (while digging through some old convention booklets).
This Anime Works "Fully Loaded for 2003" ad is a curiosity. While they were indeed the distributor for the 2001 Mezzo Forte OVA, they never actually ended up releasing the Mezzo Forte TV series (later called Mezzo DSA when it was released by ADV Films in the US). Anime Works' name was also nowhere to be found on the packaging of Iria: the Animation. Only the logo of its parent-company, Media Blasters, appeared on the DVD cover.
This week we're jumping back into the time machine with our destination set for Winter 2003. Above is the cover for Wizard's Anime Invasion #5. This is something of a unique issue, as it was not only the last quarterly edition of the magazine, but the last time they used the Anime Invasion title. By the next issue, which would bi-monthly from then on, the publication was renamed Anime Insider.
The Playstation 2 was an incredible system. The game library was vast and, early on, it was kind of a big deal that it played DVDs (of course, nowadays that's about as impressive as the PS1's ability to play CDs).
However, there was one major thing that sucked about the PS2--it wasn't region free! But for those that modded their console or owned a Japanese model, they were able to play one of the most bizarre and greatest anime-based games to never come to North America.
Vampire Bund Gyouseifu; 2010, 12 Episodes. Based on a manga by Nozomu Tamaki; Dir: Akiyuki Shinbo; Cast: Shizuka Ito, Yuichi Nakamura, Chiwa Saito.
From the standout first episode, you know you're watching something different. Dance in the Vampire Bund shows us a world where vampires step out of the shadows with the wish to establish a home for themselves, the titular bund, along with contending against all the forces working against them. Upon this backdrop we follow the lives of Mina Tepes, the ruler of the vampires, and Akira Kaburagi, one of her unlikely protectors.
By November 5th, 2002 the future had arrived. G Gundam was the first Gundam series to be distributed in North America that didn't receive a VHS release. The ad here promotes the first three DVD volumes, sold together in a fancy looking boxset. This Bandai release included the first 15 episodes of the 49 episode series.
The Dagger of Kamui on laserdisc from AnimEigo. This was the subtitled version. While it would have been nice for AnimEigo to include a dub, it's for the best they didn't since the English version (released only to VHS) was heavily edited with over 20 minutes cut out (and it was retitled Revenge of the Ninja Warrior).
Thanks for checking out my blog, Anime Wasteland! I'm Azure and here I plan to post a wide variety of reviews, retrospectives, and retro ads ('80s-to-early '00s) from some of my favorite (and not so favorite) anime titles.
Though this isn't my first time blogging, it's my first blog to strictly deal with anime and manga. I intend to blog mostly about anime from a decade ago or so, but not exclusively. There's such an unprecedented onslaught of new anime and manga hitting the shelves today that I may want to fit in a review on a more current title from time to time.