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Manga 2000 - What's Up?

By: Adam "OMEGA" Arnold

Manga Video, one of the most cutting edge anime companies in anime with such credits as Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll, and Macross Plus. For this reason, Manga Video started an advertising campaign where they referred to themselves as ‘Manga 2000.' In these print and video ads they hinted at a number of their upcoming releases by showing their logos and then directed the fan to their web site, http://www.manga2000.com. With the video release of the ground breaking movie, Perfect Blue, the anime community is now looking at Manga Video once again. Only this time, Manga Video has releases planned that many fans thought they would never see and some that they have been dying to see.

The Castle of Cagliostro
Lupin the 3rd and his partner is crime, Jigen, have accidentally stolen counterfeit money and set-out to find out where the goat money came from. But, they wind up getting involved in a car chase between a runaway bride and a car of thugs. Lupin III rescues the runaway bride, but gets injured in the process and falls unconscious. When he awakens, all that is left of the runaway bride is her ring. Lupin III suddenly remembers it being a part of the wealthy family of Cagliostro, and he and Jigen journey to the castle of Cagliostro to uncover the mystery they've just found their selves a part of. Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro is the second movie in the Lupin III series, and even though it first appeared December 15, 1979, it has endured because it was directed by Hayao Miyazaki, who also directed the TV series. Though the movie has seen a dubbed release before, Manga Video is offering a totally re-dubbed version of the movie along with, for the first time, a subtitled version and a bilingual DVD release.

Ghost Sweeper
Based on the popular Shonen Sunday manga created by Shina Takashi, GhostSweeper Mikami aired Sunday mornings from April of 1993 to March of 1994. Mikami Reiko is the head of GhostSweeper Mikami, an agency which exorcizes ghosts and demons for money. The cheerful but cunning business woman is helped by two assistants who act as Mikami's support team in the field, poor boy Yokoshima Tadao and 300-year-dead spiritualist ghost, Okinu-chan. Aiding the company are gentlemanly Father Karasu, vampire-half Peet, occultist Ogasawara Emi, Rokudou Meiko who is a Handler of the 12 Sikigamis, and many other bizarre characters. This 45 episode TV series is similar to Phantom Quest Corp. in that it features slap-stick comedy with action sprinkled in and loveable characters.

X: The Movie
Fifteen-year old Kamui Shirou has returned to Tokyo after the death of his mother only to find two groups trying to involve him in the battle to determine the final fate of the world. Kamui has two possible destinies, either join the Dragons of Heaven and save humanity, or join the Dragons of Earth and destroy it. But, Kamui doesn't care what happens to Tokyo or the world as long has his childhood friends, Kotori and Fuuma Monou, remain from harm. But, tragedy strikes and Mr. Monou is brutally killed, forcing Kamui to choose sides. Based on the CLAMP manga X (X/1999), the movie provides a solid platform to see CLAMP's cutting-edge characters in action. But, the movie also takes the story into uncharted territory, by giving the series a possible ending well before the epic manga actually comes to a conclusion.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: The Movie
The definitive ending to one of the most popular and controversial anime series of all time. Taking place directly after the events of TV episode 24 in which the 17th Angel is destroyed, NERV is under attack by SEELE as the Human Complement Program is set into motion. Known as The End of Evangelion, aka the third Evangelion movie, the movie parallels the TV versions of episodes 25 and 26, but gives much more in terms of definitive answers. Manga Video has asked several of the English dub's original voice actors if they would be interested in continuing their rolls and Manga Video has reportedly bought the release rights to all the Eva movies.

Magic Knight Rayearth
The three part original animation video series of Rayearth takes the preset characters of CLAMP's manga and the TV series and throws them into an alternate telling of the story. The 3 girls aren't transported to Cephiro, Cephiro comes to them. The land of Cephiro is slowly materializing from its own dimension into the real world due to the magic of Princess Emeraude, Eagle Vision, and Zagato causing major problems for the Earth. Guru Clef and Lantis set out to find the Magic Knights, people who have the power to prevent and stop the impending cataclysm. Meanwhile, a strong earthquake occurs and Mokona falls out of a cherry tree where Hikaru, Umi, and Fuu are waiting. They run after the weird creature and soon find themselves trapped and transported to Tokyo Tower where they find their fate. Featuring cleaner animation and a more mature and condensed storyline the OAV series should not be missed.

Virus Buster Serge
In the year 2097, a mysterious entity called the Incubator has created a virus capable of infecting both man and machine. A special arm of law enforcement called STAND, stationed in Neo Hong Kong, is created to protect the populous from the virus and its monstrosities. Because the virus can infect machines, STAND has had to develop a new type of machinery that trained individuals can wear, that wont be infected like the standard issue Armored Gears. Thus, Variable Gear was created. But, when a dream haunted young man named Serge attacks the leader of STAND, Raven, during a ceremony for the unveiling of a new Armored Gear as it becomes infected by the virus. However, Raven has had his eye on Serge for sometime and sets the young man up so that he will awaken his latent battle skills by forcing him to fight the infected gear. Virus Buster Serge is similar to Evangelion in that its writing is high-caliber and has many similar elements, but it features director Masami Obari's character designs that seem reminiscent of Saber Marionette J.

Street Fighter Alpha
based on the hit video game series, this two part OVA series presents the events that shaped the lives of the characters who appear in the later-set games and anime series. Finally fans can expect to see the masters of Shotokan Karate in action once again. This time, expect to see Ryu, Ken, Gouki, and Dan still trying to master the sacred killing art so that they can use it for peace and not destruction. For, just like the darkside of the force, it will give the user more power if they kill, but it will consume them. But, what if one of them gives into the darkside?

In 2000, expect to see Manga Video to release DVDs of Perfect Blue, Devilman, Wings of Honneamise, Patalbor 1 and 2, Blackjack, Macross II, the Street Fighter II V series, Shadow Skill series, and many others. Also expect the final volumes of The Fist of the North Star and possibly the much sought-after release of the classic Astroboy TV series. With all these must-see anime series coming to home video, 2000 looks to be a year to look forward to.

Original Material © 1999 / 2000 ANIMEfringe, All Rights Reserved. 
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