Time To Celebrate – Black History Month

There’s something about anime that makes it more enticing than many other forms of media- movies, TV, even books. It’s often filled with fantastic characters that take on amazing tasks in extraordinary ways in a style that makes the heroes of other media pale in comparison. Many people who started in anime as kids, like myself, looked up to these protagonists as heroes. Names like Goku, Naruto, Ichigo, and many, many others inspired hope in young fans, like myself. Even today, names like Kyoma (Dimension W), Saitama (One Punch Man), or Luffy (One Piece) inspire hope and bravery as I keep up with anime. However, it is rare to see characters that look like me, a Black man (more specifically a 1st-generation Nigerian-American), in one of my favorite medium.

 

Typically, “Black” characters in anime are either very stereotypical, so parodied that they don’t look like Black characters anymore, or are very ambiguous to where they don’t represent a certain race. And oftentimes, the few Black characters that exist are relegated to bum or bit roles that reinforce negative stereotypes: gangster/gangsta, criminal, etc. This has left a lack of heroes and role models that we in the Black community can look up to. However, I wanted to show off a few Black anime characters- whether they are explicitly Black, descendants of Africans, or even dark-skinned and with African features- that merit being looked at.

 

This piece is an opinion piece of an employee of Funimation. This list is by no means comprehensive of all of the Black characters that exist in anime. I hope that you enjoy the comments and ideas shared here!

 

 

Afro Samurai

Afro

 

Let’s kick off this list with one of the most arguably badass characters in all of anime. Afro is a wandering samurai who fights enemies constantly in order to protect the “number two” headband he wears in order to face off against the wearer of the “number one” headband, the man who killed his father- the previous “number one” headband owner. Afro means a lot as he is an explicitly Black character who isn’t a stereotypical figure, he is the main character, and he is one of the coolest characters in all of anime.

 

 

 

Michiko & Hatchin

Many of the Cast

 

Michiko & Hatchin takes place in a fictional South American country which is very much based on Brazil – Portuguese as a main language; a mixed-race population; and a varied topography of favelas, jungles, cities, and more. Many important characters are of African descent and are done with justice. Characters like Atsuko, Rita, and Satoshi have many Black features but are three-dimensional characters that have you excited for their every step.

 

 

 

Bleach

Yoruichi

 

Even though she is not a Funimation character, I would be remiss in not talking about her. As a past captain of the Soul Society, she leads main character, Ichigo, as a mentor. Although her race is more ambiguous than other characters in this list, it is striking to see a dark-skinned character as an important foil for the main cast. She’s a powerful woman who often aids the main cast and has been shown to be a leader that people look up to.

 

 

 

Gangsta.

Doug, Alex, and Galahad

 

The races of these characters aren’t explicit either but the portrayal of characters with dark skin and dreadlocks was much appreciated in the form of these characters. Even though they come from rough backgrounds as either mercenaries, gangsters, or prostitutes, they are characters with deep stories, emotions, and even powers as they contribute to much of the overall story.

 

 

 

 

Naruto

Killer Bee

 

Another dark-skinned character (and heck whole race) that I’d be remiss to ignore would be Killer Bee in Naruto Shippuden. Even though he can be more stereotypical (a rapping dark-skinned character) he has been a character that fans look up to with powers that rival the main cast. Rather than a parody, he is a true force to be reckoned with that fans and rivals can look at with respect.

 

 

 

One Piece

Fishmen and Mermaids

 

Even though there aren’t many (if any) explicit characters of African descent, the story of the Fishmen in the Fishmen Island arc (episodes 520-570) warrants talking about. The cast that ignites the conflict in the arc, Fisher Tiger and Queen Otohime, are (loosely on the part of the author) based on the stories of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

*Spoilers!!* 

Both characters are leaders that fight for their race -fishmen and mermaids- to be accepted by normal humans. The Queen fights peacefully with diplomacy and unification of the races. Fisher Tiger, a runaway slave, fights slavers and encourages past slaves to fight against humans; he also fights for segregation of the races in order to build up the fishmen and sea people (as well as other humans who have been enslaved). Both leaders fight each other’s philosophies but try to work together for the good of the sea people. However, both leaders are assassinated which puts the sea people in hostile tension with humans. The vacuum of the leaders causes fishmen and mermaids to be second-class citizens or in open conflict with humans.

 

 

 

Dimension W

Koorogi

 

A last example of a character I like is Koorogi of Dimension W. Although we haven’t seen much of him as of the present moment (episode 4 at the time of this post), he has shown himself to be a character I’m excited to see more. He is a talented hacker and intelligent and witty kid who works behind the scenes to aid the collectors in their search for illegal power sources (coils) in this future world. Even though he is ambiguous in his race, it is always nice to see dark-skinned characters in a positive light.

