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Author: Lynn Rainey

I'm the Young Adult Librarian at the West Regional Branch of the Mobile Public Library. I've been an otaku for about twenty years from starting the original Sailor Moon on Cartoon Network back in the mid-1990's.
Manga Monday- Golden Kamuy

Manga Monday- Golden Kamuy

Golden Kamuy is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Satoru Noda. The story follows Saichi Sugimoto, a veteran of the early twentieth century Russo-Japanese War, and his quest to find a huge fortune of gold left by the Ainu people, helped by a young Ainu girl named Asirpa. The Ainu language in the story is supervised by Hiroshi Nakagawa, an Ainu language linguist from Chiba University. The manga won the ninth Manga Taishō award in 2016.

An anime television series adaptation by Geno Studio premiered with two seasons from April to December 2018. A third season will premiere in October 2020.

The series has been licensed for an English-language release by Viz Media in 2016.

Manga

Golden Kamuy is written and illustrated by Satoru Noda. It began serialization in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump magazine on August 21, 2014. The series has been collected into 22 tankōbon volumes as of June 2020. Viz Media announced that they licensed the manga at New York Comic Con 2016, and they have been releasing volumes in North America since June 2017.

Reception

Golden Kamuy had 5 million copies in print as of April 2018. It charted on the Oricon Japanese Comics Rankings for the week of April 18–24, 2016, with volume seven placing eighth place. By June 19, 2019, the date that manga Volume 18 was released, the total number of copies printed had reached 10 million.

The series won the ninth Manga Taishō award in 2016. It was nominated for the 20th and 21st annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize in 2016 and 2017, and won the 22nd in 2018 in the Grand Prize category. It was also nominated for the 40th Kodansha Manga Award in the general category, and for an Eisner Award for best US edition of an Asian comic. It was ranked second in the 2016 edition of the Kono Manga ga Sugoi! list for male readers.

The British Museum in London used an image of the character Asirpa to promote its Manga exhibit, which ran from May 23 to August 26, 2019.

Plot

Saichi Sugimoto, a veteran of the Battle of 203 Hill in the Russo-Japanese War, works as a miner in Hokkaido in order to provide for the widow of his dead comrade. He hears a dubious story about a hidden trove of Ainu gold, the location of which is hidden in the tattoos of a group of convicts who escaped from Abashiri Prison. When he discovers that the story is true, and that multiple other groups are in pursuit of the gold, he decides to search for it along with Asirpa, a young Ainu girl.

 

Film Friday- Chihayafuru

Film Friday- Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Suetsugu. It has been serialized in Kodansha’s Be Love magazine since December 2007. It is about a school girl, Chihaya Ayase, who is inspired by a new classmate to take up Hyakunin Isshu karuta competitively. A 25-episode anime television series adaptation aired from October 2011 to March 2012. A 25-episode second season aired from January to June 2013. A 24-episode third season premiered in October 2019. Three live action film adaptations were released from 2016 to 2018.

The manga has won the Manga Taishō and the Kodansha Manga Award. Since its fourth volume was released in March 2009, it has regularly appeared on the Japanese Comic Ranking chart, and in 2016 was estimated to have over 16 million copies in print. Its popularity has boosted the profile of competitive karuta in Japan.

Anime

A 25-episode anime television series adaptation, produced by the studio Madhouse under the direction of Morio Asaka, aired on Nippon Television from 4 October 2011 to 27 March 2012. The screenplay was written by Naoya Takayama and character designs were by Kunihiko Hamada. The music was composed by Kousuke Yamashita, and the sound director is Masafumi Mima of Techno Sound. The series was simulcast by Crunchyroll. Animax Asia aired an English version of the anime from 13 February to 18 March 2013. The series was released in nine DVD and Blu-ray Disc volumes from 21 December 2011 to 22 August 2012. A Blu-ray Disc box set was released on 18 July 2013.

A second 25-episode season, Chihayafuru 2, aired on Nippon Television between 11 January and 28 June 2013, and was simulcast by Crunchyroll. An original video animation episode was released on DVD bundled with the special edition of the 22nd manga volume on 13 September 2013.

A 24-episode third season was originally announced to premiere on Nippon Television’s AnichU block in April 2019, with the main cast and staff reprising their roles, but was delayed and aired from 22 October 2019 to 24 March 2020.

Sentai Filmworks licensed the first two seasons of the anime series for home video release in North America. The series’ first episode premiered with English subtitles on the Hidive streaming service on 15 June 2017. Sentai Filmworks’ dub is streamed by Hidive starting from 29 August 2017. The first season was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 12 September 2017. In December 2019, Sentai Filmworks announced that they had licensed the series’ third season.

The first season’s opening and ending themes are “Youthful” by 99RadioService and “Soshite Ima” by Asami Seto respectively. 99RadioService released “Youthful” as a single on 30 November 2011. The original soundtrack with character song albums was released in two volumes on 18 January and 28 March 2012. The second season’s opening and ending themes are “Star” by 99RadioService and “Akane Sora” by Seto. The third season’s opening and ending themes are “Colorful” by 99RadioService and “Hitomebore” by Band Harassment.

Other

Kodansha released several guidebooks for the series, with the first released on 9 November 2011. It provided a study guide for the poetry and background for the story.

A 4-volume novel series, Chihayafuru: Chūgakusei-hen, was published by Kodansha under their KC Deluxe imprint between 9 September 2012, and 13 December 2013. The books were written by Yui Tokiumi and illustrated by Yuki Suetsugu and follow the middle-school years of the three protagonists. A manga adapting the novels, written by Tokiumi and illustrated by Oto Tooda, was published in Be Love from 13 October 2017 to 1 November 2018 and compiled into three volumes.

On 11 April 2015, it was reported that the series would be adapted into a live-action film. A live action film adaptation titled Chihayafuru: Kami no Ku was released on 19 March 2016, with a second film, Chihayafuru: Shimo no Ku, released on 29 April 2016. Starting on 20 February 2018, five webisodes titled Chihayafuru: Tsunagu were aired on Hulu Japan. Chihayafuru: Musubi, a third and final feature length film in the trilogy, was released on 17 March 2018.

A 3-volume novelization of the films, Eiga Chihayafuru, was published by Kodansha under their KC Deluxe imprint. The first two volumes were released on 11 March 2016 and the third on 13 February 2018. The books were written by Yui Tokiumi, based on screenplay by Norihiro Koizumi.

Another 3-volume novelization of the films by Yūki Arisawa, Shōsetsu Chihayafuru, was published by Kodansha under their Kodansha Bunko imprint in 2018. The first two volumes were released on 16 January and the third on 15 February.

