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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.

Film Friday- Beck

Film Friday- Beck

BECK is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Harold Sakuishi. It was originally serialized in Monthly Shōnen Magazine from 1999 to 2008, with the 103 chapters later published into 34 tankōbon volumes by Kodansha. It tells the story of a group of Japanese teenagers who form a rock band and their struggle to fame, focusing on 14-year-old Yukio “Koyuki” Tanaka, who until meeting guitar prodigy Ryusuke Minami was an average teen with a boring life.

It was adapted into a 26-episode anime television series, titled BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, by Madhouse and aired on TV Tokyo from October 2004 to March 2005. A live-action film adaptation was released in 2010 and stars Takeru Satoh as Koyuki and Hiro Mizushima as Ryusuke. The series has also spawned three guidebooks, four soundtracks, a video game and a line of guitars.

The Beck manga was licensed for an English-language release in North America by Tokyopop. The first volume was published in July 2005, but the series was discontinued after the release of volume 12 in June 2008. In July 2018, ComiXology began releasing the series digitally. The anime was given an English-language release by Funimation from in 2007 to 2008.

Anime

The 26-episode anime television series was titled BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, after the subtitle used by the band in the series in the United States, and aired on Japan’s TV Tokyo from October 2004 to March 2005. It was directed by Osamu Kobayashi, animated by Madhouse and produced by Takeshi Shukuri and Yoshimi Nakajima.

The anime has been dubbed and broadcast on TV networks in North America, France, Italy, Philippines and Thailand.

English adaptation

On Saturday, May 27 at Anime Boston 2006, U.S.-based anime distributor FUNimation Entertainment announced that they had acquired the license for the Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad anime. Taliesin Jaffe and Christopher Bevins are the directors of the English version. The first DVD was released in 2007, and the last in January 2008. The English dub was released by Revelation Films in the UK and Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand.

Beck made its North American television debut on the Canadian music channel, MuchMusic, on March 9, 2007. The series finished on June 3. Despite the fact that this is a shōnen series, the show was rated TV-14 for its language and violence, but the DVD edition is rated TV-MA for strong language, including near-constant use of the f word in the first episode and frequently in subsequent episodes.

In the English adaptation, many songs were re-recorded with English lyrics. The sung lyrics of some English songs in the anime, such as “Moon on the Water” and “Follow Me”, were slightly altered to correct grammar, although the incorrect grammar still appears in the English subtitles. The Beatles’ song “I’ve Got a Feeling” has the lyrics replaced in the American DVDs.

Live-action film

A live-action film adaptation of the Beck manga was announced in 2009, with filming beginning in July. It was produced and directed by Yukihiko Tsutsumi, who has directed manga-to-film adaptations in the past (most notably the 20th Century Boys trilogy). It stars Takeru Satoh as Koyuki, Hiro Mizushima as Ryusuke, Kenta Kiritani as Chiba, Aoi Nakamura as Saku and Osamu Mukai as Taira. The actors were given proper training on their instruments for the 30 original songs that were written for the film.

Beck was released nationwide in movie theaters on September 4, 2010. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Oasis provide the opening and ending theme songs, “Around the World” and “Don’t Look Back in Anger” respectively.

Grand Funk Inc. was given the Japan Academy Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Music for its music work in the film. The movie was released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 2, 2011. The DVD came in “standard” and “luxury” editions, with the luxury edition including a bonus DVD.

Characters

Yukio “Koyuki” Tanaka

The main character; the series follows his rapid development from living a boring average life to becoming an outstanding guitarist and singer. Before meeting Ryusuke, he only listened to Japanese pop music, having never heard a foreign band before. He is the last member recruited into Beck (along with Saku), playing rhythm guitar and singing slower songs.

Ryusuke “Ray” Minami

A slacker, but incredibly talented guitarist, who inspires Koyuki to pick up the instrument. Ryusuke speaks better English than Japanese, having lived in New York for 8 years. He is the lead guitarist of Beck as well as its founding member. A large amount of the story revolves around him and his bullet-hole ridden Gibson Les Paul guitar, named Lucille (which is the same name as B.B. King’s famous black Gibson).

