‘Typhoon Noruda’ Anime Film Gets New Teaser

‘Typhoon Noruda’ Anime Film Gets New Teaser Typhoon Noruda debuts in Japan on June 5th for a limited three week engagement and now the studio behind it has put together a new minute long teaser that shows off a bit of the character interaction, some of the action and a taste of the opening song for it as well. We recently got the official update with the the main cast of characters as well as fleshing out the staff, noting that Norihiko Miyoshi is on board as the CG director, Mika Nishimura as the art director and Mitsuhiro Sato as the director of photography. It was also revealed that Galileo Galilei will be doing the opening song for the film.

The film comes from Studio Colorido, making their first feature film since they started back in 2011 as they’ve mostly focused on ONA material and more. The film is directed by Youjiro Arai while Hiroyasu Ishida is handling the character designs and serving as the chief animation director.

The cast for the film includes:

Shūhei Nomura as Shūichi Azuma
Daichi Kaneko as Kenta Saijō
Kaya Kiyohara as Noruda

Plot concept: The film takes place on a certain isolated island, at a certain middle school, and on the eve of the culture festival. A boy quits baseball after playing his whole life and has a fight with his best friend. Then, they suddenly meet a mysterious, red-eyed girl named Noruda, and a huge typhoon hits the middle school.

Full trailer:

Second ‘Overlord’ Anime Episode Gets Teasers

Second ‘Overlord’ Anime Episode Gets Teasers With its next episode due out on July 14th, 2015 in Japan and being simulcast by FUNimation, Media Factory has revealed two teasers for the next episode of the Overlord series. They’ve put out two teasers for it, mostly with the same animation, but going with different sets of narration for it to try and draw in different audiences.

Overlord comes from author Kugane Maruyama with illustrations by so-bin that’s published by Enterbrain. It began in the summer of 2012 and released its eighth volume earlier this year. The series has had two drama CDs released with previous volumes.

It’s being animated by Madhouse with Naoyuki Itou directing it based on scripts by Yukie Sugawara and character designs by Takahiro Yoshimatsu as they adapt from the original works. The series will star Kenta Miyake as Cocytus, Manami Numakura as Narberal Gamma, Masayuki Katou as Demiurge, Shigeru Chiba as Sebas Tian and yumi Uchiyama as Mare Bello Fiore.

Plot concept: The series follows a salary man who remains online when the service for an MMORPG ends. In doing so, he becomes a powerful skeletal wizard. In his new form, he begins attracting followers and conquering the digital world that remains.

NBC Universal Reveals Fourth ‘Starmyu’ Anime CD Preview

NBC Universal Reveals Fourth ‘Starmyu’ Anime CD Preview The debut this season of High School Star Musical, which is going by the name Starmyu now, has gone over pretty well for its audience. Now the folks at NBC Universal Anime has put out its preview of its fourth CD that’s set for release right about now in Japan. The tracklist for the release includes:

01 RADIANT MIND
02 Honey!Honey!Trap!
03 RADIANT MIND
04 Honey!Honey!Trap!

The project is from an original plan by Rin Hinata and will be animated at C-Station. Shunsuke Tada is directing the project based on scripts by Sayaka Harara and character designs by Asami Watanabe.

The previously announced cast so far includes Natsuki Hanae as Yuuta Hoshiya,Kensho Ono as Tooru Nayuki, Arthur Lounsbery as Kaito Tsukikage, Yoshimasa Hosoya as Shou Taigeiji, Tomoaki Maeno as Yuu Kuga, Junichi Suwabe as Itsuki Ootori, Daisuke Hirakawa as Tsubasa Hiiragi, Nobuhiko Okamoto as Rui Tatsumi, Yūma Uchida as Eigo Sawatari, Kazuyuki Okitsu as Seishirō Inumine, KENN as Izumi Toraishi, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Akira Ugawa, Showtaro Morikubo as Kyōji Akatsuki, Kousuke Toriumi as Christian Leon Yuzuriha, Wataru Hatano as Sakuya Sazanami and Takehito Koyasu as Haruto Tsukigami.

