"Reviews and Information on Japanese Animation Software"
ISSUE 15 4/27/1991
This is the 15th in a series of files of comments and reviews of anime
(Japanese animation) items that we have bought. Please direct all comments
to us by E-mail or post us a message in the Forum. We also welcome any
reviews, artwork, or comments you would like to have included in the next
ANIME STUFF issue. Also please send us any comments about any incorrect
information contained here. A correction will be placed in the next ANIME
The ANIME STUFF Staff...
- Tom Mitchell : Editor, Writer, Graphics, CompuServe & GEnie Distributor
CompuServe Address : 75156,1067
GEnie Address : TOM-M
- Masaki Takai : Writer & BBS System Distributor
CompuServe Address : 75106,3257
- Mike & Janet Naylor : Writers
CompuServe Address : 76074,1631
- Rick Sternbach : Anime Modeler, Writer
CompuServe Address : 74616,526
- Barry Brown : INTERNET Distribu or
INTERNET Address : firstname.lastname@example.org
- Albert Wong : Writer, Index Research
CompuServe Address: 72657,2103
Internet Address: Albertw@chips.com,
Prodigy Address: WJTM10B
Contributing Authors for this Issue:
- Chris Swett
CompuServe Address: 72736,433
- Otto Ilmari Kopra
INTERNET Address: Otto.Kopra@jyu.fi
- Maiko Covington
INTERNET Address: email@example.com
- Wayde Higuchi
CompuServe Adress: 73520,627
Welcome to the latest issue of Anime Stuff. I hope you enjoy it! In the
time between this issue and the last one, I've seen a lot of neat anime.
Much more than I took the time to comment on in this issue. Some of the
latest things that I've enjoyed that I would highly recommend are the new
OAV series Record of Lodoss War, and the new Patlabor TV/OAV series
presented on laserdisc. Both shows are fantastic! I've also finished the
Iczer-3 OAV series, and will be commenting that in the next issue of
anime stuff. (Of course, I also have BGM CDs from all the above to
comment on too!) Also, I must curse staff member Masaki Takai for finaly
making me a fan of Patlabor. I gotta have the entire TV series now.
Thanks _a lot_, Masaki. (^_^)
As far as new anime I'm looking forward to goes, well there are a few
things. The main things I'm really looking forward to are the new
Bubblegum Crush OAV series, the two new and final Kimagure Orange Road
episodes, and the new Southern Cross Laserdisc Box. Not to mention
finding out what's in the new Wing of Honneamise Memorial LD Box too! And
of course, the movie everyone is waiting on is the new Gundam F-91 film.
Since I'm not yet a big follower of Gundam, I might even check it out and
use it as an entry point to start exporing the Gundam series. Hmm.
Anyway, enough rambling. Enjoy the latest issue, and be sure and check
out our new Anime Life section too!
- Tom Mitchell, Publisher.
/////////////////////////////ANIME NEWS FLASH\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
POLYDOR PURCHASE PUTS "CRUSH" ON BUBBLEGUM CRISIS
The release of Bubblegum Crisis 8 marks an early end to the popular OAV
series. That's right, the series which was slated for a run of 13 episodes
total is over. Polydor, which now has the rights to all of Artmic/AIC's
OAV output now has acquired the rights to the series.
Polydor has announced that they will be continuing the Bubblegum Crisis
story but under a new name, "Bubblegum Crush", and probably with new
characters. It will feature a storyline set more than a decade in the
future. Rumor has it that the story will concentrate on a new fight with
Bubblegum Crisis villain Largo as he attempts to take over the world. The
first episode of this newly reworked "BGC" series will be released in
What does this mean for us BGC fans? Well, keep in mind that this is not
the first time that Polydor has sponsored Artmic/AIC OAV series. They now
own the rights to any new Iczer-1 material, and have been producing the
new Iczer-3 OAV series. Also, they have been producing the all the new
Gall Force episodes since Earth Chapter 1. A mixed bag of results to be
sure. Notice that both the Iczer and Gal Force series went through
character and story changes after the rights were passed to Polydor.
I think it's a safe bet that the same thing will happen to BGC. Whether
this is good or bad remains to be seen. I do think one good thing will
come of it; an advancing of the BGC storyline that has been showing little
major progress. Perhaps the story for this new series will become more
than the whack-a-boomer plots we have seen in the last episodes of
It doesn't look as if any of these events will be effecting Bandai's BGC
spin-off series AD POLICE. It seems to be going as strong as ever, as they
have just announced another 3 episodes for it.
Like me, I'm sure many of you have had a lot of fun with Bubblegum
Crisis. It has been a very exciting OAV series since its release in 1987.
I hope that Bubblegum Crush will deliver all the dramatic potential in
slory-line that Bubblegum Crisis seemed reluctant to deliver on a constant
- Tom Mitchell
(NOTE: In the days since I wrote the above news, we have finaly seen
some informateon in the anime magazines that have told us a little of
what BUBBLEGUM CRUSH will be like. The following is some Email posted
to me on Compuserve by Wayde Higuchi...
#: 58266 S5/Japanimation
Sb: #58222-BUBBLEGUM CRUSH Chat
Fm: Wayde Higuchi 73520,627
To: Tom Mitchell 76701,273 (X)
Here's some info I just found in the May 1991 NewType...
Knight Sabers 2034
This is a 3-part series featuring the characters from BubbleGum Crisis
that is set in the year 2034. The ad says "Monster technology running
wild! The Knight Sabers go into action against chaos and corruption in
1 -- "Illegal Army" on sale 05/25/91
VHS: Polydor POVH-2007
LD: Polydor POLH-2007
2 -- "Geo Climbers" on sale 07/25/91
VHS: Polydor POVH-2008
LD: Polydor POLH-2008
3 -- "Meltdown" on sale 09/25/91
VHS: Polydor POVH-2009
LD: Polydor POLH-2009
All VHS: Color, Hi-Fi Stereo, 45 minutes, 9,400 yen
All LD: Color, Digital Stereo, 45 minutes, 9,400 yen
Character designs by Kenichi Sonoda
Guest Characters by Tony Takezaki
Cast is as follows...
Priss: Ryoko Tachikawa (NOT Kinuko Oomori!!!)
Sylia: Ryoko Sakakibara
Linna: Michie Tomizawa
Nene: Akiko Hiramatsu
BubbleGum Crush Soundtrack CDs:
1 -- Polydor POCH-2022 on sale 04/25/91
2 -- Polydor POCH-2023 on sale 06/25/91
3 -- Polydor POCH-2024 on sale 08/25/91
No price was mentioned, but assume that the price is not free
(Probably 3000 yen)
BubbleGum Crush Song Album: "Masquerade 2034"
Polydor POCH-2028 on sale 05/25/91 for 3000 yen
The main cast sing! (I wonder what Ryoko Tachikawa sounds like...)
...This bit of news looks promissing. The important things to note here
are the cost of the videos, as this might imply a high production quality
for the show. Other things to note are the voice actor change for Priss
, and the fast release dates for the videos. BGC fans aren't too used
to having three episodes in a year with release dates listed. The show
also doesn't seem to be based as far into the future as it was first
thought to be. Many of the latest magazines are also starting to show
some pre-production graphics from the show that look very interesting.
Another thing we have learned is that the famous anime studio ARTLAND
will be working on the production with ARTMIC, taking up much of the
slack from AIC. Also, as mentioned in Wayde's message, Tony Takezaki is
working as a guest character designer for the show now. Does this mean
that we will see some of his characters from the BGC spin-off show
AD POLICE entering the scene? - Tom Mitchell)
AMERICAN ANIME FAN PLANS FIRST U.S. FAN PUBLICATION FOR SALE IN JAPAN
(The following is a press release sent to Anime Stuff about an
important project being put together for Ranma 1/2 & anime fans
RANMA IN AMERICA: An American Doujinshi
by Chris Swett
RANMA IN AMERICA is a joint American-Japanese project to
assemble and publish a fan art doujinshi for registration at and sale
through the semi-annual Koaike (Comic Market) convention in Japan. The
finished book will be approximately 120 pages in length and will be
published by a small press publisher who caters to the large Japanese fan
art market. This doujinshi will be the first to incorporate primarily
American art and be offered through the giant Komike convention.
Komike, or Comic Market as it is also known, is a semi- annual
fan art convention with over 100,000 attendees. Each group of comic fans
publishes a book of their art for sale at the convention. Tables of comic
books line up wall-to-wall through four buildings in the convention
center. My Komike 38 Summer '90 catalog lists, well, so many fan comics
that I can't sit here and count them all with any hope of finishing this
article before ANIME STUFF goes to "press". Suffice it to say that there
are thousands of them.
Doujinshi, as alluded to above, are fan comics. The word doujin
means "same people", thus doujinshi incorporate familiar characters
featured by commercial comics and animation. They can contain actual fan
comics, single pieces of art, interviews, fan stories, screenplays,
opinion columns, reviews and anything else the editors want. Judging
from the covers, some five to ten percent are erotic in nature, which is
hardly unusual. Most of the doujinshi I've seen are parodies of one type
RANMA IN AMERICA is being assembled by Yoshitaka Ishigami
(74110,firstname.lastname@example.org) and myself (72736,email@example.com). The
choice of Ranma 1/2 for the subject of this effort was my idea, which
Yoshitaka quickly endorsed with his support and the suggestion to
approach Komike. Ranma has a storyline with endless possibilities and a
broad base of appeal, both in America and in Japan. As o this writing
wely have signed up nine artists, three writers and a computer graphics
assistant. Several of these, including myself, are professionals in the
field in which they are contributing.
