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Dub Version
FUNimation Entertainment
Posted 9/25/12 9:30PM EST

Courtesy FUNimation Entertainment

Steins;Gate can be summed up in the term "brilliant chaos"... but only at first, the layers of science, para-science, paranoia, morality, and love plunge the story deeper than just one summary term. Sinister agendas surround the protagonists as new areas of science thought to be debunked over and over again are revealed to be truth. Deadly truth in a massive cover up of exactly what we humans are capable of with particle physics and the understanding of quantum mechanics. Plus the lead character self proclaimed mad scientist Rintarō Okabe, superbly dubbed in English by J. Michael Tatum, is completely likeable in his tangent semi-delusional tirades and expositions; it is his simple dream of world subjugation that leads him to walk a very different path and unlock the secrets of space/time to possibly save or doom humanity.
Tatum voices Okabe with an intensity that continues to earn him his spot as one of the best VAs in anime dubbing, and can turn on a dime to being dower and serious to downright perverted in his verbal sparring with female lead Kurisu Makise, a brilliant 18 year old researcher and lecturer. Kurisu is perfectly voiced by Trina Nishimura, in fact while this reviewer is a fan of Ms. Nishimura, I have to say this may be my favorite out of her roles to date. Originally a visual novel game developed by 5pb. and Nitroplus and designed by Chiyomaru Shikura; Steins;Gate was adapted into different manga titles before getting the anime treatment in 2010 for Japanese release in 2011. These are the same developers that brought the advent of Chaos;Head a year or so earlier and it's eventual anime adaptation which was also distributed in the US by FUNimation.

Artwork, dubbing, pacing, story, action, science, music, comedy... everything is above praise in Steins;Gate. I'll go so far as to say OVER and above praise. Plus the headache causing examinations of time travel and it's possibilities and impossibilities in actual science makes this science nerd a happy nerd; the series really lives up to the creator's want of a "99% real and 1% fantasy" ratio of science fact to science fiction. The atmosphere painted with the animation is at the same time hazy and etheral yet stark and jarring at the story appropriate moments that slap you across the retinas, and reminds you to leave your full attention on the screen. The Future Gadgets Laboratory is texting from the future, will you follow the world lines toward it or will you alter space and time to seize control of your timeline?

Steins;Gate gets a 5 out of 5! This series is definitley making it's way to this reviewer's personal collection of anime titles.

Dub Cast:
Rintarō Okabe - J. Michael Tatum
Kurisu Makise - Trina Nishimure
Mayuri Shiina - Jackie Ross
Itaru "Daru" Hashida - Tyson Rineheart
Moeka Kiryū - Jessica Cavanagh
Ruka Urushibara - Lindsey  Seidel
Feris Nyannyan (Rumiho Akiha) - Jad Saxton
Suzuha Amane - Cherami Leigh
Yūgo Tennōji Christopher R. Sabat
Nae Tennōji - Brina Palencia

Episode List:
1. "Turning Point"
"Hajimari to Owari no Purorōgu" (始まりと終わりのプロローグ)

2. "Time Travel Paranoia"
"Jikan Chōyaku no Paranoia (時間跳躍のパラノイア)

3. "Parallel World Paranoia"
"Heiretsu Katei no Paranoia" (並列過程のパラノイア)

4. "Interpreter Rendezvous"
"Kūri Hōkō no Randevū" (空理彷徨のランデヴー)

5. "Starmine Rendezvous"
"Denka Shōtotsu no Randevū" (電荷衝突のランデヴー)

6. "Butterfly Effect's Divergence"
"Chōyoku no Daibājensu" (蝶翼のダイバージェンス)

7. "Divergence Singularity"
"Dansō no Daibājensu" (断層のダイバージェンス)

8. "Chaos Theory Homeostasis I"
"Mugen no Homeosutashisu" (夢幻のホメオスタシス)

9. "Chaos Theory Homeostasis II"
"Gensō no Homeosutashisu" (幻相のホメオスタシス)

10. "Chaos Theory Homeostasis III"
"Sōsei no Homeosutashisu" (相生のホメオスタシス)

11. "Dogma in Event Horizon"
"Jikū Kyōkai no Doguma" (時空境界のドグマ)

12. "Dogma in Ergosphere"
"Seishi Genkai no Doguma" (静止限界のドグマ)

13. "Metaphysics Necrosis"
"Keijijō no Nekurōshisu" (形而上のネクローシス)

14. "Physically Necrosis"
"Keijika no Nekurōshisu" (形而下のネクローシス)

15. "Missing Link Necrosis"
"Bōkanjō no Nekurōshisu" (亡環上のネクローシス)

16. "Sacrificial Necrosis"
"Fukagyaku no Nekurōshisu" (不可逆のネクローシス)

17. "Made in Complex"
"Kyozō Waikyoku no Konpurekkusu" (虚像歪曲のコンプレックス)

18. "Fractal Androgynous"
"Jiko Sōji no Andorogyunosu" (自己相似のアンドロギュノス)

19. "Endless Apoptosis"
"Mugen Rensa no Apotōshisu" (無限連鎖のアポトーシス)

20. "Finalize Apoptosis"
"Ensa Danzetsu no Apotōshisu" (怨嗟断絶のアポトーシス)

21. "Paradox Meltdown"
"Ingaritsu no Meruto" (因果律のメルト) 22. "Being Meltdown"
"Sonzai Ryōkai no Meruto" (存在了解のメルト)

23. "Open The Steins Gate"
"Kyōkaimenjō no Shutainzu Gēto" (境界面上のシュタインズゲート)

24. "Achievement Point"
"Owari to Hajimari no Purorōgu" (終わりと始まりのプロローグ)

OVA - "Egoistic Poriomania"
"Ōkō Bakko no Poriomania" (横行跋扈のポリオマニア)

For more Steins;Gate check out

- Michael Meade

Dub Version
FUNimation Entertainment
Posted 9/17/12 6:45PM EST

Courtesy FUNimation Entertainment

Shangri-La is a mixed bag of interesting and awesome, like a dystopian futurist's greatest dream or nightmare depending on their personal morals and ethics. The concepts placed in the series are interesting and could very well become the future if overzealous governmental controls and mounting environmental problems persist... an economy based on carbon-based products as the world learns to revolve exclusively around carbon with the massive and damaging output humanity continues to demand, taxation of nations based on exceeding a predetermined amount of carbon emissions, a global caste system (that is actually acknowledged by all and not swept under the rug as being beneath governments to impose) with far greater divides than currently exist between a privileged elite and the rest of us. This reviewer will put away such personalized spin on the politics of the series, but these themes and plot points are key to Shangri-La. The heart of the series truly comes from it's core cast of protagonists, and main protagonist Kuniko Hojo in particular delivers much of said heart through her beliefs and moral judgements on what is right and wrong. This further extends through her relationships with her adopted family group consisting of her grandmother Nagiko Hojo, the head of Metal Works; a role she intends to groom Kuniko to take over someday. Kuniko's mother/daughter relationship with transexual Momoko provides some of the more tender and intimate sides to the show, in spite of Momoko's flip attitude and love of sarcarsm as well as her flamboyant references to being a transgender person she loves Kuniko very much.
For this reason Momoko is my favorite character after Kuniko.
Getting back to the geo-political state of the world in this excellent series based on the light novel by Eiichi Ikegami, Japan was mostly destroyed a few decades prior in the mid-twenty-first century by a massive earthquake leaving Tokyo as the largest jungle-oplis on the planet split between the home of the elite citizens in Atlas and those left on the surface of the country. At the core, it's economics that truly drives the political intrigues and conspiracies against the lower castes; which is nothing new to anyone that has watched the news over the past few years. But Shangri-La really delves deep into the concept of economy driven politics, rebellion, puppeteering, free markets versus government run commerce, etc. in ways that most fiction hasn't touched in a long time. This reviewer finds it to be a breath of fresh air, and once you move past the excellent sci-fi angles of the anime, it really calls the viewer to think about the state of the world and how much economics truly govern in our world today. And just how good or bad for the human race that is.

