While Free! – Eternal Summer may have ended last September, that doesn’t mean the fun is entirely over. A preview of the special “14th episode” has been released.
Collectively known as ‘the swimming anime’, Free! is a staple for all anime viewers. Some watch it for the story, some watch it for the character relationships, and some watch it just to say they’ve watched it. Whatever your reasoning, you’ll be happy to see the familiar faces in this fun, lighthearted episode. It stars our favourite Iwatobi and Samezuka boys in an all-out survival water-gun fight.
The preview already promises the things we’re used to seeing from Free!, like overdramatic moments and a lot of subtext. The episode also hints at character interactions we might not have seen before, mixing up the teams and forcing them into unlikely allies.
Currently, Funimation has the rights to the second season only, and are working on the English dub. Whether they acquire the first season is still up in the air, as Discotek Media recently licensed the first season for subtitled DVD release. Crunchyroll currently has both seasons available.
The 14th episode will be included with the 7th and final DVD bundle of Free! – Eternal Summer, which ships out on March 18th. Take a peek below and see a preview of your last time with the swimming boys!
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Have you ever wanted to star in your own anime TV show? Well, with Kairosoft studios new game, "Anime Studio Story", you now have the power to be the star of your own show! As the title suggests, your goal is to create the best anime you can! To achieve these goals, you first create the stat of your show and then it’s all about gaining a popular fan base.
The game play allows the player to help build up their character’s charisma by making him or her win the rankings of different categories such as "Popular with kids" or "Dateability", so in the end, it isn’t just about being a cool star but by also being a nicely rounded person. But what is a star without their team? As the owner of a studio, you are also given the choice to upgrade and replace new gear, hiring new staff and add on other departments to your studio to have a better chance at making a hit anime. Add on a library, a motion capture room and theatres for previewing purposes! The goal is to make a quality anime and you’ll need everything you can get to help win those awards and be the top of the show lists.
If you’re a fan of simulation games or of Kairosoft them self, you can grab a copy of Anime Studio Story from Google Play for $4.99
One industry watcher went so far as to call this repeat process “lazy.”
According to Chris Bond, Creative Lead, Digital Editions, for Toronto-based TC Media, in an article for TalkingNewMedia.com, "Unlike a print edition, the reader can't pick up the edition and flip through it before deciding to purchase. Cover videos give us the opportunity to give the reader a bit of that ‘flip through’ feeling by bringing to life what they'll get inside. While such elements help to amplify the value of the content, you don't want to overwhelm the reader with too much different kinds of interactivity.”
To date, digital magazine distributors and subscription-based apps like PressReader and Zinio have relied on the cover image provided by the publisher, but as the information shows, too often that digital cover is simply a pixelized rendition of the cover the art department already created for paper. But the purpose of the covers is vastly different when the format changes. The cover that was designed to entice a consumer to pick up a print edition at the newsstand can easily give way to a more vibrant, useful digital design.
Since Viz Manga made the switch to digital, one of their ongoing projects has been the Jump Start initiative. The purpose of the program is to boost new manga and help them gain notice among North American audiences, by running the first three chapters in Weekly Shonen Jump. If the chapters are well received, Viz will make the manga a regular in the magazine.
The initiative has been going since September. Publications of new manga are simultaneous as the debut in Japan. As Viz works closely with Shueisha, Inc., almost every new manga that comes through them will be covered by Viz here in North America. Not only is Jump Start a great way to keep material fresh and new, it also promotes Viz Manga’s interaction with its readers. We get our own say in what Viz runs, and it’s a two-way street. Readers see what they want and Viz keeps their magazine popular and current.
This round of Jump Start begins with Kagamigami – literally meaning “mirror god.” The premise of the manga remains mysterious, only promising a detective story. The manga is based on a one-shot the author, Toshiaki Iwashiro, wrote last year, called Shikigami Twilight Days. The author is also known for penning Psyren, a popular manga that Viz also publishes.