Chihaya Ayase 
A determined high school girl who was inspired by Arata in elementary school to play karuta and to dream of becoming the “Queen” of karuta. She begins a karuta club at her high school with Taichi. She is first introduced to competitive karuta by her childhood friend, Arata. Karuta has remained as Chihaya’s passion despite being separated from Arata. She has an exceptional hearing ability that gives her an advantage in playing karuta. While she is beautiful, she is considered too weird, her classmates referring to her as a “beauty in vain”. She is crazy about karuta (her friends calls her “karuta baka”), to the point that she can be oblivious to other people’s feelings. Chihaya is the captain of Mizusawa Karuta Club. She works very hard at improving her karuta skills, and reaches Class A near the beginning of the series. She is a strong, passionate person who loves karuta and is dedicated to her teammates and friends. Chihaya shares a strong bond of trust and friendship with Taichi and appreciates his skill in leading the club, though oblivious towards his feelings for her. Chihaya cares deeply for Arata, despite their long-distance relationship. While on the telephone with Arata, she realizes that she will always love him and karuta.
Taichi Mashima 
A good-looking, all-rounded sportsman and Chihaya’s childhood best friend. His mother is very strict with him, telling him that he should stick to activities he can win at. He seems to have feelings for Chihaya although he had a girlfriend at the beginning, and is jealous of her feelings for Arata. Taichi is the president of Mizusawa Karuta Club. He is a talented student and an athlete, at the beginning of the series he claims to have outgrown ‘karuta’, but then, after watching Chihaya excelling and obviously having fun, he decides to help her form a karuta club. He has good analytical skills and a good memory when playing karuta, but he has very bad luck. Due to this, he ends up staying in Class B longer than supposed to. He has been in love with Chihaya ever since childhood (and eventually realizes his feelings) but never confessed to her. When Sumire tried to confess to Taichi, he tells her that he would rather have a relationship with the girl he loves than with a girl who loves him, indirectly indicating Chihaya. He cares for her very deeply, being there for her every time Chihaya gets upset or sad. He has serious character to make up for Chihaya’s comical character. As a child, Taichi was a rich, spoiled child and disliked Arata, making fun of him for being poor, but as soon as he, Chihaya, and Arata started to play Karuta together, they became friends. In love, Taichi still views Arata as his enemy.
Arata Wataya 
was a transfer student to Chihaya’s elementary school, grandchild of an eternal master karuta player, Arata inspires Chihaya to take up karuta. He has difficulty fitting in at Chihaya’s elementary school because of his Fukui dialect and passion for karuta, but Chihaya befriends him. His dream is to become a karuta Meijin. After graduating elementary school, he returns to Fukui to care for his grandfather. After returning to Fukui, he quits karuta because his grandfather died while Arata was competing in a karuta tournament to rise to A-rank. However, after Chihaya and Taichi visit him in Fukui, he regains his resolve to play competitive karuta again. He has beaten “The Queen” Shinobu Wakamiya and is aiming to beat “Master” Hishashi Suo to claim the position of “Master”. Arata cherishes his friendship with both Chihaya and Taichi, albeit romantically to Chihaya. Later in the manga, Arata confesses his love to Chihaya, also informing her of his move back to Tokyo. Arata then excuses himself, leaving Chihaya flustered and speechless.

Thursday News- August 20, 2020

Thursday News- August 20, 2020

Heaven’s Design Team Anime’s Teaser Unveils More Cast- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-08-19/heaven-design-team-anime-teaser-unveils-more-cast/.163074

Touhou Sky Arena: Matsuri Climax Game Gets PC Release- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-08-19/touhou-sky-arena-matsuri-climax-game-gets-pc-release/.163058

Shirobako Anime Film Returns to Theaters With Remastered Footage on August 28- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2020-08-19/shirobako-anime-film-returns-to-theaters-with-remastered-footage-on-august-28/.163075

Review: Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/final-fantasy-xv/the-dawn-of-the-future/.162739

Anime

  • Beyond the Boundary Collector’s Edition BDPl
  • Ensemble Stars! Part 1 BD
  • Fragtime BD
  • Island Essentials BD
  • Pokémon – Diamond and Pearl: Galactic Battles Complete Collection DVD

Manga

  • The Ancient Magus’ Bride: Jack Flash and the Faerie Case Files Graphic Novel (GN) 1P
  • Angels of Death GN 10
  • Aoharu x Machine Gun GN 18
  • As Miss Beelzebub Likes GN 10
  • Bibi & Miyu GN 1
  • Black Butler GN 29
  • Bloom Into You GN 8
  • Blue Flag GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • Cardcaptor Sakura Collector’s Edition GN 5 (hardcover)
  • Cells NOT at Work! GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair GN 2
  • The Death of Replicist GN 2
  • Dolly Kill Kill GN 5 (Digital Only)
  • Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro GN 3
  • Fairy Tail: Happy’s Heroic Adventure GN 5 (Digital Only)
  • Flower Demon Door of the Sakaimeya GN 4P
  • The Fox and Little Tanuki GN 2
  • GE – Good Ending GN 8 (Digital Only)
  • Gleipnir GN 7
  • Golden Kamuy GN 17
  • Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends GN 18P
  • How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord GN 8
  • How to Train Your Devil GN 3
  • I Don’t Know How to Give Birth! GN
  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side: Sword Oratoria GN 12
  • The Island of Giant Insects GN 5 (Digital Only)
  • Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler GN 12
  • Kakushigoto: My Dad’s Secret Ambition GN 6 (Digital Only)
  • Living-Room Matsunaga-san GN 8 (Digital Only)
  • Loner Life in Another World GN 1
  • Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story GN 2
  • Mikami-sensei’s Way of Love GN 8 (Digital Only)
  • Moonlight Moratorium GN 3 (Digital Only)P
  • O Maidens in Your Savage Season GN 7
  • Ōoku: The Inner Chambers GN 17
  • Orient GN 5 (Digital Only)P
  • Overlord: The Undead King Oh! GN 4
  • Parallel Paradise GN 2
  • Phantom Tales of the Night GN 5
  • Plus-Sized Elf GN 5 (Digital Only)
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica Complete Omnibus Edition GN
  • Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai GN
  • Redefining the META at VRMMO Academy GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • Reincarnated as a Sword GN 3
  • The Rose of Versailles GN 3 (hardcover)
  • Saiyuki The Original Series Resurrected Edition GN 2 (hardcover)
  • Saki the Succubus Hungers Tonight GN 3
  • Shōjo Fight! GN 12 (Digital Only)
  • So I’m a Spider, So What? GN 8
  • Space Brothers GN 37 (Digital Only)
  • Spirits & Cat Ears GN 9
  • Sweat and Soap GN 3
  • Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization GN 6
  • Teasing Master Takagi-san GN 9
  • That Blue Summer GN 8 (Digital Only)
  • Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun GN 13 (Digital Only)
  • To LOVEru DARKNESS GN 16
  • Toradora! GN 9
  • Urusei Yatsura GN 7
  • Venus In The Blind Spot GN (hardcover)
  • Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs GN 10 (Digital Only)P
  • Zo Zo Zombie GN 8

Other

  • 86 Novel 5
  • Aokana: Four Rhythms Across the Blue PS4, Switch game
  • Bleach: Brave Souls PC game
  • Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki Novel 4
  • The Demon Sword Master of Excalibur Academy Novel 1
  • Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! Novel 10 (Digital Only)P
  • The Dirty Way to Destroy the Goddess’s Heroes Novel 4
  • Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? Novel 6
  • Final Fantasy I*II*III Novel
  • How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom Novel 12 (Digital Only)
  • Rascal Does Not Dream of Petite Devil Kohai Novel 2
  • Skeleton Knight in Another World Novel 5
  • Slayers Novel 1 (Digital Only)
  • Sword Art Online Novel 20

Manga Monday- Chihayafuru

Manga Monday- Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yuki Suetsugu. It has been serialized in Kodansha’s Be Love magazine since December 2007. It is about a school girl, Chihaya Ayase, who is inspired by a new classmate to take up Hyakunin Isshu karuta competitively. A 25-episode anime television series adaptation aired from October 2011 to March 2012. A 25-episode second season aired from January to June 2013. A 24-episode third season premiered in October 2019. Three live action film adaptations were released from 2016 to 2018.

The manga has won the Manga Taishō and the Kodansha Manga Award. Since its fourth volume was released in March 2009, it has regularly appeared on the Japanese Comic Ranking chart, and in 2016 was estimated to have over 16 million copies in print. Its popularity has boosted the profile of competitive karuta in Japan.

