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Anime DVD Reviews
Noir: Sades of Darkness
Noir - Shades of Darkness (Vol. 1)
Girls with guns and a respectable plot! It takes a few episodes to really get started, but don't let Noir pass you by -- it's much better than you'll expect! True to it's name, the series is dark, and we don't mean it's just shot dimly - there's none of the usual comedy relief, gratuitous panty shots, or overdoses of blood. Instead, it's played very much like the enigmatic and gripping storyline itself, with well developed characters and a soundtrack that will haunt you.
Girls with Guns, and a Plot!
As the bodies start piling up, the mystery deepens. Powerful forces are at work to keep the twin maidens of death from learning the secret of their past. The pocket watch is their only clue. Noir will surprise you on every level -- not just for how the story develops, but how the atmosphere of each scene is planned to create the most impact, keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Ai Yori Aoshi
Ai Yori Aoshi - Faithfully Yours
East meets West in a culture clash comedy! An excellent romantic-comedy that explores the clash between Japan's modern and traditional values. An arranged marriage gone wrong, as the groom-to-be doesn't want to return to the clan that caused him emotional and physical pain, yet his bride-to-be is completely devoted to him.

A culture clash comedy!The series is so skillfully directed and executed that at the end of each episode, we found ourselves scanning through the closing and opening credits so we could see what happens next! Even the dialog is handled appropriately -- she speaks in complete, ultra-polite sentences, he uses contractions and slang. When she moves in with him, despite his objections, can he remain a gentleman?

Getter Robo
Getter Robo Power Pack (DVD)
Getter Robo was the original Transformer, airing in Japan in 1974. It was three different robots that could combine in various combinations to make one of several larger robots. The original series came to the US as Starvengers in 1980 (part of Force Five). A number of sequels were produced over the years, including the 1998 Change Getter Robo, which A.D. Vision is releasing as Getter Robo Armageddon.

Retro-robot fun...If you're into retro-robots featuring stunningly slick animation (Big O and Giant Robo come to mind), then add this to your collection. Be warned there is considerable violence, although of the monster/fantasy variety, lots of chopping up of beasties, exploding heads and so forth.... It's great fun with tons of heavy-metal action!

Ping Pong Club
Ping Pong Club (boxed set) (DVD)
And now for something completely different. Toilet humor, body odors, and putting ping pong balls in places they should never go makes for some of the most hilarious antics since Beavis and Butthead. Ping Pong Club is about a bunch of losers, but oh my, is it ever funny. We're embarrassed to say just how funny it is. It's disgustingly funny. You will pee-in-your-pants kind of funny. You'll wonder how humor can sink this low and still be funny.

Very silly stuff...You should grab this DVD set before there are laws passed preventing us from watching this kind of trash. It's too good to even describe. Just don't tell your friends or relatives that you've watched this if you want to retain any kind of dignity or respect -- but you'll love it like junk food.

School House Rock!
Schoolhouse Rock! Special 30th Edition DVD
Conjunction Junction, what's your function? In the 70's and 80's, the catchy Schoolhouse Rock tunes taught millions of children the fundamentals of math, grammar, science, history and more. We could have never gotten through elementary school without knowing "Nouns", or "I'm just a Bill". To this day, the music for "Figure Eight" remains one of the most beautiful pieces ever written, and "Little Twelve Toes" one of the most eerie.

Conjunction Junction, what's your function?And who can forget "Naughty Number Nine" or the hilarious "Interjections!". Schoolhouse rock is the coolest, catchiest, most beloved set of animations ever produced by man. It simply doesn't get any better than this. Relive your childhood, or introduce someone else younger to these amazing short films. With this DVD You're treated to all 46 three-minute shorts plus some additional bonus features, but it's worth the price alone for "I Got Six".



Our Favorite Toys, Models and Gizmos
Dead or Alive
Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball
It should be obvious to anyone with a libido (or just anyone breathing) what the attraction of this game is. Eye candy extreme as the bodacious babes of the hit fighter game Dead or Alive make it to the beach for an all out assault on the game of Volleyball, and yes, they just happen to be wearing as little as possible. However, the volleyball itself isn't really the point of the game, it's about treating your volleyball partner correctly.

