Series info deserves prominence
Anime companies in the U.S. have been pretty good with putting little extras in with their DVDs. They might not have been always great stuff (I'm sorry, Bandai, but that plush Kiba with the "Wolf's Rain" limited-edition volume 1 DVD was just horrible), but at least they're something.
Something that's often skimped on, however, is plain ol' information itself. Case in point: Take a look at the "Spiral" DVDs from FUNimation -- the single ones, not the ones in the complete boxed set. Now, without watching the DVD, please tell me which one is volume 1, and how many episodes it contains. Can't do it? That's because the information doesn't exist on the covers. FUNimation, while the beautiful artwork and poetic synopses on the cover are great, information as basic as volume numbers, episode numbers and episode titles would really help.
Then there's information that's there but is taken away through some twist of fate (or machinery). A certain bookstore has occasionally put their large price stickers in the perfect place on the back of a manga to block most of the book's synopsis. And the sticker on every single copy of that manga will be in the EXACT same place, so you're out of luck if you to try to grab one of the other books in the hope of getting a glimpse of text.
Now while I'm sure the stickers are put on by a machine, it would be nice to have a little human intervention to make sure they don't cover up some vital text ...
Regarding things that I wish more companies would pick up on, the final volume of the yaoi (that's male-male relationships, for those who don't know) manga "Yellow" was released in June 2006, with a special edition that included a collector's box to hold all four books. While collector's boxes aren't surprising and indeed have almost become a given for multi-DVD anime series, what completely took me off guard was the handy thumb notches that publisher DMP cut into both the right and left sides of the box.
Thumb notches sadly seem not to be an industry standard, forcing you to engage in some finger calisthenics to dig the desired book or DVD out of its box. I applaud DMP for having the sense to include a simple yet much-needed detail ...
In "Kids Joker," by Maki Fujita, tough high-schooler Hotaru Yanagawa has a dream: She wants to become a police officer. For now she has to be content with beating up purse snatchers and bullies on the street as they commit their crimes.
She unwittingly gets involved in the dealings of a secret government agency, crossing paths with handsome agent Yui Kajiwara. But things get out of hand, Yui is kidnapped and Hotaru is searching desperately for a certain item to free him.
This fast-paced book might take several reads to really follow, but its as-yet unexplained secrets leave you wanting more. It's just a shame publisher ADV apparently isn't continuing the series beyond the first book ...
Regular columnist Jason S. Yadao
is on vacation and will return next week. "Cel Shaded," a look at the world of anime and manga, appears every Monday. E-mail Wilma Jandoc