One-Pound Gospel, Vol. 4 – Manga Review

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Review by: Faith McAdams

Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Rumiko Takahashi
Genre: Graphic Novel (VIZ Media)
MSRP: $9.99 US
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Release Date: Available Now

The sweet science … of love.

Since the opening page of Volume 1 of Rumiko Takahashi’s classic One-Pound Gospel, we have watched the talented young pugilist named Kosaku Hatanaka battle to control his massive appetite but also win the heart of a Sister Angela, a beautiful novice nun who watches over Kosaku who is the lamb that has gone astray. Watching over them has been an interesting but also an endearing experience but even all good things must come to an end and Volume 4 of One-Pound Gospel is the final chapters in this series.

In the opening chapter of Volume 4, Kosaku is out training for his next upcoming bout when he runs into Sister Angela dressed in casual clothing. The sight of her out of her habit is strange to even the Coach but Sister Angela explains that she is heading out to visit her father in the hospital. It doesn’t take to long before a Mercedes pulls up with a classy woman who the young Sister calls “Auntie.” We also find out that Angela isn’t really the Sister’s actual name.

It turns out that Sister Angela’s aunt staged this little outing so her young niece could finally meet the handsome young chef of an unmarked residential restaurant. Chef Wakaoji is said to have studied the culinary arts in Italy and comes from a wealthy family so he’s the novel catch for the young sister who comes from a family with money as well. Still, the Sister feels committed to her calling and, in a small way, feels that she has something with Kosaku she can’t yet put a finger on.

Of course, Sister Angela’s aunt makes it clear that Kosaku is poor and the thought of Sister Angela leaving the church to marry a man who is clearly better suited for her is a swifter blow than any uppercut he has ever been given in the ring. When the Sister leaves again, Kosaku cannot help but think that she ran straight into the Chef’s arms and even heads out to the restaurant to witness the Sister, out of her habit, offering a helping hand in the kitchen. I won’t go into what happens but let’s just say that by the end of the chapter, it’s surprising to see where Sister Angela chooses to stand next to in the end.

In the following chapter, we find Kosaku distracted to the point that it worries the Coach. It doesn’t take too long before the Coach finds out that not only is Kosaku working in a Bento restaurant but he’s also cramming for a culinary arts exam. Confronting the young boxer, Kosaku makes an announcement in front of Sister Angela that makes Coach run out of the church crying (comically, I might add). While continuing his rounds delivering Bento to a school, we find out that Kosaku is being tutored by a teacher by the name of Manabu Sakura. On top of that, Kosaku has an upcoming fight with a fighter that has yet to win by a knock-out. It shouldn’t be a surprise to One-Pound Gospel fans that Kosaku’s opponent just so happens to be Sakura.

With this fight looming near, Kosaku comes to realize that he would be more happier running the Bento restaurant with Sister Angela. His decision makes the Sister reflect on a number of things including what the sweet science that is boxing means to Kosaku. As we quickly finds out, Kosaku was meant for one thing and that’s boxing as he and the teacher step into the ring.

The real surprise comes in the final chapter where, once again, Sister Angela’s aunt comes up with a lie to get the young Sister to see what made the nun’s mother blood pressure to rise. In a host club filled with attractive men, the Sister meets Ryusei who charms the sister into purchasing pink champagne that also happens to be one of the more expensive items in the club. Thinking her aunt took care of this misunderstanding, the handsome Ryusei shows up at the convent looking to collect 400K in yen from the Sister. Seeing how the grief this man is bringing Sister Angela, it is Kosaku who decides to take it upon himself to take over her debt. Unfortunately, Ryusei is also the champion of the Oriental and Pacific Federation title who is giving Kosaku his shot at a title. If Kosaku wins the debt is off but if he should lose then he must pay double.

I won’t spoil the ending of the story but in the wake of Kosaku’s selfless act, the young Sister comes to the realization that all this time she didn’t realize that Kosaku’s intentions were more noble than she realized. Sure, he has often told her outrageous things such as asking her to leave the convent to live with him but she never realized that those feelings were truly genuine. What happens in the end isn’t just surprising … it’s downright miraculous.

