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Paranoia Agent 3, Gunslinger Girl and Innocence: Music Video Anthology


a bi-weekly column by Don Houston, John Sinnott and Chris Tribbey

Once again Anime Talk brings you the latest anime reviews, a list of new releases, the low-down on a couple of exciting things to look forward to, and some of the best anime deals around.

The Latest Anime Reviews:
(Click on the links to read the full review.)

One of the few anime DVDs that have earned the coveted DVD Talk Collector Series rating is Paranoia Agent Volume 3.  This is the best volume so far, and confirms that Paranoia Agent is one of the most creative, bizarre and best shows, anime or otherwise, to make onto DVD.  In this disc, Li’l Slugger is no longer a problem after the events in Volume 2.  Right?  Maybe, but Li’l Slugger has really effected society as a whole.  He’s become a legend, and this volume shows how everyone from members of a suicide club to housewives are still influenced by the young hoodlum.

Scrapped Princess is a new series that has a lot of potential.  The first volume has just been released, and it is Highly Recommended.  This series is about a cute young girl, Pacific Cassul.  She’s 15, and on her next birthday a prophecy says that she will destroy the world. “She will be give rise to mountains of corpses and rivers of blood...she will be the poison that will destroy this world.”  Her parents, the king and queen, ordered her dead at birth, but she wasn’t ‘scrapped.’  Instead she was raised by a peasant family.  Before the series starts, it is discovered that she is alive, and now she is running for her life, along with her adopted brother and sister.  Will this young lady be able to live to see her 16th birthday, and if she does will it be disastrous?

Another new series that holds a lot of promise is Koi Kaze.  This is a surprisingly engrossing drama about a 27 year old salary man and his estranged 15 year old sister.  The young girl is looking forward to her first romance, and her older brother has been around the block a few times and is disillusioned with love.  A gentle and quiet show, Kio Kaze is a nice change from the hectic intergalactic adventures that many anime shows contain.  It reminds me of Someday’s Dreamer a lot, they give the story time to unfold at its own pace, and don’t rush things along.

Rumiko Takahashi, the “Princess of Manga” is the most popular female comic artist in the world.  She is the talent behind such popular series as Urusei Yatsura (also known as Lum), Maison Ikkoku, fan favorite Ranma ½, Inu-Yasha, and the darker Mermaid Saga.  Now some of the shorts stories she’s done over the years have been animated and released in the US under the title Rumiko Takahashi Anthology.  The second volume of this series presents three stand alone tales that show how varied and skilled Ms. Takahashi’s writing can be.  From the mysterious In a Pot, to the light drama Abberant Family F and the outrageous comedy of As Long as You are Here, these shows are sure to entertain.

The prequel to the series X, Tokyo Babylon has its fun points, with strange shaman powers and a good deal of action. Not the prettiest anime around, the show follows a psychic boy who helps police solve crimes that deal with the mystical. The two episodes are included in this DVD, and set the stage for the series and the movie.

The fifth volume of The Get Backers brings the Limitless Fortress story arc to a conclusion.  A lot of questions are answered, and these episode fill out the series very well.  We learn about Ginji’s background, and how he became the leader of the Volts, as well as why he left the Fortress. Makubex’s secrets are also revealed, as well as those of the Limitless Fortress.  If you’ve followed the series this far, you’ll surely want to add this disc to your collection.

Beat up a bit in the name of childen's programming, Astro Boy: The Complete Collection is still an enjoyable show, a 2003 remake of the original anime superhero. Astro is a powerful robot with artificial intelligence, who's been created to either lead a robot revolution, or bridge the gap between mankind and machines. Astro's nuetral, near-pacifist personality still comes through more than 40 years after Osamu Tezuka's original black and white series ran. Poor DVD quality doesn't completely detract from the series, which runs 50 episodes - many of which never seen on American TV - over 1,000 minutes. Hey, it's Astro Boy. The screen would have had to been black to not recommended this series.

Then there were some anime DVDs that didn’t quite work as well.  The second volume of E’s Otherwise takes a bit of a dip in quality. This disc consists mainly of stand alone shows that really don’t move the plot forward much at all. Kai is still in Gald, and he’s teamed up with Yuuki. Together they have a few minor adventures, but nothing substantial.
The fourth volume of Peacemaker continues the story of the two warring groups in ancient Japan. The show was enjoyable up to this point, but it is moving too slowly.  With most of the shows being either stand alone stories or short arc that last a couple of episodes, the overall story has gotten the short end of the stick.  This volume only has three episodes on it, as opposed to the four that the previous volumes had, which is too bad.  With the pace that this show moves at, four episodes would have been much better.

The third volume of Wandaba Style thankfully ends this series.  Thought the premise of a girl group trying to get to the moon to give a concert using environmentally friendly methods sounds funny, this program never really delivers.  Instead of actual jokes, the show has a lot of hectic action that passes for humor. People running around waving their arms in the air is a good reaction to a joke, but it isn’t a joke by itself.  There are a lot of comic anime shows that are batter than this one, you don’t need to waste your time on this one.

