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Film Friday- Revolutionary Girl Utena

Film Friday- Revolutionary Girl Utena

The anime series is divided into four story arcs, in each of which Utena comes to face a different challenge at Ohtori Academy. In all of them, Utena must defend her title as the owner of the Rose Bride, with the intention of protecting Anthy. The duels almost always occur when someone with the Rose Crest ring challenges the current Engaged, though the Engaged may challenge other Duelists as well. No refusal is accepted. The matches occur in the dueling arena, a large, high platform in the academy’s outskirts, which is only open to duelists. The Rose Bride pins roses to the Duelists’ jackets. They then sword fight until one duelist wins by knocking away the opponent’s rose with his or her blade.

(The story arc names below link to more details than given here as well as the episodes.)

  • Student Council Saga
Episodes 1 to 13. This first part of the series introduces Utena, Anthy and most of the main characters. It depicts how Utena ends up winning the Rose Bride, and her initial duels against the Student Council members. They in turn insist for various reasons on fighting in order to defeat Utena and win Anthy in order to gain the power to revolutionize the world.
  • Black Rose Saga
Episodes 14 to 24. After repelling the Student Council’s attempts to take Anthy, Utena faces another obstacle, Souji Mikage. Disguised as a genius 18-year-old school counselor, he uses his powers of persuasion and knowledge of psychology to put people under his control by coaxing them to confide their deepest hostilities and fears. Almost always, these people are students whose problems stem from conflict with Utena, Anthy and the Student Council. He then sends them, wearing black Rose Crest rings on their fingers and frozen, black roses on their chests to fight Utena. This arc also introduces Akio Ohtori.
  • Akio Ohtori Saga
Episodes 25 to 33. After solving the Mikage situation, Utena must fight rematches against the Student Council, whose members attain new abilities upon meeting Akio. At the same time, she finds herself the target of Akio’s seduction, creating a rift between her and Anthy.
  • Apocalypse Saga
Episodes 34 to 39. As the conflict escalates, the dark secrets of the duels and Akio and Anthy’s true intentions behind them are unveiled, and Utena confronts Akio in a final duel to free Anthy from his influence.

A movie, Adolescence of Utena, was released in theatres in 1999. A number of stage productions based on the franchise were also produced in the mid-1990s, including the “Comédie Musicale Utena la fillette révolutionnaire”, staged by an all-female Takarazuka-style cast.

The main character is Utena Tenjou, a tomboyish teenage girl who was so impressed by a kind prince in her childhood that she decided to become a prince herself, expressed in her manner of dress and personality. She attends Ohtori Academy, where she meets a student named Anthy Himemiya, a girl who is in an abusive relationship with another student. Utena fights to protect Anthy and is pulled into a series of sword duels with the members of the Student Council. Anthy is referred to as the “Rose Bride” and is given to the winner of each duel. It is said that the winner of the tournament will receive a mysterious “power to revolutionize the world”, and the current champion is constantly challenged for the right to possess the Rose Bride.

Film Friday- Full Metal Panic!

Film Friday- Full Metal Panic!

Plot

The series follows Sousuke Sagara, a member of a covert anti-terrorist private military organization known as Mithril, tasked with protecting Kaname Chidori, a spirited Japanese high school girl. He moves to Japan to study at Chidori’s school, Jindai High School, with assistance from his comrades Kurz Weber and Melissa Mao. Having never experienced social interactions, Sousuke is found as a military maniac by his schoolmates as he interprets everyday situations from a combat perspective. He comes to relate with Chidori who realizes that Sousuke is protecting her, but he does not reveal the reasons due to orders as well as the fact that he does not know why Chidori is being targeted by different organizations.

Anime

Full Metal Panic!

The anime series was produced by Gonzo Digimation and originally aired in 2002 after its original air date was canceled because of the September 11 attacks. The series was licensed by ADV Films for North American release in 2003. The first three novels form the basis for the anime. The series was available on the Anime Network on Demand from 2003 to 2004.

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu is a companion series to the anime series Full Metal Panic! by Kyoto Animation, and takes place between the first season and The Second Raid. Markedly different in tone to the first series, Fumoffu emphasizes the high school romantic comedy aspects of Full Metal Panic! with often crude humor and focuses on the romantic tension between Sousuke Sagara and Kaname Chidori. It frequently parodies itself and anime stereotypes. None of the mecha combat or political intrigue, which characterized much of the original Full Metal Panic!, can be seen in the series. The only reference to the mecha aspect of Full Metal Panic! is the Bonta-kun, which is one of the most prominent parodies in the anime. Sousuke uses spare Bonta-kun costumes to make highly effective suits of power armor, but they look like teddy bears wearing army gear and can only say: “Fu” and “Mo” in different combinations.

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid

Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid is the direct sequel to the original anime series. It was produced by Kyoto Animation and ran for 13 episodes. The series is based on the Ending Day by Day novels and takes place three months after the events that occurred in the Tuatha de Danaan at the end of the original Full Metal Panic! series. Mithril learns of a secret organization that has technology able to counter the ECS (Electronic Conceal System) mode. The organization, known as Amalgam, has access to Black Technology, which was obtained from the Whispered. Like the other intelligence agencies, Amalgam intends to obtain more. Sousuke’s mission to protect Chidori is terminated by Mithril, instead leaving her in the care of an anonymous agent known as Wraith.

There is a one episode OVA that takes place after Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid. It’s a humorous stand-alone story. It focuses on the Captain of the Tuatha De Danaan: Teletha Tessa Testarossa, rather than the two main characters of the series. The OVA is based on short story Wari to Hima na Sentaichou no Ichi Nichi (A comparatively leisurely day of the squadron commander) in short story collection Dounimo Naranai Gori Muchuu (Helpless in the thick of it). The story is also told in chapters 13 & 14 in Full Metal Panic Sigma Volume 04.

Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory

Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory is the fourth TV series in the franchise. It will premiere in April 2018. During Anime Expo 2017, the series creator confirmed that Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory is a “continuation” that won’t contain any “explanation or expository episodes.” The pacing of the story is going to be “full throttle from the get-go” although it will still “follow the original work pretty closely.”

