Yumeha Kouda Performs the Ending Theme for Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2wei!

Yumeha Kouda performs “TWO BY TWO,” the ending theme song for the Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya 2wei! television anime series. The song will be released as a single in Japan on August 6, 2014.

A short promotional video for the song is available for streaming, and I am embedding it below. I apologize in advance to any of my readers who are unable to view the video due to region blocking.

Team Hanayamata Performs the Opening Theme Song for HaNaYaMaTa

Team Hanayamata, which is made up by the five main actresses of the series, performs the opening theme song, “Hana wa Odoreya Irohaniho.” The CD single for the song will be released in Japan on August 27, 2014.

Avex has posted a short promotional video for the song, which I am embedding below. I apologize in advance to any of my readers who are unable to view the video due to region blocking.

Staff and Cast Announcement for the Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete Anime

The forthcoming anime adaptation of the Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete PC eroge visual novel has made a staff and cast announcement. The anime is scheduled to debut on Japanese television in October 2014.

feel is producing the series, and Naoto Hosoda is directing. Rie Ito is doing composition; Sadayuki Murai, Tatsuya Takahashi and Tomoko Shinozuka are writing the screenplay; and Ikuo Yamakado is doing the character designs.

The cast for the series includes:

  • Takuma Terashima is Sou Akiyama
  • Hatsumi Takada is Kaori Sasaki
  • Kei Mizusawa is Airi Hasekura
  • Akane Tomonaga is Yui Furukawa
  • Tomoe Tamiyasu is Nagisa Hanamiya
  • Kappei Yamaguchi is Kenny Eitaro Osafune
  • Atsumi Tanezaki is Yaeko Azuma
  • Masashi Hirose is Sakunoshin Honjou
  • Satomi Satou is Karin Fukazawa

Re: Hamatora: Episode 3 – “Madness Flower”

Re: Hamatora is the second season of the Hamatora television anime series. This season begins three months after the end of the first season, and the Hamatora detective agency is still taking on cases that come their way.

Episode Three opens with Art fighting against a Wind Minimum, and the audience is able to see just how he’s been able to take away a Minimum’s ability.

When the Hamatora crew sees a news report about this, they begin discussing what’s happened to the Minimum Holders who have had their abilities taken away by Art. Everyone who regains consciousness after having their ability taken away are unnaturally very cheerful; and for some, their ability to think for themselves also appears to have been taken away.

The majority of the episode focuses on a Minimum Holder named Gou Samura, who has the Insanity Minimum. He paints, and anyone who becomes enamored with his paintings are overtaken by a destructive impulse and feel an overwhelming urge to kill people. After he manages to make a painting on a plate with ketchup and causes several murders to take place where he’s confined, it’s decided to transport him to a different location.

As Gou is being transported, the vehicle taking him is blocked by a group of protestors saying that Gou and other violent Minimum Holders should be killed. At the same time, Gou frees himself from his handcuffs and reveals to the crowd that his body has a painting on it. Many members in the crowd start becoming violent. Fortunately, Gasuke (Art’s former partner) had asked Hamatora to come earlier, so they’re on the case.

When Honey uses Mighty to track down Art, something happens to her that causes her to lose her memory of her Minimum ability and of the people around her. From what I saw in the preview for the next episode, it appears that Honey’s amnesia will play an important part in it.

Art arrives on the scene and causes some chaos, which includes trying to take down Nice. Fortunately, Birthday and Ratio come to the rescue. Art realizes he doesn’t have enough ability yet to take down Nice, so he flees.

It was interesting for me to realize that the antagonists of the two seasons have motives that are complete polar opposites. Back in the first season, Moral was all about trying to give out the Minimum Holder powers to anyone he felt needed them. With Art serving as the main antagonist for this season, his motivation is about trying to take away Minimum Holders’ abilities. For Hamatora, this means having to tackle the situation with Art in a different way than they did with Moral.

When it comes to Honey’s amnesia, I have a suspicion that it’s something that Art managed to do. He was the one who has hired Honey and Three back in the first season, so he would know how Honey’s ability works. But can Honey’s amnesia be reversed, and if so, how?

And that Insanity Minimum Holder was so freaky. But it turns out that even he isn’t entirely what he tries to make himself out to be. But I think what happened to him at the end was a kind of poetic justice.