 

 

 

Like I’ve said before, this list is by no means comprehensive or representative of the views of all Black people. I’ve missed many other characters like Dutch from Black Lagoon, Kilik in Soul Eater, Casca from Berserk, and many more. However, I did want to share examples of characters that made us excited to be people of color in real life. I’d love to hear your comments or other characters that you’ve enjoyed within anime!

 

FUNIMATION ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES NORTH AMERICAN THEATRICAL DATES FOR “PSYCHO-PASS: THE MOVIE”

Climactic Film Based on TV Series to Screen in U.S. and Canada on March 15 & 16

 

FLOWER MOUND, TEXAS – February 5, 2016. Funimation® Entertainment announced today the North American theatrical dates for the release of “PSYCHO-PASS: The Movie.” This climactic feature film is based on the 33-episode, hit TV series of the same name and marks the return of renowned script writer Gen Urobuchi, who wrote the original story for the first season of the anime series.  “PSYCHO-PASS: The Movie” will screen in more than over 100 theaters across the United States and Canada on March 15 and 16, 2016.  Advance tickets for the movie will be available for purchase beginning February 18 at funimationfilms.com/psychopass.

 

“We’re excited to bring the climactic story of ‘PSYCHO-PASS: The Movie’ to fans across the U.S. and Canada,” said Gen Fukunaga, founder and CEO of Funimation. “The animation style of ‘PSYCHO-PASS: The Movie’ along with its characters, tech and story are meant to be experienced on the big screen.”

 

“Fans will truly enjoy this film and its visual homage to a number of live action movies and anime series,” said Mike DuBoise, EVP and COO of Funimation. “Since this is a very limited, two-day theatrical release, we are encouraging fans to purchase tickets in advance so they don’t miss out.”

 

“PSYCHO-PASS: The Movie” was produced by the celebrated studio – Production I.G. The “PSYCHO-PASS” anime series premiered in October 2012 and was followed by a second season in October 2014. The popularity of the show has resulted in multiple manga and novel adaptions. Series Chief Director Katsuyuki Motohiro and Director Naoyoshi Shiotani reprised their directorial roles for the movie.

 

Film Synopsis

 

In a futuristic Japan, the Sibyl System is charged with keeping the peace. Using extensive surveillance and biological monitoring to gauge the likelihood that individuals will commit a crime, the police are able to use weapons called Dominators to remove potential criminals from the population before they become a problem. Confident with the success of the System within their own borders, the Japanese government has begun to export the technology to other countries, planning to ultimately spread the System across the globe.

 

When the state of SEAUn brings the Sibyl System in to test its effectiveness, it becomes a haven of peace and safety—for a time. Eventually, terrorists from SEAUn begin appearing in Japan, somehow slipping through the System’s security and attacking from within. Desperate for answers, Inspector Akane Tsunemori is sent overseas to bring the terrorists to justice. But when her investigation forces her into a standoff with an old ally, will she be able to pull the trigger?

 

For more information on “PSYCHO-PASS: The Movie” and to purchase tickets, please visit funimationfilms.com/psychopass.

 

Like us on Facebook at PSYCHO-PASS & facebook.com/funimation, and follow us on Instagram at instagram.com/funimation and Twitter at twitter.com/funimation.

Dubbletalk Season 5 Lineup

Dubbletalk

 

In case you missed out on last night’s episode of Dubbletalk, we announced the upcoming lineup for Season 5! The new season of Dubbletalk begins next Wednesday, February 10th, at 9:30pm ET live on our Twitch Channel. From our Winter 2016 Anime Season, we will be showcasing the broadcast dubs for Dagashi Kashi, Assassination Classroom (Season Two), and Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash. The full schedule for the shows, which begin streaming next Wednesday, is as follows:

 

Dagashi Kashi


Premieres Wednesday, February 10th at 8:00pm ET


Dagashi Kashi

 

 

Assassination Classroom (Season 2)


Premieres Wednesday, February 10th at 8:30pm ET


assassination_classroom_s2

 

 

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash


Premieres Wednesday, February 10th, at 9:00pm ET


grimgar

 

Remember, our Broadcast Dubs are only available to those who subscribe to our All-AccessPass for the Funimation streaming service! You can also see our full lineup of Winter 2016 broadcast dubs!

 

About Our $0.04

Starting today, subscribers who are new to our streaming service will see a small price increase: 4 cents. SubPass monthly subscriptions will now cost $4.99, and All-AccessPass monthly subscriptions will cost $7.99.

