Long Island Retro Gaming Expo 2018: Picks From the Dealers’ Room

This may shock you, but I spent too much money in the Dealers’ Room once again. I joked after Cradle Con that I wasn’t going to spend any more money on games or anime for the rest of the year and uh…yeah, I lied. I am a liar. I am setting a bad example for my family.

Nevertheless, I cannot go back in time and unspend all this money (not that I would), so I may as well take advantage of my fevered shopping spree by getting a blog post out of it. Seriously, if I go to Anime NYC (or any other con) anytime soon, I’m probably going to have to make a point of avoiding the dealers room, since I really can’t afford to do this. But enough realistic negativity, I have swag to show off!

I filled out my PS1 RPG collection with these two gems, which I’ve wanted for a long time. I’ve always been intrigued by the dating/weapon forging mechanics in Thousand Arms, and the job system in Star Ocean: The Second Story always sounded exactly like my cup of tea. There are PSP remakes of the early Star Ocean games, but from what I’ve read, I’m better off with the original here anyway. I wish I’d bought more of these games back when they came out, but back then, I only had so much babysitting money….

Speaking of RPGs, I needed this to fill out my FF collection so I can make good on my ongoing threat of Let’s Playing them all some day. Technically I do own these games already (Final Fantasy: Dawn of Souls for the GBA), but I’ve decided recently that I’d rather have everything in Playstation format when possible. PSX discs are readily available, usually inexpensive, and easy to (legally) play on the computer with an emulator.

For the record, I’ve never actually finished FF1; I’ve played about 75% of the way through it several different times, but just never completed it for some reason. I need to fix that sometime soon. FF2 I have yet to even attempt.

Not JRPGs? There must be some mistake!

I wasn’t planning on buying these, but I’ve been hearing since the ’90s that the Legacy of Kain series is high-quality, and these were really inexpensive. As an Eidos series, Kain is kind of like Lara Croft’s brother anyway, right? It made sense in my head.

After attending Leonard Herman’s panel on video game history, I was really curious to read his book. Phoenix has been around since 1994, but the fourth edition covers games history through 2015, so there’s a lot to go through here. I’ve started reading it and find it quite addictive, even if a lot of it is dedicated to covering dodgy peripherals for obscure systems I never knew existed.

Mr. Herman was really nice and even offered to help me raid the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester to get at their JRPG collection, although I was kidding about that. Or…maybe he was kidding. Let’s assume someone was kidding.

Most of you probably need some background in order to understand why I absolutely lost my shit when fell over this. Versus Books was a company that put out unauthorized game guides back in the ’90s, and they’ve been all but forgotten today. What a lot of people don’t know is that in addition to being very thorough, the Versus guides were also hilarious; reading the Metal Gear Solid book is almost as fun as playing the game itself. Years ago, my brother wrote to the company to try to get a copy of this guide, but they were out of business at that point and it seemed like there was no way to get it.

I don’t know if they used this book to take the piss out of FF7 the way they did for MGS and Resident Evil 2, but if there’s even a chance, I have to find out. Plus, maybe I’ll finally learn how to master all those stupid Gold Saucer minigames that I suck at.

One of the only early Tomb Raider guides that I didn’t already have. I like to collect the TR strategy guides because I need them to complete the damned things I like the extra stuff that’s often included in these books. Chronicles was the installment of TR that came with the infamously robust Tomb Raider Level Editor (TRLE), so I’m curious to see what the book has to say about that.

Apparently magazine ads for games have become collectibles, which makes sense; they often make nice mini-posters. I didn’t think this was something I was that interested in until I saw that they had an add for Ehrgeiz, then I just had to get it. I got a few more of these while I was there (see header). Sadly, they did not have any ads for Parasite Eve. I also picked up one for the original Advance Wars for my brother, since that’s one of his all-time favorites.

These were free, yaaay! Old School Gamer Magazine was kind enough to give away sample issues to anyone who signed up for their email list. I’m glad to discover another print game magazine, since all my favorite ones ceased publication long ago. This mag just started last year, but it has a very experienced team of writers. I’m definitely going to keep up with it and hope they keep publishing it for a long time.


