My Impressions of Anime I’ve Recently Watched: Naruto Shippuden Set 28

I spent three nights watching a copy of Naruto Shippuden Set 28 that I checked out from the library. This set contains episodes 349-361 of the series.

This particular set contains all 13 episodes are focused on the past of Kakashi Hatake, spanning his time as a member of ANBU to when he forms Squad 7 with Naruto, Sasuke, and Sakura. However, the episodes don’t solely focus on Kakashi’s backstory. Interwoven with his stories are stories that expand on or fill in the gaps for the backstories of Yamato and Itachi as well.

For Kakashi, I appreciated how the PTSD he experienced after a particular incident in his past was portrayed. The portrayal was realistic, and it also helps to explain some of the attitudes and behaviors that Kakashi exhibited when he was first introduced as a character in the early part of the series. Yamato’s backstory revelations were riveting to me as a viewer. I also appreciated learning that something that we had heard was part of Itachi’s backstory ended up not being how it was portrayed through dialogue earlier in the series. I hate have to “vague post” like this, but going into too much more detail would provide a lot of spoilers for readers who may not have gotten this far into the Naruto franchise.

In some of these episodes, primarily in the section focusing on Itachi, there were some interesting animation choices that were made. The choices made during the Itachi storyline added some interesting effect and layers to the scenes that they appeared in. But the stylized animation for when the Nine Tails attacked the Leaf Village in one of the earlier episodes didn’t work for me.

Even though these episodes didn’t do anything to propel the main story arc of the Fourth Great Ninja War, it provided a lot of necessary and interesting backstory for some of the characters. Unlike many of the actual filler episodes that have appeared in both Naruto and Naruto Shippuden, I didn’t feel as if these episodes were wasting my time.

Even though I really enjoyed all 13 of the episodes that appeared in Naruto Shippuden Set 28, I’m glad to see that when the next DVD set comes out, the episodes will be returning to the main storyline and will hopefully bring about some more progress for the Fourth Great Ninja War. But Naruto Shippuden Set 28 is definitely worth watching for any Naruto fan.

VIZ Media Launches a Prequel for the Gangsta. Manga Series

VIZ Media expands the mysterious world first depicted in the manga crime thriller, GANGSTA., with the release of a new spin-off series, GANGSTA: CURSED., on December 20, 2016.

The edgy new manga features story by Kohske, the creator of the original GANGSTA. series, with artwork by Syuhei Kamo, and contains prequel stories for several of the main characters that appeared in the initial series. GANGSTA: CURSED. is rated “M” for Mature Readers and will be published in print under the VIZ Signature imprint with an MSRP of $12.99 U.S. / $14.99 CAN. The original GANGSTA. manga series has been a repeated Bookscan Top 50 as well as New York Times bestseller and has also inspired a popular anime adaptation.

In GANGSTA: CURSED., killing is all Spas has ever known, and he does it without doubt or remorse. Taught to believe he’s ridding the world of monsters, he sees the extermination of the Twilights as a necessary step toward making Ergastulum a safer place. Until the day when he’s forced to confront the horrifying truth that the real monster might be…him.

GANGSTA. is a successful crime thriller and one of the most popular recent titles from the VIZ Signature catalog,” says Leyla Aker, Senior Vice President, Publishing. “The gritty drama and suspense mixed with non-stop action that made the original series such a hit will captivate readers again with the launch of GANGSTA: CURSED. We invite fans to cap off the year with this explosive new release.”

Manga creator Kamo began his professional career working on the original GANGSTA. series as an assistant to the series creator, Kohske. GANGSTA: CURSED. is his first series.

GANGSTA. creator Kohske made her manga debut in 2009 with the short story “Postman” which appeared in Shonen GanGan magazine. Her first full-fledged series, GANGSTA., began running in Monthly Comic Bunch in 2011 and became an instant hit. More information about Kohske’s work can be found on her website at: http://gokohske.o-oi.net/.

