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By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 12 Nov, 2013 At 09:53 PM | Categorized As Animation, Featured, News, Otaku Events | With 0 Comments
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For the 25th anniversary of Akira, Funimation has really gone out of their way to promote this classic to a new audience and their latest promotional effort is hosting free screenings of Akira across America to the delight of many. The hostees in question are Alamo Drafthouse, a chain of excellent movie theaters. If you fear seats might run out, you can reserve one by buying a $5 voucher which can be used for concession. Out of courtesy attendees are asked to buy concession items to help the theater make up for the cost of screening the movie for free. The theaters will also give attendees a discount code to take 40% off the price of buying the 25th anniversary edition of the movie in Funimation’s online store. The following states will have one or more screenings.

  • Texas
  • Missouri
  • Colorado
  • Virginia
  • Michigan
  • New York

You can get more information by going to Funimation’s announcement page. To those in participating states I really hope you get to experience this movie on the big screen like it should be experienced.

By Charles On 24 Feb, 2012 At 09:08 PM | Categorized As Animation, Editorials, Featured, Movie News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarJust when you think the saga has ended, something new comes around to re-ignite the debate surrounding a US version of the classic anime. But this time, it’s something new: not another studio signing on to remake the film using western actors and a western setting. No Keanu Reeves as Tetsuo, or the sudden announcement that Chris Columbus is at the helm.

 

No, this time I’m here to announce that American Akira has already been made. And released. Really? Yep. It’s called “Chronicle,” and it’s been out for a few weeks now.

Don’t believe me? Just type “chronicle akira” into Google and see what pops up. Go ahead, I’m not going anywhere.

See all those links? Interviews and message board discussions? People have already taken notice of this. And the one thing they haven’t really been doing? Bashing it. Seriously, this movie is getting good reviews from all sides. Which is the main reason I went to see it this past week. I was going to skip it, because I was expecting a crappy cam-flick that mixed Cloverfield with Paranormal Activity, but I was sorely mistaken. Chronicle might be one of the tightest, most compelling “documentary” film’s I’ve seen recently.

Which brings me back to the Akira comparison. There are a few elements to two films share in common, aside from the telekinesis and city-devastating battles. Some of them rather obvious, some of them rather subtle. But believe me, they are there. Allow me the chance to recount a few of the more striking ones.

  • Andrew is Tetsuo. Yeah, pretty obvious when you look at the two of them. Both are loners. Both are angry. Both inherit a striking amount of power, and feel no guilt in using it. Both succumb to their power by film’s end, and need to be put down in order to stop widespread destruction. The difference? One is an orphan trying to fill the hole in his life with something tangible and emotionally supportive. The other is an abused teenager, seeking to become the apex predator and finally put an end to his torment.
  • Matt is Kaneda. Also obvious. Kaneda was respected, confident and protective of Tetsuo. He often supplied the voice of “reason,” or at least rationality, when the other “went off the deep end,” and started expressing his rage. And in the end, he had to save Tetsuo from himself. Matt is the confident cousin, the one family member Andrew can rely on. He tries to bring Andrew out of his shell numerous times, and help him make friends. And he is the one who insists they establish rules on using their powers, lest they overreach and kill someone. The difference? Kaneda was a normal kid with a beam weapon. Matt has the same power as Andrew.
  • Akira takes place in a dystopian world fraught with stratification, class warfare, decadence and greed. It served as a critique of the economic and political situation in Japan in the late 1980s. Chronicle is set in 21st century America, and released during one of the most polarizing Presidential campaigns in history. Both film work because they reference and exist within the time frame in which they were released. The difference? Neo Tokyo, a manifestation of Japan’s fear of nuclear holocaust and the destruction of Tokyo, rose from the ashes of that same destroyed Tokyo, and represents a world post-nuclear conflict. Chronicle lives in an ongoing global recession.
  • Akira is, at its core, the story of the least among us becoming the first. Tetsuo awakens his power, uses it with reckless abandon, rebels against the military and the government, and tries to re-start the universe to fit the emptiness he feels inside (if that’s what you got out of the final scene). Andrew wants revenge against the people who abused him, and takes great joy in being the “apex predator” in his small world. At the same time, he confronts the loss of his mother, and the anger he feels at his father, first by filming his world, then by lashing out against it. The similarity: both eventually devastate a city, and gather national attention from their outburst.

The main thing to remember here is that Chronicle is not a copy of Akira. Nor is it really an homage either. The borrowed elements within the film are more “flavor” than “story,” and are themselves part of the storytelling method. The situations are different, as are the resolutions. Hell, even the characters are different. The only real thing they share is the theme: a lonely boy becomes powerful, and then uses that power.

