EVA DVD Boxset Reissue

You may remember years ago the "Evangelion" DVD Boxset that sold like crazy in Japan. Well, it's back, once again, exclusively in Japan. This will be sold at 41,790 yen (about $350.00), it looks like through Yahoo!Japan. If you're fluent in Japanese, check out the official Eva Store for more details.


EVA Headphones

There seems to be no end to the "Evangelion" franchise and with the upcoming movies, you can bet we'll see a lot more merchandise to die for. One of which is this new striking EVA headphone, sporting Eva Unit-01's color scheme and all that good stuff.

Any luck it'll be available for non-Japanese customers?

Next-Gen Console War

The outlook is awfully grim. Next month marks the 6 month anniversary of the release of Sony's Playstation 3, and things haven't been shaping up as they should be. The utter lack of games has and will continue to dwindle and have severe effects in sales if things don't change now. Its rivals, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii, couldn't be happier with the situation.

The PS3 is a state-of-the-art piece of sleek, awe-inspiring, and jaw-breaking technology that has huge prospects behind it. The PS3 blazes through its competition with its better engine under the hood. The 360 and Wii have nothing on it -- no competition whatsoever. So, what's the problem?

There has been a "release drought" for all three consoles, but none in worse shape than the PS3. And what does Sony do in response? They drop its basic 20GB PS3 completely, just as Microsoft adds a third. While the release of the 20GB PS3 seems pretty pointless, with only a mere $100 difference from its 60GB counterpart, I think the smart move would have been to lower the price of the 20GB, rather than dropping it altogether.

And is it just me, or has Sony been losing its exclusive titles left and right? One of the factors that have consistently set apart the Playstation brand is its exclusive games -- "Final Fantasy," "Kingdom Hearts," "Devil May Cry," "Metal Gear," just to name a few. Just look at "Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings" for the Nintendo DS coming very soon. If anything, Sony deperately needs more "big name" games and exclusives to burn the competition away, and it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon.

Check out the "big name" line-up -- sure to change, no doubt:
  • Devil May Cry 4 - October 2007
  • Metal Gear Solid 4 - November 2007
  • F.E.A.R Next - 2008
  • Final Fantasy XIII - 2008
  • Resident Evil - 2008
  • Soul Caliber - 2008
  • Tekken 6 - 2008
  • FF XII Versus - 2009!!

I'm especially bummed out "Tekken 6." I feel like trailers have been shown since the early days, but who would have thought this game wouldn't be out yet. I'm sorry, but I refuse to settle for "Virtua Fighter 5." And speaking of which, it looks like we are going to have to submit to settling for games we may or may not have purchased if the games we really wanted were available now. Q3 2007 releases include games such as "Spider-Man 3," "The Darkness," "Lair," "Medal of Honor," and "Harry Potter." The much talked about "Home" has a tentative date of September 2007. And can someone shed some light on why "Castlevania" (December 2007) is only showing up on the Japan release list? Still no word on "Silent Hill 5" and the "Kingdom Hearts" sequel...

With incessant delays, loss of exclusives, and slow "small time" releases, the PS3 is just a piece of unused hardware with awesome capabilities. PS3s may collect dust or turn into your standard DVD/Blu-ray player. Time to look at the PS2 and PSP releases.

Just a word of thought -- I realize that games shouldn't be rushed, I mean, who would want some low quality game, but this is just ridiculous. All I have to say is that I see no reason that all future game releases not be in Full HD.


Japan Day @ Central Park

On June 3, New York will host Japan Day @ Central Park. The event will go from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and kicks off with the Japan Run. Food, activity, and electronic tents will be spread out all over Central Park showcasing Japan's traditional and contemporary culture. Among their live performances will be sword demonstrations and traditional music. This is similar to the Cherry Blossom Festival held in DC each year. There are a couple of exceptions that make Japan Day an event on its own. For example, an Anime cosplay contest is scheduled in the afternoon. More information should be available on their official site as the event draws nearer.