Animation is gorgeous, as is expected of Gonzo; though if I'm honest I don't always like the character designs Gonzo sets forth. But I have to admit the designs in Shangri-La from character to backgrounds and scenery are great and never lose any bit of that when 2D and 3D CG are combined in some scenes. Even with the level of detail CGI animation can generate today much animation, Japanese anime and Western animation included, does not accomplish hybrid style well; one form of animation or another always seem to lose some detail and appeal when 2D and CG are combined but like I said that is not the case here.

Dub actors nail every character once more thanks to the talented crew at FUNimation Entertainment including fan favorite greats J. Michael Tatum (who also did scripting duty), Todd Haberkorn, Tia Ballard, and Trina Nishimura. Admittedly I haven't watched the original Japanese audio version yet, but the actors cast in the dub version really do shine in their craft on this series. You can tell the actors involved wanted to be involved and liked voicing their characters, the cast really put themselves into this one and there's just no beating that.

Dub Cast:
Kuniko Hojo - Lindsay Seidel
Mikuni - Apphia Yu
Kunihito Kusanagi - Austin Tindle
Momoko - Kent Williams
Nagiko Hojo - Linda Leonard
Yuri Gamagori - Emerick Jade
Tomoka Yamazaki - Tia Ballard
Takehiko - Bryan Massey
Ryoko Naruse - Jennifer Seman
Soichiro Hata - Todd Haberkorn
Shogo Kudo - J. Michael Tatum
Reon Imaki - Jason Douglas
Sion Imaki - Micah Solusod
Miiko - Randy Pearlman
Sayoko - Anastasia Muñoz
Karin Ishida - Jād Saxton
Klaris Lutz - Trina Nishimura
Zhang - Anthony Bowling
Sergei Talsian - Bill Jenkins
MEDUSA - Joel McDonald
Old Man Army - R. Bruce Elliot
Old Man Camera - Jerry Russell
Old Man Loli - Charlie Campbell
Canary - Justin Pate
Hiruko - Heather Walker

Episode List:
1. "Returned Girl"
"Shōjo Kikan" (少女帰還)

2. "Cursed Sea of Ikebukuro"
"Ikebukuro Jukai" (池袋呪海)

3. "Creation of the Layers of Heaven and Earth"
"Tenchi Sōzō" (天地層造)

4. "Neo-Akihabara"
"Chō Akihabara" (超秋葉原)

5. "Crazed Dance"
"Ranshin Ranbu" (乱心嵐舞)

6. "Fictitious Battle Line"
"Kyokō Sensen" (虚構戦線)

7. "Sorrow, Love and Hatred"
"Hisō Onshū" (悲想恩讐)

8. "Cruel Lipstick"
"Kuchibeni Muzan" (口紅無残)

9. "Divine Revelation of the Sun and Moon"
"Tenkei Yōgetsu" (天啓陽月)

10. "Sword of the Power of Words"
"Kotodama no Tsurugi" (言霊之剣)

11. "Butterfly Dream"
"Kochō Mugen" (胡蝶夢幻)

12. "Vicissitudes of Life"
"Seisei Ruten" (生勢流転)

13. "Flying Girl"
"Hikō Shōjo" (飛行少女)

14. "Transfigured City"
"Henbō Toshi" (変貌都市)

15. "Straying and Defeat"
"Meisō Haitai" (迷走敗退)

16. "The Mad Forest Hell"
"Kyōran Jugoku" (狂乱樹獄)

17. "Tunnels on a Dark Night"
"An'ya Kōro" (暗夜杭路)

18. "The Two-Headed Tale"
"Sōtō Kitan" (双頭奇譚)

19. "Tokyo Bombardment"
"Tōkyō Kūshū" (東京空襲)

20. "Modulated Concatenation"
"Tsuranari no Shirabe" (連之調音)

21. "Disappearance of the Holy Land"
"Seichi Shōshitsu" (聖地消失)

22. "Eternal Bonds"
"Eien no Kizuna" (永遠乃絆)

23. "Prelude to Collapse"
"Hōkai Jokyoku" (崩壊序曲)

24. "Shangri-La"
"Risō Kyōdo" (理想郷土)

Shangri-La gets a 4.5 out of 5.

For more check out

- Michael Meade

Freezing (Dub Version)
FUNimation Entertainment
Posted 9/10/12 11:35PM EST

Courtesy FUNimation Entertainment

Freezing... so... much.... FAN SERVICE!! In all seriousness, there is much more in your face fan service in just the first two episodes of Freezing than this reviewer has seen in a while (coming from the guy who loves Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, Cat Planet Cuties, and Heaven's Lost Property), but past that there's a viable storyline here. The series feels like a combination of Evangelion, without the EVA units, dark psychology, and BDSM fetishism (well here and there for everyone that just said "screw that noise"), and a 90s high school romantic comedy but set around the early 2060s after a race of interdimensional alien beings begin attacking the planet in a seeming bid to wipe out humanity and take over our Mother Earth.
Without having read the manga that the anime is based on, I don't know if there is anything lost in translation from medium to medium, but it feels like there could be much deeper levels to this story. The crew at FUNimation has done a great job with reversioning the original Japanese series, both writers and dub actors, but it still feels like there could be something really great in Freezing but it doesn't quite make the mark, it hits the line between average and great with only a foot over that line into greatness. By no means is in the acting or even the rewrite into English to blame, Caitlin Glass really shines as female protagonist Satellizer el Bridget and I really like Luci Christian's badass turn as Satellizer's frienemy Ganessa Roland; the base of the story just isn't original enough to take those few strides into great storytelling. That said, for a sci-fi rom-com with salutes to Evangelion and major fan service, it is enjoyable on several levels; again dub actors bring a lot of life into the characters while clearly enjoying the dialogue during the fan service moments.
And that is the thing, Freezing is not unenjoyable, in spite of what I said above; this is an enjoyable series if you like action and can laugh at heavy amounts of fan service. The fan service is there to make fun of itself, at least from this reviewer's viewpoint, much the same as Panty and Stocking mocking standard fan service devices like the hera transformation sequence with panty flashes a-plenty. For those looking for more serious sci-fi there are interesting spins on biotechnology and hard light projections in this one.
Animation is the slick colorful style, though when there are intense battles between the Pandoras and Nova the atmosphere of the scenes change to match the action. A.C.G.T. shows off the studio's worth in the art department in spades.

Dub Cast:
Kazuya Aoi - Josh Grelle
Satellizer el Bridget - Caitlin Glass
Rana Linchen - Jamie Marchi
Ganessa Roland - Luci Christian
Arthur Crypton - Patrick W. Reid
Kaho Hiiragi - Alexis Tipton
Audrey Duvall - Martha Harms
Aika Takeuchi - Anastasia Munoz
Tris McKenzie - Trina Nishimura
Chiffon Fairchild - Cherami Leigh (credited as Ceelee Rose)
Yujin - Z. Charles Bolton
Elizabeth Mably - Tia Ballard (credited as Abigail Hartman)
André Francoise - Keith Kubal
Ticy Phenyl - Tia Ballard (credited as Abigail Hartman)
Arnett McMillan - Jad Saxton
Creo Brand - Liza Gonzales
Attia Simmons - Monica Rial
Mark - Kyle Phillips
Ingrid Berstein - Brittney Karbowski
Leo Bernard - Alexander Moran
Miyabi Kannazuki - Leah Clark
Sister Margaret - Dusty Jacks
Yumi Kim - Colleen Clinkenbeard (credited as Carmen Smith)
Elize Schmitz - Stephanie Young (credited as Kelly McHalen)
Cathy Lockheart - Kristi Kang
Kyoichi Minase - Scott Freeman
Milena Marius - Lydia Mackay
Louis el Bridget (child) - Lara Woodhull
Louis el Bridget (teenager) - Ryan Reynold
Kazuha Aoi - Catherine DuBord
Marin Maxwell - Shelly Osterberger
Olivia el Bridget - Nancy Sherrard
Noelle Alongrutch - Linda Leonard
Violet el Bridget - Lindsay Seidel

Episode List:
1. "Untouchable Queen"
2. "Pandora Mode"
3. "Accelerating Turn"
4. "Tempest Run"
5. "She is Rana Linchen"
6. "Machination"
7. "Sanction"
8. "Pandora Queen"
9. "Godspeed of the East"
10. "NOVA Form"
11. "Ambush! Ravensborne Nucleochede"
12. "Satellizer Vs. Pandora"

OVA Episodes:
1. "I Want to Touch Her♥Satellizer, the Girl with Glasses"
2. "Lots of Secrets♥The First Room Invitation"
3. "Someone's Going to See♥Overly-extreme Physical"
4. "The Genetics Swim Meet♥There Are Nip Slips, Too"
5. "Don't Look♥The Pandora's Bare Change of Clothes"
6. "Freezing Gone Wild♥Sighs-a-plenty for the Pandoras"

Freezing gets a 3.5 out 5.

