Evangelion Rei Ayanami Slide

As part of the Shiohaku Expo 2012 summer amusement event, an 18.5 meter (60 foot) long figure of Rei Ayanami (Neon Genesis Evangelion) will be built outside of the NTV Tower in the Shiodome area of Tokyo.

The "Gundam-sized" figure will feature a slide that attendees can slide down during the event, which will take place from July 25th through August 26th, 10 am to 6pm daily.

And if that wasn't enough, a third branch of the beautiful wallet-breaking Evangelion store will open in the nearby NTV building and will feature limited edition merchandise.  Check out the official NTV site as more details (and hopefully pics) emerge. [Source: Evangelion via ANN]


Guild Wars 2 Release Date Announced

Fans of the MMO have been aching and anxious for the long awaited sequel to Arena Net's Guild Wars.  Hanging off of every word uttered at a convention or event, and hailing Tyria when pre-orders were finally announced and opened!  We've been in beta test mode for the past few months now, and today marks the day when the release date for Guild Wars 2 is finally announced.  August 28th....the 28th day of the 8th month of this year is that day (not to mention that 3-day headstart for folks who pre-purchase the game).

As Mike O'Brien, head of ArenaNet and executive producer of Guild Wars 2, states: "...in a matter of months, after years of development, they will have that opportunity to do what they have been waiting for.”

Work at the studio doesn't stop, however.  “We always want to pioneer, we’re not going to stop,” said O’Brien. “We’re building the genesis of a world that has a foundation resting on the importance of community and innovation. We’re going to continue to try to break through boundaries and exceed expectations.” [Sources: Forbes]

Versailles on NHK's J-MELO in July

For those of you with access to NHK World television, good news! In May, visual-kei band Versailles recorded an episode for the popular music magazine J-MELO hosted by May J. and Dave Spector. The band's episode will air on NHK World on Monday, July 16. It will also air again late night on NHK BS Premium on Saturday, July 21st. Please visit NHK World's website for official program times in your area!
  • Eastern Time: July 15th at 7:30pm
  • Central Time: July 15th at 6:30pm
  • Mountain Time: July 15th at 5:30pm
  • Pacific Time: July 15th at 4:30pm
You can also catch a stream of the broadcast. [Source: Kamijo World]


Gaming Heads Portal 2 Turret Statue

Combine Valve and Gaming Heads and you get a new line of Portal 2 statues beginning with the standard model Aperture Sentry Turret.  The Turret statue stands at 16 inches tall, including the base and antenna, and is case in high quality polystone.  And it wouldn't be a "functioning" turret without a motion sensor in front.  While it won't instantly kill you, it will light up and plays in-game Turret activation, search, auto search, disabled and tipped over sound and voice samples.

Due out in the final quarter of 2012, you can expect this Turret statue to be very limited -- to 350 pieces worldwide, to be exact, and will cost you $324.99.   The site notes that their validation systems allows customers to collect the same number (low numbers given on a first come first serve basis) throughout their entire Portal 2 line. It's also important to note that as I type this, the Turret statue is not sold out and all new orders will be placed on a wait list.  


Resident Evil Cafe and Grill S.T.A.R.S.

Back in January 2012, Capcom opened up a Capcom Bar in Shinjuki that sells drinks and food inspired by titles such as Monster Hunter, Ace Attorney and Resident Evil (braiiiins).  Well if that wasn't enough, The Resident Evil franchise will now be opening a Resident Evil Cafe and Grill S.T.A.R.S. in Shibuya.

While the restaurant's actual menu has not been released, Capcom has promised limited items and dance performances from Dance Team S.T.A.R.S. Angelique.

The Cafe and Grill will open, fittingly, on Friday the 13th next month, for just one year. [Source: Andriasang via G4TV]


Ghost in the Shell "Tachikoma" Sneakers

Shoe maker Reebox teams up with Japanese figure maker Megahouse for a super duper limited edition run of "Ghost in the Shell" sneakers.  The design for these GiTS sneakers were inspired by the cute walker bots Tachikomas.  The "Tachikoma-blue" coloring is perfect and I love the little details such as the "Section 9" logo found on the heel side.

