Top

Golden Kamuy vol. 1 – Story & Art by Satoru Noda (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

While I have only read one volume, Satoru Noda’s “Golden Kamuy” is turning out to be a fantastic, action-packed manga series worth reading!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

© 2014 Satoru Noda. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Golden Kamuy vol. 1

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: June 20, 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!

“Immortal Sugimoto,” a survivor of the assault on 203 Meter Hill during the Russo-Japanese War, now scratches out a meager existence in the post-war gold rush in the wild frontier of Hokkaido. A chance encounter in the woods puts a map to a hidden fortune of Ainu gold in his hands, but Sugimoto is not the only interested party, and everyone who knows about the gold will kill to possess it!


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?

The writing for the first volume manages to establish the primary two characters but also the dangerous environment that Sugimoto and Asirpa are thursted into.  With the two trying to find prisoners who have the map tattoo on their backs, it’s not going to be easy as gold hunters and also the 7th Division of the Imperial Japanese Army are after them.  Illustration is fantastic and manages to capture emotion but also the action.

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”.

While I have only read one volume, Satoru Noda’s “Golden Kamuy” is turning out to be a fantastic, action-packed manga series worth reading!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

 

Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma Vol. 18 (Story by Yuto Tsukuda and Art by Shun Saeki) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

In vol. 18, can Soma save the Polaris Dorm?  “Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma” is a magnificent manga for those who love cooking, cooking competitions and underdogs faced with the challenges of taking on the top chefs at a prestigious cooking academy.  Highly recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

© 2012 by Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Food Wars – Shokugeki no Soma Vol. 18

STORY AND ART BY: Story by Yuto Tsukuda and Art by Shun Saeki

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

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

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: June 6, 2017


The shokugeki to decide the fate of the Polaris dormitory nears its conclusion! Even with the judges firmly in his opponent’s pocket, Soma puts everything he’s gained from his time at the dorm on a plate, cementing Polaris’s future—or lack thereof—at the institute. Meanwhile, Central makes its move, beginning a full-scale purge of anyone daring to resist them! Will Soma survive to take on this next challenge?


The Ninth Seat Etsuya Eizan, of Totsuki’s Council of Ten has an open challenge against Ryoma and to make things interesting, Azami Nakiri who has taken over the Totsuki Institue as the new dean, has now put a wager that if Ryoma loses, the Polaris Dorm must shut down.

With judges that are loyal to Azami, can Ryoma pull out a win against Eizan.

And the Nakiri’s learn the truth of who Ryoma’s father is!

All this and more in volume 18 of “Food Wars! -Shokugeki no Soma”!

What is “Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma” about?

In 2012, writer Yuto Tsukuda and artist Shun Saeki created their manga series “Shokugeki no Soma” which continues to be serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”.

The manga was voted #3 in the Nationwide Bookstore Employees “Recommend Comics of 2014” in Japan and voted #12 in the 2014 “Kono Manga ga Sugoi!” Top 20 Manga for Male Readers survey and continues to be a popular series in Japan.

With a total of eight tankobon volumes released in the U.S., Viz Media will be releasing the first manga volume titled “Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma” in North America in August 2014.

The series revolves around a young teen named Soma Yukihara who works for his father, chef Joichiro Yukihira, at their local restaurant.

Trained to cook at an early age and known for trying to combine various foods together as experiments, Soma has been known to cook dishes that make people feel they have tasted the best food ever to touch their tastebuds. But his goal is to someday beat his father in cooking.

But with landsharks trying to get control of the land to build condo units where the restaurant is located, one day while returning to the restaurant, everything inside is removed.

While Soma wants to rebuild, his father tells him that he will be closing the restaurant for two or three years to travel and as for Soma, he is enlisted in Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute where the elite of the elite attend and less than 10% of its students ever graduated.

But his father gives Soma a stern message, if he can’t make it at Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute, he will never beat him.

Determined to prove to his father that he can graduate as an elite cook, Soma is still looked down by his fellow students and faculty because unlike them, he is not wealthy and his family did not own a four or five star restaurant.

But Soma is determined to prove them wrong.

In volume 18, Soma finds himself in a challenge that his fellow dormmates of the Polaris Dorm are heavily depending on him.  As Soma is challenged by Totsuki’s Council of Ten’s Ninth Seat, Etsuya Eizan, Azami put the wager that if the Soma loses, the Polaris Dorm must shut down for good.

Meanwhile, this matchup opens the flood gates as Azami uses chefs from the Totsuki Council of Ten to help eliminate other cooking clubs at the academy in similar competitions.


As a big fan of manga series about food and the culinary industry, “Food Wars! -Shokugeki no Soma” is a series that I absolutely enjoy.

For one, you have an antagonist that was cooking since he was young, often experimenting on different foods, even know that all his combinations are not always successful. But he also was brought up in a family restaurant and has to attend a school of elitist who think their food is the greatest and that they are more refined because they are wealthy.

So, it’s pretty awesome to see how far these people will put him down and until they eat his food, their reaction, and probably this may be the best word to describe their reaction to his food as “orgasmic”.

With the 18th volume of “Food Wars! -Shokugeki no Soma”, Soma must take on Totsuki’s Council of Ten’s Ninth Seat, Etsuya Eiza. If he loses, the Polaris Dorm must shut down.

