Monday, December 28, 2009

CARDCAPTORS: Tests Of Courage [VOL.1]


THE SEAL HAS BEEN BROKEN!
Sakura accidently releases the mischievous spirits of the Clow Book and now they are running wild. Only the legendary Cardcaptors have the ability to capture these spirits, but who would have thought that the easily frightened Sakura, could be one of those? With help from Kero, the guardian spirit of the cards, and her serious-minded classmate, Li, Sakura strives to bring peace by capturing the dangerous spirits of the Clow.
(From Cardcaptors: Tests Of Courage volume 1 DVD back cover)

Original Japanese Title: Kādokyaputā Sakura (Cardcaptor Sakura)
Dubbed by: The Ocean Group, Nelvana.
Animation: MADHOUSE
Manga adaption?: Yes, "Cardcaptor Sakura" by CLAMP.
Rating: 7+

{I, the reviewer, give Cardcaptors: Tests of Courage, 9 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

If you're an anime puriest, you probably hate me right now because I am a fan of the "utterly butchered" dubbed and edited version of the original Cardcaptor Sakura. But hey, this is one of the two animes that had me fall in love with anime in the first place when I was a kid, this being my favorite of the two. I have scene a few episodes of the uncut, Japanese version, and to be honest, I did not like it. This is my own personal opinion, I like Cardcaptors better, because I find it more funny and enjoyable to watch, plus it's cleaner.

Now on to the review....
The unfortunate thing is these episodes are out of order, being episodes 8, 12, and 17. Nelvana did dub all 70 episodes, but here in the U.S. if you watched on Kids WB like I did, we only got to see 39 of them (3 of which were 2 episodes combined and a clip show that never existed, watch all 70 dubbed and the uncombined versions are much more enjoyable!). Sadly, not all volumes of what WAS shown here were released, and I have seen all 70 of the Nelvana versions on YouTube. When you watch all of it, you will see Sakura's crush on Yukito (Julian) was kept, but toned down to cute innocent crush instead of obsession and Syaoran (Li) and Sakura obviously like each other, but the relationship is toned down to fit their age.

Despite this being out of order, this disc was still an enjoyable watch and brought back fond memories of why I fell in love with anime in the first place! Clow's descendant, Li Showron shows up, discovering Sakura had foolishly released the cards. They become rivals, but Sakura tries her best to be friends yet prove she is a worthy Cardcaptor. Kero is the most loveable character, he plays video games, eats lots of food, and helps Sakura. Madison (Tomoyo) is her best friend, always filming her and sewing her all sort of sometimes nice, sometimes crazy battle costumes. Tori (Touya), her big brother, always gives her a hard time, while Julian (Yukito) is nice to her, hence probably why she has a crush on him.

All in all, a highly enjoyable series, despite it being out of order and starting on "Sakura's Rival" instead of the (unbutchered Nelvana version of) "One Fateful Day". But I'm sure you'll set that all aside and fall in love with the characters, beautiful animation, and enchanted storyline!

Recommend?
I EXTREMELY recommend this to anyone who likes action, magic girl, humor, and friendship and rivalry!

I certify this *ANIME NEW COMER* worthy! This is a good taste of what anime is, a nice place to start to get used to anime's unique and mystical storylines.

[VIEWING PLEASURE]

[MUSIC]
I LOVE the music! I wish they released a soundtrack for it, but the cloest thing was "Songs from the hit TV series" which, like the DVD, is out-of-print now. The DVD also comes with the original Cardcaptor Sakura intro, which I admit, I really like "Catch You, Catch Me"

[SUB VS. DUB]
This only has the dub version (the uncut is sold seperately). Personally, I prefer the dub over the sub. Sure, it is edited, but I find these voices match better than in the uncut version.

