Attack on Titan: Lost Girls Vol. 1 (Art by Ryosuke Fuji, Story by Hiroshi Seko) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

September 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” is a story meant to be read after one gets farther into the series and after one knows more about Annie Leonhart’s part in the primary series.  But this entertaining one-shot mystery story featuring Annie Leonhart will no doubt appeal to “Attack on Titan” fans.

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Image courtesy of © 2016 Hajime Isayama/Hiroshi Seto/Ryosuke Fuji. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Attack on Titan: Lost Girls Vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Art by Ryosuke Fuji, Story by Hiroshi Seko


PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Kodansha Comics

RATED: T for Teen

Available on August 30, 2016

Annie Leonhart has been training hard for one purpose, one mission: During the 57th Expedition Outside the Walls, she must seize Eren Yeager:  The expedition commences tomorrow.

Back in 2006, Hajime Isayama wrote a 65-page one-shot of “Shingeki no Kyojin”. Inspired during an encounter with an irate customer while working at an internet cafe, the encounter would eventually be the basis of his hit series which is known internationally as “Attack on Titan”.

In 2009, “Shingeki no Kyojin” began serialization in Kodanasha’s “Bessatsu Shonen Magazine” and has spawned a popular manga and anime series, several light novel volumes, multiple video games, manga spin-offs and live-action films.

In 2016, a recent side-story to “Shingeki no Kyojin” (Attack on Titan) titled “Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” was released in Japan and now the the two-part graphic novels (volume one featuring Annie Leonhart and volume two featuring Mikasa Ackerman) will be released in the U.S. courtesy of Kodansha Comics.

NOTE: “Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” is meant to be read if you have read or watched the anime series as this volume has spoilers.

The first volume focuses on Annie Leonhart, a graduate of the 104th Training Corps and member of the Military Police Brigade.

Her specialty is swords and unarmed combat, something she was trained since she was a young girl.

But she has always been a lone wolf and not a sociable person.

She also one of the main antagonists to the “Attack on Titan” series as she harbors a secret…she is a titan.

The story of “Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” takes place on the day before she is to go and capture Eren Yeager (the series main protagonist).

Annie is given an order to find Carly Stratman, the only daughter of the chair of the Marleen Company, Sir Elliot G. Stratmann.

Carly has been missing and the Military Police has been tasked to find her, but the search has been passed around and Annie is the third person to receive the order and she wants to complete this case.

And as Annie investigates alone, she finds out that there is more to the missing Carly Stratman than she has anticipated and the search for her will put her on a dangerous path.

With “Attack on Titan: Lost Girls”, this side-story by Hiroshi Seko and artist Ryosuke Fuji, is a story meant to humanize Annie Leonhart.

One of the primary antagonists of “Attack on Titan”, she is a woman dedicated to her duty and job, but the problem is that she holds a horrible secret.

Having been trained all her life by her father, only doing rigorous training for her mission against humanity, she was taught one thing…to treat the world as her enemy.  And her main mission is to lead a group of titans to capture Eren Yeager.

“Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” is less about Annie as a titan but more about her being on a mystery mission in which she is tasked to find a missing young woman.

We see Annie as not only as a person dedicated to her job, showing her as an excellent fighter but a person that has emotions and is often thinking about her own upbringing, her relationship with her father who made her fight and dreams of coming home to her father, but knows that she can’t unless her mission is over.

You can’t help but feel sympathy for Annie being raised to be a killing machine and to hate the world and she just desires to be normal, to finish her mission so she can gain some sort of normalcy.

“Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” also gives readers a chance to see life in other villages and how drug-use has become rampant and how everything is somewhat connected to the person that Annie is searching for.

While the storyline is predictable earlier on, it’s the development of Annie Leonhart’s character that I found interesting to read and how it connects to Hajime Isayama’s story.  As for the artwork, Ryosuke Fuji has done a solid job with overall character design and showcasing the action in the series.

Overall, “Attack on Titan: Lost Girls” is a story meant to be read after one gets farther into the series and after one knows more about Annie Leonhart’s part in the primary series.  But this entertaining one-shot mystery story featuring Annie Leonhart will no doubt appeal to “Attack on Titan” fans.