If these "feets of fury" tickle your fancy, get your battle face ready and shopping strategy set as you attempt to get your hands on one of the 500 pairs that will be available in the world.  Yes, just 500 pairs will be made and will be available in Japan starting next month for 21,000 yen. [Source: Megahobby via Kotaku]


Shinsei Rock Musical Bleach REprise Cast

The rock musical remake of Kubo Tite's Bleach manga is returning to Tokyo this summer in Shinsei Rock Musical Bleach REprise. This is a revival of the musical that was performed in six locations nationwide last year.

The musical will run from August 30th through September 9th at the Shinagawa Stellar Ball. The cast includes several new cast members, including a new Ichigo actor from last year's Shinsei run.
  • Masashi Ōyama as Kisuke Urahara
  • Eisuke Tsuda as Jūshirō Ukitake
  • Kōhei Norizuki as Ichigo Kurosaki
  • Miki Satou as Rukia Kuchiki  
  • Kōsuke Kujirai as Renji Abarai  
  • Yūya Kido as Tōshirō Hitsugaya
  • Motohiro Ōta as Byakuya Kuchiki
  • Isamu Ishizaka as Shunsui Kyrōraku
  • Kanami Ayano as Haruka (original stage play character)
  • Shinya Niiro as Niiro Shinya (original stage play character)

Check out the official website here.  [Source: Natalie via ANN]


Marvel vs. Capcom: Official Complete Works

UDON Entertainment announces the release of Marvel vs. Capcom: Official Complete Works artbook which collects all of the official artwork, sketches, and bonus material from all of Marvel and Capcom's video game collaborations! Coming in at just under 200 pages, this compilation is the first ever of its kind, collecting all this material in one place.  We're talking about The Punisher, X-Men: Children of the Atom, Marvel Super Heroes, X-Men vs Street Fighter, Marval Super Heroes vs Street Fighter, Marvel vs Capcom 1, 2, and 3, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 of course, as well as 17 brand new illustrations exclusive to this artbook.

MvC: Official Complete Works will make its international debut at San Diego Comic-Con on Wednesday, July 11th, in an exclusive hardcover edition that will not be sold in stores ($100).  The hardcover will feature an exclusive wrap-around cover by UDON and Marvel vs. Capcom artist Alvin Lee and digitally painted by UDON`s Genzoman, and only 200 will be available over the course of the show. A standard-format soft cover release will follow in late November 2012, distributed by Diamond to comics and bookstores everywhere ($44.99).

Click here to pre-order the softcover edition through Amazon.

Cowboy Bebop Play Arts Kai Figures

Check out these beauties!  Yes, that's right. You are looking at not one but two Cowboy Bebop Play Arts Kai from Square Enix's figure line, featuring none other than quirky Spike Spiegel and the hotness that is Vicious.

Listed at 6,800 yen each to be released this October, Spike and Vicious make a surprisingly beautiful appearance via Play Arts Kai.  Spike will come with a pair of alternate hands and his pistol, while Vicious will have his sword and that gorgeous black bird of his.

I am particularly in love with Vicious, and after seeing pics of these figures, I would LOVE to see a Vincent Volaju figure please...and throw in some butterflies while you're at it...

Check out the links above for more pics and preorder yours at Hobby Search.


Portal 2-inspired Hoodies at J!NX

J!NX brings us two absolutely fabulous Portal 2-inspired hoodies.  They are perfect! You can choose between Turret hoodie detailed even right to the logo-etched zipper (for $69.99) or the perfectly orange Aperture Test Subject track jacket ($54.99).  Or, heck, why choose when you can get both? Now if only the weather was cooler.


HearJapan.com to close on June 30th

The digital music store for Japanese music, HearJapan, regretfully announces the closing of HearJapan.com on June 30th. HearJapan launched a new version of the site in February that was over two years in the making. Unfortunately, there were many unanticipated costs in doing this that made HearJapan impossible to manage.

This website will be shut down by June 30th, unless another company decides to purchase the website.

HearJapan was started in late 2007 as an mp3 download store dedicated to spreading Japanese music around the world. Until June 30th, users will still be able to make purchases and download music.