Maho Minami

Maho is Ryusuke’s younger half-sister and a talented singer. She is brash but emotionally fragile, and gradually builds a romantic relationship with Koyuki. Beautiful and fairly popular, Koyuki often has a hard time approaching her romantically. While she is obviously a gifted singer, Maho confides in Koyuki that she would actually like to be a film maker. She is also an amateur model.

Tsunemi Chiba

The main vocalist of Beck, Chiba’s vocals are more punk and rap-oriented than Koyuki’s and thus more fitting for the majority of Beck’s songs. He is easily the most volatile member of Beck, never shying away from a fight or hiding his feelings during dire situations. He is also very good at karate, which he uses in his performances. He originally took up karate because he was bullied severely in his younger days. When not busy with the band, he helps manage his family’s ramen shop; he says that if Beck doesn’t work out, he would open up a chain of ramen shops. Towards the end of the series, Ryusuke tells him that he should leave the band because he thinks he is not as passionate about music as the rest of the band. He complies, but quickly returns to play with the band. His appearance is based on Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha.

Yoshiyuki Taira

Beck’s bassist, Taira is the second member recruited by Ryusuke. Although he can sometimes seem uncaring or apathetic, he is actually the most mature of the band members and often offers helpful advice. He usually performs shirtless, much like the real-life person he is based on: Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. His main live bass is a white Music Man Stingray (a 1993-1996 model as identified from the type of bridge) with 3-band EQ and a trans bridge.
Saitou is a perverted middle-aged man and former Olympic swimmer who teaches Koyuki both guitar and swimming in exchange for Koyuki working for his business. Though he can be a demanding instructor, he opens up to Koyuki, even asking him for relationship advice on occasion.

Yuji “Saku” Sakurai

Saku is Beck’s drummer and the last member to join. He first becomes good friends with Koyuki at school, being the only person to talk to him while bully Hyodo instigated the entire class not to do so. He is closer to Koyuki than the other members of the band, and Koyuki often confides in him during moments of self-doubt. Towards the end of the series, he moves away to attend high school, but promises that he will return on the condition that Beck reunites. As Koyuki does reform Beck, he returns, telling the band that he essentially ran away from home to do so.

Manga Monday- Beck

Manga Monday- Beck

BECK is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Harold Sakuishi. It was originally serialized in Monthly Shōnen Magazine from 1999 to 2008, with the 103 chapters later published into 34 tankōbon volumes by Kodansha. It tells the story of a group of Japanese teenagers who form a rock band and their struggle to fame, focusing on 14-year-old Yukio “Koyuki” Tanaka, who until meeting guitar prodigy Ryusuke Minami was an average teen with a boring life.

It was adapted into a 26-episode anime television series, titled BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, by Madhouse and aired on TV Tokyo from October 2004 to March 2005. A live-action film adaptation was released in 2010 and stars Takeru Satoh as Koyuki and Hiro Mizushima as Ryusuke. The series has also spawned three guidebooks, four soundtracks, a video game and a line of guitars.

The Beck manga was licensed for an English-language release in North America by Tokyopop. The first volume was published in July 2005, but the series was discontinued after the release of volume 12 in June 2008. In July 2018, ComiXology began releasing the series digitally. The anime was given an English-language release by Funimation from in 2007 to 2008.

Manga

The original manga was written and illustrated by Harold Sakuishi and published by Kodansha in its Monthly Shōnen Magazine from 1999 to its May 2008 issue (which was released on April 5). A special 77-page side-story was published in the October 2008 issue of Monthly Shōnen Magazine. It depicts the last day of Eddie Lee, a popular American rock musician and Ryusuke’s friend. The 103 chapters (including the Eddie Lee special) were combined into 34 tankōbon volumes.

