Anime Biography: Takashi Miki

Anime composer Takashi Miki, whose real name is Tadashi Watanabe, was born in Tokyo in 1945. Originally, Miki wanted to be a singer after he graduated from junior high school. However, he changed his mind and taught himself how to compose music instead. Miki made his professional debut as a composer in 1967.

In anime, Miki is best known for composing “Anpanman no March,” the theme song for the Soreike! Anpanman franchise. Even though the song was originally written when the series premiered in 1988, “Anpanman no March” continues to used as the theme song for the franchise over 20 years later. Miki also wrote “Hoshi no Ojisama Petit Prince,” the theme song from 1978’s Little Prince anime series. Miki also composed music for director Gisaburo Sugii’s 1974 anime film, Jack to Mama no Ki (Jack and the Beanstalk).

Outside of anime, Miki wrote songs for numerous artists in Japan, with songs ranging from enka to pop music. Miki wrote songs for such artists as Ruriko Asaoka, Ryoko Moriyama, Teresa Teng, Fuyumi Sakamoto, Hideki Saijo, Agnes Chan, Hiromi Iwasaki, Sayuri Ishikawa, and the female trio Warabe. Songs Miki composed include: “Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyugeshiki,” “Toki no Nagare ni Mi wo Makase,” “Tsugunai,” “Yozakura Oshichi,” “Boomerang Street,” and “Medaka no Kyodai.” Miki also composed “Furimukuna Kimi wa Utsukushii,” a theme song for the All Japan High School Soccer Tournament. He has also contributed compositions to musicals produced by the Shiki Theatre Company.

Back in the 1970’s, Miki was part of a jury panel for a popular singer TV audition program that aired on Japanese television. Miki was recommended for the jury panel by lyricist Yu Aku. Miki and Aku also teamed up to write the song, “Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyugeshiki.” This song, which was sung by Sayuri Ishikawa, became a hit in 1977. Miki wrote “Toki no Nagare ni Mi wo Makase” in the 1980’s, and it was sung by Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng.

In 2004, he served as the administrative director for the Japan Composer’s Association. The following year, Miki was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon for his works. In 2006, Miki underwent surgery for throat cancer. However, after the surgery, he returned to working on his compositions.

Takashi Miki passed away on May 11, 2009 at a hospital in Okayama City. He was 64 at the time of his passing. Takashi Miki is survived by his sister, a singer named Jun Mayuzumi, along with other relatives.

Anime Blog Posts That Caught My Eye This Week (October 23, 2020)

I’m really not sure what to say in regards to this week’s list…

Here are the blog posts that grabbed my attention this week:

VIZ Media’s Website Removes Free Anime Videos

Anime News Network is reporting that VIZ Media’s website has removed its free Hulu-embedded streams of anime episodes. The company’s website now directs visitors to watch the anime on other streaming platforms, such as Crunchyroll, FUNimation, Hulu, and Netflix.

The company previously offered free streams via Hulu for several of its licensed anime, including Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Naruto, One-Punch Man, Bleach, Sailor Moon, Hunter x Hunter, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Death Note, Inuyasha, and Ranma 1/2.

Source: ANN

More Dubbed Episodes of the Fourth Season of My Hero Academia Added to Hulu

The Fandom Post is reporting that Hulu will begin streaming English dubs for Episodes 77-88 of My Hero Academia on November 24, 2020.

The anime is directed by Kenji Nagasaki based on the series composition by Yousuke Kuroda. Yoshihiko Umakoshi is on board as the character designer and chief animation director, with the series being produced at BONES.

The story of My Hero Academia is described as:

It’s an exciting age of heroes, where most people develop supernatural abilities known as Quirks. Bright-eyed kids like Izuku Midoriya—Deku for short—dream of the day they become champions of the people. There’s just one little problem standing in Deku’s way. In a world full of heroes, he’s Quirkless. Crushed, but not down for the count, this superhero-fanboy dedicates his time to studying the pros in hopes that he, too, can join a prestigious high school for heroes. In the face of despair, Deku’s courage catches the eye of his ultimate idol, the symbol of justice known as All Might. With special training from the big guy himself, Deku and the talented first-years of the academy may finally have a shot at achieving their dreams. But these amateurs are put to the test of a lifetime when routine training becomes a battle against real villains.

The My Hero Academia anime began airing on Japanese television on April 3, 2016. FUNimation Entertainment is simulcasting the series as it airs.

