More Cast Members Announced for Go Google It! Kokkuri-san

More cast members have been announced for the forthcoming anime adaptation of Go Google It! Kokkuri-san. The series is scheduled to debut on Japanese television in October 2014.

The new cast members include:

  • Yukana is Tama
  • Hisako Kanemoto is Jime-ko
  • Kazutomi Yamamoto is Yamamoto-kun
  • Yukari Tamura is the narrator

Love Stage!!: Episode 7 – “Could This Be…”

Love Stage!! features an otaku named Izumi Sena who was born into a showbiz family. While his family wants him to go into entertainment, Izumi dreams of becoming a manga artist; unfortunately, he doesn’t have the talent that would be needed to pursue his dream. Ten years ago, Izumi found himself placed into a commercial his parents were involved in when a little girl cast for the commercial couldn’t make it, and he was dressed up as a girl. His co-star in that commercial was Ichijo Ryoma, who has gone on to become a very popular actor. When an offer to participate in a 10th anniversary commercial comes up, Izumi is forced to dress up as a girl again to reprise his role. It turns out that Ichijo fell in love with his co-star ten years earlier, thinking Izumi was a girl.

At the end of Episode Six, we saw Izumi give in and tell Ichijo he can do what he wants to him. Ichijo takes the invitation at first, but after seeing Izumi cry, he backs off. It turns out that Ichijo is frustrated, and he tells Izumi not to mock his feelings.

During the episode, though, Ichijo does redeem himself when he takes Izumi’s manga manuscript and if actually able to get the manga author of Lala-Lulu to take a look at it and critique it personally. I was pleased to see that while the mangaka said that Izumi’s skill level isn’t there yet, the passion behind the work comes through clearly. He also encourages Izumi to get some more life experience and see more of the world so he can bring that to bear in his work. Like we learned before, Ichijo had gone through similar rejections while working his way up in show business, and he didn’t want Izumi to give up without trying for his dream. This action was definitely one of the more redeemable things that Ichijo has done in the series up to this point. Ichijo is definitely softening as a character, and he’s starting to become a little more likable when compared to what he was like in the early episodes.

But before all of that, we see Izumi have a dream where he’s obviously having an inner conflict; this conflict is played out in the world of Lala-Lulu. It was interesting to see him wrestle with hardening his heart or to try to make it past the rejection he’d gotten during Episode Six. We also get to see Izumi realize how he’s taken advantage of Ichijo’s feelings for him, as well as the fact that Rei actually cares about him more than Izumi had realized.

One of the most surprising things in this episode happened after Izumi saw the comments from the mangaka for Lala-Lulu. Izumi decides for himself that he wants to go into show business, so he can push himself to work harder and to also gain more life experience. The way Izumi had fought this so long, it actually came as a surprise when he announced this to Izumi. Now I’m really curious to see what kind of show business career Izumi will end up having, and how this will affect the relationship he has with Ichijo.

Also, at the end of this episode, it’s hinted that maybe Izumi is starting to develop some feelings to reciprocate what Ichijo feels for him. How will this change the dynamic between these two characters?

I have to say that this was one of the better episodes of Love Stage!! that I’ve seen. Hopefully the remaining episodes of the series can be as strong as this one was.

HaNaYaMaTa: Episode 7 – “Girl Identity”

HaNaYaMaTa is an anime series that features a 14-year-old girl named Naru Sekiya as the main character. She likes fairy tales and is worried about her lack of other interests; her worries are compounded by the fact that her friend, Yaya, is so talented. One day, Naru encounters a blond-haired girl named Hana, who is dancing yosakoi. Hana transfers into Naru and Yaya’s class, and she keeps pestering Naru to dance yosakoi until she finally relents. After some effort, Hana is finally able to establish a Yosakoi Club at school that includes Hana, Naru, and two friends of Naru’s (Tami and Yaya, though Yaya says she’s a member in name only).

There’s two stories in this episode that ultimately dovetail together at the end. Haru, Naru, and Tami work at trying to come up with costumes for them to wear, which they’re able to get through help from Machi, the student council president.

But the bigger storyline, which is the main emphasis of the episode, is on Yaya. She’s bummed about the band not making it past the audition, but she’s thrown for a loop when it’s announced that the band is breaking up. I just had a sense after watching Episode Six that the band would probably break up for some reason, and Episode Seven proved that my prediction was correct.

Yaya distances herself from the others, and when occasions come up where the others try to interact with her, Yaya acts rather bitchy; personally, Yaya’s attitude for most of this episode annoyed me greatly and I almost wished there was a way I could smack her. Yaya’s bitchiness culminates with Yaya yelling at Naru that she hates her and the other two. Of course, Naru’s feelings are very hurt by this, and even quiet Naru lashes out. It almost looks like the Yosakoi Club could come to an end before it even gets going.

This has definitely been one of the most dramatic epidoes of HaNaYaMaTa up to this point. While the episode with Tami had been dramatic at points, it was nowhere near as dramatic as this episode. The drama in this episode ultimately helped to develop the characters of Yaya and Naru more. Prior to this episode, Naru wouldn’t have blown up at Yaya as she did here. I was glad to see her starting to develop a backbone and standing up for herself. Yaya did say some things that were rather hateful and mean, and I think she got what she deserved when Naru yelled at her.

I’m still continuing to enjoy HaNaYaMaTa, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this story will continue to progress.

