PR: Viz Media Simulcasts Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan



Supernatural Action Adventure Launched Simultaneously In Japan And U.S.; First Episode Available To Stream Now

San Francisco, CA, July 6, 2010 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, has announced the launch of a brand new anime series – NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN – on VIZAnime.com, the company’s premier website for anime. The first subtitled episode of the new fantasy action-adventure series about a junior high school student that is part human and part yokai (supernatural demon), premiered for free after the series debut in Japan; free new episodes will be simulcast mere hours after it airs in Japan each Monday.

NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN, based on the best selling Nurarihyon no Mago manga series in Japan, is being offered under the SHONEN JUMP imprint, home to other exciting properties including BLEACH and NARUTO. While the day belongs to humans, the night belongs to yokai, supernatural creatures that thrive on human fear. Caught between these worlds is Rikuo Nura. He's three-quarters human, but his grandfather is none other than Nurarihyon, the supreme commander of the Nura clan, a powerful yokai consortium. So, Rikuo is an ordinary teenager three quarters of the time, until his yokai blood awakens. Then he transforms into the future leader of the Nura clan, leading a hundred demons.

“We are pleased to expand the line-up on VIZAnime.com with the exclusive simulcast of NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN, reaffirming our commitment to bringing the latest series from Japan,” says Ken Sasaki, Senior Vice President & General Manager of VIZ Media. “We are excited for fans to explore the fantastic world of NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN, and share their thoughts and start discussions through the social network features of VIZAnime.com!”

VIZAnime.com is a free-to-use web destination that is now the permanent home to some of the company’s best-loved animated series. Over 1,100 episodes are currently available, and new content is added on a weekly basis. Series currently featured on VIZAnime.com include BLEACH, BUSO RENKIN, DEATH NOTE, HONEY AND CLOVER, HIKARU NO GO, INUYASHA, INUYASHA: THE FINAL ACT, KEKKAISHI, NANA, NARUTO, NARUTO SHIPPUDEN, ONE PIECE and THE PRINCE OF TENNIS.

To view subtitled NURA: RISE OF THE YOKAI CLAN animated episodes (rated ‘T’ for Teens) and other VIZ Media animated titles, please visit VIZAnime.com.


PR: Viz Media to Stream New Bleach Episodes


Fans Are Invited To View New Episodes On VIZAnime.com
Beginning Today For FREE!
San Francisco, CA, June 22, 2010– VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), one of the entertainment industry’s most innovative and comprehensive publishing, animation and licensing companies, continues to generate tremendous momentum for its popular BLEACH series with the announcement that English-subtitled episodes from the most current story arc will begin streaming for free in the U.S. via the company’s premier website for anime, VIZAnime.com. Starting today with Episode 275, VIZAnime.com will stream a new BLEACH episode one week after it has aired in Japan.

BLEACH is one of the most popular Japanese anime and manga properties in the world and this near simulcast schedule is part of VIZ Anime’s ongoing strategy to bring hit animated properties to a national audience via the web.

BLEACH is a popular manga and animated series (both rated ‘T’ for Teens), distributed domestically by VIZ Media, that follows the adventures of Ichigo, a 15-year old student with the ability to see ghosts. When his family is attacked by a Hollow — a malevolent lost soul – Ichigo encounters Rukia, a Soul Reaper, and inadvertently absorbs her powers. Now, he’s dedicating his life to protecting the innocent and helping tortured souls find peace. Episode 275, from the newest story arc in Japan, marks the start of a thrilling storyline and guarantees a series of face-offs that are sure to excite old and new BLEACH fans!

VIZAnime.com is the official online home to some of VIZ Media’s best-loved animated series, and a burgeoning social network for fans to connect and form an interactive community. Over 1,000 episodes are currently available, and new content is added on a weekly basis.

“BLEACH remains one of the most successful and popular anime series in North America, and VIZ Media continues to break down time and distance barriers by making new episodes available within days of their original airing in Japan,” says Ken Sasaki, Sr. Vice President & General Manager, VIZ Media. “VIZAnime.com is the ultimate destination for the many popular VIZ Media animated titles, and currently contains an extensive catalog of hundreds of episodes from popular shows like BLEACH, INUYASHA, NARUTO, THE PRINCE OF TENNIS and more, all offered with accurate, high-quality streaming video that is completely free for viewers!”

BLEACH is a tremendously successful multimedia property internationally. The manga has been licensed in numerous countries around the world and has sold over 2 million copies in the US. In North America, the manga has been a sales hit and the popular animated series is viewed weekly by millions. This success also includes an array of related video games, apparel, action figures and other merchandise.

BLEACH animation can be viewed on Adult Swim and through a variety of other web-based video download and streaming outlets that have partnered with VIZ Media, including iTunes®, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, Amazon, and HULU. For more information on BLEACH, please visit bleach.viz.com. To view subtitled BLEACH animated episodes, please visit VIZAnime.com.


E3 2010: Sony

Here's Sony. Sorry for the lack of excitement here. I'm not a Sony fan this time around, and honestly there were too many long, boring, repetitive montages in there. They lost my interest several times. Still, I took decent notes, so here's Sony's conference:

Welcome to the Sony Press Conference. It’s 1:55 PM CT. So not even remotely interested. Disclaimer: I don’t own a PSP or a PS3. Really thought about skipping this one, but eh, might as well. Last Guardian, Persona, and Kingdom Hearts will wake me up.

Montage playing with lots of various game footage. And a little jibe at Kinect from Kevin Butler.

Here is Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony America. Making a joke about Kevin Butler co-hosting with him. Kevin Butler is the guy in all their commercials, by the way. Sony annoys me, but he’s hilarious and those commercials are great. Transition from more to a game company into an entertainment company Jack says. Something for everyone in you family; the only console he say that has that (WTF? Glad to see Sony’s arrogance hasn’t gone anywhere). He’s talking about the PS3 as an entertainment center with movies, music, BR, games, etc.

