Alex Ross Tackles ‘Darth Vader’ With New Variant Cover

Alex Ross Tackles ‘Darth Vader’ With New Variant Cover

Details are still slim at this point, but the official Star Wars site has made fans salivate with the reveal of the Alex Ross cover for Star Wars: Darth Vader with its first issue that’s out in early 2015. The series is coming from Marvel Comics now that Lucasfilm and the Star Wars brand is under the same umbrella and the work focusing on this character is going to be written by Kieron Gillen with interior artwork and regular cover by Salvador Larroca.

Plot concept: The series will take place after the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, and star the saga’s most iconic villain.

Alex Ross Tackles ‘Darth Vader’ With New Variant Cover

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‘A Chivalry of the Failed Knight’ Anime Gets New Promo

‘A Chivalry of the Failed Knight’ Anime Gets New Promo We got the details of what to expect from the anime adaptation of A Chivalry of the Failed Knight earlier this week and now GA Bunko has brought out a new promo for it. It’s not an anime promo, but it does present the cast of characters from the light novels and associates them with the voice actors as well as bringing in the key anime visual and the staff.. The anime adaptation is being directed by Shin Oonum while Jin Tamamura is serving as the overall director. They’re working off of the scripts by Shogo Yasukawa and character designs by Sei Komatsubara. The series is being animated at SILVER LINK and Nexus.

The cast has also been revealed with Ryota Ohsaka as Ikki Kurogane, Shizuka Ishigami as Stella Vermillion, Nao Toyama as Shizuku Kurogane and Shintaro Asanuma as Nagi Arisuin.

The title is originally know as Rakudai Kishi no Cavalary and it began back in 2013 with artwork by artist Won. Seven volumes have been released as of this spring for the light novel series while a manga adaptation began in March 2014 from Megumu Soramichi.

Plot concept: The series revolves around Mage-Knights, humans with supernatural powers who can materialize a weapon from their souls. Ikki Kurogane, dubbed as the “Failure Knight” for having no talent in modern-day magic, is a repeating student in an institution for Mage-Knights because of his failing grades. With the installation of a new head of the institution, a new rule was stated: knights with compatible abilities must share rooms and train together for the whole school year to maximize their abilities.

One day, Ikki encounters a half-naked girl, Stella Vermillion, who was changing in his room. It turns out that she is a princess of a foreign country and a Rank A Mage-Knight to boot. Stella challenged Ikki to a duel where the loser must be obedient to the winner. This fateful meeting changes Ikki’s life as he strives to become a real Mage-Knight.

Top Three Maiden Japan Anime Releases Of 2014

Top Three Maiden Japan Anime Releases Of 2014 Maiden Japan had a lot of fans happy with some of the things they released since getting going in 2010 since it looked like they were going after some of the lesser known titles in some ways and things that kind of flew under the radar. While they’ve never been a strong releasing force since they started, 2014 saw them release just three titles. I can’t even put together a formal top five list here since one of the titles had two releases across two formats. So this list is painfully short – one we hope that gets changed a bit for 2015 as the company has some good shows they can work with. And if it just becomes a clearing house for more Patlabor, well, we’ll take that too.

3) Happiness!: Complete Collection [ Review ]

Cuteness abounds and there’s plenty of silly scenes, a few mildly romantic pieces and some formulaic high school fun, but it doesn’t come together into a cohesive whole that makes it a worthwhile experience. It’s light and cute but superficial is what really describes it at the end of the day.

2) Myself; Yourself: Complete Collection [ Review ]

I liked the cast, I liked the way a lot of it unfolded, but it just lacked that extra oomph to really make it connect in a strong way. It’s certainly not a bad series, though it suffers from a poor translation and subtitling, but it’s not a bad way to spend some time if you’re looking for something of this genre.

1) Patlabor The Mobile Police (TV): Collection 4 (Blu-ray & DVD) [ Review ]

It’s a solid show that once again looks great and is simply wonderful to have in this format for the first time after being mostly out of print for years on DVD.

Great Pacific #3 Review

Great Pacific #3 Review All the planning in the world…

Creative Staff:
Story: Joe Harris
Art: Martin Morazzo

What They Say:
Lost and alone, surveilled from above by forces unrevealed, on the run from hostile natives out to avenge their murdered brother, and stalked from below by the monstrous octopus, Yalafath, Chas Worthington scuttles his quest to tame and settle The Pack as merely surviving becomes the hardest task of all.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Going into Great Pacific has certainly been interesting, though I’ve quickly found myself unsure of where it’s going to go, which is unfortunate since it’s going in directions that just feel a bit to light and odd. Chas’ plans went into motion well in the first installment to get him onto New Texas in the Pacific and to begin his larger plans and ambitions there. The second installment was a bit less defined as we had him going off to explore things while his assistant set everything up at the base camp. Having it all go south for Chas while out on walkabout with a sea monster was just weird and unexpected since the first issue didn’t really seem to push the book in that direction. It had its moments, but that aspect left me unsettled with its potential grand plan.