Hayao Miyzaki to Receive Honorary Award from Oscars’ Academy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted to award anime director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki with an Honorary Award at the Academy’s 6th Annual Governors Awards on November 8, 2014.

The Governors Awards celebrate lifetime achievements of members of the film industry, and it’s given to “honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”

Screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière and actress Maureen O’Hara will also receive Honorary Awards at the ceremony.

Manga Review: “Pokemon Adventures” Volume 23

Pokemon Adventures Volume 23 is a manga based on the Pokemon FireRed and Pokemon LeafGreen videogames. The manga is written by Hidenori Kusaka, and illustrated by Satoshi Yamamoto. This manga volume was originally published in Japan in 2006; however, it wasn’t released in North America until Viz Media’s Perfect Square imprint released this volume in 2014. This portion of Pokemon Adventures places the focus back on the characters of Red, Blue, and Green.

In Volume 23, Red and Blue return to Pallet Town; when they do, they find that Professor Oak is gone. However, they find fame checkers and envelopes addressed to Red, Blue, and Green. The fame checker has a message from Professor Oak telling them that he needs to take their Pokedexes away and to put them in the storage system. Red and Blue head to Vermillion City and take Green’s fame checker and envelope with them.

Green, meanwhile, boards the Seagallop in order to go to One Island, one of Kanto’s Sevii islands, in order to meet her parents for the first time. Blue and Red also make it onto the ferry, where they reunite with Bill. Green is attacked by a mysterious Pokemon, and her parents are sucked into a dark hole created by the mysterious Pokemon.

Quite a bit of volume focuses on Red and Blue receiving training in order to become stronger and take on the mysterious Pokemon, which they learn is Deoxys. The two trainers end up under the tutelage of an old woman known as Ultima so she can teach them a special move. After the training, they go to Four Island, where they encounter Lorelei, one of the Kanto Elite Four. By the end of the volume, Red, Blue, and Lorelei find themselves battling against Team Rocket.

This volume establishes the new storyline for the Pokemon Adventures series, and so there’s a bit of exposition that takes place during it. However, there’s enough action mixed in with the exposition that it’s not a boring read.

There were a lot of familiar faces, but there were also new characters introduced. Most notable of the new characters if Ultima; personally, I thought she was rather weird and I didn’t care much for her. About the only good thing to come out of her introduction is the fact that Blue and Red got to have a pretty awesome Pokemon battle against each other. We also meet some new members of Team Rocket; but, honestly, none of them truly left much of an impression on me.

At this point, I’m very curious to find out what happened to Green’s parents and I wonder when her reunion with them will finally take place. While the other story plots are decent, that’s the main thing that left an impression on me and makes me want to continue on in order to find out the answer.

If you’ve read the various volumes of the Pokemon Adventures series and enjoyed them, I expect that you’ll also enjoy reading this volume as it establishes a new story arc with much-loved characters from earlier in the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Pokemon Adventures Volume 23 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Anime Book Review: Samurai From Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation

Samurai From Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation is a book written by Antonia Levi that was published in 1996. The book contains eight chapters, three appendixes, and some illustrations. The illustrations in the book include stills from Tenchi Muyo!, Ranma 1/2, Kimba the White Lion, Urusei Yatsura, Vampire Princess Miyu, Phantom Quest Corporation, Oh My Goddess!, The Wings of Honneamise, The Dagger of Kamui, Ninja Scroll, Astro Boy, Bubblegum Crisis, Giant Robo, and Battle Angel.

Even though this book was published in 1996, much of the information included in the book is still as relevant today as it was when the book was first published. Because of the book’s age, there is a small number of anime referenced for examples, since at that time, not as much anime was being brought over to America. If you read this book, expect to find a number of references to such older anime titles as Ranma 1/2, Bubblegum Crisis, Star Blazers, Oh My Goddess!, Urusei Yatsura, and Tenchi Muyo! Also because of when the book was written, the author makes many references to Generation X in the text.

Samurai From Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation covers such topics as how anime became noticed in the United States, the reactions and reception anime received in the United States, the mythology behind the various gods, demons, heroes, and villains that appear in anime, the origin of mecha in anime, topics that are covered in anime that are generally taboo on American television, and the portrayal of women in anime.

Even though Antonia Levi is a college professor, she understands that she is writing for an audience that consists of more than college students learning about anime. She understands that she doesn’t need to use a lot of big words and overly long sentences to get the information across to the reader. There’s only one chapter that could even be seen as a “boring” chapter (“Other Gods, Other Demons”); however, this is only due to the fact that this particular chapter has a lot of information about Japanese history included in it to explain some of the character types that are frequently seen in anime.

Personally, I would recommend this book to anyone who is starting to become interested in anime. While the book itself is old, the information included in it is still helpful to people who read it today. I would also recommend this book to people who already have a familiarity with anime, because in some respects, it also gives a historical perspective of what the anime industry in the United States was like back in the mid-1990s.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Samurai From Outer Space: Understanding Japanese Animation that I checked out through the King County Library System.

FUNimation Updates Anime Simulcast Schedule

FUNimation has announced that four of this week’s simulcasts will not be available at their normal time as they’re not being broadcast in Japan this week. The four affected shows are:

  • Terror in Resonance
  • Psycho-Pass Extended Edition
  • Sengoku Basara – End of Judgment
  • Barakamon