This concludes my posts on LIRGE for 2018. I hope you all enjoyed getting a peek at this fun convention, and consider coming down in 2019 if you’re anywhere near the NY area. LIRGE also includes Tabletop Expo, which I did not cover because I had my hands full with the video game component, but I hope to spend more time there next year. Tabletop Expo might be spun off into it’s own convention next year, so definitely keep tabs on the LIRGE website if you’re interested in attending either or both.

Long Island Retro Gaming Expo 2018: Cosplay!

The Long Island Retro Gaming Expo may not be a cosplay destination in the same way that say, Anime Expo is. That said, there was some pretty impressive cosplay on display, and even the simpler costumes shined when their wearers went all-out with roleplaying. Since it was a gaming convention, obviously most of the characters depicted were from games, but there were also some costumes from anime and films. There was even a roving gang of Star Wars cosplayers, but I never got a good picture of them because they only seemed to show up when I was a)eating a sandwich or b)in the bathroom.

No one literally said, “You just missed them; the elusive Star Wars cosplayers!” but that was kind of how it felt. I hope that was the only group cosplay that I missed; if I find out there was a Final Fantasy VII troop somewhere that I just never ran into, I’m going to be upset.

A note on lighting: The Expo holds its cosplay contest in the Planetarium, which is a really cool venue in general, but it doesn’t have the best lighting for photography. I took a lot of these photos during the contest, meaning the photos are a bit dark. I’ve done my best to compensate, but there’s a limit to what I can do. Geek-E Magazine sponsors the cosplay contest, and they had a professional photographer taking pictures, so better pics will be available through them at some point.

Let’s start with a character close to my heart, a gorgeous Lara Croft. Man, I want to cosplay as Lara Croft now…maybe next year. Of course, if I was going to do that, I should have probably done it before I cut off nearly all my hair. Maybe I can cosplay Dora the Explorer in the meantime?

The only Star Wars cosplayer I was able to track down. Was he part of the roving gang of Star Wars people, or an independent agent? Not sure. I should have tried to follow him and see if he’d lead me to the Jedi or whoever, but I’m pretty sure that would have violated the con’s no-stalking rules….

A great Street Fighter group cosplay; so glad I caught these guys on my way out. Sadly, there was no group of X-Men cosplayers for them to fight with; I’ll have to wait for next year in the hopes of seeing an X-Men vs. Street Fighter reenactment. But it’s possible! Keep hope alive!

The judges for the Kids Cosplay contest. I didn’t take pics of the kids for the most part (as a parent, I feel weird about it), but this Little Sister from Bioshock 2 crept in there.

I’m going to level with you, I have no idea what’s going on here. Bunny Sailor Mercury hanging out with…The Riddler? Not a clue. Why didn’t it occur to me to ask them while I was taking the picture? I am an AWARD-WINNING journalist goshdarnit, you’d think I’d know better than to embarrass myself like this.

Awesome Breath of the Wild Zelda. Not to be confused with the Hyrule Warriors version of Zelda, who was also in attendance. It’s almost like this Zelda series is popular or something.

Ness from Earthbound. I’ve really gotta play that game one of these years….

Crash Bandicoot.

This costume is of a Clow Card from Card Captor Sakura, but I’ve been looking for a while and I can’t figure out which card it is. It sound like she said the “Fate” card, but I can’t find any reference to a Fate Clow Card on CCSak sites. Any Sakura superfans able to help me out here?

Your friendly neighborhood Tobi from Naruto.

Hyrule Warriors Zelda. It’s a shame I couldn’t get a better picture, because this was an awesome costume. She won Best in Show.

Cube from Jet Set Radio Future. Love the skates!

Finally, a Mario! Worth the wait.

It’s another Ness from Earthbound. Uh, I really need to play that game….

The Squid Sisters from Splatoon.

Awww, it’s an entire Mario family! I’ve never seen Peach in a cowboy hat before, but I’m sure that comes from somewhere. Their performance was hilarious; they split the Best Group Cosplay trophy with the Splatoon group.

