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Persona 4: The Golden Animation Episode #01 Anime Review

Persona 4: The Golden Animation Episode #01 Anime Review

P4G1New fans need not apply.

What They Say:
A teenager named Yu Narukami transfers to Yasogami High School. He hears from his new friends about something called the “Midnight Channel.” Will he attempt to watch a turned-off TV on a rainy night to find out what it is all about?

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As the tag above says, if you don’t know anything about Persona 4, then this is not a show for you. Persona 4 The Golden Animation is based off the Persona 4 re-release Persona 4 Golden which basically was the same as the original release, except that it had additional content. In similar fashion, Persona 4: The Animation came out originally in 2011, and followed the original game with a bit more detail. The Golden, similar to the re-release, follows the game but at a breakneck pace. If you’re not already a dedicated Persona 4 fan, this is not the show for you, and I’d recommend tracking down and watching the original Persona 4 anime (which can be found on Hulu).

Right from the beginning even, the series introduces the characters like an episode of Cheers – not giving the voice actors names, but the characters names, like they’re familiar faces and old friends.The show is very similar to many of the other Persona titles; Yu Narkami is new to a small rural town where strange things start happening; in P4, it’s involving TVs late at night. Supposedly, if you turn on a TV to static at midnight, you’ll see the ‘Midnight Channel’. This channel is in reality a portal to an alternate dimension, similar in some ways yet very twisted and strange in others.

Yu, along with some of his high school friends, end up getting sucked into a TV, and encounter a bizarre reflection of the town they all live in. With special glasses that allow them to see through a hazy mist, provided by ‘Teddy’, a strange creature that only lives in this TV-world, they’re able to see horrible monsters that are trying to consume them. Through the power of ‘Persona’ that Yu discovers though, he is able to destroy these creatures, and save everyone, escaping the TV world.

Familiar faces and the ‘Blue Room’ that has been a key part of both the Persona 3 and Persona 4 franchises are present, but again – if you don’t already know who these characters are, or what the Blue Room is, then you’re going to find yourself very lost, as there isn’t much explanation given to the audience. It assumes you’re already familiar with Persona 4, and therefore doesn’t take the time to explain who everyone is or what certain things mean.

In Summary:
A lot of times, there are shows based on previously existing franchises that try to educate new viewers and bring them into the folds while also appealing to diehard fans of the series. Then there are shows where it’s very obviously made for fans only, and the writers and creators do little to nothing to try and bring new fans onboard with the series. Considering that there are now two P4 anime titles, the first one is the one I’d recommend new fans go and watch to get familiar and acquainted with the series and characters. If you’re already a huge P4 fan, then you already know who ever character is, what the Blue Room means, what the Midnight Channel is, and what’s going to happen as this short series continues forward – which means this is exactly the show for you. If you don’t know what any of this stuff means, then it means that Persona 4: The Golden Animation is not for you, and if you try to watch it you’re going to find very little answered and have a lot of questions as things go on. As I said earlier, watch the first Persona 4 anime before diving into this one.

Grade: A / D+ (Fans of Persona 4/People who know nothing about Persona 4)

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Intel Alienware laptop, Windows 7, 25” HP2509m screen at 1920×1080 resolution

Check out the full article by Daniel Briscoe at

Frontier Works Sets Japanese ‘Higurashi no Naku Koro ni’ Blu-ray Anime Box Set

Frontier Works Sets Japanese ‘Higurashi no Naku Koro ni’ Blu-ray Anime Box Set

Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

The sprawling property that is this franchise is coming back into the spotlight again later this year as the 2006 series Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni is getting a Blu-ray box set. The set is expected to land on November 6th, 2014 where it ill contain all twenty six episodes from the series along with the special episode in a newly illustrated gatefold box set. The release is priced at 36,500 yen. No extras or pack-in elements are being detailed at this time.

The series was originally licensed and released by Geneon Entertainment in North America with FUNimation later handling some of the distribution. The anime is, however, long out of print. The manga is currently being released by Yen Press.

