Category Archives: Anime

Maaya Sakamoto to Sing OP Theme of Deaimon and ED Theme of Ascendance of a Bookworm Season 3

On February 17th, it was announced that actress and singer, Maaya Sakamoto will be singing theme songs for two TV anime starting in April in Japan.

The first is the opening theme for Deaimon, a story set in an old confectionery store in Kyoto. The OP is titled “Sumire” the lyrics were written by Sakamoto herself, and the composition and arrangement were done by Shigeru Kishida of Kururi, a Japanese rock band from Kyoto, appropriately matching the anime’s setting.

Shigeru Kishida of Kururi

Deaimon’s protagonist, Nagumo Irino has dreams of becoming a member of a band and runs away from home to live in Tokyo. Ten years later, He receives a letter from home stating his father is in the hospital and asking him to take over the family shop, giving up on his dreams, he returns home. During his ten-year-long absence, a ten-year-old girl named Itsuka Yukihira has been working in the shop. In fact, Nagumo’s mother (voiced by Sakamoto) has become a sort of foster mom to Itsuka. Nagumo’s mother puts Itsuka and Nagumo against each other to see who will overpower the other and take over the family shop.


The series is written and illustrated by Rin Asano who, according to MAL is credited in the creation of Pangaea, Final Fantasy XV: Koushiki Comic Anthology, Tengai Retrogical, Choko Beast!! to name a few.

Deaimon began serialization in Kadokawa Shoten’s seinen manga magazine Young Ace in May 2016 and has been collected in twelve tankōbon volumes from Kadokawa Comics Ace as of October 2021. The anime is set to premiere on April 6, 2022 on AT-X.

Sakamoto comments on the making of “Sumire

“[. . .] I wrote the lyrics and asked Shigeru Kishida of Kururi, a band that I’ve always loved, to handle the composition. I think that I was able to write very peaceful lyrics, guided by the warm melody. Sumire (Violets) are a common flower in everyday life, and you can even find them growing in gaps in concrete. They’re so small that you might overlook them, but they are actually very powerful and huddle together to bloom. I chose this title due to the characteristics that these flowers share with people. I’m delighted to have another precious song that I can continue singing into the future.
-Maaya Sakamoto

(Via official press release)

In addition, Sakamoto will also be the lead vocals on the ED theme for the third season of the popular anime Ascendance of a Bookworm titled, “Kotoba ni Dekinai“. This series has sold over 6 million copies (including e-books).

The story follows Urano Motosu, a book-loving post-secondary college student and soon-to-be librarian who ends up crushed to death beneath a pile of books at her house during an earthquake. With her dying breath, she wishes to be reincarnated in a world where she can read books forever. Urano awakens in the body of a weak, five-year-old girl named Myne in a world where books are scarce and only available to elites. Myne, retaining her memories from her previous life, decides to create and print her own books so that she can read again.

The series was first published as a Light novel in 2015 and is written by Miya Kazuki and illustrated by Yū Shiina. Later that same year, It was adapted as a manga with illustrations done by Suzuka (later changed to Ryo Namino and Hikaru Katsuki in part 3 and part 4 of the manga series). The manga series is currently on-going.

The series later premiered as an anime in October 3, 2019, with direction by Mitsuru Hongo who is best known for Outlaw Star and Sakura Wars: The Movie.

Sakamoto commented on the making of “Kotoba ni Dekinai

“[. . .] I handled the lyrics and composition. This song is full of feelings of gratitude for irreplaceable people and places, and feelings that inspire you when you’re discouraged. In that sense, it’s a sad song but also one that allows you to positively move forward. People who are going through many new encounters and farewells as their environment changes this spring may be particularly able to identify with it. Please give it a listen.”