This is a cosplay from the movie The Hangover 2. I haven’t seen the movie, so I have no idea what’s going on here, but it looks like a really good attempt at…at…at a costume. Way to think out of the box there, friend.

A lovely Princess Peach. Not that I have anything against “casual Peach” above, but this is what I think of when I think of the Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom. This cosplay won the Best Craftsmanship award.

Liu Kang from Mortal Kombat. He did not do any huge acrobatics (which are against con policy anyway), but he did a nice routine featuring Kang’s trademark kicks. I wonder: did he have a violent confrontation with the Street Fighter team above? The mind boggles.

Remember Breath of the Wild Zelda from alllll the way back at the beginning? She found herself a Link! Okay, obviously these two came together, but I like the idea that they just randomly found each other at the convention. Then it was love at first sight.

Thank you to all the cosplayers for allowing me to photograph you. To those cosplayers at LIRGE that I missed (and I know there were some), my apologies; I was trying to get as many of you as possible, but I’m only one person and can’t be everywhere at once. I’ll probably be dressed as Dora the Explorer next year, so if I missed you this time around, you know where to look to get your picture taken.

Keep in mind I’m in my 30s though, if you see an age-appropriate Dora the Explorer cosplay, that is an actual child and you should probably leave them alone.

 

Long Island Retro Gaming Expo 2018

The Long Island Retro Gaming Expo is probably the warmest convention I’ve ever been to. I’m not referring to the ambient temperature; the AC was working fine (and in the Planetarium, arguably too well.) I mean it felt warm in the sense of being incredibly inviting and friendly. Part of this is no doubt due to the efforts of the con organizers (who deserve plenty of credit for putting together a great event), but I think it’s also due to what the gaming community looks like in 2018.

You had babies in strollers clutching beloved Pikachu plushies, little kids wearing Mario t-shirts, older men and women who vividly remembered playing their Magnavox Odyssey in the ’70s, and everything in between. It was really a family event, not just because there was all-ages programming, but simply because there were a whole lot of families walking around. You had hardcore game collectors, anime cosplayers, tabletop enthusiasts, professional game historians, indie game developers, and little kids who just wanted to play Sonic all day long, and everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time together. I know that this one convention does not represent the state of gamer culture in the entire world, but the attendance at this event couldn’t be further from the stereotype of the stand-offish, “toxic” gamer.

The whole second floor of the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, NY was filled with dozens and dozens of consoles playing retro games. There were also plenty of classic Arcade cabinets. 

The main Freeplay arcade area, minutes before the doors opened at 10 a.m.; once the con was open, it was standing-room only in here.

Even though the con is primarily focused on the gaming of yesteryear, there was plenty of talk at panels about recent developments in the industry. About half the convention was in morning after the apparent Death of Luigi during Nintendo Direct; streamer Vinesauce even held a “moment of silence” for Luigi during his panel. (It lasted about one second, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right?) More importantly, everyone was talking about Nintendo’s aggressive targeting of ROM sites; in some cases, it came up because I asked about it specifically, but a lot of other congoers broached the subject during Q&A sessions as well.

While no one condemned Nintendo for shutting down emulation sites, many guests expressed concerns about how this move could effect the preservation of video game history.

“Taking such a broad approach to the issue does actual harm to the medium,” said Jeremy Parish of the Retronauts podcast. “As it is, it feels like they’re cutting off access to the past.” Parish went on to suggest that Nintendo continue taking down ROMs of their own games, but perhaps allow ROMs for more obscure titles to remain available.

From left to right: Jeremy Parish and Bob Mackey of Retronauts, and Kurt Kalata, Editor-in-Chief of Hardcore Gaming 101. Their panel covered the history of SuperJoe.

“This is a tricky topic….there are some games that are out of print, that the only people that would be making money from them are second-hand sellers– for like $400, for some of these games,” said @VinnyVincesauce, a popular streamer. “So you want a game that is, let’s say, from 1989, that you can’t get on the Virtual Console, that you can’t legally own. Now they’re making it harder for you to get it, so it’s just gone now.”

