Tom Smith dives in to the band behind Naruto Shippuden Box 15
Who’s NICO, and what’s their obsession with walls? It’s a question you may ask yourself upon discovering the artist name behind Naruto Shippuden’s eighth opening theme. They call themselves NICO Touches the Walls and, despite the ridiculous name, they are a pretty big deal in Japan right now.
Matt Kamen returns to the Gonzo world of airships and skybikes
The original Last Exile series is an undeniable joy – gorgeously animated, wildly imaginative, and just plain fun. Its steampunk-inspired setting, filled with unlikely flying machines and technological marvels, recalled the likes of Studio Ghibli’s Laputa, Castle in the Sky. The 26-episode run followed pilot Claus Valca and navigator Lavie Head, a pair of sky couriers on the planet Prester whose cargo – the mysterious girl Alvis Hamilton – proved to be the key to ending a long-running war between the rival nations of Anatoray and Disith. Last Exile’s beautiful world and delightful character designs by famed illustrator Range Murata made the series a fan-favourite.
Dutch, Benny, Rock and Revy are back for one more tough job as the Lagoon Trading Company of Roanapur, Thailand. Madhouse Studios adapted the four manga volumes covering the last arc of Rei Hiroe’s action-packed manga before its 2010 hiatus as five videos, released in Japan across 2010 and 2011, and there does not seem to have been much of a drop in quality from the first two seasons of Black Lagoon.
“Try ‘n boogie, guns n’ tattoo” – there’s no greater embodiment of Kenichi Asai’s work than that opening line. As the words are dragged across the bluesy, rock n’ roll riff of Mad Surfer – the Japanese rebel’s song used as the 20th closing of Bleach – it’s difficult not to imagine smoke filled bars, motorcycles or leather jacketed misfits sporting hairdos your mother wouldn’t approve of.
It’s been said that two’s company, three’s a crowd. But for Japanese electro-pop duo AIRI and Koshiro, two is more than enough to party – to MAGIC PARTY! At least if the cutesy name of the pair’s musical project is to be believed.