In this third installment, it again takes some unusual directions. Admittedly, I felt that this series was going in a “novel” kind of approach based on the first issue with it looking to dig into things, but it’s going a bit more cinematic here. Now that Chas has survived his encounter with the creature for the moment, he’s found himself essentially lost in the middle of nowhere with no gear and way to connect back to base camp. Because of the moving nature of the place, he’s unsure of even his general area at this point or what direction to go. So he wanders, knowing that the creature is lurking below just looking for another opportunity to grab him. There is a decent kind of isolation about all of this and a quickly empty mindset that Chas takes, fairly appropriate for a kid his age to fall into despair, and it sets the tone well as he does at least try to make some progress even after realizing that the HERO prototype was destroyed.

While we get a bit of a nod from base camp about what’s going on, since Chas has been missing for five days, the bulk of the book is all about Chas. Where it gets even more unusual is that when he’s at the point of giving up, that’s when a small plane crashes on the pyre near him and offers him the hope he needs. That it’s piloted by a young French woman? Who knows what that means. That they’re both now targets of the creature? Sure, why not. What we do get is a look at Chas’ device though, which she ended up grabbing, and to see just what kind of damage it can do at a place like this that’s filled with so much in the way of plastics. It’s just so poorly defined in a way with the point of it all that it feels very awkward and uncertain with what it is it wants to do, as well as bringing in a new character with no name, a tactic I always hate.

In Summary:
Great Pacific is a series that I still hold out some hope for in what it can do because the basic concept is one that I find alluring. With so much time invested in so many shows revolving around teenagers through the anime and manga I read, and enough comics, I don’t mind that age aspect of it at all. But it’s frustrating here that instead of dealing with some potentially interesting questions, politics, economics and more of pulling off a great heist like this, we get a sea monster, a wandering kid and a mysterious female French pilot that smokes and literally drops into the scene. I’m rooting for this book overall, but this installment has me a lot more wary about it now.

Grade: B-

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXolog
Release Date: January 2nd, 2013
MSRP: $2.99

Stuart Immonen’s ‘Star Wars’ Debut & Variant Covers Revealed

Stuart Immonen’s ‘Star Wars’ Debut & Variant Covers Revealed With the Star Wars series under the Marvel banner hitting all sorts of highs on a regular basis since debuting earlier this year, the book is moving into its next phase with the August 19th, 2015 release of the eighth issue. This issue brings on board the new regular artist for it with Stuart Immonen. With Jason Aaron still writing, the book is looking to delve into the past a bit with Obi-Wan Kenobi’s background and now the first look at the artwork from Immonen – as well as the variant covers – have arrived. And it looks pretty damn slick.

Plot concept: After discovering the journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, more determined than ever continues his quest to learn about the history of the Jedi. A quest that will take him to the center of the galaxy – to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant! But what he and R2-D2 uncover on their journey to the massive city-planet may be more than he bargained for. Meanwhile, at the far end of the galaxy, Han Solo & Princess Leia are confronted by a most unexpected foe! Don’t miss the start of a brand-new arc as critically acclaimed artist Stuart Immonen joins the Rebellion this August for STAR WARS #8!

STAR WARS #8 (MAY150780)
Written by JASON AARON
Art & Cover by STUART IMMONEN
Variant Cover by JOHN CASSADAY (MAY150781)
Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (MAY150782)
Sketch Variant by STUART IMMONEN (MAY150783)
FOC – 07/27/15, On-Sale – 08/19/15

Stuart Immonen’s ‘Star Wars’ Debut & Variant Covers Revealed

Stuart Immonen’s ‘Star Wars’ Debut & Variant Covers Revealed

Stuart Immonen’s ‘Star Wars’ Debut & Variant Covers Revealed

Stuart Immonen’s ‘Star Wars’ Debut & Variant Covers Revealed

Trees #1 Review

Trees #1 Review Man is just another insect in the world.

Creative Staff:
Story: Warren Ellis
Art: Jason Howards

What They Say:
Ten years after they landed. All over the world. And they did nothing, standing on the surface of the Earth like trees, exerting their silent pressure on the world, as if there were no-one here and nothing under foot. Ten years since we learned that there is intelligent life in the universe, but that they did not recognize us as intelligent or alive.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
One of the best things about science fiction is the way that it can look at the condition of the world, with mankind, and make engaging stories about it that can make you think and feel in new ways. With good books, it can completely take you into a new mindset with all sorts of races and nudge your own mind to be more empathetic. A lot of science fiction for awhile has been all about the action and adventure, but there’s also been a solid push towards material that’s more a thinking mans game, which is welcome to see. There’s always been a tug of war between the sides over the decades, going back to its origins to be sure, but when we do see more intelligent and introspective pieces out there it becomes a reason to celebrate. Warren Ellis and Jason Howards’ Trees series is on the road to something worthy celebrating.

The series takes place in multiple locations around the world in its opening installment here, showing us some of how the world has changed in the ten years since an alien species came to Earth. Unlike the usual conquest types, they’re simply massive towers that pushed into the planet and have stood still for all that time, only pushing through some waste material along the way that’s very damaging to anything along the wall. We see that incident in Rio de Janeiro at first, where we also get a glimpse of how the police operate there in keeping people under control and cowed. Ten years after such an event with these spires and we’re all still killing each other for the simplest of reasons, even after learning that a much higher intelligence seemingly exists. We do get a look at some of the fallout from their arrival, through the short piece with Vince, a wealthy man from lower Manhattan that is looking to become mayor of New York City as he wants to make a change to how things are working there. When things went down and so much was destroyed, the cops essentially became another gang on the streets. His goal is to change the nature of the police and to remind the rest of the city that the residents there rebuilt what they did without help from anyone else.

Other stories are certainly curious in their own right as there are two other pieces at play that we get the first taste of. One has us following Tian, a young man in China that is setting up residence in the special protectorate of Shu, where some of the Trees seems to be as well. As an artist, it’s interesting to see what’s involved in getting into the zone and doing things there, based on what the entry point guard talks about, as well as Tian’s experiences in there as it’s a vastly different world than the village he came from. There’s not much here beyond that, but it’s all the perspective of a young man entering a much larger world with some naive views on things. The other curious arc at the end has my attention a well as it follows a science team in Spitzbergen, Norway, where they’re doing their mission alongside a Tree and there looks to be changes with some new plants starting to grow around them. There’s a lot of foundation setting here and getting a handle on the cast, and the four stories are all tied together well here, making you want to know more.

In Summary:
I’ve had mixed luck over the years when it comes to Warren Ellis’ work in what actually ends up working for me, but Trees starts off pretty strong for me here with what it’s doing. It’s following a classic structure to be sure, but it works well in doing a lot of establishment on a global situation while personalizing it well. It’s also aided by Jason Howard’s artwork, which is really spot on for what this kind of series wants to do in giving it a rough feeling but also textured in a way that feels earthy where it really needs it. It also gives it an unearthly feeling when it comes to the Trees themselves, especially with the waste disposal moment that we see early on. There’s definitely a lot to be intrigued by here and it left me wanting a lot more to see what the real story is going to be about and what direction it wants to sink its teeth into.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics
Release Date: May 28th, 2014
MSRP: $2.99

Temptation Hentai Anime DVD Review

Temptation Hentai Anime DVD Review The most fertile ground for acquiring young women to be sold off into the bonds of slavery continues to be Japanese college campuses.

What They Say:
Unable to resist his animal urges, a professor is caught red-handed having sex with a busty coed! Now under blackmail, he must help his new partner in crime mentor the hottest females on campus… and capture their erotic training sessions on film!

The Review:
Audio:
Temptation retains the same bilingual presentation we had with the previous Anime 18 release from Central Park Media. Both tracks feature a standard stereo mix encoded at 192kbps with the bulk of it being the dialogue that’s primarily through the center channel with a full feeling to it. The music and some of the sound effects are all that really use the stereo channels and they’re pretty light in general and unobtrusive. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally released in 2003, the transfer for the two OVA episodes on this volume is presented in their original full frame aspect ratio. This release is identical to the previous edition as it’s just a repressing with no changes to the video. The source materials for the majority of this look great with lots of vibrant but not oversaturated colors and solid backgrounds for the most part. The main offense here is the amount of cross coloration that creeps into a number of scenes which can be fairly distracting. Outside of that, there are a few scenes, typically close to transitions, where the show gets blocky for a few seconds and it’s pretty noticeable.