To Vinny’s surprise, the Vinesauce panel filled pretty much the entire Planetarium at the museum. This was about as close as I could get.

Leonard Herman, video game scholar and author of Phoenix IV: The History of The Videogame Industry, had a different perspective on Nintendo’s actions. “I’m for that…As a writer, you have copyrighted materials. The copyright lasts the life of the person who wrote it plus 50 years, and whether you’re making money on it–whether it’s available or not– those copyrights should be preserved. And I found my book, the earlier editions, on the internet for download, and it infuriates me…not that I’m losing a sale…I just don’t believe, unless the person who put it out agrees to it, I don’t agree with that.”

Right: Video game collector and educator John Hancock, and Leonard Herman, known as the Father of Videogame History. Their panel together covered not only milestones in video game history, but how to dispel misconceptions about videogames and disseminate the facts instead.

“I’m torn, because as a preservationist, emulators are the only way to play prototypes and hacks and all that stuff, and I think that’s awesome,” said game collector John Hancock, Herman’s co-panelist. He went on to say how frustrated he was as a collector to see Nintendo pass on the opportunity to allow people to legally purchase ROMs for individual games, and instead focus on “half-baked” options like the NES Classic. “It frustrates me to no end.”

Shawn Long, better known as RGT85 on Youtube, also lamented the inability to legally purchase older games directly from Nintendo, using the example of Mario Sunshine for the Gamecube. “This should be done more on a case-by-case basis,” said Long, echoing what Parish had said earlier in the convention.

Naturally, there were plenty of other things to talk about besides Nintendo’s recent shenanigans. Pete Dorr of Pete’s Game Room hosted a very entertaining panel about collecting games for older systems, speed-running, and finding underrated gems in older console libraries. He has also very nearly convinced me that I need to speedrun Ehrgeiz: The Forsaken Dungeon, so if you hear any tortured screaming coming vaguely from the Tri-State Area, know that it’s all Pete’s fault.

The guys from the Stone Age Gamer podcast used their panel to pit controller-against-controller in a no-holds-barred Best of 16, “The Best WORST Controller.” With the help of the audience, they picked the Dreamcast controller as their favorite “bad” controller; personally, I think the fix may have been in for the Dreamcast from the start, but I will give the SAG guys the benefit of the doubt here.

The Stone Age Gamer panel: Kris Randazzo, Dean DeFalco, and Marc Raimo.

I even got to attend a panel on NESMaker, something I didn’t know existed before this convention. Software that allows you to make videogames without coding has proliferated in recent years, but what makes NESMaker particularly special is that you can burn your creation to an actual cartridge and play it on an NES console; obviously, you need to invest in some hardware to be able to take advantage of that particular feature, but it’s pretty amazing to me that this is even possible. In terms of features, the program looks to me like it has a lot in common with RPG Maker, although with fewer options; however, that might be a good thing. Apparently you can knock out a game in NESMaker in a weekend if you feel like it, whereas RPG Maker can consume your entire life if you let it (believe me, I know this from experience.) I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to drop $36 on the software myself, but for hardcore NES-era fans, this looks like a dream come true.

I have some other stuff from the con to post for you: keep an eye out for cosplay photos and my pick ups from the dealers room (aka “The Reason Karen Can Not Afford to Go To Conventions Anymore). Now I’m going to go obsessively look up information on speedrunning, because surely I can find the time to fit that into my schedule, right? Don’t answer that.

Otakon 2018 News Wrap-Up

Otakon occurred this past weekend and a ton of news was shared with the thousands of attendees. So, let’s dig right into things with a good old-fashioned con wrap up!

Aniplex of America

– Both The Irregular at Magic High School and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood will be receiving Blu-ray box sets later this year.

– The hour-long premiere episode of Sword Art Online: Alicization will premiere in Los Angeles on September 15.

Warner Brothers

– Summer series High School Girl and Sirius the Jaeger will be hitting Netflix in December 2018.

