L'Arc~en~Ciel 20th Anniversary Concert in Theaters

How many times have you folks that love Japanese musicians but do not live in Japan complained that you can’t go to your favorite band's concerts because, well, you don’t live in Japan?! L’Arc~en~Ciel knows they have fans that love them worldwide and they won’t let a little detail like distance keep them from returning that love.

The band, in cooperation with Live Viewing Japan, Inc. will be releasing their "20th L’Anniversary LIVE" concert in movie theaters. This two-hour special that took place on May 28th and 29th will be running for one night only in several cities around the world, including Tokyo, Singpore, Paris, Baltimore, New York, Los Angeles, and many more. U.S. screenings will take place on November 29th.

Click here to find out if your city is screening the event and to purchase tickets.

This will be the third entry Third Impact has posted about Hyde, Ken, Yukihiro and Tetsuya this month. We may just have to rename this month L'Arctober.

[Editor's Note: If you've never seen Larku live, this is definitely a treat. But let me just say that I completely agree with Sam...with all the love Third Impact has been giving Larku this month, L'ARCTOBER it is!!!]

All Hallow's Eve 2011

It's that time of year again. When the rest of the world cosplay along with us. Presenting my 2011 pumpkin! Not sure what I was going for this year, but this zombie-inspired pumpkin was another one I had fun making.

Be sure to check out my past pumpkins from 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. I think last year's Kratos-inspired pumpkin is still one of my personal favorites.

What about you? Doing any pumpkin carving? Dressing up for Halloween? Marathoning anime? Cuddling up to a good video game?

Let us all "take the black" as "Winter is nigh" and it seems that some of us will be dealing with white walkers on this halloween.

Happy Halloween from all of us at Third Impact...stay safe!


Junjo Mistake Anime Adaptation

Excuse any typos as I tremble while attempting to type this out.

The December issue of Ciel Tres Tres magazine will be announcing tomorrow, the anime adaptation of Shungiku Nakamura's Junjo Romantica manga spinoff Junjo Mistake!!!! Yes, you heard me.....Junjo Mistake in anime form!!!!

Junjo Mistake takes place ten years before the main Junjo Romantica storyline. It follows Ryuichiro Isaka (senior managing director of Marukawa Publishing, and Haruhiko's childhood friend in the main Romantica storyline), and his assistant Kaoru Asahina. In "Mistake," Isaka aspires to be a novelist, despite his keen abilities on the business realm. Asahina finds himself working for the Isaka family, and becomes something more to Isaka.

Say it with me....A-SA-HI-NA!!!!

(now to re-read for any typos...) [Source: Otakomu]


Third Impact Spotlight: Newest Guest Contributor

Great things are brewing here at Third Impact. Recently, we announced the addition of our newest contributor, Sam. She has transitioned here quite nicely, and I'm enjoying every post to date. We'll also be announcing more goodies in the near future, but shhhhh......it's a secret. In the meantime, you may have noticed another voice in Third Impact as of late. And it makes me very ecstatic and proud to announce our latest acquisition in the form of a brand spanking new guest contributor.

Please join me in welcoming Ayu (Anthy incarnate!), another avid Third Impact fan, fellow otaku, and bestie! You'll see Ayu pop in and out of Third Impact and offer her thoughts on the latest in all things Japanese. Wrapping up her Asian studies both in U.S. and our mecca, Japan, you'll no doubt be seeing her short stories and novella published in the future. We at Third Impact feel privileged to snag her first!

When asked to briefly describe herself, here's what she had to say:
"Some say her blood type is coffee. Some say her fingerprints are a ●,■,▲, X and R1 button. Some say she really did graduate from Ohtori Academy. Some say she is majored in Asian Studies in college just so she could get a discount, 4-month trip to Japan to attend a D concert. When she talks about old-school anime, old-school shows become popular new shows.

Her love for Devil May Cry is so great, the devil actually cried. She once wanted to work for Newtype Magazine, but decided contributing to Dead Sea Scrolls 606: Third Impact was a far better place to express her undying love of Japanese pop culture. She isn’t famous at all, but other people want her autograph. She may just be an abnormal twenty-something, but she is… one of the most interesting otaku in the National Capital area.

My fandom may not always get what it wants, but I hope to provide your fandom with a little of what it wants. Third Impact… stay informed my friends."
Check out Ayu's informative posts to date...and more to come!
- L'Arc~en~Ciel's X X X Single
- The Return of Sailor Moon


Togainu no Chi PVC Figures by Kotobukiya

Oh mommy... Clear me some shelf space.