Knowing that the competition is rigged, as the judges are going to favor Eiza due to their relationship with Dean Nakiri, Soma must cook a dish to spectacular that it must beat Etsuya Eiza.  But can he do it?

As this matchup opens to foodgates, in order for Azami to gain complete control over the entire institute, he turns his eyes to the other research societies, seminars and other independently operating bodies with the intent of crushing them.  The Azami administration gets members from the top 10 seats to take on shokugeki matchups against these other societies to eliminate them.

Also, what happens when Dean Nakiri and also Erina learn the truth of who Soma’s father is.

For volume 18, the storyline by Yuto Tsukuda has been nothing short of enjoyable. This is a fun manga that left me craving for more and Shun Saeki’s artwork is energetic, fun and the more suggestive artwork that was seen in earlier volumes are not too extreme (in terms of fan service and sexuality).

Overall, “Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma” is a magnificent manga for those who love cooking, cooking competitions and underdogs faced with the challenges of taking on the top chefs at a prestigious cooking academy.  Highly recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

 

“Thunderbolt Fantasy” Q&A by Michelle Tymon (J!-ENT Interviews & Articles)

June 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Thunderbolt Fantasy” Q&A @ Sakura-Con 2017 (L-R: Yi-Tsun Hsaio, Koh Kitaoka, Liang-Hsun Huang, Takanori Aki, Gen Urobuchi, Chen-Ching Ting and Digitarou). Photo by Michelle Tymon


In Japan, “Thunderbolt Fantasy” has amazed viewers all over the world.

A 13-episode Japanese-Taiwanese glove puppetry television series created and written by Gen Urobuchi, the series is a collaboration between Nitroplus, Good Smile Company and Taiwanese Puppet production company, Pili International Multimedia.

The series aired in Japan back in July 2016 and with a series which aired in Taiwan, China and Japan, two manga adaptations have followed.  And a sequel is currently in production.

The series is set in the East and is a fantasy setting.  The story focuses on Dan Fei and her brother, guardians of a sword known as the Tian Xing Jian.  And they are being pursued by the evil Xuan Gui Zong clan who are seeking to obtain the sword for their master, Mie Tian Hai.

Recently, J!-ENT’s Michelle Tymon had the opportunity to take part in a media Q&A for “Thunderbolt Fantasy” at Sakura-Con 2017 in Seattle, Washington with Gen Urobuchi (writer and PC game maker from nitroplus and best known for “Fate/Zero”, “Magical Girl Madoka Magica”), Digitarou (President of nitroplus), Koh Kitaoka (producer of “Touken Ranbu”), Aki Takanori (Good Smile Company) and Pili International Multimedia – Liang-Hsun Huang (Head Puppeteer, 5th gen), Chen-Ching Ting a.k.a. “Uncle Cat” (Star Senior Puppeteer) and Yi-tsun Hsiao (Lead Puppeteer and Instructor).


How are you all enjoying Seattle and Sakura-con?
Urobuchi: This is actually my second time in Seattle. Four years ago when they first invited me here, it was also my first time in America. So up until then, my only impressions of America were through “Gotham City” and “Grand Theft Auto.” Because of that, I was so surprised at how beautiful and quiet Seattle was. The event and being in Seattle basically completely flipped my impression of America and being in Seattle again, I’ve been reminded of its beauty. It also may be one of the most memorable cities for me.
Pili: This is my first time coming to Seattle and America, as well as my first time attending an anime convention outside of Asia. I feel that the atmosphere is rather different. In Asia, I feel like the convention attendees seem like they’re more going to an exhibit. But here, it feels more like a carnival, where everyone is sharing the fun and love for anime.

I grew up in Japan, so I would see Japanese puppet show serials on NHK for like “Saiyuki,” so I was excited when I saw the promotional video for “Thunderbolt Fantasy.” Was the story of “Thunderbolt Fantasy” something that was on your mind prior to seeing Pili and what they can do, or was it created after you saw the puppets?
Urobuchi: This was a new story that I created, so that we could use the puppets.

Season 1 has an absolutely amazing voice cast. When I saw the pv, not only was I excited about the use of puppets, but Everyone who appeared were legendary status. If they can talk about it, can we expect another great lineup of voice cast members and can they mention any names yet?
Urobuchi: We haven’t even started the auditions yet for the voice cast for season 2. So currently, we really can’t say anything about it. We’re just getting started on all of that.
Good Smile: Actually, who would you like to see in it? Do you have anyone that you can recommend?
Urobuchi: The thing with “Thunderbolt Fantasy” is that unlike anime, all of the expressions of the characters are presented through movement, since their facial expressions don’t change. So for the voice cast, we also looked for voice actors who are known to be very expressive in their acting and filled with emotions.
J!-ENT: Actually, if I could recommend one person for the cast, I would recommend Akira Ishida.

In episode 0, I saw how much work went into making these beautiful puppets but I also saw them being thrown around and treated rather roughly for some of the action scenes. Was there any particular time that any of the puppets broke so badly that production had to stop?
Pili: For the puppets, we would make different ones for each of the characters. We would have one for the quiet and calmer scenes, where they would just be talking and moving around normally, and we would make one for the fighting scenes, as well. The reason being that inevitably in the fighting scenes, some of the puppets might get damaged. So usually, we would make three of them. We also did the same with the weapons. We had multiple ones made for all the puppets.

