L'Arc-en-Ciel and DMC 4

The awesome rock band who needs no introduction lends its newest single to a highly anticipated game coming out in a mere couple of days. Yes, L'Arc-en-Ciel's new single "Drink It Down" will serve as the main theme for the upcoming "Devil May Cry 4" game. The dark melodic undertones of the song make an excellent partnership with DMC4.

We'll see just how perfect the game will be...the wait is almost over. With ADV Film's future a little fuzzy, the DMC 4 Special Collector's edition may be the only way fans will be able to get their hands on the first 4 episodes of the DMC anime. Who knows, as a HUGE plus, you may be one of 200 lucky people who score a signed copy of the collector's edition by director Hiroyuki Kobayashi.


Evangelion: 1.01 DVD Release

The Japan DVD release of the completely revamped new Evangelion animated theatrical feature, "Neon Genesis Evangelion: You are [not] Alone 1.0," has just recently been announced. Part 1 of the planned trilogy brings us to the beginning of it all. Fifteen years since the apocalyptical "Second Impact" event, 14-year-old Shinji Ikari is summoned to NERV HQ, a special forces organization led by his father, Commander Gendo Ikari. Shinji, with the use of a man-made automaton called an Evangelion, is given the task of defeating the mysterious angels that threaten -- all this without knowing the truth behind his endeavors.

The regular edition DVD is due for release May 21, 2008. But if you feel so inclined to bypass the booklet and CD version, grab the limited press edition coming even earlier on April 25, 2008. The limited edition includes the main theatrical feature, bonus disc with feature "Explanation of Evangelion: 1.01" (main feature with scene explanations via subtitles), feature "Rebuild of Evangelion 1.01" (uncut CG sequences, CG making-of footage), "Angel of Doom PV" (Evangelion footage music video for the climax music scene of the "Battle of Yashima" section of the film), Evangelion-style music video for Hikaru Utada's theme song "Beautiful World," and more. The set also includes deluxe explanatory guide, bonus film still actually used in the theatrical run of the film, and deluxe box.


Myst on DS

I doubt that anyone has actually never played "Myst" before. I can't believe it's been over a decade and a half since the game gained so much avail among millions of players around the world. “Myst” re-hit shelves in Europe via Nintendo DS a couple months ago and is now making its way to North America. Though Myst DS has gotten mediocre reviews, I think it’ll still entice many old and new players. The lower screen of the DS acts as the original game, with the top screen providing information and some interface features, like magnifying images. The game hits stores this March.


Strait Jacket

Phenomenal. Simply Phenomenal!! "Strait Jacket" delivers a quick blow of perfection within a mere couple minutes into the first of three episodes. I haven't felt such an instant adrenaline rush like when I first saw "Ghost in the Shell" or even "Full Metal Alchemist" for what seems like ages.

In a world where magic and science coexist, dangers and repercussions always ensue. While human beings continue to use magic in their everyday life, the chance of turning into demons are lurking. Enter the tactical sorcerer, humans who use that very same power to put these beasts at bay. Only problem is, every time they use said power, they are one step closer to becoming the very beasts they hunt and destroy.

Reiott Steinberg is an unlicensed and very skillful tactical sorcerer, with a past that will later catch up to him. Like other tactical sorcerer, he wears a "mold," a sort of strait jacket that keeps him human. The invisible curse lurking around the corner...to use the power or not, fight or die.

Aired in Japan November 2007, Manga Entertainment has been granted licensing rights. You can expect "Strait Jacket" to hit anime shelves around August 2008 in the U.S.


H2O: Footprints in the Sand

I am really not a huge fan of romantic, harem-ish anime series. I watch them occasionally. I may be overgeneralizing here, but there's only so much of it that I can watch when there always seems to be a full cast of school girls and one "poor" guy stuck in the middle of it all -- a matter of preference I suppose. Anyways, there are definitely times when a title steps a little out of that box and delivers something more. What immediately compelled me to try out "H2O: Footprints in the Sand" was its synopsis.

Takuma Hirose, a blind young male middle school student, though the case for his blindness undetermined. After his mother died an unexpected death, it left an deep emotional scar on him, which caused him to become very lonely and reserved. Due to this, Takuma and his father move from the city out into the suburbs. At his new school, he meets several new girls, though three of who he gets to know the most out of anyone else. They are the firm and obstinate Hayami Kohinata, the kind and obliging Hinata Kagura, and the cheerful and mysterious Otoho. As Takuma interacts with these girls, his medical condition gradually begins to heal.

"H2O: Footprints in the Sand" is a nice short series that is a little fan service driven to say the least. The animation isn't completely innovative, but it's not bad either. The basic color palette for such anime in this genre is used. But be that as it may, it turns out to be a good series all around.


Guardian of the Sacred Spirit

Production I.G. and acclaimed director of the Ghost in the Shell: SAC Series, Kenji Kamiyama, transforms Nahoko Uehashi's fantasy novels to a compelling and beautifully animated series in a project entitled "Guardian of the Sacred Spirit (Moribito)."

Balsa, a 30 year old female bodyguard equipped with a spear as her weapon, revisits a place called Yogo after two years. As she travels into town, she encounters and saves a child named Chagumu, who turns out to be the second prince of the Empire. After a quick turn of events, we learn that Chagumu has been possessed by some spirit that has compelled his father, the Mikado, to order his assassination. At the Second Queen's request, Balsa undertakes the mission to protect Chagumu.

"Guardian of the Sacred Spirit" is wonderfully done. A keen attention to detail is immediately evident in both the characters and their surroundings. It has been a while since a refreshing series such as this has emerged. With one episode alone, "Guardian of the Sacred Spirit" accomplishes much and shows us just how an anime should be. If you get a chance to watch this series, don't hesitate.