The manga was licensed for an English-language release by Tokyopop. Tokyopop’s German branch published the German-language version. In January 2009, it was announced that Kodansha let all of Tokyopop’s German licenses expire, thus including Beck. This subsequently led to Tokyopop’s English license of Beck expiring as well. Only 12 volumes were published. In 2018, ComiXology began releasing the series digitally. They released the first fourteen volumes simultaneously on July 5. The series has also been released in French, Italian, Korean and Chinese, by Delcourt/Akata, Dynit, Haksan Culture Company and Tong Li Publishing respectively.

Plot summary

Yukio Tanaka, known as “Koyuki” by his friends, is a regular 14-year-old Japanese boy starting eighth grade in junior high school. His boring life is changed when he saves an odd-looking dog, named Beck, from some kids. Beck’s owner turns out to be an emerging rock musician, 16-year-old Ryusuke Minami, who soon influences Koyuki to start playing the guitar. The story focuses on the trials and tribulations of their rock band named Beck, and Koyuki’s relationships with its members, in particular Ryusuke and his 14-year-old half-sister Maho.

After hanging out with Ryusuke and seeing him play with his former band, Koyuki slowly becomes interested in Western rock music. Ryusuke gives him a guitar, but when Koyuki breaks it, Ryusuke tells him never to speak to him again. At the same time, Ryusuke forms his new band Beck, with vocalist Tsunemi Chiba, bassist Yoshiyuki Taira, and Togo, the drummer from his previous band. Koyuki begins working for, and learning guitar from, 44-year-old Kenichi Saitou in exchange to have the guitar fixed.

He reunites with Ryusuke a year later, and begins to rehearse with Beck. Koyuki then makes friends with his classmate Yuji “Saku” Sakurai. When Togo leaves the band, Ryusuke has Koyuki and Saku join Beck as support musicians, becoming full members only when the band hears Koyuki sing. Eventually Beck releases their first album, which gets released on an independent record label in the United States, under the band name Mongolian Chop Squad. After gaining popularity from their US album and Koyuki being in an internationally screened concert documentary, Beck earns a spot at the music festival Grateful Sound 5, where they put on the most talked about show of the whole festival. (The live-action film adaptation ends here.) However, circumstances cause them to part ways, making it their last performance.

Finding life tedious without being in Beck, Koyuki slowly gets the members back together, except Ryusuke, whose whereabouts are unknown. They perform a few shows as a quartet, before getting an offer to tour the US based on their Grateful Sound 5 performance. After Koyuki and Saku drop out of school to do the tour, Beck heads to America. But after several bad performances, they are about to get kicked off the tour before reuniting with Ryusuke in Seattle. (The anime adaptation ends here.) The rest of the tour is a hit and they end up appearing on national TV before heading back to Japan.

After releasing two singles, Beck goes on a nationwide tour of Japan and earn a spot at Grateful Sound 7. However, they are later cut from the lineup. They slowly bounce back after forming a tour with several similar-sounding bands, get signed to a popular British indie record label, and start recording their first full album. The now-famous director who created the concert documentary Koyuki once appeared in ends up directing their first music video. Their album and music video do well both in Japan and England, earning them numerous magazine articles in both countries. After another nationwide tour of Japan, they do a short tour of England, including a spot at the relaunch of the legendary Avalon Festival. The band then signs to a major international record label and records their major debut album in New York. With the album hugely successful worldwide, they tour Japan and America extensively, and the series then ends with Beck headlining the main stage at Grateful Sound 9.

Film Friday- Reborn!

Film Friday- Reborn!

Reborn!, known in Japan as Katekyō Hitman Reborn!, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Amano. The manga is about a young boy, Tsunayoshi Sawada, who discovers that he is next in line to become boss of the Vongola family, a powerful Mafia organization. The Vongolas’ most powerful hitman, a gun-toting infant named Reborn, is sent to teach Tsuna how to be a boss. The manga’s chapters were serialized in Japan in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump from May 2004 to November 2012 and have been published in forty-two tankōbon volumes. An anime adaptation of the series by Artland aired on TV Tokyo from October 7, 2006, to September 25, 2010. Viz Media licensed the manga and the streaming rights for the television series for an English-language release. Discotek Media licensed the home video rights for the television series for subbed-only releases. A number of video games, light novels, and other products were also created based on the series. Reborn! is one of the best-selling Weekly Shōnen Jump manga, with several volumes top sellers in Japan. Reviewers praised its humor, storylines, fights and the infant characters’ design. However, they said it grew more violent after volume eight, becoming a typical shōnen series.

