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Hunter x Hunter vol. 2 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Hunter x Hunter” is an improvement over the first series and is respectful to the original manga series by Yoshihiro Togashi but also features a more action-driven storyline with much more violence.  So, it’s not as child-friendly as the first series from 1999-2001 but this newer “Hunter x Hunter” is a series that I found entertaining and full of action!  Recommended!” a try!

Image courtesy of © POT (Yoshihiro Togashi, 1998-2011). All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Hunter x Hunter vol. 2

DURATION: Episodes 14-26 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese 2.0 LPCM, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: February 28, 2017


Originally created by Yoshihiro Togashi

Director: Hiroshi Koujina

Series Composition: Atsushi Maekawa, Tsutomu Kamishiro

Character Design by Takahiro Yoshimatsu

Art Director: Mio Isshiki

Executive Producer: Seiji Okuda

Producer: Akira Shinohara, Manabu Tamura, Naoki Iwasa, Tetsuto Motoyasu, Tomoko Yoshino, Toshio Nakatani

Anime Production: Madhouse


Featuring the following voice talent:

Megumi Han/Erica Mendez as Gon Freecss

Keiji Fujiwara/Matthew Mercer as LeoRio

Kanako Mitsuhashi/Cristina Vee as Killua Zaoldyeck

Miyuki Sawashiro/Erika Harlacher as Kurapica

Akio Ohtsuka/Patrick Seitz as Mizaistom Nana/Uvogin

Aya Endo as Komugi

Ayumi Fujimura as Neferpito

Chisa Yokoyama as Biscuit Krueger

Cho as Bonolenov

Daisuke Kishio/Ray Chase as Hanzo

Daisuke Namikawa/Keith Silverstein as Hisoka


In the Fourth Phase of the Hunter Exam the participants must steal ID badges from each other—and anyone without enough badges at the end of one week fails! It will take trickery, unexpected alliances, and careful negotiations for Gon and his friends to succeed. In the Final Phase, the remaining Hunter candidates are matched up for one-on-one battles—but the only way to win this fight is to lose! After the exam, Gon discovers that Killua has gone back home, so he and his friends head to the Republic of Padokea to find him.


The “Hunter x Hunter” series is one of the most popular and long-running manga series in Japan.  Written and designed by Yoshihiro Togashi (creator of “Yu Yu Hakusho’), the manga series began in 1998 and is still ongoing to this day with 33 volumes published.

As for the animated series, the first series premiered in 1999 through 2001 and lasted 62 episodes.  A 30 OVA episodes then was released from 2002-2004.  And then nearly a decade later, a 148-episode TV series which was shown on NTV which ran from 2011-2014.

And now, the recent “Hunter x Hunter” TV series will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Viz Media.

This new series is a reboot of the anime series and is based on Yoshihiro Togashi’s “Hunter x Hunter” manga and this time is produced by Madhouse and is directed by Hiroshi Kojina.  The new series also features an all new voice talent (both for the Japanese and English dub).

The new series revolves around Gon Freecss, who finds out that his father who was thought to be dead, is very much alive.  Having been brought up by his aunt Mito,  Gon finds out that his father is Ging, the legendary “Hunter” and now Gon, wants to follow his father’s footsteps by passing the “Hunter Examination” and one day, to be reunited with his father.

On his path to become a hunter, he meets Kurapika (who wants to become a hunter to hunt down the Phantom Troupe, who massacred his clan) and Leorio (who wants to be a hunter for the money).

In the first volume, the three arrived at Zaban City and take part in the first three phases of the Hunter exam venue.

In the second volume (episodes 14-26), the applicants arrive at Zevil Island for the fourth phase of the exam.  Each person draws a number to find out who their target is and the goal is to steal their opponents ID tag.  Each applicant must collect six points in order to pass the fourth phase.

Gon finds out that his opponent is the murderous Hisoka and thrives on near death experiences.  Leorio finds out his target is Ponzu (who specializes in traps and poison) and Kurapika’s target is Tonpa.

As the two form an alliance, they are now stalked by Hisoka.

The second volume also features the final phase of the Hunter Exam, where winners lose and the losers advance. Will Gon, Kurapika or Leorio pass the Hunter exam?

And also is included are the beginning episodes of the Zoldyck Family Arc (starting with episode 22) and Gon and friends go to Kukuroo Mountain to visit Killua.  Meanwhile, we learn about Killua’s family and childhood.


