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Thursday, February 27, 2014

PR: Anime-Planet.Com Partners With Crunchyroll To Provide In-Depth Video Integration

Above: a screen capture of Anime-Planet,
with full Crunchyroll video integration.
OP Note - Further proof that Crunchyroll is steady in its pursuit of digital domination! Heavy users of Anime-Planet who also use Crunchyroll, this latest update is the best thing ever. I will be testing the integration of Crunchyroll into Anime-Planet's website and will update this blog with what I find sometime next week!

SEATTLE — Anime-Planet, the world’s most reputable recommendation database for anime and manga that serves 500,000 users a month, now supports in-depth Crunchyroll video integration.

The site has partnered with Crunchyroll, a leading provider of streaming anime, to allow users to watch Crunchyroll’s thousands of legal streaming videos directly from Anime-Planet. What’s more, members can opt-in to have their Anime-Planet watch lists automatically updated when viewing videos on the site.

With this partnership, Anime-Planet becomes the first and oldest recommendation resource and social anime community to provide a feature of this type.

Manga Review: Bleach GN 59

Bleach volume 59
Author: Tite Kubo
Viz Media/Shonen Jump
192 pages
The Battle: After the defeat of the Soul Reapers by the mysterious group of warriors calling themselves the Vandenreich, Ichigo heads to the royal palace to heal his wounds. With that accomplished, it’s time to get stronger! But does Ichigo have what it takes to survive some super-intense training?! (Source: Viz Media)
I have to admit, I came into the 59th volume of Bleach with very high expectations. The previous volumes had been so good and so promising, teasing a reinvention of the world we know as well as Ichigo's own purpose as a Soul Reaper. But this volume left me wanting more. It left me somewhat disappointed. Having said that, the plot manages to advance by leaps and bounds and ends with a great twist, so it is certainly not the worst volume this manga-ka has turned out.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Have A Cluckity Cluck Cluck Day

Look at all these briefs lately! Yes, it's Wednesday - which means another round of Wednesday Briefs! And I hope y'all liked last week's, because here comes another JJ Abrams flavored hit. Yes, I've written another LOST fic, but this one has actual dialogue! And action! And I hear people really like that stuff! Also, it involves everyone's favorite unlucky at life lottery winner as well as everyone's favorite sassy Southern con man on a mission. Here we go!


Mean Mean Pride: LOST, Sawyer and Hugo-centric, PG-13, prompt - "stop acting like an ass, island"
Canon note: Takes place during season two of LOST, when the living was easy and the idea of time travel wasn't even a gleam in poor Desmond Hume's eye. What can I say? I have an overwhelming affection for the Swan Hatch Era, before everything went all wibbley-wobbley timey-wimey (whoops, that's from Doctor Who!) on us. Title pulled from the lyrics of a certain Rush song because come on, Sawyer. And yes, that's a Steven Universe reference in there, too!
Whoever let it slip to Sawyer that Hurley used to work in a fast food chicken shack was going to get it. They were going to wish that the polar bear had found them first.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

NSFW PR: Project H Has Big Plans For Anime Expo 2014

Hentai fans planning to attend Anime Expo 2014 in Los Angeles, CA, rejoice: Project-H is going to be there, and they are planning quite a big bash for their fans. Let's just say that I am so jealous of everyone going to the Expo this year.

Other publishers just run panels and have merchandise booths. Project-H is stepping up their convention game with a late night hentai festival. The details as of now are rather vague, but girls, games, and prizes galore have been promised so far. If you've seen the kind of things that this DMP imprint gives out online (stress relief toys anyone?), you'll know that the prizes are probably going to be legendary - and very, very naughty. Someone score me one of their glasses, though!

Keep in mind, as the flyer says, this festival will be open only to those who are eighteen years of age or older. So don't forget to bring your photo I.D. - and, judging by the time it's being run, an energy drink!

More info can be found by following the Hentai Festival hashtag on Twitter or getting it straight from the horse's mouth at Project-H's own Twitter page. You can also follow them via their Facebook page.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Why I Am Unable To Enjoy Kotaku's Anime Journalism

For the record, as a reviewer, of course I am cool with people presenting their own opinions! That's what we're all doing! But it feels like every time I read a Kotaku piece about a new anime series, it involves talking down to the audience regardless of the stance taken in the article.

