Toon Zone News http://www.toonzone.net Animation news and discussion. toonzone provides cartoon, comic book, movie and video game news, information and community to enthusiasts. Tue, 07 Jul 2015 06:36:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Bryan Konietzko Announces "Threadworlds"http://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/bryan-konietzko-announces-threadworlds/ http://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/bryan-konietzko-announces-threadworlds/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 06:36:35 +0000 http://www.toonzone.net/?p=482071 Threadworlds

You may know Bryan Konietzko and his creative partner Michael Dante DiMartino for the creation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, one of the greatest cartoon shows of all time (this has been proven by science) and its sequel The Legend of Korra, which wrapped up last year. Since then, people have wondered what the pair are […]

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Threadworlds

You may know Bryan Konietzko and his creative partner Michael Dante DiMartino for the creation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, one of the greatest cartoon shows of all time (this has been proven by science) and its sequel The Legend of Korra, which wrapped up last year. Since then, people have wondered what the pair are going to cook up next. We still don’t know what DiMartino’s up to, but Konietzko revealed to Entertainment Weekly today that his next project is called Threadworlds.

Threadworlds isn’t a cartoon, but a graphic novel. It stars a young scientist named Nova who’s hungry to explore the universe, or at least what she can reach in the immediate vicinity — which would be any of the four other planets that share the same orbit as hers. “Threadworlds has high stakes, relatable characters and a wide range of tones — similar to the work I co-created with Michael,” says Bryan. “And though the focus is on science there will be plenty of action and adventure.”

There will also be lavishly painted backgrounds and inventive character designs, similar to what we’ve come to expect from the co-creator of Avatar. “I was trying to think of a sci-fi idea, and separately a fantasy idea. When the concept [of] Threadworlds popped into my head, I found a way to weave those genres together.”

Look for Konietzko’s Threadworlds on bookstore shelves in 2017. …….2017? How cruel! I can’t even promise you there will still be bookstores then!

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"Legend of the Galactic Heroes" Science Fiction Animation, Novels To Be Released In Englishhttp://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/legend-of-the-galactic-heroes-science-fiction-animation-novels-to-be-released-in-english/ http://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/legend-of-the-galactic-heroes-science-fiction-animation-novels-to-be-released-in-english/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 21:18:19 +0000 http://www.toonzone.net/?p=481901 LoGH_Splash

Science fiction fans got momentous news this past weekend with separate announcements that media for Japan’s Legend of the Galactic Heroes would be released in English during Anime Expo 2015. Sentai Filmworks announced that it had licensed home video rights for the long-running cartoon, while Viz Media will begin to publish the original books written […]

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LoGHnovel1Science fiction fans got momentous news this past weekend with separate announcements that media for Japan’s Legend of the Galactic Heroes would be released in English during Anime Expo 2015. Sentai Filmworks announced that it had licensed home video rights for the long-running cartoon, while Viz Media will begin to publish the original books written by Japanese novelist Yoshiki Tanaka. Among other works Tanaka also authored the fantasy series The Heroic Legend of Arslan, which is receiving a modern retelling via Hiromu Arakawa’s manga published by Kodansha USA and an animated series based on it distributed by FUNimation Entertainment.

A winner of Japan’s prestigious Seiun Award for the best published science fiction in 1988, the Legend of the Galactic Heroes novel series tells the sweeping story of an ongoing intergalactic war between two factions of humanity in the 36th century: the aristocratic Galactic Empire and the democratic Free Planets Alliance. Amid its cast of dozens the story fixates in particular on two brilliant commanders on either side, along with their inner circle. Within the Galactic Empire Reinhard von Musel aspires to overturn the ruling dynasty he considers to be corrupt from within and eventually conquer the galaxy, while the alliance’s Yang Wenli is an aspiring historian turned soldier whose triumphs thrust him into leadership and ever greater responsibilities despite his personal distaste for the war.

In animated form the main storyline of Legend of the Galactic Heroes spans 110 episodes released direct to video in Japan from 1988 to 1997, which adapts the material from the ten novel series. Additionally, a second series of 52 episodes released from 1998 to 2000 adapts four books of side stories that Tanaka wrote. Also produced was the standalone OVA episode Golden Wings that covered the days of Reinhard’s youth, and two movies that recount events that take place before and during the beginning of the main series. Sentai Filmworks has not yet announced release details for this material.