Source: The Fandom Post

FUNimation Entertainment to Release a Dub of the Strike Witches: Road to Berlin Anime in 2021

Anime News Network is reporting that the site was told by FUNimation Entertainment that the company will be releasing an English dub of the Strike Witches: Road to Berlin anime in 2021.

This is the statement made by FUNimation:

FUNimation will be releasing a brand-new English dub for Strike Witches: Road to Berlin in 2021 for fans to enjoy, and we’ll be making an announcement on our social channels when we can. However, the simulcast version won’t be part of our fall season.

FUNimation announced earlier in October 2020 that it would begin simulcasting Strike Witches: Road to Berlin on October 7, 2020. However, the anime is no longer available on FUNimation’s streaming service.

Strike Witches: Road to Berlin premiered in Japan on October 7, 2020, and Crunchyroll began simulcasting the series on October 9, 2020.

Source: ANN

Anime NYC and NTWRK App to Hold Online Event in November 2020

Livestream shopping platform NTWRK and the Anime NYC Powered By Crunchyroll convention have announced that they are collaborating for an online version of the event on November 17-20, 2020. The online Anime NYC event will be available worldwide in the NTWRK app.

The event “will include exclusive interviews and presentations with the creators and companies at the forefront of Japanese pop culture together with opportunities to take home exclusive, pre-release, and original goods.” The announcement added, “Beyond exclusive entertainment and merchandise, expect offerings focused on cosplay, music, artists, and more.” Crunchyroll will be the title sponsor.

Organizers of the Anime NYC Powered By Crunchyroll convention announced in August 2020 that this year’s event is canceled due to the effects of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The next convention is scheduled for November 19-21, 2021.

This year’s convention was scheduled for November 20-22, 2020 at the Javits Center in New York City.

Source: ANN

Anime Biography: Spencer Prokop

Spencer Prokop was a writer and voice actor for FUNimation Entertainment. As a writer, he wrote the scripts for the English adaptations of BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad, Kodocha, Mushi-Shi, One Piece, School Rumble, Solty Rei, Trinity Blood, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, and XXXHolic. As a voice actor, Prokop provided his talents to Baccano!, Darker Than Black, and Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple.

Prokop was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 1, 1957. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point in 1978. Right out of college, Prokop became a professional actor, and performed at the Fireside Theatre in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. In 1980, Prokop moved to Dallas to attend the graduate study program at Trinity University. Prokop had roles in several theater productions, which included: Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady at the Granbury Opera House, Robert Law in Boy Meets Girl at the Addison Centre Theater, and Orgon in Tartuffe at the Pegasus Theatre. In 1990, he was selected to study at the Royal National Theater in London. In 1997, Prokop received a Dallas Theater Critics’ Forum award for his role as Bernard Nightingale in Arcadia at the Theatre Three. Prokop was also a founding member of Lone Star Comedy. He also played Lt. Foster in the Black and White productions at the Pegasus Theater. Prokop also had a role in Man from Nebraska.

Outside of anime and theater, Prokop also had roles in Challenger, Dangerous Curves, Final Verdict, Jailbirds, A Killing in a Small Town, Necessary Roughness, The Operator, RoboCop (as a nervous gas station attendant, in a scene that has become a minor classic of terrified silent comedy), To Serve and Protect, Walker, Texas Ranger, and Without Warning: The James Brady Story. Prokop also lent his voice to several video games: Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings, Age of Empires II: The Conquerors, Age of Mythology, Blair Witch Volume 1: Rustin Parr, Crusader: No Regret, and Deus Ex.

In 2003, Spencer and his wife, Patty Lewis, were featured as part of a Newsweek cover story about mothers who work full time and fathers who don’t. Prokop took time off from working for a short time after their son, Chase, was born.

Spencer Prokop passed away from pancreatic cancer on June 7, 2009, at the age of 51. Spencer is survived by Patty and Chase, as well as by other members of his immediate family.

FUNimation Entertainment Streams the First Episode of the D4DJ First Mix Anime Via YouTube

It was interesting when it was announced that FUNimation Entertainment had acquired the streaming rights for the D4DJ First Mix anime, but Sentai Filmworks acquired both the streaming rights and the home video rights for the series.

Even though the anime doesn’t officially premiere until October 30, 2020, The Fandom Post is reporting that FUNimation has made the first episode of the series available on YouTube. Subtitles for this stream are available in English, Neutral Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Thai, Bahasa Malay, and Indonesian.

