Funimation takes over anime, aquires THIRTY ADV Titles

I’m guessing this is all part of the fallout between ADV and their licensing partner Sojitz as many of the titles on this list were on the list of suspended shows in February:

  • 009-1
  • Ah! My Goddess: Flights of Fancy
  • Air Gear
  • Air: The Movie
  • Air TV
  • Blade of the Phantom Master
  • Comic Party: Revolution
  • Coyote Ragtime Show
  • Devil May Cry
  • Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor TV
  • Jing, King of Bandits: Seventh Heaven
  • Jinki:Extend
  • Kanon
  • Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora (once titled as Shattered Angels by ADV Films)
  • Le Chevalier D’Eon
  • Magikano
  • Moeyo Ken TV
  • Moonlight Mile
  • Murder Princess
  • Nerima Daikon Brothers
  • Pani Poni Dash!
  • Project Blue Earth SOS
  • Pumpkin Scissors
  • Red Garden
  • Sgt. Keroro 1st & 2nd
  • Tokyo Majin
  • UFO Princess Valkyrie
  • Utawarerumono
  • Venus Versus Virus
  • The Wallflower
  • Welcome to the NHK
  • Xenosaga

All titles were on the list in February except for Shattered Angels, which was licensed after the snafu, Murder Princess, who previously hadn’t had a licensed announced for it, and Sgt. Keroro, possibly because it had no scheduled releases yet.

Shows on the list in February which are not on the list above include 5 Centimeters Per Second, Best Student Council, Ghost Train, Innocent Venus, Kurau: Phantom Memory, and Synethesia, so they are reportedly staying with ADV Films.

The bad thing for ADV in this deal is that it is quite possible that ADV didn’t get a penny from the transfer since the Japanese company they were partnering with held the actual licenses.  This could also be why ADV is in a hurry to license so many new shows, so they have a stream of income to replace these shows, since these constitute the bulk of all the shows that ADV has released over the past couple of years.

Now for the bad news: ADV releases 'Suspended Indefinitely' …again

I hope this thing doesn’t go on 4 or 5 month cycles or whatever. From Robert’s Anime Corner blog:

I just got the word this morning from ADV that the following new releases have been ‘suspended indefinitely’:

Shattered Angels , Vol #2 DVD
Shattered Angels , Vol #2 DVD w Art Box
Kanon, Vol #6 DVD
Tokyo Majin, Vol #4 DVD
Welcome to NHK, Vol #5, 5th Conspiracy DVD

I did not inquire about releases out past 7/8. This is just a quick post, and I’m currently working to get some clarification on what’s going on.

Oh, damn it to hell that Kanon 6 is on the list. And I would agree with Robert on this point:

The ‘deer in the headlights’ deal we went through back in February isn’t going to cut it this time.

Especially since it appears to be yet another licensing problem. Apparently this only applies to new releases (Robert says they’re still getting shipments of the new box set releases, for example), but that is obviously still not good for ADV.

Josh's Anime Blog Podcast Episode 60

Josh’s Anime Blog Podcast Episode 60Josh’s Anime Blog Podcast Episode #60 is now online! In this podcast, I review the the 2006 anime series Kanon.

This week’s Podcast Stats:
Time:
23:28
Download Size: 16.1 MB

Opening theme:
“Kotodama” by ALI PROJECT
Opening theme to Shigofumi

Ending theme:
“Kaze no Tadori Tsuku Basho” by Ayana
Ending theme to Kanon

You can listen to my podcasts in the following ways:

Flash Player: [audio:http://www.joshsanimeblog.com/podcast/JABPEpisode60.mp3%5D

Directly: http://www.joshsanimeblog.com/podcast/JABPEpisode60.mp3

You can also download or add my podcast-only RSS feed to your favorite reader or add my podcast using iTunes.

Enjoy!

Top Anime of 2007

I thought I would wait until 2007 was over before compiling this list. This list was drawn from all anime series that I watched that aired in 2007. This includes series aired entirely within 2007, series which started in 2007 and are carrying over to 2008, and series which started in 2006 and carried over to 2007.

By my count, this totals to 23 anime series for me, and I’ve narrowed it down to a list of 10 (actually, narrowing it down to about 8 was the easy part. Tacking on 2 more shows was the hard part). So, without further ado, here is the Top Anime of 2007 (warning – spoilers may lie ahead):

#10 Genshiken 2

This is a series that I watched most of (I think I got through episode 10 before it got licensed) and was a pretty solid 2nd-tier show I thought. It’s pretty funny from start to finish (heck, even the opening is) and I think would be enjoyable for most people who saw the first series.