As for the novels, Viz Media will publish the first book Dawn on March 8, 2016 physically and digitally via its Haikasoru imprint. The second and third books, Ambition and Endurance, will also be published in 2016. At this time these are the only novel releases scheduled, and future volumes will depend on the sales of the first three books.

This news comes following a February 2014 announcement in Japan that a new animated project for Legend of the Galactic Heroes would be produced as an original adaptation of material from Tanaka’s novels with new creative staff. Further details about the production and the timing of its release have not yet been revealed.

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Michael K. Williams Cast In Assassin’s Creed Flickhttp://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/michael-k-williams-cast-in-assassins-creed-flick/ http://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/michael-k-williams-cast-in-assassins-creed-flick/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 20:21:41 +0000 http://www.toonzone.net/?p=481941 ass

Michael K. Williams [Chalky White in “Boardwalk Empire”] has been cast alongside Michael Fassbender in the upcoming film version of the video game, “Assassin’s Creed”. Williams’ role has yet to be defined but is reportedly a co-starring role with Fassbender. Marion Cotillard is also in the cast. “Assassin’s Creed” is currently scheduled to be released […]

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Michael K. Williams [Chalky White in “Boardwalk Empire”] has been cast alongside Michael Fassbender in the upcoming film version of the video game, “Assassin’s Creed”. Williams’ role has yet to be defined but is reportedly a co-starring role with Fassbender. Marion Cotillard is also in the cast.

“Assassin’s Creed” is currently scheduled to be released on December 21, 2016.

 Actor Michael Kenneth Williams (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)

Actor Michael Kenneth Williams (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)

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Dark Horse Comics Producing Dragon Age Comic By Greg Ruckahttp://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/dark-horse-comics-producing-dragon-age-comic-by-greg-rucka/ http://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/dark-horse-comics-producing-dragon-age-comic-by-greg-rucka/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 19:58:45 +0000 http://www.toonzone.net/?p=481881 DRAGON_AGE_MAGEKILLER_1_COVER.0.0

Today, Dark Horse let one of their SDCC announcements out early: a new limited series based on a popular game franchise. BioWare’s Dragon Age series of roleplaying games is getting a comic spinoff later this year, and the story is being written by rising legend Greg Rucka. If you’re unfamiliar with Rucka’s work, rectify that […]

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Today, Dark Horse let one of their SDCC announcements out early: a new limited series based on a popular game franchise. BioWare’s Dragon Age series of roleplaying games is getting a comic spinoff later this year, and the story is being written by rising legend Greg Rucka. If you’re unfamiliar with Rucka’s work, rectify that immediately (here’s a good way to start, and it’s free).

As a big fan of RPG games, and of the Dragon Age series, Rucka felt a lot of pressure to create a narrative that did the series justice, and he believes he succeeded. It was no easy task due to the malleable nature of the games — depending on the decisions players make, one person’s game may differ completely from another’s. “We’re talking about a roleplaying game where your decisions as the player radically influence what the world looks like. […] I want for you to read the comic and say ‘This fits with my playthrough.’ And I want that to be the case for everybody who comes to it.”

You can check out Dragon Age: Magekiller for yourself this December and see if Rucka pulled it off. See Dark Horse’s press release below for the full details.

 

ACCLAIMED WRITER BRINGS A NEW, ORIGINAL ‘DRAGON AGE’ STORY TO DARK HORSE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MILWAUKIE, OR—This December, Greg Rucka enters the world of Thedas for an all-new chapter in Dark Horse Comics and BioWare’s Dragon Age comics.

Running parallel to the events of the award-winning Dragon Age: Inquisition video game from BioWare and Electronic Arts, Dragon Age: Magekiller introduces two new characters to Dragon Age lore: Tessa and Marius are mercenary partners, eliminating those who use blood magic to hurt others, but when a powerful patron employs them, they realize this next job may be their last…

“I think the effort that Bioware has consistently put into every on of their roleplaying games—we can talk about Mass Effect, we can talk about Dragon Age, we can talk about Jade Empire, you can go down the list—is really stunning,” Rucka told Polygon. “I know with Dragon Age in particular, we’re talking about a fantasy setting that is probably one of the most fully and beautifully realized examples of world building that we’ve seen.”

