Review: Coyote Ragtime Show DVD Box Set: Complete Collection

An anime about a group of interstellar pirates intent on stopping a photonic blowing up a planet called Graceland manages to be thought provoking while providing edge of your seat thrills! Spread out out over 12 episodes on 2 discs, CRS is a fantastic addition to the anime canon and one that completely deserves to be in your collection. Featuring a great cast comprising of a mysterious pirate called Mister, due to having so many aliases, a group of android gothic Lolitas called the 12 Sisters who answer to Madame Marciano and an intrepid Federal investigator who will stop at nothing in her rugged determination to catch Mister. Helping to round out Mister’s support team are Katana, Bishop, Swamp and Franca, the young daughter of the ex-pirate king, Bruce, murdered at the hands of Marciano, and who Mister is sworn to look after and protect as promised to Bruce on his deathbed. I won’t give away any spoilers and leave it up to you to watch but I can’t sing enough praises of this title. Every episode is filled with frantic action from gun battles, car chases, space battles all in a hectic race against time to stop Graceland from being obliterated. The story is rock solid and flows very nicely, you never feel that it’s all being rushed along despite the short number of episodes, it really is a credit to the writers and the animators who manage to block out the right pieces of the script resulting in a tight anime with a great and original cast, exciting action and an amazing colour palette. From the action packed opening credits to the explosive inevitable climax, Coyote Ragtime Show is a fun, fast and thoroughly enjoyable ride.
If I had to sum it up in one word, awesome. Given two words, freakin’ awesome, anime Otakus really need to run, don’t walk, to Otaku Fuel and pick up this great title today, you won’t be disappointed!

オタク燃料

Review: AKB48: Kamikyokutachi

akb48

In Japan there is J-pop and then there is J-pop! And one of the biggest groups to exist in Japan is AKB48. This is a girl group made up of 48, yes, 48 members in three teams, Team A, K and B. They have a great presence in Akihabara in the Don Quixote building in downtown Chuo Dori where they do regular concerts and signings. Formed in 2005 by super producer, Yasushi Akimoto and releasing their first single in 2006, AKB48 have steadily and consistently been building their fanbase around the world by the thousands as well as currently holding the world record for most members in one group! They have already released over 10 albums ranging from studio to stage albums with each one selling extremely well and charting with great success on the Japanese Oricon music charts.

One of these albums is Kamikyokutachi, which translates loosely as Goddess Tracks, is a compilation of their greatest hits previously released on other albums as well as two previously unreleased singles. There are some absolute corkers in here with tunes that will have you tapping your foot and nodding your head to the beat. Now keep in mind that J-pop, just like anime, isn’t for everyone but if you’re a J-pop Otaku, then you simply must have some AKB48 in your collection and this cd is a great place to start.

AKB48From my personal collection, Harajuku March 2010

Dripping in sugary sweetness, the high pitched voices are immediately infectious and catchy and will make anyone an instant fan eager to keep track after track coming. I dare anyone to skip past any of the tracks on this album as they are all massive chart toppers in their own right. Particularly worth mentioning are “River”, “Kimi no Koto ga Suki Dakara”, “Baby! Baby! Baby! Baby!”, “10nen Zakura” and Iiwake Maybe. But to be completely honest, on my very first listen through, I didn’t feel the need to skip any tracks and loved them all but I do like my J-pop very sweet and not so mature. I’ve included a You Tube clip of “River” just below just to give you an idea of what to expect. This cd, as most Japanese releases, also comes with a DVD disc which has three of their songs performed in a studio with multiple camera angles on offer which offers more than one viewing just to make sure you can appreciate all of their dance steps.This album also went to the top of the Oricon charts so you’re in great company by buying this and adding it to your music library.

Will AKB48 be for everyone? Maybe not but give the clip below a go and if you like it, maybe give their You Tube channel a look so you know what to expect and then when you’re ready head straight to Otaku Fuel and snap up this slice of J-pop goodness that will remind you why one of the things that Japan is known for, is their quirky and infectious anime sounding tunes.