VIDEO:

“Hunter x Hunter” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the animation from Madhouse is no doubt respectful to Yoshihiro Togashi’s manga series.

As expected with a TV series, there is a slight hint of softness but for the most part, colors are vibrant and overall animation and fighting animation is done well.  I didn’t notice any major issues with artifacts or banding.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Hunter x Hunter” is presented in LPCM Japanese and English 2.0.  Both soundtracks are done quite well and dialogue and music are both crystal clear through the front channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Hunter x Hunter” vol. 2 features the clean opening and ending songs, trailers and ending credits.

EXTRAS:

“Hunter x Hunter” vol. 2 comes with three post cards.


“Hunter x Hunter” is an adventure, action-packed anime series that will attract anime fans who are willing to invest their time in another popular anime series that has lasted for over a hundred episodes.

Similar to “Naruto”, “Bleach” and “Dragon Ball Z”, “Hunter x Hunter” has been a popular manga and anime series in Japan and with the original series feeling that it was aiming for a younger demographic, this recent series has a more darker feel as the violence is more evident and people do die.

Having watched the original series, this latest version is quick to bring Gon and his friends to take the Hunter exam, while the original put a lot of character development into Gon and how Gon is different from other hunters since he was raised by a loving relative and lived in a village where there has not been much strife or conflict, so he is a bit naive about the world around him.  In fact, his motivation in becoming a hunter is so opposite of what other hunters are wanting it for.  But Gon’s pure and positive attitude seems to have an effect on the people that he meets.  In some ways, the original series reminded me of the character Naruto in that aspect.

But Gon is still an entertaining character to watch.   Gon has the ability to communicate with animals like his father and carries a fishing pole that acts like a weapon and helps him swing to different areas.  He is also learning more and more about his abilities as he continues on in his hunter training with his friends.

Kurapika is intelligent, a balanced fighter and also is a conjurer and specialist with the ability to materialize objects with his imagination.  He is a character that is on a mission to become a hunter to hunt down the Phantom Troupe, who massacred his clan.

Leorio is a man with a hot temper but has a good heart.  He seems to want to be a hunter because of money and he is a great fighter.

The second volume shows how this friendship grows among the three but also introduces Killua Zoldyck.

But the big focus with this second volume is more focus on Hisoka, the 44th applicant who has a lust for blood and kills his opponents and it led to his failure in last year’s Hunter exam.

As for the anime series, the Blu-ray release features a solid lossless stereo soundtrack and both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-acted.  Animation is also very well-done by Madhouse and while there is a hint of softness, the anime series is quite colorful and looks great in HD.

While special features are the usual clean opening and ending theme, trailers and credits, “Hunter x Hunter” vol. 2 comes with three collectible postcards.

Overall, “Hunter x Hunter” is an improvement over the first series and is respectful to the original manga series by Yoshihiro Togashi but also features a more action-driven storyline with much more violence.  So, it’s not as child-friendly as the first series from 1999-2001 but this newer “Hunter x Hunter” is a series that I found entertaining and full of action!  Recommended!

GLOBAL YAOI MANGA PUBLISHER SuBLime KICKS OFF 2012 WITH TANTALIZING DIGITAL OFFERINGS

February 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Bold New Publisher Releases Acclaimed Boys’ Love Manga
LOVE PISTOLS, OKU-SAN’S DAILY FANTASIES,
THE BED OF MY DEAR KING, And HUSBAND, HONEYMOON

San Francisco, CA, February 1, 2012 – SuBLime, the global yaoi manga (graphic novel) publishing initiative between VIZ Media and Japan’s Animate, Ltd. (Animate) and Libre Publishing Co., Ltd. (Libre Publishing), opens 2012 with a variety of notable new releases. Today, the company launches LOVE PISTOLS Vol. 1 by Tarako Kotobuki, HUSBAND, HONEYMOON Vol. 1 by Haruka Minami, OKU-SAN’S DAILY FANTASIES by Noboru Takatsuki, and THE BED OF MY DEAR KING by Sakae Kusama.

The new titles are rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers and carry an MSRP of USD $5.99 each. The $5.99 purchase price offers fans digital access to two versions of each manga volume on www.SuBLimeManga.com – a downloadable PDF that is viewable on any enabled eReader device and computer, and via the online manga viewer found on the web site.