Manga

The manga has been serialized in Be Love since 2007, and has been collected by Kodansha into 44 tankōbon volumes as of May 2020. According to the author, the manga was close to ending in late 2019. Kodansha has also published the first three volumes in a two-volume bilingual edition, with English translations by Stuart Varnam Atkin and Yōko Toyozaki. On 14 February 2017, Kodansha Comics began publishing a digital edition of the series in English; 20 volumes have been released as of June 2020. The manga is licensed in French by Pika Édition, in Korean by Haksan Culture Company, in Taiwanese by Tong Li Publishing, and in Thai by Bongkoch Publishing.

Reception

Chihayafuru won the second Manga Taishō award, and the 35th Kodansha Manga Award in the shōjo manga category. When Chihayafuru won the Manga Taishō award, it was commented that the series combines elements of the sport genre and literary elements with a discerning eye on the subject matter. The manga had sold over 16 million copies in Japan as the first half of 2016, and its popularity has boosted the popularity of competitive karuta. The manga has regularly appeared on Oricon’s Japanese Comic Ranking chart. Between March 2009 and September 2011, the fourth through fourteenth volumes all appeared in the top 25 during the week of their release and the week after.

Among North American reviewers, Gia Manry, writing about the first episode of Chihayafuru, felt that despite the animators’ efforts, karuta seemed boring, and criticised the overuse of CG sakura, describing it as a “mixed bag” of an anime. Bamboo Dong says that Chihaya’s passion and characterisation make karuta interesting. Carlo Santos felt that the series was the “first genuinely good show of the season”, citing its characterisation, unusual subject, and polish of the first episode. Marcus Speer enjoyed the production values of the first episode, but felt that the theme songs were “standard fare”. He was intrigued by how the characters’ childhood impacted on their present interactions. Theron Martin appreciated the focus on the characters rather than the game, feeling that while the teenage Chihaya seemed “gimmicky”, her younger self was “quite likable”. Chris Beveridge praised the tension shown between Arata and Taichi in the second episode’s karuta match. Theron Martin felt the second episode’s karuta tournament was tense and compelling, and that despite the plot unfolding in a predictable fashion, the execution made this forgivable.

Crunchyroll’s editorial team chose Chihayafuru as one of the best anime of the 2010s decade and writer Humberto Saabedra commented, “You might expect such a series to be dry and uninteresting, but Chihaya’s journey from bright-eyed freshman player to wiser and well-practiced is why the series shines”. Writing for Forbes, Lauren Orsini considered it to be one of the five best anime of 2011; she wrote, “Even Western viewers will quickly become invested in the fast-paced drama of competitive karuta“.

Development

An Edo period karuta card with the Kami no Ku, or “upper phrase” from the Chihayaburu Tanka and the attribution to “Ariwara no Narihira Ason” written on it. The name of the series comes from this Heian Era poem.

Yuki Suetsugu belonged to a karuta club in high school and feels that the school years are a period of a person’s life where “you can dedicate the most genuine part of yourself to something.” The name of the series is a poetic Makurakotoba, or pillow word, and comes from the first five syllables of the seventeenth poem in the Hyakunin Isshu poetry anthology, a collection of 100 poems which are printed on the karuta cards. In this poem chihayaburu is used as an epithet to kami and can be translated into English as “shaken in fury” and “swift in fury”, according to Edwin A. Cranston, or “awesome”, as offered by Joshua S. Mostow.

Plot

Chihaya Ayase is a girl who has spent most of her life simply supporting her sister in her model career. That changes when she meets a boy named Arata Wataya, a talented karuta player. After becoming friends, he believes that Chihaya has potential to become a great player. As Chihaya takes on a new dream of becoming Japan’s best karuta player, she is soon separated from her karuta playing friends as they grow up. Now in high school, Chihaya is reunited with her childhood friend, Taichi Mashima. Together, they form the Mizusawa Karuta Club. With her teammates and friends supporting her, Chihaya strives to become the best karuta player in the world and to one day be with Arata again.

 

Film Friday- Peacemaker Kurogane

Film Friday- Peacemaker Kurogane

Peacemaker Kurogane is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated created by Nanae Chrono. It is unrelated to the Peace Maker manga by Ryōji Minagawa. The story begins in 19th century Japan before the Meiji Restoration, a chain of events that led to enormous changes in Japan’s political and social structure while the seeds of the revolution are being planted. The story follows the boy protagonist, Tetsunosuke Ichimura, who joins the Shinsengumi while seeking strength to avenge his parents’ death at the hands of a Chōshū rebel.

The prequel of Peacemaker Kurogane, Shinsengumi Imon Peace Maker  was published by Enix in the magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangan. Shinsengumi Imon Peace Maker was licensed in North America by Tokyopop.

Anime

An anime television series adaptation by Gonzo and produced by Geneon ran for 24 episodes, which aired on TV Asahi between October 7, 2003 and March 24, 2004. The US license for the anime is held by ADV Films under the title Peacemaker. The anime mostly follows the plot of the original manga Peace Maker, but also introduces characters that are only shown in Peacemaker Kurogane. The anime aired in the United States on Showtime Beyond, alongside Chrono Crusade. On June 25, 2010, anime distributor Funimation Entertainment announced on their online panel FuniCon 4.0, that they have acquired rights to the series along with 3 other ADV title, after ADV’s shutdown in 2009. The anime was broadcast in France by Déclic-Images. It was broadcast in Spain by Buzz Channel. It was broadcast in Saudi Arabia by space power, in the Philippines by QTV and Hero.

The anime uses two pieces of theme music. “You Gonna Feel” by Hav is the opening theme, while “Hey Jimmy!” by Hav is the ending theme of the anime.

Gonzo Digimation released the anime’s seven DVDs between December 21, 2003 and June 25, 2003. Gonzo Digimation released the DVD box set, containing all 7 DVDs, on December 22, 2004. ADV Films released the anime’s seven DVDs between September 14, 2004 and September 13, 2005. ADV Films released the DVD box set, containing all 7 DVDs, on November 15, 2005.

On April 14, 2016, it was announced that the manga would receive a new anime adaptation, which was later confirmed to be a two-part anime film that adapted a later arc of Peacemaker Kurogane. It is directed by Shigeru Kimiya and written by Eiji Umehara, with animation produced by White Fox and character designs by Sayaka Koiso. The first part titled Peacemaker Kurogane: Belief premiered in Japan on June 2, 2018. The second part titled Peacemaker Kurogane: Friend premiered on November 17, 2018.

Drama and animation CDs

On December 21, 2003, Geneon released an animation soundtrack CD for Peacemaker Kurogane. Geneon released a set of 5 Drama CDs for Peacemaker Kurogane. The first CD was released on December 21, 2003, the second CD on January 23, 2004, the third CD on February 25, 2004, the fourth CD on March 21, 2004 and the fifth CD on April 23, 2004 The songs were sung by Mitsuki Saiga, Yuka Imai, Joji Nakata, Takaya Toshi, Junichi Suwabe, Kappei Yamaguchi and Kenji Nomura. On November 25, 2005, Geneon released a Drama CD for the second season of Peacemaker Kurogane. The songs were sung by Mitsuki Saiga, Joji Nakata, Takaya Toshi, Kappei Yamaguchi, Kenji Nomura, Kousuke Torimi and Takahiro Sakurai.

On March 10, 2004, a soundtrack CD was released for the opening theme of Peacemaker Kurogane, “You Gonna Feel” by Hav.

