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Japanese Anime Classic Collection 4 DVD Box Set
Japanese Anime Classic Collection
Anime DVD Review

If you're a student of classic anime, and by classic I mean PRE-Tezuka, this is a DVD set you can't live without. Spread over 4 DVDs, there's 355 minutes of really old-school animation from the silent film era (Japan's golden age of the 1920's and 30's).

With unprecedented multilingual translation, this collection is the first to offer international audiences many of these classic anime as they were originally experienced by Japanese viewers, with accompanying benshi narration. Entertaining, exciting, and startling, the collection will be treasured by enthusiasts and researchers as a valuable tool for retracing Japanese animation from its earliest roots.

Japanese Anime Classic CollectionFor those of us obsessed with all things regarding Japanese culture, this is a treasure-trove of valuable insight into the pre-war era of Japanese society as well as an amazing historical artifact. The DVD set includes many special features, such as a collection of "Record Talkies", anime that came to theaters together with a gramophone record to provide a simultaneous audio track with music, voice, and effects...now synchronized with the film. Animation historians (...hello, calling Howard Beckerman...) will love seeing these films just as they were originally viewed in Japan.

Subtitles available in English, Korean and Taiwanese Chinese

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, April 2010

Japanese Anime Classic Collection

Otaku Unite!
Otaku Unite!
Anime DVD Review

Otaku are die-hard anime fans, you probably know that already. What you may not know; unless you've been to a decent-sized anime convention, is just how many people dress up in the crazy costumes, do all kinds of funky stuff and generally make anime "a way of life" rather than "just a hobby". This documentary film by Eric Bresler celebrates the Otaku who have taken their anime to heart, often so much so that you might be scared of these people!

Otaku Unite!But seriously, it's these fans that make anime the phenomenon it is, and have helped push it into the mainstream of America. Hell, we're guilty of "going too far" ourselves when it comes to our love of anime and how we spend hours describing it to people who are uninitiated, so we definitely understand the otaku lifestyle!

And, if you're one of the anime otaku who did cosplay at Otakon 2005, you MUST buy this DVD because, you're probably on it! A wonderful extra is the extensive cosplay gallery where you'll get to see cosplayers in all their vivid splendor! (And some of them are cute too!)

Outlaw Otaku Unite!Bresler's documentary explores the anime lifestyle, as well as interviewing major industry figures (distributors, voice actors, famous fans, translators, etc.) and academic experts who will attempt to explain the why and how - as well as how this caught on so quickly to become one of the hottest trends in American pop-culture today. Although the film itself is only 70 minutes (and an achievement, when you consider Bresler's goal was to make a 15-minute short film!), there's also 130 minutes of bonus features!

If you're only a sometimes-fan or just mildly interested in anime, this documentary may be an eye-opener, but, for the experienced otaku, you'll find this to be a pleasant romp with your friends, as well as a trip down memory lane for the older fen who have been around since the days of Speed Racer or Star Blazers. In all, this we found this to be a real blast — our only complaint is that we're not in it! (Well, maybe next time!)

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, April 2006

The Anime Companion: What's Japanese in Japanese Animation
The Anime Companion: What's Japanese in Japanese Animation
Anime Book Review

If you've ever wondered why Ataru puts his hand behind his head when he's been caught in an embarrassing situation, this is the book you seek.

As anime is made in Japan, it's often filled with cultural influences that might not make sense to the average American. This book seeks to redress this problem by presenting everything that you need to know about Japanese culture to understand what's going on in anime (like those funky nosebleeds!)....
Why does this kitty have his paw  raised?
With more that 500 glossary-style entries, this book is a complete guide to anime's distinctive visual style. Included are illustrations, film citations, and numerous references to the related art of manga (Japanese comics), plus the opinionated author's rants on fandom, food, anime babes, large eyes, and everything hentai.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, April 2003

Anime Essentials: Every Thing a Fan Needs to Know
Anime Essentials: Every Thing a Fan Needs to Know
Anime Book Review

If you're new to Japanese animation, you're beginning to understand that it's a lot more than Sailor Moon and Pokemon: there's drama and comedy, gender-bending and culture-tweaking, complex characters and giant robots — sometimes all in the same movie!

