In life, we have loads of inadvertent “Time Capsules”; items that capture what life was like in any given moment in time. It could be something as ordinary as a photograph or home video, or something more vague like an aroma or the melody of a song, or that burned Mix Tape CD that you found in your old high school yearbook. And that got me wondering—when it comes to the anime fandom, is there a unifying time capsule? What is that one thing that all anime fans can look at and be instantly transported back to another place and time; to be able to reminisce about what life was like during our early years in this fantasy world of wide eyes, floppy socks, crazy hair, glomping and kooky dances? I think the answers can be found in a little (big) magazine that offered a taste of Japan for about $13 after taxes.
Hey guys, Josh here, and for this Throwback Thursday, I thought it would be fun if we took a look through one of the volumes of that famous anime magazine that gave us a lot for our money and was gone WAY too soon—NewType USA magazine. Specifically, the November 2006 edition. While I would love to do a complete page-by-page breakdown of this entire magazine, for the sake of your sanity and my circadian rhythm, I’m going to go through and offer commentary on the more interesting articles in this particular issue…and maybe if this article gets about 10 or so likes, and gets shared all over the Socials, I’ll break down another issue! But in the meantime, lets tear open the plastic wrap and go back in time to November 2006.
First of all, the cover—just the very cover of this issue brings back memories. NewType USA was always known for it’s striking collectable covers and this one was no exception…even though I’ve never seen Guyver. Don’t judge me. Heck, I don’t even remember watching the episode on the DVD. Truth be told, the other two shows that are previewed on the DVD don’t really do it for me either. GaoGaiGar is an older mecha show, and Super Gals 2 was…meh. They didn’t bother giving us the dub for that show, so I didn’t even bother checking it out.
And here we have one of our first anime ads. Hellsing Ultimate still remains one of the most popular shows around, and it once had an airing on Toonami many years back. Also, poor Geneon…little did we know that in a couple of years, it would entirely cease to exist. Unfortunately, this is one of those shows that was popular with the mainstream, but just not with me. What can I say—my mind is wired differently than others, a fact that I’ve been made aware of MANY times throughout my life.
Page 10 is a little article about the new show Negima?!, which is a retelling of the original anime Maho Sensei Negima. I actually own both series and they’re really funny in their own rights, with Negima?! being the more comedic of the two series. (Typing out the name of this show is an absolute pain in the neck in Microsoft Word—it keeps thinking that whenever I type “?!” that’s the end of the sentence). Honestly, if you haven’t seen this particular anime, I highly recommend you do, but I do suggest you check out Maho Sensei Negima first because that tells a more complete and solid story. Pretty much it’s about this boy, Negi, who, as part of his training to be a great wizard like his father, must leave his home in Japan to teach at an all girls school in Japan. Shenanigans ensue. It’s actually a really good show with each of the girls having their own quirky personalities. It really puts you in the mind of Assassination Classroom in a way. While Maho Sensei Negima is a more straight-line story with a gut-punch moment that you will NOT see coming, Negima?! leans more or the wacky, lighter side and is full of references to other shows. Also, Greg Ayres Welsh little boy accent is just hilarious...but admittedly not as hilarious as the blooper reel!
Just a few pages down is an ad for one of my favorite shows Haré+Guu (Also known as Janguru wa Itsumo Hare nochi Gū). I’ve been looking to complete this series for YEARS now, and never could find all the DVD’s.
Funny story—I first saw this series at my local library. I checked out all the DVD’s and fell in love! Some time later, I asked and almost BEGGED the librarians to let me buy the series off them, but they wouldn’t play ball…in fact, the librarian leaned in and in a low voice suggested that I could just…copy the disk. Tempting, but no. I wanna own this series outright, thank you very much Mr. Library Man. Sadly this is one of those shows that’s out of print at the moment, but you never know—with the rash of license rescues being done, by this time next year, we might just see a rebirth of this series. Also, imagine having to RENT anime, guys. Imagine getting disks in the mail only to have to send them back, just like early Netflix used to.
Now THIS is interesting. A little preview of a show called Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. I’m sure it’ll just be one of those flash-in-the-pan shows that wont go anywhere and people will forget ALL about in a couple months…
No, but seriously, I was never a big fan of the Tengen Toppa. I just couldn’t get into it after watching about five episodes. To me, at the time, it felt like too much of a rip off of Evangelion, FLCL, and Eureka Seven. And yes, I know that two of those series were made by the same company that made Gurren Lagann, but at the time, I just couldn’t get with that and it really put me off. Add to that the fanbase which made me feel like I was weird for not falling head over heels in love with it, and I was more than happy to let this one fly over my radar. Maybe one day, now that I’m a more mature and older anime fan, I’ll give it another shot. Who knows, maybe I might actually see what people love about this doggone show.
