Macross Plus

Macross Plus is a four-episode anime OVA and theatrical movie in the Macross series. It was the first sequel to the original Macross television series that took place in the official timeline (Macross II was quickly reconnected by series creator Shoji Kawamori as a parallel world story in the Macross universe). Plus was a groundbreaking combination of traditional cell and computer-generated animation at the time of its release, paving the way for the incorporation of more computer-generated imagery in Japanese animation.

Cover of Macross Plus

Both the OVA series and movie were released in Japan by Bandai Visual and in North America and Europe by Manga Entertainment. The Australian VHS version was released by Manga Entertainment and the DVD version by Madman Entertainment under sub-license from Manga Entertainment. It features several new mecha designs inspired by the original series.

Three decades after the great war between the humans and the Zentradi, in January 2040, the U.N. government is developing new technologies to use in their transforming fighter aircraft by running tests on the colony planet Eden. Military test pilots and former childhood friends, loose cannon Isamu Alva Dysonand the Zentradi mixed race Guld Goa Bowman, are selected to each pilot a new aircraft (Shinsei Industries’ YF-19 & General Galaxy’s YF-21) for Project Super Nova, to choose the newest successor to the VF-11 Thunderbolt variable fighter which is currently still in use by the U.N. Spacy military forces. Their own personal grudges end up disrupting the tests, and begin to wreak havoc on the program.

Following Big West’s 1992 release of Macross II (which was subsequently retconned as an alternate universe title), original Macross staff member Shoji Kawamori began work on a true sequel to the original Macross series. To realistically depict the intense flight scenes in the anime, Kawamori – along with action choreographer Ichiro Itano and other staff members – traveled to Edwards Air Force Base (which was the basis for New Edwards Air Force Base on planet Eden in the series) in Edwards, California, for a few training sessions with dogfighting school Air Combat USA. The Advanced Tactical Fighter program of the 1980s was the basis of the Project Supernova contest between the YF-19 and YF-21. Consequently, the YF-21’s design was heavily influenced by the Northrop YF-23.

Image by myanimelist.net

Space Dandy

One of the newest anime on the black is the Space Dandy, a 2014 Japanese anime series produced by Bones. The anime has been licensed by Funimation in North America, Madman Entertainment in Australia and by Anime Limited in the United Kingdom. The series premiered in the United States before Japan on January 4, 2014 at 11:30pm on Adult Swim’s Toonami block. The series began airing in Japan on Tokyo MX at 11:00pm on January 5, 2014, followed by TV Osaka, TV Aichi, BS Fuji and AT-X. The series is also simulcasted in South East Asia at the same time as Japan on Animax Asia. A manga adaptation is currently running in Square Enix’s Young Gangan magazine since December 20, 2013. The 13 episodes of the first season aired from January to March 2014, and the second half of the season premiered on July 5, 2014.

Space Dandy

The space opera series follows the misadventures of Dandy, an alien hunter who is “a dandy guy in space,” in search of undiscovered or rare aliens with his robot assistant QT and a cat-like alien named Meow. Though he and his crew act with the best intentions, despite being normally dim-witted and next to useless, Dandy is unaware that he is being pursued by Dr. Gel of the Gogol Empire.

Throughout the series, with the final episode explaining the reason of its loose continuity, some episodes take place in an alternative universe where the main protagonists and antagonists end up dying, getting turned to zombies, or getting trapped in different periods of time or dimension. There are also Easter eggs, in the form of references to older science fiction, music, and anime.

 

The anime is directed by Shingo Natsume, with Shinichiro Watanabe serving as general director, and produced by Bones. The anime began airing on Adult Swim’s Toonami programming block in North America on January 4, 2014, one day before its Japanese premiere on Tokyo MX on January 5. The anime has been licensed by Funimation in North America, Madman Entertainment in Australia, and by Anime Limited in the United Kingdom. The series’ opening theme is “Viva Namida”  performed by Yasuyuki Okamura and the ending theme is “X-Jigen e Yōkoso” performed by Etsuko Yakushimaru.

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Manga, Comfort Women and France

 

When it comes to anime, the  word is synonymous to its country of origin, Japan. Continuing this train of thought, opportunities to voice out against the said country arise during events and activities related to anime and manga. At the initiative of the South Korean government, a special exhibition devoted to the painful “comfort women” issue will feature at one of Europe’s leading manga festivals that gets under way this month.

A cartoon on “comfort women,” titled “Song of Butterfly,”

More than 20 manga and anime works depicting the ordeal these women faced will go on display at the Angouleme festival in France. “Comfort women” is a euphemism for women forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers before and during World War II. Most of the women were from the Korean Peninsula, which was a Japanese colony from 1910 to 1945.

“We expect the works to help a wider range of people become aware of the tragedy of comfort women and the seriousness of wartime sexual violence,” said Cho Yoon-sun, minister of gender equality and family, in announcing the decision Jan. 14. “We hope they will move the hearts of people around the world.”