Plot concept: The story involves a group of high school students at Ayana Academy, a school with music as its main focus. A trio of students are called Hanasakura-kai, designating the most talented from the music department. To get in, individuals must enter through a Star Frame class. The series tells the story of Yuuta Hoshiya*, Tooru Nayuki, Kaito Tsukikage, Shou Tengeiji, and Shuu Kuga as they aim for a position in the musical department after being spotted by Ootori, one of the Hanasakura-kai members.

Dark Horse Talks ‘Midnight Society: The Black Lake’ Miniseries

Dark Horse Talks ‘Midnight Society: The Black Lake’ Miniseries Dark Horse Comics is working a lot of new properties this year to build up its stables a bit more and one of those is landing on June 17th with Midnight Society: The Black Lake. The new series comes from writer Drew Edward Johnson and artist Ray Snyder with a new creator owned work. Johnson has had a pretty solid career so far with an array of titles from Wonder Woman to GI Joe as well as a lot of independent titles and even a little Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron. Johnson is working with Ray Snyder, who worked on similar titles as well as a bit of time on The Terminator.

“I began my career in comics working with Dark Horse on Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron,” Johnson told Comics Bulletin. “To bring my first creator-owned project to Dark Horse Comics is a great homecoming for me. Especially given the opportunity to work with my editor, Philip Simon, whom I had the good fortune of working with in the early days of my career. I’m thrilled and honored to join Dark Horse’s line of genre-bending horror-adventure books, like Hellboy, B.P.R.D., The Goon, and so many more, which have all influenced my work heavily over the years.”

Plot concept: Forty years ago, England’s greatest adventurers cast aside their friendship, making a choice that would come to haunt humanity. Now, secret agent Matilda Finn will face the consequences of that choice as she aids in a frantic rescue operation at Scotland’s Loch Ness, where something terrible is waiting to draw her into the fight of her life!

Dark Horse Talks ‘Midnight Society: The Black Lake’ Miniseries

Sentai Filmworks Showcases Tentative October 2015 Anime DVD/BD Cover Art

Sentai Filmworks Showcases Tentative October 2015 Anime DVD/BD Cover Art Sentai Filmworks announced their anime DVD/BD slate for release coming out this October , and that means we’ve also got the first blush look at the cover artwork for them. As we say all the time, this is all very tentative and often they just use whatever artwork originally comes in for placeholder material, since it looks better via retail than having a blank image. With the Japanese license holders having to sign off on everything, that can go right up to the last minute sometimes.

So take a look at what’s on the way – though obviously there’s no information regarding the Beyond the Boundary collector’s edition in regards to pack-ins, but we have the tentative cover artwork. They’ll be doing a bigger roll out to showcase what they have in mind for that beast of a release.

Which covers do you hope stay and which do you want to see changed out?

Sentai Filmworks Showcases Tentative October 2015 Anime DVD/BD Cover Art

Sentai Filmworks Showcases Tentative October 2015 Anime DVD/BD Cover Art

Sentai Filmworks Showcases Tentative October 2015 Anime DVD/BD Cover Art

Sentai Filmworks Showcases Tentative October 2015 Anime DVD/BD Cover Art

Sentai Filmworks Showcases Tentative October 2015 Anime DVD/BD Cover Art

Sentai Filmworks Showcases Tentative October 2015 Anime DVD/BD Cover Art

Sentai Filmworks Showcases Tentative October 2015 Anime DVD/BD Cover Art

Sentai Filmworks Showcases Tentative October 2015 Anime DVD/BD Cover Art

Sentai Filmworks Showcases Tentative October 2015 Anime DVD/BD Cover Art

Black Butler Season 1 Anime Classics Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

Black Butler Season 1 Anime Classics Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review One hell of a show.

What They Say:
Ciel Phantomhive is the most powerful boy in all of England, but he bears the scars of unspeakable suffering. Forced to watch as his beloved parents were brutally murdered, Ciel was subsequently abducted and violently tortured. Desperate to end his suffering, the boy traded his own soul for a chance at vengeance, casting his lot with the one person won whom he could depend: Sebastian, a demon Butler summoned from the very pits of hell. Together, they’ll prowl the darkest alleys of London on a mission to snuff out those who would do evil.

They’re a rare sight, these two: the Butler who dismembers with dazzling cutlery—and the Young Master who carries the devil’s marking. Rest assured that wherever they may be headed, it’ll be one hell of a ride.

