Developing Story: Vic Mignogna Sues Funimation

Image result for Vic Mignogna Funimation

 

…Everyone’s getting lawyered up!

Anime News Network broke the news this afternoon. When news spreads during Anime Boston this weekend, things should be real interesting.  I commented on ANN’s facebook post about it and this has clearly split people into two camps: Those who support Vic and those who don’t. I do remember reading a separate ANN article last month in which most of the cast of the new Broly movie pulled out a scheduled convention appearance at the last minute because of him.

The defendants named in the lawsuit apparently knew it was coming and clearly have been preparing. Funimation is owned by Sony, which conducted an independent investigation in the alligations. Though they could find no evidence of wrongdoing–it was basically “who do you want to believe?” from what I understand–Mignogna was fired by Funimation is January. Funimation took it a step further and has actually begun redubbing characters he voiced in recent years. That pissed off and shocked longtime fans of his as you can probably guess.

The fact that Vic Magnogna picked Good Friday to file the lawsuit speaks to his professed Christian faith. The irony. Like I said in my comments on Facebook, it’s his lawsuit to lose. It doesn’t matter if you support him or not, he WILL lose this lawsuit. He’s asking for $1 Million in damages for defamation, wrongful termination and slander. According to what I’ve been reading in a few places, more people and entities including Anime News Network, which first broke the story about Vic’s inappropriate physical contact allegations in January will be added to the lawsuit. See my blog post for the cliffnotes and the link to that article here.

I wanna make two things clear before I continue:

  1. I don’t support Vic Mignogna for the reasons I explained in the other post. I would be far more skeptical if it was just Monica Rial (by the way she voices Bulma in Dragonball Z and Dragonball Super) but given at least two dozen people–some fellow voice actors–have come forward with alligations of inappropriate physical contact with him, I can’t give him the benefit of the doubt. Yes I know he apologized and that’s great but there is clearly more than we know at play here.
  2. Funimation had to fire him at the end of the day. Why? Because their bottom line was being threatened that’s why. If they didn’t, they risked not just Monica Rial but many other VAs refusing to work with him or just leaving Funimation and signing with another company like Viz Media or Sentai Filmworks. Sony would view them as incompetent and worst case, shut down Funimation. Is protecting one guy who is strongly distrusted by his colleagues worth losing money over? Absolutely not and more so given other companies he’s worked with in Anime or Video Games will be following this case very closely.

At the end of the day, Vic has the most to lose. He must know this, too.

I mentioned before Funimation has started redubbing characters he voiced. They knew in advance he was going to sue so I’m assuming the redubbing is intended to deny him money from royalties and his presence in existing work. I can’t think of any other reason they’d go that route and naturally, redubs in general are not cheap even for one character. Vic Mignogna is most known as the voice of Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.

Like I said a the top, Vic’s situation has fans split. Most who support him do for one of two reasons. Either they’re longtime fans of his work or they think he can actually win the lawsuit. The first group I have no problem with. After all, I still consider myself a fan of Michael Jackson (GASP!). The second…LOL. Those who don’t suppprt him are also split into two groups. Either they know he has no chance of winning in court–I’m in this group obviously–or they feel Vic thinks he’s better than everyone else aka “lives in his own world” (I don’t think he really thinks like that personally).

At the end of the day, this is still a question of “Who do you want to believe?” and that’s what sucks about the whole thing. There are no clear winners in this. Regardless of outcome, I will continue to support Funimation and English Voice Actors. I’ll just put it like that. I attached a poll below for those who want to weigh in.

 

 

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The latest episode of The Rising of the Shield Hero reminds many why Raphtalia is considered “Best Girl”

Image result for The Rising of the Shield Hero Raphtalia

…I damn-near cried during Rahptalia’s flashbacks in her title episode this week. Not just because it reminded me of my own emotional trauma but because of the outstanding storytelling.

