The Princess Tutu anime recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and held a fan event called the spring festival, aka Frühlingsfest! I believe this was the first Princess Tutu event available to be streamed overseas, so I excitedly jumped on the opportunity to watch the recording via Mahocast. Though the landing page had the event description in multiple languages, since the actual stream didn’t have English subtitles, I thought someone might be interested in hearing about what happened in the event. If that’s you, read on for a full recap of all the proceedings!Read More
If you’ve been listening to the Pixel x Pixel podcast (and if you’re not, you should!), you’ll know that I’ve frequently lamented the fact that I haven’t been to a geek convention in a long time. Well, back in May, I fixed that!
I had the opportunity to go to the Madman Anime Festival, or Madfest, in Brisbane as a media attendee, and I spent both the Saturday and Sunday (May 25-26) seeing everything the convention had to offer. This was my first time attending any Madfest convention, and though it was smaller than I expected (just one hall in the Brisbane Convention Centre), it was packed full of fun!Read More
I can’t believe it’s nearly three weeks into 2015 and I’m only just now getting around to finalizing my favorite game and anime picks of 2014! They always say time moves fast, but I’m definitely feeling it right now. Regardless, I’d like to take the opportunity to weigh in on some of my favorite Japanese media from the past year, in no particular order. Keep in mind that the first few items in each category were also mentioned in the holiday episode of Chic Pixel Plus, so if you want to hear more about a particular pick, please check it out!
The DVD/Blu-ray combo comes with 3 DVDs and 3 Blu-rays with both the new dub and original Japanese audio, along with an 88-page booklet featuring everything from character art to episode guides. For those who just want the episodes without all the thrills, there will also be a 3 DVD set that comes without the limited edition art book.
MSRP for the limited edition DVD/Blu-ray set is $79.95, but you can get it for significantly cheaper ($52.95 as of this post) on Amazon. Similarly, the DVD set has an MSRP of $44.82, but is currently up for preorder for $34.99 on Amazon. If you can’t wait to get your hands on the physical version, you can watch the subtitled episodes on VIZ’s streaming service Neon Alley and Hulu.
I’m so excited to finally be able to watch the original Sailor Moon anime in HD, completely uncut! While the original dub, no matter how bad it may be, will always hold a weirdly special place in my heart for being my first introduction to the series (and subsequently anime), it’s great to see VIZ putting the time and effort to doing a more accurate the dub for a new generation of young fans. The 88 page art book is a great addition, as well. I can’t wait to see what’s inside!
I’ve always said that the best kind of nerdy fashion is that which incorporates nerd/geek culture in an interesting yet trendy and not completely obvious way, and this new Card Captor Sakura bag line by the Japanese brand Super Groupies does exactly that. They manage to be adorable and functional without screaming “I’m from an anime/manga series!” but also have lots of details that will most certainly appreciate. Let’s take a look!
The zippers are shaped like Sakura’s sealing wand when it’s in key form!
Finally, here’s a close up of the Clow book pouch. I really love the design on this one!
Card Captor Sakura-inspired bags aren’t the only CCS items Super Groupies is offering, though they’re definitely the most exciting.
It’s hard to make out the design by the ankle, but there are also these Kero “tattoo” stockings. I’m not actually all that fond of these… I think I’d much prefer a pair of stockings with a full pattern like the one featured inside the bags, even if it is a bit flashy (what can I say, I like flashy stockings).
Super Groupies also offers a number of other anime-inspired items, including some gorgeous Revolutionary Girl Utena shoes. I can’t say yet whether or not I’ll spring for one of the Card Captor Sakura bags, but I know at the very least that I’ll keep this brand on my radar from now on!
There are two other things you could say I have quite the fondness for, however: Japanese collaboration campaigns and regional merchandise. That makes this new Blendy stick x Hello Kitty series is a real double whammy for me. Not only is the Blendy stick instant coffee/tea brand teaming up with Hello Kitty, but their new series of drinks are regional flavors only available in certain areas! Isn’t the packaging fabulous?
Unfortunately from the looks of the official shop listing, these may be rather hard to find depending on where in Japan you visit. There’s only one shop in Tokyo that carries any of these, and it’s the bottom middle Tochiotome Strawberry Café au Lait! The Tochiotome strawberry is a specialty of Tochigi prefecture, where the Tochiotome Blendy sticks will be primarily sold. The other flavors will be featured in other popular Japanese tourist destinations – check out the company’s website for the complete list.
I don’t always talk about what anime I’m currently watching, but I’m going to try to remedy that! Hopefully this new weekend column will be the perfect opportunity to write a paragraph or two about whatever’s currently caught my fancy.