There’s no surprise, however, that One-Pound Gospel is indeed one of the most beloved works of Rumiko Takahashi’s impressive roster. As a whole, the series – like Kosaku himself – never showed signs of slowing down and packs quite an impressive blow. It’s also one of the more endearing sports manga titles with a lot of heart. Yes, all good things must come to an end but that doesn’t stop me from wishing that Volume 4 wasn’t the last chapter of this entertaining series.

 

MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN

STORY: A+
The relationship between Kosaku and Sister Angela is tested for the last time in a series of related events that has the young pugilist thinking of throwing in the towel to pursue a life outside boxing as long as it’s by Sister Angela’s side. Meanwhile, a number of events finds Sister Angela’s career as a novice nun in jeopardy.

ART: A
The art in One-Pound Gospel has always been excellent and even so in this final volume of the series. Does it stand out from the other Takahashi’s work like InuYasha or Maison Ikkoku? No, not really, but that’s definitely not a bad thing at all in this case.

OVERALL: A+
In the last round as the final bell rings, Volume 4 of One-Pound Gospel remains the undisputed, undefeated champion of boxing manga but also remains to be one of those unforgettable tales that was an honor revisiting again. Volume 4 is a fitting end to a series that had you rooting for its characters from Page 1.

COMPLETE SERIES GRADE: A+
Rumiko Takahashi has created a beautiful and timeless story that not only speaks from the heart but also says a lot about the human condition. How a young boxer with a gluttonous appetite can stray from his path but find renewed strength in love is a miracle. What we have here in One-Pound Gospel is a four-volume series that is just way too good to pass up.

 

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Dragon Ball GT, Season Two – DVD Review

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Review by: Edward Zacharias
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 780 minutes
Genre: Action
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now

A Super Saiyan’s last stand just so happens to be his finest.

As a Dragon Ball fan, I’ve been awaiting the arrival of each season’s box set like a kid counting down the day until Christmas. As of yet, I have not been disappointed by the quality of the sets and I love how amazing the episodes look on DVD. Oh, but something was missing and that was the Dragon Ball GT series. Thankfully, FUNimation has brought us the stellar first season of the series and now finishes things up with the final installment of the series.

Season One of Dragon Ball GT served not only as a great introduction to this story but it also showed how this chapter in the Dragon Ball saga was one of the more exciting ones as well. We followed Goku, his granddaughter Pan and the brave Trunks on a long journey to secure the Black Star Dragon Balls in the first season only to find themselves up against the dangerous Baby who managed to merge himself with Vegeta. In Season Two, it’s clear that Goku does not have the strength and power to defeat the likes of Baby … up until he transforms into a giant ape that is way too powerful for even Goku to contain.

Oh, but Pan does manage to bring her grandpa back to reality and – as a result – Goku is transformed yet again into a Super Saiyan 4, which is the ultimate form for a powerful Saiyan such as Goku. This new form is actually an improvement not only in physical form (Goku is no longer a pint-sized kid) but also in terms of personality. Super Saiyan 4 is actually a tough, confident and dangerous person that doesn’t play around like the any version of Goku we’ve seen so far. While the form still isn’t powerful enough to easily defeat a foe like Baby, Goku does manage to unleash hell on Baby to the point that he sends him running away. Does this new Goku let him go, though? Let’s just say we won’t be seeing Baby anytime soon.

The battle against Baby has left its mark on Earth as cities have been destroyed and people have been killed and, to make matters worst, the planet has become too unstable that the citizens of Earth must vacate and a mass exodus goes underway. Goku and his friends and family help out but, in the end, one of their own doesn’t have the power to escape as the planet explodes. When life goes back to normal on their new home, Trunks is attacked by none other than Super Android 17 who was sent out to kill Goku by Dr. Gero who has aligned himself with Dr. Myuu in the depth of hell itself. While Super Android 17 faces off against Goku’s friends, a portal to hell opens and sends past defeated foes to attack the planet. Tricked into going to hell, Goku faces off against familiar faces such as Cell and Frieza.

On top of those problems, however, the Great Dragon Shenron is displeased with how the Dragon Balls have been used and Shadow Dragons are released around the world carrying with them powerful Dragon Balls. Once again, Goku sets out to find each Dragon Ball but this time he’s got his new form as an advantage and Pan tags along. I should say that we’ve seen Goku on Dragon Ball hunts before but this time around there’s just something more exciting about it. Perhaps its his new form and take-no-prisoners attitude or the fact that the deaths of friends (I won’t reveal them here) have pushed him into taking the hunt more seriously, but Dragon Ball GT is just straight up cooler and more action-packed than previous Dragon Ball season.

