2D Champions Episode 77: The Dragon Dentist

The Champions experience the horrors of giant cavities and learn the importance of flossing with tiny people in our review of ‘The Dragon Dentist’. Directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki with animation by Studio Khara, ‘The Dragon Dentist’ is a special two-part OVA of sorts that is itself a spin-off of one of the Japan Animator Expo short films. Does ‘The Dragon Dentist’ soar above even our highest expectations? Or does it just feel like a story that we dreamed up under sedation? Listen and find out!

Our review of ‘The Dragon Dentist’ begins around the 30-minute mark. The first half of this is episode is a discussion about Crunchyroll’s reduced premium video quality fiasco.

Toonami & Production I.G Team-Up For More FLCL

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Now here’s a sentence I never EVER thought I would write: There are more episodes of FLCL on the way. 12 more episodes, to be precise. I’ll let the official press release explain the critical details:

“Adult Swim, a division of Turner, is proud to announce an official sequel to one of the most beloved anime series of all time – FLCL (pronounced Fooly Cooly). Created in 2000, FLCL told the tale of Naota, a 12-year-old boy who met a woman that would forever change his life…whether he liked it or not. 16 years later, Adult Swim and legendary animation studio, Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell), are creating two new six-episode seasons to continue the tale, which will premiere in Adult Swim’s Toonami block. Known for its surprising and unique content with high fan engagement, Adult Swim has been basic cable’s #1 Network in the U.S. with 18-24 and 18-34 year olds for eleven consecutive years. The new season of FLCL adds to Adult Swim’s ever expanding portfolio of original programming.

“The original FLCL is an anime classic and has been a fixture on Adult Swim since we first laid eyes on it,” said Jason DeMarco, senior vice president/creative director, Adult Swim On-Air. “I’m beyond thrilled to be able to produce a sequel with the original creators, for Toonami, where it belongs.”

Back for the new season is FLCL series creator Kazuya Tsurumaki, serving as supervisor with director Katsuyuki Motohiro (Psycho-Pass) and character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Neon Genesis Evangelion). Also joining this season is writer Hideto Iwai (Last Dinner).

Established in 1987, Production I.G has since produced a number of acclaimed feature films and TV shows, and has also partnered with Mamoru Oshii on every one of his animated films since Patlabor: The Movie (1989), thereby earning an international admiration which eventually led to the visionary collaboration with Quentin Tarantino for the animation sequence in his hit, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003). They are most known for the Ghost in the Shell franchise, and for the acclaimed animated TV series Psycho-pass and Attack on Titan.”

And here’s the official synopsis of the new story:

“In the new season of FLCL, many years have passed since Naota and Haruhara Haruko shared their adventure together. Meanwhile, the war between the two entities known as Medical Mechanica and Fraternity rages across the galaxy. Enter Hidomi, a young teenaged girl who believes there is nothing amazing to expect from her average life, until one day when a new teacher named Haruko arrives at her school. Soon enough, Medical Mechanica is attacking her town and Hidomi discovers a secret within her that could save everyone, a secret that only Haruko can unlock.

But why did Haruko return to Earth?
What happened to her Rickenbacker 4001 she left with Naota?
And where did the human-type robot ‘Canti’ go?

All of these questions and more will be answered in the new season of the series, which is set to premiere in late 2017/early 2018 on Adult Swim.”

There were some rumblings last year about how Production I.G had purchased the rights to FLCL from co-producer Gainax and that the new purchase gave  Production I.G the options necessary to transform FLCL from a 6-episode spiritual journey into a franchise machine. I had never even considered the possibility of more FLCL until I had heard about the purchase. Fast forward to today and more FLCL isn’t just the ramblings of a tripping high school student but actual reality.

It’s very exciting to hear that Kazuya Tsurumaki and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto are back on the new project but what about all those other animators who made the original series so incredible? and what about The Pillows? One could make the point that FLCL was just a very long music video set to an excellent set of their songs.

It’s hard for me to believe that this is really a thing that is happening and it’s far too soon to cast judgement on whether or not this is a worthy endeavor. I can’t really make the argument that we needed more FLCL but I certainly hope these 12 new episodes are as insane as those first six.

Source: Turner Press Release

New Evangelion Artbook and Eyeglasses

While production continues on the Evangelion 3.0 film Studio Khara and Gainax are releasing some interesting items to tide the fans over.

Up top is the advertisement for a new line of Evangelion eyeglasses that are being released by JINS. JINS has also released a line of One Piece eyewear in the past and this new Evangelion-themed line actually seem quite cool. Here is a link to the official page of the project that also shows some images of the glasses themselves. There is a specific glasses style for each of the pilots and unless my eyes decieve me that nice advertisement image was drawn by FLCL/Evangelion director and animator Kazuya Tsurumaki.

