Even More MGS4 Updates

It seems like MGS4 was all the video game world talked about a couple of months ago when more concrete dates, trailers, and demos were being released like clockwork. Though the hype has dimmed down for a little while, as gamers patiently await for the game everyone's been waiting for, it sure enough has escalated once more, as MGS4 rumors and updates stream in by the hour. So as you guessed, here's more info. to swim in.

In the latest Kojima Productions Report podcast, it seems that MGS4 is pushing the limits of the new Blu-ray technology. Producer Ryan Payton announces that MGS4 won't have voice over tracks for other languages. Because of disc space, the Japanese version won't have an English language option and you guessed it, North American and European version won't have Japanese voice over. Before you fret, Payton goes on to state that the voice over work in MGS4 is the best it's ever been. When the time comes, if you're really itching for the Japanese VO, remember that the PS3 is region-free, so you can grab the Japanese version if you so desire.

Speaking of time, we've already heard from Konami that MGS4 is due for a simultaneous worldwide release. Thankfully enough, this hasn't changed. The penultimate date is June 12th! A day when all the major characters reunite and remaining mysteries unveiled. This will be the first time ever for Konami to simultaneously release the Metal Gear series throughout the world.

And remember when I first mentioned the pre-order special? Well Konami confirms that:
Beginning April 2008, consumers that pre-order Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots will receive the Metal Gear Saga 2.0 DVD, containing a Prologue that recaps the Metal Gear franchise, a 20th Anniversary retrospective, character bios for Big Boss, Liquid Snake, Solidus Snake, and Solid Snake, plus a collection of international trailers of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. This pre-order package also contains an insert with a download code and special instructions for accessing the Metal Gear Online beta test when it goes live in late April. This special pre-order package will only be available while supplies last.
Viva pre-orders! That's it for now...


Trigun Movie

According to Moon Phase Diary (via Heisei Democracy) the 14th volume of "Trigun Maximum" revealed word that a new "Trigun" animated film is in the works, care of Madhouse. Aren't you glad I didn't say live action?? Anyways, it will feature an original story developed by manga author Yasuhiro Nightow and director Nishimura Satoshi who collaborated with Nightow on the "Trigun" TV series. The script will be helmed by veteran anime writer Kobayashi Yasuko.

And here is the kicker, the tagline of this film is: “Vash vs. Wolfwood?! Old fans are quite familiar with the duo. I've been expecting this fight, like many others, since I first watched the anime many years ago. The movie is due out sometime in 2009, so we will probably, at the earliest, see it in 2010, unless you're lucky enough to be in Japan.


Playstation Bundle Party: MGS4 + GOW

News coming straight from Playstation and the video game event Destination Playstation is music to my ears. Many were hoping for it, crossing their fingers, and now an official statement finally arises:

To coincide with the much-anticipated North American launch of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots in late Q2 2008, SCEA will introduce a PS3 bundle, which will include an 80GB PS3, the upcoming blockbuster Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and a DUALSHOCK 3 wireless controller for $499.99 (MSRP).

As has been announced previously, MGS4 will include a Metal Gear Online “Starter Pack.” If you can’t wait to try out MGS4, the good news is you don’t have to much longer. Those who pre-order the game will be guaranteed access to a multiplayer beta test for Metal Gear Online scheduled for late April.

On another note, a new PSP Entertainment Pack will be hitting stores, featuring the famous face of the Ghost of Sparta — Kratos, this June. Retailed at $199.99, this limited edition "Deep Red" PSP, will be bundled with the "Chains of Olympus" game, "Superbad" on UMD video, and a voucher to download "Syphon Filter: Combat Ops" from the Playstation Store for free. "Chains of Olympus" arrives for the PSP on March 4th.

GoW PSP Back LoRes

GoW PSP Front LoRes


Wonder Festival 2008 Winter

Wonder Festival 2008 Winter, the most prestigious figure event series, was held last Sunday and sadly I was not in attendance, yet again. From the looks of all the coverage and photos, breath-taking and wallet crunching figures were not in short stock. If you care to indulge, be fore-warned -- there's a lot of beautiful going on. For example, Range Murata never disappoints, check out the figure on the left from the Super Comic Series, "Robot." Asuka (Evangelion) and Robin (White Hunter Robin) also make a stunning appearance, among many others.