Pre-order start dates are a dangerous time for my bank account and the craftsmen over at Kotobukiya know just how to hook me. As of October 20th you can place your orders for the dangerous and drool worthy men of Nitro+CHiRAL's "Togainu no Chi" in 1/8 scale. The highly detailed Uiro Yamada illustrated figures will run you around 7000 yen a piece and can be purchased at sites such as CD Japan and Hobby Search.

The knife wielding Akira is set to release in all his scarred and bandaged (and pants dropping!) glory on March 31, 2012.

The violent man in black Shiki with his piercing red eyes and katana will be trailing not too far behind on April 30, 2012.

Add them to your collection before they add your dog tags to theirs!


The Darkness Gets New Writer in 2012

Berkeley, CA – 20 October 2011 -- Top Cow Productions is proud to announce the addition of acclaimed writer David Hine (THE BULLETPROOF COFFIN, Batman) to the stable of talented stewards of the Top Cow Universe. Beginning in March 2012, Hine brings his considerable experience to torturing one of comics’ favorite bad boys, Jackie Estacado. David joins Detective Comics creative partner, Jeremy Haun (ARTIFACTS, PILOT SEASON: THE BEAUTY) as the ongoing team on THE DARKNESS beginning with issue #101.
“From issue # 101, I'll be the regular writer on THE DARKNESS, one of the best and longest-running independent books out there. I'll be teamed with Jeremy Haun, one of the most talented artists I've worked with. And I'm dreading it!” said Hine. “To write a character like Jackie Estacado you have to go into some very dark and ugly places on a daily basis. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it...”
“I couldn’t have been more excited when I found out we were able to get David on THE DARKNESS long term. He is one of those writers that perfectly balances story with character. He understands the inner workings of his characters and really knows how to tap into their darkness, if you’ll forgive the pun,” explained Hine’s collaborator, Jeremy Haun. “I’ve wanted to have an extended run on a series for years now, THE DARKNESS is the perfect place for me to do that. David and I are working hard to build a story that is true to the property, but at the same time, really kicks up the horror elements of the book.”
Hine takes over the writing duties from the long time writer Phil Hester (Green Hornet, Wonder Woman), who has written the series since 2007, when the series relaunched following the events of FIRST BORN and the release of THE DARKNESS video game. Hine has previously written the titular character of Jackie Estacado in 2010’s limited series THE DARKNESS: FOUR HORSEMEN, which garnered rave reviews. With Hester concluding his run on the series with the landmark issue #100 and The Darkness II slated for release in February, the time was perfect for a fresh voice to embrace THE DARKNESS. The team of Hine and Haun will pick up the story of Jackie Estacado after the events of ARTIFACTS #13, which Top Cow promises will alter the status quo of the Top Cow Universe irrevocably. Joining the already announced teams of Tim Seeley (HACK/SLASH) and Diego Bernard (The Man With No Name) on WITCHBLADE and Ron Marz (MAGDALENA, VOODOO) and Stjepan Sejic (WITCHBLADE) on the ARTIFACTS ongoing series, the two will help guide one of Top Cow’s flagship franchises into a new era perfect for longtime, lapsed, and new readers alike.

THE DARKNESS #101, a 32-page full-color comic book for $3.99, will be on sale in stores and digital platforms, including THE DARKNESS app, in March of 2012. THE DARKNESS #94 (APR110499) will be on sale October 26 for $3.99.


Akira Live Action Greenlit

After what has seemed like an endless loop of rumors (with names like Leonardo DiCaprio to Keanu Reeves being placed in the mix) and a massive developmental nightmare (with re-budgeting, for example), Warner Bros. has officially given its live-action remake of Katsuhiro Otomo's anime cult hit "Akira" the greenlight. Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Unknown, House of Wax) will helm the newly-budgeted $90 million movie about biker Tetsuo Shima, and his incredible psychic powers and the biker gang member Shotaro Kaneda, who tries to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira. According to Variety, shooting will begin in late February/early March 2012. Garrett Hedlund (TRON: Legacy) seems to be the front runner for the lead role as Kaneda.

Twitch reports that Gary Oldman has been offered the role of Colonel; while Helena Bonham-Carter has been offered Lady Miyako. This, at the very least, has me intrigued simply because you just happen to have two of my all-time personal favorite actor/actress!

With a smaller budget, and the mere fact that I hate seeing my beloved anime titles in the hands of Hollywood, I don't know if this movie could be a hit. There's a reason why specific titles, such as Akira, have taken the mediums of manga and anime. There are things that only anime can do. Can a live action movie adapation capture the violence, the gritty, the supernatural, gruesome nature of Akira and leave us in complete awe of all the epicness? I am clinging on to the fact that Otomo will exec produce Akira. But does doing an awesome job, mean that instead of making a movie that closely resembles the anime we all love, it will instead be a recreation -- another way of telling the story...