Live-action TV

A ten-episode live-action TV series adaptation of the manga aired on TBS entitled Shinsengumi Peace Maker. It premiered on January 15, 2010, and concluded on March 19, 2010.

Characters

Shinsengumi

Tetsunosuke Ichimura
The protagonist of Peacemaker Kurogane who was historically an actual member of the Shinsengumi. He is short, strong-willed and often underestimated by his peers. Tetsu also has a cheerful, active and competitive personality. He joins the Shinsengumi in order to become strong and to avenge the death of his parents at the hands of a member of the Chōshū clan, and ends up working as a page to Hijikata. At the time in 1864, Tetsu had psychogenic dwarfism and has not grown physically for two years due to his emotional scar. He has been more-or-less adopted as a mascot/little brother figure by the senior members of the Shinsengumi. He cries a lot.
Tatsunosuke Ichimura
Tatsu’s over-protective, easily worried and rather high-strung older brother/guardian (also an actual member of the Shinsengumi). He is polite, soft spoken and down to earth. After the death of their parents, he had to take care of himself and his brother. He in accordance with his more pacifist outlook, works only as a bookkeeper for the Shinsengumi. He has tried to put all thoughts of revenge for his parents’ deaths out of his mind, but convincing his younger brother to do the same is a little more difficult. Tatsu has a habit of apologizing for his little brother.
Sōji Okita
The first unit captain of the Shinsengumi. He is deceptively delicate-looking and has an overall sunny disposition that occasionally borders on childishness, but displays frighteningly deadly skill in combat situations. He shares a strong bond with Hijikata and is also one of the only people who has a deep understanding of Tetsu. He takes Tetsu seriously and often practices with him. In addition, Okita loves children and is rarely seen without his piglet Saizo when he is off-duty. He is the Shinsengumi’s best swordsman. Although he denies it, Okita is diagnosed with tuberculosis later in the series.
Toshizō Hijikata
The Shinsengumi’s second vice commander, Hijikata hides his compassion behind a cold and ruthless front, and is known as “the demon of the Shinsengumi”. A brilliant strategist and fighter, Hijikata’s talent for battle is extraordinary. When dealing with enemies, his method is highly practical and often reckless. He counts Kondō, Yamanami, and Okita among his closest friends, and is a stern master to his page Tetsu. His hobby consists of writing haiku.
Sanosuke Harada
The tenth unit captain and the best spear fighter in the Shinsengumi. Sanosuke is best friends with Nagakura Shinpachi and Todo Heisuke, forming a trio known as “The Three Comedians”, whose chief hobby seems to be annoying Tetsunosuke. He has a scar on his stomach from a failed seppuku attempt and is very proud of it.

 

Shinpachi Nagakura 
The second unit captain of the Shinsengumi. He introduces himself to Tetsu as “Sanosuke’s keeper.” Like Tetsu, he is often underestimated by his height (and young appearance — he looks like a child, but is actually in his 20s). In fact, he is extremely skilled with his sword and is a swordsman of Okita’s level. He is also quite the joker, especially in conjunction with Sanosuke and Heisuke.
Heisuke Tōdō
The eighth unit captain of the Shinsengumi. Heisuke is the youngest member of Kondō’s group and the youngest captain of the Shinsengumi. Since he has a slight infatuation with small, cute animals, he always calls Tetsunosuke “Puppy Boy” (much to Tetsu’s dismay).

 

 

Hajime Saitō
The third unit captain of the Shinsengumi. The droopy-eyed and soft-spoken Saitō has a supernatural ability to sense ghosts, spiritual auras (which unnerves many of the other members), and is able to perceive information about future events. He has an inexplicable camaraderie with Okita. Also considered the best swordsman of the Shinsengumi at the same level of Okita Souji.

 

Keisuke Yamanami
The first vice commander of the Shinsengumi. Yamanami (often called “Sannan” by Kondō and Hijikata, which is an alternate reading of the kanji in his name) is a good-natured and thoughtful figure, providing a counterpoint to Hijikata’s blunt and Machiavellian tendencies. He also loves children and takes a shine to Tetsunosuke. He is beloved by his fellow Shinsengumi members, and, like Hijikata, is firmly opposed to putting a sword in Tetsu’s hands. He is carrying on a clandestine affair with a Shimabara courtesan named Akesato.
Isami Kondō
The commander of the Shinsengumi. Kondō is presented as a grandfatherly, slightly-clueless figure who is still fully aware of his and his organization’s goals. He opposes Hijikata’s mistreatment on Tetsunosuke.

 

Ayumu Yamazaki
The “den mother” of the Shinsengumi, Ayumu (most often known as “Ayu-nee”, or “big sister Ayu”) is the cook and housekeeper at the Shinsengumi compound. A pretty woman with a motherly nature, Ayumu is fully cognizant of what the people around her do for a living, and acts as a sort of big-sister figure to Tetsu. She is Susumu’s older sister, and, like him, a shinobi. She mentions in one episode them as being apart of the Oniwaban. While Susumu is based on the actual spy, Ayumu is a fictional character. She dies during the course of the anime by the hands of the Choshū clansmen.
Susumu Yamazaki
Ayumu’s younger brother, Susumu is one of the Shinsengumi’s spies, reporting directly to Hijikata. A skilled shinobi and information-gatherer, his nature emulates that of his superior’s. He often cross-dresses (quite convincingly) to gather information.
Saizō
Okita’s piglet pet. He lives with his “family” at the Shinsengumi Headquarters. He also has a habit of chasing Tetsunosuke more often than anyone else.

Manga Monday- Peacemaker Kurogane

Manga Monday- Peacemaker Kurogane

Peacemaker Kurogane is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated created by Nanae Chrono. It is unrelated to the Peace Maker manga by Ryōji Minagawa. The story begins in 19th century Japan before the Meiji Restoration, a chain of events that led to enormous changes in Japan’s political and social structure while the seeds of the revolution are being planted. The story follows the boy protagonist, Tetsunosuke Ichimura, who joins the Shinsengumi while seeking strength to avenge his parents’ death at the hands of a Chōshū rebel.

The prequel of Peacemaker Kurogane, Shinsengumi Imon Peace Maker  was published by Enix in the magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangan. Shinsengumi Imon Peace Maker was licensed in North America by Tokyopop.

Manga

Peace Maker

Peace Maker (Shinsengumi Imon Peace Maker (新撰組異聞PEACE MAKER, Shinsengumi Imon Pīsu Meikā)) was published from April 12, 1999 to August 11, 2001 in Japan by Enix magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangan and was compiled in six volumes by Enix.

The sequel to Peace Maker transferred to Mag Garden’s Monthly Comic Blade. Mag Garden republished Peace Maker in five tankōbon volumes on September 10, 2005.

Mag Gardened edition was licensed and published in North America and Germany by Tokyopop. Tokyopop released Peace Maker’s five tankōbon volumes between August 14, 2007 and November 4, 2008. Later, Tokyopop re-released the manga through Madman Entertainment. The first volume was released on November 10, 2008. The second was released on February 10, 2009. Tokyopop Germany released the manga’s 5 tankōbon volumes between December 2005 and June 28, 2006. The manga was also licensed and published in Italy by Star Comics and in France by Kami. Kami released the manga’s 5 tankōbon volumes between September 20, 2006 and July 11, 2007.

Peacemaker Kurogane

Peacemaker Kurogane itself was started as a new series in Mag Garden’s Monthly Comic Blade in 2001 and transferred to Monthly Comic Garden in 2014. Mag Garden released the manga’s first five tankōbon volumes between October 10, 2002 and March 10, 2005.

