Episode 19 – Shangri-La Frontier

When I thought Shangri-La Frontier was cooling down after an intense battle, it immediately got back into action. The first half of the episode after taking out the boss was predictable. I’m sure our cast got some sick item drops that the story will reveal later, but the party defeated Weatherman, and his soul can finally move on to be with his love. I wasn’t expecting the holographic ghost of his love, Setsuna, to be an AI copy.

It seemed likely that she was trapped in the game with Weatherman, but it turns out he was trapped all along. In the real world, Setsuna created the AI copy of herself and the quest to guide people to free Weatherman. This revelation gives more credence to the theory that many of the NPCs in this game are either actual people from the real world or copies of them, which would explain why they’re so sophisticated. I was expecting a bit more of a reaction from our cast since this is probably one of the first times it was explicitly stated, “Yeah, I’m sort of from the real world. ” The story’s build-up to this ball-drop reveal warranted a bigger reaction.

Regardless, this marks a definitive turning point for a couple of reasons. It is the first defeat of one of the world’s unique monsters, and now the in-game story can actually progress. Where the story could go from here is up in the air, and I’m curious what the next major event will be to close out the series. It was hilarious to see the announcement of the boss’ defeat broadcasted across the entire virtual world because all I could think of was, “Damn, these idiots are going to have such a big target on their back.” I wonder if that’s why Arthur challenged Psyger so readily. I know she wants a clean slate and to escape her previous life as a player killer. Still, it would also be interesting if this was a clever way for her to avoid all the unwanted attention our cast will get moving forward.

Still, the final clash was pretty intense, and I’m looking forward to how Psyger will fit into all of this.


Shangri-La Frontier is currently streaming on

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Say You to Yo Asobi Voice-Actor Variety Show’s Mascot Gets Anime Shorts – News

8-episode anime features character created by program’s voice-acting hosts

The official website of Say You to Yo Asobi (A Night Out With Voice Actors), ABEMA‘s weeknight talk variety program hosted by voice actors, announced on Monday that the program’s official mascot will get a series of anime shorts titled Say You to Yo Asobi ANIMATION: Ikuda Momo! Sobii. The anime will premiere within the Say You to Yo Asobi program on March 11.

The eight-episode anime is set in the land of fairy tales, and depicts the daily life of Sobii and its friends. The anime will also feature characters created by the hosts of Say You to Yo Asobi, and the 15 hosts will also voice the characters.

Plott is producing the anime shorts.

The Say You to Yo Asobi 2023 hosts include:

Tomoko Kaneda and Shugo Nakamura host the Say You to Yo Asobi Connect program before the main program, Showtaro Morikubo hosts the Say You to Yo Asobi Walkers program after, and Kaito Ishikawa hosts the Say You to Yo Asobi WEEKEND program.

Sources: Say You to Yo Asobi’s website and YouTube channel, Comic Natalie

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Netflix Announces New Pokémon Concierge Episodes ‘Are Now in Production’ – News

1st 4 stop-motion episodes premiered on December 28

Netflix announced on its official Twitter account on Tuesday that new episodes of Pokémon Concierge, the latest stop-motion animated series for the Pokémon franchise, are “now in production.”

The series debuted with four episodes on Netflix on December 28. Netflix describes the series:

This delightful stop-motion animation tells the story of a concierge named Haru, who works at a resort just for Pokémon, and the guests who come to visit.

The series’ Japanese cast includes:

Karen Fukuhara voices the protagonist Haru in the series’ English dub. Mariya Takeuchi performs the series’ theme song “Have a Good Time Here.”

The stop-motion production company dwarf studios (Rilakkuma and Kaoru) animated the episodes thus far. Iku Ogawa directed the show, and Harumi Doki wrote the scripts. Tadahiro Uesugi is credited for concept art and character designs.

Source: Netflix‘s Twitter account via Crunchyroll

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Oi! Tonbo Golf Anime’s 2nd Promo Video Reveals April 6 Premiere – News

The official website for the anime of Ken Kawasaki and Yū Furusawa‘s Oi! Tonbo (Hey! Tonbo) manga began streaming its second promotional video for the anime on Tuesday. The video reveals that the anime will premiere on April 6 at 10:00 a.m. (April 5 at 9:00 p.m. EDT) on the TV Tokyo channel and its affiliates. The anime will then premiere on April 8 on BS TV Tokyo. The video also feaures comments by main voice actors Rika Hayashi and Hiroki Tōchi.

