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Published by VegettoEX
14 June 2010, 8:47 PM ESTComments Off

We finally get a chance to catch up with Julian this week on the show! Everyone is still in the middle of massive deadline Hell and the like, so we took it easy and went over all of the recent news. You all came through with some great e-mails, too, so be sure to stay tuned for all of that. Someone has a very exciting announcement during the episode, too…! Download the show now, or head on over to the podcast page for more information or to subscribe.

SHOW DESCRIPTION:
Episode #0222! VegettoEX and Julian catch up and go over the news from the last two weeks. The second “Kai” ending theme is getting eleven different releases, and a new guide book is coming our way! A great bunch of listener e-mails round out the episode, including some franchise-introduction thoughts and general life advice. Someone also has a very special announcement!

REFERENCED SITES:

Published by Hujio
06 June 2010, 3:18 PM ESTComments Off

Shigeru Nakahara has announced on his official fan site that he will be returning to reprise his role as Artificial Human No. 17 in Dragon Ball Kai. He does note that he will make his first appearance in episode 64, which is scheduled to air 04 July 2010. Nakahara goes on to comment about how much he has been looking forward to doing this, and how excited he is to be working with Nozawa-san (Goku) again. Of course, he finishes by asking everyone to tune-in and watch Kai.

中原 茂
Shigeru Nakahara
“Artificial Human No. 17”

Published by VegettoEX
01 June 2010, 9:19 PM ESTComments Off

In news that seems (if our community across the ‘net is any indication) of interest to just about every type of fan from every walk of life in tons of different areas of the world, FUNimation has officially recast the role of Freeza for their English dub of Dragon Ball Kai (slightly re-named to Dragon Ball Z Kai). The company’s YouTube channel has the third part of an on-going interview with Chris Sabat (Vegeta, Piccolo, as well as the director) and Sean Schemmel (Goku, Kaiō) in which the news is finally revealed. While we are still somewhat hesitant to accept some slight revisionist history going on with the description of their English-dubbed production, these “behind-the-scenes” looks are certainly enthralling, none-the-less. It is fascinating to hear the director note how the previous voice actress was simply unable to keep up with the accurately-adapted script for the character, which heavily factored into a recast voice one (which happens to be male, unnamed as of yet) that has been pledged to be far more “creepy” than ever before.

Speaking solely for myself, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have not been more excited to hear a specific character from my favorite series speak aloud in English. To know that some fans will be hearing an interpretation of the character that will finally be even in the same ballpark as what we know him to be… that is very exciting. If it cannot be Ryūsei Nakao right away, this may be an acceptable second-place!

Of course, we reserve all final judgment for when we actually hear the performance. Then again, with the exception of the first Kai release from FUNimation, we typically shy away from even covering that side of their products. Is this something you even want us to cover in the future? Let us know!

Published by Hujio
01 June 2010, 5:50 PM ESTComments Off

This July will see four new Dragon Ball books and eleven new CDs! If you are ready to see your money fly out of your wallet, let’s get to it.

Shueisha has announced a new anime guide book, officially titled TV Anime Ultimate Guide “Dragon Ball Extreme Battle Collection” Round 01: Boyhood arc – Freeza arc. It appears this book will highlight all of the battles that take place over the first part of the series, and I think it is safe to assume there will be at least a second volume. However, it will be interesting to see whether or not this is simply a reprinting of the “Battle History” section of Daizenshuu 2, but with screen shots from the anime. The book is set to be released 2 July 2010 for ¥700 (~$7.70).

Also in July, Shueisha will be releasing three new Dragon Ball sticker books. Yay?! The books are being released in conjunction with three new One Piece sticker books, so there is a possibility they may be somewhat “Dream 9” related. They are set to be released 23 July 2010 for ¥750 (~$8.25). There is no word yet as to what size of books they will be, or how many stickers they will contain.

Shueisha’s listing for the month of July also notes that the sixth volume of the Majin Boo Battle arc will be the final volume of the TV animation comics. The sixth volume is set to be released alongside the new guide book 2 July 2010. So far there is no word as to whether Shueisha will be doing the same thing with either Dragon Ball or Dragon Ball GT.

Published by VegettoEX
01 June 2010, 3:56 PM ESTComments Off

The CD single for the second (and current) closing theme to Dragon Ball Kai, entitled “Kokoro no Hane” (“Wings of the Heart”), is set for release in July in eleven different versions.

It was clear from the start that using AKB48 members for the closing theme was a bit of a publicity stunt/grab (even with leader Minami Takahashi claiming to be a “real” fan). This release style solidifies it, and is something absolutely unprecedented for Dragon Ball.

Here is the easy information — everything is coming out 21 July 2010. Regular editions will cost ¥1260, while “Limited Edition” versions will cost ¥1600. What are all of the different versions, though? According to Columbia’s and CDJapan’s listings:

Each individual member (seven total) of “Team Dragon” (itself a hand-picked group from the larger pool of AKB48 talent) will be receiving her own version of the CD single. These individualized versions will contain a trading card with that member’s image, as well as a DVD with footage of that particular member’s “dubbing experience” as well as footage of the theme song being performed. The “Team Dragon” version appears to have a trading card with an image of all members, and DVD footage of all members. The “Miracle Card Battle” version will contain a card with an image of either Goku, Gohan, or Cell. Furthermore, first-press copies will come with a B3-sized (353 × 500 mm) poster.

