Monday, June 29, 2009

Flashpoint in a Flash: Season 1 - Episode 12: Haunting the Barn:

Hey Moonies: The other Flashpoint episode summaries are done and waiting to meet you all on We Got The Solution - however, this one featured Stephanie Morgenstern (Sailor Venus #1) and Robert Bockstael (Diamond) in guest roles. Stephanie played an officer, and Robert played Harvey Silver, a retired SRU member. Pictures and summary are after the jump!

We begin outside a crowded subway station surrounded by police and citizens. Spike maneuvers in a bomb robot towards a suitcase bomb as Jules counts down the time left before Spike detonates the suitcase. The case explodes... and rewind! Four hours earlier, the SRU complains about the broken AC as they head towards the briefing room. An old friend, the retired Sargent Daniel Rangford, visits the SRU and catches up with them. The SRU is alerted to the station where the suitcase is, and as they leave, Rangford hopes they keep the peace. Ed tells Sam about Rangford and how great his legacy with the SRU was. Back at headquarters, Rangford asks to use the Briefing Room and walks around the halls he once knew. He puts a letter in someone’s locker. The SRU arrives at the station which has been marked off by police line as they come up with a plan about the suitcase. Rangford asks Kira for a file, but he flinches a little when she says she needs clearance from the commander. He begins to speak in a threatening voice towards her and shows her a gun. Back at the subway station, Spike wheels out his robot as Jules works Command Post. At the SRU, Rangford takes Kira down to the archives, and holds her cell phone. As Kira goes in to retrieve the file, Rangford spots a plaque dedicated to him, and quickly turns away. The SRU doesn’t know why the suitcase is here in a public place. Rangford assures Kira that everything should come back to normal, and instructs her on how to act. As he walks back into reception with Kira, he is greeted by another of his colleagues. He talks the barest minimum to him and he walks away. Rangford tells Kira to sit down. Spike begins to scan the suitcase. Spike suspects there is phosgene in the suitcase. The same colleague back at the SRU gives Rangford a water bottle , and inadvertently he spots the gun. Rangford pulls a gun on the colleague , and backs into the briefing room. Kira sends a text message to the SRU and they split up, Ed, Wordy, Sam and Greg head back to HQ and Jules is put in charge of this situation at the subway station. Rangford keeps the SRU members at HQ at a distance as he locks himself in the briefing room. Roll Opening! Kira gets through to the SRU over voice and fills them in. They arrive back at HQ and figure out ways to monitor the situation using equipment he doesn’t know about. Spike finishes his scans and sends his robot, affectionately named “Babycakes” to open the suitcase. Ed starts the negotiations with Rangford. Greg talks to Kira and learns about what happened. Greg asks Kira to suit up and call up Rangford’s old partner, Harvey Silver. Ed is in a bind as Rangford has foiled his fiber optic camera, but Wordy manages to get another one in as Ed continues to talk. Rangford begins to drink out of his bottle of whiskey as he reads an old newspaper article. The SRU watches, and Sam begins typing in the event log. Rangford begins shooting at a chair, almost delusional as if there is someone else in the room. After a few shots he comes back to his senses. Rangford’s wife comes in, asking to see him, but Greg takes her aside. Ed breaks into the room, and Rangford holds the gun to his head. Commercials! Back at HQ, Rangford says if they move forward, he will shoot himself, as he goes through the rules of negotiation. He begins to lay out all the pages in the file in a circle around him.Harvey arrives, but Sam deters him from coming inside the room, and Sam asks him about an incident in 1989. Babycakes surrounds the suitcase with a special scanner, and sees things he doesn’t want to see. Kira tries to talk to Evelyn, and she says that he is not the same man she married. He doesn’t enjoy a lot anymore, and he had nothing left to his life when he retired. Rangford talks more about what tactics will not work, including tear gas. Evelyn feels detached from her husband who has been “hanging off a cliff” all these years. We go to Harvey and Sam, and Harvey tells the story about what happened in 1989. It was at a house where an 18 year old was looking after her orphaned brother and sister. There was a home invasion, but by the time they got there, they had left. The rest of the team went back on patrol, and Harvey and Danny stayed to write it up and sit with the kids, trading baseball cards. Two hours later, there was a homicide there. The girl who they managed to save was brain damaged to the point where she couldn’t have a great quality of life. The other two were killed. Greg leaves Ed to find out more information. Harvey didn’t know what to say to Dan. Spike gets ready to detonate the suitcase. Ed rolls in a water bottle to Dan. Kira brings in a bunch of beta tapes from the incident. Greg finally allows Evelyn to see Dan, but behind shields. Dan is ready to shoot himself in the head again, but upon seeing Evelyn wants her to go away so he can do this without her. The suitcase detonates as Dan puts the gun towards the SRU. Commercials! Evelyn begs Dan not to shoot. Dan gets delusional again and appears to be talking to a child. Kira fast forwards to a police interview with the 10-year old girl after the incident.You see Stephanie Morgenstern from her backside in this scene. We can now understand why Dan feels guilty - he told the boy to show his sisters how brave he was, and the little boy stood up to the criminals. Greg and Ed try to talk him down. Dan remembers what the little boy was like before he left, and he remembers seeing a screwdriver jammed into his throat. He blames himself for what happened and can’t take it anymore - all he sees are the ghosts of all his failed missions. He then asks Ed to shoot him. Ed takes the bullets out of his gun, and puts them on the ground. He takes off his equipment and his vest. He understands where Dan is coming from as he remembers all the calls they didn’t get to on time. Ed says Dan made him who he was, and he manages to pull him into a hug and takes the gun. The two men have a good cry about all their tough times as the camera pulls away. And we go to commercial. Spike looks at the remains of the suitcase, and sees actual hay and grass, and the remains of Dan’s Silver Shield which he earned for his bravery in this incident. The montage begins, as Dan is led away, and Greg promises to send him to rehab. Ed goes to his locker, and pulls out the letter Dan left for him. In the briefing room, Greg is with himself as he signs the incident report. Kira takes the report back to her office. Ed goes home and shows a special bulletin board with news articles about his career to his wife. He puts the note Dan left for him up there (a simple “I’m Sorry”) and hugs her. The end.