But why would a book full of American art be of interest in
Japan? The novelty of it, I suppose. Yoshitaka is doing the English to
Japanese translations and I am doing all the English editing. Japanese
comic editors roam freely through the convention, picking up comics of
interest and looking up the artists. One of Ken'ichi Sonada's fan comics
got him his first professional job in the industry. It is our hope that
RANMA IN AMERICA will grab a lot of attention when it appears in the
catalog and we're making sure it will be understandable to fans on both
sides of the Pacific.
Would you be interested in participating in this project? We,
the editors, are accepting submissions. We're looking for fan comics,
art, illustrated stories and parodies for inclusion in the book. Art and
stories need to be within the subject area, namely Ranma 1/2, but there
is a lot of leeway when it comes to parody. We're not looking for erotic
art, as there are enough of those books at Komike already. Still, that
leaves a very large area open.
Yoshitaka will arrive at my doorstep on 24 May 1991 and will
look at what I've collected. We will make some of our decisions at that
time, most importantly, how long the book will be. While the goal is 120
pages, we will make every effort to publish every page we receive that's
worthy of the effort. In the event we receive less than we anticipate, we
may extend the deadline. That isn't in the plan at this point, though.
If you are interested in making a submission to RANMA IN
AMERICA, please contact me, Chris Swett, at CompuServe 72736,433 or send
your submission to me at 470 Spencer St., Apt. 2, Monterey, CA 93940,
preferably before 20 May 1991. All participants will have the opportunity
to receive a copy of the finished book. We will give them to the
principle contributors free of charge and will reserve copies for all
other contributors at cost (we intend to sell the books at break-even
prices at Komike). In the event we fill the book with only a dozen or so
contributors, we'll give everyone a copy.
All contributors should also include a short biography to be
published with the art. We anticipate there will be some interest in the
phenomena of American anime fandom and those promoting it.
Please give this announcement the widest dissemination. I hope
to hear from you other Ranma fans across America!
- Chris Swett
/////////////////////////////GIF GRAPHICS NOTE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Due to last minute technical problems, there are no GIF graphics
presented with this issue. Instead of holding the issue back from its
announced release date, the graphics will not be added to this issue
of Anime Stuff.
/////////////////////////////AN ANIME GLOSSARY\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
ANIME STUFF'S ANIME GLOSSARY OF TERMS FOR BEGINNING FANS
Here is something I've been meaning to do for a long time; a glossary of
common anime terms for new anime fans. Just about any hobby has its own
vernacular with which participants express themselves. Sort of a verbal
shorthand that's used to convey meaning quickly. Well, our anime hobby is
full of some really odd terms and acronyms that may confuse those who are
new to the hobby.
So, as a service to our new readers, I'm going to list all the odd anime
terms I can think of and try do clearly define them. If any of you can
think of any more, please notify me, and I'll see that they are included
in the next issue of Anime Stuff. Here we go...Uh...let's see...
ANIME : Adopted from French, the Japanese term used for their animation
and to refer to their animation industry and the hobby in general. Even
among English speaking fans, the term "anime" is used rather than saying
"animation" when referring to Japanese animation, because it is so
radically different in style, content, and tradition compared to animation
in the rest of the world.
MANGA : Basically the Japanese version of illustrated comic books. But
story coverage and subject matter is far wider than anything Americans are
used to. So is the audience for it. Japanese comics are traditionally
black and white, and the art is more abstract and cinematic. The majority
of anime films start out as popular manga stories.
BGM : An acronym for "BackGround Music" which is basically the Japanese
equivalent to our own term "Original Soundtrack Music" to describe music
created for films, TV shows, etc.
IMAGE ALBUM/IMAGE MUSIC : Original music created te capture the theme or
feeling of another related work. Basically this is music created by an
artist to try an capture the mood of a manga story or additional themes
similar to those created for a movie or soundtrack. This is not to be
MOOK : A publication that blends the permanence and page count of a book
with the splashy layout of a magazine to become a cross between the two. A
term used a lot for anime artbooks that contain character designs ,
paintings, and other original art from an anime.
OAV/OVA : "Original Anime Video" or "Original Video Anime". Both
acronyms are commonly used. They refer to anime that is created for the
home video market only. These films appear and are sold only video tape
and video disc. Although, there have been some appearances at previews of
OAVs on theater screens to introduce them to fans.
BGC : The acronym used by fans of the OAV series BUBBLEGUM CRISIS. Soon
to have its named changed to Bubblegum Crush. But, obviously, the acronym
will remain the same.
UY: Acronym used by the fans of the TV show Urusei Yatsura.
IDOL SINGER : Typically a cute young female singing pop star or idol.
Known for good looks, sometimes bad voices, and very short careers. Many
are used to sing the songs for anime films. Very few have turned into long
term singing talent.
CHARACTER DESIGNER : An illustrator, who's art typically has a certain
look or style, that is hired to design the characters in an anime film.
Some are manga artist, others are also animators. And some are just famous
illustrators who have never drawn any manga or done any animation on their
MECHA DESIGNER : A person or group of folks, who design all the
hardware and vehicals, etc. in an anime film. There are also artists who
specialize in MONSTER DESIGN too.
ART BOOK : The "coffee table book" of the anime world. Typically a large
sumptuously printed book featuring drawings, paintings, character designs,
mecha designs, artist profiles, etc. from a particular anime. Lately there
has been a trend to produce books highlighting particular anime artists
and their work over their entire careers.
That's all I could think of right now off the top of my head. If you can
think of any more, please send them to me!
- Tom Mitchell
Welcome to ANIME LIFE! It is our goal in this section to present Anime
Stuff readers with articles and interviews about people who in some way
make the world of Japanese anime or related fields part of their
The first edition of our ANIME LIFE series features an article by a
Japanese-American student named Miako Covington. Maiko is now going to
school in California, and has access to the INTERNET computer system.
It is on that system that she noticed the large group of anime fans there
and decided to write an article for them explaining the daily life of a
Japanese school student. Since so many Japanese anime shows and manga
stories focus in fiction on the life of Japanese students, Maiko said
that by writing these articles, she hopes to present us anime fans with
a view of what life is really like in school in Japan.
I know that for an American anime fan like me, this article confirmed
many of things that were presented to us in such high-school based anime
stories as Urusei Yatsura and Kimagure Orange Road. It is refreshing to
know that many of these shows draw their backgrounds from the realities
of actual Japanese school life. (With some fantastic events mixed in, of
I think all of our readers will find these articles as entertaining and
informative as I did! Thank you so much for your effort, Maiko! And thank
you for giving us permission to re-publish your articles here.
(And a special thanks to Otto Ilmari Kopra for bringing Maiko's articles
to my attention.)
- Tom Mitchell
JAPANESE HIGH SCHOOL LIFE - PART 1
by Maiko Covington
Hello, everybody. I have decided to write a little bit about
what life in Japanese school (well, junior and senior high school) is
like, from the inside. For people reading on rec.arts.anime, I realize
that this subject really has nothing to do with anfme, but since many of
the anime have high sthool kids as characters and show scenes of school
life, I thought you might like to see it. Please be warned that I have no
training in sociology or anything like that - I am just writing about my
Perhaps the major difference between Japanese and American high
school (and middle school as well) is that whereas in USA schools the
students change classes, in Japan you stay in one class all day long (or
at least most of the day) and instead the teachers move around from class
to class. So, you are with the same people all day long. People in your
class form a sort of group, and you can get really close to them. Of
course, if you happen not to like your classmates, you are stuck, for
often your class will be more or less the same people for all 3 years.
Just about everyone in my class had a certain nickname, to be used only by
your classmates. I was Mai-chan (kinda ordinary). Some of the ones we had
were "Mossan" (Kuramoti Keiko) "Yuasa-si" (Yuasa Reiko), and perhaps the
strangest, "Demo-sa". See, this one kid Miyuki would always butt in on
people's conversations with "demosa, demosaaa..." so she came to be called
"Demo-sa". Apparently there were no hard feeling, though. Anyway...
because you don't change classes, you keep your books right inside your
desk. The desks are usually a separate desk and a chair, and the desk is
hollow to put your books inside. There are lockers in the back of the
room, but they don't have locks on them. It's mostly for you to keep your
P.E. stuff in. Seating chart was always a big deal, because of course
everybody wants to sit next to their closest friend, right? In my
experience we would change the seating chart every couple of months, and
this was usually done by picking numbers out of a box or some such method
so no one could complain that it was unfair. It really was a big thing,
though - the class president would take charge of it and everything.
I suppose I should explain to you how the classes are divided
and such. There are 3 grades of middle school and 3 grades of high
school. Each grade is divided into classes of about 45 to 50 people each,
on the basis of ability and also depending on what classes you are taking.