Now that you’re done with season 1 and you’re working on season 2, is there anything you learned during season 1 that you are doing different in season two?
Urobuchi: Well for season 2, we’re trying to see if we can get the puppets to do even more expressions. And other than that, we’d like to go even more all out with the action scenes in season 2.

Were any one of the characters harder to control than the others. I know that Lǐn Xuě Yā (Rinsetsua) was always smoking a pipe so that seemed to take more attention but…
Pili: The difficulty actually depended more on what motions the characters would be making, rather than one character being more difficult than another. It all depends on what kind of things they need to do, what kind of poses and what kind of movement. Normal actions just require one puppeteer using both hands, but some actions require two to three puppeteers to do the actions. Difficult motions would include like squatting down, or kneeling down to pick something up. In those cases, you need to move the knees, legs, feet, and everything else.

Just one final question, but is the TMR puppet going to make an appearance in the show?
Urobuchi: That is our intention, yes. We’re planning to make him a very important character.


For more information on “Thunderbolt Fantasy”, please click here.

Photos by Michelle Tymon

 

Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign Vol. 12 (Story by Takaya Kagami, Art by Yamato Yamamoto, Storyboards by Daisuke Furuya) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

June 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you have invested this much time in reading the first eleven volumes of “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign”, you will no doubt want to check out this latest twelfth volume.  More action and more revelations!  Check it out!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

© 2012 Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto, Daisuke Furuya. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign Vol. 12

STORY AND ART BY: Story by Takaya Kagami, Art by Yamato Yamamoto, Storyboards by Daisuke Furuya

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

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

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: June 6, 2017


Three months have passed since the invasion in Nagoya and Yuichiro, Mika and Shinoa Squad are all on the run from both the vampires and the humans! Just as they resolve to ask Krul Tepes for help, Ferid Bathory and Crowley Eusford intercept them with a suspicious proposal to become the group’s new best friends, bringing with them a special hostage for good measure and the secret of the true purpose of the Seraph of the End project.


It was revealed that humans were experimenting on people to create the weapon known as “Seraph of the End” and Guren Ichinose is revealed to be one.

As Yuichiro and his friends are able to escape and literally become fugitives of the Army, they find themselves being wanted by both sides.

But meanwhile, two top vampires, Ferid Bathory and Crowley Eusford are trying to meet up with them.  But why?

All this and more in the twelfth volume of Takaya Kagami and Yamato Yamamoto’s “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign”!

What is “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” all about?

In 2012, mangaka Takaya Kagami (“The Legend of the Legendary Heroes”), artist Yamato Yamamoto (“Kure-nai”, “Denpa Tei na Kanojo”) and storyboard artist Daisuke Furuya teamed up to work on the dark fantasy manga series “Owari no Serafu”.

The series which has a total of six tankobon volumes released in Japan, has been released in the U.S. courtesy of Viz Media with the title “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign”.

“Seraph of the End” began with an introduction of how an unknown virus brought the world to a sudden end. Only children under 13-years-old survived and those children were enslaved by vampires.

The story introduces us to an impulsive boy named Yuichiro Hyakuya who wants nothing more but to kill vampires. But his friend Mikaela Hyakuya is a boy who is more levelheaded and tries to get his friend to think straight and know they are not powerful enough to defeat them.

For Yuichiro, he wants nothing more but his fellow friends to escape captivity from the underground city of Sanguinem and reach the outside.

And one day, all of them decide to make their escape…but will they be successful?

In volume 2, Yuichiro Hyakuya wants nothing more but to get his revenge on the vampires who killed his friends, especially his best friend, Mikaela Hyakuya, who sacrificed his life in order for Yuichiro to escape.

Fast forward years later and as Yuichiro is wanting to become a member of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, the army responsible for fighting against the vampires, he needs to learn discipline and train for combat. But first he must go through the various tests in school which include being friends with others and being a team player, all are hard for Yuichiro to try and do.

But now is his chance to pass the test to advance, but it means having to partner with another hot-headed teen like himself, who doesn’t mind getting into brawls…Kimizuki.

Will Yuichiro, Kimizuki and Yoichi be ready for their next test?

Meanwhile, what happened to Mikaela Hyakuya after Yuichiro escaped from the Vampire lair has been revealed!

In volume 3, as the team has trained and learned to work together, Yuichiro, Yoichi, Kimizuki and Shinoa Hiragi are assigned a new leader named Mitsuba Sangu. An impulsive girl who is also the rival of Shinoa.

As the team goes on their first major mission to fight vampires in Harajuku, will they be ready or will their impulsiveness get in the way?

In volume 4, the Japanese Imperial Army are fighting in a losing battle against the Vampire nobles, a group that includes Yuichiro’s childhood friend Mika, who was changed into a vampire on that fateful day.

As Yuichiro and friends come to join the Japanese Imperial Army on the front lines, Yuichiro comes into contact with Mika for the first time.

But with Mika now a vampire and Yuichiro a vampire hunter, what will happen when these two friends see each other for the very first time since they were separated?

In volume 5, learning that Mika is alive and has been transformed into a vampire, Yuichiro wants nothing more but to help save his friend. But still, he must go through a interview to find out what happened that day he confronted Mika and if he has the resolution to slaughter vampires. Also, factions within the Japanese Imperial Demon Army want Yuichiro to join their faction.

Meanwhile, Yuichiro and crew learn more about their abilities and whether they are possession or manifestation type.