The hunt for the Shadow Dragons places Pan in danger since the Dragons – even the goofy ones like Naturon – are dangerous. At one point, Goku is even faced with the decision of letting a Shadow Dragon live to save Pan or sacrificing his granddaughter to save the lives of hundreds. The fights are longer and more intense as well in Season Two and there are a few surprises along the way. One of the Shadow Dragons, for instance, goes up against Goku only to see that his intentions are noble and even aids him more than once.

In the last few episodes of Season Two’s 30 episodes, Goku faces off against the One-Star Shadow Dragon Syn Shenron that proves to be hard to beat on his own. With Pan too injured to fight, the Saiyans come to Goku’s aid one last time. This time, however, Vegeta (who was once Goku’s rival) proves his friendship by having his wife accelerate his transformation. The result is that Vegeta and Goku can fuse together to become Gogeta – the ultimate fighter. I won’t say much more about the ending except for that it is a spectacular finale.

The Season Two set also comes with The GT Movie titles A Hero’s Legacy that tells a short but rather sweet story of Goku Jr., Pan’s grandson. In the future, Pan becomes ill and Goku Jr. feels that his grandmother is about to die so the only way to help her is to find her Dragon Ball and make a wish to keep her from dying. Goku Jr. is the type of kid that gets bullied around but – much like Son Goku – when he sets his mind to it he summons enough bravery to take on a big task.

Goku Jr.’s determination impresses one of the school bullies who joins the kid on his journey and they encounter a number of obstacles that include some dangerous enemies. Little Goku even comes to the aid of a bear cub that is being hunted down by a monster, showing us that the apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree. It’s a nice story that’s actually cute and funny.

Certainly one of the more exciting chapters in the Dragon Ball GT saga, Season Two is the perfect way to close this series. While the first season set is easily one of the best, Season Two is just more dramatic, more action-packed and the addition of the GT movie adds more bang for the buck. Dragon Ball fans, this is one you definitely need in your collection.

 

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A
Earth is in trouble once again as the threat of Baby is over and a far more dangerous adversaries reveal themselves. Goku and his friends put up quite a fight that means the death of some favorite characters and a final confrontation that is nothing short of fantastic. The GT Movie is a short but sweet adventure that feature’s Goku’s great-great grandson, Goku Jr.

VIDEO QUALITY: A
A round of applause should go to the staff that digitally remastered and restored these episodes because the series looks really good. Even The GT Movie looks excellent.

AUDIO QUALITY: A-
Once again, the Dragon Ball season sets do not disappoint when it comes to sound options so you can view the episodes with the English dub cast and original Japanese music or just stick to an all-Japanese voices and soundtrack option. Either way, the episodes sound really good and there are better closing theme songs than the first season.

EXTRAS: C+
Marathon Play is still a great feature but the star here is A Hero’s Legacy. As far as other extras are concerned, though, there’s not much here except for some trailers and the option to see the opening and closing animation without credits.

OVERALL: A
The 30 episodes that make up Season Two of Dragon Ball GT will not fail to show you a good time and this series ends on a good note that makes this the most memorable ending to a Dragon Ball saga. Aside from the exciting events of the final season’s action-packed episodes, The GT Movie included as a bonus is actually fun to watch. In the end, what we have here is another reason our wallet is empty.

Yokaiden, Vol. 1 – Manga Review

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Review by: Brenda Gregson

Publisher: Del Rey Manga
Author: Nina Matsumoto
Genre: Graphic Novel
MSRP: $10.95 US
Rating: T (Ages 13+)
Release Date: Now Available

Yokaiden … not just another monsters and ghost story.

Once in a blue moon a manga comes along from a first time author that is not only a brilliant first try but also a unpredictably well told story that makes you wish the next one comes out soon. Nina Matsumoto brings us a surprising told of old Japanese folklore with her own witty sense of humor that makes Yokaiden a rare manga gem, indeed.

Volume 1 of Yokaiden introduces us to a nine-year old boy named Hamachi Uramaki who has always found yokai (the name can apply to spirits, demons and even monsters) interesting. He idolizes the author of a book on yokai – a mysterious fellow by the name of Inukai Mizuki – and wishes to one day write and illustrate his own book on the subject. While everyone in the nearby Shamoji Village thinks he’s not right in the head for believing in such a thing, they sympathize with the young orphan who lives with his grumpy grandmother that constantly berates the boy.