Genshiken: Season Two

That's right! A second season of the one and only "Genshiken" has finally been announced and is due to start in Japan this Autumn 2007. I'll have more concrete details as they arise.

The coloring/shading of the series changed a little and I hope that the second season will reflect the quality of the first half of season one. This is another title I'm looking forward to watching. The Otaku club meets for a second session and it should be great.

If you haven't seen the first season of "Genshiken," I highly recommend it. It's hilarious, especially if you can totally see yourself as part of the crowd. Anime, manga, video games, cosplay, conventions, doujinshi, figures, and the like, all converge in "Genshiken" to create the world of otaku.



On my trip to Barnes & Noble this weekend, I ran across a number of mangas available as an anthology. The anthology contains 3 volumes in 1 for the price of about 1 manga!! "Tsubasa" and "xxxHolic" were among the handful of titles available, a number that will no doubt grow. It looks like right now this form of publication is exclusive to Clamp titles only.


EVA No. 10

"If thou shalt afflict my daughter, or if thou shalt take other wives."
Released in the US on April 10, 2007, the long awaited tenth volume of "Evangelion" finally arrives. It's been over two years since the ninth volume came out, but it sure feels like an eternity, or at least way longer than two years. Just as a refresher, volume ten continues the battle of the penultimate Angel, Armisael. Rei's sacrifice opens up a huge can of worms as the secrets behind NERV begin to unravel, emphasizing the culminative realization of the true tragedy behind NERV's employees.

This is one of my favorite parts of the series. I could hear "Thanatos" playing in my head as I anxiously turned the pages. The illustrations of Rei are, as usual, phenomenal. I especially love the inner flap and the chapter illustrations of the First Child.
One wonders how long the wait will be this time for volume eleven.


Satoshi Kon in DC

An ominous feeling filled the air as I finally arrived on the National Mall (DC) early Saturday morning, after a long and seemingly slow-motion trek pushing through tourists and the like. This past weekend marked the end of this year's National Cherry Blossom Festival. And right smack in the middle of all the mayhem, laid the Fifth Annual Cherry Blossom Anime Marathon at the Meyer Auditorium in the Freer Gallery of Art.

As I walked to the ticket box office to pick up the "first-come, first-serve tickets," I was greeted with a long and winding line that seemed to have no end. I was pleasantly surprised at the turn out this year. From old to young, from novices to experts, the crowd represented both extremes of the spectrum and everything else in between. From the looks of things, avid anime fans were the minority group in this event. The line moved pretty swiftly and after a brief moment of anxiousness for fear of running out of tickets, I had my hands on my passes to the four movies featured this year -- "Yu-Gi-Oh: The Movie," "Tachigui," "Tokyo Godfathers," and "Paprika."

Running all day alongside the movies, was a sort of documentary of the evolution of anime fandom, presented by the DC Anime Club. The audience took to "Tachigui," the live-action anime hybrid by "Ghost in the Shell" director Mamoru Oshii, differently. Some deemed it boring or confusing, while anime "fans" were able to pick up on its comedic elements and enjoy the movie. Expectedly, however, the highlight of the day was the second half of the line-up.

"Tokyo Godfathers" took the audience by storm and as Satoshi Kon put it most succinctly, "Tokyo Godfathers" embodies happiness. His introduction nicely set up the stage for the movie. Constant laughter filled the auditorium and the uproar did not subside until the ending credits started to roll. It was amazing to see how many poor souls had yet to see this movie (and many others), let alone the fact that it's been available on DVD for ages. And unfortunately, many will never know the greatness that is anime. But back to the topic at hand...