Peacemaker Kurogane was licensed by ADV Manga, which released three volumes between October 4, 2004 and March 22, 2005 before putting it on hold indefinitely. After the license lapsed, Tokyopop acquired it and released the manga’s first volume on March 10, 2009. It released four volumes in total. The manga was licensed and published in France by Kami, and in Germany by Tokyopop. Tokyopop Germany released the manga’s first five tankōbon volumes between June 1, 2005 and October 1, 2005.

Reception

Mania.com’s Megan Levey commends the tension and emotion of the second volume of Peacemaker Kurogane that “seems to just ring from the pages”. Mania.com’s Megan Levey commends the third volume of the manga for its “very close facial expressions” in its artwork but criticises the manga’s color pages for coming “across as extremely flat and somewhat washed out”.

Peacemaker was ranked 9th as the “Favourite Anime Series” in the 26th annual Animage readers’ poll. THEM anime reviews comments that the “drama of the series is paramount” but its comedy is lame. Animefringe.com criticises the protagonist of the series, labelling him as “an annoying brat that cries and moans when he doesn’t get what he wants”. Mania.com’s Chris Beveridge commends the anime for its slowly revealed “supernatural elements” as well as the simplicity and comical nature of Saizō the pig. John Sinnott at DVD Talk praises the first DVD of Peacemaker for its original language version over the English dub because Ayumu’s English voice actress uses “one of those fake southern accents that are really horrible”. DVDtalk’s John Sinnott criticises the fifth DVD of the anime for “the lack of focus this series has”. Brian Hanson at Anime Jump criticises the anime for aping Rurouni Kenshin as well as not displaying the qualities of other Weekly Shōnen Jump anime when it becomes “surprisingly violent”. DVD Verdict’s Judge Jeff Anderson commends the anime for its “CGI that blends well with the animation” and English dub that has a much more dynamic sound than the original Japanese track. Science Fiction Weekly’s Tasha Robinson commends the anime for its “highly textured, detailed and beautifully rendered semi-historical drama, very much in the spirit of Rurouni Kenshin” whenever Tetsu “drops to the background” or “shuts up for a few scenes”.

Plot

The story is focused on the main character, Tetsunosuke Ichimura, who is an energetic, short and very childlike fifteen-year-old (16 in the manga). He and his older brother Tatsunosuke are left to fend for themselves after the vicious murder of their parents. While Tetsunosuke wants to get revenge, his pacifist brother is not so inclined. “Tatsu” joins a special police force dubbed the Shinsengumi, as an accountant to earn a living, his brother “Tetsu” wishes to join as a soldier to seek his revenge. The story chronicles Tetsu’s trials and tribulations as a struggling page craving redemption. He develops relationships with all the legendary members of the Shinsengumi army helping them with their various struggles as he constantly battles his own against himself. At the story’s climax, Tetsu discovers himself and the overwhelming responsibility the power he is searching for holds.

Film Friday- Gurren Lagann

Film Friday- Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann, known in Japan as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, is a Japanese mecha anime television series animated by Gainax and co-produced by Aniplex and Konami. It ran for 27 episodes on Japan’s TV Tokyo between April 1, 2007, and September 30, 2007. It was directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, written by veteran playwright Kazuki Nakashima, both of whom would later collaborate on two more projects, Kill la Kill in 2013 and Promare in 2019, and had been in development since the participation of the famed animator in the Abenobashi mecha-themed episodes by the same studio. Gurren Lagann takes place in a fictional future where Earth is ruled by the Spiral King, Lordgenome, who forces mankind to live in isolated subterranean villages. The plot focuses on two teenagers, Simon and Kamina, who live in a subterranean village and wish to go to the surface. Using a mecha known as Lagann, Simon and Kamina reach the surface and start fighting alongside other humans against Lordgenome’s forces, before fighting the forces of their true enemy.

In North America, although initially announced to be licensed by ADV Films in 2007, the license was transferred to Bandai Entertainment in 2008 and then transferred to Aniplex of America in 2013. In the United Kingdom, it was licensed by Manga Entertainment in 2007, then transferred to Beez Entertainment in 2008, and then transferred to Anime Limited in 2013. The Sci Fi Channel acquired the broadcasting rights of Gurren Lagann and began airing the anime on July 28, 2008, as part of Sci Fi’s Ani-Monday anime block. The anime won several awards at the Tokyo International Anime Fair and the Animation Kobe and Japan Media Arts Festivals.

A manga adaptation was published by ASCII Media Works between 2007 and 2013. Bandai Entertainment licensed the manga and released it in English in North America. A series of four light novels was published by Shogakukan between 2007 and 2008. A Nintendo DS video game was released in October 2007, bundled with a special episode of the anime series. Two animated film versions were produced; the first premiered in Japanese theaters on September 6, 2008, and the second premiered on April 25, 2009.

Anime series

Produced by the animation studio Gainax and directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, Gurren Lagann aired in Japan on TXN stations between April 1 and September 30, 2007. The anime has 27 episodes plus two specials, the first being the uncensored version of the sixth episode, and the second is episode 5.5, a bonus that came with the Nintendo DS game.

The English version had been previously licensed by ADV Films, but was later acquired by Bandai Entertainment. A subtitle-only version was released in three volumes in July 2008, and an official English dub with the first two volumes released on November 18, 2008 called “Gurren Lagann Set 01”. The show premiered on the Sci Fi Channel on July 28, 2008 as part of Sci Fi’s Ani-Monday anime block, airing two episodes each week (and three the final week). The European distribution branch of Bandai, Beez Entertainment, distributed the series in the UK and Europe but has gone out of print since January, 2012. In 2013, Anime Limited announced that they have the distribution license for Gurren Lagann on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK. In 2014, they released a limited Blu-ray Ultimate Edition on October 20, 2014, featuring the entire series, both film adaptations and the complete Parallel Works series, as well as a hardcover artbook. A standard edition Blu-ray containing the complete series was also released on the same day with the DVD release following later that year. The English version also aired on Animax across its English-language networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia starting on May 22, 2009. It was broadcast in Italy on Rai 4 between September 24, 2009 and April 1, 2010. Aniplex of America re-released the series in a limited edition DVD box set on May 9, 2013. A Blu-ray Disc box set, which includes both the television series and the two film adaptations, was released on June 26, 2013. Adult Swim began airing the series in English as part of the Toonami block on August 16, 2014.

Music

Taku Iwasaki composed the show’s main background music. Four theme songs are used for the episodes; one opening theme and three ending themes. The opening theme is “Sorairo Days” by Shoko Nakagawa. Starting from episode 17, the second verse and chorus was used, as compared to the first verse and chorus used in the previous episodes. For episodes 1 through 15 the ending theme is “Underground” by High Voltage. “Happily Ever After” by Shoko Nakagawa was used in episode 16. “Minna no Peace” by Afromania was used for episodes 17 to 27.

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Character Song was released on July 25, 2007, by Aniplex, including image songs by the main voice cast, with songs sung by Tetsuya Kakihara (Simon), Katsuyuki Konishi (Kamina), and Marina Inoue (Yoko), the latter of which is a playable song in Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA 2. In addition, several music compilation albums have been released, most consisting of background music.

