Why you should buy them! (probably)
I think you should buy them. In fact, I demand you go buy them.
I think we are extremely lucky that ImaginAsia has come along and decided to try this. Classic shows released in the past have done notoriously bad. Not because the shows aren’t good, but fans seem to be superficially obsessed with the way a show looks. I’m not saying style doesn’t matter because there are some things that are so ugly is it hard to look at it. But to miss out on a really good show because of it seems counter productive.
Well, I think a lot of ImaginAsia‘s plan to pick up older series come with the fact that they have a novel distribution system that makes it economical to release niche titles to a niche audiences and still get some kind of profit. First off, ImaginAsia is a cable channel so they can put anything they license right on TV, which is an advantage that most anime distributors don’t have. Then ,they are releasing them on high quality press on demand DVD-Rs. This means they are possibly not as high a quality a disk that has been factory pressed DVD, but the only real difference between the two will been seen 5 or 10 years so I guess we shall see then. For now they see good enough quality.
Since they are so cheap to make, can be made in house, and since they are only distributed on the Internet, ImaginAsia can sell them at a lower price than normal anime DVDs. Also since they are print on demand. They don’t have to worry about a factory filled with thousand of unsold DVDs if a title is unsuccessful. Also since they are going for a niche market, so they’re not spending big bucks on a dub. All in all this seems the best way to see a old anime series that does not have nostalgia factor like Voltron. I wonder if other companies will start to do the same thing if ImaginAsia makes a profit.
But for me, I really love 70’s and 80’s style so the vintage of a show is not really an issue for me. I jump at the chance to watch some older shows. And as such have jumped at these ImaginAsia releases.
Yeah, there are a bunch of really good classic series that could use some U.S exposure. Captain Harlock, Rose of Versailles, and Dirty Pair come to mind right off the bat. There are also some legendary old sports anime like Aim for the Ace, Touch, Attack No. 1, and Tomorrow’s Joe. Some of the greatest hits of anime go unknown in the US because they are old sports shows but are an integral classics of anime in Japan.
I like the way they are released even-though some people take issue with it. Of course, they are subtitle only, which doesn’t bother me since I don’t even listen to the dub track, ever, not even as a test, for most shows. The first disc comes in a thick box that holds all the discs. The box is nice, comes with artwork and all the discs have artwork on them, too. Then each disc after that just comes in a … So you just continually add discs to the big case filling it up. It saves space, is cost effective, and quite frankly is the only way we are ever going to get shows like this in America. And if these releases do well, we can expect more in the future. It would be wonderful to get a lot more classic shows here in the U.S. Especially since Rose of Versailles is part of the TMS catalog. It’s a long shot, but you never know.
Well there is always the rumor that Riyoko Ikeda is super duper crazy and is the main obstacle preventing Rose of Versailles from getting licensed.
I like the boxes and they are pretty nice looking. Most people prefer smaller boxes as opposed to single boxes for each DVD anyway. I mean I don’t even keep most of my DVD cases anymore. I throw all my DVDs in CD notebooks. I need space. Otherwise where am I going to keep all my Saber figures?
Well we can talk all day about what a good distribution idea ImaginAsia has but if the shows stink who cares? Or if you hate the types of show they licensed then why should you care. But I think ImaginAsia picked at least two good series in Orguss and Cat’s Eye. They are very different shows but both have a distinctly fun old school vibe. They have yet to ship me Nobody’s Boy Remi so I don’t know how good that series is.
Orguss is about Lt. Kei Katsuragi is a fighter pilot who is assigned to protect a dimensional bomb set to blow up an enemy space elevator. When the engineering team assigned to detonate the device has to flee as the battle turns south Kei decides that he don’t need no stinking dimensional science PhD to set off a highly complex dimensional bomb. Since Kei is 80’s anime protagonist, and a huge jerk, he sets off the bomb horribly incorrectly. This has a two fold effect. The first effect is Kei is transported 20 years into the future. The other is that he rips time/space in half and mixes dozens of different world together rather unstably. Kei pops out with his transforming fighter and is discovered by a traveling band of merchants. They take him in partially out of the kindness of their hearts and partially because he is an idiosyncratic point. What an idiosyncratic point is unknown to the viewer but everyone in this new mixed-up Earth seem to think one is very valuable. In fact the militant Terram keep sending soldiers to capture or kill Kei because he is an idiosyncratic point. Kei stays with the Emaan merchants because they seem to have his best interests at heart. Oh and because he is a horn-dog that probably has a shrine to Ataru Moroboshi in his room and the Emaan ship is filled with cute girls and sexy ladies.