Newtype USA Drops Out

Representatives of ADV, the guys that brought us the Newtype magazines, have contacted retail partners to inform them that the February issue of Newtype USA will be the last. The company is planning to replace Newtype USA with another magazine that has yet to be disclosed. Newtype USA was launched by ADV back in 2002, Newtype Japan has been going strong since 1985. [Source: ANN]

The turn of events are a little unsettling. I can't help but notice a growing trend of regression. Perhaps Geneon was just the first, and with the Anime Network's 24/7 Linear Service discontinued following in suite, and now Newtype, things are no doubt getting shaky.

UPDATE (1/11/2008): The new magazine will be on sale mid-March. Titled PiQ, the magazine will cover anime, manga, video games and other aspects of pop culture. Existing subscribers can either cancel their subscription or continue to receive their remaining issues fulfilled at a two-to-one ratio, meaning you will get double the number of magazines delivered straight to your doorstep.


Skype on PSP

You may have already heard that Skype is coming to the PSP in late January in Japan. You can grab the pack including a USB microphone peripheral for about 40 bucks (25 for just the mic). The first screens of Skype in the PSP XMB are provided by Famitsu.

I'm a little bummed because the Skype service will be available only to PSP slim owners. So those of us with old school PSPs are out of luck. But for those who don't fit with us unforunates, the service will feature free voice calls between Skype users and several account management options. With the inception of Skype, it would be nice if PSP's wi-fi capabilities were enhanced, but since I'm currently not in that boat, I'll leave that discussion for someone else.


Metal Gear Saga 20th Anniversary Video

I have spent quite some time going through all the goodies included in the Japan exclusive release of the Metal Gear Saga 20th Anniversary box set. Obsessed fans around the world have been trying to decipher what's next for Snake by using the MGS knowledge and available trailers. Among the goodies included in this exclusive box set, is a 23-minute video that may hold several clues in the game's direction. I've already lost count of how many times I've watched the contents of the box set, but for those who don't own the box set, you are in luck. A fellow MGS fan has translated and uploaded said video, so let the deciphering continue!


NOISE Vol. 1

A science fiction adventure set in the Tsutomu Nihei's "BLAME!" universe, "NOiSE" serves as a prequel to the epic ten-volume manga and focuses its spotlight on Detective Mosubi Susuno. While investigating a series of child kidnappings, her own partner, Kloser, is viciously murdered. The investigation takes a brutal turn and Detective Susuno is suddenly confronted by the killer known as "The Order." -- and his sadistic silicon creature.

If you are no stranger to "BLAME!," you know you are in for a treat. The story and art of "NOiSE" is so animated that as you move from panel to panel, you begin to realize that words may not be needed. Volume 1 moves very swiftly from one major scene to another. This dark and visual journey is so fluid, it'll keep you invigorated even after you've reached the last page.

Included in this volume is a five page supplemental chapter entitled “Negative Corridor,” followed by “Blame,” Nihei’s debut work and an early version of the BLAME series


2008 A.D.

I've been thinking about this particular post for some time now. It's been quite a topsy-turvy adventure this year -- not at the very least uneventful. As I try to sort out the whirlwind stuck in my head for what seems like an eternity, I may have to admit defeat and hope things mull over themselves. Be that as it may, the anime and gaming world also had one hell of a year, both good and bad, both revolutionary and devastating.

Though anime sales have decreased in the U.S., taking into account the closure of Geneon, many noteworthy titles graced 2007. Among them includes the theatrical release of the "Rebuild of Evangelion: You are [not] Alone 1.0." Then there are the others: Tekkonkinkreet, The Girl Who Leapt through Time, Ghost Hound, 5cm, Death Note, Gurren Lagann, Lucky Star, Kanon, Code Geass, Mushishi, AIR, Welcome to the N.H.K., Darker than Black, Shinigami no ballad, Ghost in the Shell: SAC Solid State Society, Hell Girl, and so forth.
A slew of manga and anime titles are sure to come our way and I'd be sitting here all night if I attempted to list them all. But one thing is for sure, I can't wait for the overseas release of the "Rebuild of Evangelion."

The gaming world has been anything but quiet as well. The Nintendo Wii did amazingly well and Xbox 360's "Halo 3" is still the talk of the town. Though Sony and Playstation 3 had its loses and a shaky start, they end strong with spectacular games. Resistance: Fall of Man, Ratchet and Clank, Unreal Tournament III, Assassin's Creed, Folklore, Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Heavenly Sword, Uncharted, Guitar Hero III, and Rock Band, just to name a few. And to end with a positive note, 2008, for one thing, proves to show some promise. Though I can't add "Silent Hill 5" to the list, games such as "Gran Turismo 5," "Devil May Cry 4," "Project Origin" (formerly known as F.E.A.R), FF13??, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep?? and the phenomenal "Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots" await us in the new year!

The j-rock/pop scene was booming. We had the first J-rock Revolution festival brought to us by YOSHIKI, which featured nine bands over two unforgettable nights. X JAPAN reunites bringing their debut via "SAW IV." Polysics and The Pillows continue to entertain and old favorites such as L'arc en ciel, Dir en Grey, D'espairs Ray, Ayumi Hamasaki, BoA, Gackt, and Utada Hikaru don't disappoint. The J-rock/pop/visual kei phenomenon is growing ever more popular and it looks like it'll continue this course for years to come.

It looks like 2007 was the year of demolition, experimentation, revelation, and exploration, hopefully all to pave the way for 2008 -- the year to rebuild, grow, and enlighten. Bring on the games, bring on the music, and bring on the anime!! Bring it on!