Devil May Cry HD Collection Confirmed

It's official, it's official...it's official!

CAPCOM has officially announced that it will release the Devil May Cry HD Collection for both the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

The DMC HD Collection brings the first three original DMC titles -- Devil May Cry, Devil May Cry 2, and Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening Special Edition -- together in one high def package for the first time. The collection will be available early 2012 in Europe and North America (February 7, 2012) for $39.99.

Dante, my darling....I think THIS is what they call a "heart-warming family reunion."


L'arc-en-Ciel x Pinky:st Collaboration

What to do about my love affair of Pinky:st figures? Sure they are adorable, and possibilities are endless with their ability to swap accessories, hair, and clothing. Then you have the special collaborations every now and then. My favorite ones from my collection include: the crew from Sky Crawlers, Tokikake, Henrietta's Gunslinger Girl, and of course the Range Murata series. Now, it looks like it's time to add L'arc-en-Ciel into the mix.

BabySue does it again with an adorable collaboration set. The set includes figures of all the band members in one package, each coming with their own base containing the names on it. From the looks of it, several accessories are included with the pack, including 4 different wristbands, a bass for Tetsuya, a guitar for Ken, drumsticks for Yukihiro, and a mic for Hyde (along with an additional arm to hold said mic).

Retailed at 6,500 yen, no street date has been set for its release yet. A special guitar pic featuring Ken in pinky:st form is also available in Japanese music stores (for 105 yen).


Grave of the Fireflies Live Action

Released back in 2005, Nippon TV produced a live-action version of the acclaimed 1988 animated feature, Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka) directed by Studio Ghibli's Isao Takahata, and based on a book by Akiyuki Nosaka. The heart-rendering story was recreated as a live action movie for TV to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

Hotaru no Haka remains to be a profound and powerful movie, even in comparison to non-war movies. To quickly recap, the story takes place toward the end of World War II in Japan, and follows a young boy, Seita, and his younger sister Setsuko who end up on their own struggling to survive.

If you've seen the anime, or read the book, then you already know what kind of state you'll be left as you watch the movie. Beautiful and tragic, this might be why I'm so late in finally watching the live action movie. What's most obvious from the live action is that it closely follows its original source. The casting for the movie is spot on. We definitely get more context behind Hisako Sawano, Seita's aunt, character and her back-story. But I'll have to admit, even knowing that, it still didn't stop me from yelling curse words at the screen.

As I said, the live action closely follows the book, so there are various differences if you compare it to the anime. I wouldn't say one is better than the other. Rather, I see it as another take of the source. The anime starts the movie with an already dead Seita as he flashbacks to tell his story. The storytelling in the anime is unprecedented, leaving viewers in tears with a simple shake of Setsuko's fruit drop can. In the live action, we follow Seita and Setsuko as the events are occuring. We get a larger focus on other characters including the aunt and their cousin, as well as other individuals they meet. Beautifully paced, and nicely done in all categories.

Hotaru no Haka, in all forms, is a definite must-see. So grab that can of fruit drops, and some kleenex and engulf yourself in this incredible story once more.


L'Arc~en~Ciel's X X X Single

Give me an EFFIN Blow-Pop NAUUUU!

At long last, I got my hands on a copy of this single, released earlier last week. In looking at the cover, I'm instantly reminded of a certain picture Hyde had out with VAMPS... you know the one I mean.... lying in plush darkness, cherries strewn about the place, one held enticingly between his lips while he gazes sexily straight at you. Yeah, that pic. Well, the cover of X X X is almost the same, sans cherries but plus the other members of L'Arc~en~Ciel. They are all dressed in black and they are laying on top of each other. As always, Hyde is stunning. Tetsu is looking amazingly cute this time around (he could almost be a guest member of Dong Bang Shin Ki, lol). Ken is well.... Ken... and I had to play "Find Yukihiro". Didn't recognize him with the short brown hair looking extremely hot O_O

So delving straight into the title song.... It is hard to describe what genre it is. It's neither straight pop nor is it straight rock. It isn't pop rock either. It's something I think is uniquely Larku. The strings providing a deep background, the strumming of acoustic guitars, and the boys playing their hearts out. The song has a wonderfully seductive beat. If someone has a "Music to Make-Out By" playlist anyway, this automatically needs to be on there. I haven't really analyzed the lyrics yet but they are sexy.. suggestive anyway.... risque factor to be assessed later. Hyde is belting out the words, punctuated by some throaty groans and soft, airy moans, once again accompanied by the orchestra and Ken's guitar. The melody is simple but addictive. At first, you may be wondering just who you're listening to, but the song quickly grows on you and you realize it was just Larku all along. Needless to say, the karaoke is epic.