Anime

The series was adapted into a 203-episode anime television series, produced by Artland and directed by Kenichi Imaizumi, which aired from October 7, 2006 to September 25, 2010 on TV Tokyo. Because the anime series was not licensed for distribution outside Japan, Funimation exercised power of attorney on behalf of the Japanese production company to remove fansubbed episodes of the anime from the Internet. To prevent copyright infringement, cease and desist notices were sent to fansub groups who were subtitling the series. On March 21, 2009 the anime website Crunchyroll began streaming subtitled episodes of the series in North America, with new episodes available within an hour after they were aired in Japan. In 2011, Viz Media licensed an uncut, subtitled version for streaming on Hulu and VizAnime.com. In Japan the complete series was released into DVD volumes by Marvelous Entertainment between January 26, 2007 and April 29, 2011. Five DVD box sets were released between June 17, 2009 and March 21, 2012 by Marvelous Entertainment in Japan. On July 18, 2018, Discotek Media licensed the show for home video release with two 2-disc SD on BD sets, the first 101 episodes on September 25, 2018, and then the other 102 episodes on October 30, 2018. An original video animation was produced under the same staff and cast and was released in October 2009 during the annual Jump Super Anime Tour. It was released by Pony Canyon on DVD on July 21, 2010, under the title Katekyo Hitman Reborn! Jump Super Anime Tour 2009: Vongola Shiki Shūgaku Ryokō, Kuru! The Complete Memory. The DVD version included a short version showed on the tour and a complete edition with new scenes.

Tsunayoshi Sawada

referred to simply as “Tsuna”, is the 14-year-old central character of the series. Because of his severely low self-esteem and lack of talent in any activity, Tsuna is known as “No-Good Tsuna” at his middle school, Namimori. After being informed that he is the heir to the Vongola Family, due in part to him being the great-great-great grandson of the first Vongola boss from 400 years ago, as well as the untimely deaths of the other candidates for the position, he is trained into becoming a mob-boss by the infant Vongola hitman Reborn. Tsuna is often shot by Reborn with a bullet that increases his physical abilities in order for him to fulfill his regrets. That state, which we call the dying will mode, is what gradually makes others see him in a better light. For the most part of the series, Tsuna rejects his position and wants nothing to do with the Mafia, however, due to the results of various conflicts involving himself and his friends, his own power matures and he eventually starts embracing his destiny. He is the Bearer of the Sky Ring.

Reborn

is an Arcobaleno and the holder of the Yellow pacifier of the Sun. The titular character, Reborn is an infant hitman belonging to the Vongola Family. As the Vongola IX’s most trusted member, he becomes Tsuna’s home tutor and trains him into becoming a Mafia boss using torturous ways. He often shoots Tsuna with special bullets that enhances his abilities; these bullets are created inside his shape-shifting chameleon “partner” named Leon, who usually sits on Reborn’s fedora. No matter how strong the emotion, Reborn always keeps a straight face and handles many situations as calmly as possible. Reborn often says “Ciaossu” (a mix of the Italian “ciao” and the Japanese “ossu”, which is a casual male greeting). Later in the manga, this is revealed to be a mispronunciation of his real catchphrase, “chaos,” developed because he was unable to pronounce the consonants of “chaos” in his baby form. He randomly appears dressed as “another person” who no one except Tsuna and Dino recognizes, despite his disguises being obvious to the audience.
Manga Monday- Reborn!

Manga Monday- Reborn!

Reborn!, known in Japan as Katekyō Hitman Reborn!, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Amano. The manga is about a young boy, Tsunayoshi Sawada, who discovers that he is next in line to become boss of the Vongola family, a powerful Mafia organization. The Vongolas’ most powerful hitman, a gun-toting infant named Reborn, is sent to teach Tsuna how to be a boss.