The manga and anime works, all created by South Korean artists, will be exhibited under the theme of “Flowers that never fade.” The festival will start Jan. 30 and continue through Feb. 2. Working with Amnesty International, Seoul is determined to have Japan come to terms with this festering sore in their shared history.

The Angouleme Festival

When asked for a reaction, Tokyo states that the problem is complicated because the issue was resolved under a bilateral agreement on rights to compensation claims that was signed when the two countries normalized their diplomatic relations in 1965. At President Park Geun-hye’s initiative, the South Korean government late last year opened the first government-led exhibition themed on comfort women in Seoul to urge Japan to make aggressive efforts to “settle” the issue.

Images by ajw.asahi.com and justiceforcomfortwomen.org

Madman Entertainment

Madman Entertainment is an Australian company that distributes Australian and international films as well as Japanese anime andmanga in Australia and New Zealand. Madman is one of the major entertainment companies in Australia. It employs approx 100 people and has an annual turnover of around A$50 million. Its headquarters is in Richmond, Victoria.

Madman has secured the local release rights to popular titles including One Piece, Dragon Ball, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Akira, and almost all of Studio Ghibli’s catalogue. In addition to DVD sales, Madman manages the theatrical release of some of their titles, particularly the Studio Ghibli movies. According to market research, Madman accounts for 97% of the total anime DVD market in Australia.

The logo of Madman Entertainment

Madman Entertainment was founded in 1996 to release anime in the Australia from Manga Entertainment UK, with Siren Entertainment acting as distributor after Siren lost the rights to most of Manga UK’s catalogue. Later on in 1997, Madman started to distribute anime from ADV Films along with Siren Entertainment. In 2001, Madman Entertainment bought Siren’s distribution equipment and established The AV Channel, allowing Madman to distribute their own titles. In the same year, Madman Entertainment became the sole distributor of Manga Entertainment’s UK and US titles in Australia & New Zealand after Polygram Australia relinquished their rights to Manga UK’s back catalog and Siren lost the rights to Street Fighter II V which was licensed from Manga USA.

Madman now sub-licenses anime from ADV Films, Funimation, Harmony Gold, Viz Media, Bandai Entertainment, Media Blasters, formerly Geneon, & recently Sentai Filmworks, although Siren Visual licenses the majority of their English-dubbed titles as well as titles from Manga Entertainment. Madman has licensed titles that were sub-licensed to Madman by Geneon directly though the original Japanese licensors, and this practice is also applied when North American and British licensees do not have Australian rights to their titles. Madman is also the exclusive licensee and distributor of Anime from Namco Bandai Holdings in Australia, licensing titles through Bandai Entertainment, Sunrise and Emotion, despite Namco Bandai Holdings having an Australian subsidiary, Namco Bandai Partners.

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Armor Hunter Mellowlink

Armor Hunter Mellowlink is a twelve episode anime science fiction action OVAseries spinoff of Armored Trooper Votoms. It premiered on November 21, 1988. It takes place in the same universe (and time, in some episodes, almost the same places) as Votoms, but the two stories are entirely independent of each other.

Mellowlink is the story of a soldier whose unit is sacrificed on the battlefield for reasons unknown. Although he was not meant to survive, the main character, Ality Mellowlink, manages to survive only to be framed for a crime he did not commit. Mellowlink escapes his captors and begins hunting down his former commanding officers, both to get revenge for his dead platoon members and to find out the nature of the conspiracy that led to their death.

Armor Hunter Mellowlink

The series is available for download on Bandai Visual’s official website and the Japanese DVD boxset was released on December 6, 2006. The series was previously issued twice on laserdisc, once as six individual volumes, and once as a three disc box set along with the two soundtracks.

 

The protagonist of the story is Ality Mellowlink, a former AT soldier whose squad, for reasons unknown, is stripped of their status near the end of the war and forced to fight as an infantry unit without armor and using only obsolete or old weapons. Basically they become a last stand unit that is not expected to survive. Episode 5: Battlefield shows us the reason why Mellowlink is in the position he is in. The challenges of fighting Armored Troopers out in the open eventually takes its toll on his squad and the majority of his squadmates are killed in fierce fighting with the enemy. His commanding officer Shoutaichou Shuepps, shields him from a pair of soldiers sent by the top brass to finish off the unit once and for all. Mellowlink the lone survivor then becomes a scapegoat from which the top brass all seek pin blame on him and his unit for anything that went wrong, ignoring the orders they gave to his squad. This becomes known as the Pranbandol Scandal and with the trap well laid Mellowlink storms out of the court, steals the AT rifle he used during the war as well as the dog tags of all his perished comrades. Escaping into the wilderness he plans his revenge on all the commanding officers that sentenced him and his unit to the miserable fate he now bears witness to alone.

Shinichirō Watanabe

One of the big names of anime, Shinichirō Watanabe is a Japanese anime filmmaker,screenwriter, and producer. He is best known for directing the critically acclaimed and commercially successful anime series Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo.

Watanabe is known for incorporating multiple genres into his anime creations. In Cowboy Bebop, for example, Watanabe blends classic cowboy western with 1960s/1970s New York City film noir, jazz/blues music, Hong Kong action movies, and sets the entire series in space. In his later work, Samurai Champloo, Watanabe unites the cultures of Okinawa, hip-hop, modern-day Japan, and chanbara.

