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Published by VegettoEX
13 October 2009, 9:02 AM EDTComments Off

MMO News is reporting on what sounds like a minor “scandal” related to the development of Dragon Ball Online, the only-barely-just-recently “launched” massively multiplayer online role playing game. From the sounds of it (the English is a little broken), former designer on the game with NTL, Ku Jeong-Hun, claimed he was being taken advantage of by his company, was going to be dismissed in a “disgraceful manner”, and left the company. An agreement was reached between him and the company that certain aspects of his game design would not be used in the final product. Lo and behold, sure enough some of these aspects turned up after his departure. There appears to be some legal threats flying between parties, but as the article rightfully states in its conclusion. At the end of the day, all gamers really want is a good game.

Published by VegettoEX
12 October 2009, 12:09 PM EDTComments Off

Namco-Bandai sent us over a couple gashapon this week in celebration of their upcoming domestic release of Revenge of King Piccolo (originally released in Japan as Tenka’ichi Dai-Bōken):

I reached out to our buddy Oldphan over at dragonballtoys.com to find out exactly what line these figures come from, etc. They are a part of the general Dragon Ball Collection series, and specifically the third line there-of. She also noted for us that it looks like the third series is of a little higher quality than the first two, and this is actually one of the few Grandpa Gohan figures ever made!

Revenge of King Piccolo is due out here in North America 20 October 2009. We look forward to reviewing the game solely because we are finally getting something other than a fighting game! Unfortunately for the game, its Famitsu scores (6/6/5/6 = 23/40) do not give it a great lead-in — we will give it a fair shake, though. Look forward to that review on the podcast (and hopefully written up on the website, as well) within the next couple weeks.

Published by VegettoEX
12 October 2009, 12:08 PM EDTComments Off

Following up on all the news and our podcast commentary, you may be interested in the third story posted on delmarvanow.com concerning the manga being pulled from the school library. This one, written by a different staff writer (Laura D’Alessandro) is certainly of a different tone. You can read for yourself, but we are happy to see the demonization and absolutely condemnation of the series has fallen to the wayside.

Library Director Tom Hehman said his staff is conducting an “internal reconsideration” of the series of graphic novels after one discovered in the Pittsville Elementary and Middle School library by a 9-year-old student earlier this week was found to contain nudity and sexual innuendo. Hehman expects the investigation to conclude next week.

Attention is given to the various ratings, classification by other libraries, and notoriety of the series worldwide.

Published by VegettoEX
12 October 2009, 12:07 PM EDTComments Off

Sorry for the one-day-late posting! Hopefully the massive amount of audio content makes up for it. As we state during the show, we are making up for lost time with this one! It’s a monster episode this weekend as we dig deep into the recent “Dragon Box” audio track news, of course the manga being pulled from a Maryland library, and our 30th “Manga Review of Awesomeness”. All the commentary you can eat this time, folks. Download the show now, or head on over to the podcast page for more information or to subscribe.

SHOW DESCRIPTION:
Episode #0193! VegettoEX, Meri, Julian, and Jeff all dive into Volume 30 in our “Manga Review of Awesomeness”. It’s another volume full of exposition, but is Toriyama pulling it all together in a coherent fashion, or are there too many characters doing too many things? Lengthy commentary on FUNimation’s final details for their own Dragon Box audio tracks and the manga being pulled from a Maryland school library round out the rest of the episode, with a little bit of releases and e-mails to finish it off.

REFERENCED SITES:

Published by VegettoEX
09 October 2009, 12:13 PM EDTComments Off

There seems to be a large amount of head-scratching going on with regard to the release date of Raging Blast across Europe. Amazon UK is listing the “Limited Edition” version of the game (both on PS3 and 360) with a release date of 23 October 2009. However, the standard versions of the games (again, both on the PS3 and 360) seem to be set for 13 November 2009.

Meanwhile, Amazon Germany is listing both the “Limited Edition” and standard versions of the games on both consoles as all being available on 13 November 2009. This appears to be the release date for the rest of Europe, as well.