Review: Churuya-San Anime T-Shirt – Nyoro~n

Churuya-San Anime T-Shirt – Nyoro~n
large_15777_nyoron_CHURUYAsanOtaku t-shirts are a great way to show your true colours to the rest of the world and this t-shirt featuring Churuya-san from The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzuimya is no exception. Great cotton t that fits nicely and lets the air flow keeping you cool when wearing it. A gorgeous single manga style frame adorns this t shirt featuring Churuya-san uttering her famous phrase, “Nyoro~n” while the graphic itself has been printed with a thicker style of ink so the design should survive quite a few gentle washes before any signs of fading rear their ugly head. Well, that would the thinking behind it anyways 🙂 The artwork itself is very cutesy and Churuya-san looks great with the wide eyed innocence that’s all too familiar and kawaii with very colourful and bright colours on her hair and school uniform. The quality and finish of the graphic is actually quite rough and not as smooth as some other t’s on the market but I’m attributing that to the thickness of the ink used. Only time will tell but all in all, a great t-shirt with a simple but effective graphic that will suit any fan and any wardrobe. Snap it up today from Otaku Fuel.

Review: Rei Ayanami Deformation Maniac Figure Collection DX

large_17318_reifigureNeon Genesis Evangelion broke new ground as an anime and has amassed a huge cult following since it first aired and now you can join the many Otakus around the world that have embraced Evangelion as the true classic that it is with this Rei Ayanami figure. Hailing from the Deformation Maniac Figure Collection by Banpresto, this delightful figure stands 6″ tall complete with a stand that you can plug her into for easy displaying in any room. The base is a hexagonal shape, see through in design with some circuit art etched into the base stand itself. The figure features a huge bobble head that sits nicely atop the body of Rei wearing her ever popular plug suit from EVA00. Really awesome work on the colours with no discernible colour bleeding or fading. They’ve done a fantastic job of essentially shrinking her down to size but yet keeping a good deal of detail on the suit. The pose itself is very cute and childlike as she’s holding her arms back with her chest sticking out, very cool. Her head is a real show stopper with her big red eyes, excellent paint work on the eyes showing off the shine to them, little button nose and barely open mouth conveying a sense of innocence and fragility that Rei brought to the series. Her hair is a beautiful shade of blue with a tie at the back and the synonymous transmitter plugs at the the top of her head. To be completely honest, the only thing I can find fault with, and this is being really picky, is that I had some difficulty in attaching the figure to the stand itself as the plugs in her feet didn’t want to quite match up with the holes in the base. But that’s just pulling hairs really as this figure is quite striking, unique and a must for Evangelion and figure collector fans. Pick it up today from Otaku Fuel.
This review also published on Japandaman Dailies.

Review: Cheshire Cat Bus (Men’s) T-shirt

large_15770_catBUSfaceStudio Ghibli has long been regarded as the Disney of the East and now one of their most lovable characters can be yours in the form of the Cheshire Cat Bus from My Neighbour Totoro. This is one of those t-shirts that has reached cult status with a lot of Otakus wearing them at conventions and any kind of fan meet ups! Great quality cotton not flimsy with the graphic taking up pretty much the whole front of the t-shirt. That cheesy, big grin that the Cat is known for is instantly recognisabe and the large teeth along with the huge yellow eyes, nose and ears make this one, a must have. The t-shirt comes in a very neutral light brown/tan colour so you know it’s going to go well with anything in your collection. The graphic itself doesn’t feel too rough nor does it feel thick like some other tops do but this only makes it feel lighter not less durable if anything. Great material, awesome artwork with nice colours and a very popular J-Pop culture character on the front, nothing else needs to be said. Pick yours up today from Otaku Fuel.

Review: Vampire Knight Vol. 1 Manga

Vampire Knight Vol. 1 supplied by Otaku Fuel

vampire-knight-1

Vampire Knight as a manga has been around for a little while now but like all good manga doesn’t reach peak popularity until a few years into its cycle, where it is now enjoying the success it has deservedly earned. It has also been made into an anime, but that is a different review for a different time 🙂 But first a brief background into the Vampire Knight mythology for those of you still needing to get into this great title from series creator, Matsuri Hino.