Pres and CEO of SCE, Kazuo Hirai. Talking about 3D. Weee. Well, it’s Sony; they’re pimping their new 3D TVs right now, so obviously the PS3 would go there too. Content defining 3D. Because I totally want to shell out for a freakin’ 3D television, too. No thanks. He’s calling out some 3D PSN titles, 20 titles by March 2011 will be in 3D.

Killzone 3 in 3D, here is Hermen from Gorilla Games (I think he said). Group up built for 3D play. The scene they’re showcasing takes place in the arctic. And everyone puts on the glasses, those black sunglass looking ones like you get in theaters. Unfortunately this effect does not carry over into the home broadcasts. Anyway, it’s Killzone. There’s shooting and stuff. And you’ve got some kind of jet pack…that shoots flames out in front of your face. That’s nice. February. Also compatible with PSMove.

Kaz is back. “The content drives the consumer interest.” He’s talking about content created for 3D and not just adapted. PS3 only platform with native 3D gaming. Motor Storm Apocalypse, Killzone 3, Gran Turismo 5, and one I missed (Sly?). Crysis 2, Mortal Kombat, Shaun White Skateboarding, Tron Evolution, NBA 2K11, all in 3D (and one I missed again…it’s too fast). MLB, Eyepet…games that use 3D and Move.

“It’s a future that Sony will lead” – the future of entertainment. Another 3D video. Fifa, golf, football…. Montage time I guess. Oh this was definitely created to show off the 3D. Eyepet (this thing is so ugly), Motor Storm, MLB The Show, The Fight, Killzone 3, tumble, Crysis 2, Mortal Kombat, GT5, The Sly Collection…all just the stuff he just mentioned.

Jack is back. Talking about life cycles. “How many ways you can be relevant in people’s lives” not just how long. Talking about the lasting effect of the PS2. Streaming Netflix, internet browsing, music, with the PS3. And PlayStation Move. “Realism.”

Peter Dille to talk about PS Move. A “future-proof” product. Casual fans and core gamers will enjoy it. He’s talking about the specs of the controller. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a little wand with a colored ball on top that is tracked by a camera. Video of developers talking about Move. It basically does what Kinect does, but with controllers. Kevin Butler poking fun again, saying that buttons are important. I can definitely see how Kinect is not really great for complex games like FPS games, whereas the Move can handle that. So that’s a really good point for them to make.

Jack says they are not here today to show things we’ve already seen, but here for brand new reveals. Sorcery with Christian Busic. You are a sorcerer’s apprentice going on magic adventures. A little magician is moving his wand around with Christian’s arm that is holding the Move wand. He’s shooting off bolts at monsters by flicking the controller in his hand. It’s a little jerky, like a Wii game. Graphics don’t exactly say “this can only be on the PS3” either. Oh that’s neat. The little ball on top of the Move wand changes colors depending on what spell he is using. He can draw walls of fire, cast AOE spells, control trajectory, etc. Spring 2011.

Sports games. EA Sports’ Andrew Wilson to talk about Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. Tiger Woods works amazingly well on the Wii with Motion Plus, by the way. But it does track your positioning more, instead of just where the controller points by standard (he made a point to say it tracks 1:1 movement instead of just using the same set animations). Boy, he shot two sand traps. Move functionality for the game will be delivered via downloaded update on PSN when the controller comes out.

One more title, a familiar franchise. It’s Heroes on the Move. A collection of some of Sony’s flagship characters all in one game. Jak, Sly, Ratchet, Daxter, Clank…I missed one. There’s 6. Looks like an action game in line with their individual games.

CocaCola supports active and positive living? Haha…. Some sort of partnership with CC Jack is talking about here, winning Sony prizes and stuff. OH IT’S THE BUTLER.
Kevin Butler is here to joke around. *heart*

Launch date for Move – Europe Sep 15, NA Sep 19, Japan Oct 21. $50 if you already own the PS3 and the Eye. $29.99 for what is basically the ‘chuk. And a $99 bundle with wand and camera plus a game. $399 for the PS3, camera and wand plus a game (Sports Champions). Ruse, Killzone 3, Singstar Dance, Echochrome 3, Eyepet… Toy Story 3, Heavy Rain, Resident Evil 5 will all have updates to enable Move. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, Brunswick Pro Bowling, The Fight Lights Out, Sports Champions, Start the Party, Singstar Dance, Eyepet (still ugly), Heroes on the Move, Superstars TV, Socom 4, Time Crisis, The Shoot, RE5, Aragorn’s Quest, Tron, Sorcery, all Move capable this fall.

Jack again. …. I think the guy I kept saying was Jack a couple times up there was NOT Jack. Oops. But this is (sorry for my confusion, they look a little similar). He’s talking about the PSP. It allows any serious gamer to “step up your game.” Some little punk kid named Marcus is the new PSP spokesperson.
Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker. Invizimals with a PSP camera peripheral. God of War Chains of Olympus. God of War Ghost of Sparta is being shown now. And that didn’t really say anything about what the game is about.
Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, Ace Combat, The Third Birthday, UFC, new PSP games coming out this fall. Montage of new titles coming out: MGS: PW, Mod Nation Racers, Ace Combat Joint Assault, Gravity Crash, Dragon Ball Z Tenkaichi, Hot Shots Tennis, Madden 11, Birth by Sleep, Invizimals, Patapon 3, Fat Princess, Tetris, Eyepet, Piyotama, The 3rd Birthday, P3P, Ys, Valkyria II, God of War.

Jack is talking about the PSN now. 50 million registered users. Quick blurbs about various PSN features, like Home. They recreated their E3 booth in Home. Little Big Planet, to talk about user content, etc. And Mod Nation Racers.

Alex Evans from Media Molecule for LBP2. I still don’t really get this game, but Sackboy is adorable. You can create little mini games with multi-player. Various new creation and game features. You can make shooters, driving games, various things.

Jack just came out and said that the PSN will be free, but there is a service packaged called PSPlus. It gives you expanded options – exclusive features and content for gamers. Value…. OK, what KIND. OK, early demos, select betas, discounts, automatic downloads. Available later this month, a full year is about 50 bucks. 3 months for $17.99. Oh, he just said “this extra content you will own for the duration of your subscription” so…what. It goes away and you can’t access it anymore if you stop? That kind of sucks.

