From Viz Media (PR):
MULTI-NATIONAL MANGA ANTI-PIRACY COALITION FORMED
San Francisco, CA, June 8, 2010 – Today a coalition of Japanese and U.S. publishers announced a coordinated effort to combat a rampant and growing problem of internet piracy plaguing the manga industry. “Scanlation,” as this form of piracy has come to be known, refers to the unauthorized digital scanning and translation of manga material that is subsequently posted to the internet without the consent of copyright holders or their licensees. According to the coalition, the problem has reached a point where “scanlation aggregator” sites now host thousands of pirated titles, earning ad revenue and/or membership dues at creators’ expense while simultaneously undermining foreign licensing opportunities and unlawfully cannibalizing legitimate sales. Worse still, this pirated material is already making its way to smartphones and other wireless devices, like the iPhone and iPad, through apps that exist solely to link to and republish the content of scanlation sites.
Participants in the coalition include the 36 members of Japan’s Digital Comic Association, Square Enix, VIZ Media, TOKYOPOP, Vertical, Inc., the Tuttle-Mori Agency and Yen Press. Working together, the membership of the coalition will actively seek legal remedies to this intellectual property theft against those sites that fail to voluntarily cease their illegal appropriation of this material.
“It is unfortunate that this action has become necessary,” said a spokesperson for the group. “However, to protect the intellectual property rights of our creators and the overall health of our industry, we are left with no other alternative but to take aggressive action. It is our sincere hope that offending sites will take it upon themselves to immediately cease their activities. Where this is not the case, however, we will seek injunctive relief and statutory damages. We will also report offending sites to federal authorities, including the anti-piracy units of the Justice Department, local law enforcement agencies and FBI.”
The coalition stated that it has currently identified thirty sites targeted for action.
Participant members of the Digital Comic Association include: Akane Shinsha, Akita Shoten, ASCII Media Works, East Press, Ichijinsha, Enterbrain, Okura Shuppan, Ohzora Shuppan, Gakken, Kadokawa Shoten, Gentosha Comics, Kodansha, Jitsugyo No Nihonsha, Shueisha, Junet, Shogakukan, Shogakukan Shueisha Production, Shodensha, Shonen Gahosha, Shinshokan, Shinchosa, Take Shobo, Tatsumi Shuppan, Tokuma Shoten, Nihon Bungeisha, Hakusensha, Fujimi Shobo, Fusosha, Futabasha, France Shoin, Bunkasha, Houbunsha, Magazine House, Media Factory, Leed sha, Libre Shuppan
Some quick PR from Viz Media:
VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES FREE KEKKAISHI DOWNLOAD EPISODE
Special Promotion To Celebrate the Domestic Broadcast Launch of the Shonen Sunday Animated Series
VIZ Media invites fans to explore the demon-battling action adventure of popular Shonen Sunday KEKKAISHI anime series with a FREE Download-to-Own (DTO) episode starting today through VIZ Media partners iTunes, Xbox Live's Zune Marketplace, PlayStation®Network and Amazon Video on Demand. KEKKAISHI Episode 1 will be available for free download through June 17th to celebrate the recent domestic broadcast launch of KEKKAISHI on Adult Swim.
KEKKAISHI is based on the hit manga series by Yellow Tanabe (also published in North America by VIZ Media). A story of mystical forces powerful in the region known as Karasumori. For over 400 years, it has been the duty of a clan of “kekkaishi”—barrier masters—to guard this land and exterminate the supernatural creatures that are drawn to it night after night.
Yoshimori Sumimura is a junior high school student at Karasumori Academy, which is built upon the Karasumori grounds. By night, Yoshimori follows the tradition passed down through generations and fulfills his destiny as the twenty-second “kekkaishi” of the Sumimura clan. But by day, Yoshimori's got other demons to contend with, like an obsession with cake making and a seriously crotchety grandfather! Yoshimori's pretty neighbor, childhood friend and rival, Tokine Yukimura, is also a “kekkaishi,” but their families are caught up in a feud over who is the true practitioner of the art. Protecting ordinary people from the ever-present danger of the Karasumori grounds, Yoshimori will continue to grow stronger as he battles the forces of evil again tonight!For more information on the KEKKAISHI anime and manga series (both rated “T” for Teens), please visit www.ShonenSunday.com or www.viz.com.
