In 2010, the producers at Kyoto Animation decided to make one of the honorable mentions in 2009’s Kyoto Animation Awards into an animated TV series to broadcast in 2012. In contrast to the vast majority of the works produced by the studio, this would be a series in which they financed the majority of production. To reduce the risk, the producers chose a romantic comedy to be adapted by a director who had helmed many romantic comedies previously. This was the first season of Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions. The series was a massive success for Kyoto Animation and sold many pieces of merchandise and brought their KA Esuma Bunko label to many more bookstores than previously. As a result, it was natural that it would get a sequel. Said sequel was previewed at the first KyoAni & Do fan event in November 2013 before broadcasting in Winter 2014. In 2016, Kyoto Animation and Pony Canyon released a Blu-ray Box of both series. This is a review of the sequel’s box. Continue reading
In 2012, Kyoto Animation’s producers chose to go on a very risky course; instead of adapting something given to them from producers at Kadokawa Shoten or TBS, they would choose what they wanted to adapt and become the biggest financier of production. The first series they chose to use this strategy on was Love, Chunibyo, & Other Delusions, a romantic comedy helmed by Tatsuya Ishihara. The series was very popular and did very well financially for the studio, which prompted a second season to be greenlit alongside a recap film to remind viewers about the franchise. The movie would run in theatres starting in September 2013 while the second season would air in January 2014. Before the first Blu-ray/DVD volume of the second season would be released, the movie would be released on Blu-Ray/DVD. This is a review of that film’s Japanese home video release.
In 2009, Kyoto Animation continued their desire to produce original series by holding an awards competition designed for new authors to submit titles that could be adapted into an anime series/film. They announced 5 honorable mentions in the novel category in 2010 and published one of those winners in May 2011 with plans to produce an anime adaptation in 2012 following Yasahiro Takemoto’s Hyouka. With it being a romantic comedy, the producers turned to Key visual novel veteran Tatsuya Ishihara to helm this very important adaptation. They gave him 12 broadcast episodes, an OVA, and a bunch of web shorts to tell his tale and compiled all of those onto 7 Blu-Ray/DVD volumes. This is a review of those 7 Love, Chuunibyou,& Other Delusions Blu-ray Limited Edition volumes.
In 2011, the producers at Kyoto Animation decided to make one of the honorable mentions in 2010’s Kyoto Animation Awards into an animated TV series. In contrast to the vast majority of the works produced by the studio, this would be a more action-oriented series. In order to capture the proper details of action animation, animator Taichi Ishidate was asked to helm a series as director for the first time. While he enjoyed the original novel, he, along with series composer Jukki Hanada, knew that it wouldn’t be enough for a full length 12 episode series. Tatsuya Ishihara had gone through that situation and decided to go heavily original with his adaptation; Ishidate instead incorporated the first novel’s main storyline into an original tale about two star-crossed teens trying to find their way in a strange world around them. In 2016, Kyoto Animation and Pony Canyon released a Blu-ray Box of the series. This is a review of that box, as bought at the Kyoto Animation physical store in Uji, Japan. Continue reading
Hyouka was a work of love by Yasuhiro Takemoto. While he honed his directorial talent on works with comedy like Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu and Lucky Star, Takemoto had also worked on more serious titles like Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid and The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. He had read the “Classics Club” novel series by Honobu Yonezawa and found them fascinating. As Kyoto Animation was beginning to move away from relying on Kadokawa Shoten and TBS to provide them material to adapt, Takemoto pushed for one final adaptation of this Kadokawa Shoten novel series. With how it could fit in Kadokawa Producer Ito’s schedule following Future Diary, it was a good choice since the first four novels only allowed 22 episodes worth of content. As with most Kadokawa titles (Future Diary being the weird exception), they released the show in 2-episode home video volumes for a total of 11 volumes. This is a review of all 11 Hyouka Blu-ray Limited Edition volumes.
In 2011, the producers at Animation Do and Kyoto Animation decided to make one of the honorable mentions in 2011’s Kyoto Animation Awards into an animated TV series. To helm it, Hiroko Utsumi planed and directed a production for the first time. The Free! TV series ran from July 2013-September 2013 for 12 broadcast episodes and was immensely popular upon broadcast. A sequel was never in doubt and it aired from July 2014-September 2014. At the fan events in March 2015, it was announced that a movie adapting the second novel would be released later that year. It would continually be advertised with re-runs of the TV series both at theatre events and during re-runs set across the country. While the immediate box office returns weren’t what people expected, it had long enough legs to be a success. Then on July 20, 2016, it was released onto Blu-ray and DVD from Kyoto Animation and the production committee. This is a review of the Blu-ray release (though the only difference between versions is the disc included). My thoughts on the movie itself are posted here on my tumblr page. Continue reading
Nichijou was a highly anticipated show. Why shouldn’t it have been? Kadokawa Shoten were riding high off of many successes in the late 2000s anime market. Their partnership with Kyoto Animation on the Full Metal Panic, Haruhi Suzumiya, and Lucky Star series earned them lots of yen from novel sales and merchandising. While there was a slight downturn with their collaboration on the Munto TV series, that could be easily explained as a blip, a statistical outlier. As such, Kadokawa Producer Atsushi Ito figured big things would happen for Nichijou and planned/marketed it as a success from day 1. Suffice to say, certain goals were not met and Kadokawa Shoten’s video division took a loss on the show. Likely putting a popular gag comedy in 13 BD/DVD volumes scheduled for longer than a year didn’t help. In 2013, Kadokawa began re-releasing older titles in compilation Blu-ray boxes. The very first title released in this format was Nichijou to earn a bit more yen from video sales. This is a review of that BD-Box from August 2013.
Following the hugely successful first season, TBS producer Yoshihisa Nakayama was easily able to get a sequel approved rapidly after the show finished broadcasting. Furthermore, he was able to convince TBS (and other committee members) to make this sequel twice as long as the first season was. In order to celebrate 5 years since broadcast, TBS released both seasons of the show in blu-ray boxes. After the successful first season box, the second was released in November of 2014. This is a review of that box set.
In 2008, TBS producer Yoshihisa Nakayama took on a risk when deciding to make a TV anime series adaptation of a manga right after the first volume was published! In the end, his risk paid off immensely for TBS as K-On! became one of the big hit shows of 2009 (really only behind Bakemonogatari in popularity). The series was the first Kyoto Animation production to be released on Blu-ray (back in 2009), so it took 5 years (and a necessity of additional revenue to shore up the fiscal year) for TBS to greenlight a BD-Box in March 2014. This is a review of that box set.
In 2004, TBS’s producer Nakayama decided to create an adaptation of a popular visual novel to run on TBS’s broadcast satellite channel BS-i. He chose to collaborate with Pony Canyon, Movic, and a studio which had aired its first TV animation production the year prior, Kyoto Animation. That adaptation was very popular and as such Nakayama went back to a Key visual novel for another adaptation, which ran from October 2006 to March 2007. As with most TV series in 2007, it was only released on DVD at the time, despite airing in HD. In late 2009, TBS and Pony Canyon released the highly anticipated Blu-ray Box set. This is a review of that Blu-ray Box for the series Kanon. (Box images courtesy of TMSIDR)