‘Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis’ Set For Next Animated Film

‘Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis’ Set For Next Animated Film A little more has surfaced with regards to the next DC Animated movie with Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. It was announced back in May that Aquaman would headline the next film, which will be coming after the August 12th, 2014 release of Batman: Assault on Arkham. It was largely expected that it would follow the New 52 timeline after Justice League: War and it definitely falls into that pattern, adapting what makes up the third graphic novel from that comic series as written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Ivan Reiss. Some of the back cover art design work has surfaced for the Assault on Arkham, which you can see below, which lays out what the next feature will be.

Plot concept: When Atlantis is struck by a U.S. Naval missile gone awry, Atlantis–led by Aquaman’s brother Ocean Master–attacks the East Coast of the United States flooding its major cities such as Boston, Metropolis, Gotham City and several others.

The Justice League comes together to help Aquaman turn back the tide, but they soon learn that they are woefully overmatched by the Atlantean Army, and must find a way to save the world from total annihilation.

‘Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis’ Set For Next Animated Film

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‘Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis’ Set For Next Animated Film

Super Sonico Episode #12 Anime Review (Season Finale)

Super Sonico Episode #12 Anime Review (Season Finale)

Super Sonico Episode 12

Sometimes you just need a positive and life affirming series to enter your life. Super Sonico completely fits that need.

What They Say:
“Super Sonico” debuted as Nitro+’s live mascot girl, and her world will be brought to life in the anime, “SoniAni – SUPER SONICO THE ANIMATION -”!

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the final episode of the series, it’s not hard to imagine that we’d get more slice of life material that actually provides an actual look at life more than just some banality that leaves you feeling tired of its triteness. With a series that focused on Sonico going through school or spending an episode simply traveling – on her own no less – and the kinds of things you have to do in order to live a normal life, it’s been surprisingly engaging on a level that I don’t think those who became fans ever expected. Particularly when you consider that this is an anime series about a mascot character. Which is why it’s ease to just slide into the musical aspects of it, which may be its strong point for some but is a weaker point for me. But even with that, Sonico’s personality shines through with her outlook on life that makes it fun to see them perform.

It helps that it’s not all about the performing as that has been a part of the show from the start but never a dominating factor. It’s another piece of her life, something that younger fans may get something from since it doesn’t become the totality of Sonico or the show. Giving more time to her singing aspirations is rather welcome here, especially as the group does run into some trouble as they’re running out of funds to perform. While it’s her passion, you can also see that because of the way they do it, they’re probably not bringing in a ton of money to do the kinds of concerts they do. So the focus comes down here to her working with the adults that hang around in her grandmothers restaurant where they’re coming up with ideas on how to put together a concert for everyone. And because of the connected nature of the district and those that live and work there, it’s the kind of thing that gets done well and is spread across the entirety of the episode as we move back and forth in time to see it unfold.

Getting that back and forth usually is problematic in a story structure, but the light nature of it works here and the music ties it together just as well, though it’s not without its challenges along the way either as it can’t all be a breeze. This also brings us some fun as we get to see Sonico’s grandmother stepping up to the stage to play, which brings back a great flashback to the distant past of her own youth that the other older guys all remember quite well, adding a fun layer to the show. Between this, the character touches in the present and the nods towards the previous stories in the series done as a musical montage, Super Sonico hits all the right notes here and reminds you exactly why you like it. You may not connect deeply with some of the characters, but you like what it presents and how it presents it.

In Summary:
Super Sonico surprised me since I sort of tried it on a whim, expecting the usual mascot kind of show that would provide superficial fanservice and perhaps some comedy, which is a great way to start off the week with what one watches. Instead, I was treated to a thoughtful, introspective and fairly feminist series in a lot of ways that was restrained with what it did and sought to have fun in realistic ways. It’s not an out of the park hit that does something truly amazing, but it’s a bright spot among the sea of shows that just pander. And when you really look at what it’s all about, it’s the kind of show that actually treats its mascot right, and that in turn makes you feel a lot better about the company itself and the other works that they’ll produce.

