Bow to your new overlord: Its name is Discotek, and it is reissuing (and first-time issuing) a slew of titles I thought would never see the light of day, again or ever. Among them: Robot Carnival (one of the finest multi-director showcases of animation ever produced), Night on the Galactic Railroad (a cosmic allegory that deserves to be far better known, from a story by Japan's 20th-century Walt Whitman), and ... Vampire Hunter D, the latter appearing on Blu-ray for the first time anywhere. These guys have gone from being dedicated nostalgia merchants to one of the most important forces in anime home video distribution. Long may they wave.

But wait, it gets better. Discotek and Crunchyroll are partnering so that the former can release physical editions of many titles licensed by the latter, including but not limited to Free! Eternal Summer and a ton of other crowd-pleasers.

... I need a cigarette.

Amazon B000767QTA

Bluvangelion: Only a matter of time, I suppose: Neon Genesis Evangelion is getting a Blu-ray re-release in Japan for its 20th anniversary. No word yet of a release on these shores, but let's face it — someone has to be throwing down a ton of money for the rights as we speak. It's too important a title for it not to be given the deluxe treatment, even if I feel its influences have been as baleful as they have been broad.

Aria-versary: And while Aria isn't quite as storied or important as Evangelion, there's no reason for that beloved title to miss out on its own anniversary reissue, in HD. (Memory fails me as to whether it was produced with HD masters in the first place, so I fear this may be upscaled.)

The studio doors may yet remain open: A Swedish journalist paid a visit to Studio Ghibli and found things not quite as bleak as had been reported. I wouldn't read too much into these particular tea leaves given how people have a tendency to pounce on every little thing uttered by the Ghibli Gang and convert them into stone dogma (I'm guilty of that one).

Meanwhile, in the real Japan: More evidence Japan is shedding its pacifist image, as its premier vows revenge for the Islamic State killings. Stop me if I'm wrong, but isn't the remilitarization of Japan also leaking all the more into its popular culture by way of titles like KanColle? It sure seems like it, and I remain uneasy about the implications, since popular culture is one of the easiest ways to get people acclimated to things that a generation ago would have been unthinkable.

I'd argue that TV shows like 24 made us that much less upset about the use of "heightened interrogation techniques" and "extraordinary rendition" and "rectal rehydration" and all the rest of those vile Orwellian euphemisms for things that deserve to be called by their real names: torture, murder, and a total lack of accountability. Likewise, I worry that the current crop of military-moé shows are unthinkingly providing the same kind of softening-up, even if they are more or less part of an existing tradition of finding a way to make everything cute. Maybe I read too much into this, but really, if there's one thing we shouldn't be trying to make cute, it's warfare.

Some further commentary on the murder of Kenji Goto here.

About the Author

Serdar Yegulalp (@GanrikiDotOrg) is Editor-in-Chief of He has written about anime professionally as the Anime Guide for, and as a contributor to Advanced Media Network, but has also been exploring the subject on his own since 1998.
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