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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 .

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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!

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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!

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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


 

 

Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 10 by Naoki Urasawa, Story by Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki (A J!-ENT Manga Review)

May 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

masterkeaton-10

If you love mystery, action and well-written, smart stories, “Master Keaton” is highly recommended!

© 1989 Naoki Urasawa/Studio Nuts, Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki. All Rights Reserved.

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MANGA TITLE: Master Keaton – Omnibus Vol. 10

STORY AND ART BY: Naoki Urasawa, Story by Hokusei Katsushika, Takashi Nagasaki

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ SIGNATURE/Viz Media, LLC

RATED: OT for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: March 21, 2017


Taichi Hiraga Keaton is a busy insurance investigator who yearns to make a living as an archaeologist. Just how long does he have to continue working as an investigator? Keaton is uncertain of his future, but he does know that a string of difficult cases awaits him!


A bar keeper’s son is killed.  Who is responsible?

A woman gets close to Keaton and wants him to pretend that he is her husband.  But why?

Someone is murdering people in a smuggling ring.  But what relationship do they have with the Nazis?

A young girl’s mother is getting married, but the mother thinks her daughter Alice is defective and not a proper young lady.  She hires Keaton to teach tutor her, but can Keaton get through to Alice?

What happens when Oliver Woodworth returns, wanting to become Keaton’s assistant?

And something sinister is going on in the mysterious Landberry Village in Wales.  Can Keaton and Detective Neville find out what is going on in the village?

All this and more in “Master Keaton – Omnibus vol. 10”.

What is “Master Keaton” all about?

In 1998, “Master Keaton” was a manga series serialized in “Big Comic Original”.

Created by Hokusei Katshika and Naoki Urasawa, the series was released through 1994 and ran for 144 chapters. In Japan, a total of 18 tankobon volumes were released and in 1998-1999, a 24-episode animate adaptation was aired on Nippon Television plus an additional 15 OVA episodes were created and were once released in the United States.

In 2012, Urasawa would create the sequel to the series titled “Master Keaton Remaster” with writer Takashi Nagasaki and the series was serialized in “Big Comic Original” and was set 20 years after the original series ended.

And now, Viz Media is releasing an omnibus of the manga series which includes 12 chapters and part of the Viz Signature imprint.

The story of “Master Keaton” revolves around a man named Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, the son of Japanese Zoologist Taihei Hiraga and Englishwoman Patricia Keaton. Because his parents separated when he was young, Taichi was raised in England by his mother.

He studied archaeology at Oxford University under Professor Yuri Scott. While married, like his father, he also divorced and has a daughter named Yuriko who was raised by her mother but recently has been visiting her father now that she is a high school student.

While Master Keaton teaches archaeology at Kotozawa University and is often taking jobs as an insurance investigator with Lloyd’s of London that require his expertise. Sometimes the job can be very dangerous. But the other side of Keaton is that he was also a member of the British Army, and its SAS (Special Air Service) division…special forces. Keaton was a survival instructor and saw combat in the Falklands War and one of the team members who responded to the Iranian Embassy incident.

He skills of survival but also combat is remarkable but his knowledge of archaeology and antiques are also uncanny. And now, he must take on various jobs around the world that puts him and his clients at risk.


“Master Keaton” is an entertaining and smartly written manga series.

On the outside, you think Keaton is just a normal man but not only is he able to outwit anyone who tries to hurt him, his survival skills are uncanny. But yet, he is a man with faults and that lies more in his life as a father (he’s so busy that he hasn’t really been there for his daughter) and his concern for his ex-wife (he no doubt loves her but also too busy to be a married man).

While I won’t go so far as calling him a James Bond-ish type of character, as he isn’t actually suave, he is a survivalist and an knowledgeable about ancient history and antiques.

Not many know of his special forces training, they just know of his knowledge of antiques, and thus he goes into areas that are a bit dangerous.

In omnibus volume 10, you get a good number of diverse stories. From Keaton helping out the bar owner who’s estranged son was murdered.  Who was responsible?

Another story revolves around Oliver Woodworth coming back and leaving his father’s wealthy business to become Keaton’s assistant.  But Keaton tries to prevent Woodworth from being his assistant due to the danger of the job.

There is also an intriguing story that involves a smuggling ring with each of its members being killed.  With a link to the Nazi’s, Keaton must find out who is murdering members of the smuggling ring.

