Sunday, February 28, 2016

Gameday Sunday: Memories of Metroid Part IV

And here's the fourth and final installment of Frank Warden's retrospective on the Metroid franchise. Enjoy! - Azure

In 2007 the Nintendo Wii served as the console to accommodate the final chapter in the Prime trilogy—Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Throwback Ad Thursday: Wizard World Chicago 2003

This whole advertisement is such a great throwback to 2003, the Dragon Ball Z: Lord Slug artwork, the Vampire Hunter D statue, the Trigun cosplay...

But most telling is the "First Ever Cosplay Contest". Nowadays, what convention doesn't have some sort of cosplay contest? How times have changed!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wasteland Wednesday: The Bizarre World of Bootlegs (Part II)


I haven't made it through every disc of this Ranma 1/2 set (and I probably won't) but the picture quality isn't half-bad. It's certainly not great, but I've seen far worse. Nevertheless, there's definitely noticeable compression going on with these discs. The box is littered with tell-tale signs of odd uses of English, like "Love & Tears, Panda & Kenpo" along with "Human and man and woman are pitted against each other." 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Throwback Ad Tuesday: Grave of the Fireflies

It's easy to forget how many home media releases Grave of the Fireflies received over the years in North America. This advertisement is for Central Park Media's 2002 Collector's Series 2-Disc edition, featuring the uncut version in the original Japanese language, along with an English dub and a second disc loaded with features. Prior to that, in 1992, Central Park Media released a subtitled version of the film on VHS. ADV Film eventually re-released Grave of the Fireflies on DVD in 2009 and, most recently, Sentai Filmworks released a remastered version on DVD and Blu-ray (with a new English dub) in 2012.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Gameday Sunday: Memories of Metroid Part III

And here's week 3 of Frank Warden's retrospective on the Metroid franchise. Check back next week for the final installment! - Azure

2002 marked a unique year for the Metroid franchise as not one—but two—new games were released. Metroid Prime would go on to become one the most popular and best-selling titles on the Nintendo GameCube. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Review! The Best of Anime CD

In 1998 Rhino Entertainment released The Best of Anime, a compilation of opening theme songs from various anime series' that spanned the '60s to '90s.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Throwback Ad Thursday: Sgt. Frog Action Figures

Released by Kaiyodo in 2006, these are some genuinely cool Sgt. Frog figures.

Ironically, these figures made it to North America before the anime did. One day I'll have to write a post about all the trouble it was bringing the show to the states. ADV Films produced no less than three vastly different test pilots with the intent to bring Sgt. Frog to American television. Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon were even interested, but it never happened and Funimation would end up acquiring the license and released the show on DVD in 2009.

However, when these figures were released in '06, Sgt. Frog wasn't completely unknown in the West. Tokyopop had already brought the manga over in 2004 (and succeeded in publishing an impressive 21 volumes before the company shut its doors in 2011).

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Throwback Ad Tuesday: Anime Network (2005)

Though I never had Anime Network, a channel devoted strictly to anime was an awesome idea. The network launched in 2002 and is still available as a Video On Demand provider. Originally owned by A.D. Vision, Inc., they sold the network to Valkyrie Media Partners in 2009.

This 2005 Anime Network advertisement promotes the then-upcoming release of Samurai Gun. Interestingly, ADV Films helped fund the production of Samurai Gun and brought it over to North American release in record time after it aired in Japan, with the first four-episode volume hitting shelves August 2005.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Manga Monday: Appleseed ID (Illustration and Data)

It's quite possible that, with the exception of Walter Gibson, few have contributed more to the cyberpunk genre than Shirow Masamune. His manga titles Black Magic, Dominion, Appleseed, and Ghost in the Shell have been published around the world to critical acclaim and much of his creative work has made the transition from manga page into hugely popular anime shows, theatrical features, and OVAs.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Gameday Sunday: Memories of Metroid Part II

Once again, this Sunday I turn over the Gameday Sunday post to a guest blogger, Frank Warden, who wrote and submitted a fantastic retrospective on the Metroid franchise. Since it's such a lengthy piece, it's been broken up to cover the span of a few weeks, so be sure to check back the next few Sundays for Parts III and IV! - Azure

