New Ghost in the Shell Anime to Have Two Seasons

Ghost in the Shell fans can now get twice as excited about the upcoming new anime!

In an interview with the Nuke the Fridge YouTube channel held at SDCC, Production I.G president Maki Terashima-Furuta confirmed that the upcoming Ghost in the Shell anime will have two separate, 12-episode seasons. One season will be directed by Kenji Kamiyama and the other by Shinji Aramaki. No further details including release dates have been revealed as of yet for the anime, which was first revealed to exist back in April.

GitS has been around for quite a while now, with the first anime incarnation being released back in 1995. Since that time the manga has been adapted into multiple movies, TV series, and even got a Hollywood live-action adaptation in 2017.

Via ANN

Karakuri Circus Anime Adaptation Reveals Cast, Crew, Premiere Date, Key Visual, and PV!

Karakuri Circus Key Visual

I have to admit, this is one of those times when the promotional video does a great job of really getting you hyped up to see the finished product.

Last night, a bunch of new details was released for the upcoming fall anime adaptation of author Kazuhiro Fujita’s Karakuri Circus including cast, crew, a new key visual, and a promotional video.

Set to premiere on Amazon worldwide in October 2018, the series takes place in a circus. Not just any circus though. Masaru has just inherited a huge fortune from his now -eceased father. Unfortunately for him, a bunch of people are trying to get their hands on that inheritance through any means necessary! Enter a group of supernatural beings who are dead set on protecting Masaru from the evil forces who want to take his money. The series originally premiered as a manga in Weekly Shonen Sunday in 1997 and ran for through 2006, spanning 43 volumes.

Now that we’ve gotten the background all of the way, let’s jump forward to the near future and check out who will be bringing this adaptation to life.

Satoshi Nishimura will direct the series at studio VOLN. The original creator, Kazuhiro Fujita, and Toshiki Inoue will be teaming up to create the series composition. Meanwhile, character designs will be handled by Takahiro Yoshimatsu, whileYuuki Hayashi will compose the soundtrack.

As for the voice cast, the primary characters that have been revealed so far read:

Masaru Saiga – Chihiro Ueda
Shirogane Saiga – Megumi Hayashibara
Narumi Katou – Rikiya Koyama
Eiryou Ashihana – Takahiro Sakurai
Gii Christoph Resh – Nozomu Sasaki

You have to admit that everything about this series so far makes it sound like it’s going to be a lot of fun! It might not be an AOTY contender but it could easily become the sleeper hit of the season if the crew play their cards right.

Via Esteru

TV Anime Adaptation Announced for Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine Game

This game needs to come west!

Earlier today it was revealed during a Nico Live Broadcast that a TV anime has been green-lit for the mobile game Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine.

In the game, players take on the role of a high school baseball player whose dreams of making it to the pros were dashed by an injury. Now, the unnamed guy decides to lead a group of girls to Koushien (the national high school baseball championships). The TV anime will air this fall, though the game first launched in Japan back in June 2017 and has since received a 4-Koma manga adaptation and a web novel adaptation.

While we don’t have the official cast list for the anime, we do have the cast list from the game which should give us an idea of what the TV anime will sound like:

Tsubasa Arihara: Nozomi Nishida
Ryou Shinonome: Reina Kondou
Yuuki Nozaki: Saki Minami
Tomoe Kawakita: Honoka Inoue
Akane Ukita: Yumiri Hanamori
Ayaka Akano: Yurika Takagi
Waka Suzuki: Yumi Midorikawa
Yoshimi Iwaki: Nanami Yamashita
Maiko Kurashiki: Iori Saeki
Kana Tsukumio: Haruka Shiraishi
Maria Hase: Sarara Yashima
Aoi Asada: Rika Tachibana
Tayu Naoe: Chiaki Omigawa
Kotone Amagusa: Kaya Okuno
Saki Kondou: Yuri Yamaoka
Nanako Nagai: Airi Eino
Minako Nitta: Yui Watanabe
Emi Hanayama: Rei Matsuzaki
Iroha Asahina: Akari Kageyama
Yui Tsukishima: Kana Yuuki
Ayako Senba: Misa Kayama
Kumugi Akino: Aimi Tanaka
Aya Taketomi: Eriko Matsui
Kyouka Izumida: Yoshiko Ikuta
Mei Sakagaki: Yuri Komagata
Koko Aisaka: Miyu Takagi
Kotoha Hiiragi: Marika Hayase
Shizuku Tsukahara: Noriko Shibasaki
Chikage Honjou: Madoka Asahina
Yukari Shiina: Yurie Funato

So, let me see if I got all of this straight… there’s a game in Japan which essentially boils down to Sim Princess Nine? Where do I sign up?!?