The anime’s cast includes:

Rika Hayashi as Tonbo Ōi

Image via Oi! Tonbo anime’s website

Hiroki Tōchi as Kazuyoshi Igarashi

Image via Oi! Tonbo anime’s website


Jin Gu Oh (Beyblade Burst GT, Beyblade Burst Sparking, Beyblade Burst QuadDrive, Beyblade Burst QuadStrike) is directing the anime at OLM. Mitsutaka Hirota (Sweetness & Lightning, Anime-Gataris, Rent-A-Girlfriend) is in charge of the series scripts. Akira Takeuchi (Naisho no Tsubomi, Inazuma Eleven GO) is designing the characters. Naoto Kondō is the color key artist. Kazuhiro Arai is directing the art, and Keita Hattori is directing the 3D . SMDE is in charge of CG animation. Tomoyuki Ishiyama is the compositing director of photography. Masafumi Mima is the sound director. Nobuko Toda is composing the music.

Music duo Sacre e sole will perform the anime’s opening theme song “Habatake” (Spread Your Wings). TOKYO GROOVE JYOSHI will perform the anime’s ending theme song “Let’s Swing.”

The manga’s story begins with Igarashi, who was disqualified as a pro golfer after a certain “incident” and thus moves to Kagoshima Prefecture’s Tokara Islands to step out of the limelight. On these islands known as “Japan’s last unexplored wilderness,” he encounters a naive girl named Tonbo.

As it turns out, these supposedly unexplored islands have a homemade golf course, where Tonbo plays every day. She demonstrates genius-level prowess, playing every kind of shot with just one golf club, a 3-iron. Igarashi is amazed at Tonbo’s talent, even as he harbors doubts about her only using a 3-iron. Yet, hidden deep in Tonbo’s heart lies a painful, sad past ….

Story creator Kawasaki and artist Furusawa launched the manga in Weekly Golf Digest, a general-interest golfing magazine from Golf Digest Sha Co., Ltd., in August 2014. The manga’s 48th compiled book volume shipped in December 2023.

Sources: Oi! Tonbo anime’s website, Comic Natalie

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Crunchyroll Adds English Dub for Natsume’s Book of Friends Season 4 – News

posted on by Adriana Hazra, Anita Tai

Also: Crunchyroll surpasses 13 million subscribers as of December 2023

Crunchyroll added an English dub for the fourth season of the television anime franchise based on Yuki Midorikawa‘s Natsume’s Book of Friends (Natsume Yūjin-Chō) manga on Monday.

Additionally, Deadline reported on February 13 that Crunchyroll reached over 13 million paid subscribers to the anime streaming service at the end of December 2023. Crunchyroll had first announced the milestone at the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show in January. The company, which belongs to Sony, reportedly contributed to Sony Pictures Entertainment‘s increased third-quarter profits of US$281 million, which was a 57% increase from a similar period in 2022.

The dub cast for Natsume’s Book of Friends season 4 includes:

Andy Mullins, Irwin Daye, Dio Garner, Kenny James, Randy Pearlman, Travis Mullenix, Bryan Massey, Jeff Swearingen, David Novinski, and Paige Guillory provide additional voices.

Jad Saxton is the voice director for the dub. Colleen Clinkenbeard is producing and Jessica Sluys is in charge of adaptation. William Dewell is the mixer and Sawyer Pfledderer is the engineer.

The fourth season of the anime premiered in January 2012.

Yuki Midorikawa‘s Natsume’s Book of Friends (Natsume Yūjin-Chō) manga debuted in Hakusensha‘s LaLa DX magazine in June 2003, but has run in LaLa since 2007. Viz Media is releasing the ongoing series in English.

The manga is inspiring a seventh season.

Sources: Crunchyroll (Liam Dempsey), Deadline (Nancy Tartaglione)

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Chainsaw Man Ranks #1 on U.S. Monthly Bookscan January List – News

Image via Amazon

Tatsuki Fujimoto‘s Chainsaw Man manga ranked at #1 on Circana BookScan’s Top 20 adult graphic novels list for January.

This month’s list featured 16 manga volumes, including:

The eighth and first volumes of Chugong and DUBU‘s Solo Leveling Korean webcomic ranked at #2 and #16, respectively.

NPD BookScan became Circana Books in March, following the merge of NPD Group and Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) in 2022. The company collects weekly point-of-sale data on print books from over 16,000 locations including e-tailers, chains, mass merchandisers, independent bookstores, and more. Circana BookScan covers approximately 85% of the U.S. trade print book market. The ranks on this chart are based on piece sales. Some publishers classify titles that are primarily text, or art books, as graphic novels; ICv2 removes those titles from the rankings.

Source: ICv2 (Brigid Alverson)

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Godzilla Minus One Live-Action Film, Kitarō Tanjō: Gegege no Nazo Anime Film Producers Win Fujimoto Award – News

Japan’s Eiga Engeki Bunka Kyōkai (Film Theater Culture Association) announced the winners of its 43rd annual Fujimoto Awards on Monday. Godzilla Minus One live-action film producers Hisashi Usui, the late Shuji Abe, Kenji Yamada, Kazuaki Kishida, Gō Abe, and Keiichirō Moriya received the general award.

Kitarō Tanjō: Gegege no Nazo producer Keisuke Naitō is awarded this year’s rookie award.

The Fujimoto Awards, named after Shachō and Wakadaishō series producer Sanezumi Fujimoto, recognize the achievements of film producers who have worked on popular and entertaining films.

Godzilla Minus One, Takashi Yamazaki‘s new film in TOHO‘s Godzilla franchise, opened in Japan on November 3, 2023 (“Godzilla Day”), which was the anniversary of the first Godzilla film’s November 3, 1954 release. The new film screened at The Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) as the closing film of last year’s event on November 1.

The film sold 648,600 tickets for 1,041,193,460 yen (about US$6.93 million) in its first three days in the Japanese box office. The film sold 14.7% more tickets and earned 22.8% more in its first three days than the last live-action Japanese Godzilla film, Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi‘s Shin Godzilla, did in its first three days in 2016.

The film earned an estimated US$55,009,463 in the United States and US$47,486,867 internationally, as of January 28. The film has now become the third highest-grossing foreign-language film of all time in the United States.

Image via Kitarō Tanjō: Gegege no Nazo anime film’s website

The Kitarō Tanjō: Gegege no Nazo (Kitarō Birth: The Mystery of Gegege) anime film opened in Japan last November 17 and sold 111,500 tickets and earned 160,106,620 yen (about US$1.07 million) in its first three days. The film has earned a cumulative total of 2,472,410,610 yen (about US$16.79 million) as of January 28.

The film is part of four “big projects” commemorating the 100-year anniversary of Shigeru Mizuki‘s birth. Mizuki died in 2015 at 93 years old. Another project is a new Akuma Kun anime that premiered on Netflix on November 9 last year.

Toshiyuki Matsui, the producer of The First Slam Dunk anime film, received the general award, and producers Katsuhiro Takei and Mikito Bizenjima won the rookie award for the Blue Giant anime film in last year’s Fujimoto Awards. Manga artist Eiichiro Oda, producers Kei Kajimoto and Hiroaki Shibata, and editor Ken Takano all won the special award for the One Piece Film Red anime.

Sources: Eiga Engeki Bunka Kyōkai website, Eiga Natalie

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The Boy and the Heron Wins Best Animated Film BAFTA Award – News

Film competed against Chicken Run: The Dawn of the Nugget, Elemental, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Image courtesy of GKIDS

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts awarded the BAFTA Award for Animated Film to Hayao Miyazaki‘s latest feature film The Boy and the Heron (Kimi-tachi wa Dō Ikiru ka) on Sunday. The film was competing against Chicken Run: The Dawn of the Nugget, Elemental, and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. The Boy and the Heron is the first anime film to win the award, or to be nominated for it, since it was first introduced in 2006.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie was in the longlist for the Animated Film category, but it was not nominated.

Hayao Miyazaki won the Annie award for Best Storyboarding for a feature film with The Boy and the Heron, and the film’s animation director Takeshi Honda won the award for Best Character Animation for a feature film during the Annie Awards on Saturday.

The Boy and the Heron won the Best Motion Picture – Animated category at the 81st Golden Globes Awards in January. The Alliance of Women Film Journalists gave it the Best Animated Film award in its EDA Awards on December 31. The 78th Mainichi Film Awards announced ahead of its February 14 ceremony that the film will receive the Noburou Oofuji Award, which honors animated works that offer new forms of creative expression. The film also received nominations from the Annie Awards (for animated feature, directing, and writing) and the British Academy Film Awards (for animated film).