-Maaya Sakamoto

(via official press release)

In voiceover, Maaya Sakamoto is best known as Hitomi Kanzaki in The Vision of Escaflowne, Jeanne d’Arc in Fate/Apocrypha, Haruhi Fujioka in Ouran High School Host Club, and Ciel Phantomhive in Black Butler, to name a few characters. As a singer, she’s known for performing songs in both English and Japanese. Her early work and collaboration with renounced anime music composer Yoko Kanno in 1996 put her in the spotlight when she released her debut single “Yakusoku wa Iranai.” She later went to release the next selected singles, “Tune the Rainbow”, “Loop”, “Ame ga Furu”, and “Triangler” all reaching the top 10 Oricon singles chart. “Triangler” in particular won the 13th Animation Kobe Theme Song Award.

Her albums have had similar success, with Shōnen Alice and Yūnagi Loop, both reaching the top 10 Oricon albums chart; and her album You Can’t Catch Me, released on January 12, 2011, became her first release to ever reach number 1.

BELLE | Should You Watch It?

Mamoru Hosoda at Animation Is Film Festival 2021

Known for his emotionally touching and visually captivating films, such as Wolf Children, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, and Summer Wars, award-winning film director Mamoru Hosoda is back with his ninth film, BELLE.

Now playing in theaters, Belle is a modern adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s Beauty and the Beast and could be considered a spiritual sequel to Hosoda’s 2009 film, Summer Wars, as it also deals with a virtual world.

Synopsis

The film starts with Suzu Naito (Voiced by Kylie McNeill), a shy 17-year old high school student living with her father (Voiced by Ben Lepley). She lives haunted by the memory of her mother’s death at a young age. Since then, Suzu has been living in her shadow, having almost no close connections and no self confidence. At least, until one day, with the help of her one close friend Hiroka Betsuyaku (Voiced by Jessica DiCicco), she discovers the online virtual world of ‘U‘ where over 5 billion users log on daily. When Suzu logs in for the first time, U automatically creates a beautiful, freckled, pink-haired avatar based on her biometrics, and she nicknames herself “Bell” (鈴 = Suzu is Japanese for Bell).

Suzu logging into U for the first time. Bimetic readers in her ear.

Enjoying her newfound life in anonymity; Suzu, using her voice and overcoming her trauma, develops Bell into a world-famous singer among U. Rapidly gaining popularity, Suzu holds events and concerts as Bell in U, and fans come to dub her as ‘Belle‘ (French for “Beautiful”) However, during one of Belle’s online concerts, she is interrupted by an avatar named only as “The Dragon” (Voiced by Paul Castro Jr).

“The Dragon” avater appears for the first time, during BELLE’s concert.

Intrigued, Suzu & Hiro embark on a journey to discover the person behind The Dragon. Along the way, Suzu realizes the real power of being anonymous online and the many reasons why people like her escape to U from their own lives. 

What type of story is BELLE?

The film seems to be confused about what type of story it wants to tell; whether it is an action-adventure story, as Suzu begins to discover the virtual world of U as Bell, or a romantic story, as the plot depicts the ‘forbidden’ nature in the relationship between Bell and The Dragon and Suzu’s determination to help The Dragon. One thing is for sure, the film is a musical feature. Unlike a Disney film, where characters spontaneously spring into a musical number often without warning, the film does a great job in coordinating the music with the imagery that’s on screen.

“Lend Me Your Voice”

The film touches on several sensitive topics and themes, such as overcoming personal trauma. The film successfully portrays one’s desire to escape real situations for a glamorous, anonymous lifestyle; a secret, secondary life where real-life issues are nonexistent. Additionally, many viewers find themselves connected to the main character as the film dives into the psychological impact of dealing with a personal loss and its effects on a person’s daily life. 

The Music

The music in this film is captivating and leaves the viewers in astonishment, undoubtedly worthy of a 14-minute standing ovation. Kaho Nakumora (Suzu/Belle in Japanese) and Kylie McNeill’s vocal performances are phenomenal and are presented with a profusion of emotional appeal. Kylie’s vocals perfectly embody Kaho’s performance as BELLE and, with Ludvig Forssell’s creative songwriting skills alongside Mamoru Hosoda and actress Kaho Nakumora, make exquisite lyrics. 

BELLE sings “Gale of Songs” as she enters U for the first time.

“Should I Watch it?”

