Sengoku Basara, Eden of the East, and Corpse Princess
October 2010 Edition by Todd
Douglass, John Sinnott, Bobby Cooper, and Wen-Tsai
by Todd Douglass, John Sinnott, Bobby Cooper, and Wen-Tsai
The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and the Christmas shopping season will be here before you know it! Now is the time to start thinking about what shows you want to add to your wish list, and this month we have a column full of anime worth adding to your collection. Coincidence? I think not!
Big name shows such as Sengoku Basara, Eden of the East, Corpse Princess, and El Hazard: The Wanderers were all released since our last column. Several other fan favorites such as Dragon Ball Z and One Piece received volumes as well. What's worth picking up? Read on for synopses and review linkage. WTK also has some bargains to cause your wallet some pain and we have another Shining Wind anime figure review. Let's get this column going before those darned Trick or Treaters show up!
The hilarious story of Sun and Nagasumi's life as students sworn to marry each other concludes in My Bride Is A Mermaid: Season One, Part Two. Sun is a mermaid who revealed her true form to save Nagasumi from drowning. Mermaid Law dictated that, as a result of a human seeing her true form, they must both be killed or marry. So, Sun moves in with Nagasumi's family and her own family, which is also a Yakuza gang, tags along. My Bride is a Mermaid features a crazy huge cast and focuses on the secondary characters in the final 13 episodes. This maniacal series keeps the laughs coming with its joke-a-minute script. Some of the gags fall flat, but more often than not, otaku with a sense of humor about their anime will find a lot to love here. Go ahead, try to hate it. I did and laughed out of spite until I admitted it's really funny.
El Hazard: The Wanderers is a complete remake of the classic OVA series, The Magnificent World. High school students, Makoto, Nanami, Jinnai, and their teacher, Fujisawa are transported to a new dimension when Makoto's science project goes haywire one day thanks to Jinnai's sabotage. In a new world known as El Hazard, the four split up and make their own way--Makoto and Fujisawa seek a way out, Nanami wants to make a fortune, and Jinnai wants to conquer and enslave the world. In this harem series, Makoto and Fujisawa meet several priestesses and princesses, causing most of the women to fawn over them. The Wanderers is a diluted version of the original OVA; the plot was simplified, some characters were changed, and much of the sexual content was either dialed down a few notches or wiped out completely. It's still a decent series, but there is no reason for anybody to see this instead of the far superior OVA series. This set is for hardcore, El Hazard competionist fans only.
The great experiment of remixing and remastering the beloved anime classic, Dragon Ball Z, continues with Dragon Ball Z Kai: Season One, Part Two. The first set ended with Goku and Vegeta in an epic clash--really, are Dragon Ball Z fights ever not epic? Following this battle, most of the key players in the cast make their way to Piccolo's home world, Namek, to collect the seven more Dragon Balls for various reasons. This set introduces the villain of dubious gender, Freiza, and sets up Vegeta as his enemy. Meanwhile, Krillin, Gohan, and Bulma are on the planet and vastly outmatched by both villains. Goku eventually heals up from his battle wounds and makes his way to Namek to help out his friends. This series continues to be an awesome remix of the classic and is a great spot for Dragon Ball newbies to jump in.
Monkey D. Luffy returns with his band of eccentric and off beat pirates in FUNimation's One Piece Season Three Voyage Two. In the past Luffy has had to battle super powered pirate, evolved sharks, and even a government's army, among other things. This time he's setting out to face his most powerful foe yet, a living god. If you've enjoyed the earlier releases, these 13 episodes will sure to please. The show is still as funny and offbeat as ever.
Naruto Season Three Volume One from Viz collects another 29 episodes of the ninja anime on six DVDs that are certain to entertain fans. This set starts the next big story arc in the saga, where Sasuke mysteriously leaves the Leaf Village in order to join Orochimaru, the villain who killed the third Hokage. Naruto and his friends aren't sure if the young ninja has been kidnapped or what, but they intend to bring him back, even if it kills them. A lot of fun, ninja action, and some heart-warming vignettes are contained in this enjoyable collection.