Most of the classes you don't get to choose for yourself, but there are a
few choices like whether to take Japanese or World history, and they try
to keep the people who made the same choice in the same room, to
facilitate the system I described earlier. Each grade has officers on the
student council, and then each class has officers too. It was the latter
I meant when talking about the seating chart thing. Some of the offices
change every year, others change every quarter (most schools are on the
"sangakkisei"). Each class has a number, always it's the grade number
followed either by a number or a letter to distinguish the classes. At my
middle school we used letters (like 3-A) and at my high school we used
numbers (I was in 2-1). These are read "san nen A kumi" and "ni nen ni
kumi" respectively. Each person in a class also has a "syusseki bangou"
or "attendance number" based on where your name comes in alphabetical
order. I was usually near the end, because my last name is written in
katakana and they would say that must come after all of the kanji. I
thought was kinda rude, myself. I was 3145 (san nen iti kumi 45 ban).
Oops, I just noticed the example I gave before should be "iti kumi" too.
Uniforms... all public schools in Japan wear uniforms, I think.
These come in several basic varieties: for boys, it is usually the black
pants and jacket with gold button down the front (oops) and a white shirt
inside, or sometimes it is a sort of suit like thing. For girls, it is a
"kon" (a kind of dark blue) or gray skirt, with either a sailor top or a
white shirt and matching vest. These vary in detail from school to school,
and so you can tell what school people you meet on the street go to. Of
course, people try to alter their uniforms a lot. Depending on who you
hang around with, it was cool to either make your skirt really long or
really short. For tough guys (or those who thought they were) the in thing
was to make the black uniform pants really big, and the jacket long with a
super high collar (at least in my area, anyway). Also people do stuff
like wearing cute socks with pictures on it instead of white ones, wearing
white shirts of a pattern different from the school one, wearing cool
sneakers, etc. etc. Also people put their hair up in ways you aren't
supposed to; they wear bright hair ribbons, and put all sorts of keychains
on their school bags. The more daring girls might dye their hair, or perm
it. I must say that I got away with perming my hair, because people just
assumed it was natural, ha ha. One girl in my high school class was
forced to go to the barber and have her hair dyed back black after dying
it reddish-brown. Some people also experiment with cosmetics. There is no
way Ranma could get away with wearing that martial arts suit if he went to
a normal school! They would most likely shave his head in the principal's
office (they do in #12, don't they?).
THE SUBJECTS WE STUDY
In Japanese school, most of the classes you take are not of your
own choice. Everyone is pretty much expected to take the same classes,
and these are nationally standardized. The exceptions to this rule are:
(1) In high school students are generally split into two groups - those
planning on studying math and science in university (or if not going to
university, planning to get a job related with these fields), and those
similarly interested in the humanities. The two groups are not split
until the last year or so of high school, when the sciences group takes
more science classes,and the humanities group is expected to take more
Japanese, ancient Japanese, and writing classes instead. (2) There are a
few classes which are designated as electives, and you get to pick those
from grade one. Among these choices are: whether to take Japanese history
or world history, whether to take calligraphy, art, or music for the "arts" requirement. (3) In the third year of high school you get to pick a
few of your classes. This partially ties in with (1). For instance, after
you have taken biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science, the science
stream students get to pick which science they would like to spend their
last year studying. Similarly, the humanities people (or really anyone, I
suppose) can choose to take either advanced Chinese ancient poetry or
advanced ancient Japanese writings. Note that students are divided into
classes partly on the basis of these choices, as I mentioned in part I. In
middle school, you do not get to choose your classes.
The subjects we take in high school are pretty much as follows:
Modern Japanese, Ancient Japanese (and ancient Chinese poetry like the
Rongo by Kousi <= Lun4 Yu3>), history (either world history or Japanese
history), ethics, writing, math, physics, earth science, chemistry,
biology, home economics (where you learn all about nutrition - ew..),
P.E(this is required all 3 years), health, art, English, English
composition, English reading, government/economics, and maybe that is
about it. Of course we don't take these all at the same time. Generally
you take from between ten to fourteen classes at one time. This sounds
horrendous, but keep in mind that up to 3 of them are P.E. and you are
also taking art, health, and home economics, which aren't too taxing.
Also - perhaps this is the most important part - you don't have all of
your classes every day. The schedule rotates throughout the week, and in
every classroom you enter you will find a schedule taped to the wall, in
most cases decorated with cute little drawing of anime characters.
Because of this, even though Japanese school is six days a week (Saturday
is a half day, though) and summer vacation is shorter, the actual ammount
of time you spend in any one class probably is not much different from the
time you spend on it in the United States. (All those people writing the
newspaper articles on how much more time the Japanese spend studying their
subjects in school don't know what they are talking about.)
About the level of the classes - high school is not required
education (that's why you have to take an exam to get in), so different
high schools have different levels. The public schools are at a quite
high level, and then there are private schools at levels both above and
below this. Basically though, everyone is required to take math for 4
years, and so like when I came here I got to go directly into Math 2C. I
really don't know about the level of American school, but... When they do
all those comparisons between American and Japanese public schools and say
how their kids do so much better than American ones, though, often they
forget that the Japanese public schools do not necessarily reflect the
average students. The level of most school is pretty high, though. They
just expect everyone to study hard, and if you don't, you just don't
graduate. Tuat is that.
This is probably of interest to the anime fans, as it is a scene
shown often enough in high school anime. Basically, there are changing
rooms, and you have to wear a uniform for P.E. There are 2: For girls,
you wear some sort of white shirt with your name sewn on, and then (eww..
I hate these) these little pants called "bloomers". What they are are
thick polyester/cotton briefs that might as well be underwear for their
size. They are in a contrasting color (mine were dark blue). Then, you
wear your school socks and school-bought gym shoes. The boys dress pretty
much the same except they get to wear regular shorts. Both boys and girls
wear warm up suits when it gets cold, again with your name on it. One
thing peculiar to Japan I think is the hatimaki. This is a
ribbon/headband that you tie around your head (like those ones you see in
hoky ninja movies that say "Banzai" on 'em). These are plain, though. One
side is red and the other is white. This is so when you split up into
teams, the two teams can tie their hatimaki opposite so you can tell them
Two other things I forgot to mention that have some bearing
here: (1) In Japan you don't get to decide whether to wear the summer
uniform or winter one just by if you are cold or not. Oh, no. There is a
day called "koromo-gae" (changing of the clothes) where everyone in Japan
changes from winter to summer uniform or vice versa. The days are in
October and June, and on that day EVERYONE changes uniform on the same
day. If you just changed to winter uniform and then it gets really hot in
late October for some reason, too bad. We used to not like changing to
summer uniform in P.E. 'cause it meant you had to wear those bloomers. No
matter how thin you are, those bloomers will make you look like you have
thunder thighs. (2) When you enter school building in Japan, you have to
change your shoes, just like when you enter a house. At the front
entrance to the school is a HUGE genkan with rows upon rows of little
cubbies. You go to your cubby and switch your outside sneakers for
"uwabaki" or "inside shoes", which are bought at school and generally are
some form of slip on soft-soled sneaker. Often (as in my school) different
grades are distinguished by different color rubber toes or stripes on the
uwabaki. The background color is always white. (Mine were white with blue
rubber toes.) Well, these shoes are different from the gym shoes,but some
people would wear their gym shoes to class and their uwabaki to gym, which
could get you in trouble for being out of uniform, but everyone did it
anyway. (P.E. you have gym shoes for the gym, and more for outside ne.)
Also everybody used to draw all over their uwabaki (they're cotton) with
magic markers, and write their name on it.
THE INSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM
The inside of the cmassroom is basically the same layout no
matter which school you go to. In the front of the room is a blackboard
(usually black), desks are lined up in rows facing the blackboard, and
there are windows one one side of the room and the sliding doors to the
hallway on the other side. In front of the blackboard is a raised part of
the floor (or else a low wooden platform) where the teacher stands to
lecture. The teacher would also have a small table or podium to keep his
stuff. Teachers too have to change their shoes but they get to wear
slippers of any kind they want. In the back of the room are the
unlockable lockers, which I mentioned in part I, and there might be hooks
for umbrellas or coats or some such. What really makes the room
different, though, is the fact that since students don't change rooms and
are in the same classroom all day long (see part I) the room is full of
stuff owned by the students like bags, games, etc. and the walls are
covered with student-made props and posters for events and such. It is
really kinda personalized. We had the potters we made for bunkasai (I
will write about that later) and also other stuff, plus the schedule. In
every room is also a small bulletin board where is posted "kongetu no
mokuhyou" ( this month's goal). Also every room has a closet full of
cleaning supplies. A lot of people bring zabuton and tie it to their
chair. Some people just sit on the padded hoods we make in case of an
earthquake (interesting note: these hoods are the same kind they had in
World War II in case of an air raid). I did this. Basically though, when
you go into a room or look at people's desk it is really personalized; you
can tell who occupies it.
First I would like to talk about daily "events" - they aren't
really events per se, but just things that happen everyday as a routine.
The first of these would be the "tyourei" or "morning meeting". I am sure
many of you have seen this on the news or somewhere as it applies to
Japanese companies. Well, we have the same sort of thing at school.