This was one of my favorite episodes of the show because we saw more of the effects a lot of these incidents that don’t go as planned have on the officers - something which the montages at the end never seem to capture all of. I thought the performance given by the entire cast was superb!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

We Called It!

As we reported not too long ago, Kunihiko Ikuhara was frantically working on the opening to an anime that he did not mention by name. We thought (along with many fans) that it was for the upcoming animated adaptation of the yuri manga Aoi Hana. Today, we can say for certainty, that our hunch was right! On Thursday, he posted another entry expressing his relief that he was finally finished, and congratulated and cheered his staff on for getting this finished in such a short time frame. He posted some very blurry pictures, but we can make out one of the faces and we have matched it to a character's face on the official site. We've got the picture here! Many Japanese sites are also reporting that he has only directed the opening sequence of this series, but, we're going to wait and see when the series starts. Kunihiko Ikuhara is best known for creating and directing Revolutionary Girl Utena, and of course, for directing many episodes in the first four seasons of Sailor Moon, as well as the Sailor Moon R Movie. He has also been very brave, and has cosplayed as Sailor Mars in the past!

Toei Fails To Shop Around Sailor Moon

We mulled over this for over a week over whether we should bring this to light or not, but we decided we should. Mainly because, it has a lot of relevance to our current campaign and the situation with Sailor Moon. Earlier this month, the Licensing International Expo took place in Las Vegas. This expo is a huge industry show where companies from all around the world set up booths/pavilions with their works that are ready to be licensed. Just to give you an idea of the companies who appear at this show, we'll drop a few names: Marvel, Cartoon Network, Disney, Mattel, Nickelodeon, Cookie Jar Entertainment, Sanrio, Viz Media, and Toei. Before we go any further, we'll have to add a small caveat. Should you go wandering around the site to look at individual exhibitors, DO NOT CONTACT ANY OF THEM. These are mainly for serious buyers and licensors only. We have provided safer addresses in our forums should you want to write any of them. It's important to note that Bandai and FUNImation did not have a presence here this year. We took a peek at Toei's page, and we learned that they did not shop around Sailor Moon for a potential license (but they did shop around some other old anime). The titles that they put up this year were:

Marie and Gali: This is a new anime that began airing in March in Japan. M&G's episodes are not full length per se, but 5-minute shorts that aired on NHK. It's about a GothLoli named Marika who hates science, but somehow ends up in a strange town where she meets some of history's most famous scientists. We haven't seen this one, and as of this writing it is not licensed in North America. The official website is here.

Asataro, The Onion Samurai: This looks like a silly series about a band of feudal superheroes that are vegetables. Kinda reminds us of Slayers meets Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island. His famed weapon is his onion juice, he has a sidekick who has a garlic head, and another who is a cucumber. The bad guys are potatoes. This is not licensed in North America either! We found a video clip, here! Official website is here!

GeGeGe no Kitaro: An old series from the late 60s which has been revamped several times since, the latest being in 2005. Back in the 60s and 70s it was directed by one of our favorite Studio Ghibli directors, Isao Takahata. The plot is still the same - a young boy strives to help find a way for Yokai (spirits) to live in the same realm as humans, and also helps out humans who get in trouble with evil Yokai. Video clip here, Official Site here. This is not licensed in North America yet!

My 3 Daughters: This is one based on a mother's blog in Japan about how she raised her three daughters. This is a slice-of-life comedy that was big in Japan, but unfortunately not licensed here yet. This began in April of this year! Official site is here!

Digimon Data Squad:Already licensed, this is the 5th Digimon series. Need we really say any more about this show about digital monsters that fight against others? We don't think this series has much to worry about since there's an abundance of video games, toys, and other merchandise, and it's still relatively popular with the younger set. It's on the Disney Channel too, so it's still doing relatively well. Official site is here!

Master Hamsters: If Hamtaro was a superhero, this is what he would look like. These hamsters passed their Master Exam, which gave them special Master Badges to turn into Master Hamsters. They get special powers like super strength and the ability to speak and understand human language. Of course at the end of the day, they love their sunflower seeds! This looks like one for the kids! Video clip here, and official site here! No license yet.

Happy Lucky Bikkuriman: This is another franchise revival, but the original is not as old as Kitaro . This one first began in 1987, and is another superhero show. Bikkuriman and his friends help save the world from devils. This spawned from a simple sticker tag game that used to come with candy over 20 years ago. Video clip here,and official site is here!