The B-side of the single is an updated version of "I'm So Happy" from the 1996 single "Kaze ni Kienaide". This is an acoustic version. Just some electric piano work, Yuki working the drums very lightly and Hyde singing. Unfortuantely, there is only one way to accurately review this song it is VERY RATED R. So here it goes.... the new version of I'm So Happy is a lot like having sex.  <_< I'm serious. It starts off slow and entreating, all foreplay like. Teasing and tempting but promising you something very good at the end. It goes on like that for a while.... very innocent and very nice. It's a slow start, slowly building as the song goes on. Then Hyde's voice starts fluctuating between just singing and becoming more intense. The lyrics start being delivered in a more sensual tone. By the time the instrumental solo roles around... and forgive me for saying it... Hyde is totally inside you... beautiful falsetto, groans, lofty sighs, beautiful melodious tones to your ears. Then after the solo, you honestly start wondering if Hyde is actually doing something naughty while singing. His voice is totally breathy, his normal even singing broken and full of emotion. Then just when you thought the end was coming, he gets all soft on you for a moment. Then after that, he just starts... screaming out? I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU. I LOVE YOU in this amazing climax "I'M SO HAPPY WITH LOVE", his voice even rising a bit each time he says it until he just releases all his pent up emotions.... =O.O=. Was it good Hyde? And then afterwards, he snuggles with you while finishing out the song in this kinda cute voice, a little breathy sounding; definitely a good afterglow. It's all very intimate since Hyde's vocals are so prominent, even if they are slightly washed out by a grainy vocal layer. Shoulda just let the man sing without being fancy. (I guess that extra layer was some form of protection??? Take that to mean anything you want LOL.)

The karaoke of this song sounds like something that should be playing in Starbucks or at some cafe. It's warm and cozy. Makes you wanna drink hot coco and lounge around with a loved one or a good book or your pet.

Overall, if you couldn't tell, I actually like this single. X X X is damn addictive if you aren't careful. While I'm not so keen on "I'm So Happy," thinking of the vocal version in the fashion I described it above, it's not so bad. This single makes you happy karaoke tracks exist because you will want both of them. I think the single sounds a lot like L'Arc~en~Ciel, and I know some people (and even die hard fans) may disagree with me. Larku has been able to stay active for over 20 years because their music varies. Sometimes, you get something different and that is exactly what this is. I personally think X X X sounds like a song Dong Bang Shin Ki/Tohoshinki could have sung, but seeing as how they are now fragmented due to legal troubles back in Korea, I gladly accept this as a fine substitute. ^___^ The bottom line is, it may not sound like Larku, but no one else but Larku could pull off a single like this. I give it a 4.3 out of 5 (or a 8.7 / 10).

I still feel like a noob when it comes to Japanese PVs. Just what the hell are the artists/directors/producers thinking sometimes?! LOL. This IS NOT one of those moments. If you remember the PV for "Drink it Down", then get that image in your mind, except making it white instead of black; toss in a few more random chicks, make the Larku members look like the modern version of the Beatles, toss in a bit of "DEVIL SIDE" by VAMPS and add some white feathers from "Black Swan" and there is your PV!!!! Confused? Don't be!!!

