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J!-ENT’s Dennis A. Amith interviews Misaki Iwasa (Wasamin)

October 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

AKB48 has dominated the Japanese music charts for numerous years and while many may recognize the main core members of the group, there is one former AKB48 member who has shined thanks to her talent of singing enka songs.

Her name is Misaki Iwasa, known by her fans as “Wasamin” and was a 7th Generation AKB48 member who passed the audition for AKB48 back in 2008.   Iwasa was also a member of the side group Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 and while performing a lot of pop songs as a member of AKB48, she is known for her love of enka music and for performing enka music, especially exposing the music to a younger generation.

In 2011, she won first place in the AKB48 YuruYuru Karaoke competition by singing an Sayuri Ishikawa’s enka song “Tsugari Kaikyo – Fuyugeshiki”.  And her participation in the competition sealed the deal for AKB48 creator and producer Yasushi Akimoto, who gave the unranked AKB48 member her start to shine with a debut CD single titled “Mujin Eki” (which translates to “Empty Train Station” or “Ghost Train Station”).

While Wasamin has graduated from AKB48, she has released numerous singles, a photobook and has performed all over the world, most recently at J-Pop Summit 2017 in San Francisco, California.

J!-ENT’s Dennis A. Amith recently had the opportunity to interview Misaki Iwasa (Wasamin) before her performance at J-Pop Summit 2017.

Please click here to read the interview


 

 

Interview with Penelope Lagos, Author of “I Miss My Best Friend” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

October 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Back in 2011, I had the opportunity to interview actress Penelope Lagos about a film that she starred in and also discuss her career as an actress and a model.

In 2017, I am interviewing Penelope once again, but not as an actress or model, but this time as a writer.

Penelope has written and published her first children’s book titled “I Miss My Best Friend”, featuring illustrations by Sophie Moracchini about her dog Cassius “The Legend”.

A dog purchased for Penelope and her twin brother Louie, the entire family raised Cassius since he was a puppy.  Taking him to Greece and to see Cassius become a champion swimmer.

He was no doubt more than just a pet, he was a family member.

And when Cassius passed away, dealing with the grief of losing a part of your family was a challenge for the Lagos family and for Penelope, she decided to write a book about Cassius to help children deal with the passing of their beloved pet.

“I Miss My Best Friend” has received a lot of positive reviews and I recently had a chance to interview Penelope Lagos about her new book and also about Cassius “The Legend”.


Penelope, I interviewed you as an actress and for this latest interview, I am interviewing you as an author of your first book, “I Miss My Best Friend”. What was the inspiration for writing this book?

PENELOPE: My own dog and best friend, Cassius. He was everything to me and when he passed away, I was absolutely devastated. I looked online and in stores searching for something, anything that would make me feel better, but I quickly realized there weren’t a lot of resources out there. I wasn’t ready to sign up for a pet loss group or even talk to anyone about my feelings, so I started writing them down. Within these notes, a story began to form and hence the fruition of “I Miss My Best Friend”.

Illustrator Sophie Moracchini did a wonderful job with the illustrations. How did the two of you come to collaborate on this book?

PENELOPE:  Sophie is such a talented and professional young woman to work with. I had taken a canine conditioning course and the instructor, Dr. Erica Boling, created various dog groups on Facebook for people to connect/network. I saw a beautiful drawing of a dog that Sophie had posted and I knew immediately I had to reach out to her. She lives in the UK, but technology has afforded me the opportunity to easily work with her throughout this entire process.

Were there any major challenges in writing “I Miss My Best Friend”?

PENELOPE:  Yes (laughing). What I have come to realize is that writing a book is not easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. I think that condensing my story to fit the standard 32-page structure for a children’s book was difficult for me. I tend to be wordy, so it challenged me to keep my story simple, yet still include what I hope is a powerful message for children and adults alike.

Of course, the book was written to also help children understand the loss of a pet. Any tips that you have on what helped you overcome those difficulties of losing Cassius?

PENELOPE: I think each person copes differently with death, which is why I included the ten tips at the conclusion of the book. I personally found writing to be helpful while another may want to put a scrapbook together or talk to their friends and family about the loss. For me, the most important tip is to let yourself grieve. Don’t ever apologize for feeling sad. A pet provides unconditional love and is a member of the family, and the grief process often mimics that of losing a human.



“I Miss My Best Friend” revolves around the love and also the pain of losing your dog Cassius. Having to say goodbye to my dogs a little over a year ago, both brother and sister, who were very much part of our family was very difficult. And as the passing of time had made things better and we eventually ended up adopting a new dog a year later.   I’m curious, how often do you still think about Cassius and have you moved on by getting a new dog?

PENELOPE: I think about him every day. I grew up with cats and Cassius was the only dog I ever had. Unlike the book version, he lived to be almost 16 years old, so in essence he was with me almost half of my life. Shortly after his passing, so many people sent me photos of dogs that needed a home, others stopped by with one in hand. I wasn’t ready and I don’t know when or if I ever will be. I think it’s a personal decision and there are so many beautiful animals in need of good homes, so it’s nice to be able to open your heart again and adopt.

