Whale of a Tale Productions

A Post Production Company
INDY-JK--7494

5 Centimeters Per Second written and directed by Shinkai Makoto (2007)

Another amazing anime produced by Shinkai, this one 3 short stories about love and the distance between people. The title refers to the spee that cherry blossom petals fall, and that is an allegory for how people slowly drift their separate ways. A bit too short, at just over an hour, but the animation is all top notch, and really adds to the story. The little details make this seem like a real world, and really bring this above your typical animation. Quite lovely stories about love and loss, and loving from a distance.

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Appleseed Ex Machina directed by Shinji Aramaki (2007)

A John Woo produced CG sequel to the last Appleseed film, that far exceeds the original film, even if it does have a some rough edges. Still it is nice to finally have some good character development in Duenan and Briareos, even fi their friends Hitomi and Yoshi are given second thrift. The film has great action, the computer graphics are top notch (even if the compression is a little ugly, with some nasty gradients and compression on this disc). The biggest complaint I have with this disc, is the subtitles are in fact dub titles, meaning they are taken from the English Language track instead of being what the original Japanese were. This is a horrible rookie mistake by Warner, and is exactly what real anime fans hate. So I ended up watching the English dub of the film. If you like Mechs and high tech John Woo style action, you will certainly enjoy this film, and I am really looking forward to the third film in the series. I like how the technology has been updated as the Appleseed Manga is from the 1980’s and this is the 21st century.

Once again in the post apocalyptic future, where the world is totally at war, there exists a city nation named Olympus, which is a supposed Utopian Metropolis run by Gaia a vast artificial intelligence computer. The society is kept Utopian by being run by genetically engineered humans called bioroids whose DNA has suppressed strong and negative emotions to keep an ordered society. Things of course are not always orderly, so the Country has not only police, but a Special Forces called ES.W.A.T. The two top soldiers are a team consisting of the lovely blond Duenan Knute and her cyborg partner Briareos, and they were lovers before he was so wounded to become a full body cyborg. The film starts with the team helping out another country with some terrorists, and of course Duenan rushes in as she always does, but these terrorists are different and turn out to be all cyborgs, though they manage to take them all out, but then the cyborgs start to explode, so Briareo pushes Duenan out, but he is caught in the blast and badly hurt. He is still alive, but must have his body worked on, so Duenan is given a new partner, one that will severally complicate things.

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Vexille ベクシル 2077日本鎖国 by Sori Fumihiko (2007)

An visually stunning, but overall mediocre 3D animated film from the people who made the last Appleseed movie. You can really tell that this is the same creative team, because it shares a lot, including a beautiful lead female and her piloting a giant robot in a futuristic world. The movie is decent, but the story is OK, and the big monsters are ridiculous, and their explanation is not so impressive. Fans of Appleseed will probably enjoy this, because the graphics have improved, and it looks pretty damn good, and has another Paul Oakenfold soundtrack, but if they had done a better story maybe this movie wouldn’t have been such a failure in Japan. An OK popcorn film, but not too impressive.

We start with a brief history of what has been going on up until 2077, where Robots and Robotic machines are everywhere, but a Japanese Megacorporation named Daiwa Heavy Industries is found to be making Human/Robot Androids, and the world declares these illegal, banning them in all UN countries, so Japan closes itself off for 10 years. THey do this with a magnetic shield that blocks all communication and visuals, though they still sell their goods through cargo ships. A US Poliitcan heads for a meeting with a Daiwa Executive named Saito (Ohtsuka Akio) along with politicians from around the world, and they will be double crossed and killed. A UN Special Operations organization named SWORD working on a tipoff from a woman named Maria in Japan heads in to stop whatever is going on. The team is led by Commander Leon Fayden (Tanihara Shosuke) along with his girlfriend Vexille Serra (Kuroki Meisa) and best friend Zack (Kuroda Takaya). They find that Saito is an android, and Vexille manages to hang on to him as he escapes on the wing of his plane, but he cuts his own leg off and get away, and the team gets the politicians out, seemingly alive and find. To see what is going on the UN decides to send SWORD on a mission into Japan to break through the shield so they can see what is going on.