Via MAL

Otakusphere (not) Weekly 27: DARLING in the FRANXX Discussion

Here it is, the return of the podcast! Is it biweekly now? Is it monthly? Is it whenever the heck we darn well feel like it? Honestly we haven’t decided yet, but we knew had to pick up our mics again because we needed to discuss DARLING in the FRANXX right now.

Is Franxx a good mecha show? Is Franxx a good dystopia? Will watching Franxx compel you to slap a decal of a confederate flag on the back of your vehicle, because it’s somehow about weird American politics? All this, and more, in our exciting return episode!

Not up to date on all the DarliFra commentary we’ve published thus far? Well then let’s make life easy for you:

Darling in the Franxx: Episodes 1-5

Darling in the Franxx: Episodes 6-10

Darling in the Franxx: Episode 11-15

Darling in the Franxx: Episode 16-19

Darling in the Franxx: Episode 20

Darling in the Franxx: Episode 21

Darling in the Franxx: Episode 22

Darling in the Franxx: Episode 23

Darling in the Franxx: Episode 24

Healing Manga Okoshiyasu, Chitose-chan Gets TV Anime Adaptation

Our penguin chick

Gah! The cuteness! It’s killing me! Send halp!

Yesterday, it was revealed via an official website and Twitter account that the healing manga Okoshiyasu, Chitose-chan will be getting a TV anime adaptation.

The story behind this one is pretty simple; the main plot follows a baby Emperor penguin living in Kyoto and experiencing life. Seeing the famous sights of Kyoto, eating the local food, etc, etc, but all from a penguin’s perspective. The series will premiere this coming October 5 on Tokyo MX and KBS Kyoto stations.

The manga originally started in Be-Love magazine two years agom created by Yukiko Natsume. No official English version is available as of this writing. The anime will be directed by Kyou Yatate at studio Gathering.

This cute little penguin chick could take the world by storm, so be sure to check this series out when it premieres later this year!

Via CR News

Fate/Grand Order Gets Two New Anime Adaptations for Babylonia and Camelot Arcs

Fate/Grand Order

Fate/Stay Night is dominating the anime world right now, and it seems as though that trend is going to continue for at least a little while longer.

Very early this morning, it was revealed during a Fate/Grand Order live stream that two story arcs from the hit mobile game would be getting anime adaptations.

The first one to be announced is a TV anime for the Babylonia story arc. In this story arc, the setting is Mesopotamia in the year 2655 B.C. It is “the earliest age in which humanity parted ways from the gods and a prophecy has foretold that ruin will attempt to consume Uruk.” No details were made available for the TV series besides the animation studio, which will be Cloverworks.

Also announced during the live stream was an anime movie for the Camelot story arc. This one takes place in 1273 A.D. As with the other announcement, the only detail we know about this release is that it will be produced by Production I.G.

Fate/Grand Order is part of the larger Fate universe. Originally launched in Japan in late July 2015 before getting an English release in June 2017. According to one report, the game has exceeded $1.8 billion in revenue worldwide as of this month.

Via Moetron

My Hero Academia: Episodes 52 and 53

Episode 52:

Going to be doing a bit of a double duty catchup for this one. The new cour of My Hero Academia’s third season has started and we begin it, like any other, with a brand-spanking-new opening: Make my story, by Lenny Code Fiction. It’s got a really sick opening riff, along with a lot of really cool foreshadowed visuals and some nice bits of animation. Good tune and strong visuals, so I give this one a Plus, not necessarily a Plus Ultra.

We begin the first episode with a demonstration of life going back to normal, while the students adjust to their new lives at UA’s Alliance Heights dorm halls. Classes resume, and the first thing on the docket is to work towards achieving provisional licenses. One of the first things they need to do towards that goal is doing the very thing this episode is called: “Creating Those Ultimate Moves.” In practice, this means that the teachers offer students advice about how to reinvent their own understanding of the quirks.

A superhero’s ultimate move is about more than just looking cool and flashy. It’s also about cementing your identity, refining your abilities, and showing something that represents what you are as a hero. It’s like how the Kamehameha wave is so ingrained with the image of DBZ and Goku; you want a move that’s so synonymous with who YOU are that making a move is equivalent to screaming out out “I Am Here!” to the world, and that’s a really neat thing.

Some of the students are able to gradually come up with new cool uses of their abilities, like Bakugo’s AP Shot, Mina’s Acid Nozzle, Tokoyami’s Shadow Stand, and Mineta’s…Sword of Grapes (which honestly just looks suspiciously inappropriate in it’s design, and was super intentional). But we’re shown two major conflicts in the form of both Deku and All Might’s recent developments.

All Might has to deal with the fact that he’s officially a teacher first and foremost, not only to Deku but also to the other students of 1-A, as he does his best to offer critical advice without overstepping his boundaries and showing favoritism. He even got himself a copy of a  Teaching for Dummies. But you can definitely tell it is still rather difficult for him to adjust to his newfound role as a mentor while being completely retired as a superhero.

As for Deku, he’s trying to find a new way to both be a hero and stop imitating All Might, especially with news that if he overexerts his arms any more he’ll have permanent, irreversible damage. That problems leads him to rediscovering an old friend from the Sports Festival, Mei Hatsume. She’s at the center of this episode’s comedic levity, leading to some solid visual gags, expressions, and potentially even some romantic tension in the mix for Deku and Ochaco. She’s a mad scientist excited to use any and all available test subjects for her experimental “babies,” and she’s just an absolute riot every time she appears.

After spending some time with her, Deku has a breakthrough about how to both reinvent his own fighting style and his costume: Instead of trying to just be All Might, he decides that he should try being Sanji instead, by fighting with KICKS! While kind of silly, it’s actually a genuinely cool moment where he has to step in and save All Might from falling debris, revealing his a snazzy new costume in the process. Deku’s new SHOOT STYLE technique is a logical reinvention of his fighting style; it both makes sense and works within consideration of his weakened arms.

This episode features a lot of setup, but it’s still really neat to see the way these characters continue to evolve regularly as this show goes on. It’s pretty standard fare, but there’s some solid jokes and visual gags, plus interesting stuff about the importance of Ultimate Moves and how one goes about updating one’s costume. It’s a lot of worldbuilding, but very importantly, it’s good worldbuilding.

Episode 53:

We see the aftermath of Deku’s reveal, alongside quick reveals about Kaminari and Kirshima’s new costumes (and I especially like Kirishima’s new design) but they don’t have time to explain it as Class-B has to train now. They’ll take the exam while at a different location from others in the school, so that no group has to clash too much. Monoma, the ass face from the Class 1-B, is both happy and relieved by this.

Plus we also get some casual banter among the ladies of 1-A about their training, while they don some casual garb, with Momo’s hair down and Tsuyu’s froggy bun style, alongside some romantic conversation. Ochaco admits to spacing out a bunch while Mina is able to tell clearly that yeah, she’s got feelings for someone, and she floats away in embarrassment. Small thing: while we, the viewers, know it’s Izuku she’s into, I appreciate there’s enough plausible deniability here that the girls feel it could be either Izuku or Tenya, as the trio all hang out regularly together. That’s just a nice little detail that could have been easily overlooked.

As the day of the exam arrives, there’s several new characters to introduce; naturally, since this exam has about 1500 applicants from all over the place. [Editor’s Note: Oh my God, how long is this series gonna be? I thought I could catch up!]