Illustrated by Carmen Carnero (Cyclops) with covers by Sachin Teng, Dragon Age: Magekiller is the beginning of a new adventure in the world of Thedas and an essential addition to the Dragon Age canon. For more information, check out Polygon’s exclusive interview with Greg Rucka.

Don’t miss this perfect entry point into the epic dark-fantasy world of Dragon Age! Preorder your copy of Dragon Age: Magekiller #1 today from your local comic shop.

Dragon Age: Magekiller #1
Greg Rucka (W), Carmen Carnero (A), Sachin Teng (Cover)
$3.99
On sale Dec. 16; FOC Nov. 23

About Dark Horse
Founded in 1986 by Mike Richardson, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent, such as Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Brian Wood, Gerard Way, Felicia Day, and Guillermo del Toro, and comics legends, such as Will Eisner, Neal Adams, and Jim Steranko, Dark Horse has developed its own successful properties, such as The Mask, Ghost, Timecop, and SpyBoy. Its successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Mass Effect, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan, EVE Online, Halo, Serenity, Game of Thrones, and Domo. Today Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic book publisher in the US and is recognized as one of the world’s leading publishers of both creator-owned content and licensed comics material.

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Marvel Experience Shut Downhttp://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/marvel-experience-shut-down/ http://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/marvel-experience-shut-down/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 16:06:16 +0000 http://www.toonzone.net/?p=481851 marvelexp

After debuting in Phoenix and traveling to San Diego, Dallas and Philadelphia, the traveling theme show circus dubbed the “Marvel Experience” has been shut down by Marvel and cancelled for the remainder of the scheduled tour. St. Louis, Chicago and New York were among the tour’s scheduled stops – refunds will be issued to those […]

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After debuting in Phoenix and traveling to San Diego, Dallas and Philadelphia, the traveling theme show circus dubbed the “Marvel Experience” has been shut down by Marvel and cancelled for the remainder of the scheduled tour.

St. Louis, Chicago and New York were among the tour’s scheduled stops – refunds will be issued to those who purchased tickets for the tour.

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Review: "Kill la Kill Volume 3 Blu-ray (UK Edition)" - Puts Its Glad Rags Onhttp://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/review-kill-la-kill-volume-3-blu-ray-uk-edition-puts-its-glad-rags-on/ http://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/review-kill-la-kill-volume-3-blu-ray-uk-edition-puts-its-glad-rags-on/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 12:00:01 +0000 http://www.toonzone.net/?p=480621 Killlakill3-splash

The second volume of Kill la Kill ended with various big reveals. Satsuki was not the villain she appeared to be, her mother was plotting to offer humanity to alien life that was the genesis of clothing on Earth, and (perhaps most shocking of all) Ryuko was related to both of them: the long lost […]

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Kill La Kill Blu-ray Cover (UK Edition)The second volume of Kill la Kill ended with various big reveals. Satsuki was not the villain she appeared to be, her mother was plotting to offer humanity to alien life that was the genesis of clothing on Earth, and (perhaps most shocking of all) Ryuko was related to both of them: the long lost biological younger sister of Satsuki who was experimented on by their mother in the hopes of best fusing humans with the alien Life Fibres.

Ryuko takes this as well as one might expect, which is to say not at all, as the cliffhanger from the previous set showed. Disgusted with herself, she abandons her loyalties thus far and elects to target Ragyo in a brutal rampage. The problem is that by this point we’ve seen Ryuko lose heart a few times, so this comes off as material too well-worn to carry the obviously intended dramatic punch. What it does allow, however, is a nice case of role reversal when Ryuko’s rampage sees her play into the enemies hands and Satsuki must step up as the only one with any chance of stopping her.