We get to the 100th episode, and beyond, in Bleach - Season 5: The Assault from Viz. This collection has Ichigo and his allies traveling to the Soul Society once more to protect it from the Bounts, being of incredible power who are plotting to destroy the Sereitei. The storyline is wrapped up in this collection and not a moment too soon.
A prison break, flying leeches, a samurai ghost and really spicy curry; Naruto Season Three Set Two has it all! After the chase for Sasuke that encompassed the previous collection, this set of shows consists of shorter stories that are over in a couple of episodes. Lighter in tone than the long story arcs, these installments are a lot of fun to watch.
It's here at last: The definitive edition of the most exciting saga in the world's most famous anime series. The Dragon Ball Z Dragon Box Volume 4 presents 42 more episodes in the classic series including the wrap up of the Android Saga which segues nicely into the appearance of arguably the series greatest villain, Cell.
Rental Magica, Parts 1 & 2 were released a while ago, though they recent made their way to our doorstep. The show received a lot of hype when it was airing and the complete series has been released by RightStuf/Nozomi. What's it all about? Well, it takes place in a world where magic is very much real, but not just one type of magic; all types. There exists here a form of magical contamination and it's up to a special group of magic users to clear things up. The only problem? The series is woefully generic to the point it's boring. Some of the action is lively and the characters are fun, but the story really falls flat for a majority of the run.
FUNimation's Corpse Princess features a dead girl coming back to life and fighting other dead people. Known as Shikabane, these dead beings aren't merely zombies or vampires. They have thought and can use their supernatural powers for whatever their lifeless hearts desire. It's up to a Shikabane Hime, "corpse princess" if you will, to stop them. They don't act independently, however, and they must team up with a monk handler. The series comes with Parts 1 and 2, and both sides of the coin are arguably different. Fun, packed with insane action, and offering plenty of fan-service, Corpse Princess is worth picking up.
Recently released on Blu-ray thanks to Sentai Filmworks/Section23, XAM'd Collection 1 brings the first 13 episodes and presents them on two discs. The show takes place in an alternate timeline slightly in the future where organic technology and mysterious flying machines are pervasive. Events follow a boy named Akiyuki who is chosen to be the host of a parasitic life-form named XAM'd. His future and very life depend on how he learns to live with the beast inside of him and with the backdrop of a war in the works, things get complicated quickly. Intense action and gorgeous art serve as compliments to this interesting story.
The second part of Dragon Ball Z: Kai has come out on Blu-ray. Once again we get a gorgeous glimpse at the reinvented classic. This installment finishes off the fight with Vegeta and brings Frieza into the fold. Tighter storytelling and edited footage really make Kai something special. For anyone who felt Dragon Ball Z was bloated and obnoxious, this is the version to check since it allows you to read between the lines.
The nations of the world get together as a cast of characters in the bizarrely charming Hetalia: Axis Powers. Really, any description of the show is too hard to put into words. Read the review for more detail, but all you really need to know is that this series is truly unique and unlike anything ever seen before. Oh, and it's pretty funny too!
Full Metal Panic the original season has been re-released on Blu-ray thanks to FUNimation. The series has also been remastered to improve the experience a bit. The show is a classic that really needs no introduction and it hasn't really looked better than it does here. Check out the review for more details.
Speaking of FUNimation Blu-ray releases, Slayers Seasons 4 and 5 have come along as well. The universe of Lina Inverse is a blast no matter how you slice it. Part fantasy, part action, and part comedy, the components collide with an explosive force. These newer seasons match the insane personality of the original to the letter and even introduce new characters into the fold. Totally worth checking out for fans of the original!
Eden of the East is one of the higher profile anime titles to come along in the past couple of months. This eleven episode series generated a lot of buzz from its initial Japanese release and the Region 1 audience will gobble it up for sure. It centers around events that take place roughly a year into the future where Japan has been hit with missile strikes by an unknown enemy. To make a long story short the show ties this event in with an amnesiac named Takizawa who is unwittingly taking part in a game of life and death. Equipped with a cell phone loaded with 8.2 billion yen, Takizawa is charged with saving Japan. Should he fail in his mission he will meet an unfortunate end and if he spends all the money, he'll suffer the same fate. It's a rock and a hard place in this mysterious and dramatic series that really draws you in. Eden is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
And finally we have an anime that was derived from a CAPCOM video game franchise. Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings is an over-the-top, explosive series with crazy production values from Production I.G. The show takes place in the Sengoku Period of Japan and features warlords clashing with each other. Featured in these battles are key personalities who stand out due to their larger than life personalities and proficiency with weapons. Come to this show looking for more action than substance and you won't be disappointed. Sengoku Basara is also available on DVD and Blu-ray.