This week, I started Yowamushi Pedal, a shōnen bicycle anime currently at episode 34 of a 38-episode season. From what I understand, it’s pretty popular in Japan, and has already been renewed for a second season. Like many male sports anime, it also happens to have a large female fanbase, many of whom like to pair up the male characters with one another in fan-written dōjinshi… I must admit, that aspect of the series is one of the reasons why I was initially drawn to it, as I’m always looking for new things that I can relate to my thesis (not that I’m running out of stuff to cover…).
The first two episodes hooked me right away, I really like the relatively slow build the series takes to get the main character interested in the sport we all know he ultimately becomes obsessed with. The main character, Onoda, is also an otaku, and unlike the vast majority of media that depicts male otaku as moe-obsessed creeps, he is an extremely loveable protagonist who comes across as a very genuine shy teenager that I personally relate to pretty strongly. For me to relate to a character in a series that’s 90% about boys and sports is a pretty amazing feat! That said, I was a little disappointed to see the show fall into fairly stereotypical plot and character tropes as it developed. Since I’m only on episode 7, I hope it surprises me again sooner rather than later! I know quite a people who think pretty highly of it, so I’m willing to stick with it a while longer.
If you’re reading this, you already know that Chic Pixel is back to residing at chicpixel.blogspot.com temporarily, but I just wanted to give another update on the situation: since chic-pixel.com is down, the podcast feed is no longer working, either. It looks like everything will likely be offline until the 12th as the domain is being transfered to a new host (long story). Disqus is also broken, which means all previous comments aren’t showing up right now, but I think once I start up the redirect again I should be able to fix it so they all reappear. Fingers crossed that my Google ranking and whatnot won’t be totally ruined by the time the site is back. Thanks for sticking with me through the move!
Way back in August of last year, I wrote about an anime short called Little Witch Academia and how it brought back memories of some of my favorite magical girl series from my youth. With its gorgeous animation, great cast of female characters, and charming story, I immediately knew it was something I wanted to see more of. I highly suggest reading the above article for more of my impressions of the episode, as today I’m not going to focus on the merits of Little Witch Academia itself (suffice it to say, I think it’s wonderful!), but rather the lovely Blu-ray release now available from Studio Trigger’s online store.
When my copy of the Blu-ray arrived courtesy of acttil, I was immediately impressed by the quality of the packaging. Not only does it come with the main event, the 26 minute episode of Little Witch Academia itself, but it also includes a documentary, soundtrack CD, and a separate book full of illustrations, storyboards, interviews, and more!
|Back cover of the book|
The official booklet’s cover has the title embossed in gold text, which is a lovely touch. Though it’s a paperback, the detail put into the cover on its own reveals that it is by no means a cheap extra. In fact, the book itself is 112 pages long! Let’s take a look inside:
|Two pages from the “story & commentary” section|
Approximately one third of the book is in full color, which includes the gorgeous two-page spread shown above, illustrations of the main characters, an “image board” that consists of some backgrounds and environmental items, an overview of the story with commentary, and a color storyboard. The full color pages look great, but I wish there were a few more of them. Luckily, the rest of the book is still chock-full of amazing sketches and information.
There are a number of color glossy pages dedicated to specific animators, but since the images are all sketches, it seems like a waste to put them on the “nicer” paper at the beginning when there are full color stills that do not get the benefit of similar nice paper later on in the book (see images below). This is a very nitpicky critique, though, as the animator-specific sections and associated interviews provide a lot of interesting insight and it’s nice that Studio Trigger decided to highlight them by putting them towards the front of the book.
It’s so pink! I love how psychedelic it is. The Blu-ray itself is self-explanatory, but the bonus production documentary “How the Magic was Created” is definitely worth mentioning. It includes English subtitles and clocks in at a whopping 66 minutes, and is an eye-opening glimpse at what work in a Japanese animation studio is like.
The soundtrack CD consists of 13 songs, making it 18 minutes of full orchestral music. It’s not often that I even notice the music in an anime, so the fact that I listen to this soundtrack when I’m not watching Little Witch Academia is pretty high praise. One of my favorite tracks is Shiny Chariot’s Theme – it has a great sense of grandeur and wonder that I feel encompasses my feelings for the show as a whole.
Honestly, I can’t believe this Little Witch Academia Blu-ray set is only ¥6,171 (approx. $60)! It’s an amazing package and it really does the episode justice. While the Kickstarter for Little Witch Academia episode two has already been funded, I’d definitely recommend supporting the series by purchasing the episode one Blu-ray. You won’t regret it!