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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Starting Point 1979-1996 Book Review!

Starting Point 1979-1996 Book Review!


You can purchase this amazing book online today

Synopsis: The book will cover the first-half of Miyazaki’s legendary career, during which he rose from humble beginnings to create some of the most seminal animated features ever made, including NausicaƤ Of The Valley Of The Wind, Castle In The Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Porco Rosso, as well as his launch of Studio Ghibli. A fitting introduction is offered by John Lasseter, the Chief Creative Officer at Pixar and Walt Disney. Ponyo is Miyazaki’s newest feature film and will be released by Walt Disney in North America this August.

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the world’s most beloved animation directors. In September 2005 he was awarded the Venice International Film Festival’s Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement, and his Studio Ghibli received the Festival’s Osella Award for overall achievement in 2004. His notable films include Spirited Away, winner of the 2002 Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature Film, as well as Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle, all of which have received tremendous acclaim in the U.S. Miyazaki’s other achievements include the highly regarded manga series NAUSICAƤ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND, which is also published domestically by VIZ Media (rated ‘T’ for Teens). VIZ Media also publishes many other Hayo Miyazaki books including the for CASTLE IN THE SKY, HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, SPIRITED AWAY, PRINCESS MONONOKE and more. VIZ Media also publishes many of Hayo Miyazaki’s beautiful and engaging Art Books and Picture Books.
“Hayao Miyazaki is known and loved around the world for his imaginative films that continue to delight children and adults,” says Gonzalo Ferreyra, Vice President, Sales & Marketing for VIZ Media. “STARTING POINT presents, in Miyazaki’s own words, his philosophies towards life, his work, the animation industry both in Japan and abroad, and his creative inspirations and motivations. He also offers lots of stories, many of them quite humorous, which show the extent of his complete dedication to animated film and the people with whom he works. We invite fans to enjoy this chronicle of the life of a man whose own dreams have come true.”

In the first two decades of his career, filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki laid the groundwork for his legendary movies. STARTING POINT is a collection of essays, interviews, and memoirs that go back to the roots of Miyazaki’s childhood, the formulation of his theories of animation, and the founding of Studio Ghibli. Before directing such acclaimed films as Spirited Away, Miyazaki was just another salaried animator, but with a vision of his own. Follow him as he takes his first steps on the road to success, experience his frustrations with the manga and animation industries that often suffocate creativity, and realize the importance of bringing the childhood dreams of the world to life.

Review: Starting Point is a book that I really anticipated reading.  I’m a fan of animation and one of the most brilliant and respected directors in all of animation (not just anime) is Hayao Miyazaki!  You know him from his major films, many of which have been released in the United States.  They include ‘Spirited Away’ and ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’.   I think that without a doubt the most memorable Miyazaki film for me and my own children was ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’, a coming of age tale for a young witch.

The book starting point is most definately a thick read.  It has little for pictures and is a very standard hardcover book.   It chronicles the personal thoughts and life experiences of Miyazaki as he worked seemingly endless hours on his passions and basically missed out on the lives of his own children.    We get a glimpse into the psyche of Miyazaki with his politics, religion and personal essays.

The book includes a forward by Pixar animation legend John Lasseter (Toy Story).   This is truly a great, since Lasseter is easily the other most respected modern animation talent.    I can think of no other person that would be worth to forward this fantastic retrospective.

If you’re a fan of anime or just animation in general you will find this book a good read.  If you’re already a fan of Miyazaki then you will find this book insightful and enlightening.  Its a rare look inside this talented man’s mind.  You can’t miss out on this one!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nana Uncut DVD Box Set Volume One Review!

Nana Uncut DVD Box Set Volume One Review!

You can purchase this DVD online today

Synopsis: The NANA anime is based on the popular manga by Ai Yazawa, which has sold over 43 million copies in Japan and is published in North America by VIZ Media under its SHOJO BEAT imprint.  NANA follows the adventures of two girls both named Nana. While they share the same name, they couldn’t be more different. Nana “Hachi” Komatsu follows her boyfriend to Tokyo in the hopes of finding a fresh start, while Nana Osaki, who arrives in the city at the same time, is a punk rock beauty with the ambition for making it big in the world of rock and roll. Although these two young women come from opposite backgrounds, they quickly become best friends while chasing their happiness and dreams.

Ai Yazawa is the creator of many popular manga titles, including Tenshi Nanka Janai (I’m No Angel) and Gokinjo Monogatari (Neighborhood Story). Another series, Kagen no Tsuk (Last Quarter), was made into a live-action movie and released in late 2004. American readers were introduced to Yazawa’s stylish and sexy storytelling in 2002 when her title Paradise Kiss was translated into English.

The NANA manga series has over 43 million copies printed to date in Japan.  It is considered an all-time best selling shojo title from Japanese publishing giant, Shueisha and was the recipient of the Shogakukan Manga Award in the Girls’ category. Its tremendous success further inspired two live-action feature films which are available on DVD in North America from VIZ Pictures

“NANA has already captivated millions with its best-selling manga and live action films, and we are very excited to release the animated series as a special Uncut DVD Box Set,” says Brian Ige, Director, Home Entertainment Sales, VIZ Media. “The compelling, deeply-layered connections between the two Nanas and those around them are brought to life through the richness of the characters and all the great elements of the shojo genre that are combined to make NANA one of the most vibrant and stylish series to hit North America. This is definitely a series to watch!”

For more information on NANA please visit the dedicated website at

Review: This DVD set includes the first 11 episodes of Nana and what a treat they are!  The story follows these crazy girls and their romantic journies and self discovery.  Its really a great anime tale that stays very faithful to its manga source material.

All too often anime gets a bad name being focused on just violence and action, when there is a largely female audience that wants drama, humor and romance, as well.   If that describes you, then this set is really the thing for you.

The video on this release is presented in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio.  The DVD also comes packed with a great collectible guitar pick.  I recommend watching it in Japanese language with English subtitles for the best effect and fullest story.

We highly recommend this release for anyone seeking something unique, but well made in the realm of anime.  The voice acting and animation are fantastic and well worth your time.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Monday, September 07, 2009

Naruto Uncut Box Set, Vol. 15 DVD Review

Naruto Uncut Box Set, Vol. 15 DVD Review

Studio: Viz

You can purchase this anime DVD online today

Synopsis: Ino faces an unusual exercise in royal etiquette when she is asked by an overweight princess to take her place and attend the first meeting with the young prince she adores. Then the Hidden Leaf Village comes under serious threat when important blueprints of the village are stolen! Naruto, Shikamaru and the others have their hands full finding and removing the massive numbers of paper bombs placed throughout the village. Can they save the Hidden Leaf Village from utter demolition?

Review:  Naruto is one of those shows that is well-known, thanks to some limited domestic airtime, but is really still under appreciated as a whole.  Viz is doing a superb job of releasing the episodes in a high-quality and collectible format.

Volume 15 contains 14 episodes and continues the fan favorite Leaf Village Saga.  This is great news, because a lot of the previous sets feature one-shot and filler episodes that don’t progress the overall story arcs.   While this may be necessary in the minds of some, its more beneficial to see the major storylines, as this is what keeps serious anime fans interested.  And lets face it, a release like this is geared towards serious anime fans.

The packaging for Volume 15 features Orochimaru.  You’re only going to see him in this one 200th episode special, which features re-caps of old battles from past episodes.  Its high-quality packaging with attractive colors and it definately syncs with previous releases.  You’re treated to some more great collectible playing cards with the set, as we’ve seen with previous releases.  Extras like this are almost essential to any legitimate anime release these days.

The video transfer is fairly flawless.  The colors pop and the action looks superb on a high-def television.  The sound is 2.0 stereo.  Its not the best quality it could be, but its about what is to be expected.    We definately recommend watching the show in Japanese language.  The English dubbing is rather painful, which is fairly typical to any anime.

We look forward now to Naruto: Shippuden.  There is only one more volume of Naruto to come before we get there, so I’d add this one to your collection now.

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Capstone Kids Batman Book Series Review!

Book Review: Stone Arch Books Batman Series!

Courtesy of our network site

The Legions of Gotham offices have a great big stack of books sitting in ‘em.  Its these cool new books by Stone Arch Books.   And get this..they’re done in the Timmverse ‘New Batman Adventures’ style of artwork!   How long has it been since we’ve gotten new merchandise in this style?   I can’t even remember.  All I can say is its about time!

The stories are fun.  They are geared more towards kids…but then so are all of those golden books in my collection, lol.  I have read a few of these to my own children and they loved ‘em!  We have pics of the interiors of a few of these titles below.

The cost for these is around $6 at retail for softback.  Also featured in this interview is series 2 of these titles all in the library binding, which runs closer to $20 each.   Capstone and Stone Arch books already had 6 titles out and they’re releasing 6 more great ones this fall!

Legions of Gotham highly recommends these for parents and collectors!  You can find out more about these titles and purchase them on their official website

Some Interior Pics:

Here are a few pics to show the scale of the books:

The Softcover Series One: