Thursday, March 12, 2015

MISC. MANGA, *Shadow Hunters

Mixing in elements of Buffy and Charmed, this American manga-styled color comic does dive into some serious fan service. Having nothing to do with The Mortal Instruments series, this title by Scattered Comics, Shadow Hunters is an ongoing supernatural series that caters to the cosplay-loving crowd.

A trio of ladies consisting of a brainwashing vampire named Jenna, the shapeshifting werewolf girl Jessika, and the water witch Renea set up their own swinging nightclub in order to trap stray demons. However, a monster hunting task force called "00" ends up getting in their way. Jessika gets kidnapped by some of their secret ops division, and learns more about the various shapeshifting races, while Renea runs across some reengage demons.

This has the potential to ba a pretty good series, even though it might be a little hard for some readers to take the change in artists from Issues #2 to #3. There's some sexy cosplay variant covers for this too if you're into that.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Hyper-Combat Unit Dangaioh

This 3-episode series was first released on VHS in Japanese with subtitles by U.S. Renditions originally titled Dangaio, but a British dub of the last two episodes were combined into a single dubbed feature by Manga Entertainment with the first episode being presented as a special "prologue" under the full title of Hyper-Combat Unit Dangaioh, which unfortunately is the more widely available version on VHS and DVD. The OVA was directed by sci-fi anime 80s expert Toshiki Hirano, who also created Iczer-One and Megazone 23

Four powerful ESPers(an 80s term for people with psychic powers)are brought together from different corners of the universe by the rogue scientist Dr. Tarsan, who wipes their memories to be part of a special team of mecha pilots that form the giant robot Dangaioh to stop the evil space pirate Captain Garimoth and his fleet. The teenage ESPers escape Tarsan and go to Earth, the home of team member Mia Alice. But Garimoth's agent, the cybernetic Gil-Berg, follows them, and forces them to form Dangaioh to stop his destruction of a major city. The Dangaioh team then decides to go back to Dr. Tarsan and begin their training to become a more effective team against Captain Garimoth's forces. A brief encounter with some assassins working for Garimoth reclaims some of team member Lamba of her former life as a princess. But then team commander Rol takes the Dangaioh team back to his homeworld to confront some old skeletons in his closet, including some traitorous rebels that have teamed up with Gil-Berg. Dangaioh and Gil-Berg have another fight to the death, which results in Dr. Tarsan sacrificing himself to save the ESPers by warping the remains of Dangaioh to the other side of the galaxy. Even though Gil-Berg still survives and rises in Captain Garimoth's ranks.

The OVA ends on a deep cliffhanger leaving our heroes' fate up in the air. However, a sequal TV series titled Great Dangaioh that came out over a decade later picks up a few pieces of the original OVA, although at first the TV anime looks more like an Evangelion ripoff. Dangaioh also appeared in its own video game, as well as some of the Super Robot Wars titles. Aside from the stupendous robot fights and mecha designs, the inconsistency of the series and cutting out of the first OVA episode makes it slightly hard to fully enjoy this 80s escapade.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

OBSCURE O.V.A.S, *Elf Princess Rane

Otherwise known as Fairy Princess Ren, this 2-episode series was intended to be longer, but was cut short like a lot of OVAs from the 90s. It was an original anime not based on an existing manga or other material, but was full of what is commonly referred to as "gag manga" references.

Treasure-seeking teenager Go is on a field trip at a temple looking for a lead to the ancient treasure of what was called Salamandara, but proceeds to fall off a 30-story building and meeting a tiny elf named Rane who speaks in a jigsaw of phrases that Go and his friend Mari can't make out. Go believes Rane's presence is part of some destiny written down in an ancient magazine, and sets out with her to go back to the temple to look for the treasure. Mari in turn comes across a miniature witch named Leen the same size as Rane, although not apparently an elf herself since her ears aren't pointy. All this while feng shui corporate businessman Mr. Takuma has plans for turning the entire city(run by Mari's dad)into a giant amusement park, plus trying to win the heart of Mari herself who seems to have eyes for Go. Rane and Leen are each hunting for a treasure called the Four Hearts, even if there is some serious communication breakdowns between Rane and Go at first, although Leen has no trouble Mari understanding her they first meet. Speaking of which, Takuma has a language all his own that only his loving assistant Natsuki(one of Go's sextuplet sisters)can understand. This leads to a disastrous visit to a hot springs mountain for Mari's birthday where Go unwittingly confesses his feelings for her, even though they still haven't found the treasures yet.

Directed by Akitaroh Daichi, whose other off-the-wall titles include Animation Runner Kuromi and Jubei-chan, shows his chops here with his bombastic sense of comedic timing. The script is really all over the place, and very hard to keep up with upon first viewing. The dub for this was above the normal par by Coastal Studios which was produced similarly like their dub of Shinesman which does have some "Americanzation" of the dialogue but still hysterical for even a novice anime fan. The only drawback is that their isn't more of this past the second episode, so at least check out for some serious laughs!