Ever wish you could see the birth of a new trend? Well NewType USA brought us into the delivery room to see how getting anime online got its roots. It’s fascinating to see how certain websites handled internet web viewing and the various price points. Amazon Unbox was actually the precursor to what we now know as Amazon Prime Video. And brother, there were a lot of restrictions, like you could only use Windows Media Player on a Windows Machine to view the videos and you could only watch them on your PC or some special Microsoft approved device. Not to mention—paying $3.99 per episode is what I like to call FREAKING INSANE. So the next time you start to complain about how much streaming services charge nowadays, think back to these times where if you wanted to watch Outlaw Star, a TWENTY-SIX episode series, at $3.99 per episode, you had to pay $103.74 to watch the whole series, or in today’s money, with inflation, that would be $142.33. Yikes.
Speaking of yikes—here’s an announcement for the four new Evangelion movies, that would end up being 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 3.0+1.0 (Guess the Japanese really take that whole thing with the number 4 seriously…) I do feel sorry for all those readers who thought they would get back-to-back Evangelion movies over the course of a few years. These movies would suffer from countless delays, licensing issues and pandemics which pushed back the release date in both Japan and the US. But at the time, the idea of getting brand new Evangelion movies was something to look forward to. Fast-Forward about 15 years later, and we’re only just now getting the last of the Evangelion movies and the series is now getting it’s much anticipated re-release on Blu-Ray. I actually ordered the blu-ray set and it should be here by December, if all goes well. Look for a review in the near future on that one–I got a LOT I wanna say.
At the time it came out, Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven was a real big freaking deal. NewType USA devoted page after page to it, and more than one cover featured the characters. There were also quite a few centerfolds like this one of Anemone, one of the antagonists of the series, and her pet Gulliver. Yes, you youngsters, we had our pink haired crazy chicks too before Darling in the Franxx came out. The crying shame is, a decade and a half later, and not many new anime fans even know about Eureka Seven, which is a crying shame as it can be enjoyed on so many different levels; Romance, Comedy, Mecha, Coming-of-Age. This show did a lot right. Of course, I own this series, its sequel Eureka Seven AO, and the subsequent movies, but none of these, for me anyway, quite matches the magic of the original. Such is life.
Eureka Seven also has the distinction of being one of only two anime that I’ve ever shown my mom, and is the only show (to date) that she actually enjoys. In fact, she’s something of a Johnny Yong Bosch (voice of Renton Thurston) fan; when I showed her a picture of JYB, mommy called him “an upstanding guy.” No, she’s not a screaming rabid fangirl, but hey, when a black mama calls you an “upstanding guy”, that counts for a lot. Trust me. My dear mother also likes the 4th OP (“Sakura” by NIRGILIS) so much, she periodically plays it in her car. Yes, a 70 year old black woman from the south often drives down the street blasting a J-Pop song. My mom is awesome.
Up next we have something that is just near and dear to my heart, especially now. A full spread article about Nerima Daikon Brothers, one of my favorite anime of all time. The following issue of NewType USA actually featured episode one of the show, and from the moment I watched it, I fell absolutely in love with it! Created by the infamous anime director Shinichi Watanabe (no not THAT Shinichi Watanabe–the one with the red jacket and afro), Nerima Daikon Brothers answers the question “What if the Blues Brothers were a trio…and one of them were a girl…and all this took place in Japan?” The absolute insanity of this show simply can’t be covered in a single article–it needs to be experienced and sadly, this show did not get quite the amount of exposure it so richly deserves…especially with regards to the English dub, which this article covers.
It features an interview with the late, great Christopher Ayres, who directed the English dub of this one, and it is, far and away, one of my favorite English adaptations of all time. Having had a background in theatre and musicals, it seems only natural that he was given the directors chair for this one, and you can really get an idea for what he was thinking when putting together the cast which included his brother Greg. You can tell he put a lot of hard work into this one, and it will forever be a regret of mine that I never got the chance to sit down and ask him about it before his untimely passing. However, this show will forever remain as a permanent tribute to his talent and skills as a director.
A few pages down, we get another full spread article about Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala. Not the best movie in the world…but hey, it could be argued that if it weren’t for the movie, we wouldn’t have gotten FMA: Brotherhood, so I guess it did something right. It seems laughable now that anime fans were really thinking that we probably wouldn’t get more Fullmetal Alchemist after this. I suppose the concept of “anime reboot” was something that we weren’t too familiar with at the time. After all, when we think of shows getting “rebooted,” we typically think of shows made from THIS era…at least I do.