“Yaoi fans will not to want to miss this collection of exciting releases available now from SuBLime,” says Jennifer LeBlanc, Editor, SuBLime. “Haruka Minami and Tarako Kotobuki are two of the most acclaimed creators within the genre. We invite fans to visit the SuBLime web site to take advantage of the speed and ease of digital download, and to further explore these titles.”

LOVE PISTOLS by Tarako Kotobuki · Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers ·
MSRP: $5.99 USD · Available Now!
Norio Tsuburaya is just your average, regular high school student—until the day when he drives his scooter into a garden wall and wakes up with the ability to see zoomans! His eyes aren’t the only things affected—his pheromones are working overtime, and all the hot beast breeds at school are looking to mate… with HIM! Just when he thinks things can’t get any worse, his heavyweight schoolmate, Kunimasa, “marks” Norio as his! What’s an in-demand premium to do? Series is known as SEX PISTOLS in Japan.

HUSBAND, HONEYMOON by Haruka Minami · Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers · MSRP: $5.99 USD · Available Now!
Sakuya and Shuji are a couple of love-struck newlyweds. Shuji is a hard-nosed section chief who, unbeknownst to his employees, sneaks away on his coffee breaks to gaze lovingly at pictures of his sweet Sakuya. Sakuya, on the other hand, struggles with the simplest of household chores, desperate to please his loving, hardworking husband. With the sudden intrusion of a handsome next-door neighbor, Sakuya’s days are about to be just as stimulating as his sexy nights with Shuji!

OKU-SAN’S DAILY FANTASIES by Noboru Takatsuki · Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers · MSRP: $5.99 USD· Available Now!
Oku-san is a normal office worker who has one joy in life, to fantasize about his local deliveryman, Sudo-kun. To feed his fantasies and his desire to see Sudo-kun, Oku-san habitually shops online filling his room with useless and sometimes very erotic things. It’s all pretty harmless until one day his neighbor Yokoshima finds out about his secret hobby. Caught between two hot guys—at least in his mind—will Oku-san be able to fantasize his way out of this one?

THE BED OF MY DEAR KING by Sakae Kusama · Rated ‘M’ for Mature Readers · MSRP: $5.99 USD · Available Now!
A suite of emotionally resonant, romantic stories told by a critically acclaimed manga creator. In “The Bed of My Dear King,” an electrician called to a remote job deep in the mountains discovers the startling reasons behind the behavior of the house’s lone occupant, an eccentric young sculptor. In “Cherry,” an overachieving high school student forms an unexpected bond with a laid-back classmate. And in “Flowers,” the secrets surrounding a tragic death lead to an unexpected, and poignant, resolution.

For up-to-date news and release information, please visit the SuBLime website at www.SuBLimeManga.com, or follow SuBLime on Twitter at @SuBLimeManga and Facebook at facebook.com/SuBLimeManga.

About SuBLime
SuBLime is a global yaoi/boys’ love manga publisher, and is a partnership between VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America, and Japan’s Animate, Ltd. (Animate). This bold, global publishing initiative will present English-speaking fans everywhere with a broad selection of high quality titles. SuBLime will offer titles digitally worldwide available at www.SuBLimeManga.com, with many available in Download-to-Own format, and selections in print also available in English-language editions worldwide.

THE AKIBA: A Manga Guide to Akihabara by Makoto Nakajima (a J!-ENT Book Review)

October 19, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Photos from “The Akiba @2008 Japan Publications Trading Co., Ltd.”

“WOW!  I am absolutely impressed by this guide of Akihabara!  Not only does it provide you with pictures and information of popular maid cafes, video game stores, cosplay, electronics, figurines, retail stores, dojin-shi, restaurants and more… there is actually a fun, enjoyable manga storyline that provides information about Akihabara that I can simply proclaim this book as one, if not, the best printed reference in English for those who are interested in visiting or knowing about the Akiba!  Highly recommended!”

BUY THIS BOOK

BOOK: THE AKIBA: A Manga Guide to Akihabara

AUTHORS: Story and Art by Makoto Nakajima

COMPANY: Japan Publications Trading Co., Ltd.

PAGE COUNT: 98 pages

There are plenty of books in English for those interested in traveling to Japan but for people who are interested in visiting the city of Akihabara (the electric city in Tokyo known for its otaku-driven stores from maid cafes, anime figurines, dojinshi, cosplay, video games, etc.), finding a resource in English with detailed information is not that easy.

Also, for many travel books, there is always your standard mention of the city but what about a book on Akihabara written by otaku for otaku’s?