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Paprika adapted and directed by Satoshi Kon (2006)

Another mind blowing film, that is not at all your typical anime, in fact I would say Kon’s films are only animated because it would cost too much to make them live action. This film is totally insane, but does make sense. This film is really an amazing trip into the subconscious. And the animation is amazing. This is one you will want to watch a few times for it to really sink in, but it is fantastic and worth the effort. I particlarly enjoyed when Paprika became the monkey king, floating on her cloud. So cool. What an amazing film! Kon is really one of the greatest directors in the world, and more people need to check out his films, because they are not just for anime audiences at all. Of course it isn’t your standard film, and is pretty damn sureal, pushing the bounds of reality and dreams, but what else could a film about dreams be?

The film starts in the dream world of Detective Konakawa Toshimi (Koichi Yamadera), going from a circus, to a spy movie train, tarzan in the jungle, a wedding, and a long hallway, and the only real consistency is him chasing someone, and a lovely young woman with red hair named Paprika (Hayashibara Megumi). When he awakens he feels better, though everything is not resolved as of yet, but it turns out Paprika is using a psychotherapy device called a DC Mini which allows a user to see another person’s dream, and even go into them and explore them. And Paprika is in fact the dream going alter ego of Doctor Chiba Atsuko (also Hayashibara Megumi). She is helping the detective and his anxiety because he is best friends with her her boss, Doctor Shima Torataro (Hori Katsunosuke) a bespectacled and tiny man. When Atsuko returns to the institute she learns from her best friend, the morbidly obese Doctor Tokita Kosaku (Furuya Toru) who created the DC Mini, that in fact 3 have been stolen and can be used for ill. They 3 doctors plan to get it back, but then Shima loses it and jumps though a window, badly wounding himself. When they look into Shima’s dreams they recongnize Tokita’s assistant Himuro Kei (Sakaguchi Daisuke) and decide to go find him as he has not been to work. The dream is of a parade of inanimate objects, anthropomorphically dancing, with Shima in the center.

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Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl (かしまし ~ガール・ミーツ・ガール~) Vol. 3 Bittersweet Decision by Nakanishi Nobuaki (2006)

The 3rd volume of this light hearted series filled with quite a bit of fan service diverges heavily from the manga, and then quickly ends, and in this case seems to have 2 separate endings, now maybe this stuff happens later in the series, but here is is to sped up, and they skip such major storylines that it is really a let down. And with the 2 endings they try to go both ways. I also didn’t like losing the whole story of Hazumu going to die, so he must find true love or he will die. Where did the whole Yasuna not being able to see anyone come from (unless it was later in the manga). It starts where volume 3 does, but then diverges quickly.

Hazumu (大佛 はずむ, Osaragi Hazumu played by Ueda Kana) wants to go to the aquarium with all of his friends. Yasuna (神泉 やす菜, Kurusu Tomari played by Horie Yui) and Tomari (来栖 とまりœ, Kamiizumi Yasuna played by Tamura Yuka) have made friends, and promised not to push the relationship past friendship for now, but Tomari has to go to sports camp for school, so it looks like Hazumu will be alone with Yasuna.

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Freedom Project Episodes 3 and 4 by Morita Shuhei (2006)

Continuing on with this computer animated tale, based on Artwork by Otomo Katsuhiro is still quite enjoyable, even with the constant sticking in of Cup Of Noodles (since they paid for it, but that really doesn’t excuse the price of these discs which is just insane). I like the story and the animation, just can’t see paying this much money for the discs, will only borrow it from friends.

This starts right where the last 2 end off, with Takeru (Namikawa Daisuke) and Kazumu (Shotaro Morikubo) are out on the surface running from robots sent out by the Eden government, who don’t want them to see that Earth is once again blue, and not the red inferno that they call it. They get help from Aran though and escape into the Eden underground, but the government is after them, and will take out all the people that Aran is protecting to get them. Aran sends them toward an old hidden escape shuttle from the company he works for, which preceded the Eden government.