And another fascinating chapter involves Dr. Neville going to Landbery Village in Wales to find an escaped convict.  Neville finds Keaton also on the scene but something sinister is happening around the village.

For the most part, I was very impressed with each of these stories as they were well-researched, well-written and really go into the historical details of an item, of cultures and more.

The art and the ancient history portion of various chapters are well-researched and Hokusei Katsuhika did a wonderful job, while the artwork by Urasawa is wonderful as always.

It’s absolutely wonderful that Viz Media has released the “Master Keaton” omnibus in North America. It’s one of the most intriguing, smartly written manga series available in the United States. And the good thing is you can pick up any volume and not really miss out on continuity because each chapter is a different case for series protagonist, Keaton.

If you love mystery, action and well-written, smart stories, “Master Keaton” is highly recommended!

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Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt vol. 3 – Story and Art by Yasuo Ohtagaki (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

April 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The story has been action-driven, detail of the artwork has been excellent and for mecha fans, “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” vol. 3 gives readers a gritty, emotional and darker side of the war.

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© 2012 by Yasuo Ohtagaki. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt Vol. 3

STORY AND ART BY: Yasuo Ohtagaki

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Signature

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2017


In the Universal Century year 0079, humanity is divided between Earth and huge space colonies known as Sides. The colony known as Side 3 proclaims independence as the Principality of Zeon, and declares war on the Earth Federation. As the conflict nears the one-year mark, the Earth Federation and the forces of Zeon are locked in a fierce battle for the Thunderbolt Sector, an area of space scarred by the wreckage of destroyed space colonies.

The Federation attack on the Zeon fleet in the Thunderbolt sector is a bloody fiasco as Io Fleming leads a squadron of inexperienced young pilots into the teeth of the Zeon defenses. Desperate, the Federation throws even the maintenance crews into the fray. Casualties mount as the two fleets clash, and Fleming and his Zeon rival, Daryl Lorenz, engage deep in the ruins of one of the space colonies. Shattered and driven by memories of the past and all they’ve lost, their duel resonates with the fierce emotions of both sides in this deadly conflict.


The Principality of Zeon thanks to their Zeon Sniper Daryl Lorenz and his new Psycho Zaku has taken the Federation by surprise and nearly wiped out the entire fleet.  And with the surviving members of the Federation, they are not aware that Zeon Fleet Commander Kleiber is on their way for support.

Meanwhile, Io Fleming with his Gundam and Zeon Sniper Daryl Lorenz clash once again, but this time, who wins this battle?

What is “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” about?

Back in 2012, mangaka Yasuo Ohtagaki wrote and illustrated the manga “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt”.

With eight volumes published, the series would receive a 4-episode ONA anime adaptation and a second season is slated for adaptation.

The manga is set during the One Year War (U.C. 0079) and the Earth Federation’s Brotherhood and the Principality of Zeon’s Living Dead Division are in battle in the Thunderbolt Section, a zone that is littered with debris from the destruction of space colonies and because the area has numerous electrical discharging.

Fighting for the Earth Federation is Ace pilot, Io Fleming and for the Principality of Zeon, Zeon’s best sniper, Daryl Lorenz is focused on killing Fleming.

As Io won the first meeting between the two, this time around, both the Federation and Zeon plan to escalate the battle as the Federation plans to send the Gundam in one more time to finish the job, but leading the Gundam are young recruits. Meanwhile, Zeon follows Daryl Lorenz piloting the new Psycho Zaku.

And with a sneak attack, they are able to decimate the Federation.  With only a few survivors of the Federation, what happens when appen’s when Earth Federation’s Moore Brotherhood enters a Zeon ship?

Also, the Federation’s Io Fleming and his Gundam takes on Zeon’s Daryl Lorenz and his new Psycho Zaku.

What will be the outcome of this major battle in the Thunderbolt Sector?


When it comes to the Universal Century Gundam stories, they are my favorite. And while many of us have been entertained by stories involving Amuro Ray, there have been a variety of stories that have taken place in the Universal Century, some more deeper than the others and others just focusing on the action.

“Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” may seem like the latter because of the action focusing on Earth Federation vs. the Principality of Zeon but once the manga goes into character development, the storyline focuses on how people are growing tired of the war. People sick of seeing deaths of friends and loved ones.