Acclaimed anime director Shinichiro Watanabe

 

Born in Kyoto, Watanabe, after joining the Japanese animation studio Sunrise, supervised the episode direction and storyboards of numerous Sunrise anime, and soon made his directorial debut as co-director of the well-received Macross update, Macross Plus. His next effort, and first full directorial venture, was the 1998 series Cowboy Bebop, which received universal praise and is considered by many to be one of the greatest anime series of all time. It was followed by the 2001 film, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. In 2003, Watanabe directed his first American-produced anime, the short films Kid’s Story and A Detective Story, both part of The Wachowskis’ The Animatrix, an anthology of animated short stories from The Matrix. His next directorial effort was the critically acclaimed 2004 anime series Samurai Champloo which began broadcasting on Fuji Television in Japan on May 19, 2004.

Following the release of Samurai Champloo, Watanabe directed a short film called Baby Blue which was released on July 7, 2007 as a segment of the anthology film Genius Party. In recent years, he has been active as a creative music producer, overseeing the 2004 film Mind Game, 2008’s Michiko to Hatchin, and supervising the storyboards for episode 12 of Tetsuwan Birdy: Decode. In 2012, he directed the anime series Kids on the Slope , a coming of age story about young jazz musicians, which premiered in April 2012 on Fuji TV’s Noitamina block.

Image by www.mcmbuzz.com

 

Gundam Build Fighters Try

Gundam Build Fighters Try is a 2014 Japanese science fiction anime television series based on Sunrise’s long-running Gundam franchise, and a sequel to the 2013 series Gundam Build Fighters. Like its predecessor, and in contrast to other Gundam series, Gundam Build Fighters Try features a tournament-based story-line where Gunpla models are built, customized, and battled.

The cast and mech of the Try Fighters

Seven years after the events of Gundam Build Fighters, the rules of Gunpla have been renewed, and the sport becomes even more popular. However, one academy is left behind in this change, and that was Seiho Academy, which Sei Iori once attended. The only member of the Gunpla Battle Club remaining is Fumina Hoshino, who befriends Sekai Kamiki, a boy who has been training with his master in martial arts and the young Gunpla builder Yuuma Kousaka, and together, they attempt to secure a place in the world championship as the “Try Fighters” .

Shortly after the Arista that produces Plavsky particles is destroyed in the final episode of the previous season, Plavsky Particle System Engineering (PPSE) is acquired by Yajima Trading while American scientist and Gunpla fighter Nils Nielsen and his girlfriend Caroline Yajima rediscover Plavsky particles aboard the International Space Station. With new Plavsky particles produced, the sport of Gunpla Battle continues worldwide.

In Gundam Build Fighters Try, the one-on-one battle format is replaced by battles between teams of three Gunpla fighters and is divided into two categories: one for players under 19 years old and one for older players.

 

The series is directed by Shinya Watada and written by Yousuke Kuroda, who wrote the first series. Character designs were done by both Kenichi Ohnuki and Suzuhito Yasuda. The series was officially unveiled by Bandai on May 15, 2014, and began airing on TV Tokyo in Japan while streaming on YouTube in limited areas internationally on October 8, 2014. A novel spinoff is currently running in Hobby Japan starting in December 2014.

 

Image by gundam.wikia.com

Kantai Collection

Another new series that has been stirring up new fans is Kantai Collection, also known as KanColle for short. It is a 2015 Japanese television anime series created by Diomedéa, based on the game of the same name by Kadokawa Games. The series was announced in September 2013, and began airing on January 7, 2015, on Tokyo MX and KBS, and later on other TV stations.

The series features Fubuki as the main character, with the storyline based on her point of view. In a world where humanity faces the threat of the abyssal fleet which has taken over the seas, special human girls who don weaponized outfits and possess the spirit of historical naval vessels known as kanmusu are the only ones capable of countering them. The kanmusu live together at a naval base, where they spend their everyday lives as they train for battle.

 

Kantai Collection Sixth destroyer Corps

The series is directed by Keizō Kusakawa, with the script written by Jukki Hanada. The anime series is planned to feature the voice cast from the original game.Crunchyroll streams the series in North America, Central and South America, most of Europe (excluding German-speaking territories), South Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, while Madman Entertainment will be responsible for localisation in Australia and New Zealand. The show’s premiere screening event took place at Shinjuku Piccadilly on December 27, 2014. The opening theme song is “Miiro” performed by Akino from bless4, whilst the ending theme is “Fubuki” by Yukana Nishizawa.

Fubuki arrives at the naval base, where she meets other girls that she will eventually fight alongside. Despite lacking adequate combat training, she is recommended into the Third Torpedo Squadron by the admiral, and quickly finds herself sortied into battle. Upon being rescued by Akagi in a dangerous situation, Fubuki strives to do her best in order to train, with the hopes of eventually being able to fight alongside Akagi.

Image by www.1999.co.jp