Denpa

– The reason why you’ve never heard of Denpa before is that this is a company that was first revealed to exist at this year’s Otakon. Fronted by Vertical’s former marketing director Ed Chavez, he announced the new company and the first seven manga licenses: Kaiji by Nobuyuki Fukumoto, Inside Mari by Shuzo Oshimi, An Invitation from a Crab (Kani ni Sasowarete) by panpanya, Futurelog by Range Murata, Maiden Railways (Tetsudou Shojo Manga) by Atsumiko Nakamura, Super Dimensional Love Gun by Shintaro Kago, and Legend of the Overfiend by Toshio Maeda. Good luck Ed!

Funimation

– Funi announced that they have licensed the series Angel Links and will release it on November 6.

Manga Gamer

– Manga Gamer announced the following new licenses: The Expression Amrilato, Fxxx Me Royally! – Horny Magical Princess, Farther than the Blue Sky!, and Beat Angel Escalayer R

Dark Horse

– Dark Horse Comics only announced one new license: Emanon by Shinji Kajio and Kenji Tsuruta

Sentai Filmworks

– Sentai will dub the following series: Girls’ Last Tour, Land of the Lustrous, Mitsuboshi Colors, and Just Because!

Discotek

– Discotek were the big winners this weekend with a ton of license announcements: Giant Robo OVA, Area 88 OVA, Lupin the 3rd: Blood Seal of the Eternal Mermaid movie, Kimagure Orange Road, Galaxy Express 999, Psycho Armor Govarian, Bo-Bobo-Bo-Bobo-bo, Space Warriors Baldios, Voltes V, God Mars, Message from Space: Galactic Wars, and Space Wolf Juspion.

My Hero Academia: Episode 55

As I noted last week, it appears we’re spending time with several other members of Class 1-A to see how they’re faring during the exam. While technically “filler” to some, this is more like expanding upon content that wasn’t shown in the manga, and I for one enjoyed it.

First things first. Todoroki fights a bunch of ninjas. He fights them and comes out on top by using his surroundings and catching them off guard. After that, we get a glimpse at some brewing tension with him and the Wind Boy Inasa. Wind Boy  gives IcyHot a mighty dirty look, and proceeds to pay him no mind. Hmmm. Curious.

NINJA FIGHT!

After that we focus on a small group within the class, consisting of Tsuyu, Jiro, Shoji and Momo, as they begin a battle of wits with All Girls Hero Academy. The girls group is led by a a tea-drinking ojou-sama ringleader in the form of Ms. Sai. For an anime-original character, her design is really cute, and it’s kind of amazing watching her cool, composed personality turn into full-on sadism; meanwhile, her classmates are totally into it. Also, her quirk is literally making herself smarter by drinking different blends of tea, so that’s a fun ability. [Editor’s Note: Why does this not work with coffee? WHY??????]

This moment of strategic genius brought to you by Darjeeling Tea: when you really need to double your IQ to destroy your enemies, accept no substitutes.

As for her plan, effectively it’s a strategy of rendering her four opponents’ quirks unusable, or immobilizing them entirely. Jiro and Froppy are specifically targeted, while Sai plans for Momo to overexert her quirk while trying to salvage the situation. It’s pretty interesting to watch this play out: it gets tense for our group, and Momo has to adapt fast and come up with a plan that will get them out of this messy situation, while also ensuring they pass the exam.

Don’t freeze Froppy, that’s mean.

It’s a big scene especially for Momo, who last season feared her own  intuition facing off against Aizawa, and to see her come into her element both as a leader and a strategist (under a ton of pressure, no less) is great. She’s inspired by Deku’s iron will, of course. To see that level of personal inspiration shown among many of the students, but in a big way for Momo in particular, was fantastic. And when she does succeed in finally getting the best of the team from Girls Hero Academy, it’s a great, satisfying moment. She incapacitates all the opponents camping outside the door with a giant soundwave, opting to attack rather than defend. Seeing her fend off Sai once again with a clever trick, at the last minute, is just icing on the cake; all in all, great character development for her this week.