The fate of Kagamigami rests in the hands of the viewers. If you like the series and would like it to be a full-time runner in Weekly Shonen Jump, give your feedback! Head over to Viz Manga and complete their viewer survey. Give Kagamigami a jump start of your own.
Amazon Prime costs $99 per year and carries a tremendous amount of benefits by opting into the program. Regular shoppers will get free two day shipping, which really adds up to some serious savings over time. There is also Amazon Instant Video, Prime Music, and the Kindle Lending Library.
The Prime membership program has turned ten today and for customers, Prime is “the best bargain in the history of shopping,” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.
Bezos said that worldwide paid membership grew 53% last year — 50% in the U.S. and a bit faster outside the U.S. Prime is available in Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Canada and Austria.
How many members does Amazon Prime have? The company has never divulged their exact subscriber base in the US or internationally. They have only made sporadic statements that are rather ambiguous. When the service first launched ten years ago it was said “tens of thousands of people signed up on Prime's first day,” Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime Global, told the Washington Post. “Four out of five of those initial members are still active and using their original accounts.” Right after the 2014 holiday shopping season Amazon announced in press release that they had “tens of millions of members.”
In order to gauge how many members Amazon Prime actually has, we often have to turn to analysts. Most of the trusted data comes from the finance industry where their number crunching assists them in their recommendations if a company is a viable investment or not.
Early in 2014 Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital ended up concluding that Prime has somewhere between 10 million and 20 million members in the U.S. and perhaps 20 million to 30 million worldwide. But in September 2014 he said RBC is now boosting that estimate to between 30 million and 40 million in the U.S. and 40 million to 50 million globally. Why the change? A survey of more than 4,000 Amazon customers conducted by RBC Capital found that 37% were current Prime members. And RBC says that percentage leads to its new estimates.
New data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners issued today proclaimed that at the end of 2014, Amazon Prime had 40 million US members, up from an estimated 29 million at the end of the third quarter. This basically means that 45% of all Amazons US customers has signed on with the Prime program. CIRP also estimates that the average Amazon Prime customer spends $1,500 per year on the e-commerce site, compared to $625 for nonmembers.
In the end, the one thing Prime does really well is diminishes the likelihood someone will buy from anywhere else. It creates customer loyalty and increases Amazon’s customer base. Because it sells across so many different markets — books, music, movies, household goods, clothing, etc. — the strength of its network increases exponentially with each new customer.
With the increasing popularity of Chromebooks, especially in schools, we have seen a bump in interest from Chromebook owners about the best way to enjoy OverDrive eBooks and audiobooks on their device – and we're here to help!
If you are just getting started or need assistance with OverDrive on your Chromebook, there are OverDrive Help articles that walk you through the process of setting up the OverDrive app on your device to read eBooks and listen to audiobooks and how to enjoy streaming video titles and more in your Chrome web browser.
We have recently added a print-ready Chromebooks device guide to the Learning Center Resources. Scroll to the bottom of the page and download the "Getting Started Guides" zip to find the Chromebooks guide alongside instructions for iOS, Android, Windows 8, NOOK, and Kindle devices as well as a helpful primer on OverDrive Read. These print guides complement the information that is available digitally through OverDrive Help and are popular handouts in schools and libraries for first-time users.
Run into technical problems? Reach out to OverDrive Support via the General Support form (found under the Support tab) in OverDrive Marketplace.
Melissa Marin is a Marketing Specialist at OverDrive.
Well, that was a busy couple of days.
Thanks for bearing with us while we tried to stop this website from falling over under the weight of more than one million more requests than it usually sees. (I hope we’ll have some graphs and pictures of servers weeping blood for you later on.) One of the things we had to do to try to keep things working round here was to shut the forums for a couple of days: we’re sorry you couldn’t get your fix, and you’ll be pleased to hear they’re back up now.