Casual reminder that the Kotaku writer who called Space Dandy humorless and boring is the same writer who called Sword Art Online one of the smartest anime they've watched in years, even smarter than the Fujiko Mine series. Although with the SAO post, I'll cut the man some slack - the AFO arc hadn't started yet.

Of course, looking at the click bait headline, I doubt the author is looking to create any sort of meaningful conversation about Space Dandy's artistic integrity. It will only attract two types - people who really hate Space Dandy and people who really love Space Dandy. And having two extreme viewpoints attracted to the exact same article usually doesn't bode well for a conversation, especially a levelheaded one.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Book Sprites: It's A Fight To Survive, Fools!

Some times, you have time to write a 1,000+ word review of a single book. Some times, you just don't. For those times, we have Book Sprites, compact book reviews for the discerning reader with no time to lose. No major spoilers lie here!
In this post, we have volume 15 of Soul Eater, volume 15 of Natsume's Book of Friends, and volumes 2 and 3 of Attack on Titan. There's evil spiders, lurking ayakashi, and colossal wall-smashing titans. 
Spoilers for the above books lurk within!
Soul Eater volume 15 by Atsushi Ohkubo: The Baba Yaga Castle saga is over! The Baba Yaga Castle saga is over! Do the Excalibur dance and rejoice, because the Baba Yaga Castle saga is over! Not because it was a bad story arc - in fact, it's been the strongest arc so far in the manga - but because it exposed so many continuing plots beyond the walls of Arachne's castle that you just really want to go beyond it already. And in this volume, we do!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

PR: Viz's Perfect Square Imprint Has February Digital Sale

HELLO KITTY: 
1976, 2014 SANRIO CO. LTD. 
Used under license.
VIZ MEDIA’S PERFECT SQUARE IMPRINT LAUNCHES SPECIAL DIGITAL SALE

Stock Up On A Wide Selection Of Original Graphic Novels With Special Sale Pricing On Digital Versions Of HELLO KITTY®, BEN 10 OMNIVERSE, MAX STEEL™, POKÉMON And UGLYDOLL

VIZ Media announces a fun way for younger fans and readers to beat the winter doldrums as it announces a digital sale – for a limited time only – offering special discounts on popular All Ages titles from the Perfect Square imprint and available from the Perfect Square App and other leading digital media platforms.

The Perfect Square Digital Kids Sale runs through February 28th, and readers are invited to catch up on a colorful selection of acclaimed series, including brand new adventures for HELLO KITTY, BEN 10 OMNIVERSE, MAX STEEL, and UGLYDOLL for a special download price of only $1.99 (U.S. / CAN) each through the Perfect Square App.

Fans of all ages are also invited to take $1.00 off (U.S. / CAN) the regular digital MSRP on all digital POKÉMON manga (graphic novels) titles, including POKÉMON: BLACK & WHITE, POKÉMON ADVENTURES, POKÉMON: DIAMOND AND PEARL ADVENTURE! and POKÉMON ADVENTURES: DIAMOND AND PEARL/PLATINUM.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: See You In Another Life, Brotha

Yet again, Wednesday has come upon us, which means yet another day of Wednesday Briefs. And this week, I'm breaking ground with a fandom I haven't even discussed in great detail on this blog: JJ Abrams' LOST, which I'm currently in the thick of, watching season five and getting my mind blown with every plot twist big and small. So I hope you enjoy my first proper LOST post on this blog and please, no spoilers anything beyond what is discussed!
Adrift, Again: LOST, Desmond Hume & Daniel Faraday, G, prompt - "time heals all wounds, orchids"
Canon note: Takes place at the beginning of season five. No spoilers past events around episode 2/3. Basically, if you can understand "Faraday's flashes", you're good. Also refers to Ben Linus, Penny Widmore, Hugo "Hurley" Reyes, and John Locke, either explicitly or otherwise.
It begins like this: a flash of light, and everyone is lost.
Or: it begins with Desmond Hume waking up as he has done every day for the past four years in his prison of a hatch, oblivious to the fact that his life is about to take another dramatic shift forward. It begins with a light in the dark and a figure banging on the door from above, and hope, catching in both of their chests like an unexpected breath. It begins with a key in the floor, with the hairs on his neck standing on end, with a promise to a woman he thinks he'll never see again.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