Following in the music-driven spirit of Bushiroad’s previous projects, including BanG Dream! and Revue Starlight, D4DJ First Mix serves up a DJ-themed mixed media experience that is sure to send pulses racing. With an original story by Kou Nakamura, fans follow the aspiring DJs of D4DJ First Mix as they hit the decks with hot new music as well as remixes of classic tracks.

The series is directed by Seiji Mizushima with theme song composition from Hyadain. Shigru Saito serves as the series’ music producer.

Source: The Fandom Post

Anime Spotlight: Blue Submarine No. 6

Blue Submarine No. 6 is an anime OVA series based on a post-apocalyptic manga series by Satoru Ozawa. The anime was directed by Mahiro Maeda and was produced by Gonzo. The four episodes of the OVA were released between October 25, 1998 and March 25, 2000. As of this writing, Discotek Media holds the North American license for Blue Submarine No. 6.

The story is set in the “near future,” where the oceans have risen and flooded most of the sea-lying land. A rogue scientist named Zorndyke caused the flooding, which killed billions of people. Zorndyke’s army of half-animal “hybrids” have attacked or destroyed most of humanity’s remaining cities. Humanity has built up a submarine force, and the focus of this series is on Blue Submarine #6.

At the beginning of the series, a young female officer named Mayumi Kino, along with a sailor named Mouse, have been sent on a mission to re-recruit Tetsu Hayami. Hayami had been involved with the development of the Grampus (a two-person crew submarine capable of short and long-range combat) while he was at the Naval Academy.  However, he refuses to help.

As Mayumi and Mouse head back to the submarine, the city is attacked by Zorndyke’s hybrids. Hayumi sees what’s going on and joins in the fight. During the fight, Hayumi destroys most of the enemy; however, one of the enemy’s devices manages to land on a beach. Hayumi dispatches a small robot and sprays it with bullets. When Hayumi gets out of his Grampus and approaches, the device opens and reveals a female humanoid creature. After an argument with Kino, Hayami returns the creature to the water. However, the creature bites him when she regains consciousness). But as we see as the series progresses, this encounter the creature has with Hayumi causes her to start turning away from the beliefs of her people.

The main plot of this story, though, is that Zorndyke is attempting to end the conflict between his hybrid children and the humans in the favor of his children by artificially inducing a polar switch using geothermal energy at the South Pole. It’s up to Hayumi, Kino, and the others with Blue Submarine #6 and their allies to stop Zorndyke’s plot.

After watching all four episodes, I can say that it feels like the anime only touches on the surface of what this story is. I felt like this needed to “breathe” more, because the story just felt constricted by its four-episode runtime. I don’t know if this is caused by the anime being faithful to the original manga source material, or if the anime was condensing the story down in order to make it fit into this episode count. Kino and Hayumi are supposed to be the main protagonists, but I never truly felt that neither character was as fleshed out as they could have been. And the evolution of the relationship between these two characters feels rushed rather than coming across as being a natural progression. To be honest, I never felt as if I was truly ever invested in the story or the characters. There were some interesting ideas being utilized for this story, but it felt as if they were executed as fully as they could have been.

Blue Submarine No. 6 is a series that tries to combine computer graphics and traditional cel animation. Unfortunately, since this series was one of the earlier anime series produced with a heavier use of computer-generated images, the computer graphics really stand out like a sore thumb when compared to the traditionally animated characters and backgrounds. As a viewer, I found myself being distracted by how much the computer graphics stand out in this production. But it was interesting to notice that by the final episode, it felt as if the use of the computer-generated images was pulled back considerably. Even though the computer-generated graphics don’t look all that great due to the technology that was available at the time, I thought the cel animation actually looked rather impressive. There were occasional shots that didn’t look as good, but I thought that overall, the animators tried to produce the best cel-based animation that they could. But even with the issue I had with the computer-generated animation, I have to admit that the underwater fight scenes were interesting to watch.

In the end, I was disappointed that by the end of the final episode, Blue Submarine No. 6 didn’t deliver the potential that was there during the first episode. However, if you don’t care as much about character and plot development, and have an interest in seeing underwater fight scenes, then you might enjoy Blue Submarine No. 6. Otherwise, you might want to skip this one.