For more check out

- Michael Meade

No. 6 (Dub Version)
Sentai Filmworks
Posted 9/1/12 6:37PM EST

Courtesy Sentai Filmworks

A dystopian Utopia filled with sinister secrets known only by the government created in the aftermath of a great war that destroyed most habitable land on the planet... anime plot or the Orwellian future we may be headed for? Geopolitical and socioeconomic worries of the planet aside, No. 6 is a stark look at a possible future and the impact it has on human society, within the context of this eleven episode series, which is based on the nine volume light novel series written by Atsuko Asano and the manga adapation drawn by Hinoki Kino, the focus is on the few instead of the many. Though the microcosm does most assuredly affect the macrocosm in the story, we focus in particular on young men Shion and Nezumi (Rat) from their initial meeting as young pre-teens as Nezumi flees government manhunters to their paths crossing again four years later after the fallout in Shion's life for aiding Nezumi.

Shion is a gifted student specializing in botany, Nezumi is a rebellious young drag queen from the slums outside the "perfect" life citystate No. 6 offeres to the privilieged elite that has found proof of the government's corruption. Yaoi fans that have not seen either the Japanese lanuage original or the dub are probably excited now at the mention of Nezumi's cross dressing and role as a drag queen to earn money from his performances... *SPOILER* Yes, Shion and Nezumi fall in love, but there aren't any full on love making scenes that spoil the story by being gratuitous. The love story aspect is done right, focusing on the mutual bond and affection the two protagonists have for each other, it's also never made a big deal that the boys are gay as is seen in so many Western productions for the sake of appealing to the "hey it's so cool to be gay/lesbian/bi" crowd that in essence do not actually contribute to the cause of equal sexuality rights; instead making one's sexual orientation and identity a trend. Last bit of soap box speak, once more this story does it right, the bond is never made a spectacle, novelty, or fetish; it merely is what it is, a bond of mutual respect and love between two human beings.

The animation of No. 6, in contrast to the overall grim setting, is bright, fluid and beautiful. This should not be a surprise though as the studio behind No. 6 is Bones, and this reviewer hasn't seen anime yet from them that hasn't been appealing to the eye. The dub acting is very well done by the cast; including well known fan favorites Greg Ayres and Luci Christian. Sentai Filmworks released their dub of the series on DVD and Blu Ray a few weeks ago on August 21. Definitely a series to pick up and check out if you like to think about your entertainment, and maybe give a thought to the world and where we're all headed on the current global path... is it better to live in an ignorant, manufactured bliss or to know the truth and fight for your right to live as you see fit?

Dub Cast
Shion - Greg Ayres
Nezumi - Kalob Martinez
Inukashi - Luci Christian
Safu - Hilary Haag
Karan - Lesley Pedersen
Rikiga - Chris Hutchison

1. "Drowned Rat"
"Bishonure Nezumi" (びしょぬれネズミ)

2. "City Adorned in Light"
"Hikari Matou Machi" (光まとう街)

3. "Life and Death"
"Sei to Shi to" (生と死と)

4. "Good and Evil"
"Ma to Sei" (魔と聖)

5. "Angel of Death"
"Meifu no Tenshi" (冥府の天使)

6. "Hidden Dangers"
"Hisoyakana Kiki" (密やかな危機)

7. "True Lies, False Truths"
"Shinjitsu no Uso Kyokō no Shinjitsu" (真実の嘘・虚構の真実)

8. "The reason for that is..."
"Sono Wake wa..." (そのわけは…)

9. "Stage of Disaster"
"Saiyaku no Butai" (災厄の舞台)

10. "What Lies in the Abyss"
"Naraku ni aru mono" (奈落にあるもの)

11. "Tell Me The Truth"
"Tsutaetekure, arinomama wo" (伝えてくれ、ありのままを)

No. 6 gets a 4 out of 5.

For more on No. 6 check out

- Michael Meade

Planzet (Dub Version)
Sentai Filmworks
Posted 8/22/12 11:43PM EST

Courtesy Sentai Filmworks

At first glance Planzet looks like your typical humans versus alien lifeform for domenation of the earth anime, and on the serfacxe it is, but the real shining point of the feature is human story underlying the sci-fi action. At it's heart Planzet, originally written and directed by Jun Awazu, is about the bonds of a family and being mature enough to appreciate that familial love and the lengths they drive us to for the good of our families. The English dub is well cast and very well acted by fan favorites and lead chaacter voice actors Blake Shepard and Brittney Karbowski. The CG animation is top notch, coloring is stark and breeds a feeling of hopelessness, but it fits the movie's atmosphere perfectly set in a post-apocalyptic 2053 where the earth has been in many ways decimated by the invading FOS.

In it's scant 53 minute running time, Planzet caters to many different anime sci-fi subgenres; including alien invasion, mecha, post-apocalyptic rebuilding of the human race, and space travel and terraforming of Mars (though this last point is only mentioned and never seen) are all crammed in. At times it feels as though too much has been placed into one stand alone feature, especially with it coming in just under the hour mark but in the end it works. For those flaws in the story it bears repeating that the real beauty of Planzet is in the family story of the Akishima (Akejima in the original Japanese) siblings, Hiroshi (Taishi in the Japanese version) and Koyomi, dealing with life in the new world order after losing their father Kōshirō in the first wave of FOS attacks in the year 2047.

Overall the movie gets a 4 out of 5, this is earned from the best CG animation available in the movie's original production year of 2010 and the story of Hiroshi and Koyomi.

English Dub Cast:
Hiroshi Akishima - Blake Shepherd
Koyomi Akishima - Brittney Karbowski
Kōshirō Akishima - Rob Mungle
Ken Tazaki - Illich Guardiola
Kaori Sagawa - Luci Christian
Yūra Yoshizawa - Tiffany Grant
Commissioner Yoshizawa - John Swasey
Nakamura - Greg Ayres
Narrator - David Wald
For more on Planzet check out

- Michael Meade

Social Science Fiction
FUNimation Entertainment
Posted 8/11/12 5:40PM EST

Courtesy FUNimation Entertainment

Fractale is a little more than your average cautionary tale against letting technology rule too much of our lives, it takes things deeper showing the affects of techologic isolation through use of "doppels". Doppels are cyber avatars that take our place in the real world as there is no real distinction between the physical and digital worlds in the dystopian eutopia the world has become. Reliance on and rebellion from the massive A.I. system and the truth behind the system are the key points of story and action in Fractale, but the true strength of this anime is in fact the characters and their stunted and eventually evolving emotional states. Protagonist Clain lives on his own, visited daily by the doppels of his parent (who live in separate towns so their personal freedoms aren't restricted by old world ties to other people) is emotionally separate and separated from life at the beginning of the series, Clain is also the only "normal" citizen of the world that doesn't have a doppel.
Clain's world is soon thrown out of the balance he has known his whole life by Phryne's explosive entry into his life while being persued by seeming, and bungling, villians Enri Granitz and her lackeys Takamy and Butcher. By helping Phryne evade her persuers Clain opens up his world to adventure, danger, and personal evolution that could help to reshape the world as it has become known.