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Desert Punk (砂ぼうずš) created by Masatoshi Usune directed by Inagaki Takayuki (2004)

I saw the first episode of this Gonzo produced DVD off of a NewType USA dvd when my friend Ryan Hill was in town and was intrigued, not only by the live action opening, but the wacky humor, and great action scenes. So once the whole series was released in a reduced price set I picked it up, and I enjoyed it, though it is certainly weird, and I am not sure how I feel about the ending. Sure it fits with Muzino Kanto “The Desert Punk”‘s character, but it is pretty brutal. Still enjoyable if you like strange black comedies and fan service.

This is the story of Mizuno Kanta 水野 灌太 aka Sunabōzu (砂ぼうず) the Desert Punk played by Suzuki Chihiro and Eric Vale in a post apocalyptic future, where mankind gets what it wants at the end of a barrel. Kanta is s desert handyman, or mercenary who is affiliated with Handyman’s leage, and is a young guy missing teeth who is completely obsessed with breasts and sex, but still manages to be the top mercenary in the desert, and would have no problems if it wasn’t for his female problems. Even Kanta takes on a young apprentice in Kosuna 小砂‚ played by Siato Chiwa and Luci Christian, who gets him to accept her by showing a photo of her mom, with her huge breasts, so Kanta thinks someday she can be his sex slave, and for now she can help out if only she stops messing things up. Kanta’s biggest rival and problem is the female mercenary Asagiri Junko 朝霧 純子 with breast she could knock herself out with. She has no scrupalls, and often betrays Kanta, but he always lets her go mainly because he wants a chance to fondle those breasts.

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Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl (かしまし ~ガール・ミーツ・ガール~ž) Vol. 2 Triangles Hurt by Nakanishi Nobuaki (2006)

The second volume of Kashimashi follows the first, with the misadventures of Hazumu who has become a girl, and his love affairs with the 2 woman in his/ her life. This one actually differs from the manga more than the first volume, while following the overall story, it does vary more. Still enjoyable and silly little comedy.

Hazumu (大佛はずむ, Osaragi Hazumu played by Ueda Kana) and we start right where we left off, with Yasuna (æ¥æ – とまり, Kurusu Tomari played by Horie Yui) kissing him and Tomari (神泉やす菜, Kamiizumi Yasuna played by Tamura Yukari) seeing it, and running of. Tomari then starts ignoring Hazumu, and even announces Hazumu and Yasuna’s relationship to their friends. The thing is Hazumu still likes Tomari, and when he is going to kiss Yasuna he can’t because of Tomari, so he has to go to her, and she declares her love for him as well.

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MADLAX (マドラックス) by Mashimo Koichi (2004)

An interesting Anime follow to the amazing hit anime NOIR, and again featuring women and guns, but this one is quite different, and not completely in a good way. While I liked the main characters a lot, and I really wanted to find out what was happening with the story, as you are kept in the dark throughout the story, and the final explanation is, uh well out there, and really not that great. And the bad guy in this is the worst I have ever seen, I mean an evil dude with a mask, that can make people go crazy, and his name is Friday Monday. I mean it was OK, but mostly pretty weird.

This is a dual story of a 2 17 year old women with missing pasts, one a student in the calm peaceful country of Nafrece, and one a killer in the worn torn country of Gazth-Sonika. Both women lost their memory 12 years ago, and you are finding out how they are connected as things go on. The innocent one is Margaret Burton (Kuwashima Houka), who is served by her long time maid Elenore Baker (Uchikawa Ai), and her former tutor and next door neighbor Vanessa Rene (Yukino Satsuki) who works for a large corporation with ties to Gazth-Sonika. Madlax (Kobayashi Sanae) is an agent in Gazth-Sonika, and the best their is. They both end up being hunted by an evil organization known as Enfant, led by Friday Monday (Ebara Masashi), with his right hand who works at the same company as Vanessa, Corrossea Doon (Morikawa Toshiyuki) , who also has his own agenda, and a sniper he gets to go after Madlaz named Limedla Jorg (Hisakawa Aya).

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Area 88 (エリア88) by Imagake Isamu (2004)

I read some of the original manga by Shintani Kaoru which was one of the first Manga to be released in the US, and saw and really enjoyed some of the 1985 original OVA, so I was interested in seeing the new series, especially with computer graphics showing the plane battles. This is an enjoyable series, though does seem slightly aged, but still holds up with it’s great characters, and amazing battle scenes.