Plot concept: After moving into the quiet town of Hinamizawa, Maebara Keiichi spends his days blissfully in school often playing games with his local friends. However, appearances can be deceiving. One fateful day, Keiichi stumbles upon news of a murder that had occurred in Hinamizawa. From this point on, horrific events unfold in front of Keiichi, as he soon learns his close friends may not be all that they seem. Based on the amateur mystery game by 07th Expansion, the story is told in a series of different scenarios.

[Source: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni BD-Box]

Check out the full article by Chris Beveridge at

Sixth Japanese ‘Buddy Complex’ Anime DVD/BD Release Showcases More Drama CD Material

Sixth Japanese ‘Buddy Complex’ Anime DVD/BD Release Showcases More Drama CD Material

Buddy Complex Buddy Complex

As they’ve done with the previous installments, Bandai Visual is continuing their volume by volume teases for the upcoming sixth volume of Buddy Complex on Blu-ray and DVD that’s due out on August 27th, 2014. They’ve also got a new preview spot for the fifth volume, which is set to land on July 25th, 2014. While there was already interest for English speaking fans who enjoy the simulcast as it gets out there is that the set will include English subtitles as well, we’re also getting another taste of the drama CD side. Bandai Visual has put out a three minute sample of it on their Bandai Channel YouTube channel where we get to have the cast interacting as part of the fourth Buddy complex Extra Stories segments.

The show debuted on DVD and Blu-ray on March 26th, 2014 with the standard two episodes per disc format across six discs. The first five Blu-ray’s are listed at 7,350 yen each while the sixth is at 8,400 yen. All are listed as limited editions. The DVD releases are listed as regular editions and are priced at 6,300 yen for the first five and 7,350 yen for the sixth installment. Each installment of the Blu-ray limited editions are set to include a drama CD for the Buddy Complex Extra Stories, a 52 page archives booklet and a smartphone game serial code to use.

Plot concept: Revolving around the friendship and coming-of-age of two boys. It begins with Aoba Watase, a boy who goes to high school in Tokyo and lives a carefree daily life. On the morning of his school’s opening ceremony after summer vacation, he goes to campus as usual, but he has a chance encounter with another boy. The other boy’s name is Jyunyou Dio Weinberg. Their encounter will soon alter the fate of the world.

Check out the full article by Chris Beveridge at

Falling Skies Season 4 Episode #5 – Mind Wars Review

Falling Skies Season 4 Episode #5 – Mind Wars Review

Falling Skies Season 4 Episode 5 Falling Skies Season 4 Episode 5

The paths continue to slowly intersect and come together, but not without a lot of trouble along the way.

What They Say:
Mind Wars – Tom encounters strangers in the woods; Hal tries to lead the remaining Volm and the 2nd Mass to a place of safety; Lexi and Anne have a difference of opinion.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Bringing a few of the storylines together in the previous episode as different groups finally reconnect after being split in the season opener, it’s feeling like things are coming together. OF course, the show has had its bad moments so far, such as Lexi’s rapid growth and the bluntness of the whole Hitler Youth thing, but it’s also provided some interesting teases about what may really be going on with what the Espheni are doing and fighting against in the larger galactic scale. We got a good tease in the last episode as we saw how some of the leader communicate with each other, which has one of them manipulating Lexi in hopes of creating what they need, but it’s all tied to the stupidity of humanity as being useful in all of this. Which is hard to believe since they pretty much slaughtered the vast majority of humanity in the initial invasion.

With all that’s gone down, the Espheni are still pretty much hunting Tom down in a big way for what he did in torching one of them badly, making it a simple kind of grudge that’s driving them in this regard. We get to see a little more of that at the start here as he and Matt get caught in a warehouse, hearing a bit from Lourdes on the radio, before trying to avoid the Espheni and the Skitter that’s seeking them out. It’s a simple mouse hunt of sorts and you get the kind of awkward bit where Tom is able to get the two of them away relatively easily when you consider the higher intelligence and power that’s at work here. Bringing them back together with Cochise and Weaver is the end goal though and making their way to catching up with Hal. The radio message from Lourdes is certainly enticing to them, but reconnecting with the 2nd Mass is, what’s left of it is, important. And Cochise has his own mission to get back to, which you know will cycle back around later since he’s hunting up Espheni power sources.