Basically what it is everybody lines up by class in the gym or outside on
the school ground (depending on what school you go to) and listen to the
principal make a very longsmonotonous speech. The speeches my principal
would make usually had to do with nature (this is typically Japanese) and
he would related that to studying. Perhaps, "The plum blossoms are
blooming (that was my school mascot) and we must let the spirit of
studying bloom in our hearts before finals.." or some such thing like
this. Most people would be silently laughing and/or wishing the thing
would hurry up and end. The reason we hated tyourei is that you are
supposed to stand perfectly still and at attention the whole time - you
aren't supposed to talk or scratch your nose or anything. Mostly what
people did was to try and sneak to the back of the line to be with
friends, and talk out the sides of their mouths so that noone could see.
If there was a message from the student council it would be read at this
morning meeting, and if there were new school rules or if the principal
decided to either award awards or scold people he would do it at this
time. We also had to bow in unison - this is about 500 to 600 people,
mind you - to each person that came up, and if we didn't do it
satisfactory we would have to do it all again. At the end of the whole
thing, they would play this awful marching music and we would march back
up to the classroom. Eww.. I especially hated it because I could never
sneak to the back. See, I have brown hair, and the speaker would notice,
'a! the brown head is not in her place in line!'. Sometimes my friends
would come up and join me, though.
P.E CLASS - WHAT I FORGOT TO SAY
Oops, it appears that I left out a very important piece of
information in article #2. At Japanese school, boys and girls do not
generally take P.E. together - the class is split up. Most often the two
classes will take place simultaneously, even using 2 halves of the same
gym. (Note: some scenes in Ranma 1/2 show this.) The sports we do the
most in P.E. are volleyball and basketball, hands down. Some other sports
include aerobic-type dancing and running. Before every class, we have to
do "rajio taisoo". This is doing exercises to this certain theme song.
Why is it called rajio taisoo? Because the theme is broadcast on NHK
radio every morning at 6:00 (or at least it used to be) so that early
risers can join in at home. The rajio taisoo are often shown on American
media broadcasts whenever they show Japanese companies. Practically
everyone has to do radio taisoo - companies do it, construction workers do
it on the site, you name it. In the summer when you're in elementary
school, you are supposed to wake up and go to the neighborhood rendition
of it every morning at either 7 or 8 AM. You get a card marked off by the
leader, and that is part of your summer homework (note: this was shown in
one of the "Chibi Maruko" episodes). Anyway.. One girl (or guy, depending
on what half you are in) is chosen to lead the exercises every day. After
you are done with the exercises, the teacher comes over and yells
"syuugo!" (come together!). Then, you line up by number in front of the
teacher, and you do the whole bowing thing (I will explain this later),
and then the teacher will (1) yell at anyone who has something wrong with
their uniform (this includes not having your hatimaki on, or having the
wrong kind of shoes) and (2) explain just what it is we will be doing that
day. After all of this, you go to get the equipment out of the equipment
shed. Sometimes the teacher will make you run laps around the gym.
Once each quarter (gakki) we have fitness tests. They include
running, jumping, flexibility, and endurance, etc. You have to get the
teacher to write your scores in a little book. On another note, we get
school physicals every quarter too.
The teacher for P.E. can be man or woman, no matter whether you
are boys class or girls class.
Remember I told you about those bloomers? Well, some people
would keep their gym pants on in the summer until the very minute the
teacher would come, and then they would yank them off at the last second.
Also, we have to put all of the equipment away at the end of the class.
When it rains and you were supposed to be doing something outside, we
would get to play ping pong. Worst days though were the skills tests,
where they check if you can spike the ball right, etc. I never can serve
overhand volleyball well...
Now I will tell you about some more events. First are some
events that happen everyday. Actually, they aren't really "events" per
se, but just fixed routine that happens every day.
First - I will now explain about the bowing thing. See, I told
you about how the teachers change classes, right? Well, whenever the
teacher comes into your class to begin class, you are supposed to bow to
him. This is a fixed thing. See, there is one person who always is
supposed to lead the bowing (often this is the class president). He or
she will first say, "Kiritu!" (stand up!) and everyone stands. Then
he/she says, "Ki wo tuke!" which is the signal for you to be standing at
attention with nothing in your hand and you can't be talking. Finally,
the leader will say, "Rei!" (bow!) and we must all bow. You are supposed
to do it all together and neatly - you know what I mean, with straight
back and everythi g - and quietly. If the teacher doesn't like the way
you do it, he will (or she will) make the class do it over again. Then
you either sit back down, or in some schools the leader will say,
"Tyakuseki!" (sit down!) and only then do you sit. Anyway, if the teacher
is someone who is we l liked, the class will bow nicely, but if they don't
like, they will just do it really sloppy, just sort of nodding their
heads. So, it is mostly the teacher who nobody likes and who is really
insecure who has you do it over. One more thing - we had to practice
bowing as a unit (the whole third grade) in the gym before our graduation.
I remember that I hated it. The kyoutou (head teacher) kept going on and
on about how you are supposed to go down for "1,2,3,4" and then come up on
"5,6,7,8" and I was just thinking how this can get really ridiculous...
You have to bow at the end of class too, but the leader doesn't
usually lead us at the end, we just all do it.
Second thing - in between classes. There is ten minutes in
between classes, and since for most classes we don't change room, that
means ten minutes of people rooting around in their desks for the books
they need for the next class, and hanging around their friends seats, and
talking, fixing their hair, and whipping out magazines, playing games,
reading manga, hanging out the window to yell at people in the other
classes, going to other classes to visit people or pass notes, erasing the
board (we have to do that) and in general just messing around. This is
the scene most often seen in the anime and manga when they show classroom
scene. If the next class is P.E. we have to go and change, though. About
fixing hair - girls generally have to wear their hair in either ponytails
or osage (braids) unless they have short hair (most people in 88 had long
hair). The hair is put up with Japanese hair rubber bands. If you have
seen these you know it, if not, well, it's like thread covered rubber
band, and you cut your own and tie it to get the size you want. At school
you are supposed to wear black one. Anyway, people with nothing to do
(girls) would just spend endless time fixing their hair in all these wierd
hairstyles, or else just redoing theri (oops) hair back in the same style,
over and over again. Japanese hair doesn't take on bumps and stuff from
being put up so easily, so this was possible. Most girls I know would
carry lots of extra hair things wound around their brush so that they
could do this. People would also carry ribbon etc to put on on their way
Hmm.. I guess the next thing is lunch. You eat your lunch in
the classroom. Some schools have a school lunch you can buy, others
don't. At my school everyone brought "obentoo" which is packed rice lunch
in little cute plastic boxes. You also have little cute plastic
chopsticks with pictures on it (all this is called 'character syouhin')
and it is all put in a cute bag or wrapped in a cute hurosiki of some
sort. Oh how cute. A note on Japanese cuisine - the appearance of the
food is almost as important as the food itself. With bentoo, this means
you want lots of foods of different color. Just about everyone had rice
with a umebosi (pickled red plum) for part of their lunch. People would
go around commenting on other people's bentoo. Some girls would make
bentou for the boys they like. You can also at my school order bread and
cake at the beginning of the day. You would put money in a bag which had
an order form printed on it, and someone would deliver the bag to the
bread people. At lunch the same person would go and pick up all the
stuff, and what you ordered would be in the bag. Let's see.. we had
'yakisoba pan' (bread with yakisoba in it), 'kare- pan'(bread with curry
in it), 'meror pan' (bread with melon in it) and a few others. There was
also sponge cake and strangely enough, spaghetti, which you had to eat
with chopsticks. All you Ranma fans will remember Ranma telling about the
fight with Ryouga over this breads at his old school. See, all the ones
not ordered up would go on sale at lunch for first come first serve. Our
school also had a tiny room with vending machines which sold "juice",
which in Japan means not only juice as America thinks of it but also all
sorts of carbonated beverages. One more machine in there sold tea in
cans, and another milk and soup in cans. Just about everyone wanted to
drink "juice" for lunch, so as soon as the bell rang there would be a mad
dash for the little room, and it would get positively PACKED with people.
Back in the room, everyone would move the desks in the room
around into little tables. You would sit at a table like this with your
group of friends. Every day the same tables would be set up at the same
positions, and the same people would sit at the same groups. At this time
people would spread out their cute lunch and eat, but also it was a bigger
version of what happens in between classes. People would visit other
rooms (but you always ate with your class, others are sorta "outsiders".),
read magazines and manga, talk about what was on TV and listen to
walkmans, fix their hair, play board games and other games, draw on the
board, and make plans for after school or the weekend. Some people when
they were done eating would go to the gym to cram in a game of volleyball.
We had 45 minutes for lunch. I think lunch is shown in anime too, I know
it comes up a lot in manga. As soon as the ending lunch bell rings,
everyone hurriedly pushes the desks back to the way before, and washes up
and puts their stuff away, and it is back to class. There is no recess or
breaks; the in between class 10 minutes and the lunch is enough. Right
after lunch is always hard to stay awake, though.
When classes are over, another routine takes place - souzi
touban. Classes are split into several han, or groups, and always one
group has to stay behind to do the souzi, or cleaning. The groups rotate
- each week is a different group's turn to do the cleaning. What you do
is move all the desks around and mop the floor, wash the blackboards,
empty the trash and wipe the windows and lockers. Every quarter or so we
have a "o-souzi" or "big cleaning". Then we really have to wash
everything - desks and chairs, lockers, etc. Worst one is every couple of
months or so we have to do (oh no!!) "toire souzi" (toilet cleaning).