Sengoku Basara - Moonlight Party

CAPCOM's Sengoku Basara is getting its first live-action television show next month entitled "Sengoku Basara -Moonlight Party."

It will star actor/singer GACKT as Oda Nobunaga, as well as Kento Hayashi as Date Masamune and Kōhei Takeda as Sanada Yukimura.

In addition to his role as Nobunaga, GACKT will contribute the ending theme song "Hakuro."  The TV show will premiere on July 12th on MBS.  It will run every Thursday night at 1:25 am.   [Source: Cinema Today via ANN]

Baltimore Comic-Con 2012 Registration Now Open

Attention comic lovers, one and all!  I'm happy to announce that registration is now open for this years Baltimore Comic-Con!!! So head on over to baltimorecomiccon.com to grab yours now.  The awesomest event will take place September 8-9 at the Baltimore Convention Center.  And of course Third Impact will be there to bring you all the goodies, and not to mention expand certain collections till we are counting dollars to make sure we've got enough for parking (yes, this happened to us last year).

Tickets that are now on sale include: General Admission for Saturday and Sunday, as well as Single-Day admission for both days; Stan Lee VIP Experience Tickets for Saturday only; and tickets for photo and autograph sessions with Stan Lee for Saturday only.

More exciting announcements are waiting for us in the coming weeks.  And believe me, you won't want to miss it.  Last year was massive in attendance and goodness and I can only anticipate what insanity will insue this year!  Once you've gotten your tickets, make sure your comic book databases are up to date, and hopefully before we know it, Baltimore Comic-Con will be here!


Linkin Park Petite Nendoroid Set

Can Linkin Park be defined as cute? They certainly can when Chester and the gang are shrunk down into Japanese Nendoroids!

Good Smile Company has immortalized the American rock band into individual 2.5 inches of PVC awesomeness, and each member is detailed down to their piercings, tattoos and hair (Brad, lovin' your fro!). Guitars, mics, drums and John's turntable are all on hand to make this one of the best Petite Nendroid sets I have ever seen.

While each figure comes with their petite stand, what makes this set extra special is the stage pedestal for display the guys as if they were performing just for you in your room. How will I ever listen to "Breaking the Habit" without these little figures in my sight?

Pre-orders are open with CD Japan and Otacute for around $50, and you'll have until Septebmer 30th to find that special spot for displaying.

Star Trek Sulu Pour Homme Excelsior! Cologne

With Sulu Pour Homme, you'll always be ready for action!
Look good! Smell good!
Sulu for you!

Sulu Pour Homme, or Sulu for Men for those who are French-impaired, is the perfect cologne for the man who does everything, whether that be cataloguing exotic plants, collecting antique firearms, or piloting ancient helicopters and advanced starships. It's more than just choosing to live your life with style; Sulu dives straight to the soul and allows you to release your own Intergalactic Man of Mystery, that jaunty, fearless swashbuckler of a man who, whether he's wielding a rapier in a swordfight or commanding an Excelsior-class starship, is always ready for action. Oh my! 100 ml.

Need I say more? Get yours for $27.99, hot off the truck. [Source: Entertainment Earth via FashionablyGeek]


Play Arts Kai Solidus Snake

"Badass of kickassery" is simply not good enough to explain the awesomeness of Play Arts Kai Solidus Snake, but it's the best I can do for now.  Due out November, Solidus Snake just screams total perfection. In short, I love it!!  I don't even know where to begin....the detailing on the armor, beautiful coloring, stunning facial intricacy, and need I mention the tentacles?!?!?  When I first saw some prototype shots, I knew instantly Solidus Snake was one I had to keep my eye on, but the end result is more than I could have imagined.

Solidus Snake will come equipped with 2 swords and 2 beautiful P90s....and pure viciousness!!!  I can say with confidence that this will be a must-have for every Metal Gear Solid fan. [Source: Hideo Kojima Twitter]


MAGFest to Host Kinuyo Yamashita

MAGFest announces its first honored guest -- Kinuyo Yamashita!