Packaging:
The original release of this was roundly and rightly criticized as the character artwork was altered to change a fairly small breasted character to a larger one so as to not make her look younger. This edition of the release uses completely different artwork for the cover that avoids that problem as it has a couple of the girls in school uniforms on the train that are being molested by both another student and an older male. There’s a certain softness to the artwork here that looks really nice and the overall design and colors for it are highly appealing. The back cover is fairly straightforward with how Critical Mass does things with a fairly bland background and a large piece of character artwork, this time with Hotaru being all bound up. Add in a number of shots from the show that highlight its nature and you’ve got a fairly decent look overall. The technical grid covers everything well and the layout is straightforward and easy to read as well as being accurate. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu layout has a nice illustration to it of two girls in their school clothes from an upskirt view while on the train as some unknown men start sliding their hands into their panties. It’s split in half almost as the idea of a door opening on the train with the metallic area having the logo and the discs selections. The navigation menu is simple and straightforward as on just about all Anime 18 releases and access times are nice and fast. The disc didn’t listen to our players’ language presets though and went with English language and sign/song subtitles only.

Extras:
The only real extra here is a brief art gallery done in view form.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Temptation is the another two episode adult series that proves that if you become high enough up in a university (or rather, high school depending on what you hear as opposed what you read) that you’ll invariably be some sort of twisted sexual deviant. After all, what else is there to aspire to in such a position where you’re basically still just in charge of a lot of children? Why not just mess them up as much as possible?

The show opens as we see the very attractive Sakura being fondled and played with on the train while she’s heading to school in her uniform. It doesn’t get far but sets some of the stage for things as it shifts to another schoolgirl whose in the library getting herself off all alone. Hotaru’s an attractive green haired beauty who talks about the professor she wants so badly as she works herself up which is amusing since that professor, Ayabe, just happens to have come along and seen her there. Things happen that lead her to finding him there and she’s so overwhelmed with lust that she just jumps him right there and does him.

Or so it seems at first as we soon learn that the entire thing was videotaped and given to Kyomoto, a raven haired woman who oversees the school. She brings this to Ayabe’s attention while having Hotaru go down on her in her office so that he understands what kind of power she has. To ensure his compliance with her wishes, she blackmails him into dominating and violating two girls on her list and videotaping it for her. This leads him down the dark path to sexually violating them, which he doesn’t seem to not enjoy, in hopes of getting him out of the trouble he got trapped into. But to his surprise, the two girls he takes down at first are just that, the first of many that Kyomoto wants him to take down.

Along the way, he ends up being ably assisted by Miku as she loves what’s going on and just can’t seem to get enough of it. To provide some counterbalance to the blackmailed sex, enter Sakura. This very cute pink haired shy girl is very much in love with Ayabe but since students and professors can’t mix off campus they never get any time together and Ayabe doesn’t know how she feels about him. They play back and forth a little bit with the flirting but she keeps holding out for a time when she’ll be able to snag him in her own way. For Ayabe, he’s just getting deeper and deeper into things as he learns that Kyomoto does all of this so she can sell sex slaves to the highest bidders. Bidders who appear to be worse than the worst slack jawed yokel you can think of. Watching poor Hotaru get worked over by this guy just makes you cringe for her.

Things spiral down in a weird way when Ayabe ends up in a car accident and we seem to shift into a nurse show instead of a school based show before things start to come back around to try and wrap up some of the, well, I guess you’d call it a story. More like a rough sketch outline of a plot and some of the points get wrapped up. What makes the show worthwhile is that the strung together scenes have some really great sex in it with some very attractive character designs. The only part that gets to be bad about the sex scenes is that the girls are usually just so worked over by what’s happening to them that they go into that spaced out “I’m not here anymore” look near the end that just ruins it in my mind.

I have to give special props to the dub for this. While a good amount of it is similar to the subtitles, there are some wonderful creative liberties taken that had me laughing that they’d do that. During one scene the girl begs for doggy style and he obliges her but as they get into it he demands that she start barking like a dog. No, it’s nowhere in the original. But man does she start woofing. And woofing. But it doesn’t stop there. As they really get into it he starts demanding that she cluck like a chicken. And she does. Badly, but she does. Then again, can you cluck like a chicken effectively when you’re being taken from behind? Now there’s a poll to run.

In Summary:
Temptation is a fairly decent title that has a little bit of a lot of things to it and doesn’t stick exclusively to one genre. While there’s only the most bare of plots holding all of this together, what it does hold together are some fun sex scenes with great looking character designs. It’s not a title that I can recommend outright though since it’s got both a minor bit of scat in it and the girls just end up far too abused for my tastes but for a lot of readers that’s more than enough of a recommendation right there. Though the title hasn’t lasted well in my memory, watching it again has reminded me of just how much fun it is and that for certain reasons I need to keep it around.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Anime Artform, Art Gallery, Trailer, Previews

Content Grade: C+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: C+

Released By: Critical Mass Video
Release Date: June 2nd, 2015
MSRP: $14.99
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.