This one rotates between different classes, even. It is icky - you have
to wash the actual toilets, which are set into the ground (traditional
kine) and some people aren't too accurate when they use it if you know
what I mean. You also have to empty the trash and clean the mirrors,
sinks and floor too. One thing about souzi - people try to skip it. They
sneak out before anyone notices they've gone.
One other thing that happens after classes are over - the person
whose turn it was to do it has to fill out the "gakkyuu nissi" or "school
This says what you did that day in all of your classes. Then they turn
it in to the "syokuinsitu" (faculty room). Then everyone leaves the school
to go home eventually. Most people go out shopping with their friends on
the way home, in the train station or whatever.
Thank you for reading this whole long thing.
- Maiko Covington
(A second article about Japanese school life by Maiko will be featured
in the ANIME LIFE section in ANIME STUFF 16.)
SONY SPECIAL PRICE EDITIONS ON LASERDISC:
VAMPIRE HUNTER D (CSLW 1268, 4,900 YEN)
GALL FORCE - ETERNAL STORY (CLSW 1265, 4,900 YEN)
It is fortunate for us US based anime fans that despite the rising cost
of the Yen, the prices for Japanese laserdiscs and compact discs are
starting to drop. The cost of Japanese video and audio software has aways
been as much as 20% to 30% higher than other world markets due to all
Japanese software companies using uniform pricing standards. But this
pricing monopoly is now being busted up by softactually sell rather than rent software to consumers.
Sony Video Software has just re-introduced some of their older classic
anime titles on laserdisc with new pressings and almost 50% reductions in
price. Obviously, anime fans are not quite yet used to such treatment,
and soon rumors were flying about the content of these discs being
shorter than the original pressings. Well, I always like to keep my
laserdisc collection up to date with current pressings of my favorite
films in order to take advantage of new and better features and quality
control. So, I thought I would check out the new Sony discs and see if
they happened to be better than the old pressings, and especially to
confirm the rumors that the content of the discs have been edited.
The discs I got were the new pressings of VAMPIRE HUNTER D and GALL FORCE
- ETERNAL STORY. I have the older pressings of these discs as well, so I
am able to compare the two side by side. And the results? Well, to squish
the rumors, there is nothing cut from the new pressings of either disc
title. In terms of running time, they are the same. Even the new ETERNAL
STORY pressing still includes the special live video at the end.
The running times listed on the new and old disc jackets are both wrong
about the running times of the discs themselves. I'm sure that the
incorect running times listed on both versions of the discs' jackets were
the source of the editing rumors. Here are the running times for the new
and old pressings of the discs:
ORIGINAL VAMPIRE HUNTER D LASERDISC:
SIDE A: 32.04 MINUTES
SIDE B: 48.40 MINUTES
SIDE A: SAME
SIDE B: SAME
ORIGINAL PRESSING OF GALL FORCE - ETERNAL STORY LASERDISC:
SIDE A: 49.23
SIDE B: 50.42
SIDE A: 49.28
SIDE B: 50.48
As you can see, the running times on the Vampire D discs are exactly the
same. But on the other hand, the running times on the Gall Force discs
are different. Why? Well, the new Vampire Hunter D disc was pressed from
the same master as the original disc. But the Gall Force disc was pressed
from a new master because this time the new disc has had digital sound
added to it. So either the person mastering the disc let the clock run a
little longer before the breaks in the sides, or perhaps the addition of
the digital sound took more space on the disc. (If that's technically
Now there are advantages to owning the new versions of the discs, even
though the content of the discs are the same. First of all, the original
discs were pressed in 1985-86. The prime era for the "laser rot" problem.
(Called "Snow-noise" in Japan, by the way.) I did have a Vampire Hunter D
disc rot on me. The new pressings of the disc will avoid the rot problem
thanks to improved manufacturing techniques.
Avoiding the laser rot problem and the lower price is the main reason for
owning the new Vampire Hunter D disc. Other than that, the video and
sound quality of the new disc is _exactly_ the same as the old. It's a
very good looking and sounding disc of a great movie.
The Gall Force disc is a different story. Of course, the price and rot
problems have also been dealt with here too. The main reason in my
opinion for getting the new disc is that it has been remastered with
digital sound. The sound of the original disc was top-notch for an analog
recording. Having the extra dynamic range of digital sound is more icing
on the cake! And for a spectacular movie like Gall Force - Eternal Story,
this is a welcome feature. It's too bad that the same digital sound
treatment was not given to the Vampire Hunter D disc, as it desurves it
even as much or more than the Gall Force film does.
There are also some packaging changes on these discs. The discs sport new
covers with improved artwork. The new Gall Force disc has a cleaner
cover with a white border and pen and watercolor artwork of the cast. The
old disc had a black cover with a cell painting of the same illustration
that did not look quite as sharp. The new Vampire Hunter D disc jacket
looks nicer as well with the black borders gone, and a more detailed
blow-up of the Amano painting featured on the original disc. The only
drawback to the new packaging is that the new discs don't feature the
paper liner-note inserts that the original discs did. This was nice on the
Gall Force disa because the liner-note sheet listed the chapter-stops for
Even without the discounted prices, these discs would still be a better
value than the old versions. I highly recommend them, and I commend Sony
for taking the time and effort to offer fans such great value rather than
just re-pressing the old versions of these discs.
- Tom Mitchell
GALL FORCE : EARTH CHAPTER II ON LASERDISC (POLYDOR, WOOL-5006, Y9200,
The story opens with a flashback of Earth Chapter I...the Earth forces
receiving supplies from orbit, the MME Sandy and friends at the
church...the humans plan to activate some unused missile silos, the "big
This information is also being reviewed by the Mars Defence Force (MDF).
They have created a plan that will deal with the MME, once and for all...
Back on Earth, the humans are busy with their latest toward the main MME
base. As the battle continues, the MME devise a plan to kidnap one of the
human defenders...Sandy Neuman!
Back on Mars, the MDF's plan is to use their latest weapon, the Plasma
Shooter, to destroy the MME leader from orbit. Unfortunately, this would
result in the death of the remain humans on Earth. An MDF officer,
Lamidia Mckenzie, doesn't want to see this happen.
Orbiting Mars, the Plasma Shooter begins full power testing. It's
target...a small asteroid. The Plasma Shooter fires and the asteroid is
obliterated. The Plasma Shooter heads to Earth.
Lamidia is unable to persuade the MDF to reconsider it's plan to destroy
the MME with the Plasma Shooter. Melody, (who escaped from Earth in Rhea
Gallforce), is distraught when she learns of the plan.
Lamidia takes it upon herself to try to stop the Plasma Shooter. With
the help of Catty, she manages to hijack a shuttle. The MDF dispatch
fighters to stop her. With some fancy maneuvers, Lamidia manages to elude
the fighters. The shuttle hurries to Earth.
Back on Earth, Sandy and friends are busy with the offensive against the
MME. The MME detect that Sandy Neuman is in the area and put their plan
into action. Her friends try valiantly to stop the kidnapping, but they
are unable to stop the MME.
The MME introduces himself and tells Sandy the MDF's plan to fry the
Earth with the Plasma Shooter. He also explains how Sandy will have a
part in the destruction of the Plasma Shooter.
In orbit, Lamidia interposes her ship between the Plasma Shooter and
Earth. Unknown, to both of them, the MME have place several defensive
satellites into Earth's orbit. Because of Lamidia's actions, the MME
manage to knock the Plasma Shooter off target. The crew franticly tries
to re-align the ship as more MME satellite approach. Soon, all the MME
satellites reach firing positions and destroy the Plasma Shooter. Sandy,
who sees all of this, can't do a thing to stop the attack.
After the dust settles, Lamidia docks with the remaiShooter and rescues the crew before the Plasma Shooter blows up. They
return to Mars.
Meanwhile, and manage to find location. She finds Sandy "imbedded" in a
special MME . The attacks and cannot fire back in fear of hitting Sandy.
Skore is saved at the last minute by Nortone. And with that, they rescue
After everything cools down, Sandy talks about her experiences being
stuck with the MME, the MDF's plan to fry the Earth. They are interrupted
by three from the MDF. Evidently, the MDF, as a backup plan, decided to
help the Earth forces fight the MME.
As a whole, I thought this installment was done better than the first
one. The animation was consistently done. There were no more "one frame
per second" special effects prevalent in the first installment. Many fans
were disappointed by the cheapness of the effect. With all the new
weapons available to the humans, the next installment should go out with a
bang! (grin) For you technical types, the disc is 45 minutes, CLV, with
- Albert Wong
THE P-SERIES PATLABOR OAVS:
VAP is now releasing new Patlabor OAVs that pick up where the TV series
for Patlabor left off. The new OAVs are being released in two formats:
the S-version which includes just the newly released OAVs and the
P-version which consists of the new OAV plus 3 episodes of the TV series.
In other words, for those of us who live in the States and haven't seen
the Patlabor TV series, it's a great way to collect the TV series as
There may be some of you who started with the old Patlabor OAV series
and found it a little slow-paced. The TV series and the new OAV series
are much more fast-paced, due to the requirements of a TV series. Each
episode has some action in it for you mecha fans. Also, the storyline
begins anew with the TV series so even if you weren't watching the
original OAV series, it doesn't make a difference.