Live action films

A live action film adaptation was announced by Mandalay Pictures in April 2009, with Zac Efron rumored to be attached to the project. Efron has since confirmed a meeting took place regarding the project but added that the adaptation was unlikely to happen.

Writer and director Kenneth Lindbloom announced in an interview with ASO radio, released March 2012, that a fifteen-minute live action fan film, Full Metal Panic! Come Make My Day, was in post production and due to be released sometime in 2012. The project was undertaken by a group of professionals and enthusiast with the goal of creating a high-quality portfolio piece based on the Full Metal Panic! novel Come Make My Day.

Film Friday- The Record of Lodoss War

Film Friday- The Record of Lodoss War

Anime

  • 1990 Record of Lodoss War  13 episode OVA
  • 1998 Record of Lodoss War: Chronicles of the Heroic Knight 27 episode TV series
  • 1998 Welcome to Lodoss Island!  3-part parodic movie
  • 2014 Record of Lodoss War: Is That Delicious?  13 episode TV series

Home video releases

The original OVA series and the TV series had both been released in North America through Central Park Media on VHS and on DVD. The OVA and TV series were slated for a Blu-ray release through Media Blasters, but they have now dropped all plans to re-release the series. On April 14, 2017, Funimation announced their license to both the OVA series and the Chronicles of the Heroic Knight TV series and will release the OVA on both Blu-ray and DVD and the TV series on DVD in one set on July 18, 2017

Record of Lodoss War recounts the adventures of a youth by the name of Parn, the son of a dishonored knight. Part of his motivation for adventuring is to find out what happened to his father, and to restore his family’s honor. Despite his inexperience, Parn is considered the leader, who is accompanied by his childhood best friend Etoh, his friend and sometimes advisor Slayn (and later by Slayn’s lover Leylia), and his newfound mentor Ghim. They are accompanied by Parn’s romantic interest, the high elf Deedlit, who comes from the Forest of No Return seeking an answer to her people’s isolationism and an end to what she sees as a slow march to extinction; and a thief named Woodchuck. Throughout the series, Parn comes into contact with friends and foes alike. His allies include King Kashue, King Fahn, Shiris, and Orson; his enemies include Emperor Beld, Ashram, and the evil necromancer Wagnard.

The manga adaption and its anime derivative Chronicles of the Heroic Knight continues the adventures of Parn for the first eight episodes, but then focuses on Spark and his adventures to complete a quest tasked onto him to protect Neese, the daughter of Slayn and Leylia. He is accompanied by his own cast of friends in the form of Leaf, Garrack, Greevus, Aldo, and Ryna. The television series shares similarities with the plot of the OVA, such as Wagnard seeking to kidnap Neese in order to use her as a reagent for the resurrection of Naneel, a priestess and the Avatar of Kardis who was slain by Leylia’s mother, the high priestess Neese a short time after the battle with the demonic god. Leylia was the reincarnation of Naneel, but when she lost her virginity she was no longer capable of being the doorway or reagent needed to unseal Naneel.

The third series, Legend of Crystania, places the former villain Ashram into the seat of a would-be hero who is placed under a spell by a “god beast” of Crystania. The series then focuses on Pirotess, his dark elven lover, as she tries to find a way to free him from the clutches of the spell and to restore him back to his living self.

Film Friday- Princess Jellyfish

Film Friday- Princess Jellyfish

An 11-episode anime television series based on the manga was produced by Brain’s Base and aired on Fuji TV’s Noitamina programming block between October and December 2010. The anime has been licensed by Funimation. A live-action film adaptation premiered in Japan on December 27, 2014. A live-action drama series will premiere in January 2018.

Anime

An 11-episode anime television series adaptation produced by Brain’s Base and directed by Takahiro Omori aired in Japan between October 15 and December 31, 2010 on Fuji Television’s Noitamina programming block. Four BD/DVD compilation volumes were released from January to April 2011, and each volume contained a bonus anime short. The opening theme is “Koko Dake no Hanashi” by Chatmonchy and the ending theme is “Kimi no Kirei ni Kizuite Okure” by Sambomaster. Music in the anime was composed by Makoto Yoshimori.

Funimation simulcasted the series on its video streaming website as part of their deal with Fuji TV; the first two episodes premiered on October 28, 2010. Funimation later licensed the series in North America in response to positive feedback from a fan survey posted on their Facebook page and released the series on BD/DVD on February 28, 2012. The series made its North American television debut on September 11, 2012 on the Funimation Channel.

Characters

Tsukimi Kurashita 

Voiced by: Kana Hanazawa (Japanese); Maxey Whitehead (English), Rena Nōnen (live-action film)
Tsukimi is an 18-year-old otaku girl who lives in Tokyo and wants to be an illustrator. Influenced by her late mother, she has a love for all kinds of jellyfish and is quite knowledgeable about them. She is the only resident of Amamizukan who knows Kuranosuke’s true gender. Like the other Amars, she has a fear of stylish people and will usually petrify in their presence. Tsukimi has a pet spotted jellyfish named Clara. Much to her chagrin, she often receives temporary makeovers from Kuranosuke; in these states, she becomes beautiful and Shū falls for her. She reciprocates Shū’s feelings but she is led to think that he is in love with Shōko Inari. She grows to be very comfortable around Kuranosuke when he is cross-dressing to the point she nearly forgets his gender, but conversely she gets very nervous whenever he is in his “boy” state in front of her.

Kuranosuke Koibuchi 

Voiced by: Mitsuki Saiga (Japanese); Josh Grelle (English), Masaki Suda (live-action film)
Kuranosuke is the son of a rich political family. He uses the alias “Kurako” in front of the other Amars to hide his gender. He enjoys cross-dressing, to the chagrin of his family. Unlike the rest of his family, he does not find politics interesting at all and desires to get into fashion. He is constantly looking for the address of his mother, who gave birth to him after having an affair with his father, hoping to see at least once more the wardrobe she kept with so much passion. After meeting Tsukimi and helping her rescue Clara from a pet store, he starts paying her visits, finding her more interesting than anything else in his life. Throughout his life he has been popular with pretty girls, thus he almost cannot believe it when he starts realizing he may have feelings for Tsukimi.