Upcoming Releases

Scheduled for release on Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Title (click on the title to purchase at Amazon.)
Aquarian Age: The Movie $29.95 ($59.95 SE) Synch-Point
Beyblade Vol. 6 (Season 3) -Same Old Dirt $14.98 FUNimation
Bubblegum Crisis OVA Vol. 3 $19.95 AnimEigo
Dragon Ball Z Saga: Saiyan Showdown $24.98 ($39.98 SE) FUNimation
E’s Otherwise Vol. 2  [review] $29.98 ADV Films
Fight! Iczer One $19.95 Media Blasters
Giant Robo: Ginrei Special $24.95 Media Blasters
Interlude $24.95 Toei 
Lupin the 3rd TV Vol. 10 $24.95 Geneon
Madlax Vol. 1 $29.98 ($39.98 SE) ADV Films
Magical Meow Meow Taruyo Vol. 2 $29.98 Bandai
MegaMan NT Warrior Vol. 5  $14.98 VIZ
Overman King Gainer Vol. 2 $29.98 Bandai
Requiem From the Darkness Vol. 4  $29.95 Geneon
Shadow Star Narutaru  Vol. 1 $29.98 ($34.98 SE) Central Park Media
Stellvia Vol. 4 $24.98 Geneon
Urusei Yatsura OVA Vol. 1 $19.98 AnimEigo

Scheduled for release on April 5, 2005

Title (click on the title to purchase at Amazon.)
Case Closed: Case 5 Vol. 1 19.98 (29.98 SE) FUNimation
Cyberteam in Akihabara Vol. 4 $29.98 ADV Films
Fighting Spirit Vol. 5 $29.98 Geneon
Full Metal Panic Complete Collection $89.98 ADV Films
Hello Kitty Animation Theater Vol. 2 $14.98 ADV Films 
Kyo Kara Maoh! Vol. 1 $24.98 Geneon
Maburaho Vol. 1 $29.98 ($39.98 SE) ADV Films 
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Platinum Vol. 7  $29.98 ADV Films
R.O.D. The TV Vol. 6 $29.95 Geneon
Wandaba Style Vol. 3  [reveiw] $29.98 ADV Films
Yu Yu Hakusho Vol. 30 $24.98 FUNimation

Holly's Anime Bargains - Presented by Holly Beeman

Check out your local Best Buy for:

Dai-Guard: Complete Collection: $19.99, [review] retail price: $49.98, 60% off!
Gunparade March: Complete Collection w/ tin artbox: $22.99, retail price: $79.95, nearly 72% off!
Mirage Of Blaze: Complete Collection: $27.99, retail price: $69.95, 60% off!
Saber Marionette R: $5.99, [review] retail price: $19.95, 70% off!

Deep Discount DVD:

Real Bout High School 4 disc Boxed Set: $24.00, retail price $40.00, 40% off!
GTO Set 1- Great Teacher Onizuka:  $24.00, retail price $40.00, 40% off!

Right Stuf New Weekly Specials:

Demon Lord Dante DVD Box Set (Hyb) [Limited]: $39.99, [review] retail price $99.98, 40% off!
Grave of the Fireflies Collector's Series DVD (Hyb): $39.99, [review] retail price $29.95, you save $19.96!
Hand Maid May Box Set DVD (Hyb) + Extras CD-ROM [Limited]: $29.99, retail price $89.98, you save $59.99!
Sugar, A Little Snow Fairy DVD Box Set (Hyb) [Limited]: $59.99, retail price $179.99, nearly 66% off!

Overstock.com Hot Deal:

Marmalade Boy Ultimate Scrapbook 1: $28.94, retail price $49.99, 42% off!

Nothing short of amazing, Marmalade Boy continues to be one of the dominating shôjos in the realm of anime.  The series is based on Wataru Yoshizumi's highly popularized romance manga, which is comprised of just eight volumes.  However, while staying true to the original story, Marmalade Boy: Ultimate Scrapbook Volume 1 boldly presents us with 19 episodes (totaling a mind-blowing 475 minutes!), filled with an abundance of laughs, tears, and suspense; we as the viewers cannot help but be drawn in, always wanting to know where the relationship between Miki and Yuu will go next.  Will they be able to survive the situation their parents have presented them with, all living under one roof?  Find out--You won't be sorry, especially at a steal of a price like the one featured in our bargains!

For more anime deals check out the Official - ANIME Bargains! - Thread.  Updated daily by yours truly!


Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, Music Video Anthology

The sequel to one of the greatest anime features of all time to start the year, the second season of Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex to finish it, and the wonderful volumes of season one in between. As if we didn’t have enough Ghost to keep us happy, we also get a tribute to the man behind the music of Innocence from Bandai, with the Innocence: Music Video Anthology on July 11. Kenji Kawai’s beautiful score will be mixed music video style with images from Director Mamoru Oshii’s visual masterpiece for the DVD. A special edition features the soundtrack from the movie, a slick, limited quantity collector’s case, and a few bonus videos.

Gunslinger Girl Vol. 1

So you’re saying “Great, another girls with guns anime. I already own NOIR and You’re Under Arrest!” Ah, but Gunslinger Girl isn’t like other female gunslinger tales. Not at all. Forget the fan service, give me a good story. These girls are preadolescents who’ve been given a second chance at life by a benevolent medical company. But the company is actually Italian government black ops, and the girls are the latest recruits. Programmed, implanted with upgrades, and given adult male handlers, the girls are now the scariest assassins around. Each episode of Gunslinger Girls looks at a different fratello, the pairing of girl and handler, and the relationships range from endearing to frightening. The animation itself is simply pretty, with wonderful Italian architecture represented, and nice character design. The action? Bloody brilliant. Gunslinger Girl won’t be for everyone, but anyone who likes Alias, loved La Femme Nikita, and won’t pass on good action anime, is encouraged to check this series out when volume one streets May 17.

In our next column, in addition to our regular features, we'll have a look at Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball series.  Confused as to what order the DVD are supposed to be viewed?  Not sure what the differance is between The Vegeta Saga and The Saiyan Saga is?  Well we should be able to put your mind at rest just two weeks from now.

Have a comment or suggestion?  Drop us an e-mail and let us know!


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