Taking place in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s this is the story of a mercenary force of fighter pilots fighting in a Middle Eastern country the Kingdom of Asran. The story follows a supposed newspaper reporter and photographer Goh Mutsugi who has come take photos of Area 88, but mostly of the haunted Japanese Pilot Shin Kazama, who we slowly see his back story, and find out why he is here instead of with his love Ryoko Tsugumo, the daughter of the CEo of Yamato Airlines who he is supposed to marry, but can’t get ahold of back in Japan. The base is run by Saki Vashtar, and the pilots are on 3 year contracts, and can only leave if they earn 1.5 million dollars, but they have to pay for their own planes, fuel and ammunition. Other pilots include the second best Mickey Simon an ex Vietnam pilot, the young Kim Aobai who flies a harrier, and eventually Kitori Palvanaff, the daughter of the king of Asran, and cousin of Saki Vashtal, who becomes interested in Shin as he is the best pilot.

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Ghost in a Shell Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society by Kamiyama Kenji (2006)

A sequel to the second season of Ghost in a Shell Stand Alone Complex, this one manages to bring Motoko back into the fold of section 9, and could easily lead to another series, but this is an epic movie, and really worth checking out. I know it isn’t quite the same as the movies based on Masamune Shirow’s original manga, but it is still such a great series, with amazing characters, and a believable future world, where everyday people are cyborgized and their cyborg brains can be hacked, causing them to do evil things. This is such an amazing distopian future vision, that this becomes a must see for any science fiction fan.

Once again following the secretive Japanes Section 9, set up to protect Japan under the leadership of the old man Aramaki (Saku Osamu), with Batou (OTsuka Akio) as he tries to find out more about the missing Major Kusanagi Motoko (Tanaka Atsuko), so th emostly humanTogusa (Yamadera Kohichi) has become more cyborized and is taking more of a lead in the organization, and they try and spread out and have more people to do more at 80% efficiency, vs. their full efficiency when Motoko was in command. This time they are dealing with cyber terrorism and a General given sanctuary by the Japanese government, but things are not of course what they seem, and their is a mysterious puppeteer that Batou believes is in fact the major, and something called the Solid State Society.

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Tales from Earthsea (ゲド戦記˜) by Miyazaki Goro (宮崎吾朗) 2006

Whenever a new Studio Gibli film is released I of course jump on it right away, because they have yet to release a film that I did not love. And I was epecially interested in seeing how the great Miyazaki Hayao’s son would do in his first directing job, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. This is an enjoyable and well done film, with artwork done in Hayao’s style. A enjoyable film, though the story is not perfect, and does have some missing explanations as to exactly what happens or why things happen, but overall I still enjoyed it. It may not be an accurate translation of the story either, but Gibli has never been known to not make the stories they adapt their own, and since i have not read the original Ursula K. Le Guin author, I can’t really say.

I actually made a mistake when watching the Region 3 Japanese DVD, since I ripped it to my iPhone to watch, I didn’t check the language track, and accidentally ripped the English Dub, with English Subtitles, so I saw the American version, which was a decent enough dub, though I usually prefer the original language if possible. Still Willem Defoe was great, so it was still enjoyable.

This story takes place in the land of Earthsea, a mystical world, where human’s rule the land, and Dragon’s live far away. They were both one race, but human’s became gready, and decided to take over the land, and dragons, lost all great and took to the sky. The film starts with a ship at see, witnessing for the first time dragons attacking and killing each other, presaging a forbidding change to the balance of the land. Meanwhile a good king is dealing with the issues of the land, drought and farmers leaving, and when he goes to his chambers to think, he is stabbed and possibly killed by his son Prince Arren (Junichi Okada / Matt Levin), who steals his magically created sword, and runs. Travelling in the desert is a lone wizard named Sparrowhawk (Sugawara Bunta / Timothy Dalton). Arren is attacked by a pack of wolves and is only saved by Sparrowhawk who brings the troubled young man with him on his journey across the land.