Well, “THE AKIBA: A Manga Guide to Akihabara” is not only an excellent resource, it’s one of the most enjoyable books from Japan distributed in the US courtesy of Kodansha America, that I really just am impressed by it’s information but also how it’s written in a way to not only keep the reader interested, intrigued but definitely a book that can encourage travel to the city.  It’s that fun!

The book is broken into two parts.  The first part is the manga and the second part is the actual guide to Akihabara.

Photos from “The Akiba @2008 Japan Publications Trading Co., Ltd.”

The manga is a very enjoyable storyline about a couple in Tokyo.  Hiroshi and Yoko.  One day, Hiroshi said that he will be stopping in Akiba (short for Akihabara) after work.  The next morning, Yoko starts to worry because not only has her boyfriend not come back from work, she finds out that he stopped working over a month ago.  This is not like him and she starts to worry.

She notices that he left behind his cell phone and also received a text message from a person named Okada who said that he will meet him at Raji-kan in front of Ayanami.  Who is Okada?  What is Raji-kan?  Why is he going to Akihabara?

This leads the trendy Yoko to the city of Akihabara.  A person who really never looked at the city all that much but has heard about the culture from newspapers and magazines.

This leads Yoko to the Raji-kan (or Radio Hall) building.  The interesting part of this manga is that it also shows actual pictures (in grayscale) of various things from Akihabara.  The magazines that are passed out by women in cosplay to the stores in buildings that Yoko is visiting.  Also, some maps as well of where things are located.

So, while searching for her boyfriend, she runs into Okada-san, a rental display case manager  (for figurines) at a hobby shop but is also a hardcore otaku (and cosplayer) who loves the way of life in Akihabara.

Okada gives her information of why he was to meet Hiroshi but Yoko through running around Akihabara for the day, really doesn’t understand Akihabara all that much and asks Okada for his help.  The two go on a journey to find Hiroshi and Yoko begins to understand that her boyfriend is not what she thought he would be.  That despite his cool look, he is an otaku that frequents Akihabara quite a bit.

Through their adventures, will Yoko accept the otaku lifestyle and the way things are in Akihabara?  Will she find Hiroshi?  Also, does Okada start to have feelings for Yoko (or the sense of having a woman by his side in Akihabara).  You’ll have to read to find out!

The manga was just so fun to read and I just found it so informative of the various shops featured, that I was very happy to see manga used as a educational book (even explaining a little of the history of how Akihabara became the way it is) to an informative reference book with maps and information on shops featured in the actual manga storyline.

Without spoiling the storyline, all I can say is that the adventures of Yoko and Okada in their search for Hiroshi was very enjoyable and I have no doubt in my mind, those who are interested in Akihabara will learn from this manga, and of course, this book in general.

Photos from “The Akiba @2008 Japan Publications Trading Co., Ltd.”

The second part of the book features the “Shop & Restaurant Guide to Akiba” and this section is in full color.  Not only do you get the history of the Akiba but nearly 30-pages of detailed information on maid cafes, large retail stores, restaurants, PC stores, figures, games, dojin-shi, audio equipment, cosplay, arcades and other stores.

With the book arranged by Otaba (Otaba is a social networking service community of the otaku, by the otaku and for the otaku), I would imagine that the shops selected are the best in Akiba and what is recommended.  So, you get a photo, information and also the address, phone number and store or shop hours as well.

The book is about 8.5 x 10, so the book is large and not small.  The manga art was pretty cool and the whole “Genshiken”-like (title of a popular anime series about otaku, some who are cool otaku and a girlfriend who is more trendy but loves her boyfriend even though he is an otaku)  storyline definitely made me interested.

But it’s just the overall concept and how well it was executed in order for a reader not to be just drawn in by the storyline but to see photos and maps incorporated to the manga storyline that made it even better.

And of course, the shop and restaurant guide is just the icing in the cake when it comes to this book.  Very informative and it truly is a well-done reference book for the type of shops and restaurants that would attract otaku.

I’ve owned many Japanese travel books and even have interactive CD’s and audio books that are educational but “THE AKIBA: A Manga Guide to Akihabara” is definitely one of the best out there!  Granted, it focuses primarily on Akihabara but for many otaku, that’s the only city that they probably want to focus on and spend their hard earned money on.

I wouldn’t be surprised if people bought two copies, one to keep at home as a reference and one to keep with themselves while visiting the various shops and restaurants in Akihabara.

All in all, an excellent reference with an enjoyable manga storyline that I highly recommend!

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