As I was having to discuss a ton of episodes and introduce the story last time, I couldn’t really discuss the villains but they are a treat. Anime is famous for having unique, scary and bombastic villains, but few match up to the likes of Ragyo and her hellspawn surrogate daughter Nui Harime. Ragyo is the kind of terrifying enigma of a villain who, despite having plenty of screen time, never betrays the inner workings of her mind to other characters or the audience. Wholeheartedly fixated on serving the Life Fibres and offering them the rest of humanity, she’s a chilling mix of having a clear intent but shadowy motivations for exactly why she pursues this end. Normally that could be seen as the sign of a poor antagonist, but in a time when anime increasingly seems to feel that a sob story on a deathbed can excuse the very worst behavior, it’s nice to see a return to a villain who is swift and unapologetic. She also pulls it off with an incredible sense of style, a factor where art direction, animation, voice acting (the always incredible Romi Park), and musical score really come together. Kill la Kill has an incredible soundtrack in general, with Ragyo’s theme being a prime example of how haunting and hard-hitting it can be.

Nui is also a lot of fun. Much like Ragyo, on the surface she’s something long term anime fans will have seen before: the cute girly girl who is in fact an elite, psychopathic killer. Nui is raised beyond this troubling cliché for what an active troll she is, frequently defying and weaponising the visual conventions of the show she’s in. She leans on the massive on-screen descriptive text, can touch someone she’s sharing a split screen with, etc. There’s no doubt that she’s a villain, and both cast and audience are given good reason to want to see her taken down. However, she’s so entertaining you don’t mind waiting for that moment and the odd moments of one-upmanship Ryuko and the others get along the way are all the more satisfying. It’s a bit like the classic Batman and Joker dynamic: we laugh at the Joker’s black humour and trickery because ultimately we know he’s got a date with the hammers of justice.  It’s the same with Nui, and without giving anything away she receives a particularly cathartic piece of payback before all is said and done.

Kill la KillThe endgame is the chief focus of the disc, with the final five episodes primarily covering it. It’s not my absolute favourite anime finale, but it’s easy to see Trigger put their heart into it as we get a chain of epic moments which are then successively outdone. This goes to such lengths that both opening and endings songs are used to punctuate the seeming final victory, only for another one of the four having to be used for the next. This could wear out its welcome but actually lends more impact to the moment and feels right at home in a series so joyously playing with the formula of TV anime.

Included in the episode order is the bonus 25th episode OVA. This serves as an epilogue to the plot while providing one final adventure for those who survived. I’m mixed on this; although it does add some nice further closure to the ending and addresses some issues about Satsuki’s actions vs her motivations, I’m not 100% convinced it’s needed to end the story. It certainly ties back to the starting point with its focus on graduation, and the villain of the piece was intentionally left as such from the TV run, but it’s more of a cheerful coda than a necessity. In some ways, it actually works better if sampled with a gap from the show’s finale, since points of it are clearly nostalgic nods and gags for fans.

The other stand out extra is “Naked Memories,” a short comedic series recap narrated by Ryuko’s teacher/Nudist Beach commander Aikuro Mikisugi…or as some might know him, actor Shinichiro Miki. This is an amusing little piece, primarily for the Max Headroom editing every time nudity is mentioned, and it brought back memories of a similarly entertaining in-character recap Shinichiro did for Gundam 00. Similar to other releases, there are also textless openings and endings and a collection of next episode previews.  The release also comes with yet another glossy art book and, in something of a coup, a UK exclusive collector box to hold all three volumes, styled after the trademark red and black colour scheme of Ryuko and Senketsu.

Kill la KillBlu-ray continues to do this show great justice. The incredible use of lighting and colour continues and looks all the more magnificent in HD. I fully appreciate that some simply can’t budget for a Blu-ray player or have other reasons for sticking with DVD but this show is a great advocate for upgrading to the blue donuts as your physical media.

Both English and Japanese cast are again present but my personal preference is to the latter. Ami Koshimizu’s continued spot on delivery of Ryuko’s deadpan snarkiness wins out for me and with this being the epic finale it’s very hard for anyone to outdo the Japanese in hot blooded yelling.