Engrossing and enjoyable, as the heavy subject matter and moral issues presented are peppered heavily with moments of comedic relief and genuinely heartwarming moments (such as when Clain relaizes he wants Nessa in his life), the series never feels overly preachy with it's message even while making a good point. Said cautionary message isn't stale or highly cliched in Fractale though, this is primarily due to seeing the converse point of view when it comes to giving ourselves over to technologic eutopianism. Rarely is the pro-tech view humanized with each side being morally ambiguous enough to let viewers question which moral stance they themselves side with. Making viewers think and think deeply about something that is taking place in society in a very real way right now, though the premise is set far in the future and is quite fantastic compared to the techology level we currently live in, is always a win in this reviewer's book.
Animation is slick and flowing, which is to be expected of A-1 Studios, the music of the series captures the essence of growing up and questioning authority perfectly; and is well complemented with compositions designed to show the awe of how big the world is no matter how small technology makes it seem at times.

The dub cast is superb led by fan favorite Brina Palencia as Clain, adapting her voice to play a young boy once more. Her Clain is as different from Ciel Phantomhive of Black Butler in intonation and warmth as to make Clain his own being; at first listen fans may not recognize Brina's voice, further showing why she is one of the best dub voice actors on the scene. Luci Christian provides the dubbing for Nessa, going from serious to confused to playful in the same sentence, Luci plays Nessa to moe hera perfection. Christian's Nessa learns as much as teaches Palencia's Clain as they journey together facing all odds to complete their quest.

Dub Cast:
Clain Necran - Brina Palencia
Phryne - Caitlin Glass
Nessa - Luci Christian
Enri Granitz - Monica Rial
Sunda Granitz - Scott Freeman
Dias - Eric Vale
Moeran - Stephanie Young
Barrot - Bucky Pearl

Episode List:
1. "Encounter"

2. "Nessa"

3. "Granitz Village"
("Guranittsu no Mura")

4. "Departure"

5. "Journey"

6. "The Farthest Town"
("Saihate no Machi")

7. "City of Pride"
("Kyoshoku no Machi")

8. "Secret of the Underground"
("Chika no Himitsu")

9. "No Way Out"

10. "To the Monastery"
("Sōin e")

11. "Paradise"

Fractale gets a 4.5 out of 5.

For more on Fractale check out

- Michael Meade

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt (Dub Version)
FUNimation Entertainment
Posted 7/13/12 3:00PM EST

Courtesy FUNimation Entertainment

Mix Highway to Heaven (for those of you not old enough to remember this show, it was about an angel that had to complete several good deeds while wandering as a hitchhiker before being allowed back into heaven) and South Park with a heavy helping of Viagra, maybe some Spanish Fly and you've got yourself Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt. Not for the faint of heart, anyone under the age of... hell we'll say 21, and definitely not for those easily offended (re: towering evil ghost monster made of shit, enough use of the expletive "fuck" in one sentence to make the most hardened sailor blush, and speaking of hardened... more sex, sex jokes, and sexual discussions than most X rated live action films). That said, Panty and Stocking is great for all those horrible and wonderful things! Plus the series parodies so much in just one episode that it shames both SNL and Funny or Die in just hlaf an episode. On top of the funny, both parody and inappropiate, there's also a turdsicle load, watch the first episodes first half and that will be funny as hell trust me, of action in this anime. The action also score creative points for Gainax, slight spoiler I suppose, as each monster/ghost/demon is destroyed after the Anarchy sisters shout the much beloved "repent motherf***er!" finishing move line, the action switches to live action to watch a sculpted model of the monster get blown up for real.

In short, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is a over the top gross out fun, hyper sexual romp of awesome! The animation is crisp, though not exactly norm in art style the hybrid of said "normal" character models and chibi style is appealing especially throwing in moments of sexier drawing during the transformation sequences for Panty and Stocking doing pole dances before tranforming their respective panties and stockings in guns and katana (Panty's panties = guns, and Stocking's stockings = katana), and the aforementioned live action bits are brilliant. There isn't much of anything to demerit this series, it is short clocking in only 13 episodes and so far one special but that's becoming the stand by for newer anime. The stories are episodic without underlying plotlines and a clear course for the overall story until the end which leaves open the door for a second series. Neither point bothers this reviewer, I have read other reviews that knock the series for either or both points, but if the reviewer or fans are taking a series meant to be balls to wall funny that seriously they're missing the entire point and enjoyment of an anime like Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt.
Dub casting is superb! Jamie Marchi, pulling script writing duties for the show as well, plays Panty with "some motherf***ing style!" as Panty herself would say. Monica Rial as Stocking is just perfect, Rial can go from cute and cuddly moe to psycho yandere in 2 milliseconds flat and it is impressive every time. Christopher Sabat (best known for his dub work on Vegeta and Piccolo in Dragonball, Dragonball Z, and Dragonball GT) plays Garterbelt like the combo of Samuel L. Jackson and Redd Foxx that no other white man on this planet could pull off, making this reviewer that much more of a fan of Mister Sabat. Plus Colleen Clinkenbeard and Cherami Leigh as Scanty and Kneesocks respectively are both, pardon the pun and spoiler, devilishly awesome!.

In closing, this one isn't for everybody, nothing is sacred and being offensively funny is the aim; and that target is hit so many times it's going to have trouble walking tomorrow! But if you're not easily offended with an open minded sense of humor this anime may be right up your alley.
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt gets a 4.5 out of 5 but only because it leaves you feeling teased and wanting more at the end.

Main Dub Cast:
Anarchy Panty - Jamie Marchi
Anarchy Stocking - Monica Rial
Garterbelt - Christopher Sabat
Brief - Joel McDonald
Chuck - Ian Sinclair
Scanty - Colleen Clinkenbeard
Kneesocks - Cherami Leigh
Corset - Christopher Ayres
Fastener - Christopher Bevins
1. Part 1: "Excretion Without Honor nor Humanity"
("Jingi naki Haisetsu")
Part 2: "Death Race 2010"
("Desu Rēsu Nisenjū")

2. Part 1: "The Turmoil of the Beehive"
("Mitsubachi no Zawameki")
Part 2: "Sex and the Daten City"
("Sekkusu ando za Daten Shiti")

3. Part 1: "Catfight Club"
("Kyattofaito Kurabu")
Part 2: "Pulp Addiction"
("Parupu Adikushon")

4. Part 1: "The Diet Syndrome"
("Daietto Shindorōmu")
Part 2: "High School Nudical"
("Hai Sukūru Nūdikaru")

5. Part 1: "Raiders of the Nasal Dark" ("The Runny")
Part 2: "Vomiting Point"
("Vomittingu Pointo")

6. "Les Diaboliques"
("Akuma no Yō na Onnatachi")

7. Part 1: "Trans-homers"
Part 2: "The Stripping"
("Gennama ni Ratai o Hare")

8. Part 1: "...Of the Dead"
("...Obu za Deddo")
Part 2: "1 Angry Ghost"
("Ippiki no Ikareru Gōsuto")

9. Part 1: "If the Angels Wore Swimsuits"
("Tenshi ga Mizugi ni Kigaetara")
Part 2: "Ghost: The Phantom of Daten City"
("Gōsuto: Daten Shiti no Maboroshi")

10. Part 1: "Inner Brief"
("Innā Burīfu")
Part 2: "Chuck to the Future"
("Chakku tu za Fyūchā")
Part 3: "Help! We Are Angels"
("HELP! Futari wa Enjeru")

11. Part 1: "Once Upon a Time in Garterbelt"
("Wansu Apon a Taimu in Gātāberuto")
Part 2: "Nothing to Room"
("Nasshingu tu Rūmu")

12. Part 1: "D.C. Confidential"
("Dī Shī Konfidensharu")
Part 2: "Panty and Brief"
("Panti ando Burīfu")

13. Part 1: "Bitch Girls"
("Bitchi Gāruzu")
Part 2: "Bitch Girls: 2 Bitch"
("Bitchi Gāruzu: Tsū Bitchi")

Special: "Panty & Stocking in Sanitarybox"
"Heroine Interview"
("Heroin Intabyū")
"Geek of The Dead"
("Gīku obu za Deddo") "A Map of The Daten City"
("Mappu obu za Daten Shiti")
"Chuck to The Future: Part 4"
("Chakku tu za Fyūchā PART4")
"Brothers of The Roundhead"
("Brazāzu obu za Raundoheddo")
"District B"
("Dai-B Chiku")
"The Hairdresser's Bad Wife"
("Kamiyui no Akusai")
"Bitch Flash"
("Bitchi Furasshu")