One day, while out chopping bamboo to sell in the village, Hamachi encounters a Kappa, a half-turtle-half-bird yokai that has his webbed foot nearly mangled by a bear trap. Helping the annoyed yokai, Hamachi is happy to be of service even though he had to hack off the injured limb. It’s clear to the Kappa that the old woman living by the river might be to blame and swears revenge on her. Meanwhile, Hamachi heads to the village marketplace to sell his bamboo wares when he meets a samurai without a master (otherwise known as a Ronin) named Kyumon Zaigo who is looking for food and shelter in exchange for slaying a few yokai. This, of course, does not sit well with Hamachi who gives the ronin a good tongue-lashing.

When Hamachi comes home he finds his grandmother dead in a most unusual pose. The only possible suspect is the Kappa Hamachi saved in the woods. So gathering a few items that include a sacred rope he ties around his waist, Hamachi’s departure (with a nod to Marv from Frank Miller‘s “Sin City“) is but the beginning of an interesting quest to avenge a dead grandmother. While encountering yokai such as the Grime Licker (who licks the grime off dirty bathtubs), Bean Washers (speaks for itself) and a Namahage (an ogre that slices the skin off the feet of delinquent kids). Thanks to his guide and knowledge of the yokai, Hamachi does find the yokai realm.

In the other side, Hamachi saves a talking paper lantern from a group of yokai bullies and then encounters a living umbrella that once belonged to Hamachi’s grandfather. Yeah, I said a talking paper lantern and a living, breathing umbrella. You see, neglected household items can turn into yokai after years, which explains the sudden disappearance of your stuff. Unfortunately for Hamachi, not all yokai are friendly, such as the Nue (a monster with body parts of various different animals) that attacks him and his new friends and is hunting them. In the middle of this is Zaigo, the Ronin, who is suddenly talked into going to the yokai realm to save Hamachi.

Yokaiden seldom takes the theme seriously and thus gives it a humorous twist that actually works for the volume. Even the four-panel comic strips at the end are just as funny as the genuinely amusing moments in the story. Matsumoto hands her story superbly and her art – while not strikingly beautiful – has its own unique look that doesn’t copy the artistic style of other manga-ka.

Volume 1 of Yokaiden will not disappoint anyone looking for a manga that’s not only interesting and filled with a colorful cast of creatures but also a unique story that makes this a manga well worth picking up. Never really taking itself serious from the very start, following a young boy on his search for answers behind his grandmother’s death will not fail to keep you reading until the last page.

 

MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN

STORY: A
Hamachi has always had a fascination with yokai and has made it his mission to see and befriend as many of them as possible in order to write his own book on them. When his grumpy grandmother dies, Hamachi presumes that it might be the work of a yokai he helped out and thus sets out to avenge her death. It’s a good start to a good story.

ART: B+
Nina Matsumoto’s artwork isn’t gorgeous but she uses her own style and it works wonderfully enough to be pleasing to the eye.

OVERALL: A
Delightfully inventive, utterly charming and completely entertaining, Yokaiden’s first volume tells a wonderfully compelling story filled with interesting creatures and plenty of humor. Hamachi’s journey to the yokai realm makes for an adventure that is wonderfully unique and engaging.

Baccano!, Vol. 1 – DVD Review

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Review by: Sophie Stevens
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $29.98 US
Running Time: 100 minutes
Genre: Action/Fantasy
Rating: TV MA
Release Date: Available Now

Gangsters, Tommy guns, immortals and cults … welcome to old Chicago.

Things aren’t always as they seem.

On the surface, you’d look at a guy and think you know everything about him by the way he dresses, talks or even acts but what’s on the surface can often be misleading. Consider Firo Prochainezo, a young kid who suddenly finds himself a newly baptized member of one of Chicago’s biggest mob families. You might think he’s your typical young Italian-American gangster just by looking at him but would you have guessed that this kid could take a couple dozen bullets and never die?