It would be more appropriate, then, to refer to Chronicle as a “spiritual successor” to Akira. It does everything the previous film did, and does it well. It doesn’t cheapen the story, or dilute it in some way. Chronicle is tense, well plotted, extremely believable and authentic by the end. And enjoyable, can’t forget that. It’s very enjoyable.

 

By SarahTheRebel On 14 Jul, 2011 At 03:28 AM | Categorized As Featured, International News, Movie News, News | With 2 Comments

No GravatarIt’s time to celebrate Otakus! The seemingly ill-advised venture to create a live-action version of Akira featuring a mostly non-Asian cast has been shelved.

Although an Akira live-action remake could have the potential to be great, fans were most outraged with the revisions to the original story that the new live-action version was rumored to feature.

Issues with the remake

Non-Asian Cast

As you can read for yourself in the timeline of events below, all of the rumored cast members, with the exception of Morgan Freeman, were caucasian. For a film as unambiguously Japanese as Akira, this was quite a surprise. Out of all the amazing Asian actors we have on the scene, the old white guys were best suited to play Japanese boys? This was almost a slap in the face of the Asian community.

To be honest, they might have been better off making this a completely different movie and simply admitting that the movie had a similar plot to Akira!

This is how that made me feel…

Setting

So how do we explain all these white guys in Neo Japan? We don’t. The setting was moved to modern-day New York City.

Umm…. ok then… so … doesn’t this completely change the plot? This anime dealt with the feelings of isolation, confusion and anger that Japanese teenagers experienced at that time. How is this even remotely the same movie if it doesn’t take place in Japan? Why would the characters be named Tetsuo, Kaneda and Akira?!

They should have changed the movie name to “Alex” and moved along.

Mr. Sulu saves the day

Perhaps the most amazing part of this story is that the film appears to have been shelved due to the fan outcry. Often Hollywood is perceived as ignoring the purists and aiming at new fans when they make a cartoon or book into a live-action movie (this happens less in cartoon adaptions I’ve noticed).

Instead, it appears that the voice of the fans had an effect on the decision to abandon the movie. George Takei, known for his role as Mr. Sulu in the first Star Trek series, created a petition in outcry of the lack of Asian cast members and the removal of the setting from Neo Japan in the proposed remake. Bravo Mr. Takei!

IMO

If you’ve read my previous post about Akira, you will know that I am a huge fan of the movie.I understand that some changes need to be made when going from manga or anime to live-action, but changing the setting and race of the characters in this classic, milestone of a movie is obscene.

I can’t even imagine the flavor, edge of desperation, context or culture of the original making its way into this remake in any form, shape or fashion. The fact that the director would even consider it is a wake up call to the fact that although Hollywood has come a long way (they no longer cast white men as Native Americans for example) they still struggle with their inherent racism that probably stems from the fear of alienating the main, white audience.

This is a foolish fear, as we all know, but it seems to persist nevertheless!

What do you think?

You’ve heard my opinion: now I want to hear yours! Are you relieved or disappointed by this news? What do you think will happen from here? Do you think the movie will really never see the light of day?

Dilemma resolved… without even needing the gun!

Timeline of events

Here is a summary of the events leading up to the cancelation.

  • In 1988, Akira, the anime version of the manga by Katsuhiro Otomo was released.
  • Around the early 2000s, talk surfaced of Warner Brothers acquiring the rights to a live-action remake of the film.
  • Stephen Norrington and Jon Peters were linked to the film.
  • In 2008, Anime News Network reported that Ruairi Robinson would direct, Gary Whitta would write and Andrew Lazat, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson would produce the film.
  • In 2009, Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon Levitt were rumored to be stars in the film
  • Late 2009, Gary Whitta said he was no longer attached to the film and Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby were rumored to be taking over script writing.
  • In February 2010, Deadline reported that Warner Brothers was in talks with Allen and Albert Hughes to direct the film.
  • In November 2010, it was reported that Zac Effron was in talks for the leading role and that Morgan Freeman would be Colonel Shikishima.
  • On June 17, 2010, Lazar said a new writer had been hired, the movie would be fast-tracked, Albert Hughes would be the only director and that the first movie would be based on volumes 1-3 and the second on 4-6.
  • In February 2011, it was reported that James Franco was in talks for the role of Kaneda.  That same month, Vulture reported that Mila Kunis was offered the role of Kei, but turned it down.
  • In March 2011, Deadline reported that Garrett Hedlund, Michael Fassbender, Justin Timberlake, Joaquin Phoeniz and Chris Pine were in the running to play Kaneda, while Andrew Garfield and James McAvoy were rumored to be in talks to play Tetsuo.
  • In April 2011, a petition against casting a live-action Akira film with non-Asian actors was set up on Facebook and George Takei spoke with The Advocate about the rumors.
  • On May 6, 2011, Keanu Reeves was offered the role of Kaneda, but 11 days later he was reported to have turned it down.
  • On May 26, 2011, it was reported that Albert Hughes had left the project due to creative differences.