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association Names Shinkai’s your name. as Best Animated Film

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) has awarded Makoto Shinkai’s your name. anime film with its Best Animated Film award. The LAFCA previously awarded Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away with the Best Animated Film award in 2002, and the film went on to win the Best Animated Feature award in the Academy Awards in 2003. The LAFCA also awarded Isao Takahata’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya as Best Animated Film in 2014.

your name. has earned 19,492,000,000 yen (about US$174 million) as of November 27, 2016, surpassing the 19.3 billion yen earnings of Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke anime film. Shinkai’s film is now the the sixth highest-grossing film of all time in Japan, the third highest-grossing Japanese film in Japan, and the third highest-grossing anime film in Japan.

Source: ANN

Anime Composer Hirofumi Asamoto Passes Away

The wife of music producer Hirofumi Asamoto has announced that Asamoto passed away on November 30, 2016. He hit his head in a bicycling accident in September 2014, and had been in a coma since then. Asamoto was 53 years old at the time of his passing.

Asamoto began his musical career in 1985 as the keyboardist for the AUTO-MOD rock band. He later served as a producer and arranger for the UA, The Boom, Zeppet Store, and THE YELLOW MONKEY bands.

In anime, Asamoto composed and arranged Beni Arashiro’s ending theme song for the Major television anime series. He also composed and arranged Yumi Matsuzawa’s opening theme song for the Bucky – The Incredible Kid anime series, and Akiko Wada’s opening theme song for the Gambler Densetsu Tetsuya television anime series.

Source: ANN

VIZ Media Highlights Video Game-Inspired Graphic Novel and Manga Titles This Holiday Season

VIZ Media offers manga/graphic novel, pop culture and gaming fans a specially selected array of titles based on or inspired by popular Nintendo® game properties to highlight gift lists this holiday season.

Aspiring chefs and readers with a culinary interest will not want to miss The Pokemon Cookbook: Easy & Fun Recipes, which contains a variety of delectable and inventive recipes inspired by popular Pokemon characters. The Pokemon fun continues with the third volume in the Pocket Comics series, Pokemon X·Y Pocket Comics, and the Pokemon Pocket Comics Box Set (Volumes 1 and 2), which features Black & White Pokemon and Legendary Pokemon. Each pocket comic delivers a jam-packed collection of four-panel comic strips, stories, jokes and trivia.

Video game and comics fans are invited to take part in notable holiday season releases for Super Mario TM and The Legend of Zelda. Presented in full-color and inspired by the bestselling Nintendo game franchise, Super Mario Adventures is a collection of fun and funny adventures written by Kentaro Takekuma and illustrated by Charlie Nozawa. Long out of print, the story was originally serialized in Nintendo Power TM magazine in the early ‘90s.

The Legend of Zelda: Legendary Edition adapts the 10-volume manga series based on the classic Nintendo role-playing, puzzle-solving, action video game, into a line of deluxe omnibus 2-in-1 releases featuring new covers, newly colored pages, sketches & illustrations and other bonus material by creator Akira Himekawa. The first release features The Legend of Zelda TM: The Ocarina of Time TM Parts 1 and 2.

THE POKEMON COOKBOOK: EASY & FUN RECIPES
MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $17.99 CAN
Available December 6, 2016

Create a variety of delicious dishes that look like your favorite Pokemon characters – from desserts to pizza – with more than 35 fun, easy recipes. Make a Poke Ball sushi roll, Pikachu-style cold ramen, or “Meowth” mashed potatoes for your next party, weekend activity, or powered-up lunch box.

POKÉMON X·Y POCKET COMICS
MSRP: $10.99 U.S. / $13.99 CAN · Rated “A” for All Ages
Available December 6, 2016

Pokemon stories, puns and jokes. Fun multiple-choice quizzes. The Pokemon of the Kalos region are all gathered together in this hilarious collection starring Fennekin, Froakie, Chespin, and the rest of the new X·Y Pokemon, Mega-Evolved Pokémon and more. Quiz yourself and your friends on Pokemon Abilities, moves, types, Mega Evolution and tons of other vital statistics. Who will be the next Pokemon quiz champion?