Baccano! is the type of anime series that doesn’t follow a linear path and the beginning of the series might very well be the ending of the story. Volume 1’s first episode (the volume contains the first four episodes) begins in the office of the Vice President (of what, we don’t know yet) as he discusses, with his young assistant, which of Baccano! diverse cast should be considered the leading man or woman in this most unusual story. There are certainly many candidates available but half the fun of the series is not only learning who they are but what connects them together.

Taking place in the early 1930s when America, especially Chicago, finds itself in troubled times. The bread lines don’t seem to get shorter and the gangsters have control of various territories around the city so there’s a power struggle that has turned Chicago into war zone. In the center of the mobster violence is the missing son of one of the mafia families who may or may not be dead. The biggest news around the police precincts is what exactly happened on a train called the Flying Pussyfoot that was suppose to go from Chicago to New York in 1933.

Before the series dives into the events that occur inside the train, we jump back in time in 1931 where we meet Firo who is attacked by an assassin in an alley. His fingers are severed in the knife attack and suddenly – to his attacker’s horror – the detached fingers and the blood he lost shoots back into his hand as if nothing happened. Fast forward and we find Firo in a bookstore with a pal when rival gangsters – presumably from the Gandor family – shoots the place AND Firo to ribbons only for Firo to get back up with his clothes filled with holes but no wounds. Just who is this kid and why can’t he die?

We meet other characters such as the three Gandor brothers and later a mysterious yet cute girl that bumps into Firo. In the second episode, however, we meet Isaac Dian and his girlfriend Miria Harvent who are a pair of thieves (hilarious ones at that) who had unsuccessfully tried mining for gold in California before coming to the decision that a train robbery is exactly what they need to get out of their slump. Isaac and Miria not only add humor to the series but they become deeply involved in the events that take place on the Flying Pussyfoot.

We also meet Ladd Russo who is a homicidal maniac working for the Russo family. Together with his own crew that includes a pretty girl Ladd always threatens to kill but doesn’t. He boards the Flying Pussyfoot as well to do his own damage but what he doesn’t count on is a cult who takes over the train in hopes to bring back their “Master.” Also aboard the train is a small crew that includes a jittery young man that brings to mind Tweek of “South Park” fame. Oh, and there’s a child we see die in the first episode but come back to life and there’s a monster.

Things really get going in the fourth episode where the lives of most of the key characters collide in a moment of violence as each group decides to attack the main dining car at the same time. The series also zips back in time where an alchemist is working on an elixir that might just give the person who drinks it eternal life. The problem is that the two men that were suppose to guard him start a fire and the alchemist tries to make off with the few samples he has ready. Unfortunately, Chicago isn’t a safe city and it doesn’t take long before he’s confronted by tough guys that attempt to take his bottled elixir.

Delightfully chaotic and deeply involving, Volume 1 of Baccano! is but the beginning of an undeniably gripping and addictive Must See anime. While things don’t make a lot of sense just yet, half the fun of following a series like this is watching as the unusual events wildly unravel right before our eyes. Whatever you do, do not miss this series.

 

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: A
There’s no traditional beginning in this series and you know you’re in for a uniquely original tale when two characters discuss which one of the interesting cast of characters should be considered the main player of this unusual story. On a train called the Flying Pussyfoot, the fate of an assortment of key players will come crashing together.

VIDEO QUALITY: A+
The animation for this series is simply stunning and it tries a soft color scheme to drive home the feel that we’re looking at a 1930s era Chicago. There’s a lot of blood in this series and the character design looks great.

AUDIO QUALITY: A+
The Japanese language track is good but the English dub cast does a magnificent job of capturing the Chicago accents and the era’s lexicon. There’s a great score that brings to mind classic film noir and the opening and closing theme songs aren’t bad at all.

EXTRAS: C+
There are a few trailers here to enjoy but the real treat comes in the form of the audio commentary track for Episode 4 as well as textless opening and closing songs.

OVERALL: A
There’s a lot to Baccano! than meets the eye and it certainly has a lot more to show us but what we’ve seen so far definitely deserves our full attention. Filled to the brim with blood-spurting violence and a fist full of pulp noir attitude, this series isn’t for the squeamish but then again that’s what makes this a wild, surreal ride.

Dragon Ball Z Double Feature: Super Android 13/Bojack Unbound – DVD Review

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Review by: Clive Owen
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: DVD: $24.98, Blu-ray: $34.98
Running Time: Super Android – 95 minutes/Bojack Unbound – 95 minutes
Genre: Action
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now

An androids and aliens double feature … grandpa would be proud.