What is your favorite memory of Cassius?

PENELOPE: What I’ll always remember about Cassius is what an incredible swimmer he was. Being outside with him and playing in the pool were my happiest times. Even near the end, with his severe arthritis, we swam together. He even went to Greece not once but twice where he swam in the Aegean Sea. He was a very special boy who was known internationally!

PENELOPE: “I Miss My Best Friend” has received positive reviews online. I have to ask, can we expect to see more books written by you in the future?

I am beyond happy that people are responding positively to the book, and I’m hoping in some way I will be able to help people overcome their loss. I am also donating 10% of each book sale back to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center who does extraordinary work in the mission to rescue animals. I already have an idea for the next book, so you won’t be hearing the last from me


“I Miss My Best Friend” is available on Amazon

 

Golden Kamuy vol. 2 – Story & Art by Satoru Noda (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

October 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Satoru Noda’s “Golden Kamuy” is turning out to be a fantastic, action-packed manga series worth reading and no doubt, one of the more captivating series that came out in the U.S. in 2017!

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© 2014 Satoru Noda. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Golden Kamuy vol. 2

STORY AND ART BY: Story and Art by Satoru Noda

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: M for Mature

RELEASE DATE: September 19, 2017


In the early 20th century, Russo-Japanese War veteran Saichi Sugimoto searches the wilderness of the Japanese frontier of Hokkaido for a hoard of hidden gold. With only a cryptic map and a native Ainu girl to help him, Saichi must also deal with every murderous cutthroat, bandit and rogue who knows about the treasure!


While Sugimoto and Asirpa are living on the land, they are unaware that soldiers of the deadly 7th Division of the Imperial Japanese Army are after them.  And how will Sugimoto be treated when Asirpa brings him to her Ainu village?

All this and more in volume 2 of Satoru Noda’s award-winning manga series, “Golden Kamuy”!

What is “Golden Kamuy”?

From Satoru Noda comes his award winning manga series “Golden Kamuy”.

Written and art by Satoru Noda, the mangaka also worked with Yu Nakagawa in ensure authenticity of the Ainu language.

The manga series won the 9th Manga Taisho award and with ten volumes currently printed in Japan, the first volume of “Golden Kamuy” will be available in the United States courtesy of Viz Signature on June 2017.

The series revolves around a soldier named Saichi Sugimoto who fought in the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 and survived with savagery and toughness.  And because of his braveness, he is known as “Immortal Sugimoto”.

Because his best friend asked him before his death on the battlefield for Sugimoto to take care of his wife and children, Sugimoto hears of a story about hidden Ainu gold (the Ainu are the indigenous people of Japan).  One man killed the Ainu hiding the gold and stole around Y80,000 and buried the gold somewhere in Hokkaido.

While the man was caught and thrown into Abashiri prison, he was sentenced to death and the map of where the gold was hidden was tattooed on the backs of 24 prisoners.

This was told to Sugimoto by a drunken man.  When Sugimoto finds the man killed by a bear, he notices that he had a tattoo all over his back and that the story must be true.

But when the bear goes for an attack on Sugimoto, he is saved by an Ainu girl named Asirpa, a daughter of one of the Ainu men who was killed by those hunting for Ainu gold.

But as Sugimoto and Asirpa team up to find the gold, many dangerous hunters including the deadly 7th Division of the Imperial Japanese Army led by Lt. Tsurumi.


A soldier and an Ainu girl in search of gold stolen from the Ainu people.  The story is about a man named Saichi Sugimoto, a kind hearted man who was turned into a soldier known as “Immortal Sugimoto” during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904.

With a friend’s final dying wish for Sugimoto to take care of his wife and children, that would require money which Sugimoto doesn’t have.  But when he hears about gold that was hidden in Hokkaido, gold stolen from the Ainu people, he teams up with a Ainu girl, who knows how to hunt and also use the wild to heal people, but also her father was killed because of the gold.

Sugimoto is not interested in 50/50, just a small share and wants to give most of it to Asirpa but also to help her get revenge on the people who killed her father.

But immediately, other hunters looking for the gold, are now also hunting for Sugimoto and Asirpa .  Can these two survive?  And what will the two learn as they must take on other hunters and soldiers who are also looking for the gold?

In the second issue, the soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army are on the hunt for Sugimoto and Asirpa.  Also, in this volume, what happens when Asirpa takes Sugimoto to her Ainu village and what will he learn more about Ainu culture?

And what happens when the the twisted Tsurumi has captured Sugimoto and tortures him?  Will someone rescue him?

The writing for the second volume manages to captivate me.  One for its details of Ainu culture, when it comes to hunting and their perspectives towards animal life and traditions and then you have this storyline of the bonding between Sugimoto and Asirpa, almost like a father and daughter relationship and wanting to see them survive through all this.

But most importantly, it’s great that Satoru Noda is consulting with Yu Nakagawa in regards to Ainu language and culture.  For those not familiar with Ainu in Japan, they have a similar unfair treatment in society (as Native Americans in the United States) and prejudice runs rampant in various parts of Japan towards the indigenous Ainu people.  So, it takes great care of making sure to capture the culture on the pages of “Golden Kamuy”.

