All posts by Krystal Kitsune

ABLAZE Announces New Manga Series BLITZ – Set In Tense World of Competitive Chess Featuring Garry Kasparov

Published in Shonen Jump, BLITZ is a new shonen manga that immerses readers into the “game of kings,” where intuition and mental agility are precious assets on the way to victory! Chess grandmaster and World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov, makes his manga debut in the series!

Written by Cédric Biscay (ASTROBOY REBOOT, Shenmue III) and Harumo Sanazaki (Yawareta Princess, Egekai ni Ai wa Moete, Manga Grimm Douwa) with artwork by Daitaro Nishihara (The Magical Cat Ghee).

The series is written by Cédric Biscay, who produced the return of the Shenmue saga in 2019 and the upcoming reboot of the Astroboy anime series, which is currently in production with Miraculous Ladybug creator, Thomas Astruc as director.

The series is also co-written by prolific Japanese manga-ka Harumo Sanazaki, her works have been published in more than 130 manga including The Phantom of the Opera, Yawareta Princess, Egekai ni Ai wa Moete, and Manga Grimm Douwa: Sharaku – Shinsetsu Onna Eshi

The series is illustrated by Daitaro Nishihara who began as a manga-ka in the magazine Monthly Shonen Jump. From 2001, several of his series were pre-published in the magazine Korokoro Comic (Shôgakukan), notably Pokémon 6 – Jirachi: The Genius of Wishes.

Chess grandmaster and World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov is featured in the manga and served as a consultant to the series. For those unfamiliar with the world of competitive chess, Garry Kasparov became, at the age of 12, chess champion of the USSR’s under-18 age group. Then, at 17, he won the Under-20 World Chess Champion title. In 1985, at 22, Kasparov gained international notoriety as the youngest World Chess Champion in history.

He defended his title five times, including a series of legendary matches against his great rival Anatoly Karpov. Kasparov broke Bobby Fischer’s record in 1990, and his own record remained undefeated until 2013. His famous matches against IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer in 1996-97 played a vital role in integrating artificial intelligence into the world of chess.

Each volume of BLITZ will contain chess strategy tips and a chess lexicon to turn every reader into a chess master!

BLITZ will be available in-print and digitally in North America, Australia, and the UK. ABLAZE titles are distributed in-print by Diamond Comic and Diamond Book Distributors. Vol. 1 will be available in comic shops on September 14th, and bookstores on September 27th.  The manga is currently available for preorder:

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Void_Chords – ‘Beyond Selves’, Opening theme of RWBY Ice Queendom

Void_Chords, AKA Ryo Takahashi, who has previously worked on Sing a Bit of HarmonyArifureta: From Commonplace to World’s StrongestPrincess Principal, and ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept., has released “Beyond Selves,” the theme song for RWBY Ice Queendom, which began airing on July 3rd.

Void_Chords, AKA Ryo Takahashi

RWBY Ice Queendom was produced d by anime studio Shaft with animation concept by Gen Urobuch. The anime is based on RWBY, which is inspired by anime. 

Promo Image

RWBY Ice Queendom is not a remake of the original series; it takes and expands on the original series, with its opening episodes being a remake of the first two seasons before taking on an entirely new storyline, set between the second and third season of the original series. Senior Brand Director Christine Brent describes Ice Queendom as continuity-adjacent.

RWBY Ice Queendom Manga Vol.1

The series has spawned a manga adaptation, illustrated by Kumiko Suekane, which is currently in serialization in Kadokawa’s Monthly Comic Dengeki Daioh magazine.

Beyond Selves,” was produced by Void_Chords and features L as a guest artist. You can listen to “Beyond Selves,” at the following music streaming sites listed here. Or view the music video below:

The series ending theme is “Awake” sung by Saori Hayami. You can view the “Awake” music video here:

You can watch the newly released, RWBY Ice Queendom on CrunchyRoll with a premimum acccount.

Watched it already? We wanna hear from you! What did you think of the series? Comment Below!

Nahoko Uehashi’s ‘THE DEER KING’ | NOW IN THEATERS

From acclaimed studio Production I.G, and directors Masashi Ando and Masayuki Miyaji comes THE DEER KING.

In the aftermath of a brutal war, former soldier Van toils in a mine controlled by the ruling empire. One day, his solitary existence is upended when a pack of wild dogs carrying a deadly and incurable disease attack, leaving only Van and a young girl named Yuna as survivors. Finally free, the pair seek out a simple existence in the countryside but are pursued by nefarious forces. Intent on protecting Yuna at all costs, Van must uncover the true cause of the plague ravaging the kingdom—and its possible cure.