The storyline revolves around a girl, Noa Izumi, who's dreamt all of her
life of becoming a labor (the human-operated robots common in all Japanese
anime shows) operator in Tokyo of the near-future. Not just a labor
operator, a police labor operator. Luckily, just as she transfers in, the
Special Vehicle Section II, 2nd platoon gets their new labors, the
Shinohara 98-AV Ingram which boasts the highest mobility of any labor to
date. The story revolves around the actions of the 2nd Platoon and Noa's
attachment to her labor, "Alphonse".
While the dialogue may be a bit wordy at times, the storyline still
should be fairly clear throughout the series. And although the OAVs may
not make any sense at the start (since they continue where the TV series
left off), as you progress in the series, you'll probably be able to go
back and make more sense out of them.
Overall, a highly recommended TV/OAV series to collect!
- Masaki Takai
CYBER CITY OEDO VOL. 1
This is a new series, started up by the same studio that has done
SUPERNATURAL BEAST CITY, DEMON CITY: SHINJUKU, and the MIDNIGHT EYE GOKU
series. Done in the cyberpunk style, it is a fast-paced well animated
series that should appeal to any science fiction fan.
3 criminals that have been locked up for life are offered a chance to
become detectives. By capturing and bringing in other criminals, they
reduce the time of their own sentence. Eventually, they might even reduce
it enough to go free, if they survive that long. Each of them wears a
collar which can't be removed and has an explosive implanted. Each time
their boss, Heizo Hasegawa (a reference to an old special police force in
ancient Tokyo (Edo)) assigns them to a case, he activates a timer such
that if they don't solve the case and bring the criminal in within 24
hours, the explosive in the collar explodes and blows their heads off.
Each of them has their own special weapon. Sengoku has his gun, Benten has
his monofilament cutting threads, and Goggle has his strength and his
The first OAV mostly concentrates on Sengoku. It seems that a group of
terrorists have taken hostage a group of people in an elevator of the
Cyber Tower, Oedo's tallest skyscraper. The control seems to be exerted
through computer control over the Cyber Tower's main computers. However,
when Goggle tries to trace the connections back, they all seem to lead
back to the Cyber Tower. There's also the question of Dave Kurokawa, the
main computer operator, who's in the computer control center of the Cyber
Tower and remains incommunicado with the rest of the world. Could he be
behind this or merely a pawn in the game?
For the rest of the story, you need to watch the OAV. :)
- Masaki Takai
GO VIDEO VCR-2 (GV-2000) DUAL DECK VCR - A REVIEW
What better gift for a videophile than a dual deck VHS VCR specially
designed for dubbing tapes? But does such a thing exist? The answer is
After numerous legal difficulties and roadblocks thrown up by both the
video software and hardware corporate community, an American firm called
Go Video has begun producing a dual deck VCR called the GV-2000. The VCR
is sold through the Sharper Image and retails for $995. Though it
provides an easy way to dub VHS tapes, the Go Video product is a lesson
First, I'll note the advantages of owning a GV-2000. The VCR provides
very easy tape copying for whole VHS tapes. You put the prerecorded tape
in deck 1 and the blank in deck 2, then press the "Copy" button. That's
all there is to it. The copies are of a high quality, which I would
estimate are half again better than what I used to get by hooking my two
single decks together with dubbing cables.
Another advantage is up to 16 hours of programmed recording. If you
normally record 8 hours of programming a week, say for a friend in Japan,
and you want to go on vacation for two weeks, what do you do? Well, you
can beg another friend to come by and change the tape in your single VCR
or you can use the two decks in your GV-2000. If you don't need 8 hours
per week, you can go away longer. The GV-2000 gives you a CALENDAR on
screen when you program it. Programming my GV-2000 was the first time I
was ever asked to set the YEAR for each program. I haven't pressed this
function to it's limit and don't think I ever will.
The unit has an auxiliary input for a video source and stereo audio. I
plug my laser disc into this auciliary connection. The control panel lets
you select VCR-1, VCR-2, TUNER or AUX for tape input on each deck and
viewing separately. With the GV-2000 I didn't need to get the video
controller I had planned to buy. There is a similar set of audio and
video outputs. I put the audio outputs to my tuner/amp and have all my
video sources as well as my CD/CDV on one input to my amp.
Well, these are some nice advant ges, but there are many more
disadvantages. The GV-2000 is expensive. Sharper Image began marketing
the unit at about $1100. They apparently didn't get many takers because
they reduced it to three figures, a significant psychological difference.
At $995 the unit appears marginally affordable for someone who's
particularly enamoured of video. I bought one after all.
This $995 VCR has TWO HEAD playback, NO S-VIDEO, it's NOT HI-FI (though
it is stereo), it does NOT HAVE FLYING ERASE heads, it does NOT HAVE
DIGITAL EFFECTS, and it's HUGE (about the size of an old three-quarter
inch unit). That's a lot of disadvantages. If you have a digital VHS and
decide to get the GV-2000, don't disconnect the digital. I dub on the
GV-2000 and playback on a Mitsubishi U31. Second generation tapes dubbed
on the GV-2000 playback perfectly on the Mitsubishi but look a little
grainy on the 2000 due to the two-head system.
The manual says the GV-2000 won't dub prerecorded tapes with anti-dub
encoding. Personally, I get commercial video on laser discs or rent it
for a pittance. The restriction doesn't bother me. I put it to the test
for the sake of this review using my tape of "The Little Mermaid" (yes,
I also have it on LD). I knew "The Little Mermaid" was copy protected
because there is an incessant flashing just offscreen in the upper
lefthand corner (which is why I bought the LD). Sure enough, the GV-2000
made a perfect copy of the first fifteen seconds, then automatically
stopped both decks. It flashed the message "Tape is Copy Protected". I
guess this feature solved a lot of the suits brought against the company
when they formed several years ago.
The company also was rumored to have had a lot of difficulty obtaining
critical components for the VCR internals. It might be reasoned that
other video companies were less than enthusiastic about Go Video entering
the market with a potentially popular product and worked to block it.
We'll have to leave that to speculation.
To summarize, the GV-2000 gives great video copies of non-copy
protected video, is easy to operate and has formidable programming
capability. Unfortunately, it costs considerably more than two
single-deck units and it's behind the times technologically with simple
two-head playback. Knowing these balances, you should be able to decide
whether or not the GV-2000 is for you.
If you want the unit, it can be obtained from The Sharper Image
(1-800-344-4444) by mail order. They also stock it in some stores.
- W. Christopher Swett
BUBBLEGUM CRISIS 8 - SCOOP CHASE LISA (ON LASERDISC, TOEMI VIDEO
TOLA-1079, 50 MINS, DIGITAL STEREO, CLV, 9,400 YEN)
Well, if Bubblegum Crisis has to end early, this is a great episode to
go out with. It's got just about everything going for it. Great
characters, neat action scenes, nice BGM, great artwork and a story that's
just plain fun to watch. My only complaint with this excellent episode is
that once again we are given a story that does nothing to advance the
over-all Bubblegum Crisis storyline. Yep, it's another whack-a-boomer
episode. But what a neat one!
The story itself is just made for action and light hearted humor. This
time the vigilante Knight Saber girls are up against two big problems
threatening their lives at the same time. First, a Genom scientist sets
out to design a set of boomer androids made specifically for killing the
Knight Sabers, after conducting much research on the Knight Sabers current
state-of-the-art battle-suit capabilities. He figures the defeat of the
Knight Sabers will move him pretty high up the Genom Corporation ladder.
Well, he fails to realize that the Knight Sabers are also advancing their
own equipment too. But he soon discovers this fact in a daring take-over
attempt on the AD POLICE headquarters building.
The other half of this story involves an even bigger problem for the
Knight Sabers; a very curious photo-journalist that wants a picture of the
elusive Knight Sabers in action for her big career launching scoop. She
manages to get herself into the AD POLICE under the premise that she is
doing a story on the department. As luck would have it, she is assigned
Nene as her guide. Lisa , the photo-journalist, is very daring and will do
anything to get her story. She gets her big break when she manages to
sneak past police lines and witness the Knight Sabers battling with some
boomers in a building that's under construction. Nene's hard-suit helmet
is shattered by a blow from a boomer, and Lisa manages to get a picture of
Nene's face! Nene is a Knight Saber!
I won't reveal just how the mad Genom engineer story and the uncovering
of Nene's identity by Lisa come together in the end. But, I'll just say
that you can't have much more fun watching the situation explode.
The production work on this video is excellent. Heck, the background
paintings for the this episode have received a lot of attention. They're
beautiful! So much so that Megatokyo looks like a nice place to live. The
character designs and animation are among the best of the series. The new
BGM is neat, and there are a lot of older music from past episodes used
very effectively throughout the episode.
For the last episode, Scoop Chase ends the Bubblegum Crisis OAV series
with a bang! Even if you're not a BGC fan, I'd recommend seeing this
episode for the shear fun of it. Now that Polydor owns the series and is
starting a new OAV series called Bubblegum Crush, I just hope we see and
advancing of the BGC storyline and a continuation of the quality OAV
series that we've seen with Bubblegum Crisis.
(And I hope we get to see Priss sing again!)