Satoru Noda’s “Golden Kamuy” is turning out to be a fantastic, action-packed manga series worth reading and no doubt, one of the more captivating series that came out in the U.S. in 2017!

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Bleach Vol. 71 – Story & Art by Tite Kubo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

October 14, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Bleach” vol. 71 is an action-packed volume and is more geared to the dedicated readers of “Bleach” who have followed the series for the longest time.  Storylines that will no doubt entertain loyal followers who stuck around with the manga series to find out how the Soul Reapers vs. Sternritter war will eventually end.  While featuring two battles, it’s no doubt an exciting action-packed volume worth reading!

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© 2001 Tite Kubo. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Bleach Vol. 69

STORY AND ART BY: Tite Kubo (久保 宣章)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: November 7, 2017


As the war between the Soul Reapers and Quincies heads for a climactic conclusion, Mayuri finds himself up against the weirdest enemy yet. Can his daughter Nemu step in and finish a foe that refuses to die?


In this latest volume, the battle between Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi and Pernida Parnkgjas continues.

Meanwhile, Captain Shunsui Kyoraku takes on Lille Barro.

Find out what happens in Tite Kubo’s action-packed volume 71 of “Bleach”!

What is “Bleach?”

For those who are not so familiar with “Bleach”, “Bleach” has a strong fan following and since its run began back in 2001, series creator, writer and illustrator Noriaki “Tite” Kubo has been hard at work, continuing to crank chapter after chapter for Weekly Shonen Jump in Japan and with the success of the series extending out to films, OVA’s, feature films and video games and other merchandise.

Because of its airing on the Cartoon Network and it being featured on Shonen Jump magazine, “Bleach” has gone on to become a fan favorite in America but also fans all over the world.

A Brief History of what “Bleach” is about

“Bleach” is a story about a guy named Ichigo Kurasaki who has a gift in which he can see spirits. One day, he saw a Soul Reaper (one who can govern the flow of souls between the human world and the afterlife) named Rukia Kukichiki who has come to find a Hollow (a lost soul). She ends up being wounded in battle when she tried to defend Ichigo and so she illegally transfers her reiatsu (spiritual pressure) to him, so that he can defeat the Hollow. But during the process, he nearly takes all of her energy and becomes a Soul Reaper himself and defeats the Hollow quite easily. So, the first storyline arc features Rukia now powerless stranded in the human world until she has the time to recover her true powers, while Ichigo fills in and battles Hollows in her place. And with each fight, Rukia starts to notice something special about Ichigo’s abilities.

The second storyline arc of “Bleach” features the Soul Society wanting to sentence Rukia to death for transferring her powers to Ichigo. His friends also begin to develop special abilities. His childhood friend, Orihime Inoue, is given special abilities courtesy of her loving brother who has turned into a Hollow. Yasutora “Chad” Sato is Ichigo’s tall friend (who is half Japanese/half Mexican) who suddenly becomes aware of spirits and develops an ability to have a special armored right arm that has special abilities. And Ichigo’s rival/friend, Uryu Ishida, who is a descendant of a hollow hunting group known as the Quincy and are enemies of the Soul Reapers.

As their adventures have continued, we have seen Ichigo and his friends getting stronger, developing new abilities and taking on their most difficult foes yet but also earning the respect of his friends and the Soul Society, having saved their lives time and time again. But this time around, there comes a new enemy that may be so powerful that Ichigo may not be able to take them on…

Enter the Vandenreich!

The Current Storyline

We have only heard of how the Quincies had perished after a long feud with the Soul Reapers. The Soul Reapers which believed in having the soul of a hollow crossover to the Soul Society, while the Quincies believed in the total destruction of the hollow’s soul. And while the two had tried to work out their dispute, in the end, it let do a war in which the Soul Reapers vanquished the Quincies.

With only Uryu Ishida thought to be the last Quincy alive, in volume 55 of “Bleach”, it was revealed that one of the deadly Quincy’s from the past, Yhwach, was not killed and has assembled a group known as the Vandenreich to eliminate all Soul Reapers and destroy the Soul Society.

Many have gone missing in Karakura Town and while the Vandenreich have made their presence known to Captain Yamamoto by killing 1st Division Lt. Sasakibe. Also, Hueco Mundo Arrancars have been attacked by the Hueco Mundo Army led by Quilge Opie who are trying to force the Arrancars to join them or else be killed.

As Nel goes to the human world to beg for Ichigo to save Hueco Mundo, Ichigo, Kisuke Urahara, Chad and Orihime hurry to Hueco Mundo to see what is happening. And with the distraction caused in that area, Yhwach orders the Vandenreich to attack the Soul Reapers in their home area inside the Seiretei and the top Quincy combatants of the Vandenreich, the Stern Ritter continues their destruction by trying to kill all Soul Reaper captains.