Yamashita made her mark on the video game industry after her graduation from University, as she walked into the offices of Konami and began her long career as a video game music composer. Her first project for the company became one of their most popular games of all time, Akumajou Dracula, released as Castlevania outside of Japan. With her roots in classical piano combined with a youthful spirit, her music for Castlevania took the video game industry by storm, combining catchy action rhythms with eerie atmosphere to create a unique and timeless sound. Since then, she has become a prolific composer, working on titles such as Power Blade and Mega Man X3, as well as contributing music to various big projects including dondonpachi DAI-OU-JOU and GEONDAN.

MAGFest 11 returns to the Gaylor National Hotel and Convention Center (National Harbor, MD) January 3-6, 2013.


MIYAVI vs YUKSEK - DAY 1 (Teaser)

Because we always need a little something to get us through the day, why not let Miyavi help us out.  The samurai guitarist strikes again in a way only Miyavi can do.  And this MIYAVI vs YUKSEK collaboration is HOT, HOT, HOT! Check out DAY 1's teaser below and it won't take but a bar or two to understand what I mean...

DAY 1 single comes out July 11th.

Tetsuya Kakihara at Otakon 2012

Otakon announces voice actor and musician Tetsuya Kakihara as one of its guest this year.  Tetsuya, or as he is best known "Kakki" debuted as a voice actor in 2003 and won “Best Male Newcomer” at the First Seiyuu Awards ceremony in Japan. Since then, he has amassed a considerable number of leading roles in his career, voicing the likes of Fairy Tail's Natsu Dragneel, Gurren Lagann's Simon, Linebarrels of Iron's Koichi Hayase, BlazBlue's Jin Kisaragi; Hakumen, and Saint Seiya: the Lost Canvas' Pegasus Tenma. As a supporting cast member, Kakihara has been featured heavily in Blue Exorcist (Amaimon), Digimon Xros Wars Season 2 (Ryouma Mogami), Minami-ke (Fujioka), Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan (Shima), and Toriko (Tom).

As a music artist on Lantis and Bandai Visual's Kiramune label for voice actors, Kakihara has released two albums, “Still on Journey” and “Continuous.” He has also performed the openings for Brave10, a Fairy Tail OAV, Sengoku Paradise Kiwami, and the Angel's Feather OAV.

Kakki is also known for his work as Akihito Takaba from Finder Series and Ishii Tetsuo in the ending theme/duet song from Okane ga nai, among many other accomplishments in his repetoire.

Otakon 2012 will be held July 27 – 29 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.



Guitarist TAKUMI, from YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz announced through his blog that the band will break up on July 4th -- the day of their Budokan live and coincidentally, Gackt's birthday.

During the last Nico Radio broadcast, Takumi and Chacha discussed the breakup as a positive thing.  The members want to pursue their own, separate goals, which they won't be able to accomplish as YFC.  "Camui Gakuen, Sparkly Male Cram School, Happy Birthday Live, Don't Cry, Let's Say Sayonara With Smiles" will be their last live.

New projects are brewing and each hope that fans look forward to more fun and interesting things from them. [Source: JPOP Asia]


A brilliantly made video crossing the awesome world of Inception and Lego was created from an academic team project, spanning 12 weeks and representing about 1,000 hours of work.   This is too incredible for words and was absolutely time and effort well spent.  Check out the video below. You'll be sorry if you don't.  [Source: VFX via Kotaku]

LEGO 'INCEPTION' from VFX on Vimeo.

God of War: Omega Collection

The God of War: Omega Collection will NOT be coming to a store near you...that is, unless you live in Latin America.  Exclusive to the region, it includes the God of War Collection, God of War Origins Collection and God of War III.  Along with all the GoW games to date, players will receive a SteelBook with exclusive artwork and a gorgeous, and fitting, bronze statue of Kratos.  The Omega Collection is due out in November this year. [Source: PS Blog via Kotaku]


Kotobukiya Makinami Mari Illustrious -PLUG SUIT Style- Figure

Because even the vision impaired can kick ass!