 

If you’re currently subscribed on any plan, you can keep your couch cushions full because you will NOT see this price increase at all. This increase only applies to newly created accounts, or canceled accounts returning back to the streaming service.

 

Again, if you already have a subscription, nothing changes for you – even if you’re paying monthly. Should you choose to cancel, your subscription would then be at the higher price when you come back.

 

If you have any other questions about this increase, please just drop us a line!

Funimation Release Schedule Updates

The year has only just started, and already I can tell one thing for sure: This is going to be an incredible time for all of us who are fans of anime. New titles like Dimension W are showing the amazing things that can happen when anime studios and Funimation co-produce titles together. New technologies are making anime more available on more screens in more places than ever before. New fans are getting access to the shows they love, and the shows they will love, especially with major updates to our streaming service rolling out over the next several months. All of this is amazing for anime, and everyone at Funimation is honored to be a part of it.

 

With all this change happening so fast, it’s important to focus on what matters most: you. Our fellow fans of anime. Some of you noticed that our home video dubs were going up on streaming later than they were supposed to, and you let us know about it – thank you! We took a look at the schedule, but we also took this moment to ask ourselves “How can we make this better for ALL fans – sub fans, dub fans, and even fans who just want to buy shows so they can own them forever?”

 

We knew we could create a schedule that worked better for everyone, so we wanted to make that change now. Going forward, we will continue to release preview episodes of each home video dub and sub on streaming up to six weeks before the product ever hits shelves. This will give everyone a chance to sample the show, find out if they like it, and pre-order the home video if they want. Then, when the home video is released (if not earlier), we’ll post the rest of the dubbed and updated subtitled episodes to our streaming subscribers, giving them the same chance to watch the show as anyone who bought it on disc. Episodes for our Broadcast Dub shows will still be released just weeks after they air in Japan.

 

You can go to Funimation.com/schedule to find your favorite show, and see exactly when it will be released this year. And, we hope you’ll go to FunimationNow.com to see all of the news about our streaming platform. We have so much coming out for subscribers this year – starting with our brand new mobile apps later this month, and many more great digital experiences in the months to come!

 

Thank you again to all of you who love anime as much as we do. We couldn’t do this without you!

 

-Gen

President / CEO – Funimation

We’ve Waited For”EVA” for Evangelion 3.33… And It’s HERE!

The day is finally here! After a delay from the pre-order set in 2013, the long-awaited movie is out and we do (not) have to make you wait any longer. Evangelion 3.33 is out on Blu-ray and DVD, and you can get your hands on it today! Not only will you be getting huge robotic battles in HD glory, but it comes with features from Japanese and English theatrical releases, EVA-Extras, and a 20-page art book!

 

 

Evangelion 3.33

Blu-ray and DVD Movie

 

 

Click here to buy it now on Blu-ray!

 

Click here to buy it now on DVD!

 

FB_image_post

 

 

 

Summary:

Shinji Ikari just woke up in his Eva unit fourteen years after starting the Third Impact. He hasn’t aged, but everything else has changed. The earth is in ruins. Rei is missing. The people he once protected treat him like a prisoner and threaten to kill him if he pilots another Eva.

When he escapes to the remains of NERV headquarters, Shinji meets pianist Kaworu, who is destined to be Shinji’s copilot in a new dual-cockpit Eva. As the boys bond, NERV’s true mission begins to come into focus. Lost in a labyrinth of deception, Shinji careens toward a mental breakdown that could bring about the end of humanity.
Evangelion 3.33 continues the groundbreaking rebuild with stunning robot battles and mind-bending revelations. The end of every world has a beginning.

 

 

 

Free! ES Contest – Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Free!

Valentine’s Day is coming—and so is the Blu-ray/DVD release of Free! -Eternal Summer-, complete series + OVA! To celebrate both, we’re asking you to show your LOVE for your fave Free! boy—or pairs of boys, that’s cool too! And yes, we’re giving away prizes, of course!

 

Fres_005_kan.psd

 

You may remember all the celebration pics we took over the last year commemorating our favorite swimboys’ birthdays. We had a blast making homemade desserts and setting up perfect photos of the Iwatobi and Samezuka boys’ special days. We want to see how you’ll celebrate this Valentine’s Day in the best way possible—surrounded by totems or romantic Valentine’s dinners with your favorite good-looking 2D swimmers. And hey, if you aren’t really into the idea of loving any one Free! boy, we’ll totally take celebratory photos of your favorite pairs of boys…

 

Free! Mokoto Birthday Celebration Free! Rei Birthday Celebration
Free! Sosuke Birthday Celebration Free! Haru Birthday Celebration
Free! Nagisa Birthday Celebration Free! Rei Birthday Celebration

 

 

Send us your pics of how YOU’RE celebrating Valentine’s day with your favorite Free! boy(s) by February 15, and we’ll share them on the Free! ES Facebook page and Tumblr! Also, we’ll giving away a prize pack of Free! ES merchandise (as we always do with this show) to our favorite entry.