Film Friday- Parasyte

Film Friday- Parasyte

An anime television series adaptation by Madhouse, titled Parasyte -the maxim-, aired in Japan between October 2014 and March 2015. The English-language dub aired on Adult Swim’s Toonami block in America between October 2015 and April 2016. The manga has been adapted into two live-action films in Japan in 2014 and 2015.

Plot

Parasyte centers on a male 17-year-old high school student named Shinichi Izumi, who lives with his mother and father in a quiet neighborhood in Tokyo, Japan. One night, strange worm-like creatures with drills as a ‘head’ called Parasytes appear on Earth, taking over the brains of human hosts by entering through their ears or noses. One Parasite attempts to crawl into Shinichi’s nose while he sleeps, but fails as Shinichi wakes up, and enters his body by burrowing into his arm instead. In the Japanese version, it takes over his right hand and is named Migi, after the Japanese word for ‘right’; Tokyopop’s version-(English dub), in which the images are flipped horizontally, has the Parasite take over Shinichi’s left hand and it is named Lefty.

Because Shinichi was able to prevent Migi from travelling further up into his brain, both beings retain their separate intellect and personality. As the duo encounter other Parasites, they capitalize on their strange situation and gradually form a strong bond, working together to survive. This gives them an edge in battling other Parasites who frequently attack the pair upon realization that Shinichi’s human brain is still intact. Shinichi feels compelled to fight other Parasites, who devour humans as food, while enlisting Migi’s help.

Parasites

The series’ antagonists, the Parasites are creatures of unknown origin which start off as worm-like creatures that instinctively enter the body of the nearest life form and travel to the brain to completely assimilate it while destroying the host’s identity in the process. From there, using the vital organs of the host bodies to survive, the Parasites would be driven with a need to kill humans and Parasites with failed host bodies. After assimilating their host, Parasites exhibit a variety of abilities that make them dangerous adversaries: the immediate area around their entry site (typically the head) is morphed into a versatile “parasite tissue” which can take a variety of offensive and defensive forms, and a parasite that successfully takes over a host’s brain can then maximize the physical potential of that host. In general, Parasite intelligence is comparable to humans, though their thought process is strictly rational and cold, with very little emotion. They are also capable of learning extremely quickly depending on their environment – Migi, for example, mastered Japanese after one night of reading books on the subject. While most Parasites initially acted alone, causing a chain of multiple grisly deaths coined the “mincemeat murders”, they eventually form groups for safety in numbers. By the time of the final chapter, Shinichi speculating that they might have been created as an evolutionary countermeasure to humans, the surviving Parasites are assumed to have gone into hiding and adopt themselves further into human society to keep their activities to a minimum.

Reiko Tamura
An extremely intelligent, calculating Parasite and one of the story’s main antagonists. She originally infected and took on the identity of a woman named Ryōko Tamiya, one of Shinichi’s high school teachers while suggesting a beneficial ceasefire. Unlike most of her kind, she is motivated by scientific inclinations with a drive to understand her kind’s biology, origin, and purpose. She learned that she is pregnant with a normal human infant as a consequence of being impregnated by Mr. A, deeming it interesting while forced to quit to avoid unwanted attention resulting from it. Though she intended to kill Shinichi soon after, she lets him and Migi live unmolested largely because she finds them an interesting anomaly worthy of study. After killing off Ryōko’s parents when they saw through her, the Parasite alters her face and creates the identity of “Reiko Tamura” while aligning herself with Takeshi Hirokawa. She eventually gives birth to Mr. A’s baby and later kills three of her fellow Parasites when they deemed her actions with a hired detective a threat to their plans. It was after Reiko killed the maddened detective to save her child that she allowed the police to brutally gun her down in a park instead of trying to resist or escape. The baby survives because of her protection and decision not to fight back against or run away from the police.
Tamura is portrayed by Eri Fukatsu in the film.
Mr. B
A Parasite who attacks Shinichi and tries to coerce Migi into relocating to his arm in order to extend his own lifespan. To his surprise, Migi kills him on the pretense that relocation is too risky to try.
Mr. A 
An highly aggressive Parasite formerly aligned with Reiko Tamura. When first introduced, he (or rather, his host body) fathers a child with Reiko as part of the latter’s experiment. Described by Migi as “not one of our smart ones” and called a fool by Reiko, Mr. A is extremely impulsive and animalistic. He has little capacity for subtlety or deception, and no qualms about killing humans in the presence of numerous witnesses. Shinichi is forced to battle Mr. A when he attempts to hunt Shinichi down and kill him at school. Though Shinichi and Migi mortally wound him, they are forced to flee before they could kill him. Mr. A attempts to find Reiko to transfer himself to her body and survive, but she rigs the room to explode to completely destroy him to preserve her human cover.
Hideo Shimada
Hideo is a Parasite with a teenager’s body who decides to integrate with human society. Hideo enrolls in Shinichi’s high school on Reiko’s suggestion and expresses a desire to become friends with Shinichi, who does not trust him. Although Hideo is a relatively peaceful Parasite, he has no qualms about brutalizing or even killing bullies who try to start fights with him, and he continues to hunt humans despite claiming to be learning to eat like a person. But when Yuko uncovered his secret and confronts him about it, Hideo ends up being exposed to paint-thinner during the confrontation as Yuko manages to escape. The paint-thinner’s chemical make-up disrupts Hideo’s Parasite cells, causing him to go on an involuntary killing spree across the school. He is killed after he escapes to the roof, when Shinichi, using Migi to enhance his right arm’s strength, throws a well-aimed stone through his chest, destroying his heart.
Shimada is played by Masahiro Higashide in the film.

Film Friday- Hetalia: Axis Powers

Film Friday- Hetalia: Axis Powers

As of January 8, 2010, the anime series’ international distribution is being handled by Funimation. The series was later adapted into drama CDs, and an anime series created by Studio Deen has also begun streaming online.