Grade: B

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Apple TV via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

Super Sonico Episode #12 Anime Review (Season Finale)

‘To Love-Ru -Trouble- Darkness 2nd’ Anime Character Spots Arrive

‘To Love-Ru -Trouble- Darkness 2nd’ Anime Character Spots Arrive With some well placed buttons to obscure things, NBC Universal Japan is getting a bit more promotion underway for To Love-Ru -Trouble- Darkness 2nd. With the show coming up as part of the summer season, the new promos take us to the core characters that do define the show with ones for Momo and Rito, which feels weird since we don’t often get male lead promos.

The series is set to premiere on Tokyo MX on July 6th, 2015 at 12:30 am.

The original staff is coming back as well with it Atsushi Ootsuki directing it at Xebec with Yuichi Oka on character designs. The cast includes Aki Toyosaki as Momo Belia Deviluke, Misato Fukuen as Golden Darkness, Yuka Iguchi as Mea Kurosaki, Akeno Watanabe as Rito Yūki, Haruka Tomatsu as Lala Satalin Deviluke, Sayuri Yahagi as Haruna Sairenji, Kanae Itō as Nana Astar Deviluke, Kana Hanazawa as Mikan Yūki, Kaori Nazuka as Yui Kotegawa, Ryoka Yuzuki as Risa Momioka & Celine, Satomi Arai as Peke, Mamiko Noto as Oshizu and Rina Hidaka as Mea’s Master.

Property concept: As close encounters of the twisted kind between the residents of the planet Deviluke (represented primarily by the female members of the royal family) and the inhabitants of Earth (represented mainly by one very exhausted Rito Yuuki) continue to escalate, the situation spirals even further out of control.

When junior princesses Nana and Momo transferred into Earth School where big sister Lala can (theoretically) keep an eye on them, things SHOULD be smooth sailing. But when Momo decides she’d like to “supplement” Rito’s relationship with Lala with a little “sisterly love,” you know Lala’s not going to waste any time splitting harems.

Unfortunately, it’s just about that point that Yami, the Golden Darkness, enters the scene with all the subtleness of a supernova, along with an army of possessed high school students! All of which is certain to make Rito’s life suck more than a black hole at the family picnic. Unless, of course, a certain semi-demonic princess can apply a little of her Devilukean Whoop Ass to exactly that portion of certain other heavenly bodies!

‘To Love-Ru -Trouble- Darkness 2nd’ Anime Character Spots Arrive

The World God Only Knows Season 2 Anime DVD Review

The World God Only Knows Season 2 Anime DVD Review A gamer’s work is never done.

What They Say:
Every otaku’s favorite dating-sims champion is back! Keima still has his adorable lost soul-hunting, demon cutie with him, and together, they continue their pursuit of finding escaped lost souls who are hiding within beautiful, young school girls. But how to release these trapped spirits? Why, they have to get the girls to fall in love, of course! This time when lost souls turn up in everyone from the school’s sexy bully to the school’s hottest new student teacher, Keima finds even his romantic powers are going to have to work over time. And when a giant loose soul turns the entire school into a group of love-starved zombies, Keima and Elsie have to recruit a new demon to help!

The Review:
Audio:
The release of this television series contains two language options- English and Japanese- though both tracks are limited to only a stereo mix likely due to the materials only being available to Sentai in that manner given how the original Japanese track was constructed. For the purpose of this review the Japanese track was selected and it is a solid representation of stereo tracks as splits the dialogue and other sounds nicely in such a way as to give a decent illusion of depth. The track also works well to provide directionality when appropriate and it covers the low sounding effects as well as the higher pitched ones in a way that provides a nice balance. On top of this the dialogue is presented clearly and there were no dropouts or distortions noticed during playback.

Video:
Originally premiering on Japanese television during the 2011 season, the series is presented here in its original 1.78:1 ratio with an anamorphic widescreen encode. The series itself is one that likes to make use of quite a bit of the color spectrum including rather bright colors as well as also making use of more subtle ones with some of the clothing choices and for the most part colors come across well and the blacks are solid and vibrant as well. The DVD release has a few encode issues though, most noticeably a rather distracting level of noise that has the ability to really make its presence known and be disruptive on occasion. In addition to this, though not nearly as distracting, is the presence of blocking, aliasing, dot crawl, banding, bleeding, artifacting, moiré, and some minor ghosting. It certainly doesn’t reach anywhere near “unwatchable” scale but it is prevalent enough that I would suggest going for the Blu Ray upgrade to those whose setups will accommodate the format.