So, Kill la Kill. While it is a lot of fun, I think it has the same problem as Hiroyuki Imaishi’s past works (such as Panty and Stocking and Gurren Lagann) in wanting to take stuff to the next level, but not completely going all out. It definitely builds off the strengths of those past shows and is a great television debut for Trigger as a studio, but I found that sometimes the elements of direct reference and parody left me wanting more for the original flavour that other parts of the show had. The idea of clothing being a malevolent alien force is certainly original, and characters like Ryuko and Satsuki are greatly welcome in an industry which often feels afraid of promoting legitimately strong women.

When all is said and done I think the positives win out. There’s a lot of engaging style here in the characters, the humour, the music, and of course the visuals. It might not be perfectly tailored, but like that trusty item of clothing in your wardrobe, you know it’s durable and comfortable to wear.

Kill la Kill Volume 3 is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon UK.

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Sesame Street's Maria Says "Adios" After 44 Yearshttp://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/sesame-streets-maria-says-adios-after-44-years/ http://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/sesame-streets-maria-says-adios-after-44-years/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 20:08:40 +0000 http://www.toonzone.net/?p=481361 1169e00b31f17692605a062b35877e66

A major piece of your childhood is leaving the place where the air is sweet. One of Sesame Street’s most iconic human beings, Maria Figueroa, is moving out. Maria’s real name is Sonia Manzano. Having joined the show in 1971 at the age of 22, Manzano’s career has nearly spanned the life of the show […]

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A major piece of your childhood is leaving the place where the air is sweet. One of Sesame Street’s most iconic human beings, Maria Figueroa, is moving out.

Maria’s real name is Sonia Manzano. Having joined the show in 1971 at the age of 22, Manzano’s career has nearly spanned the life of the show itself. She not only played Maria but wrote for the show as well, earning 15 Daytime Emmy Awards over her long career. She is now 65 and retiring from the acting business, as she announced Tuesday during a public address at the American Library Association Annual Conference.

At the time Manzano joined the show, she was the first Latina television actress to have a regular role on American television….ever. The world has changed dramatically in 44 years. Maria’s purpose was to teach young children Spanish, a role that was once unique to her but has been dwarfed in significance by Dora the Explorer since the late 90’s. In the early 70’s Sesame Street was the only educational program targeted to kindergarteners; nowadays preschool shows are a billion-dollar industry, and young children have entire channels of shows to pick from at any given time.

Maria was also the only human character on the series to have an arc, getting married to husband Luis in the 80’s and giving birth to daughter Gabi in the 90’s. It is unknown how Maria will be written out of Sesame Street, nor what will happen to the characters of Luis and Gabi. But at least she won’t be exiting the way Mr. Hooper did, sparing Big Bird more trauma.

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Viz Media Licenses "One Punch Man" Animated Serieshttp://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/viz-media-licenses-one-punch-man-animated-series/ http://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/viz-media-licenses-one-punch-man-animated-series/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 17:30:56 +0000 http://www.toonzone.net/?p=481312 OnePunchMan_KeyVisual2

At Anime Expo on Thursday Viz Media announced the acquisition of the animated version of One Punch Man, which was announced for a Fall premiere in Japan earlier this year in March. Viz will stream the series in English concurrent with the Japanese broadcast, and it will be available on the streaming website Daisuki as […]

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OnepunchManGroupAt Anime Expo on Thursday Viz Media announced the acquisition of the animated version of One Punch Man, which was announced for a Fall premiere in Japan earlier this year in March. Viz will stream the series in English concurrent with the Japanese broadcast, and it will be available on the streaming website Daisuki as well. Before now Viz has been serializing One Punch Man in its digital and English version of Weekly Shonen Jump and publishing it digitally, and a physical release will begin with the first volume on September 1, 2015.

Produced by Madhouse, One Punch Man is to be an adaptation of Yusuke Murata’s superhero manga, which is itself an adaptation of an original webcomic by ONE. With a blend of both action and humor One Punch Man follows the adventures of the superhero Saitama, a once ordinary man that decided to train to become a superhero “for fun”. However he somehow does such a good job that he becomes phenomenally powerful, to the point that seemingly no opponent can challenge him. Before long Saitama falls in with aspiring members of Japan’s “hero association” and does his part to battle wicked monsters and other threats, all the while looking for fulfillment – and his next paycheck.