No, the PV takes place in this crowded hall with good natural lighting. The sun is out. The girls are drinking, dancing and having a good time. The boys are grouped kinda closed together in clothes that unfortunately remind you of the Beatles (yes... they do. I'm sorry. There's no getting around it.) Tetsu is so damn cute and hot it's insane. He's strumming on a giant pink bass (YES. PINK. Breast Cancer Awareness month ne? LOL). Yukihiro is playing the drums... I forgot what type they are; it's not a set, just two individual drums. Snare drums? I'm not sure. Ken... looks as aloof playing his guitar while surrounded by beautiful women as ever. And Hyde is decked out in white with his hair completely in braids with white cords weaved in. AND THAT IS WHERE I GOT LOST. I was expecting something dark given the cover the single alas, I got something white. Did I mention the girls were supplied with Blow Pops. Yes. Pun intended. Yes. I literally mean they were erotically licking Blow Pops. Green Apple and Watermelon flavors <---- (yes, I have a thing for Blow Pops). Anyway, the PV matches the song perfectly. The song sounds like its orgy music. The PV is pretty much your high school prom revisited but with better dancing and Larku providing the tunes. There really isn't much else to be said other than the girls rubbing all over each other having fun, Hyde looking sexy, Tetsu looking sexy, Yuki looking SURPRISINGLY sexy and Ken just doesn't care!!! XD Plus Blow Pops. Hyde should have eaten one! Oh... and there is a moment where they switch out of the party and place the boys with their normal instrumental in an all white background. Hyde must have come from a YFC concert. SWAYING TIME. Hyde can sway better than Gackt. THERE I SAID IT. Needless to say, with the catchy melody and Hyde going side to side like that, don't be surprised if while watching, you too begin to sway. It's natural. Just go with it. Hyde will be happy for you. Near the end of the PV, the girls have tired themselves out. They are sprawled all over the place. They start waking up... creating a writhing mass, to find out they've all been branded with X X X (in various spot on their body). The final seen is a close up of Hyde's eye. He's wearing a beautiful, sparkly grey-blue contact and what is that?! Low and Behold a beautifully branded X X X right on the white of his eye. SOMEONE GET ME THAT CONTACT AND A BLOW POP.

Verdict. I STILL don't understand Japanese PVs but at least there is no real story involved here. Go to a prom, get Larku to sing for you, eat candy, drink champagne, rub up on your fellow party-goers while also getting some flirtatious looks and maybe a little skin time with the boys, then pass out and wake up to find you've been branded (mostlikely by Hyde). Not a bad party. You'll forgive Hyde for reverting back to his 2005 look with the braids and all. It's not so bad. You'll also be okay with the fact the PV just DOES NOT MATCH THE COVER OF THE SINGLE. Which was a tad disappointing. I would have liked to see the boys splayed out on each other in the PV...just like I wanted Gackt and Jon to honestly kiss each other in "END OF THE DAY".... but again, I digress. I would have liked there to be some black involved instead of the white scheme. Makes it hard to relate this PV to "Drink it Down" without the black... but it still does remind you of that PV sans the vampires.

Final thoughts:
In the end, the PV and the single is different yet familiar feeling. Give it a try. If anything, you'll just end up humming the song while swaying when you least expect it. Overall, the whole package gets a 8 out of 10 for me. The draw backs would be a lack of black in the PV and the slightly raw and unrefined rendition of "I'm So Happy". The title song, however, as I've said before, is too addictive. Even if you don't like it, I swear you'll end up listening to it over and over and over again. It's just that type of song. Hell, it already has 10 plays on my ZUNE count. I'm definitely getting me a hardcopy of this one. So very different from "I Love Rock n' Roll" but so very awesome.

The web wasn't so keen on this single nor the PV but, as a die-hard fan and as an objective reviewer, believe me people who complained, it could have been A LOT WORSE. Hyde could have just gone straight Lady Gaga on you. THAT YOU WOULD NOT HAVE LIKED. So shut up and enjoy!

Looks like the age old battle between Hyde & Gackt has been reignited in explosive fashion. Who will win the battle of the play count???


Pick up your regular or limited edition at CD Japan.


The Return of Sailor Moon

Fighting evil by moonlight. Winning love by daylight. Kodansha USA, by her, has done right. She is the one named Sailor Moon.

Appearing in a collected volume in English once again is the one, the only Sailor Moon. After a long, long and undeserved absence from bookshelves across the U.S., the pretty soldier in a sailor suit has been revived by the good people at Kodansha USA. Does anyone even remember the last time you could buy Sailor Moon at Borders? Well, if you do remember, you’ll be happy to hear that a lot has changed, but a lot has reminded the same.

The most notable change of all is the new cover and the new title “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon.” This title carried over from the original Japanese re-release, updated to reflect the title of the television series airing at the time. All the re-release versions will have new covers drawn by Takeuchi Naoko. Sadly, if you read Sailor Moon like you watched the anime, this will make it hard to distinguish one “season” from another. However, the cover art is high quality and Takeuchi-sensei’s style hasn’t changed much since she last drew her famed heroine. Opening the book, you'll be greeted by another new, full color image drawn especially for the re-release. Then there is the colored first few panels of the manga and a newly printed, colorized version of the splash-page. All this on nice glossy paper. After that, I suggest you grab a snack, curl up in a comfy chair and prepare for a wonderful trip down memory lane.