Packaging:
The release comes packaged in an eco DVD case that includes a middle flipper page to hold one disc while the other disc is held on the back inside portion of the case. The front cover features Elsie as well as a fellow demon/Loose Soul hunter Haqua du Rot Herminium as they stand close facing toward the viewer with their bodies facing each other while holding hands against a warm crème- orange colored sky with the series title and key logo present in a banner at the bottom of the cover. The spine meanwhile features a smiling image of Kemia against the same orange sky backdrop at the top in an almost noble type pose with his right leg lifted as if placed on a step to give him a bit of a regal air with the title being present just under this.
The back cover features an angled image that has Haqua on the left riding her scythe while the right has an image of Elsie riding her broom (and showing off a lot of leg in the process for fanservice) against a crème orange backdrop with white lines as they form almost the sides of a triangle in their presentation. Above the two the series copy is listed against a white backdrop while the space between the two demons is filled with 8 stills of various sizes taken from the episodes within while below that are the listings for Extras, copyright information and the discs technical specs.

The series is presented on two discs in an even 6 episodes each split, the first disc using an image of Kusunoki Kasuga who is kneeling on the ground while leaning slightly forward against the wind with a small kitten clutching the back flap of her school uniform for the label while the second disc features an image of Jun Nagase with her class roster held high in her right hand and her pink PFP behind her back in her left as she stands in front of a large school window with a blue sky with white clouds and whiter birds.

Menu:
The menus for the discs are similar in presentation and function as they are static affairs in terms of the images present on them. Disc one uses an image of Haqua on the left as she sits leaning back almost like she is about to lean on the part of a large circle that is partially presented which contains the episodes that are included listed on the right in a stacked fashion as a short bit from the opening plays as background music. As a game joke the episodes are again referred to as “Flags” which is a term from the type of game that the main character plays and which was used in the series itself. The sub screens use an image of a smiling Chihiro looking over her left shoulder for the Language one and Kusunoki Kasuga from the cover of disc one for the Special Features as a portion of the close plays for both screens.

Disc two’s main image features Elsie behind and slightly above Keima who stands in a powerful pose at an angle with his right hand held against his temple while his left thrusts his PFP toward the viewer. The Language screen uses the image of Elsie and Haqua from the packages cover and the Special Features screen uses the image of Jun Nagase from the disc label though it places her against a crème-orange background with white lines like is found on the back of the DVD packaging cover. Disc two also uses the same audio tracks in the same places as disc one and both menus use a small skull icon to indicate the currently highlighted option which changes color when selected. The icon is quick to respond to selection changes and the implementation of selection choices is made with minimal delay.

Extras:
In addition to the almost industry standard clean open and closings Sentai also includes a pair of short extras that collect commercials used to promote both the series itself both before and during its airing in the TV Spots extra as well as a selection named Japanese Release Spots which collect some of the commercials used to promote the home video release of the series as well as some of the CDs theme and character songs associated with the series.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There are still Loose Souls rampaging about and as such Keima Katsuragi is still bound by his contract with Hell to pair up with Elsie and recapture them if he ever hopes to have his time back to himself to play his games to his heart’s content not to mention if he wants to keep his head. To this end the second season brings with it some familiar tasks as he must still use his gaming skills to try to free unfortunate girls from the Souls that have wormed their way into the empty spots in their hearts.

This time around though there may be some new events with twists that Kemia has to navigate as the concepts that he knows so well when it comes to games may have higher stakes in the real world as there is no “reset” option to undo a bad decision if he misjudges things and some of the actions that appear in games may have more painful consequences in the real world. Still with his life on the line and more importantly his free time at stake Kemia is going to have to use all his skills to help those around him who become trapped by souls from hell while trying as best he can to pretend that he can hide the effects his efforts have on his own heart while also making time for his precious games.

The World God Only Knows hits its second season in full stride using the structure that the series set up in the first season to allow it to leap right into events. This is both a good thing in that it allows the series to get right into the meat of things again but it does run a risk of pushing things to a point where the rather repetitive nature of the setup and its lack of developing a deeper core may finally be working against it. That most story arcs revolve around a character type that has become a staple (if not stereotypical archetype of its own) doesn’t make for the greatest of starts as the lack of having many reoccurring characters or repercussions takes some of the emotion out of events.

