List: My Favorite Anime Dogs

Last time, I shared a list of my five favorite anime cats. To make things fair, this time I’m sharing a list of my five favorite anime dogs. Rather than being a top 5 list, however, I am presenting my choices in alphabetical order.

Akamaru from Naruto

We first officially meet Akamaru in the Naruto anime during the Chunin Exam arc. When the audience first seems him, he comes across as simply being a cute little puppy. But as Kiba battles with Naruto during the exam preliminaries, it’s revealed that there’s more to this little puppy than meets the eye. The Beast Human Clone transformation technique is impressive, and shows how he works well with Kiba. While that certainly is impressive, my favorite technique of Akamaru’s will always be Dynamic Marking.

During the first Naruto anime, we get to see Akamaru help out on missions, primarily with his sense of smell. But I think Akamaru’s finest moments came during the Sasuke Retrieval Arc, when he fought alongside Kiba against Sakon and Ukon.

But when it comes to Akamaru, I have to admit that I liked him a lot more during the episodes of the first Naruto anime. I don’t know why, but the Akamaru that appears in Naruto Shippuden after the timeskip just isn’t as interesting. Maybe it’s because he’s grown a lot and is no longer the cute little puppy, but it also seems to me that Akamaru as a character was also less interesting in Naruto Shippuden.

Black Hayate from Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Black Hayate was a stray dog found by Master Sergeant Kain Fuery, and he was trying desperately to find someone to take him in, since his dorm would not allow him to keep a pet. Lt. Riza Hawkeye offered to take the dog in, and was the one who gave him his name.

Black Hayate turns out to be an awesome dog who accompanies Hawkeye and the others on missions. Not only is he obedient, it turns out that he has an ability to sense Homunculi. Because of this ability, Mustang gives Black Hayate an unofficial rank of Second Lieutenant.

I really enjoyed Black Hayate’s depiction in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood much more than his depiction in the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime. In Brotherhood, Black Hayate seemed to be treated much more like an actual character than simply as a prop.

Black Hayate is an adorable dog, but he can be strong when he wants to be. Don’t let his cute looks deceive you.

Chouchou from One Piece

Chouchou is introduced during the first story arc that featured Buggy the Clown. Luffy and the other Straw Hats encounter him in Orange Town, guarding his owner’s pet shop. When they first meet, the dog swallows the key to the cage where Luffy was being held by Buggy’s subordinates. So it wasn’t a great initial meeting, but as the Straw Hats and the audience learned about Chouchou’s backstory, he became a much more likable character.

It turns out that Hocker, his owner, had left to go to the doctor. Sadly, Hocker died of an unknown illness and never returned. Even though it seems Chouchou knew deep down inside that Hocker was never coming back, he refused to leave his post and kept his vigil in front of the shop. Chouchou made sure the guard the store from any intruders. So when Chouchou tries to fight against Richie and is defeated, it’s a sad enough event. But to have Chouchou also see his beloved pet shop burn down to the ground was heartbreaking to me as a viewer.

Chouchou’s loyalty and backstory is ultimately what sold me on him, and is why he appears on this list.

Ein from Cowboy Bebop

Ein is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi with greatly enhanced intelligence, and is known as a “data dog.” Ein was stolen from a research facility in the second episode of the series, and Spike ends up with the dog after he apprehends the guy who stole him.

Ein becomes an important fixture on board the Bebop, even though most of the crew members don’t seem to realize it. After Ed joins the crew, the two of them seem to be inseparable. Ed seems to be the only one who can understand Ein through his body language and his barks. Since Ein doesn’t talk, his intelligence seems to go unnoticed by most of the others, which allows him to be treated more like a normal dog.

While it seems like Ein is part of the cast for comic relief, he also has some legitimately great moments in the series that aren’t on the comical side. He’s actually done some things that ultimately either keep the crew of the Bebop out of trouble. Ein is an awesome dog that I think just about any dog lover would want to be able to own.

Ein makes this list due to just how awesome of a dog he is.

Pakkun from Naruto

I normally try not to have more than one item on a list from the same series, but I just couldn’t choose between Akamaru and Pakkun. While they may appear in the same property, these two dogs are very different from each other.

Pakkun is one of Kakashi’s ninja hounds, and unlike Akamaru, has the ability to use human speech. Even though Pakkun may look small and cute, he has a deep and gruff voice. He’s also fiercely proud, even though he gives off a lazy demeanor. When Pakkun was first introduced outside of the group of ninja hounds, it was funny to see this little dog with a gruff voice talking proudly about his supple paws.