EA support. John Schappert from EA. Two new titles with exclusive PS3 content – Medal of Honor. Greg Goodrich to show new content (as in, different from EA’s content yesterday). Yesterday they showed muti-player play, today is a new character named Deuce, AFO Wolfpack. In June they’re going to show Tier 1 operators to share their stories that influenced the game. New multi map reveal – Dingaw Valley? Missed the spelling. LE version for PS3 on Oct 12. Remastered HD version of Frontline will be included.

Dead Space 2 time. Saw this yesterday during the EA conf too. Steve Papoutsis is back to show us the continuation from the cliff hanger yesterday, where the character was jumped by a huge boss. Now they’re going to show what happened after. It is big and it is nasty. Tight fight in a narrow hallway, lots of dangling by the ankles. Pretty intense. LE for PS3, Dead Space 2 and DS Extraction in one, with Move support.

Jack is back and is interrupted by GLADOS. Portal 2 with Gabe Newell from Valve. Steam will be partnering up with this. And Portal 2 trailer. Guess who is Still Alive? It’s footage of GLADOS rebuilding the entire lab. “I think we can put our differences behind us, for science. You monster.” *glee*

Jack is back talking about Square Enix’s MMO, FFXIV. Gorgeous trailer. But if I’m gonna shell out for an MMO, sorry, it’s gonna be Old Republic.

2K Games. Mafia II, exclusive content on PS3, free bonuses for purchasing the game. Ubisoft – Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. Exclusive missions only for PS3….dammit. Multi-player beta exclusive for PS3 too. Trailer was supposed to show some multiplayer stuff but uh, that didn’t explain or show how it’s supposed to work.

Jack is naming off some games they weren’t able to demo, like DCU, Shaun White, and some others they already mentioned but didn’t really showcase. So…montage: Socom 4, Killzone 3, Medal of Honor, DS2, Mafia II, Madden 11, NBA2K11, Tiger Woods, Sports Champions, The Fight, NCAA 11, Eyepet (still ugly), Start the Party, LBP2, The Shoot, echochrome II, Heroes on the Move, GT5, Mon Nation Racers, Motor Storm, True Crime, Marvel vs Capcom 3, Shooter 2, Mortal Kombat, Castlevania, Dead Nation, Sorcery, DCU, Sly, Tron, FFXIV, Lego Harry Potter in there and some Spider-Man. Gee, they could have shown off some more stuff if they weren’t repeating every damn thing 3 times.

Here’s another title. GT5. Ug, it just goes on and on and on….. It’s another fucking driving game. I don’t play them, so I can’t tell you how it’s different from Forza or any of the others that have been shown this week. They all look the same to me. Showing off some cars and locations like Japan. November. It’s 3D too.

Infamous 2. Looks OK. Seen better. Finally. One last surprise.

What is it. Everything went dark. It’s a car. Oh, it’s some live action commercial something or other. From Papa Johns. Not the game, just the commercial is presented by PJ’s. Still waiting to see what it is. Pan up on a character, it isssssss a crazy clown. Twisted Metal. Sony just rolled out a fucking truck on stage with a costumed guy hanging out. 2011. Demoing online team death match mode. 16 players, with 2 and 4 player split screen. Helicopter fights. New mode: Nuke. Fighting up skyscrapers, along freeways…. In Nuke you destroy these giant statues hanging from helicopters. You capture the faction leader, shoot off a huge missile, and guide it to the target.

Jack wrapping up, talking about innovation and content. Little surprising that there was nothing about Last Guardian in there anywhere. Portal 2 I guess was a big announcement for them, but I'll play that on the PC. And that’s that. No more conferences to blog. Tonight on G4 they’re doing a half hour look at the Old Republic MMO though; you should watch.

E3 2010: Nintendo

Um, wow. Nintendo just made up for years of crappy presentations. Old school is back in awesome ways. Here are my notes on Nintendo's conference:

Good morning everyone! It’s time for Nintendo! Everyone is expecting a new Zelda reveal, though I’m not sure if this is a confirmed offering or not. Expect plenty casual bull shit. Probably a look at Metroid from Team Ninja. And the 3DS. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

LOL the iPad is the “enemy of the future.” That’s from uh…I think they said Miyamoto said that. Hilarious. Oh hey guess what. Wii Sports Resort sold almost 6 million copies because it was packaged in with the new remote. They really shouldn’t even count that one when they’re talking about top game sales numbers.

11 am CT, time for Nintendo. All blogs are coming to you live from my living room. ^_^

Here’s Reggie (he’s the pres of Nintendo America). “That buzz begins with technology.” Sounds like they’re starting off with the 3DS. “Technology is a tool…” What matters is the experience, and the best comes with “technology and game design are perfectly matched.” “We intend to show you how Nintendo once again is raising the bar….”

ZELDA. They’re starting with Zelda? Wow. Grown up Zelda, but not as gritty as Twilight Princess. It’s called Skyward Sword. Shortest trailer ever. Oh, here’s Miyamoto to talk about the game. But he’s not actually on stage. It’s taped. Looks like you get to use the Wiimote as the sword, and the ‘chuk as the shield, which is cool. Mr. Bill is going to demo the game on stage. Oh, there he is! Miyamoto is live on stage now. Because apparently Bill sucks at playing Zelda, so Miyamoto is gonna explain himself with Bill to translate. That’s really cool that you can use the controllers that way, but I don’t think I want to play a whole Zelda game like that…. If you swing up and down, the sword makes a downward strike, ditto on side-to-side. The way you swing your arm/sword makes a huge difference. I bet it’s a motion-plus only game; Miyamoto’s got one attached. There’s an item wheel now that pops up a quick item select menu. Targeting works a bit differently with the sling shot; basically you don’t aim at the TV anymore, just move the remote around. They’re having some wireless interference in there….. You use your controls like an actual bow and arrow to shoot the bow, pulling back on the ‘chuk like you would the string. There’s a whip now too; he’s cycling through the various new items. Looks good, but no clues to the story. Won’t be out until 2011.