To The New World: Sword Art Online 24 & 25

Kirito, Asuna, and Yui are finally together again, but the locks placed on Asuna are unbreakable. Before they have a chance to come up with a plan, the fairy king makes his grand entrance. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler warning: Post contains spoilers up to the series finale.
I am incredibly torn about these last two episodes of Sword Art Online, which make up the true finale of the series. Episode 24 was actually okay, although marred by a heavy handed deus ex machina - but it's Kirito's series, so what else do you expect? Episode 25, on the other hand, felt lackluster, manipulative, and useless; it was a ten-pound weight dragging down what few moments of decency this anime had left. I wish SAO had ended in twenty-four episodes. Maybe I would have loved it more.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Manga Review: Sakura Hime GN 12

Sakura Hime volume 12
Author: Arina Tanemura
Viz Manga/Shojo Beat
216 pages
Spoiler warning: Since volume twelve is the series finale, events leading up to this book as well as events in this very book will be discussed. Read with caution!
Do yourself a favor, fellow Sakura Hime fans. Don't read the Viz Manga synopsis for this volume. Just don't! Because it gives away a lot of the plot twists within this final installment and quite frankly, that's rather rude. Go into it without knowing a single thing of what is to come and I promise you, Tanemura's last book of Sakura and Aoba's destiny-defying romance will certainly hit you right in the feelings box.
If your heart hasn't become even a smidgen overwhelmed with emotion by the final page, you are probably a stone cold robot and should stop reading manga. Is that hyperbole? Well, yes, but that is what Tanemura is really good at. She's a top tier manipulator of heartstrings, making you care about her characters and their futures only to calmly destroy all their dreams with a single panel. Her and Jun Mochizuki and Masashi Kishimoto should form a band.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Manga Review: Naruto GN 64

Naruto volume 64
Author: Masashi Kishimoto
Viz Manga/Shonen Jump
189 pages
Ten Tails: With the masked man's identity revealed as Obito, Kakashi's resolve is severely shaken. It will be up to Naruto to inspire his old master to continue the fight. But when Ten Tails is finally awakened, will the entire ninja world be doomed? (Source: Viz Manga)
Spoiler warning: Review will contain some spoilers of events in volume 64 as well as recent volumes leading up to this one.
Here's the great thing about Naruto right now. We've got a world-encompassing ninja war going down, pitting every village possible against Obito and Madara's machinations. Everyone is putting their lives on the lines to protect what's important to them. And unlike some shonen manga which would be holding back on the body count, Naruto has no such qualms. It's war and people are going to die. And that's what happens in this book.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fujoshi O'Clock (2/14/14)

What time is it? It's . . . Fujoshi O'Clock, the biweekly feature at Nagareboshi Review, when I bring to you the latest fujoshi-related news and reviews and various shiny BL-flavored things. Why? Because rotten girls need love too!

This week on Fujoshi O'Clock:

Reviews:
  • Maggie at OASG reviews Panda Restaurant by Riri Sagara, a story about an oddball restaurant staffed by cookware in human form. Sounds interesting!
  • Kuriosity reviews Scarlet by Hiro Madarame, a troubled romance between two college students which apparently has a problem with bisexuality, boo.
  • A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions reviews My Only King by Lily Hoshino. It brings up a lot of legit criticisms of the title, which is cool.