Anime

An anime adaptation of Hetalia: Axis Powers was announced on July 24, 2008. It is directed by Bob Shirohata (Gravitation, Diamond Daydreams) and is animated by Studio Deen. It was originally scheduled for broadcast on Kids Station on January 24, 2009 but was later canceled. The cancellation only affected the Kids Stations broadcasts; plans to make the series available through mobile phone and Internet streaming were not affected. The controversies arose when numerous Korean protesters called for the cancellation of the series, claiming that the personified character of Korea was an insulting representation of Koreans. Kids Station claimed that the Korea character does not appear in the anime and that it was “unaware of the criticism in Korea,” and cited “various circumstances” as being behind the decision to cancel its airing of the anime, but they did not provide further information as to the nature of these circumstances. A second 26-episode season of Hetalia: Axis Powers was announced on April 16, 2009, and a third was announced on December 10, 2009. As of March 7, 2010, the title of the anime has been changed to Hetalia: World Series. A fourth season had been announced for Hetalia and premiered on September 10, 2010. This season featured the new characters Denmark and Norway.

On January 8, 2010, Funimation announced it had acquired the rights to release the first and second seasons of Hetalia in the United States and Canada. Funimation later began streaming Hetalia on their website, Hulu, and YouTube with Japanese audio and English subtitles and announced that characters would have accents in the English dub. Via Twitter, Funimation clarified that the series was rated TV-MA due to “some instances of profanity, crude humor and adult situations”, and that they base ratings on entire series rather than individual episodes. The first DVD was released on September 14, 2010. Funimation have announced at Otakon 2010, that they have the license the Hetalia: World Series and will simulcast the episodes and release them on DVD in 2011. In the UK, the series will be distributed by Manga Entertainment.

Certain Animate stores will carry Hetalia-themed Purikura booths for a limited time, with a total of 10 anime sticker options.

The series has made its North American television debut on December 23, 2010 on the Funimation Channel.

The fifth season of Hetalia, titled Hetalia: The Beautiful World, was announced in the September 2012 edition of Comic Birz. It was announced that it would be produced by a new staff and utilize a new illustrative style. Romania also appeared as a new character. On June 21, 2013, Hetalia: The Beautiful World concluded. It was released in an English dubbed version on July 22, 2014 by Funimation.

A sixth season of Hetalia, titled Hetalia: The World Twinkle, was announced in the January 2015 edition of Comic Birz. It began airing in July 2015 and concluded in October 2015. It was released with an English dub on November 8, 2016 by Funimation.

Movie

A feature-length animated film adaptation was announced on September 23, 2009, and was released on June 5, 2010. The film is entitled Paint it, White! and the eight main characters as well as supporting characters such as Liechtenstein, Sealand, Prussia, Finland, Cuba, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Romano, Belarus, Ukraine, Greece, Poland, Canada, Iceland, Spain and Baltics are set to appear in the film – the main plot of the movie involves a vast majority of characters being transformed into grey-white faceless aliens called Pictonians. At Otakon 2010, Funimation Entertainment announced the license of the film. The English dubbed version made its premiere at the Anime Weekend Atlanta convention, taking place from September 30 to October 2, 2011. It was released on November 22, 2011, and each DVD came with a green bandana as a bonus.

Allied Forces

The Allied Powers consist primarily of the characters America, England, France, Russia, Canada, and China. These characters are often depicted as comically failing to reach consensus in their war meetings. The representations of countries that were also part of the historical Allies of World War Two make additional appearances.

America 

is an energetic young man. In the series, he was found by France and England (at first) before France left him in England’s care after America chose the latter over the former, then later grows distant from him which eventually leads to him fighting for his independence.

America is very similar in appearance to his brother, Canada, who is often mistaken for America. America has blond hair, starry blue eyes, glasses representing Texas, and a noticeable cowlick representing Nantucket. In the World War II sections of the anime and manga, America wears an American Army Air Force Officer uniform, and a vintage leather flight jacket. He is the self-proclaimed leader of the Allied Forces, and his catchphrase is “I’m the hero!”

Although his ideas for solving international problems are often absurd, and he is usually oblivious to the opinions of others, it has been stated that he acts this way purposely. America’s ideas and inventions are grand, but rarely go anywhere. He is often portrayed as loud, obnoxious, egotistical, immature, childlike and interfering with other characters’ businesses with little regard for whom his actions affect. Yet despite his misgivings, he is shown to be a kind-hearted person who cares deeply for his friends. He is also shown to be extremely intelligent in several fields.

He is a brave adventurer and natural explorer, wanting to try things no one has ever done before, and he usually spends his free time either trying new foods, being around friends, or making movies and has a fascination with superheroes which he aspires to be himself. He has a prominent case of phasmophobia, which is ironic considering his friendly acquaintance with an alien named Tony, who lives in his house.

America is frequently seen clutching a hamburger or eating while speaking, yet he is self-conscious of his unhealthy habits and tries several yet ineffective diets to stay healthy. He also has uncanny superhuman strength, being able to lift objects several times his size.

In the anime series, his voice actor is Katsuyuki Konishi in Japanese and Eric Vale in English, both of whom also voice Canada. As a child, America’s voice actress is Ai Iwamura in Japanese and Luci Christian in English.

United Kingdom

More commonly known as England or Britain is the personification of England and acting representation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He is depicted as an irritable man with big, bushy eyebrows drawn with five lines. While before he was a zealous privateer, he is now a cynical and sharp-tongued gentleman some of his notable character traits include his terrible cooking skills, inability to hold his liquor, foul mouth, ability to see supernatural creatures, and (in)ability to perform magic curses on his enemies.

He is usually recognized for his rather large eyebrows, blond hair (more in a punk-like style), green eyes, and his green Royal Artillery Officer’s uniform. In the English release of the anime, when asked why they opted to choose the name “Britain” over “England”, Funimation explained that it was a request from the Japanese studio. Tokyopop, the English publisher of the manga, refers to him as “England.”

Britain is most antagonistic towards France, with whom he shares a long rivalry, and has strong mixed feelings towards America, his former charge.

In one strip he notes that he has an older brother named Scotland. Himaruya has confirmed that England represents both the United Kingdom and England, while Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales are his siblings. Among England’s other ‘relations’ are Sealand, a micronation whom England considers to be an annoying little brother due to his continued attempts to get other countries to recognize him as an independent country.

England’s voice actor is Noriaki Sugiyama, and his English voice actor was Scott Freeman but due to some legal issues, Funimation cut off all ties with him. He was replaced by Taliesin Jaffe in The World Twinkle.