An English-subtitled version of the One Punch Man announcement trailer now exists, which offers a first look at the animation and character designs for the show.

OnePunchManPreview_8 OnePunchManPreview_7  OnePunchManPreview_1 OnePunchManPreview_3 OnePunchManPreview_4 OnePunchManPreview_5

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Review: "Shirobako" - How Anime, Friendships and Careers Are Madehttp://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/review-shirobako-anime-friendships-careers-made/ http://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/review-shirobako-anime-friendships-careers-made/#comments Fri, 03 Jul 2015 16:01:35 +0000 http://www.toonzone.net/?p=478472 Shirobako Main Cast As Industry

Anime and manga production as the topic of anime and manga is nothing new. However, it’s often an excuse to be meta in the context of a broader work, whether that’s members of the Genshiken sweating over a doujinshi right before before Comiket, or the titular character of Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun gradually roping all of […]

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Shirobako Main Cast As Industry

For about 5 minutes, they trick the audience into thinking they've been K-ON'd.

Shirobako Main Cast In High School

Anime and manga production as the topic of anime and manga is nothing new. However, it’s often an excuse to be meta in the context of a broader work, whether that’s members of the Genshiken sweating over a doujinshi right before before Comiket, or the titular character of Monthly Girls Nozaki-kun gradually roping all of his friends into working as manga assistants. As such, the creative process is just a setting for other stories that don’t actually have much relation to the process. Shirobako thus sets itself apart by putting most major facets of modern anime production front and center. The result is somehow effortlessly educational, compelling, and hilarious.

The show opens with a high school animation club showing off it’s most recent animated short, The Seven Lucky Gods, during a school festival. It’s the final project for the club as the seniors are graduating and heading off for the big city to make it in animation. The show starts playing with the audience’s expectations right from the very start: for a good minute or two, they threaten the audience with the possibility of this being a K-ON knock off, but with no animation occurring instead of no music. Instead though, we quickly flash forward.

We catch up with Aoi Miyamori, our lead heroine in the midst of her job as a production assistant. She zips around the city, collecting animation in-betweens from the various contractors and shuttling them back to Musashino Animation, the slightly run down studio at which she works. It’s not a great job: the hours are so long that she seems to be hallucinating her inner monologue as a talking stuffed bear and a dolfie arguing, and the pay is low. Still, she’s working in animation just as she’d always dreamt of.

She works hard in the digital cel and paint.

Aoi Miyamori At Musashino Animation

Before too long, we’re catching up with the rest of that high school group, and suddenly the animation runner job doesn’t look too bad. Misa Toudou, the CG animator of the group, is stuck animating tires on racing games. Ema Yasuhara, the traditional animator, is still struggling with certain fundamentals, though at least she’s doing keyframes at Musashino. Midori Imai, the aspiring script writer, is still trying to finish university and probably won’t be writing episodes out of the gate. Lastly, Shizuka Sakaki, the voice actress, is stuck waiting tables and taking on other odd jobs while getting passed over again and again and again for even bit part voice acting work.

Sadly, being higher up the food chain doesn’t come without strife either. Veteran PA Tarou Takanashi is a passionate otaku but also a perpetual slacker, so he courts disaster because he loves his job but not enough to do it reliably or right. The director, Seiichi Kinoshita, is desperate to salvage his previous wunderkind status after his last project, Jiggly Jiggly Heaven, became an internet meme synonymous with an unmitigated animation train wreck. Keeping Kinoshita on task falls to Yutaka Honda, which is actually quite the struggle whenever Kinoshita runs into writer’s block. There are many more characters on the show as well, but not one of them isn’t keenly aware that Musashino’s future hangs in the balance if their current project, Exodus!, isn’t a hit.

They just did it, and made their dreams come true.

Shirobako Main Cast As Industry

In spite of the realism on display in the career paths of its characters, Shirobako is an fantastically enjoyable watch. Characters that start as perfectly unlikeable yet funny screw ups become reliable role models. Characters (and their relationships) that you expected to be a staple of all 26 episodes bail after the first season, decamping to other studios or entirely different lines of work. However, that change allows our core cast to grow into new roles while adding new people in the junior roles. They also open the door to a different set of amusing production dramas as they transition from making an original anime to handling an adaptation. If a major caveat of anime comedies is that they get overly attached to their formula and setting, that can’t be said at all about Shirobako.

