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Besson’s invisible fantasy

By Brian Thomas     January 15, 2007

In our Prize Closet this week we already have two copies of Avatar the Last Airbender Book 2 Volume 1, which is set to street next week! To enter, just send an email to which includes your name and address DVD Shopping List, and in the subject line put  the word “AANG”. 

SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK 

Now only in theaters:  

(O)  ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES (MGM/Weinstein) A ten year old boy (Freddy Highmore of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) tries to save his grandfather’s house by searching for a fabled treasure in a neighboring CGanime land inhabited by a race of tiny people. Luc Besson, the patron saint of international action filmmaking, makes his first venture into animation with this lavish adaptation of his children’s book. Originally set for US release during the competitive Xmas shopping season, this visually breathtaking fantasy was given a better chance to shine by debuting during the January doldrums. Star voice cast English version includes Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, David Bowie, Madonna, Jimmy Fallon, Jason Bateman, Anthony Anderson, Chazz Palminteri, Rob & Nathan Corddry and Snoop Dogg.  

NEW DVD RELEASES 

Here’s a rundown of the constant stream of anime comin’ at ya on DVD from around the world: 
 
(O)  THE ANIMATION SHOW Box Set (Paramount) Mike Judge collects cartoon shorts from around the world. Two volume set includes commentraks, test footage, storyboards and more. 
(O) AREA 88 Complete Collection (ADV) Japanese ace pilot Shin Kazuma is tricked into signing on as a mercenary fighter in a desert war, and now must serve a three year hitch or raises $1.5 million to buy his way out. 

COYOTE RAGTIME SHOW Volume 1: Fox Trot

(O)  COYOTE RAGTIME SHOW Volume 1: Fox Trot (ADV) In the distant future, the interstellar government is threatening to completely annihilate the world of Graceland within seven days. The pirate known as Mister may only have ten days left to serve out his sentence, but there’s something very important to him hidden on the planet. So he breaks out of prison to get it, with young Franca (whose father hid a stolen fortune hidden on the planet) tagging right along with him. But space cop Angelica Burns and her new partner Chelsea are chasing down the criminal and if law enforcement wasn’t bad enough, Mister also has the Criminal Guild hot on his trail as well as a group of female androids who known no mercy. First five episodes of this hot new series.  
(O)  DORA THE EXPLORER: Cowgirl Dora (Paramount) A western venture plus two other episodes. 
(O)  DRAGON HUNTERS Volume 5: Unwelcome Guests (Geneon) Gwizdo, Lian Chu and Hector are about to lose their cushy quarters at the Inn when wealthy Otis Criblecrocker shows up. When Gwizdo's plan to scare him away, causes the Inn to be infested by shape-changing dragons, nothing is as it seems! Then, a mysterious rival dragon hunter is stealing their business and when Lian Chu is wounded, it falls to Gwizdo to hunt down a cure - a gland from the last surviving dragon on the island of Unimak. And the dragon won't give up without a fight! 
(O)  FAFNER Volumes 1-7 (Geneon) The youth of Tatsumiya Island believed that they had ordinary lives until extraterrestrials called Festums invaded their island. In the midst of the sudden chaos, their once peaceful island transforms into a high-tech military fortress built to counter-attack the hostile aliens. Their shock and terror intensifies as the young men and women learn that they must join the battle and pilot the Fafner, a class of humanoid-type robots that represent the final defense against the Festums and their divine powers. 
(O)  GO DIEGO GO!: The Great Jaguar Rescue (Paramount) See what happens when Little Kinkajou has a beehive stuck to his head, plus three other adventures. 
(O)  GUN SWORD Volume 5: Tainted Innocence (Geneon) Familiar friends and new allies band together alongside Van and Wendy to take down the Claw, however other conflicts are already in motion, as dissenters within the Claw's own organization stage a coup d'etat, forcing "Original Seven" member Michael Garret to make a fateful decision that will affect entire lives.  
(O)  LAW OF UEKI Volume 5: Dogra Mansion Showdown (Geneon) Our heroes are invited to an Underworld amusement park, but don’t find much amusement there.  
(O)  LEGEND OF PRINCE VALIANT Complete Series Volume 2 (BCI Eclipse) 

MAISON IKKOKU Box Set Volume 5

(O)
  MAISON IKKOKU Box Set Volume 5 (Viz) Both coach Mikata and student teacher Godai are distracted from their pursuit of Kyoko by younger women aggressively fighting for their attention.  
(O)  MEGAMAN NT WARRIOR Volume 12: NetBattle! (Viz) Episodes 45-48. MegaMan fights TorchMan, Mr. Match, Mama Zap and the Great Curry.  
(O)  NOEIN Volume 2: To Your Other Self (Manga/Anchor Bay) After Haruka’s mysterious disappearance with Karasu into the La’cryma dimension, Yuu frantically scours the city in search of his friend. 
(O)  SHANA Volume 3 (Geneon) After setting Margery straight, Shana tackles her next obstacle. Unfortunately, she is unable to understand her feelings towards Yuji and fights a losing battle with Kazumi at the waterland park. 
(O)  TALES OF PHANTASIA (Geneon)
A warrior, cleric, witch, summoner, archer, and ninja team up to destroy a powerful demon in this fantasy comedy. 
(O)  UTAWARERUMONO Volume 1: Mask of a Stranger (ADV) An injured stranger arrives in a village of animal folk wearing a fearsome mask that can’t be removed. He remembers nothing of his past except for some scary visions, but somehow he must help his new friends through a crisis. Already my vote for Hardest To Pronounce Anime Title of the Year 
(O)  ZIPANG Volume 3: A Time For War (Geneon) The crew of the Mirai finds it difficult to save lives while remaining neutral in the war and avoid radically altering history.
 
 

And be sure to check back next week—and every week—for Mania’s Anime Avalanche! And check in every Tuesday for the latest DVD Shopping List!

Anime Avalanche (© 2007 Brian Thomas) is our weekly anime column. Brian Thomas is the author of the massive book VideoHound’s DRAGON: ASIAN ACTION & CULT FLICKS, available now! 

Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at Anime Avalanche.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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phillipej 1/19/2007 1:07:13 AM
Brian, what do you hear about the new direct-to-DVD Iron Man animation feature that's streeting on the 23rd? Anything good?
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