The Review:
Audio:
The DVD language tracks come in English 5.1 Dolby Surround and Japanese Stereo with English subtitles. The Blu-ray language tracks come in Dolby TrueHD English 6.1 and Japanese 2.0. Overall, the quality was solid, but I did have difficulty hearing some of the lower-talking characters. Other than that, the sound was fine.

Video:
No specifications are provided for the DVDs, other than the aspect ratio. The Blu-ray is in 1080p high definition in 16×9 aspect ratio from a SD remaster. The video quality is excellent with no discernable issues.

Packaging:
The Blu-ray and DVDs come in a standard Blu-ray combo pack housed in a slipcover. The front of the slipcover features Ciel and Sebastian in a fairly erotic pose. Ciel, dressed in a puffy white shirt, stands in front of Sebastian. The two hold hands and Sebastian places his free hand on the boy’s shoulder. Ciel wears a leather bracelet on his right wrist that is connected to a collar around Sebastian’s throat. They stand against a black and gray background and black feathers fall from the sky around them. I found it rather disturbing because of the erotic nature of their body language. If these were two adult men, I wouldn’t have an issue, but Ciel is a prepubescent boy, so that adds a whole other dimension to it.

The spine (along with the rest of the slipcase) is dominated by black and purple. It features the show’s title in a rather sedate font and a picture of Ciel. The back cover features the standard show summary, screenshots, and Blu-ray and DVD specifications. The actual Blu-ray case differs on the front and the spine. Ciel stands in the background on the front cover, large and commanding. Sebastian stands in the foreground, smaller than Ciel. He pulls on his right glove with his teeth while pointing cutlery at the viewer. The spine also differs in that the character picture is Sebastian, not Ciel. The back cover remained the same. Overall, it’s a solid case design with a strong aesthetic design. It also doesn’t take up too much room on the shelf, which is always a bonus.

Menu:
I watched the Blu-ray for this viewing. The menu is the same for all discs: scenes from the show take up the majority of the screen while a vaguely French song plays in the background. Underneath the video lies a strip hosting the various play and extra functions. It’s a nice, functional design that I quite like, and the song was subtle and low, so it didn’t drive me crazy when I left the menu playing for some time.

Extras:
This set comes with some pretty decent extras: audio commentaries; BECCA musician profile; “The Story Thus Far” with narration from Tanaka; Bonus episode: “His Butler, Performer”; clean OP/ED.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ciel Phantomhive stands as one of the most important people in Victorian England. He is the heir to the Phantomhive fortune and head of the Phantomhive toy company, as well as the Queen’s guard dog—dispatching threats arising in the country’s underworld, both supernatural and mundane. Ciel fulfills his functions admirably even though he’s only a boy. Of course, it helps that he has one hell of a butler. He butles, he cleans, he protects his master and disposes of threats at Ciel’s pleasure. Every action he performs he does to perfection, much to the chagrin of the other servants who strive to please the black butler at every turn.

The butler, Sebastian, is actually a demon. He answers the boy’s call as Ciel lies dying from torture by a mysterious group who also killed his parents. Rage burns in the child’s heart and it draws in the demon. The two enter into a pact: Sebastian will return to Ciel to life and assist him in his quest for revenge, but once that revenge is fulfilled, he will consume the boy’s soul. Ciel is fine with that.

The funny thing about the situation is that Sebastian really is one hell of a butler. He excels at everything he tries—except whipping the other servants into shape. He is witty, urbane, and charming in a way that only a devil can pull off. His personality plays off well against Ciel’s, which is cold, calculating, and more than a little cruel. In an odd way, the two share a deep bond that goes beyond their pact. The two display genuine affection for each other as well as a mutual respect. This bond actually worried me at first, because I thought that the show would cop out on the consummation of the deal at the end. Thankfully, I was worried for nothing, because the show ends perfectly.

I’ll return to the end in a moment, but for now I want to return to the general setup of the plot and discuss the supporting characters. In many ways, Black Butler runs like a typical television show. It possesses an overarching storyline, but not every episode deals with it. Some of the episodes have nothing to do with the mystery of the people who attacked Ciel and murdered his parents. These other episodes either build up the world more, or they add something to the characters. It’s a nice balance that keeps the show running on a smooth keel.