I love my grandpa who always brings me candy (even now that I’m old enough to buy my own candy) and offer me root beer while he told his old war stories, but – like a scratched CD – he’d totally forget he mentioned things five minutes ago and repeat them again. One observation actually a lot of sense to me.

“Why aren’t there double features anymore? Why, back in my day you’d get two movies for the price of one and that would include a newsreel and enough change in your pocket for popcorn. Can you imagine that, Clive? Two movies for the price of one!”

Well, grandpa, there are but now they come in DVD form just like the Dragon Ball Z Double Feature that offers Super Android 13 and Bojack Unbound in one tin case set. We’ve seen these movies before a long while back but not as beautifully remastered and packaged this nicely. I have to admit that I’ve seen the movies before but was impressed with the digital transfer that it was like looking at them with new eyes in my sockets. Still, even though the gorgeous tin case and pristine video are nice, it’s what inside that really counts. If you’re a Dragon Ball Z fan, there’s something to like about Super Android 13 and something to really love about Bojack Unbound.

SUPER ANDROID 13

Originally released in February of 2003, Super Android 13 starts off in a surprisingly unexpected way. Dragon Ball Z fans know that Doctor Gero always had it in for Goku and has sworn the kill him by way of the mad doctor’s killer androids. When we first see Doctor Gero in the opening sequence, he is killed by his own androids. Still, even death cannot stop the good doctor since his computers are programmed to continue making androids and thus releases two deadly ones in search of Goku.

It’s a beautifully sunny day and the city’s biggest mall is bustling with customers that not only include Oolong, Trunks, Kuririn (or as diehard Dragon Ball Z fans know him as Krillian) and our favorite perverted old man but also Goku and his family (Gohan and wife Chichi). Suddenly, the two androids find themselves destroying everything in their path to get to Goku and it isn’t until they attack the mall that Goku and his friends react.

Not wanting to risk the lives of civilians as well as his family, Goku – with the help of Trunks – leads the two Artificial Intelligence humanoids near a glacier. They faced off against mechanized foes before but these two are a lot tougher as Trunks soon finds out when he’s defeated. Soon, Doctor Gero’s computer releases one of the deadliest androids of them all … Android 13, a super strong artificial human complete with rippling muscles and, for some reason, sporting a mullet and a trucker hat.

Android 13 proves to be a formidable opponent that makes short work of Goku but Gohan shows up with Kuririn to aid his father in battle. When Gohan isn’t able to keep up with the fight, Vegeta (Trunk’s father) shows up and then so does Piccolo. The massive Dragon Ball Z fan boy in me cheered at the sight of the Z Fighters in action again. When even the awesome team up isn’t enough to stop Android 13, Goku asks the Earth to lend him its Genki. The face-off that follows is quite possibly the best part of this movie and we’re talking a movie that had fight scenes from the very beginning. In short, Super Android 13 is action-packed but you can’t help but feel that you’ve seen all of this before in past Dragon Ball Z episodes.

BOJACK UNBOUND

Four top warriors from across the galaxy have arrived for the Tenkaichi Grand Tournament hosted by multimillionaire Gyosan Money (called Excess Cash in the English dub) and you can bet so does the Super Saiyans such as Trunks and an older Gohan. Taking place after the death of Goku (who is watching from the heavens with King Kai), the story follows Gohan as he competes for a shot at taking on the always hilarious Mister Satan.

As the tournament starts, it comes to Gohan and Trunk’s surprise that Kuririn, Piccolo and Vegeta are also participating and – as other fighters are eliminated – they must go up against each another. It doesn’t take to long before Gohan and Kuririn (who manages to survive being pitted up against the likes of Piccolo) are among the last remaining fighters to go up against the aliens invitees. Meanwhile, Mister Satan is frantically looking for a way to escape facing off against Gohan.

The tournament takes an interesting turn when the remaining fighters are moved to another area of the island arena. Separated from each another, the last contestants find themselves going up against aliens but why are they not holding back? Why don’t they look like the aliens that got off the spaceship before the tournament began? The answer might have something to do with an alien named Bojack whose mission is to enslave Earth as well as the entire universe.