Am I missing your blog? Got some awesome fujoshi-related news and reviews you think deserve a shout-out? Poke me with a link and a bit of description over at my Twitter: @theseventhl. I'm always on the look out for more BL love!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Manga Review: Black Butler GN 16

Black Butler volume sixteen
Author: Yana Toboso
Yen Press
176 pages
Earl Ciel Phantomhive and his invincible butler Sebastian may have succeeded in sneaking their way into the elite Weston College, but their investigation quickly hits a wall. To earn an audience with the headmaster, Ciel's only option is to attend the "Midnight Tea Party," an exclusive gathering hosted by the elusive head of the school. And the only way a lowly first-former like Ciel, earl or no, can land a seat at that table is by being elected the Most Valuable Player in the College's annual storied cricket tournament. (Source: Yen Press)
If you had told me last year that one of my favorite Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler story arcs would have involved Ciel infiltrating an elite boarding school and playing cricket, I probably would not have believed you. Several volumes of prefects and fags and Unexpected Soma! later, and the Weston College arc has become a personal favorite of mine, up there with Ripper arc, Soma's introduction, and the Circus arc. Not only does it do a good job switching between school hijinks and drama, but it expands upon the existing background of the Phantomhive clan, something I've been waiting for for a while.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Stein And The Sickness

Another week, another Wednesday Briefs. Continuing from last week, we come back to the world of Soul Eater and Doctor Stein's house, where the good doctor has caught a case of the upset tummy. Good thing Marie is around to take care of his health - but is there something else going on? This is the conclusion to the story; enjoy!

In Sickness (2/2): Soul Eater (manga), Stein/Marie, PG-13, prompt - "stitches"
Canon note: takes place between the seizing of "Brew" and the storming of Baba Yaga Castle.
"Stein?"
Stein's foot paused in mid tap. His fingers rested in a crooked angle against his collar. The silence that followed was off-putting. "Yes?" At least he was back to full words and sentences, short as that was. No more grunting, thank goodness.
"It's time to get back in bed, okay? You need your rest." Marie offered up a tired smile, as if she’d been more than happy to play nurse to his sick self.
"Do I?"

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

PR: Viz Brings Major Changes To Neon Alley April 1st

VIZ MEDIA’S NEON ALLEY EVOLVES TO BECOME NEW HOME FOR DIGITAL STREAMING ANIME CONTENT IN THE U.S.

Anime Streaming Brand To Be Carried By Hulu And Hulu Plus Video-On-Demand Services, And Will Continue To Offer Simulcast Premieres And Exclusive Content To An Expanded Audience

San Francisco, CA, February 11, 2014 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, announces a significant milestone in the evolution of Neon Alley as the company moves to consolidate all of its digital streaming anime content offerings under its Neon Alley brand.

Effective April 1st, VIZ Media will transition its weekly episodic anime programming to the successful free ad-supported Hulu and subscription-based Hulu Plus Video-On-Demand services. The move also expands VIZ Media’s role as a content partner for one of the U.S.’s biggest video streaming providers.

U.S. fans will be able to catch a wide variety of brand new anime, as well as classic content distributed and/or licensed by VIZ Media, for FREE at www.NeonAlley.com. The site will also become the new home for all FREE streaming anime content previously available on VIZAnime.com, including first-run simulcasts for hit series such as NARUTO SHIPPUDEN. Titles will be presented with easy-to-use selections for dubbed and/or subbed content (when available).

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Signal Boost: A Mixed Bag Of Kickstarter Projects

Source: Katabuchi Sunao via Kickstarter
I love me some crowd-funded projects so any time I can, I'll shout from the mountaintops about the latest and newest projects hitting Kickstarter at the moment. Here's a couple worth looking at!

-Following in the footsteps of Witch Academia and Kickheart, we have the Mai Mai Miracle Kickstarter, which is asking for funding for the English release of an anime film that has already been made and seen in Japan. It sounds like a truly magical film in the stylings of old school Studio Ghibli. And yes, it's already reached it's initial funding mark! But we have stretch goals, including an English dub track and possibly more if they reach the $60k mark. Sounds and looks like a project worth throwing money at.

-In the graphic novel division of KS, we have a Kickstarter Fund for the first volume of the Jewish Comix Anthology from Alternate History Comics Inc. 47 different artists, from all over the globe, each bringing their unique art styles to one book? Heck yes! The first volume of JCA has not reached it's initial funding goal yet, which sucks because the stretch goals look awesome - so if you like Jewish comics, please consider making a pledge to this project!

