Books/DVDs: Japanese Animation - Anime
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by Osamu Tezuka
To Americans of a certain age, Astro Boy was a legendary tv show hero, probably aired in the late afternoon on a local channel.
To learn later that he was not "American" at all but from the great King of Manga himself--Osamu Tezuka--makes them all the more compelling.
These five color episodes are the start of the 1980 remake, The New Adventures of Astro Boy. Many of the scripts were written by the King of Manga: Osamu Tezuka. The animation is fair, but the Astro Boy story was and is loved by many for its simple charm. This is a color remake of the 60s series but with a quicker pace.
Astro Boy is a child and at times is in over his head. He is selfless, risking his life as he helps and protects those weaker than himself. Parents looking for a moral tale for their glued-to-the-tube youngsters could find no better DVD.
Cruising the Anime City: An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo
This is the geek's guide to Tokyoand much more. It is guidebook,
social commentary, and a peek into the latest trends on the otaku scene
... and all before they hit the shores of the West. Cruising the Anime
City: An Otaku Guide to Neo Tokyo covers the studios that produce
anime, includes interviews with the movers and shakers in the industry,
discusses the toys, museums, film "locations," music, etc.,
and has detailed maps of the otaku mecca that is the Akihabara district
Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews
by Fred Patten
Anime and manga aren't just for otaku anymore. A recent article in The
New York Times noted that sales of Japanese comics in the U.S. have
Stone Bridge Press
This book is a wonderful introduction to the exciting and diverse world
of animation, or anime. Anime Essentials goes over the history,
genres, theatrical release, clubs, conventions, and concerns of anime.
It also includes a list of other print and web-based resources.
Animation on DVD: The Ultimate Guide
by Andy Mangels
Stone Bridge Press
This comprehensive guide lists more than 1,500 animated films on DVD. It includes everything from early Disney works to the latest digital CGI.
There are foreign films, the major hits, hundreds of Japanese anime releases, plus a separate section on adult material such as Fritz the Cat.
Each entry includes a storyline, review, history, key personnel plus ratings. For an anime buff, librarian or parent, this is a gem. There are indexes, a bibliography, and a listing of companies. Richly illustrated.
The Master of Magicians Saga is a tale in which Yugi gets kidnapped and spirited to an underground dueling spot. There, he meets Arcana, an evil magician who challenges Yugi to a duel.
Yugi has both his favorite card and Millennium puzzle on the line, so if he loses he will be banished to the shadow realm.
During the duel, Arcana appears to be losing, about to go down when Yugi summons the Dark Magician.
Arcana, however, pulls out another, even stronger, Dark Magician.
Will Yugi win? Can he win? Lions-and-tigers-and-bears, oh my! A must have for all Yugi fans.
Anime Explosion! The What? Why? & How! of Japanese Animation
by Patrick Drazen
Stone Bridge Press
Anime has gone mainstream. Or, rather, it has gone everywhere. Ten years
or so ago the number of people outside of Japan who even knew what anime
was was limited to a small but devoted number of maniacal fans. From Hayao
Miyazaki to Osamu Tezuka, today anime is everywhere in the US and Europe
and increasingly popular in China and the rest of Asia.
Cutie Honey Collection (Region 1)
Cutie Honey took Japan by storm. She made the superhero-like leap to
the silver screen. The classic cartoon was made into a live-action film
and opened in theaters across Japan in May 2004. Starring Eriko Sato - a
real-live human being female - as Cutie, it had the young and not
so young lining up to see it.
Story & Art by Kazuyoshi Katayama
Based on Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell, Appleseed
is a high-wire act, an action feature where the clock is ticking as the
future of civilization hangs in the balance. Following World War III,
the few remaining governments in the world create the perfect city: Olympus.
However, this city-state is run by half-human half-robot control-freak
Biodroids. A group of freedom-fighters attempts to destroy the Biodroids'
guiding computer in order to liberate mankind.
