Anime Review Roundup

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Dancing zombies aren’t a new thing, after all Michael Jackson had them in the Thriller video. But singing zombies, well that’s a new one on me. Zombie Land Saga is where you’ll find them, as a bizarre music promoter is resurrecting the dead for use as a promotional tool. Seven teenage (at the time of their deaths) girls are brought back as the idol group Franchouchou, and set to work promoting the Saga prefecture where they now (un)live. It’s hard to choreograph dance routines and keep your limbs and appendages attached. Two well worn genres collide in Zombie Land Saga, making it feel fresh and original.

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Next it was the turn of Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic, another chunk of the Black Butler franchise that never made it to UK shores. Which is ironic, as in this film, young Lord Ciel Phantomhive and his demonic butler Sebastian depart UK shores for the new world on a cruise. In a topical reference, there’s a virus loose on this cruise ship, but this virus causes zombies, and not the singing and dancing kind. Book of the Atlantic is a fun romp that is well worth an import. Click on the review to read more.

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There aren’t any zombies in One Piece Collection 21; we’re long past the Thriller Bark arc, although Gecko Moria does get a mention. However this collection of One Piece does focus on the dead. It’s been a long, long time since we last saw a One Piece release here, and it left us at quite a pivotal moment in the story. Half of this collection is a poignant flashback to a previously unknown story, while the other half concentrates on the consequences of what happened in Collection 20. It’s been a long time, and to be honest, the wait has been too long to be worth it, but it’s nice to see more One Piece in the UK finally.

This Week I Have Been Mostly Rewatching...

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FLCL. I love this show. In 2000, Gainax created this 6 episode piece of punk brilliance. Inventive and original animation, combined with a flawless Pillows soundtrack, and a wacky story of adolescent ennui and aliens and robots became a singular event in anime history. It was so good that they made two sequels, which I eventually watched streamed, FLCL Alternative, and FLCL Progressive, adding 12 more episodes to the original six. I’ve said FLCL was punk. Now imagine someone releasing a punk record in 1995... Exactly. There are only six episodes of FLCL worth watching, and they are the originals. 12 year old Naota lives an uneventful existence in a dead end town, hanging out with his absent brother’s girlfriend under the shadow of a factory shaped like a steam iron. Then a girl on a scooter shows up, smacks him around the head with a bass guitar, eliciting a bump on his forehead from which appears a robot... several robots. And the show just gets wackier from there.

MVM have released FLCL in the UK, first on three DVD volumes, here’s my review of volume 1, and then in a collection, reviewed here by David Beckett. More recently, MVM released the show on Blu-ray, and here’s my review of that. For my re-watch, I’ve gone back to the DVDs. It’s a native NTSC show, so upscaling the DVDs actually looks a smidge better than the upscaled Blu-ray transfer, and there’s a little more in the way of extras. But then again, that Blu-ray has lossless audio, which just makes the Pillows soundtrack shine. It’s swings and roundabouts, but either way, FLCL is a must-own show, and you can still easily do that in either format.

Manga Entertainment released Zombie Land Saga on Blu-ray and on DVD on the 10th of February, while One Piece: Collection 21 comes out from them on DVD today. Black Butler: Book of the Atlantic was released by Madman Entertainment in Australia on Blu-ray and DVD in 2018.

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