Series profile: Planetes, 1999-2004

Planetes wields the predictive power of hard science-fiction by "borrowing" a story from the future that illustrates the probable outcome of today's neglected problems. This is what science-fiction excels at, and it's what lands Planetes on my top ten list of favorite stories to come out of Japan.

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Posted in: Anime World

Book Collection: Anime History & Research

When I became an anime fan in 1984/85, there were books and magazines aplenty to document past and present. What I didn't know then was that these efforts had been underway for less than ten years. I started collecting these books out of a desire to learn more, and it was fascinating to see how coverage and presentation styles grew along with the medium they covered.

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Posted in: Anime World

Series profile: Fist of the North Star

I adore Fist of the North Star. The manga art is exquisite. Its mythos are unique and propulsive. The characters are engaging and iconic. Its most dramatic moments are transcendent. And there's so damn MUCH of it, you can always return to the well for a fresh taste. Those are the hallmarks of a masterpiece, and it's been around long enough to achieve the mantle of a true classic.

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Book collection: Mobile Suit Gundam

Gundam is the Star Wars of Japan. Once you watch a Gundam show, it's very likely you'll pick up some merch. Once you do that, it's very likely you'll start a collection. Then one day you'll move to a new address and you'll suddenly realize what you've gotten yourself into. I'm a book hound, so that's what I lug from home to home. Once you start down this dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you it will.

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Series profile: Galaxy Drifter Vifam, 1983-1998

Thirteen children, refugees of an alien invasion on an Earth colony planet, are adrift in hostile enemy space. In their struggle to survive on board the training ship Janus, they learn to pilot the powerful Round Vernian robots and fight back as they search for their missing parents. Drama, comedy, action, tragedy; this engaging anime series has it all! Even an impossibly catchy English theme song! Open this profile up and say Hello, Vifam!

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Book collection: Leiji Matsumoto

Leiji Matsumoto is a legend in his own time, known for a huge range of genres from everyday drama to elevated science-fiction. His began his manga career as a teenager in 1953 and is still going in his 80s. This collection encompasses books on Matsumoto's anime and manga projects, art collections, retrospectives, biography, and other odds and ends. It is by no means the complete catalog, but it's definitely extensive.

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Series profile: Giant Gorg, 1984

When anime/manga virtuoso Yoshikazu Yasuhiko began his career as an anime creator, his first project was this 26-episode TV series that occupies a firm middle ground between Jonny Quest and The Iron Giant. Despite an auspicious start, all sorts of external factors dropped obstacles in its path and prevented immediate success. But over the long term, it found its way to classic status. Read all about it here!

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Book collection: Japanese artists

This collection covers the amazing Japanese artists whose work reached out and grabbed me from print media, model boxes, and TV screens. There is information about each book to help anyone who may be filling a shelf of their own.

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Series profile: Panzer World Galient, 1984-85

I discovered Galient after first getting hooked on Armored Trooper Votoms, drawn in by the design aesthetic and directorial style. If you've ever wondered what Lord of the Rings might have been like with giant robots instead of Orcs and Nazgul, this is the anime for you! Created by Ryosuke Takahashi for Sunrise, it's a 26-episode action series that combines medieval settings with high-tech mecha in a story that explodes with action! Dig in with a writer interview, animation art, and a deep dive into its many facets!

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Posted in: Anime World