Was Tezuka a medical doctor?What makes anime so cool? How did it all start? What's the deal with fanzines? Where can I find the stuff I want right now? Answering just about every question a fan (or curious parent) has, Anime Essentials is an easy-to-read and fun-to-look-at overview of the pop culture phenomenon sweeping America. It discusses the major players, where to get your anime fix, otaku etiquette, how to run an anime club (and get pre-release screenings!), how to "talk" anime to outsiders, the pleasures and pitfalls of buying toys, cards, garage kits & more, plus lots of other salient info of interest both to veterans and newcomers.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, April 2003

Anime Test Drive 12-Pack Brick
Anime Test Drive 12-Pack Brick (DVD)
Anime DVD Review

Want to introduce yourself (or someone else) to the wonders of anime? Welcome to the anime test drive, a way to sample a couple of episodes of a popular series cheaply. Each test drive may be purchased individually, or just splurge and buy this 12-pack brick of CPM's most popular titles.
Anime Test Drive 12-Pack Brick
The 12-pack includes Patlabor, Maze, Now and Then Here and There, Record of Lodoss War, Legend of Himiko and more! If a particular series catches your fancy, the test drive has a $10 mail-in rebate coupon to help you start your addiction. Makes a great gift!

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, December 2003

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Article: A Capsule History of Anime

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The Anime Encyclopedia
The Anime Encyclopedia:
A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917

Anime Book Review

Choosing some of the best examples of anime, the authors review and detail more than 2000 anime films and TV series. Each entry includes a short synopsis, commentary, details about key creative personnel, and evaluation of the work's significance. However, the editorial evaluations are harsher than McCarthy's The Anime Movie Guide: some of the most popular anime series in America — Tenchi, Evangelion, Ranma 1/2 — receive sharp criticism. This will cause some fans to howl with glee, while others will just howl. We hope the authors don't make public appearances at major anime conventions, as some fans might want to have a lynching...

Speed Racer liked his entry!Nevertheless, the end product is the most complete guide of its kind in any language (including Japanese), that will be appreciated by anime experts and neophytes alike. Recommended for all libraries and essential for film and media collections. Despite the authors inserting their opinions far too often within this book, this is an important work and you should own a copy.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, December 2002

Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews
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Watching Anime, Reading Manga: 25 Years of Essays and Reviews
Anime Book Review

Fred Patten has been a fixture in anime fandom for more than a quarter of a century. During this period, he has assembled a wealth of information on anime and the culture that grew around it, compiling all of this into a highly entertaining and fascinating book that covers all aspects of this phenomena we call anime.

From the TV shows and movies themselves, to the fandom that arose from them; from the artists behind the creations, to the aggressive marketing that has brought anime to the forefront of American consciousness - Fred covers it all in depth.

Reviewed by Saul Trabal, February 2005

Anime Explosion! The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation
Anime Explosion! The What? Why? & Wow! of Japanese Animation
Anime Book Review

The author starts off with the history of anime and manga then explains how folktales and Japanese culture influence anime storylines, getting into such things as the Way of the Warrior and the Way of the Teenage Girl, Japanese mothers, Christianity, Shinto, Idols, nature, war and anti-war themes, "birth, death and rebirth", giant robots, Sailor Moon, Pokemon and so much more.
An excellent introduction to the social and cultural themes within anime, it's written for fans, culture watchers, and perplexed outsiders, this engaging tour of the anime megaverse covers older arts and manga traditions to the works of modern directors like Miyazaki and Otomo.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, December 2003

Anime Interviews
Anime Interviews : The First Five Years of Animerica, Anime & Manga Monthly (1992-97)
Anime Book Review

If you've ever wondered just how Leiji Matsumoto came up with the idea of a steam locomotive flying through space, or been curious as to what drives those with a passionate creative vision, then look no further than this book. Trish Ledoux has taken the various interviews of the anime magazine "Animerica", and compiled them into one volume. This is not about the creations of anime, but a look inside the hearts and minds of the creators themselves — their lives and what inspired them to do what they did.

Meet Mr. Matsomoto!In Japan, those who create anime are often as famous as their creations. If you have heard of the names "Katsuhiro Otomo" or "Hayao Miyazaki", then think how their celebrity status is in Japan. Anime Interviews speaks to this, and allows us to see these creators as the Japanese do. If you own every issue of Animerica already, then nothing in this book will surprise you — but if you want to really read about what makes these people tick, then pick this up and give it a try.

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, December 2002

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