First up: Inasa. An eccentric guy who jumps into the conversation, and SLAMS HIS HEAD IN APOLOGY from a super popular school in the West: Shiketsu, one that rivals UA in its elite hero program. He’s got a splitting headache, but he’s strong and impressive enough to have been considered to apply to UA via recommendations, much like Todoroki and Momo. Goofy and charismatic, but strong enough to have been considered for UA, he has potential to be interesting.

Next up: a pro-hero who serves as the bane of Aizawa’s existence. She enjoys messing around with him, constantly expecting a major reaction out of him and often asking to get married. She’s eccentric and goofy, while he’s stoic and tired, and they make a great comic duo. She herself is a teacher at another school, Ketsubutsu Academy with a class of second-years, with slightly more experience than 1-A.

Then there’s one of her students, Shindo, A friendly guy with a pretty face (who kind of looks like a Dark, Cooler version of Deku in a weird way). He tries to be friendly and spark a conversation, but Bakugo quickly catches on that he’s being disingenuous and doesn’t truly mean what he says.

This arc is big with a lot of moving parts and new characters, and some weird exam rules. There’s a lot to digest, and the first round of the exam is revealed to be even crazier than you might have thought.

Everyone gets 3 mini-targets, and 6 rubber balls to hit the targets. Once all three targets on the body are hit, you’re out. Students need to knock out a minimum of two opponents to pass onto round 2. By the end of the exam, only 100 are expected to pass. The building opens up to reveal a major colosseum of obstacles, and everyone’s off to the races to embark on a time honored tradition (albeit one that Aizawa felt no need to mention to his students.)

At first it looks like things are going to play out a lot like the Sports Festival, but Aizawa knows his children: they’ve improved and can kick some major ass. As some students depart, Deku finds himself in a position of leadership to rally the class and take on the world as the episode ends. The two episodes have laid some important groundwork, but get ready for the real action to begin next week.

Anime Adaptation Announced for 20th Century Electric Catalog Novel

Key Visual

Kyoto Animation is staying busy these days! Hot on the heels of their release of Violet Evergarden to Netflix earlier this year, the studio has revealed that they will be adapting to animation author Hiroshi Yuuki’s 20th Century Electric Catalog (20 Seiki Denki Mokuroku) novel.

Now, let me tell you that this is going to be good. How do I know? Because it won an award in Kyoto Animation’s annual awards. You know… the awards that are rarely ever actually awarded? In 2017, this particular novel won the “Encouragement Incentive” award.

Set to hit store shelves on August 10, the story of the novel takes place in the summer of Meiji 40 (the early 1900’s). The heroine is a young girl who is constantly reprimanded by her father so she takes solace in her prayers to Buddha.

One day, her father brings up the idea of marriage which the girl is completely against. The only way to save herself from the marriage is to team up with an odd new boy in town who believes that the coming age will be one of electricity.

No other details were announced about the anime such as format, release date, cast or crew.

Via Anime Herald

Manga Series Kono Oto Tomare! Gets TV Anime Adaptation

Stop This Sound Vol 17 Cover

Japan has been kind of quiet lately with new anime adaptation announcements. Luckily for us, one quietly announced yesterday is sure to get your toes tapping… or maybe just your head nodding in quiet contemplation.

A TV anime adaptation has been announced for the shonen manga Kono Oto Tomare! (Stop This Sound!). The series will be directed by Ryouma Mizuno with series composition handled by Ayumu Hisao. The animation will be produced by Platinum Vision.

As for the manga series, it originally began running in Jump Square magazine back in August 2012 and will soon have eighteen volumes in print. The series hasn’t been licensed for release in English but Baka Updates describes the story as:

Since the graduation of the senior members of the club, Takezou ends up being the sole member of the “Koto” (traditional Japanese string instrument) club. Now that the new school year has begun, Takezou will have to seek out new members into the club, or the club will become terminated. Out of nowhere, a new member barges into the near-abandoned club room, demanding to join the club. How will Takezou be able to keep his club alive and deal with this rascal of a new member?

I’ve always had a soft spot for traditional Japanese music. I’m not going to go so far as to say that I’m an aficionado, but I do enjoy listening to it when it comes across my aural field. Combining this music with a shonen high school club story might prove to be interesting, so I think I’ll be keeping an eye on this series.

