Berserk Film Trilogy Gets Worldwide Release

The Berserk film trilogy has been licensed for release in sixteen countries including the UK, Canada, America, Australia, Portugal, France, and South Korea. Kaze UK announced their acquisition of the trilogy on Twitter and the Anime UK News forum yesterday and they have ambitious plans to give it a theatrical premiere.

The story takes place in a dark medieval period in a mittel European setting and follows Guts, a mercenary with immense strength, determination, a huge sword, and little direction in life. All of that changes after he meets Griffith who is the charismatic leader of a group of mercenaries named Band of the Hawk. Guts is bested by Griffith in a duel and decides to throw his lot in with the mercenary band. Guts soon proves himself on the battlefield and finds himself developing a deep relationship with Griffith but arouses the jealousy of Casca, a female commander in the Band of the Hawk, who treasures Griffith. Guts finds himself swept along in Griffith’s rise to power in the Kingdom of Midland and is thrown into court intrigues and plots all while fighting a long and bloody war punctuated with supernatural encounters.

Berserk Film PosterWhen I read the tweet and forum announcement and then reported news I was mildly excited. I’m about halfway through the TV anime adaptation of Kentarō Miura’s ongoing seinen manga and I have to say that I am gripped by the story, strong characterisation, and great music. Unfortunately the TV adaptation didn’t end on anything like a good note. What about the movies?

The film trilogy adapts the Golden Age Arc and has been animated by Studio 4°C. Toshiyuki Kubooka (Gankutsuou, Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, and the Working Through Pain Segment of Batman: Gotham Knight) is handling direction and from the reviews and watching the first ten minutes of the film it looks solid. Interestingly the voice actors for Guts and Casca are new to the field but electronic musician Hirasawa Susumu (Paprika, Paranoia Agent) who created the distinctive music for the original TV anime adaptation created the main theme “Aria” for the movie and it sounds pretty good. Shiro Sagisu is handling the rest of the soundtrack and he has some background considering he has created the music for Macross II, Megazone 23, and the entire Evangelion franchise including the latest films. The first of the films was theatrically released in February in Japan with the second instalment opening in June.

Staff: Kentarō Miura (Original Creator), Toshiyuki Kubooka (Director), Yusuke Yamada (Art Director), Susumu Hirasawa (Theme Song), Shiro Sagisu (Music)

Voice Actors: Hiroaki Iwanaga (Guts), Toa Yukinari (Casca), Takahiro Sakurai (Griffith),

Studio: Studio 4C

Jormungand: The One Spring Anime I Will Watch

A week after I complained about this forthcoming season’s over-indulgence in moe/ecchi/school stories and lament the lack of variety I finally find one I like the look of: the anime adaptation of Takahashi Keitarou’s seinen action-adventure manga series, Jormungand, is less than a month away and it looks like the one Spring anime I’ll watch this season!


Koko Hekmatyar is an unofficial arms dealer for HCLI, a weapons manufacturer. As an unofficial seller she must avoid the authorities of different countries because her work is illegal under international law. To protect her she has a team of bodyguards who are mostly ex-military. The latest recruit is Jonah, a seemingly emotionless and highly skilled child soldier who hates weapons dealers. As he follows Koko and her bodyguards he is searching for the weapons dealer responsible for the death of his family in order to exact revenge.

I reported on this for Anime UK News last December and I was hyped for two reasons:

  • The animation studio producing the show is White Fox who should be familiar to anime fans from their work on the TV anime Steins;Gate.
  • It looks sooooo much like Black Lagoon and I love that show!

JormungandThe synopsis and the trailer promise us an international cast in a variety of beautiful and exotic locations. The talent involved is impressive. Shuizuka Itou (Nadia in El Cazador de la Bruja)is voicing the arms dealer Koko Hekmatyar while Mutsumi Tamura (Sonya in Kill me Baby) is voicing Jonah.