Kotobukiya couldn't screw up if they tried as they once again create a fantastic Evangelion figure. Standing at about 10" tall with twin tails flowing, helmet in hand and tubing in glove (haha), Mari is ready to be paired with last year's previously released Rei and Asuka Kotobukiya PLUG SUIT figures. Making it even more unique, an added aspect to this version is that our Eva Unit 05 pilot's red glasses can be removed to show off those secretive blue eyes. If you are like me and prefer Mari in her green plug suit than her pink, which most figures of her are, this is a must have for your Eva collection.

Get your November preorder's in now over at BigBadToyStore for $114.99.


Stjepan Sejic's Dream Witchblade Series

Yes, it's true.  I have an unhealthy obsession with Top Cow Productions, and that is namely due to my even crazier obsession with ALL THINGS Stjepan Sejic.  He's absolutely brilliant and if I could have a walls, ceilings, floors all dripping with Sejic's work, I would. Ahem...well now that that's out of the way...

Sejic recently posted, on his DA page, a beautiful little sketch where at first glance you can see The Darkness and The Witchblade....but in a very different and intriguing scope. He writes: 

"Sometimes you just feel like you need a change to reboot yourself... and honestly something like this is what i would love to do.

A teen Witchblade and Darkness bearer, none of them fully in control of their powers, especially the darkness bearer who is protected by the dark but since he is 17 hasn't claimed his birthright yet.. just teenage dumbasses with regular problems having the world dropped on them every now and then XD"

I for one would definitely be interested on this new take of a series that has such a great background,solid groundwork, and perfectly detailed universe.  Sejic's unique style and digital work are what drew me to him, but he proves that he's got plenty of stunning styles and ideas I am willing and ready to dive into.

Uragiri Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru Limited Edition Volume 10

Call it "Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru." Call it "The Betrayal Knows My Name". Whatever title you know it by, Hotaru Odagiri's supernatural tale of the "touched by God" Zweilts and the demon class Duras has garnered a legion of fans since its debut in 2005, and publishing house Kadokawa Shoten has a special treat for the volume 10 release in Japan. If you have already placed your order, be prepared for a large box from your delivery person, because this manga will not fit in a packaging envelope...

I was perfectly aware prior to its release earlier this month that the limited edition version of volume 10 would include a tote bag, but how pleasantly surprised was I that this bag is no mere trinket like what you might expect folded up as a giveaway in Asuka magazine. The material is not at all flimsy but instead a heavier, black polyester with a sateen-like finish. Both Yuki's silver cross emblem and the series name adorn the center of the bag within a violet rose border. The aubergine lining wihtin is very interesting, featuring a pattern of fleur de lises, crosses and Luka's adorable demon pet, Sodom. I am quite taken with the drawstring type closure of the lining that keeps all your precious cargo from spilling out when you set down the bag.

The main highlight of this set has to be the artwork, which is nothing less than Odagiri's usual gorgeous standards. The beauty that is a bloody and bandaged Luka Crosszeria are featured for the book's cover and box, both of which are definitely "display-worthy" (I've already decided the circular cutout on the front of the box can double as a "frame" for a Yuki postcard ^_~).

But the goodies don't end there! If the manga and bag weren't enough, you will also receive a 20-minute drama CD and script (yes, another piece of new Yuki art!). I dare say that those of you waiting for the volume 4 American omnibus release in August 2012 should console yourselves with a little Uraboku shopping therapy by heading over to CD Japan and picking up the limited edition while supplies last; however, if you are a little short on cash, you can invest in the regular edition manga that comes sans presents.


EVA Vol. 13 Worldwide Simultaneous Release

The newest volume of Neon Genesis Evangelion manga is due November 2nd and will be available in North America the same day as the Japanese release, both in print and digitally!

The wait for the next volume has always been daunting.  Not too long ago its release date was confirmed in Japan and retailers were already taking pre-orders for the limited edition of the book which features a special cover, 3D card, and six postcards by none other than Sadamoto himself; and what I can only assume to be immensely beautiful, a 50-page Sadamoto chapter illustration book.  No word yet if Volume 13 will be the final volume or not.

