Author Archives: mutsulini

About mutsulini

trying to enjoy what i have

High School DXD Episode 2

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Mutsulini: Here we are again after 25 minutes of hellscape called High School DxD Episode 1. We bring you High School DxD Episode 2. Though the show is getting a bit more interesting with some redeeming qualities sprouting here and there… it is nevertheless an ecchi-heavy oppai-centric and horomone-driven anime. We return from the end of last episode to Issei’s bedroom again to see Issei continuing to act like a little girl as it is revealed that Rias had been sleeping next to him naked that night. As is the case for cowardly peons like Issei, he goes ballistic and clumsily stumble over every little dust particle floating in his bedroom as his mother walks in on them. Oh what fun that is.

As you can see (or rather, not see,) Issei’s members are in plain view, which is quite shocking in typically moderately censored anime such as this one. For the decent viewers out there, the image provided has been self-censored by Omoshirosou’s very own censor board. So, enjoy.

So, a bit more is revealed later on in that Issei is now a devil (akuma) thanks to Rias’ resurrecting him. Along with a few of other cast members, these devils do various tasks for people for reasons yet to be known. I am guessing they go around making pacts with people and fulfilling their wishes for their souls of whatnots but I’ll have Kujou-san kindly explain the rest of the episode to you folks. Now onto the ending sequence.

[Censored for general consumption though in this she is in a lingerie and nothing is revealed… I the censors made it worse than it looks. I the censors also mosaic’d the mouth due to its suggestive nature.]

Since the first episode ended with the opening theme, we got to wait an extra week for this. The ending sequence for this show is a combination of two socially acceptable vices of our era, pole dancing as featured in strip clubs and Las Vegas style gambling. The sequence is almost entirely composed of the female cast taking turns pole dancing in lingerie with the rest of the screen decorated with themes ranging from playing cards to poker chips to laces. The song STUDYXSTUDY is performed by a new seiyuu group StylipS composed of the famous Yui Ogura and Kaori Ishihara of YUIKAORI along with Arisa Noto, and Maho Matsunaga. It is a lot upbeat and faster than the opening so it goes well with the comedic and ecchi nature of the show… Okay I should stop saying anything good about this show now. Kujou-san, help…

Kujou-san: Now that mutsulini has thoroughly spoiled you all by skipping ahead to the mind-bending depravity that is the ED sequence, your appetites will surely be thoroughly whetted for the meat of the episode. That is if you haven’t already ruined yourselves over Rias and her demon brigade of pole-dancing vixens, all of whom are that much more delicious unpixelated.

At this point we should go a little further into what the protagonist has become: as mutsulini mentioned, the quintessential pervert Issei-kun, revived in essentially the same form in outward appearance but entirely different in incorporeal substance, finds himself no longer human. Because he was quickened by Rias and thus spared from death he is now a demon. What’s more, he is now bound to Rias under a contract which essentially makes him her slave (I imagine in every sense of the word), much in the fashion of liege lord and vassal in that he is bound to Rias under bond of absolute loyalty.

Rias sends campus golden boy Kiba Yuuto to fetch Issei back to the Room of Close Associates Occult Research Club, where he is introduced to the rest of the club members; and it’s no surprise they’re all demons as well, from the petite Toujou Koneko (Taketatsu Ayana), to elegant vice-president Himejima Akeno (Itou Shizuka).

Rias informs Issei of his latent ability, the Sacred Gear, which has power to withstand angels and devils and was the reason why he was killed by the fallen angel Amano Yuuma. At this point, Issei is no more than a gopher tasked with various odd jobs, culminating in his first real mission –proxying for one of Koneko’s contracts. True to his perverted nature, Issei thrills to the prospects of building a harem of slaves for himself. Unfortunately for him, however, the prize at the end of his bike ride (he as of yet lacks even the ability to summon properly) is a degenerate otaku with a fetish for being babied. No contract this time, it seems. Sorry, Issei: coffee is for closers ONLY! Always Be Closing! ALWAYS BE CLOSING!

At least in the end he is able to awaken the Sacred Gear (tearing the clothes off a beautifully-built fallen angel in the process) and stumble across a sweet-faced cleric chick.

In closing, there is one thing I take issue with regarding the whole contract arrangement: according to tradition going back who-knows how far, when making contracts with demons, the demon always secures the knowing and willful consent of the party in question.