Directing the series is Motonaga Keitarou (Get Backers, Magic Knight Rayearth and Assistant Director on classic anime movie Patlabor), Yosuke Kuroda (Trigun, Excel Saga, Gungrave, Hellsing Ultimate) is handling the scripts and series composition while Mami Kawada (Hayate no Gotoku!) and Nagi Yanagi (Bakemonogatari) are handling the opening and ending theme songs respectively.

A second series of Jormungand is already confirmed.

Staff: Motonaga Keitarou (Director), Yousuke Kuroda (Script, Series Composition), Mami Kawada (Opening Theme Song), Nagi Yanagi (End Theme Song)

Voice Actors: Shizuko Itou (Koko), Mutsumi Tamura (Jonah), Unsho Ishizuka (Lehm), Sayaka Ohara (Sofia)

Studio: White Fox

Check out a fuller list of forthcoming Anime I compiled.

Another Episodes 9 – 11

As a J-horror fan I’ve watched more than my fair share of indifferent titles that are little more than by-the-numbers Ringu/Ju-on cash-ins. They either suffer stories which lack originality and discipline and have cardboard characters or the visuals have a bland made-for-TV air about them. The horror anime Another has impressed me so much that I have to rank it as one of my favourite recent horror titles regardless of medium.

Another Class Trip

Please watch the anime before reading. Spoilers ahead.

Continue reading “Another Episodes 9 – 11”

Kino no Tabi Character Designer Working on One Off Anime OVA?

As reported by Anime News Network, the official website for the anime One Off has revealed staff, story, images and trailer.


The story focusses on Haruno Shiozaki, a second-year high school student who lives with her parents at their remote country boarding house in the highlands. She finds life boring and longs to live in the city. Her only joy is brought to her by her motorcycle, a Honda Giorno. This will all change after a fateful meeting at the boarding  house.

I’m a big fan of Kino’s Journey so when I read that the original character designs for Kouhaku Kuroboshi designs for One OffOne Off come from Kouhaku Kuroboshi who designed Kino’s Journey I was excited. When I say big fan of Kino’s Journey I mean MAJOR. I have the series, movies, desktop wallpaper etc. I can see a bit of it in the illustration so I was eager to watch the tailer. After viewing the trailer I found the whole pulling her pants down thing disheartening. Kino is better than that. I hope this doesn’t devolve into fan-service.

Leading the production is Junichi Sato who has handled gentle slice of life properties as diverse as Aria the Natural, Gegege no Kitarō, Princess Tutu and Slayers Premium. I have little to no idea of Aria but I hear it’s a great anime to relax to because the atmosphere and stories are so gentle. Which may translate into fluff put out to please otaku and pander to their desires. Other major names include Masashi Suzuki (Tactics and Hell Girl) who is handling scripts, Shigeru Kimiya (Master Keaton) acting as chief director and character designs coming from Atsuko Watanabe (GA: Geijutsuka Art Design Class). Production is by TYO Animations (Tamayura).

Interestingly vehicle manufacturer Honda is providing support including sponsoring the OAV and showcasing a specially painted motorcycle at the Osaka and Tokyo Motorcycle Show one of which was revealed by Honda via Twitter.

Vehicle Manufacturer show off a Honda Motorcycle Connected to One Off

Staff: Junichi Sato (Director), Masashi Suzuki (Series Composition, Script), Atsuko Watanabe (Character Design), Kouhaku Kuroboshi (Kino’s Jouney)

Studio: TYO Animation

Release: 2012


Spring 2012 Anime Preview Makes Me Feel Old

A few weeks ago I completed work on the Spring preview on Anime UK News. There are something like 33 shows getting a premiere in April and most of them consist of bishōnen, ecchi, moe and other elements that I dislike. Looking over the list I felt alienated.

