Whether due to its visual flair, mature levels of violence or addicting long-form storytelling, Dragon Ball Z struck a chord with western audiences when it debuted in North America on the hugely popular Toonami program in 1999. The audience on Cartoon Network was full of impressionable teens, and Dragon Ball Z was one of the first Japanese anime series to gain traction outside of the Land of the Rising Sun. Re-runs and all, DBZ ran on the network for over ten years before a brief hiatus. The show was so popular, however, that soon a re-dubbed, re-edited version of the anime known as Dragon Ball Z Kai debuted in 2010, and has been running ever since.
Finally, the somewhat shocking international success of the 2013 theatrical film Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods and the buzz surrounding the upcoming Resurrection F has apparently convinced Toei Animation, the original production company behind the series, to dive back in and bring us something entirely new: Dragon Ball Super, which debuts in Japan this month. While fans of the original series don't want a retread (DBZ Kai), we also don't want something that tries to reinvent the wheel - I'm looking at you, GT; in that vein, here are six DBZisms the new show should run with and six we want to see buried in the Namekian wastes in favor of a new era of Super Saiyan mayhem.More >>
Funimation has the U.S. distribution rights and will release it in the fall. It seems to me that the fear of being marched upon by hordes of giant naked and insane people has been well-captured.
Giant naked, insane people grinning, eating smaller people and then spouting fountains of bodily fluids as others fly around them? Sold.More >>
As this image of Ned Flanders being violently gunned down ought to let you know, this is no cheap editing trickery - the folks who made this Simpsons-Akira combo worked hard to make it right. What began as a series of online comics and continued as a larger fan project has become a trailer for a movie that, commercially, can never be - but would inevitably be better than any of the American remakes ever proposed.
Admit it - it's blasphemous, but not in a bad way.More >>
Anime Expo settled into its annual home, Los Angeles Convention Center, over Fourth of July weekend, bringing in Japanese pop culture fanatics from far beyond Southern California for four days of nerdery. I have attended every AX since 2008, which isn't that long considering that the mega-con will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. However, I've attended enough times to learn to never have any expectations about the event.
Liz Ohanesian Los Angeles Convention Center's South Hall before the Exhibit Hall opened.
Anime Expo is constantly evolving, both as trends in anime shift and as new generations of fans enter the convention world. When I started attending the convention, the love for series like The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and Ouran High School Host Club were strong. In the years that followed, that love has shifted over and over again. I'm not quite sure what was the hit anime this year, although there seemed to be a lot of fans of Tokyo Ghoul roaming the halls. I can't keep up with the anime crowd. Heck, I didn't know what "shipping" meant until earlier this year and I'm still not sure why the kids are so into pastel alpacas.
Still, some things will stay the same. There will always be a point where the crowd and heat become too much handle and a point where you're overjoyed with everything you've seen and heard. Here's my round-up of the weekend.More >>
Trailers for a movie like this ought to get better and better as the special effects become more and more finished, and this one has. Ziplines, swords, neck slashing and giant naked humanoids showcase pretty much everything you'd want to see in an Attack on Titan movie, short of the erotic Hans fan fiction that exists in your head (and a cursory Google image search).
They really need to set a U.S. date for this. In the meantime, the Japanese audio doesn't require a ton of translation.More >>
The Fisher King (The Criterion Collection) - Terry Gilliam gained popular acclaim with his dark hybrids of fantasy and satire, but he had to do a movie explicitly clarifying the fantasy elements as schizophrenic hallucination in a realistic universe before he would be taken ultra-seriously - and win an Oscar for one of his cast members, Mercedes Ruehl. Jeff Bridges plays a Howard Stern-ish shock jock who quits after inadvertently inspiring a crazed listener to kill; Robin Williams is a seemingly crazy man in search of the Holy Grail who somehow persuades Bridges' character to come along for the ride. You could call it a brilliant deconstruction of both Williams' and Gilliam's usual shtick as childish delusions that are actually dangerous, or you could see it as making both a lot less fun. It's fascinating regardless.
The Criterion edition includes new interviews with Gilliam; producer Lynda Obst; screenwriter Richard La Gravenese; and actors Jeff Bridges, Amanda Plummer, and Mercedes Ruehl, as well as a newly shown interview with Williams and Criterion-exclusive commentary by Gilliam. Deleted scenes with optional commentary are also included, as are new featurettes on Bridges, all the trailers, and much more.More >>
For all of the admittedly deserved praise Pixar has received for their stellar work on Inside Out (incidentally coming on the heels of Spirited Away's long-awaited Blu-ray release), we thought it was pertinent to delve into the other truly great animation power in the world. Where Disney and Pixar have long dominated the West, Studio Ghibli is undoubtedly held up as the pinnacle of eastern animation - at least when it comes to breaking out into the Western world with stories that don't include bodacious and anatomically impossible heroines and colorful heroes.
With the recent limited release of the twentieth - and possibly final - Studio Ghibli film When Marnie Was There and renowned director and animator Hayao Miyazaki's stated intention to retire, there is no better time than now to take a look back at some of the most pivotal years in the storied history of this unique and ambitious creator-controlled art house.
Helping me along this journey into Studio Ghibli's past (re: bolstering or undoing my ramblings) are renowned anime experts and the authors of Studio Ghibli: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, Michelle Le Blanc and Colin Odell.
Even the allegedly safe for work images freak me the eff out. "Dikachu" is a woman who fires ejaculate, and her trainer "Gash" will probably bang her at some point.
Behold the YouTube trailer, if you dare. You've come down the rabbit hole this far, so you might as well stare into the abyss. I think at least one regular will do so in Timely fashion....More >>
Spirited Away - Simply put, one of the greatest movies of all time, and if you don't own some form of it, your life thus far has been lacking. There's just nothing quite like this animated tale of a young girl who is put to work at a bath house for elemental spirits in order to undo the curse that has turned her parents into pigs from eating too much magic food. Spider-limbed engineers, giant-headed witches, river dragons, overfed faceless blobs and tiny soot sprites are among the many creatures that play key roles in what I consider to be Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece. If you ever loved books like the original Alice in Wonderland and Pinocchio growing up, this is a story that will immerse you just as they did.
I actually persuaded my mother to see this and she liked it. And fantasy is not her thing AT ALL. The Blu-ray includes many of the DVD special features, and most notably an option to replace the film's visuals entirely with the original Japanese storyboards.More >>
Spring 2015 in anime-land hasn't quite been the blockbuster season we got over the winter, a season characterized by fun adventure fare like Maria the Virgin Witch, wrap-ups to favorites like Aldnoah.Zero and Shirobako, and the occasional awesome surprise package, like Death Parade. Fare on the same level as these shows wasn't immediately obvious at first, but you know what? The great thing about anime is that there's just so much of it; no matter what, the hits keep on coming. Also anime loves you, and anime won't judge you. With that in mind, I'm going to go ahead and judge anime, and point to some of the best new and continuing shows we've got for spring 2015. This season's not a grand slam, which is why I can't really recommend a nice, round ten, but I made it to nine without any trouble. Let's have a look!