What to say about this lame, boring junk? Night Head Genesis is a psychological thriller mystery thing. The 24-episode series is based on a 1992 drama series. The anime aired in 2006 and was picked up by 2008 by Media Blasters. It is only available in Japanese with English subtitles.
Naoto and Naoya are brothers with special powers. The older brother, Naoto, is a powerful psychokinetic. Naoya, six years younger, is a clairvoyant and telepath, with some form of healing ability as well. In the world they live in, most normal humans only use 30% of their brain capacity. The unused portion is called "Night Head," and a few rare and special people are able to use that extra 70%, like Naoto and Naoya. Unable to control the dangerous and short-tempered Naoto (who is fiercely protective of his younger brother), or to help Naoya (who can see horrifying images from a person's deep consciousness with the slightest contact with someone) function in the world around him, their parents allow them to be taken by a research center, where they are held without possibility of escape. Until, 15 years later, the old man who founded the research center dies, and the strange barrier that held them inside the compound falls, allowing them to escape. Back out in the world, they soon learn that they are part of an upcoming disaster which may destroy the entire world.
That sounds way more exciting than it is. The show is slow, confusing, and boring. And there's no real solid resolution regarding the upheaval, remaking, destroying of the world that is supposed to occur. There's a faction of mentally powerful people like themselves who are working to bring about a rebirth or something, and Naoto and Naoya end up opposing them. And then it kind of ends...with nothing really happening. Then there are a couple episodes at the end, that feel rather tacked on, describing some seemingly unrelated events about a year after the previously resolved events. They don't feel necessary at all.
I felt like they were trying too hard somehow. It seemed to want to emulate the feeling of shows like Witch Hunter Robin, but it really wasn't doing anything for me. As for the main characters.... Half of Naoto's lines are variations on "Keep it together, Naoya!" or "What's wrong, Naoya?" And Naoya himself barely has any lines at all, other than yelling "Nii-san!" over and over again. The plot is kind of nonsensical. The art is decent enough, and so is the music, though it's nothing outstanding.
Er, it's been a while since I watched this, so my synopsis might be a tad off (in regards to the motivations for the "bad guys"), but...well I gotta tell ya, it's not worth watching anyway. There's a manga adaptation too, from Del Rey, drawn by You Higuri (Gakuen Heaven, Ludwig II).
I'll try to write up Paranoia Agent next, which was much better than this..... Clannad After Story is the most recent series I've finished. I started up D.Gray-Man this morning but I'm not really into it, so I'm not sure I'll finish. Ug, sorry, this was kind of half-assed. I really didn't like it.
NieA Under 7
Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino
Gun x Sword
Night Head Genesis
I also reviewed Berserk, but I guess I watched that last year. I'll be writing up reviews for Night Head Genesis and Paranoia Agent soon. I've been watching Kimi ni Todoke, which is adorable. And the next show on my Netflix is Clannad: After Story. So I'm off to a bit of a slow start, it seems. I've been reading a ton of manga though! And I got to do some other things, like review Kick-Ass: Creating the Comic, Making the Movie. I also covered all three Makoto Shinkai films over Global Shinkai weekend (5cm, The Place Promised, Voices).
Otherwise.... I finally beat Nostalgia, for the Nintendo DS, which was entertaining, if a little lacking. Think a less sophisticated Skies of Arcadia. I also beat Mass Effect 2 recently, which was bloody brilliant. Assassin's Creed 2 I beat before that, which I also loved. Was playing Prince of Persia, but it glitched on me somewhere, and I'm unable to complete the game, so I put that aside. Finished Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth last night, which was...about as nonsensical as you can get. Good game, but some of those cases.... At a bit of a standstill at the moment regarding video games, so I'm hoping to pick up Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon for the Wii soon, and also Resonance of Fate later this year on the 360. Still working on Dragon Age: Origins for the PC.
Nothing much else to report on. Haven't seen any good dramas lately. I'm waiting on the Gokusen film to be translated, and the Nodame movies to come out. Still wondering what happened to that Skip Beat drama...wonder if it was canceled. Oh, I did have plans to watch the LA Yamato Nadeshiko...but forgot about it. Will have to look that up again. Very excited about the LA Beck Mongolian Chop Squad that is coming out, starring one of my favorite actors (the lovely Hiro Mizushima). Also, there's a new (animated) Trigun film! Can't wait to get my hands on that!
