Konami, WAKFU, and more Gamestop?

In this fun filled episode we review and discuss Wakfu. Discuss Konami and Hiedo Kojima, speculating what is going on with Konami. Then wrap things up talking about Gamestop, again, and its recent acquisition of ThinkGeek.com.
This is also the debut episode with T.J. Condon!

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We’re Back! Blurricon, Anime USA, and Miku on the Late Show!

The crew is back! With the season three opener of Otaku Drive Time, they discuss their recent experiences at Blurricon 2 and Anime USA 2014. They wrap the show up talking about Hatsune Miku’s appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

A First Look at “Garo: Honoo no Kokuin”

Having now watched the first episode of the Garo anime (sub-titled “Honoo no Kokuin)… and being a fan of the tokusatsu franchise it was birthed from, and knowing that some fans of the franchise aren’t liking the anime, I’d like to make a few observations.

1) This is a story they probably wouldn’t tell in the live-action format – and not because of the required cinematography or effects, as we know they have a pretty darn good animation department all on their own… no, just based on the story itself. it feels like they took a little bit of “Yami o Terasu Mono” and dialed it up a few notches, although it remains to be seen how long it will take Garo and Zoro to redeem their reputation

2) All of the characters have western names, and the setting feels very medieval – where the toku franchise took place in some far-secluded mystical part of Japan, this series very much does not. I don’t know how it ties in to the rest of canon, and I doubt they’ll bother to explain how the armor manages to get from point A to point B (sort of like how we still don’t know how it went from the Saejimas to Ryuuga either). We also haven’t seen Zaruba yet, so there’s no way of telling at this point what he’ll be able to do to pull it all together

3) it has a bigger regular cast – another possible reason for them to tell the story by animation

I’ll probably keep watching simply because I’m a completionist, and I do see potential for it to fall into the regular Garo tropes… I don’t mind waiting to see what lies ahead.

[If you have a topic you’d like me to cover in a future article, please don’t hesitate to email me at Sara at otdt.net.]

Morning Musume… All You Need Is Kill

The crew intends on only reviewing “Edge of Tomorrow” staring Tom Cruise. The best laid plans… The crew also talks about Morning Musume’s concert in New York City!
They wrap the episode up by actually talking about Sonic the Hedgehog!
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A Cornucopia of Fandom! Pokemon, Power Rangers, Miku, and Granola?

This time the cast sit down and look at the upcoming releases of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. From there they give their reactions to the upcoming Mighty Morphin Power Rangers re-envisioning movie from Saban and Lionsgate. We look at Lady Gaga’s current tour with Hatsune Miku and wonder where the fan coverage is.
We talk about Granola and its relationship to anime memes (think Nature Valley)

Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Blu-Rays To Be Released

Seven Arcs has announced on the official Nanoha web site that Blu-Ray box sets of the franchise’s three TV anime (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s, and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS) will be released in the final quarter of 2014. The sets are being released to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the original series’ premiere, in October of 2004. As Blu-Ray Region A includes both Japan and North America, importing the series is a viable option again, particularly since the series’ license was held by Geneon and was one of its final releases (distributed by Funimation) before the localizer’s demise. If the precedent set by the Blu-Ray release of the compilation/reboot movies is followed, all sets should include English subtitles. The dub of the first two series, starring Cristina Vee as Nanoha, is not likely to be included; this will be the first official English-language release of StrikerS if it does include subtitles.

On an unrelated editorial note, the sound that this monoglyphic editor made upon reading the news was something beyond the range of human vocal chords and if you get these for me I will replicate it for you on air which was highly disturbing and may never happen again.

Cruising with Zipcon, Miyazaki’s Issues with Anime, Danball Senki, Kikader, and Twitch plays Pokemon

The crew is joined by Eric Murray who comes with coverage of the first Zipcon. They then look at the new reboot of the classic Tokusatsu Kikaider. Moving forward they look at the news that Dentsu USA has partnered with Nicktoons to bring LBX (Danball Senki) to the United States. With that they talk about Hayao Miyazaki’s comments that the problem with the anime industry is that it is full of Otaku Wrapping things up we drive past “Twitch Plays Pok√©mon” and discuss the wonders of it.

