Headsup: Stories From Japan

Out this month are three releases of stories from the Land of the Rising Sun:

Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2 Blu-rayFirst we have Sailor Moon Crystal Set 2 (you can see our coverage of Sailor Moon Crystal Set 1 here), which follows the continuing adventures of Usagi as she now must face new foes in the form of the Spectre Sisters  and a mysterious girl with pink hair as they threaten to take the Silver Crystal.  This set contains episodes 15-26 of the rebooted series (the Black Moon Arc) and is available in standard DVD, standard Blu-ray combo, and Limited Edition Blu-ray combo packs.  Both Blu-ray options also have some bonus features, including a digital art gallery, clean opening and ending songs, and an interview with Momoiro Clover Z, the Japanese girls’ group that sings the theme songs for the series.  The Limited Edition set also boasts some additional extras, including an exclusive chipboard box, a 96-page art booklet with episode summaries, and six full-color art cards.  Fans should also be aware that  RightStufAnime.com (yes, only one f in the URL) also offered an exclusive Sailor Moon sun catcher with purchase but they were so popular that they’ve already sold out, so if you want that option, keep your eyes peeled on eBay and the like.  On Amazon you can snag the DVD set there for $27.99, the Blu-ray Combo set for $53.98, and the Limited Edition Blu-ray set for $62.19.



Headsup: Two Titles from Sailor Moon


Sailor Moon (or Usagi Tsukino, as many know her), is the princess of the Silver Millennium moon kingdom, leader of the Sailor Soldiers, and on her off days, a regular school girl. The Sailor Moon universe has been part of popular culture worldwide since its introduction in 1991 and is still going strong; fans never tire of watching Usagi and her friends fight against their enemies and protect Earth (and each other).  Out now from VIZ Media are two new home media sets for fans hungry to add to their library: Sailor Moon Crystal Set 1, which includes the first fourteen episodes of the Dark Kingdom arc, and Sailor Moon S, the third season (episodes 90-108) from the anime series. Both include English and Japanese audio and English subtitles.

Fans interested in Crystal Set 1 have a few format options (all available on Amazon): a Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack ($64.89), a Standard Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack ($54.90), and a Standard Edition DVD Set ($26.99). Both combo packs (2 Blu-ray and 2 DVD discs) feature Blu-ray extras including a digital art gallery, trailers, and a featurette with the English voice actors (“Introduction to Sailor Moon Crystal“). The Limited Edition combo pack includes an 88-page color art booklet and seven color collectible art cards. The DVD set doesn’t have any bonus features (except for trailers), but for those who just want the episodes on disc, it gets the job done.

Sailor Moon S is also offered in all three formats: the Limited Edition and Standard Edition combo packs include 3 Blu-ray discs and 3 DVD discs and boast bonus features including digital art galleries, opening and ending songs, special cast interviews, and more. The Limited Edition set also includes a 96-page color episode guide. As with Crystal Set 1, the standard DVD set doesn’t have any bonus features, but it’s a serviceable option for someone who just wants the main content on the shelf. On Amazon, the Limited Edition combo pack is priced at $62.19, the Standard Edition combo pack is $52.89, and the DVD set is $34.99.

DIY Appleseed Ex Machina Trailer Remixing

Appleseed Ex Machina

Oh dear God, my afternoon productivity was ruined, and I am therefore destroying your productivity, too.

You know you are beside yourself with excitement about the upcoming Appleseed Ex Machina, as produced by John Woo. Well, now you can absolutely revel in wicked, gleeful creativity as you create your own trailer for this sure-to-be-magical film!

Hie thee over to the Appleseed Trailer Remix site and make your own trailer! It’s like DIY anime, two of our favorite things! How could it go wrong? (Don’t answer that, ScottC…) Post your efforts in the Gabfest, if you like! Or link them up in the comments here!

There’s even a contest involved for making a trailer, but really… isn’t making anime people do what you want about the best reward already?


Of Machine Men, Languid Bishie Mages, and Vicious Attack Crows

Appleseed DVD cover art Someday's Dreamers, Vol. 1: Magical Dreamer DVD cover art Princess Tutu, Vol. 2: Traum DVD cover art

First up, we have the standard edition version of Appleseed, and it’s hard to disagree with the cover quote from a review by the great John Woo, calling the film a “stunning visual achievement” and “a new milestone for CG animation.” The world has succumbed to a massive war, and only one city, Olympus, survives. Olympus was able to do so only because of androids, who now nearly outnumber humans, and create a kind of utopia. However, human soldiers resent their loss of power and threaten humanity’s hard-won peace. Deunan Knute (the Master-Chief of anime) and her boyfriend, who is much less human than machine, are the only ones who can stop this new war and maintain the fragile peace.


Anime Moment: Munto 1 and Munto 2: Beyond the Walls of Time

DVD cover art for Munto DVD cover art for Munto 2: Beyond the Walls of Time

Munto is an interesting, if short, OAV that introduces viewers to Yumemi, a seemingly normal schoolgirl, who can see aspects of another reality laid atop the “real” world of ordinary Japan. No one but her two best friends believes her of course, so she began to hide her talents. However, a young man named Munto from this other realm of floating islands begins to contact Yumemi, explaining to her that his world is connected to ours by magic, but that magic is failing. In the grand tradition of magical girl anime, only Our Heroine can save King Munto and his world. There’s an interesting secondary storyline involving one of Yumemi’s friends and her fiancé that has more to do with the big picture than you might think at first. What could be a big boring ball of clichés is instead an engaging picture with enough new to it to make it interesting, along with interesting art, appealing characters, and skilled voice acting. The features are ordinary, but decent (an art gallery, character sketches, trailers, and backgrounds art), and this release should appeal to the target audience of young teen girls. It will also entertain anyone who cheers for the underdog and likes to see good, clean fun that isn’t boring or stifling.