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Freedom Project Episodes 1 and 2 by Morita Shuhei (2006)

An computer generated OVA project based on the artwork of the great Otomo Katsuhiro, this is a 6 episode OVA about a colony on the moon. The computer animation is top notch, though the cell shaders still have a little way to go before they can rival 2 D animation. The story seems pretty enjoyable so far, though you can see the Nissen advertising in everyone drinking Cup of Noodles throughout, but it isn’t too annoying. And so far I quite enjoy the story, though I must say, especially with the corporate advertising they should not be charging what they are for this series, at over $30 an episode for 6 episodes, that is a ridiculous price, and no series is worth that much.

The human race is on a moon base named Eden on the far side of the moon. It seems their was a disaster with an orbiting space station that destroyed the ecology of the Earth, and made it uninhabitable. Mankind had set up the moon base to colonize mars, but they gave up on it, and set up a system of total government control of all citizens, where people are punished for not doing what they say. This is the story of the teenager Takeru (Namikawa Daisuke) who wears an old Apollo jacket, and with his 2 friends he is modifying a cycle to race in the tunnels. Takeru’s 2 closest friends are the outgoing Kazuma (Shotaro Morikubo) who has a younger sister that Takeru likes named Chiyo, and the introverted Bisu (Yamaguchi Kappei).

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Gunbuster 2 Volume 3 by Tsurumaki Kazuya (2003)

The final volume of Gunbuster 2 brings Gunbuster back to the original, even aping the signature female pilot having to rip the front of the robot apart, and ripping her top off in the process (these are OVA’s after all). And in this the series vastly improves, and really becomes a great companion and sequel to the original gunbuster. A series that is well worth checking out.

Nono ends up bending space and returning to Saturn, as Buster 7, and she seems to be the most powerful buster. The Twin brings the Alien Topless to life, and it is destroying many busters, and a good portion of the planet, as well as the space aliens, but then turns on the twins and kills them, and only Nono saves the day.

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Gunbuster 2 Volume 2 by Tsurumaki Kazuya (2003)

This Gunbuster continues the silliness and doesn’t quite get serious yet, or really into the main story, or tell what is really going on. It is still good anime, with giant old school looking robots fighting crazy alien robots, and some serious fan service. This was still enjoyable, but I didn’t really see how this was Gunbuster, that took until the 3rd and final volume.

In this we get more story development, Nono keeps working and trying to be a Topless pilot, which she can’t be, because she is an android. She works with Lal’C the Topless she idolizes, and seems to love her in her own way. Still Lal’C seems to push Nono away as much as she can. The hot and spunky Tycho who wants nothing more than to take number 1 from Lal’C comes into competition with Nono when she loses her buster machine, and must compete with Nono for the newest built Buster machine. Meanwhile Nicola, who all the girls like, is pushing Nono as a powerful possibility, but he is being pushed by the leaders of the Topless, 2 twins. The twins are over age (which means they should have lost their Topless powers), but they have a secret that is keeping their Topless Powers.

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Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl (かしまし ~ガール・ミーツ・ガール~ž) Vol. 1 Role Reversal by Nakanishi Nobuaki (2006)

Adapted from the Manga written by Akahori Satoru and drawn by Katsura Yukimaru, this is another in a long line of gender bending stories coming out of Japan like Ranma 1/2, though this one is certainly unique. The story centers on a unique lesbian love triangle in high school, where the main girl, was once a boy, but has changed by space aliens who are studying the Earth. Silly sure, but the emotions are there, and you really feel for and fall for these characters. This was a 12 episode TV series and a second OVA, so I am hoping for 4 DVD’s total, but the 4 episode DVD is well worth checking out.

The series starts off with 3 high school girls in a room in school, all incredibly cute, a dark haired girl is leaning in to kiss a red head, when a pony tailed blond walks in and sees it and drops all her books. We then move to the beginning of the story, following the young effeminate boy Hazumu (大佛はずむ,Osaragi Hazumu played by Ueda Kana) who enjoys taking care of flowers and plants more than anything else. On the advice of his friends, the aforementioned blond pigtailed tomboy Tomari (神泉やす菜,Kamiizumi Yasuna played byTamura Yukari), and his one guy friend, he asks out the girl he likes Yasuna (æ¥æ –ã¨ã¾ã‚Š,Kurusu Tomari played by Horie Yui). Yasuna is a flutist and is the black haired girl from the opening, and she turns Hazumi down. Distraut Hazumu heads out into the mountain near his house where, he first got close to Yasuna, when they found flowers together, but this won’t be a normal walk. In space is an alien spacecraft that is observing earth, but it has problems, and comes crashing down into the mountain, and into the spot where Hazumi stands. Hazumi is saved by them, but changed into a girl, and they reveal themselves to Earth, and let him go, and into the arms of Yasuna and Tomari.