Io Fleming is a man born from a wealthy family and he and his friends are thrusted into war. Fleming is secretly dating Captain Claudia Peer, a captain who is sick and tired of war and that the Earth Federation keeps sending teenage pilots as reinforcements and always depressed and tense when Fleming, the Beehive’s best pilot goes to fight against the Principality of Zeon. Along with Fleming and another childhood friend, engineer Cornelius Kaka, all three were born in privilege and are now assigned to the Beehive.

Fleming is an excellent pilot and surprises the Principality of Zeon when he shows up and takes many of them out with his Gundam and always playing his jazz music through a pilot radio station.

Meanwhile, on the opposite end are the Living Dead Division of the Principality of Zeon. A group that is put together of people who have been significantly injured or maimed and are still fighting with prosthetics.

Their best fighter, Zeon Chief Petty Officer Daryl Lorenz, is an excellent sniper and wants revenge against Fleming for killing his teammates. He has lost his legs in battle and carries a retro-style radio that he listens to in battle.

We see the other side as those who feel they are wronged and want revenge against the Earth Federation for the death of their loved ones.

Zeon scientist Karla Mitchum is responsible for giving the soldiers prosthetics but when her loved one is killed, she wants Daryl to rid of the Earth Federation, especially the man responsible, Io Fleming.

But we see how the grass is definitely not greener on the other side and how difficult life was for children growing up in the Principality of Zeon and in order to make sure their families were taken care of, they had to join the military at a young age.

So, the third volume of “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” gives us a look as both sides and both were decimated by each other.    People injured and not sure if they will live, but with this latest battle, Zeon has the edge as they managed to do a sneak attack to decimate the Federation.

As only a few of Earth Federation’s Moore Brotherhood around to infiltrate the Zeon ship, what will they find?

Meanwhile, another clash between the elite Io Fleming and his Gundam and Daryl Lorenz and his Psycho Zaku.  But who will have the edge in this latest battle?

The character designs, artwork and storyline by Yasuo Ohtagaki are wonderful and I really like how the emotion of the characters are depicted. The story has been action-driven, detail of the artwork has been excellent and for mecha fans, “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” vol. 3 gives readers a gritty, emotional and darker side of the war.

After this volume, nothing will ever be the same between the Federation and the Zeon in the Thunderbolt sector.

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Dragon Ball Super Vol. 1 – Story by Akira Toriyama, Art by Toyotarou (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

April 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you loved “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z”, I can’t highly recommend enough of how awesome “Dragon Ball Super” truly is.  I was just as skeptical, being a hardcore DBZ fan but I was quite pleased with the overall manga and can’t wait until vol. 2!

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Image courtesy of © 2016 Bird Studios, Toyotarou. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Dragon Ball Super vol. 1

Story by Akira Toriyama, Art by Toyotarou

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: May 2, 2017


Having defeated Boo, Goku is starting to get bored with his life on Earth. His wife, Chi-chi, wants him to get a job, but all he wants to do is train and fight stronger enemies. However, he might soon regret his wish for greater challenges, as one is on its way right for him!

Elsewhere in the universe, the God of Destruction, Beerus, and his attendant Whis are traveling from planet to planet in search of food and entertainment. After blowing up some hapless victims, Beerus is reminded of a man from his dreams with the moniker “Super Saiyan God,” or something like that. The God of Destruction sets his sights on Earth to track the source of his visions, leading to a battle like no other.


A new “Dragon Ball” series?

It was something that fans knew was a possibility but whether or not it would be accepted, that is a different story.

As “Dragon Ball GT” was created but not considered canon, because series creator Akira Toriyama was not involved, “Dragon Ball Super” is considered canon as the anime series credits Akira Toriyama for the original story and character design concepts.

As the “Battle of the Gods” and “Resurrection ‘F'” films are considered canon and take place before “Dragon Ball Super”, one may want to watch those two films before jumping onto this manga series, but fortunately, it is not needed as the first volume of the manga series gets readers caught up of what has transpired with the characters after Son Goku had defeated Majin Boo.

Written by Akira Toriyama and featuring artwork by Toyotarou (who did the manga adaptation of “Resurrection ‘F'”, an artists that Toriyama highly approves of, we begin a new chapter in the “Dragon Ball” manga series with the first volume of “Dragon Ball Super”.