Pretty Cure, Yes! Pretty Cure 5, and Fresh Pretty Cure . This is the current "big thing" in Japan with respect to Magical Girls! Already a hit in Canada, it's a waiting game to see if this will show up on Cartoon Network in the fall or be released on DVD. The show has already been hailed as successful as Sailor Moon in Japan and we're hoping it will achieve just as much international success! Official site is here!

Moguragumi:We spent an hour trying to figure out what the heck these little critters are. We have come to the conclusion that these are webisodes and cute characters that are available for licensing. We have no idea what these guys are about, and judging by the buzz on the internet, we think they are probably popular with the mobile market, but probably wouldn't be a huge hit on this side of the pond. See for yourself at the official site here.

Dragon Ball Series We're pretty sure you all know what this is about. We're not going to say much about this except that we think it's pretty much as popular as it can get (however, Toei must do a better job with the rumored upcoming sequel). The story of Goku and his evolution into the great hero of the Universe is a hit with almost every anime fan. Official site here!

One Piece: Already licensed and a hit. This is another hot one in Japan and in North America. This one is about the trials and tribulations of Monkey D. Luffy, a teenager who accidentally consumes a strange fruit, and he becomes super stretchy! He is on a quest to find the legendary one piece, the treasure left by the Pirate King. Official site here!

Fist of the North Star: Another old series that has had various resurrections over the years. This one is a martial-arts and assassins drama. But, this is pretty old, and we can't say for sure how hugely popular this is. An older version was released on DVD in North America 5 years ago... Maybe Toei wants to redub this? Add the recent films to the North American market? Who knows...we do know the series is currently streaming with Toei's ventures in the North American Market. Official site here!

Captain Harlock: This series is over 20 years old. It's about a space pirate who saves the universe from its enemies. This, like FotNS is also streamed everywhere in North America. We also can't say how popular this is (though we don't think it is very popular). Official site is here!

Saint Seiya the Hades: Older Saint Seiya series are licensed by ADV (one of the only Toei titles that they have the rights to), but this one is up for grabs. We do know that Saint Seiya is popular with older, more hardcore, anime fans. This one is about orphans who unite to protect the Earth from the reincarnation of an evil Goddess. Official site is here!

Now , for our opinion. We don't really see any new standouts. Of course, Dragon Ball will always be a hit with anime fans, Digimon with kids, and Pretty Cure if it is managed correctly. But as for the others, we can see them being popular with niche audiences, and not wide ones.

However, Toei not shopping around Sailor Moon could mean one of a few things. First, perhaps Toei and Funimation are once again just teasing fans with talk of Sailor Moon to lure their opinions about other series. Second, there could still be underlying issues with Toei and/or Princess Naoko Planning (Naoko's own company). Genvid had an epic article some years ago of how the show was nowhere to be found in the character licensing directory. Or third, Toei doesn't care about Sailor Moon, while Funimation does. Perhaps Funimation's strategy is much like ours, trying to show fan pressure to Toei. Either way, since this new development, Operation Moonrise has become even more important now for fans to get their voices heard to Toei. In this economy, it would likely to be much cheaper to deal with something that is a proven hit rather than gamble with a new (or old) unknown series, so to speak. In any case, we are a little worried about the prospects of Sailor Moon and we cannot urge fans enough to get involved in our campaign. It isn't right for Toei to continue to name drop Sailor Moon in most if not all of their press releases, and for Funimation to speak of some interest in the series after five years, and for them not to aggressively pursue a second chance for the series. We are sure many of our readers can agree.

In other, lighter news, Toei Animation Europe has gone mobile in France, delivering mobile contact through Zaoza's downloading platform. Proposed content includes mini-videos, wallpapers and animated wallpapers.

On another note, Yoshihiro Togashi's work was shopped around by Viz - Hunter x Hunter was one of the works they showed for licensing! Though we have to wonder how a company would be willing to deal with his sporadic hiatuses.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What a Day...

On February 3, 1959, a plane crash claimed the lives of three of the big names in music of the day: Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly. This was later dubbed "The Day The Music Died." Today, we lost two legendary icons, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. The magnitude of these two icons must be as large, if not larger, as those three artists in their day. I wonder, if some time in the future, this day will have a name too. The entire staff of Moon Chase sends out condolences to the family and friends of Farrah and Michael.

I wasn't alive when Farrah Fawcett was an Angel. I had heard stories of her though, and came to know her as one of the stars my Mom used to watch growing up in the 70s. She was the epitome of beauty, she had the hair every woman wishes they had, and she had a major impact on the world as we know it with her personality, and her time on Charlie's Angels. Over the last year or so, she was one of the celebrities that popped in and out of the tabloids, and throughout the bits and pieces of the truth that came out about her cancer battle, I came to appreciate her much more. She had gone to great lengths to fight her cancer, seeking treatment in Germany when (from what I had read) doctors just weren't willing to try or consider other therapies that were deemed too experimental.

I watched her documentary a few times when it aired last month. Here was a woman, afflicted with one of the worst diseases a person could ever have, going to great lengths to beat this, and still at the end of the day having the energy to fight for her rights to privacy, and still making the time to find the good in life. And even though the cancer was tearing her family apart, she still managed to keep them together by keeping everyone laughing and smiling through the ups and downs of her battle. I finally had a reason to look up to her, but not for the same reason as the generation before me.