The Deer King is a sweeping fantasy epic that marks the directorial debut of acclaimed animator, Masashi Ando who worked with famed Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke) and with directors Satoshi Kon (Paprika, “Paranoia Agent”) and Makoto Shinkai (your name.). The film is also co-directed by Masayuki Miyaji who is best known for directing the 2009 series “Xam’s: Lost Memories” and work on Studio Ghibli films such as “My Neighbors The Yamadas”.

The film is based on the original book series, by author Nahoko Uehashi. The book series has printed 2.2 million copies in Japan to date. Uehashi is one of Japan’s most well-known and popular children’s writers, and has won numerous awards, including the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award. She’s an associate professor at a Japanese university, and has a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and studies indigenous peoples in Australia.

Uehashi’s other works, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and The Beast Player have had anime adaptations in 2007 and 2009, with The Beast Player getting a manga adaptation as well.

Author, Nahoko Uehashi

Currently, Uehashi’s most popular, English-translated work is The Beast Player and be purchased on Amazon.

Distributed by Gkids Films, watch THE DEER KING now playing in select theaters nationwide, find the closest theater near you, by visiting the film’s official website www.THEDEERKING.com

Anime Expo – SPINOFF CONVENTION COMING THIS NOVEMBER

During the closing ceremonies, the SJPA thanked all attendees for coming to Anime Expo 2022 and introduced the very first ‘anime expo ontario’ in California.

Introduced as “anime expo” (all lower case letters), a smaller-scale spinoff convention that will allow fans an additional opportunity to celebrate Japanese pop culture this November in Ontario, California.

Smaller-Scale “anime expo” Focused on Exhibit Hall and Artist Alley to
be Hosted at Ontario Convention Center November 12-13, 2022

The event, which will be focused primarily on the exhibit hall and artist alley experience, will take place November 12-13, 2022 at the Ontario Convention Center; ticket sales will be announced in the upcoming months.

“Seeing our Anime Expo family once per year simply isn’t enough, which is why we’re incredibly excited to bring the brand-new ‘anime expo’ event to Ontario, California,[. . .]Anime Expo 2022 was a success, and we look forward to carrying that positive momentum into this smaller-scale show that provides a unique, more intimate opportunity for fans of Japanese pop culture to come together a second time this year.”

– Ray Chiang, CEO of SPJA

The first in-person Anime Expo since 2019 welcomed fans back to the Los Angeles Convention Center with over 1,000 hours of programming, including Japanese musical guests SG5 and Travis Japan, renowned DJs Steve Aoki and TeddyLoid, and Guests of Honor including Studio MAPPA CEO Manabu Otsuka and JUJUTSU KAISEN Script Writer Hiroshi Seko, as well as Ranking of Kings Director Yosuke Hatta and Animation Producer Maiko Okada of WIT Studio; Mika Akitaka, the creator of Anime Expo’s iconic mascot, MAX, also joined in the festivities in honor of the event’s 31st year.

Anime Expo will once again return in-person to the Los Angeles Convention Center next year from July 1-4. Ticket sales for Anime Expo 2023 will be announced in fall 2022. Ray added,

“After three long years away from the Los Angeles Convention Center, it was incredibly important to all of us at SPJA that our community be welcomed home with a truly unforgettable convention experience and, thanks to all the participants–including exhibitors (small and big alike), artists, industry and sponsors–and the incredibly hard work and dedication shown by each and every volunteer and staff member, we’re proud to say that this year’s show not only met, but exceeded our expectations. We can’t wait to show you what we have in store for next year!”

– Ray Chiang, CEO of SPJA
Los Angeles Convention Center two days before day zero

Anime Expo celebrated its 31st annual convention by returning to the Los Angeles Convention Center live and in-person, bringing together fans and industry professionals for the largest celebration of Japanese pop culture in North America. Hosted by The Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (SPJA), the sold-out four-day convention saw attendees from over 70 countries descend upon the city of Los Angeles to generate an estimated positive economic impact of over $100 Million for local hotels and businesses. Anime Expo fans that were unable to attend Anime Expo 2022 also had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of AX virtually through Anime Expo Lite through Twitch and YouTube.

For more updates on anime expo Ontario, visit the official Anime Expo website.

Ronin-Expo 2022 REturns & REscheduled!

For those following the anime convention scene in Los Angeles, CA; Ronin Expo announced earlier this year that had to postpone its June event until further notice due to changes in the venue’s service policies. Recently they announced that Ronin Expo has found a new venue within the Little Tokyo district.