France 

is an overly-romantic, carefree man. In the series, he is shown to have a long-held rivalry with England, whom he raised. He makes sexual passes at many characters. France explains away his long history of military defeats as a joke from God, but he believes he is gifted with his “charms” and his supreme cooking skills. He regards himself as the eldest brother among the European nations and is referred to as such by some of them, though he calls Spain his elder brother in turn. Most of the time he does not bother remembering to speak English, instead using French, the “Language of Love”. He has long blond hair, clear blue eyes, and usually wears a purple cathedral cloak.

In the anime series, he is voiced by Masaya Onosaka in Japanese and J. Michael Tatum in English.

Russia,

previously known as The Soviet Union, is the tallest of all the nations, and has a thick muscular body. He has wavy silver hair, purple eyes, a large nose, wears a thick winter coat and a silk scarf. Russia has a seemingly kind demeanor, but has suffered mental trauma following the strain of his bloody history, and as a result he has the innocence and cruelty of a child; sometimes he casts an aura of pure evil around him whenever such malicious thoughts enter his mind. He often terrifies the other countries without even trying, especially when he was the Soviet Union. He would abuse the Baltics and still stalks them in the modern day, especially Lithuania. Occasionally, he stalks China, while in a panda costume; and he holds a subtle rivalry with the Western nations, especially America. His primary target of resentment is General Winter, because despite using the cold to his advantage in war, he is also attacked by him every year. Russia has also been known to want Lithuania and other countries to become one with him. Russia also has two sisters: his older sister, Ukraine and his younger sister, Belarus. He becomes gloomy and depressed when either of them are on his mind because Ukraine left him to try to make friends in the EU and Belarus, is obsessed with the idea of forcing him to marry her. She seems to be the only other country which Russia fears. Russia happily promises that eventually “all will become one with Russia”. He dreams of living in a warm place surrounded by sunflowers, and vodka is his fuel. He says “kolkolkol” to threaten his subordinates when he is angered. Russia is often seen carrying a metal faucet pipe.

In the anime series, he is voiced by Yasuhiro Takato in Japanese and Jerry Jewell in English.

China 

is the oldest nation in the Allies, being depicted as immortal as well as being over four (or five) thousand years old, and is regarded as the eldest sibling among the East Asian nations. He is the big brother of Japan and often depicted with a panda. His boss was introduced as a green Chinese dragon with an intimidating appearance. During the fight between the Axis and Allies, he fights Germany and Japan with a wok and ladle, which became his weapon of choice which also serves as a stereotype that China serves good food. He is a big fan of Hello Kitty and tends to end his sentences with the suffix -aru, a Japanese racist stereotype of how Chinese people speak. However, he replaces the customary -aru with the suffix -ahen, which means opium, when speaking to England, as a reference to the Opium Wars. He is kind of disturbed by and distrustful of Russia, reflecting Tsarist Russia invaded China and occupied Vladivostock before.(Since it’s a comic mainly talking about stories until WW2, it doesn’t matter with the Russia-China Alliance after all.)

In the anime series, he is voiced by Yuki Kaida (who also voices for Taiwan) in Japanese and Clarine Harp in English.

Film Friday- Fist of the North Star

Film Friday- Fist of the North Star

Fist of the North Star was adapted into two anime television series produced by Toei Animation, which together aired on Fuji TV and its affiliates from 1984 through 1988, comprising a combined total of 152 episodes. Several films, OVAs and video games have been produced as well, including a series of spin-offs centering on other characters from the original story. English adaptations of other Fist of the North Star media have been licensed to other companies, including the TV series and the 1986 film.

Part 2

The peace that follows Raoh’s downfall does not last long and the world returns to turmoil several years later. Kenshiro rejoins his former travelling companions, Bat and Rin, in their battle against an oppressive Empire, fighting under the banner of the Hokuto Army. The Hokuto Army learns that the Empire has been taken over by an usurper named Jakoh, who has imprisoned the Celestial Empress and has been blackmailing her bodyguard, the Gento Kōken successor Falco, to do his evil bidding. The Hokuto Army fight their way into the central capital and free the Empress, who is in fact Rin’s long-lost twin sister Rui. With Rui now freed, Falco turns on Jakoh and kills him, foiling his ambitions.

However, Rin is taken captive by the remnant of Jakoh’s forces and is sent off to the mysterious Kingdom of Shura, a brutal land of warriors ruled by three overlords who have all mastered the ways of Hokuto Ryūken, a martial art which branched off from the same clan alongside Hokuto Shinken into the ways of darkness. Kenshiro defeats Han, the third-ranking overlord, who reveals that the Kingdom of Shura was Kenshiro’s birthplace. Moreover, Kenshiro also learns that Hyou, the second overlord, is his biological older brother, who lost his memories of Kenshiro after being separated as children and was corrupted into the ways of evil. Following a long gruelling battle, Hyou recovers his memories and reconciles with his long-lost brother. Kenshiro seeks out the highest-ranking and most powerful of the three overlords, Kaioh, who is in fact Raoh’s biological older brother. Kaioh plans a conquest to rule the post-apocalyptic world in the name of evil by wiping out the followers of Hokuto Shinken. With Hyou’s help, Kenshiro uncovers the sealed testament of the Hokuto Shinken founder, Shuken, which holds the secret to overcoming Kaioh’s ultimate technique.

Kenshiro emerges victorious over Kaioh and rescues Rin, leaving her under Bat’s care as he goes on an adventure with Raoh’s orphaned son Ryu. Meanwhile, a villain named Bolge appears, seeking revenge against Kenshiro for blinding him in a fight a long time ago. Bat brands himself with Kenshiro’s seven scars and fights in his place, only to be crucified by Bolge and tortured to near-death. Kenshiro rescues Bat, then fights and kills Bolge, while Rin regains her memories and professes her love to a recovering Bat. Afterwards, Kenshiro leaves and continues his role as the Post-Apocalyptic Savior, defending the weak and fighting off the greedy and violent, as the world finally begins to recover from the nuclear war.