POKEMON POCKET COMICS BOX SET
MSRP: $16.99 U.S. / $19.99 CAN · Rated “A” for All Ages
Available Now

Each book in this two-volume set is packed with funny stories, puns and jokes. Volume 1 features Black & White Pokemon, and Volume 2 features Legendary Pokemon. Plus, quiz yourself and your friends on Pokemon Abilities, moves, types, Evolution and much more in over 575 fun-filled pages.

SUPER MARIO ADVENTURES
MSRP: $14.99 U.S. / $17.99 CAN · Rated “A” for All Ages
Available Now

The peril-plagued Princess Toadstool is kidnapped by the diabolical deadbeat Bowser TM but super plumbers Mario TM and Luigi TM hatch a plan with their new friend Yoshi TM to rescue her. Are the Super Mario Bros.’ TM plans a pipe dream? Can they stop the Koopa King before he forces the Princess to be his bride?

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME – LEGENDARY EDITION, VOL. 1
MSRP: $17.99 U.S. / $21.00 CAN · Rated “A” for All Ages
Available Now

The battle for Hyrule and the Sacred Realm has begun. A young boy named Link TM must defeat evil on his long, perilous quest to find the spiritual stones that hold the key to the Triforce, and deliver them to Zelda TM, princess of the land of Hyrule.

VIZ Media Spotlights Anime Home Releases for the Holidays

VIZ Media offers audiences of all ages a diverse collection of anime titles to add to their wish lists this holiday season.

New and veteran anime fans are presented with home media releases of Sailor Moon S, the third season of the classic series, as well as the launch of the all–new Sailor Moon Crystal series. Both series will be released in Blu-ray and DVD formats and will be available as Standard and Limited Edition sets.

Additional fan-favorite releases available for the holidays include the debut of the Bleach anime series on Blu-ray as well as the launch of the supernatural action/adventure series, Hunter X Hunter on Blu-ray and DVD. Naruto fans can dive into the latest set of Naruto Shippuden episodes that focus on Kakashi’s past in the ANBU Black Ops.

Fans of all ages can add some Pokemon fun to their holiday celebrations with the home media releases of Pokemon the Series: X·Y Kalos Quest DVD SET 2 and Pokemon Diamond & Pearl Movie Pack, which contains four full-length feature films from the venerable adventure franchise in a deluxe steelbook edition.

Sailor Moon Debuts:

SAILOR MOON S SET 1
Limited Edition Combo Pack MSRP: $79.99 U.S. / $99.99 CAN
Standard Edition Combo Pack MSRP: $69.99 U.S. / $81.99 CAN
Standard Edition DVD Set MSRP: $39.99 U.S. / $51.99 CAN
Available Now

As Season 3 of Sailor Moon begins, Usagi’s friend Rei has been plagued by disturbing visions of the Apocalypse just as a new enemy appears in the city. The maniacal Professor Tomoe, leader of the Death Busters, has been targeting innocent citizens in a search for three special pure heart crystals. Usagi is prepared to confront this dangerous new foe, but two powerful new Sailor Guardians are already seeking the crystals and have no interest in working with Sailor Moon and the other Guardians. Where did they come from, and what is their plan for the talismans?

SAILOR MOON CRYSTAL SET 1
Limited Edition Combo Pack MSRP: $79.99 U.S. / $99.99 CAN
Standard Edition Combo Pack MSRP: $69.99 U.S. / $81.99 CAN
Standard Edition DVD Set MSRP: $39.99 U.S. / $51.99 CAN
Available Now

Sailor Moon Crystal retells the origins of Sailor Moon, the kindhearted crybaby destined to protect the world from dark forces. When the evil Queen Metalia and her Dark Kingdom threatens Earth, Sailor Moon and her fellow Sailor Guardians must find the only power capable of vanquishing this ancient evil – The Legendary Silver Crystal. But a mysterious man calling himself Tuxedo Mask is also after this sacred treasure. What is his connection to the Sailor Moon? And will the Sailor Guardians be able to find the Silver Crystal in time before the world falls into eternal darkness?

