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Added on: 19/5/2014 15:09
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    Anime Review Roundup

    US Expo News and MCM Comicon Pre-News

    This weekend saw a big expo for anime fans in the US, with plenty of news about licenses coming soon to our friends across the Atlantic. There’s more than I can summarise here, but two items of note...

    Viz Media have licensed all of Sailor Moon, that’s the entire back catalogue of anime, and the new Sailor Moon Crystal Series. The original Sailor Moon has been out of print for over a decade now, it only saw a partial dub only release in the UK, but now it will get an HD upgrade and a new dub as well (the latter quite necessary as the original release was a heavily edited and bowdlerised version). News from Anime News Network.

    Funimation have announced that they have the license for the final two instalments of Hellsing Ultimate and they will be released to the US later this year. The words ‘about time too’ spring to mind. Hopefully the UK won’t be too far behind.

    This coming weekend sees the London MCM Comicon, where the UK anime distributors will unleash their new licenses on an eager anime fanbase. Anime Limited have five announcements lined up, and you can be certain that Manga Entertainment will have lots of goodies to put on their schedule, and so indeed will MVM. But it’s almost become a pooch-screwing tradition, that some retailer will throw a spanner in the works by putting up a whole bunch of pre-releases that spoil someone’s big announcements. This year, it’s Zavvi that has rained on MVM’s parade as noticed by an eagle-eyed forumite at Anime UK News. Click on the link if you want to be spoiled.

    So pretend that you haven’t heard and cheer like crazy things when MVM make their announcements.

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    It’s all about disappointment this week, beginning with the review for Chrome Shelled Regios: Part 2. I had hoped that with the second half of this series, it might start making sense, the random hits of post-apocalyptic giant bug fighting, high school harem, shonen action and film noir inserts would fall into place and reveal what this series is actually about. That didn’t happen. Click on the review to see what did happen.

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    I finally got around to watching Mawaru Penguindrum Part 2, after shunning the UK DVD release and importing the Australian Blu-ray instead. After re-watching part 1, I had the sinking feeling that this was one of those style over substance shows, where it’s the first viewing that blows you away, re-watching it merely diminishes the effect. With Part 2, Mawaru Penguindrum threatens to lose control of its narrative, lose its grasp on its characters, and ironically given its title, threatens to spin out of control before the creators somehow manage to rein it in for the ending. Is that enough to make this a worthwhile series?

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    Disappointment number 3, I got beaten to the punch on Princess Mononoke. David Simpson got his review up first, and he takes a look at Studio Ghibli’s epic eco-tale that sees the clash of civilisation and nature through the eyes of a young warrior afflicted by a curse. This is a step away from the usual fairy tale extravaganzas that most associate with Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, but there is a reason why Princess Mononoke is considered one of the best anime films made, its message still meaningful and resonant after nearly twenty years. Click on the review to see why.

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    It was the same deal with The Cat Returns. David Simpson reviews this Studio Ghibli film that is more typical of their family oriented fantasy output. The Cat Returns is a spin-off from Whisper of the Heart, and tells the tale of a young girl who gets whisked away to the magical Kingdom of the Cats after she rescues a prince. Only she isn’t ready for the gratitude that the cats have to offer. See David’s opinion of this madcap fairy tale by clicking on his review.

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    My final disappointment of the week... Fate Zero ended. What’s probably the best anime show to be released in the UK this year came to a close, as I ejected the final disc, and reflected on a brilliantly crafted story, with engaging characters and a delightful lack of anime tropes and clichés. This is good storytelling full stop, and you don’t want its brilliance to end, and neither do you want your first watch of it to be taken at haste for a DVD review. You want to savour it, and I want my first time with Fate Zero Part 2 back to do over again.

    Chrome Shelled Regios: Part 2 comes out on DVD today courtesy of MVM. They also release Fate Zero Part 2 on DVD next Monday, while the Blu-ray will show up two weeks later. Mawaru Penguindrum Part 2 was released on Blu-ray last year by Siren Visual in Australia, and you’ll have to import (although the complete collection has been released since then). Studiocanal release Princess Mononoke and The Cat Returns on Blu-ray/DVD Double play today.

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