It is incredibly confusing, and slightly ridiculous. For those just looking for the closing theme itself, pick up any of the eleven editions and it will contain it. The standard track listing for each disc (none of which have cover art just yet) is as follows:

01. 心の羽根
Kokoro no Hane
Wings of the Heart
02. 世界中の雨
Sekaijū no Ame
The Rain Throughout the World
03. 心の羽根 (off vocal ver.)
Kokoro no Hane (off vocal ver.)
Wings of the Heart (off vocal version)
04. 世界中の雨 (off vocal ver.)
Sekaijū no Ame
The Rain Throughout the World (off vocal ver.)

A “Limited Edition” version of a CD single is certainly nothing new to the franchise, and even Ayumi Hamasaki’s CD single for “Rule” (the main theme to the live-action movie Dragon Ball Evolution) had three different versions… but… eleven? Really?

Is there anyone out there willing to drop the cash for each and every single version? We will take a bullet for the team and check out a couple of them (we already have two on order), so expect reviews that are probably far too detailed for our and your own good near the end of July.

Published by VegettoEX
31 May 2010, 5:38 PM ESTComments Off

While it may not sound like the most enthralling “radio” in the world, our look at the first new art and illustration book for the franchise in fifteen years is pretty gosh darn exciting. Ōgon no Senshi (“The Golden Warrior”) was released just last month in Japan, and is a steal at around $12. We are spoiling the entire podcast by saying so, but you should really just go ahead and order the darn thing right now. Download the show now, or head on over to the podcast page for more information or to subscribe.

SHOW DESCRIPTION:
Episode #0221! VegettoEX and Hujio discuss “Ougon no Senshi” (“The Golden Warrior”), a new art and illustration book released in Japan this year. It has a wealth of new and rarely-seen images, along with three interviews. Is it worth it for the price? A good batch of news, all of June’s releases, great e-mail responses, and a plethora of contests round out the episode. Win a copy of the very book reviewed on the show!

REFERENCED SITES:

Published by VegettoEX
27 May 2010, 10:52 AM ESTComments Off

Navarre announced this morning that it is considering the sale of FUNimation. Nothing has been decided just yet, but they have brought on Houlihan Lokey (an international investment bank and corporate adviser) to assist in the investigation and possible deal. Per their official press release:

MINNEAPOLIS, May 27, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Navarre Corporation (Nasdaq:NAVR) a publisher and leading distributor of computer software, home entertainment media and related products, today announced that it has engaged Houlihan Lokey to assist it in structuring and negotiating a potential transaction for the sale of FUNimation Entertainment. There can be no assurances that this process will result in the consummation of a transaction.

“Navarre is pursuing a more focused strategy. Now that we have substantially reduced debt and improved operating margins, we are focusing our efforts on driving revenue, particularly in new product lines. We are concentrating all efforts on our distribution and software publishing businesses where we have significant expertise and considerable systems and physical assets that can be leveraged. The Punch! acquisition announced last week strengthens our software publishing business and demonstrates a step in our execution of this strategy,” stated Cary L. Deacon, Chief Executive Officer.

FUNimation Entertainment’s strategy and capital requirements are distinctly different from those of the Company’s core business. While FUNimation’s recent results have generally met expectations, the strategies required to grow the business include co-productions of original anime content, social networks and digital broadcasting. The Company anticipates that those plans are best executed with ownership that has assets or expertise in those areas.

This is a very interesting development both from the general business perspective of Navarre, as well as the domestic anime industry (and therefore, most specifically for us, the treatment going forward of the Dragon Ball franchise).

There are some confusing and back-handed statements flying back and forth — FUNimation did incredibly well for Navarre, helped get them out of debt, and now they want to sell them off? It is very possible that their statements should just be taken at face-value, and that where FUNimation is heading with all of their new initiatives just does not line up with what Navarre is equipped to handle and support as their core business.

Navarre completed their acquisition of FUNimation in May 2005. Since then, FUNimation has dominated the North American anime industry, with Dragon Ball proving to be one of their biggest assets time and time again. In June 2009, it was heavily implied that Dragon Ball accounted for 46% of the company’s revenue that fiscal year. At the same time, FUNimation has gone through several rounds of restructuring; however, this was expected during the recent economic recession.

FUNimation recently extended their license for the Dragon Ball franchise through 2015. If there is to be a sale of FUNimation, one would assume that the license would stay with them, but it will be interesting to see if any further re-negotiations must be made.

We should hear more about this news next week as Navarre releases their fiscal end-of-year report and provides a little more outlook for the future.