"In Volume 13, as mankind tilts on the brink of the Third Impact, human feelings are fault lines; good, for cracking the world open, or bad, to be welded forever shut. Once Shinji didn’t care about anything; then he found people to fight for – only to learn that he couldn’t protect them, or keep those he let into his heart from going away.

The world hangs in the balance as Asuka fights to survive an onslaught of Evas determined to destroy her. Shinji rushes to help but he may be too late – deep inside the NERV command center, Dr. Ikari is about to set in motion the last act of the Instrumentality Project. Everything has gone according to Ikari’s plans so far, but even he cannot foresee the role Shinji will play in determining the future!" [Source: VIZ and Crunchyroll]

Kojima at Uniqlo for Metal Gear 25th Anniversary

Metal Gear god Hideo Kojima and genius artist Yoji Shinkawa will be at UNIQLO June 8-9 to celebrate the Metal Gear 25th Anniversary with a new collection of t-shirts.  If you're in the NYC area (and feel like picking up some shirts for me), go to UNIQLO's 5th Ave Store, June 8th from 6-8pm and 34th St store on June 9th 4-6pm to meet and grab autographs from these legends. Check out the new shirts at UNIQLO.

Kojima is in NYC as I type...recently tweeting "Is this autograph card for NY event?"

Ahhhhh, what I wouldn't give to be there right now!!

GBWC 2012 U.S. Championship

It's that time again.  Time to show off your insane love for building GunPla and grab that chance represent the U.S. in the Gunpla Builders World Cup 2012.  Top modelers from all over, including Japan, China, Austrialia and the U.S. battle it out and test their skills to claim the title of Gunpla World Cup Champion!

Check out the official website for more details and entry form.  U.S. regional contests will be held at these confirmed conventions which will judge up to 3 of your models based on painting, technical, and creativity.

Sakura-Con Seattle, Washington April 6th – 8th
Website: http://www.sakuracon.org/

Anime Central, Chicago, Illinois April 27th – 29th
Website: http://www.acen.org/

A-Kon, Dallas, Texas, June 1st – 3rd
Website: http://a-kon.com/

Anime Expo, Los Angeles, California June 29th – July 2nd
Website: www.anime-expo.org

Otakon, Baltimore Maryland July 27th – 29th
Website: www.otakon.com

NYAF/NYCC, New York Oct 11th – 14th
Website: http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/

So what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite kit, fresh paint and brushes, and unique creativity -- and show that Gunpla who's boss!


In These Words Vol. 1

In order to accurately describe the experience of reading the first volume of "In These Words", I am reminded of the lyrics to my favorite Enigma song:

I love you. I'll kill you. But I'll love you forever...

That is the overarching feeling of this dark series brought to us by the wonderful people at 801 Media. "In These Words" follows the sexy US trained psychiatrist Asano Katsuya who is working for the Tokyo Police Department to profile a psychotic serial killer named Shinohara Keiji. After three years and twelve victims, Shinohara is in custody and promises to give a graphic account of his misdeeds. But of course, there is a catch; Shinohara will only confess his sins to Asano. Toss in some disturbingly graphic nightmares and Shinohara's unsettling familiarity with the story's hero and you will have all the elements needed for one hell of a dark and psychological yaoi story.

Besides the amazing storyline and characterizations, the art of "In These Words" is simply beautiful. Included in the front of the book is a gorgeous full-color illustration gallery by the manga's artist Jo Chen. Every illustration in this volume, whether it is the front cover or one of the pages of the story, could be considered a work of art on its own. The shading alone is a visual feast for the eyes. The expressions of each character is so dynamic and full of life. You really get a sense of the character's personalities and emotions. This is especially true of Shinohara Keiji. His expressions do not differ all that much but, the subtle changes in his cocky smile or the glint in his eyes really show the complexity of not only the artwork but also his state of mind and the story as a whole. All these things combined definitely make "In These Words" one of the must read books of the summer. This dark and twisted tale is definitely adult and would probably melt the hardcore side of any yaoi paddle. So if you are sick and tired of all the hype over "Fifty Shades of Grey" or you need a different kind of yaoi in your life, go pick up "In These Words" Vol. 1. The book is available for purchase at Akadot. I promise you'll be begging for more!