That is, the poor, ill-fated soul who for whatever reason is driven to such desperate terms as to make a deal with the devil, so to speak, has to agree to be bound by the contract, part and parcel. Whether it’s with a ritual signing some arcane document in one’s own blood or actually swearing some kind of oral oath, there is always some kind of pledge of acknowledgement. I’m not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with most demons falling under the “Lawful Evil” category in the morality spectrum. It would seem it’s just something they do. At any rate, this tradition has been established with a good deal of precedent in literature and folklore from various cultures the world over (do we really have to cite examples here?) so it seems strange that Highschool DXD would do away with that vital rite that officially makes the pact kosher.

Oh well, back to the boobs.

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Nisemonogatari Episode 01 – Review~nya

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And here’s a show that we’ve all been waiting for, Nisemonogatari (偽物語).

Nisemonogatari is a direct sequel to the legendary troll anime studio Shaft‘s blockbuster hit and money cow Bakemonogatari from 2009, originally a light novel series by Nisioisin. Just as Bakemonogatari, this new show is also directed by Akiyuki Shinbo also known for the slap in face hit, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, among many others. The title Nisemonogatari is a portmanteau of Nisemono (swindler, charlatan, impostor or the more physical fake, knockoff, counterfeit) and Monogatari (story, tale.) Few fansub groups thus translate the title as “Impostory,” which I feel is rather appropriate since the fakes being referred to the title are the fire sisters Karen and Tsukihi (and the antagonists) but as is usual for Nisioisin, there could be further wordplay involved.

Before I continue here are a few notes to consider:

1) I will not re-explain the entire Bakemonogatari series.  The show itself does not baby the audience and I will not do so myself.  This is a direct sequel.  Please only read and follow the show after having watched all 15 episodes of Bakemonogatari as it will be worth your time and you will thank me with gifts of gold and myrrh.

2) Entire main cast excluding characters that will not reappear for this show have not changed or have not changed significant therefore the list will be brief.

3) I will not go into detail about personalities of individual characters except new antagonist(s) and the fire sisters Karen and Tsukihi.

Thanks, so… shall we start?

[Gratuitous Height Chart for the Curious]

Introducing the usual recurring cast though only half of the two new lead protagonists had voice role in this episode:

As newer characters are introduced, I will introduce the new cast members as they appear.

Main Cast-

Hiroshi Kamiya as Koyomi Araragi (big bro, lead character from Bakemonogatari, vampire)

Eri Kitamura as Karen Araragi (lil sis, main lead character, half of fire sisters, alias: Karen Bee)

Yuka Iguchi as Tsukihi Araragi (lil’er sis, main lead character, half of fire sisters, alias: Tsukihi Phoenix)

Secondary Cast-

Chiwa Saitou as Hitagi Senjougahara (Koyomi’s girlfriend, sadist, alias: Hitagi Crab)

Emiri Katou as Mayoi Hachikuji (wandering ghost, anti-lolicon, alias: Mayoi Snail/Mayoi MaiMai)

Miyuki Sawashiro as Suruga Kanbaru (Hitagi’s kouhai, overly sexualizes self, alias: Suruga Monkey)

Kana Hanazawa as Nadeko Sengoku (Tsukihi’s childhood friend, has youthful crush on Koyomi, alias: Nadeko Snake)

Yui Horie as Tsubasa Hanekawa (model student, unrequited love for Koyomi semi-resolved at end of Bakemonogatari, alias: Tsubasa Cat)

—–

With that out of the way, we start the show.

The events of Nisemonogatari takes place about a month after the end of Bakemonogatari. As is typical of sequels, the show starts at a questionable location where inexplicably Koyomi Araragi is tied up at the abandoned cram school which used to be home to the protagonist’s “friends,” Meme and Shinobu Oshino who have left the area and Araragi, at the end of Bakemonogatari. We find out that he was actually kidnapped by Hitagi Senjougahara for what is assumed to be for his protection (and or for Hitagi’s sick pleasures?). Though we don’t know exactly how many days he’d been there but he guesses that it’s been a day or two.