The diversity of the massive cast of characters also allows the show to approach the major roles of animation production from a plethora of perspectives and experience levels. We see key animation through the eyes of an eccentric artist in her prime, a newbie finding her voice, and a veteran wondering if he’s relevant in an era of moe, and we see how each learn from the others as time goes on. We see the conflict between handling everything in 3D CG versus traditional animation and shared passions that brought people into those lines of work in the first place. The myriad jobs in production get a similarly diverse mix of viewpoints, and even niche jobs like foley artist get time and explanation on screen. It is informative, character enriching, and an excuse for a ton of one off characters who are just real world anime creative staff with the names changed. Add Aoi’s internal monologue/hallucinations filling in some technical details of the creative process, and the viewer gets an amazingly rich yet engaging understanding of how anime is made and of the motivations that drive people to work in that industry, even once it’s realities set in. It’s an amazingly difficult act to juggle – it’s a love letter to anime that still captures the real struggle that goes into the medium at every step of the process. However, Shirobako pulls it off flawlessly.

No storyboards, no sleep.

Kinoshita And Honda

From a technical perspective, Shirobako is locked down as well. The backgrounds and setting are dead on – the cramped, rundown buildings that house most anime studios are lovingly captured down to the last speck of grime. The animation itself is smooth and sharp outside of some slightly Initial-D-ish car animation (though that could be an aesthetic choice to wedge more one reference in.) The character design is just genius: while the main cast is intentionally a bit generic, just about every side character on the cast is based on real people, with most of the men designed as caricatures of real people in anime. The designs based off of real voice actresses tend back towards generic, but only so they don’t look out of place with our lead heroines. Speaking of which, the voice acting is great. It’s subtle: never exaggerated or over acted, but just enough to sell the scene at hand. The same can be said of the music. It’s not there to drive the emotion, but is just an accessory to it. It’s also never afraid to get just a bit surreal, even outside of dream sequences, which allows for some absolutely delightful sequences of retro animation and film homages, letting some very flashy, fun moments sneak in between the realism.

So, can any good argument be made against Shirobako? Honestly, nothing beyond nitpicking. Sure, it doesn’t have anything more to say than what it directly states, and one can complain that they have shown a green path for all of the lead characters even though animation is a very tough business. More specifically, it’s not a critique in an industry that could use something more cutting like Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley, given the excesses and internal politics involved. It’s also clearly left open for another 26 episodes, so even though it’s a great watch, we still don’t have full denouement for the main cast. By the end of the show, you’re ready to see Aoi and her friends keep moving up the ladder until the last season shows Aoi as an executive producer working with all of her friends now in similarly veteran roles on a feature-length version of The Seven Lucky Gods.

However, those notes are more grasping at straws than true problems. If you enjoy anime of any genre, seeing how it’s made via Shirobako is unquestionably time well spent. Just don’t be shocked when you reach the finale and are left wanting even more, or at least left wanting to see full versions of all the in-universe anime they reference.

Shirobako currently streams on Crunchyroll and is forthcoming on home video from Sentai Filmworks.

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The Legend Returns In This Week's Nintendo Downloadhttp://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/the-legend-returns-in-this-weeks-nintendo-download/ http://www.toonzone.net/2015/07/the-legend-returns-in-this-weeks-nintendo-download/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:59:22 +0000 http://www.toonzone.net/?p=481251 nintendo download

This week in the Nintendo Download, a major hole in the Wii U’s Virtual Console library has finally been filled as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is now part of the library! If you don’t already have a way to play one of the best games in history, you have no excuse this […]

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nintendo download

This week in the Nintendo Download, a major hole in the Wii U’s Virtual Console library has finally been filled as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is now part of the library! If you don’t already have a way to play one of the best games in history, you have no excuse this time. (Unless you can’t afford to buy a Wii U, in which case…..go get a used N64.)