I had read in recent days that her health had taken a severe turn for the worse, and I hoped that she would be relieved of the disease that had caused her so much pain, in one way or another. She never stopped fighting. In her death, she had dealt the cancer the ultimate blow. She wasn't going to let it hurt her anymore, despite her attempts to hurt the cancer with treatments, of which some worked, and some didn't.

And that's how I will remember Farrah. She is best known for playing a brave, strong, and blonde superhero, much like the icon this site is dedicated to, but I will know and remember her for her bravery and strength she showed in her last years on Earth. Rest in Peace, Farrah.

This afternoon, I had finished watching the last aired episode of Flashpoint on my DTVR. I was ready to get up off of the couch and celebrate, because writing 28 pages of TV episode summaries within a span of four days, was not a joke. I thought one day, when Sailor Moon had achieved the success that it deserved and had settled into the market, there would be no more stories to tell on Moon Chase. Slowly, to the fans who were still interested, I would share some of the crazy stories from behind the scenes of the things the staff and I did to bring content to the site. This, was one of those anecdotes to share when that time came.

I had stopped the episode, and was waiting for my box to delete it, when in the corner of my screen, CNN was playing, and I hear Michael Jackson is in a deep coma. As the news was recapping the details, I had wondered if this was the result of some sort of last minute plastic surgery gone wrong. I was weary of what his upcoming shows were going to be like, and I had friends who were going to attend his concerts in September. I knew of all the rumors about his face falling apart, and figured it must have been surgery gone wrong. After the episode deleted, I got out of my list screen and watched the news. Then as more details came out, it had seemed that this really did come out of the blue.

I was a child of the 80s, and I probably was a fan of his music back then, but now, not so much. Over the last few years the news reports had reported so many bizarre things that I pretty much thought that if his strange clothes and personal anecdotes make him happy, then who are we to judge? I admit, I was creeped out with the court case not too long ago, and it's hard not to have anything to say when it came up in conversation. But, that's all in the past now... what anyone may ever say about him, he was talented, and motivated to be a star since he was a child, and he worked hard to bring happiness to the whole world over in his time. And that is the memory that will last with our generation.

BREAKING NEWS: Flashpoint Season 3 begins on July 17th... On CBS?!

Breaking earlier today on CBS's Press Express was an announcement about Stephanie Morgenstern's (Sailor Venus #1), and her husband Mark Ellis' Flashpoint having a Season 3 premiere on July 17th. So much for having a break until the fall, we are all working hard behind the scenes to get our Flashpoint blog up, and I was looking forward to a long break from watching any episodes! In an effort to have caught up with our summaries, I have been running a marathon through all of Season 2 since Monday! The episode that will air that day is "Coming To You Live", about a popular radio show host who is holding a prominent politician hostage on the air. He is seeking revenge for a murder that he thinks the politician committed years ago, and is ready to kill him on the air. Can the SRU fix this situation? We'll get to see in about 3 weeks. As for whether I will be able to keep up with the summaries or not, I can't speculate on that right now ;) though if this experience has taught me anything, I will have to keep up with it at least a few days after they air!

We here at Moon Chase are surprised by this announcement. CBS had kept the show off of it's Fall Schedule, while CTV had announced that it was on theirs, and also committed to 13 episodes for 2010. Now if CBS's Ghost Whisperer, NUMB3RS, and Medium are set to premiere on September 25th this leaves room for up to 10 new episodes of Flashpoint to air. Nine episodes are being shot right now, and this set of episodes began shooting in May. We are a little worried about Flashpoint's future, and perhaps it was CTV's announcement of the show airing on it's Fall schedule that provoked this action by CBS. It's a strange and twisted industry, and we were looking forward to seeing it again in the Fall on a more regular schedule. We sure hope that the show's future will be made clear in the coming days.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Operation Moonrise : Phase Two! Letters from Moonspace!

Hey Moonies! Keep those surveys coming and keep getting the word out about them! We have extended the deadline of the survey until July 31st (and we hope to get at least 500 responses by then). We have finally decided it’s time for Phase Two of our campaign. We have decided to post a few guidelines about what to write and how to write, but we will only be posting the addresses and other information in our forums. This is to ensure they aren’t getting any spam or other letters in their inboxes. This phase involves letters in English. We ask that you please do not post this address information outside our forums. These will be posted in the Campaigns subforum.

- Begin with who you are, where you are from, and that you are a fan of Sailor Moon. If this isn’t meant for the person you are addressing to, ask them to forward it to the right person.

- It’s always a great place to start where you, yourself started. When did you first become a fan of Sailor Moon? What did the characters mean to you back then? Do you have any special memories of the show from when you were young (i.e. you learned the meaning of true friendship thanks to the comradery between the senshi)?

- Then, fast forward to the present. How has the show helped to shape who you are today? How did it inspire you to follow your dreams? Have you had any special achievements in your life that have a connection to something with Sailor Moon?

- Where have you been in the last 5 years without Sailor Moon? What times do you wish it were still around? Were you able to own all of the DVDs you wanted to? Were there other people that you encountered that you wish you could have some episodes to show them to help them get through a bad day etc.?

- What does the show mean to you today, and what would it mean to you if it came back to you today? Forget the fandom for this part, and talk about why you want the show back. Would you like to see it on TV again to reach a new generation of fans? Would you like to have a better distribution structure for the releases?

- And don't forget why you think the show should come back, and why you think it will be a success on TV again if it is given a second chance!