To all my readers, few though you were, if you're still there.... I hope you are enjoying yourselves! If you're looking for some manga to read, don't forget to check in on my review column at ComicAttack.net. I write my Bento Bako Weekly column every Monday, and I often have a Bento Bako Lite on Wednesdays. I'm working on some anime review for you and hope to have them up in a week or so, so I'll see you again then!
Fushigi Yuugi is a 52-episode anime series based on the 18-volume manga by Yuu Watase. The anime was produced by Studio Pierrot in 1995, and was licensed and released by Geneon (Pioneer) on eight discs (about 6-7 episodes per disc), as Fushigi Yuugi: The Mysterious Play.
Miaka and Yui, two average middle school students, discover an old book in the local library called The Universe of the Four Gods. The two girls begin reading what they believe to be a fairy tale about ancient China, when they are suddenly sucked into its pages and dropped into the middle of nowhere, somewhere inside the book's world. After they are rescued from a group of men by a young man named Tamahome, Yui is transported back to their world, leaving Miaka behind. She follows the man to the capital of Konan, where she is taken to the palace and discovers that she is the priestess of the beast who guards the southern lands, Suzaku. The emperor of Konan, Hotohori, and Tamahome are members of the Suzaku Seven, celestial warriors who embody the seven southern stars and are charged with protecting the priestess. Hotohori then asks Miaka to travel the land to discover the other members of the Suzaku Seven, so that they can summon Suzaku and bring peace to Konan. Meanwhile, Yui reads about Miaka's adventures in the book as they occur, and when she attempts to bring an ill Miaka back, she is pulled back into the book, where she is rescued by a man named Nagako (a member of the Seiryuu Seven), taken back to the land of Kutou, and becomes the Priestess of Seiryuu. Miaki returns to find that her best friend is now her worst enemy.
From then on it's a race between the two countries to discover the Celestial Warriors and summon their respective beast god. A misguided Yui turns against her best friend time and again, jealous over the relationship Miaka has with Tamahome, while Miaka desperately tries to save her friend and find a way to stay by Tamahome's side forever.
Oh hey, guess what. It's a reverse harem! Every single member of the Suzaku Seven is a devastatingly beautiful male. No surprise there. It is quite surprising when one of the Seiryuu Seven turns out to be female. Love triangles abound as Hotohori and Tamahome fight over Miaka, cross-dressing (Suzaku warrior) Nuriko fights for Hotohori's attention, Yui tries to steal Tamahome away, (Seiryuu warrior) Suboshi tries to turn Yui's thoughts away from Tamahome, and (Seiryuu warrior) Soi tries to melt Nakago's icy heart. It's every bit as melodramatic as it sounds.
But it's not all lovers spats and making out. There's action to be had. These are warriors after all, and they are all in the middle of a massive war between Konan and Kutou. Summoning the beast gods isn't easy. Especially when you screw it up the first time and have to find another way (hey, there's 52 episodes here, and Miaka finds all seven warriors in the first two discs, so they have to keep it going somehow). There are plenty of fights between the opposing Celestial Warriors, though Tamahome and Nakago do a majority of the fighting. Tamahome even goes a little super saiyan, which actually seems rather overboard and out of place, to be honest. But expect more romantic angst than bloody battles.
It's not a bad show really. The concept is built up OK, but the show does have its problems. For example, there's like ten episodes in the second half of the series, where the Seiryuu are just trying different ways of raping Miaka. It's really ridiculous. And Tamahome and Miaka are continuously coming up with reasons to push the other away. It always ends the same way, so I kind of wished they'd just stop it. I guess it's supposed to provide romantic tension, but like I said, it ends the same way each time. There's no question that they won't end up together; the only question is if they'll be allowed to stay together. The animation is OK. The show is from 1995-1996, so the animation is a little dated. The biggest problem is an over use of unnecessary flashbacks (like showing an event that just happened a minute ago within the same episode), recycled animations (like a character running through a crowd which is just looped every two seconds), things of that nature. Some flashbacks serve to recap the series (about halfway through, which is normal for a long show), or as a replay of a character's life upon their death. But there also seems to be a lot of scenes replayed or sequences reused simply to fill time. There's a lot of repetitious dialog as well, and the plot sometimes goes around in circles.