Reggie is back. Talking about universal appeal. Wide World of Sports – Ultra realism or over-the-top fun. Madden, Pro Evo Soccer, MLB 2K, NBA Jam. Setting up a new Mario game. Haha, oh my gosh, seriously? Mario volleyball. Hockey. Dodgeball. Basketball. Mario Sports Mix. 2011. Reggie says you can’t always listen to the experts, who last year said Wii momentum was starting to wane, and that casual Wii owners don’t buy games. He’s telling them they’re wrong. Wii owners play their systems more often than others. Not at my house. The popularity of bridge games like Mario Kart and New Super Mario Bros Wii keeps it afloat. Tons of Miis created.

Wii Party. Party games for your Miis. Horse racing, board games, 70 different mini-games. Holiday season.

He’s talking about Just Dance now. From Ubisoft. Just Dance 2 with 40+ tracks. Dancing duets, dance crew face-offs. Fall 2010 Wii exclusive.

Reggie’s saying “a lot of you got jazzed in a different way” last year for Golden Sun. Golden Sun Dark Dawn it’s called. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS Footage. It’s 3D now. Uh-oh, something has gone wrong in the world of Golden Sun! Fabulous. This holiday! Merry Christmas to meeeeeee.

“Golden” has an entirely different meaning to other gamers. Reggie’s doing good with the segues here. It’s a Goldeneye game. Split screen and multiplayer (at least 4 player). With game modes like paintball. Exclusive for the Wii from Activision this holiday.

A new type of hero whose reach has spanned 8 decades. Ooooh, it’s time for Epic Mickey. My stomach is telling me it’s also time for lunch. Here are Warren Spector and Adam Creighton for Epic Mickey. They are showing off an area called Ventureland where you talk to characters about quests. Smee, Swiss Family Robinson. Old stuff should be prevalent. Mickey uses paint and paint thinner to erase objects and characters, or restore them. How you change the world makes a difference. Do you solve problems by removing obstacles or by creating. It looks good. Action Zones are for missions. Mickey jumps into a movie screen to enter Travel Zone. Side scrolling areas that take you from one place to another. Balance heritage and innovation. Awesome awesome.

Reggie is talking about keeping popular franchises fresh. 1992 Iwata worked with Sakurai (Smash Bros, Kirby). Kirby! Wii Kirby. Should Kirby stick to his roots or go to something new, Reggie asks. Kirby’s Epic Yarn. Oh that is CUTE. It’s Kirby’s world made out of stitching, buttons, yarn, needle point. CUUUUTE. Oh that is fucking adorable. Kirby is a giant yarn robot! That is really, really cool looking. The most obvious difference is not the way it looks but the way it works, Reggie says. Comes out this fall.

He’s talking about Dragon Quest IX now. Over 300 monsters, over 900 items. Online multi-player. Tag-mode seeks out other players even when your DS is closed to add new characters and things. On the DS in 26 days in America (July 11).

Last day in August, players on Wii get Metroid Other M. Oh that is pretty sweet looking. Nintendo is really bringing it this year. Platforming, FPS segments for Samus.

Retro Studios in Texas is producing…Donkey Kong. Classic DK theme playing. DK has never looked this good. Side scroller with DK and Diddy. Donkey Kong Country Returns (thought it had some familiar elements). This holiday on Wii.

Geez, what else does Reggie have? Talking about all these titles have brought your game memory into the past. Now we’re going into the future. Guess it’s 3DS time. Basically he’s saying that it’s too expensive to get the 3D on the big screens, and there’s really no content for it yet. And he’s making fun of the glasses. Nintendo thinks there’s a better way, with portable 3D, ample game content on first day, and NO GLASSES. Montage rolling with the history of 3D, “nothing between you and the experience.” Haha, that was a little melodramatic. A tiny blue 3DS rose from the stage on a platform with lots of smoke.
Here is Iwata to discuss it. 2 screens, 3.5 inch on the upper screen. Nintendo produced the first 3D video game 15 years ago. Mass market product. It has a 3D slider on the side to maximize the effect or remove it all together. Touch panel on bottom. Graphic improvements. Slide Pad for analog movement. Motion sensor/gyro sensor. Boy they’re going all out with this. Compatible with DSi. 3DS has 2 cameras on the outside so you can take 3D photos. It can play 3D movies too, but he’s not going into that much; but he says you can watch trailers for several movies at their booth. It’s incredibly impressive, but I’m not remotely interested.

“Gamers care most about games” Iwata says. Project Sora (announced in 2009). It was established to create a game specifically for the 3DS. Kid Icarus. Uprising. It has voices. It looks like it could be a console title with those graphics. “Coming Soon” is all it says. OK, now I’m kind of interested.

Iwata is talking about navigating a 3D world. And communicating with other systems and hot spots. Ooooh….. The 3Ds lets you communicate regardless of what software you’re playing. It does it all on its own. And it’s free. He’s wrapping up by talking about how they proved themselves with their new technology. And announcing some other various things. Nintendogs+Cats in 3D. Atlus, Konami, Bandai, Activision, EA, Harmonix, WB, Sega, all developing 3D games. Including Kingdom Hearts, Madden NFL, DJ Hero, Saints Row, Assassin’s Creed, Ridge Racer, Metal Gear Solid, Professor Layton…. Shit. Guess I will have to get one of those.

Montage of developers reacting to the 3D news. They seem impressed and excited. Precision, exploration, online, cameras.

Reggie is back to wrap up. That was like 2-3 casual games, and a shit ton of core games. Nintendo just blew Microsoft out of the water. Cute commercial – Iwata and Miyamoto are getting sucked into the 3DS, literally. Stuff flies out of the system. Reggie is watching Iwata and Miyamoto being chased by Bowser. Cheesy, but cute. Reggie got fire spewed on him and appeared back onstage with a torn up coat. They’re trying to express what the 3DS can do. They just brought a bunch of 3DS…es in to demo. Like tons of them. They’re going to walk out to the people in the theater to let everyone try it out. And Wii kiosks came out of the floor to demo the new Zelda. Go Nintendo.