In volume 6, Yuichiro still trying to learn more about his special abilities, must find a way to get his cursed gear Asumaru to work with him.

Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, interesting partnerships or rivalries created within the ranks of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and the vampires.

In volume 7, the Japanese Imperial Demon Army plans to launch a sneak attack on the vampire nobles and Yuichiro’s team must be ready to go into battle.

The problem is that they continue to work as individuals rather than a team and are not taking the attack as seriously as they should.

So, will they be ready to partake in this sneak attack?

In volume 8, the Japanese Imperial Demon Army goes on the offensive. And while Yuichiro’s team fared well, the other teams lost many of their soldiers in the war against the nobles.

But in order to make a strong statement of human vs. vampires, they must now launch a battle against the Thirteenth Progenitor vampire Crowley Eusford and nobles, Chess and Horn with whatever soldiers are remaining.

But will they be enough to defeat these powerful vampires?

In volume 9, Lt. Col. Guren Ichinose and Major General Shinya Hiragi were hoping to take down the powerful Thirteenth Progenitor vampire, Crowley Eusford and vampire nobles, Horn and Chess. But they never realized how powerful a vampire he truly is.

And now Guren and Shinya are on the losing end, can Yuichiro save Guren and what bond does Yuichiro have with Guren?

In volume 10, Lt. Col. Guren Ichinose and Major General Shinya Hiragi were hoping to take down the powerful Thirteenth Progenitor vampire, Crowley Eusford and vampire nobles, Horn and Chess. But didn’t realize how powerful he truly is and now Guren has been held captive.

Yuichiro and his team tried to pull off a rescue but Crowley, Horn and Chess showed their true power. In the process, the demon inside Yuichiro came out when he saw his team nearly being decimated.

Now, his family member turned vampire, Mikaela is determined to rescue him from the humans and vampires. But with the Japanese Imperial Army surrounding him, can he save Yuichiro?

And Mikaela reveals the truth of the “Seraph of the End”!

In volume 11, despite the revelation, Yuichiro wants to save Guren, as he feels that his humanity is still in tact. Meanwhile, Ferid Bathory and Crowley Eusford are up to something.

Yuichiro and his friends plus Mikaela must team up as the battle ahead will be deadly.

In volume 12, as Yuichiro, Mikaela and friends try to find a safe spot to evade both the army and the vampires, they are unaware that two of the top vampires are homing in on them.

And as Yuichiro and Mikaela try to put up a fight, Ferid (the vampire who is responsible for killing Yuichiro and Mikaela’s family and also transforming Mikaela into a vampire) pulls out the decapitated head of his family member, Akane.

This sends Yuichiro to demon mode once again and everyone is knowing that Yuichiro is losing his humanity the more he gives into the demon power.  What will happen during and after this confrontation?


As Mikaela continues to distrust humans, with Yuichiro convincing him to fight alongside his friends, who will also be his friends and that vampire and humans can co-exist, Yuichiro’s inner-demon is starting to consume him.

We have seen how bad it could get but this time, Ferid and Crowley are toying with Yuichiro for some apparent reason of trying to bring the demon out but also trying to give them a chance to survive.

But most importantly, Ferid reveals of who was responsible for the virus nearly killing all of humanity.

An action-packed volume, the latest twelfth volume of “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” shows us the battle between Ferid/Crowley vs. Yuichiro and friends. The storyline by Takaya Kagami is enjoyable, humorous and it has its dark, violent moments that easily drives up the ratings to “Older Teen” but for the most part, it’s not a horror manga series, nor is it too dark that it’s twisted or scary partly because of the comedy due to its hardheaded protagonist. The artwork by Yamato Yamamoto is well-done and characters are very expressive.

If you have invested this much time in reading the first eleven volumes of “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign”, you will no doubt want to check out this latest twelfth volume.  More action and more revelations!  Check it out!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

 

KOEI TECMO AMERICA ANNOUNCES UPCOMING WESTERN RELEASE OF BLUE REFLECTION

June 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Shape the World with the Power of Imagination in a Brand New IP from Developer GUST Studios

 

Burlingame, Calif. – June 6, 2017 – KOEI TECMO America is excited to confirm today the upcoming release of Blue Reflection, developer GUST Studios’ latest original project set in an all-girls high-school in modern day Japan. Headed to the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system and digitally to Windows PC via Steam® on September 26, 2017, today’s announcement reveals information on the upcoming RPG’s heartwarming narrative, colorful main characters and pre-order bonuses alongside a first batch of assets. A selection of images showcase school life in Blue Reflection and provide a first look at the game’s main character, Hinako Shirai, her closest friends, Yuzuki and Lime Shijou, Shihori Sugamoto, the innocent fashionista who treats everyone as equals, and the troublesome but kind-hearted Chihiro Inoue.

 

Blue Reflection takes place at Hoshinomiya Girls’ High School, where players assume the role of student Hinako Shirai. When Hinako’s ballet career comes to an end after a tragic accident, she closes her heart off from the rest of the world. However, her life changes when she meets her new best friends, the magical Shijou twins – Yuzu, who is adored by her classmates for her cheerful and warm personality, and Lime, who is more logical and selfish.

 

The twin sisters bestow Hinako with the power of a Reflector, a champion who can manipulate a mysterious parallel dimension known as The Common. Hinako can freely move and shape this mystical realm’s beauty with her imagination, but she soon understands the very real perils that await her and her friends. As Hinako learns to treasure her companions and creates new bonds with those around her, she gains new strength to help her fight in The Common.