I just have to point out this particular ad. Right Stuf International really took pride in these two shows, as I recall seeing His and Her Circumstances and Ninja Nonsense: The Legend of Shinobu EVERYWHERE in Right Stuf’s promotional materials, and seeing as how I own both of these series, it must’ve worked, huh? Even to this day, Right Stuff still has promotional materials that features one of the many Sasuke Ninjas or the perverted Onsakamaru bird…ball…thing. With regards to His and Her Circumstances, this series has a special place in my heart as it’s one of the first anime series that I owned completely, and I still own them today. This would normally be the part of the retrospective where I pound my desk furiously and demand that we get a Blu-Ray remaster of the series, but in this particular case, I don’t think I will. Not only because my poor desk probably couldn’t take the impact of an angry black man’s fist, but because this is not exactly the highest quality anime I’ve ver come across with regards to animation and production. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are times when this show looks really good for the time, but towards the end of the series, you can clearly tell that the creators took PRODIGIOUS production shortcuts and a lot of the rougher edges would only be magnified in high definition. So I think, unless this show gets the Fruits Basket treatment, I think it should stay right where it is–on DVD and in the hearts and minds of an old anime fogey like myself.
Each edition of NewType USA included a small fold-up centerfold poster that you could take out and put on your wall. More often than not, it was reversable, and featured the new hot show of that time. In this case, the centerfold in question features Ban and Ginji from the anime Getbackers—a show that I partially own. Pretty much, the show focuses around the two male leads, Ban (Dude with the glasses) and Ginji (Blonde dude). They run a little two-man business called “Get Backers”—if you lose something, they get it back for you. Shenanigans ensue. I remember it being a pretty decent show, and that I really tried hard to find all the volumes of it, but as tends to happen, I couldn’t locate all the volumes, and my interest slowly faded and the DVD’s I did manage disappeared into the depths of my shelves. Maybe one day I’ll try to find it to do a proper marathon, but for now, I’m content to just enjoy the few scraps of memories I have of this show…memories that do NOT include one of the antagonists groping Ginji, thank you very much.
Remember back in the day when people wrote letters? Well, NewType actually encouraged this! You could write letters and send in artwork to the editors, and if you were lucky, they would answer your letter, and post your artwork! It makes you wonder if a lot of these artists are on sites like Pinterest or DeviantArt now? Again, looking at this artwork, you get a sense for what was hot back in the day. Subsequent issues have a lot of Haruhi Suzumiya art, some Death Note, Inuyasha, Bleach…it’s just a who’s who of what was popular in the early 2000’s and it shows. Let’s check out some of these questions, shall we? Martina Sandman from Brownstone, MI is asking about a Death Note movie, saying she heard that there is one movie out, and two more in the works. Yes, Martina, there are quite a few Death Note movies that’s going to come out; Death Note 2: The Last Name came out in Japan on November 3, 2006 followed by L: Change the World in 2008. Then…yeah…whatever you wanna call that Netflix movie came along in 2017. We don’t talk about that foolishness. Ahem. Moving on. Josh Huemmer, a truck driver from Madison, WI is showing off the Inuyasha tattoo on his leg which looks REALLY prodigious. He’s also talking about his 200 Plus anime DVD collection. We salute you sir. I can’t help but wonder did he ever get those other tats he mentioned in the article?
Just like today, when you can see what’s the hottest topic of the day by checking out the Trending Topic in Twitter, back in the jump, we had the Big In Japan Ranking lists where fans could vote for what’s hot in the world of anime—who’s best girl, who’s best boy, and what show, in the words of Funimation Entertainment, “you should be watching.” In this case, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was the new hotness on the block as it takes the Top Anime, Top Male Character and Top Female Character #1 spots. It will always blow my mind just how freaking popular Haruhi Suzumiya was back in the jump. The cosplays, the concerts, the SOS Brigade, the ASOS Brigade (Because ‘MURICA!!) and don’t get me started with that dance…that dippy dance that everybody and their grandmother knows how to do, but only a select few know how to do well. We were swept up in a delicious, delirious craze back in the early 2000’s, and it was pretty fun.