For those who you who may not be following The Rising of The Shield Hero too closely, she is first introduced early on in the series. After Naofumi is screwed over by the King of Melromarc for the first time, he meets the Demihuman Raphtalia and buys her from a Slave Merchant. Since she’s a Demihuman, Raphtalia matures and grows quickly–I mean literally. She has the body of a young woman the third episode after she’s introduced to give you an idea. Bits of her past is revealed but it’s shoved aside to focus on the main plot and other things. When the King of Melromarc conspires to force Naofumi and Raphtalia apart, The Shield Hero falls into despair. That’s when Raphtalia lets him know she will stay with him no matter what even if the world conspires against them.

Fast forward to last week’s episode. With the crown princess Melty now with them, the group decides to go see the Queen. Along the way, their pursuers catch up to them and Ralphtalia comes face to face with Idol, the man who brutally tortured her and her friends not that long ago. Overcome with rage and anger–and rightfully so–she draws her sword, intending to put him down. Naofumi, Melty and Filo manage to talk her out of it. A short time later, Raphtalia leads the group into the dungeon where her former tormentor kept Demihumans locked away beneath his mansion. You know things were about to get super emotional when her PTSD started to kick in.

The group does find a few Demihumans still alive and frees them, one of which Raphtalia recognizes from her village. The childhood friend named Rifana that she shared a cell with before she was bought by the Slave Merchant was very sick the last time they saw each other. Rushing to the cell, she is overcome with grief to see only Rifana’s remains. If not for the friends she made since leaving, the pain and deespair she started to feel from Survivor’s Guilt–that’s a real thing by the way–probably would’ve broken her.

 

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I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this–by the way, these images are from an earlier episode.

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She may have the body of a full grown woman but her maturity level is still that of a child or teenager in some regards. Technically, she’s over 18 now and not just because of the RPG mechanics. She ages faster simply being a Demihuman. She does crush on Naofumi but is smart enough to keep her feelings to herself…for now. Several episodes later, she learned Filo isn’t a love rival after all though they do compete for his affection. She has resolved to get him to see her as a woman though.

Before I forget. Naofumi can’t use any weapons other than the Shield because he is The Shield Hero. Because of this, he needed someone to form a party with who can fight. After being screwed over by the royal family for the first time, Naofumi meets the Slave Merchant. We now know the tme between when she was in the dungeon and met Naofumi probably wasn’t that long since she got sick while she was in the dungeon. Naofumi buys Raphtalia, gives her medicine and starts training her to fight. After the second incident involving the royal family, Naofumi buys a monster Egg and Filo is born not long afterward.

While it is true Raphtalia and Filo both have a Slave Crest, he’s only invoked it once with each of them. He used Raphtalia’s once when she was still a child while training her to fight and once with Filo because the group was being chased and they couldn’t find her otherwise. It definitely was a real head-scratcher when Raphtalia asked to have her Slave Crest re-applied after it was removed. That’s love for you I guess.

 

 

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I just finished binge-watching The Promised Neverland on Crunchyroll

Image result for The Promised Neverland

Image result for The Promised Neverland

 

…Whew.

Toonami picked a GOOD one to carry the English Dub of. More so given there WILL be a Season 2 ^_^

There is so much going on in every episode, you really have to pay attention. Here’s information on 5 key characters and and a 6th who may be an important character if there is a time skip in the second season:

 