I can’t tell if the high presence of such elements is a cynical marketing ploy to guarantee sales of DVDs, body pillows and other assorted merchandise to an otaku audience or a sign of creative bankruptcy but I felt alienated. I grew up watching Vampire Princess Miyu, Patlabor, Ninja Scroll and Dominion Tank Police – a diverse range of shows that catered for a large audience and provided great stories and characters to boot. I know I’m not the primary audience for anime but I do like to support the industry by buying titles an so I would like to see more shows aimed at a more intelligent and discerning audience who don’t want to see bouncing breasts and crotch-shots or moe girl assault rifles. I guess what I’m saying is I’d like more seinen shows like Monster, Master Keaton, Paranoia Agent and Berserk (I got on the bandwagon rather late with this one!). At the end of this post there will be a collecton of AMV’s using old school anime which will reveal a tiny fragment of what I grew up watching in the 90’s. Ugh, I feel so old.

It’s not all doom and gloom because there are some genuinely interesting shows which I’ll probably watch for at least one episode. Here are my picks of the shows that don’t look so bad! How underwhelming.

Accel World

Accel World Anime Image

I’m willing to give this one a shot base on the trailer alone. The subject matter doesn’t really blow me away but it comes from studio Sunrise and I’m open to anything they make.


The story of Accel World takes place in 2046 and follows bullied middle school student Haruyuki who encounters Kuroyukihime, the prettiest girl in school. She hands him a mysterious piece of software which turns Haruyuki from the weakest of the school caste to the strongest, a “Burst Linker,” a knight defending a princess.

Staff: Masakazu Obara (Director), Hiroyuki Yoshino (Series Composition), KOTOKO (Theme Song), May’n (Theme Song)

Voice Actors: Sachika Misawa, Yuki Kaji, Aki Toyosaki, Shintaro Asanuma

Studio: Sunrise

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia

Dusk Maiden of Amnesia Anime

I’m currently in love with Another and the prospecct of more atmospheric supernatural stories is too good to be missed.


The story takes place in Seikyou Academy, an old school which has been undergone numerous renovations over the years and has become labyrinthine. It is also the site of strange events and well-known ghost stories including a mystery surrounding how a girl named Yuuko died due to a mysterious occurrence. One day, while lost in the school, a freshman named Niiya Teiichi stumbles into Yuuko. He has the ability to see her in spirit form and he listens to her story about how she became a ghost and lost all of her memories and vows that he together they seek the cause of her death with the help of a mystery solving club set up by Niiya.

Staff: Shin Ōnuma (Director), Katsuhiko Takayama (Series Composition), Yukiko Ban (Character Design, Chief Aniation Director), Konomi Suzuki (Theme Song)

Voice Actors: Yumi Hara, Eri Kitamura, Tsubasa Yonaga, Misato Fukuen

Studio: Silver Link

Continue reading “Spring 2012 Anime Preview Makes Me Feel Old”

Genki Podcast! – Silent Hill 2

One of my blogging experiments is complete! The Podcast that I promised two weeks ago is finally finished! What classic Japanese films will my mystery guest and I dissect? Actually it’s a videogame! Silent Hill 2.

Silent Hill 2's James Sunderland

Silent Hill 2 is a survival horror video game that was made by Team Silent a production group inside Konami and it was published in 2001. The player takes control of James Sunderland who comes to the titular town of Silent Hill after getting a letter from his wife Mary. In the letter she has written that she is waiting for him in their “Special Place” which is a location in Silent Hill that James has to try to remember. So the player has to guide James through Silent Hill revisiting his memories of her and the time they spent together in Silent Hill. Unfortunately a lot has changed since they last visited not least the fact that it’s foggy as hell and stuffed full of monsters. In this podcast Vashdaman and recount some of our favourite parts.

Word of warning before you listen – I have yet to master the audio editing software so turn the volume low before you start playing then crank it up for the rock intro – Zappa. The podcast is full of spoilers and rambling. Thanks go out to Vash from the Anime UK News forums for taking part!

Here’s the video I mentioned in the podcast which compares the old VA’s with the new ones.



Kyousogiga Gets a Sequel!!!