And that’s a wrap. Sony is later. Time for lunch.


E3 2010: Ubisoft

Ubisoft now. Started at 7, ended at 8:30. Time for dinner now. Gotta make sure I get up in the morning for Nintendo and Sony. They're starting early. So here's Ubi's conference:

It’s time for Ubisoft. Most recent news: The new slimmer Xbox was announced to be the same price as the Elite bundle out now ($299)…except the Elite drops by $50 tomorrow morning. So that promise was only true for less than 24 hours. By the way, as much as I rather wish I could actually attend E3, I’m kind of glad I can’t, because I don’t think I could handle it. It’s tiring enough keeping up from home. I’d probably collapse from exhaustion. Or overdose on caffeine, which I don’t drink.

Reading some manga in between conferences while I rest my eyes. Working on Afterschool Charisma right now, a really cool new title from Viz Media. By the way, Olivia is conspicuously missing from the G4 coverage. Everyone else seems to be there. Not that I’m complaining (I’m so not). Just taking notice. Morgan is looking very smart in her skirt/suit thing.

7 pm CT, welcome to Ubisoft. Starting off with Kinect right away. It’s a guy waving his hands around and directing these flashes of color on the screen. It’s some kind of little shooting game on an acid trip. It’s neat. I’ll never play it, but it looks pretty cool. Reminds me of the Gummi Ship battles in Kingdom Hearts 2. Lots of shapes, bright colors, upbeat music. …. And G4 screwed up their feed. Yay. Jumping over to GameTrailers. Child of Eden by Tetsuya Mizuguchi.

Joel McHale again. Uggggggggg. Why does this guy keep hosting shit? FYI, he’s the guy from The Soup on E! He does not work for Ubisoft. He is not funny.

He’s gone (yay( and now there’s a fancy trailer for an Assassin’s Creed game. Brotherhood. Nice looking and totally useless trailer. 1503 Rome (oh there’s more!). This is still Ezio…I thought this was a handheld? The graphics are incredible…. His enemies are dropping like flies as Ezio’s team takes everyone out. And big battle between assassins and soldiers in the street. November. Vincent and Patrick from Ubi here to talk about it. Ezio is a leader now…oh and still a lady’s man apparently. Yup. He’s in bed with his chick. And a body falls through his roof. So it takes place after AC2 and his home is being attacked by the Templars. Ezio runs through his villa as cannon balls fall around him. Advanced horse riding and combat, they’re showing some of it off. He’s playing this on the PS3. Ezio’s shooting his own cannon off at the enemy. Some neat, new stuff. AI is more aggressive now. Threw an axe at some huge armored guy. BORGIA! That’s his enemy. Sweet. The Borgia’s are super interesting. Wowzers. Except, uh, spoiler there at the end. I’m still a little confused about what this game is supposed to be. I had thought it was some in betweener handheld or arcade game or something, but it looks like a full title.

Joel again to announce a “20th century urban jungle” title. Oh, some skateboarding game. Are they still making these? Shaun White Skateboarding. Shaun is there to talk about stuff. Skateboard against The Man! Oh, now I know why I was confused about the new AC game. I was confusing it with Bloodlines, which IS a handheld title. Though that doesn’t leave me any less confused on what the game supposed to be. Will likely pick it up though; I really liked Ezio, much more than Altair.

Oh…Shaun White is in 3D too. Joy of joys.

Joel is talking about technology and video games. He is interrupted by music and some kind of laser tag-ish game demo. Ubisoft is making toys now? Battle Tag it’s called. “Something lots of gamers have been waiting for.” We have? The developer guy is basically saying it’s a real life FPS game. It’s got a chest piece with a sensor, big plastic guns, and ammo packs. So yeah, it’s just fancy laser tag that you can connect to your computer or console or whatever. You can set up targets too. 2 guns, 2 harnesses, 4 tags (the target things) come in each pack. That’s nice.

Joel is now making bad jokes and announcing Tommy Francois for Innergy. It’s a game to reduce stress. …. Isn’t that what they all do? It’s got a sensor, like the Wii vitality sensor but it’s Ubi’s thing. A little bubble goes up and down a rainbow telling you when to breathe in and out. Bright rainbow colors are not relaxing, Ubisoft. It’s made to plug into any computer. Or you could just do yoga breathing exercises for free.

Video from developers to talk about…Kinect I assume. Revolving the game world around you. Ah, some of these guys have hilarious accents. Using your mind and body to play. Now 2 new Kinect titles. This one looks like a sports game. Snow skiing, soccer, football. Motion Sports. Live demo of Your Shape (which was shown at the MS conference). It’s the same two people from the MS demo. It looks like it may be the exact same demo…Felicia’s even using the same dialog from earlier. They are talking a bit more about the online features though. But it’s all the same demo from earlier. I would probably get something like Your Shape; it’s nifty.

Joel is announcing the new Rabbids game now. “Now they will go…where no Rabbid has gone before.” Back in time apparently. Give a caveman fire, break the nose off the Sphinx, keep Excalibur from being pulled from the stone… It’s called Raving Rabbids Travel in Time. November on the Wii.

Ghost Recon Future Soldier. New weapons, new tech like optical camouflage. “The Soldier of the Future is an F-16 on Legs.” The producer and game designer are on to talk about it. See tomorrow’s soldier. Demo now, making good use of the optical camo. Lots of close quarter combat, perfect for the new camo feature. Quick and clean assassinations. There’s a voice over giving commands to you (“Take out the guy on the left while so-and-so gets the guy on the right.”). Wraps up with a big shoot out. You can play the campaign with 4-player co-op and…3D. Did he really just say this one is in 3D too? This has got to stop.

Joel announces a driving game now. Driver: San Francisco. Big car chase on a crowded bridge, plenty of carnage. Good looking game. Mostly rendered stuff there though. Martin Edmondson the creator is there to talk. Tanner vs. Jericho. Martin keeps talking about how they’re going back to their roots with this game.