Via CR News

Tomb Raider II, Level 6: Diving Area

From the title, Diving Area sounds like it should be a fun little level. Imagine Lara set loose in some kind of lush waterpark filled with swimming pools, indulging in some underwater treasure hunting whilst taking in some of that gorgeous tropical sunshine. But no, that is not the delicious digital feast that has been prepared for us.

Instead, we’re still stuck on the inside of this claustrophobic, ugly-as-sin oil rig, filled with toxic waste, and whenever we’re not busy running from room to room to push buttons that should really be in the same damn room, some asshole keeps sneaking up on Lara from behind and setting her on fire. There’s room for improvement here, is what I’m saying.

If I can’t have idyllic underwater treasure hunting, I guess two packs of grenades stuck behind a giant fan will have to do. Seriously, this is a well-hidden cache of grenades, there should have been a Jade Dragon here or something.

I did come dangerously close to having fun with this level, because it’s usually pretty clear where you need to go next, plus the platform elements are fun. The experience was spoiled a bit by too many enemies, especially the new flamethrower baddies, who are just unfair. However, there was nothing about this level as singularly tedious as the second half of Offshore Rig, so I’ll take what I can get.

Have You Thought About Renewable Energy Today?

Why is there a pool of toxic waste in the middle of the oil rig? Are they also mining Uranium from the sea floor or something? I wouldn’t put it past Bartoli, I bet that guy wants a dragon AND a gun that shoots nukes.

One thing that I never got around to talking about last level was the fact that Lara’s stuck on an oil rig. I may not like the look of the location, but it’s kind of interesting thematically. Oil is made up of fossils, creatures from the past– plants, animals, who knows what else– that we dredge up from the bottom of the sea and use for power. From a certain point of view, it’s a kind of an exploitation of the past, although a kind of exploitation that Lara herself is guilty of; after all, I don’t recall seeing any solar panels on the roof of Croft Manor.

Mostly, this area is just a pit stop to fit in a few more levels before we get to the sunken ship area, and I don’t think it was meant to serve any larger symbolic purpose. However, the fact that this whole area is associated with the Bartoli cult and all the evils they do (plus the fact that it’s just generally inhospitable towards Lara), gives a pretty negative view of using fossil fuels for energy, whether or not that was the intention. You get the impression that after this little adventure, Lara’s going to seriously consider building a wind farm somewhere on her property…possibly because, after the body count she wracks up on this rig, there won’t be anyone left to process the crude oil anyway.

Puzzle Puzzle, Turmoil and Buzzsaw

This level doesn’t boast particularly impressive puzzles, but it does have functional (and reasonably intuitive) ones. Too much of the level is spent going back and forth between two rooms, because God forbid you ever be able to solve a puzzle in the same room you started in, but let’s be honest: if that kind of gameplay bothers you, you wouldn’t be a fan of Tomb Raider in the first place.

What’s kind of a shame is that there are some things about this level that could be really cool, but don’t really go anywhere. At one point, a helicopter takes off in the middle of the level, but you can’t interact with it in any way, and you’re usually too busy in combat to even see it take off. You do get the opportunity to battle frogmen (and with the acquisition of the harpoon gun, you can even duke it out with them underwater if you want), but the harpoon gun isn’t fun to shoot. Most of the time, even after you have an underwater weapon, you’re still better off picking off the frogmen from solid ground. There’s a giant, spinning buzzsaw on the floor, but you never get the opportunity to shove any enemies into it. C’mon Core, throw me a bone here.

The fact that Lara can’t reach this keycard without getting shredded by the buzzsaw is an amazingly frustrating little tidbit. It’s the fact that it looks like you should be able to just pick the damn thing up without touching the blade that does it.

A note on a particular puzzle: the burner hall puzzle, the one where you can get the M16 if you know where to look for it. I swear I remember from years ago that I could hit one switch (turning off the first burner) then do a side-jump and hit the other one, allowing me to run down the hall, retrieve the circuit board, and make it back with plenty of time. This time around, whenever I tried to make Lara do a side-jump in this area, she kept hitting the ceiling and refused to jump; while I didn’t have a huge problem with it, this made the timing a lot less forgiving. Is this a difference between the Playstation and PC versions perhaps? It’s not important, but it bothers me because I have pretty vivid memories of solving the puzzle one way and it didn’t work this time.