- Tom Mitchell
BYE^2 KNIGHT SABERS - HOLIDAY IN BALI (ON LASERDISC, TOEMI VIDEO
TOLF-1106, 40 MINS, DIGITAL STEREO, CLV, 6,800 YEN)
So, just what is this video about? Well, it's the third music video
album for the BGC series. It doesn't have any animation in it at all this
time. No concert footage this time either. It features the women who do
are the main voice actresses for the Bubblegum Crisis OAV series; Yoshiko
Sakakibara, Kinuko Ohmori, Maiko Hashimoto, Michie Tomizawa, & Akiko
Hiramatsu. What do they do? Well they're on vacation in Bali. We get to
see them go through situations that would embarrass the hell out of most
people. But these girls are voice actor/idol singers, they can take
anything and still look cute.
They go para-sailing, motor biking, fine dining, Balinese dancing, and
lip sync Bubblegum Crisis songs in exotic Balinese locations. It all seems
like a stupid concept starting out, but actually while watching it you
find yourself becoming quite charmed by these five women...once you get
over feeling embarrassed for them...and fascinated by a rare glimpse of
the exotic scenery in Bali. Still, this is a video that only a dedicated
Bubblegum Crisis fan should buy. Best scene in the video: Kinuko Ohmori on
a motorbike lip synching a song while other bikers in the traffic make
passes at her.
- Tom Mitchell
BUBBLEGUM CRISIS 8 - SCOOP CHASE COMPACT DISC (FUTURELAND, TYCY-5152, 42
MIN, 3000 YEN)
After a long wait, the BGM CD for BubbleGum Crisis 8:Scoop Chase is out!
This 42 minute CD contains a variety of vocals and background music. The
following is a short description of each track.
First up on the directory is 'Chase the Dream'. The classic sound of
Bubblegum Crisis back. The guitar and drums work together to make this
rock song is one of the best songs on the entire disc. Vocal provnded by
Kinuko Omorii. Great stuff here.
Next up is another vocal 'Route California'. One of the better pop
tunes on the CD. The back up band provided by Mark Davis & Waikiki Hip
'Mega Tokyo' descibes the next track. An instrumental this time. A
combination of synthesizers bring this bouncy, but restrained,
instrumental to life.
I don't know where the next track will appear in the video. Titled
'Dinner Music', it certainly different from the previous tracks. Instead
of sythesizers and electric guitars, we get an easygoing set of piano,
bass, and clarinet. Just like some music you might hear in some swank
Next, Yoshiko Sakakibara (Celia) sings the ballad 'Silent Moon'. Again,
it back to the nightclub scene. No rock music here, just the bass &
clarinet. I might have a different opinion of this song after I get to
see the video, but this song just seems a tad out of place after hearing
the first two vocals.
For those of you who enjoyed listening to the
bouncy-bubblegummy-sweet-pop songs of the BubbleGum Crisis 6 BGM CD, will
not be dissapointed by 'First Impression' the sixth track on this CD. It
was going along so well, too. *sigh* Anyway, Akiko Hiramtsu (Nene) sings
this *cute* song. At least, her singing is getting better.
One of my favorite instrumental tracks, 'Curious Girl', follows next.
The synthesized instruments and bass tracks give the tune a mysterious,
but light feel to it. Not as dark as some of the previous BGC
From 'Curious Girl' to 'Dectective Girl', the next instrumental is also
mostly synth work. But with a stronger bass track, this instrumental has
a more serious tone to it.
Track 9 is another ballad. Sung this time by Kinuko Omorii. Her
singing is more restrained and controlled in this song. A nice ending
Hey! I haven't described a 'Knight Sabers' song yet. Not to worry,
'Bye Bye My Crisis' is this CDs Knight Sabers song. As with the previous
BubbleGum Crisis Soundtracks, the four voice actresses get together and
sing a song. A nice mix of synthesizer, percussion, and guitars gives
this pop tune a cool sound. And I guess the title describes the end of
the BubbleGum Crisis OAV series. Ah, well, at least it ended with a good
So there you have it, a good BGM CD for a change. I'll admit, with the
illustrations of Nene on the front and back covers I was a bit worried
that this CD would end up like the BGC 6:Red Eyes CD. I was pleasantly
- Albert Wong
The soundtrack to the final Bubblegum Crisis episode turned out to be a
very interesting disc. In fact, musically speaking, this is the most
varied album in the entire BGC soundtrack collection since the very first
volume of music in the series. Lot's of odd things happening here. With
the return of vocalist Kinuko Ohmori, we are presented with some solid
rock vocals that have been absent in the last couple of albums. Over all
the sound is lighter and more varied instrumentally, but much more like
the old BGC sound us fans are used to than any of the other BGM albums
we've heard since BGC 5. The album even presents us with some light Jazz
sounds! A BGC first!
There are some great tunes here; A standout Ohmori rock anthem with
CHASE THE DREAM, and, as always, some great Bubblegum Crisis rock
instrumentals in the tunes CURIOUS GIRL, DETECTIVE GIRL, and MEGATOKYO.
All of which I found to be the hightlights of the album. We also get a
solid Ohmori rock ballad in the tune AI SHIKI RIVAL. And a rousing rock
chorus by the cast on BYE^2 MY CRISIS. Plus some mellow jazz is presented
in the aptly named DINNER MUSIC.
The last two BGC albums where flawed by some really low points featuring
music that was not used in the BGC series itself. This album is not immune
either. The album's low points come right in the middle of the disc with
the sickeningly sweet bubblegum pop of FIRST IMPRESSION, and the barely
tolerable vocals on the jazz ballad SILENT MOON. Both of these tunes don't
even show up in the video! But they do show up in the live cast music
video called BYE^2 KNIGHT SABERS - HOLIDAY IN BALI. Oh, boy.
On the whole, I enjoyed this album very much. While not the best album
in the BGC series of soundtracks, it is certainly FAR better than the
albums we received for episodes 6 and 7. The varied sound of this record
is a most welcome feature after the last two albums. And even the low
points on the disc are made tolerable by the great tracks before and after
them. Wonderfully engineered sound and a return to some decent music make
this record worth having.
And of course, now I'm dying to know what the music for the new
Bubblegum Crush series will be like.
- Tom Mitchell
//////////////////////////BOOKS AND MAGAZINES\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
If you enjoy following the artwork of some of the major Japanese anime
artists and character designers, I strongly recommend you check out this
slick, graphically appealing magazine for Japanese RPG (fantasy oriented
Role Playing Games) gamers. What does a magazine for Japanese RPG gamers
offer anime fans , you ask? Well, it just so happens that a lot of major
anime artists and illustrators do the artwork and manga for the magazine.
I noticed this fact from some of the ads for the magazine. So, I decided
to check out an issue. Wow! The October 1990 issue that I picked up was
full of wonderful original artwork from such artists as Amano, Akemi
Takada, Haruhiko Mikimoto, Inomata, and others. Quite spectacular!
The magazine itself fetures articles, short stories, and manga for the
RPG player, and articles on related topics such as fan art, letters, video
games anime films, etc. I'm sure any American RPG'er would be amazed at
the quality of the publication, as I am sure there is nothing like this
done for RPG players in the US. As an anime fan, I personally won't be
following every issue, but I will check it out for the great artwork.
(Dragon Magazine also publishes some great art books on the artists
featured in their magazine.)
- Tom Mitchell
"A.D. POLICE - DEAD END CITY" MANGA BY TONY TAKEZAKI (BANDAI - B CLUB
COMIC, ISBN4-89189-109-2 C0079, 880 YEN)
The first volume of AD Police manga, AD POLICE 25:00, featured quite a
mixed bag of stories by Tony Takazaki. Highlighting the strange world of
Megatokyo, odd & comic AD Police adventures, with some wild Bubblegum
Crisis spoofs thrown in, the book seemed to lack some focus. Combined with
all the comedy, the serious stories suffered a bit. And the artwork, while
very good, was presented in so many different styles that I began to
wonder if Takazaki had any sort of handle on what he wanted to do with the
AD Police/Bubblegum Cresis world.
The focus changes quite a bit with the new manga book, DEAD END CITY. In
this book we are presented with just three stories. Two short, and one
long. For the Bubblegum Crisis/AD Police fan, these stories answer a lot
of questions about twenty year old Leon McNickol's early days in the ADP,
and how he met his first partner, twenty-four year old cyborg Jeena
The first story called FILE 0 explains how Jeena lost her arm in a
boomer attack as she was investigating a boomer sighting in the
backstreets of Megatokyo. This story is wonderful to look at because it is
the only manga story in the book presented in sumptuous full color. This
story itself is very simple, and only runs about 10 pages, but it does set
up Jeena's profile as a tough and brave woman with no love for Genom or
boomers. And now he know where she got that cybernetic arm too!
The second story sets up the relationship between Jeena and Leon and how
the became friends. The story is a take off of "Blade Runner", (as if the
BGC and ADP wasn't already a tribute to the film, which they are.) and
features a group of escaped work-boomers who have come back to Earth and
are trying to survive undetected in the city as the attempt to gain access
to their creator, the Genom company's computers. Due to a few mistakes by
the leader of the group, they are soon detected by the AD Police. The
story has two neat features. First, we get to see how Jeena aggressively
teases and pursues the younger Leon romantically. (Yep, Leon has met his
match.) And secondly, we have an interesting drama about a boomer who is
sorry for what he has done and just wants to put a stop to violence of the
group. It's too bad that he learns that the ADP shows no mercy.