 

A selection of digital bonuses is available to prospective players who pre-order Blue Reflection from Amazon, Best Buy, EB Games and GameStop. These include the School Swimsuit and Rorona style costumes – the latter being the outfit of Rorolina Frixell from Atelier Rorona – and a “FreeSpace!” theme to change the look of their social networking app, a key in-game feature used to stay in touch with companions outside of school. Those purchasing the game on the PlayStation®4 system will also receive an exclusive Original Custom Theme.

 

More information on the game’s narrative, compelling characters and key mechanics will be revealed in the coming months. To stay up-to-date on news regarding Blue Reflection, Like KOEI TECMO America on Facebook at www.facebook.com/koeitecmous, and become part of the #KTfamily by following KOEI TECMO America on Twitter at @KoeiTecmoUS. This title has been rated “T for Teen” by the ESRB.

 

ABOUT KOEI TECMO AMERICA CORP.

KOEI TECMO AMERICA CORP. is a publisher of interactive entertainment software for current generation consoles, handhelds and digital download content based in Burlingame, California. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of KOEI TECMO HOLDINGS CO., LTD., headquartered in Yokohama, Japan. KOEI is best known for its Dynasty Warriors® and Samurai Warriors® franchises. TECMO is best known for the Dead or Alive®, Ninja Gaiden®, Tecmo Bowl®, and Fatal Frame® series.

 

“PlayStation” is a registered trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.

©2016-2017 KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD. The KT logo is a registered trademark of KOEI TECMO HOLDINGS CO., LTD.

 

NATSUME REVEALS ITS OFFICIAL E3 2017 LINEUP

June 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

See The All-New Harvest Moon: Light Of Hope For The First-Time On Switch And PC, Plus Wild Guns Reloaded on PC, River City: Knights Of Justice And River City: Rival Showdown on 3DS and More!

Burlingame, CA. – June 6, 2017 – Natsume Inc., a worldwide developer and publisher of family-oriented video games, today announced its full Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2017 lineup.

In celebration of Harvest Moon’s 20th anniversary, the recently announced Harvest Moon: Light of Hope leads the lineup, and will be shown for the first time on Switch and PC! Also on display at the show will be Wild Guns Reloaded for PC, River City: Knights of Justice, and River City: Rival Showdown (both for 3DS). All the games will be on display in booth 2047 in the South Hall at the Los Angeles Convention Center, June 13-15.

Fans will be excited to learn that for the first time, beloved Natsume retail items will be available for purchase at the booth. Natsume’s popular and adorable 6″ and 12″ plush, including alpacas, horses, dogs, pigs, chicks, bluebirds, pandas, sheep, and more will be available, along with other exciting items!

Natsume’s E3 Show Floor Lineup Includes:

Harvest Moon: Light of Hope (Switch, Steam/PC and PlayStation 4)

In Harvest Moon: Light of Hope, players begin the game as they set out looking for a fresh start and new surroundings. During their voyage, their ship is hit by a monsoon and goes down. As they drift into a small harbor town, now in a shambles from the storm, it will be up to the player to help rebuild the town and save the lighthouse…but it won’t be easy! Nevertheless, with some hard work growing crops, tending livestock, and gathering materials for repairs, players will be able to make new friends, start a family, revive the lighthouse, and save the town!

Wild Guns Reloaded (Steam/PC)

In Wild Guns Reloaded, Annie has tracked down the famed bounty hunter Clint to get revenge on the Kid Gang. With eight stages, each with three zones, there’s plenty of bad robots to blast away. With a true arcade game feel, Wild Guns was the first sci-fi western to arrive on home consoles, and to this day, there really isn’t any other game like Wild Guns!

River City: Knights of Justice (3DS)

River City: Knights of Justice, known in Japan as Nekketsu Mahou Monogatari, is scheduled to launch as a 3DS eShop exclusive this summer. Kunio and his friends go medieval in this unique entry to the River City series, as they are transformed into heroes and villains that would be home in any RPG! Players will use swords, staves, and even magic to bring peace back to Riverandia!

River City: Rival Showdown (3DS)

River City: Rival Showdown, known in Japan as Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari SP, will launch this fall for the Nintendo 3DS. One night, Kunio is attacked by two mysterious individuals. On top of that, Riki’s girlfriend has disappeared, and it’s up to Kunio to find out the truth! Kunio has just 3 days to unravel the mystery, and he’ll need your help to take down all who stand in his way! Take on some familiar faces from the River City games and meet new ones in this fast-paced beat-’em-up RPG.

Harvest Moon: Lil’ Farmers (iOS, Android, Kindle)

Natsume’s European publishing partner, Rising Star Games, will be showing titles in the booth as well, including Harvest Moon: Light of Hope, Harvest Moon Lil’ Farmers (iOS, Android, Kindle), and the European version ofHarvest Moon: Skytree Village.

As part of the year-long 20th anniversary celebration, Natsume has also unveiled the re-release of Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition, Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland for the PlayStation 4, both of which will be available to play at the show.

Players can follow the latest news for all of the beloved Natsume franchises at www.natsume.com and by scooping all of the latest Natsume updates, contests, screen shots and more at www.natsume.com/facebook and www.twitter.com/natsume_inc .