I watched it in English, which was tolerable. Actually it was better than I was expecting, but there were a lot of weird inflections and bad translations. Music was alright. The opening animation is fairly nice; the ending uses Watase's art on one side, and replays scenes from the episodes on the other. And I will say this for Miaka: she really changes throughout the course of the story; she grows a lot and has learned quite a bit by the end. Which is more than I can say for a lot of heroines of this genre. And way more than I can say for the heroine of Watase's other work I've seen, Absolute Boyfriend.
This show is fantastic. In fact, there’s only one thing that would prevent me from calling this a truly great show. That, dear readers, is one of the most annoying endings to a series I’ve ever seen. Everything about this show is great – the characters, story, music, animation, bloody violence, character relationships. But then the show ends on what is hard to call anything other than a cliffhanger. It stops, mid-story, and in fact, mid-battle. It’s easy to assume that the creators of the anime planned to continue with another season, and there were talks of such a thing, but it never happened. For a show that’s over a decade old, it isn’t likely there ever will be another season. However! Don’t let this discourage you! You won’t regret sitting down to watch this, despite the bizarre ending. And if you’re really into it, you can also read the manga from where the anime leaves off.
Berserk is a down-and-dirty violent fantasy series. It’s about war, purpose, ambition, life and death, love, and friendship. The show opens with a man known as the Black Swordsman, who wields an enormous deadly sword that cuts down anyone in his way. During a gruesome battle, something reminds him of a man he once knew, and the series quickly goes back in time to a much younger version of the swordsman, a scrappy orphan named Guts. The rest of the series will follow Guts from his training under the mercenary leader Gambino, to his meeting with legendary mercenary leader Griffith and his Band of the Hawk, and the life changing events that result.
When he first meets Griffith, Guts is single-handedly taking on the Band of the Hawk. After watching for a while, Griffith steps in and insists that Guts fight him one-on-one. His terms are only that if he wins, Guts must join his mercenaries (basically, that Griffith will “own” him). Miraculously, Griffith’s impeccable skill with his sabre manages to beat Guts’s immense (but undisciplined) strength and great sword. Not everyone is pleased with this new addition, and many become jealous of the attention Guts receives from Griffith. Guts becomes Griffith’s other half, taking on the most dangerous missions, and eventually becoming the leader of his own division. Griffith trusts him completely, and Guts becomes the foundation upon which Griffith’s ambitions are built. Griffith has long harbored great dreams, believing himself to have a greater destiny than some nameless mercenary, wanting even his own kingdom to rule. With Guts at his side, this goal slowly but surely comes closer and closer to fruition.
Yet while Griffith’s dreams are coming true, Guts is only along for the ride. He eventually realizes that his entire life has been helping Griffith accomplish his goals, rather than accomplishing any goals of his own. The result of his own desires manifesting, separately from Griffith’s, causes a cataclysmic event no one could have foreseen. A fortune teller once told them that their fates were bound together, which is a big theme of the series. The opening dialog of each show asks the viewers if there is a guiding force, and states, “At least it is true, that man has no control, even over his own will.” All of the characters struggle with or against their fates. Or get caught in the fates of others, like the Band of the Hawk’s only female member, Casca. Behind only Griffith and Guts in terms of skill, this woman commands her own division, and takes over the entire band in the future. She struggles with her feelings of love for both great men, and gets wrapped up in their destinies in some truly brutal ways.
The show is about as well animated as other shows of its time, which is to say, that it looks like a show from the ’90s. But it’s well designed, well animated, has an excellent soundtrack, and there’s plenty of blood spewing all over the screen to satisfy any action fan. The opening and closing themes are fantastic, especially the opening song “Tell Me Why” by Penpals, which is accompanied by a terrific animation sequence (check it out here, and here’s a video of the ending theme for those interested).
The English translation is kind of goofy on occasion (like Guts yelling out, during an internal struggle, “Anything to get rid of the voices!”), but mostly it’s fairly solid. The core voice actors are pretty good, especially since a show like this could easily get really cheesy and out of hand. Though some of these guys do seem to be having a bit too much fun sometimes, especially when performing an evil laugh. For the interested, Guts is voiced by Marc Diraison, Griffith by Kevin T. Collins, and Casca by Carolyn Keranen.
