Treasure Hunter – May the Anime be with You

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This May has been an exceptionally light month. Perhaps it’s because E3 is right around the corner and video game publishers want to focus on the next generation of consoles. Or perhaps this month is just a fluke. Either way, the release schedule for games has been very light and there aren’t any special video game editions for the month. Thankfully, a small number of anime titles with special editions hit store shelves in earlier in May.

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Spring is in full swing with the decidedly old school The Rose of Versailles. This anime originally aired on Japanese TV in the fall of 1979. Neither the TV show or manga had been officially licensed for release in North America, despite being released in some European countries. Last September Right Stuf announced the acquisition of the title under its Nozomi Entertainment arm. The series had a big influence on Chiho Saito’s Revolutionary Girl Utena. The Rose of Versailles is set in 1789 France around the time of the French Revolution. Jarjayes is a general of noble origins. The man so badly wants a son to preserve his family linage that he names his newborn daughter “Oscar” and raises her as a boy. Fourteen years pass and Oscar is a well-rounded commander of the French Royal Guards. Her first assignment is to protect Marie Antoinette, the fiancee of future king Louis-Auguste. Given the historical outcome of the French Revolution Oscar has one hell of a task. The first half of the Rose of Versailles box set contains the first 20 episodes and a pencil board. The revolution began on May 7 and will cost $30 to participate.

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In 2007 Gurren Lagann’s epic drill pierced the anime scene and shook the heavens. Its triumphant reign continued in 2008 when Bandai Entertainment acquired the North American license after it somehow slipped out of ADV’s hands. The dubbed version of Gurren Lagann would eventually air on the SyFy channel when the network still cared about airing anime. In this future setting humanity has been forced to live underground for centuries. The hotheaded Kamina believes there is a world to be explored on the surface while his best friend Simon is content with his life. Everything changes when the ceiling of their underground village collapses under the weight of a mysterious mech called a “Gunmen.” The machine is fighting against a heavily armed young girl named Yoko. In the chaos Simon and Kamina find a small Gunmen. During the fight the boys are transported out of the cave and discover the surface world really exists. Aniplex of America picked up the series after Bandai Entertainment was shuttered. Unsurprisingly, the publisher decided to release a premium (i.e. expensive), box set for fans. The set contains the entire series on DVD, two soundtrack CDs, a 36-page art booklet, a double-sided poster, two stickers, 12 postcards of the Japanese DVD covers and a box with artwork illustrated by animation director Yoh Yoshinari. Gurren Lagann made its exciting return on May 14 and the lavish set will cost you $140 at Right Stuf. (Stay tuned for June’s Treasure Hunter, I’ll definitely be writing about the EVEN MORE expensive Blu-ray set.)

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The Princess and the Pilot is a feature length film that originally premiered in Japan two years ago. The film was acquired by NIS is finally being released on video in North America. The catch? The anime publisher is only putting out a Blu-ray version at the moment. Hopefully you own a device capable of playing the format. The Princess and the Pilot takes place in the fictional Levamme Empire. The empire has been at war with its rival the Amatsukami Imperium for years. The prince of the Levamme Empire wants to marry Juana del Moral, a Levamme noble. However, the Amatsukami try to assassinate Juana. So Charles, a mercenary pilot in the lowest caste of Levamme society is tasked with flying the noblewoman to her prince in waiting. The trip is a daunting one as they are dogged every step of the way by the enemy. As expected, NIS America has put out another lush box set for fans. The Premium Edition of the Prince and the Pilot contains the movie on BD, a 32-page hardcover art book, a pair of eye masks (as an NIS bonus) and a hardcover slipcase for the entire package. The movie can be bought directly from NIS for $36, free shipping as usual. The Princess and the Pilot touched down on May 14.

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Tenchi is back in Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar. Or is he?! No, he’s not, actually. The latest entry in this long running harem anime franchise is actually about a 15-year-old boy named Kenchi, who is Tenchi’s half brother. (Which would explain the striking resemblance.) The poor boy is living a normal life in Japan until he’s abducted by space aliens a beautiful princess who uses him as her personal slave. He’s even forced to be a ladies man as the princess’ friends use him as their own servant. If servant duty wasn’t bad enough Kenchi has to also fight in an upcoming mecha battle. If he wins he can go home, if he loses he’ll be forced to serve the princess for the rest of his life. Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar is a 13-episode OVA series. FUNimation has released the first seven episodes of the series on a DVD/BD combo pack. The Limited Edition of the OVA contains a hard case to house volume one and volume two, and a 16-page art booklet. Kenchi was forced into royal conscription on May 21 and following his adventures will cost you the odd $52.49 at Right Stuf.

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