Though the film may contain some unnecessary subplots, it makes up for its visual presentation and musical and vocal performances. The film portrays Suzu with relatable qualities that speak to the viewer, whether you have experienced personal loss or not. If the above mentioned is not convincing enough to watch BELLE in theaters, consider that this film was worthy of a 14-minute standing ovation during the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

Perhaps cast members, Kylie Mcneill and Paul Castro Jr can convince you through our exclusive interviews. Watch as Kylie & Paul share behind the scene stories and their experiences working on BELLE.

Interview With Kylie McNeill

Interview With Paul Castro Jr

We also included a brief Interview with Mamoru Hosoda we conducted during the 2021 Animation Is Film Festival in Hollywood, CA.

Watch BELLE In Theaters!

Watch BELLE the newest movie by award-winning filmmaker, Mamoru Hosoda (Mirai, Wolf Children, Summer Wars, and more), comes a fantastical, heartfelt story of growing up in the age of social media.

Suzu is a shy, everyday high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters “U”, a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a gorgeous and globally-beloved singer. One day, her concert is interrupted by a monstrous creature chased by vigilantes. As their hunt escalates, Suzu embarks on an emotional and epic quest to uncover the identity of this mysterious “beast” and to discover her true self in a world where you can be anyone.

Subtitled Trailer

English Dub Trailer

The Cast

You can watch Belle in theaters and IMAX in both Japanese and English starting January 14, 2022, get your ticket now!

Highschool Of The Dead Returns?! (Not really, but…)

Though there are NO official plans to bring HOTD back, the series has been trending among fans due to the newly released version of the High School of The Dead theme song of the same name.

Music art for “High School Of The Dead” 2010 (Left) and 2021 (Right)

The song is performed by Jrock band, Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets with vocals by lead vocalist Ichigo. Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets began as a one-man Doujin music band (Fan made/inspired music) created by Kishida Kyoudan. Kishida initially produced covers songs from various series, mainly from Touhou Project and Type-Moon series. From 2007 through 2010, more members joined the band; Ichigo, Hayapi (guitar) & Micchan (drums).

Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets: Kishida, Micchan, Ichigo & Hayapi

In 2010, Under the NBCUniversal Entertainment label (then known as Geneon Universal), they eventually made their major debut with their single “Highschool of the Dead” which was used as the opening theme to High School Of The Dead anime series. Three years later, on October 30th, 2013, their single “Strike the Blood” was used as the opening theme to the anime series Strike the Blood.

Strike the Blood anime

In 2013, the band went on to a different label, and with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the band then went on to release numerous singles and albums which were used in various anime series, including GATE (2nd season, Op theme), Alderamin on the Sky (Op theme), and A Certain Scientific Railgun T (ED theme).

On August 18, 2021, the band released the newly re-recorded version of their 2010 hit single, “High School Of The Dead [2021]“. In addition, the band’s official YouTube channel released the official High School Of The Dead theme song music video, 11 years after the original release.

When the HOTD theme song was released in 2010, it never had a music video to go along with it, nor was it ever featured in any of the band’s albums. The band has recently released a compilation album titled Isekaitensei Shitara Best Album Deshita.

Isekaitensei Shitara Best Album Deshita features all their anime singles and the newly re-recorded HOTD theme song. The album comes in two versions: the regular edition and the limited edition.

The Regular edition contains two CDs of Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets’ best anime singles, including “High School of Dead[2021]”. The limited edition includes the entire album in two CDs, a 48-page band member interview booklet, a Blu-ray containing HIGHSCHOOL OF THE DEAD [2021] MUSIC VIDEO, and “Kishida Kyodan & THE Akeboshi Rockets Live Video held on November 11, 2020. HOTD 2021 art is a homage to High School of The Dead and shows the character Saya Takagi.

You can purchase the album here [REGULAR VERISON] | [LIMITED EDITION] or Stream HERE.

Anime Expo Lite announces “Discover Little Tokyo” Event

Anime Expo Lite 2021 ticketholders will have the opportunity to partake in a special promotion event being offered by a dozens retailers and restaurants in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles!