Really, this one was far better than I had been expecting when I rented it via Netflix, but I’m very happy I went for it. It should appeal to fans of shows like Record of Lodoss War (the first series) and Claymore. There are some nice DVD extras too, like art galleries, interviews, production sketches, clean credits, and English VA outtakes. There are 25 episodes, and you can get the entire collection in a thinpak set for about $45 (licensed by Media Blasters). It's bloody fantasy. Lots of spewing blood, slicing off of limbs, rampaging demons, rape, sex, nudity, various adult themes…. It’s an adult show from start to finish, so don’t let your kiddies watch it.
Originally posted at ComicAttack.net on January 25, 2010.
Sorry for a lack of updates here. Been very busy with CA and manga reviews. And anyway, I haven't watched a ton of anime this year. I finished Gun x Sword last week, which was...OK. May talk about that later. About to start Fushigi Yugi: The Mysterious Play. Not real impressed with the new season of anime, other than Nodame Cantabile's finale. Still waiting on some upcoming live action shows, like Skip Beat...and there was another I was looking forward to which I unfortunately can't recall right now. Kuroshitsuji is getting another season later this year...with a new cast of characters. Not super interested in that, but I'm willing to give it a shot given the previous series's (which I loved) production value.
My first two titles for the new year started off with a bang. And by that I mean that they were filled with various explosions. The first, NieA under 7, was extremely underwhelming. The second, Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino, did not live up to my fondness for its predecessor, but had its own charms.
NieA7 is a slice of life comedy about a young woman named Mayuko who is studying for her college entrance exams; which, despite being at the top of her class, she didn't pass the first time around. NieA is her alien roommate. Several years ago an alien ship crash landed in the small town of Enohana. This deposited a host of aliens into the town, an addition which the human residents adapted to remarkably quickly. The aliens have a hierarchy among themselves, which also dictates their citizenship status on Earth. NieA is the lowest of the low, a base alien with no antenna on her head, like all other aliens have. She was living in Mayuko's closet before Mayuko moved in, and just didn't leave. She now freeloads off Mayuko and the Enohana Bathhouse, where they live. NieA causes a lot of trouble for Mayuko, collecting junk and building (mostly explosive) UFOs, eating her food, loafing about...but in the end, she does care for Mayuko as a friend. Mayu meanwhile spends every waking moment just trying to get by in the world, going to cram school and working three part-time jobs, hoping that the struggling bathhouse remains in business so she won't lose her home.
NieA7 seems to have a story in there somewhere, they just don't bother to tell it. Something mildly interesting is going on, something is hinted at all over the place, regarding the alien mother ship...but nothing ever comes of it. In the end it's tossed aside without any explanations, making the whole series kind of pointless.
The animation is pretty awful, but I think that may be on purpose. The voice acting on the other hand...well, it's not brilliant. It's actually not bad as far as emoting and inflection goes; it's just kind of grating, and the sound quality isn't the best either.
NieA Under 7 is 13 episodes long, based on a doujinshi by Yoshitoshi ABe, and was released domestically by Pioneer.
Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino is the second season of this girls-with-guns anime. It picks up pretty much right where the first series left off, but don't expect it to just be GSG part II. Il Teatrino has a completely different tone, style, and focus than its predecessor. The first GSG was a melancholy work of art, focusing mostly on Henrietta and her handler Jose, who fit the tone of the show perfectly. Il Teatrino delves more deeply into the manga, and breaks away from the Social Welfare Agency to tell the story of bomb makers Franco and Franca, and the Five Republics Faction of terrorists. The girls and their handlers are still there, but now that their stories have already been told, and we already know who they are, there's less focus on them individually. Triela has a large role this time around, developing a personal vendetta against Five Republics assassin Pinocchio, who humiliated her in one-on-one combat. There is very little focus on the handlers, though we do learn more about Jose and Marco's (Angelica's handler) backgrounds. The focus is strongly on the terrorist faction, particularly Franco, Franca, and Pinocchio.
The colors in Il Teatrino are brighter, the music more upbeat, the animation style completely changed (GSG by Madhouse, IT by Artland), the characters distinctly more cartoonish looking (rather than a more artful, realistic design like before) with their large eyes and round faces. It's a totally different show. And yet it isn't. The girls are still there, they're still struggling with their identities, their fates are still heartbreaking. And there's something to be said about watching adorable little Rico beat the living daylights out of someone while her handler Jean looks coldly on.