For more on Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt check out

- Michael Meade

Dream Eater Merry (Dub)
Sentai Filmworks
Posted 5/12/12 6:00PM EST

Courtesy Sentai Filmworks

In Dream Eater Merry you see the anime archetypes fairly quick, but the series quickly builds past them in just the first episode; and you fast find yourself watching a series that while short is engrossing and thought provoking... at least if you contemplate dreams. Without spoiling too much, the plot revolves around the connection between what we deem the "real world", the waking world, and the world of dreams and its denizens. Further than that the series delves into how the two realities affect each other and the dangers each presents to the other. Slathered with eye popping visuals that blend 2D and CG animation (not something this reviewer is usually a fan of in the amount done within this series) better than I've seen in awhile. The anime has been criticized as having more style than substance and being a poor man's Soul Eater, I disagree; the problem is knowing where to look for the substance, just like reading it's no fun as a viewer if everything is handed to you.
As stated above, archetypes make themselves known in the characters quickly, and though the main characters do transcend these archetypes at points for character evolution that creates true depth of personality, really humanizing them, they are never transcended completely. This however, does not take away from the story as long as you can take some fan service and humor. Not in amounts that would wreck the story but it's there. All that said, Dream Eater Merry does still tackle an interesting concept, that while done before still carries weight and is fascinating from psychological and philisophical points. Especially when considering the origins and motivations of the Dream Demons in the pursuits of their individual desires to explore the waking world, destroy it, and escape from it to their former life in the dream world.
Of particular interest from a character study standpoint is "Chaser" John Doe, the first Dream Demon that human protagonist Yumeji Fujiwara meets as Doe wishes to commandeer the body of Fujiwara to visit the waking world as humans alomost freely visit the dream world. Also the main protagonist Merry Nightmare provides interesting character study through her past and why she finds our world so horrible to be trapped in.

Dub actors are spot on in their characterizations of the cast, each finding a perfect vocal range to express the dialogues, monologues, and exchanges between cast members. That said, this reviewer would have cast Brittney Karbowski (Isana Tachibana) as Merry and Hilary Haag (Merry Nightmare) as Isana Tachibana, though each did great with their respective characters, in my mind each actress would have been a better fit with the castings reversed. It's not uncharted ground, in anime or any other genre/presentation of fiction, but it is presented creativly and enthrallingly; by no means absolutely perfect but close in context of character and story development for this reviewers money. In short, molds aren't broken here but they are refined by a good measure.

The dub version of Dream Eater Merry gets a 3.5 out of 5.

Main Dub Cast:
Merry Nightmare - Hilary Haag
Yumeji Fujiwara - Blake Shepherd
Isana Tachibana - Brittney Karbowski
Chaser John Doe - Christopher Ayres
Yui Kōnagi - Luci Christian
Engi Threepiece - Shannon Emerick
Pharos Heracles - David Matranga
Maze Landsbourough - Greg Ayres
Mei Hoshino - Emily Neves
Takateru Akiyanagi - Chris Patton
Saki Kirishima - Shelley Calene-Black
Old Man Tachibana - Andrew Love
Nao Horie - Maggie Flecknoe
Chizuru Kawanami - Melissa Davis
Lestion - Jay Hickman
Ryōta Iijima - Vic Mignogna
Mystletainn - Monica Rial
Parade - Serena Varghese

Episode List:
1. "Dream Reality"
"Yume Utsutsu"

2. "Dreams and Hopes"
"Yume mo Kibō mo"

3. "From Beyond the Dream"
"Yume no Mukō kara"

4. "Dream Eater Merry"
"Yumekui Merī"

5. "Astray in a Dream"
"Yume no Naka de Asutorei"

6. "Dream Encounter"
"Yume Kaikō"

7. "Dreams, Swimsuits and the Color of the Sea"
"Yume to Mizugi to Umi no Iro"

8. "Dream Corridor"
"Yume Kairō"

9. "Disturbed Dreams"
"Yume Midarete"

10. "Not Waking from a Dream"
"Yume kara Samezu ni"

11. "Protectors of Dreams"
"Yume no Moribito"

12. "Nightmare"

- Michael Meade

Ōkami-san and Her Seven Companions (Dub)
Romantic Comedy
FUNimation Entertainment
Posted 2/29/12 11:30PM EST

Courtesy FUNimation Entertainment

Ah Ōkami-san, based on the light novel series by Masashi Okita, don't pay attention to your detractors dear sweet anime series, don't mind their complaints about what they consider your generic character design, and "typical" character types, your lack of "true" fan service, and don't pay attention to your sarcastic (albeit funny as hell) narrators jabs at your still developing endowments. We at Anime Ate My Brain love you and accept you for all that you are. Plus those aforementioned "shortcomings" that this reviewer has read in other reviews, fan and professional, add to the series because the character personalities overcome them and make each one much more than the overused and shallow archetypal stereotypes applied. That and we have to remember Ōkami-san and Her Seven Companions is a romantic comedy in fairy tale spoof's clothing with enough action and fights to keep it exciting for the Shōnen fans. Which is what makes it great! From spoofing fairy tales and high school romances to parodying anime staples like fan service, take a step back from the details and look at the big picture. Don't forget to enjoy the funny while your at it.

Putting the soapbox away, Ōkami-san stands well on the points stated above; it's funny, has great and endearing characters (beyond being anime updates of fairy tale characters: Ryōko Ōkami = Big Bad Wolf, Ringo = Little Red Riding Hood etc.), has beautiful animation, far out stories involving everything from stalkers to yakuza and high school gang turf wars and so forth. There's also the personal aspect for this writer, Ōkami-sans lone wolf personality and trying to tear down the walls she's built around her heart are something I can relate to. And the incredible dub cast is spot on in each casting, every voice actor works their character to perfection. Try not to copy Brina Palencia's "Hell Nah!" from the end of episode two (Ōkami-san the Liar and Ryōshi-kun) as the only way you say "hell no" hereafter. And Micah Solusod's performance as Liszt, President of The Otogi Bank, is one of the best in the series; completely humorous while aloofly serious, and yes I stand by that oxymoron. Of course, Monica Rial is always a pleasure to hear; she plays moe characters to a T and with Ringo shifts to yandere and back to moe without missing a beat. Let's not forget Luci Christian as the sarcastic narrator either! Some of Luci's best work in my opinion, and I'm a fan of many of her characters, for having an off screen character.
The dub version of Ōkami-san will be released April 3 2012 by FUNimation Entertainment, but for those who don't want to wait to see and hear the awesome (whether you've watched the subbed episodes or not) FUNi has the first two episodes on their Youtube page. Watch, you won't regret it; this reviewer is writing a whole review and plugging all twelve episodes from these two preview episodes alone; never having watched the subbed series thus far so let that give you an idea of how great this anime is. As long as you don't take it too seriously, you'll enjoy it.

The dub version of Ōkami-san and Her Seven Companions gets a 5 out of 5!