This episode only had one overarching story, and I think this particular story needed to be the complete focus of an episode. It wouldn’t have worked as well if they had tried to run a second storyline with it. But I’m now also wondering when we’ll see Chiyuu and the Freemums again.

I’m still enjoying Re: Hamatora at this point, and I’m looking forward to watching Episode Four in order to find out what’s going to happen next.

FUNimation Streaming English Dub Trailer for Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

FUNimation is now streaming an English dub trailer for the Bayonetta: Bloody Fate anime film, which is based on a video game series.

I am embedding the trailer below, and I apologize in advance to any of my readers who are unable to view the video due to region blocking.

Captain Earth: Episode 16 – “Her Flare”

Captain Earth focuses on Daichi Manatsu, who stumbles into a secret organization when he returns to Tanegashima after being gone for several years. He had made friends with a boy named Teppei when he was younger, but had no idea that Teppei was part of this organization. It turns out that Daichi’s father, who died when he was younger, also had ties to this organization. Near the end of the first episode, he makes it into the organization’s headquarters, and is given a gun by a scientist named Peter Westvillage, which allows him to pilot a mecha known as the Earth Engine. As the series progresses, Daichi and Teppei, along with Hana and Akari, become a team known as the Midsummer’s Knights.

In Episode 16, Kube is seen apologizing to Amarok and Malkin and says he’s leaving the Machine Goodfellow trials to them. Later, the two engineered children talk to Puck, and he says he used subliminal messages to make Kube fall in love with his secretary, Hitomi Makino. By doing this, Kube has released the tension that has come with trying to become humanity’s next leader. Later, we see Kube by himself, and it’s obvious that it’s actually Pick who has taken over Kube’s body. Puck also makes it clear that he’s not only double-crossing Kube, he’s also double-crossing Amarok and Malkin. So that now begs the question: just who is Puck working for and who’s pulling the strings behind the scenes?

Later, all the engineered children gather and have a briefing with Sirena (aka Setsuna). Setsuna points out that Albion isn’t with them, and Amarok explains that he has destroyed his Ego Block and has become a Neoteny. Aiatar volunteers to take on the next mission.

Meanwhile, Daichi is informed by the higher-ups at Globe that the Midsummer’s Knights’ mission is changing; they’re returning to what the Intercept Faction is meant to be doing. They will be part of Operation Summer, which will be launching soon.

Aiatar attacks, but neither Daichi nor Teppei can fight in a battle because they’re still recovering from their previous battle, and both of their mecha still need to repaired. Hana ends up going out in a mecha called the Flare Engine. Hana battles against Aiatar, and Hana is able to surprise the enemy again…

The big that I left this episode with was, “Wow! You can’t trust Puck on anything. His catchphrase is ‘Puck does not lie,’ but he seems to lie about everything.” I have to give the writers credit here, because they really made it appear that Puck was on Amarok and Malkin’s side for a while now; seeing that Puck is also double-crossing those two did come as a bit of a surprise.

It was also awesome to see Hana piloting her own mecha in this episode. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to beat Aiatar on her own; it ultimately took the effect of a solar flare to disrupt Aiatar’s mecha and Hana being able to find Aiatar because she had absorbed Hana’s power earlier. If not for those two things, Hana would’ve been done for. I hope Hana will be able to improve as a mecha pilot as the series progresses and can actually win a fight with her own skills.

So now that we know about Operation Summer, I suspect this is what the series will be ending with, and that the next few episodes will be the lead-up to Operation Summer. At the end of this episode, we saw a brief appearance from the Ark Faction head honchos, who we haven’t seen in a while. And from the preview for the next episode, it looks like there will be a new observer coming to Globe from the Ark Faction. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.

Anime Film Review: Steamboy

Steamboy is a film directed and co-written by Katsuhiro Otomo. The film was in production for 10 years and utilized more than 180,000 drawings and 440 CG cuts. The film was finally released to Japanese theaters on July 17, 2004, and was released in the United States on March 18, 2005.

Steamboy is set in 19th century England, but employs an alternate history. The story opens in 1863, where Lloyd and Edward Steam have discovered a pure mineral water that they believe can be harnessed and used as an ultimate power source in steam engines. An experiment in Russian Alaska goes horribly wrong, and Edward is engulfed in freezing gas. A strange ball-like apparatus is also seen being “born” from the destruction.