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Gunbuster 2 Volume 1 by Tsurumaki Kazuya (2003)

I have always been a huge fan of GAINAX, and loved the original GUNBUSTER when I saw it. It had a true science fiction story, mixed in with some serious fan service, and finally Gainax has come back to this seminal title, and set another story in this universe. So far I have enjoyed it, though there is not as much science as of yet this time around. And I must say the price is beyond ridiculous. $30 for a 54 minute DVD is really a total rip off. They banking on people buying it because of their love for Gainax’s EVENGELION, and I am sure it will do well because of that, but they should be doing 4-6 episodes per disc instead of 1. Still I did enjoy it.

This is the story of Nono (Yukari Fukai) a young girl from the Martian Countryside. She has big dreams, but she also has the amazing ability to break anything in half, which causes some major issues. Her dream though is to become a space pilot, and she runs away from home, and takes a job as a waitress at a bar next to the spaceport. Her dreams become a little closer to reality, when she is being bothered by some of the robot operators at the bar, and she is helped by Lal’C Melk Mark (Maaya Sakamoto), probably the top Topless pilot, one of those who defends humans from Space Monsters by flying Giant Robotic Buster Machines, using their own internal powers.

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Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles by Lee Dong Wook and Tommy Yune (2006)

The much anticipated follow up to Harmony Gold’s Robotech series that I grew up on is finally here, and unfortunately it seems it is not that impressive. Honestly I would have rather seen them finally do the Sentinels right (unlike the aborted series they originally tried) then skip telling that story, and continuing after both stories, with a new set of aliens. And while they did do the space battles in computer graphics, they are not at all impressive, and all of the battles in the original series looked far more impressive, and the 1984 film Macross Do You Remember Love is much more impressive. Not only that, but like the sentinels they decided to change the look of the characters, some of them, like Admiral Hunter to extremes. I had no idea that was the admiral when I first saw him. How could he have changed so much, and why, sure it is the same voice, but that is it. And why change the look of Scott so much, when we see him in the same time as the end of the original series, and Ariel looks nothing like she did in the series. And who exactly is Maia Sterling? Is this Dana’s younger sister then? Ehh. This could have been so much better, and was instead a let down.

This takes place before and just after the ending of the New Generation of Robotech (based on the original series, GENESIS CLIMBER MOSPEADA) and right away we are introduced to the new character Marcus Rush (Yuri Lowenthal) who is the sister of Scott Bernard’s (Gregory Snegoff) dead girlfriend Marlene (Melanie MacQueen). Marcus is an alpha pilot, and he wants to join the legendary Skull Squadron led by Maia Sterling (Edie Mirman) who he is interested in. The fleet is waiting for the arrival of Admiral Hunter (Tony Oliver) in the SDF-3 with the Protoculture Matrix which will power the ships. Ariel (Kari Whalgren) is Scott Bernard’s invid girlfriend and she talks to the Invid Regess (Alexandra Kenworthy) and the Regess ends up leaving earth with all the Protoculture, and warns that the Shadow Masters on the way. So Ariel teleports to Scott with the fleet.

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FullMetal Alchemist The Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa by Mizushima Seiji (2005)

I was blown away by this series when I saw it on Cartoon Network, and was excited to see this continuation where we got to learn more about Edward and him being in the real world, and I was not let down at all. In fact this was an incredible ending to one of the best anime series I have seen in a long time. And this is an incredible climax to the series and I hope this is not the end of this series, because it could easily go on from here, especially with the ending of this film. The animation is top notch as is the story. And this series has always been about the characters, and this is no exception, though many of the characters only show up as their real world counter parts, but you do get to se them.