The manga’s chapters were serialized in Japan in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump from May 2004 to November 2012 and have been published in forty-two tankōbon volumes. An anime adaptation of the series by Artland aired on TV Tokyo from October 7, 2006, to September 25, 2010. Viz Media licensed the manga and the streaming rights for the television series for an English-language release. Discotek Media licensed the home video rights for the television series for subbed-only releases. A number of video games, light novels, and other products were also created based on the series.

Reborn! is one of the best-selling Weekly Shōnen Jump manga, with several volumes top sellers in Japan. Reviewers praised its humor, storylines, fights and the infant characters’ design. However, they said it grew more violent after volume eight, becoming a typical shōnen series.

Manga

Reborn!s prototypes, by Akira Amano, appeared in seinen magazines until a one-shot was published on November 17, 2003 in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump. The manga was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from May 24, 2004 to November 12, 2012, and individual chapters were published in collected volumes by Shueisha from October 4, 2004 to March 4, 2013. The series is licensed in North America and the United Kingdom by Viz Media, who published the manga under the Shonen Jump Advanced imprint. The first volume was published October 3, 2006, and Viz’ last volume—the sixteenth—was published July 6, 2010. Reborn! is licensed in Brazil by Panini Comics, in France by Glénat, in Germany by Tokyopop, in Singapore by Chuang Yi, in Spain by Planeta DeAgostini and in Taiwan by Tong Li Publishing.

A spin-off manga titled Vongola GP Kuru! created by Toshinori Takayama was serialized in Shueisha’s Saikyō Jump from December 2010 to November 2012. It was compiled into three volumes released in 2012 on June 4, September 4 and December 4 respectively.

Books

A book, Katekyō Hitman Reborn! Official Character Book Vongola 77, was published on October 4, 2007, in Japan. Based on the manga, it covers 77 incidents since Reborn joined the Sawada household. The book profiles major characters, with brief side stories not appearing in the manga and color posters by Akira Amano. Katekyō Hitman Reborn! Sōshūhen: Vongola Family, a book focusing on Tsuna, Reborn and Tsuna’s Guardians was released on October 30, 2009. On April 2, 2010 an artbook, Reborn Colore!, was published.

Five Reborn! light novels by Hideaki Koyasu and illustrated by Akira Amano, originally serialized in Jump Square, were published by Shueisha. In the first, Hidden Bullet 1: Mukuro’s Illusions, published on March 12, 2007, Mukuro Rokudo takes over Kokuyo High. The second, Hidden Bullet 2: X-Fiamma, published on February 5, 2008, recaps the mystery of Xanxus. A third, Hidden Bullet 3: Millefiore Panic, published on July 3, 2009, focuses on the Millefiore and Vongola families. The fourth and fifth novels were published on April 30, 2010 and May 2, 2011, respectively.

Reception

The Reborn! manga is popular in Japan and, according to Mainichi Shimbun, has one of the greatest number of cosplayers in the country. In 2007 it was the tenth-bestselling series in Weekly Shōnen Jump, with a total of seven million copies sold; in 2008, its sales increased to 15 million copies. Reborn! was among Japan’s top-selling series for several years. In 2008 the manga sold 3.3 million copies, the country’s fourth-bestselling series. In 2009 it was the sixth-bestselling series in Japan, with sales of 3,694,323 copies. In 2010 Reborn! was the eighth-bestselling series, with sales of 3,479,219 copies. The manga was the 24th-bestselling series in 2012, with sales of 1,844,824 copies. Overall, it has sold over 30 million copies. Reborn!s second light novel was the third-bestseller in Japan in 2008, with sales of 106,229 copies. The anime’s DVDs are also popular, sometimes making the Japanese Animation DVD Rankings.

