Complete Series and New Year's Resolutions!
a semi-weekly column by Todd Douglass, Don Houston, John Sinnott, and Wen-Tsai
Now that we're into the New Year it's an important time to reflect upon your resolutions and see how realistic they truly were. Lose some weight? Nah. Spend less money? If you're reading this then you undoubtedly love to spend money. Watch more anime? Now we're talking!
Many exciting things are in the works from publishers and new releases are hitting the market every week. Things may have been kind of quiet for a couple weeks but everybody has had something that hit store shelves. From ADV's beautiful collections of Nadia and Neon Genesis to FUNimation's Viridian line there are many shows to keep an eye on. This week we'll take a look at a few recent releases and as always WTK gives us some great bargains to pinch our wallets!
One show that keeps viewers guessing is The Third. Just when you think you know what's going on and what story is being told, characters leave, the focus shifts, and it morphs into something you weren't expecting. That's definitely true of this third volume where Honoka gets a new partner, her old one returns unexpectedly, and then the whole group ends up being trapped inside an ancient weapon where the rules are slightly different. This doesn't make it a bad show, just one that's a little scattered and erratic.
Originally released in the US over ten volumes in 2001-2002, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, is a popular anime that was created by Gainax, the same studio that was responsible for Neon Genesis Evangelion. Collected for the first time in one set (there was an earlier release that split the series into two collections) ADV has placed the discs in slimpak cases and released them in a very nice looking tin case that holds all the volumes. The story of young Nadia and her encounters with Captain Nemo is a lot of fun, and thought the story dips in quality significantly near the end, it's still worth checking out.
GTO - Great Teacher Onizuka is one of those shows that are just a lot of fun to watch. The first season set was highly recommended, and the show doesn't slow down with season two. The program isn't deep and the animation is only average, but seeing Onizuka overcome the traps that the students lay for him is really entertaining and some of the running gags are hilarious. This is a great set, and the only disappointing thing is that there isn't more.
Based on the good reception that Air received, the powers that be at Kyoto Animation decided to obtain the rights to another "visual novel" from the computer game company Key and transform it into a TV series. The franchise they selected was Kanon, an incredibly popular game in Japan. Unfortunately the anime is rather pointless, at least in the first volume and viewers who aren't enamored with the game will likely find it slow going.
Slayers has been one of the most popular fantasy series ever since it was released back in the 90's. Considering that a few seasons, OVA, and movies followed it's safe to say that the show developed fans around the globe. For a while now this show slipped into obscurity with no current release but thanks to FUNimation that has changed. The first season came out a while ago and the second has finally hit store shelves. Unfortunately the sophomore outing wasn't quite as brilliant as the original but it still proved to be a lot of fun despite shortcomings. Check it out if you liked the first season but if you're new to the franchise definitely start out with the original instead of this one to see if it's your thing.
I think it's fair to say that Neon Genesis Evangelion has been released more times than you can shake a stick at. ADV published the upgraded Platinum version a while ago and it had since hit again in the form of a thinpak collection. For the holidays they went back and did a smallish pressing of the Platinum packed in a silver tin case. Not only does the set include one of the most influential animes of all time but the discs also feature some great bonus material to boot. It's a slight upgrade over the original collection but the extra cost may not be completely absorbed by the supplemental content.
FUNimation's Viridian Line has proven to be a great way for consumers to grab some interesting series for very decent prices. The latest show to receive this treatment is the fantastic Gunslinger Girl. This is one heck of a well-written series and it creates an atmosphere unlike any other. The basic premise revolves around the Italian government creating a program that initiates young girls and turns them into assassins. I could get into more regarding the plot but to be quite honest; just watch it already! This is a fun show that will stick with you for a long while after you finish watching it.
Ever see Love Hina or Negima? Chances are decent that if you did then you fell in love with them. Ken Akamatsu's style is very endearing and hard to resist. It seems only fitting that his Christmas special OVA, My Santa, is pretty darned good. Focusing on a young boy named Santa who is the unwitting subject of a mission involving a student from Santa Claus Academy things get out of control quickly. Some problems come into play with this release given the fact that only two episodes were ever made. It's a short release and the show does drag on in parts with some harem comedy stereotypes but it's fun and fans of Akamatsu's works will appreciate it.
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