Published by VegettoEX
24 May 2010, 9:21 PM ESTComments Off

We traditionally do not cover any dub of the franchise in this sort of (extreme) depth here on the website and podcast. Since we have already editorialized and pontificated upon Kai as an entity more than our fair share, it seemed like the best route to take with FUNimation’s recent release was to focus on the one aspect new to the release — its English dub. Is it truly the most accurate and faithful English dub the series has received, or is it traditional FUNimation where one little aspect somewhere holds it back from being everything it can be? Our buddy Hujio joins us for the topic, while a little bit of news, releases for the next month, and e-mails that make us think real hard about our viewpoints round out the episode! Download the show now, or head on over to the podcast page for more information or to subscribe.

SHOW DESCRIPTION:
Episode #0220! VegettoEX, Meri, and Hujio dive in to FUNimation’s domestic release of “DragonBall Z Kai”. Having already covered “Kai” as an entity (and specifically the first story arc) extensively on the show before, we figured the best course of action was to cover the one entirely new aspect of this release – the new English dub. Is it truly the most accurate and faithful English dub the series has received, or is it traditional FUNimation where one little aspect somewhere holds it back from being everything it can be? A little bit of news, releases for the next month, and e-mails that make us think real hard about our viewpoints round out the episode!

REFERENCED SITES:

Published by VegettoEX
24 May 2010, 1:06 PM ESTComments Off

Namco-Bandai has sent out a press release confirming the 22 June 2010 release date in North America for Dragon Ball Origins 2 (the domestic release of Japan’s Dragon Ball DS 2 from earlier in the year). Of particular note is the demo coming to the Wii’s Nintendo Channel next Monday, 31 May 2010:

DRAGON BALL®: ORIGINS 2 FOR NINTENDO DS™ HAS GONE GOLD AND DOWNLOADABLE DEMO AVAILABLE ON MAY 31

SANTA CLARA, Calif., (May 24, 2010) – Leading video game publisher and developer NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc., announced today that Dragon Ball®: Origins 2 exclusively for Nintendo DS™ has gone gold and will be available in North America on June 22, 2010. In addition, a free downloadable demo version of the game will be available via the Nintendo® Channel on the Wii™ console starting on May 31, 2010. Dragon Ball: Origins 2 is the sequel to the original Dragon Ball: Origins for DS. The new game takes players on an action-packed adventure around the world, as young Goku and his friends battle against the nefarious Red Ribbon Army as they hunt for the legendary Dragon Balls.

Players who download the free demo will get a preview of Goku’s gameplay in Dragon Ball: Origins 2. While traveling on his Flying Nimbus cloud, Goku was attacked by the Red Ribbon Army led by the malevolent Commander Red, causing him to lose his trusted Power Pole weapon. In this single-level demo, players will attempt to retrieve his gear as they solve puzzles, hone their skills, encounter skillful opponents and face off in an ultimate boss battle that provides just a sample of the final gameplay experience.

In Dragon Ball: Origins 2, players battle through the Red Ribbon Army saga and have the chance to play not only as Goku, but also the added variety of his friends from the series along the way including Krillin, Bulma, Yamcha and more, each with their own abilities and power-ups. In addition to an exciting single-player mode, two players can join up for satisfying co-op multiplayer challenges via a local wireless connection. By playing the single-player adventure, special multiplayer stages including challenging boss fights unlock and become available. Players are also able to carry over their saved character from the single-player mode as they battle alongside friends in co-op mode.

A challenging mix of action and exploration awaits, as Goku and friends must use a wide range of skills to solve puzzles, find treasure chests, and defeat armies of baddies. A situation-based camera adapts with the changing gameplay to bring players closer to the action as they jump, swing and charge through forests, underwater areas and more. Meanwhile, key boss battles switch to side-view to emphasize the signature fighting style of the Dragon Ball series. With support for both stylus and button input options, players are free to choose their preferred control style.

Dragon Ball: Origins 2 for Nintendo DS is rated “T” for Teen by the ESRB and will have an MSRP of $29.99. For more information about the game, please visit www.namcobandaigames.com or http://dragonball.namco.com. To join the official fan community, please visit http://www.gokuscorner.com.

Beyond our initial thoughts on Episode #0151 of the podcast, we never got around to giving the first game a full review. We are looking forward to the sequel and hopefully seeing a lot of its predecessor’s issues corrected.

In related video game news, a new trailer for Raging Blast 2 is popping up online, though with a seemingly replaced audio track and specifically branded for a European audience. Nothing of particular note is showcased in this new trailer.

Published by VegettoEX
16 May 2010, 11:03 AM ESTComments Off

In extremely surprising news, it sounds like an upcoming Dragon Ball video game will see some new, traditional 2D animation. Our favorite buddy “Wasted Wisher” (who let us all know about Kai weeks before it was officially announced) popped over on our forum to say they will be working on approximately 30 minutes of new animation for a video game. There is no word on exactly which game that will be, but TAG VS and Raging Blast 2 are the only known upcoming games at the moment.

The last game to see extensive 2D animation was the American-produced Sagas (Gamecube / PS2 / Xbox), which contracted out Toei for an opening chapter sequence. Prior to that, DragonBall Z 3 (Budokai 3) was the last Japanese-produced game with a 2D-animated sequence. All games since then have featured either new CG-rendered 3D graphics or even in-game, 3D models.