Reborn! has been reviewed a number of times. According to Carlo Santos of Anime News Network, although the manga’s first volume had a weak plot and its art was “downright messy and crowded” there was “volatile chemistry” between Tsuna and Reborn. Popcultureshock.com said that the series was aimed at girls because of the number of male characters, and cited its good combination of artwork and humor. A. E. Sparrow of IGN liked its lampooning of the “Mafia concept” and the manga’s artwork, saying the “cartoonish characters exist alongside chiseled, well-sculpted figures”. The series’ change in tone evoked a variety of responses; in a ninth-volume review Sparrow said the series “is quickly becoming a great shōnen read in no small part due to this current storyline”, noting its evolution since Tsuna began to grow up and the fights became more violent. According to Comicbookbin.com, although the fights were well-done and the series was still funny, volume eight of the manga was too violent and ordinary readers might find it strange. Ben Leary of Mania Entertainment was lukewarm about the series’ darker tone since the eighth volume. Praising the fights and the handling of the tournament between the Vongola and the Varia, he missed the series’ comedy and hoped it would return after the tournament.

Plot

In Reborn! a boy, Tsunayoshi “Tsuna” Sawada, is chosen to become the tenth boss of the Vongola Family, as he is the great-great-great-great grandson of the first Vongola boss—who moved to Japan from Italy. Timoteo, the Vongola IX—the current head of the family—, sends Reborn, an infant hitman from Italy, to train the reluctant Tsuna. Reborn’s chief teaching method is the “Dying Will Bullet” (死ぬ気弾, Shinukidan), which causes a person to be “reborn” with a stronger self to execute his dying wish. The clumsy, underachieving Tsuna becomes stronger, more confident and willing, making him a suitable Vongola family boss despite his continued reluctance. He makes several friends, including his love interest Kyoko Sasagawa.

Tsuna gets out of many scrapes on his way to becoming the Vongola boss, fighting escaped Mafia convicts posing as Kokuyo Junior High School students. The Varia, the Vongola assassin squad, want their boss, Xanxus, to be the Vongola boss and initiate a competition with Tsuna. To defeat the Varia, Reborn recruits Tsuna’s schoolmates as Vongola guardians: Hayato Gokudera, an explosives expert who wants to be Tsuna’s right-hand man; Takeshi Yamamoto, an athlete who likes baseball and cluelessly thinks of the Mafia as a game; Ryohei Sasagawa, captain of the school boxing club and Kyoko’s older brother, and head prefect Kyoya Hibari. Lambo, a weak infant hitman who wants to kill Reborn; and Chrome Dokuro, a girl with links to the criminal Mukuro Rokudo, also join them.

After defeating the Varia, Tsuna and his friends are transported to the future to face the Millefiore family, who are killing the Vongolas. They discover that the Arcobaleno, the seven strongest infants, are dead except for Lal Mirch. When Tsuna and the Vongola guardians fight the Millefiore, they learn that Shoichi Irie, a comrade of Tsuna’s future self, sent them to the future because the future Tsuna said they were the only ones able to defeat Millefiore leader Byakuran. Byakuran, who has obtained knowledge from parallel worlds, wants to obtain all the Mafia rings to become omniscient.

Tsuna and his group defeat Byakuran and return to the present, where they learn that he is to be installed as Vongola X. The ceremony is disrupted by the Shimon Family, who have sworn revenge on the Vongola founding father for allegedly betraying the first Shimon boss. Tsuna confronts the Shimon Family on a secluded island; the Vindice, a group of former Arcobaleno who protect the laws of the mafia, are involved in the fight and imprison the losers. After several battles it is learned that Daemon Spade, an illusionist, and first Vongola generation guardian, was manipulating Shimon, using the conflict to control Mukuro Rokudo and remake the Vongolas in his image. The combined strength of Tsuna and Shimon’s leader, Enma Kozato, defeats him.

After Tsuna reconciles with Shimon, Reborn and the other Arcobaleno compete among themselves to remove their curse. Each Arcobaleno chooses a representative to fight for them and the winner will be able to undo the curse. The Vindice enter the competition, informing Reborn and Tsuna that the tournament is a front for the selection of a new Arcobaleno; the previous Arcobaleno die or become Vindice. Tsuna joins the remaining teams to defeat Bermuda, a former Arcobaleno, and the Vindice. On the final day of the Representative Battle of the Rainbow, Tsuna defeats Bermuda and his team. Checker Face, who inflicted the Arcobaleno Curse of the Rainbow, reveals his true identity as Kawahira, administrator of the humankind’s ultimate power, Tri-ni-set. Finding another way to keep the Tri-ni-set safe, Kawahira agrees to entrust it to future generations and remove the curse.