Thank them for their time and their consideration in bringing back the series, and end with your real name. Include your contact information (mailing address and e-mail).

For more information and where these can be sent, join our forums! The thread is located here!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Meet the Staff: Emily

Name: Emily (real name) or Lanisatu (nickname)
Position: Writer and Behind the Scenes Helper
I Have Been a Sailor Moon Fan Since: late August, 1995
Favorite Episode or Movie: The Sailor Moon R movie
Favorite Sailor Moon Character: I've always liked Sailor Moon's honesty and her ability to see the good in everyone.
Other Anime or Manga I like: Ghost in the Shell, Gunsmith Cats, Fruits Basket, Fullmetal Alchemist, Marmalade Boy, Mars, My Neighbor Totoro, NausicaƤ of the Valley of Wind, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Peach Girl, Pretty Face, RahXephon, Spirited Away, Witch Hunter Robin, and others I'm probably forgetting.
Other tidbits: I run Sailor Moon Snipits, which has been online since 1998; I co-run a Sailor Moon guild on Neopets called Guardians of the Moonlight; and I write and illustrate a fantasy comic series for teens called Green Corner, which has an art style that is somewhat influenced by Sailor Moon and Dan DeCarlo (Archi Comics). Oh, and I'm Canadian :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Flashpoint DVD News! And a Flashpoint Announcement of Our Very Own!

Hey everyone! Via Mark Ellis' (hmmm. Should we call him Mr. Sailor Venus now since we're reporting him on the site so much?) Flashpoint TV Twitter account, we have learned there is finally going to be a North American DVD release on the way! We're not sure if Stephanie Morgenstern (Sailor Venus #1) makes any posts on the site. No word yet exactly on how the episodes will be split up among the releases. It's nice to finally see DVDs closer to home, and we're all happy we don't have to import the boxsets out of the UK or Australia anymore! While we're on the subject of DVDs, we have once again come across an imposter. We've learned of a second bootleg set that is coming out for Season Two. Again, we urge fans NOT to buy this boxset as it is NOT a legit release, and if they see it in a store, to let their local authorities know about it. Besides, they couldn't even get the name of the series right on the cover, and it just looks tacky.

We'll catch you up on some other news too. We haven't been updating on Flashpoint as much as we would have liked to because we're all hard at work putting our Flashpoint blog together as well as working on Operation Moonrise. We have a brand new staff member and we are shooting for the first week of July for the blog to launch (although anything could happen which could delay this). But the biggest piece of news that has come out in the last few weeks is that Flashpoint has indeed been renewed for a third season. What's even more interesting about this one is that this time around, CTV seems to be working a little separately from CBS. When the series began, the episodes always aired in simulcast on the two networks, however after the ninth episode aired on both networks ("Planets Aligned"), the next episode "Eagle Two" was scheduled to air the week afterwards only on CTV, however, it did not. Many speculated that CBS was behind this decision, just as they had been calling the shots on many of the details in the shoots. Logos of Canadian companies , while they were still recognizable, they were altered somehow in the broadcasts. For example, a Bell payphone booth in one of the episodes had letters blocked out. Again though, this is all speculation - we can't confirm if this is the real reason! But, bearing all of this in mind, now it seems that CTV will be airing new episodes of Flashpoint in the Fall, ahead of CBS (which will put them on probably in January or February).

So, look forward to our new staff member posting her Meet the Staff post soon! Oh yeah, and we're finally going to reveal the name of our Flashpoint blog! It took me a long time to come up with a witty name. For a long time I wanted to call it "Put the Gun Down and Read This!" but for some reason it didn't jive right. While that line had become one of the more infamous ones on the show, I just couldn't make it work for the title. But then some days later, that other infamous line from the show popped in my head, and I knew I had a winner - and my main staff at the time all unanimously agreed! We have decided to call the blog "We Got The Solution! A Flashpoint Blog". And the title has a second meaning as well because many of our readers were as torn as we were about what to do about our Flashpoint coverage, and starting a new blog was our solution! But don't worry, all you Stephanie Morgenstern fans. If she appears on the show, or something on the show directly involves her, the post will be cross posted here as well. We're not eliminating our coverage of her from that standpoint!

When the blog is ready, you'll see it here! For now though it's only visible to staff as it's still under construction!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Yes, you're hearing this officially! Just hours ago, Otakon announced the addition of Kikuko Inoue to their guest list! While everyone remembers her for her roles as Belldandy in Oh My Goddess, Kasume in Ranma 1/2 and Sephiria Arks in Black Cat. But, the only roles that have ever mattered to us Sailor Moon fans are her roles as Princess Rubina in the SuperS season, but most importantly, Sailor Aluminum Siren/ Aya Reiko in Sailor Stars! Words cannot express how excited all of us on staff are to hear about this - we all hope that Human Swine Flu/H1N1/ or whatever it wants to be called these days doesn't stop her from coming! Who amongst our readers is also excited to hear this?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oh Ikuni, What Exactly Are You Working On...