Akiba-ch / Heisei Democracy, Part 1, Part 2 / Moeyo / Danny Choo / HLJ


Devil May Cry Anime Vol. 1

First came the video game, then came the novel, the manga, and now the anime. Set the between the first and fourth games, the 12-episode "Devil May Cry" anime series brings the return of the half-devil Dante, as well as Trish and Lady.

In the series, Dante runs his devil-hunting business, Devil May Cry, while struggling under constant financial debt and a never ending search for strawberry sundaes. There are also two new regular characters -- Dante's agent Morrison who visits frequently, and Patty Lowell, a young orphan girl he saved in the first episode, who also visits frequently, quite annoyingly actually.
Character design and animation is done beautifully, though I would have loved to have seen some of Dante's fight combos incorporated in the anime. In addition, character design for the demons could have been escalated. They just seemed to ordinary. Voice acting is done perfectly and the soundtrack is a nice complement to the series. Though some elements are done well, the DMC anime was missing one crucial part of the equation -- a solid plot. This would turn out to be the major contributing factor to the downfall of the anime. Something substantial makes its way to episode 10 through 12, but it was too little too late. An enjoyable series nevertheless, but you may want to set your bar a little lower before venturing in this high profile franchise.


AKIRA Live Action

Arguably one of the most popular anime films of all time, "Akira", is getting the live-action treatment, a fact we've known for quite some time. My shivering qualms and discontent could not be more obvious with all these anime/manga to live-action mis-adaptations. But more so, with this specific title, especially with the new turn of events. When I first heard of the new update (thanks Gendo!), I was shocked and disgusted. I wasn't expecting any good to come out of this from the get-go, but somehow they have been able to make things even worse.

The live-action adaption has been in development by Warner Bros., and it is only recently that Leonardo DiCaprio's company Appian Way, along with Mad Chance, have joined in its production. The folks at Japanator took the words right out of my mouth: "and so begins the slow and painful death" of the masterpiece known as "Akira." A grotesquely painful death. Excuse me while I throw up uncontrollably...

"Akira" represents a huge colossal milestone in anime and the majority of anime fans today can trace the root of their passion to "Akira." The mature and cutting edge technology paved the way and was definitely a breakthrough. "Akira" originated in 1988 as a manga and then as an animated film co-written and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. The story was set in a neon-lit futuristic post-nuclear war "New Tokyo" in 2019 where a teen biker gang member is subjected to a government experiment which unleashes his latent powers.

"The new story moves the action to "New Manhattan," a city rebuilt by Japanese money."

Ha! Don't make me laugh! The studio is aiming for a Summer 2009 release, the day when a classic title is officially ruined to bits.


Japanese Dreamcast Collection

We've seen some pretty hefty anime and video game eBay auctions before and this one definitely makes the top. If you ever wanted every single one of the 606 Japanese Dreamcast games ever made, then it's the French to the rescue. A seller in France is selling the entire Japanese Dreamcast game collection (including some pretty rare titles) in one fell swoop. All you need to do is cash out $20,000 for it. Oh, and what really takes the cake is that they are all sealed!! That's right, ALL sealed. Check out the full list of games here.


"Freedom" Pushes On

Toshiba joins many others in their discontinuation of HD DVDs. Following their statement made today, Bandai Visual USA releases the following statement:

In regards to Toshiba's news, we will continue to release future installments of "Freedom" on HD DVD/DVD Twin-Disc Format. We do not want to abandon our fans that have purchased Freedom 1-3. Retailers will soon stop carrying Freedom 1-3, but they will be available via our dot-anime.us (http://www.dot-anime.us) website along with the future installments.
"Freedom" is the only high-def anime release in North America without a Blu-ray Disc or digital download counterpart.


Anime Marathon Premiere

The last day of the 2-week Japan! Culture + Hyperculture event comes to a close with 3 back to back anime movie premieres: "5 cm per second," "Piano no Mori" (Piano Forest), and "Appleseed: Ex Machina."

5 centimeters per second
Makoto Shinkai is very well known for his one-man work on "Voices of a Distant Star" followed by "The Place Promised in Our Early Days." His style of animation, as well as his themes are very recognizable and his newest work, "5 centimeters per second" is no different. It carries the definite stamp of Shinkai. "5 cm per second: A Chain of Short Stories About Their Distance" is made up of three short films interconnected together to create one beautifully cohesive story. Five centimeters per second is the rate at which a cherry blossom petal falls loftily to the ground, and this little known fact serves as the focal point of this emotional and depressing love story. Takaki and his friend Akari are unexpectedly separated as Akari prepares to move into the country. As a reunion is underway, Takaki is confronted with obstacles, quite literally. As he gets closer and as time passes, he wonders if he will really ever see her again. The somber and depressing ambience Shinkai is so adept at producing is done eerily perfect as the movie also touches upon the unknown and isolation. "5 cm per second" is a must-see for all, especially Shinkai fans!!!