#9 Mokke

Another pretty solid 2nd-tier show, Mokke is a pretty, shall we say relaxing, watch. It’s not quite as jello-inducing as sketchbook, but it has much more of a laid back feeling than most shows do. Toss on top of this a nice story about a pair of sisters who have to deal with supernatural spirits and solid storytelling and you’ve got yourself a good show.

#8 Myself; Yourself

The first of two “out of nowhere” series, Myself; Yourself is a series I almost didn’t watch, but ended up doing so since the fine people over at m33w were subbing it. This ended up being a surprisingly good show filled with twists that keept you on your toes. There may be some loose ends in this series, but it is overall pretty good.

#7 Idolmaster Xenoglossia

Idolmaster tops off a rather lackluster Spring season for me, and is the only show from that season that cracked the top 10 (granted, I only watched 4). I’m not one for mecha anime, so to see one which actually held my interest through 26 episodes is a pretty good feat. I think one reason is because this show seemed rather unique, at least to me. Yes, it’s similar to Evangelion in the sense that the machines have some sort of soul, but it’s more softer in Idolmaster than harsh like in Evangelion. Also, I think that the characters, and not the mecha, also helped drive this series forward and up.

#6 Minami-ke

The second “out of nowhere” series, the first top-tier series, and another series which I very nearly didn’t watch, Minami-ke ended up being a good random-hilarity series. There aren’t many series that can utterly lack a plot line and be successful. Azumanga Daioh tried and succeeded. Lucky Star tried and, for the most part, failed. Now, don’t get me wrong, Minami-ke is quite a different animal from Azumanga, but it’s still a good laugh from pretty much start to finish.

#5 Blue Drop

The top 5 in the list get into the heart of the top-tier shows of the year, and Blue Drop was certainly a treat to watch. One of two Greek Tragedies on the top 10 list, Blue Drop was great to watch, seeing how the main characters, Mari and Hagino, expand their relationship (both romantic and otherwise) under the backdrop of an eminent alien invasion. Probably the big thing that separates this from the top 4 is that I think the animation is kind of lacking from Blue Drop, but the storytelling makes up for it.

#4 CLANNAD

The only show on the list which may grace the 2008 list, CLANNAD has thus far been great to watch, as we’ve gotten through the story arc of 1 girl and are well into the story arc of a 2nd girl as we continue to unwind the mystery in this series. Add on top of the great storytelling by Key the fantastic animation of KyoAni, and you have one of the best shows of the year.

#3 ef – a tale of memories

Ef was clearly the prize of the just-concluded Fall season shows as it presented a story which is somewhat unusual for anime based on visual novels: multiple stories involving multiple males. In fact, three separate couples come out of this show, which each girl having her own unique and compelling story. A mysterious and well told (and well animated!) story gives ef the third spot on the list.

#2 Kanon

Like it’s fellow Key-KyoAni show, Kanon is a cross-year show. This one started in 2006 and finished up in 2007. Kanon quite possibly embodies the perfect visual novel-turned-anime show, with nearly perfect animation and a compelling story from start to finish. This would easily be the #1 show of the year, but only if one other show hadn’t aired, and that’s…

#1 School Days

Could any other show finish in the #1 spot but School Days? This show made waves in so many ways. First off, you had the male lead in the running for lamest male lead in an anime ever. Second, it’s rare that you actually get a harem show where the guy actually scores, much less which no fewer than 8 girls. Third, they creators of the show actually went through with the bloody ending, and we didn’t just get one, but two bloody endings, and memorable ones at that (“there’s no one inside” anyone?). Finally, this show will forever be remembered with the Nice Boat incident.

Yes, School Days must be the clear top show of 2007.

Also, did anyone else notice that all the top 4 shows are all visual novel-turned anime series?

Kanon dub – first thoughts

KanonWhile my DVD of Kanon sits at the post office waiting for my return home from Christmas, I peeked at the first episode over at Anime News Network.

Given that I’ve only been watching fansubs for a couple of years (and nothing on any large scale for less than a year), and the first fan subs that I watched which were released in the US were Rumbling Hearts, Kashimashi (which didn’t even come with a dub), and Haruhi Suzumiya (i.e., quite recent releases), most of the series I’ve seen have gone something like *watch in Japanese. watch in English soon after.* The point being that I haven’t grown attached to the Japanese voices for most of series that I’ve seen, and there are some series where I actually prefer the dubs or relate the English dubs to the characters more than the original Japanese voices.