[MOVIES/MANGA]
There were 2 movies for this. The first one, "Cardcaptors The Movie" also known as "Sakura Goes To Hong Kong", which was dubbed by Nelvana, and a second one, "Cardcaptor Sakura: The Sealed Card" which brings the series to a conclusion, sadly it was not dubbed by Nelvana, it was done by Bang Zoom and unedited, and the voices were terrible. The anime is based off of CLAMP's "Cardcaptor Sakura" which the first half was 6 volumes, and the second half "Master Of The Clow" also 6 volumes, so 12 in all.

[RELATED TITLES]
"Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles" is a paralell continuation starring the teenage alternates of Syaoran (Li) and Sakura, and it is crossed over with "xxxHOLiC".

[DVD EXTRAS]
The original Cardcaptor Sakura opening 1 and character profile of Sakura.

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
No language whatsoever.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
None of that.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
No innuendo, no revealing clothing, nada. Clean.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There is action. Some of the cards are very strong and powerful. Li has a weapon, a sword. No blood at all.

[RELIGOUS MATERIAL]
The Clow Cards are spirits, created by the magician Clow Reed, each card having it's own special power. Li has a yellow card that summons the elements, but he appears to be able to summon lightning without it. He also has a "Lasin Board" which can pinpoint where magic is. Sakura is also magical, she has a staff that is known as "the sealing wand" which is how she traps the spirit back into it's card form. Kero is a magical creatures, he looks more like a yellow squirrel with wings, but he also was made by Clow and is the guardian of the book.

*EPISODE INDEX*
Episode 8: "Sakura's Rival"
Episode 12: "Time and Again"
Episode 17: "The Cave"

AMAZING AGENT LUNA [OMNIBUS 1]


Her name is Luna, and she's the perfect secret agency. Grown in a lab from the finest genetic material, she has been trained since her birth fifteen years ago to be the U.S. government's ultimate espionage weapon. But now, she has been given an assignment that will test her abilities to the max - High School!
Her mission: to pose as a high school student at Nobel High and uncover a sinister plot engineered by her arch nemesis, Count Von Brucken. But the one thing she has not been trained to handle her own feelings. Especially when she starts making friends, rivals, and crushing big time on bad boy Jonah, son of the evil Count Von Brucken himself!
(From Amazing Agent Luna omnibus 1 back cover).

Manga-Ka: Story by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, art by Shiei.
Distributor: Seven Seas Manga
Format: Right-to-left
Rating: All Ages

{I, the reviewer, give Amazing Agent Luna omnibus 1, 8 out of 10!}

COMMENTS

As someone trying to get better aquainted to manga, desperately searching for good quality story and clean content, and trying to save money, buying the "Amazing Agent Luna" first omnibus was a good investment. As I browsed the manga section of my favorite bookstore, in search for something interesting, I noticed this title. I flipped through the pages, and read the back. It was rated "All Ages" indicating it's relatively clean, and it contains the first 3 volumes of the series for the price of buying 1 volume of manga. So, I decided to purchase it.

Now it appears this is an American manga, so it's not an import from Japan, but it does go the traditional Japanese style of right-to-left, it's in black and white, and the art is REALLY good. I highly enjoyed all 16 chapters of it!

The storyline is pretty good. Luna is a secret agent who was grown in a test tube basically, she's been trained to be a good spy, but has been isolated from the world. Having no family, no friends, and because of this, unable to deal with her sudden emotions of being a teenage. Dr. Andy and Control play the role of her parents on this mission. Luna attends high school to find out information, but also she makes 2 best friends, Oliver and Francesca, a popular girl named Elizabeth automatically become her enemy, and Jonah who she briefly met in Paris takes a liking to her, and she likes him back. Too bad he's the son of the enemy!

The characters have different personalities, very likeable, which makes it fun to read. I really felt for Luna as she experienced different emotions, especially when she starts crying. Dr. Andy plays a great dad, but Control is a little harsh, always "business" less "family". It's entertaining to see Oliver, who is crushing on Luna, and he hates Jonah, probably because he likes her and he knows she likes him back!