And the battle continues as Mayuri Kurotsuchi (with assistant Nemu Kurotsuchi) take on Pernida Parnkgjas, while Shunsui Kyoraku takes on Lille Barro and we finally learn the truth of Soul Reaper Nanao Ise!


With the latest 71st volume of “Bleach”, these battles between the Soul Reapers and Sternritter have continues.

With a total of 74 issues, we are now nearing the end of the series and whether or not you love or hate how Tite Kubo has extended these battles for many volumes and years, everything is now coming to the final volumes.

And in this volume, Mayuri Kurotsuchi takes on Pernida Parnkgjas and the battle concludes with Nemu Kurotsuchi being sacrificed as a final resort against Pernida Parnkgjas and we see how that plays out.  Very fascinating and as always, a fascinating observation to see how Mayuri plans in advance.

We also see Shunsui Kyoraku in the battle of his life, as one of the most powerful captains, he must take on Lille Barro, but how can you beat someone who is literally unkillable?

But the manga volume finally reveals why Shunsui wears that kimono but most importantly, we learn the truth about soul reaper Nanao Ise and her connection with Shunsui.

It’s quite exciting especially to see how these two battles go all out and seeing Mayuri and Shunsui put their lives on the line against their opponents.

And the artwork and action is always well-done by Tite Kubo.  The problem is that for people who were invested in reading the stories of Ichigo Kurosaki, are surprised to find out that long ago that it became less about Ichigo and the volumes focused on the Soul Reapers.  So, you go through many volumes without full-on stories with Ichigo and friends and this one of those volume.   Are they in this volume… yes.  But probably just a 4-5 pages and that’s it.

“Bleach” vol. 71 is an action-packed volume and is more geared to the dedicated readers of “Bleach” who have followed the series for the longest time.  Storylines that will no doubt entertain loyal followers who stuck around with the manga series to find out how the Soul Reapers vs. Sternritter war will eventually end.  While featuring two battles, it’s no doubt an exciting action-packed volume worth reading!

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Nisekoi: False Love Vol. 23 by Naoshi Komi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

October 4, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

How will Haru Oodera and Seishiro Tsugumi’s crush on Raku end and what will Raku discover about his feelings towards Chitoge. All this and more in this entertaining 23rd volume of Naoshi Komi’s “Nisekoi: False Love”. Recommended!

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© 2011 Naoshi Komi. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Nisekoi: False Love Vol. 23

STORY AND ART BY: Naoshi Komi (古味直志)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: September 5, 2017


Love triangle! Comedic antics!! Gang warfare?!

Love triangle! Comedic antics!! Gang warfare?! You won’t want to miss out on Shonen Jump’s laugh-out-loud feel-good manga series!

It’s hate at first sight when Raku Ichijo first meets Chitoge Kirisaki. But much to their chagrin, the two are forced into a false love relationship to keep the peace between their feuding gangster families.

Chitoge tries to cheer Raku up on one of their dates, but all of her plans flop, and they end up having a big fight! After they part company, they run into each other again by accident. The encounter seems so unlikely that they decide to resume their date. Suddenly, Raku seems to realize his feelings for the first time…


As the final volume of “Nisekoi” is near, “Nisekoi” volume 23 features Raku finally discovering that he may be in love with Chitoge…but also with Onodera!

Meanwhile, as readers await to find out which girl Raku will pick, this latest volume shows how the Seishiro Tsugumi and Haru Onodera’s crush on Raku concludes.

Also, could it be that Ruri Miyamoto is starting to realize that she may like Shu?

All this and more in Naoshi Komi’s hit manga series, “Nisekoi: False Love” vol. 23!

What is “Nisekoi: False Love”?

Naoshi Komi’s manga work is well-known for readers of Shonen Jump. From “Koi no Kami-sama”, “Williams” and “Double Arts”, Komi’s manga “Nisekoi” (False Love) was created as a one shot for Jump NEXT! in 2011 but then receiving the go-ahead as a weekly manga serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”.

“Nisekoi” revolves around high school Raku Ichijou. When Ichijou was a kid, he met a girl and he kept a lock, she kept the key and promised each other to get married if they one day find each other.

Since then, Ichijou has kept his promise and has worn the lock around his neck and has been hoping to meet her again.

But Ichijou’s life is a little complicated. While a good-natured individual, unfortunately for him, he is the son of the leader of the Shuei-gumi yakuza syndicate. He has no interested in become part of the yakuza but everyone expects him to be the next one to lead the syndicate in the future.

Meanwhile, while going to school, he sees a foreign girl jumping from a wall and landing on him. He loses the lock on his neck and is very upset of what had transpired. Next thing you know in class, that same girl becomes a new student in his class.

Chitoge Kirisaki just moved from the U.S. to Japan and since her mom is Japanese and her dad is America, she is fluent in both Japanese and English. And suffice to say, when both Ichijou and Kirisaki see each other, they start yelling at each other and she nails him with a hit after he calls her “monkey girl”. People see how tough she is but to make them get along, his teacher puts Ichijou in charge of showing her around school.

He tries his best but the two are like oil and water, they just don’t get along. For the next week of trying to assist her, the two end up arguing and getting in each other’s faces.