###

Natsume assets can be found here: http://clevercomm.com/Natsume/

About Natsume Inc.

Natsume Inc. is a worldwide developer and publisher that specialize in unique and family-oriented interactive entertainment software for a variety of platforms. Most known for publishing Reel Fishing and Harvest Moon, Natsume is dedicated to producing quality video games.  For more information about Natsume Inc. visit www.natsume.com

About Rising Star Games

Rising Star Games is a privately held video games publisher with a global reach. With operating offices in Europe and USA the company publishes video game entertainment across all gaming platforms from Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and via Steam. With decades of combined experience and a genuine passion for interactive entertainment, Rising Star Games is proud of its ever-expanding and enormously diverse catalog of over 130 titles. www.risingstargames.com

 

Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set by Chiho Saito (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

May 24, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a “Revolutionary Girl Utena” fan, may it be for the manga or for those who only watched the anime and have never read the original manga series, will no doubt find “Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set” truly worth owning. Recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

Image courtesy of © 1997 Chiho Saito, Be-Papas. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set

Story and Art by Chiho Saito

Story Concept by Be-Papas

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: April 11, 2017


The classic manga returns in a deluxe box set! Hardcover editions of Revolutionary Girl Utena and The Adolescence of Utena are included in this two-volume collectors’ set with exclusive color pages and poster.

Once upon a time, a little girl was rescued by a prince. That girl then grows up to be strong and courageous as she awaits his return. To defend a friend’s honor, she challenges a brute to a duel and wins. She is entrusted with the SWORD OF DIOS and the Rose Bride, who is the key to finding her elusive prince. But this won’t end like a fairy tale. Because Utena has the power to REVOLUTIONIZE the world.


Back in 1996, mangaka Chiho Saito created the manga series “Shojo Kakumei Utena” (Revolutionary Girl Utena).  A story based on a concept by Be-Papas.

Serialized in “Ciao”, an anime adaptation would be created in 1997 featuring 39 episodes, while only five volumes of “Revolutionary Girl Utena” were published.

So popular was the anime series that it won “Best TV Animation Award” at Animation Kobe in 1997 and the popularity spread worldwide, leading to many to discover the manga series but also leading to stage productions as many people applauded the series for its borrowed visuals from Takarazuka theater and it being a unique douseiai-style (same sex/gender love) shojo manga.

For those not familiar with this term, in Japanese, Class S refers to strong emotional bonds between schoolgirls and in Japanese culture, depicted as female crushes during adolescence and not true homosexual behavior.  Douseiai-style refers to people of the same sex.

And now the manga series including its side stories are now included in Viz Manga’s “Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set” featured in two hardback, large omnibus style books.

The story begins with an introduction to Utena Tenjou and how she lost her parents at a young age and was raised by her aunt.  Always trying to be strong for her aunt and keep a happy face, one day she nearly fell in a river but was rescued by a mysterious man.

And now as Utena is a teenager, beautiful, athletic and also bold in the fact that she prefers to wear a male outfit instead of the standard female school clothing, one day she receives a letter that says “This year, finally, we will meet” and it has a scent of roses which reminds her of her mystery man that saved her, whom she refers to as a prince.  She is also given a ring with the emblem of the rose on it.

When circumstances lead to Utena nearly falling in the same river trying to rescue a girl, once again, the mysterious man appears.  And when her good friend investigates the letters she receives each year, he finds out that the letters are a puzzle featuring a photo of Ohtori Private Academy.  And Utena makes a decision to attend the school.

As a popular athlete and beautiful student, she attracts guys and girls.  But one day, while walking through the Private Rose Garden of the Student Council, she sees a student named Saionji slapping a girl named Anthy but was stopped by the Student Council President, Touga Kiryuu.

When Saionji embarrasses Utena’s friend, Wakaba, by posting her love letter for the entire school to read, Utena is upset and he challenges Saonji to a duel.

But what Utena thought was a regular duel is actually quite complicated as the members of the Student Council are duelists and they follow the “Rules of the Rose Seal” and that is the will of “World’s End”.  Whoever is on top of the duelists, wins Anthy who is the Rose Bride and is the possessor of the Sword of Dios.

And during her duel with Saionji, when Utena wins the duel and the sword, an image of a man shows up and it is Dios and activates in Utena’s hands.

And now because Utena won the duel, others on the Student Council will be targeting Utena to duel and to win the Rose Bride but also become possessor of the Sword of Dios.

But what is the World’s End?  What is the Sword of Dios?  And why is Anthy being forced to become the top duelist’s bride?  All will be answered in “Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set”.


Back in the ’90s, I was a person who discovered “Revolutionary Girl Utena” through the anime series and I have to say that the series managed to captivate not just myself but many people who watched it as Utena Tenjou fights for Anthy’s freedom.  Not knowing why people are dueling and what the World’s End truly is or what the Sword of Dios is.  She’s doing it to be a friend and help Anthy discover her own true freedom.

There are significant differences between anime and manga.  Where the manga wasn’t too long and had extra side-stories, the anime had the opportunity to extend the story (as it lasted 39-episodes) by including four primary arcs, the first that dealt with the Student Council, while the stories involving a Black Rose Saga featuring Souji Mikage, a counselor who uses his powers of persuasion to send students to fight Utena (which is based on one of the side stories).