So at the end of last year I waxed lyrical about the anime Kyousogiga. I described it like “a cross between FLCL and Summer Wars but exaggerated and slightly more surreal…” in a review that ended with this sentence:

“I just found the whole thing refreshing. It’s the sort of thing I can devour and not feel guilty over wasting time. I hope that Toei commission more episodes of this.”

Well someone at Toei must have read the comment… just humour me… because Anime News Network are running with the report that the official Twitter account of Kyousogiga confirmed that there will be a sequel with more details to come.

Here’s an awesome AMV to celebrate:

12 Minutes of .hack//The Movie Streamed

I reported about this film getting a release a few weeks back then promptly forgot about it. Now Namco Bandai Games is streaming a 12 minute video covering the beginning of .hack//The Movie (.hack//Sekai no Mukou ni) which was theatrically released on the 21st of January.


The story takes place in 2024 in a world connected by computer networks. A 14 year old girl named Sora Yūki has no interest in games accepts an invitation from her friends Kakeru and Tomohiko to go into a popular network game called “The World.” However, after an accident in the game, reality starts to suffer anomalies and strange events.

.hack was the first manga I actually bought for myself: I saw Tokyopop’s manga stand in a local store and decided to support the by purhasing the only manga to catch my eye. Unfortuantely I didn’t like .hack all that much and regard the series with little interest. There are a lot of anime and video games connected to the series but I have yet to watch or play them and I doubt I ever will. As far as the movie goes the animation leaves me cold.

This 3D CGI movie was Produced by CyberConnect2 and was directed by Hiroshi Matsuyama who is also the president of CyberConnect2 and has written and directed different entries in the .hack// franchise. The character design comes from the legendary Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Evangelion, FLCL, Nadia, The Secret of Blue Water) and the screenplay comes from Kazunori Ito (Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor: The Movie. Kokia wwho should be familiar to anime fans from doing the opening from Gunslinger Girlo: Il Teatrino opening is credited with the theme song for this. Sora is voiced by Nanami Sakuraba (Natsuki in Summer Wars), Kakeru by Toori Matsuzaka and Tomohiko by Kei Tanaka.



Another is the second anime from my winter watch list and a real treat for anybody who is into the supernatural like I am.

The story takes place in the Spring of 1998 at Yomiyama Kita middle school where a transfer student named Kouichi Sakakibara finds himself in a class under a curse which causes unavoidable death. It seems to be linked to the death of a student in the past but a code of silence has developed and a new beautiful but mysterious student named Mei Misaki seems to hold some of the answers.

Another - Mei Misaki Up Close

This anime is based on Yuki Ayatsuji’s horror novel and it is reflected in the slow build-up and large cast of characters. The first episode sets up the story perfectly. The atmosphere is low-key with little in the way of open horror but there is the familiar J-hora imagery like dark corridors, mist shrouded temples, baleful waif-like girls, and crows. Then there are the creepy dolls.

Continue reading “Another”

Kill Me Baby

My first anime of the winter season can be filed under extremely cute. I can’t believe I’m falling for a high school anime but I found Kill Me Baby full of many amusing scenes and the voice acting hilarious. I found its use of not so normal kids approaching everyday situations in not so normal ways entertaining and fun

Kill Me Baby Dog Attack
Based on a four-panel comic strip Kill Me Baby follows air-head Yasuna (Chinatsu Akasaki) and her classmate Sonya (Mutsumi Tamura). Things might be normal if it weren’t for the fact that Sonya just happens to be an assassin who still has to go to school. Now Yasuna finds everyday life is disrupted by Sonya’s killer-instinct.
Yasuna and Sonya are nice kids who always do the unexpected thanks to Sonya’s killing skills which is where the fun lies.

Kill Me Baby's First AssassinationThere are a lot of random elements and it will be interesting to see if the anime can keep them up. I must admit to liking the high school ghost story and the way it introduced a new character and there’s a lot of mileage in seeing Sonya’s indignation at having her deadly skills used for menial tasks.

The animation is simple but cute and the voices actors’ sound like they’re having fun. I can see myself watching this with glee.