In case you’ve been living under a stone for the last few days, I guess we should explain that the reason for this sudden loss of functionality was the release of our newest product, Raspberry Pi 2 – which has a new quadcore ARMv7 chip, 1GB of RAM and no wheels, all for the very familiar price of $35. Here are some videos to let you know what it’s all about.
First up, here’s the footage that was taken live at the press conference where we announced Pi 2. Eben stands up to talk about two minutes in.
A couple of boards had sneaked out into the hands of community bloggers:
Alex Eames from Raspi.TV did an introductory video – and he also made the video below, where he hammers all four cores in parallel to see how the Pi 2 copes. (Splendidly, is the answer.) You can download the test he used to try it out on your own Pi 2.
Make magazine also did a very jolly performance test, which should help illustrate to B and B+ owners just how much more oomph the Pi 2 has.
Here’s Eben on the BBC:
A certain snarky somebody shouted “Wheels!” at the press conference when one of the journalists asked what improvements we should have made to the device. Adafruit came out our rescue within hours.
There’s been so much press we can’t possibly link to it all – thanks very much to everybody who took the time to write about the release.
All the existing stock of Pi 2 (around 150,000) had gone by Tuesday, but we’re making new ones at a rate of 20,000 a day, so if you have one on order it should be with you soon. (Some resellers may still have stock – we don’t have figures on all of them, so shop around.) We’ve been overwhelmed at the reception you guys gave the news; thank you for your support, your enthusiasm and your excitement. We couldn’t do this stuff without you.
eBook pricing has been a hotly contested issue in the last few years, debated among industry insiders and court officials alike. But a new offer from author James Patterson could reverse what some people think they know about the value of a book.
In what the bestselling author has ever-so-humbly termed “The Most Thrilling Reading Experience Ever,” one lucky fan will get to pay around $300,000 to read one of Patterson’s previously published books. This luckiest-of-lucky fans will get one first-class airline ticket, two nights in a hotel at the unknown destination, and a scrumptious meal that Patterson himself will attend. At some point after the meal and after being given 24 hours to read the book Hope To Die, the recipient will be given special bird’s eye view seating to watch a demolition team blow up the book.
According to the website that was setup to sell this once-in-a-lifetime experience:
“The most thrilling reading experience a human being could ever encounter includes:
A first-class flight to an undisclosed location.
Two nights stay in a luxurious boutique hotel.
A splendid reading space including perfectly chilled Champagne.
A well-trained bomb squad to handle the self-destructing book.
Gold binoculars inside a fine-leather case engraved with Patterson’s initials.
An unforgettable 5-course dinner with Mr. James Patterson.
The whole Alex Cross book series autographed by Mr. James Patterson.”
One can only hope this is a joke, and not just because the terms of service indicate the binoculars are not actually made of real gold.
Of course, even if the author is deadly serious about the value of his work and his time, it does purportedly go to a good cause. Patterson has been a strong champion of independent bookstores in the past, and has dipped into his own personal funds in a monumental way to offer grants to indie bookstores. The proceeds from this “thrilling” experience are said to go to support indie bookstores.
For those fans who lack the one-percenter income to participate in the thrilling experience, there was still the element of danger in a campaign for the recently released Private Vegas. One thousand lucky fans got to read a digital advanced copy of the book; the “self-destructing” ebook, as it was called, featured an ominous countdown clock at the top of the screen. Readers had 24 hours to read the book, or it would disappear.
2008 seems to be the year the sports anime began to rise. One of these was Yowamushi Pedal, a manga by Wataru Watanabe, about cycling. In 2013, the manga got its well-deserved anime adaption. Crunchyroll has been streaming the anime and the highly anticipated second season still in progress.