Just for those who don't know, Sailor Moon is the story of an ordinary middle-school girl named Tsukino Usagi who, like me, loves video games but hates studying (especially math). She is granted the power to become a guardian of love and justice by Luna, a talking cat with a crescent moon-shaped symbol on her forehead. With this power, she is able transform into Sailor Moon and not-so-gracefully combat evil. She is eventually joined by three other fellow guardians with powers over ice, fire and thunder. In addition, there is always the handsome and mysterious Tuxedo Mask to help the girls out when in a bind.

This first volume follows the birth of the sailor senshi and starts to unravel the mystery behind the legendary Silver Crystal, the missing Moon Princess, and the dark motives of the Dark Moon Kingdom headed by the villainous Queen Beryl. Now for the question you've all been waiting to have answered: how does this new release compare to the original U.S. release put out by TokyoPop way back in the day? The answer is, Kodansha righted the wrongs and triumphed over mistranslations!

  • You are now able to read the story in the original Japanese right-to-left format; no more backwards pictures.
  • You don't have to put up with the "dub" names. The characters all adhere to their original Japanese names, even if you still must read them first name then surname (instead of surname first).
  • This release is translated closer to the original Japanese text. Also, this volume gives you an extra story -- nothing new, just the first chapter from the U.S. original volume 2.
  • Whoever invented translation glossary/notes for the back of the book...THANK YOU. Sailor Moon has one to increase your knowledge about Japanese culture and to provide reasoning behind why the translators chose the words that appeared in the text.
  • As a bonus, this release is printed in a larger format than the old TokyoPop release; easier on the eyes! It makes you appreciate the retouched art all the more.

With all this praise for Kodansha USA, is there something they messed up? Actually, there is. It isn't their fault, but I consider it a major flaw of the re-release -- no liner notes in the sidebar. That's how the Japanese re-release was designed. Sadly, this means no reprinting of Takeuchi-sensei's funny stories, worries and other random stuff. But don't fret, the absence of the sidebar does not interfere with the manga; all the pictures just come out to the edge of the page now. You can't even tell where the liner notes were supposed to be unless you have an old release next to you. My only other fault with the re-release is the use of "bun-head" as the translation for odango. I honestly think this is where DiC got it right and the term "meatball head" should have been used. I realize that is not an accurate translation, but it sounds better than "bun-head" and it gives Mamo-chan that mocking tone he's supposed to have.

Another tiny irksome thing for me at least, is the use of "Pretty Guardian" instead of "Pretty Soldier." While it was nice to link it to the television series, I think if you were going to do an accurate re-release of the series, the original title should have been used. There has always been an unspoken distinction between the manga/anime, stage musicals and television show; now, that distinction has been blurred. Besides, the word in the title is Senshi and that translates as 'soldier' or 'warrior.' It feels like the series has been dumbed down if you take out reference to the girls actually doing serious, sometimes life threatening battle...but that's just my personal translation tiff as a student of Japanese language ^_~ Finally, as much as I like the new covers, I'm sad that the original cover art was not used. I've seen the artbooks; Takeuchi-sensei poured her heart into those pictures. I hope with the subsequent releases, the original splash-page art will at least be colorized like in this volume. Other than that, I consider this a near-flawless victory for Kodansha USA and a major win for us American fans.

Sailor Moon was a merchandise empire, social empire that defined a generation of otaku both in America and in Japan. It was marketed all over the world and adapted to meet the needs of each host country. While some found that appalling, I find it a unique gift that few manga/anime series have been able to accomplish since. It sure did take a long time for this re-release to reach American shores; it's been out in Japan since 2003 (and was reprinted again in 2009 when I was there!) If you were a fan of the series or the shoujo genre in general, you had better go out and pick up volume one and all subsequent releases of "Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon" and "Code Name: Sailor V." It has been so long since I've last seen or read Sailor Moon, I found myself once again enchanted by storyline, cheering for our heroines and falling in love all over again for Tuxedo Mask! <3 I can't wait to plow through volume two when it is released this November!

For now, go buy your copy of volume one at a bookstore near you or online from Amazon! In the name of the moon, I command you to do it!!!! XD


Dive's Lupin the 3rd PVC Figure

I love seeing old school anime and manga resurface. And this new figure from an old school title, Lupin the 3rd, is no exception.

Dive brings us a totally cute and detailed figure of Lupin driving his signature little yellow car with Jigen popping out of the sun roof, armed and ready to save the princess. The figure is retailed at 4,500 yen and is due out late December. Anyone else seeing a huge ass cliff overlooking a massive ocean as the perfect background for this figure?

Also, Blum is releasing a diecast model of the 1/43 scale Fiat 500F with Lupin standing beside it. This little gem is retailed at 7,000 yen and is due out January 2012.

