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'Batman Ninja' Anime Film Receives New Trailer

December 1, 2017 2:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

We've seen a few high profile titles in the Japanese anime industry get picked up for reworkings and adaptations in Hollywood over the last few years, but what would happen if the tables were to be turned? That's pretty much exactly what we're getting with the upcoming DC x Warner Bros Japan anime film "Batman Ninja," an anime film that launches Batman and Joker into the Sengoku period of Japan's history. Calling on a seriously all-star cast to craft the film, we got yet another peek into just what we can expect via a new trailer uploaded today.

The whole concept of the film is extremely promising, and that's only compounded by those working on it. Bringing onboard director Junpei Mizusaki (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Terraformars), screenwriter Kazuki Nakashima (Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill), character designer Takashi Okazaki (Afro Samurai, Summer Wars), and musician Yugo Kanno (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Pshycho Pass), we're thrust into a world of promise when it comes to what could be the greatest piece of Batman media to date. Removing his gadgets, we're left with Batman in his most vulnerable form; something perhaps underappreciated in other mediums. 

With nothing but a 2018 release window, we're left on the edge of our seats to see what comes next. Most of what we've seen so far has shown the film will be released in Japanese cinemas, but given its place of reveal being New York Comic Con, the trailers all containing English subtitles, and the fact that it's a Batman film, I wouldn't be too surprised if it received the international release it deserves. 

If you're interested in checking our further information, be sure to check out the official website.


Arrests Made Over Illegally Modified Super Famicom Mini Sales

November 20, 2018 2:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

We've seen a number of crackdowns on copyright and trademark infringements over the past year here in Japan, and this week only added to the fire even more so with the arrest of a man in the Ibaraki Prefecture on Monday. The arrest was made following the online sales of illegally modified Super Famicom Mini consoles that were exploited to include additional games outside of the originally intended catalog. Three exploited consoles were sold before the arrest, all of which amounted to 61,500 yen ($547 USD) in earnings. 

According to reports, the consoles were sold between April and May of this year and were modified to include five additional games outside of the included titles. One of these games was mentioned to be Super Mario Bros., which did not make an appearance on the bite-sized console originally. The man arrested was a 39-year-old resident of Kashima, Ibaraki by the name of  Tomoyuki Miyamoto who admitted to undertaking the modifications himself.

While it's currently unknown what his penalties will be for the infringements, Miyamoto is currently in custody after pleading guilty to the charges. Just earlier this year we saw arrests made in Osaka at numerous gaming bars that offered customers some playtime on Capcom's Monster Hunter World and Nintendo's Splatoon 2 while they sipped down a drink or two. We'll be sure to keep you updated as further information is revealed about the case.

Source: Anime News Network


It'll Cost You Roughly $1,600 to Catch all 151 of the New Pokémon Plushies

November 20, 2018 1:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

While catching all 151 of the original Pokémon might have proven a difficult task when we were younger, it turns out collecting them as adults might be just as difficult -- and expensive. Finishing up that Pokédex was a test of will and endurance, grinding through various routes and areas hoping to encounter that one Pokémon. Though as it turns out, collecting all the Pokémon in the real world as adults will have you testing your will and endurance at your office job, grinding through the hours to make roughly $1,600 so you can "Catch 'Em All".

As it turns out, that's likely what Japanese Twitter user @sekai1215 did, posting on Twitter that he had gone in and purchased all 151 Pokémon plushes together which totaled to roughly $1,600 USD, or 180,000 yen. Shared across four photos, @sekai1215 showcases his massive collection, including a final shot that shows the evolutions of all three starters.

Following the release of Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! just last week, there's been a whole lot of love shared for the original 151 Pokémon both in Japan and internationally. We've discussed around the office how much we'd love to do what @sekai1215 did quite a few times now, so it's crazy to actually see the number put behind the purchase. Given the general size of apartments out here though, one can only hope he finds a way to display all those plushes worthy of the price.


'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate' Is Set to be One of the Biggest Releases of the Year

November 20, 2018 12:00pm
by Eric Rios

With the year coming to an end in less than a month and a half, there is still one game yet to be released that is sure to dazzle Nintendo fans, old and new alike. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is to be released worldwide on December 7th, 2018 and I can speak for all fans when I say the hype is intensifying. Fans of the franchise are coming in online masses to pre-order the game in order to have it in their hands the day that it comes out, both physically or virtually. In fact, the pre-order numbers for SSB Ultimate are record-breaking for the Nintendo Switch so far with the game set to be one the biggest releases of the year. I, myself, pre-ordered the game so that I can use the hilarious looking Piranha Plant.