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The Empire of Corpses (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 16, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 


M”The Empire of Corpses” is an an animated film that is complex, smartly written, featuring wonderful animation and art backgrounds but while entertaining, the film may prove to be too complex for some viewers and thus may require multiple viewings in order to grasp the storyline. But if you are looking for a beautiful and smartly written animated film, “The Empire of Corpses” is recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2016 FUNimation. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Empire of Corpses

DURATION: 120 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen), English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Subtitles: English



Release Date: July 5, 2016

Directed by Ryoutarou Makihara

Screenplay by Hiroshi Seko, Koji Yamamoto, Midori Gotou

Original Creator: Project Itoh, Toh Enjoe

Original Character Design: redjuice

Character Designs by Takaaki Chiba

Chief Animation Director: Hirotaka Kato, Takaaki Chiba

Mechanical Design by Gorou Murata, Hitoshi Fukuchi, Junjya IShigaki, Shinobu Tsuneki

Art Direction by Yusuke Takeda

Music by Yoshihiro Ike

Anime Production: Wit Studio

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ayumu Murase/Todd Haberkorn as Friday/Noble_Savage_007

Kana Hanazawa/Morgan Garrett as Hadaly Lilith

Taiten Kusunoki/J. Michael Tatum as Frederick Barnaby

Yoshimasa Hosoya/Jason Liebrecht as John H. Watson

Akio Ohtsuka/Sean Hennigan as M

Daiki Yamashita/Micah Solusod as Nikolai Krasotkin

Shinichiro Miki/Mike McFarland as Alexei Karamazov

Houko Kuwashima/Caitlin Glass as Moneypenny

From the studio that produced Attack on Titan comes The Empire of Corpses, a captivating historical action thriller based on a Phillip K. Dick Award winning novel by Project Itoh. In an alternate version of 19th century London, the world has been revolutionized by “corpse reanimation technology” creating armies of undead who serve the living as laborers across the globe.

In an attempt to revive his dearly departed friend, young medical student John Watson becomes obsessed with replicating the work of Dr. Victor Frankenstein – the legendary corpse engineer whose research produced the only re-animated corpse to possess a soul. But when his illegal experiments put him at odds with the British government, Watson is drafted into a worldwide race to find the lost research notes of Victor Frankenstein before the secrets of the human soul fall into the wrong hands.

From anime production studio Wit Studio and director Ryoutarou Makihara (“Hal”, “Umi Monogatari”) comes “The Empire of Corpses” (Shisha no Teikoku).

An animated film adaptation of Project Itoh (creator of “Harmony and “Genocidal Organ”) and Toh Enjoe’s novel, the film was released in Japan in 2015 and had a limited theatrical release in the US courtesy of FUNimation.

And now, the animated film is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.

The film features a screenplay by Hiroshi Seko (“Ajin”, “Mob PSycho 100”, “Seraph of the End”), Koji Yamamoto (“Harmony”) and Midori Gotou (“Attack on Titan: Junior high”, “Hozuki no Reitetsu”, “Loups=Garous – The Motion Picture”, music by Yoshihiro Ike (“Gundam Evolve”, “Rage of Bahamut”, “Cobra the Animation”, “Blood: The Last Vampire”), character designs by Takaaki Chiba (“Sengoku Basara”, “Attack on Titan”) and art direction by Yusuke Takeda (“Armitage III”, “009-1”, “Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex” and “Eden of the East”).

The film is set in an alternative future of 18th Century England during a time where English scientist Victor Frankenstein has created “The One” (Frankenstein) which revolves reanimating a corpse with a soul in order to think, feel and speak.

But after his creation was destroyed, another method to replace a missing soul was developed and is known as “Necroware”, which can be programmed and upgraded but unlike “The One”, it has no ability to think, feel or speak.  It follows commands.

The world has brought many corpses alive in order to use them as servants which has boosted the economy as they can be used as workers but also by the military, who can use corpse technology for military use.

The film introduces us to John H. Watson, a corpse engineer who has illegally created his own Necroware and has resurrected his deceased friend, who he names it Friday.