Artist Ally at Ronin Expo 2018

Since 2017 Ronin-Expo is an Anime and Asian culture convention targeting both new and veteran convention-goers. The convention is designed to feel like an festival featuring artists, exhibitors, live performances, and guests of honors and special in-door panels. Past featured guests include voice actors, Sarah William, Reuben Langdon and Japanese anime director, Hiroshi Nagahama.

The event is now scheduled for August 13th, 2022 at its new home at The Terasaki Budokan Center in the Little Tokyo District, tickets are still available for purchase here. Special guests include voice actors, Mela Lee & Richard Epcar with performances by Origami Flagship, Ryujin Taiko & Burai.

Follow RONIN EXPO for more updates and announcements on updating panels, events and guests!

Yu-Gi-Oh! Creator, Kazuki Takahashi Passes Away At 60

Kazuki Takahashi, (Kazuo Takahashi), was found dead off the coast of Nago city in the Okinawa Prefecture by The Japan Coast Guard. As reported by NHK and ANN, on Wednesday around 10:30 AM, The Japan Coast Guard was alerted that a body was seen drifting from the coast off the resort city of Nago by a person on a boat.

Kazuki Takahashi at the MAGIC 2019 opening ceremony
Photo Soruce

According to NHK, A firefighter rushed to the scene and rescued the man but was later confirmed dead. Reportedly, Takahashi was wearing snorkeling equipment, and was visiting Okinawa alone. The Japan Coast Guard has also reported that Takahashi’s body has no visible scratches on his body, but there is an active investigation to find out the manner of death.

Screenshot from NHK “人気漫画「遊☆戯☆王」作者 高橋和希さん 沖縄 名護で死去” News Segment | Soruce

Takahashi created the most notable and popular anime franchises of all time, Yugioh! Takahashi’s career began in 1990 having his first manga, Tokiō no taka (Fighting Hawk) published in 1990, followed by Tennenshoku Danji Buray (天然色男児BURAY), from 1991 to 1992. In 1996, Takahashi created Yugioh! which led to the creation of the Yugioh Trading Card Game. From its inspection, Takahashi has continued to supervise the creation of the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga since the end of the original manga’s run, from 1996 through 2004.

Background: Promo for YuGiOh! Anime OVA by Toei animation | Left: YuGiOh! Vol.1 Manga | Right: Deck of YuGiOh! Cards

To this day YuGiOh! has been seen, watched, read and played by millions of fans through the world, making it one of the most internationally notible, anime franchises of all time. In 2015, Takahashi received the Inkpot award from Comic-Con International for his outstanding contributions to comicbooks, animation and fandom.

Kazuki Takahashi with his Inkpot award from Comic-Con International

Recently, Takahashi collaborated with Marvel to illustrate Marvel’s Secret Reverse Marvel Comics, which was released in the U.S. on June 14th of this year (Orignally released in Japan on, 02-04-2020).

Marvel’s Secret Reverse Paperback – June 14, 2022

Exclusive Interview with Voice actors, CAT THOMAS & AVERY SMITHHART

Earlier this year we had the honor to sit down and speak with voice actors Cat Thomas and Avery Smithhart, about their roles in anime, from Yui Yuigahama in My Romantic Teen Comedy SNAFU to Anne and Grea in the heart warming anime series, Manaria Friends (Mysteria Friends). Here are some snippets from our interview, you can watch the entire interview below.

Cat Thomas – Yui Yuigahama

While searching the series for our interview, many fans were were curious about a single word, dub difference behind the Japanese and the English version. The scene in question is from episode one, where Hachiman call Yui a “slut” but changed to a different slur in the English version:

Avery Smithhart – – -Butt Muscle!

According to Avery, during the recording the first episode of Land of the Lustrous as her character Cinnabar, Avery recalls pulling a muscle in a rather hilarious way:

Watch our FULL interview to learn more behind the scene stories from CAT THOMAS & AVERY SMITHHART

Exclusive High School of The Dead Interview | The Boys

This July will mark the 12th Anniversary of the anime, fan-favorite series, High School of the Dead. The series ended all production after series creator and writer, Daisuke Sato died on March 22, 2017. Fast forward 12 years and Jrock band Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets, the band that sang the now-famous HOTD opening, released an updated version of said opening with its very first music video to go along with it.

Now, after 12 years HOTD English cast members Leraldo Anzaldua and Mark X. Laskowski, who play Takashi Komuro and Kōta Hirano respectively, recount their time working behind the mic on this series. Watch our exclusive interview and enter for your chance to win an auto from Leraldo and Mark, and the VOL.1 of the HOTD Manga! More details in our interview below:

-Giveaway-

Learn how you can this HOTD bundle, which includes an autograph from Leraldo, Mark, and Vol.1 of HOTD Manga! Details in the interview video above!