A fan-favorite title since its first release in 1999, Super Smash Bros. has also become one of the most successful Nintendo exclusive franchises throughout the company’s history. The success of the game can be attributed to the fact that both older and younger gamers can enjoy it with an easy to maneuver control style mixed with the ability to play as a number of beloved characters. I have certainly spent many days and nights playing the past Super Smash Bros. games with friends and family. 

Each week leading up to the release seems to hold more news about the game such as new characters named to the roster like the aforementioned Piranha Plant and Incineroar, and the excitement has certainly been building.  By the way Nintendo, I am still waiting for a surprise Waluigi announcement... please?  

Since the well-documented comparative failure of the Wii U, Nintendo has changed the tides with the Nintendo Switch to their favor with successful releases such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and recently, Pokemon: Let’s Go! this past week. The release of a new Super Smash Bros. is sure to keep the train of Nintendo successes going. For more information about the game and a look at the full roster, check out Nintendo’s official website.


[Review] A Flawed Yet Promising Start for Netflix’s ‘Castlevania’ Anime

November 19, 2018 7:00pm
by Jacob Parker-Dalton

I think I speak for the majority of Castlevania fans when I say that I’m thankful to Netflix. Konami’s treatment of the series has been spotty to say the least, with the infamous Lords of Shadow series being the company’s last foray with the series - except, of course, to make a few pachinko machines here and there. 

In lieu of support from its own parent company, then, Netflix and the creative team behind the Castlevania series are the only ones giving the well-established series any love. And it really deserves love - there’s so much to adore about the series, from it’s convoluted lore to its revolutionary gameplay mechanics. But does that mean that we should simply consume the new animated series and move on, without airing any complaints? Of course not.

For as much as Netflix’s Castlevania series manages to capture so much of what made the games great - it’s gothic architecture, iconic characters and B-movie vibe - there’s plenty which prevents it from being truly great. And with the recent release of the second season on the streaming platform, there’s no better time to talk about it.

The biggest problem the series faces is one of pacing. While the first season is quite well constructed, the second puts the main plot of Trevor, Alucard and Sypha’s quest to defeat Dracula on hold for most of its runtime, instead preferring to focus on the vampire side of things. And while that’s not such a bad thing - even the games ended up realizing vampires were more interesting than vampire hunters, after all - it does mean that the second season gets off to a slow start. 

But even if blaze through this slow start with Netflix’s beloved “binge-watching” method (as I did) and into the more action-packed second half, the show fails to deliver the kind of sucker punches that you can tell it really wants to. It’s clear that the animation staff at Powerhouse Studios are really talented, and manage to deliver some amazing pieces of key animation when it’s needed most, but for the most part, the show’s thrills are dragged down by dull shot composition and visual direction. An episode will go from an intensely detailed and fluid fight scene to a static back and forth dialogue scene - which not only throws the viewer out of the experience but undermines the viewer’s appreciation of the good bits.

That being said, even during the rather bland dialogue scenes, there is a ray of light - that of the excellent characters, which are always giving it their all despite appearances. Much like the first season, the core trio of Trevor, Alucard, and Sypha are a joy to be around - mostly thanks to the excellent performance by Richard Armitage - and when focus shifts to the vampire side, newcomers Isaac and Hector provide a really interesting insight into why a human would choose to serve an undead master.

And their master, none other than Dracula himself, deserves special mention. The first season gave us a fairly good insight into Dracula’s motives for his attacks on humanity, and the second season goes even deeper, as Dracula goes far beyond that of a simple antagonist and almost morphs into the main character himself in terms of how much the show focuses on him and his journey. It must be said that Graham McTavish’s performance as the iconic vampire is also excellent, bringing a timid ferocity to Dracula’s armchair monologues.

In light of this, I’m hesitant to disparage the show too much. Especially when you also consider that the circumstances surrounding the overall release were clearly not ideal. While the ‘first season’ appeared on Netflix nearly a year ago, it’s clear that the events of that season really should have been a part of this ‘second season’ as well - which in turns leads to the problems with pacing that the show suffers from. It’s not like you can blame anyone for this, as Netflix had never greenlit anything like Castlevania before, and the writing team simply had to work with the conditions that they gave them.

With that said, despite the rocky start for this animated Castlevania series, I’m optimistic about its future. Now that they’ve shown themselves to be successful, Netflix has already given them the greenlit for a ten-episode third season, which should spare the writing team from the problems of a split season. They’ve also left themselves with plenty of interesting threads to pick up for the next season and beyond - with many of them going far beyond the original games’ story and into new territory.

So while I won’t simply take my Castlevania anime and shut up, I will give Netflix props what the series may become in the future. They could be on to a real winner.

You can watch Netflix's original Castlevania series via their online streaming service, here.