Film Friday- Say ‘I love you’

Film Friday- Say ‘I love you’

An anime adaptation by Zexcs aired between October 6 and December 30, 2012; the anime is licensed by Sentai Filmworks. A live action film was released on July 12, 2014.

Anime

An anime adaptation by Zexcs began premiered on Tokyo MX October 6, 2012. The series was later aired on tvk, BS11 and AT-X. It was later licensed by Sentai Filmworks for release in North America. The opening song is “Friendship” by Ritsuko Okazaki and the ending theme is “Slow Dance” by Suneohair.

Film

The wraparound jacket band of the 11th volume of the manga announced in 2013 that a live action film was greenlit for release in 2014. The film was both directed and written by Asako Hyuga. Haruna Kawaguchi and Sota Fukushi were cast as Mei Tachibana and Yamato Kurosawa respectively. The film was released in Japan on July 12, 2014. Its main theme song is “Happily” by One Direction.

Characters

Mei Tachibana
Voiced by: Ai Kayano (Japanese); Caitlynn French (English)Live-action Actor: Haruna Kawaguchi

Since Mei used to be constantly bullied as a child and her classmates blamed her for an accident she never did, she decides to never befriend anyone again and all she needed to survive was herself. At first, she is viewed by others as “freakishly gloomy” and someone who “doesn’t speak” but in addition to being anti-social and clumsy, she is also observant, kind, honest, supportive, and funny . As she eventually falls in love with Yamato Kurosawa, she starts to believe that not everyone is selfish and finally begins to have true friends

Yamato Kurosawa
Voiced by: Takahiro Sakurai (Japanese); Leraldo Anzaldua (English)Live-action Actor: Sota Fukushi

One of the most popular boys in his school. He was known for having kissed almost every girl in his school. When he first meets Mei, she kicks him. He then gives her his cellphone number. When a stalker harasses Mei, she calls Yamato for help and when he arrives, he kisses Mei to get the stalker to go away. Over time, Yamato falls in love with Mei and they start dating. He cares for Mei more than anything and her feelings matter the most to him. Asami describes Yamato as someone who thinks of others more than anyone else, protects what should be protected, and cares for others despite having his own problems to deal with. He even sleeps with Aiko because she was depressed. When it comes to his career choice, after encouragement from Mei, he decides to become a photographer, with help from Kitagawa.

Asami Oikawa
Voiced by: Risa Taneda (Japanese); Monica Rial (English)Live-action Actor: Rima Nishizaki

Mei’s classmate and friend who has complex feelings about her large chest. She hates it when people always stare at them and that no one seems to like her for who she is. She idolizes Yamato because he defended her from boys teasing her about her chest in middle school, and wishes for a prince of her own to protect her. She starts to date Kenji after he confesses he likes her for who she is, not just the size of her breasts.

Kenji Nakanishi
Voiced by: Nobunaga Shimazaki (Japanese); Greg Ayres (English)Live-action Actor: Tasuku Nagase

One of Mei’s classmates, and a good friend of Yamato’s. He is perverted and has a big crush on Asami. Using Mei’s help, He eventually confesses to her. The two become a couple.

Aiko Mutō
Voiced by: Yumi Uchiyama (Japanese); Carli Mosier (English) Live-action Actor Rika Adachi

A classmate of Yamato and Mei’s. She’s brazen and bad-mouthed, but has a nice and friendly side. She’s liked Yamato ever since he told her that her natural self was the prettiest, but he doesn’t reciprocate her feelings. She strongly believes that love requires self-sacrifice and effort, which prompts her to go to extreme lengths for her boyfriends, for example she used multiple cosmetics to look pretty despite breaking out for her old boyfriend. She lost 20 kg to try to get Yamato to become her boyfriend, but this caused her to have scars due to sudden weight loss. After Mei stands up for her, she learns to accept Mei as a friend and supports her through tough times. She ends up dating Masashi.

Masashi Tachikawa 
Voiced by: Junji Majima (Japanese); Clint Bickham (English)Live-action Actor: Ryosuke Yamamoto

Aiko’s lover and the only one she feels she can show her “entire” body to. He loved her even when she was fat.

Film Friday- Earl and Fairy

Film Friday- Earl and Fairy

The Earl and the Fairy (Hakushaku to Yōsei) is a completed series of light novels written by Mizue Tani and published in Japan by Shueisha. An anime adaptation was broadcast from September to December 2008. An anime adaptation of the light novels was announced in February 2008. It ran from September 2008 through December 2008. There are 12 episodes. Kōichirō Sōtome directed the anime while the series composition was done by Noriko Nagao. The animated character designs will be done by Maki Fujii while the animation will be done by Artland. The anime is licensed by Discotek Media.

Characters

Kelpie
Voiced by: Takehito Koyasu

An impolite and arrogant water horse[Celtic folklore] who aggressively pursues Lydia. Bound by the moon spell, which drives away unwanted advances from fairies, Kelpie must bring Lydia the “moon” in order to win her over, although it’s clear to everyone but Kelpie she has no interest in him. He follows Lydia all the way to London to bring her back to Scotland. Despite his aggressiveness, Kelpie genuinely loves and cares for Lydia, and comforts her when she’s confused (though she protests at times). His true form is that of a black horse, while his human form is that of an attractive young man with dark hair and eyes (his pupils are white swirls). His eyes are able to bewitch both men and women alike, and he has relatively strong magical powers. He has the ability to purify water and cleanse toxins.”Kelpie” is the name of his species, and not his given name Cain. He and Lydia first met in Scotland. At the time, a middle-aged woman came to Lydia with her tale of a young man whom she was in love with. Lydia discovers that the man is a Kelpie; the younger brother of the Kelpie that wants to marry Lydia. After being convinced of their love, Lydia eventually aids the woman and younger Kelpie in their relationship. Despite first appearances, Kelpie (for the sake of the rest of this article, Kelpie shall refer to the main story’s Kelpie) demonstrates considerable concern for Lydia. He has saved Lydia (and inadvertently, Edgar and Co. as well) on several occasions, and has gotten hurt on one occasion in her defense. He recuperates quickly when in water. At least twice, he has tried to protect Lydia by taking her from Edgar’s side, as he believes that her being by Edgar is dangerous for Lydia. He is also considerate of Lydia’s feelings; rather than blaming her when she broke the spirit of their deal (that she would stay in the fairy world with him if Kelpie would save Edgar), he told her that he would wait until she no longer had anything holding her back in the human world. He continues to stand by Lydia even after she chooses Edgar over himself, and once told Lydia that she is the first fairy doctor to have obtained a Kelpie; (Kelpies are, as a rule, feared by most other beings as they feed on almost anything they can kill, including fairies). When Edgar first meets Kelpie, he takes an instant dislike to the fairy because of Kelpie’s good looks. Because Edgar believes that most of his own allure comes from his charming looks and silver tongue, he’s wary of other men with similar beauty. Typically Kelpies will take a female human form. Kelpie’s own male form with his dark locks of hair may be a nod to the Manx [Glashtyn].