Main characters

Simon
is the main protagonist of Gurren Lagann. He is introduced as a fourteen-year-old digger from Giha village who is looked down upon by many of his peers for his timid and weak character. He greatly admires Kamina, one of his few friends in the village, and refers to him as his brother despite them not being related by blood. Simon spends much of the first quarter of the series following after Kamina, but gradually acquires his own fighting spirit and determination over the course of the series, acting on his own more often until his personality mirrors that of Kamina. His discovery of the Core Drill and the Gunmen Lagann are what set the events of the series in motion. Throughout the series, Simon primarily pilots Lagann (Japanese for “head/face”), which is capable of producing drills from any part of his body when he reacts to Simon’s Spiral energy. He uses this ability to combine with Kamina’s Gunmen, Gurren, to form Gurren Lagann. He can also take control of other Gunmen using this ability.
Kamina
is a refractory youth from Giha village who dreams of leaving his underground home and going to the surface world, which he saw as a child. His extremely passionate and self-confident personality causes him to act as a foil for the more timid and weak-willed Simon, and serves to instill courage within Simon. He is known for wearing sunglasses along with a tattered cape that had belonged to his late father. He wields a nodachi he stole from the chief of Giha village and his catchphrase of “just who the hell do you think I/we am/are?!” becomes the battle cry of his group. Although Kamina is killed significantly early in the show, his actions greatly influence the entire series, as he founds Team Gurren (later renaming it Team Dai-Gurren) and acts as its leader to combat the threat of Lordgenome and the beastmen. Early in the series, Kamina hijacks a Gunmen he names Gurren (Japanese for “scarlet”), which he pilots while combined with Simon’s Lagann to form Gurren Lagann.
Yoko Littner 
is a young woman from Littner, a village neighboring Giha, and is introduced as a member of a small resistance against the beastmen. She helps introduce Simon and Kamina to the surface world, and becomes a member of Team Gurren soon after. She falls in love with Kamina early in the series, and thinks little of Simon until he begins showing signs of self-confidence. After Kamina’s death, she tries to help Simon cope and forms a sisterly relationship with him. Instead of piloting a Gunmen, she wields a high-powered energy rifle and uses her superb marksmanship and wise counsel to help her teammates.
Nia Teppelin 
is a major character introduced later on in the series. Having lived a sheltered life as the daughter of Lordgenome, the main antagonist of the first half of the series, she is ignorant of the war between the humans and Lordgenome until she is abandoned by her father and discovered by Simon. She is a very polite and naive girl who is curious about the world, and acts as a soothing influence for Simon following his depression caused by Kamina’s death. The two fall in love and become engaged at the start of the second half of the series, after which she is discovered to be an agent of the Anti-Spirals. During this time, Nia is taken over by a cold and uncaring personality called “Messenger Nia” and forced to fight Simon against her will until Simon rescues her. Because her existence is tied with that of the Anti-Spirals, however, she fades away with them after they are defeated, but keeps herself alive long enough to marry Simon.

Manga Monday- Gurren Lagann

Manga Monday- Gurren Lagann

Gurren Lagann, known in Japan as Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, is a Japanese mecha anime television series animated by Gainax and co-produced by Aniplex and Konami. It ran for 27 episodes on Japan’s TV Tokyo between April 1, 2007, and September 30, 2007. It was directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, written by veteran playwright Kazuki Nakashima, both of whom would later collaborate on two more projects, Kill la Kill in 2013 and Promare in 2019, and had been in development since the participation of the famed animator in the Abenobashi mecha-themed episodes by the same studio. Gurren Lagann takes place in a fictional future where Earth is ruled by the Spiral King, Lordgenome, who forces mankind to live in isolated subterranean villages. The plot focuses on two teenagers, Simon and Kamina, who live in a subterranean village and wish to go to the surface. Using a mecha known as Lagann, Simon and Kamina reach the surface and start fighting alongside other humans against Lordgenome’s forces, before fighting the forces of their true enemy.

In North America, although initially announced to be licensed by ADV Films in 2007, the license was transferred to Bandai Entertainment in 2008 and then transferred to Aniplex of America in 2013. In the United Kingdom, it was licensed by Manga Entertainment in 2007, then transferred to Beez Entertainment in 2008, and then transferred to Anime Limited in 2013. The Sci Fi Channel acquired the broadcasting rights of Gurren Lagann and began airing the anime on July 28, 2008, as part of Sci Fi’s Ani-Monday anime block. The anime won several awards at the Tokyo International Anime Fair and the Animation Kobe and Japan Media Arts Festivals.

A manga adaptation was published by ASCII Media Works between 2007 and 2013. Bandai Entertainment licensed the manga and released it in English in North America. A series of four light novels was published by Shogakukan between 2007 and 2008. A Nintendo DS video game was released in October 2007, bundled with a special episode of the anime series. Two animated film versions were produced; the first premiered in Japanese theaters on September 6, 2008, and the second premiered on April 25, 2009.

Manga

The Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann manga, illustrated by Kotaro Mori, started serialization in the June 2007 issue of MediaWorks’ magazine Dengeki Comic Gao!. The manga ended serialization in Dengeki Comic Gao! with the April 2008 issue when the magazine was discontinued, but continued serialization in ASCII Media Works’ manga magazine Dengeki Daioh with the June 2008 issue and continued until the July 2013 issue. Ten tankōbon volumes were published between September 27, 2007 and June 27, 2013 in Japan under ASCII Media Works’ Dengeki Comics imprint. Bandai Entertainment licensed the manga and released an English translation of the first six volumes in North America. The manga follows the same basic story as the anime, although there are some changes to the order of events, and the addition of character backstories that had been cut from the anime, such as the relationship between Dayakka and Kiyoh.

A spin-off manga entitled Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Gurren Gakuen-hen was serialized in Comp Ace between August 26, 2008 and January 26, 2009; a single tankōbon volume was released on March 26, 2009. The manga takes the characters from the original story and puts them in a school in a parallel world. In the manga, Simon attends Dai-Gurren Academy with his friend Kamina, and childhood friend Yoko. Simon, who lives in a run down apartment building, wishes for a normal life, and meets the mysterious Nia one day when she trips down the stairs. She immediately takes a liking to Simon and declares him her husband. Kamina finds another “aniki” in Nia, who shares his hot-blooded style. She enrolls in Dai-Gurren Academy, and all three must deal with the threat of students from Teppelin Academy, who wish to bring Nia back to her father, the principal.

Another spin-off manga titled Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann 4-koma Kingdom: Yoko no Oheso-hen was published by Futabasha in 2008 as a compilation of various short stories.

Plot

Story

Gurren Lagann takes place in a future where Earth is ruled by the Spiral King, Lordgenome, who forces mankind to live in isolated subterranean villages. These villages have no contact with the surface world or other villages and are under constant threat of earthquakes. Selected villagers called diggers are conscripted to expand their homes deeper underground. Simon, a meek young digger ostracized by his peers in Giha village, finds solace in his best friend, an older brother figure who is an eccentric delinquent named Kamina. Kamina encourages Simon to join his gang, Team Gurren, to help him achieve his dream of visiting the surface world. One day, Simon unearths a drill-shaped key called a Core Drill, followed by a small mecha resembling a face called a Gunmen. Shortly thereafter, a huge Gunmen crashes through the ceiling and begins attacking the village, followed by a girl named Yoko, who attempts to repel the Gunmen. Simon uses his Core Drill to activate the smaller Gunmen (which Kamina names Lagann) and its drilling-based abilities. He successfully uses it to destroy the larger Gunmen and break through the ceiling to bring him and Kamina to the surface world.

