Otakon Announces Naoki Yoshibe as Guest

Otakon has announced that animator and director Naoki Yoshibe will be a guest at their upcoming convention.

Yoshibe worked at Kamikaze Doga Ltd. from 2011 to 2016. Among Yoshibe’s credits were directing the opening sequences to such anime as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and GATCHAMAN CROWDS. More recently, Yoshibe directed Hanebado! and the MIX opening sequence.

Starting in 2019, Yoshibe is working at Orange Ltd. for a new series as assistant director and on a short piece as director.

Otakon will be taking place July 26-28, 2019 at the Walter Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Otakon Announces Yoshihiro Watanabe as Guest

Otakon has announced that anime producer Yoshihiro Watanabe will be a guest at their upcoming convention.

Watanabe is a producer at animation Studio Orange Ltd. and is currently assisting the production of BEASTARS and developing future projects.

Watanabe grew up in America but after college, by what he considers “weird fate,” he began working for studio Madhouse Inc.. After leaving Madhouse, Watanabe became a freelance producer/coordinator and worked closely
with studio P.A. WORKS.

Otakon will be taking place July 26-28, 2019 at the Walter Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

Udon Entertainment to Release the First Volume of The Rose of Versailles Manga in December 2019

Udon Entertainment revealed at its panel at San Diego Comic-Con that it will release the first volume of Riyoko Ikeda’s The Rose of Versailles manga in December 2019. The remaining four volumes are slated to ship three or four months apart. The company said that all five omnibus volumes of the manga have been localized, and the localization is now waiting for Ikeda Production’s approval.

The company also stated:

It has been a very long process for us because of how important this book is to UDON. We decided to actually finish the translation and localization work and lettered the whole series, so we can can cross-check all the details in the 82 chapters and side stories to make sure a lot of historical character and location’s name are correct, before we start planning on the release. What it means is that we will be sure that we can stick to a release schedule, and also ensure that there is no mistake or back tracking on the localization. We are very proud of the end results. Every sound effect is also localized and touched up too to match with the original look of the Japanese edition.

Source: ANN

Anime Blu-ray Review: Revolutionary Girl Utena Set 2

Revolutionary Girl Utena Set 2 includes 12 episodes of the series, which are commonly referred to as “The Black Rose Saga.” This set includes both the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and the English dub.

Revolutionary Girl Utena Set 2
English Publisher: Nozomi Entertainment/Lucky Penny
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: November 7, 2017

After Utena defeats all the student council members in the duels, she encounters a new obstacle. Souji Mikage opens the Mikage Seminar, which is supposedly a place for student counseling. However, after people reveal their problems and inner turmoil to Souji, he uses his power to put them under his control. They become Black Rose duelists, and they are sent to fight duels with Utena in the Arena. Souji’s goal is to kill Anthy and make a boy named Mamiya Chida the Rose Bride.

When I first watched this portion of Revolutionary Girl Utena back in the late 2000’s, I really didn’t appreciate it all that much. Especially near the end, I felt as if so many concepts were being thrown at me that the information was simply washing over me and I felt as if I had more questions than answers. Not only that, the twist at the end of this portion made me go, “Ummm… what?” But now that I’ve revisited this section of Revolutionary Girl Utena nearly a decade later, I found that it was better than I remembered it. It probably helped that when Nozomi Entertainment and Lucky Penny released the series, they included episode 13 in the second set rather than the first. Also, when I first saw this series years ago, I was checking out DVD releases through the library and had a gap in between the first and second sets. With this viewing, I had all three sets in my possession, so I could watch all the episodes without any significant gap. I think this also helped me to better understand what was going on, because there were connections between the first and second arcs that I picked up on this time that I hadn’t the first time, due to the gap between watching the DVD sets.

Another thing that helped me to appreciate “The Black Rose Saga” a little more was the fact that my 21-year-old daughter started watching the Blu-ray sets with me at this point, and she was picking up on concepts and ideas that I hadn’t thought of before. I think having another person who had never seen the series before watching with me and bouncing ideas off me also helped deepen my appreciation for this arc. But I should say that the twist at the end still makes me go, “Ummm… what?”