Ermine
Voiced by: Sayaka Ohara

Raven’s half-sister and Edgar’s dear friend. Edgar would do anything for her if it will make her happy. She is a beautiful woman who has fine fighting skills (though she is not on par with Raven), with short black hair, snow-white skin, and a womanly allure that “is not dimmed by her wearing male clothes” most of the time. She was in love with Edgar, and the Prince used this fact to his advantage and turned her spy against Edgar. Later, she confesses her betrayal to Edgar and commits suicide by jumping into the sea. Later, she is revived by the Selkies on Ulysses’s command, and becomes a Selkie. After reuniting with Edgar’s group, she serves him for a further amount of time before betraying him yet again. The reason for her betrayal is yet unknown, but she claims to Kelpie that her soul’s master is and always will be Edgar. In addition, she attempts to discreetly tip the scales in Edgar and co.’s favor when she can, such as by dropping hints to Kelpie; she tells him that there’s a reason why she must not be kicked out of Prince’s organization yet, but does not state it openly. While she does not openly express her affection for Raven, she has been shown to worry about him. Later on, Ermine relates to Lydia that when they were still under the Prince’s organization, she was the woman “given” to Edgar (as his sexual partner). Edgar, however, refused to touch her because he understood that it was the Prince’s way of training Edgar’s sexual inclinations to match his own. When the Prince realized this, he raped her in front of Edgar.Lydia believes that Ermine is the one whom Edgar truly loves (she bases this conclusion on a few things, like how Edgar is never flirtatious towards her – Lydia takes this as a sign that Edgar loves her so deeply he cannot bring himself to be shallow with Ermine – as well as him muttering her name before falling into sleep while holding Lydia). As such, even after she is vaguely conscious of her feelings towards Edgar, she continues to reject acknowledging them as it would be too painful for her to be with Edgar if his heart is with another. However, it was truly hinted in the light novel how Edgar had only considered Ermine as family, wanting her to be a woman just like others.

Paul Ferman
Voiced by: Hiroshi Kamiya

Paul is a human in his late-twenties who is trying to become a great artist. He was invited to Edgar’s ball, and met Lydia there. While helping Lydia, getting Kelpie off of her, the moon ring accidentally slipped onto his finger, and wouldn’t come off. He seems to be on friendly terms with Lydia, though it makes both Kelpie and Edgar uneasy. His inspiration for art are the fairies, and he has always loved them but cannot see them, so he doesn’t know if they are real or not, but likes to believe they are. His father was killed by the Prince’s organization, and he has since joined an organization – the Scarlet Moon – that opposes the Prince’s. Paul had once aspired to be a poet, but after meeting Edgar as a child, he is persuaded by Edgar to pursue painting instead. Paul is devoted to Edgar for that piece of advice and encouragement. Later, Edgar tells Lydia in private that he persuaded Paul to do so because his poetry was so horrible that he would never make a living through it, while bad art could find at least find a buyer or two. However, despite his slightly dismissive words, Edgar remains a faithful customer of Paul’s. After finding out that Edgar had inherited the Prince’s memories, he still decides to be loyal to Edgar, and states that Edgar was merely another victim, who sacrificed himself to protect his friends.

Professor Carlton- Lydia’s father
Voiced by: Tōru Ōkawa 

He cares for his daughter deeply but isn’t above calling her a tomboy. He works as a professor in a London university, specializing in gems and minerals. Unlike the “younger” generation of researchers, he is not only knowledgeable on the scientific aspects of his specialization, but is also heavily interested in the romantic aspects of it; he has extensive knowledge on several famous gems and their stories. He is accepting of the slightly dangerous nature of Lydia’s job, and respects her decision in working as Edgar’s consultant. He is, however, extremely suspicious of Edgar’s intentions towards his young daughter, because he believes that noblemen would not seriously pursue women born into the lower classes. Because he has been living apart from Lydia, it comes as something of a shock to him that she is already of marriageable age. When he went to Mannon Island, he found Edgar and Lydia escaping from pursuers. Edgar takes the opportunity to glibly proclaim his undying love for her and ask for her hand in marriage, although Lydia immediately and heatedly protests the joke. This apparently “shocks” Carlton into realizing that Lydia has grown up. Lydia has observed that his constant protests that she is “still a child” may reflect this. However, he has lately approved of Lydia’s and Edgar’s engagement. He eloped with Lydia’s mother, Aurora, but the circumstances of their courtship are unknown to Lydia (who is understandably curious). In a sidestory, however, it transpires that he merely intended to “rescue” Aurora from her dismal fate in the Makhil family, and that Aurora was the one who proposed to him. He is extremely embarrassed about having been proposed to (instead of the other way around, as was the norm at the time), and intends to carry that particular secret to his grave.

Aurora- Lydia’s mother 

She died before the beginning of the series. Lydia looks up to her, and she is the inspiration behind Lydia’s determination to become a good fairy doctor. Aurora was born in the Highlands, to the McKeel family (which has deep connections with fairy folk). However, she later learns that she was not her parents’ true daughter, but a changeling. This is because of a deal that was made with a family of fairies. According to lore, a Seer sleeps in the Highlands, who will one day awake to lead the battle against the “Prince of Disaster”. In order to awake however, he requires life energy that is more potent in women, and more importantly, women carrying fairy blood. In order to ensure that such a woman is available for the Seer’s awakening during times of crisis, the McKeel family has for generations traded their first-borns with a particular fairy family’s first-borns, and essentially cross-mated them, thereby strengthening the life energy of the resulting offspring. Aurora was one such changeling, but she rejected her fate and instead fled her homeland with Professor Carlton. She died young, supposedly due to an illness. However, unknown to even Professor Carlton, she had once ventured into the Highlands and opened the Seer’s coffin (19 years before the beginning of the series), and as such had her life drastically shortened.