Kiriyu Zero and Yuki Cross are the two night time guardians at the prestigious Cross Academy boarding school, guardians that protect the day time students from the massive secret that the academy holds, the night time students are actually vampires. Vampires that are kept in line by an ages old vampire called Kaname Kuran who has his fair share of secrets. Yuki’s earliest memory is being attacked by a vampire in the snow when she was five years old and being rescued by Kaname Kuran. Kiriyu himself also comes with heavy baggage due to his family having been wiped out by a vampire leaving him as the sole surviving member and with a hatred of all vampires but Zero harbours a secret that may prove to be his undoing, one that will no doubt unravel as the storyline progresses.

The chapters in the manga are broken up into “nights” which is where the events take place all amongst the backdrop of teenage angst and the usual dramas that face any student in school with friendships, school life and relationships all being tested especially the love triangle that involves Yuki, Zero and Kaname. The first couple of chapters gradually break the reader into the different characters, both human and vampire as we see what the daily life is like for the Day class at the academy and as the guardians come into play in the evening which is when the night class takes over for their studies.

During patrol at night, Yuki catches two female day students taking pictures of the night class, injuring themselves in the process which draws the attention of Hanabusa Aido and Akatsuki Kain, two night class vampires. No spoilers here so you’ll just have to read the manga to find out what happens! Zero’s secret is also revealed in this first volume as more is revealed about his shady past.

This first volume is filled with much tension and drama but is beautifully drawn with great panel work and an even tighter script, there is much detail in most pages and there is great bonus artwork in the inner sleeves of the book. I am thoroughly enjoyed reading this first instalment and found the characters have been fleshed out particularly well and you find that you’ll be developing favourites early on in the piece. This is a great manga and you could do far worse than this, really recommend this title for anyone into vampires, Japanese school life or just great story telling in general.

Review: AKB48: Kamikyokutachi

AKB48 Kamikyokutachi cd supplied by Otaku Fuel

akb48

In Japan there is J-pop and then there is J-pop! And one of the biggest groups to exist in Japan is AKB48. This is a girl group made up of 48, yes, 48 members in three teams, Team A, K and B. They have a great presence in Akihabara in the Don Quixote building in downtown Chuo Dori where they do regular concerts and signings. Formed in 2005 by super producer, Yasushi Akimoto and releasing their first single in 2006, AKB48 have steadily and consistently been building their fanbase around the world by the thousands as well as currently holding the world record for most members in one group! They have already released over 10 albums ranging from studio to stage albums with each one selling extremely well and charting with great success on the Japanese Oricon music charts.

One of these albums is Kamikyokutachi, which translates loosely as Goddess Tracks, is a compilation of their greatest hits previously released on other albums as well as two previously unreleased singles. There are some absolute corkers in here with tunes that will have you tapping your foot and nodding your head to the beat. Now keep in mind that J-pop, just like anime, isn’t for everyone but if you’re a J-pop Otaku, then you simply must have some AKB48 in your collection and this cd is a great place to start.

AKB48From my personal collection, Harajuku March 2010

Dripping in sugary sweetness, the high pitched voices are immediately infectious and catchy and will make anyone an instant fan eager to keep track after track coming. I dare anyone to skip past any of the tracks on this album as they are all massive chart toppers in their own right. Particularly worth mentioning are “River”, “Kimi no Koto ga Suki Dakara”, “Baby! Baby! Baby! Baby!”, “10nen Zakura” and Iiwake Maybe. But to be completely honest, on my very first listen through, I didn’t feel the need to skip any tracks and loved them all but I do like my J-pop very sweet and not so mature. I’ve included a You Tube clip of “River” just below just to give you an idea of what to expect. This cd, as most Japanese releases, also comes with a DVD disc which has three of their songs performed in a studio with multiple camera angles on offer which offers more than one viewing just to make sure you can appreciate all of their dance steps.This album also went to the top of the Oricon charts so you’re in great company by buying this and adding it to your music library.

Will AKB48 be for everyone? Maybe not but give the clip below a go and if you like it, maybe give their You Tube channel a look so you know what to expect and then when you’re ready head straight to Otaku Fuel and snap up this slice of J-pop goodness that will remind you why one of the things that Japan is known for, is their quirky and infectious anime sounding tunes.