Watson is visited by two mysterious individuals and one of them, M, is a member of the British Secret Service and has information that Watson was experimenting with illegal Necroware.  So, he tells John that he can either go to prison or become an agent of the British Empire.  John Watson decides to join the British Empire.

Their first mission is to go to India and follow U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant but they are immediately attacked by corpse assassins who have a grenade embedded inside them and when they pull a pin from their neck, they can explode.

Fortunately for both Watson and Friday, they are rescued by Captain Frederick Burnaby and Watson receives his mission from M that he must find Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov, a Russian corpse engineer who stole “The Memorandum”, the research material belonging to Victor Frankenstein on how to reanimate a corpse with a soul.

But as the three who are joined by Ulysses S. Grant’s secretary Hadaly Lilith and their guide Nikolai Krasotkin, are chased and are targeted by corpse assassins, these assassins have the ability to move differently than a regular corpse.  They are quick and also surprise Watson by showing the ability to possibly talk.

But what happens when they come across Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov and learn more about “The Memorandum” and why is John Watson so interested in it?


“The Empire of Corpses” is presented in 1080p High Definiton (16:9 anamorphic widescreen). The animation features wonderful character design and gorgeous art backgrounds.

I was struck by how detailed the background art was. How beautiful these painted backgrounds looked and how it complimented the characters.   Overall, picture quality was fantastic!


“The Empire of Corpses” is presented in English and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1. As for the lossless audio, both Japanese and English soundtrack feature crystal clear dialogue and music. Action sequences (such as the fights with the zombie corpses, explosions galore, people screaming and the sounds of the live corpses) utilized the surround channels very well and the voice acting for both soundtracks are fantastic.


“The Empire of Corpses” contains the following special features:

  • Funimation Short Empire of Corpses – (7:38) Featuring director/writer J. Michael Tatum (voice of Alexei Karamazov) and Mike McFarland (voice of Frederick Burnaby), Morgan Garrett (voice of Hadaly Lilith) and Jason Liebrecht (voice of Dr. John Watson) discussing working on “The Empire of Corpses”.
  • Promo Videos – Featuring two Japanese promo videos
  • Original Trailer – The original theatrical trailer


“The Empire of Corpses” comes with a slipcover and both the Blu-ray + DVD discs of the film. The Blu-ray also comes with an UltraViolet code for those wanting to watch the film on their PC/Mac, tablet or cell phone via Digital HD.

What happens when you take an alternative version of England, throw in zombie corpses that are revived and used by society to better the economy.  No more having to worry about how long one can work, these corpses can work 24/7 and follow their master’s request.

These corpses have feel no pain, can’t speak nor do they have a soul to share any emotion towards anyone.

But one corpse was given a soul and that was the creation made by Victor Frankenstein but that creation ended up being destroyed.  So, now we have John Watson trying to follow the footsteps of Frankenstein by digging up and turning his best friend into a living corpse and naming him Friday.

Unfortunately for Watson, he is caught and is given a choice…work for the British government or go to prison.  And of course, Watson chooses to become an agent for the government and try to find a Russian scientist who has obtained documents of the work of Victor Frankenstein.

But what Watson, Friday and the others are not aware of, someone has created a new type of corpse. Faster, humanlike movement and they appear to be wanting to speak.

And as Watson and others try to look for these documents known as “The Memorandum”, their research starts to uncover who is the real culprit pulling the strings of these frightening occurrences.

“The Empire of Corpses” is a complex animated film with so many twists and turns that one probably will find themselves watching multiple times, to see if they have missed anything important.

The film manages to capture the essence of zombies, combined with Frankenstein, showcasing an alternate universe of a world dependent on corpses and what happens when these controlled corpses are being utilized as weapons and possibly used for nefarious situations.

The Blu-ray release features wonderful picture quality as character designs are well-done, the art backgrounds are highly detailed and done magnificently well.  As for special features, you do get a short featurette, promotional videos and a trailer.  And you also get a digital HD code.

Overall, “The Empire of Corpses” is an an animated film that is complex, smartly written, featuring wonderful animation and art backgrounds but while entertaining, the film may prove to be too complex for some viewers and thus may require multiple viewings in order to grasp the storyline.

But if you are looking for a beautiful and smartly written animated film, “The Empire of Corpses” is recommended!