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Chrono Crusade by Yuh Koh (2004)

I first saw some of this series on demand on the Anime network at my father’s house in Maryland and enjoyed it, so I when I saw the new box set on sale for very cheap I decided to check it out, and I must say I thouroughly enjoyed this series. I am a fan of the roaring 20’s anyway, and this is a very dark anime taking place in that time period. Sure it has a lot of fan service (with a nun nonetheless), and some comedy, it is still a very dark tale of a 16 year old girl who has made a pact with a devil, and whenever he uses his powers, she loses her life, even though they are doing good, and she is doing it to find her missing brother who has been taken by other devils. This is not a lighthearted anime, and should not be seen as such, but it is pretty enjoyable so it is worth checking out if you get a chance.

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R.O.D. Read or Die by Masunari Kouji and Amanda Winn Lee (2001)

A very enjoyable OAV that is the prequel to the Read or Die Television Series. These are 3 enjoyable episodes with the most unlikely of heroes, the worlds biggest bookworm out to save the world, but luckily she is a paper master so she can control and manipulate paper. I highly recommend this fun OAV.

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Full Metal Alchemist ?????? Seasons 1-3 by Mizushima Seiji (2003-2005)

I had heard this was a good series, but there had been so much of that going around lately that I was pretty skeptical, but it was on adult swim and I could TIVO it so I started watching, and literally couldn’t stop. This series is amazing, all 51 episodes, starting a little silly much like Trigun did, but becoming so brutal and harsh that you really feel for the characters and they have been through. While the show really has 2 leads, it is the entire ensemble that is so good and brings so much to the series, as well as the story that spans the whole series. This is such a good series, every anime fan should check this show out.

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My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari No Totoro) by Miyazaki Hayao

This was not the first of Miyazaki’s films I saw, but it is the cutest, and the most family and friendly and very very Japanese. I watched this with my girlfriend and her best friend, and am not sure how much they liked it, they enjoyed it and laughed, but balked at the strangeness a bit I think. Still I think this is one of the greatest children’s films of all time. It shows the amazement and the ability of youth to see the magic of the world, and just makes me smile, and how many films can you say that about today?

Actually listened to the English Dub this time, which is pretty good with Dakota Fannin and her younger sister Elle playing the 2 sisters, but what disturbed me was the English dubs of the songs, which didn’t seem the same, but at the same time must make them more accessible for you American kids.

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Samurai Champloo サムライチャンプル By Watanabe Shinichiro (2004)

I am a huge Watanabe Shinichiro fan, and have loved not only Cowboy Bebop, but also his live action films like Cutie Honey, and I love that he worked on Storyboards for Macross Plus as well. This guy has a great history. And this series is another amazing series from him, maybe not as good as Cowboy Bebop, but still an incredible series. Not just an incredible samurai serious, but also a hip hop adventure. The characters and artwork are top notch, and so is the fighting. This is an amazing series and one that no anime fan should miss. One of the best, from one of the best!

This is the story of 3 very different people, a young girl with a huge appetite named Fuu (Kawasumi Ayako) who is searching for the Samurai who smells like Sunflowers (never mind that Sunflowers have no smell), who it turns out is her father, that she wants revenge on for abandoning her and her mother.

The second is Jin (Sato Ginpei) a incredibly talented samurai who killed his own master, and is haunted by his past.

The 3rd and final character is Mugen (Nakai Kazuya) who is Jin’s equal in swordfighting, though in a completely different completely chaotic sword style, that often looks like breakdancing, and he is pretty much a dead ringer for Spike from Cowboy Bebop.

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…

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Final Fantasty VII: Advent Children by Nomura Tetsuya and Nozue Takeshi (2004)

Now I played a little of Final Fantasy VII, but gave up on it, it really is not my kind of game at all, so honestly while I recognize the characters I have no idea of the story, and I was totally confused by the story, but that did not take away from my enjoyment. The animation is fantastic, and the clothing has never looked better. The film is worth seeing just for the final fight between Cloud and Sephiroth, it is amazing, and I don’t think they could have pulled off anything that looks so good in live action with this fantastical fighting.

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