If anything, Ichijou focus is more on finding the lock that was lost when Kirisaki landed on him. And he wonders if Kosaki Onodera, the popular girl in school and a person who has treated him with nothing but kindness is the girl that he made the promise with. He hopes it is her.

But just when Ichijou is about to give up, Onodera pleads with him to keep his promise and Ichijou is reminded that a promise is a promise and he intends to keep it. But wants to ask Onodera if there is any chance she may be the girl he made the promise too.

What he doesn’t know is that Onodera does have a key and she has always liked Ichijou but doesn’t have the guts to tell him.

But as Ichijou wonders if Onodera is the girl he made a promise too and excited for the possibility that it might be, when he gets home, his father talks to him about something important.

The problem is that the Shuei-gumi and another rival yakuza gang are in the brink of all-out war that would damage both yakuza gangs, he and the other leader have come up with the plan. Ichijou must pretend to be dating the daughter of the leader of the opposing yakuza gang.

Ichijou doesn’t want to get involved and his father told him that he must forget dating any other girl and focus liking this girl they set him up with.

When the two are introduces, Ichijou is shocked that the girl is Chitoge Kirisaki. And for both of them, they must promise to be boyfriend and girlfriend for three whole years and be convincing to both yakuza gangs that they are truly in love.

Both don’t want to be involved with each other but they have no choice. But now they must find a way to co-exist with each other as both yakuza gangs are suspicious of their relationship especially Kirisaki’s guardian, Claude.

Meanwhile, Ichijou still wants to ask Onodera if she is the girl with the key and Onodera is about to let him know that she is. But before they can, the whole school are told that both Ichijo and Kirasaki are boyfriend and girlfriend.

And now it has made things tough for both Ichijou and Kirisaki, but can they keep this charade of being in love with each other, especially if they despite one another?

And since then, there are a few other complications as not only Chitoge and Onodera have fallen for Raku, but also many other ladies have a crush on him!

For volume 23, Raku discovers he really has feelings for Chitoge Kirisaki, meanwhile how will the crush that Seishiro Tsugumi and Haru Onodera have towards Raku end?


With volume 23 of Naoshi Komi’s “Nisekoi: False Love”, the manga is now heading towards the finale (which will end in volume 25).

As we have read many volumes and seeing women who have fallen for Raku, I think we are now starting to see the storylines start to narrow down which girl Raku would end up with.

With this storyline, this volume completes he storyline for Haru Onodera and Seishiro Tsugumi.

Poor Haru has had a crush on Raku but has held back because of her older sister’s crush towards Raku.  She has often yelled at him as a way to keep her mind off him but when Kosaki and Haru’s mother enlists the two along with Raku in a confections competition, how will Haru deal with her emotions towards Raku?

Meanwhile, Seishiro Tsugumi has had a crush on Raku but has always stayed away because she believed that Raku and Chitoge are boyfriend and girlfriend.  But when Chitoge reveals to Tsugumi that it was all a ruse to prevent a gang war, does that mean she can go for Raku?  Or will she discover Chitoge’s true feelings towards Raku?

Also, why does Ruri keep dreaming about Shu?

23 volumes in through the series, I really enjoy this manga series because it’s fresh take on the young promise made by youngsters to marry each other and it also has that similarity to “Ranma 1/2” of two people arranged by their parents to be together, although not to be married but to have this fake romance for three years. And then having multiple young ladies vying for his attention.

But with the introduction of other girls who made promises when they were younger, we clearly don’t know which girl Raku promised to marry when he was younger. But with everyone vying for Raku’s attention (and he being totally oblivious to what’s going on), it makes for a very entertaining storyline and series! But now that we are nearing the finish line, we have seen how Raku starts to pair things down with the ladies who fallen for him.

The artwork by Naoshi Komi is well-drawn, the series is full of humor and for the most part quite delightful in capturing their emotions on each page. But Naoshi Komi’s manga series has been nothing but delightful and very entertaining!

Find out how the Haru Oodera and Seishiro Tsugumi’s crush on Raku end and Raku’s discovery of his feelings towards Chitoge. All this and more in this entertaining 23rd volume of Naoshi Komi’s “Nisekoi: False Love”. Recommended!

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VIZ Media Details Acquisition Of Hot New Anime Series INFINI-T FORCE

October 3, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

VIZ Media proudly announces the acquisition of INFINI-T FORCE, a hero-action series from the legendary anime studio, Tatsunoko Production.

2017 marks the 55th Anniversary of the founding of one of Japan’s most famous animation studios – Tatsunoko Production. As the centerpiece of the anniversary, INFINI-T FORCE unites the heroes from four of the studio’s most popular shows – Gatchaman, Hurricane Polimar, Casshan and Tekkaman.

VIZ Media also announces the North American streaming premiere of INFINI-T FORCE Episodes 1 and 2 on Wednesday, October 4th on VIZ.com/Watch. Other streaming partners include Tubi TV.

A press release with additional information is attached and also follows below.

An embeddable preview trailer for INFINI-T FORCE is available at:
https://youtu.be/11g2HPVbuEM.