A short Q&A session rolled in before the viewing of "Paprika." I say short, because I still feel utter resentment and disappointment that I was unable to ask my question. Out of all the questions asked, two, at most, were viable. The rest screamed pure ignorance...just Google your damn simple question and let others ask theirs. Excuse me, like I said, resentment on my part, still ensues. So with the exception of his answer to my question unasked, we learned that Satoshi really enjoys directing full-length movies. He currently has no plans to create another TV series to follow "Paranoia Agent." In actuality, "Paranoia Agent" did not arise with the intent of creating a TV series. Perfectly good ideas that arose but couldn't be implemented while Satoshi was working on "Perfect Blue" and "Millennium Actress" was "recycled" and led to the creation of "Paranoia Agent." In the mean time, Satoshi is currently working on his newest full-length movie set in the far far-distant future, rather than the frequent not-so-distant anime works. For Satoshi "followers," you can bet that the world created by him will be anything but ordinary.

The day was full of ups and downs, but in the end, it was nice to watch these movies again and a great pleasure to see Satoshi Kon. And just for those of you who are curious as to what my question was...I wanted to know what his mind-set and inspiration was when he created "Paprika." Be that as it may, his introduction to "Paprika" was perfectly said, a world of imagery at best. The ride back home was just as crazy as coming in. And you know your life revolves around anime when you've spent a whole day watching anime movies at the Cherry Blossom Marathon and when you finally get home, you pop in more anime.


J-rock Revolution

From May 25-26, former X JAPAN drummer and pianist Yoshiki will host a musical event that’s out of this world. The J-rock Revolution music festival will feature a slew of musical acts all on one stage at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. Taking the stage on May 25th are alice nine, Kagrra,, Miyavi, Duel Jewel, and Vidoll. The second night will feature performances by MUCC, girugamesh, Merry, and Déspairs Ray.

Anime Expo 2007, the biggest anime con in North America (Long Beach, CA), was on my agenda this year. Unfortunately, there’s a slim chance that I’ll be able to go to both J-rock Revolution and Anime Expo. Choosing will prove to be a difficult feat. It’s the battle of the pros and cons, but whatever I choose will definitely involve major sacrifices.

When all is said and done, this event is sure to deliver. I have no doubt that this will indeed mark a revolution in J-rock. Tickets go on sale on April 21st at 10:00 a.m. Their official site is scheduled to go live this Monday.


EVA Redesign and Movie Premiere

The official "Evangelion" site reveals the redesign of the Nerv and Seele logos for the new movies. I'm on the fence with these new logos as I have a great affinity for the originals. Advance tickets for the movie opening September 1st will go on sale in Japan on April 21st. Advance ticket purchasers will also recieve a bonus Nerv cell phone/keychain strap. Oh, the hazards of living so far from Japan. Why must I endure this torture?

Check out the
official site for pics of the logos and keychain. These pics can also be found on Famitsu.


Motoko Kusanagi PVC

Released earlier this year, this stunning figure sports our favorite Major, "Ghost in the Shell's" Motoko Kusanagi. Several Motoko figures have been released since the show's inception, but never have I seen such perfection and attention to detail in any GiTS figure. This has got to be the absolute best figure of the Major in existence.

Motoko stands at 7 inches tall donned on a custom base featuring the GiTS logo. Words really can't describe this particular figure. Now if you don't have one yet or haven't put in your order, you might have a tough time landing your hands on this great piece of art. This figure went like hot cakes and there's no surprise there. This is versatility at its best...definitely a figure with that "wow" factor regardless of whether or not you're fully versed or a great fan of the series.

While Motoko has found a home in my room, this newest Tachikoma figure has sadly not reached my shelf...anyone willing to donate money :P Anyways, this is so lifelike, it truly feels like a miniature version of a real Tachikoma. Now is your chance go grab this Tachikoma, with fully functional joints, etc. and a mini Motoko that can be posed inside the Tachikoma.


Voice I-doll Ayanami Rei Figure

The Voice I-doll Superior Figure series have featured characters from "Gundam Seed" and have now expanded to include Rei Ayanami and Asuka Sohryu Langley from "Evangelion." This elusive Rei figure exhudes vibrance striking a pose that is everlasting. The 9-inch figure comes with an electronic stand that features 10 signature lines spoken by the original voice actress, Megumi Hayashibara. 8 from the series and 2 exclusive lines recreate some of the best scenes of the series.

