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Livejournal is beat. I don't need it around anymore. If you really want to keep up with me, you'll know where to find me. I'm looking forward to life, no matter how hard it is. I have amazing people in my life. Until the day we meet again.


GEEK REVIEW: Tokimeki Tonight


Tokimeki Tonight is an anime series by GROUP TAC based on Ikeno Koi's manga of the same name. The story is about teenager Eto Ranze who is the daughter of a vampire and werewolf. Almost every night, she has to deal with her parents fighting or arguing. Most of the time it's just her mother Sheila (a werewolf) being psycho, and beating up Ranze's father - Mori (a vampire). She also has a younger brother Rinze, and a talking family pet bird - Peck.

When she finally attends a public school, Ranze falls head over heels for the class badboy: Makabe Shun. Unfortunately for her, the rich daughter of a Yazuka boss, Kamiya Yoko already has her eyes on him. When the two girls get into a fight, Ranze ends up biting Yoko on the neck. Ranze is shocked by her actions, and even more shocked that she's transformed into Yoko! She runs home to find out what's going on, and it seems she's come of age. It turns out Ranze can transform into anyone, or anything by simply biting them and can revert back by sneezing. Her parents explain their people are "Monsters" and come from the Netherworld ("Makai" meaning hell, demon world, etc). They then show Ranze a "secret door" that leads to the Netherworld, and explains Ranze will have to marry a fellow monster, as it's the law. Ranze is very upset, as she only wants to be with Makabe-kun.

The first few episodes set up the story and are directly adapted from the manga. Ranze deals with her new powers, deals with her rivalery with Yoko, and tries to get closer with Makabe-kun. In episode 5, Shiela and Mori are both summoned by the King. Ranze sneaks along, as this'll be her first time in the netherworld. We're introduced to Sand, a messanger and servant of the King. He just screams "80's" and looks like David Bowie. As her parents go to speak with the king, Ranze is left in the care of Prince Aron. He is the heir to the throne, and falls in love with Ranze. The King reveals to Shiela and Mori that he has a long-lost son in the human world. He should be a teenager now, and has a star-shaped birthmark under his arm. The King orders the two of them to find him.

The next few episodes are episodic, and don't do alot to add to the main storyline. Ranze slowly becomes closer to Shun, and other people around her. One being Kamiya Tamasaborou, Yoko's father. He's a big goofy-looking guy, who actually has a crush on Shun's mother. He also owns the GYM where Shun practices boxing. Ranze also runs into another monster, one being Miel, an invisible girl. Episodes 13-15 invole a short story arc, where Ranze is accidentally bitten by her mother, and becomes a werewolf. But instead of transforming when she sees a full moon, she changes whenever she sees a circular object. Yoko comes close to discovering her secret, and tries to convince everyone Ranze is really a "tanooki". Thankfully Ranze returns to her normal self (well, as normal as she was anyways) thanks to her grandma Lala. Aron makes a visit to the human world to see Ranze. He meets Yoko and Shun. He becomes very jealous, and is upset Ranze clearly isn't into him. The next set of episodes are episodic again, but really seem to kick in the crazy factor. One of my favorites episodes (and the first one I saw in Italy) is entitled "Love Letter from E.T.", where Shun recieves a lover letter from someone with the initals "E.T". This instantely freaks out Ranze, and she imagines E.T (dressed as a schoolgirl) with Shun. It later turns out E.T. is really the school thug, Emiko who kidnaps Shun. Insanity ensures, as Yoko and Ranze try to save Shun.

Episodes 24 to 26 are the turning point of the series. Aaron longs for Ranze, and transports her, Yoko, and Shun to the Netherworld. There he reveals Ranze's secret. With the help of her invisible friend, Miel she tries to escape with everyone. After losing a duel with Shun, Aron sends everyone back to the human world. Thankfully for Ranze, Yoko and Shun don't remember the incident at all. However, this all changes in the next episode. Ranze reveals her secret to Shun, when she transforms into a dog to save a baby. The Eto family must kill Shun. Ranze begs them not to, and says if they kill him, they'll have to kill her as well. Her parents then agree to just leave, and spare Shun. Before they leave, Ranze goes to see Shun and explain everything to him. He can't believe it and doesn't want to say goodbye. As her family travels to the netherworld, Shun follows them. Ranze finally reveals her feelings to Shun, and tells him why they must leave. Mori comes to an agreement, and makes Shun swear to keep their true identities secret. He agrees, and Ranze runs into his arms.