Piano no Mori
Next on the program was "Piano no Mori" (Piano in the Forest" and as an added and rather unexpected treat, the movie's director, Masayuki Kojima, joined us for the screening. "Piano no Mori" blends classical music and embeds it as the central factor of the anime. Based on the original manga, the story focuses on a pair of friends who later find each other competing head to head at a piano competition. The ideas behind this film is unique, but execution falls a tiny bit short. That is not to say, however, that it was a failure. In fact, "Piano no Mori" was a nice treat. The overall movie definitely made up for the small flaws. This seemingly understated anime, delivers a nice story, and should not be passed up. Regardless of your preferences, "Piano no Mori" could potentially be another classic and can stand on its own. One thing is for sure, the comedic elements of "Toilet Princess" are not to be forgotten.

Appleseed: Ex Machina
The sequel to the 2004 Appleseed film, "Applessed Ex Machina" directed by Shinji Aramaki, makes it to the east coast and serves up an interesting continuation. Set in the post-apocalyptic era, a utopian metropolis stands following the non-nuclear war that wiped out half of the world's population. Half of its current population is made up of Bioroids, genetically engineered humanoids.

Deunan, a young female warrior, and Briareos, a veteran cyborg-soldier, are both members of E.S.W.A.T., the elite special forces that maintain the upkeep of Olympus. Their partnership is put to the test as a new member arrives.


Genius Party Beyond World Premiere + Maywa Denki Concert

Maywa Denki gives a spectacular and wacky concert like only they can do, as part of the Japan! Culture + Hyperculture event. President Nobumichi Tosa and company perform their all-time popular Mechatronica concert. Maywa Denki is famous for its musical acts consisting of "nonsense" music machines and toys of their own invention. It is rare to get a chance at seeing this art troupe live, especially outside of Japan. And boy, they don't disappoint, it is quite the experience - a spectacle you've no doubt seen before. And for your education, be sure to check out his interactive manual on how his "instruments" all work here:P Below is a clip from the famous Maywa Denki "Tsukuba Series."

Right after grabbing Tosa's sig, (^_^) I quickly hustled to the "Genius Party Beyond" world premiere. "Genius Party Beyond" acts as a sort of continuation to "Genius Party." This time 5 directors showcase their work with 5 works of animated art. And present to introduce the films were 2 of the 5 directors: Masahiro Maeda (Blue Submarine No. 6) and Koji Morimoto (Memories, Macross Plus)!!

To continue on with the "Genius Party's" general theme of perspective, "Genius Party Beyond" kicks of with Maeda's short film "Gala." The film starts off with a massive meteor of some sort crashing down on a village reminiscent of ancient Japan. After a confusing upbringing, an orchestra of instruments engulf the scenes and we enter an almost "Fantasia-like" realm. Next up was Kazuto Nakazawa's "Moondrive," a comedic story about a group of four on a journey to the Island of Giants in search for gold. "'Wanwa' the Doggy" from what I could gather was a story of a boy's world of imagination. However, the MS Paint-esque method of animation is not so much an aesthetic of mine. Luckily Tatsuyuki Tanaka's "Tojin Kit" and Koji Morimoto's "Dimension Bomb" saved the day. Both spectacularly animated. "Tojin Kit" revolves around a young girl who seems to be concocting some illegal experimentation with the guise of dolls. The subdued and monotone coloring made a perfect blend with the story at hand. "Dimension Bomb" is well done and very unique, as is all the "Genius Party" and "Beyond" works. Set with an awesome soundtrack, it'll keep you guessing till the end. Overall, a nice continuation to "Genius Party."


Genius Party US Premiere

JAPAN! Culture + Hyperculture, the two-week long event at the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC) is in its last weekend run. More than 450 artists, 50 performances and events showcase the best in Japanese theater and dance, music and fashion, architecture and sculpture, poetry and literature, photography and film, including of course anime.

Among the slew of performances, is an exhibit dedicated to the evolution and technology of robots: Robotopia. The exhibit moves from the robots that built the foundation and place of robots in anime, to the role they can potentially play in life. The robot models on display really take the long time anime fan way back into time -- from Mazinger to Tetsujin to Gundam. And look it! Look it! It's Gundam's very own Zaku!