From there we flashback to the morning of the day of the kidnapping, July 29th. It’s summer vacation and Tsubasa Hanekawa who, along with Senjougahara, frequently tutors Araragi with his school work calls in to cancel their tutoring session. Bored at home, Araragi wanders into a conversation with his younger sister Tsukihi Araragi who is lazily watching television. After many witty remarks and eye candy camera shots later, Araragi decides to call Nadeko Sengoku and tells her he’s thinkning of visitng her that day. Nadeko in an obvious show of desparation and nervous wreck welcomes his potential visit. Koyomi then heads for Nadeko’s house after being told by Tsukihi that she is probabaly not welcomed despite Nadeko being Tsukihi’s childhood friend. And since Koyomi, being a man, does not understand the situation he’s getting himself into.

Araragi, on his way to Nadeko’s house, runs into Mayoi Hachikuji. After a bit of kurfuffle that ensues from their encounter, Koyomi and Mayoi enter into a long discussion that ranges from hesitating to tell Koyomi’s sisters about him turning to a vampire to how inserting “courage” to any deplorable act can turn them into something admirable. As is expected from Shaft, the scenes are a quick back and forth between the characters and their extremely fast dialogue along with eye candy worthy experimental architecture. In the end, Mayoi and Koyomi part ways with Mayoi leaving Koyomi with a philosophical perspective on the consequences or burdens that could be placed on the sisters for having Koyomi tell them about his secret.

—–

This show will be hard to screw up as Bakemonogatari has been extremely successful and by keeping to the same formula, it will most likely reap the same fruit as before. However, this being Shaft they will most likely dazzle with us with something. The story is already well done in the sense that it is coming directly from the light novels. How the rest of the show will be presented would all be guesses so I am guessing that the show like its predecessor will be full of fast and witty dialogue filled with excellent character development and mindbending twists. Anything more than that would be a plus. For those of you who might not have liked Bakemonogatari, unfortunately, this show will most likely have the same issues, such as rapid screen changes every couple of seconds and random buildings and characters doing awkward poses.

For now, I am desperately hoping that Shaft and the director Akiyuki Shinbo will inject more creativity into an already creative show. After all, expectation this high can only be satiated and countered with blow-your-mind delivery.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear Episode 01 – El Review

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Hello everyone, after being convinced by Kujou-san on how informative this episodic reviewing thing can be, I was converted and decided to do ongoing show reviews.  For this season I will be doing Senki Zesshou Symphogear and Nisemonogatari.

—–

Having only read a brief synopsis of the show prior to the first viewing, I had little to no expectation for this show. To be quite frank, I only decided to review this show after learning that Nana Mizuki was in it and no other real reason. So, thanks Kujou-san.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear (戦姫絶唱シンフォギア) is an original anime produced by a relatively rookie studio Encourage Films and co-produced by Satelight slated to run 13 episodes with Nana Mizuki performing the opening theme Synchrogazer and Ayahi Takagaki performing the ending theme Meteor Light.

Before I begin, let me briefly list the “apparent” main cast members as you will all soon find that this concept of main character is just that, a concept.

Surprisingly, the show features an impressive cast but as Kujou-san and I discussed, so did Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. In Senki Zesshou Symphogear (which can be literally translated as Battle Maiden Excellent Symphogear,) Aoi Yuuki (Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Mina Tepes from Dance in the Vampire Bund) stars as Hibiki Tachibana, Yuka Iguchi (Index from To Aru Majutsu no Index and Tsukihi Araragi from Bakemonogatari series) as Hibiki’s roommate and friend Miku Kohinata,) veteran Minami Takayama (Conan Edogawa from Case Closed series and former member of Two-Mix most notably having done the theme songs for Gundam Wing series) as idol duo Zwei Wing member Kanade Amou, and, of course, Nana Mizuki(refer to my previous post) as the other half of Zwei Wing, Tsubasa Kazanari.

Show starts. Main character is dead. Thank you for watching. The End.

The show opens up with Miku going to visit Hibiki’s grave… One way you know that a show is going the right way is seeing that as soon as the show starts one of the main character is already dead. But, in the midst of crumbled and shelled out buildings, we transition to two years in the past where apparently Hibiki is still alive attending a concert featuring Zwei Wing’s Kanade and Tsubasa and all the futuristic buildings are shiny and vibrant again.

Though having promised to go with Hibiki, Miku skips out due to family stuff and we get a pleasurable few minutes of Nana Mizuki and Minami Takayama singing voice. Occasionally we get a random flash of a control room looking place where a male character with lion manes (I will go into more details about him in later episodes,) discusses with another in the room about how excellent the concert is going while staring at a glowing relic that seems to have lasers pointed at it.