Since May 29th, Kunihiko "Ikuni" Ikuhara (Director throughout the series and movies) has posted storyboards from the opening sequence of an anime on his blog. This one is slated to premiere in two weeks. We’d love to tell you which anime it was, but we don’t know. In fact, nobody knows. Ikuni hasn’t posted the name of it either. We have a hunch (along with many fans) that it might be the upcoming Yuri anime, Aoi Hana. The drawings look sort of similar to the trailer that we have seen. He also mentioned a "quiet" tune, and the song in the trailer seems to be pretty calming. He has posted the most interesting of entries along with these pictures of the storyboards.And as always, they end with his pondering caricature. His entries (most times) give readers something to think about. We've posted the pictures, along with the links and brief summaries of his posts below.

May 29th: his first post with a drawing! He speaks about wanting to read Haruki Murakami’s new book, 1Q84 , and how he is under the gun to finish this sequence. It was changed so suddenly, and at the last minute, and he was scrambling! He is desperate to get this done, and at the same time really wants to read Murakami’s book in the ultimate act of escapism.

June 4th: he revealed he was working on a part of the opening sequence meant for a "quiet tune", and that it was supposed to hint at the climax of the series. He remarked that it was difficult to draw what might be in the minds of the characters in this sequence. He also felt a little uneasy since he doesn't entirely know what the climax of this series is supposed to be (or how the anime will get there). This part will be colorful though!

June 16th: this one talks about how Japan recovered after a war by experiencing a period of economic growth. He also talks about how what is worth happiness changes witch each new generation and this has to do with the growing amount of money as society trudges on. He makes not of being in a recession, and how there always seems to be one every 100 years or so. The one thing that can never be taken away is imagination - and that is worth more than money can buy, and will always bring happiness to a person. The power of imagination brings "Happiness to Me", and it is good for each person. This one was my favorite of these three entries!

Well, whatever the anime does happen to be, we will keep you all posted. It has been too long since we have heard of new work from Ikuni!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

People of Iran, You Have Moon Chase’s Support.

We here at Moon Chase have a no-politics rule, however we’re going to break it for this post only. We’ll break down the current crisis for you in a few short sentences. There was an election. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has led Iran since 2005, was declared the winner by 62% of the votes. However, the vast majority of posts we’re reading allege that these aren’t true, that corrupt personnel in the government falsified the results to keep Ahmadinejad in power, that many, millions of votes were simply not counted, and that it is impossible to have counted 39 million hand ballots in a matter of one day. Many Iranians are of the sentiment that Mir-Hossein Mousavi is a more progressive choice towards moving Iran in a much different direction, and that their votes for him were withheld. We can only hope that voters in Iran will one day get a fair and accurate count of their votes. Foreign media outlets have been choked of covering any protests that are not in favor of Ahmadinejad, and as you are reading this, members of Iran’s armies are going after protesters who simply want a re-election or a recount. Iranians are being brave and playing tricks with proxies on Twitter to get news, and their voices heard, to the world. The best thing you can do right now, is read this article from boing-boing about how to protect Iranians and learn which tweets to read from the cyberwar which has erupted in light of all of this. If you find a proxy or a hashtag that hasn’t been monitored, don’t share it online in a public place. Send an email, call a friend, etc. This is the safest way to keep them protected. Pass on anything breaking to your local news outlet. While many are saying to change your Twitter account settings to Iranian ones, we don’t recommend this. While it hides and protects Iranian tweeters, there is also a risk involved that all Iran twitter accounts may be shut down under a threat from the Iranian government to the offices of Twitter. Our Twitter icon and background will be turning green until this is resolved. If you have a Twitter account, please go green in support of Iran.

We’ll also tell you about an interesting animated film some of us on staff have seen. At Moon Chase, we believe our readers should try to expand their animated horizons beyond Japan. There’s a large world out there in foreign animation. Persepolis, a film by Marjane Satrapi, tells the story of similar events from the 70s and 80s in Iran through the eyes of a young girl. This film is autobiographical and is based on Marjane’s own experiences (which were told through a comic of the same name). The film was not positively received by the Iranian government over the fact that it did not "glamorize" the effects of the revolutions and political changes which took place. The film has won several awards and honors worldwide. Marjane has also come out in support and with more figures declaring Mousavi the winner. For those of our readers who want to know more about Iran’s turmoils have shaped the country today, we suggest watching it. In your own small way, by supporting this movie, you’re showing Iran that you can’t just look at the picture they paint of their own country.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Junichi Sato to Direct New Anime!

Junichi Sato (Episode Director, Series Director, and Storyboard throughout the series) is directing the upcoming anime, Umi Monogatari ~Anata ga Ite Kureta Koto~ (or Sea Story ~Something You Can Do~ in English). This isn't your typical The Little Mermaid story. This is a much darker take! Marin, the Maiden of the Sea, and her sister Urin, are two pure beings of the sea who dream of the world above the water. One day, a beautiful ring falls into the sea, and the two sisters decide to venture outside of the water to return it to its rightful owner.After a long journey, they come upon an isolated island. A high school girl named Kanon lives there, and she is the Maiden of the Sky. The encounter between Kanon and Marin unleashes hidden powers for the girls, as the world they know becomes enshrouded by darkness. The show is partly based on a "magical mermaid fantasy" pachinko, and begins next week on the 24th on CBC and later on TBS (which also aired PGSM back in the day). For those of our readers planning to watch this, we'll warn you that the series features some pretty scantilly clad girls (the premise was so good! WHY WHY WHY ARE YOU ANIMATORS NOT GIVING THE GIRLS MORE CLOTHING T_T). The official site has a few trailers and the opening streaming for fans to check out. We really like the Kame Blog (Turtle Blog_ featured on the site! There's a bunch of promotional tie-ins as well. At a promotional event held two weeks ago, Sato commented how much he enjoyed working with the cast and crew throughout this series' development, and that he wishes to work with them all again. At the time of this event, only four episodes had been completed. He also wished them all the best of luck for this series and their work in the future. He is pictured at the event here with the main cast (bottom row, second from right in white jacket and pink shirt). A challenge he had working on this series was trying to find the perfect way to get a childish, summery, voice out of the seiyuu involved! This looks like it will be a fun magical girl anime!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Not Worth Any Bang For Your Buck...