Grab the Dive and Blum figure at AmiAmi. [Source: Tomopop]


Video Games Shopping List: Nov. 2011 Edition

To fellow gamers out there, Q4 of any year means one thing -- the sweet release of long-time awaited titles finally come to fruition, ready to be conquered by gaming systems all over. And if you are like me, you've placed your pre-orders months ago and have checked your lists twice or thrice. If so, then you'll no doubt have realized that November will be one hell of a month for gamers!!! Wallets will weep and villains destroyed all in the name sake of satiating gamers' appetites.

While this is by no means a list of all November release titles, here's a taste of what the month will bring, specifically, the titles that will envelope me next month.

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
(Nov 1st)
Fortune hunter Nathan Drake is catapulted headlong into an adventure that takes him on a daring trek into the heart of the Arabian Desert in a search for the fabled "Atlantis of the Sands." This journey pits him and his mentor Victor Sullivan against the occult treachery of a shadowy clandestine organization and its ruthless leader. When the terrible secrets of this lost city are unearthed, Drake's quest descends into a desperate bid for survival that strains the limits of his endurance and forces him to confront his deepest fears.

What you can always expect from any Uncharted game is an extremely fun, action-packed experience with a great backstory and solid character development. I expect that Drake's Deception will not disappoint.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Nov 8th)
What to say about Call of Duty that won't already have my friends rolling their eyes at me. The third chapter of what has to be my favorite CoD title, Modern Warfare is back. The blockbuster first-person action series is set in near-future combat scenarios.

From the look of things, there don't seem to be drastic changes to elevate MW3 to a new level, but if it's not broken, why mess with it. That isn't to say that nothing's changed. Survival mode should bring awesome quick-paced fun. All multi-player maps will be available in Survival mode, with each map requiring different tactics. RELOAD with these gun-tastic first-person shooter!

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (Nov 8th)
Ahhhh, Metaru Giru Sorido. November is truly a month of the return of my personal favorites. And MGS is no acception, and this HD Collection is a special treat for old MGS fans, and those poor sorry souls who have never played MGS (ahem...)

The Collection includes 3 awesome chapters in the Metal Gear franchise -- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. The Metal Gear Universe is a story that has always been a favorite of mine, and any excuse to dive into the world of Snake and uncover the layers of mysteries is a good enough excuse for me.

I've got to give out a general kudos on the recent releases of "HD Collections." The "God of War" HD Collection and "ICO/Shadow of Collossus" HD Collection releases are truly gems, and I look foward to the "Silent Hill" HD Collection as well. It is great to be able to stroll through memory lane and play favorite games again. So if the quality of these releases remain spectacular, I decree, "keep them coming!!"

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Nov 11th)
The Empire of Tamriel is on the edge. The High King of Skyrim has been murdered. Alliances form as claims to the throne are made. In the midst of this conflict, a far more dangerous, ancient evil is awakened. Dragons, long lost to the passages of the Elder Scrolls, have returned to Tamriel. The future of Skyrim, even the Empire itself, hangs in the balance as they wait for the prophesized Dragonborn to come; a hero born with the power of The Voice, and the only one who can stand amongst the dragons.

It feels like its been ages since The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion first came out, six years to be exact!! Just the RPG I need now...

Assassin's Creed Revelations (Nov 15th)
Ezio, Ezio, Ezio....EZIO MI AMORE!! Ezio's final adventure is almost here. Revelations presents the most immersive experience available in the series to date and the culmination of Ezio's adventure. In Assassin’s Creed Revelations, master assassin Ezio Auditore walks in the footsteps of his legendary mentor, Altaïr, on a journey of discovery and revelation. It is a perilous path – one that will take Ezio to Constantinople, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, where a growing army of Templars threatens to destabilize the region.

In addition to Ezio’s award-winning story, the acclaimed online multiplayer experience from Assassin's Creed Brotherhood returns, refined and expanded, with more modes, more maps and more characters that allow players to test their assassin skills against others from around the world. The latest chapter in the Assassin’s Creed saga also includes revolutionary gameplay, allowing players to manipulate the construct of Desmond’s memories and the Animus to decipher the mysteries of his past and gain insight into the future.

Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (Nov 15th)
Ultimate MvC3 is an updated stand-alone version of Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds. Gameplay is similar to its predecessor, with a few changes here and there. These include adjustments on the aerial exchange feature, hyper combo gauge, x-factor duration, button mashing addition, and attack and speed boost alterations. Core mechanics remain the same as well, but carry a few aesthetic changes such as a new character and stage select screen and a few other tweaks.