I care too much about you to let you become a meatball! I will take one for the team and become a delicious entree! **slurrp**

We then see Bakugo, Kirishima, and Kaminari cross roads with a guy from Shiketsu, who has a gross ability to turn people into meatballs. [Editor’s Note: WHAT. Just WHAT.] Kirishima sacrifices himself for Bakugo’s sake, showing how much he cares. All the while Deku, Ochaco and Sero are busy formulating a counterattack to try and pass this exam. I really love how– even setting the romantic element aside– Deku and Ochaco now demonstrate so much trust and respect in each other’s abilities. Meanwhile, we see Aizawa explain to Joke that he’s not even worried for his students, because he sees that every time Bakugo or Deku are involved, the entire class works to match their level, bringing out the best in all of them. He’s not scared, he’s excited to see it all play out, and that’s a nice beat that works really well on top of all the other character development we see this episode.

Next week: More fighting! More unconditional trust between Deku and Ochaco! More of that gross Meatball guy! Well, not so much looking forward to Meatball guy, but you get the idea.

Sword Art Online: Alicization Hour-Long First Episode to Premiere in Seven Countries

Sword Art Online: Alicization Key Visual

You all have no Earthly idea how excited I am for the third season of Sword Art Online. I have lived and died with these characters ever since the first season premiered and I am already all set for more action with this crew. Thanks to the news that hit today, I’m even more excited.

According to the announcement which was posted early this morning by Aniplex, the special one-hour long first episode of Sword Art Online: Alicization will be premiered in seven different countries: Japan, USA, Australia, France, Germany, Russia, and Korea.

Unfortunately, we have absolutely no idea when or where these premieres will be taking place (besides the one in Japan, announced for September 15) so you’ll just have to stay tuned to get more details!

If you can’t make it to one of these big premiere events, you can still check out the series when it actually airs starting in October 2018.

Via Getchu

Review: Uncomfortably Happily by Yeon-Sik Hong

I picked up this volume pretty much on a whim. While I’ve read plenty of manga, manhua is relatively new to me, and it seemed like a good time to dive in. The story of two artists leaving bustling city life behind for a secluded, yet picturesque existence on an isolated mountaintop was immediately appealing; I’m a sucker for anything about the beauty of nature (except for actually going outside in real life, since there are bugs out there, but let’s gloss over that for now.)

So I was expecting a kind of manhua version of Non Non Biyori, or Laid Back Camp; a comic that immerses you in the wonders of the outdoors through beautiful artwork, and leaves you feeling serene and somehow, purified. Uncomfortably Happily is that, to a certain extent, but there’s a lot more going on here. It’s also about the dangers (both physical and psychological) of trying to earn your daily bread as an artist, and the difficulty of living in the moment even when you’re trying your absolute damndest to do so.

Hong’s style is well-suited to the material. While the characters are very cartoony (and quite adorable), the backgrounds are elegant; detailed, yet not fussy or over-rendered. The story covers the change of several seasons, and through Hong’s linework, you can very nearly feel the change in the temperature on your skin. When the trees are all covered in snow and Hong and his wife huddle around their little charcoal stove, you can feel that warmth, that inviting coziness, so effortlessly. At some points the art loses its detail work and becomes very stark, but always in the service of creating powerful images that communicate the characters’ inner lives better than any dialogue could.

This is an autobiographical comic and it feels like it, filled with tons of little details that would probably only occur to someone who had lived in this exact scenario. I’m always a little hesitant to use the term “autobiography” in regard to comics, because a lot of so-called autobiographical comics that I’ve read feature a lot of fiction weaved in with the real-life remembrances (and there isn’t anything wrong with that, necessarily, but it does make me wonder if the term “semi-autobiographical” isn’t a safer designation.) I have no idea how much of this comic was drawn directly from Hong’s experience, and how much might have been exaggerated for drama, but regardless, it feels real; it feels like a glimpse into a year or so of someone’s life, disappointments and all.