Future Anime Not Even Worth Half Of Its Hefty Pricetag!

This afternoon, I finally caved and picked up the latest issue of Future Anime from my local convenience store. This is only the magazine’s second issue, the first one was released around a year ago. I never got to read that one, but I had been reading that there were plans to release more issues of this magazine if the demand was high. This is one of only two anime magazines on the market right now (the other being the bi-monthly Otaku USA). So, I purchased the magazine, when to my surprise at the till I was greeted with an astronomical price of just over 13 dollars. I couldn’t believe it, especially since the magazine was not terribly thick, but I bought it anyway. My mistake for not checking the price tag!

Earlier this evening, I crashed on my couch with the magazine in tow, and read it. It took me under half an hour to get through this magazine. Coming from former editors and writers of a much better magazine, NewType USA, I expected much more. This is what was included in the magazine:

13 Anime descriptions with shortish reviews, in almost the exact visual format as the anime reviews in NewType USA. They all included offbeat titles, series information in a tiny box, and the article text set off at an angle. Of course, these were set against a large picture from the anime in question, and the text barely covered half a page.

1 Two-page introduction to hot manga titles and titles which should be picked up. This was also done on a "lovely" hot mustard colored background.

12 two-page pull-out posters from: Darker than Black, Ouran, Prinny, Cross Edge, Voltron Fleet of Doom, Nighthead Genesis , Maria Watches over Us , Gakuen Alice, Princess Resurrection, Clannad, Freedom, and Code Geass. These posters weren’t particularly glamorous with the images that were used. We can see some otaku sticking these posters on their wall, but how are a bunch of posters really considered a magazine bonus? What are we, like 8?

7 Video Game Reviews. 6 of them were crammed in a 6-page spread, and the 7th was a review of the new fighters from Street Fighter IV.

1 Editorial about the "Subspecies" of American anime fans. I had to scan this for this article. Even though it tried to be humorous, it just didn’t do it for me. Maybe it was because I was so frustrated with everything in this magazine up until this point. Click the image for full size.

The writing in this magazine was so-so. It didn’t keep me engaged and excited as reading NewType or Anime Insider once did. There were a couple mediocre standouts in this magazine, the first was a review of Full Metal Alchemist written from the perspective of a writer who ran a two day marathon watching all the episodes. The second was an article on the live action Death Note movie with a small inset about other live action films picked up by Viz. All the video game reviews were lukewarm at best. The manga reviews were pretty generic. What would have made this issue much better would have been featuring other aspects of anime culture like perhaps a few interviews with some company reps, crew, or voice actors, or some actual news articles about anime. I would have loved to have read another perspective on the current downturn in the anime industry. And some cosplayers or anecdotes from Japan would have added a little more life to this magazine. Heck, it's con season. Would it have hurt to have featured some coverage from one con?

All in all? It was not worth the 13 bucks. 5, maybe. It doesn’t matter that this is a yearly publication, so it’s seemingly alright if it costs that much. If Future PLC is going to charge that much for a magazine, it should include that much worth in quality.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Video Footage of Sug at Florida Supercon!

We're dying to know how Stephanie Beard's (Rini #2) panel at Florida Supercon went last weekend! We know she appeared with all of their other guests last weekend. These included anime karaoke star Stephanie Yanez, The new voice of Jessie and Nurse Joy (Pokemon) Michele Knotz, the new voice of Brock (Pokemon) Bill Rogers, and FUNImation's Operation Anime director Sophie McNutt. If any of our readers attended this panel or got to meet Sug over the weekend, please send us an email and let us know how it went! We'd love to hear about it! In the meantime though, we found 3 videos on YouTube (after days of searching for any news about this appearance)!

Here she is singing her infamous parody from her Kiss 92 FM days...

And then she sings again to a fan at the autograph table...

And then says that some other fan is a Goblin Queen?!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Breaking News: McG Influenced by Sailor Moon!

First Steven Spielberg, and now McG. The press is buzzing about Terminator: Salvation's esteemed director, McG, and his comments about which anime have influenced him! On June 4th, McG, along with the film's other main cast of Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Moon Bloodgood, appeared at a promotional event for the movie. He revealed that he was influenced b what was regarded by many who were there, an odd couple of the Japanese entertainment world: Sailor Moon and Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. He said those series were considered to be Japanese subculture and also admitted a love for Akihabara! He answered this in response to a question from a fan with a straight face, later giggling! The audience was also either laughing or surprised upon hearing of those two together! McG also surmised that if there was to be another Terminator movie, he would want to shoot it in Shinjuku and Shibuya. He also spoke of how himself and Quentin Tarantino were influenced by works from Japan since they were children. It's always nice to hear of Sailor Moon's influence in Hollywood (hey Toei, are you listening? Just think of how much MORE impact a re-release could have?). The picture we have shown you above is McG in a pose the press has dubbed the "came from the future" pose.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Sony Announces Anime on the PlayStation Store...