CEO of Ubi, Yves Guillemot. First is Dust, a game for digital distribution. By Eric Chahi. Some old civilization, very Atlantean. Spring 2011. I guess it’s some kind of strategy game. Next is a presentation about creating art…leading into a new Rayman game. Rayman Origins. Only 5 people have been working on it apparently. The third project is a platform. He’s talking about UPlay from last year, but they have a new one, ManiaPlanet. Video about user-powered gaming and Track Mania, which has user generated content. User-Powered PC Gaming Zone. Shootmania and Questmania coming next year.

Now Yves is talking about a new product, learning from the experts. It is a…Michael Jackson game? It’s another dance game using Kinect I think. I dunno, there’s just some guys dancing around onstage with Beat It playing, but nothing happening on screen. Still dancing. Be nice to see the actual game. They did the whole dang song. ……….. So uh. That’s the end of the conference. What the hell was that for?

Well, they kind of ended with a thud there. The dance was cool, but they didn’t even say what it was for. Looked like maybe that dance game from the MS conference. Oh, no, wait, sorry, that was a Harmonix game. Quick check on Kotaku…they think it’s Just Dance. Oh well, at least they had that awesome Assassin’s Creed thing there at the beginning. That’s all for today. Sony and Nintendo tomorrow morning/afternoon. I forget which is first.

E3 2010: EA

Time for EA! And don't forget to check out the Microsoft post from earlier today. EA was boring mostly. Lots of FPS games followed by lots of sport games followed by...super sexy new trailer for Old Republic. Just too bad there wasn't any game play footage. Anywhere, here is the EA conference:

EA in half an hour. Should see some Old Republic stuff, maybe new Mass Effect info. Probably a bunch of EA Sports crap, which I’m (not) sorry to say I don’t give a shit about, except that it helps pay for games I actually want to play. So please buy the slightly updated version of the exact same game next year so I can play more Dragon Age.

You know, I really don’t like G4, but Adam is hilarious to watch throughout the week. He gets really hyped up on caffeine and he’s totally wired. Oh, Morgan was upset by the representation of women in Microsoft’s conference. They’re repeating my own thoughts, (everyone seems to have these thoughts) about how the whole presentation just looked like the Wii.

Apparently they are passing 3D glasses around in there. *sigh* So it begins. I really hate this whole 3D fad and I wish the video game people wouldn’t try to push it too. G4 was talking about some of the best of E3 earlier, now they’re talking about the worst. It’s kind of funny. And sad…sad reminder of Nintendo’s massive casual game showing a couple years ago that made everyone want to cry.

They’re running a little late here, but should be starting soon…please…I don’t want to be up all night. :( Ah finally, 4:08 PM CT.

Trailer for…Need for Speed Hot Pursuit in November. Gorgeous cinematic, but the whole thing was just cinematics. Craig Sullivan Creative Director. Talking about Autolog, which shows you what your friends do in the game. Craig and Matt are gonna play together. One is a cop, the other the driver. View is from behind your car. It’s really pretty, but is otherwise kind of boring looking.

John Riccitiello from EA. He just compared EA to Sundance as compared to the Academy Awards. And introduced….

Dead Space 2. The producer is going to demo. Straight into a nasty boss fight. Looks good. Big mob battle here. Blood everywhere. Sorry…Dead Space is not a game I know much about. Monsters popping out everywhere, sufficiently creepy, good atmosphere. And he goes up an elevator, they show off some of the scenery, and a HUGE monster attacks. More at the Sony conference (so, to be cont.). January.

John is back. Talking about shooters. An updated out of commission franchise. DICE and EALA. Sean Decker for Medal of Honor. This one is going to the war in Afghanistan. Live, 24-player (wow) on stage. And they’re all out there. It’s called Team Assault. They’ve got multiple screens up on the big screen so you can watch several of them playing. And then the stupid camera keeps cutting down to their hands on the controllers, because, you know, THAT’S what I want to see. …. So it was just a jumbled battle. October. Beta in June. Then some fancy trailer action to showcase locals and combat. MoH uses real world locals and operations, by the way.

Katrina Senior Director at EA. Gun Club, a rewards club for gamers. Lol, Gun Club? Geez…. Weapon unlocks, early Beta and emo access, etc. So like, if you pre-order the new game, you get early Beta access.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 Vietnam trailer. Uh…more like 5 second blurb that shows absolutely nothing. It’s an expansion pack.

Peter Moore for EA Sports. It’s time for a nap. MMA with Strikeforce. International mixed martial arts game. EA Sports Live Broadcast. Sounds like it will let you upload your fights in your game so other people can watch. It’s arranged online matches that air live, you can use your own face, and real commentators will comment on the fights. You can earn real world prizes. October.

Interactive Fitness. Andrew Wilson head of development for EA sports. Active 2. This is their fitness game that’s like a polished up version of Wii Fit. Multi-platform, online, and wireless, he says. First video shows the Wii, finally a use for the heart rate monitor it looks like. Track your progress online with your PC. November. They’re gonna demo with Kinect. Oh, the heart rate monitor is EA’s. Wii uses the remotes to bike ride, PS3 girl is lifting little weights, and the guy is boxing with Kinect. Serious lag on the PS3 demo. Still a tiny lag on the Kinect.

Peter is wrapping up with Madden of course. It’s Madden. Do I really need to pay attention? No? OK. Oh? Simpler, quicker, deeper. They’re saying they’re (finally?) evolving the game. Streamlining everything and making it much quicker. Oh, look, it’s Joe Montana.

Zzzzz…Huh? Rod Humble talking about free will and fate…Sims 3. He’s comparing it to Greek gods. Mentions the newest expansion, Ambitions, which put in more jobs. It’s just static pictures of stuff he’s done in the game. Like a slide show of Sim life. It’s kind of dull actually. Need some Old Republic to wake me back up. Unpredictability of the system, Sims with free will. Neuroscience…. It’s like I’m in a high school biology class. Or Psych 101 may be more appropriate. Sims 3 to consoles. Talking about putting more of the Sims world onto the consoles than before. In the past they’ve been pretty linear and constricted for a Sims game.