-Checking up on past Kickstarters highlighted on this blog: the Hana Doki Kira shojo anthology was successfully funded! It even reached a stretch goal which will mean all books come with pretty foil covers. Unfortunately, not every campaign is successful: the 9 Deadly Killer Pussies anime project was cancelled by the project creator. I wish the creators the best of luck and that they'll eventually get their pet project up and running in the future.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Dear AnimeNation: I Am A Woman Who Buys Anime

Dear Anime Nation: maybe putting the death of an entire industry upon the shoulders of all women because we apparently don't buy anime was not the best idea.

Sakura has absolutely no time for your BS.
Perhaps responding to some hapless misogynist write-in who thinks the (false) movement of 'fake otaku girls' ("wishy-washy American fangirls", as if fanboys have never flitted from one fandom to another) killed anime by liking shojo titles by saying no, it's because girls don't buy anime and I don't have any actual data to back this up was not your finest moment.

The majority of anime fans I knew in the time period that the Ask John column cites - 1998 to 2008 - were female. They bought DVDs. They bought books. They bought merch. They were the ones at conventions and watching Toonami/Adult Swim/G4/Fox/whatever channel was showing dubbed anime when it was available. And it was certainly not a small number of them.

I buy anime. No, seriously. I buy anime. I have been buying anime since Pokemon mania first swept our shores (and damn, do I wish I still had my original Pokemon VHS collection!). I also buy and watch titles other than shojo too, so if we could stop equating female anime fans with exclusively shojo anime fans, that would be cool. The above isn't even my full collection; I've traded and given away and loaned quite a few anime titles, and it also doesn't reflect my VHS collection which is still growing every year, albeit slowly.

But go ahead. Tell me women aren't a valid part of anime fandom. Tell me that my monetary contributions meant nothing, or that men don't buy anime originally geared at female audiences. Maybe one day, I'll take that argument seriously. Or not.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Playing Doctor And Nurse

This week for Wednesday Briefs, I'll be sharing my first two parter. The next part will be posted next week on Wednesday as well! Hopefully y'all are intrigued by the first part enough to return for the conclusion.

In this Wednesday Brief, a mad doctor is sick and someone has to act as nurse. Our story takes place in the Soul Eater manga-verse and stars Dr Stein and Marie, but I think it's still readable even if you aren't overly intimate with the series as a whole. Enjoy!

In Sickness (1/2): Soul Eater (manga), Stein/Marie, PG-13, prompt - "stomach, claws, blanket".
Canon note: takes place between the seizing of "Brew" and the storming of Baba Yaga Castle.
"My stomach hurts."
Marie wheeled around in her chair to find Doctor Stein, looking paler than usual and in his patchwork pajamas. It was late and Marie had been deep in paperwork for the DWMA. She should have expected Stein to intrude at least once, especially since they were rooming together and the good doctor kept unusual hours. He was once up at four in the morning, testing electrical currents on cactus while playing opera.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

To The World Tree And Beyond

Kirito’s determination to save Asuna borders on the insane. His reckless is stopped when Leafa suddenly logs out. / Even though a wall has been built between Kirito and Sugu, he must save Asuna. The next time he challenges the final dungeon he won’t be alone. (Source: Crunchyroll)
Spoiler warning: Post contains spoilers up to episode 23, "Bonds".
Did someone tell Sword Art Online that they only have two more episodes left after these? Because in this duo of episodes, the story gets kicked into serious high gear and plot happens. And it's so good! Well, unless you're name is Suguha. Then it's just all kinds of bad. Also, we learn that Asuna is not a common name whatsoever - either that or Suguha is good at jumping to conclusions that end up being true. And Yui is ridiculously adorable when she's not piling on the 'mommy/daddy' chirping!
Onwards - into the final act of Sword Art Online series one!

In Which I Add To An Already Impressive List Of Places To Buy Anime & Manga

Anyone else trying to figure out which titles are on Konata's bed?
Have you seen Organization Anti-Social Geniuses' list of where you can buy anime/manga in 2014 yet? It's a really great list because it covers places both physical and online and isn't completely North America centered. And it mentions a shop I've been meaning to revisit, f.y.e., which I just assumed went out of business long ago. Whoops! Now I'm gonna add my own amendments to it, cause I can.