As peace has taken place after Son Goku had defeated Majin Boo, for the next four years, Son Goku has become a radish farmer to support his family.

As Beerus, the God of Destruction and his assistant Whis destroy a planet in Universe 7, he had a dream of taking on a Super Saiyan God.  And is in search of him.

Meanwhile, Beerus’ twin brother Champa, God of Destruction of Universe 6 has secretly visited Universe 7 along with his assistant Vados to find the final Super Dragon Ball.

As Beerus pays a visit to the planet of the Lord of the Northern Worlds where Kaio-ken resides, Goku is training.  And when Beerus allows Goku to try and defeat him, Goku is beaten quickly.

This leads Beerus to interrupt Bulma’s birthday part on Earth (as featured in the “Battle of the Gods” film).

Needless to say, with the Dragon Balls and a ritual performed, Son Goku is transformed into a Super Saiyan God and challenges Beerus and it ends in a stalemate.  As Vegeta also acquires significant power, the two are trained by Whis.  And all was going well until Champa and Vados shows up to visit Beerus and Whis.

The two have a disagreement of which universe has better food and when Beerus introduces Champa to Cup Ramen, Champa proposes a challenge.  A fighting tournament featuring Universe 6’s best fighters vs.  Beerus’ choice of five of Universe 7’s best fighters.  Whoever wins gets access to the Super Dragon Balls and Champa’s goal is to switch Earth’s and have Beerus’ Earth switch places with the barren/devastated by war Earth of Universe 6.

All agree to have this tournament take place and now Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, Boo and a fighter of Beerus’ choosing will need to take on Champa’s top five fighters.

Let the tournament begin!


I was very skeptical when “Dragon Ball Super” was announced.  Having enjoyed “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z”, “Dragon Ball GT” was no doubt a series cashing in on the “Dragon Ball” characters and a storyline that was more or less geared to attract younger viewers (as it focused on Son Goku turned into a child, his granddaughter Pan and Vegeta and Bulma’s son Trunks).

I was not excited about the two newer films because I felt that Akira Toriyama ended “Dragon Ball” and that should ahve been it.  Afterall, the first two “Dragon Ball” series are a big part of younger years and I didn’t want to see a new terrible series marring the original Toriyama work.

And with over 80-episodes of “Dragon Ball Super” having aired in Japan and not having seen one episodes, I figured I would read this manga and see if if I would enjoy it.

And to my surprise, this series manages to capture all the fun, laughter and action that the original had and more.  Suffice to say, I loved reading this first volume!

Not only do we get new characters but you get to see characters who have been featured in other Akira Toriyama series such as “JACO:  The Galactic Patrolman” make an appearance and also, we see all characters reunited for the next biggest test for the Son Goku and friends.

And while the first half of the manga series focuses on character introductions and the power of Beerus and Whis, we also learn that there are other powerful Gods of Destruction of other universes and for Son Goku, getting stronger and beating his opponents has always been a big part of the storyline.

And now, Son Goku and friends will need to take on the top warriors of Universe 6.  In some ways, it’s kind of an Akira Toriyama nod to DC Comics with Superman and the heroes of Earth-1 and Earth-2 and the differences of similar universes but different outcomes for various planets in the universe.

Needless to say, this first volume made me crave for more.  The humor and action are fantastic and is consistent with previous “Dragon Ball” series but most importantly, it’s entertaining and so much fun!

And I can see why Akira Toriyama has so much faith in Toyotarou, with an interview featured at the end of the chapters, you can tell that Akira working with Toyotarou is somewhat of a passing of the torch.  Toyotarou’s similarity to Akira Toriyama’s work is fantastic and this collaboration between the two shows their admiration as their work is fantastic.

Overall, if you loved “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z”, I can’t highly recommend enough of how awesome “Dragon Ball Super” truly is.  I was just as skeptical, being a hardcore DBZ fan but I was quite pleased with the overall manga and can’t wait until vol. 2!