Fan-Favorite Debuts:

BLEACH Blu-ray Set 1
MSRP: $54.97 U.S. / $63.99 CAN · Available Now

In the Bleach anime series, for as long as he can remember, Ichigo Kurosaki has been able to see ghosts. But when he meets Rukia, a Soul Reaper who battles evil spirits known as Hollows, his life is changed forever. Now, with a newfound wealth of spiritual energy, Ichigo discovers his true calling— – to protect the world of the living and the dead as a Substitute Soul Reaper. When Rukia is taken away to face the ruthless justice of the Soul Society, Ichigo and his friends must cross over and do battle in the spirit world…

HUNTER X HUNTER SET 1
Standard Edition Blu-ray Set MSRP: $54.97 U.S. / $63.99 CAN
Standard Edition DVD Set MSRP: $39.99 U.S. / $51.99 CAN
Available Now

In the Hunter X Hunter anime series, abundant riches, hidden treasures, fearsome monsters, and exotic creatures are scattered around the world. Gon departs on a journey to become an elite Hunter who risks his life in search of the unknown. Along the way, he meets other applicants for the Hunter exam: Kurapika, Leorio, and Killua. Can Gon pass the rigorous challenges of the Hunter exam and become the best Hunter in the world? His wild and epic journey is about to begin.

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN DVD SET 28
MSRP: $39.99 U.S. / $51.99 CAN · Available Now

In the latest episodes, years before he became Naruto’s teacher, Kakashi served as a member of the ANBU Black Ops team, where his ruthlessness earned him the nickname “Cold-blooded Kakashi.” But despite his reputation, he is haunted by the deaths of his closest friends during the Third Great Ninja War. As he wrestles with his loss, Kakashi must uncover who is behind illegal genetic experimentation, survive threats from within his own organization, escape capture at the hands of Orochimaru’s followers, and battle a young shinobi who possesses formidable and very rare Wood Style Jutsu. And after these trials, another young ninja joins his unit – Itachi Uchiha. DVD set features Episodes 349-361.

Anime for Fans of All Ages:

POKEMON THE SERIES: X·Y KALOS QUEST DVD SET 2
MSRP: $24.98 U.S. / $29.99 CAN · Rated “A” for All Ages
Available December 13, 2016

Ash and Pikachu, along with their traveling companions Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie, continue their journey through the Kalos region. Along the way, they encounter Sawyer, an analytical Trainer who develops a friendly rivalry with Ash. Serena keeps chasing her dream on the Pokemon Showcase stage, where she runs into the very competitive Miette – and their rivalry is somewhat less friendly. Our heroes’ other adventures include joining a fashion show, searching for a Legendary Pokemon with their friend Trevor from summer camp, hatching a Pokemon Egg, and of course, some exciting Gym battles. The 3-DVD set features Episodes 23-45.

POKEMON DIAMOND & PEARL MOVIE PACK
MSRP: $39.99 U.S. / $51.99 CAN · Rated “A” for All Ages
Available December 6, 2016

This new four-pack Blu-ray Steelbook edition includes four full-length Pokemon feature films including: Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai, Pokemon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior, Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life, and Pokemon—Zoroark: Master of Illusionns.

English Cast Announced for One Piece Film Gold

FUNimation Entertainment has announced the English cast for One Piece Film Gold:

  • Colleen Clinkenbeard is Luffy
  • Christopher R. Sabat is Zoro
  • Luci Christian is Nami
  • Sonny Strait is Usopp
  • Eric Vale is Sanji
  • Brina Palencia is Chopper
  • Stephanie Young is Robin
  • Patrick Seitz is Franky
  • Ian Sinclair is Brook
  • Keith Silverstein is Tesoro
  • Michele Knotz is Carina
  • Amber Lee Connors is Baccarat
  • Daman Mills is Tanaka
  • Tyson Rinehart is Dice

Joel McDonald is directing.

Source: ANN