Toei Pictured, But Not FUNImation ?!

Sony held their keynote presentation today at E3, and Kazuo Hirai, Sony Computer Entertainment America's Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer made a great announcement about the PlayStation Store. Starting today Anime, along with other TV shows, is now available! We have provided a screenshot from this special announcement. We were happy to see that Toei was included, but we were a little worried because while we saw other anime companies like Manga Entertainment, ADV's the Anime Network, and Nozomi Entertainment, we noticed two very big names were missing: FUNImation, and Bandai. We wondered why this was. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be on the Canadian PlayStation Store yet, but it is on the US version! We later found a press release with more highlights. This is an amazing opportunity since most video gamers are anime fans, and this is a big help in really making the PS3 and PSP the only consoles you'll ever really need (of course, we still like the Nintendo Wii and DS- there are some titles that are irresistible). We applaud the companies who worked with Sony in making this happen - this is a great new way to distribute anime and is hopefully a step in the right direction to change the anime industry in North America. To access this part of the store, hit the X-button on the filmstrip icon, and select Anime. The full presentation is up at

The other standouts? The itty-bitty PSP Go, Final Fantasy XIII and XIV, The Last Guardian, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and of course, that nifty motion-sensing controller that is still in development. Just think, what if there was a Sailor Moon game and that was your wand? We could all be like our favorite superhero!

Spot a Dash of Sugar!

Looks like her scene was kept in the movie! Stephanie "Sugar" Beard (Rini #2) can be seen in a new TV spot for the movie Funny People! She told us earlier all about her scene and we're really in awe now that we can see her sitting next to Adam Sandler - even if it is only for a fraction of a second! We put Sailor Mini-Moon hovering over her head, so you know where to look! The movie opens on July 31st and tells the story of the lonely comedian George Simmons ( played by Adam Sandler), who learns he is dying of an incurable blood disorder. One night, he meets another lonely comedian, Ira Wright (played by Seth Rogen). The two become close friends as George struggles to come to terms with what he has left of his life. George eventually beats his disorder, and really learns about what everything means in life. We'll be there when this comes out, will you? Click here for the official movie website, and under Video, pick TV-Common (at the bottom) to spot Sug!

And for those of you in Florida, don't forget Sug will make an appearance at Florida Supercon this weekend!

Twitter is Fixed, Social Networking Pages are Go!

Hey everyone - keep those surveys coming! I edited the introduction this morning and added the guidelines and a few links. Our Twitter account has finally been fixed - and for those of you who are stuck, we came across a tip on one of the help forums from another user who stumbled upon a solution. We're going to share this one with you because over a month ago Twitter support said there was a solution on the way... and it hasn't happened yet.

1. Upload and make all your profile changes. At this point, it does not matter if all of them show up or not, so long as they have been uploaded and/or set.
2. Go into your account settings. Change your email.
3. After this is done, your design and profile changes should magically appear! Now you can change your email back to the one you want to use for your Twitter account.

Future changes may require you to change your email back and forth again. Don't ask us why or how this works, we really don't know.

I will update our Twitter each morning with a silly news link and an eBay link of the day. Also, I have fiddled with the settings on twitterfeed so now stories that we post should only appear once.

We also have a Facebook page where all of us on staff will pop in once in a while to interact with fans, and both our Twitter and Moon Chase Blog feeds are set up on it as well. All you have to do is click on the Boxes tab, and Simply RSS should show up with both of our feeds in short, brief, headlines.

And on the plus side, we got our 20th forums member early this morning! Come join the party!

Monday, June 01, 2009

A Couple Survey Guidelines...

Hey everyone - all of us on staff thank you all who have finished the survey, but we have a lot more to go! We've been noticing a few things in these last few days as we've been monitoring the results to see how the survey is going and we ran into a couple problems. So here are a couple other things to take into consideration when you are doing the survey.

1. FUNImation actors only! We've had a lot of suggestions for actors who have not appeared on any Funimation shows , or even any anime for that matter. We will include your suggestions in the report, but just keep in mind that unless these actors have been in a FUNImation production they are not likely to be taken seriously. Actors who have done their voice work on cartoons from Fox, Nickelodeon, or Disney, are probably not going to wow the execs. Although some fans would enjoy seeing (for example), Jodi Benson's take on Sailor Moon, it probably isn't going to happen.

EDIT: Real people only. We will not be including fictional suggestions in our package. Yes, we thought you would all take this survey seriously, but when you see Weena Mercator suggested for everything, we wonder what other surprises people will come up with.

2. Please complete the survey! It is very important for statistical purposes that you answer all the questions and don't close the window mid-survey. You cannot resume this survey once you have started. This is why we posted the questions in a post ahead of time. We tried to keep it as short as possible, and we're sorry if it is still taking too long. The next one isn't going to require any background like this one did, and it will be much shorter and faster.

3. Don't check off every option in those questions that allow you to pick more than one option, unless you really want them all. This is especially becoming true in the question about the production crew. You may think to yourself, "it has been a long survey, I've spent too much time on this already, so I'm just going to click every one and be done with it". For every person who does that, there are ten more who do, and then our results become pretty even among them all making us hard to tell which ones are wanted the most!