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By Garrett Green On 27 Nov, 2012 At 07:03 AM | Categorized As Animation, Featured, Reviews, Television | With 0 Comments

No GravatarAnime on public television has been losing a lot of steam the last few years or so. Cartoon Network only shows anime Saturday night, with half of it being old reruns, and the only other place you’ll find without a special cable or Direct T.V. package is Dragonball Kai on Nicktoons. Say what you will about liking or disliking English dubs, they have gotten a lot better over the years. Viz Media wished to provide a more widely available medium of anime by creating Neon Alley, the PS3 streaming channel of nothing but anime and old Japanese films, all dubbed in English. It’s been out for two months now and if you haven’t already checked it out, I’m sure you are wondering if this service is worth it?

Neon Alley is a streaming service for the Playstation 3. However it acts like a television station with set programming schedules and little commercial breaks plugging arriving anime, games, manga, and more otaku goodness. The service brings back some older shows that disappeared from cable like Naruto, One Piece, InuYasha, and more. The real treat here is that it is bringing in new shows like Blue Exorcist and Tiger and Bunny, along with movies, shorts, and old live action Japanese movies. When shows like Naruto and One Piece were originally on T.V. many long time fans complained about the edits and censorship they had to endure. That worry is gone, on Neon Alley, all there content is uncut both old and new. While I personally enjoy both original Japanese dub and English dub, it may turn some of you off to know the Neon Ally only shows English dubbed content. A pretty bold move considering many anime lovers out there prefer the original Japanese voices. However there is a growing fan base for English dub and I think this service proves that.

The shows available right now are pretty diverse but I would like to see more shows in the future. With only a limited amount of shows, you see a lot of repeats throughout the week. Which can be good when you can’t always catch the show you want but also can be annoying when you have the time to see your shows and you have to rewatch them several times during the week. That is however becoming less of an issue with shows like Naruto and One Piece already having a decent amount of episodes ready to be viewed so you get marathons. I don’t know how I feel about Blue Exorcist dub yet but I am loving the Tiger and Bunny one. Already an interesting and original plot, it revolves heroes who are sponsored by companies to see who the best hero is. I haven’t seen a show like this in a while, both comical and action packed with a lot of heart. It’s worth checking out.

It comes down to the age-old otaku question, sub or dub? Whichever one you prefer just remember fan dubs do not support anime shows. We all love our anime shows and by watching fan dubs the companies and the artist do not get the money they deserve. If you prefer subs, check out the companies who license anime here in America to see if they stream their content. You can also check out Crunchy Role and other sites like that who support their anime shows. That aside, I would definitely recommend Neon Alley. I love to support my shows and Neon Alley is a great way to do so. The dubs on there are good to great and they are working hard to provide good shows and grab more for fans. If you have your reservations about it, they offer a free week trial period. If you have a Playstation 3 and love anime, this is definitely a must. Now if you’ll excuse me, a new episode of Tiger and Bunny is on!

By otakuman5000 On 15 May, 2011 At 07:32 PM | Categorized As Comics/Manga, Featured, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarRin and his twin brother Yukio have been raised since birth by the priest Father Fujimoto. Rin has trouble adjusting to normal society, and can’t understand why – until his innate demon powers are unleashed and he discovers that he is the son of Satan. After an encounter with his long-lost father costs him someone dear, Rin vows to become an exorcist and kill Satan himself.

© VIZ Media 2011, Kazue Kato

Supernatural manga Blue Exorcist

The description alone makes Blue Exoricist (written and drawn by Kazue Kato and released by VIZ Media) sound like a wild ride, but it starts out more muted than you’d think. Rin’s intelligent brother Yukio is lucky to have a free ride at the local high school, True Cross Academy, but since Rin couldn’t make it his initial big issue is in finding a job. The manga begins tumbling down a predictable track as soon as Rin finds out who he is: revelation of secrets, being told he must leave, and the first encounter with the enemy. And there’s the sword which Rin must never draw if he wants to remain human – I wonder what he will immediately do?

Still, the first chapter is exciting, and so it’s actually pretty disappointing to find out that Blue Exorcist is going to be another supernatural high school series. Though wandering adventures are even more overdone, keeping the main character in school just seems like a too-easy way to keep him safe, though it also gives a great place for introducing and fleshing out a full cast of characters.

Blue Exorcist Characters

Expressive characters, Rin and Father Fujimoto

The sudden discovery that his brother Yukio has known everything about him is pretty jolting. His personality takes a change as he talks to Rin snidely and sarcastically, and even intimates that things would be easier if Rin was dead. And even though he ends up acting nobler than that, it’s looking like he’s slid from one stereotype to another: quiet smart guy to cool know-it-all. Mephisto, the head of the school, is dressed up and acts in a flamboyant manner that feels a tad out of place amongst the rest of the cast, though he gets the best reactions out of Rin. The one female character is a bit disappointing in her shyness, and she brings in another predictable element with her immediate attraction to, not the main character, but his cool twin brother. But as she’s only featured in the final chapter, she still has the chance to get stronger.

The art is the best part of Blue Exorcist. Kato will often leave backgrounds empty, but it’s no bother when the focus is on the characters. While not overly detailed with tattoos or accessories, characters are expressive with bold designs, and even background characters have distinct looks. And when the artist does show a landscape her skill, and meticulousness, becomes apparent. Like in the shot of True Cross Town: the highly detailed buildings are piled and melded with each other, yet still look clean and crisp rather than messy.

Kazue Kato's view of True Cross Town

Anyone who’s read shonen manga before will be able to call almost every twist in Blue Exorcist, and as our hero starts school the manga turns out a bit more boring than you’d think a story about killing Satan would be. But as Kato takes the time to flesh out her characters they become a bit more interesting, and we can hope for more action as Rin learns his skills and hopefully goes out on a demon hunt. And the art alone is something worth looking at.

ISBN: 9781421540320 • MSRP: $9.99 • Published by VIZ Media • 200 pages