However, peace is disturbed when the folks in this control room seemingly located beneath the stadium realizes that all is not excellent and the relic causes a violent explosion which is followed by an onslaught of extremely badly designed foreign beings attacking the people at the stadium. And for some odd reason the crowd already knows what they are and calls them, Noise. These Noise of varying shapes and sizes with some flying would envelop its victims in the stadium then turn the victim and itself into black ash. It does not look too pleasant, rather, it looks gruesome and cruel as the people are screaming up to the point where they dry up and turn to powder. One young woman repeatedly screeches that she does not want to die as she turns to powder shakes me with an odd fear despite the horrid monster designed apparently (assumedly) by a five year old.

Most Excellent Monster Design curtesy of an unnamed five year old.

My fears soon subsided when the two members of Zwei Wing, to no viewers’ surprise, turned out to be power suited super heroes who slowly but surely takes off into action.

When you fight, you show what moves you’re doing in giant banners covering the entire screen, cause you’ll just end up dying in a cruel way.

How would power suited idol duo fight monsters? Well, 1) you get giant swords, which they have, and 2) you sing while you slash and thrash. That’s right folks, they LITERALLY sing while they slash and thrash at the monsters. All goes decently well despite being weakened by the large number of Noise but the duo persevere, that is, until Hibiki who idiotically as main characters are wont to do stumbles near the fight then gets pierced right in the chest by a piece of straying debris. Kanade, then runs to her and tells her to stay alive then just settles the matter herself by singing a song in what seems to be in Old Norse or some non-German germanic language which apparently kills her and kills all the Noise. The scene ends with Hibiki witnessing Kanade in Tsubasa’s arms as Kanade is slowly ripped apart in silhouette.

Then comes Hibiki’s miraculous recovery and her at school with Miku again and running into Tsubasa who is also a student at the same school. Of course, no one knows what happened at the stadium except Hibiki and Tsubasa so Hibiki desperately wants to speak to her but fails to do so.

Later we’re shown a brief scene where the military mindnumbingly shoots straight through these Noise monsters with no effect until Tsubasa shows up and drops down from a helicopter WHILE singing and singlehandedly defeats Noise while the yet again completely inept anime military men watch on.

Next we’re bestowed with the epic climax of the episode. Hibiki goes to a convenient store only to discover black ash remnants of humans all over the area. She spots a little child so she chivalrously grabs her and runs to safety while being chased by the artistic aberrations. With a few winding turns and dips into sewage then a long ladder climb to the top of a nearby factory, they are hopelessly trapped with no where else to run. Scene cuts back to the control room with the lion mane man where they detect Gungnir (some sort of energy?) then we get to see one of the best moments of offmodel history since the Transformers days in mid 80s.

Things growing out of or pumping in and out of Hibiki…

This energy transforms Hibiki from the inside out and turns her into a power suited warrior… Alas, witness the scariest image known to man of the supposedly main character who happens to be as innocent as a bunny rabbit. After the final scene we transition into a cinema style credits with the opening theme by Nana Mizuki.

I might be hyping this a bit or bashing it but this show will either be the second best show in the season or THE worst. Stay tuned to see which way it goes.

Fooooooood!!!

Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing Post-Episode 4 Mind Explosion

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This is (NOT) an Episode Review

A while back I wrote a post regarding GONZO’s comeback with the new Last Exile series. It has been several weeks since then and I was able to view the first four episodes. And here is the disastrous result.

Let me remind you, initially when I first heard about the new Last Exile project, my sources indicated that the setting would be an alternate universe and only the environment, vanships, and airships would be present. As more details began trickling out of official channels, I noticed that several characters from the original series were returning. That alone would have blown my mind but the gravity of the situation was much heavier. Never mind that. My mind exploded.

There are three cases I would like to disclose regarding my mind explosion.