There is some action in this story, but I don't think it is presented well enough. Things go way too fast, and it was difficult to figure out what just happened. But as it goes on, the action scenes do appear to improve. So, that's probably my only major complaint about the story. Other than that, it was an entertaining and enjoyable read, and I plan to continue by buying the second omnibus when I get the chance. The ending was kinda shocking, and I have to find out what happens next!
The biggest pro is how clean the manga is. Despite some minor language, there really isn't anything objectionable in this manga. I look forward to reading the rest of it!

Recommend?
I highly recommend this series to anyone who wants a fun, clean read!

I certify it *MANGA NEW COMER* worthy! If you're just beginning to get into the manga world, this is a great place to start!

[CONTENT CARD]

[LANGUAGE]
2 "h", a few "d", and 1 woman almost said the "b" word but was interrupted before she could finish, 1 use of the other "b" word, 1 "crap", 1 "jack-a..", and God's name taken in vain about 5 times or so.

[TABACCO/ALCOHOL/DRUG USE]
When Control's parents come for a visit, Dr. Andy gives her parents an alcoholic beverage.

[SEXUAL CONTENT/NUDITY]
When Luna's friend Oliver sees Control, he says "Your mom is a babe!"
Most of the outfits are conservative, but there are some instances where you see a woman with a shirt you can see the cleavage line. In one chapter picture, Luna is wearing short shorts and a bikini top. In one of the bonus little 4 panel sketches, you see the chibi writers talking about what to put in the story, and the guy is like "Control should be a sexy librian" and "we need a naughty nurse!". Other than that, nothing I can remember, this manga is relatively very clean.

[VIOLENCE/BLOOD AND GORE]
There are fight scenes, but not too many, and they don't last too long. All of these fights are bloodless. There was a scene when Control killed an evil spy. She shot her glider and the woman loses balance and falls to her death, but it is not graphic, you simply see her fall and know what happened. Jonah gets into a fight with Erich, he punches him in the mouth, and you see just a little blood fly away from his teeth. Giant owls come and attack the students, but this scene isn't very long, and no one appears to have gotten hurt.

[RELIGIOUS MATERIAL]
Luna was grown in a test tube, genetically engineered to be the best secret agent. Part of the secret experimental project Luna has to get info on, the school mascoy owl is cloned, there is also an instance where a person and a clone owl have their bodies switched. I thought I should mention this, since it's like "playing God". Also, in science class, the science teacher mentions the "intelligent design" theory, and appears to be mocking it, but this scene is not dwelt upon and has nothing to do with the story.

*CHAPTER LIST*
File 1: Amazing Agent
File 2: Nobel High
File 3: Bad Boy
File 4: First Crush
File 5: Mysterious Birds
File 6: Mission Accomplished?
File 7: Family Week
File 8: Unexpected Arrivals
File 9: Bonding
File 10: Memories
File 11: Ten Years Ago...
File 12: Evolutions
File 13: Night Of The Owl
File 14: Best Friend
File 15: The Big Rescue
File 16: Split Second

Friday, December 25, 2009

Upcoming Reviews (Merry Christmas!)

Merry Christmas!

So I've had this blog for awhile and didn't know what to do with it, until now! I have decided to use it to review my current addiction, anime and manga! So in this "exciting" first post, I will list some anime and manga I plan to review. In my reviews, I will post the plot summary from the back cover, my overall opinion, and then I will look over the content. Finding clean anime and manga can be tough, but if you search hard enough....you're bound to find something!

UPCOMING REVIEWS....

[MANGA]
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, Vol.1
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles, Vol.2
xxxHOLiC, Vol.1
Game Plan! Vol.1

[ANIME]
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles: Vol.1: Gathering Of Fates
Cardcaptors: Vol.1: Tests Of Courage

[MUSIC]
Tsubasa Chronicles Soundtrack: Future Soundscape 1

And of course, there will be a special segment entitled "Anime vs. Manga", where if the manga is based on a manga, and if I've actually read the manga, and reviewed both of them here, I will them pit them against each other, and state my opinion whether I like the DVD or the comic better.

Hope you look forward to these reviews! It'll be fun writing them.