[Editor's Note: It's great to see "In These Words" making it's way into manga...I first got into ITW 2 years ago and it didn't take long for me to fall head over heels and become completely obsessed.  And by the second chapter, ITW made it on my Top 5 BL list where it remains to be -- and let's just say that that's not an easy feat.  ITW is brilliant and perfectly dark and morbid.  And this girl is anxious for the next chapter!!!]


A Look at The Walking Dead Issue 100 Silvestri Variant

Combine my love of The Walking Dead and my M-A-J-O-R love for all things Top Cow and Marc Silvestri, you get one awesome variant cover for the pivotal 100th issue due out this July.  Sure, as a devout Top Cow fan, I probably have plenty of bias, but nevertheless I am LOVING what I see.

Over one weekend, Marc Silvestri posted shots of his progress on "The Walking Dead" 100 cover.  Check out the pics below from Marc sketching out the layout, detailing and inking.  I believe issue 100 will bring 7 comic book artists, including Todd McFarlane, Charlie Adlard, and Sean Phillips, to showcase 7 variant covers.  I'll surely be picking up Silvestri's variant as well as the kick-ass wrap around cover by none other than the man himself, Charlie Adlard.



E3 First Look -- BEYOND: Two Souls

"Heavy Rain" fans have been waiting for Quantic Dream's next move. And E3 finally gives us the answer in the form of "BEYOND: Two Souls." BEYOND follows the similar format that made "Heavy Rain" so innovative, with an interactive psychological experience using real actors to portray real emotion and movement.

The quality of the images look absolutely spectacular and right off the bat, you recognize that BEYOND is much more action-oriented than Heavy Rain.  The game stars Ellen Page (Inception, Juno) as the protagonist Jodie Holmes.  Jodie has a interesting psychic link to an invisible entity called Aiden, and she looks like she's in for a wild journey.  The story seems to cover the span of 15 years of Jodie's life.  Beyond is slated for a February 2013 release, exclusively for the PS3.  Check out E3's first look below.

Love Stage Returns This June

Aching for some Eiki Eiki goodness? My lame pun on the mangaka's name aside, one of my current favorite BL's is back this June in Japan: "LOVE STAGE!!"

Though not yet released in the US (seriously publishers, someone snatch this up!), you can pick up volume two of the Japanese manga this month. We pick up where we left off in volume one with introverted otaku Izumi Sena continuing to deal with the pressure of living with an all entertainer family. And matters have become more complicated as hot actor Ryouma Ichijou went from being crushed and angered over discovering his childhood dream girl turning out to actually be a nerdy man to realizing he is still madly in love with him after seeing Izumi's naked body! O_O All Izumi wants to do is win first prize in a manga competition and prove he can be an independent from his family (so dreams the college student that lives at home and draws like a five-year-old). Papparazi, crushed dreams and growing pains all bring trouble, but perhaps love can show the way to success. Quick! Someone call for Izumi's manga heroine LaLaLuLu!

There's another act to our comedy in the newest issue of Asuka Ciel magazine on sale, which comes with a "Junjo Romantica" and "Sekaiichi Hatuskoi" stamp set for all of you Shungiku Nakamura fans! Both volume two and Asuka Ciel are available at CD Japan.

With all the loving going around, this Third Impact contributer is very much hoping for more chapters of "LOVE STAGES!!" side story "BACK STAGE!!" very soon. The short, comedic and very sexy scenarios between family manager Rei and its J-rock star Shougo Sena are truly some of the star moments from the series. Besides, you can never have too much BL.


L'Arc~en~Ciel World Tour Voting

One of the things that makes L'Arc~en~Ciel such a fantastic band is how attentive they are to their adoring fans. (Their music is bloody fantastic too...).

This time around hyde, ken, yukihiro and tetsuya want to know where you want them to perform next. Starting in June, fans will be able to vote for the cities where the band should perform during their next world tour.