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BELLE – Exclusive Special Release Interview with Kylie McNeil

This week saw the release of the much anticipated BELLE, Mamoru Hosoda’s 7th feature film. The film instantly made headlines at Cannes with a 14-minute standing ovation. The film later made headlines among anime fans during its theatrical release back in January of this year. Both the original Japanese and the newly dubbed English version were shown in theaters nation-wide. In the film’s U.S. opening weekend it made $1.6 million from 1,326 theaters, and a total of $1.8 million over the four-day Martin Luther King Day holiday frame.

The film received five Annie Award nominations making it the most nominations for a Japanese anime film ever at the show, even surpassing previous films Spirited Away, Millennium Actress, and the more recent, Weathering with You. Most notable, the film’s cast, both in English and Japanese, were both praise for their vocal performance. This is both Kaho Nakamura and Kylie McNeil’s first anime, voice over performance.

Kylie McNeil, already an upcoming actor and singer in the theater scene in New York, had zero film credits, aside from an off-Broadway show “Runaways“, BELLE is Kylie’s very first film credit.

After its theatrical run, fans anticipated its home video release, which finally happened on May 17th. Coinciding with the Blu-ray and the Target exclusive: Steelbook release, Milan Records opened preorders for the vinyl copy of BELLE’s soundtrack, and is currently available to pre-order on Amazon.

Join us in celebration of Mamoru Hosoda’s BELLE release with this special interview with the voice of Suzu / BELLE, Kylie McNeil! Back for a more in-depth and formal interview, Kylie walks through her experiences working behind the mic, voicing Suzu / BELLE.

Watch our interview above and learn how you could win our exclusive BELLE Bundle, which includes:

The BELLE movie (Steelbook ed.), A copy of the BELLE soundtrack (from Japan) & an autograph print from Paul Castro Jr. (the voice of BEAST)

all this and more in our exclusive interview! Don’t forget to subscribe for more anime and voice actor content or subscribe to our site:

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Review | Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis – Decide

Ryoma! The Prince of Tennis <Decide> will premiere in the U.S. tomorrow, May 12th, in theatres as part of the first-ever AX Cinema Nights, a collaboration between Anime Expo, Eleven Arts, and Iconic events.

It’s important to note that there are two versions of the film, Decide and Glory; this review will cover Decide; there is no release date set for “Glory” as of the release of this review.

Debuting as the first CG film in the series, it serves as a bridge between the original manga series’ timeline and its sequel, which saw Ryoma leaving Japan for America for the US Open and then appearing at the All-Japan Junior Training Camp in Japan.

The film follows Ryoma Echizen, inspired by his tennis champion father Nanjirō Echizen, is determined to take his game to the next level and train in the US. But in the middle of an intense tennis battle to save his classmate Sakuno from “dangerous” villains, they somehow find themselves transported to the past, just as Ryoma’s father is about to face his final championship match at the US Open – when he was mysteriously forced to retire. Takeshi Konomi, The Prince of Tennis creator, oversaw the film’s production and wrote some of the music and lyrics for the featured songs.

Yes, this film has a few sporadic musical numbers (perhaps inspired from Musical: The Prince of Tennis) combined with its CG animation style making it feel like a Disney film or an episode of Miraculous Ladybug. Still, as sporadic musical numbers go, they are entertaining to watch. This film also makes for a great kid-friendly film and is perfect for introducing your kids to anime and The Prince of Tennis series. Although the film pays homage to the series’ comedic genre, it exaggerates, making the featured slap-stick comedy dull to older audiences. Like the original series, there is still tennis action on the court, mainly focusing on using tennis as a form of distraction; the real tennis action comes towards the end of the film with Nanjirō Echizen facing off an American character.

Throughout the film, there are major plot holes; for example, there is no explanation for the time travel nor an explanation as to why a particular character is seen in a wheelchair at the beginning but is completely fine throughout the film. These are only a few questions that seem to be unanswered; however, as mentioned above, this is only one version of the film; therefore, it’s safe to assume that any plot holes or questions may be answered in “Glory.” 

Overall, the film lives up to The Prince of Tennis legacy; it’s a unique take on The Prince of Tennis series and its characters and a concrete bridge between the US Open and U-17 Training camp gap. It’s a fun-packed, family-friendly film that will capture both old and new fans.

Experience the newest addition to The Prince of Tennis series and purchase your tickets HERE.