Back again …

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Sorry for the long silence. Unfortunately, real life interrupted my anime viewing.

Sad to say but “Inuyasha – The Final Act” ended March 29. Now this fangirl is on the lookout for something new to watch Monday nights. Alas no more Kagome yelling for Inuyasha “to sit”, no more Miroku getting thwacked by Sango for his lecherous ways and most of all, no more Sesshomaru threatening to eradicate his enemies in a cool yet deadly voice.

The series was fateful to the manga for the most part and gave fans the ending they deserved. But don’t expect to see all the extra characters from the manga’s final volumes. The show is a pretty streamlined version of the manga.

The show did toss in a couple of extras in the end like what happened to Kouga afterward since Ayame is an anime-only character.

If you want to watch the episodes, go to hulu.com

Of school girls and dog-eared demons

So I’ve been watching “Inuyasha the Final Act” on hulu.com and I must say the producers are keeping everything on a brisk pace.

There’s only been six episodes so far but three of Naraku’s incarnations have already bit the dust plus Inuyasha’s sword can now absorb demon powers and cut a demon vortex. For those who don’t know the show, it’s about a half-dog demon, half-human character and his friends who are on a mission to kill another half-demon, Naraku, and stop him from completing the so-called Jewel of Four Souls which he plans to use to make himself a full demon.

This series picks up where “Inuyasha” left viewers dangling a couple of years ago and promises to finish it. Let’s just hope they do and not give us any filler episodes.

It uses the same Japanese voice actors and the same animation studio so watching the new series is like settling in on a familiar armchair. I have heard complaints about the quality of the animation from some viewers but I think the show looks fine.

Calling all Inuyasha fans. The saga of the dog-eared demon continues…

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Among the offerings for the anime fall season is a series that finally wraps up the Inuyasha saga.

When the show ended, there was no resolution and the bad guy, Naraku, along with his minions were still alive. I had to read the manga to know how Inuyasha, the half dog demon/half human, defeats Naraku, gets more sword techniques and deals with the Kikyo/Kagome issue.

So I welcome the new anime that aims to wrap up the popular show created by Rumiko Takahashi.

According to VIZ Media, INUYASHA THE FINAL ACT will stream on ShonenSunday.com/anime and Hulu.com hours after it airs in Japan. A new episode will air every Saturday.

The first episode is available for viewing at http://www.hulu.com/inuyasha-the-final-act
and at www.shonensunday.com/anime

If ya want to see a bigger version of the trailer, click on the screen on this page. A bigger screen should pop up.

First episode of Inuyasha available for free

Here’s the latest promo by VIZ Media which is now making episodes of “Inuyasha” available via the iTunes Store.

(www.iTunes.com) in the US and the iTunes Store (www.itunes.ca) in Canada. iTunes is launching with episodes 1-13 for $1.99 per episode or $22.99 for one full season.

From today until Aug. 31, the first episode will be available as a free download.

The long-running anime and manga known as “Inuyasha” has already ended. But the episodes are available on DVDs. I’m not sure if Adult Swim on Cartoon Network still puts on the re-runs. Doubt it though.

Here is a synopsis of the show courtesy of VIZ: “Pulled back in time to Japan’s ancient past, Japanese high school girl Kagome finds her destiny linked to a dog-like half-demon named Inuyasha, who remembers Kagome’s previous incarnation as the woman who killed him – and to the Shikon Jewel, or “Jewel of Four Souls,” which can fulfill the greatest dreams of any man or monster. Now Kagome and Inuyasha must work together to search for the scattered shards of the jewel before everyone’s nightmares are given the power they need to come true.”

Ichigo and the gang in their second movie

Sorry for the looong silence. Unlike some folks, I can’t afford to ignore my daily gig. Otherwise the bills don’t get paid.

Anyway, I was checking out my e-mail and came upon this VIZ Media announcement of their fall DVD releases. The second “Bleach” movie will be available in stores Sept. 8. with a price tag of $29.92. Just in time for my birthday ….

