Chi’s sweet adventures Vol 1

chiis
[originally posted on UK-anime network]
Kanata Konami’s Chi’s Sweet Home first premiered in manga form in 2004. This is the story of a small kitten and her adventures and interactions with both her adopted human family, the Yamada’s, and the other felines that inhabit her neighbourhood. Who could have imagined the original story would result in 3 animated adaptations and this sequel manga, published once more in English by Vertical.

Ever inquisitive (and forever getting in trouble for it) Chi’s adventures are split into separate standalone chapters, with each formatted into a 4 panel style called “4 Koma” (a surprisingly old format that this reviewer sees being used far less these days), we follow Chi and the Yamada’s through their everyday lives, all the while seeing things from Chi’s unique cat perspective. This ranges from visiting a forest park, to Chi learning how to act like a cat from fellow felines – the older Blackie and a stray black and white cat that tries to act tough – but secretly enjoys Chi’s company.

The artwork, while basic, benefits from being excessively cluttered – a benefit considering that this series is intended ideally for a younger audience. Also, the writing is of a level ideal for a younger reader to follow along with little help – great for those wanting to introduce manga to younger relatives.

If I had any complaint about the series it’s that, as a continuation of Konami ‘s previous series, the reader is expected to know both the situation and the backgrounds of the characters, with no introductory text to introduce them. That results in the first-time reader largely left wondering who each of the side characters are and how they know Chi.

As a result, Chi’s sweet adventure is a mixed bag – on one hand its innocent family friendly escapades will be ideal for young readers or those less enamoured with more violent works. However, with its simplistic art style and self-contained, drama-free plotlines, it may deter those people looking for more substantial work.

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Busou Shinki armoured war goddess

busou shinki case

Oft times the release of a new anime series can be a major gamble not just for the original rights holders but also for the anime studio creating it, and more so if that series is based on a toy or game line and is intended as a display for said line.

Case In point Busou Shinki armoured war goddess.

This 2012, 12 episode series from studio 8-Bit [of Infinite stratos and recently Rewrite fame] is based around the aforementioned Busou Shinki line – a series of poseable figures produced by Konami that had a media tie in line-up from comics to statues to even its own online combat game series Called Battle rondo [imagine Angelic Layer but on the PSP and you get the idea].

The series itself is set in the year 2036 where Rihito, a young high school boy who lives alone in his own apartment – alone apart from his three Shinkis – happy go lucky Ann, tusndere Ines, the ever calm and homely Lene and the newest arrival grim and determined Hina.

The animation itself is more than serviceable, with clear backgrounds and attention to detail both to the character themselves but also to their interactions with said backgrounds – no clippings or badly done work here. However, while the series hints at a more expansive and in some cases darker world [in one episode the subject of Shinki’s being used as terrorists, whilst another touches on the subject of the fate of Shinkis who are either abandoned or lose their owners] that’s all we get – just hints – with each episode effectively acting as a stand alone with little connection to each other [with the exception however of the last 2 episodes].

SHINKI 1

Also we get to the fly in the ointment – namely Konami, the rights holder for Busou Shinki. While no-one can be certain of the official chain of events one thread that some accept is that, after a tweet from someone working on the anime stating that Konami had difficulty with the production of the figures, the line had been rapidly pulled so that, by the time the series had originally aired in Japan, the Shinki toyline had been cancelled completely!

So where does this leave this series? Well, while it achieves its intended goal of introducing the Shinki toy line and acting as an advertisement for the toy line [and giving a tip to the hat to the ardent Shinki toy collectors] on its own however it comes across as a less than stellar entry in the “cute robot girls doing cute things” that other series have done before and in some cases [such as the recently aired Frame arms girls anime, itself a tie in to a model line by figure company Kotobukya] have done much better.