Several functioning robots were also featured. Kokoro's Actroid DER2 greeted visitors throughout the festival and is able to talk and answer your questions. The robot has an astonishing and almost unbelievable human-like appearance and movements, but the robot's answers and demeanor seemed almost barbie-like and stereotypically shallow. The yellow Wakamaru, Mitsubishi's robot can converse with people via voice and facial recognition and was able to shake visitor's hands...definitely a crowd favorite. Another favorite was Toyota's Parter Robot. Check out the my quick video clip below of the the robot playing his own Disney melody on the trumpet.

VIZ Media provides manga books and magazines in the Manga Cafe and Reading Lounge set up adjacent to the robot exhibits. The selections were very limited but is a nice addition to the event. I mean, how can you have an event showcasing the culture of Japan without some manga? As an added treat, Robin Nishi, manga author of "Mind Game" was on-site in a specially commissioned "Daily Manga" drawing.

And for the event of my night -- the U.S. premiere of "Genius Party," the anthology of short animated films from Studio 4°C released on back in July. It features 7 films from 7 directors that represent the best of the anime industry. "Genius Party" may not be for the casual viewer, but if anything, "Genius Party" showcases the artistic valor anime represents. While Executive Producer Eiko Tanaka was a no show, Shinichiro Watanabe made an appearance at the premiere and provided a nice introduction that stressed the fact that these directors weren't constrained with certain story and character limitations. Instead, these 7 directors were able to create what they really wanted to create. Nothing was out of bounds. "Genius Party" is definitely not your commercial anime, but shows the true scope and reaches of anime.

"Genius Party" is directed by Atusko Fukushima and is the leading story of this project. This unique piece expands from a theme based on the birth of an image, and serves as a great introduction for what's the follow. "Shanghai Dragon" (Shoji Kawamori) was hilarious and is impossible to fully explain without giving away the best part of the film. Futuristic people travel to the old city of Shanghai and encounter a drooling young boy who could hold the key to saving humanity. "Deathtic 4" (Shinji Kimura) is set in a place reminiscent to the world of "A Nightmare Before Christmas." The grotesquely cute foursome provide a comedy unlike any other. "Doorbell" (Yoji Fukuyama) sways from the comedy to the surreal. The film features a high school student who is manipulated by his other self. "Limit Cycle" (Hideki Futamura) takes a philosophical monologue approach and is breathtakingly poetic and visually stunning. Questioning and analyzing the duality and void of life, "Limit Cycle" is very mystical and takes you on a deep journey on the perspectives of life. Pay attention or you'll easily get lost on this philosophical quest. "Happy Machine" (Masaaki Yuasa) pulls viewers into the mystical world of a naive and pure baby. Shinichiro Watanabe's strays away from his normally action-filled kill fest to a simple love story with "Baby Blue." Though the films may seem like a jumble or compilation of separate films, the underlying theme they all undoubtedly share is perspective.

My favorite films would have to be the opening movie "Genius Party," "Doorbell," "Limit Cycle," "Happy Machine," and "Baby Blue." And speaking of Shinichiro Watanabe, I was fortunate enough to "run into" Mr. Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo in the halls to score me a Studio 4°C promotion flyer package, an autograph and a quick photo op. I couldn't contain my jubilation when I unexpectedly caught up with Watanabe-san looking all cool with his shades. That definitely wrapped up the night in a nice little package.

Look out for the rest of my coverage of this Japan! Culture + Hyperculture event. This weekend still brings us the "Genius Party Beyond" world premiere, Maywa Denki, and an anime marathon.


Happy V-Day!

Happy V-day to all, especially to the frequent visitors of my blog and to all my friends, you know who you are :)


Devil May Cry 4

"Devil May Cry 4" returns and makes a spectacular next-gen debut appearance. The final end result proves itself to be definitely worth the wait.

After popping in the disc, be ready for a couple more minutes of wait for initial installation (PS3) and a review of the entire DMC story. Once that's out of the way, it's time to crank up the insane action meter on full blast.

Its sick action sequences and combos, fluid controls, and the perfect new character, Nero, to complement the legacy of the ultimate anti-hero Dante, all dictate the perfection that is DMC4. Story development is nicely paced, not extremely surprising, but just right. In fact, DMC4 seems to be on point in all respects -- soundtrack, gameplay, boss battles, and all. While the puzzles are little drawn out for me and doesn't offer to much excitement, the variety of enemies and battles undoubtedly compensates.