However, the same can’t be said for the supporting characters. As is often the case with anime, some of the supporting characters are too over-the-top to the point of being annoying. The two worst offenders in this work are the maid Mey-Rin, and the Grim Reaper Grell Sutcliff. Like the other members of the household staff, Mey-Rin’s primary story function is that of comic relief. She wears thick glasses that make it impossible for her to see, so she constantly bumps into and breaks things. She also talks like Eliza Doolittle, only jacked up to 11. I found her voice to be quite grating at times.

Grell’s voice doesn’t really grate on me, but I don’t like how he’s portrayed as either homosexual or bisexual. He appears first as a rather straight-laced person, but once his identity as a Grim Reaper is exposed, his personality becomes gregarious and flamboyant and he professes a strong attraction to Sebastian. That he is attracted to Sebastian isn’t the issue. The issue is that his homo- or bisexuality is wrapped into his monstrousness. Part of the threat he represents is of a sexual nature (primarily against Sebastian), which is bad enough, but his faux feminine attitude is also played for comic relief— using his sexual identity as a prop. If there were other homosexual or bisexual characters, that might not be an issue, but as many critics have pointed out about female representation in movies, if you only have one person who is a member of a class, gender, race, etc., they become the representation for that entire group. With no one else occupying the same role, Grell stands as a probably unintentional statement on homosexuality.

Mey-Rin and Grell aren’t enough to drag this show down.Black Butler makes up for those characters with a compelling story and two very strong leads in Sebastian and Ciel. The show also does a fabulous job with atmosphere. It utilizes the setting of Victorian England to its fullest, creating a show that is dark, mysterious, and foreboding yet inviting. The show also displays a keen wit and wicked sense of humor that feels very fitting with the British setting.

And the ending. Oh, the ending. If you don’t want it spoiled, then please skip down to the summary. The ending was perfect. It was le mot juste. The show did a great job of building the relationship between Ciel and Sebastian, to the point where I thought for sure that it would cop out on the bargain they made. It didn’t, and the ending elevated the entire show because it wasn’t afraid to go its logical conclusion: Sebastian eating Ciel’s soul.

This ending actually becomes problematic, because the show continued after this season, and from what I’ve read, Sebastian doesn’t consume Ciel’s soul. Something comes up that forces him to postpone his feast. Quite frankly, I can’t really work up any interest in these other seasons, because this first one functions so well as a standalone story. Anything else just feels like a watered-down imitation.

In Summary:
Black Butler is a great mix of Gothic, horror, and comedy. It’s atmosphere, frightening, exciting, and wickedly funny. It also ended perfectly: so much so that I have no interest in following the series after this collection. Dr. Josh gives this an…

Features:

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

Released By: FUNimation
Release Date: April 7th, 2015
MSRP: $49.98
Running Time: 600 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Panasonic Viera TH42PX50U 42” Plasma HDTV, Sony BPD-S3050 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection

‘Code Geass: Akito the Exiled’ Anime Extended To Five Episodes

‘Code Geass: Akito the Exiled’ Anime Extended To Five Episodes Code Geass: Akito the Exiled with its third episode had it’s theatrical run begin this past weekend and one of the things revealed during it was that the four episode OVA is is now going to get a fifth episode. With the delays that the series has had, it’s hard to believe that the rewriting done for the fourth episode, redubbing pieces of it, and promising to have that out later this year and the fifth episode this fall is pretty daunting to say the least. The fourth episode currently has a July 4th, 2015 scheduled theatrical debut.

The third episode premiered on May 2nd, 2015 in theaters with a home video release to follow. The episode was originally going to get a March 2015 premiere, but was pushed back after the second episode got pushed back significantly previously.

The show has been picked up for release in North America by FUNimation and has been licensed in Australia by Madman. The original series was licensed in North America by Bandai Entertainment but has fallen out of print since the closure of the company. FUNimation picked up the rights to both properties back in the summer of 2013.

Plot concept: The story takes place in Europe in the year a.t.b. 2017. A Knightmare unit made of boys and girls from Area Eleven are thrown into a military operation with a 5% chance of survival. They must rescue an allied unit left behind on the European war front.

Check out ten minutes of the episode here: