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Gatchaman: Crowds DVD Review

Director: Kenji Nakamura.

Starring: Daisuke Namikawa, Maaya Uchida, Ryota Ohsaka, Corey Hartzog, Jessica Calvello, Ty Mahany.

Running Time: 288 minutes

Certificate: 15

Gatchaman first started life way back in the 1970s, and is better known in the west as Battle Of The Planets. There have been many iterations of Gatchaman over the years, ranging from loosely connected anime shows to live-action movies and so on. Therefore you must forgive my ignorance of being absolutely clueless on the franchise with the latest offering, Gatchaman Crowds, being my first exposure to this world.

Set in Tokyo, the series follows a series of superheroes known as Gatchamen, who seemingly protect the world from alien invasions. However, once a new recruit, Hajime, joins the force, things begin to change. Hajime is at first presented as naive, but quickly shows that her bubbly, cute approach to the alien threat may actually be worthwhile. She ends up talking to one of the aliens,
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K DVD Review

Director: Hiromitsu Kanazawa, Susumu Kudo

Starring: Daisuke Namikawa, Sam Regal, Daisuke Ono, Matthew Mercer, Kenjiro Tsuda, Keith Silverstein, Mikaka Komatsu, Stephanie Sheh, Tomokazu Sugita, Patrick Seitz

Running Time: 300 minutes

Certificate: 12

K represents many great ideas getting lost in an increasingly complicated plot. It is to the show’s credit though, that such convoluted strands are hinted at throughout and so do not come as an unwanted surprise. Many typical story elements are weaved together early on, including amnesia, mistaken identity, murder, prophecies, chosen ones, and magical cat girls. With so much going on it may sound crowded, but since the focus is on the most interesting element, a murder mystery that involves a seemingly natural schoolboy, it’s easy to ignore the political struggles of the 7 kings of the 7 clans that provide a canvas too big for the painting.

Yashiro (Namikawa/Regal) is a student at a large school situated on a single island.
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Night Raid 1931 DVD Review

Directors: Jun Matsumoto, Masashi Ishihama

Starring: Daisuke Namikawa, John Gremillion, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Andrew Love, Hiroaki Hirata, Greg Ayres Nabuhiko Okamoto, Josh Grelle, Ryusuke Oobayashi, John Kaiser

Running Time: 400 minutes

Certificate: 15

It isn’t often that an anime series arrives as a completely original offering, but Night Raid 1931, is not only not based on any pre-existing material, but it’ also a brilliant series. Taking place in Shanghai between World War 1 and World War 2, Night Raid 1931 is a glorious recreation of a conflicted time period, where poverty and depression was leading into yet another crisis. Everything in the series is beautifully animated, with epic attention to detail bringing to life the period setting. Cars, buildings, and clothing all help generate a realistic and faithful representation of life in Shanghai at the time.

The plot follows a group of secret agents who each have a different power. Whether it be teleportation, mind reading,
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Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Blood Trail Complete Ova Blu-ray Review

Director: Sunao Katabuchi,

Starring: Daisuke Namikawa, Brad Swaile, Megumi Toyoguchi, Maryke Hendrikse, Hiroaki Hirata, Brian Drummond, Jun Karasawa, Lisa Ann Beley, Kazu Ikura, Cathy Weseluck, Michie Tomizawa, Tabitha St. Germain

Running Time: 125 minutes

Certificate: 18

All 5 episodes of this Ova (Original Video Animation) go for quality over quantity. Allowing for an extended time of 30+ minutes, the show is able to feel more adult, and have a pacing more familiar to TV audiences. Black Lagoon: Roberta’S Blood Trail, sees a protective maid go mad with vengeance, as she hunts down the military men that responsible for her pain. Meanwhile, The Lagoon Company, a gang of mercenaries, become involved after Roberta’s employer, the young Garcia, and his current maid try and stop Roberta. Although it can be surmised as a tale of revenge, it is also a painful look at the true madness vengeance can drive us to.

Roberta is very much a force of nature.
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Lupin The Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine Blu-ray Review

Director: Sayo Yamamoto,

Starring: Kanichi Kurita, Sonny Strait, Miyuki Sawashiro, Michelle Ruff, Daisuke Namikawa, Mike McFarland, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Christopher R. Sabat,

Running Time: 325 minutes

Certificate: 15

Lupin The Third is one of anime and manga’s best loved characters. A master thief who gets caught up in a series of adventures, his tales mix very Japanese themes with a hint of Franco-Belgian comics such as Tin-Tin and Lucky Luke, only more adult orientated. In Lupin The Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, we are treated to adventures set in the early years of Lupin’s thievery, as well as detailing his relationship with later series regulars, femme fatale Fujiko Mine, samurai Goemon Ishikawa Xiii, and former bodyguard Daisuke Jigan. Therefore, this is the perfect entry point for new fans as well as elaborating on details for old fans. It also happens to be one of the most impressive anime ever made.
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Persona 4: The Animation Box 2 Blu-ray Review

Director: Seiji Kishi

Starring: Ami Koshimizu, Amanda Winn Lee, Daisuke Namikawa, Johnny Yong Bosch, Showtaro Morikubo, Erin Fitzgerald, Yui Horie, Yuri Lowenthal

Running Time: 207 minutes

Certificate: 12

Persona 4: The Animation sees a bunch of teenagers, each dealing with their own demons, enter a bizarre world inside a television where they must battle the worst parts of themselves. The first half of this box set continues the formulaic route of the last, wherein each episode sees a character disappear from the real world and enter the TV world. They meet the dark reflection of themselves, argue with it, cry and deny they truly have those thoughts inside them. That’s when Yu Narukami and his group of friends appear to save the day.

Like before, these individual cases are very interesting to watch. The characters’ dark thoughts aren’t just things they are scared of becoming, but are actual parts of themselves.
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Persona 4: The Animation DVD Review

Director: Seiji Kishi

Starring: Ami Koshimizu, Amanda Winn Lee, Daisuke Namikawa, Johnny Yong Bosch, Showtaro Morikubo, Erin Fitzgerald, Yui Horie, Yuri Lowenthal

Running Time: 207 minutes

Certificate: 12

Extras: Director’s Cut Episode 1, Trailer, TV Spot, Textless Opening/Closing Credits

Persona 4: The Animation is based on the wacky and popular Japanese video game of the same name (but without the ‘The Animation’ part). Many may be turned off by the sound of a videogame adaptation, but considering Persona 4 is both a role playing game and partly a simulation game, there is plenty of room to include plot, character development, and comedy as well as the usual action.

Persona 4: The Animation follows protagonist Yu Narukami as he tries to adapt to life in a small town after moving from Tokyo. Yu Narukami is quite a refreshing character as he doesn’t seem to oppose his circumstances. He’s unsure of life in a rural village,
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