The film opened in Japan on July 14, and sold 1.003 million tickets and earned about US$13.2 million in its first three days in Japan. The film sold 1.353 million tickets and earned 2.149 billion yen (about US$15.53 million) in its Friday-Monday long weekend (July 17 was the Marine Day holiday in Japan). It is the #71 highest-grossing film ever in Japan, and the third highest-grossing domestic film in Japan in 2023 with an 8.66 billion yen (about US$61.4 million) gross.

The film ranked at #1 in its opening weekend in the U.S. box office, with an earning of US$12,836,313 in its first three days. Variety reported that the film is the “first original anime production” to top the U.S. box office.

Source: Deadline (Nancy Tartaglione)

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Niigata Int’l Animation Film Festival Honors Kazuki Higashiji, Takeshi Honda, Others – News

The Niigata International Animation Film Festival announced on February 16 the winners of the Kōji Fukiya and Hiroshi Ōkawa awards, which include maboroshi (Alice to Therese no Maboroshi Kōjō, pictured at right) film art director Kazuki Higashiji and The Boy and the Heron animation director Takeshi Honda.

The recipients of the Kōji Fukiya award are Higashiji, Honda, and Lonely Castle in the Mirror (Kagami no Kojō) film scriptwriter Miho Maruo.

The winner of the Hiroshi Ōkawa award is anime studio CLAP, which animated the Pompo: The Cinéphile film.

The awards honor technical achievements in animation and are named after Toei Movies founder Kōji Fukiya and Toei‘s first president Hiroshi Ōkawa, who were both from Niigata.

Netflix began streaming Mari Okada and MAPPA‘s original anime film Alice to Therese no Maboroshi Kōjō (Alice and Therese’s Illusory Factory) under the title maboroshi on January 15. The film premiered in Japan on September 15.

This year’s festival will take place on March 15-20. Kurayukaba and maboroshi are both competing at this year’s festival.

The first Niigata International Animation Film Festival was held in March 2023, and featured Mamoru Oshii as the judging committee chairman. The festival screened the unrealized live-action film adaptation of Katsuhiro Ōtomo‘s Domu manga along with a retrospective section on Ōtomo. The festival also screened Shinichiro Watanabe‘s (Cowboy Bebop) “A Girl Meets a Boy and a Robot,” and Shuhei Morita‘s (Freedom, Tokyo Ghoul) “Roots” (Tsuru no Mai) animated short films.

The festival is planned to run every year, and it aims to be the largest festival of feature-length anime in Asia.

Niigata has hosted the Niigata Anime and Manga Festival and Niigata Manga Awards. The city is also home to some anime studios.

Sources: Niigata International Animation Film Festival, Comic Natalie

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Tubi TV Adds 2 More Anpanman Films, More Anime Films – News

Streaming service Tubi began streaming the Anpanman: Dororin and the Transformation Carnival (Eiga Soreike! Anpanman Dororin to Bakeru Carnival) and Anpanman: Fluffy Furry and the Land of Clouds (Eiga Soreike! Anpanman Fuwafuwa Fuwari to Kumo no Kuni, pictured at right) films from the Anpanman franchise on February 1.

The service also added the following anime films on February 1:

Tubi had announced in April 2021 that it would stream 10 films from the Anpanman franchise with English and Spanish dubs in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Mexico. Tubi and began streaming the first of the 10 films, Anpanman: Apple Boy and Everyone’s Hope, in April 2021. The service added Anpanman: Purun, the Soap Bubble in July 2021. It added seven more Anpanman films in September 2021.

The 35th film in the franchise titled Soreike! Anpanman: Baikinman to Ehon no Lulun will open on June 28.

Soreike! Anpanman Roboly to Pokapoka Present, the 34th anime film in the Anpanman franchise, opened last June and earned 113,432,810 yen (about US$788,390) in its first three days.

The Soreike! Anpanman television anime series began in 1988, and new Anpanman films have opened each summer since 1989 (except during the pandemic in 2020). The 2014 film Anpanman: Apple Boy and Everyone’s Hope was the first film since Anpanman creator Takashi Yanase‘s death.

Source: Tubi TV‘s website

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