The series acquisition includes rights for digital streaming, EST, home video and merchandise in North America, Latin America and Oceania. In addition, VIZ Media has acquired the feature-length movie, debuting in Japan in early 2018; this acquisition includes theatrical rights.

Episodes will be presented with English subtitles and will be available to stream on-demand. Subsequent new episodes of INFINI-T FORCE will debut on every Tuesday.

 

Sentai Filmworks Licenses ‘Girls’ Last Tour’

September 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

HOUSTON, TX, September 26, 2017 – Sentai Filmworks is proud to announce its acquisition ofGirls’ Last Tour for the Fall 2017 anime simulcast season. The series will soon be available to stream in the U.S. on Anime Strike, the curated on-demand anime subscription from Amazon Channels.

In a future where most of humanity has perished, two young girls named Chito and Yuuri explore the ruins of civilization on their Kettenkrad gun tractor, looking for food and fuel. Despite their bleak existence, the two find meaning in their simple, shared experiences. With Chito behind the wheel and Yuuri handling gun duties, these two set out to salvage what’s left of their post-apocalyptic world.

Animation production for the series will be handled by WHITE FOX (Akame ga Kill!, Grimoire of Zero, The Devil is a Part-Timer!). Takaharu Ozaki (Persona 5 the Animation -The Day Breakers-) directs the series, with series composition by Kazuyuki Fudeyasu (Is the Order a Rabbit?, Monster Musume: Everyday Life of Monster Girls, Hetalia The Beautiful World).

Girls’ Last Tour is scheduled for an October 2017 release in Japan. It will soon be available to stream on Anime Strike for $4.99 per month after a 7-day free trial, and available in non-US territories through select digital outlets for the Fall 2017 simulcast season, with a home video release to follow.

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About Sentai Filmworks, LLC

Sentai Filmworks is a leading global supplier of anime and official anime merchandise, distributing, and curating one of the industry’s most diverse libraries of top trending and classic titles. Offering thousands of hours of content across both traditional and digital platforms, Sentai is dedicated to bringing captivating stories and iconic characters directly from Japan. With hit series that include Parasyte –the maxim–, No Game, No Life, Food Wars!, Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, and Akame ga Kill!, Sentai’s catalog continues to grow with new favorites like Himouto! Umaru-chan and Monster Musume: Everyday Life with Monster Girls, as well as classic anime series such as Legend of the Galactic Heroes. For more information, visitwww.sentaifilmworks.com.

 

Utada Hikaru “Anata” New Single Release 09/25/2017

September 27, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Utada Hikaru has been showing great sales in 2017 with her 1st single, “Oozora de Dakishimete” (Suntory Tennen-Sui commercial tie-in song), and her 2nd single, “Forevermore” (main theme to TBS Network Nichiyou Gekijou drama series, Gomen, Aishiteru).

While the emotions from the finale of the drama series is still lingering about, it has been announced that her new single, “Anata” will be the main theme for a major feature adventure fantasy film, DESTINY Kamakura Monogatari (starring Masato Sakai, Mitsuki Takahata, etc.); in theaters December 9th (Sat).  It has been a while since Utada Hikaru’s music had been matched up with films; 5 years since Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo(♪”Sakura Nagashi”) in 2012, and 7 years for a live action film; Ashita no Joe (♪”Show Me Love (Not A Dream)”) in 2010.  An official teaser trailer featuring the track has already been posted on the film’s official website. It will soon be screened in theaters nationwide.

 

※FILM DESTINY Kamakura Monogatari teaser trailer on YouTube

https://youtu.be/c6aWdEz8vdc

 

Utada Hikaru comments on the track as below in an interview:

“Since I had known ahead of time that the original story was about how a parallel world filled with monsters was linked within our everyday life, I had inspirations to use Buddhism-related words when I was creating the song. I am looking forward to see how the listeners will take the song.”

 

The world-wide digital release of the new song, “Anata” will be December 8th (Fri), a day before the film release.  Also, Utada Hikaru’s new artist photo and cover photo taken by Polish photographer, Maciej Kucia can now be viewed on Utada Hikaru’s official website.

Please look forward to the film release and the song release in December.

 

Owarimonogatari Anime Ending 18th Single “SHIORI” 0929.2017 DIGITAL RELEASE

September 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Japanese girl duo ClariS is digitally releasing their 18th Single, “SHIORI” on September 29th, 2017!  The single is the ending theme to the anime Owarimonogatari, the latest in the Monogatari Series. 

The single will also feature ClariS covers of past ending themes of the Monogatari Series anime; “Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari” by Supercell and “Ai wo Utae” by Luna Haruna.  It will also feature a 2017 version of their hit single “Naisho no Hanashi” featuring Karen, ending theme to Nisemonogatari, along with a remix of Tsukimonogatari ending theme “border”, by the up and coming music creator TeddyLoid.

Also, after two very successful video concerts of the Blu-ray “ClariS Meets NIPPON BUDOKAN Two Masks and The Lost Sun “at Anime Expo 2017 and Crunchyroll Expo 2017, it is back for another showing at Anime Weekend Atlanta for the first time in the South. Join the excitement, and receive a free set of ClariS glowsticks.