In the next episode, the King captures Shun and has him put in the Execuation Ship. Because Shun has been in the netherworld, he must die. Ranze goes to save Shun, while her parents go to talk to the King. The King decides to spare their lives, and everyone returns back home. The next episode is about Shun getting into a boxing match with an American boxer named Rocky (yup, this episode is FILLED with Rocky references). It actually is very Shun x Ranze centered, and shows that Shun "chooses" Ranze over Yoko. The remaining episodes are a very mix bag, and really mess up the pacing of the series. You get some episodes directly taken from the manga, and a few new stories like Ranze imaging everyone in prehistoric times. Because the anime ended almost 20 years before the manga, the last episode is completely original.

After nearly 30 episodes, the subplot regarding the "long lost prince" is finally brought back into the picture. It turns out Shun is really the prince! Mori, Shiela, and Ranze are thrilled about this. Ranze is especially happy because this means she'll be able to marry Shun. As they all go to the Netherworld, Shun is forced to take a test proving he's the true prince. After completing the task, he confronts the King. There he denies being the prince, and states his "star-shaped birthmark" is really a bruise he got from boxing. The king becomes furious, and banishes the Eto family from his kingdom until they can find his son. The door to the Netherworld is sealed. Everything seems to go on the same as usual. Back at Shun's house, he looks at his star-shaped bruise. His mother sees him, and reveals the bruise is actually a birthmark. The next morning, Ranze and Shun are running late for school. He tries to tell Ranze about his birthmark, but Yoko interrupts the conversion. As they run late to school, they all trip, and the series closes with a special ending that features the main cast dancing, while only wearing vampire capes. It was a parody of the usual ending, "Super Love Lotion", which features Ranze dancing only wearing a cape.

I found out about Tokimeki Tonight during a trip to Italy. The series is actually pretty well known there (atleast to the 20-25 age group), and still reairs from time to time. The series grabbed my interest, and I actually downloaded the Italian episodes when I came home. This was back in 2004. At the time Italian episodes were the only ones you could find. The Japanese dub was pretty rare, and was never released on video (aside from some recapping "OVA"s). That all changed in the past year. I was thrilled to find out the series was being released in Italy with not only the Italian dub, but the original Japanese audio as well! This was great news, and I put out some serious cash to get both boxsets. Unfortunately, I wasn't too happy with what I got. As far as packaging goes, it was great. The company (Yamato Video) did a great job designing the sets. Too bad they did a shitty job with everything else. The picture and audio were decent. I'm guessing they only had the original TV masters, but they did their best to clean it up. Too bad it wasn't good enough. A big problem with the set was that it was edited.

The Italian dub wasn't actually censored per see, but a few things were changed/cut. The opening song "Tokimeki Tonight" and ending song "Super Love Lotion" were replaced with the song "Ransie la Strega". A rather cute song, it actually fits. The original title cards were actually shaped like bats, and were narrated by Ranze. The Italian dub uses a generic red screen with the episode title in place, but with the same music. The Italian dub removed the original eyecatchers, which features Ranze holding an umbrella while the series logo appeared. The music for the next previews was original a short instrumental of the opening theme. In the Italian dub, they play the song "Ransie la Strega" which continued onto the ending credits. For whatever reasons, certain episode previews were removed. But the biggest cut of all was in the last episode. Originally the last episode featured a special ending that had the whole cast dancing in a parody of "Super Love Lotion". Instead, only the normal ending theme played. Now, one would expect the DVD release to return all this footage right? 

Wrong. Everything that was cut from the Italian dub, remained cut on the DVD. And you know what that means? Even the Japanese version got censored! Infact, every episode on the Japanese track has random skip in music due to the removal of the eyecatchers. Way to go Yamato Video. One thing that did return was the last episode ending. But even that got screwed up. In the normal ending, it begins with a drop of water falling as a hand (Ranze's) reaches out and grabs it. In the last episode ending this doesn't happen, instead it cuts right away with the hand grabbing the drop of water. Infact, the last scene of the episode leads DIRECTLY into the ending. For whatever reason, Yamato Video decided to add in the animation of the hand reaching out. And in the process, once again fucking up the Japanese audio track. Thankfully, shortly after the Italian sets came out, it was annouced Toho Video would be releasing the series in Japan. I've gotten the Japanese set a month ago, and I'm very please with it. Everything wrong with the Italian set was fixed.

The anime was loosely based on the manga, and only covered the first three volumes. The manga continued until the late 90s, I believe, and the story changed over time. The first sixteen volumes deal with Ranze, then focuses on Rinze (her younger brother), and finally on Ranze's daughter. Most fans prefer the manga, and alot of fans didn't really know about the anime.