Whether it is to answer that start or to try to push the series in a new direction, a pair of story arcs early in the second season look like they might allow for events to change as the introduction of new character Haqua along with a new type of Loose Soul allows both for some explanation behind the series setup as well as the potential ability to shake things out of their groove but it is the story that follows that where the true brilliance and possibilities of the series concept shine. In that tale Kemia finds himself in a brand new position of both having to deal with a lack of desire to help someone caught up in events as well as having to really focus on his own tendency to only see things from the point of his gaming history rather than recognize that some events will fall outside of that and people can be so very much more than a collection of tropes that make for easy storytelling devices.

In addition to this, the series also throws in a pair of tales that are used as comical little moments of satire that attempt to poke fun at times of the anime or gaming world in general which provide some hit or miss comedy but it is actually the quiet moments of a series that uses a lot of energy and humor that I find the most attractive. While the series is built on its humor the moments that really bring the characters to life are found in between the frenetic pace of events when the characters pause and take a bit of reflection, particularly in Kemia’s case as his general level of conceit and self absorbed nature could easily make for a better antagonist character but when he drops his defenses and shows just how human he is and how much events have impacted him that the series really stands out and which the series could have used more moments of to step out and seize some fantastic character potential.

This season much like its predecessor walks a very fine line at times as the idea that a person can be classified to a point where someone can say just a couple of right words at the right time to win their heart is pretty borderline insulting to its characters and also audience. The saving grace is often just how delicately the writers work to handle events and how they can show that Kemia is more than just cynically treating “real” people the way he does those he manipulates on his game screens. It takes a really deft touch which the series doesn’t always manage as skillfully as one might wish but when added to the humor and heart that is inserted to lay behind each of the tales the series avoids falling completely into a pitfall. The only other major weakness here is in the need to follow the manga as a seemingly major character is introduced in Haqua who then almost completely disappears in the stories that follow which leaves a kind of empty spot in her wake after the amount of setup she receives. Still those who enjoyed the first season of the show will likely find that much of what they loved exists here as well though the repetition of the basic concept may be close to wearing out its welcome.

In Summary:
The second season of The World God Only Knows arrives on home video and brings with it most of the same concepts from the original season as it also takes care to mix in some new twists and facets so it doesn’t become just “more of the same.” Those who loved the first season will find much to like here as the series continues its pursuit of its theme though in doing so it may wear on some viewer’s patience. In a number of cases this season feels like one that covers a fair amount of the same ground as the original and as such which lacks some of the initial sparkle the first created but fans may find that this season contains a few moments where it is able to surpass the original, even if the whole of the season can’t quite manage to do so.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 language, English Subtitles, Japanese Promo, TV Spots, Release Spots, Clean Opening Animation, Clean Closing Animation

Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: C-
Packaging Grade: B-
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 7th, 2012
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Samsung 50″ Plasma HDTV, Denon AVR-790 Receiver with 5.1 Sony Surround Sound Speakers, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080.

The World God Only Knows Season 2 Anime DVD Review

Tokyo Ravens Episode #18 Anime Review

Tokyo Ravens Episode #18 Anime Review

Tokyo Ravens Episode 18

The fallout from Natsume’s revelation is dealt with.

What They Say:
Harutora and the others return to school for the first time after the incident that revealed Natsume’s true gender.

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Tokyo Ravens has moved along with its couple of storylines fairly decently, depending on how much interest you have when it comes to the behind the scenes adult storyline going on, but it’s also done some decent things when it comes to the characters. While Harutora can be sidelined for a bit or made a tad impotent for a storyline, it’s just interesting to see him in general with other characters. He’s been a good influence on Suzuka and that’s made her more palatable at times but the real meat continues to be in seeing how he and Natsume get along. The two have steadily gotten closer and closer over the past year of stories in their world, with a few months happening off camera at that, so seeing them being more comfortable around each other doesn’t feel forced or unnatural. There’s a lot to like with the pairing, though it’d connect more if we saw more of them in casual mode.