Schedule details will be updated on: www.awa-con.com

The Blu-ray, “ClariS Meets NIPPON BUDOKAN Two Masks and The Lost Sun” ,which features ClariS’ first Budokan concert is available for purchase on Crunchyroll.  The First Edition copy includes the concert recording on two CDs.

 

<ClariS PROFILE>

ClariS is a duo of Japanese girls, Clara and Karen.

Attention was caught by the producer of the anime Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai  when ClariS put together a CD to include in copies of Japanese anime-music magazine LisAni!.  Although they were still newly signed, they were chosen to sing the opening theme for the anime as their debut.

They created their duo name “ClariS” and released the single “irony” as their major debut on October 20th, 2010.  “irony” debuted at #7 on Oricon’s weekly singles chart.

ClariS then went on to release their second single, “Connect”, which was used for the opening theme of acclaimed animePuella Magi Madoka Magica.  “Connect” debuted at #5 on Oricon’s weekly singles chart.  Their third single, “nexus”, debuted at #5, dispite it not having any anime tie-ups.  The fourth single, written by ryo (supercell), was used for the ending theme of the popular anime series Nisemonogatari, and debuted at #5 on Oricon’s weekly chart.

ClariS later released their awaited first album, BIRTHDAY, which sold over 100,000 copies.  It debuted at #2 on Oricon’s weekly chart, and remains to stay a long-seller.

After the release of their first album, ClariS continued to release hit singles, such as their fifth single “Wake Up” (Opening theme for Moyashimon Returns, which aired on Fuji TV’s Noitamina program block), sixth single “Luminous”, which was the opening theme for the movies Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Beginings and Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Eternal., and their seventh single, “reunion”, the opening theme for the anime series Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai. . These singles were included in their hit second album, SECOND STORY.

Their eighth single, “Colorful” was the opening theme for the renowned movie Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion and became a huge hit.

On January 5th, 2014, ClariS had their first event “2014 New Year’s Festival Hajimari no Yokan” at Zepp Tokyo.  The event was covered widely, due to the fact that ClariS came out to the public for the first time as siluettes.

Their 9th single, “CLICK” was the opening theme for the first-half of the anime series Nisekoi, and their 10th single “STEP” was the opening theme for the  second-half of the anime series.  The third album including both singles, PARTY TIME, debuted  at #3 on Oricon’s weekly chart.  Starting member Alice departed on June 4th, 2014, following the release of PARTY TIME.

In LisAni! Vol. 19, released on November 8th, 2014, it was announced that ClariS had welcomed a new member, Karen, marking the birth of a new ClariS.

The newly formed ClariS’ first single released on January 7th, 2015.  This single, “border”, was the ending theme to the animeTsukimonogatari, which aired on December 31st, 2014.

On January 25th, ClariS performed at “LisAni! LIVE-5” at Budokan.

Their first greatest hits album, ClariS –SINGLE BEST 1st released on April 15th, and was a huge commercial success.

For ClariS’ 5th anniversary, they released the single “Prism” to celebrate a “double anniversary” along with Sanrio’s widely known charcter, “Little Twin Stars” (Kiki & Lala).

In April of 2016, ClariS released their first conceptual mini album, SPRING TRACKS-Haru no Uta-, which was created on the theme of “Spring”.

They had a successful tour in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka supporting the mini album, which is followed by this long awaited new single.

The name “ClariS” carries the meaning of “bright” or “clear” in Latin.  (originally spelled “clarus”)

The duo is only revealed as illustrations by famous artists.

<ClariS RELEASE INFORMATION>

In Japan, “SHIORI” has physically released in three editions; Standard Edition, Limited First Edition, and Limited Anime Edition.  The two limited editions both includes DVDs as well.

LIMITED FIRST EDITION: 1,852 yen

(includes DVD with “SHIORI” Music video)

LIMITED ANIME EDITION:  1,852 yen

(includes DVD with non-credit ending visual of Owarimonogatari)

STANDARD EDITION: 1,389 yen

TRACK LIST:

  1. SHIORI
  2. Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari
  3. Ai wo Utae
  4. Naisho no Hanashi -2017-
  5. Border -TeddyLoid remix-
  6. SHIORI -Instrumental-

*Limited Anime Edition will include “SHIORI-TV size mix-“

 

” src=”cid:image006.jpg@01D33208.5CB04760″ alt=”claris-meets-nippon-budokan-two-masks-and-the-lost-sun” align=”left” hspace=”12″ v:shapes=”Picture_x0020_1″ class=”Apple-web-attachment Singleton”>ClariS Meets NIPPON BUDOKANTwo Masks and The Lost Sun LIMITED FIRST EDITION

Purchase a Blu-ray copy of “ClariS Meets NIPPON BUDOKAN Two Masks and The Lost Sun on Crunchyroll to see ClariS’ first performance at Budokan.  The Limited First Edition copy will include two concert recording CDs.