Excluding the underlying story and characters we all know so well, the visual effects are beyond imagination, even in this next-gen era. If you thought Square Enix were the masters of video game eye candy, with developed stories to match, DMC4 may serve up some nice competition. Without a doubt, DMC4 produces beautiful visuals and incredible cutscenes that never cease to amaze. They are, to say the least, spectacular and with incomparable quality and uniquely balanced. And thankfully enough, they are not in low stock.

Just to quickly note, the collector's edition is generously packed with some sweet goodies within the tin case, including a bonus DVD with the DCM4 soundtrack and the first volume of the "Devil May Cry" anime series (review coming soon).

Refreshing, beautiful, breathtaking, and stunning, this is the game experience I've been waiting for, for what seems like years. Get ready to be blown away with an inflation of delight and enduring satisfaction.


Halo 3 PVC Statue

Kotobukiya proves once again it has the chops to whip out an awesome Halo 3 figure. This
10-inch tall PVC statue of Master Chief in the field of battle is fully assembled and ready to display out of the box. Highly customizable, and highly detailed, this figure is the second release in the ARTFX Statue series.

Straight from the press release: With a discharged grenade at his feet and the bubble shield dissipating, Master Chief readies his armaments and begins to rise. Master Chief holds two M7 SMGs (Caseless Submachine Guns), or you can switch the bonus arms and have him grip his Assault Rifle. When not using the Rifle, it can be stored on his back. Additional hands are also included for expression, and as a special bonus for fans that collected the first Kotobukiya ARTFX Statue, you can swap weapons and hands with the first release!

Retailed at $99.99, the figure will be in available in August 2008. All I've got to say is that I love the whole effect that bubble shield has on the entire statue as a whole. Thank you, Kotobukiya, thanks again.


T.M. Revolution at NY Comic-Con

T.M. revolution is set to appear at New York Comic-Con during the April 18-20 weekend. The soloist will perform a live concert on April 19. His previous work include: D.Gray-man, Dark than BLACK, Ruroni Kenshin, Gundam Seed and of course Gundam Seed Destiny.

He will be performing a theme song from the "Soul Eater" anime series, which will premiere in Japan on April 7th.

This is sure to be an exciting performance!


Haruhi Pinky:st Figure

It had to happen sooner or later...and I'm just glad it's sooner rather than later.

Haruhi Suzumiya was just screaming for a pinky street transformation and here it comes. As usual, the anime to pinky:st figure conversion is done exceptionally well and accurate.

Look for it this March, retailed at a little over 1,500 yen.


99 Tears

Weep and you shall find happiness... At least, that's what Bandai Namco Japan are saying. They recently announced the release of "99 no Namida" (99 Tears) for Nintendo DS. The game's purpose? To make players cry, with the decree that crying can have a moving effect of relieving players from daily stress.

The game takes place in a city where people have forgotten how to cry. One day, on your way home from work, you encounter a store named "Namida no Moto Arimasu" (Source of Tears).

Players will read through a 15 minute graphic novel and answer a few questions on a daily basis. 99 stories to be precise, developing more tears as they encounter the stories. "99 Tears" is due for release later this year in Japan.


FFXIII & Versus Scans

Everyone has probably already heard about the exclusive scans of FFXIII and Versus from Famitsu PS3 hosted on finalfantasy-xiii.net. It's been available for the past couple of days and since I've opened and stared at these pics to the point where numbers don't matter anymore, it probably deserves mentioning here. Click on the individual pics for a larger view, go on click it! Check out all the scans here. So gorgeous...sigh.


Shigofumi Episode 6 Dropped

The official Japanese website for the "Shigofumi" supernatural suspense anime has confirmed that the sixth episode ("Sakebi" or "Shout") will be preempted by the Sun TV broadcasting station in central Japan. No explanation was given for the preemption. The sixth episode would have aired on February 12. Instead, the station will skip this episode and air the seventh episode ("Kirameki" or "Glittering") on February 19.

The "Shigofumi" anime centers on a girl who delivers the last letter from the dearly departed to those left behind. The story of the sixth episode will deal with ijime (bullying) in a school and on an anonymous online forum like 2ch, for example. There have been highly publicized cases of accidental deaths and suicides that were tied to school bullying in Japan in the past decade, but none have been reported in Kobe's Kansai region recently. KBS Kyoto, another station located in the Kansai region, is still planning to broadcast the episode on February 12.