Armed with his loyal followers, Bojack goes up against Gohan and Trunks but is just too powerful for even the powerful pair to defeat. Thankfully, Vegeta and Piccolo shows up to lend a helping hand and – forced by the producers of the tournament – Mister Satan is dropped into the battlefield as well. The result is a massive battle that is pure Dragon Ball Z action goodness. Thanks to the addition of Mister Satan, there’s also some good humor as well.

If I had to pick one winner out of this double feature package it would be Bojack Unbound. Sure, Super Android 13 has its moments but Bojack Unbound features more surprises, better battles and a story that’s actually dramatic and fun to watch. In other words, this is a double feature Dragon Ball Z fans should have if you missed either one of these movies when they were sold individually.

Grandpa Owen is definitely pleased.

 

DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN

MOVIE/EPISODES: B
Bojack Unbound is on the top of my list as a favorite from this double feature seeing as it’s more dramatic, contains visually appealing battles and Mister Satan makes an appearance. Super Android 13 isn’t a bad feature film but you’ll feel like we’ve seen this all before.

VIDEO QUALITY: A-
The digital transfer is simply gorgeous for both feature films and the fact that it’s uncut is the cherry on top of an already sweet cake.

AUDIO QUALITY: A+
Now this is how you provide a rich audio experience … with enough options to please the most nitpicky fan. If you love the English dub voices but don’t like the translated songs then you can add the Japanese music instead. Then again, you can listen to the original Japanese track the way it was really meant to be experienced.

EXTRAS: D
Aside from the super awesome tin case and the fact that this is a double feature set, all you will find are some trailers.

OVERALL: B
Dragon Ball Z fans who missed out on these movies the first time around will find this neat little package a double feature well worth the money. Sure, Super Android 13 isn’t the strongest entry in the Dragon Ball Z feature film collection but it’s not a boring adventure either. Fans will certainly appreciate Bojack Unbound in this crisp new format. Together, these movies make a fun evening for Dragon Ball Z addicts like us.

EVANGELION: 1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE Selected for AFI DALLAS 2009 International Film Festival

 

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The Japanese hit animated film EVANGELION: 1.0 YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE has been selected to screen at the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival Presented by NorthPark Center, Founding Sponsor Victory Park. Grab front row seats for this sci-fi action adventure!

Created by the same production team behind the popular anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion that aired on the TV Tokyo network in the 1990’s, the film tells the story of schoolboy Shinji Ikari as he is summoned by his estranged father to the vast city of Tokyo-3. The tearful reunion he was hoping for does not materialize as his father has a far more nefarious reason for wanting his son by his side again. Led down into the underground labyrinth of NERV headquarters, he learns that he is one of only a few children that can pilot one of the enormous Evangelion robots against a terrifying enemy.

Tokyo-3 is under attack from the terrifying Angels, creatures of an unknown origin bent on laying waste to anything they find. However, there are greater forces at work behind the scenes, and is the true enemy the angels, NERV, the mysterious SEELE, or the demons held within the hearts of the people involved?

The dramatic thriller received Animation of the Year and Best Director Award at Tokyo International Fair in 2007.

Screening dates, times and locations will be announced in March.

AFI DALLAS 2009 will run March 26 – April 2, 2009. Passes go on sale February 6; tickets go on sale March 2. Passes and tickets will be made available via online (

AFIDALLAS.com

), phone (214.720.0663) and in person at the Box Office located at the AFI DALLAS locations at NorthPark Center and Victory Park.

FUNimation Entertainment Acquires Dragonaut from GDH

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Flower Mound, TX – February 14, 2009 – FUNimation® Entertainment today announced that it has acquired home entertainment , broadcast, digital, internet, merchandising and mobile rights to the 25-episode sci-fi drama anime series Dragonaut from GDH.

This Studio GONZO mecha series is directed by Manabu Ono (Hellsing, Full Metal Panic).

About Dragonuaut

In order to avoid Earth’s impending destruction from an asteroid, the International Solarsystem Development Agency (ISDA) works on the “D-Project”, and secretly creates weapons called “dragons “. However, they soon find out that the asteroid is not their only threat, as powerful dragon-like creatures appear on Earth. After witnessing a murder by one of the creatures, Jin Kamishina gets involved with the ISDA and becomes a dragon pilot, otherwise known as a “Dragonaut”. Helping him on his journey is the mysterious Toa.