Also, the anime series featured Utena having to fight the Student Council who have gained new abilities until settling into a story that is in the manga series and that is the introduction to Anthy’s brother Akio.

So, for those watching the anime series and then went to the manga series, may feel disheartened that the additional stories and characters featured in the anime were not in the manga series.

As mentioned, there are side stories.  Such as ChuChu the monkey adding hot and spicy ingredients to Anthy’s cooking to make it test better for Utena.  Another story features Utena and Anthy switching bodies.

Another story features Juri’s mentor, the best swordsman in school named Ruka Tsuchiya, returning back to school.  This is an emotional story spotlighting on Juri.

A really interesting story features Souji Mikage wanting to kill Anthy and so he can install a sick boy, named Mamiya Chida as the Rose Bride in order to save him from his sickness.

And all this and more side stories are included in “Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set”.   Meanwhile, the story is captivating and the artwork by Chiho Saito is magnificent.  Also, the set comes with a slip case for both books and also comes with a poster.

Overall, if you are a “Revolutionary Girl Utena” fan, may it be for the manga or for those who only watched the anime and have never read the original manga series, will no doubt find “Revolutionary Girl Utena Manga Box Set” truly worth owning.

Recommended!

 /></b></a></p> <p style=

 

Japan Now: Muses of Japanese Cinema 30th TIFF to Celebrate Four Iconic Actresses: Sakura ANDO, Yu AOI, Hikari MITSUSHIMA, Aoi MIYAZAKI

May 18, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Japan Now: Muses of Japanese Cinema

30th TIFF to Celebrate Four Iconic Actresses: 
Sakura ANDO, Yu AOI, Hikari MITSUSHIMA, Aoi MIYAZAKI
Also: Artist and Director Mika NINAGAWA Creates 30th TIFF Visuals


The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) is pleased to announce that we will be highlighting the work of four iconic actresses in this year’s Japan Now section. This is one of the special programs planned to celebrate our 30th anniversary.  Sakura ANDO, Yu AOI, Hikari MITSUSHIMA and Aoi MIYAZAKI have been chosen as the Muses of Japanese Cinema in honor of the powerful sparks they generate on screen, their collaborations with renowned directors and their increasing international stature.In addition to the Muses of Japanese Cinema screenings, panel sessions with special guests will also be held.

TIFF is also pleased to unveil striking anniversary visuals by creative director Hiroshi SASAKI and art director Akihiro HAMABE — who served as the creative supervisor and chief art director, respectively, of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics performance at the Rio closing ceremony — in collaboration with acclaimed photographer and film director Mika NINAGAWA, known for her brightly colored photographs.

TIFF is dedicated to discovering and cultivating new filmmakers from around the world, whose work is highlighted in our Competition section, as well as to presenting internationally acclaimed titles during our 10-day festival.The 30th TIFF will take place from October 25 – November 3, 2017 at Roppongi Hills and other venues in Tokyo.

 

KOEI TECMO AMERICA ANNOUNCES UPCOMING RELEASE OF DYNASTY WARRIORS 9

May 11, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Experience an Immersive Open World Adventure Featuring the Signature “One Versus Thousands” Style Action in the Series’ Most Ambitious Entry to Date

 

Burlingame, Calif. – May 11, 2017 – KOEI TECMO America is proud to confirm today the upcoming western release of DYNASTY WARRIORS 9, a brand-new installment in developer Omega Force’s acclaimed series of action titles. Unifying the classic, time-tested “one versus thousands” action iconic to the Warriors series with a variety of new features, characters and content in an expansive open world environment, DYNASTY WARRIORS 9 aims to deliver the most immersive and ambitious DYNASTY WARRIORS experience to date.

 

In DYNASTY WARRIORS 9, players will explore China as it existed when feudal warlords vied for dominance over the land – the waning days of the Han dynasty and emergence of the Three Kingdoms era. Setting out to complete various objectives, players will utilize an unprecedented world map to navigate and traverse a variety of different landscapes ranging from vast plains to snow-covered peaks presented with dynamic day/night and weather cycles. Exploring these impressive environments is made more engaging through the ability to adapt to surroundings to gain an upper hand in battle, with players able to use equipment to circumvent obstacles or blend in to avoid conflict.

 

The sweeping new narrative of DYNASTY WARRIORS 9 is portrayed across the game’s Critical Missions and Regular Missions which intertwine to allow players to experience history across a multitude of perspectives and battles throughout the whole of China. 83 characters from the DYNASTY WARRIORS series make their return in addition to new faces such as Cheng Pu, a long-term retainer who supported three generations of the Sun family and contributed to the expansion and stability of the Wu kingdom.

 

Platforms, release timing, and more information on the game’s new features, characters, and narrative will be unveiled in the coming months. A first batch of assets released in celebration of today’s announcement feature one of the game’s new characters, Cheng Pu, and showcase the open world action of DYNASTY WARRIORS 9.

 

For more information and to stay up-to-date on DYNASTY WARRIORS 9, please visit the official website at www.koeitecmoamerica.com/dw9, Like KOEI TECMO America on Facebook at www.facebook.com/koeitecmous and become part of the #KTfamily by following KOEI TECMO America on Twitter at @KoeiTecmoUS.

 

ABOUT KOEI TECMO AMERICA CORP.