Simon and Kamina learn from Yoko that humans on the surface are attacked each day by Gunmen who are piloted by beastmen which are humanoid creatures who serve as Lordgenome’s army. Kamina hijacks a Gunmen and names it Gurren, combining it with Lagann to form the mecha Gurren Lagann. Their actions inspire other humans to steal their own Gunmen and join Team Gurren, which makes Kamina rename it Team Dai-Gurren. Eventually Team Dai-Gurren captures an enemy Gunmen fortress to use as their base of operations, though Kamina is killed in the preceding battle by one of Lordgenome’s four generals. Rossiu, a boy from another village, takes over the job of piloting Gurren, but Kamina’s death causes Simon to sink into depression until he meets Nia, who is revealed to be Lordgenome’s daughter. Team Dai-Gurren is initially distrustful of her but they allow her to join them when it becomes apparent that she was abandoned by her father, like many who came before her. Nia helps Simon come to terms with Kamina’s death, and the rest of Team Dai-Gurren prompt him to take up the role as the team’s leader, leading them and other teams of humans, who had captured other Gunmen and Gunmen fortresses, to Lordgenome’s palace. As the palace itself turns out to be a gigantic Gunmen called the Teppelin and launches armies of other Gunmen, the human forces engage them while Simon, Nia, and Rossiu pilot Gurren Lagann against Lordgenome himself, who fights them in a similar Gunmen called Lazengann. When both Lazengann and Gurren are damaged, Lordgenome fights Simon in Lagann with his bare hands, and emerges victorious, until Simon uses his Core Drill to defeat him once and for all.

Over the next seven years, mankind prospers on the surface world with Simon and the other members of Team Dai-Gurren serving as the world’s government in their new capital of Kamina City. As soon as the human population reaches one million people, an alien race called the Anti-Spirals emerges and uses Nia to announce their intentions: they have sent the Moon onto a collision course with the Earth as part of their effort to wipe out all of the life on the planet, to prevent them from evolving to such an extent that they will risk destroying the universe in a cataclysmic event called the Spiral Nemesis. With guidance from Lordgenome resurrected as a bio-computer, who was once part of an intergalactic army of warriors who fought against the Anti-Spirals and had hidden mankind underground to protect them from the Anti-Spirals, and with help from Viral, an old enemy of Simon who pilots Gurren, Simon, Gurren Lagann and Team Dai-Gurren prevent the Moon’s collision, revealing it to be Lordgenome’s flagship that was reprogrammed by the Anti-Spirals. Using it, they retrieve the real Moon from the pocket dimension the Anti-Spirals had hidden it in, and go to the Anti-Spiral homeworld. After a journey with significant loss, they rescue Nia, and in a one-on-one Gunmen battle that virtually spans the universe, Simon in Lagann finally destroys the Anti-Spirals. This, however, causes Nia to fade away into nothing, as her own existence is tied to that of the Anti-Spirals. Simon, finding his life in battle to finally be over, hands his Core Drill over to Gimmy and leaves his friends to spend the rest of his life wandering the planet as a nameless vagrant, saying his destiny was merely to “dig the tunnel to the future”, not to travel down it himself.

In the epilogue, twenty years have passed since the team’s victory over the Anti-Spirals. With many of Team Dai-Gurren retired, it is up to the new generations of pilots to prevent the Spiral Nemesis and ensure the safety of the universe. Other races across the galaxy, freed from the Anti-Spirals, contact Earth. President Rossiu of Kamina City joins forces with them and during the twenty years, has created the Galactic Spiral Peace Conference. Yoko, now as Miss Yomako, becomes the principal of the small school she was at during her seven years absence from the team. One of her students, Nakim, becomes a representative of the galaxy in the Grapearl Squadron. Gimmy and Darry use Simon’s Core Drill to become the new pilots of Gurren Lagann. Viral becomes the captain of the Super Galaxy Dai-Gurren and an emissary for Earth. Nia’s memorial and her engagement ring are shown to have been placed next to Kamina’s grave. Simon, still living as Simon the Digger, watches over them as a squadron of multiple Gurren Laganns flies overhead through the night sky on their way to join their Spiral brethren in the stars.

Film Friday- Sakura Wars

Film Friday- Sakura Wars

Sakura Wars is a Japanese steampunk media franchise created by Oji Hiroi and currently owned by Sega. It is focused around a series of cross-genre video games. The first game in the series was released in 1996, with five sequels and numerous spin-off titles being released since then. The series—set during a fictionalized version of the Taishō period—depicts groups of women with magical abilities using steam-powered mecha to combat demonic threats.

The original Sakura Wars was an ambitious title for the then-in-production Sega Saturn. The first game’s overlap of the tactical role-playing, dating sim and visual novel genres prompted Sega to classify it as a “dramatic adventure”, a moniker which has endured during the series’ lifetime. Both Red Entertainment and Sega co-developed most of the games until 2008, when the series went on hiatus. Sega rebooted the series as sole developer because of fan demand. Recurring elements include anime cutscenes created by notable studios including Production I.G, and music by composer Kohei Tanaka.

The series has sold over 4.5 million copies as of 2010, and garnered both critical and popular acclaim. The original Sega console games have been voted among the most popular for the Saturn and Dreamcast. The Sakura Wars franchise includes numerous anime productions, manga, and other media projects such as stage shows. With the exception of Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love and the 2019 soft reboot, the video game series has not been released in English. Several of the anime series have been localized for English territories.

Related media

The Sakura Wars series met with considerable success, spawning a multimedia franchise and having its own themed cafe between 1998 and 2008.

Red Company and Sega have expanded the Sakura Wars series into various media. These include anime, manga, stage shows, several light novels, concerts and CD album releases of soundtracks. The latter have met with substantial commercial success. Despite a shared identity, Hiroi took care to keep each of these elements distinct and separate from each other. A dedicated themed cafe and merchandise store based in the Ikebukuro district of Tokyo, Sakura Wars Taisho Romando, opened in 1998. Taisho Romando remained open for ten years until it closed in March 2008.

A prominent feature was an annual stage show dubbed Sakura Wars Kayou Show supervised by Hiroi, for which new musical numbers were created by Tanaka The show featured the cast reprising their roles and performing stage shows drawn from the series. Each character had songs themed after their characters. The cast, which grew to include those of later games, remained for the entire run with the exception of actress Michie Tomizawa who retired from the series and her role as character Sumire Kanzaki in 2002. Tomizawa appeared as a guest in later revival concerts. The original stage shows ran regularly from 1997 to 2006. Since then, it has seen irregular revivals with both the first cast and later additions. The stage shows were originally meant to end in 2008 along with the franchise, but fan support allowed future revivals. A stage adaptation of the 2019 game was planned to run from March 5–8, 2020 at Sogetsu Hall. However, on February 26, 2020, Sega announced that the event would not take place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The play will now be postponed to winter 2020 with precautions to protect the spread of the virus.

Hiroi wrote a manga adaptation of the first Sakura Wars, which began serialization in 2002. The original run finished in December 2008, but its popularity led to a second series continuing the narrative. Since 2003, the manga has been published as tankōbon by Kodansha. A comedy manga titled Sakura Wars: Show Theater, which featured comedy skits of characters from each main Sakura Wars location, was serialised between 2005 and 2009, and published by Kodansha in four volumes between 2006 and 2009. A manga adaptation of the 2019 game, Shin Sakura Taisen: The Comic, began serialization in 2019 by Shueisha. It was written by Ishii, and illustrated by Koyuri Noguchi.

A spin-off manga Sakura Wars: Kanadegumi was created by Chie Shimada, based on concepts from the Sakura Wars team, and published in the shojo magazine Hana to Yume published by Hakusensha. In contrast to the main series, it was aimed at a female audience and shifted the narrative to a male harem set-up; main protagonist Neko Miyabi is assigned to the titular Kanadagumi, and develops relationships with its five male members. Originally a two-chapter special published between November and December 2011, it was expanded into a full series in February 2012. The manga ran from 2012 to 2013. Between its debut and final issue, the manga inspired both an anime short and a dedicated stage show. It was published in four tankōbon by Hakusensha between September 2012 and July 2013.