Ghost in the Shell
Ghost is the masterful fusion of wonderful hand-drawn animation and computer-generated imagery. It took the anime world by storm when it was released in 1995.
At the time viewers excitedly assumed they were witnessing the future of animation. Set in 2029, a mysterious, anonymous government employs cyborgs, or "enhanced" humans, to do its dirty work. (Conspiracy theorists will enjoy this).
The key cyborg is The Major, Motoko Kusanagi, who is both sexy and very, very tough.
The film hinges on her pursuit of the superhacker known as "The Puppet Master."
This master computer criminal is suspected of manipulating the market and other acts of terror. If she failsbut all is not what it seems.
Devilman: The Birth/Demon Bird
Another anime to make the leap to the big screen is Devilman, released on DVD in Japan in April 2005.
The original anime is the story of the alter ego of mild-mannered schoolboy Akira Fudo.
He suddenly becomes possessed by a demonic force.
The plot of Devilman documents his struggle to control that force and, eventually harnessing that force, to fight and defeat more evil demons.
It is full of the fanged and tentacled demons so popular today in Japanese anime. Great action.
The perfect gift--for you or a friend.
Initial D: Battle 01
In a tiny dull town north of Tokyo, the only game in town is street racing
on Mt. Akina.
GTO -- Great Teacher Onizuka (Vol. 1)
Former motorcycle gang leader Eikichi Onizuka decides he will become
a high school teacher for the very academic reason that he can get paid
to stare at his female charges all day long. In episode one, a girl in
the class: the beautiful Nanako Mizuki, puts the new senseiaka,
GTO (Great Teacher Onizuka)in a rather compromising position allowing
three of her hooligan pals to take compromising photographs of them. Their
attempt at blackmail collapses when Onizuka and some of his (even thuggier)
pals capture the would-be millionaires and erstwhile juvenile delinquents
and torture them.
Brigadoon, Vol. 1
by Yoshitomo Yonetani
Brigadoon originally aired in 1999 on the Japan-based satellite
channel WOWOW as a 26-episode series. The fabulous animation comes courtesy
of Sunrise, one of Japan's leading anime production studios. The
talented folks at Sunrise have created, among others, Gundam Wing,
Cowboy Bebop, and Outlaw Star.
Hayao Miyazaki: Master Of Japanese Animation
With the notable exception of Tezuka Osamu, no one has done more than
Miyazaki Hayao to take Japanese animation to a worldwide audience. The
celebrated writer, animator and director's Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
(Spirited Away) smashed box office records in Japan when released
in 2001, though it didn't do as well as expected in the United States.
After grossing 0.4 billion at the Japanese box office, Spirited
Away went on to win an Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
Samurai Girl: Realbout High School
by Reiji Saiga
Samurai Girl is a must-have for fans of comedy adventures. As
the box set states on the back cover: "teachers don't break
up fights--they grade 'em!" Ryoko Mitsurugi is the reigning
K-style (essentially anything goes) fighting champion at Daimon High.
One day at school Ryoko-san discovers a mysterious pendant in her locker
that transports her to another world called Solvania, where she does battle
with a "demon beast." She thinks it's all just a dream, and
remains more preoccupied with her more earthly rivalry with Azumi over
kendo stud Tatsuya.
directed by Mamoru Shinzaki
This is the DVD based on "Hadashi no Gen" (Barefoot Gen), a Japanese comic book series about a boy who has survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The story begins with Japan is in the midst of the war. Gen is a normal and active boy who is more preoccupied with his own child's life than the war and other adult concerns. That, however, is turned upside-down by the horror of one clear day in August 1945. It goes without saying that some of the themes in Barefoot Gen are inappropriate for small children. The story itself is lovingly told and visually appealing; however, some may find the subject matter disturbing, however compelling. Perhaps even more compelling is the fact that the story is semi-autobiographical. The writer of the original manga series, Keiji Nakazawa, was six when the bomb was dropped. He based the original Barefoot series on his own childhood experiences.
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