Can you imagine if this fire extinguisher was actually functional, instead of just being there to mock you? Granted, Lara would die from being on fire before you could make it to the other side of the room to use it, but let’s not sweat the details here.

The Unbearable Cheapness of Flame Dudes

I don’t have a screenshot of a flamethrower, since I was always busy shooting like crazy whenever they were on screen, but I admit that was an oversight. So instead of the picture of the Big Bad Flamethrower guy I should have right here, enjoy this screenshot of Lara about to jump on a crane.

The idea that any death in Tomb Raider is “cheap” might seem a little silly. The whole franchise is based on traps that kill you instantly, not to mention a million other ways for our heroine to meet her demise. Unless you’re a serious fan and have the level memorized, you expect to see Lara die a whole bunch of times during any given level, and that’s not cheap; that’s just the type of game it is. That said, I still think the Flamethrower baddies are cheap, and overall a bad idea.

With most traps, no matter how deadly,  you can see them if you look out for them, and plan how to pass through them unharmed. In contrast, unless you know where all of them are in advance, the Flamethrower-toting baddies can just come out of nowhere and flame you, and then it’s Game Over. It’s okay to get a Game Over when you know you made a mistake and how to fix it, not so much when it feels like there was nothing you could have done differently.

This could be easily rectified too, since the amount of water on these levels could provide an easy out. If Lara can get lit on fire, she should be able to jump in the water and recover (like in The Dragon’s Lair), and then you at least have a fighting chance. Yet somehow, despite all the pools of water on this level, you often fight the Flamethrower dudes with no H20 in sight. To me, this creates additional difficulty for all the wrong reasons.

Bizarre Cutscene Theater: The Monk

When you complete Diving Area, you’re rewarded with one of Tomb Raider II‘s incredibly bizarre, disjointed cutscenes. A monk who has been trying to stop Bartoli thinks that Lara is a spirit guide sent to send him into his next life, and rambles on about that a little bit. Now, Lara doesn’t look like my idea of a Buddhist Spirit Guide, but to be fair, the dude has been tortured and lost a lot of blood. He is lucid enough to tell Lara about the Seraph, the key that Bartoli needs for the next stage of his plans. Bartoli, lurking on the perimeter, shoots the monk before he can give Lara any more information.

Now I know what you’re thinking; why didn’t he shoot Lara first? He had the drop on her, and she’s way more dangerous to him than an unarmed, delirious monk. I will repeat what I’ve said before; Bartoli passes up obvious opportunities to kill Lara because he wants to save her to play the Maiden to his Dragon. Like, what’s the point of even being a dragon if you can’t have your minions tie a woman to a stake and threaten to eat her? There is none.

But all of that is of lesser importance, because look at this:

YEAH I GOT THE WETSUIT! MY FIRST NEW OUTFIT IN TRII! I’M BLOWING THIS POPSICLE STAND!!!!!!

In perhaps the riskiest plan she has ever tried, which is saying something, Lara glomms onto a minisub that’s heading toward the bottom of the sea. For all Lara knows the sub could take an hour to get there and she would die from lack of oxygen long before reaching her destination, but the promise of pocketing artifact that both narcissistic Italian mobsters and delusional Tibetan Monks revere is just too much temptation to resist.

I’m still getting all the secrets. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep this up.

Best: When you finally drop down through the central hub and gain access to the whole level, it’s very satisfying. There’s a nice “aha!” moment when you realize how everything fits together.

Worst: The darn flamethrowers. They tempt you to save every five seconds, just in case you get immolated from behind around the next corner.

Rating: Two Uzi Clips Out of Five. Still brought down by too much combat and less-than-inspiring environs, but there’s some fun to be had solving a lot of small puzzles, so it earns an extra clip over Offshore Rig.

Next Up: 40 Fathoms, because there’s nothing that says “fun!” like suffocating to death a whole bunch of times before the level even properly starts.

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