For more anime bargains, please check out the monthly Official- ANIME Bargains! - Thread, updated by yours truly!
Please Note: Product Availability & Prices are Subjected to Change! Updated on 10/16/2010!
by Todd Douglass
The Shining Wind series continues to be popular enough in Japan to warrant constant releases of the brand. Figures seem to be the most successful and we already have a couple from Kotobukiya in our collection. Their latest release, Xecty Goddess of the Wind, stands out as probably the most dynamic, however. Xecty is an artificial human created from the genes of Celestia. She's one of Baelgard's four guardians and eventually comes around as a character. Apparently. The show hasn't been licensed here so details of here character are unknown to me. All I know is that she's a gorgeous character and this figure makes for one heck of a prominent display piece.
Apparently Xecty Goddess of the Wind is a sister figure to another Kotobukiya release for Elwyn Goddess of the Forest. Here is a side-by-side comparison of their figures and the original artwork that they were designed from (drawn by Tony Taka).
Now, the subject of our review today is the brunette to the right of that image. As you can see she is virtually a mirror of the Elwyn figure (which is actually getting a re-release). Their poses are slightly different, but the builds are more or less the same. Xecty is made of PVC plastic and stands at roughly 12 1/2 inches tall. She is firmly adhered to the base and as I said already, she makes quite statement in a lineup of figures. I mean, she towers over all of them!
From top to bottom Xecty has plenty of design features that give her a unique look. Her brown hair is draped across her brow slightly with some detailed bangs and a strand of hair protruding upwards from the center. It's a cute look that almost gives her the appearance of a horn. Her head also has wings on either side, which go along with that whole Wind Goddess vibe of the figure. Just below the wings there is a pair of elven ears, which stick out quite a bit.
From there her long hair curls and swirls its way down her back and slightly towards the front. It's designed to be wavy like she's going through the air and kudos to Kotobukiya for pulling off the design. Xecty's face is ethereal with an expression of surprise. Her mouth is opened just a bit and her eyes are wide and detailed.
Her body is in a position that gives the impression that she's floating and about to land. The arms are raised slightly and all you can really see is flesh. Her chest is covered by a bit that looks like ruffled fabric and likewise her nether regions are shielded as well. The clothing has a nice flow to it that connects with the base to give the impression that even though she's borderline naked, she's wearing an elegant dress of sorts.
Her legs are hidden by the dress. Xecty's right leg is raised slightly and not connected to anything, while her left foot is securely screwed to the base. Trust me when I tell you that she ain't going anywhere.
By design Xecty is very attractive and there are several highlights that stand out with the figure. For starters her size is just awe inspiring. The upraised hands and the elongated position of her descent really makes her presence more pronounced than it probably should be. Also making her stick out more is the contrast between her long dark hair and the lightness of the rest of the paint job. From pale skin to light clothing, the hair's details really stand out.
Now, how about the bad? Well, upon close inspection Xecty's hair parts awkwardly at the top of her head. There is clear separation of the parts of her hair and it sticks out as a flaw. Thankfully the figure is so tall small details like that will be overlooked. I also wish there was another way to get Xecty to stand aside from being screwed into the base, but beggars can't be choosy. Another aspect to this is how she would look side by side with Elwyn and whether or not they would wash each other's pronounced features out.
Even with these questionable elements in mind, Xecty Goddess of the Wind is an awesome figure. The Shining Wind line from Kotobukiya really brings home the quality and a lot of that stems to both the production and original artwork by Taka. There are plenty of fans on both sides of the ocean and importers of the franchise will want to pick this one up poste-haste. Even if you're not a Shining Wind fan, Xecty's sheer size and tranquil design makes her a nice addition to any collection.Highly Recommended Xecty Goddess of the Wind can be purchased from: Hobby Search for $70.12
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