The update also brings forth 12 new characters bringing the total of characters up to 42. Joining the Marvel ranks are: Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Nova, and Rocket Raccoon. On the Capcom side, Firebrand, Frank West, Nemesis T-Type, Phoenix Wright, Strider Hiryu, and Vergil join the crew.

Tekken Hybrid (Nov 22nd)
Bring on the fighting games! Wish we could throw in some Soul Calibur V into the mix, but I'll take what I can for now. Tekken Hybrid brings a trio of Tekken goodies. Looking forward to seeing Tekken Blood Vengeance 3D again, the full-length feature film on blu-ray. For those who haven't seen it yet, Tekken fans will appreciate seeing favorite characters. The movie follows Xiaoyu Ling who is tasked by the G Corporation to infiltrate an international school in Kyoto and gather intel on the mysterious student, Shin Kamiya. Dive again as the neverending struggle continues with the Mishima Zaibatsu, Jin Kazama, Kazuya Mashina, and the infamour Heihachi Mishima! Cool graphics, the hilarious shower scene, and basically any scene with Lee, LMAO!

Tekken Hybrid rounds up with two games now playable on the PS3 -- Tekken Tag Tournament HD (an HD remake of the classic PS2 game) and Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue (a sampler of the arcade game).

So what say you? Will you be locked up in a gaming hole next month? What other titles will you be picking up? Happy Gaming fellow gamers!!


hide Fashion Doll Pre-Order Open!

I'm a girl, so I'm supposed to be hard wired to like dolls, right? You're darn right I am if that doll is modeled after one of my favorite J-ROCK icons of all-time!

Doll company Groove will add hide (the dearly departed X Japan guitarist, solo artist and front man to past bands Zilch and Spread Beaver) to their Taeyang collection on January 31, 2012. The legendary musician's look is designed after his promotional video with Spread Beaver, "ROCKET DIVE". Wearing a faithfully reproduced Parker zipper detail track suit with hoodie (yes, stamped with the hide logo!), the 13" doll features the iconic rocker's pink hair and includes stand and removable yellow tinted sunglasses.

Pre-ordering at the price of $183.00 is now open to all you Speed Freaks at CD Japan and will run until November 7th while supplies last. Adios!


Granimator x d'Errico

Have an iPad? Love Camilla d'Errico? Well then Camilla has got a great treat for you. Camilla's Art Pack for the Granimator app, developed by ustwo, is now available on iTunes!

Using the Granimator app, users can now create their own original wallpaper design using components from Helmetgirls, which only recently was announced would become a graphic novel with Joshua Dysart called Helmetgirls: Origins in 2012. The Wallpaper Creator app, featuring 40 free download packs, is available to download on the iPad.

To help celebrate the launch of the new Granimator feature, Camilla is hosting another contest!

How To Enter:
1) Download the Granimator app and upload the Camilla d'Errico art pack.
2) Create your own original wallpaper design using the Helmetgirls characters, symbols, and words.
3) Email your original designs to info@camilladerrico.com using the in-app sharing featuring from Granimator, from now until the end of October. Contestants can submit as many entries as they would like.

Grand Prize:
One winner will have their winning wallpaper entry printed onto a special canvas and signed by Camilla d'Errico! Plus, five lucky runner-ups will be featured on the Facebook page and sent a copy of Tanpopo Vol. 1!!


Otsukimi - Moon Viewing

On Saturday, October 8, 2011, the Japan-America Society of Washington DC (JASW) and the Textile Museum held an exclusive nighttime opening of the museum to celebrate the ancient custom of admiring the Harvest Moon -- Otsukimi.

Third Impact was there to enjoy in relaxing frivolities, yummy obento, and sweek sake. The second year since its inception, the Otsukimi Festival is definitely worth checking out. The beautiful setting of the Textile Museum garden provided the perfect grounds for picnicing with Obento available for purchase, sake tasting (provided by Hakutsuru Sake) and with Koto music throughout the night by the Washington Toho Koto Society.

The atmosphere was relaxing to say the least. Japanese children's games including Origami make it a nice event for all ages. Other events included Bon Odori, Yukata dressing, and Mochitsuki (rice pounding). The highlight of the event would definitely have to be the traditional Japanese tea ceremony demonstration, provided by the Chado Urasenke Tankokai Washington DC Association. The experience was very moving.

Tagging with the Japanese tea ceremony demo along with all the other Otsukimi activities, inspired some great haiku writings from my group. It was a night to remember and I highly recommend it if you are able to check it out next year. The crowd size was just right, and if you are looking for a unique experience and a good time, look no further!