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Sep 162015
 

If you enjoy watching the Power Rangers battle enemies in their zords, then you ought to see Gurren Lagann (2007-2008). This takes place in the future, where mankind is forced to live underground due to the surface world being so hostile with beast men.

There are some individuals who intend to explore up above like Kamina the hilarious headstrong rebel and Simon the meek young digger. They like to address each other as brothers even though they’re not actually related. I think it’s nice that they do.

I met Kyle Hebert, the voice of Kamina, at Anime Festival Orlando 2012.

Eventually, Simon finds a giant robot head called Lagann and a drill shaped key to activate it. However, the key is tied to Simon’s emotions. So it only works based on his mood, which is hard to understand sometimes.

During Simon and Kamina’s attempt to head to the surface, they meet Yoko. She’s highly skilled with a rifle and knows how to handle dangerous situations. Yoko is also funny while trying to tolerate Kamina, or anyone that likes to gaze at her gorgeous body.

I met Michelle Ruff, the voice of Yoko, at Space Coast Comicon 2015, along with Amanda Miller and Christina Vee. All three of them voiced characters on Sailor Moon.

Together Simone, Kamina, and Yoko become Team Gurren. On the surface, the beast men drive bigger robots called Gunmen and each one is different. Kamina manages to steal a Gunman and combine it with the Lagann to form the Gurren Lagann. It not only can destroy other Gunmen more easily, it bring hope for humanity.

As the series proceeds, the team grows with new members and more stolen Gunmen that are reprogrammed to fight for good. Among those new members are the Black siblings, who are a team of skilled beast man hunters; Kittan and his sisters Kiyoh, Kinon, and Kiyal. They’re such an amazing group.

Many of the beast men are nameless, but one who is reoccurring is Viral. He’s actually more of a half human/half beast man. Although Viral loses against Team Gurren, he always lives to fight another day.

I met Sam Riegal, the voice of Viral, at MythiCon 2013. Of course, I’ll always remember him best as the voice of Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 version).

The leader of the beast men is Lordgenome the Spiral King, a tyrant intent on eradicating all of mankind. He appears somber, but don’t underestimate him, especially in battle.

I should also point out that in much later episodes, the series really goes sci-fi when Team Gurren takes the war into outer space seven years later.

This was certainly a good series with its action and humor. My only concern was that one of the principle characters gets killed off really early in the series. It’s a surprise that I never saw coming.

Oct 012014
 

Chuck Huber

Another great voice actor I got to meet at MythiCon 2014 was Chuck Huber. He had voiced some awesome Anime characters over the years like these.

Dr. Franken Stein from Soul Eater: When I first heard about this character, I thought he was based on the Frankenstein monster. However, Dr. Stein is very different, despite his sewn together body parts and the mechanism in his head. He can easily resist any attack and can read other people’s souls. After a major battle with the heroes, Dr. Stein reveals to be one of the good guys and a wise instructor. Of course, even he has his flaws, like tripping in his rolling chair.

Melt from Tower of Druaga: He’s a mage that’s highly skilled with lightning power that comes from his magical rods, which are used like golf clubs. Melt is also funny when he complains, especially when his young servant Coopa is involved. It’s part of what makes Melt a favorite.

Dominikov from Murder Princess: This bounty hunter fights with a scythe that can cut through anything and wears a skull shaped mask. His story is an enigma, but becomes clearer later in the series.

Bus Driver from Rosario Vampire: There’s not much to say about this character, but his presence and how he gives advice to Tsukune does set the mood of the series in a suspenseful manner.

Any other characters you’d like to add?

Sep 242014
 

Not to be confused with the Freedom Force animated series from the 70s or anything else that uses the same exact title, Freedom Force is about a group of 12-year-old kids that have been assembled by the French government to stop a madman who has altered history. It’s mainly focused on the history of classic novels by Jules Verne.