On another note, "Shigofumi's" third episode, "Tomodachi" ("Friends"), was "altered in light of recent circumstances in the society at large," but not preempted entirely. All participating stations, including Sun TV, showed this episode with the edits during the week of January 16.


Yukikaze Blu-Ray Special Edition

Bandai Visual USA continues to surprise me, and I couldn't be more ecstatic. Adding to their high-def anime line-up, Bandai brings us the GONZO smash hit action five-part OVA "Yukikaze" in a Blu-ray Disc Box set with deluxe features, including never before seen footage.

Yukikaze is a masterfully told science fiction tale combined with breathtaking aerial animation that will keep you on the edge of your seats! Yukikaze tells the story of Rei Fukai, a young man who trusts his advanced armed tactical reconnaissance plane, Yukikaze, more than he does his fellow man. He comes into contact with the alien force known as JAM while gathering military data on board his beloved aircraft. JAM, showing interest in Rei and Yukikaze, begins to wage fierce battles against mankind with every means conceivable. Before long, JAM begins to launch an all out attack upon the Fairy Air Force!

Based on the press release, the set with come with 3 discs, Japanese and English Language with Optional Japanese and English subtitles. Bonus features include: 6-minute Yukikaze Experimental Movie, 28-minute feature 'Aircrafts in Yukikaze from pilot's eyes,' 20-page full color SAF Flight Manual, and exclusively designed box. Retailed at $149.99, this set is due for a super early US release April 8, 2008. Hopefully, the set will look just as sweet at the Japanese box set just recently released.


Xenosaga PVC Figure

I was browsing the latest pre-orders and new figure releases, probably not something I should be doing, and came across this awesomely icy Xenosaga figure (left) released by Alter, known for its great attention to detail. This 1:8 scale Kos-mos statue is based off the video game, Xenosaga. No words are really needed. But since I've put myself on a no-figure binge, I figured I should put this up for your viewing pleasure. While I'm at it, here's another Xenosaga figure (right) that caught my attention. It'll be interesting to see how long I can actually resist.


True Tears

What may seem like an ordinary high school romantic story, turns out to be a refreshing, sincere, and subtle anime series, all to its own advantage. "True Tears" follows a boy Shinichiro and the confusion and woes of high school life. Living in the same house as Shinichiro after her parents died about a year ago is Hiromi, of which Shinichiro is certain there are tears behind her gentle smile. After four episodes, the love triangle has ballooned to craziness - he loves her, but she loves this other guy who loves this other girl, or does he?

It's rather hard to explain the story since it is still airing in Japan, but it's definitely worth a shot. You've got a great scheme of characters and hilarious outtakes here and there. No matter your genre preference, I think "True Tears" does the trick. Who knows, if you're good enough you may be presented with some red seeds care of the quirky Noe-chan :P

Bandai has also claimed the english license for "True Tears" and will be released in May 2008. As discussed in a previous entry, hopefully we won't have to pay too much of a high price for the early release.


Shigofumi: Letters from the Departed

The word "Shigofumi" comes from the combination of the Japanese words for "after death" (shigo), and "letter" (fumi), which literally translates to "after death letter." Based on the 4-part Japanese light novel series by Tomoro, Yuzawa, "Shigofumi" follows Fumika, a mail carrier who delivers letters called Shigofumi written by people after they die to the living recipient. The letters' contents vary -- divulging the identity of their killer, a last message, and their deepest sentiments. Fumika and her rather talkative magic staff named Kanaka, encounter the living as they make their deliveries - an interesting story revolving around life and death.

"Shigofumi" may be grouped together with other related anime such as "Death Note," "Bleach," "Jigoku Shoujo," and "Shinigami no Ballad," but once you get down to it, "Shigofumi" reveals just how unique and inticing it is. The end of the episode 1 will leave you surprised and without divulging any more details that may spoil the series, I will end here. If you enjoy anime such as "Noir" for example, you will enjoy this series. The OP/ED theme songs and voice characterizations paint an accurate depiction of what the anime has it store.

Currently airing in Japan, this 12/13?-episode anime series, will make a surprisingly early appearance in the U.S., but with a huge catch. Bandai Visual USA will be releasing the DVD this May with a hefty price. A 7-disc release is planned, with each 2-episode disc priced at $39.99, each 1-episode disc priced at $29.99, putting the cost of buying each complete series at $270. R2 prices may not sit well for R1 otakus. I guess this will all depend on what the entire set will hold.