Blu-ray +2CD Set (North American Region)

Japanese Audio

$90.00

www.crunchyroll.com/store

 

TRACK LIST:

~INTRO~

again; YUMENOKI; RESTART

~CHAPTER 1~

Border; Hologram

~CHAPTER 2~

Pastel; blossom; Nemurihime

~CHAPTER 3~

CLICK; Connect; luminous; colorful

~CHAPTER 4~

Mizuirokurage; konoaiwakyosuu;

~CHAPTER 5~

Anemone; usotsuki; Gravity; DROP (kz remix); irony; Clear Sky; STEP; recall

~END CREDITS~

Nexus ~instrumental~

 

CD CONTENT:

CD1

M1. again/M2. YUMENOKI/M3. RESTART/M4. border/M5. Hologram/M6. pastel M7. blossom/M8. Nemurihime/

M9. CLICK/M10. Connect/M11. luminous/M12. Colorful

CD2

M1. Mizuirokurage/M2. konoaiwakyosuu/M3. Anemone/M4. usotsuki/M5. Gravity M6. irony/M7. Clear Sky/M8. STEP/

M9. recall

 

 

 

Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers vol. 1 by Katsuyuki Sumizawa and Tomofumi Ogasawara (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

September 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

For those who haven’t watched the anime series will find “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers” to be a deep, complex but also action-packed mecha manga series worth reading.

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© 2011 Sotsu-Sunrise. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers vol. 1

STORY BY Katsuyuki Sumizawa

ART by Tomofumi Ogasawara

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodansha Ltd.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Vertical Comics

RATED: ALL

RELEASE DATE: July 18, 2017


In the year A.C. (After Colony) 195, humankind had flown its nest, the Earth, to search for new hope while living in space colonies. However, the United Earth Sphere Alliance has used its military might under the guise of “justice and peace” to seize control of some colonies, and those colonies have lost their autonomy and have been forced into silence. But the seeds of resistance have not been entirely crushed. “Operation Meteor” is about to take flight…


It was back in 1995 when an anime series titled “Shin Kido Senki Gundam Wing” aired in Japan.  The sixth installment in the “Gundam” franchise, it was a series that took place in the “After Colony” timeline.

A different setting and an alternate universe than the well-known Universal Century (UC), the AC deals with events primarily “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing” and its sequel “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz”.

The series is set in After Colony 195 and humans have colonized space and developed space colonies at each of the five Earth-Moon Lagrange points.  On Earth, the nations formed the United Earth Sphere Alliance and this alliance has oppressed the colonies with their powerful military.

The colonies want to be free and scientists have developed a plan for revenge against the alliance with “Operation Meteor” and five teenage boys have been chosen and trained by five scientists and then sent to Earth with advanced mobile suits known as “Gundams” made from Gundanium alloy designed by each scientist.

The manga introduces us to these five teenage boys with the protagonist being Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner and Chang Wufei.

As the United Earth Sphere Alliance are aware of the attacks on Alliance soldiers, the Organization of the Zodiac (OZ) has their ace mobile suit pilot, Zechs Merquise to find the enemy.

We are also introduced to Relena Darlian, daughter of the Alliance’s Vice Foreign Minister.  We learn how she found Heero Yuy, who had washed ashore on the beach neaer the spaceport and she had always wanted to learn more about him, despite him always threatening to kill her.  But for Heero, he is more intent to destroy his Gundam before anyone in OZ can get to it and learn the technology.

As Heero points a gun at Relena, she is saved by Duo Maxwell and as for Heero, he is held captive by the Alliance military.

But before they could get any answers from Heero, Duo breaks Heero out and the two escape.

Meanwhile, OZ is planning to unleash their mobile suit, the Epyon.


With the release of “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers”, readers who are not familiar with the storyline, may find it a different situation from the UC “Mobile Suit Gundam” storylines, especially if they have only read “Gundam Origin”.

The role has been reversed in the AC universe as Earth’s alliance are the aggressors and the colony who want to be free are the ones with specialized Gundam mecha suits.

The first volume primarily focuses on Heero Yuy, while the other characters are featured are in the manga series but will no doubt be focused on in the next issues.

While I enjoy many Gundam manga adaptations that are derived from anime series, it’s important to note that Katsuyuki Sumizawa remains on-point with what happened in the anime series, while Tomofumi Ogasawara does well of capturing the characters but it seems more emphasis are put in the action sequences and Ogasawara blowing things up.

For those jumping in, with no familiarity with the series, may be confused right off the bat.  Wondering who these characters are and what Operation Meteor is all about.

The characters may confuse people but fortunately the book brings everything back to Heero Yuy and allows for character development with him, his belligerent attitude towards Relena Darlian but also bringing in Duo Maxwell.

But it’ll be interesting how the other manga will be and if they manage to give more character building stories with the other characters and showcase their origin, because the introduction to the manga literally throws everyone in battle and unlike the anime series which is colored, some characters may look similar as the manga is of course, black and white.

But for the most part, for those who haven’t watched the anime series will find “Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz: Glory of the Losers” to be a deep, complex but also action-packed mecha manga series worth reading.

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