Busou Shinki armoured war goddess was released on DVD, Blu ray and streaming via the HIDIVE service from Sentai filmworks  for the US, on DVD and bluray in the UKvia 
MVM – and via my own amazon affiliate page below:
Busou Shinki: Armored War Goddess Collection [DVD] [2017]

The last American fanzine PATLABOR

patlabor_fanzine_cover-380x615Love them or loath them – the Anime blog Colony drop has, for the last 8 years, made a name for itself as a dedicated source for articles and reviews of anime and mange either released in the 80’s and early 90’s, or modern series that were inspired by that period.

This issue, in fact the third of the series that comprise of variously contributed articles concerning classic anime series and culture is the first to cover a specific franchise – in this case Mobile police Patlabor.

The first thing that comes to note is the size of the magazine – coming in at 5.25″ x 8.25″ , compared to 8.25″ x 10.75″ it comes in much smaller than the previous two issues. There’s also the fact that, unlike the previous two that covered a wide number of series and topics, this issue is exclusively focused on the 90s mech series Patlabor and yet only comes in at 54 pages [including 17 pieces of artwork and photography, of which 9 fill out the magazines page count] – that’s not to say that the contributions don’t make up for the shortfall in pages-far from it-as we’ll see shortly.

We open with Anime world order co-host and Otaku USA magazine writer Daryl Surats PATLABORS CONTEMPORARIES, which covers the year of Patlabor’s first appearance into the world [1988] and talks both about the shows that aired [this being the year that Chars counter attack premiered] and the shows that played a seminal role in the genesis of Mobile police Patlabor.

At a time when the anime industry was still reducing female characters to the role of the damsel in distress waiting to be saved by the heroic male character GENDER ROLES IN PATLABOR, by Dave Merril and Shaindle Minuk, covers the complete role reversal that the series undertook – with Noa Iszumi always in the thick of action as a Labor pilot while Asuma Shinohara took the decidedly unmale role as van driver and backup of always stood back. For many fans the most memorable characters of the series were invariably taken by the female characters such as Noah as mentioned, the American-japanese US cop Kanuka Clancy [ played by the late Yō Inoue] supplying more than enough action and general bad-assery than most of the male characters offer – even the hotheaded Ota [he of the “shoot first, shoot again, shoot it some more and THEN ask questions] had to bow down to her.

From gender politics to politics of another kind as the author of “Stray dogs of anime: the films of Mamoru Oshii” Brian Ruh gives us PATLABOR AND THE 226 INCIDENT a piece that covers the attempted armed uprising by members of the Japanese army in 1936, an incident that would not only lead to the military increasing its control over the civilian government, but would become an inspiration for Oshii when creating the second Patlabor movie.

But did you know that the basic plot for that film very nearly became about not labors…But Lupin the 3rd?

In Renato Riviera Rusca’s PATLABOR AND THE LUPIN 3RD MOVIE THAT NEVER WAS we discover that, after Hayo Miyazaki turned down the chance to Direct another Lupin film Mamoru Oshii was tapped to take over the project, even bringing in A-list talent such as Yoshitaka Amano [Gatchaman, Vampire hunter D, god knows how many final fantasy art pieces] as character designer, Studio Gainaxs’ Hideaki Anno as a key animator and Kazuyoshi Katayama [Space Adventure Cobra: The Movie, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the big O and many others] as assistant director.

So why did this project get pulled, and how did it end up as the film we all know and… well mostly love?

From one project that never came to be to one that many wished had never happened as Matt Schley Gives us the rather spoilery THE NEXT GENERATION – PATLABOR: A THING THAT EXISTS [WE DONT GET IT EITHER] which covers the afore mentioned 2013 live action series that tried to reinvigorate the franchise – and instead ending up crashing and burning.

Wrapping up the fanzine is GHOSTS OF FUKUSHIMA, by Ian Martin, a contemporary story which moves quickly from the streets of Tokyo to the abandoned towns and countryside of Fukushima’s irradiated dead zone, an area of about five mile around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear reactor cordoned off after the Tsunami of 2011, as police detective and Series regular Takahiro Matsui investigates a spate of Construction labor thefts, and uncovers much more…

So, after looking into this release how does it measure up? Welll……

The first key problem is one I’ve covered earlier is that with only 37 of the 54 pages of this issue not comprised of artwork it leaves very little page-count for these articles – the longest is that of the short story with 12 pages, with the 226 article [the one that should have had more pages to fully cover the events of that time period that lead to the incident and its after effects] only getting 4 pages, which in my opinion results in them suffering for it.