Admittedly, I got onto the Haruhi train pretty late, and my attention only went as far as to collect all four original DVD’s…and of course, I learned THAT dance. I’m actually somewhat decent at it too and lost a lot of weight back in the day practicing. I’ll tell you what; if this particular review gets over 50 likes before the end of the year, I will film myself doing the dance and post it here for all to see. Make it happen, guys. Anyway, back on the subject at hand…I never got into the spinoff Haruhi series or the sequels or the light novels. (I did however fall in love with the “sister” series Lucky Star). Once I found out that there was a certain ORDER you had to watch the episodes in, and that there were eight episodes when absolutely NOTHING happened, I was done.
Newtype USA also focused in on anime that was airing on TV. Apparently, on November 12th, Turner Classic Movies aired Grave of the Fireflies. Why in the name of all that is good and holy would you subject a viewing audience to the most brilliant yet arguably the most depressing anime movie of all time to a television audience is beyond me, but hey, I’m no television executive. Seriously, putting Fireflies on TV is just…it’s…it’s a choice, that’s for sure. I checked the movie out from my local library YEARS ago, and…yeah…that was enough for me. Last year, I actually bought the Blu-Ray disk when it went on sale…and I have yet to watch it. It’s been sitting on my shelf ever since I unwrapped it. I’m not one to get heavily emotional when it comes to movies, but this one…yeah, no. I’m good, thanks. I’m not saying that it’s a bad movie; far from it—it’s BRILLIANT. It’s one of the most amazing movies in all of cinema and, if you want my humble opinion, it should be put right up there with movies like Schindler’s List and The Diary of Anne Frank in terms of historical significance. But honestly, it’s not the kind of movie you just sit down and say “You know what? I think this is a Grave of the Fireflies kind of evening.” You need to have a REASON for watching this one. You also need to PREPARE to watch this one. And you also need to have something REALLY freaking uplifting and happy to watch right afterwards. Truth be told, I found this movie to be beautiful, but I’d rather watch something like Barefoot Gen or In This Corner of the World before watching this one again.
Speaking of things I don’t wanna watch ever again–let’s talk about Angelic Layer! Unlike Grave of the Fireflies, which I don’t want to watch because I don’t wanna be sucker punched in the heart, I don’t wanna watch Angelic Layer because…it’s not that good of a show. I actually own this series(Thin-Pac Complete Collection; thank you ADV)…and I REALLY wish I didn’t. I don’t know what possessed me to buy this from Best Buy all those many years ago…but someone REALLY should’ve pulled me aside and talked me out of it. This show is pretty much Pokémon with dolls; a battle-of-the-week tournament style show, which I’ve come to absolutely detest. I suppose there could be an argument made for it that it was trying to compete with the likes of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Beyblade. I don’t hear too many people talking about this one, and honestly, it’s not hard to see why.
And last but not least, we have the NewType Omake section towards the end. Up in the corner, Carley Watson from Dunedin, FL is showing off her anime collection. It looks pretty nice, truth be told. I’m willing to bet that if we caught up with Carley, this collection has probably grown exponentially. We also get an explanation about the concept of “Taikyozu,” or prenatal education…but not for the mom…for the baby inside her. Yup. Apparently it’s a thing in Japan where some expecting moms in Japan listen to foreign languages to expose their child early in life, and even even going on trips to expose the baby to different surroundings. Keep in mind this is an UNBORN CHILD. Japan…never change.
The Newtype USA Journal offers up a behind the scenes look at the running of the magazine—I know quite a few Tech YouTubers who would LOVE to have a look at that Cinema Display shown on Thursday. We also get the customary Ask Jack section where readers could write in and ask questions about all things Japanese. This week, it seems as though Jack was out and another writer, Kevin, has taken his place answering Ted Mitchell’s question about gambling in Japan. Once again, this just shows you the time this was printed in. Nowadays, if we had a question about Japan, we just Google it or hit up Social Media and ask the denizens of the internet our inquiry. It’s amazing how far we’ve come. Last but not least, we have the serialized comic “Aoi House” by Adam Arnold with artwork done by Shiei. This comic ran from January 2005 all the way through January 2009 being picked up by Newtype USA in January 2006. It’s a pretty funny comic strip from what I remember.
And that’s the end of the NewType USA from November 2006. While many may see this magazine as a relic of “the old times,” I prefer to think of it as a time capsule of a more quaint time. Back when we could still get excited over the next big thing in anime…something I feel that we’ve lost in this modern era with social media becoming more and more a part of our lives. Back in the day, anime was still this new, ever evolving being that was always changing and growing, and NewType USA helped us keep track and keep up. But most of all, for a young 18-year-old black man from Louisiana without a reliable internet connection who still has a few extra dollars in his pocket before payday, this was a sweet stick of Pocky in a word full of bitterness and sadness.