Main Dub Cast:
Ryōko Okami - Brina Palencia
Ringo Akai - Monica Rial
Ryōshi Morino - Joel McDonald
Liszt Kiriki - Micah Solusod
Alice Kiriki - Terri Doty
Otsū Tsurugaya - Colleen Clinkenbeard
Tarō Urashima - Todd Haberkorn
Otohime Ryūgū - Caitlin Glass
Majolica le Fay - Lindsay Seidel
1. Ōkami-san and Companions at Otogi Bank
Ōkami-san to Otogi Ginkō no Nakama-tachi

2. Ōkami-san the Liar and Ryōshi-kun
Usotsuki Ōkami-san to Ryōshi-kun

3. Ōkami-san Gets Tangled in the Ugly Fight between the Tortoise and the Hare
Ōkami-san Usagi to Kame no Minikui Arasoi ni Makikomareru

4. Ōkami-san and Otsū-senpai's Repayment of Favor
Ōkami-san to Otsū-senpai no Ongaeshi

5. Ōkami-san Goes Demon-Exorcising with Momo-chan-senpai
Ōkami-san Momo-chan-senpai to Oni-taiji ni Yuku

6. Ōkami-san and Little Red Riding Hood, and While We're at It, Ryōshi-kun
Ōkami-san to Akazukin-chan, Tsuide ni Ryōshi-kun

7. Ōkami-san Goes on a Double Date with Jizō-san
Ōkami-san Jizō-san to Daburu Dēto Suru

8. Ōkami-san and the Mouse's Bride-Hunt and Pigs Should be Treated Like This After All
Ōkami-san to Nezumi no Yomesagashi to Yappari Buta wa Kō Iu Atsukai

9. Ōkami-san and the Snow White Who Isn't Affected by the Poisoned Apple
Ōkami-san to Doku-Ringo ga Kikanai Shirayuki-Hime

10. Ōkami-san and the Otogi Bank's Longest Day
Ōkami-san to Otogi Ginkō no Sugoku Nagai Ichinichi

11. Ōkami-san and the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Ōkami-san to Hitsuji no Kegawa o Kita Ōkami

12. Ōkami-san and the Girl who Doesn't Sell Matches but is Still Poor
Ōkami-san to Matchi-Uri ja Nai kedo Fukō na Shōjo

For more on Ōkami-san and Her Seven Companions check out

- Michael Meade

Professor Layton and The Eternal Diva (Dub Version)
Viz Media
Posted 2/7/12 5:47PM EST

Courtesy: Viz Media

Video game favorite Professor Layton makes the jump from game to movie in the footsteps of Pokemon, but substantially better than its cute monster training predecessor. Offering a story with substance and enough mystery to entertain older anime fans as well as younger. Presented in the U.S. by Viz Media, animation and direction are great, characterization well done and engaging by the dub actors in the feature. Character design matches the Layton games perfectly, so it’s somewhat a cross between chibi and western caricature art; a little cartoony but it works very well. For those unfamiliar with the gentlemanly professor, think a cross between Sherlock Holmes (sans the drug and alcohol use as well as disguises) and Indiana Jones; with less action throughout but certainly satisfying when it does come around in the story. The story is very much character driven, which this reviewer always enjoys, concentrating of course on the Layton and his young ward Luke; other recurring characters from the games are present such Inspector Grosky, Emmy, and Layton’s mentor; and the character Janice plays a very important part in the story. But other characters are only a means to further the story with no development, again very much like Sherlock Holmes.

There are only two downsides to the dub version of this feature, there is much exposition on the puzzles and back story to the plot once the mystery is unveiled. If one is not a fan of more cerebral anime the amount of explanation to the set up and workings of the villains plot at the end could force you to turn off the your DVD/BluRay players. Downside number two is the ADR engineering on Professor Layton, Viz has usually better quality ADR directing and engineering in its anime movies and series. It’s not that noticeable in the first hour of the movie, but in the last 30 minutes it begins to look like a Godzilla dub. It’s not truly bad ADR, but it seems lazy towards the end of the film; the viewer if paying attention will notice the lip flaps on characters out of synch with the vocals. Not a major issue to be sure, just not something you come across with Viz.

Beyond those two minor points, and point one isn’t an issue for this reviewer (it’s more of a warning for action oriented fans unfamiliar with the Layton puzzle games), I found the movie entertaining and may actually upgrade my handheld gaming system to a Nintendo DS or 3DS so I can enjoy more adventures with the good professor and his assistant number one Luke until the next movie (rumored to be in production now) is released!

Main Dub Cast:
Professor Hershel Layton - Christopher Robin Miller
Luke Triton - Maria Darling
Emmy Altava - Emma Tate
Janice Quatlane - Emma Tate
Inspector Clamp Grosky - Stuart Organ
Oswald Whistler - Robbie Stevens
Amelia Ruth - Claire Morgan
Curtis O'Donnel - Wayne Forester
Marco Brock - David Holt
Frederick Bargland - Stuart Organ
Annie Dretche - Maria Darling
Celia Raidley - Sarah Hadland
Pierre Starbuck - Robbie Stevens
Jean Descole - Jonathan Keeble

Professor Layton and The Eternal Diva gets a 4 out of 5.

For more check out  

- Michael Meade

Durarara!! (Dub Version)
Posted 12/29/11 11:52PM EST

Courtesy Aniplex

Granted Durarara!! isn't exactly brand new and it just finished it's inital run on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim Saturday night anime block... but it's getting a review because this reviewer fell in love with this trippy, twist filled (and at times twisted) anime. Set in modern Ikebukuro Japan the series is split into three arcs, the first concluding at episode 12; special episode 12.5 bridges the months between 12 and 13 which begins the second arc which lasts through episode 16. Episode 17 launches the final branch of the story immediately.
The series follows a small bunch of characters that at first seem to only be related by virtue of all living in Ikebukuro, through the twists and flasbacks connections are found and explored, and sometimes fleshed out. The story holds elements of action, horror, suspense, mystery, even romance.
The characters most often given focus out of the ensemble are Mikado Ryūgamine, along with his classmates Masaomi Kida and Anri Sonohara, each with secrets that are at the same time unexpected and yet couldn't be any other way. And as the first arc moves forward more time is spent on one of the more interesting character of the eccentric and bizarre cast; Celty Sturluson the Headless Rider. Celty, main heroine of the series and arguably the main character period, is a dullahan; a headless Irish Faery (think combination Grim Reaper and a Norse Valkyrie) that has come to Ikebukuro in search of her stolen head and the fading memories it contains. The head was stolen from the 200 year old beautiful dullahan 20 years prior to the beginning of the series in Ireland, how and by whom she has no clue.
Throw in some gang warfare, even more intrigue, and supernatural happenings that make Celty look "normal", the machinations of information broker and master manipulator Izaya Orihara, and over the top fights between Orihara and superstrong collection agent Shizuo Heiwajima keep every episode fresh and engaging. Animation is beautiful, fluid, in fact some of the best this reviewer has seen from any Aniplex production; Brain's Base is one hell of a studio for it's animation work on Durarara!! The only downside in character development is the lack of fleshing out interesting supporting characters like Simon Brezhnev the Russian sushi chef and Dollars members Kyohei Kadota, Walker Yumasaki, Erika Karisawa, and Saburo Togusa among other Dollars and Yellow Scarves members.
Overall though, each character, no matter how much depth or screen time given, are all interesting. Indulging in and sometimes smashing anime archetype behavior and personality, no one is ever quite what they seem but they all have heart and conviction; regardless of which side of good or bad they want to position themselves in a very gray world.
Voice acting in the dub is excellent with some well known fan-favorite VAs including Kari Wahlgren, Crispin Freeman, and Johnny Yong Bosch. I've watched both the English and Japanese language versions, and despite being a dub enthusiast in most cases, the dub actors bring something to Durarara!! that the Japanese cast doesn't in this reviewer's opinion. Personally I can't think of Celty having any other voice but Wahlgren's.