FUNimation Serves Up Frightening Anime for Halloween

This Halloween season, tune into FUNimation to watch some of the most popular horror anime including Tokyo Ghoul, Higurashi: When They Cry – GOU, Hellsing Ultimate, Deadman Wonderland, Danganronpa: The Animation, Paranoia Agent, and Junji Ito “Collection.” FUNimation has a diabolical line-up of anime featuring ghosts, ghouls, demons and maniacal characters that will make you glad you’re safely inside your home.

Tokyo Ghoul

Don’t miss this twisted horror anime that has become a hit with fans.

About:
Ken Kaneki is a loner. In a world where ghouls—human-like creatures who survive on human flesh—and people are at war, his biggest concern is which novel to pick up next. But when a date with the mysterious Rize turns deadly, a life-saving operation horrifyingly transforms him into a human-ghoul hybrid. Can he find his place in a society where it’s hunt or be hunted?

Clip: https://youtu.be/gbkm2c2hrGE

TV-MA
Funimation.com/tokyoghoul
Copyright: ©Sui Ishida/Shueisha,Tokyo Ghoul Production Committee

Higurashi: When They Cry – GOU

One of the most anticipated new series this fall, Higurashi: When They Cry – New is a reimagining of one of the most famous cult-classic horror anime and Japanese horror video games with modernized animation for 2020.

About:
New kid Keiichi Maebara is settling into his new home of peaceful Hinamizawa village. Making quick friends with the girls from his school, he’s arrived in time for the big festival of the year. But something about this isolated town seems “off,” and his feelings of dread continue to grow. With a gnawing fear that he’s right, what dark secrets could this small community be hiding?

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCcf-VlezFg

TV-MA
Funimation.com/higurashi
Copyright: ©2020Ryukishi07/Higurashi-P

Hellsing Ultimate

The series, based on the popular manga, features Arucard, a true anti-hero character who taunts his enemies before destroying them.

About:
The rogue vampire Arucard is the Hellsing Organization’s deadliest instrument in its mission to protect the British Empire from satanic ghouls and Nazi freaks. With recently-turned policewoman Seras Victoria as his servant, Arucard haunts the shadows as a sinister force of good.

Clip: https://youtu.be/-3ktLn2Z5fE

TV-MA
Funimation.com/hellsingultimate
Copyright: © Kouta Hirano • Shonen Gahosha Co., Ltd./WILD GEESE. Distributed by Funimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Deadman Wonderland

“gory, explicitly violent, frequently over-the-top, and viscerally cruel” -Anime News Network

About:
Ganta is convicted of slaughtering his classmates—a crime he didn’t commit. The authorities lock him up in a brutal, privately owned prison: Deadman Wonderland, where the incarcerated are forced to fight gladiatorial battles for tourists.

Clip: https://youtu.be/oWzHmPSdwqo

TV-MA
Funimation.com/deadmanwonderland
Copyright: ©2010 Jinsei Kataoka, Kazuma Kondou/Kadokawashoten/Deadman Wonder Land Ward G. Licensed by Funimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Danganronpa: The Animation

About:
Hope’s Peak Academy is an elite private school that only accepts the very best. The hallowed halls are ruled by the sadistic administrator Monokuma, who declares that the only way to pass the class is by sending a fellow student home in a body bag.

TV-MA
© Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd. / KIBOUGAMINE ANIME COMMITTEE All Rights Reserved. Licensed by Funimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Paranoia Agent

About:
From Satoshi Kon, the legendary director of Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Paprika comes a dark and mysterious, thought-provoking psychological thriller. Citizens across Musashino City are being attacked and terrorized. Two detectives are put on the case, but will they be able to solve the mystery before there’s another wave of victims?

Clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEsNDDwhSJ4&t=1s

TV-MA
Funimation.com/Paranoiaagent
© Satoshi Kon • MADHOUSE / PARANOIA AGENT COMMITTEE

Junji Ito “Collection”

About:
Enter the twisted world of Junji Ito’s works of horror. Witness the most hair-raising stories from Junji Ito Masterpiece Collection and Fragments of Horror like you’ve never seen them before. For any fans who seek the thrill of shocking imagery and ill-fated characters, this whole show is made for you.

Clip https://youtu.be/yKHJ6w6LzHM

TV-MA
Funimation.com/junji-ito-collection
© Junji Ito / Asahi Shimbun Publications,The Junji Ito “Collection” Production Committee Licensed by Funimation® Productions, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.