  • Emma: One of the 3 main protagonists. She and Norman stumble upon the truth about the world they know: The children are all actually food for demons. Together with Norman and Ray, they plan their escape from the Home while also trying to outwit their “Mom”. By the time Season 1 ends, Emma succeeds where Sister Krone and Mom failed many years earlier in leading a third of the children on a daring escape set in motion two months earlier.
  • Norman: One of the 3 main protagonists. Where Emma is couragous and Ray is cunning, Norman is calculating. When he figures out Ray is actually a Double Agent, rather than cut him out of their plan he turns him into their “Ace”. When Norman sees the large chasm on the other side of the wall, he return seemingly indicates he’s given up. Despite willingly going along with being “Shipped Out”, in the end Norman’s intel ensures their plan to escape happens successfully.
  • Ray: One of the 3 main protagonists and a Double Agent. It’s revealed to viewers in the season finale Ray is actually Mom Isabella’s biological son. When you think about it, that’s the only possible reason she would “reward” him with the items he used to build a jamming device. How their arrangement worked was in exchange for stalling his shipment, he would keep tabs on children planning to escape and report to her. His being her son was leverage in and of itself so…yeah.
  • Isabella: Known as “Mom”, she is the main Antagonist. The season finale reveals her backstory and confirms some of what Krone reveals about her own. About 20 years earlier, Isabella was planning to escape herself and saw the same thing Norman did from the top of the wall beyond the Home. That’s the real reason she wasn’t concerned about the kids actually escaping: The only known way out–the gate–is heavily guarded so…yeah. In exchange for giving up on escaping, she accepts a deal to become a Mom herself. She becomes pregnant (presumably via Artifician Insemenation) as part of her training to become a Mom. Seeing her son do what she could not…she couldn’t help but feel proud.
  • Krone: A “Sister” to Isabella for about half the first season. After Norman and Emma learn the truth, Isabella requests another adult to brought in as “Insurance”. That other adult is the scheming and mentally unstable Krone. When Isabella tells her some of the children learned the truth but is ignoring protocol, she seizes at the opportunity to cooperate with them for her own ends. Having figured out what she’s really up to, Isabella arranges for Krone to be removed–permanently. Before her exit, Krone leaves behind a “parting gift” for the kids to use for their escape.
  • Phil: One of the four year old kids. It’s revealed in the season finale Norman and Emma decided to tell all the kids aged 5 and up the truth and in turn, gained the manpower necessary to flawlessly execute their escape plan on short notice. This proved vital when Emma and Ray stopped talking during the two months after Norman’s departure. It allowed the preparations to continue while Mom kept tabs on the two of them. One more person was also involved: Four year old Phil. Assuming their escape plan succeeded, Phil and the other young kids would be safe for at least another two years. Despite his young age, Phil quickly grasps the situation and helps buy Emma and the others time to escape.

 

…Unsurprisingly, this is based on the Manga of the same name. There aren’t a lot of action scenes throughout but it will keep you on your toes from start to finish. This is also one Anime I would love to see a Live Action adaptation of, too.

It has a very Matrix-like feel to it if you need a comparison in terms of the plot: How would you feel if you found out everything you thought to be true was a lie and the reality was far worse? Would you choose freedom or would you choose the fantasy? The inspiration is way too obvious.

Season 2 is sure to be interesting and might have a time skip. I presume it will pick up where the first season left off.

A few things of note:

  • What will become of Isabella? The mysterious “Grandmother” didn’t seem bothered by the intel Krone gave her. I realized during the finale the current Grandmother was Isabella’s Mom when she was a child and that’s why she had Krone killed. If she felt the situation was beyond what Isabella could handle then she would’ve stepped in at that point. My guess is Grandmother had her son Ray placed in her care on purpose as “insurance”. Isabella likely realized this and used him to keep tabs on the other kids. The escape clearly changes things.
  • When Krone revealed the transmitting device implanted in all Mothers and Sisters, I knew Isabella probably knew Ray was lying to her when he told her Norman and Emma were planning to kill her. If they did actually try to kill her, they would’ve been harvested right away and with Ray being her actual son, she would’ve had a problem with that. That was also likely when she realized Krone was leaking information to Emma and Norman and so she had to be dealt with. She likely set things in motion for Norman to be Harvested at the same time.
  • Isabella broke Emma’s leg in front of Norman and the others on purpose to show all of them how far she was willing to go to keep them from escaping. With Norman’s departure, she wrongfully believed she had removed the biggest threat to her interests and focused on breaking Emma’s iron will. What she mistook as Ray being dispaired was actually his just biding his time. What she had no way of knowing by that point was almost half the kids were in on it.
  • What did Norman see? Isabella asked him to wait in another room past the gate but we’re intentionally not shown what made him gasp in surprise. He didn’t seem scared by whatever he was looking at either. My guess is maybe boys are offered a deal, too.