When Rumbling Hearts, aka Kimi ga Nozomu Eien, came out on DVD, it was my first experience watching a dub when the sub had been pounded in my head over and over for the course of a year. I didn’t know whether I would like or dislike the dubs based on being thoroughly used to the Japanese voices.

I think at first, I dub sounded weird because of the fact that I wasn’t used to it. However, now that it’s been released here for a year and I’ve watched it a few times, the dubs seem pretty close to natural. Meanwhile, I was able to grow onto the Haruhi Suzumiya dubs pretty easily.

All that said, I’m kind of feeling the same thing with the Kanon dub as I did with the Rumbling Hearts dub – that is, on th first watching, it seemed like a suit that just didn’t fit. However, like Rumbling Hearts, I think this dub has the potential to grow on me.

First off, the voices seemed to feel less awkward as the episode went on, so that’s a sign that I may be getting used to them already. Second, I don’t necessarily find them to be bad dubs ala Ai Yori Aoshi (which I still think has about the worst dub ever recorded). If I hadn’t have seen the Japanese version of Kanon first, I probably wouldn’t have any issues with the Kanon dub at all.

Perhaps if someone was a “IT MUST SOUND EXACTLY LIKE THE JAPANESE VOICES” person, then they may not find Kanon‘s dub to be all that great. But then again, some of the best dubs out there don’t necessarily sound like their Japanese counterparts, partly because if they did, then they would sound really weird.

Just consider Kanon, for example. I’m hardly an expert of what Japanese voices normally sound like, but many of the Japanese voices, I think especially Nayuki’s and Ayu’s, sound kind of cartoonish, so if you want the American voices to sound similar, they’ll sound cartoonish the same way (and then get hammered for sounding dumb instead of being different).

One of the things which I think make me think that Kanon‘s dub is an overall success, at least after listening to one episode is this: can I find anything wrong with them other than being “different” from the Japanese voices, and can I think exactly how I would have expected the dub to sound like anyway? Basically the answer for me is “no” and “no,” so, at least after a single episode, I think the dub seems to pass my own personal test.

Added:

I was just reading ANN’s review of Kanon, and while they agree about the dub being good, I ran across this:

The English script is a bit loose but free-flowing, with its only significant flaw coming from actually being too literal at one point. (In one scene it has Sayuri using her own name instead of “I,” which is the way it’s done in Japanese but sounds unnatural and pretentious in English.)

Um yeah, there’s a reason for that as one will find out on probably the 3rd or 4th DVD…

It's confirmed: Kanon (2006) licensed

KanonANN Reports that ADV Films officially announced at the Anime Weekend Atlanta Convention that they have acquired the rights to the Kanon remake.

The fact that ADV had their hands on this series was long suspected as ADV Films had registered the domain name kanontv.com (not in of itself something that confirms a license, though) as well as briefly posted a trailer on their website.

It had also been previously announced that they wouldn’t decide on whether to license Kanon until they saw the sales figure for Air. Either ADV Films changed their minds, or the sales for Air are to their satisfaction.

For me, this is probably a big of news as Haruhi getting licensed, as this is one of my favorite series.

Kanon – Anime Review

The Essentials

KanonName: Kanon
Genre: Drama
Episodes: 24
Released: October 5, 2006 – March 15, 2007
Based On: Kanon video game by Visaul Arts/Key
Director: Tatsuya Ishihara
Produced By: Kyoto Animation
US Distribution By: Funimation (originally ADV Films)

Major Japanese Cast

Yuuichi Aizawa: Tomokazu Sugita
Ayu Tsukimiya: Yui Horie
Nayuki Minase: Mariko Kouda
Shiori Misaka: Akemi Satou
Mai Kawasumi: Yukari Tamura
Makoto Sawatari: Mayumi Iizuka
Akiko Minase: Yuko Minaguchi
Jun Kitagawa: Tomokazu Seki
Kaori Misaka: Ayako Kawasumi
Yuuichi Aizawa (young): Miwa Yasuda
Mishio Amano: Maaya Sakamoto
Sayuri Kurata: Tomoko Kawakami