The final story is a blatant tribute to the movie DIE HARD and Masamune
Shirow's classic APPLESEED manga. Jeena gets trapped in the "old" Genom
building (The new Genom Tower is still being built across town.), when she
spots an old friend one the street and follows him. It turns out that he
has now become a terrorist and is working for a group that is planning to
use force to gain access to Genom's ALEX-01 supercomputer. As she blows up
terrorist in the Genom building, even Jeena remembers how her situation is
similar to that old action film Die Hard. The story is a good blend of
action, drama, boomer science lessons, and Takizaki humor. The best scene
occurs when Jeena uses the office lights in the building to spell out a
message about the terrorist take-over to Leon who is on a date in a
building across the street. The story also shows a younger Mason, as he
struggles to gain control of the situation and gets to carry out orders
from Quincy to control things.
The stories are all very good and very entertaining. The uniform art
style throughout shows off even more of Takizaki's talent, as this work
reminds me of a simpler Shirow style manga. And Takizaki's color painting
talent is stunning. One of the neatest features of the book is the
collection of color paintings in the front that feature Takizaki's AD
Police promotional artwork created for the covers of the OAV Videos and
BGM albums. The paintings are daringly composed and erotically sensual in
their detail and composition. I highly recommend this book for any fan of
Bubblegum Crisis & AD Police. You'll learn a lot about the early history
of both stories and about several of the characters in the days before the
famous Knight Sabers come on the scene. Oh, and by the way, unlike the
first AD POLICE 25:00 manga, this book is just in Japanese. Not the
English/Japanese presentation of first book. That was a nice feature that
I had hopped they'd continue here.
- Tom Mitchell
DRAGON MAGAZINE SPECIAL: THE MOBILE POLICE PATLABOR - PULSATION
(ISBN4-8291-9106-6 C0076 P2000E, 2,000 YEN)
Recently, Dragon Magazine has become one of the slickest publishers of
deluxe anime artbooks featuring bold presentations of individual artist's
work. During the same time, character designer and illustrator Akemi
Takada has become one of the hottest and most sought after character
designers and illustrators of the past five years. Her work has included
many of the most popular shows of late, including the hits Creamy Mami,
Kimagure Orange Road , and Mobile Police Patlabor. The combination of Dragon
Magazine's bold presentation format and Akemi's wonderful artwork makes for
an outstanding mix in the new book THE MOBILE POLICE PATLABOR -
I must say that this is probably the neatest artbooksof the year. The 8
1/2" by 11 1/2" 120 page book features clean and tasteful graphic design
and layout that perfectly compliments Akemi's work in pastel's (the medium
she's has become known for), and the media media presented. There is very
little text, and all the art is featured on full pages on heavy paper.
The content of the book is exclusively devoted to the very popular
current OAV/TV/MOVIE series THE MOBILE POLICE - PATLABOR. The format of
the book is divided into four areas; Pastel Art, Cel Paintings, Monochrome
Artwork, and the Source Index for all the artwork in the book. Since Mrs.
Takada is mainly an illustrator and character designer, the book features
illustrations done for promotional use for Patlabor related products,
magazine articles, short stories, and books. Her work is bold and bright,
and full of personality, humor, and detail; sometimes bold, and sometimes
very subtle. (Look for the titles of famous crime-based best selling books
in some of the pictures, for example.) The book features no sections on
the character design work for Patlabor itself, but just devotes its pages
to full color artwork and portraits of the characters.
I have only one complaint about this near perfect presentation of
Akemi's work; The layouts of some illustrations over two pages. A lot of
the illustrations visual impact and detail are lost to the big split
between the the two pages. The print quality and resolution of this book
is so good that it would have been fine if these large illustrations had
been laid out over a single page, with no page breaks interrupting the
artwork. The artwork that is laid out this way really suffers as a result.
Look at the illustration of Noah and Clancy in handcuffs and sexy workout
gear on pages 50-51 for example. A great illustration is ruined here.
That criticism aside, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves
great illustration work. Not to mention how it will make a Patlabor fan
drool. This is really a wonderful and entertaining book featuring some of
Akemi Takada's neatest recent work. Now if only us Kimagure Orange Road
fans could get a book this nice!
- Tom Mitchell
//////////////////////////OTHER ANIME MERCHANDISE\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
SIGHT & SOUND JAPANESE LASERDISC IMPORT CATALOG 1990 EDITION ($8.95 FROM
SIGHT & SOUND, SEE MAIL ORDER SECTION FOR ADDRESS INFO.)p
For the past couple of years, staff member Masaki Takai has been kind
enough to bring back Japanese laserdisc catalogs from Japan for me. One of
the neat things about laserdiscs in Japan is that since the format is more
popular there, there are a lot more unusual things to be found on disc.
Collectors often prefer Japanese pressings of American movies because they
are often of better quality, or are just simply not available on disc in
America. And of course, for the Japanese animation fan, a Japanese
laserdisc catalog can provide invaluable information about what anime is
available, and catalog numbers needed by importers for ordering them.
But of course, not everyone knows folks who can go to Japan and bring
back such valuable info-goodies. What's a serious anime collector to do?
Well, LD specialty retailer Sight & Sound is now offering a solution. They
have compiled all their Japanese Laserdisc importing knowledge into a 107
page publication called the "Sight & Sound Import Catalog - 1990 Edition."
It is organized by genres of film, and features catalog numbers, and
technical information on all discs listed. Plus some of the discs have
special notes listed by them featuring information that the folks at Sight
& Sound want to pass along about the disc, such as extra footage notes,
The Japanese animation section takes up a large portion of the catalog.
Even the catalog features a picture of the Dirty Pair - Flight 005
Laserdisc on the cover! (I just wonder what's running through the minds of
non-anime fans when they see that? I'd be ordering it just to see what
it's about.) The catalog lists both Japanese anime LDs and CDs, and
organizes the LDs by the following categories; ADULT, CHILDREN,
COLLECTIONS, DRAMA/ACTION, FANTASY, HORROR, SCIENCE FICTION, & SPORTS.
If you don't read any Japanese, this will be an invaluable catalog of LD
and anime title information for you. There are a few mistakes in the
catalog, but they are mainly confined to the descriptions of what some of
the stories on the LDs are about and translations of some of the titles.
But considering the size of the catalog, and amount of information inside,
this is a must have catalog for any serious anime and laserdisc collector.
Nice job, Sight & Sound!
- Tom Mitchell
ANIME STUFF TOP 10 LIST
Top 10 reasons why Kimagure Orange Road's Madoka lets her telephone ring
10: Forgot to habitually flip hair back, and can't hear phone.
9: Kimagure (Capricious) girls are just like that.
8: Hearing damage from rock band.
7: Checking to see if ringer in new "phone-pick" works.
6: Waiting to see if stuffed bear is really alive, and will rush to the
phone and pick it up without thinking. Thus proving what she's always
5: Probably another obscene call from Hatta.
4: Hearing damage from hanging around Hikaru for so long.
3: Hypnotized by new ringer placed in phone by demonically possessed
2: Probably another obscene call from Komatsu.
And the number one reason Madoka lets her phone ring so long...
1: Boycotting NTT for bad stock performance.
- Tom Mitchell
//////////////////////////////MAIL ORDER INFO\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
The following is a list of businesses where the ANIME STUFF staff members
shop for our anime stuff. They are highly recommended sources for anime
and provide excellent service. All of them provide mail order so you
can write to them for catalogs.
SIGHT & SOUND NIKAKU ANIMART LASER PERCEPTIONS
1275 MAIN STREET 615 North 6th. St. 3300 JUDAH STREET
WALTHAM, MA 02154 SAN JOSE, CA 95112 SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94122
PHONE: 1-617-894-8633 PHONE: 1-408-971-2822 PHONE: 1-415-753-2016
P.O. BOX 1235
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA 91729-1235
PHONE : 1-714-941-9750
WOK TALK/SIGHT & SOUND and LASER PERCEPTIONS specialize in domestic and
imported laser video discs. Nikaku & Animagic sell magazines, books,
compact discs, laser discs and other anime goods. Tell 'em ANIME STUFF
"Omoikiri tenderly kono uta ga kikoetara
Kaette kureru ka na egao misete."
- Eve Tokimatsuri, Megazone 23
Date of original publication: 4/27/1991
ANIME STUFF Copyright (C) 1991 Tom Mitchell & MIDORI COMMUNICATIONS
All rights reserved.
This publication originally appears on CompuServe Information Service's
Comic Book & Animation Forum.
INTERNET distribution is limited to Barry Brown.
INTERNET Address : >INTERNET:firstname.lastname@example.org
Original Copyrights to the material reviewed, articles written and
graphics presented are reserved by their respective owners. The contents
of Anime Stuff may be reproduced in any form of media so long as the names
of the authors are preserved, articles remain intact, and ANIME STUFF is
mentioned as the source. The contents of this publication may not be
reproduced in publications for sale without the permission of the
copyright holders listed above.
Articles & computer artwork in Anime Stuff may be re-published in
newsletters so long as a copy of the publication in which the articles
appear are sent to:
c/o Tom Mitchell
474 Chowning Circle
Dayton, Ohio 45429
"GIF" and "GRAPHICS INTERCHANGE FORMAT"
are COPYRIGHTED (C) 1987, 1991 CompuServe Information Service
an H&R BLOCK company.