—–

-Case 1-

Above is an epilogue scene from Last Exile. To the left is Holly Madthane, the daughter of the commander of the first airship that the main protagonists, Claus and Lavie, encounter in the show. Holly is voiced by the now ubiquitous Kana Hanazawa who apparently has a voice role in every single show this season. What blows my mind is that Holly’s voice actress (or CV – character voice) will be voicing the character standing next to her in that very scene, Alvis E. Hamilton, according to the Last Exile official Web site posted well before airing of the first episode. All I can say is that apparently the screencap was immediately prior to Alvis devouring Holly whole to obtain her voice in preparation for Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing. It appears likely food was meager in the cold environment they were now living in. Poor Holly…

As of episode 4, Alvis E. Hamilton still has not made her grand entrance.

—–

-Case 2-

Above is also from one of the final scenes of Last Exile depicting Tatiana and Alister, her navi (navigator in the Last Exile universe) who is also clearly her “special partner.” Now living a quiet rustic life in the farm, I thought those two would eventually marry and beget children somehow. Apparently that was not the case.

Episode 4 of Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing re-introduced to us Tatiana Wisla and Alister Agrew. Not only are they returning to this new show but so have the seiyuu. Eri Kitamura of Toradora’s part-time model Ami Kawashima and Natsuko Kuwatani of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya’s bloodthirsty class rep Ryouko Asakura are both reprising their roles from the previous series. [NOTE: both Ami and Ryouko had blue hair] Not only that, Tatiana has made significant strides in her career and is now a commander. This is another case where a fanboy’s dream comes true in that not only are these two side characters returning with the original seiyuu but their yuri aspect seems to be maintained.

—–

-Case 3-

The final blow to the head occurred when… erm… I forget… Oops.

(if you don’t get this… please stay up to date on current events.) hint

—–

All in all, it has been solidly proven to me that this new show, Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing, is indeed a direct sequel to the original Last Exile. I expect much rejoicing from the fans of the original series as, in due time, actual roles of these characters will be revealed. I expect that the worst case scenario would be that these returning characters are nothing but decoration to a decently groomed Christmas tree. Of course plot has not been completely divulged as of yet.  So, how well groomed this new series will be in terms of plot/character development is still to be determined.

So far, all I can say is that there are a lot of flying and listening to Aki Toyosaki (Fam) repeatedly saying “Gisey~” is becoming endearing.

Next I will be discussing about the ramification of feeding hay to malnourished manga artists. Stay tuned.

[NOTE: sorry about the mouse cursor in the screencaps… will be rectified in future posts]

[BONUS: Original Last Exile’s vanship pilot Claus Valca and his navi Lavie Head] That’s right, Claus’s navi’s Lavie…

Twitter is now officially up and active!

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After some tinkering, we’re proud to announce our official twitter account: @omoshirosoublog

Both Kujou-san and I, mutsulini, will be maintaining the account.  Typically we will insert a prefix like “Kujou:” if from Kujou-san and “Mutsu:” if from mutsulini in our tweets.

If you think you’re liking what we’re doing so far, please follow us.  We appreciate all your support.

Thank you.

And now for gratuitous status update image:

It’s not the twitter bird but it’s blue and it’s a bird.

Origin of Black Rock Shooter: How Hatsune Miku got her groove on.

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As a history major it has always been important for me to look at all the agents and the series of events that led to the culmination of an outcome. In this post, I will be talking about an upcoming anime, scheduled for January 2012, titled Black Rock Shooter, stylized as ブラック★ロックシューター in Japanese.

Typically anime are based on manga or originally created. More recently since the boom in the late 80s, anime started to broaden its base of creation, ranging from light novels to games to even pachinko (yeah, that’s you, Rio Rainbow Gate…) Considering what I have mentioned, Black Rock Shooter is an original even in its origin.

To understand how Black Rock Shooter came about, we need to go back in time. I will set 2007, for the upcoming Black Rock Shooter anime series, as its the birth year. Why 2007? Because everything happened in 2007 for Black Rock Shooter.

My attempt at Black Rock Shooter

In the summer of 2007, Cypton Future Media released a vocaloid software based on the Yamaha Vocaloid singing synthesizer. What made this event significant was that Crypton had utilized an originally created anime-style character to market the product. This product was titled Character Vocal Series 01 Hatsune Miku.

Meanwhile, across the Tsugaru Straights and in Kansai region, a man by the name of Yutaka Yamamoto had just recently been fired from Kyoto Animation. Yamamoto had been a veteran at Kyoto Animation and had been the director for Lucky Star and had only finished working on the first four episodes. Having climbed corporate ladder at Kyoto Animation, Yamamoto had previously been credited for choreographing the dance sequence for the famous ending theme for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya as the series producer and had finally got his directorial debut with Lucky Star. Despite this setback, in the summer of 2007, Yamomoto was quickly on his feet and established Ordet, his very own animation studio in Osaka, about an hour ride on the train from his former employer.