It seems the only clear release dates are 10 November 2009 for the US and 12 November 2009 for Japan, but at the same time, there are no clear details about “Limited Edition” versions for those territories…

Published by VegettoEX
08 October 2009, 10:52 AM EDTComments Off

Japanese buddy kei17 popped in with a new Jump page showcasing the all-new Super Saiyan 3 Vegeta as a playable character in the upcoming PS3 & Xbox 360 fighting game, Raging Blast:

This comes after the reveal of Super Saiyan 3 Broli also being a playable character in the game. The Super Saiyan 3 transformation is new for both of the characters, never having been reached in the series or movies before (though obviously not new for characters like Goku and Gotenks).

Published by VegettoEX
08 October 2009, 9:40 AM EDTComments Off

Gamekult.com has obtained an image showcasing the contents of the European “Limited Edition” version of the upcoming PS3 & Xbox 360 fighting game, Raging Blast, which we first reported on a couple weeks ago:

Clearly showcased are the art book, soundtrack CD, add-on content voucher, and overall packaging. There has been no word from Namco-Bandai about a possible North American release of the “Limited Edition” version and its extras. The game is due in Europe 23 October 2009, North America 10 November 2009, and finally Japan 12 November 2009.

Published by VegettoEX
08 October 2009, 9:14 AM EDTComments Off

Delmarva Media Group’s local news website delmarvanow.com has a new story following-up on yesterday’s announcement that the Dragon Ball manga was being pulled from a Maryland school library due to “graphic” content.

Despite writer Greg Latshaw‘s opening line about manga often being geared toward adults, an unfortunate quote from Salisbury University professor Adam Wood further leads in the article inferring that all manga is for adults. The article continues with an announcement from school spokesperson Tracy Sahler noting that the Dragon Ball manga has indeed been pulled from school shelves, and that while a committee (consisting of internal administrators as well as those “outside” the school system) will review the volume in question, the final decision rests with Superintendent John Fredericksen.

Councilman Joe Holloway (who has not responded to our request for comment) distributed photocopies of certain panels from the manga to his fellow members in a meeting on Tuesday, describing them as “disgusting”.

While we have not dived into our own personal feelings on the matter just yet (stay tuned to this weekend’s upcoming podcast… you will probably get more than you bargained for), we cannot help but be disgusted, ourselves, with a comment from Mark Thompson, county school board president:

“The pictures I saw, if it was meant for adults, it crosses the line for child pornography. If it’s for a child, why show these scenes for children?”

This reminds me of a fabulous piece of reporting from ABC 17 News in which the following was stated with regards to the Nintendo video game series, Animal Crossing:

“There is no reason an adult should have [Animal Crossing: City Folk],” says Andy Anderson, Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force.

Anderson says adults playing “animal crossing” and similar games are likely doing it for the wrong reasons.

If Dragon Ball is pornography (and if Animal Crossing aids child endangerment), so is and does the vast amount of children’s programming that has ever aired on American television. Forgive the distracting argument, but seriously…?

Does Dragon Ball manga belong in an elementary/middle-school library? I cannot answer that question; for the earlier parts of the story, sure, maybe not. Was I in middle-school when I discovered the series? Yep. Have I grown up to be a relatively normal, productive member of society? Pretty sure I have.

Rest assured that we applaud the parent involvement in this situation. Far too often parents are completely removed from their child’s interests and activities, and it is refreshing to see a parent not only get involved, but also take action.

However, to demonize a product with completely out-of-context examples, misinformation, and clear attention-grabbing ulterior motives is what you can call truly “disgusting”.

Much of the fault lies with the American distributors of the series, namely FUNimation and Viz. Since 1995 and 1998, respectively, there has been nothing but conflicting marketing and demographic catering from each of them. Is the anime kid-friendly or is it super-bloody-awesome-hardcore? The manga is rated “Teen”, but clearly marketed at children of all ages. The “Shonen Jump” magazine runs claimed to be faithful to the original version at launch, and yet slowly transitioned into an edited shadow of its former self. The new “Chapter Book” format is being released alongside countless repackaging of the original manga. Home video releases are “uncut”, but video games retain the censored name changes.

How on Earth is the uneducated marketplace supposed to interpret all of this and made a final decision?

They can’t.