Tompkins
Voiced by: Chafurin

Edgar’s kind butler who gives him advice regarding his love life here and there. He has Merrow blood, and his face vaguely resembles a fish’s. He also states that he has a fin on his back. When he met the leader of the Merrows for the first time, the leader mistook him for his ancestor, and said that “he is almost human now”. He takes pride in being able to accomplish any task related to his duties that Edgar gives him, no matter how rushed the deadline or how ludicrous it is.

Ulysses
Voiced by: Mamoru Miyano

A mysterious, young blonde man who has the power to see and communicate with fairies, just like Lydia. Unlike Lydia, however, his fae powers do not stop there, and he has been shown to be able to command fairies such as spectral hounds, a type of Unseelie Court (malicious fairy). This is later revealed to be because he is of the Blue Knight Earl’s direct bloodline. He was, however, not recognized as an heir because his parents were not wed. He has, in fact, attempted to obtain the Sword of the Merrow before (and hence establish himself as the Blue Knight Earl). But because he interpreted the last line of the fairies’ riddle as the Merrow requiring a blood sacrifice in exchange for the sword as Edgar did initially, he was washed out to sea by the Merrow. He was the one to command the Selkies to revive Ermine as a Selkie when she committed suicide by jumping into the sea.

Jimmy

Has the appearance of a young boy with glasses and dark hair, but is really the favorite servant of Ulysses, being a member of the Unseelie Court. He is a spectral hound, and can shapeshift at will.Before Lydia and the others knew what he was, he spied on them by acting as a messenger and friend of Slade and the Scarlet Moon organization, under Edgar.

Prince

A character shrouded in mystery. The original Prince was created in the Highlands, by making a human baby drink the essences of powerful Unseelie Court. By doing so, the human baby was infused with the knowledge and ability to manipulate Unseelie Court, as well as their arcane magic. As a human, the Prince ages; however, through the use of Freyr (a red gem created by a powerful wyrm), he is able to transfer his memories and abilities to the next Prince, a candidate who is chosen and carefully groomed. The candidate is forced to learn and memorize all the current Prince’s knowledge as well as mannerisms. As the grooming process goes on, the candidate eventually begins to lose his original personality. As such, when the Prince’s memories are transferred, the candidate effectively believes himself to be the true Prince. The “Prince” (really the current generation Prince) is the main antagonist of much of the beginning of the series, although he only makes his appearance in one of the later novels. He is apparently heavily disabled (he moves in a wheelchair and is wrapped in bandages due to burn scars), and as such only sends his henchmen at the beginning. Later, when Edgar inherits the Prince’s memories out of necessity, he instead begins to be hunted by those who seek death of the Prince. He also battles with the Prince’s memories within him, and is deeply uneasy that he would eventually change into the Prince.

Gladys Ashenbert

The last of the Ashenbert main bloodline. (Ulysses is considered to be from a side-branch of the main family.) She is mentioned several times throughout the series, and died about a hundred years before the beginning of the series. As a woman, she was never officially recognized by the King of England as the Earl of Ibrazel.It is revealed that she made herself into a “living sacrifice” in order to strengthen the London Bridge’s barrier against Unseelie Court.

Film Friday- The Ancient Magus’ Bride

Film Friday- The Ancient Magus’ Bride

Wit Studio produced a three-part prequel OVA of the manga and is doing the production for an anime television series adaptation that began airing in October 2017.

Characters

Chise Hatori
The protagonist and titular character of the story. She is the apprentice and future bride to Elias Ainsworth. Her father and brother abandoned the family when she was young, and her mother committed suicide in front of her. Feeling unwanted by her relatives, she sold herself into slavery so that she did not have to worry about anything, with Elias purchasing her. She is a Sleigh Beggy, a special magus who can draw magic from her surroundings and within herself, at the cost of dying young because of the strain in her body, hence why Elias took her in, hoping to prevent her death. She has about three years left to live naturally at most.
Elias Ainsworth
The Child of Thorns, Chise’s master and fiancé, once apprenticed to Master Lindenbaum. A being with both fae and human elements, his origins are a mystery. Known as the Thorn Sorcerer, the other faeries see him as an abomination, something he does not mind. Besides using glamour to hide his appearance, he can control and also turn himself into shadows, and when angry enough, he takes on a more monstrous form. He can even change his head to a human’s using magic. Despite claiming to lack human emotions, after some time caring for Chise he has slowly developed a true fondness for her. However, his innate lack of understanding certain human emotions makes Lindenbaum call him a child. He dislikes children. He says they do not have magic powers, but they are talented in being able to see the true nature of things, so sometimes he is found out. He is called “Pilum Muralis” by the wizards.
Ruth 
Introduced in chapter nine, he is Chise’s familiar, a black grim who was originally a church guard dog who chased away grave robbers and evil spirits. He was formally called Yuris and used to be owned by Isabel in chapter ten. He thinks of himself as a human, thus able to maintain human form, until he remembers who he is in chapter twelve. He shares a mental link with Chise and considers her a sister.
Angelica Varley
Introduced in chapter two, she is an old acquaintance of Elias. She is a witch and a technician of the Magus Craft. She has a daughter named Alucia Barlei.
Her father was a technician of the Magus Craft. Even though her father was a magician, Angelica, who only had the quality of a sorcerer, could not directly learn the ways of her father. She worked hard to find her own method of performing magic.
Silver
Introduced in chapter two, she is the fairy landlady of the house where Elias and Chise reside. Originally a banshee (chapter twenty four), she is now silent and takes care of the housekeeping duties in the household.
Lindenbaum
Introduced in chapter three, he is Elias’s magician Master, commonly referred as Lindel, lives in the Land of Dragons, the last sanctuary of dragons. He is the caretaker of the dragon’s nest. His title is Echoes, Song of Flowers and has lived for hundreds of years.