The other is the method of publication itself – in a time where many publications are now beginning [or have already made] the move to a digital format – Colony drop insisting that this [and all of the last fanzines future issues] would be only available as physical publications I feel is a move that, while I’m sure is intended to invoke “the good old days” of the fanzine, seems to only come across as more of a deliberate intent to refuse to move on from the 80’s.

Finally here is the entry level of the readership for this issue – with no “idiots guide” – like introduction to the franchise it’s expected that the reader has at least a working knowledge of Patlabor, if not at least access to the series.

And so I find myself at an impasse – on the one hand there’s the side of me that’s been the fan of Patlabor for the longest time [even thought my introduction was via Manga UK’S release of the two Patlabor movies] and so as a fan I found this to be an enlightening and [albeit abridged] read. However its my side as a reviewer that make me hesitant about recommending this release – maybe its the fact that this release is clearly intended if not for the hard core Patlabor fan, than for someone who is new to the franchise. It could be that the articles, as interesting as they are, fail to deliver any more than a mere surface level coverage of the series, leaving me at times flipping through the pages of each entry asking “what, is that it?”.

So what do I say? Go into this if your a fan, but don’t go into this expecting anything but the most bare bones of articles.

Both this and all issues of The last American fanzine are available as print on demand from Mag Cloud.

Official Osamu Tezuka Youtube page

Yes im still alive [cold not withstanding – sniffle]
I was just wandering around youtube and stumbled onto an officially licensed partner channel by a company called Viki who are streaming Osamu Tezuka anime series, both old and new, and they’re planning to add new episodes of Tezuka’s anime back catalogue every week.

So far the page is streaming:

Legend of Moby dick
Underseas super train:marine express
Bagi the monster of mighty nature
Astro boy [the 1980s series]
Dear brother [Oniisama e]
Jungle Emperor Leo : The Movie
Black Jack TV
Black Jack [OVA]
The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion
Marvelous Melmo (Merumo)
Don Dracula 8 videos | 1 month ago
Black Jack 21

heres a link to the youtube page in question.
and also a link to the anime section of vikis own website, where they have even more Tezuka titles than what they’re streaming on the youtube page.

In memorium: Noboru Ishiguro

 

24 August 1938 – 20 March 2012

What kind of place does Yamato occupy in you?

It was a pivotal point in my career. Yamato drastically changed my thoughts on what could be done with animation. Before Yamato, it had been said that SF titles would not catch on, and I believed it. But Yamato overcame such thinking in a positive way and changed my mind. It made me confident, and for this reason, Yamato is a very memorable work. 

On the 20th of March 2012 the last of the 3 three men [ Osamu Tezuka, Noboru Ishiguro and Yoshinobu Nishizaki] who introduced me into anime passed away.

Today the world of anime seemed that little more quieter for his loss.

Yamato 2199: Yamato 2.0?

Sooo, apparently there’s going to be a remake of Space battle ship Yamato.

But it’s not another movie ala Resurrection.

And it’s Not another spin off ala Yamato 2520.

but an actual, Honest to god remake of the first series, with Yutaka Izubuchi (RahXephon) as director, Nobuteru Yuki (Escaflowne, Record of Lodoss War) designing the characters, Makoto Kobayashi (Giant Robo, Last Exile, Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection) Mechanical designs and both anime studios XEBEC and AIC handling production.

Could this be the series that finally brings Yamato back from the long slump of failed sequels that have plagued this franchise – or is this fated to simply disappear beneath the waves?
Oh greats god of anime -please,PPPLLLEEEAAASSSEEE dont let this suck.

Myself and the world will find out when This new Yamato series premieres with a feature length movie, comprising the first 2 episodes of the series, on April 7 2012 in Japan.
for more details you can go to their website Yamato2199.net