Since Pakkun can use human speech, he can give commentary on what’s happening around him. He also tells it like it is, which is definitely one of Pakkun’s defining characteristics. This is a big part of the reason why he made it onto my list.

Sunrise to Co-Produce Live-Action Cowboy Bebop Television Series

Variety and Deadline are both reporting that Tomorrow Studios, a partnership between producer Marty Adelstein and ITV Studios, will produce a live-action television series adaptation of the 1998 television anime Cowboy Bebop. Chris Yost will write the adaptation.

Sunrise, the studio that animated the original series, will executive produce the live-action series. Other executive producers will include Adelstein, Becky Clements, Midnight Radio, and Matthew Weinberg. Midnight Radio is composed of Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner, and Scott Rosenberg.

Adelstein said, “We are excited to work with Sunrise in bringing this beloved anime to the U.S. and global marketplace as a live-action series.” The producer also said, “The animated version has long resonated with audiences worldwide, and with the continued, ever growing, popularity of anime, we believe a live action version will have an incredible impact today.”

Source: ANN

Tubi TV Adds More Anime to Its Catalog

Tubi TV has announced that it has added the following anime titles to its catalog:

  • Buddy Complex
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • .hack//SIGN
  • Aquarion Evol
  • .hack//Roots
  • Aquarion
  • .hack//Legend of the Twilight
  • Space Dandy
  • Ouran High School Host Club
  • Dance with Devils

All of these titles are streaming on Tubi TV with Japanese audio and English subtitles.

Source: ANN

Anime Blu-ray Review: Cowboy Bebop The Complete Series

Cowboy Bebop The Complete Series was released by FUNimation Entertainment after acquiring the series as a license rescue. It was released as a five-disc DVD set and a four-disc Blu-ray set. This review is for the Blu-ray set.

Cowboy Bebop The Complete Series

English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray
Release Date: December 16, 2014

Cowboy Bebop is set in the year 2071, and the series features a crew of bounty hunters traveling around in a spaceship called the Bebop. The crew of the ship includes Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Faye Valentine, Edward, and Ein.

Spike Spiegel is a former member of the Red Dragon Crime Syndicate. He’s a pickpocket, a skilled pilot, and is also a master of firearms and hand-to-hand combat.

Jet Black is a former Inter-Solar System Police (ISSP) detective, and he’s the character who owns the Bebop. He ended up leaving the ISSP due to his disgust of the corruption he saw in the force and became a bounty hunter. Jet also has a cybernetic prosthetic for one of his arms.

Faye Valentine is an amnesiac who was awakened after being in a cryogenic chamber for 54 years. She’s also a novice bounty hunter who has a gambling addiction. She ends up joining the crew of the Bebop uninvited.

Edward is a young computer genius and master hacker who agrees to help the crew of the Bebop track down a bounty. But this only happens after they allow Edward to become a member of the crew.

Ein is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and a former lab animal that ends up joining the crew of the Bebop. Ein is referred to as a “data dog,” and it is suggested in the series that he has an enhanced intelligence.

The episodes of Cowboy Bebop usually focus on a particular bounty that the crew is trying to apprehend; however, there is also some emphasis on the past of one of the main characters. Many of Cowboy Bebop’s episode titles are references to song titles: “Stray Cat Strut,” “Honky Tonk Woman,” “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Toys in the Attic,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Wild Horses,” and “Hard Luck Woman.”

Another notable thing about Cowboy Bebop is how the series is able to combine several influences and make it work. During the series, you can see influences from kung fu films, westerns, science fiction, and film noir.

I appreciate how the character development is handled in the series, and how it turns out that everyone aboard the Bebop is damaged in some way. While there’s the occasional episode that doesn’t do much to progress the overall story or the characters, Cowboy Bebop is still an enjoyable series to watch. The series perfectly infuses lots of Western influences into it, and combining this with the storytelling, characters, and the music, it’s easy to see why Cowboy Bebop has become such a beloved and landmark anime.

The Blu-ray video has 1080p High Definition 4×3 HD Native, and the audio includes Dolby TrueHD 5.1 for both the English and the Japanese audio. I thought that the remastered video looked fantastic on the Blu-ray. The audio in the actual episodes sounded good, but I was a little frustrated that the music for the Blu-ray menus was mastered significantly higher than the audio for the episodes.

When it comes to the actual Blu-ray set, the episodes are spread out over three of the four discs: nine episodes on disc one, nine episodes on disc two, and eight episodes on disc three. The set’s bonus features are spread out over the first three discs, and make up the entirety of the fourth Blu-ray Disc in the set. The bonus features on the first two discs are episode commentaries. The first disc has commentaries for “Asteroid Blues” and “Ballad of Fallen Angels,” while the second disc has commentaries for “Ganymede Elegy” and “Mushroom Samba.”