In addition, Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 celebrates the ten-year-anniversary of the Samurai Warriors series with a new game that incorporates the best features from all previous Samurai Warriors games. And Capcom is running a special Ace Attorney sale with 25 percent off the Ace Attorney Trilogy and a whopping 44 percent off the series’ newest game, Dual Destinies! There are also new Ace Attorney menu themes to download as well.

REDMOND, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:

Developed to celebrate the franchise’s 10-year anniversary, Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 incorporates the best features from previous Samurai Warriors games, including the detailed customization mode and battle system of Samurai Warriors 4, as well as the Challenge Mode, which tests players’ speed and efficiency as they fight against the clock and thousands of enemies simultaneously. (Photo: Business Wire)

  • Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS
    • Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 – Developed to celebrate the franchise’s 10-year anniversary, Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 incorporates the best features from previous Samurai Warriors games, including the detailed customization mode and battle system of Samurai Warriors 4, as well as the Challenge Mode, which tests players’ speed and efficiency as they fight against the clock and thousands of enemies simultaneously. Play as either a uniquely customized character or one of the much-loved, historically inspired Samurai. Stories and lives unfold in multiple ways, offering numerous resolutions to large-scale battles and multiple endings affected by the players’ choices, actions and affiliations.
  • Nintendo eShop on Wii U
    • Roving Rogue – What comes after The End? That’s the question that has dogged humankind’s greatest thinkers for millennia. Where do we go? What happens? Who will be there? The answers are: “a crumbling castle,” “you run and teleport” and “steadfast knights, goblin archers, obsessed ghosts, demented wizards and other dangerous foes.” In Roving Rogue, the multiplayer platforming adventure on the Wii U system, the end is the beginning.
  • Virtual Console on Wii U
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – One of the most critically acclaimed games ever made arrives in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U. Set off on a legendary journey to stop Ganondorf, who has plunged Hyrule into darkness. Travel through time as child and adult Link, and experience Hyrule in peace and war to save the world and protect the Triforce. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of Nintendo’s most epic challenges and tells one of its most touching stories – it’s an absolute must-play for Nintendo fans.

Nintendo eShop Sales:

Activities:

  • Splatoon: New Game Mode and Splatfest – Tower Control, a new game mode that finds Inklings riding a tower into the enemy’s base, has been added to Ranked Battle. In addition, the theme for the first Splatoon Splatfest is “Cats or Dogs” and starts July 4. Learn more here: http://splatoon.nintendo.com.
  • Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. “Independence” Tournament – See how your Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. squad stacks up online in Nintendo’s Public Tournaments. Top players earn unique titles that are visible online and earn major bragging rights with their friends and around the world. The new “Independence” tournament runs from July 2 to July 6. Opt in via the SpotPass feature for notifications on future tournaments, and click here for more information about multiplayer tournaments. Good luck, agents!

Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS:

  • New themes this week include:
    • Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies Mood Matrix
    • Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies Court Record
    • Ace Attorney Trilogy Pixel Art
    • Ace Attorney Trilogy Main Characters
    • Pokémon: Mega Charizard Y & Mega Rayquaza
    • Pokémon: Eevee Collection: Espeon & Umbreon

Also new this week:

In addition to video games available at retail stores, Nintendo also offers a variety of content that people can download directly to their systems. Nintendo adds new games weekly to the Nintendo eShop on the Wii U console and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, the Nintendo DSi Shop for the Nintendo DSi system and the Wii Shop Channel for the Wii console.

The Nintendo eShop is a cash-based service that features a wide variety of content, including new and classic games, applications and demos. Users can add money to their account balances by using a credit card or purchasing a Nintendo eShop Card at a retail store and entering the code from the card. All funds from one card must be loaded in the Nintendo eShop on either Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, but can be used in either Nintendo eShop if the systems are linked to a single Nintendo Network account.

The Wii Shop Channel offers games and applications and uses Wii Points, which can be purchased via the Wii Shop Channel. The Nintendo DSi Shop offers games and applications and uses Nintendo DSi Points, which can be purchased in the Nintendo DSi Shop.

Remember that Wii U, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, Nintendo 2DS and Nintendo DSi feature parental controls that let adults manage some of the content their children can access. For more information about this and other features, visit http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu or http://www.nintendo.com/3ds.

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