Here’s a synopsis of the film from VIZ:

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BLEACH THE MOVIE 2: THE DIAMONDDUST REBELLION Rated ‘T’ for Teens
After the treasured Ouin is stolen, Toshiro Hitsugaya disappears and becomes suspected of treason. When the Soul Society calls for his capture and execution, Substitute Soul Reaper Ichigo Kurosaki vows to prove Hitsugaya’s innocence. Will the secret of the Ouin and Captain Hitsugaya’s motives be revealed before his honor, his life, and the Soul Society are destroyed?

Latest Naruto Shippuden to be shown for free online

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Attention Naruto fans.

VIZ Media announced today that the latest installment of “Naruto Shippuden” will be shown free March 26 on its official Naruto Web site, www.naruto.com , the same day it will air in Japan.

Episode 101 (with English subtitles) can also be viewed in Canada but on www.Joost.com

VIZ points out that this is the first time the official U.S. Naruto Web site will air an episode with the broadcast in Japan. As the company says in its release: “The special simulcast is part of VIZ Media’s ongoing plan to bring hit animated properties and the latest content to its audience via the Web.”

I suspect it’s a way to bypass fansubs.

“Naruto” is a popular anime and manga here and in the land of the Rising Sun. Anime conventions always seem to have tons of fans dressed up as the teen-aged ninja Naruto or other characters from the show. OK the correct term for such a fan is a “cosplayer”.

Final parting shot from VIZ. Earlier “Naruto” episodes are available for free on several Web-based, video streaming outlets that partnered with VIZ Media, including HULU and JOOST. “Naruto Shippuden” episodes can be viewed for free on www.naruto.com

Naruto Shippuden news

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I enjoys fansubs like a lot of anime fans because I get to watch a series airing currently or just finished airing in Japan. However, I always make a point to buy the licensed versions of shows I like.

With the advent of the Internet, it has made it easier and faster for anime fans to see current shows. Not surprisingly, some anime companies are opting to license a series even before it finishes its run in Japan or they’re choosing to show episodes online.

VIZ media announced that beginning January 15, it will begin streaming “Naruto Shippuden” just days after being shown in Japan. It will be free and available at www.Naruto.com There will also be an accelerated publishing plan for the “Naruto” manga beginning in February 2009.

“Naruto Shippuden” picks up the tale after a now 15-year-old Naruto returns to Konoha from his training with Jiraiya. Everyone in his group has advanced in rank except him. Gaara is now Kazekage and Sakura is now a medical ninja.

Here’s the release from VIZ:

“This campaign is the latest expansion of VIZ Media’s ongoing strategy to utilize the web to its maximum potential to stream a variety of hit animated properties.

Beginning on January 15, the latest episode of “Naruto Shippuden” (English-subtitled) will be available for free viewing on the official “Naruto” website, www.Naruto.com, within days of its original air date in Japan. A new English-subtitled episode will be added every Thursday thereafter.

On January 2nd, VIZ Media will also debut for free, eight uncut, English-subtitled episodes from the beginning of the “Naruto Shippuden” series on www.Naruto.com. Each Friday thereafter there will be an additional eight uncut, English-subtitled episodes added on Naruto.com until the series eventually catches up to the current third season of the hit program. Also, coming this week, an exclusive sneak peek of “Naruto Shippuden” debuting on Naruto.com.

On the manga side, VIZ Media has unveiled an accelerated publishing schedule for upcoming editions of the “Naruto” series, making them available to North American audiences sooner than ever before offered by VIZ Media. Beginning in February 2009, 11 new volumes of “Naruto” will be released over three months, moving the series from Volume 34 (February 2009) to Volume 44 (April 2009) before returning to a quarterly release schedule beginning with Volume 45 (July 2009).

Earlier “Naruto” episodes are also currently available for free through a variety of web-based, video streaming outlets that have partnered with VIZ Media, including HULU and JOOST.”

DVD releases from VIZ Media

Got this in the mail from VIZ Media. It’s their latest DVD releases. Oh my poor wallet…

“The releases include DVD box sets and special editions containing limited edition collectible figurines.

DEATH NOTE Volume 6. Four episodes Available August 26
The Yotsuba Group enlists an investigator to uncover L’s identity, while Misa, who’s been hired as their spokesperson, does some investigating of her own. When she discovers the identity of the owner of the Death Note, it’s a race between the killer and the task force — who will catch up to the other first? Time is of the essence, especially when the new Kira makes the trade for the Shinigami Eyes!