The team includes Peter the sci-fi bookworm, Aristotle the inventive genius, Nicole the martial artist, and Profiterole who has a serious gas problem. All they have to do is get into the stories using an invention called the imaginarium, and press the restart button which instantly puts it back on track. Jules Verne wrote many novels, but this film only focuses on From Earth to the Moon, Five weeks in a Balloon, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Of course getting the stories back on track is not easy. The restart buttons are hidden cryptically and the dangers from the stories are real. It’s bad enough that there’s a saboteur trying to stop the Freedom Force from succeeding.

The suits the kids wear can change into any kind of outfit. That’s helpful in some ways, but unfortunately blending in with the crowd is not one of them.

Although the mission does succeed, there’s another problem. The giant octopus from the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea story was accidentally brought to the real world and is on the loose. You’ve got to admit it sure is graphical.

I met Eric Stuart at Mythicon 2014. There’s no mention of which voice(s) he does in this movie, but I do remember him best as Gourry Gabriev from Slayers.

This was a good movie that’s both adventurous and exciting. Even though the mystery bad guy was already revealed at the beginning, his motive is definitely something I never saw coming.

One other thing I’d like to point out is that the only actors who were properly credited were Sarah Michelle Gellar (voice of Nicole) and Christopher Lloyd (voice of Professor). It’s not clear who voices the other characters. Why is that?

Sep 062013
 

Another great action packed Anime series taking place in an epic fantasy realm is Sacred Blacksmith: The Complete Series (2009-2010), which is about knights protecting the Independent Trade Cities from demons that are actually humans. They signed demon contracts to sacrifice their bodies to become powerful demons.

The main heroine is Cecily Cambell, a knight who comes from a long line of knight guards. She believes in justice and that to be a knight means protecting the people. Unfortunately, her skills tend to fall short because Cecily lacks a killer instinct. Other knights only see her as a coward that way.

I met Cherami Leigh, the voice of Cecily Cambell, at MythiCon 2013. I also remember her best as Patty from Soul Eater.

Cecily does have close allies like Luke Ainsworth, who is a blacksmith with incredible skill. Although he’s usually a jerk around Cecily, he does have some compassion for her since he’s always there to help Cecily out of tight spots.

Luke’s assistant is Lisa. She’s an adorable little girl who helps Luke with his blacksmithing. I just love her, especially when she easily becomes a good friend to Cecily. At first I was under the impression that Lisa is Luke’s little sister, but the truth behind her isn’t revealed until later on in the series.

What originally started out as an assignment for Cecily, turns out to be another friend and ally who joins the group. She is Aria the demon sword of wind. She can transform into a sword and back to a human at will. Aria has a dark past, mostly in sword form, but truly wants to live peacefully.

Aria isn’t the only demon sword though, even if she’s the only one that can take human form. There’s Claymore the demon sword of earth, Rhomphaia the demon sword of scarlet light, and Ballock Knife the demon sword assassin. Doris, Margot and Penelope, who are tough fighters and companions of Charlotte Frobisher the Emperor’s spoiled young daughter, wield them. They all start out as enemies of Cecily, but later become allies.

The only other demon sword is the demon sword of corruption. Wielding that is the main villain of the series, Siegfried the commander of the Empire, who usually hides under a cloak when he travels.

I met two other voice actors from this series also, Colleen Clinkenbeard, who voices the role of Siegfried’s bodyguard Francisca, at MegaCon 2011, and Kara Edwards, who voices the role of Patty Baldwin, at MetroCon 2011.

I enjoyed this series. If there’s one thing that goes with all the action and adventure, it’s the cute and catchy ending theme which mostly focuses on Lisa.

Sep 032013
 

TMNT

I never thought it would happen, but at these past two Anime conventions, I got to meet two of the voice actors from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 version).

The first was Michael Sinterniklaas at Anime Festival Orlando 2013, who was the voice of Leonardo. He was awesome. When Michael autographed two of my TMNT DVDs, he mentioned that he grew up watching the Ninja Turtles and that he liked the newest version that is on Nickelodeon.

The second TMNT voice actor was Sam Riegal at Mythicon 2013, who was the voice of Donatello. He also grew up watching the turtles and was thrilled when he got the role.

I wonder if any other voice actors from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 version) will come to Orlando in future conventions. I’d sure look forward to that.