Dub Cast:
Mikado Ryūgamine - Darrel Guilbeau
Masaomi Kida - Bryce Papenbrook
Anri Sonohara - Michelle Ruff
Celty Sturluson - Kari Wahlgren
Shizuo Heiwajima - Crispin Freeman
Izaya Orihara - Johnny Yong Bosch
Shinra Kishitani - Yuri Lowenthal
Simon Brezhnev - Patrick Seitz
Kyohei Kadota - Steven Blum
Walker Yamasaki - Brian Beacock
Erika Karisawa - Mela Lee
Saburo Togusa - Spike Spencer
Seiji Yagiri - David Earnest
Namie Yagiri - Bridget Hoffman
Mika Harima - Carrie Savage
Shingen Kishitani - Doug Stone
Mairu Orihara - Candalee Whitmore
Kururi Orihara - Candalee Whitmore
Kinnosuke Kuzuhara - Christopher Corey Smith
Saki Mikajima - Cassandra Morris
Kasuka Heiwajima - Blake Lewis
Tom Tanaka - Keith Silverstein
Takashi Nasujima - Kirk Thornton
Hōrada - Kyle Herbert
Episode List:
1. "Exit 1, First Words"
2. "Highly Unpredictable"
3. "Rampant Evil"
4. "Utterly Alone"
5. "False Advertising"
6. "Active Interest"
7. "Bad-ass Dude"
8. "Ephemeral Dream"
9. "Love and Cherish"
10. "Never Before Seen"
11. "Storm and Stress"
12. "Yin and Yang"
12.5. "Heaven's Vengeance"
13. "Takes A Sudden Turn"
14. "Turmoil Reigns"
15. "Dumb Like a Fox"
16. "Mutual Love"
17. "Everything Changes"
18. "Out of Your Control"
19. "Anarchy"
20. "A New King Will Arise"
21. "Everything Covered in Fog"
22. "Declaration of Disbandment"
23. "Complicated and Confused"
24. "Selfless Devotion"
25. "World at Peace"
Durarara!! gets a solid and well earned 5 out of 5!
For more check out
- Michael Meade

Murder Princess (Dub Version)
FUNimation Entertainment
Posted 11/28/11 7:00PM EST

Courtesy FUNimation Entertainment

Murder Princess is a fun romp through the classic body switching comedy... but a whole lot of sword and monster fighting thrown in for good measure! The series focuses on bounty hunter Falis, the toughest bounty hunter in the kingdom, and how her life and fate becomes intertwined with Princess Alita Forland; the last in the royal bloodline but for her missing brother Prince Kaito.
The animation is slick and beautiful, at times very cartoony in feel and at others almost gritty; yet retaining it's slick veneer. Story is not unoriginal but there are some things that are too copy and paste/rinse and repeat about the overall progression of events. While for the serious viewer looking for brand new territory this may pose as a failing it is still a fun ride through the six episode OVA style series. That said, you'll probably have where the plot is heading pegged by the end of the second episode, but again it's a very fun trip with many laughs and awesome battles once the Murder Princess takes up arms to defend her kingdom.
Once more, the cloak and dagger aspects of the series, except for a few that are not given any hints in advance, are easy to pick about for any fantasy and/or adventure buff but the effort is nice.
Characters are where this series really shines, from the two main characters and their small band of sidekicks to the villains, most viewers are sure to have their favorites picked before the first show is over. Casting is terrific for this series, each voice actor dubs their character as though they grew up with them.
The only true downside to Murder Princess is the show's six show length, at times the story feels rushed because of the OVA nature of the series even though most important plot points are explained and resolved by the end. Perhaps it's this reviewer's obvious like of the series speaking more than journalistic observation but it feels like there could have been much much more done inbetween the beginning and end of Alita and Falis's story than we get to see.
One final note, before any yuri enthusiasts get their hopes up considering the attractiveness of the leads, the classification does not stand in the anime outside one humorous moment midway through the series. There may be more of a yuri nature to the manga, but as this reviewer hasn't read the manga at this point in time I cannot say for certain.
Murder Princess gets a 4.5 out of 5.
Main Dub Cast:
Alita Forland (a.k.a. Milano) - Colleen Clinkenbeard
Falis (a.k.a. Alita) - Monica Rial
Dominikov - Chuck Huber
Pete Armstrong - Ben Phillips
Jodo Entolasia - R. Bruce Elliot
Milano Entolasia - Brittney Karbowski
Dr. Akamashi - Mark Stoddard
Ana - Carrie Savage
Yuna - Carrie Savage
Cecilia - Wendy Powell
Prince Kaito - Patrick Seitz
1. Birth
2. Coronation
3. Return
4. Exile
5. Fate
6. Determination's End
Ketsui no kan
For more on this anime check out

- Michael Meade

Sands of Destruction (Dub Version)
FUNimation Entertainment
Posted 11/22/11 1:50AM EST

Courtesy FUNimation Entertainment

Sands of Destruction, based on the video game (World Destruction: Guided Wills in Japan) and manga of the same name, follows the adventures of the World Destruction Committee to bring about the end of the world... even though they end up doing more good than harm. The trio consisting of somewhat cowardly yet good hearted Kyrie, the jaded and strong Morte (who is the only member of the WDC that wants to end the world), and the super strong and heroic Toppy; a small teddy bear-like bear. The gang's adventures bring into contact with a myriad of characters as they travel from the continent to contintent, each named for a season, looking for a way to unlock a mysterious orb called the Destruct Code and avoid their adversaries in the World Salvation Committee.
The series, though short at one season of 13 episodes, has a lot going for it and a lot going on at all times. Underneath the adventure is a message of acceptance, not preachy, and it doesn't take away from the action; but it is there as a constant thorn to the WDC's travels is the inequality between humans and the ruling race of beastmen. Even if you're not a fan of the Nintendo DS video game the series is based on, you'll find yourself sucked into the anime quickly; if not by the story than by the characters. From Morte's gruff interactions with others to Kyrie's spazz attacks, even Toppy ending almost every sentence with the word "kuma" (Japanese for bear); these characters are charming... even at their most annoying.
The dub actors are spot on and superb in their characterizations of the cast, and the "guest" stars follow suit perfectly. To say nothing of the infectious opening theme "ZERO" by AAA (Attack All Around).
The series gets a 4 out of 5, the only detractor is the short length of the series.
Main Dub Cast
Kyrie Illunis - Todd Haberkorn
Morte Asherah - Luci Christian
Toppy Toplan - Robert McCollum
Agan Madoru - Eric Vale
Lia Dragunel - Trina Nishimura
Nadja Gref - Anthony Bowling
1. There Are Two Kinds of Heroes
Yūsha niwa Futatōri Aru
2. There Are Two Kinds of Worlds
Sekai niwa Futatōri Aru
3. There Are Two Kinds of Beastmen
Shūjin niwa Futatōri Aru
4. There Are Two Kinds of Humans
Ningen niwa Futatōri Aru
5. There Are Two Kinds of Men
Otoko niwa Futatōri Aru
6. There Are Two Kinds of Summers
Natsu niwa Futatōri Aru
7. There Are Two Kinds of Companions
Nakama niwa Futatōri Aru
8. There Are Two Kinds of Smugglers
Hakobiya niwa Futatōri Aru
9. There Are Two Kinds of Autumns
Aki niwa Futatōri Aru
10. There Are 108 Laws of Clockwork Robotics
Karakuri Robo niwa 108 no Gensoku ga Aru
11. There Are Two Kinds of Power
Chikara niwa Futatōri Aru
12. There Are Two Kinds of Pasts
Kakō niwa Futatōri Aru
13. There Are Two Kinds of Futures
Mirai niwa Futatōri Aru
For more on Sands of Destruction check out

- Michael Meade

Bamboo Blade (Dubbed Version)
Slice of Life/Sports/Comedy/Drama/Moe
FUNimation Entertainment
Posted 9/20/11 11:40PM EST