Film and television

Multiple anime films, television series and original video animations (OVAs) have been produced that are based either on individual Sakura Wars games or on the series as a whole. The first was an OVA, titled Sakura Wars: The Gorgeous Blooming Cherry Blossoms. The OVA was released as four 30-minute episodes from 1997 to 1998, following the cast of the first game. A second OVA series, The Radiant Gorgeous Blooming Cherry Blossoms, was released as six 30-minute episodes from 1999 to 2000, relating side stories from between Sakura Wars and the end of Thou Shalt Not Die. Further OVA series based around the characters of Is Paris Burning? and So Long, My Love (École de Paris; Le Nouveau Paris; Sumire; New York, New York) were released from 2003 to 2007. The OVAs were produced by Radix Ace Entertainment until New York, New York in 2007, when production shifted by Anime International Company.

An anime television series based on the first game was co-produced by Red Company, Madhouse and Studio Matrix. The 25-episode series was broadcast on the Tokyo Broadcasting System from April 8 to September 23, 2000. While based on the first game’s narrative and preserving Hiroi’s vision, the series changed and added in several events. A major problem was remaining faithful to the source material within a TV format. In 2001, an animated theatrical film, Sakura Wars: The Movie, was released. The film takes place between Is Paris Burning? and Fall in Love, Maidens and features new character Ratchet Altair who would later appear in So Long, My Love. The film was animated by Production I.G; production took three years and was inspired by the wish to expand the series animation beyond what the short cutscenes and OVA projects had achieved. A second anime television series, titled Sakura Wars the Animation and serving as a sequel to the 2019 Sakura Wars, premiered on April 3, 2020. It is animated by Sanzigen, which helped create the animated sequences for the game.

In North America, the first two OVA series and the television series were localised by ADV Films. École de Paris and Sumire were dubbed and released by Funimation, The film was released in North America by Pioneer Entertainment in 2003, and later by Funimation in 2013. Funimation is streaming the 2020 anime for a simulcast release in North America and the United Kingdom.

Setting and characters

The Sakura Wars series is set during a fictionalised version of the Taishō period, with the chronology currently running from 1923 (Taisho 12) to 1940 (Taisho 29). The games are set in the cities of Tokyo, Paris and New York. The setting combines real locations with fantastical events and steampunk-based technology. The central conflict of the series is between demonic forces created by the ingrained darkness in human hearts. To combat this in Tokyo, the Japanese government created a unit of steam-based mecha called Koubu powered by spirit energy. While a few men are capable of using them, women form the main combat units because of their stronger spiritual power. This group is known as the Imperial Assault Force, based in a theater and working undercover as the Imperial Theater Revue. The group to which the protagonists belong is the Flower Division (Hanagumi), the main combat troop. Other groups make cameo appearances in the story if present.

The first four games follow the military and romantic exploits of Imperial Army officer Ichiro Ogami. Originally assigned to the Imperial Assault Force in Tokyo, he later traveled to Paris and trained the newly-formed Paris Assault Force before returning to Tokyo and commanding the two united Flower Divisions during the events of Sakura Wars 4. For So Long, My Love, the lead protagonist was changed to Ogami’s nephew Shinjiro Taiga, who is sent in place of Ogami to train the New York Combat Revue. The 2019 soft reboot of Sakura Wars takes place in 1940, twelve years after an event called the “Great Demon War” saw the destruction of all three original Flower Divisions. New divisions were created across the world and began competing with each other, with the newly-reformed Tokyo Flower Division being the main protagonists.

Wednesday News- July 29, 2020

Wednesday News- July 29, 2020

Seven Deadly Sins Series Gets 1-Shot Manga- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/daily-briefs/2020-07-29/seven-deadly-sins-series-gets-1-shot-manga/.162331

Phantasy Star Online 2 Game Gets Steam Release on August 5- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/daily-briefs/2020-07-29/phantasy-star-online-2-game-gets-steam-release-on-august-5/.162326

Crunchyroll Surpasses 3 Million Subscribers- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/daily-briefs/2020-07-29/crunchyroll-surpasses-3-million-subscribers/.162324

Aksys Games Launches Piofiore: Fated Memories Switch Game on October 8- https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/daily-briefs/2020-07-29/aksys-games-launches-piofiore-fated-memories-switch-game-on-october-8/.162329

Anime

  • Detective Conan – Episode One: The Great Detective Turned Small BDP
  • Demon City Shinjuku BD
  • Eiken BD
  • Galaxy Express 999 TV Series Collection 2 BD
  • Love Hina Again BD
  • Medabots Season 2 BD
  • O Maidens in Your Savage Season BD
  • Revue Starlight Premium Box Set BD

Manga

  • Abe-kun’s Got Me Now! GN 2 (Digital Only)
  • Altair: A Record of Battles GN 20 (Digital Only)
  • Bakemonogatari GN 5 (Digital Only)
  • Barakamon GN 18+1 (Digital Only)
  • BL Metamorphosis Graphic Novel (GN) 2
  • Boarding School Juliet GN 16 (Digital Only)
  • Cells at Work! Baby GN 1 (Digital Only)
  • City GN 9 (Digital Only)
  • DAYS GN 19 (Digital Only)
  • Dolly Kill Kill GN 4 (Digital Only)
  • Farewell, My Dear Cramer GN 11 (Digital Only)
  • GE – Good Ending GN 7 (Digital Only)
  • Hayate the Combat Butler GN 11-12 (Digital Only)
  • Hell Warden Higuma GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious GN 2 (Digital Only)
  • High-rise Invasion Omnibus GN 7
  • Hi Score Girl GN 3
  • How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom GN 4 (Digital Only)
  • I Fell in Love After School GN  6 (Digital Only)
  • I Want to Hold Aono-kun so Badly I Could Die GN 6 (Digital Only)
  • Kakafukaka GN 10 (Digital Only)
  • Kakushigoto: My Dad’s Secret Ambition GN 5 (Digital Only)
  • Kingdom of Z GN 1
  • The King of Fighters: A New Beginning GN 3P
  • Little Devils GN 4
  • MabuSasa GN 4 (Digital Only)
  • My Room Is a Dungeon Rest Stop GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • ne0;lation GN 3 (Digital Only)
  • RIN-NE GN 9-10 (Digital Only)
  • Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts GN 10 (Digital Only)
  • Saint Young Men GN 7 (Digital Only)
  • Sue & Tai-chan GN 1 (Digital Only)ly)l
  • Soul Eater Perfect Edition GN 1 (hardcover)
  • That Blue Summer GN 7 (Digital Only)
  • Watari-kun’s ****** Is about to Collapse GN 8 (Digital Only)
  • When We Shout for Love GN 2 (Digital Only)
  • Witchcraft Works GN 14 (Digital Only)
  • Yuzu the Pet Vet GN 2

Other.

  • Bibliophile Princess Novel 3 (Digital Only)
  • Cooking with Wild Game Novel 8 (Digital Only)
  • Fairy Tail PS4, Switch, PC game
  • Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers The Art of Reflection -Histories Forsaken- Artbook
  • Magic User: Reborn in Another World as a Max Level Wizard Novel 2
  • Megadimension Neptunia VII Switch game
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxiboost ON PS4 game
  • Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation Novel 6
  • Yakuza Kiwami 2 PC, Xbox One game