After the Arcobaleno battle, Tsuna refuses to become the tenth head of the Vongola Family and Reborn leaves. A week after his departure, Tsuna realizes that he is still his no-good self; nothing has changed. Reborn returns to train Tsuna as Neo-Vongola Primo, similar to Vongola Decimo; Tsuna remembers that he now has friends he can rely on and has been changed by his experiences, thanks to his tutor and partner Reborn.

Film Friday- Cheeky Angel

Film Friday- Cheeky Angel

Cheeky Angel is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiroyuki Nishimori. The story revolves around the adventures of 15-year-old schoolgirl Megumi Amatsuka, a popular and beautiful tomboy that always get into fights with a secret: she used to be a boy. Originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday, it has been collected into 20 tankōbon volumes.

It was adapted as a 50-episode anime television series produced by TMS Entertainment, which was broadcast on TV Tokyo between June 2002 and March 2003.

In 2001, the manga won the 46th Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen.

Reception

In 2001, the manga won the Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen.

J.P. Arevalo describes the anime as having ” laugh-out-loud humor” and praised its blend of drama and comedy.

Characters

Megumi Amatsuka
While Megumi is physically a very attractive female, she still retains her masculine mannerisms and fighting abilities, which she uses very often, attracting the ‘Megu-chan Protection Club’, a group of misfit admirers. Nobody else knows she used to be a boy but was transformed into a girl; initially only Megumi’s best friend, Miki, knew her secret, however the protection club quickly finds out. Out of all the men in Furinkan High, the only one who seems to make any headway is Genzō Soga for his unparalleled willingness to do anything to prove himself to Megumi. A tomboy at heart, if she unintentionally displays any sort of affection for anyone, she is very quick to deny everything. At the end of the manga, it is revealed that she was and always had been a girl. She wished to be a boy because when they were younger, despite being stronger than Genzō, he injured himself to protect her, saying that it was a man’s duty to protect a woman, and she wanted to protect Miki from any harm. She confesses her love to Genzo at the end of the series, and kisses him.

Miki Hanakain
Miki is Megumi’s childhood friend and would do anything to help her. She is the only one that remembers the former Megumi and knows of the transformation. She does everything she can to turn Megumi into a better more feminine girl and even goes so far as to threaten to stop being Megumi’s friend if she cuts her hair. Miki is extremely loyal to Megumi and has been at her side since pre-school, she even accepted an arranged marriage just so she could go to the same high school as Megumi.

Keiko Tanaka
A spoiled brat and Megumi’s rival. She shows up later in the series. She suffers a form of superiority complex. She hates Megumi because she realizes that everyone around her thinks Megumi is more beautiful than she is. Now she follows Megumi where ever she goes in hope of dis-proving Megumi’s beauty.

Megumi’s father
His real name is unknown. Megu-papa is perverted like Yasuda, frequently seen entering Megumi’s room through secret entrances he creates without Megumi’s permission.

Tsubasa Amatsuka
Megumi’s mother. Her work requires her to travel around the world, so she’s rarely home.

 

 

Genzō Soga
A very stubborn punk who has become Megumi’s biggest admirer. The strongest in terms of physical power, Genzō is feared by many at school and various gangs in the city. The manga begins with Megumi, upset that this punk has mistreated his most recent girlfriend, beating Genzō up, the first person to do it since at least grade-school. Soon after that incident, Genzō quickly falls head over heels in love for Megumi. On his 16th birthday, Genzō proposed to Megumi but he was rejected. In the manga, it is revealed that Genzō received his scar protecting Megu from falling glass while she was rescuing Miki from kidnappers. Genzō often refers to Megumi as Megu-chan as a sign affection. At the end of the manga, Megumi reciprocates his feelings, and the two kiss.