Events at Lexi’s little sanctuary are not going well as Anne has taken the Espheni hostage and is interrogating him pretty intently. It’s causing a feedback problem with Ben though as the connection is no longer easy considering the changes that Ben has gone through and it’s taking quite the toll on him. But Anne is relentless since she sees the Espheni as nothing but a threat to her daughter and she’s not listening in the slightest to her. Lexi, of course, is pretty petulant and out of control with her powers, to the point where she nearly force-strangles Anne over the fact that Anne isn’t listening to her. The whole sanctuary is pretty much on edge and the way Anne is pushing things it’s not a surprise. And Lexi may try to play the calm and spiritual guide, but she doesn’t have the real experience to do that in a meaningful way.

Tom and Weaver have certainly made a decent team over the seasons so far and Matt’s not bad himself all things considered, especially since he took to Weaver early. When the trio comes across a couple of brothers while making their way towards where the think Hal has gone, it’s pretty friendly since they see Tom as a bit of a legend. There’s some decent stories swapped, but the whole thing turns into a trap for Tom as the brothers are actually collaborators of some sort. There’s a conflict within them in doing so, particularly Cooper, but both of them are essentially doing what they can to survive in this harsh new world. While they think that they killed Matt and Weaver and are taking in Tom, the truth is obviously something different, not that Tom knows it which sends him into a controlled spiral over the potential loss.

Hal’s leadership is one that is doing decently, though there are struggles among some of those that he works with since they’re older and more experienced. And he has Pope with him. But as they try to get more intel on their journey, we see a pretty good maneuver that should work, fails and the succeeds because of the luck and wildcard aspect of Pop is fun to watch. Especially since they’ve got a few Volm with them that are a little surprise that such tactics are actually working. They’re not exactly types to go the route of doing things that are highly irregular, but when they do they have an amusing kind of wide eyed innocence about it. And it is admittedly fun watching Pope and his new companion save the day in a willing kind of way rather than being forced into it or tricked into helping like has happened so many times before. Getting Pope onto the team isn’t easy, and it goes against type, but there’s also that sense that he has to really realize what’s at stake.

All the little arcs of the show naturally culminates in the final ten minutes or so, which is standard procedure for the show as it takes time to get to something meaningful. Anne pretty much beats an answer out of the Espheni, though not without some damage to Ben along the way. Tom figures out how to get under the skin of his captors in a big way while Matt and Weaver catch up and Matt struggles with taking another human life even if it is to save his father. And the whole last minute save naturally comes into play as well, which is simple writing that may work on some level. Hal’s storyline is a bit minimal overall in this episode but they do manage to get some decent intel towards the end as the Volm taps into their network and gets a good clue about what the Espheni are up to in terms of troop deployment and the path to take to get to the sanctuary.

In Summary:
Falling Skies advances everything in small ways here as the various arcs that are going on keep pushing everyone towards Lexi’s sanctuary. The struggles there are pronounced enough and we see the issues at stake that Anne has been making worse because of her pretty blunt style in getting things accomplished. The whole sanctuary arc has its place but it’s still not working with the way it’s set up now and it mostly just leaves me frustrated with it. There’s some decent stuff with Hal and his group this time and some good stuff with Tom as he deals with both Weaver and Matt but also the two guys that they end up getting caught up with. When it sticks to just the trio though, there’s a pretty good sense about it in how they’d be on the outside of things and survive while also figuring things out about themselves. It’s not great, but it’s not bad either. It’s just sort of there, which is how things will likely go for a good chunk of this season unfortunately until they get serious about what the real storyline is.