BLEACH Volume 11: THE RESCUE Four episodes. Available now
While trying to evade the pursuing Soul Reapers and rescue Rukia, Orihime and Uryu are confronted by the captain of Squad 12, the despicable Mayuri Kurotsuchi, who plans on using them as guinea pigs for his experiments! Meanwhile, Yoruichi has revealed her true form to the astonishment of Ichigo and the others, and must use all her tricks and skills to keep her fellow intruders from losing everything for which they’ve fought so hard.

BLEACH Volume 12: THE RESCUE Four episodes. Available Sept. 23
Lieutenant Momo Hinamori recalls her days in training at the Soul Reaper Academy, where she first met Captain Sosuke Aizen. In the present, the letter Aizen left for her at his death scene leads Momo to believe she has identified his killer… While Ichigo and Renji train with Yoruichi to achieve bankai, Rukia recalls a bit of her own past in a dream that she believes will prepare her to face her execution–which has been moved up to the next day!

NARUTO UNCUT, Vol. 9 special edition box set. three DVDs. Available now
Naruto returns to the Hidden Leaf Village to find Sasuke, frustrated with Naruto’s sudden growth, thirsting to fight to decide who the better ninja is once and for all. Kakashi stops the fight before the worst can happen, but soon Orochimaru’s henchmen arrive in the village to lure Sasuke to Orochimaru with the promise of greater power, a promise Sasuke can’t refuse. In order to retrieve Sasuke, newly appointed chunin Shikamaru forms a squad of genin, including Naruto, to pursue the terrifying Sound Ninja Four. Will they catch up before Orochimaru gets his hands on Sasuke? Let the chase begin. Special Edition Box Set comes with a Limited Edition Collectible: Summoning Creature – Manda.

NARUTO Volume 25: THE BOND OF SHINOBI. Four episodes. Available now
Naruto and Jiraiya head home with Tsunade and Shizune in tow, and the four stop at a hot spring resort for a little relaxation and an unexpected adventure. But at home again in Hidden Leaf Village, it’s back to business. Tsunade’s first task: heal the injured ninja. The others are successfully revived, but Tsunade has bad news for Rock Lee. While the village cheerfully prepares for Tsunade’s inauguration as Fifth Hokage, Rock Lee must ponder the possibility that he will never fulfill his ninja dreams.

NARUTO Volume 26: THE RACE IS ON! Four episodes. Available now.
Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura are on the ultimate mission: discover what Kakashi looks like behind his mask! Then, Tsunade sends Squad Seven to the Land of Tea and the village of Degarashi, where every four years two rival families hold a race to decide who will rule the village for the next four years. Jirocho, who represents the Wasabi family, asks the teammates to protect their runner, Idate. But the task proves difficult when Idate, who has nothing but contempt for ninja, takes off running the wrong way!

NARUTO Volume 27: THE BATTLE BEGINS. Four episodes. Available Sept. 2.
Naruto has always thought of Sasuke as a friend, but when Sasuke awakens in the hospital to discover that Naruto has grown stronger, Naruto finds himself on the receiving end of Sasuke’s fury. It’s Chidori vs. Rasengan! Kakashi steps in to stop the battle, while in the shadows Orochimaru’s Sound Ninja Four steal their way into the village with an offer for Sasuke he may not be able to refuse! Will the promise of greater power lure Sasuke away from everything he’s known and everyone who cares about him – forever?!

NARUTO Volume 28: SOUND vs. LEAF. Four episodes. Available Sept. 30.
News of Sasuke’s departure reaches the Fifth Hokage, who immediately gives new chunin Shikamaru his first mission as leader–bring back Sasuke! Shikamaru recruits some of his best friends for the job: Naruto, Choji, Neji and Kiba. With a chunin and four top genin on their heels, the sound Ninja Four race to get Sasuke over the border and into Orochimaru’s hands. The Leaf ninja use all their wiles to ambush the Four, but find themselves trapped in a giant dome of earth that’s sucking up every last drop of their chakra!.

