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Anime Roundup: September 26, 2016

Crunchymation? Funiroll? Their partnering was only one of a whole flood of interesting things over the past couple of weeks.

Anime Roundup: August 26, 2016

The engineer of 'Cowboy Bebop''s tunes heads to the big jam session in the sky; more 'Read Or Die' possibly on the way; a sneak peek at the live-action 'Ghost in the Shell' cast in action.

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© Project Itoh / Harmony harmony-00.jpg

'Harmony': To Extreme Remedies, Extreme Sickness

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Project Itoh's 'medi-pocalypse' dystopia is all the more poignant in the wake of the author's untimely death, with a glossy (if also icy) anime adaptation now to accompany it

Image: Genius Party / © Genius Party genius_party_000.jpg

On Studio 4°C's Netflix Disappearing Act

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When an anime title vanishes from streaming services, it hurts the works of the little guys far more than the big ones -- and it's often the little guys whose work most needs preserving

© Aoi Bungaku Production Committee sakura-no-mori-02.jpg

'Aoi Bungaku: Sakura No Mori No Mankai No Shita [In The Forest, Under Cherries In Full Bloom]': The Heart's Filthy Lesson

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Ango Sakaguchi's classic story, a mix of 'farce, fable, and mystery' (and horror) is brought to life with outlandish style and color -- and always with one eye cocked towards its heart of darkness

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© Yoshitaka Amano | Genkosha Co., Ltd. © SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. amano-illust-00.jpg

'Yoshitaka Amano: Illustrations': Amano Fans, Begin Here

If you're leery of shelling out tons of money for artbooks devoted to only Yoshitaka Amano's 'Final Fantasy' or 'Vampire Hunter D' work, you now have an affordable starting point for understanding the man's entire career

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The problem with being a fan of Yoshitaka Amano's art in the West is not that there's too few ways to appreciate his work. It's the opposite: there's so many artbooks bearing his name, and such a plethora of projects he's been involved in to sample, that it's hard to give good advice on where to start. Harder still to avoid going broke. Fans of a specific franchise of his, like Vampire Hunter D or Final Fantasy, could be directed towards one of the books designed to anthologize his work for those projects, but it was hard to single out a first door to open that provided access to a little of everything. That has all changed with VIZ Media's English-language publication of Yoshitaka Amano Illustrations, a relatively brief but surprisingly comprehensive — and, more importantly, affordable — overview of the career and work of one of Japanese popular culture's most crucial figures.

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Tsutomu Nihei's 'Blame!': Sisyphus In The Labyrinth

Tsutomu Nihei's debut manga is all industrial hellscapes, sudden violence, and science-fiction gloom -- and in those few things it's everything it needs to be

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Tsutomu Nihei's BLAME! has almost no story to speak of, virtually no characterization, and generally consists of little more than atmosphere, mood, and bursts of spectacular violence. Those are the reasons it works. This is storytelling that plays like an experiment in how little you need to say or show to keep the reader riveted, and from what I can tell the experiment is a success. Sometimes less really is more.

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© Tsutomu Nihei blame-00.jpg
© Yoshiki Tanaka logh-02.jpg

'Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Vol. 2: Ambition'

The second installment in Japan's foundational space opera de-emphasizes space war for civil war -- and for struggles within the spirits of the two main characters

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What I'm finding I like about Legend of the Galactic Heroes is how its cover story of two civilizations at war is merely a front for a more interesting story about two personalities in conflict: The Man Who Would Be King, versus The Man Who Was Too Lazy To Fail. Yang Wen-Li and Reinhardt von Lohengramm, are the — sorry, had to say it — yang and yin of this hugely influential saga, painted both as products of their respective worlds and as driving forces within them. From the beginning of this saga, Yoshiki Tanaka capitalized on the tension that existed between the two main characters, their societies, and the powers they commanded. Now those two have to deal with a new kind of struggle, one that arises when the men they are be comes into conflict with the men they wanted to be.

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