Near the end of 2007, in the vastness of the Internet, an amateur song writer with the handle name of Ryo started tinkering with the Hatsune Miku vocaloid software. On December of 2007, ryo uploaded his original song, Melt, to the Japanese video site Nico Nico Douga, a Japanese video share site much like Youtube. Ever since Hatsune Miku was released, many fan artists started to produce vast amount of fan art based on the character. So, for ryo’s first video song upload, he included fan arts but did so without giving credit to this artist. Incidently, this turned out to be a crucial event as what started as a correspondence of apology to the artist, culminated into the creation of a doujin (fan art, to be general) music group now known as Supercell.

Some, if not most of you, may know of Hatsune Miku and the character’s popularity. From this point on, I will refer to Hatsune Miku as a character and not the software.

[note: I’ve retained the Japanese form for first and last name order for Hatsune Miku due to it being a product.]

Non sequitur Dead Master

In 2008, inspired by an illustration of Hatsune Miku as a warrior of sort, clad entirely in black with a giant gun by the artist of handle name Huke, Ryo created the titular song, Black Rock Shooter, again using the vocaloid Hatsune Miku. Huke soon joined Supercell and his illustration was featured in the first music video for Black Rock Shooter uploaded unto Nico Nico Douga.

In 2010, strangely enough, Nagaru Tanigawa, the author of the Haruhi Suzumiya series, collaborated on the production of the 50 minute OVA of Black Rock Shooter produced by Yamamoto’s Ordet with music by Ryo using Huke’s character designs. Thus, all the elements for the foundation was set for the upcoming series.

At the moment of this writing, the 8-episode Black Rock Shooter is scheduled to be featured in the Noitamina late evening anime programming block for Fuji TV in January of 2012. With the exception of Nagaru Tanigawa, all of the collaborators from the OVA will be returning for the series. This will be Ordet’s first fully credited production series and the three main characters will be voiced by Kana Hanazawa, Miyuki Sawashiro, and Kana Asumi as Black Rock Shooter, Dead Master, and Strength, respectively.

You may have noticed that I have not mentioned anything about the content of the show itself. Well, that’s for you to find out, eh? If you have already seen the OVA, you will finally be able to figure things out as the OVA left the audience in the dark on just about everything.

Don't let this image fool you, the show is much more badass.

Action scenes are something to this level.

Nonetheless, the action sequence is promising to be quite dazzling. If the series retain what the OVA had on the level of artistry and action, this show will definitely be a success. Okay, readers, this is when you open up your favorite video sharing site and start watching the original black rock shooter music video.

That is all for now. I hope you will be able to join me for my pre-pre-pre-preview of the last episode of One Piece, which I am guessing will happen in about 20 years. Stay tuned.

GONZO returns from self-imposed Last Exile with… Last Exile…

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Many moons ago an anime studio existed calling itself GONZO.

Depiction may not be accurate

This may be a bit more accurate

Then another company was born and then it merged with GONZO and more companies were born and again merged with the merged GONZO, now calling itself GDH.  GONZO, the animation studio, then existed as a subsidiary of GDH.  But poor GDH started having money troubles and couldn’t maintain all the companies it owned.  Soon, it needed to shed some of its weight to maintain profitability (rather, not go broke.)  It abolished some of its subsidiaries but most notably it cut a chunk of GONZO’s animation staff to rely almost wholly on outsourcing animation.  Even after all this GDH realized its name recognition was next to none while GONZO was still a widely acknowledged company.  So, GDH did what any sensible man would do.  It swallowed GONZO whole, name and all.  Merging with its subsidiary and closing down other costly ventures, GDH now bacame GONZO.  Basically, we’ve turned a full circle.  Apparently this was not good enough for GDH’s investors and soon GDH was delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange, ouch.  After all this, it was 2009.  GONZO was not having the best year of its life, perhaps worst year of its history.