INUYASHA SEASON 5. Deluxe Box Set. Five DVDs. Available Now.
Half-demon Inuyasha, modern-day schoolgirl Kagome and their companions face their deepest fears and worst nightmares as their quest to find the Sacred Jewel shards continues in this exciting fifth season box set. The deadly Band of Seven, a group of mercenaries executed for their crimes, have returned from the dead to wreak havoc, and Inuyasha is determined to stop them. But the battle leads them all to the sacred and mysterious Mount Hakurei, where a barrier not only renders demons, including Inuyasha, powerless, but also hides a terrible secret about their worst enemy–Naraku! The Deluxe Box Set includes 5 DVDs and also features a special “Sesshomaru Wall Scroll” and bonus Inuyasha footage.

RANMA SEASON 7: RANMA FOREVER. Five DVDs. Available now.
It’s not easy being teenage martial artist Ranma Saotome, but it’s even worse when your martial-artist father Genma takes you from home at an early age to go on a decade-long training mission. He doesn’t speak a word of Chinese, and yet he insists upon bringing you to the cursed training ground known as Jusenkyo, where falling into one of the many springs there instantly turns you into whoever – or whatever – drowned there last. And then, the two of you have this little accident…

From now on, a splash of cold water will turn your father into a giant panda, while you… well, you turn into a red-haired (and problematically well-built) female version of yourself. Hot water will reverse the effect, but only until the next time. What’s a half-guy, half-girl to do?”

What is ordinary to you may be extra special elsewhere

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Being special is a dream many a regular Joe or Jill share. And for Tokidoki Rikugo, it will soon become his reality.

In “Amatsuki”, Tokidoki is a normal high school student who is easygoing and pleasant. Too easygoing since he just received a failing mark on a history test. He has to make up for it by visiting a state-of-the-art museum that recreates the Edo Period. There he meets another student, Kon Shinonome, a young man who definitely knows more about history than our hero. But Kon likes to get into fights which doesn’t sit well with the school.

As they’re walking through this virtual Edo, Tokidoki loses sight of his companion and gets attacked by a creature who damages his left eye. A young woman, dressed kind of weird for this period since her stomach is bare, appears out of the blue and saves Tokidoki.

The goggles he wore for the museum tour are broken and he finds to his shock that he is trapped in this virtual Edo.

But Tokidoki is not the regular Joe he was in the real world. In this realm, his future is not writ. Because everyone else’s lives are already known by the four gods of this world, Tokidoki is an anomaly who could be used to change this Edo.

Not surprisingly, there are different groups interested in the teen.

“Amatsuki” is a fantasy anime that is lush and drawn quite well. Although the plot is not original, the characters are interesting enough to warrant more than one viewing.
For instance, “Princess” who is the priestess of a powerful shrine is an asexual being. She/he has also been cursed earlier by a demon so the princess has to transfer her/his soul to a mechanical doll for part of the day.

Of ninja kings and apathetic teens

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I’m following five shows this season which don’t seem to suck so far. One of them is a tale of ninjas living amongst us in the 21st century, Nope, I’m not talking about “Naruto Shippuuden” here.

“Nabari no Ou” (King of Nabari) is about Rokujo Miharu, a 14-year-old boy indifferent to most things. This small, delicate-looking apathetic teen works at a family restaurant but harbors inside of him one of the most sought after Ninja secrets called the Shinrabansh. I’ve seen up to episode nine and as far as I can make out, the Shinrabansho is all the knowledge of the world. Nabari is the ninja world.

Hundreds of years ago, the leaders of the different ninja villages put it inside a human who they later killed. Don’t ask me why. But like any good ole monster movie, the Shinrabansho appears again inside another host. It can grant the host immense power but I’ve only seen it manifest three times and it took the form of roots and tendrils sprouting out of the host and wreaking havoc on his enemies.

Rokujo senses it as a woman who promises to grant whatever he wants if he so wishes. When it activates, Chinese characters also appear on his body.

He isn’t aware of this until a teacher, Thobari Kumohira Durandal, and another student, Kouichi Aizawa, pester him to join their school club espousing the Ninja way. The truth comes out when the two defend him from attackers. The assailants were ninjas and so are they.

I won’t go into details about the other subplots. Suffice it to say that the villains include a young man who uses a secret technique that can maim and kill others just with mere hand movements. The cost, however, is his own life force.