Farewell Toonami

I don't believe it. Toonami has ended it's 11 year broadcast. After years of quality series like Sailor MoonDragon Ball ZRonin Warriors, The Big O, Tenchi Muyo!, and Outlaw Star... it's finally over. It's a sad day people. A great part of my childhood is over.

I've been with Toonami since '97. 4:00 was a key part of my weekday schedule. I first got into Toonami by watching no other than, of course -- Sailor Moon. My friend Chris and I religiously watched every episode, and began taping with the premiere of the "Lost Episodes". Later on I got into Dragon Ball Z, but it wasn't until the Freeza saga that I really got into it. Around 2000 was when Toonami really kicked off. Sailor Moon S, and SuperS were coming out. Dragon Ball Z starting to air the Garlic Jr. Saga. And we got lots of new anime series -- Ronin Warriors, Tenchi Muyo!, Outlaw Star, Gundam Wing, and The Big O.

Most of the new series were edited by Cartoon Network with laughable edits. Naked woman wore digital bikinis. People were getting drunk off "tea". Not a single person was allowed to say "die" or "kill". Basically all references to death were cut. Smoking was eliminated, usually in the form of a "smoking toothpick". Funny thing is, all shows not edited by CN got away with alot more. Dragon Ball Z was allowed to show blood, people dying, and said "die" more than a few times. Even Sailor Moon got away with some bathtub nudity, smoking, and references to death. Then you had other series like Ronin Warriors, which managed to air completely uncut.

Toonami also had a number of cool events over the years. Of course they were the inflight movies, and special marathons. Then they had stuff like "Villiantine's Day". It was a Valentine's Day special showcasing episodes that highlighted villians. After the end of Sailor Moon's five year run, I started to fade out of Toonami. After the last episode of SuperS aired, there wasn't alot of interesting programs for me. The Dragon Ball Z dub was getting completely unbearable. With the exception of G Gundam and 0080, I couldn't stand any of the Gundam series. Then we really got some good series like The Big O, and Cyborg 009.

After the move to Saturdays, I almost completely fell out of Toonami. It just wasn't the same. Most of the shows airing didn't even seem to belong. Zatch Bell? Eh. Prince of Tennis? Are you joking? You could say Toonami died along time ago in my eyes. Oh well. I never thought it would end like this, so sudden. But alas, here we are in 2008, and Toonami ends with godawful Naruto. Sad to think at one point Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Ronin Warriors, and The Big O aired together.

Until next time Toonami.
[1997 - 2008]


Goodbye Fujio Akatsuka


Fujio Akatsuka, creator of Moretsu Ataro, Osomatsu-kun, and Himitsu no Akko-chan died today. He was 72, and died of pneumonia in a Tokyo Hospital. According to ANN, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 1998 and then bed-ridden since 2002 due to a brain hemorrhage. He is creditied for creating the first ever magical girl manga - Akko-chan.

Rest in Peace, Akatsuka-sensei.

Anime and Me (Part 2)

By 2002, I had already went to my first anime convention. It was the Big Apple Anime Fest 2002, and my friend Jay and I found out about it at the last minute. We were in NYC at Kinokuniya (a great Japanese bookstore) and saw flyers for it. I can't remeber if we went THAT day, or the next but we did go. It was a really great experience. The dealers room was heaven (hell for my mom) and it was great to get free crap. ADV was giving out free issues of Newtype with a disc of anime previews (this was my first encounter with Cutey Honey -- I'll get to that later), and other companies were giving out free goodies. Most notably, I got alot of Cat Soup magnets. There were also a few guests there. Mayumi Tanaka (seiyuu for Kuririn in Dragon Ball, Luffy in One Piece) was suppose to be there, but didn't make it. However, Dragon Ball script writer Takao Koyama was there.

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Anime and Me (Part 1)

Last night I reflected on my anime fandom over the years. Today, I'm gonna post how I got into anime. Fun! Like most children of my generation, I watched anime on TV almost unaware that it was from Japan. Grownups would refer to them as "those cartoons where the lips move funny and everyone looks the same", or "those Chinese sex cartoons". My first ever anime was The Little Mermaid, or Anderson Douwa: Ningyo Hime. As I child it always surprised me that bare breasts, violence, and such made it with a "G" rating. This film also always had me crying. I can even remeber a time when I watched it with my neighbors and we all started crying for Marina. Another early anime for me, was of course: Speed Racer. You can't call yourself an anime fan if you didn't grow up with Speed Racer. I watched Speed Racer alot on MTV (along with Ren and Stimpy, and Aeon Flux) though I remeber later watching it on Cartoon Network. Another anime I remeber watching was Serendipity. I got the VHS from a KB Toys in NYC way back, possible back in 96. I also had some videos of anime versions of classic fairy tales. 

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