Little Tokyo’s famous Yagura or Tower

Beginning Friday, June 25 thru Sunday, July 11, 2021, Anime Expo Lite Ticketholders are invited to discover the historic Little Tokyo district and visit each of the participating establishments listed below to receive a custom designed Anime Expo coaster.

There are 6 different full color coasters available to collect, each may be assembled to create the above artwork designed by, Collateral Damage Studios commemorating Anime Expo’s partnership this year with Hate Is A Virus.

The list of participating establishments are as follows:

Although held virtually the past two years, Anime Expo Lite 2021 marks the 30th Anniversary of the long-running annual convention. Anime Expo Lite begins on July 3-4, 2021 from 12pm – 8pm (PST).

Tickets for Anime Expo Lite 2021 are just $5 (+ processing fees) with all proceeds to benefit the Hate Is a Virus commUNITY Action Fund. Purchase your tickets here and take a trip to Los Angeles to ‘Discover Little Tokyo’ and get exclusive access to Anime Expo Lite (Live stream).

Lucasfilm + Anime Expo Lite: STAR WARS: VISIONS Panel & Sneak Peak

Anime Expo announced that Lucasfilm will bring a galaxy far, far away to Anime Expo Lite this July with Star Wars: Visions – Sneak Preview panel!

Join host Chastity Vicencio and Lucasfilm executive producers, Jacqui Lopez, James Waugh Josh Rimes and Qubic Pictures’ Co-Executive Producer, Justin Leach and Kanako Shirasaki for an inside look at Star Wars: Visions before the series debuts on Disney+ later this year.

Star Wars: Visions is an upcoming anthology of animated shorts celebrating
Star Wars through the lens of the world’s best anime creators and storytellers.

Concept Visual

According to Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm Ltd, Star Wars: Visions[is an] anthology collection [that] will bring ten fantastic visions from several of the leading Japanese anime studios, offering a fresh and diverse cultural perspective to Star Wars.

The upcoming novel Ronin written by Emma Mieko Candon, will tie into one of the shorts. Ronin is set to release on October 12, 2021. There is no current release date for Star Wars: Visions.

Cover not final

Full Panel Details:

Star Wars: Visions – Sneak Preview
Date: July 3, 2021 / 3:00PM PST
Duration: 30 minutes

Where:  Anime Expo Lite

Tickets to access this year’s Anime Expo Lite programming are $5 each, with all proceeds benefiting the Hate Is A Virus commUNITY Action Fund. After the stream concludes on July 4th, ticketholders can re-watch the content, as well as access additional programming, on a VOD basis from July 5th -16th, 2021.

MyAnimeList’s Zombieland Saga: Revenge “Caption This” contest

MyAnimeList has announced that it will be holding a worldwide “caption this” contest in collaboration with the popular TV anime Zombieland Saga: Revenge. From the submitted entries, MyAnimeList management and staff involved with the anime will choose the funniest 4-panel manga. The winner will be announced at the end of July 2021.

Contest Outline

A global “caption this” contest using images from the popular TV anime Zombieland Saga: Revenge, open to participants from all over the world.

In response to three panels Tweeted by the official MyAnimeList Twitter account, participants must choose a fourth panel, caption it, and retweet it using #CaptionZLSR to enter.

The submitted 4-panel manga will be screened by MyAnimeList management and staff involved with the anime, and the creator of the funniest manga will receive a Blu-ray signed by the anime’s cast. There will be a total of five different ‘themes’ per week, the starting theme is “The Legendary –[insert you caption here]–“. For examples, take a look here.

A new theme will be posted on Friday, June 18th. Contest ends on July 11th and winners will be announced July 30, 2021.

How to Enter

  1. Follow the MyAnimeList official account on Twitter (@myanimelist)
  2. Choose a story theme and an image for the final panel.
  3. Quote retweet the chosen theme and add the image, a punchline, and the hashtag #CaptionZLSR

Event Schedule (may be subject to changes)

Entry period: June 11 – July 15 23:59 (JST) 

Prize announcement: July 30, 2021

Please keep an eye on the masterpieces created using the cute, funny, touching, and unique materials of Zombieland Saga: Revenge!