'The Legend of Zelda Concert 2018' in Japan Will Be Streamed Online For a Fee

November 19, 2018 6:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

It was only since the Wii title The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in 2011 that the prolific game series even began receiving a fully-orchestrated soundtrack. Ever since that important turning point, all of the games since have gotten the same treatment, and the world has been treated to multiple live concert performances of the series’ iconic tunes. Now that experience will be available to more people than ever before thanks to the magic of live streaming.

The Japan-exclusive tour entitled The Legend of Zelda Concert 2018 will make three stops: one in Tokyo on November 22 at the Bunkamura Orchard Hall, one in Osaka on November 25 at the Orix Theater, and a final show returning to the same location in Tokyo on December 14. The Osaka show will have both a daytime and nighttime performance, and the second Tokyo show will be the one live streamed. 

In order to watch that live stream, you’ll have to head to this page on Nico Nico Douga and be ready to pay up. The regular price is 2500 yen, but if you are a premium member then it’s knocked down to 1860 yen. If you are okay with using Nico Nico Douga (there is English text and guidance), you’re really all set to watch this performance no matter where you may be. 

Who can forget that iconic E3 2011 unveiling of Skyward Sword - that first official taste of the legendary Symphony of the Goddesses tours? Seeing the show for myself in Kansas City was one of the most moving experiences I’ve experienced as part of video game fandom, and I’m seriously considering going out to see Promax’s take on the series’ music. After all, there will be a focus on the recently-released Breath of the Wild with the presence of an accordion, and special performances by both an ocarina and harp performer as well!

If you’re able to make it to the concerts in person, check out the exclusive goods below!

For more information and for tickets, be sure to check out The Legend of Zelda Concert 2018's official website.


'The Princess Guide' Receives New Character Trailer Showcasing Four Main Characters

November 19, 2018 4:00pm
by Paul Hartling

In the latest The Princess Guide trailer, you get a closer look into each of the four talented, yet inexperienced knight princesses that you’ll need to pick and guide through the war on the battlefield. Uploaded to NIS America's official YouTube channel, the latest trailer for the upcoming Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 title can be viewed below:

The Princess Guide is a fast-paced Strategic Action RPG, and as an experienced knight, you will choose a princess to become your apprentice. Teach her the art of war and defeat the enemies that try to take over the land. With your choices directly impacting the way your princess fights, her growth depends entirely on you, also.  During conversations and battles, “Praise” or “Scold” your princess to enhance their abilities on the battlefield! Play as either Head Knight of Alixon, Liliartie, Guild Master of the Rusty Magic Guild, Veronica, Fallen Noble of the Yudaria Family, Monomaria, or Sage of the Great Kamara Faith, Alpana. 

Each beautifully styled princess has a unique story to tell, and my favorite piece here is that the training strategy will determine how her tale unfolds. The Princess Guide launches early 2019 from NIS America for Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4! 


Radwimps Release Latest Music Video for 'Sokkenai'

November 19, 2018 3:00pm
by Lachlan Johnston

While Japanese rock outfit Radwimps are still very much enjoying the success of their astronomically successful soundtrack work on Makoto Shinkai's 2016 animated film "your name.", the band hasn't been wasting any time working on their next big hits. Less than a month out from the release of their first studio album in two years, "ANTI ANTI GENERATION", Radwimps were finally ready to share the first song from the album with the music video for "Sokkenai". 

Fresh off Radwimp's upcoming album, "ANTI ANTI GENERATION", their latest "Sokkenai" is a lengthy, toned down departure from what many international fans may be used to, yet still a beautiful ode to love gained and love lost. Coming in as song number seven on the seventeen song tracklist, Radwimps have crafted a beautifully unique sound that, while I don't picture gaining as much traction internationally, will definitely hold its own here in Japan.

Set to release in Japan on December 12, 2018, you can check out the full tracklist and coverart for Radwimp's upcoming "ANTI ANTI GENERATION" below:

01. Anti Anti overture
02. tazuna
04. IKIJIBIKI feat.Taka
05. カタルシスト
06. 洗脳(Anti Anti Mix)
07. そっけない
08. <宿題発表-skit->
09. PAPARAZZI~*この物語はフィクションです~
11. 万歳千唱
12. I I U
13. 泣き出しそうだよ feat.あいみょん
14. TIE TONGUE feat.Miyachi, Tabu Zombie
15. Mountain Top
16. サイハテアイニ
17. 正解(18FES ver.)

While "Zenzenzense" might not be ready to leave the airwaves here in Japan just yet, we're sure we'll be seeing a whole lot more Radwimps these holidays following the release of "ANTI ANTI GENERATION". Until that release, however, you can keep up with everything Radwimps via their official website.