The story follows a character everyone can relate to, an otaku named Sakamichi Onoda. He’s the only anime fan at his school, despite multiple tries to pull an anime club together. Onoda is so friendless that he takes the long back hill to school, just so he can sing his favorite anime theme song. His life takes a change for the better when he’s caught by Shunsuke Imaizumi, a young professional cyclist, who is amazed that Onoda can climb the hill on his bulky bike. Imaizumi makes a deal with Onoda – they will race up the hill. If Imaizumi wins, Onoda has to join the bike club. If Onoda wins, Imaizumi will join the anime club, which is enough incentive to get Onoda really racing. However, in the process, Onoda finds himself enjoying it, and he ends up joining the bike club. From there on out, it follows Onoda’s journey to get stronger and win as many races as he can.
Like all sports anime seem to be, Yowamushi Pedal is popular. But the fans of the cycling anime are taking it a step further. While every sports anime I’ve seen makes the blood boil and the body itch to get out there and exercise, Yowamushi Pedal fans seem to be actually doing it. Because of the anime, bike sales in Japan have increased. Fans have even started meetups where they get together and go biking. Every sports anime is credited to increase the popularity of their sport by some, but for an anime to cause people to get off their couches and onto bicycles? That is an anime indeed.
More interestingly is the specific demographic of new bike sales. Surprisingly enough, it’s women. In the last year, Japan has seen it’s bike market for females aged 20-30 double in size. Otome Road, a street in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district so named for its shops marketed towards women, has reported a particular increase in interest for bikes. Considering that Yowamushi Pedal has an intended demographic of teenage boys, the fact that young women invested enough in the story to get out and into cycling is just another marker of what makes this anime so great.
One of the reasons Yowamushi Pedal is so popular outside of its intended demographic is due to the homoerotic undertones. In fact, that’s one of the reasons sports anime in general draws in so many female viewers. Fangirls love our shipping. It may seem crazy to some. Will the characters of Yowamushi Pedal turn out to be gay? Probably not, no. But that doesn’t stop people from thinking they are, or accepting it as fact in their heads. And many fans are taking going a step further, believing some of the characters to be transgender. These theories are particularly popular around Tumblr. The large female audience of the show has helped Yowamushi Pedal become a platform for gay and trans representation, an are with a strong lack of good representation in today’s media. Besides, if the anime can have such an effect on the audience to give them a real interest in cycling, perhaps the audience can have an effect on the anime – fingers crossed!
To put it in simple terms, this anime is a phenomenon. People are buying bicycles. They’re getting outside. Women are getting on the road. Perhaps it’s because we all see a little bit of ourselves in Sakamichi Onoda. If that skinny little otaku can get on a bike, then so can I.
For people who love to play video games there is a new Nintendo 3DS title that was just released by Bandai Namco. The game features new rivals for the characters to face, and will be fully-voiced with an original story.
I would like to personally challenge you to watch the first episode without singing along to Onoda’s favorite anime theme song. “Hime hime, hime, suki, suki…”
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America governing body has approved bylaw changes that now accepts self-published author for Active and Associate memberships in the organization.
Self-Published authors will need to abide by the same requirements to join the SFWA as ones that are traditionally published. Specific details will be posted at sfwa.org by the first of March, but the basic standards are $3,000 for novel, or a total of 10,000 words of short fiction paid at 6 cents a word for Active membership. A single story of at least 1,000 words paid at 6 cents a word will be required for Associate membership. Affiliate, Estate, and Institutional membership requirements remain unchanged.
Science fiction is facing a crisis right now as traditional publishing is starting to see a massive decline in sales. The genre was down 21% in 2013 and a further 7% in 2014. Overall science fiction unit sales have declined 1,488,000 in just two years. It’s down more than one-quarter in two years and is now only half the size of the Graphic Novel market. Fantasy titles are not selling at all right now either, as unit sales plunged 13% in 2014.
The move to embrace self-published authors is likely the smart move for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America governing body. Many authors these days are finding it hard to get a trade deal because the big New York publishing houses only sign new authors if they think their books can sell or if a genre is especially hot right now. Sadly, science fiction is hardly hot at all, and this is why most people are electing to publish their books themselves on Amazon.