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Samurai Flamenco

When I first sat down and watched Samurai Flamenco it was because we talked about the music on this site. I typically avoid the “must see” anime from my friends for fear of another “Tiger and Bunny,” “Gokaiger,” or “Naruto.” What I mean by those, all of which are incredible shows, is the fans of those shows are extreme to the point it ruins the experience of the show for a casual watcher.
To a causal western viewer with limited knowledge of the Japanese entertainment industry and idols, part of Masayoshi’s (main character) career and fandoms may be a bit perplexing. Looking at this show from the view of someone who is familiar with the culture, this show is an amazing ride. Someone who does not have the cultural context of the children’s tokusatu television, idols (and the related culture), Japanese entertainment news, and variety television this show can come across as a bit shallow or lack luster.
Samurai Flamenco is deeply entrenched in Japanese culture. So much so that its charm is how rooted it is in the culture.
My first impression of the show was a “this is cute” with a serious touch of the “boy love” between the main characters, Masayoshi and Hidenori. The show then becomes a slow transformation of the Masayoshi into a mostly self confident Japanese celebrity and super hero.

The story to date:
* Boy is a super hero fan
* Boy is trying to be a model and using his model money to become a super hero
* Boy makes reputation as super hero and gets help from others
* Boy builds confidence and becomes better model and becomes famous
* Boy meets idol girls who create a “magical girl” team to fight evil
* Boy saves the Japan.
* Boy becomes a part of super hero team.
* Boy saves world
* Boy becomes criminal by corrupt government officials.

OK, that is incredibly over simplification of the shows plot, but that is what you are getting when you remove the cultural references from the show. The show is a collection of tropes creatively put together using a shared cultural knowledge as the glue binding it together.
As an avid comic book reader of the 1980’s I have recognize that this show is a collection of traditional western comic book tropes as well as Japanese Tokusatsu ones. In many ways I am reminded of Spiderman of that era, continuously thrown into every Marvel property with little to no reason or purpose other than to be there. You can look at Transformers #3 as perfect example Spiderman just plopped into a story for no real reason. The same could be said for Samurai Flamenco and the Sentai* he was thrust into. The main character is picked up and thrown into a secret organization for no reason other than “it was there.” While it is an amazing concept, the lead up is blunt and awkward. While the organization that the sentai is associated with seems to come out of nowhere, an astute watcher can creatively fill in the blanks from the disappearances of a key character for various reasons throughout the first 10 episodes.
As the series progresses, the level of absurdity does as well. Just as the ever increasing graphic violence in Gantz becomes acceptable over the course of the manga and show, the similar occurs with the absurdity in Samurai Flamenco. As the show progresses the world of comic book and children’s television super heroes and super vilians become more integrated and real to the characters and the viewer. By the 13th episode the sentai seems normal and reasonable where as in episodes 1 through 7 would be completely unrealistic and would turn viewers away.
In the end I would not be terrifically surprised, if like the opening credits from episode 1-13 show, that the entire series was Masayoshi’s dream and ends with him waking up in the hospital.
The art style of Samurai Flamenco is a crisp and stays true to its tokusatsu designs. The story is fun. The music is increidble.
Check it out on Hulu or Crunchyroll.

*Sentai translates into squadron, team, battalion

A Look at Setsucon 2014

Every year in January, a small fan run anime convention known as Setsucon takes place in central Pennsylvania. Setsucon is run by the Penn State Anime Organization which is a part of Penn State University. Coming off of the winter holidays, vacation time for most people is very scarce this early in the year. For those people, being able to attend an event that does not require a full vacation day for Friday (or having to take Thursday off as a travel day) is really important. Herein lies both a great strength and downfall of this wonderful show: it is two days. For those with weekdays to spare, the smaller two day event can be a slightly less desirable destination than the larger Ohayocon in Ohio, which usually occurs on the same weekend. While it is a significant drive from State College, PA to Columbus, OH (about 6 hours), the larger three day event siphons away some potential attendees from western Pennsylvania, which is about midway between the two.
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