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"Spiral Zone": Earth's Most Powerful Sci-Fi Returns!

Thanks to Batman:The Animated Series‘ great success, today’s kids seem to prefer spandex to spacesuits, but in the mid to late 80s the airwaves were crowded with a number of prominent sci-fi series like The Transformers, The Centurions, and Silverhawks. Unfortunately the two very best shows of this period quickly slipped into obscurity due to […]

Chris Millar Regenerates the Spiral Zone

Longtime animation fan Chris Millar is the creator of Spiral-Zone.com, an extensive resource for the classic but nearly forgotten 1987 sci-fi series. In December he took it upon himself to make the show available for the first time in decades by releasing Spiral Zone: The Complete DVD Collection. Toon Zone News spoke to Chris Millar […]

"Trinity Blood Chapter 1": Up to its Neck in Thrills

I’m no great fan of horror films, but I confess a soft spot for vampires and zombies. Perhaps they are compelling because they are not quite as divorced from humanity as most horror monsters, and thus in a sense more tragic than beastly. Anime has of course had an intimate relationship with horror ever since […]

"Shinobi": Silent and Deadly Dull

In recent years flamboyant period action films from China have enjoyed considerable success internationally, most notably the Academy Award winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and most recently the Jet Li epic Fearless. Perhaps envious of its neighbor, Japan has begun fielding its own bigger and bolder productions. Takeshi Kitano’s offbeat Zatoichi has been the most […]

"Wrath of the Ninja": New History - Now With Monsters!

In the 1990s, as anime began to demonstrate its popularity on home video American distributors started releasing whatever they could lay their hands on. Thanks to the early success of exploitation titles like Fist of the North Star, their only criteria seemed to be that there was plentiful bloodshed. With a few notable exceptions like […]

"Street Fighter II The Animated Movie": Massive Martial Mayhem, Meager Motivation

For whatever reason, movie adaptations of video games never seem to turn out very well. Perhaps it is because studios seem to treat them more as easy money than actual films. They are confined to modest budgets, and wind up tacky spectacles with pedestrian scripts. Such was the case with the Street Fighter live action […]

"Basilisk Volume 1 Scrolls of Blood": If You Want Blood, You Got it

The samurai genre is so robust in anime that one wonders why there isn’t a similar demand for animated westerns in the U.S. Perhaps it is just one more indicator of the close bond Japan maintains with history and tradition in the face of rapid technological development. After all cell phones and kimonos is a […]

"Ten Animated Films by Signe Baumane": Latvia on the Hudson

These days we are so inundated with safe, glossy big studio animation that it’s easy to forget the bizarre low budget scribbles on the fringes of the industry. Especially since increasingly sophisticated films from the likes of Pixar are beginning to co-opt independent animation’s traditional advantage in thematic complexity. All that’s left is to be […]

"The Best of She-Ra": He-Man's Softer, Pinker Side

Recent hit television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Alias have finally removed the novelty of female action heroes, but no one could have predicted that two decades ago when the trailblazing film The Secret of the Sword introduced the warrior She-Ra’s fantasy adventures to the world. Finally it has arrived on DVD along […]

"Armored Trooper Votoms Volume 2": Destroying Hearts and Minds

It’s a shame that even with today’s advanced technology all-out mecha warfare remains but a dream. Still, there are heartening signs that day is nearing, such as a John Deere tractor that moves spider-like on six legs. Yes, I know how many legs a spider has, but you could have kept quiet about it. Anyway, […]

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