 

…Ray mentioned something called Infantile Amnesia. Basically, the older you get the harder it is to remember things from early in life. This is actually normal and very common. What isn’t normal is when it doesn’t happen. There are believed to be less than 200 people alive right now worldwide who can recall every single moment of the entire lives.

Ray and Norman both claim to have memories from before they were born and given their ages, that’s not entirely unbelievable. Ray could recall the melody Isabella used to hum when she was pregnant with him (and this is how she figured out he was her actual son). Case studies done on young children have proven they can recall memories from when they were 1 year old. Most experts caution against claims of adults who claim to remember from age 2 or earlier but don’t outright say such claims should be dismissed. After all, there are legit exceptions but I won’t digress further.

Anywho, there will be a Season 2. My guess is it will come in the next year or two. Stay tuned!

 

 

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Crunchyroll announces the annual subscription price will increase

Image result for Crunchyroll and Roku

 

…The funny thing is I received the email announcing the price change 15 minutes after I got a Roku Friday morning. As I announced right after I did it, I bought a 12-month subscription in December. Crunchyroll went on to mention in the email those who are current subscription holders will NOT see the price jump until May 2020. What this means for me is when it’s time for me to renew this coming December, I will pay $60 like I did last year. Next year, the price is will be $80.

Note that this is only for the annual Premium Subscription. The Premium+ Subscription as well as recurring monthly subscriptions are not effected by this from what I can find. We can only speculate the possible reasons for the +$20 price increase but I still plan to renew at the new price. For what you get, it’s worth it. More so with the new anime coming next year as well as the anime getting a new season next year.

I mentioned at the top I just got a Roku. I no longer need to use my Playstation 4 to stream Crunchyroll, Viki, Asian Crush and other stuff. Now that I do have a Roku, I can use the Xfinity App to once again watch Adult Swim on TV. I haven’t really watched much in part because my laptop broke but also because I can watch the current lineup on Crunchyroll Subbed anyway. Next month, the Spring Season Premeires for several Anime are supposed to begin. Most notably Attack on Titan’s Season 3 resumes so…yeah. While yeah it will likely be simulcast because of the previous deal between Funimation and Crunchyroll but you can still get the latest episode in advance on Crunchyroll.

 

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That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime will get a second season!

Image result for That Time I got Reincarnated as a Slime

Anime News Network broke the news a short time ago!

The news of a second season being planned for 2020 comes almost a week after what will now be the first season’s finale. Two more episodes are scheduled to run but they will be specials. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch the season in its entirety on Crunchyroll.

It tells the story of a man who is randomly killed and then reincarnated as a Slime in a fantasy world. He quickly comes into his own founds a nation without even trying. Like The Rising Shield Hero, there are RPG references and elements in this Anime. There is PLENTY of material to continue this into a Season 2 and possibly even a third.

Whatever’s covered in the two special episodes not withstanding, here’s a few plot points that can be revisited:

  • Veldora: We know he’s not dead inside Rimuru. I had to go back and watch it again but from what I understand, Veldora isn’t supposed to be inside Rimuru permanently. Finding a way to release him could be a significant plot item.
  • Demon Lord Leon: He was mentioned a few times as the one who summoned Shizune and put Ifrit inside her. It looked like we would see Rimuru avenge her but that ended up not happening. I could certainly see this plot point getting revisited.
  • Shizune’s Students: Their situation is resolved “for now”. No doubt they could be revisited at some point down in the future.

These are just a few I thought of off the top of my head.