       With the popularity of Nintendo’s handheld game console, the Game Boy, it seemed fitting that Samus’ next mission would take place on the portable system. In 1991 Metroid II: The Return of Samus was released (it would arrive in Japan several months later) to modest praise, though it never reached the financial success that the original NES title achieved.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Throwback Ad Thursday: Noir

ADV Films certainly had reason to claim that Noir was the "most anticipated anime release of 2003." Back in 2002 ADV first announced that they had licensed the series, but for over a year there were constant "hints, announcements and retractions," as Anime News Network put it, while following ADV's then-current acquisition reports.

ADV spread the 26-episode series over 7 volumes and, while the first release had five episodes, the subsequent volumes only had three to four episodes per disc. Funimation eventually took over the license and released the complete series in 2011 on DVD and, more recently, gave Noir the Blu-ray treatment in 2015.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

WTF Wednesday! High School of the Dead: Drifters of the Dead OVA

Sentai Filmwork's release of the High School of the Dead: Drifters of the Dead OVA truly exemplifies what WTF Wednesdays are all about. For Wednesday's posts I'd hoped to focus on some of the more weird, bizarre things in anime that defy explanation, and this hits that nail right on the head.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Throwback Ad Tuesday: Gravion Zwei

"Effeminate heroes! Giant fighting robots! Gravity-defying breasts!" It's easy to see the demographic AVD Films was aiming for with this advertisement. Zwei is the second second of Gravion, and in the same way Ikki Tousen is more about ample fan service than fighting, Gravion's robot action takes a back seat to the gratuitous breast-driven humor.

The series was released as 3 separate DVD volumes for $29.98 each. Volume 1 was also available with a collector's box, to store the upcoming releases, for $39.98.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Gameday Sunday: Memories of Metroid Part I

This Sunday I turn over the Gameday Sunday post to a guest blogger, Frank Warden, who wrote and submitted an absolutely incredible retrospective on the Metroid franchise. Since it's such a lengthy piece, it'll be broken up in the span of a few weeks, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled every Sunday for the next several weeks! - Azure

Second only to the rabid fanbase the Alien franchise has spawned is the many works that it has inspired. Sequels, spin-offs and merchandise notwithstanding, the Alien series dished up a host of blatant clones; Galaxy of Terror (1981), Forbidden World (1982), and Creature (1985) are just a handful of films that lift concepts—if not entire scenes—from Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Review! Transformers Headmasters

In the world of animation, few properties have the staying power of Transformers. For the last three decades the franchise has spawned a number of iterations that have graced the airwaves in one form or another (not to mention a toy industry unto itself and four box office smashing films). It all began in 1984 when the Transformers aired on U.S. television and captured the hearts and minds of kids everywhere. The series lasted four seasons and a animated film that, for many, is the benchmark milestone of the entire property. Though the final season of Transformers only consisted of three episodes, it made an attempt to wrap up the series for American audiences, much in the same way that the animated G.I. Joe (1987) movie provided closure to the series.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Ad Thursday: Robotech Battlecry

Developed by Vicious Cycle Software and published by TDK Mediactive, Robotech Battlecry was released on the Playstation 2, Gamecube and Xbox in fall 2002. I was insanely into this game when I first bought a Gamecube in '03. Battlecry's gameplay felt like it was taken straight out of the anime, right down to the original voice actors and soundtrack. I plan to give a more in-depth review for an upcoming Gameday Sunday article.

Also, some might remember that a collector's edition of Robotech Battlecry was released too. It was a nice package complete with the game, soundtrack, lenticular card of a Veritech, concept art cards, T-shirt, and a dogtag.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Throwback Ad Tuesday: Battle of the Planets Action Figures

In 2002 Diamond Select released a series of 7" figures based on the anime Battle of the Planets (originally released by Tatsunoko in Japan as Gatchaman).

Monday, February 1, 2016

Manga Monday: Animerica Extra

Though Viz Media was already publishing Animerica, they decided to release a monthly manga anthology magazine titled Animerica Extra.