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Added by: Jitendar Canth
Added on: 23/7/2012 15:34
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    MCM Expo News and Anime Review Roundup

    Another Expo Has Been And Gone

    Is it just me, or do we have a sight too many Expos around here? It seems as if it’s been just a couple of weeks since the last one, and already we have a gathering in Manchester to report on. You’d think it would make it harder on the distributors to show up with new licences to announce and new product to sell, and you’d be right. This year at Manchester, only Manga Entertainment of the main anime distributors were there, yet after a couple of expos replete with announcements, they still had some new acquisitions to announce. You can go to UK Anime.net and Anime UK News to catch up on the details, but here’s the list of what is upcoming...

    Guilty Crown
    Aria The Scarlet Ammo

    Otherwise it was a case of confirming release dates, and sharing some brief bits of information, including the tantalising titbit that Manga are considering Steins;Gate. I’d buy that on Blu-ray. No, I’d pay to have it permanently downloaded directly into my brain. Incidentally, if you want to know why Ninja Scroll Blu-ray steelbook has been delayed, it’s because of a shortage of packaging. You can blame Play.com and all their exclusive steelbook editions. What’s exclusive about some of their steelbooks? Hell, they’d package an Adam Sandler movie into a steelbook and call it exclusive.

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    It was a full week of anime and anime related reviews, and I started by delving into the back catalogue. There are films that you want in the best possible quality, and there are DVDs that you want in as complete a form as possible. Both of these requirements spurred me to ditch the DVD and get the Blu-ray of Satoshi Kon’s Paprika. The obvious attractions of an HD image and lossless audio aside, the UK release of this film saw all of the extra features restricted to the Blu-ray. It was among the first Blu-rays I bought when I upgraded my home cinema, but I’ve only just got to watching it now. See how time has altered my opinion of this stunning visual masterpiece by clicking on the review.

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    Next, I got to look at the sequel to last year’s Butler anime. You wouldn’t think that there would be a large selection in this genre, but I had originally pinned my hopes on Hayate the Combat, but we got Black instead. Black Butler turned out to be one of Manga Entertainment’s gems last year, and I was quickly converted to its devilish charms. It’s fair to say that I was expecting good things this year from the Black Butler II sequel. The first surprise is that it didn’t meet any of my expectations. The second surprise is that it’s even better than the first series. See what I mean by clicking you know where.

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    Where there is the good, there is the bad. At least that’s my opinion. I may have been blown away by Black Butler, but I was brought back down to Earth with a thud when I reviewed Hetalia World Series: Season 3. They’ve made more of the animated shorts that appeal inexplicably to the girly squee brigade. I can understand the girly squee quotient in Sebastian Michaelis and Claude Faustus, tall dark and satanic butlers to their respective cute charges, but the girly squee in a fey Italy whose catchphrase is ‘Pasta!’ eludes me. Still, people like the Hetalia franchise, so I have reviewed it. All you need to know is that it has 24 episodes, it has close to 2 hours of extra features, it’s in English and Japanese, and the disc isn’t broken. Go ahead and buy in happiness. If on the other hand you feel the need to share in my pain at having had to review this disc, click the link.

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    That was the anime last week, but the real treat of the whole lot, including Paprika was my chance to watch Sion Sono’s Himizu. It’s a live action movie based on the manga of the same name by Minoru Furuya, the creator of Ping Pong Club. Sono’s films are always worth watching, and his take on a 14-year-old boy trying to live a normal life under abnormal stresses would have always been of interest. But tragic coincidence meant that the Earthquake of 2011 struck before filming could begin. Sono quickly rewrote the script to take that event into account, to form the backdrop of this story, and by doing so, the film became transcendental.

    Sony Entertainment released Paprika in 2007, one of the first anime Blu-rays. Manga Entertainment released Black Butler II on DVD last Monday, while Hetalia World Series: Season 3 comes out today. Third Window Films will release Himizu on Blu-ray and DVD on the 6th of August.

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