Three years later in Manchester, Edward’s son Ray is an avid inventor who works at a textile mill as a maintenance boy. At home, where he lives with his mother, he also works on a personal steam-powered monowheel.

Ray’s life is disrupted by the arrival of a package from his grandfather. Inside the package is the metallic ball from the accident, accompanied by its schematics. There is also a letter instructing Ray to guard it and get it to Robert Stephenson. Two members of the O’Hara Foundation, who Lloyd and Edward work for, appear and demand the ball.

Ray grabs the ball and papers, and makes his escape on his monowheel. More O’Hara Foundation agents, riding on a large steam automotive, give chase. Ray gets onto the locomotive tracks and thwarts his pursuers; he is rescued and brought onto the train.

It turns out Ray’s rescuers are Robert Stephenson and his assistant, David. Stephenson claims to be on his way to Manchester to meet with Ray’s grandfather. As the train approaches the station, a zeppelin descends over their compartment, and Ray is kidnapped; the Steam Ball is taken with him.

Ray finds himself in London, right before the 1866 Great Exhibition. Ray meets Scarlett O’Hara (the granddaughter of the chairman of the O’Hara Foundation), Archibald Simon, and his father. Edward has been disfigured by the accident, and required to have some machinery to replace some of his body. Edward takes Ray and an insistent Scarlett on a tour of Steam Castle, a flying military fortress Edward designed for the O’Hara Foundation. Edward enlists Ray’s help to finish Steam Castle, and Ray develops a love/hate friendship with Scarlett (who has become attracted to Ray).

Ray later encounters his grandfather, who has escaped from his cell in the castle, and Lloyd is trying to sabotage the castle from within. Ray discovers an arsenal of war machines in the castle’s underbelly, and Ray has to struggle with reconciling the influences of his father and his grandfather. As the film progresses, Ray also learns that other people and things aren’t as they seem, either.

The animation in Steamboy is very well done, and the viewer can tell that a lot of time was taken to produce the film. As you watch, you can also see how torn Ray is when he’s having to decide whether to help his father or his grandfather.

A viewer can also tell that an alternate history was utilized. While steam is the main source of power, there are some elements of the technology utilized that either wouldn’t have existed yet, or progressed faster than they did in our timeline.

Overall, I have to say that Steamboy had an interesting story to it. Admittedly, it takes a while to establish the major characters and plot points, so the early part of the film can feel like it’s dragging at times. However, once the story got going, I found myself becoming much more interested in what was going on and wanting to know what would happen next.

When it comes to the DVD itself, it contains several special features. On the special features menu, they are split out into: Featurettes, Animation Onion Skins, Production Drawings, and Previews.

Under “Featurettes,” there are a total of four items included. The first is an almost 19-minute documentary about producing the English dub of Steamboy, which includes interviews with some of the voice actors and some of the crew members involved with the dub.

Next is a five-minute interview with director Katsuhiro Otomo. Otomo speaks in Japanese, but instead of putting subtitles on the bottom of the screen, an American voice-over is dubbed over Otomo’s voice. Personally, I found this rather annoying.

Next is a “Multi-Screen Landscape Study,” which is a 19-minute piece that aired on three screens at a Steamboy exhibition. Here, subtitles are utilized to translate the spoken Japanese. “The Adventure Continues” is a textless version of the ending credits, which serve as a kind of epilogue for the film.

The “Animation Onion Skins” runs for about four-and-a-half minutes, and shows the various developmental stages of five scenes; this shows everything from rough animation to final scenes. “Production Drawings” runs for almost six minutes, and it shows paintings that had been done as the sets were developed. The “Previews” menu includes several previews of both anime and non-anime releases from the studio that released Steamboy.

From reading Internet chatter over the years, I know that there are both very strong positive and very strong opinions of this film. While I do enjoy the film, I wouldn’t put myself in the “very strong positive” opinion group. Like I mentioned earlier, the pacing of the film is a little slow early on as everything is being established. But even with that pacing issue, I do enjoy the overall concept and ideas that were presented in Steamboy.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Steamboy that I purchased for my husband as a gift.