TRESE Graphic Novel Sells Out Ahead of Netflix Anime Series Debut!

Filipino komik (Comic) series, Trese sold out before the Netflix anime adaption!

Created by Filipino writer Budjette Tan and Illustrator Kajo Baldisimo, Trese is a dark fantasy, crime comic series that was originally published in 2005. Trese tells the story of Alexandra Trese, a private detective who specialized in supernatural crimes. The series itself is inspired heavily on Filipino mythology and American series such as, Batman, X-Files, CSI and Constantine.

Having already won numerous awards, including the National Book Award Best Graphic Literature in 2010, an anime inspired adaptation by Netflix was announced back in 2018, with Trese creators as showrunners and Jay Oliva as the series director.

As the series drew more attention from its Netflix adaptation announcement, the award-winning graphic novel sold out ahead of its anime series debut! But don’t worry, you still have a chance to get your hands on a copy, as the comic heads back to press for a second printing.

With TRESE Volume 1’s second printing, fans will have just enough time to get catch up on the supernatural journey of Alexandria Trese, just in time for TRESE Volume 2: Unreported Murders which will be released on July 13th, followed by TRESE Volume 3: Mass Murders on September 28th!

The series stars Pretty Little Liars star, Shay Mitchell, as the voice of Alexandra Trese in English, and Liza Soberano (My Ex and Whys, Alone/Together) in Filipino.

Watch the hit -series, TRESE the animated series now on Netflix!

Exclusive Interview with Stephanie Southerland – Jean Gunnhildr -A Genshin Impact Interview

As Genshin Impact continues to gain more and more players, we continue to bring you more exclusive Genshin Impact voice actor interviews, to get to know those favorite characters you all love and adore. This time we had the opportunity to interview Stephanie Southerland, the voice of Grand Master, Jean Gunnhildr!

Get to know the voice behind Grand Master, Jean Gunnhildr as we take you behind the scenes with voice actress, Stephanie Southerland! Pst! Stay tuned to the end of the interview to learn how you can win an autographed print from Stephanie Southerland!

Exclusive CODE LYOKO Interview I – Barbara Scaff

Many animation voices have touched our hearts during our childhood, but for those who grew with with Code Lyoko, these voices still keep on living in our hearts.

Code Lyoko, created by animators Thomas Romain and Tania Palumbo, is French animated show that. The series was the child of two short films, Les enfants font leur cinéma (The children make their own films) and Garage Kids.


The series gained attention due to its unique combination of 2D and CGI animation. It first premiered in the U.S. on Cartoon Network in April 19, 2004. It became extremely successful in both its origin country and in the U.S. as well as other parts of world.

The success behind the show was not its unique style of animation but its dramatic storyline and character development. As the series progressed, we begin to see characters evolve and thus are more relatable. Bringing these amazing characters to life are of course, the cast of Code Lyoko; Sharon Mann (Aelita Schaeffer), Matthew Géczy (Odd Della Robbia), Barbara Weber-Scaff (Ulrich Stern), Mirabelle Kirkland (Yumi Ishiyama), and David Gasman (William Dunbar/XANA) to name a few.

Odd Della Robbia, Aelita Stones (Schaeffer), Jeremy Belpois, Ulrich Stern, Yumi Ishiyama & William Dunbar

In an exclusive interview we had with Code Lyoko star voice actress Barbara Scaff, reveals her experience working on the series, afterthoughts, her opinions on the follow-up series, Code Lyoko: Evolution and much more! Stay tuned till the end of the interview for a VERY special announcement!

GIVEAWAY!
A have chance to win this RARE Code Lyoko Ulrich figure! Originally released by Marvel Toys, this is a very RARE figure that has now been discontinued since 2009. Don’t miss your chance, enter now! Here’s how:

  1. Subscribe to our channel
  2. Comment your favorite Lyoko Warrior and your reason why ON the video’s commnet section (not here)
  3. DONE! It’s that easy!

Deadline: 4/17/2021

Thank you for the memories, Barbara!