 

After much going back and forth with the project, the plug was finally pulled on AKIRA a few days ago. Many hardcore anime rejoiced at the fact their beloved anime epic would’nt be ruined by Caucasian castings or redesigns of the plot. However…..

 

It was recently reported by Variety Magazine that the AKIRA project recently found a new director for the film in the form of Jaume Collet-Serra. In the past, he directed such films as “House of Wax” and “Orphan”. The saga of this anime turning live action movie continue….

 

Check out the Variety post below.

 

—– http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118039904?refCatId=13

 

 

 

 

By otakuman5000 On 27 May, 2011 At 05:09 AM | Categorized As Animation, Editorials, Featured | With 2 Comments

No GravatarSo you’ve heard of Vegeta, Naruto and Sailor Moon, but what about Tetsuo, and Melfina? You’ve watched Gundam Wing, Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo… what’s next?

Here is a list of the top 5 must see anime for those just discovering this amazing genre. Some are series, some are movies, and all are awesome.

5. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

Mecha. Since The Power Rangers, you have understood that these are the defenders of the world. Large, imposing and dignified, these machines are for SERIOUS shows involving saving humanity from death (as many times as necessary).

And then you watch Tengen Toppa.

Tengen Toppa is on the list to demonstrate anime that successfully parodies a genre. Instead of stoic and grim warriors, these mecha are controlled by a little kid and a man who makes overconfidence look like a mental disease. The mecha themselves are silly looking, one with a cool pair of shades and another sitting lopsidedly on top with a comically straight face and an exposed brain. This series deftly blends comedy, tragedy, mystery and battles on an amazing scale to create an anime so impressive that we all learned that long-tail name!

The animation is gorgeous. The colors are vibrant and full and one has only to see Yoko slide back with her giant gun in the sand to see the perfection (fangirl moment). The music is hyper and exciting, as fits the tone of the series. The key words here are outrageous and energetic.

Follow Simon and his brother Kamina on their quest to discover what is on the surface of their world. Tengen Toppa is available on Amazon for $30.99 and can be found online as well.

Oh, and I can’t leave without making you watch this. It will be funny to you after you watch the series: Who Are You Anyway?

4. Ninja Scroll

This movie, ladies and gentlemen, is a classic.

Jubei, the main protagonist, is an homage to the Japanese folklore hero of the same name. Like his namesake, Jubei is a wanderer, and he wanders into quite a mess when he assists Kagero, the beautiful ninja-in-distress, from a demon member of the group Devils of Kimon. Vengeance, betrayal,  plot twists, sex, gore and violence follow in a gorgeous symphony of anime-goodness.

Beautiful lines, colors and style along with the classic unwilling hero and a mystical conspiracy combine to create an intense experience. You may find yourself a little nostalgic for more old-school anime after watching this one, because it really takes from the best in historical anime.

Here is some lovely imagery to be burned into your mind for the next few days: Like Gatorade, But Saltier

Besides the movie, there is also a series. It is pretty cheap if you want to check it out (only 59 cents on Amazon). The series is not as beautiful as the movie, but it is definitely not bad.

The movie is available on Amazon for 70 cents. You have no excuse not to go buy that!

3. Outlaw Star

Often referred to as a space opera, Outlaw Star is a must see for anime lovers. Filled with pirates, outlaws, bio androids and sentient cacti, Outlaw Star has something for everyone.

Gene Starwind and his partner Jim Hawking are two young men (one kind of more on the young side than the man side) who are struggling to make a buck. All that changes when they are hired by a beautiful woman, who is not quite what she seems.

What follows is an adventure that will stay with you forever, especially given the show’s short run and the lack of a true sequel. Some of the scenes are haunting, though at other times the character animation did not quite keep up with the outer space animation. The intro and outro music will also stick with you, and you will download the songs. Trust me, everyone does.

Here is a compilation video with some scenes from the show that I think captures some of the tones of the series. The music is NOTHING like what is on the show, so ignore that part: Outlaw Star AMV.

Amazon is selling the full series for $28.99, but you may want to keep an eye on the price because I have seen it lower before (I got mine for around $20).

2. Neon Genesis Evangelion

A series that will make you think. Imagine being clinically depressed. Now imagine creating an anime that embodies how you were feeling. That series is Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Full of bloody and heartbreaking scenes that will make you think, Evangelion has been provoking thought and discussion among anime lovers from the start. With a score that suites the pessimistic mood and the vibrant colors of the machines and blood in comparison to the people and setting, Evangelion pulls you into an unfair world. The symbolism used also hints at a deeper, Kabalic meaning, although this has been denied by the creators.