Natsume is front and center with this episode as the first half largely deals with the fallout from her revelation about her gender in the previous episode. She’s fine with those that are closest to her in general, though Kyoko is keeping her distance in particular, and Natsume’s time in the dorm is a bit awkward since she’s still in the same boys dorm. They’re keeping their distance as one would expect. But Natsume is finding some positive thoughts and words from many other classmates, especially since she and the others saved so many of them during the recent incidents and that hasn’t been forgotten. It’s a pretty realistic aspect, but the main focus is on Kyoko herself. Harutora is trying to smooth things over a bit with her for Natsume, but Kyoko has her issues that won’t let it be dealt with quite so easily as there’s some real meaning behind her concerns and thoughts.

This makes for a pretty good first half, but the second half once again just spirals into other areas that supposedly will be important but leaves me cold. It focuses on the Tsuchimikado residence and some of what’s going on there as it introduces more characters, or perhaps characters that made minor appearances before but were largely forgettable, and it showcases a bit of power both in terms of ability and the more classical sense of it. Similar to previous episode that have done this with other characters, it’s trying to build a larger narrative about what’s going on but it’s simply not working for me in the slightest, making half the episode essentially without meaning and pretty much empty. Which is unfortunate since when it focuses on the core cast as it did in the first half of the series, it’s a lot more engaging.

In Summary:
The show has a decent enough episode in the first half with what it has to approach as we see the fallout from Natsume’s gender revelation made and how people are reacting to it. There’s some good stuff in there with the characters and I liked how it spun off to deal with the issues Kyoko has, allowing Harutora to try and figure it out and help her with it. The second half again lays more foundation for the big finale arc, but similar to attempts at doing that in previous episodes, it leaves me simply not caring. Which will undercut a lot of the importance of what’s to come outside of the core cast’s participation, which won’t be enough to salvage it I suspect.

Grade: C

Streamed By: FUNimation

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Apple TV via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

Tokyo Ravens Episode #18 Anime Review

The Anime Network Adds Fourth ‘Space Brothers’ Collection Episodes

The Anime Network Adds Fourth ‘Space Brothers’ Collection Episodes

The Anime Network is adding another batch of episodes of Space Brothers onto their service today with twelve new episodes arriving that match up to the fourth collection from Sentai Filmworks. You can check out the new episodes here . The fourth collection is coming out on DVD and Blu-ray from Sentai on August 4th, and this streaming of the episodes gives you an early look at it before you can add it to your treasured home video collection.

Plot concept: Contrary to popular belief, the hardest part about becoming an astronaut isn’t being shot into orbit while sitting on top of the world’s largest fireworks display. Nor is it coming back home in a fiery reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. No, those events, while momentous, are easy compared to all the studying and training required to actually get to those points.

The hardest part of all is the waiting: waiting to see if the technology for a mission will be ready in time. Waiting to see who gets selected for each crew. Waiting to see if the weather is clear for each launch. And waiting to see if everyone makes it back home alive. That’s a lesson that Mutta is now painfully learning twice over, as he waits to find out the result of his JAXA exams and watches while his younger brother, Hibito, prepares for his own historic journey to the moon. Will Mutta finally pass and move on to the next stage of his own training? Will Hibito’s mission end in success or tragedy? The tension mounts as the countdown begins!

The Anime Network Adds Fourth ‘Space Brothers’ Collection Episodes

Runtime & First TV Spot For ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

Runtime & First TV Spot For ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Peter Jackson is out and about making the rounds for interviews and the like and he’s made a new statement that inches us a bit closer to what the runtime is for the first feature in the new trilogy. What’s amusing is that while he has the runtime, that’s without the credits being included at the end and any potential tease from there as well for the second installment. The first TV spot has also been introduced, which you can see further below.

“It’s looking like it’s going to be about ten minutes shorter than Fellowship was,” said Jackson.”So it’s going to be officially our shortest Middle-earth yet. I mean, Fellowship was just under three hours and this is about 2 hours 40 minutes at the moment.”

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is due out in theaters on December 14th.

Plot concept: The film follows the titular hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor, which was long ago conquered by the dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior Thorin Oakenshield. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain, first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever… Gollum. Here, alone with Gollum, on the shores of an underground lake, the unassuming Bilbo Baggins not only discovers depths of guile and courage that surprise even him, he also gains possession of Gollum’s “precious” ring that holds unexpected and useful qualities… A simple, gold ring that is tied to the fate of all Middle-earth in ways Bilbo cannot begin to know.

Runtime & First TV Spot For ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’