In short, a Season 2 is very good news for fans of the series. I have to do a better job of mentioning this in the future but this anime is based on a Light Novel of the same name.

 

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Warner Media reorganizing its digital distribution assets stokes fears Crunchyroll and VRV could be in trouble

Image result for Crunchyroll and VRV

Anime News Network reported Wednesday that Warner Media is consolidating its digital and broadcast assets into a single “Global Kids and Young Adults” Unit. This effects not just Otter Media–which is the holding company for Ellation, which is the parent company for Crunchyroll and VRV–but also Adult Swim, Toonami and Cartoon Network among others. AT&T bought Otter Media last year just before their merger with Warner Brothers was finalized. I reported on it when it happened but AT&T shut down Drama Fever as part of the consolidation process. A few other content providers suffered a similar fate.

Given that, many Crunchyroll and VRV subscription holders are understandably nervous Warner Media might decide to shut down VRV or Crunchyroll or both to cut costs. Some believe Funimation “suddenly” ending its partnership with Crunchyroll last year after just two years is a sign they don’t have a lot of confidence in Crunchyroll’s new owners. Funimation made the call shortly after the merger was finalized much to Crunchyroll’s surprise last year. I didn’t realize at the time the merger may have been a factor.

As I announced before, I bought a 12-month subscription to Crunchyroll in December. I do think the concern is warranted but given Crunchyroll is a global powerhouse, I don’t think it’s any kind of trouble anytime soon. I would feel better if Crunchyroll broke away from VRV and became independent but given its value, I doubt Warner Media would just give it away.

As an aside and on a somewhat related topic, I do plan to buy a Roku very soon. That way, I won’t need to use my PS4 to stream Crunchyroll (as well as WWE Network) on my TV, which I have been doing after my laptop broke. I’ll use the money I planned to use to register for Anime Boston 2019 to get one. I would also be able watch Viki and AsianCrush once more–I haven’t watched either of them since my laptop broke (!). Later on once I have stable income, I’ll get a subscription with Viki at least. I’ll also renew my subscription with Crunchyroll when the time comes, too.

 

 

 

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I’m leaning heavily toward skipping Anime Boston 2019 due to financial reasons

Anime Boston Banner

 

…Whew.

It’s not a decision I make lightly as I consider it a 3-day vacation when I started going. I have gone every year since 2010 and I was a panelist from 2012 to 2016. Speaking of AB2016. It was the last time I was in this position. I had just enough money to pay to go but no budget for anything including food the whole weekend. I still went because I was a panelist that year and knew I would get the registration fee refunded a few months later. I was on a longterm unpaid leave of absence from work at that time and ended up resigning later that year. The following two years, I had the two largest budgets ever for Anime Boston. I bought 8 Anime sets in 2017 and that is a record I doubt I’ll approach again anytime soon. Last year I bought two anime but it was the first time ever I actually bought mega popular anime when they were current at the time: Yuri!!! On Ice and Your Name.

This year, I can safely say I can come up with the money to go to AB2019 but the loss of my laptop last November means I will not be able to be a panelist this year. I wasn’t a panelist at AB2017 and AB2018 but my large budget both years offset that. Not so much this year. Even though the annual convention is something I’ve looked forward to every year since 2010, I just can’t justify going this year knowing I both have no budget while there and I will not be a panelist.

Comicopia, which I buy Manga from every year during the convention is a few blocks away in Kenmore Square. I will miss the super discount they have the last day of the convention but I’ve been to the actual store several times and know the owner, Matt. I will definitely drop by to try to get some more new volumes of Manga I currently own. I’m currently on track to make Attack on Titan the fourth Manga series I get every volume of. I have the complete sets for Death Note, Code Geass and Fullmetal Alchemist currently. I also have the complete DVD set for Death Note and the complete Blu Ray set for Code Geass. So…yeah.

Hopefully, things will be better for me financially next year. More pressing priorities demand I pass on going this year more or less.

 

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