A new volume in the Groundwork of Evangelion art book series has also been announced. Over the past eight years or so Gainax has been releasing a series of artbooks that reprint selected key animation frames from some of their most popular productions. This new Groundwork volume is centered around Evangelion 2.0. As opposed to the previous Groundwork of Evangelion 1.0 this new collection is being split into two books, the first of which will be released this May. The second volume is planned to be published later during the summer. There is a site up for the new art book on the EVA Store here.

Also, just as a reminder, Evangelion 2.22 is out today on Blu-ray and DVD here in America courtesy of Funimation. Pick it up!

Evangelion Manga to Return in April

After being on hiatus for over a year Yoshiyuki Sadamoto’s manga adaptation of Neon Genesis Evangelion is set to resume in Kadokawa Shoten’s Young Ace magazine on April 4th. Sadamoto had previously announced that the manga would return sometime this winter.

Viz Comics also recently published the 12th and most recent volume of the series here in America. Sadamoto is currently in the middle of adapting The End of Evangelion movie finale of the series for his manga.

Although a ton of different promotional projects for Evangelion have been going on in Japan since the release of Evangelion 2.22 on home video last summer, there still has been no word on the upcoming third film that is currently in production.

The last word was that Evangelion 3.0 is currently in the key animation stage and has a tentative release date for sometime in 2012.

New Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt Anime Information

Information on many of the new series airing this fall in Japan have begun to reach the internet in the past weeks and news for Gainax’s upcoming Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is no exception.

The cast list has been announced:

Arisa Ogasawara as Panty
Mariya Ise as Stocking
Hiroyuki Yoshino as Briefs
Kouji Ishii as Garterbelt
Takashi Nakamura as Zipper
 
From ANN.
 
A trailer for the series is being shown at various special events and conventions in Japan to largely positive reviews. Sadly, I haven’t been able to find a video of it online yet.
The most exciting announcement for the series so far though was made at a 10th anniversary party for the FLCL OVA series which is that director Kazuya Tsurumaki will be directing and storyboarding an episode of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.

FLCL Director Kazuya Tsurumaki (Far Left) at the 10th anniversary party

This is awesome news as the director helming Panty & Stocking (Hiroyuki Imaishi) previously worked on Gainax’s Gurren Lagann so the idea of him teaming up again with the FLCL director is totally excellent.
More information (and hopefully the trailer) later.
 
Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt airs this October in Japan.

Japanese FLCL Blu-ray Box

Animation Studio Gainax released their FLCL Blu-ray box set last week in Japan. This limited edition set features all six episodes of the 1999 Original Video Animation series and also includes some new art from character designer Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, such as the box cover above.

The box set is available off of websites such as CD Japan and will set you back $173.61.  Now unlike the Blu-ray release of the most recent Evangelion movie, the FLCL box set includes english subtitles. The collection also includes a number of music videos by The Pillows as well as commentary by director Kazuya Tsurumaki and production footage.

Funimation announced several months ago that it would be re-releasing FLCL here in the United States on DVD as well as Blu-ray. No other information pertaining to the release is available at the moment but hopefully Funimation will be just bringing this new edition of the series stateside and not creating some sort of upscale from the old American DVD’s.

So until the American release by Funimation sometime in the future this Japanese edition is looking pretty great.

There was also a little celebration for the Blu-ray release of FLCL which included a talk with the director as well as a screening of the episodes. I’m including a cool sketch by director Kazuya Tsurumaki that was present at the gathering last week.

Evangelion 2.22 Blu-ray Improvements

This is priceless. This is why we have flat-screen televisions and 1060p Hi-Definition picture quality. For fanservice of the highest animation quality. Evangelion 2.22 hits shelves in Japan this week and pictures are already popping up online of the changes that have been made to the film since it’s inital release to Japanese theaters last June. There are several brand new scens that have been added to the Blu-ray that were not present in the film before but also most of the film has been touched up with added detail or smoother animation.

One excellent example of this is shown in the images above. The top picture is from the new Blu-ray release and the lower image is from the theatrical release. I will leave it to your own eyes to discern the obvious changes that have been made in the scene but I just wanted to comment on how much I appreciate the fine work that directors Hideaki Anno and Kazuya Tsurumaki and the other animators of Studio Khara have put into this work. Hooray for Mari’s butt in Hi-def!

Another poster has been put out for Evangelion 2.22 covering all of the scenes in the film and showing some images of a few of the new scenes that have been added to the work. Shown below are some photographs of the poster taken from a shop in Japan.

The DVD version was leaked online this past sunday with a relatively low-quality release of the film. The fans, including me, subsequently went crazy. This is fun and all but I strongly suggest that fans of the series buy the Japanese release off of Amazon.jp (The Blu-ray is region free and will work on any Blu-ray player including Playstation 3’s) or at the very least pick up the American version of the film when it eventually gets released stateside by Funimation. I will be posting later this week with a more in-depth review of the film.