John is back talking about EA Partners. 2 brand new partners – Ted Price from Insomniac and the Respawn guys. Also mentions Epic. 2 games to announce, one is an FPS – Crysis 2. It’s going to the consoles now, if you hadn’t heard., so people might actually be able to play it now. Sandbox play experience. Most intelligent enemies in any shooter. I think he said it takes place in New York? Full freedom of experience. Gameplay now. Big battle in um…Central Station I think he said. Very tight graphics, very detailed. Heat vision is cool. Lots of explosions and huge enemies. Entire fucking skyscraper just got blown to bits and tumbled down. Pretty cool. Now 3D glasses. Oh man, it would be these fucking guys to do this. 3D on all platforms, but you can play it without too. They’re showing a 3D trailer, which I’m obviously not able to see the effects of. I don’t know that a 3D trailer will be offered up at some point or not.

Epic Games. Cliff is back (from MS) with Adrian from People Can Fly and Tanya from Epic. Bulletstorm. It’s an “over the top” FPS, Cliff’s words. February 2011. It’s uh…pretty over the top all right. Kicking enemies into generators where they get electrocuted, stuff like that. Lots of crazy looking stuff. Looks like time slows down a bit when you shoot enemies.

FINALLY. Fucking Star Wars. I’m awake now. Mary Bihr and Grez from Lucas Arts. Old Republic time. Every player gets a starship. Gonna talk about PVP, and show a new trailer. And here it goes, “Hope.” Oh wow. That was sexy. Go watch it. Right now. I’ll wait.

And they ended with a bang.

Ubisoft is next.

E3 2010: Microsoft

It's that time of year again. Time for E3, 2010! I plan on live blogging the conferences like I've been doing for a few years now. This early afternoon was Microsoft's Press Conference. Spitting this up quick here, because Ubi and EA are in an hour, and I'd like to rest my eyes a bit. That's supposed to go for like 6 hours or something (probably a break in between). LOTS of stuff about their motion control system. So, here you go! I watched the conference live on Spike TV and wrote my thoughts as it went along:

Listening to a pre-show thing. Keep hearing “premier of another Xbox LIVE Arcade game trailer” way too often.

Big news, of course, is that Natal is now Kinect. …. Should have kept the project name. It’s smaller than the prototypes. Lots of price speculation. Too much on the high end.

Ok, here we go! 12:30 pm CT. Welcome to the 2010 Xbox 360 Global Media Briefing.

Montage time. Explosions. Nice looking war game. Call of Duty Black Ops. November. Mark Lamia from Treyarch to talk about the game. I’ve never played one so I can’t comment on improvements. But the graphics are tight. All that’s on the screen are the crosshairs and a really pale ammo indicator in the bottom corner. Helicopter combat now; big explosions. I’m gonna finish my lunch here…. It looks great, so yeah….

Don Mattrick. He’s talking about the agreement with Activision. Xbox gets map packs and expansions first for Call of Duty, through 2012. Halo, Gears of War, Call of Duty, big games on Xbox. Now he’s talking about Netflix, FB, etc. And announcing Project Natal’s new name, Kinect. Showing, not telling.

Hideo Kojima in the house. Aw, he’s so adorable. Talking about Metal Gear Solid: Rising. Talking about something new and unique for Kinect, I think? Or maybe he just means a new alliance with Xbox. Shigenobu Matsuyama now. Zan-Datsu. “Cut-Take” translated. This younger guy is the game’s producer. And here’s a trailer. Nice and shiny. And here comes Raiden to kick some ass. Cuts the head off this robot and rips out its spinal cord. “Cut at will.” “Cut what you will.” HAHA he’s slicing up watermelon now. Nice accuracy. No date on that.

Phil Spencer, Corporate VP. Experiences that cannot be found anywhere else. Blockbuster games, online multiplayer, storytelling…and characters. Halo Reach, Fable 3, Crackdown 2…. Everything showing today is available only on Xbox 360. And here comes….. Cliff Bleszinski for Gears of War.

4 player story based co-op on display here. I hated Gears of War, just a disclaimer here. Graphics look amazing though. Oooh there’s a girl in this one. Looks like pretty standard Gears stuff. Limbs being torn/blown off, blood everywhere. I don’t know how it will play; they’re only showing one full screen here for Player1. Big nasty boss fight. Characters call out to each other when they’re out of ammo or something, that’s neat. He mentions a new mode called “Beast” but doesn’t describe it here.

Peter Molyneux. Fable 3 (duh). Here to raise up our hopes, so they can be dashed when the game comes out. I love these games, but Pete hypes like crazy; he gets super excited about what he’s making, but half of it never makes it in. In F3 you are a ruler. Good looking trailer here. This looks to be set in the…17 or 18th century. No release date but…I think it comes out in October.

Phil is back. Exclusive title…with a new partener. Activision I guess. What is this? Trailer of some huge gladiator looking guy on a field of battle. Oops, Crytek. Codename Kingdoms. Have not heard of this, and the trailer didn’t really show much.

Phil again…one game changed everything. Must be talking about Halo. Halo Reach. Bungie Creative Director Marcus Lehto. Showing off the new campaign. And of course it looks amazing. I want to say Reach is…a prequel? I don’t remember. Anyway, it looks like a freakin’ Halo game. Not noticing any obvious changes. Girls in this one too! And awesome music. Oooooo…nice melee move. B oy that is massive. Spartan just hopped on a rocket/space shuttle. …… It’s a battle in space. Wowzers. Got some goose bumps. September.

Marc Whitten, VP of LIVE. Ug his mic sucks. He’s just rambling about LIVE stats. Kinect. Oh, he’s going to talk about using Kinect with the dashboard. Controller free play. Demonstration. Ron, one of the engineers. He’s showing how easy it is to sign into LIVE with a wave of the hand (it has facial recognition). He’s showing off menu navigation. !!!!! You can select with your voice, too. He said “Zune” and it selected. Now he’s navigating through a film with his hands. Paused the movie with his voice. “Xbox pause, Xbox Play,” and it does. “Xbox, play music” and it does. That is COOL.