The Blu-ray video for this set has 4.3/1080p High Definition, and the audio includes English and Japanese LPCM Stereo and Japanese LPCM Surround. I thought the video quality was good on this release, and I have no complaints about the audio quality.

There are several bonus features spread out throughout this set. The first disc includes a 28-minute feature labeled as, “Animated Art Boards Part 1,” as well as a Japanese promo for Revolutionary Girl Utena from 1997. The “Animated Art Board” is a slideshow set to music, and all the slideshow features is art of the backgrounds. To be honest, the “Animated Art Board” was boring to watch, and it’s a bonus feature that I’m planning to never watch again. The second disc has no bonus features on it, while the third disc includes a two-part interview with director Kunihiko Ikuhara and trailers for other releases put out by Nozomi Entertainment. The two parts of the interview only last for about two minutes each, and they are subtitled.

This Blu-ray release is worth it for fans of Revolutionary Girl Utena who want to have a Blu-ray version to include in their home anime video library.

Maiden Japan Licenses the Joshiraku Anime

Maiden Japan has announced that it added the slice-of-life comedy series, Joshiraku, to its growing list of titles. Joshiraku is produced by studio J.C.STAFF and directed by Tsutomu Mizushima, with script supervision from Michiko Yokote.

Marii, Kigurumi, Tetora, Gankyou and Kukuru are five young women with completely different interests and personalities, but there’s one thing that they all share: performing Rakugo, a unique form of Japanese comic theatre in which a single artist sits in front of an audience and tells an entire story, portraying multiple characters solely through changes of voice and minimal movements. It’s a challenging art but all five of our leading ladies are determined to become the best they can… and in the meantime, they find themselves hanging out together, both at the Rakugo theater and around town. And they also have a shared acquaintance, a mysterious stranger who’s always wearing a wrestling mask. What’s that about? To find out, pull up a seat and watch as our heroines put on the best show in town in Joshiraku.

Joshiraku‘s spirited and hilarious dialogue is brought to life by a stellar vocal cast, which features Saori Goto as Kukuru Anrakutei, Ayane Sakura as Marii Buratei, Kotori Koiwai as Kigurumi Haroukitei, Nozomi Yamamoto as Tetora Bouhatei and Yoshino Nanjō as Gankyou Kuurubiyuutei.

Joshiraku will be streamed on select digital outlets and released on home video.

GKIDS and Shout! Factory Present Genius Party and Genius Party Beyond on Blu-ray and Digital Download in October 2019

Studio 4°C’s animated anthology films Genius Party and Genius Party Beyond, which feature an eclectic collection of stories from 12 acclaimed directors, will be released together on Blu-ray on October 15, 2019, and separately via digital download on October 1, 2019 from GKIDS and Shout! Factory. Now available for the first time ever in North America, Genius Party consists of seven connected and visually experimental stories while Genius Party Beyond includes five, making it the perfect anthology piece for the devoted anime collector.

From groundbreaking animation outfit Studio 4°C comes two extraordinary projects with a shared, simple vision: to take an all-star team of some of the best animators working in anime today, and give each free rein to tell a unique short story built around “the spirit of creativity.”

Full of boundless imagination, fantastic worlds, and unique visual styles, these two acclaimed films spotlight directors like Masaaki Yuasa and Shinichiro Watanabe, along with Hideki Futamura. Other contributors include Atsuko Fukushima, Shoji Kawamori, Shinji Kimura, Yoji Fukuyama, Mahiro Maeda, Koji Morimoto, Kazuto Nakazawa, Shinya Ohira, and Tatsuyuki Tanaka.

Arson Attack on Kyoto Animation Studio

I was heartbroken to learn about the arson attack on the Kyoto Animation studio and the large number of lives lost. Please join me in keeping the family and friends of those killed and injured in the attack in your thoughts today.

To learn more about the attack and to follow updates, please visit Anime News Network’s coverage of this tragedy.