Major English Cast

N/A

Scores

Animation: 10/10 (x 4 = 40 pts)
Story: 9/10 (x 4 = 36 pts)
Music: 8/10 (x 4 = 32 pts)
Coherence/Story Arc: 9/10 (x 2 = 18 pts)
English Dubs: 8/10 (x 1 = 8 pts)
Gut Score:
10/10 (x 5 = 50 pts)

Total: 184/200 (92%)

Review

Kanon, considered by many to be the best visual novel ever made, is the story of Yuuichi Aizawa and his return to the town of his aunt Akiko, and her daughter – Yuuichi’s first cousin – Nayuki after seven years in order to finish his high school education while his parents are off on business. However, despite having visited the town numerous times when he was younger, Yuuichi finds that he can’t remember anything about his previous visits to the town.

Soon, Yuuichi meets several curious girls: first it’s a girl who is small, but the same age as Yuuichi, named Ayu, who has penchant of crying “uguu” whenever she gets nervous or angry. Yuuichi realizes that he remembers her from when he visited before, but can’t really remember very much about her. Next, Makoto, a hot red-headed girl shows up saying that she has amnesia, but she’s sure that she hates Yuuichi for something he did to her. Next, he runs into Shiori, a girl who is in the year behind him in high school, but is out of school due to a cold, but still hangs out in front of the school for some reason. Finally, Yuuichi meets the non-talkitive and sword-wielding Mai and her beautiful and brilliant best friend Sayuri.

Over the course of the series, Yuuichi’s memories start coming back to him, revealing his past and unraveling a series of mysterious occurrences, indicating that Yuuichi has had more impact on the town and the girls that he’s met than he could possibly imagine. All of this leads to Yuuichi ultimately discovering the secret behind Yuuichi’s blocked memories from the past.

The best word to describe this series is “beautiful,” and in more ways than one. The series remains dramatic and mysterious from start to end, while maintaining a healthy level of comedic relief. The growth of Yuuichi’s character is apparent through his gradually remembering his past in conjunction with what he experiences once he arrives. However, Yuuichi isn’t the only character that grows either. Many of the side characters, including most of the girls he meet, are affected by both the events in the series as well as by Yuuichi himself, and also grow as a result.

The story also pulls no punches, having a largely subdued melancholy feeling throughout most of the series, but it can swing between depressing and happy at times as well. The mysteriousness of things occurring due to things that even Yuuichi himself can’t remember just adds to this feeling.

And just to pile on, the animation quality is, on the whole, spectacular, with sharp character designs and vibrant colors adding to the quality of the show, though the animation even works even in scenes that are largely, if not entirely, dark. Some of the animation, such as that of flowing water and falling snow, is nothing short of amazing at times. The music used is the same as the original game music from the late 90s, so the quality of the music may not be what it could have been with an original score, but it still works pretty well given this fact. Finally the dub, which I’m basing off watching only 1 volume, is also pretty good, if not fantastic.

Overall, Kanon is a story that just about everyone who isn’t just looking for an action series can enjoy – with rich art, good character development, and a compelling story, it is certainly a show that I think everyone should check out eventually.

First Watched: June 2007
Do I Own: No
Do I Recommend: Yes

Kanon licensed?

We already know that kanontv.com has been registered by ADV Films. Now, there appears to be “all but announced” evidence that ADV Films has, in fact, licensed Kanon.

I give you, a Kanon trailer hosted on ADV’s website (windows media file).

Hat tip to Nigorimasen for finding this.

Anime Expo in 1 week

Anime ExpoWhile I’m not attending Anime Expo in Long Beach, it does start 1 week from today, and I’ll be paying attention to what things get licensed and the like there.

Of course, having just finished watching Kanon and with the news not too long ago that ADV Films registered the domain kanontv.com (for 3 years no less) has fueled speculation that they may announce a Kanon license at either Anime Expo or Otakon (I am, of course, hoping for Otakon since I’ll be there).

ADV has said in the past that they were going to wait to see how well Air did before they made a decision on Kanon, but given how well Kanon has been received in the US, maybe they decided that they didn’t need to wait. Or maybe they’re still waiting to see how Air does, but grabbed the domain while they still could. Air doesn’t even start it’s release until mid-August, meaning that if ADV does wait, any announcement on Kanon would have to be made after the summer convention season is already over.

And speaking of conventions and ADV licenses, why couldn’t they have waited a week to announce this: ADV Acquires 5cm Per Second.