Marc again. FB, Netflix, Last FM, etc, all can be used with Kinect. Coming to every country with the Xbox. Xbox LIVE coming to Windows Phone7. ….. You can now use Kinect to communicate via video, like a web cam, and via the Kinect’s mic (so party chat with no headset). You can do this via LIVE or Windows Messenger. She’s demoing with a relative or something. You can watch a movie together this way. Um, wow. Ahaha, it’s cheesy and scripted. The other girl is moving and the Kinect is tracking her. “Xbox, End Chat,” and it goes away.

Marc again. Talking about a social living room. People are missing one important thing? ESPN apparently. I’m not missing that, I promise. On Demand and Live events through your Xbox. So…instead of just watching sports on your TV you can turn your Xbox on too. This is exclusive to the 360. 3,500 live and on demand events (these are Sports Center Guys doing a quick commercial thing, and now they’re on stage). *yawn* Lots in HD. This is probably exclusive to Gold users, like most things, though they haven’t said it outright yet. You an use Kinect with this too. Oh, wow… “Xbox, Replay” and it shows the last play. Trivia, polls…. It’s pretty interactive.

Back to Marc. Oop, there we go. He said “available to Gold users.” No additional cost.

Creative Director for Kinect, Kudo Tsunoda. Uniting people, etc. “Time for talk is over.” 6 launch games for this holiday. Cute little girl playing with a tiger. It responds to her voice and her movements. She jumps and the tiger jumps. ADORABLE. She hid behind something and the tiger is pressing up against the screen looking for her. Thought it was Viva Pinata at first, but this is a Rare game. She is jump roping with the tiger. OOOOOOH it’s CUTE. Kinectimals. Clearly a kiddie game, though.

Kinect Sports. Shin from Rare (Rare I guess is doing most of the Kinect development). He’s playing around in an arena. Where is the sports? They are…jumping hurdles??? Having some problems here. Running in place. Then they jump up to go over the hurdle. Nifty. But it’s like, Wii with more movement. It uses avatars, too. Montage of the sports you can play. Soccer, bowling, track and field, ping-pong, boxing, volleyball.

Kinect Joyride. Cart racing. Missed the girl’s name and studio. But she’s steering the car with just her hands. So far they’re just Wii games minus the controller. Nothing for the core here, but I guess they’re trying to hit the casual/family/kid market, which is fine. It’s not really a big market for them so far.

Kinect Adventures. I see a pattern here. Darren to demo. He is um, riding some kind of platform and leaning around to get coins, ducking under polls, things like that. Another guy comes onstage to play and the game automatically splits in two. It’s picking them up pretty well. The game took photos of them in the real space (you can post these to places like FB); that’s kinda neat. Another demo…some girls in an inner tube going down a river. I mean, it all looks cool, but it’s nothing I’m interested in. LOTS of active movement too; way more of a work out than the Wii games.

Other developers now. Ubisoft for Kinect. Looks like a workout game. Oh if I had a cute coach like that, I’d exercise more often…. It’s called Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. Felicia Williams from Ubi to talk about the game. Oh wow, she took off her sweater on stage and her image in the game did the same. It scans her body in and I guess…organizes the menus and things to her exact height/build. Celebrity trainer helped develop the game, and now he’s gonna talk about it. Martial Arts, yoga, gym activities. It remembers her preferences (fave routines) and tracks everything she is doing. It looks like there’s a teeny tiny lag on the screen. She’s doing tai chi as a cool down now. No remotes, to balance boards, just the Kinect camera.

Harmonix. Dance Central. Lead producer of the game is here, she’s dancing. I’m not sure if it’s teaching her, or just tracking her or what… I think it’s cycling through moves, and she’s performing them, like DDR. Alex Rigopulos, CEO. He’s talking about performing dances from original music videos of the songs they’re using. Another Harmonix guy, demonstrating a mode that teaches you the dance moves. Apparently this game is to teach nerdy white boys how to dance.

Phil is back. He’s been looking a little confused up there. November 4 is the launch for Kinect. More than 15 launch titles when it arrives. Exclusive arrangement with Lucas Arts…OMG. OMG OM GOMG OMGOIJSKHDGFHSD Star Wars Kinect. Lightsaber fighting, force power using. He’s deflecting blaster bolts, and the trailer cuts right before a duel with Vader. No live demo though.

Turn 10 Studios. Racing. Steering the car, checking mirrors, all with Kinect. Oh, it’s Forza. Finally some real games. Nifty stuff here, checking out the car inside and out with Kinect. 2011. Star Wars was 2011 too. So…just casual stuff for launch?

Don again. He’s wrapping up, I think. A brand new era for Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE. Kickstarting the new era with….a slimmer, sleeker 360. 250 gig HDD, built in WiFi, smaller, quiet, for…the same price as the new 360s are now. 299. Ships in…TODAY. Unless you are in the audience at the theater…and you get it now for free. ….. Damn. That’s…wow that’s rad. Go Microsoft.

And it’s over. Nice, with less talk and more footage but…lacking a bit in some areas. EA and Ubi coming in like…an hour I think.


PR: Viz Media joins coalition against manga piracy

From Viz Media (PR):


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


PR: Kekkaishi EP 1 Free DTO from Viz Media

Some quick PR from Viz Media:


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.


Night Head Genesis

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.


Upcoming April 2010

I'm still here! And there are some things I'm working on. So far this year I have watched the following titles:
NieA Under 7
Gunslinger Girl Il Teatrino

Gun x Sword
Bleach (ongoing)
Fushigi Yuugi
Night Head Genesis
Paranoia Agent

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: The Mysterious Play

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.


Guns and UFOs

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.


January 2010 - Recaps

So if you saw my last post, you may have noticed that I watched several titles at the end of last year, but didn't bother to review them. I may never get around to long reviews, so I thought I'd do some short blurbs about them.

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.