Make no mistake: Dragon Ball is for kids. It was always for kids in Japan (McDonald’s is getting DBZ cards again later this month), it was always for kids in North America (we had DBZ figures at Burger King), and it always will be. What makes the series so magical is that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Is it sometimes crude? Is it sometimes ridiculous? Of course it is. What nine-year-old child wouldn’t find an anthropomorphic pig parading around with panties on his head absolutely hilarious…? Do these parents and council members seriously believe that a 16-year-old girl would not be proud of her bust size and use it to her ridiculous advantage? This is the same series where a character is able to defeat an opponent who smells and looks foul (with his hands down his crotch, no less) because he realizes he doesn’t have a nose. Folks, this is the logic we are working with in the universe of the Dragon Ball manga.

This all came about because the mother of a nine-year-old contacted a city councilman about what they considered explicit sexual material in a comic book aimed at children.

FUNimation may want to reconsider their marketing toward the “nine-year-old born every day“.

Published by VegettoEX
07 October 2009, 3:39 PM EDTComments Off

FUNimation’s official Twitter stream has just been updated with the following tidbits:

The DBox will have Jap voice track w/orgnl Jap music – mono (default track) and Eng track w/orgnl Jap Music in 5.1 surround.

More on the DBox — The Eng track with TV broadcast music has been removed.

It appears that FUNimation’s upcoming “Dragon Box” sets will contain two audio tracks: (1) the original Japanese language track, and (2) the slightly revised English dub with the original Japanese musical score (previously released on the faux-“remastered” season sets).

The previous faux-“remastered” season sets contained three audio tracks: (1) a slightly revised English dub with the original Japanese musical score [stereo], (2) the English dub as broadcast on North American television including its musical score [stereo], and (3) the original Japanese track [mono]. A surround-sound 5.1 track for the broadcast dub had been included on the previously-released and midway-canceled “Ultimate Uncut Edition”. With FUNimation’s upcoming “Dragon Box” sets bumping the episode count from six on the Japanese releases to seven on their own and even more audio tracks, there had been concerns over compromises to the visual quality of the sets, arguably their most important attribute.

Published by VegettoEX
07 October 2009, 9:26 AM EDTComments Off

In a move that brings us full-circle to where we were ten years ago, the Dragon Ball manga has been pulled from the Pittsville Elementary and Middle School library in Wicomico, Maryland.

According to the article by Greg Latshaw on delmarvanow.com, a mother whose nine-year-old son had borrowed the book from the school library contacted Joe Halloway (whose occupation or position is not made explicitly clear in the article). This appears to be a misspelling of “Joe Holloway“, a member of the Wicomico County Council in Maryland, who presented examples of nudity in the volume to his fellow council members, and stated that the, “drawings and story lines are disgusting.” Wicomico schools Superintendent John Fredericksen has stated that, “it’s coming off the shelves as soon as I can get a phone call back to the office”. It is believed that the volume was purchased through funds provided by a grant, and that graphic novels are an accepted part of the library’s collection because it engages those students who otherwise may not be interested in “traditional forms of reading”.

Long-time American fans may remember a similar story from late 1999 / early 2000 in which the father of his four-year-old son was outraged over the inclusion of Dragon Ball manga in a pack of comics purchased at Toys “R” Us, which he described as “borderline soft porn” images of “naked boys and girls”. Dragon Ball was subsequently pulled from Toys “R” Us store shelves.

It was around this time and the resulting censored printings of the Dragon Ball manga from Viz that our own Julian Grybowski initiated a large-scale petition (reprinted online in various places) calling for a separate, unedited release of the manga to be clearly labeled as such and presented for its intended and eager audience.

While the TV series and movies have received fully unedited releases (both dubbed in English and in their original Japanese language) from American distributor FUNimation on DVD (with edited versions airing on television via Cartoon Network), as of today, no fully unedited version of the Dragon Ball manga has ever been released in North America from Viz. Various levels of censoring (both in terms of visuals and dialogue) are present in different print runs of particular volumes.

Viz has been releasing the Dragon Ball manga in North America since 1998. The Dragon Ball manga is imprinted with a “Teen” rating on the back of Viz’s current releases:

Viz has even created a new series of releases for Dragon Ball under their “Viz Kids” line in a new “Chapter Book” format in which the dialogue is simplified, expanded upon in narrative form, with limited illustrations sprinkled throughout the book.

We have reached out to council member Joe Holloway for comment.