Courtesy FUNimation Entertainment

Bamboo Blade, based on the Yen Press manga with animation by AIC's (Ah! My Goddess & Tenchi Muyo!) A.S.T.A. Division (Gun X Sword), follows the trials and tribulations of a high school kendo team in Japan. The story focuses most often on small Tamaki Kawazoe, Tama to her friends, the introverted First Year High School daughter of a kendo master who is reluctantly dragged into joining Muroe High's failing kendo team. The series features typical high school drama in places but more than that it showcases the meaning of what it means to be a team and shows great love and joy for it's particular sport kendo.
For those that don't know kendo is the sport form of Japanese swordplay, proper name being Kenjutsu, the sport is commonly compared to fencing, though kendo is often much more intense.
The animation is superb, and the story and characters compelling; regardless of the fact that it is a high school soap opera at points the overall story is very engrossing. You'll soon find yourself drawn in and caring about Tama as she learns how to have friends and be a friend in return along with her teammates Kirano Chiba, Sayako Kuwahara (nicknamed Saya), Miyako Miyazaki (nicknamed Miya and Miya-Miya), Satori Azuma, Yuji Nakata, Danjuro Eiga (nicknamed Donny), and team coach Toraji Ishida (nicknamed Kojiro); all of whom are excellently voiced by the voice actors that dubbed the show. The 26 episodes go by much too fast and seem far shorter than their actual number.
For a reviewer and fan that doesn't usually doesn't care slice of life anime, Bamboo Blade was a truly awesome surprise!
Bamboo Blade gets a well earned 5 out of 5!
Main Dub Cast:
Tamaki Kawazoe - Cherami Leigh
Kirano Chiba - Luci Christian
Sayako Kuwahara - Brina Palencia
Miyako Miyazaki - Leah Clark
Satori Azuma - Carrie Savage
Yuji Nakata - Chris Burnett
Danjuro Eiga - Sean Michael Teague
Toraji Ishida - Ian Sinclair
Also featuring:
Ishibashi - Christopher R. Sabat
Tamaki's Father - Mark Stoddard
Rin Suzuki - Caitlin Glass
1. A Bamboo Broom and a Champion of Justice
Takebōki to Seigi no Mikata
2. The Blade Bravers and Boxed Lunch
Burēdo Bureibā to Obentō
3. Black and Blue
Burakku to Burū
4. Pink and Blue
Pinku to Burū
5. Muroe High and Machido High
Muroe Kō to Machido Kō
6. Tamaki Kawazoe and the Tardy Braver
Kawazoe Tamaki to Chikoku no Bureiba
7. Sushi and Mince Meat Cutlets
Sushi to Menchikatsu
8. Tama and Part-Time Work
Tama-chan to Arubaito
9. Kojiro and The Crossroads of Fate
Kojirō to Unmei no Bunkiten
10. Miyako Miyazaki's Melancholy and The First Tournament
Miyazaki Miyako no Yūutsu to Hajitaikai
11. Animation and Dreams
Animēshon to Dorīmu
12. Azuma's Circumstances and Mei's Circumstances
Azuma no Jijō to Mei no Jijō
13. Teachers and Students
Senseitachi to Seitotachi
14. Satorin's Resolve and Nomming
Satorin no Ketsui to Mogyumogyu
15. First Training Camp and First Public Bath
Hatsugasshuku to Hatsusentō
16. Kirino's Absence and The Preliminary Tournament
Kirino no Kesseki to Yosen Taikai
17. Light and Shadow
Hikari to Kage
18. The Tournament and Muroe High After That
Taikai to Sonogo no Muroe Kou
19. The Armadillo and The Pangolin
Arumajiro to Senzankou
20. Braver and Shinaider
Bureibaa to Shinaidaa
21. Tamaki Kawazoe and Rin Suzuki
Kawazoe Tamaki to Suzuki Rin
22. Winners and Losers
Haisha to Shousha
23. Lie and Silence
Osu to Chinmoku
24. The Sword and The Way
Ken to Michi
25. Kendo and What It Brings About
Kendou to sore ga motarasumono
26. "Since Then" and "From Here on Out"
"Sorekara" to "korekara"
For more on Bamboo Blade check out

- Michael Meade

Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings Season 1 (Dubbed Version)
FUNimation Entertainment
Posted 5/1/11 7:00PM EST

Courtesy FUNimation Entertainment

Based on the Capcom video games series of the same name, Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings is set during the Sengoku Period (Warring States Period) of Japan's feudal era. The story begins focused on a group of samurai warlords struggling against each other for dominion of the land, but later sees the need to put aside these petty wars to join against the dark lord Oda Nobunaga, who threatens not only all other warlord's lands but the very future of Japan with his callous disregard for life and use of Western firearms and war machines against samurai and villagers alike.
The series follows most closely the exploits of Date Masamune and Sanada Yukimura, as well as their respective subordinates and lord. The warrior's rivaly between the two form much of the subplot as both are incredible warriors with few equals other than Oda Nobunaga. Both finding the greatest joy in fighting in massive duels to test their vast strength against each other.
The series keeps a side of comedy scattered throughout the larger story, as so often seen in Capcom's video games; that being said there are pieces of the anime that of course don't sink with history. The giant half mecha samurai Honda Tadakatsu, a general of Tokugawa Ieyasu, is clearly a mix of future mecha and steampunk influences is the immediate proof of this when he shows up on the battlefield. Date Masamune's manner of speech and motorcycle handlbars and mufflers as part of the saddle rigs of his horse and the horses of his army also show this. As such hardcore period piece samurai aficionados may or may not appreciate Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings as there are spoof element, otherwise if samurai warfare is your thing this reviewer recommends the first season of Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings. Even among the over the top fights between Masamune and Yukimura, the technologic aspects that have no place in feudal Japan, and the overly modern mannerisms of some character's speech; Sengoku Basara is at it's core a story of samurai warlords that old school and newer fans of both samurai films and anime can appreciate.
Animation and art are fluid and clean, again perhaps too much so for fans of gritty imagery in their samurai anime, but by this reviewer it certainly fit the pleasant parts of the story and turned just the right amount of dark for the serious battles between the forces of the alliance and Oda's minions.
Voice acting not only fit each of the characters, but the English voice actors cast also seemed to nail each character's eccentricities pitch perfectly from small quiet reactions to over the top antics when the story called for them.
Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings Season 1 Dubbed Version gets a 4 out of 5.
Dub Cast:
Date Masamune - Robert McCollum
Sanada Yukimura - Johnny Yong Bosch
Oda Nobunaga - John Swasey
Katakura Kojuro - Travis Willingham
Takeda Shingen - Chris Ayres
Sarutobi Sasuke - Michael Sinterniklass
Uesugi Kenshin - Greg Ayres
Kasuga - Stephanie Sheh
Akechi Mitsuhide - Vic Mignogna
Yoshinao - Jeremy Inman
Bunshichi - Scott Hinze
Ichi - Laura Bailey
Magobei - Johnny Bruce Lewis
Azai Nagamasa - Christopher Bevins
Samanosuke - Anthony Bowling
Narrator - Brian Mathis
Additional Voice Cast:
Duane Deering
Jim Johnson
Josh Grelle
Jonathan Brooks
Greg Dulcie
Newton Pittman
Scott Freeman

1. Blue Crimson! A Meeting of Fate
Sōkō Shukumei no Kaikō!
2. Shocking! Encounter at Okehazama
Senritsu! Okehazama no Sōgū
3. The Wanderer! Maeda Keiji
Fūraibō Maeda Keiji!
4. Trembling Scarlet Flower - Loyalty which brings Sorrow
Yureru Hi no Hana Hi o Yobu Shingi!
5. Heroic! Crusade at the Shitaraga Plains of Nagashino
Sōzetsu! Nagashino, Shitaragahara no Gisen
6. Shattered Bonds: Masamune's Disgraceful Retreat!
Sakareta Kizuna Masamune Kutsujoku no Taikyaku!
7. Robbery of The Leadership! The Battle under the Moon
Ryakudatsu no Kyōyū! Sōryū Gekka no Shinken Shōbu
8. The Great Temple of Blood! Kojūrō's Desperate Situation
Keppū Daigaran! Kojūrō Zettaizetsumei
9. Tiger of Kai, Dies at Midai River!
Kai no Tora, Midaigawa ni Shisu!
10. Yukimura, Unable to Recover!? Date Army's Tearful Disbandment
Yukimura Saikifunō!? Date Gun Namida no Kaisan!!
11. Mitsuhide's Betrayal! Honnō-ji Ablaze!
Mitsuhide no Muhon! Honnō-ji Daienjō!!
12. The Tower of the Azuchi Castle: A Struggle to Death with the Future at Stake
Azuchi-jō Tenshu Asu o Kaketa Shitō!!
13. Inland Sea Clash! Spitting Fire at the Great Fort of the Sea・Mt. Fuji!!
Setouchi no Gekitotsu! Hi o Fuku Umi no Daiyōsai, Fugaku!! (this episode takes place before episode 12 as a side story before the final conflict)
For more Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings check out and

- Michael Meade