Orguss is space opera lite. There is a serious plot but the show doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. The main characters are not dark and tragic, at least not so far. Kei is a super-flyboy, jerk as far as I can see with glimmers of sensitivity. But to counter act this, he is slapped in just about every episode. Mimsy being the one doing the most slapping. Mimsy the love interest, although I feel like it is really rushed.
Well, the whole Mimsy and Kei like each other does sort of come out of nowhere. I guess since Kei hits on anything that moves and is female he was bound to eventually get someone who was interested. Mimsy also seems interested because Kei is different and not a super prat like her fiancée Sray (who I’m sure is going to die sometime in the last 5 episodes of the show). I’m sure they will string the romance along by making her go back and forth between Kei and Sray until Sray gets killed.
On the Emaan side, there seems to be a lot of women in high ranking roles, which is nice. Most of the ship is female. They have a female captain and their best pilots are also female. I wonder if this has to do with their society. But of course Kei is just way better than anyone. Although, this sort of makes sense considering the Emaan society are merchants.
Well, a large female casts with leadership roles lends itself (but does not guarantee) some strong female character roles. The captain Shaya seems capable so that is something. Maaie and Lieea are somewhat more cutsey but seem decent at supporting Kei. I remember reading on Anime Jump that someone theorized that if Orguss was made today it would be a harem show and all the girls would love Kei.
I guess I can see that, but I don’t really think it would have to be. Thank god this is not a harem show, sorry people. I also really like Muum, the little girl robot. Her first appearance is the first time we see Kei seem to care about anything. He dots on her like a little sister. I see her as a super-adorable R2D2 that fixes his ship and gives him information.
Well, having watched the second disk she does sort of slip into proto-moe. She definitely has a crush on Kei but thankfully Kei does not seem to be a robo-pedo.
Because Moe had to come from somewhere.
Cat’s Eye is one of those shows that you just have to roll with. The premise is so outlandish that you have to be in it for pure entertainment.
Hitomi, Rui and Ai beat Superman in the worst attempt to hide someone’s secret identity. These three lovely ladies run a little cafe called the Cat’s Eye by day. By night they are the notorious cat burglars called Cat’s Eye. They steal various pieces of art and always leave a calling card. They always steal pieces of art that had been part of their father’s collection before it was broken up after he disappeared. They hope by collecting pieces of their father’s collection they will find some clues as to what happened to him.
And they also where outlandish outfits! Like roller skates and bright colored scarfs in combination with their jumpsuits, I swear they look like they are going to a roller disco. They also have access to everything ever, ever. Planes, boats, all sorts of equipment. I suppose all of that cash from the art their father collected keeps them going, as running a cafe probably isn’t raking in the money. But then ya gotta wonder why the art was sold and now they are stealing it back? Where were they that they didn’t inherit it?
Then there is Toshio, Hitomi’s fiancée, frequent visitor to the Cat’ Eye cafe, and the detective assigned to stopping Cat’s Eye. Obviously Hitomi is dating him for his gentle compassion and rugged good looks not for his common sense or stunning intellect.
It is so hilarious! Especially when he takes people who need his help with Cat’s Eye to the Cat’s Eye cafe to discuss their plans!
The show seems rather episodic with the women from the cafe lining up another piece of their father’s collection, them doing prep work, them pulling off the job, and then how they get away.
This seems to be a popular method for caper shows. It makes sense and allows the series to continue for a long time. But it also makes me want to watch it in spurts as opposed to straight through. Once again that isn’t bad but it is a different experience. There is an over-arcing plot but for the most part I could watch it once a week and grasp what is going on. And if there ever is something I need to remember, they will probably remind me of it when it comes up.
From what I understand in 37 episodes in the first season and 36 episodes in the second season we only get real answers from the manga. Japan really seems to like formula shows like Lupin and Conan. They were definitely made to be watched once a week and if you missed an episode you would be fine tuning in next week none the worse for wear.
I found both shows to be entertaining and full of 80’s charm! Not to mention music. They are both fun and don’t take themselves to seriously, which I can appreciate. With both a good price and a good quality release they are a great buy. I am definitely going to continue to purchase these shows and look forward to other releases from ImaginAsia.
I also really hope this works out for ImaginAsia because I just keep dreaming about what other awesome older shows they could get from TMS.