KOEI TECMO AMERICA CORP. is a publisher of interactive entertainment software for current generation consoles, handhelds and digital download content based in Burlingame, California. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of KOEI TECMO HOLDINGS CO., LTD., headquartered in Yokohama, Japan. KOEI is best known for its Dynasty Warriors® and Samurai Warriors® franchises. TECMO is best known for the Dead or Alive®, Ninja Gaiden®, Tecmo Bowl®, and Fatal Frame® series.

 

“PlayStation” is a registered trademark of Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc.

©2016-2017 KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD. The KT logo is a registered trademark of KOEI TECMO HOLDINGS CO., LTD.

 

Silicon Valley Comic Con 2017 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

May 6, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Silicon Valley Comic Con took place on April 21st through the 23rd 2017 at the San Jose Convention Ctr., San Jose, CA.  The convention is known to bring Pop Culture and Technology together.

Presented by Steve Wozniak and featuring top celebrities, comics, independent artists, cosplay, video games, consumer electronics, music and apps, Silicon Valley Comic Con is where entertainment and the electronic worlds intersect. welcoming more than 65,000 guests over the course of the three-day show.

This year’s theme of “The Future of Humanity: Where Will We Be in 2075?” featured a Space Village, NASA space exploration panels, robotics, virtual reality, a Kids S.T.E.A.M. Lab, celebrity appearances, leading comic book artists and authors, cosplay contests, a science fair, Geek Fashion Show, Rover.com and more.

Silicon Valley Comic Con, had a list of celebrities from the entertainment community Grant Gustin of “the flash”, John Cusack from “Being John Malkovich”, Marina Sirtis from “Star Trek: the next generation”, Billy Boyd who played Pippin from “Lord of the rings” trilogy, Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11, space Astronaut. To mention a few.

Celebrities from science and tech such as Omar Abdelwahed, head of studio, Softbank robotics America. Heather Berlin cognitive Neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry at the Icahn school of medicine at Mount Sinai. Tracy Drain best known for Deputy chief engineer for Juno mission to Mars and more.

Celebrity artists that were at the show included Award winning Arthur Adams, Brent Anderson, Joyce Chin, Lela Dowling, Scott Shaw, some of the writers and authors they had were M Todd Gallowglas, Andy Weir and the Winner twins to mention a few.

 

William Shatner and Steve Wozniak sharing the stage to talk about Star Trek and the future of technology, Buzz Aldrin presenting about “Humanity’s Future in Space,” Steve Wozniak hosting a “Wonder Women Changing the face of STEM” panel with Simone Giertz and Sabrina Pasterski , the 30th anniversary cast reunion of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” hosted by William Shatner, a “Breaking Barriers” panel featuring actress Pam Grier and Slack senior engineer Erica Baker, the original human residents of “Sesame Street” and Mr McFeely from “Mr Rogers’ Neighborhood” reunited on-stage.

 

Silicon Valley Comic Con, is going to be a different kind to show that you’re used to going to they have a lot of stuff in information about things that are science fact and not science fiction so if you are really big fan of something like Star Wars or star trek or something to do with robotics.

You are going to find something here that will actually take you in the direction of learning more about that industry and that a lot of things that if her kids to physically interact on how to do things to encourage them to learn more about it. space exploration panels from NASA, Virgin Galactic and SETI, panels on robotics, virtual reality,  science.

Silicon Valley Comic Con also hosted a rally for the March for Science Silicon Valley that was attended by 10,000 people.

SETI hosted its first-ever Space Ball gala fundraiser, and ScreenUsed.com returned to host its 2nd Annual Movie Prop and Wardrobe Auction that beat 2016’s sales record of $707,000 including selling a Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope – Original Stormtrooper (Sandtrooper) Helmet for $228,000.

Other things that you could do while you were at the convention. The cartoon art museum exhibit, The game zone presented by South Bay Button Mashers. Silicon Valley Comic Con outdoor festival, life music, food trucks, exhibit art installations, evening movies screenings, Dogvacay’s dog cosplay contest and more.

So, really… there were a lot of things that you can do at Silicon Valley Comic Con.

So, when you’re done gathering autographs, getting photos from your favorite guest and celebrities, attending panels.

I wish they were little bit more center stage, but they were there. They had some of the vintage comics from back in the 40’s to today’s popular comics with all the different variant covers. You could find vintage movie posters, and a good amount of anime and stuff coming over from Japan.

There were different panels ranging from drawing, gaming, celebrity Q&A’s, comics, technology, space.

They had an impressive array of cosplay guest at the show. Valerie Perez, Keith Zen, Chrissy Lynn Kyle she was doing amazing makeup effects. Jacqueline Goehner is a contestant on SYFY’s Cosplay Melee.

I would have like to see more signage, at time it was difficult understanding where to go or where something was. it was hard to find out who was sitting where for the Authors and Artists, it would have been nice to have an listing of the table and booth numbers like they had for other exhibitors. it would have be a nice addition on the SVCC app

Steve Wozniak’s wildly successful pop culture and technology expo, took over downtown San Jose, transportation provided by Acura’s NSX supercar and more. SVCC 2.0 also saw massive physical expansions and layout changes, adding a free public outdoor festival, programming at City National Civic and hosting registration inside South Hall. Silicon Valley Comic Con will return to San Jose the weekend of April 6-8, 2018.

Photos by Derek Orchard

Visit the SILICON VALLEY COMIC CON 2017 Photos Gallery


 

 

Next Page »

Bottom