Charles Solomon – Animation Scoop

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ANIME REVIEW: “Ranma ½: OVA & Movies Collection”

Rumiko Takahashi’s gender-bending martial arts comedy Ranma ½ debuted as a manga in “Shonen Sunday Comics” in 1988 and in animation soon after. Three decades later, it remains hugely popular in both Japan and the United States. Although Takahashi has said she wasn’t commenting on gender roles in Japan, its absurd premise suggests otherwise. Wiry, […]

ANIME REVIEW: “ReLIFE: Season One”

At 27, Arata Kaizaki (voice by Micah Solusod), the central character of the school comedy ReLIFE (2016), is a NEET: An acronym that stands for Not in Education, Employment or Training. The term is generally applied to young men who are seen as not contributing to the Japanese economy—or much of anything else. Although he […]

ANIME REVIEW: “Orange: The Complete Series”

Based on the shojo (girl’s) manga by Ichigo Takano, the broadcast series Orange (2016) mixes questions about the possibility of time travel changing the past with high school heartache and angst. Naho Takamiya (Jill Harris) is a somewhat timid but otherwise normal 16-year-old student at Azalea Hill Public High School in the mountainous region of […]

ANIME REVIEW: “Naruto Shippuden the Movie: Rasengan Collection”

With more than 220 million books of the manga in print—about half the total of the “Harry Potter” series, sales of tens of millions of DVD and Blu-ray discs, as well as countless consumer products, Naruto has become a global phenomenon. In Japanese folklore, some evil spirits grow multiple tails as they age and their […]

ANIME REVIEW: “Studio Ghibli Collection” on blu-ray

Hayao Miyazaki’s brilliant animated features have already been released on disc several times, but this new series from GKids includes additional extras about the making of the films. Each two-disc set comes with a small booklet of statements by Miyazaki, producer Toshio Suzuki, and/or producer/director Isao Takahata. The sets of Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle and […]

Anime Review: “Hyouka: Part 1”

Hotaro Oreki (voice by Adam Gibbs) might hold the record for teen-age angst. He talks about living a life that “conserves energy” by following the motto, “If I don’t have to do something, I won’t; but if I have to, I’ll do it quickly.” His cheerful best friend Takeo Katsuta (Aaron Dismuke) comments that Oreki […]

ANIME REVIEW: “And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online?”

Hideki Nishimura (Dallas Reid), the hero of the adventure-comedy And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online? (2016), is a typically nerdy student at Maegasaki High. He’s not a math wizard or an unshowered programming genius. He’s just an insecure, slightly out of it guy with few real friends. Nishimura finds the companionship he […]

Manga Review: “My Brother’s Husband”

Although millions of Americans, especially Americans udner 30, buy and read manga, they’re only seeing the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Manga culture remains far more complex and diverse than readers in the US realize, as Gengoroh Tagame’s singular My Brother’s Husband demonstrates. Tagame is a celebrated manga-ka, or manga artist, best known for his […]

Book Review: Hirohiko Araki’s “Manga in Theory and Practice”

Manga have become so popular in Japan and throughout the world, that an increasing number of young people aspire to become mangaka, or manga artists. As its title suggests, Hirohiko Araki’s Manga in Theory and Practice is a how-to guide, designed to help young artists find their way. Araki says, “I want this book to […]

ANIME REVIEW: “Outlaw Star”

The rollicking comedy-adventure Outlaw Star began as manga by Takehiko Ito and the artists at Morningstar Studios, who also made the animated series. In the distant future, interstellar space is divided between Pirates and the Space Forces. The self-proclaimed Outlaws scratch out a living in the odd spaces unoccupied by the two powers. Like a […]

ANIME REVIEW: “Dimension W”

Based on the manga by Yuji Iwahara, Dimension W is an oddly uneven series, alternately intriguing and muddled. The story takes place in 2036, after the discovery of a fourth Euclidean dimension solved all of Earth’s energy problems. Power flows from this little understood dimension through a series of huge stations to individual battery-receivers called […]

ANIME REVIEW: “The Big O”

The simplified, Art Deco-influenced designs in the mecha adventure The Big O give the series a look that’s closer to Warner Bros.’ old animated Batman than Gundam. Originally concieved as 26-episode adventure, The Big O premiered in October, 1999, in Japan, but was cancelled after only 13 episodes due to poor ratings. The English language […]

ANIME REVIEW: “Girls und Panzer”

The parvenu father in Thomas Mann’s short story “The Blood of the Walsungs” tells his future son-in-law that the secret to enjoying life is never to get used to anything, to be constantly surprised. He would have loved anime. No matter how many series or features you watch, there’s always something new and unexpected. And […]

ANIME REVIEW: “One Piece: Heart of Gold”

Although it aired as a stand-alone broadcast special a week before the opening of the theatrical feature One Piece Film: Gold (2016), the two-hour One Piece: Heart of Gold (2016) is essentially a lengthy introduction to the film. Both adventures were written by Tsuomu Kuriowa and take place shortly after the “Dress Rosa” story arc […]

ANIME REVIEW: “Steins; Gate: The Movie: Load Region of Déjà Vu”

The time travel adventure Steins;Gate began as an Xbox game, which was adapted to a light novel, a manga, a radio play and a board game before it became a popular broadcast series in 2011. Two years later, two of the directors and much of the staff returned to make the theatrical feature Steins;Gate: The […]