Sometimes I think about retreating to some rural cottage somewhere, breathing clean air and going swimming in a crystal-clear stream every morning. It’s a nice idea, but for some reason, I think I’d always assumed that in that venue, my problems would just disappear, and Uncomfortably Happily shows all the reasons why natural beauty, as wonderful as it is, is not a cure-all for your problems. In fact, sometimes it felt a little uncomfortable to read this book, since the gap between the pastoral paradise Hong wants and the reality of his life is so jarring, it made me conscious of how unrealistic my own fantasies were. Nevertheless, nature can be a cure for what ails you, but it’s not going to do the work all by itself; you need to meet nature halfway, by being at peace with yourself (or close enough to it) that you can actually take in the wonder of what you’re surrounded by with clear eyes.

Uncomfortably Happily is $29.95, published by Drawn and Quarterly. Originally published in two volumes in Korea, this thick edition has the complete story. The paperback edition isn’t as robust as I would like; after one reading, the spine already looks pretty worn. Nevertheless, it’s an attractive looking book and deserves a place on your graphic novel shelf. And if you don’t have a graphic novel shelf, for some strange reason, you can always just put it on your regular bookshelf (preferably next to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden), and call it a day.

Girly Air Force Anime Set to Premiere in Winter 2019

Girly Air Force Key Visual

We’re only four months away from seeing these girly pilots take off into the sky!

According to multiple sources out of Japan, the previously announced series Girly Air Force will be airing during the winter 2019 season. Starring Ryota Ohsaka as the hero Kei and Yuuka Morishima as humanity’s last hope Gripen, this series follows their path together.

The premise: Flying creatures called Zai have started attacking Earth. Mankind, in their infinite wisdom, creates aircraft called “Daughters” and an automated system to fight them called “Anima”.

I would love to say that I am all on board for this series already, but I won’t be until I see a finished product. I will admit though that the concept has me curious and I’m really dying to know more about the crew who are putting it together. We already know that Satelight is producing the animation but come on, throw us all a bone here.

[Editor’s Note: Isn’t this premise just Third Aerial Girls Squad from Shirobako? I’m so confused….]

Otter Media Purchased by AT&T

It was announced yesterday via various industry trades that Otter Media had been purchased in whole by the telecom giant, AT&T.

AT&T previously co-owned the company in a joint venture along with The Chernin Group. This is something that has been rumored for quite a while now, but the deal was finalized this week.

Now, why should you care about this? Because Otter Media is the parent company of Crunchyroll, VRV, Rooster Teeth, Ellation, and Fullscreen.

According to the announcement, Otter CEO Ton Goncalves will keep his job and report to WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey from this point forward.

It’s absolutely impossible to predict what this means for fans and Crunchyroll in general, so I won’t speculate here. This could end up being absolutely nothing in the long run and might not even be detectable to fans from this point forward. At least that’s my sincere hope.

New Key Visual and Cast Members Revealed for Voice of Fox Anime

Voice of Fox Key Visual

A brand new key visual and cast details were revealed yesterday for the upcoming series, Voice of Fox (Kitsune no Koe). Set to premiere in October 2018, the series is all about a high school kid who is listless and poor.

During the day, he’s a talented musician who ghostwrites and performs songs for a talentless pop idol who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. This high school kid, named Hu Li, also wears a fox mask to hide a large facial scar he received in a car accident. By night, however, this high school kid goes online and publishes his own music under the name Mr. Fox.

Nine cast members have been confirmed for the series thus far:

Chuyun: Arisa Kouri
Hongye: Yukiko Motoyoshi
Hu Li: Kengo Kawanishi
Ji Hetian: Satoshi Hino
Kong Que: Hisayoshi Suganuma
President Kim: Sho Hayami
Xueer: Rena Maeda
Yuxin: Shiki Aoki
Zhang Yao: Subaru Kimura

Meanwhile, in the crew, we have Koujin Ochi sitting in the director’s chair at studio Yumeta Company. Yoshimi Narita will be handling the series composition and Aki Tsunaki will be taking care of character designs.

The series is based on a manhua which ran for 24 chapters in One Week Comics between June 2015 and September 2016. This tells me that, provided this series gets enough episodes, we might actually get to see a complete story from beginning to end! Hallejuah!

Via Anime Herald