I've had this figure for quite some time, but am only now posting it here. I was unexpectedly unable to find the english translation for the 10 lines spoken. So I decided to translate it myself. Since my Japanese is self-taught and by far not exhaustive , it took me a while, and being the perfectionist I am, I wanted to make sure I had it just right. That lead me, with extreme enthusiasm, to watch the entire series again. So without further ado, here is the kanji and english translation for the 10 lines featured on the Rei Ayanami Voice I-doll Superior Figure (Note: you will need a japanese language tool to view the japanese characters, but hey since we're all fans here, I'm assuming we all already have them installed ^_^).

"You won't die...I will protect you."

"I don't know what to do at a time like this."
“I’ll have a garlic ramen with no roast pork.”
“AT Field, Full Power!”
”I am not a doll.”
"If you do not open your heart to her, the Eva won’t move.”
"No, I mean, I don't know that. I think, probably, I am the third."

“Isn’t it a very, very comfortable feeling?”



Innocence on Blu-ray

My copy of "Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence" on Blu-ray disc finally arrived from Japan yesterday and you can bet I ran straight to my room with utter excitement. The experience was better than I had anticipated. And as expected, there is a marked difference in audio and visual quality in the Blu-ray version as compared to the original DVD release. I felt as if I were thrown back into the world of "Innocence," watching it for first time since it came out in 2004. The opening sequence really showed off the quality Blu-ray technology has to offer. It's hard to explain it in greater detail than that, but all I can say is that my mouth was agape with astonishment for most of the movie.

The BD comes with the original movie release as well as the international release version. The movie is thankfully left in its original Japanse language, with subtitles available in Japanese, Korean, Chinese, English, and French. The Making Of, featurettes, and trailers are some of the extras included. Unfortunately, none of the extras come with any subtitles. The only thing lacking, with the exception of the absence of subtitles in the extras, was its plain packaging — one disc and nothing else. I don't know if it's a matter of costs of production and time constraints, but here's hoping that'll change with the wave of BD anime releases to come. Thus far, the one-disc packaging has been consistent for all BD releases, if I'm not mistaken. Be that as it may, "Innocence" on Blu-ray will give you a ride you won't forget. Be wary though as region coding has been shifted and does not necessarily match DVD region coding. But this is great news for U.S. fans as U.S. and Japan finally share the same code.


Platinum RX-78-2 Gundam Fix Figuration

Bandai has joined up with jewelry designer Ginza Tanaka to create the ultimate Gundam figure. The RX-78-2 Gundam Fix Figuration figure is made of pure platinum and is valued at an insane $250,000! The figure will be on exhibit at Basel World 2007 in Switzerland from April 12-19, 2007. According to Anime News International, the figure will be put on display at select events in Japan. There are currently no plans to sell the figure. This is definitely one figure I would love to see in person, if not own.


Chain Mail: Addicted to You

Another light novel released by Tokyo Pop, "Chain Mail: Addicted to You" presents a story of role-playing like never before. The back cover describes "Chain Mail" as a story of four disillusioned teenagers, but after reading this, I wouldn't have used the word "disillusioned" to describe the girls. In fact, the opposite can be argued to best portray this group of girls. Be that as it may, "Chain Mail" is about four girls: Sawako, Yukari, Mayumi and Mai, that are more or less outcasts of society. After receiving an email, they create a fictional world where each is given a character to play. A story is weaved as each character tells their story. The interconnections between the real world and their fictional world is so fluid and extremely riveting that the lines between the two worlds can never be clearly made.

I don't want to give away to much, but "Chain Mail" is an attention-grabber. Readers will want to see this through till the final twist of the story. The references made are remarkably accurate throwing you right in the center of Tokyo. While geared toward young female teens, "Chain Mail" has something for everyone, regardless of age or gender.