 

Free! Prize Pack Free! Prize Pack

 

 

How can you submit? We’re giving you a ton of ways where we’ll repost entries as we get them and share the final set the day after Valentine’s:

 

 

Looking to actually spend some quality time with Free! -Eternal Summer-? Don’t forget to grab the Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, which includes the full season + the exclusive never-before-streamed water gun fight OVA full episode! The Limited and Premium Editions come with a gorgeous water gloss box reminiscent of the Japanese releases, and all sets include both the English dub AND the original Japanese with English subtitles. Pre-order here!

 

See full contest rules here.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Fullmetal Alchemist The Movie – Conqueror of Shamballa Streaming/Home Video Rights To Expire—Binge and Buy Before This Classic is Gone for Good!

Fullmetal Alchemist is, of course, one of THE most legendary anime of all time—and for good reason. Combining alchemical action, great humor, and a moving, truly universal story of loss, redemption and what it means to be human, the adventures of the Elric brothers have resonated with fans all over the world for over a decade. We laughed with them, we cried with them, but alas, all good things must come to an end.

 

We’ve received an outpouring of fan feedback asking for Funimation to let you know when titles are expiring from our home video and streaming catalog, so we are announcing today that Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Fullmetal Alchemist The Movie – Conqueror of Shamballa will be expiring soon. Funimation licenses these rights for a limited time, after which they revert to the original Japanese license holder. After these dates, these titles will be removed from our streaming service on Funimation.com, and we will not be reprinting any more home video products.

 

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood: expires March 31, 2016

Fullmetal Alchemist The Movie – Conqueror of Shamballa: expires March 31, 2016

 

What does this mean for you? If you want to keep this classic series and all of its installments in your collection permanently, be sure to buy your copies NOW before they’re gone for good. Out-of-print anime can go up in price significantly on the secondary market, with some titles going up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars, so lock in your collection at their current retail prices now.

 

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Collections

Collection One Blu-ray

Collection One DVD

Collection Two Blu-ray 

Collection Two DVD

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood broadcast 6 years after the original, Brotherhood was noteworthy for retelling the tale of Fullmetal Alchemist from the beginning, now faithfully adapting the entire story of Hiromu Arakawa’s legendary manga series.

 

 

Fullmetal Alchemist The Movie – Conqueror of Shamballa

Get the Movie Blu-ray today!

Conqueror of Shamballa follows up the events of the hit original series in a fascinating alternate universe that closely resembles our own. Revisiting many of the themes and conflicts of the original series, the film explores what happens to Ed and Al as two brothers separated by time and space but united by so much in the past.

 

For many years, we’ve been extremely honored and enjoyed working closely with Aniplex to bring this iconic anime franchise to you, so thank you for your support.

 

Poll of the Week – What Is Your Favorite Mecha?

Evangelion 3.33 is finally coming out and to celebrate, we want to see which anime mecha is your favorite of all time in this weekly poll! A mecha in this case is considered to be a bipedal, humanoid mechanized, giant robot that is controlled by a human/humanoid pilot. We’re including mechas from all over anime (not just Funimation titles) also, but if your favorite mecha isn’t there, feel free to add it as an other!

 

Create your own user feedback survey

 

Poll of the Week – Vote For Broadcast Dubs on Dubbletalk!

Season 4 of Dubbletalk is coming to a close and we’re gearing up for Season 5. This time, we’re letting the fans vote on which Broadcast dubbed anime they want to watch! The top 3 shows will be chosen and will be talked about during all of season 5 of Dubbletalk, so make sure you get your voice heard.

 

http://funi.to/dubbletalks5

 

Also we’ll be giving out Lootcrate boxes to 5 random participants, so at the end of the poll, put your email in and hope for the best!

 

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash Snow White with the Red Hair Season 2
Snow White with the Red Hair
Assassination Classroom Season 2 Dimension W
Dimension W Loser 9-Hit Combo Fight
Divine Gate Pandora in the Crimson Shell Ghost Urn
Pandora in the Crimson Shell Ghost Urn
Dagashi Kashi Prince of Stride: Alternative
Heavy Object