Grade: C+

Check out the full article by Chris Beveridge at

'Brothers Conflict' Anime Getting New OVAs

'Brothers Conflict' Anime Getting New OVAs

Brothers Conflict Brothers Conflict

Summer 2013 anime series Brothers Conflict, which was simulcast by FUNimation, has gotten the nod to have more OVA episodes produced for it. The news comes from the official site that a new OVA will land later in 2014 while the second will hit in early 2015. The shows are working around familiar themes that you can see how the timing will work as the first is a Christmas themed episode while the second revolves around Valentine’s Day. The main cast for the series is returning for the show and it’s presumed at this time that the staff will return as well for Brains Base.

Plot concept: Brothers Conflict revolves around Hinata Ema, the only daughter of a famous adventurer. When her father decides to remarry, she leaves the lovebirds alone and moves in with her 13 new step-brothers.

[Source: ANN]

Check out the full article by Chris Beveridge at

Case Closed Vol. #51 Manga Review

Case Closed Vol. #51 Manga Review

Case Closed Vol. #51 Case Closed Vol. #51

Murder with a side of murder and some extra murder on top, to go.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Gosho Aoyama
Translation/Adaptation: Tetsuichiro Miyaki

What They Say
The Cat Who Read Japanese
Digging for clams at the beach, the Junior Detective League digs up a mystery instead. Did a depressed beachgoer commit suicide, or was he murdered by one of his friends? Then detective Richard Moore faces a challenge beyond his crime-fighting abilities: taking care of his ex-wife’s new kitten! But the pesky furball leads him to the clues he needs to solve an impenetrable code. Could there be a new detective in town—one even cuter than Conan?

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I had the perfect teaser line for this review, but the book editor beat me to it with the “Cat Who” reference on the back cover. (There was an extremely long running mystery series with that title, you’ve probably noticed the books back when bookstores were a thing that existed.) The author himself didn’t make the connection, as the ‘detective dedication’ for this volume has nothing to do with that series.

This volume is bursting with cases, starting with the conclusion to the murder on the ski slope flashback. Jimmy and Harley reveal to the police the solution to the crime, but both refuse credit thinking that the other kid detective on the case solved it without outside help. The joke being that Harley doesn’t realize Jimmy was the other kid detective.

The second case is a bit more down to earth, and one that could have turned very bad very quickly. It seems that I hear the news of a child who died because they were left alone in a hot car far too often lately. A waitress at a cafe the Moores are at finds herself in a situation where she can prevent such a death, but they have to find the trapped child first! Luck is on their side because it’s not a summertime case, but it may also be a missing person case as well because no one knows what happened to the little boy’s father. The clues the trio use to narrow down a location seem extremely obtuse, and had this been reality things probably wouldn’t have had a happy ending.

Next up is a trip to the beach for the Junior Detectives, as it appears everyone is out on the beach digging clams. As a New Englander, those clams the kids are digging up look pretty small, so littleneck size. Conan gives the others a lesson on how to find the bivalves. I guess clamming is a popular beach activity in Japan? Anyway, it’s not that important as the crime that takes place on the beach could have taken place anywhere. A fatal poisoning occurs that looks very much like a suicide, but looks can be deceiving.

The lead case for this volume, and the one that resulted in a photo of a cat on the cover, involves not murder or suicide but a simple coded message. I have to wonder how Detective Moore makes a living when he is shown barely working. If it wasn’t for Conan the guy would be living on the streets or selling fast food. A simple case comes to Moore, a man wants to know what his daughter has been texting behind his back but it appears to be written in code. Conan, being a teenager in mind if not body, easily figures out what he’s looking at right away. Meanwhile, Rachel is cat-sitting for her mother and the little kitten proceeds to spend the day giving clues to the laziest detective alive. I don’t buy that Conan could have anticipated the hints Moore would gleam from a curious kitten finding hidden stashes of treats around the house. It’s also rather sad that the detective didn’t think to ask his own teenage daughter if the coded slang he was looking at was a common thing. World’s worst detective and father.