This video clip gives you an idea of the imagery in Evangelion: This is Your Brain on Evangelion

I think I can best sum up Evangelion with a quote from the director: “It’s strange that ‘Evangelion’ has become such a hit – all the characters are so sick!” -Hideaki Anno

Also, be warned: this series is fairly complicated, which is made worse by the fact that the manga, movie, and series are not all identical. This site is a good resource if you get confused.

Neon Genesis Evangelion is available on Amazon in all its different forms so be sure to figure out where you want to start. I recommend watching the movies before the series, because otherwise you may feel some disappointment in the movies for leaving things out. This way, you will watch an amazing movie that will make you want to learn more, and then you will go and find out more by watching the series.

1. Akira

Akira is like the rite of baptism into anime fandom. You cannot truly claim to be an aficionado until you can have a conversation about the anime that started it all. With vibrant colors, a post-apocalyptic feel, motorcycles and hormones, this film embodies the angst of being a teenager.

Set in Neo-Tokyo (Tokyo, rebuilt after WW3, which occurred in ’88), the film follows Kaneda and Tetsuo, two friends who end up on opposite sides of a strange conflict involving ESP, the military, politics, and terrorist groups.

This is the scene that made me sit up in my theater seat and notice that this was the grandaddy of all I had known: Akira: The Clown Fight

Be warned: this film is full of violence, drugs and just plain nasty scenes that will shock your mind. This is a movie that will make you think and is definitely one that you have to re-watch more than once to appreciate the full awesome-pacity of (that is a made up word in case you’re googling).

There are scenes that will stay with you forever. But I’ll let you find out which ones 😉

The movie is available on Amazon for different prices depending on what version you get. The blu-ray is more expensive of course.

Akira is also a manga, so give that a look as well to be considered a true connoisseur.

Go Forth and Watch Anime!

These are just the tip of the iceberg as far as great anime to check out! I found a list of 30 that I really agree with and recommend if you want to expand your anime horizons!

By otakuman5000 On 25 Feb, 2011 At 04:45 PM | Categorized As Featured, Games You Slept On, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 2 Comments

No GravatarVirtua Fighter has been a classic fighting game franchise that has been played in arcades for many years, and is still present in the few remaining arcades around today. Many fighting game enthusiasts will tell you that Virtua Fighter is probably the most technically complex fighting game on the market, mainly because of it’s steep learning curve and unforgiving timing for button inputs. Viruta Fighter is a fighting game that is played in many tournaments both in the United States and heavily in Japan. Does the latest installment really bring it for the franchise?

The gangs all here and ready for a good brawl

From the get-go, Virtua Fighter 5 Online gives you everything that was in the original PlayStation 3 version. This includes the two new characters added to the already iconic roster of fighters, the real martial arts based actions, the newest changes to mechanics of character’s move sets, new arenas to fight in (with beautifully made backgrounds), a quest mode that allows players to collect items and customize the look of their favorite fighters, the traditional ranking system the series has had for the past few iterations, and a save replay option for recording memorable fights. While all of this is great, the biggest addition, and probably the most important to this version of the game, is the inclusion of Online Play over Xbox Live. Unlike in the PlayStation 3 version, players now have the ability to play against others over Xbox Live in both Ranked and Player matches.

Drop Kicked in the face

Now that the good is out of the way, now let’s take a look at the bad. Virtua Fighter is a series for people that really want a complexity to their fighting games, where just simply doing a command input is not enough for winning matches. The learning curve can really turn a lot of people away, but should not be a problem for those who are up for a challenge to mastering a game such as this. But the real problem with Virtua Fighter 5 Online is the same thing it was made for, the online play. It is terrible. Now while one would believe that a game that has “online” in the name would have great net-code, this game seems to fall short. While playing a bunch of matches on both Ranked and Player matches, the matches were extremely laggy, and in some cases completely unplayable. There were times where the frame rate of matches would slow down to a crawl, and there would be a huge delay in button inputs. While this could be possibly due to poor match-making for people of specific areas, problems such as these should have been addressed way before the game’s initial release, especially if the main marketing ploy was the fact that this game can be played over Xbox Live.

Poor Online is a real killer for such a gorgous game

Virtua Fighter 5 Online is a game that got many things right for people that are fans of the series. And it is important to note that it is a great port over from its predecessor on the PlayStation 3 offline. However the online play that was given a lot of publicity is not up to bar with any of the other fighting game franchises that are on the market. Good online play is a necessity for multiplayer games this generation, and it is a big disappointment that Virtua Fighter 5 Online can not deliver up to today’s standards. If you are a person who has played previous Virtua Fighter games, and are not concerned about the online play, then you will enjoy this version of the game. However, don’t expect to have too much fun online, you really won’t enjoy it.

For Shame!!!