Simply visit L'Arc~en~Ciel's official website on June 1st to cross your fingers and vote for the band to visit your favorite city or hometown. Use the below schedule to determine what time voter registration opens for your timezone.
  • GMT(London) 8:00AM
  • Tokyo 4:00PM
  • Hong Kong 3:00PM
  • Bangkok 2:00PM
  • Shanghai 3:00PM
  • Taipei 3:00PM
  • New York 3:00AM
  • Paris 9:00AM
  • Singapore 3:00PM
  • Jakarta 2:00PM
  • Seoul 4:00PM
  • Honolulu 9:00PM(May 31st)
  • Mexico City 2:00AM
  • Santiago 3:00AM
  • Sao Paulo 4:00AM


Toonami Returns on Adult Swim

Yes, you read the title correctly. If you are someone like me who had all but given up on watching anime on Saturday nights on Cartoon Network, then this bit of news will come as a surprise. The return of Toonami has been a long time coming but the suddenness of this event is quite amazing.

It all started as a very elaborate April Fool's joke. Anyone tuning in on April 1 got the shock of their lives when Tom showed up with the whole Toonami block. That night, along with airing the Adult Swim's staple show BLEACH, Toonami also pulled out a few random episodes from "classics" such as Gundam Wing, Yu Yu Hakusho, Blue Seed, Trigun, Tenchi Muyo! and even the original Astro Boy.

Now while I thought that was very nice of Cartoon Network to do a throwback for April Fool's Day, I had no idea that night might have been a testing ground for bringing the Toonami block back, at least according to About.com's Anime community. After that night, things went back to normal on Adult Swim. Fast forward one month to last Wednesday (May 23). News starts flying around the Internet that Toonami was indeed returning to the line up on Cartoon Network as part of Adult Swim's Saturday night programming. Not only was it returning, it was also going to debut two... technically... new shows, "Deadman Wonderland" and "Casshern Sins." Too good to be true? Quite possibly. So of course, all this excitement raised questions about whether it would be the old Toonami that we know and love, would Steve Blum still voice Tom, would the formatting still be the same?

I stayed up last Saturday to find out once and for all. I had been assured by Anime News Network that Steve Blum would reprise his role as Tom, the Absolution would still be there and the format would still be similar to the original Toonami. The only thing that would be different is the noted absence of Sara and the voice over guy who did the original previews for the show. Midnight rolled around and what do you know, the Absolution shows up with this funky new rap intro and Tom comes strolling in announcing, "Toonami is back bitchas!" No joke. And so, the anime continued to air on Saturday with the following line-up:

12:00~12:30: BLEACH
12:30~1:00: Deadman Wonderland
1:00~1:30: Casshern Sins
1:30~2:00: Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood
2:00~2:30: Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2nd GiG
2:30~3:00: Cowboy Bebop
3:00~6:00: Rinse and Repeat

For those keeping score at home, yes, you are minus the Big O, FLCL, and InuYasha with this schedule. Now if this is still a bit underwhelming to you, there is a reason for that. Apparently, Toonami is operating on a shoestring budget according to Jason DeMarco, former producer of Toonami. If you were expecting more big ticket anime series, you're just going to have to keep watching on Saturdays so the block gets its viewership points and hopefully more money to buy licensed anime. At this point, DeMarco notes that licenses are very expensive to buy and Adult Swim can't compete with its competitors who own the rights to shows such as Naruto and Dragonball Z. It is also the reason why they couldn't pull all the frills out for Toonami's return... it just costs too much these days.

I won't rant to you my thoughts of hearing Deadman Wonderland and Casshern Sins dubbed. I won't rant to you about the scheduling or Adult Swim's (and on a greater scale, Cartoon Network's) lack of purchasing power on the anime licenses front. I won't even comment on how I think calling your audience "bitchas" is a poor marketing move (even though maybe I'm a prude and that is just how the world works these days). However, I will kindly ask that if you want to see your big ticket anime on Toonami at some point in time-- even more than that, you just want to keep Toonami on T.V.-- please watch it on Saturday nights at midnight on Cartoon Network. Call your cable or satellite provider if you don't have the channel or you canceled it years ago. Also, think about tweeting Jason DeMarco to thank him for resurrecting a part of our childhoods.

You just never know. If Toonami can be resurrected, there is still hope for bringing back Sailor Moon!! XD