The third Blu-ray Disc includes episode commentary for “Hard Luck Woman,” as well as a couple of interviews, various versions of the opening and closing credits that appeared during Cowboy Bebop, as well as the trailer for this release and trailers for other releases that FUNimation was promoting at the time that this Blu-ray set was released. The two interviews included on the third disc are with Wendee Lee (the English dub voice for Faye Valentine) and Sean Akins from Cartoon Network. Both of these interviews previously appeared on Bandai Entertainment’s Cowboy Bebop Remix DVD releases. But the most impressive feature on this disc is Session #0, which is a roughly a half-hour long Cowboy Bebop documentary. Over the course of the half-hour, a lot of information is crammed in. Included in this documentary is stats and information on the main characters; interviews with the animation front liners, the director, the series composer, the producer, and some of the voice actors; an “unaired TV episode digest”; and “music” video for the Cowboy Bebop theme song; and a textless version of the ending credits. While Session #0 was previously available on Bandai’s release of the series, it was nice to see it included on FUNimation’s release.

The fourth Blu-ray disc includes the most interesting bonus features. The two music videos for “Tank!” (the full-length song and the remix done by DJ FOOD) were previously released on Bandai’s Cowboy Bebop Remix DVDs, but the remaining bonus features are exclusive to this set.

“Ein’s Summer Vacation” is a one-minute short, made up of almost all still drawings of Ein. It’s a sweet little thing to watch, but I wish it had been a little longer.

“Memo From Bebop: The Dub Sessions Remembered” is a little over an hour-and-a-half long, and it intercuts interview footage with clips from the English dub of Cowboy Bebop. The interviewees included in this feature are Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Steve Blum, Wendee Lee, Beau Billingslea, Melissa Fahn, and Henry Douglas Grey. Unlike the typical interviews that I’ve seen on anime releases, the intercutting of interviews with anime footage, as well as the fact that the interviews jump between various people and camera angles, make this feature more interesting to watch.

“Dinner Aboard the Bebop” runs for an hour and seven minutes, and it’s a reunion of the main cast and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn 15 years after working on Cowboy Bebop. While the “Memo From Bebop” extra was nice, it was great to see the dub actors all together in the same place and interacting with one another. They keep mentioning how that cast was like a family, and you can see it in the camaraderie they have in their interactions with one another. Getting to see the cast in this kind of manner also gives the viewer a little insight into the actors. And from what I saw, they all seem to be great people.

If you want to own Cowboy Bebop on Blu-ray, this is definitely the way to acquire the series in this format. Not only do you get the remastered video and audio, you also get a bonus feature that’s not included in FUNimation’s DVD release (“Dinner Aboard the Bebop”).

Cowboy Bebop and Deadman Wonderland Returning to Toonami

It has been announced that when Toonami returns to its regular broadcast schedule in January 2015, there will be a couple of changes to the lineup.

Cowboy Bebop will be returning to the block and will be broadcast for the first time in HD starting with the first episode, “Asteroid Blues.” Jason DeMarco, the head of the Toonami block, says that the series will be re-edited to fit current broadcast standards on Adult Swim.

In addition, it has also been announced that Deadman Wonderland will be returning to the block.

Source: Crunchyroll

FUNimation Announces Home Video Release Plans for Cowboy Bebop

FUNimation has announced that the company will be releasing the Cowboy Bebop television anime series on Blu-ray and DVD in North America in December 2014.

The series will be released on DVD, standard Blu-ray, and in Amazon and premium Blu-ray/DVD editions. The two Premium Editions will each feature different packaging and premium items, but the exact details will be announced later.

FUNimation’s Announcements at Otakon

FUNimation announced during the company’s panel at Otakon that it has acquired the license for the Cowboy Bebop television anime series, and that the company will be releasing the series digitally and on Blu-ray Disc for the first time in North America. FUNimation is planning to release the series in 2014.

In addition, FUNimation announced that it has also acquired the North American licenses for the following anime titles:

  • Outlaw Star
  • The Vision of Escaflowne
  • Escaflowne: The Movie
  • My-HiME
  • My-Otome
  • My-Otome 0~S.ifr~
  • My-Otome Zwei

FUNimation also announced that the company has licensed the rest of the Fairy Tail television anime series that is currently in existence (up to episode 175), and that the Wolf Children anime film will ship on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on November 12, 2013.