Shangri-La volume 1 DVD Cover

GONZO was still then a famed anime production studio producing well known fan hits like Rosario+Vampire series (of Nana Mizuki fame,) Strike Witches, Tower of Druaga series, and Welcome to the NHK, just to name a few.  But reality was pretty harsh for GONZO in 2009.  GONZO after its restructuring took two major blows to the face: rights to Strike Witches 2nd season was handed over to AIC (another well-known anime production studio) and DVD sales of the much anticipated Shangri-La tanked.  I was not to hear from GONZO again… that is until now.

Along with its many works in animation based on manga/novels/etc. GONZO had produced an original gem called Last Exile back in 2003.  It turned out to be quite an epic.  Last Exile was a steampunk-esque romanticism engorged with high-paced airship combat in a soup of blue and white while on the ground it was full of drama, betrayal, and love.  It was just too bad the show ended with a very finite ending… or did it?

What better way to return from an exile than to release an anime called “Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing” (ラストエグザイル ~銀翼のファム~,) GONZO sure outdid itself there.

GONZO didn’t die.  They were just being fairly quiet by not producing any full season anime in the past 2 years.  In 2011, they released a 12-episode short called Nyanpire, what looks to be a Flash-based 5 minute anime skit about a cat that’s also a vampire.  Other than that apparently they have been preparing for their grand re-entrance.

For those of you who were not able to watch the original Last Exile, go watch it now.  For those of us that have, you’re in for a treat.  The first episode seems promising in that it remains faithful to the original as well as having that fresh car smell.  For the time being, it is still questionable whether if this is a direct sequel or a side story or another universe-type deal.  Yet, 2 of the characters from the original will be reappearing.

One being a former antagonist Dio Eraclea pictured above and another being Alvis E. Hamilton who did not appear in the first episode.  Also, just like in the original, the English episode titles will be read by Yukana (C.C. from Code Geass,) along with the return of director Koichi Chigura, composer Hitomi Kuroishi, and character designer Osamu Horiuchi from the original Last Exile.  In addition to the the cameos other things you will find is that, just as before, airships serve as a key part of the setting.  I call them airships but these are actually giant flying battleships with lots of cannons and decks for smaller vanships, world equivalent for airplanes.

In keeping with the times of moe-boom, the new cast of characters have become somewhat younger looking despite their ages being not that different.  For instance, Claus, the lead protagonist from the original Last Exile, and Fam, the new lead protagonist, are both supposed to be 15.  And to lead these new moe characters, Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing includes an impressive cast.  Aki Toyosaki (Yui from K-ON!) plays the lead Fam and Aoi Yuuki (Madoka from Madoka Magica) plays Fam’s co-pilot Giselle.  Other cast includes Miyuki Sawashiro (is in everything,) Ai Kayano (Index from A Certain Magical Index,) Chiwa Saitou (Hitagi from Bakemonogatari also lead protagonist Lavie from the first Last Exile,) and Kana Hanazawa (Mayuri from Steins;Gate.)  The mentioned appear to be the more prominent characters in the show.  It also appears that Maaya Sakamoto (Alphard from Canaan) and Megumi Nakajima (Ranka from Macross Frontier) will have minor roles.  There are more, of course, but to list them would be redundant.  You can check out all of confirmed cast from here or in English here.

Fam and Giselle, you'll be seeing a lot of this on this show

I always thought if both Aki Toyosaki and Aoi Yuuki were in the same room, the world would explode with moe but so far, the combination is working out well for the show.  The flow of action and events is significantly more exciting than it was for the original Last Exile as well.  As for the music, Maaya Sakamoto sings the opening “Buddy” and Hitomi Kuroishi does the ending theme “Starboard.”  The show starts off with Maaya Sakamoto’s notably powerful voice then ending with the sorrowful Hotomi Kuroishi’s choral piece.  For those of you not in the know, Hitomi Kuroishi (often credited as Hitomi for singing roles) is responsible all of the choral-like songs in Code Geass, Shangri-La, and the original Last Exile.  She is also responsible for those shows’ soundtrack.

Enough about the Last Exile as this is not a review.

We need more airships

It appears that success of this particular show will make or break GONZO.  Though they’ve been through worse, GONZO has been waning in the anime industry and they almost deserve a successful hit by now.  Just from a glimpse of the first episode, the show looks to be promising and definitely raised the bar of anticipation even higher.  Now the question is whether they can sell those blu-rays like hotcakes…  Stay tuned.