The final case in this volume has yet another murder happening right in front of Conan, making him the world’s most cursed six-year-old nine years running. A cursed house in the mountains ends up providing the perfect scenario for a copycat murder, once again framed as a suicide. This is the third case in the same volume where it’s a faked suicide! A locked room murder is one of the oldest mysteries one can hope to come across. The solution this time is elegant in it’s realism, because an old creepy mansion is likely to have a secret passageway or two. Even Conan has to resort to more simple tricks to convey his solution to the officer in charge of the investigation, fearing the watchful eye of Eisuke.

In Summary
Suicide or murder? Why, it’s always murder of course! For once I wish the solution was suicide, as a person is far more likely to kill themselves than kill another person. To break up the monotony of the tragicomic deaths which follow the cast of Case Closed around like the grim specter of mortality we get two other cases of lighter consequence. I personally like the kid trapped in a car case more than the ‘cat detective’ one, because sometimes a bit of grounded realism is a land of absurdity is the best escape of all. Even if the mysteries are feeling a bit stale, at least the character interaction is still top notch.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: A -
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: B

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
MSRP: $9.99

Check out the full article by Kate O’Neil at

Hayley Atwell Getting ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Appearance

Hayley Atwell Getting ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Appearance

Agent Carter Agent Carter

The film keeps getting bigger and more involved with the cast that it has but now word has landed that Hayley Atwell will have a small part in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Director Joss Whedon had written what he commented on a couple of years back was one of the best scenes for the character with Steve Rogers in the present, but it was cut from Avengers due to pacing only to end up in a new form in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. While out doing press, Hayley Atwell revealed to Entertainment Weekly that she’s going to be in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which will come out after her eight episode run in the mid-season break show Agent Carter, which takes us back to the late 40′s and the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D. and more. The role for the film, she says, came about in an even out with Joss Whedon. “We went out drinking one night and he was like, ‘You know, it would be great to write something for you,’” she says. “And I was like , ‘Yes, Joss, it would! It would be amazing!’”

It’s expected that this will be a flashback scene of some sort as there were set reports back in April during filming in London that had Chris Evans there with descriptions of Lindy Hop dancing going on.

[Source: Entertainment Weekly via CBM]

Check out the full article by Chris Beveridge at

Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels Book Review

Words for Pictures: The Art and Business of Writing Comics and Graphic Novels Book Review

Words For PicturesAn indispensable guide to the art and business of creating comics.

Brian Michael Bendis

What They Say
Arguably the most popular writer in modern comics, Brian Michael Bendis shares the tools and techniques he uses to create some of the most popular comic book and graphic novel stories of all time. Words for Pictures provides a fantastic opportunity for readers to learn from a creator at the very top of his field. Bendis’s step-by-step lessons teach comics writing hopefuls everything they’ll need to take their ideas from script to dynamic sequential art.

The Review:
Love him or hate him (I like his work), Brian Michael Bendis is one of the top creators working in mainstream comics today. He played a major role in the reshaping of the Avengers franchise, was at the ground floor for Marvel’s Ultimate line, writing every issue of the extremely popular Ultimate Spider-Man series. Bendis also teaches a class on sequential art at the University of Oregon, where he uses his own experiences and that of his peers to teach his students the craft and business of creating comics.

It’s the emphasis on the business aspect that in many ways lead to the creation of this book. While there are excellent books out there on the craft and theory of comics (Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art being the gold standard), the actual business side—how to break in, and, more importantly, how to act like a professional—was often neglected. This is the book’s raison d’être, and let me tell you right now, Words for Pictures deserves a place on the shelf right by McCloud and Eisner.

One thing that becomes crystal clear when reading this is Bendis’ absolute dedication not just to the craft of writing comics, but to the craft of writing. It’s obvious that this is something he has spent a lifetime studying and mastering (to the degree that anyone can), and that love of the craft shines through brilliantly while at the same time tempered by a recognition of the importance of the practical aspects of the art.