The animation isn't the only thing changed, however. The Japanese cast has completely changed, so if you prefer your anime subtitled, be prepared for all new voices. If you prefer your anime in English, then never fear, because FUNimation brought back the original cast (with just a couple exceptions).
Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino runs 13 episodes, and was released by FUNimation in a 2-DVD thinpak box. A couple notes here.... For whatever reason, FUNimation decided to change Franca's name to Flanca in their dub. I have no idea why. In the subtitles she's Franca, in Japanese she's Franca, and in the manga she's Franca. The point, I had thought, was that her partner's name is Franco, so he named her Franca (like, Francesco, Francesca); I guess FUNi doesn't agree with that assessment. Also, while the DVD covers are double sided with gorgeous artwork...they're printed backward, so that the front has the episode titles, and the back has the art. Their Romeo X Juliet DVDs are like this too; I'm not sure why they decided to print them this way. The only thing I can think of is that they want you to see the art side first when you slide the case out of the box. If that's not the case, then I have no idea what they're thinking.
Things have been going strong at ComicAttack! Been doing lots of manga reviews, so check them out! I also joined the legions of twitterers; it's really excellent for networking. Anyway, I can be found at: @girlg33k_Kris.
Right now I'm watching Trigun (again, because I haven't seen it in years and just managed to purchase the series last year), and Gun x Sword, which is like smushing Cowboy Bebop together with Big O - one of my favorite titles with one of my least favorites. I'll attempt to explain that when I review the title once I've finished.
We'll start with Berserk. I loved this show until the final episode, where the series just...stops. Right in the middle of a storyline, and in fact, right in the middle of a huge battle. It just ends, and there's no resolution. You can read the manga to continue the event, and I certainly recommend reading the manga anyway, but I wonder if they had thought they would get another season, and then didn't. Because it really ends unreasonably. Otherwise, the show is fantastic. Perfect for fantasy fans (if you like shows like Record of Lodoss War, specifically the first series, you should enjoy Berserk). It is a mature title as well; lots of blood, gore, sex, dismemberment, demons, pedophilia...adult visuals and adult themes. Don't watch it with your kids, basically.
Romeo x Juliet...it was probably my favorite title the season it aired (spring/summer 2007). I really adored it. It's Romeo and Juliet without being Romeo and Juliet. All the characters are there (at least in name), the very basic theme of family rivalry is there (so you can have your star-crossed lovers)...but the similarities end there. There's a boy named Romeo, and he's in love with a girl named Juliet. After that it's a whole new ball game. It does get a bit weird near the end, where the story ventures off into some bizarre, mystical, apocalyptic fantasy mess.... But it holds together with gorgeous animation, a superb score, strong characters, and a tender love story.
Nodame Cantabile Paris Chapter (S2). It's almost over, and while I can't wait for the story to wrap up, I'm also saddened that it's going to end because it's one of the best shows out there.
The Daughter of Twenty Faces was another favorite of mine in the season it aired (spring/summer 2008). This smart, well animated, intriguing story gets rather loss in a mass of moe titles, but it's worth searching out. It's a little Lupin III, and little Detective Conan; toss in some steam punk, old fashioned character designs with modern animation, a strong female lead, and a suspenseful story. It goes from warm and fuzzy to totally brutal in a finger snap, then back again.
Hayate no Gotoku S2 veers a bit from it's focus on Nagi and Hayate, and focuses more on Hayate and Hinagiku. Nagi practically becomes a background character. As such, the show switched focus from a heavy gag comedy, to having more serious character and relationship development. It's still good, but I miss the feel of the first season.
Gakuen Heaven. All-boys school, all pretty boys, all gay boys. Whoopee. Implausible, absurd, and with a totally uninteresting lead character. Story wasn't much either.
Piano. Slow and dull. Should have been warm and cute. Watch Nodame instead, or even La Corda d'Oro.
Zettai Kareshi live action special. Unnecessary and a little annoying, but it's hard to say "no" to more Hiro Mizushima.
Think that covers everything that I lumped on there. Oh, and PS - Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is awesome.