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Fate/Grand Order English Version to be Launched in Summer 2017

April 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 


© TYPE-MOON / FGO PROJECT
Popular Mobile Game is Coming to North America
LOS ANGELES, CA (April 15, 2017) – Notes Co., Ltd (Tokyo, Japan), Aniplex Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) and DELiGHTWORKS Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) announced their plans to launch an English version of Fate/Grand Order in North American territories in Summer 2017 at the Aniplex industry panel at Sakura-Con in Seattle, Washington. The game will be available on both iOS and Android platforms.
Fate/Grand Order is one of the most successful mobile role-playing game in Japan. Players willbecome Masters, and together with characters called Heroic Spirits (also known as Servants) they will embark on a journey to the past called Grand Order.
“Fate/Grand Order has done incredibly well in Japan. It brings me a great joy to know that the fans in North America will soon be able to enjoy the game as well.” said Atsuhiro Iwakami, president of Aniplex Inc. “The epic story and exciting battle system come together as the ‘greatest Holy Grail War in history.’ I hope we can bring this excitement to as many people as possible.”
Many famous creators and artists have been invited to participate in the creation of the game. Such contributors include Takashi Takeuchi (illustrator) and Kinoko Nasu (writer) of TYPE-MOON as well as a lot of internationally famous voice actors. The epic story contains both a main scenario as well as many character scenarios, which come together in a tale that is more than one million words.
Further details will be released regularly on the official website (http://fate-go.us), Facebook (@FateGO.USA) and Twitter (@FateGO_USA). In addition, new information will also be announced throughout conventions across the United States starting at Anime Central in Chicago in May to Anime Expo in Los Angeles in July. We look forward to sharing all our updates with you so please make sure to check in regularly.
FATE/GRAND ORDER (ENGLISH VERSION):
Title: Fate/Grand Order (English)
Genre: Role-Playing Game
Platform: iOS/Android
Release Date: Summer 2017
Copyright: ©TYPE-MOON / FGO PROJECT
About Aniplex of America Inc.
Aniplex of America Inc. (Santa Monica, California) is a subsidiary of Aniplex Inc. (headquartered in Tokyo, Japan) – a Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) group. Aniplex Inc. is a leading provider of anime content, along with music production and distribution in Japan. Aniplex of America has launched fan-favorite Blu-ray and DVD titles including Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works], Fate/Zero, the Sword Art Online series, Your lie in April, KILL la KILL, Bakemonogatari, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Blue Exorcist, NISEKOI, the OREIMO series, DURARARA!!×2, Magi series, Expelled From Paradise, The irregular at magic high school, and ALDNOAH.ZERO. The company’s ever-growing line-up of shows includes our mostrecent titles: March comes in like a lion, Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga, ERASED, The Asterisk War, OWARIMONOGATARI, KIZUMONOGATARI, Charlotte, WAGNARIA!!3, GOD EATER, HAIFURI (High School Fleet), GRANBLUE FANTASY, and Eromanga Sensei.

 

FresCon 2017 by Derek Orchard (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)

April 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

FresCon, Fresno State’s geek culture convention took place on April 1-2, 2017.

FresCon is a non-profit and educational event that showcases Fresno State and the surrounding community through the collective enjoyment of geek culture including movies, television series, books, comics, video games, board games, card games and cosplay.

Some of the main events include “Street Fighter V” and “Super Smash Brothers 4”. Also, featured was “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” for the Nintendo Switch.

The event featured panels on game designed by Geek Wise Academy and voice actress Erika Harlacher who did a Q&A plus a signing session on Saturday and on Sunday she did another panel about playing “Kingdom Hearts 2: Talking Games”.

FresCon also showcased modern anime such as “Fairy Tail”, “Mob Psycho 100” and some nostalgic anime such as “GTO”, “Gurren Lagann” and “Cowboy Bebop”.

Also, the event premiered the first episode of “Attack on Titan” season 2.

They also had panels dealing with cultural importance of genre fiction and storytelling which included Dr. Frederick Raswald for “Alien Lifeforms: Beyond the evidence”, “Philip Cable: How to Make and Market a Feature Film”, Lady Lindsay: “Character design what your concept?”, “Chris Zimmerman: The story of Labyrinth” and “Kyle Villarama: Batman and Psychology”.

 

On Sunday, after the cosplay contest, they had videogame cover band Super Soul Bros., a San Jose base Jazz band that covers music from videogames and cartoons.

FresCon for 2017 was a very enjoyable event! It is the type of event that if you’re not that into all aspects of a particular genre. And I personally feel that they have done a really good job of creating an environment for the true geeks and younger fans to come out to the event and enjoy.

Photos By Derek Orchard

Visit the FresCon 2017 Photos Gallery


 

 

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