This eye for practicality particularly appears in the way he continually hammers home the fact that comics are a collaborative art. The degree to which the collaboration happens varies, of course. There are some creators out there who write, pencil, ink, letter, color, and seemingly do everything right up to the part where you staples the book together, but others—like Bendis—work on only one aspect. Each step of the creation process often has one person for each part: the editor, the writer, the penciler, the inker, the letter, and the colorist. Although this book was written with the writer in mind, the writer is not a solo act. S/he must collaborate with others in the process, and as Bendis shows, that can really be where the power and joy in writing comics is born.

Bendis’ emphasis on the collaborative nature of the medium is wonderfully brought home with interviews with and guest sections written by writers, artists, and editors. There are times when it feels like you’re sitting in on a roundtable discussion between some of the best in the industry with Bendis serving as moderator.

In Summary:
Words for Pictures is an indispensable guide to the craft and business of creating comics and it deserves to be on the shelf right next to Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Will Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art. Bendis balances a genuine love for comics and the craft of writing with the practical aspects of the business side of the art. While there are no guarantees in life, and Bendis will be the first to tell you that buying this book will not make breaking into the medium a cinch, it will certainly help increase your chances and hopefully keep you from making rookie mistakes. Highly recommended.

Content Grade: A+

Published By: Watson Guptill
Release Date: July 22, 2014
MSRP: $24.99

Check out the full article by Josh Begley at

'Bleach The Movie 3: Fade To Black' Anime Gets Limited Time Hulu Distribution

'Bleach The Movie 3: Fade To Black' Anime Gets Limited Time Hulu Distribution

Bleach: Fade To Black Bleach: Fade To Black

Viz Media through Neon Alley has put together a new limited time event for Bleach fans by bringing the third movie, Fade to Black, to the Hulu service. The show, which was released on DVD and Blu-ray in North America back at the end of 2011, is available in both English and Japanese with English subtitles now through August 16th, 2014. For those with a Hulu Plus subscription, you can watch this show in HD on your TV, mobile and computer.

Plot concept: A mysterious figure has broken into Mayuri Kurotsuchi’s laboratory in the Seireitei. Rukia witnesses this catastrophe, and the intruders abduct Rukia as she feels something inside of her fade away.

Meanwhile, in the World of the Living, Ichigo and Kon experience a strange disturbance and head to Kisuke Urahara’s shop for some answers. When Kisuke informs them about the destruction of the Seireitei, the two set out for the Soul Society.

What awaits Ichigo in the devastated Seireitei, however, are Soul Reapers who seem to have lost all memory related to both him and Rukia. Ichigo must find out what happened to Rukia and try to save her before the two are forced to part ways forever!

Check out the full article by Chris Beveridge at

FUNimation Reveals Episode 2 ‘Terror in Resonance’ Anime Clip

FUNimation Reveals Episode 2 ‘Terror in Resonance’ Anime Clip

Terror in Resonance Terror in Resonance

As the summer 2014 anime simulcasts continue, FUNimation has gone with a new clip for the second episode of Terror in Resonance. It’s still a bit unusual to get episode by episode clips, but we’re not complaining, especially since it’s smart marketing. When you realize that their YouTube channel has over a million followers, it makes sense to put the show in front of them even more in this form and drive them to the series portal. The series is one that has some anticipation to it as it comes from the noitaminA block and has a strong production side to it as it will be directed by Shinichiro Watanabe at studio Mappa with Kazuto Nakazaswa designing the characters while Yoko Kanno is doing the music for it.

Plot concept: In an alternate version of the present, Tokyo has been decimated by a shocking terrorist attack, and the only hint to the identity of the culprit is a bizarre video uploaded to the internet. The police, baffled by this cryptic clue, are powerless to stop the paranoia spreading across the population.

While the world searches for a criminal mastermind to blame for this tragedy, two mysterious children – children who shouldn’t even exist – masterfully carry out their heinous plan. Cursed to walk through this world with the names Nine and Twelve, the two combine to form “Sphinx,” a clandestine entity determine to wake the people from their slumber – and pull the trigger on this world.

Check out the full article by Chris Beveridge at