Over 100 swinsuits and accessories...The game lets you compete in two different modes, the main mode or the versus mode, which accommodates up to four players at one time. It's time to get physical with the ladies as they set, spike, and kill their way to the championship title on the tropical beach resort, Zack Island. The more points you receive on the court, the more you can customize your characters with over 100 swimsuits and accessories. This is a game where less is more. Digital babes... hubba hubba! Let the games commence!




 Anime.com Recommended Books:
Secrets of the Samurai
Secrets of the Samurai: A Survey of the Martial Arts of Feudal Japan
This thick (481 page) book contains everything you ever wanted to know and more about the Japanese Martial Arts, and the Samurai in particular. Loaded with illustrations and highly detailed descriptions, it covers the history, background, dress, style, philosophy, and even the different types of weapons.

If you practice Karate-do, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Iaido, Aikido, Kendo, or any other Martial Art, including western ones influenced by Japanese culture, this book is a must. Even if you are simply interested in Japanese warrior culture and are an armchair warrior yourself, this is *the* book on the subject.

Japanese Etiiquette & Ethics in Business
Japanese Etiquette & Ethics in Business
To an outsider, Tokyo and Times Square don't seem all that different. These similarities will seduce nearly every American who seeks to do business in Japan into thinking that the business practices of the country will be the same as in the US.

The truth is that the cultural differences are so vast and subtle that they are often beyond the comprehension of the majority Americans. In Japan, there is a high expectation of a certain standard of business etiquette and failure to achieve this standard could doom any hopes of doing business in that country.

This book seeks to redress this failure of Americans who do not know how to negotiate with the Japanese. The Japanese language is rich with expressions that conceptualize certain feelings or attitudes that are literally very foreign to Westerners but are key to the Japanese way of doing business. If you're planning on starting your own company to bring over anime, then you'll absolutely, positively, need to read this book.



Music and Soundtrack Selections:
Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato - Original Soundtrack
Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato - Original Soundtrack, Part 1 (1979 Anime Series) [IMPORT] [SOUNDTRACK]
There has never been, nor will there ever be a better score written than the music for Uchu Senkan Yamato (Star Blazers in the U.S.). It's romantic, heroic, tragic, and kick-ass all at the same time, and it never fails to please the ears. If you grew up watching Starblazers you know what we're talking about - the music was half the show!

One of our favorite characters...With a sly combination of electric guitar and brassy orchestral compositions, heart-tugging violins and everything else under the sun, Hiroshi Miyagawa created an eclectic blend of music that went on to become the most well-known since the theme to Tetsuwan Atomu. His orchestrations legitimized anime music, and created a slew of followers that copied but never equaled his brilliance.

Macross: The Complete
Macross - Complete Soundtrack Set (1984 Japan Anime Film) [IMPORT] [SOUNDTRACK] [BOX SET]
In 1983, a TV series premiered in Japan that almost equaled the punch of Starblazers, and that series was Macross - and then they topped themselves with the 1984 movie. Once again, what attracted many fans to Macross was the incredible music - you can't not drive fast while listening to the battle music, nor be taken to tears with the tender melodies. And Pop-Singer Lynn Minmei's tunes are dance-o-rific!

Minmei wearing Madonna glasses!This CD set is the entire soundtrack to the 1984 Movie, and it just rocks. You'll listen to it over and over again, wishing you owned an actual Valkyrie Fighter. It's particularly impressive is that the music for the Zhentraedi forces actually sound ... *big*. There's no way to describe it with mere words. You just have to hear it.



Upcoming Events and Cool Links:
 Ai Yori Aoshi
The official website (cute opening movie).

How to Draw Manga Tutorials
While we always recommend that a beginner manga artist take a local life drawing course, this little website had a few handy tips that would be worth checking out.

CG Art Tutorials
A nice fan website on how to paint anime characters on your computer.




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